As the sole democratically elected terrorist group in this region, Hamas is truly unique in the Islamic World. What is the likelihood of Hamas being able to rally collective support against the U.S. in the greater Middle East?
November 12, 2012
HAMAS (in Arabic, an acronym for "Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamia" Islamic Resistance Movement -- and a word meaning zeal) is a radical Islamic fundamentalist organization which became active in the early stages of the intifada, operating primarily in the Gaza District but also in Judea and Samaria. Formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various HAMAS elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. Loosely structured, with some elements working clandestinely and others working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. In a January 2006 election, Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislature.
Within the Occupied Territories, Hamas runs a number of social programs which are designed to win over the Palestinian population; the organization funds hospitals, orphanages, and schools, for example. Funding for Hamas operations comes primarily from expatriates in oil-rich Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia. The classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization by the US, Japan, Israel, Canada and the European Union means that it cannot access some international aid funding designed to help the Palestinian people. Hamas also engages in the political field; in 2006, it successfully defeated the Fatah party in elections, taking over the majority of government.
While the social programs of Hamas may be creditable, the actions of the militant wing are much more questionable. In the 15 years between 1993 and 2008, Hamas was...