“Domestic turmoil could weaken Tehran’s hold on Hezbollah, Hamas”

“Domestic turmoil could weaken Tehran’s hold on Hezbollah, Hamas”
July 20 & 21, 2009
     Ben Holland and Massoud A. Derhally write that domestic turmoil and economic troubles could distract Iran’s leaders from coordinating support for Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Some analysts believe this could further isolate Tehran by encouraging Syria, which helps Tehran arm Hezbollah, to move closer to the US. Saudi Arabia and Egypt could gain influence over Hamas and pressure the group toward forming a unity Palestinian government with Fatah (Bloomberg). Juan Cole counters that Tehran is likely to continue supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in order to secure much-needed prestige, adding that the two groups could “thrive” without foreign support or obtain funds from Iran’s rivals in the region (Informed Comment).
     In a report featuring an interview with Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s second-in-command, Nicholas Blanford suggests that Hezbollah’s future could depend on the continued rein of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Blanford details the reliance of Hezbollah, which was established in 1982 with Iranian help, on Khamenei for spiritual and political leadership as well as for an estimated “hundreds of millions of dollars” in funds annually for its social welfare and military activities. Blanford adds that Hezbollah may choose not to retaliate on behalf of Tehran in the event of a full-scale attack on Iran (Christian Science Monitor).
Bloomberg | Informed Comment | Christian Science Monitor

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