In a big move, that nevertheless should not surprise those paying attention, Egypt has ruled Hamas to be a terrorist organization. The BBC:
“It has been proven without any doubt that the movement has committed acts of sabotage, assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Egypt,” Judge Mohamed el-Sayed said, according to state news agency Mena.
Besides Hamas, which is now entirely cut off and surrounded by enemies, the biggest losers from this verdict are Turkey and the Obama Administration.Turkey has positioned itself as Hamas’ biggest backer, partly out of genuine conviction on the part of Turkey’s ruling Islamists, partly as a play to regain the leadership of the Middle East that the Turks held in Ottoman times. Now it is having its impotence effectively demonstrated as Egypt and its gulf allies trash Turkey’s dreams of regional leadership.The Obama administration had similarly based its Middle East policy in large part on outreach to the ‘moderate Islamists’ of whom the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is the Palestinian branch) and which numbers both Turkey’s Erdogan and Egypt’s pre-coup president Morsi among its supporters, are the most prominent force. That policy is now in tatters.But this decision also looks like a pre-election present for Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. Hamas’ isolation will vindicate Netanyahu in the eyes of many Israeli voters, and the timing of the announcement suggests that Israel’s Arab neighbors prefer Netanyahu’s tough stance on Iran and share his concerns about the Obama administration’s Iran policy, as well as its sympathies for the Muslim Brotherhood.Egypt, its Gulf allies and Israel combined during the last Gaza war to frustrate John Kerry’s efforts at a ceasefire and left the Obama administration looking ineffective and irrelevant. Are the same countries now combining to resist the administration’s Iran policy? This ruling in Egypt suggests that they are.