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Hamas Eyes Political HQ Move to Iraq Due to ‘US Pressure on Qatar' Over Gaza Talks

© AP Photo / Vahid SalemiHamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks during his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 26, 2024.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks during his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.06.2024
The Iraqi government approved the opening of a bureau for the Palestinian movement Hamas in Baghdad in May, as reported by The National, a UAE-based newspaper. The move was seen as a response to pressure from both Qatar and the US in negotiations with Israel for a Gaza ceasefire agreement.
The potential relocation of Hamas' political leadership from Qatar to Iraq is likely a response to the mounting pressure that Doha is facing from Washington, military expert Yuri Lyamin told Sputnik.

“The American leadership is trying to use its leverage on Qatar in order to exert influence on the Hamas politburo and force it to agree to very vague terms of a truce with Israel, which the United States is pushing for. Therefore, Hamas is considering a backup site should pressure on Qatar becomes too strong,” said the senior researcher at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST).

As far as we know, the political leadership of Hamas may only be considering such a move, he noted.
As the Gaza ceasefire talks stall, Hamas is allegedly preparing to relocate its political leadership from Qatar to Iraq in a move approved by the Iraqi government last month, The National reported on Monday.
The decision was reportedly made due to stepped-up pressure on the group from Doha and the US regarding ceasefire talks. The report also mentioned that Iraq was expected to offer protection for Hamas leaders and their offices in Baghdad. Talks about this decision were said to have taken place last month between Hamas' political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and representatives from the Iraqi and Iranian governments. Haniyeh was also reported to have discussed the issue with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani. Additionally, Hamas had recently established a political office in Baghdad, which is headed by senior official Mohammed Al Hafy.
While an unnamed senior Iraqi MP reportedly confirmed the government’s decision to host Hamas, the group appears to have denied the reports. “There is no truth to allegations that Hamas plans to leave Qatar and head to Iraq,” Izzat Al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, is believed to have stated on his Telegram account.
However, if the reports are confirmed, Iraq might present a convenient new location for the Hamas movement's political office, Yuri Lyamin noted.
Iraqi authorities could potentially act as a mediator in negotiations with the US and other Western countries, said the pundit. That said, owing to Iran's powerful influence, the United States would not be able to exert as much pressure on the Iraqi authorities as in the case of Qatar, the expert underscored. Yet, Lyamin also noted the following:
“There really is another risk, though: Israel may try to carry out airstrikes against representatives of the Hamas leadership on the territory of Iraq. There is no such threat in Qatar.”
However, ultimately, key decisions in the Gaza ceasefire negotiations do not hinge on the location of Hamas's political office abroad, remarked the senior researcher, but rather on the stance taken by representatives of the group’s leadership located in the Gaza Strip.
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike on buildings near the separating wall between Egypt and Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, May 6, 2024.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.06.2024
Hamas Insists on Russia Being One of Gaza Ceasefire Guarantors
Weighing in on the fact that Hamas is insisting that Russia should be one of the guarantors of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, Lyamin remarked:

"Hamas rightfully does not trust the United States, since the latter actively supports Israel. Accordingly, Hamas wants independent guarantors in the form of Russia, China and Turkiye."

Hamas’ relocation plan surfaced amidst stalled Gaza ceasefire talks mediated by the US, Egypt, and Qatar.
Musa Abu Marzouk, Hamas' deputy political bureau head, recently arrived in Russia for talks with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement to Sputnik, Abu Marzouk expressed Hamas' desire for Russia to serve as one of the guarantors of a Gaza ceasefire agreement.
"We still insist that Russia be the guarantor of such a ceasefire agreement, because obviously the United States is on the side of Israel ... Russia's position is fairer, more acceptable to all sides, and it is ready to act in this direction. We want to put an end to the hegemony of the United States and its one-sided influence on the Palestinian issue," Marzouk maintained.
He highlighted that there has been no progress in negotiations regarding a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, Hamas has not yet received any response regarding the amendments they proposed for the text of the document.
"The efforts of our friends in Qatar are continuing, they are trying to break the freeze on the process, but there is no progress ... We have made several changes that Israel has not agreed to. Therefore, they remained unanswered," Marzouk elaborated.
In this video grab, residential buildings destroyed by a rocket attack from Israel, as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Gaza, Palestine - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.06.2024
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