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The dangerous game between Hamas and Pakistan

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​After the latest outbreak of clashes between the Palestinian quasi-state terror group Hamas and Israel, both sides have agreed on a ceasefire which no one really expects to endure. For Hamas, the ceasefire is but a tactical stepping back from its violent, terrorist campaign against Israel. For its part, even Israel doesn’t expect the ceasefire to hold, not because Israel doesn’t want it to hold, but because Israel knows that Hamas will provoke it to retaliate. On its own, the threat from Hamas is not difficult for Israel to handle. What complicates matters is the material and monetary support that Hamas has been getting from countries like Iran, Qatar and Turkey. But while the role of these countries in sustaining Hamas has been well documented, the role of another player — Pakistan — has remained off the radar. A recent revelation by a former Pakistani Minister of how Islamabad has been providing training to Palestinian militants has however made observers take notice of what Pakistan is up to in muddying the waters in the Middle East.

​The ideological fount from which Hamas has sprung is organically linked to Pakistan and its jihadist orientation. The Muslim Brotherhood from which Hamas has remerged and the Jamaat Islami which is the mother organization of jihadism in Pakistan, are two sides of the same coin. This ideological link and affinity is one of the basis of the burgeoning relationship between the Pakistani state and the Hamas para-state. But there is more to the support that Pakistan gives Hamas than just the ideological connection. Hamas makes a great fit for Pakistan’s ambitions to exercise influence beyond its borders and beyond the constraints imposed on it by geography, economy and capacity. Since these constraints prevent Pakistan from doing things that normal states do to expand their influence, Islamabad (or more appropriately Rawalpindi, the city where all strategic policy is framed and implemented) prefers to use asymmetric methods to expand its footprint without leaving behind its fingerprints.........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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