Has Hamas Become a Joint Turkish and Iranian Venture?

As a result of the Syrian civil war, Hamas moved its headquarters out of Damascus, establishing a new headquarters in Qatar as well as a base of operations in Turkey. Since the end of the Gaza war, a senior Hamas operative has been headquartered in Turkey, where he may also be working on rebuilding the terror organization’s ties with Iran. Jonathan Schanzer and Grant Rumley write:

Turkey rivals Qatar as a top Hamas external headquarters—and perhaps with Iran’s blessing. . . . The two countries are undeniably foes when it comes to the future of Syria and other issues in the Sunni-Shiite divide. But Iran and Turkey have found ways to look past their differences before: the two countries recently engaged in massive sanctions-busting schemes yielding Iran billions in gold, and other illicit transactions. Alami’s presence in Turkey could be a sign that Hamas is another joint venture.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Hamas, Iran, Qatar, Syrian civil war, Turkey


The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas