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Al-Zaytouna Centre has published a new book, “Hamas’ Foreign Policy: Syria as a Case Study 2000- 2015,” by Abdalhakim Aziz Hanaini.

The third chapter of the 264-page book is offered for free download.

>> Free Download:
Chapter 3: The Relations Between the Regime in Syria and the Hamas Movement (73 pages, 1.9 MB) (Arabic)

Publication Information
Arabic– Title: Manhajiyyat Harakat Hamas fi al-‘Alaqat al-Kharijiyyah: Suria Namuzajan 2000-2015 (Hamas’ Foreign Policy: Syria as a Case Study 2000-2015)

– Author: Abdalhakim Aziz Hanaini
– Published in: 2018
– Paperback: 264 pages
– Price: $8

Available on:

Book Review: Hamas’ Foreign Policy: Syria as a Case Study 2000- 2015

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations in Beirut has published a new book “Hamas’ Foreign Policy: Syria as a Case Study 2000- 2015,” by Dr. Abdalhakim Aziz Hanaini. It discusses the foreign relations strategy of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), especially with Syria and during the period 2000- 2015. Hamas is considered one of the influential forces in the conflict with the Israeli occupation. It believes that political action and establishing relations with all countries is an important part of its resistance, in order to achieve its tactical and strategic objectives.

For the first time, the foundations and principles of Hamas foreign relations are explained. It shows the importance of Syria to Hamas, where the former provided financial, military and logistical support, paying a high price of economic boycott and political pressure. However, the situation reversed after the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” moved to Syria. As the events unfolded, Hamas leadership left Syria and there was a rupture between the regime and the movement, which had an impact on the Syrian-Palestinian relations in general and on Palestinian refugees in Syria in particular.

The book is originally the author’s doctoral dissertation at the National University of Malaysia in 2016. Hanaini used the analytical descriptive approach and the historical approach, and in collecting information, he interviewed many personalities, who had a key role in the development of Syria-Hamas relationship, including Hamas cadres and leaders, in addition to Syrian prominent figures and their allies figures. He also read and analyzed materials and documents specially obtained.

The 264-page book consists of four chapters, conclusions and recommendations, documents appendix, bibliography and index. Hanaini benefited from Arabic, English and Hebrew references, and a lot of interviews, documents, academic letters, books, strategic assessments, newspapers, websites, and videos

The first chapter is a historical overview of the establishment of Hamas inside and outside Palestine. Its origins from the Muslim Brothers (MB) Movement in Palestine, and how the establishment was the culmination of internal debates and dialogues conducted by the MB Movement inside and outside Palestine. It tackled the development of the Movement and Hamas inside and outside of Palestine, and the MB adoption of resistance against the occupation before the start of the first Intifadah years. Then came the killing of four workers in Gaza Strip, when Hamas announced its establishment. It was clear in this chapter that Hamas’s interest in establishing relations with various countries began since its inception. After the formation of Hamas’s political committee in Kuwait in 1989, it established the Relations Department, which had sub-sections. Then, two separate offices were formed, the first for Arab and Islamic relations, and the second for the rest of the world.

The second chapter presents the most important principles and foundations of Hamas foreign relations, including what is taken from the jurisprudence heritage, in addition to its and others’ practical experience. The objectives of Hamas movement include expanding relations with different countries and mobilizing support for the Palestinian people. It appointed official Hamas representatives in countries with which it established relations, and conducted official visits to some countries. However, Hamas faced some obstacles in its foreign relations, due to its MB Movement roots and other reasons. Most regimes are hostile to this movement, in addition to the fact that the PLO is recognized as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinians.

The third chapter discussed the beginning of the Hamas- Syria relations, and its development until they became allies. The author explained the reasons that made Hamas choose Syria after its departure from Jordan, and the Syrian regime receive and embrace Hamas leadership, despite the threats from both the United States and Israel. Syrian support for Hamas was of many forms; political, media, financial, security and military, in return the Syrian regime had achieved many interests. The author discussed how Hamas, the Arabs and Israel viewed these benefits, and why the MB Movement opposed such relation and how Hamas convinced it otherwise.

The fourth chapter reviewed the events following the developments of the Arab Spring in Syria, when Hamas disengaged from the Syrian regime and boycotted it. At the beginning of these events, Hamas made efforts to stop the deterioration of the situation, then came Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s speech, which had a bad impact on the bilateral relations. Hanaini, also presented the regime’s account of events. Then he displayed the two sides’ narratives about the reasons for their disagreement, as well as the reasons for Hamas departure from Syria and the rupture between them and the regime. The author discussed and compared all of these narratives to reach certain conclusions.

The fourth chapter also dealt with Hamas official position concerning the Arab Spring and its developments in Syria, during its presence in Syria and after its exit. Hamas discourse maintained its gratitude to the Syrian regime and the Syrian people for what they provided the movement, calling for a peaceful solution away from a military one, and advocating to spare the Palestinian refugee camps such a war. However, one aspect of the discourse changed after the departure from Syria, where statements and actions from the Hamas leadership could be interpreted as implicitly supporting the revolution in Syria. The chapter ended with an evaluation of Hamas’ exit from Syria, showing the losses, which are difficult to compensate at the current stage, and also the gains. This exit has raised a debate among researchers and those interested in the Palestine issue, as events are still developing.

These chapters were followed by conclusions and recommendations. Hamas is interested in developing its foreign relations, for since its inception, it built external relations with countries, international institutions and political parties. The movement distinguished between its relations with Arab and Muslim countries and other foreign countries. The Syria- Hamas relations was strong and based on hostility to Israel and support of resistance. At the same time, these relations were strong with the Syrian people, whom a large section of was against the regime, leaving Hamas deeply embarrassed. Hanaini mentioned that Hamas decision to leave Syria was an internal one, but also was influenced by the situation in Syria and the rise of Islamists in some countries, as a result of “Arab Spring.” The author concludes that despite some errors in Hamas’s exit, going out of Syria was the right decision.

An appendix of 15 documents are included, obtained from various sources, including Hamas’s bureaus and some private libraries owned by many Hamas leaders.

The “Hamas’ Foreign Policy: Syria as a Case Study 2000- 2015” book, is an important critical historical reference, which researchers can refer to as a model for a “case study” of relations between states and resistance movements.

>> Free Download:
Chapter 3: The Relations Between the Regime in Syria and the Hamas Movement (73 pages, 1.9 MB) (Arabic)

Available on:

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 10/4/2018