Habib Fayad
As-Safir (Analysis)
March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

The identity of the Hamas resistance movement cannot be limited to its relationship with the Syrian regime. Likewise, Damascus’ rejectionist strategy, which supports the Palestinian cause, cannot be reduced to its support for Hamas. Any rift between the two sides would undoubtedly affect the entire axis of resistance (Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran). However, a rift would not prevent Hamas from being the head of the Palestinian resistance, nor would it prevent the regime from being the hub of the axis.

This means that the current crisis between Hamas and Damascus is limited to their individual relations and is not related to the way they perceive the resistance.

It is a gross exaggeration to say that Hamas' departure from Damascus is a step toward integration with the Palestinian Authority in achieving a peaceful settlement, or that the Syrian crisis will force the regime to reconsider its support for the resistance. Regardless of whether these projections are credible, they do not negate the serious consequences which may result from the escalation of the situation between Hamas and Damascus.

There are two sides arguing over the ramifications of the turmoil in Syria, and addressing the crisis is itself a step toward calming this turmoil. However, even Hezbollah’s presence between these two sides, and Iran’s presence through Hezbollah, cannot guarantee peace or at least an end to the crisis. Hezbollah, at worst, will remain in the middle, being the most capable of healing the rift between them. The party can take advantage of the fact that Hamas and Syria are not openly arguing in the media, which means that there is a possibility their relationship will return to normal.

Originally, and apart from the Syrian crisis, the Arab revolutions created — in the cases of Tunisia, and Egypt in particular — new horizons for integration between the popular uprisings and resistance movements through collaboration in confronting injustice, tyranny and occupation.

However, when the Arab spring came to Syria it caused a rift in the course of the revolutions. A schism formed between those who saw the crisis in Syria as a natural continuation of the popular movement against oppressive regimes, and those who considered it a conspiracy against resistance and opposition.

This crisis has escalated to the point where the resistance and the revolution occupy two separate categories, and now the priority of confronting tyranny is higher than the priority of fighting occupation.

Today, in order to escape this dichotomy, a conciliatory approach is currently underway that is based on the reformist logic adopted by the resistance.

Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s last speech lays the foundation for this approach. He called on Syrians to "lay down arms simultaneously," and said that dialogue is the only option for change.

On one hand, his statement stems from the need to preserve the regime, since it is part of the axis of resistance and enjoys broad public support. On the other hand, it also stems from the opposition’s right to reform and participate in government since it is part of the people. A power settlement deal would be impossible, and either party seems unable to eliminate the other.

If foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis overrides Nasrallah’s statements, it will at least bridge the fabricated gap between the logic of revolution and the logic of resistance.

Hamas has left Syria, even though it knows full well that it is closer to Syria than the others in the axis of resistance. Since the beginning, Hamas knew that it could not support a popular revolt in Syria, nor could it support the Syrian regime in the face of an international conspiracy against it.

Hamas’ return to the Muslim Brotherhood in the era of Arab revolutions will create new political horizons for the group. However, this does not mean that it no longer needs Damascus.

The current relationship between Hamas and Damascus is temporary. Hamas will return to Syria as soon as it realizes that other countries in the region could not care less about Palestine.


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