Hamas' Shifting Regional Alliances Complicate U.S. Mideast Strategy

Matthew Duss, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, Briefing

The recent Gaza conflict and the negotiations that eventually led to a cease-fire on Nov. 21 highlight some of the shifts currently taking place in the Middle East, particularly in Hamas’ relations with Qatar, Turkey and Egypt. These shifts represent a considerable challenge for the U.S. as it attempts to facilitate democratic transitions in the region while maintaining long-standing partnerships.

In early November, Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani became the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas took over the territory in a short but violent 2007 civil war with its rival Fatah. But if al-Thani’s visit was a sign that Hamas’ isolation was decreasing, then the holding of four-way talks among Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and Hamas as part of efforts to achieve a cease-fire with Israel was a flashing billboard. ...