A senior Hezbollah official has now stated publicly for the first time that his organization has been providing Hamas with “every type of support” for a long period of time.
“We have always said that we supported the resistance in Palestine, but we have not mentioned how or given details of such support,” Naim Qassem, the deputy leader of the Lebanese organization, said in an interview published by the Financial Times on Wednesday.
“But Egypt has now revealed that we have given military support to Palestine. We have done so for a while, but we have not talked about it,” he continued.
It is one of the secrets of the resistance that we don’t talk about the details of our support, but suffice to say that we are giving them every type of support that could help the Palestinian resistance. Every type that is possible,” he said.
The statements are the clearest yet of the ability and desirability of Shiite Muslim armed groups (Hezbollah) to tactically ally themselves with armed Sunni groups (Hamas). This means the transfer of technology, lessons learned, tactics, intelligence etc. is well advanced among groups that have long and valuable experience in terrorism and irregular warfare.
While the intelligence community for years denied such alliances were possible, they have long been operative. One of the key bridges between the Sunni and Shiite world has been the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood has mediated or attempted to mediate a host of disputes between Shiite and Sunnis, including the unsuccessful efforts by the International Muslim Brotherhood’s Yousef Nada to negotiate an end to the Iran-Iraq war.
One of the biggest bones on contention between the MB in Iraq and the al Qaeda groups of Zarqawi was the latter’s insistence on targeting Shiite groups, while the MB units viewed that as a far lower priority than targeting the Americans.
The understanding of the structure of the Muslim Brotherhood has often been misunderstood in the United States, where it is often viewed as Egyptian organization. The international structure is largely ignored. It is also worth remembering (although it seldom is) that Hamas is, according to its own statutes-article 2-an organic part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
That means that Hamas cannot be acting in this regard without the knowledge of its “mother ship,” the MB. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report has an interesting piece on the recent and rare public acknowledgement by a senior Brotherhood leader that such an international structure exists.
According to the GMBDR:
In a recent interview with London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef provided some new details about the composition of it’s so-called “International Organization.” In the interview, Mr. Akef discusses the International Shura Council as well as the International Guidance Bureau:
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Murshid-General (Guide), Muhammad Mahdi Akif, said that it is likely that his successor would be a non-Egyptian, but that depends on the internal elections in the Shura Council of the International Organization of the Brotherhood. He added in exclusive statement to Al-Quds al-Arabi that “the International Shura Council consists of 90 members from inside Egypt and 40 from outside, and it is they who elect the ‘murshid-general’.” As to whether the future ‘murshid-general’ can be a non-Egyptian, he said: “The brothers abroad have always preferred an Egyptian candidate out of politeness and love of Egypt.”With regard to the MB’s ‘international guidance bureau’, he said: “it consists of eight Egyptians and five non-Egyptians; whereas the Egyptian guidance bureau consists of 17 members, all of whom are Egyptians.”…With regard to the international organization, Dr Al-Halabawi said: “Representation on the Shura Council is for the countries with more members such as Jordan, Syria, the Gulf, Malaysia, Indonesia and Europe, and the candidate should be a prominent person.”
It is important to note that Sunni-Shiite interests diverge and the alliance is tactical, and likely not long term. Still, it shows how networks and pipelines connect when the circumstances are right, and that is dangerous.