Syrian and Iranian media sources launched, on Monday, a severe defamation attack against Khalid Meshaal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, who left Syria after the revolution began. The attack was the result of a call which Meshaal made at a conference in Turkey for the Syrian regime to halt the bloodshed in the country.
Syrian state TV called Meshaal a “traitor and ungrateful” over his clear support for the Syrian rebels and their revolution against the Syrian regime in a speech delivered at the Justice and Development Party Conference in Turkey.
A presenter on Syrian state TV said that Meshaal had “turned his back on the country” which had received and protected him as an “orphan fighter” when all other countries had refused him. As evidence that Meshaal had given up resistance, the presenter said, “You have been welcomed by countries which have mutual agreements with Israel. That definitely meant you are no longer wanted by the occupation”.
Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyeb Erdogan, and Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, were also included in the attack. The presenter said that Erdogan, who has lost much of his popularity is “appealing” to the “group of drummers,” including Morsi and Meshaal. “They were invited to grab the light for Erdogan’s party whose popularity has decreased to 27 per cent,” she said.
Meanwhile, an Iranian political analyst, Hassan Hani Zadah, called for the Iranian leadership to review its policy regarding support for Palestinian leaders. He severely criticized Meshaal’s speech in Turkey in which he described Erdogan as “the leader of the Islamic world and a model of success for modern and moderate Islam.”
Iranian media published an article by Zadah likening Meshaal’s stance towards the Syrian revolution, to the stance of the late Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, towards the American war on Iraq. “Unfortunately, the problem for Palestinians is their leaders. Over the past 65 years, Palestinian leaders have never been morally stable,” he wrote.
Zadah attributed Iran’s international isolation to its absolute support for the Palestinian cause. He wrote: “Iran has been under international, economic and political pressure for three decades because of its support for the Palestinians. It has not one day thought of giving up that support.”
The Iranian writer continued, “If Iran decided to stop its support for Palestinians, all international economic and political problems would have been resolved.” He described Meshaal’s estrangement from the Syrian regime as proof that Palestinian leadership never makes the right choices. He also considered Turkey completely to blame for the chaos in Syria.
For that reason, besides being “untruthful friends”, Zadah called for the leadership of the Iranian Revolution to review its stance towards the relationship with the Palestinian leadership, but not the Palestinian people.
Khalid Meshaal and other Hamas leaders were arrested by Jordanian Authorities on their return from a visit to Iran in September 1999. They were charged with membership of an illegal organization and were expelled and eventually settled in Syria.
At the beginning of the Syrian revolution, Hamas issued a statement disassociating itself from the rebels, but at the same time, it did not criticize them. Later on, when the revolution continued and the regime dealt savagely with it, Meshaal and prominent Hamas members left Syria.