Iran is clearly behind the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on 7 October. Beyond the traditional Sunni-Shiite divide, the Iranian mullahs and the Palestinian Islamist movement have one thing in common: the Muslim Brotherhood and its doctrine of political Islam. Here are some explanations.By Emmanuel Razavi
On 7 October 2023, Israel suffered a terrorist attack on an unprecedented scale. Hamas killed more than 1,200 people and injured at least 2,700 others. Its “commandos” swooped down on Israel from the Gaza Strip, both from the air and from the sea. They shot civilians in their villages at point-blank range, took hostages, cut up or burnt bodies, killed children and raped women, all in the name of their obscurantist jihad.
Founded in 1987 by three men: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Mohammed Taha and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, Hamas is linked to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, whose credo is: “God is our goal, the Prophet our leader, the Koran our Constitution, Jihad our path, death for God our dearest desire”. For those who doubt the deadly relationship between these two organisations, it should be remembered that the theoreticians of Hamas wrote in Article 2 of their founding charter published in 1988: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a worldwide organisation, the most important Islamic movement of the modern era”.
Using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a pretext, Hamas – which is on the lists of terrorist organisations of the European Union, the United States, Canada and Japan – has set itself up as an organisation with administrative, educational and social components, as well as an armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam brigades – whose speciality is terrorism, particularly suicide attacks – and an intelligence service.
Although in recent years Hamas has tried to erase any reference to its membership of the Egyptian Brotherhood, which provided so many cadres for Al-Qaeda, it is still part of its ideological arc. Like ISIS, its political leadership advocates the establishment of an “Islamic State”. Above all, Hamas has – in practice – few territorial claims, defending the idea of a global jihad to establish a caliphate wherever a Muslim lives on the planet. It has always opposed any negotiations that might lead to a settlement of the Palestinian conflict, and states this clearly in its charter: “There will be no solution to the Palestinian cause except through jihad. As for initiatives, proposals and other international conferences, they are a waste of time and futile activities”.
Hamas’s target: Judaism, which it perversely describes as “Nazism” and which it associates with a “secret global conspiracy”. The Hamas charter states that “the Zionist invasion is a cruel invasion that does not shy away from any procedure but uses all vile and corrupt means to achieve its aspirations. For its operations of subversion and espionage, it relies heavily on the secret organisations it has spawned, such as Freemasonry, the Rotary and Lyons clubs and other spy organisations”!
It should, however, be stressed that Hamas is far from being unanimously supported by the Palestinians. In Gaza, following the example of the Mullahs in Iran, it has established a violently repressive theocratic state, imposing Islamist censorship and banning all forms of dissent. All those who have opposed it have generally paid with their lives. According to a recent survey, at least half of Gazans would like to see Hamas out of power.
Behind Hamas, the hand of Iran
It’s no secret. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been behind Hamas for a long time. Like Qatar, it finances the movement. But according to numerous French, Israeli and American intelligence specialists, it also helped plan the terrorist operation that struck Israel on 7 October. On the very day of the massacre, a former Pasdaran leader, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, adviser to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “We support Operation Flood of al-Aqsa and we will stand by the Palestinian fighters until Palestine and al-Quds are liberated”.
On 14 October, the head of the Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, met the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, in Doha, the capital of Qatar. In a press release, Hamas stated that “the two delegations agreed to continue their cooperation to achieve the objectives of the resistance and the Palestinian people”.
This open support for Hamas is hardly surprising, given that “the Islamic Republic maintains regular relations with several Sunni terrorist organisations”, explains Iranian American expert Amir Hamidi, a former DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent who is considered to be one of the best specialists on the Islamic Republic of Iran and its armed wing, the Revolutionary Guards Corps. “This is nothing new, he continues. There have been Al-Qaeda executives living in Iran since 9/11. The Mullahs have a direct link with them, as they do with Hamas and Hezbollah”.
What do Tehran and all these Sunni Islamist movements have in common? “It’s the Muslim Brotherhood”, says Amir Hamidi. He adds: “The Islamic Republic of Iran still has excellent relations with the Brotherhood. What they have in common is the creation of an Islamic state, like ISIS or Hamas. In fact, they use the same methods: taking hostages, passing them around in the street and carrying out public executions to create a sense of awe”.
This Brotherhood matrix that saddles the links between the Mullahs’ regime and Sunni Islamist movements has its roots in the fact that, as early as the 1950s, Khomeini was close to Navvab Safavi, the leader of Feddayin é Islam, an Iranian Islamist organisation that presented itself as the “Shiite branch” of the Muslim Brotherhood. The current Iranian Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei, also met Safavi in his youth. It was this meeting that immersed him in the texts of Sayed Qutb, one of the hardest theorists of the Muslim Brotherhood, who advocated – among other monstrosities – the murder of Jews and Christians. Khamenei translated two of Qutb’s books into Persian, including the most famous: “In the Shadow of the Koran”.
Qutb’s influence was such among Khomeinist clerics that in 1984 the Islamic Republic of Iran printed a stamp bearing his image. The relationship between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood is so strong that, since the advent of the Iranian Islamic revolution, the Egyptian Islamist Brotherhood has always supported the Mullahs. In 1982, Umar Telmesani, then Guide of the Brotherhood, explained in an Egyptian newspaper: “We supported Khomeini politically because an oppressed people had succeeded in getting rid of an oppressive leader and regaining their freedom”.
Threats to Europe
The recent attacks in France (the murder of French teacher Dominique Bernard in Arras on 13 October) and Belgium (the murder of two Swedish supporters on the sidelines of the Belgium-Sweden football match in Brussels on 16 October) echoed the call for a “global jihad” made by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh from Doha on the evening of the 7 October attacks.
Such a “global jihad” can only harm the Palestinian cause. On the other hand, it would certainly serve Iran’s interests. “Khamenei is using it to put pressure on Europe to protect Hamas, but also to push its leaders to calm Israel down”, explains an Iranian source close to the Supreme Guide’s entourage. But how far could this go? Olivier Guitta, an expert in geopolitics and counterterrorism, takes a serious look at the situation: “Iran could focus on terrorist attacks in the United States, France or Sweden. Secret cells can be activated by Iran on request. What’s more, the Mullah regime could use Al-Qaeda to target the West (…). The Islamic Republic has often used terrorism to punish its enemies, and this time it will be no different. The British services consider Iran to be the greatest threat to Britain’s internal security. At least fifteen attempts by Iran to assassinate or attack Britain have been stopped by the British services”.
This type of threat is also taken very seriously by the French services. All the more so as the Muslim Brotherhood has a large number of relays in France, in the form of various associations, which all too often escape control.