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21/3/2016

WhatisHarakatal­SabireenandwhyisHamastryingtoblocktheirexpansion?­Al­Monitor:thePulseoftheMiddleEast

WhatisHarakatal­SabireenandwhyisHamastryingtoblock

theirexpansion?

Author:FadiShafeiPostedMarch18,2016

sloganshavebeenincreasingintheGazaStrip.Themovementismainlyconcentratedinnorthernand

centralGazaandinal­Shujaiyyaneighborhood.Al­Sabireen’sactivitiesaremainlysecurity­oriented

duetoconstantconcernsaboutIsraeltargetingthemovement’smemberscomposedofyouthwho

havesplitfromtheIslamicJihadmovement.

Meanwhile,anumberofresearchersandSalaficlericshavebeenaccusingthemovementofhaving

ShiiteaffiliationsandofbeingfundedbyIran.

Al­SabireenMovement,whichwasestablishedonMay25,2014,cameunderthespotlightonFeb.

19whenGazanswokeuptothenewsofabombingbyanexplosivedeviceinthevicinityofthehouse

ofthesecretary­generalofHarakatAl­Sabireen,HishamSalem,whosurvivedtheexplosion.

Althoughnooneclaimedresponsibilityforthebombing,themovementaccusedIsraelinastatement

issuedonthatsameday.

Al­MonitortriedtocommunicatewithSalem,whoisalsothemovement’sofficialmedia spokesperson,tonoavail.Al­Monitorthenmetwithoneofthemovement’sactivistsinthecityof

Rafah,namedMohammadHarb,40.HewasoneofthefightersintheranksoftheIslamicJihad

movementalongsideSalem,beforethelatterdefectedwithtwootherofhiscomradestoestablishAl­

SabireenMovementintheGazaStrip.

HarbtoldAl­Monitorthat“Al­Sabireenwasfirstannouncedasareformativecurrentin2010”within

theIslamicJihad,callingfortherevivaloftheideologyofFathiShakaki(1981­1995),founderofthe

IslamicJihadinPalestine.ShakakicalledforanIslamistrevolutionandexpressedhisadmirationof

theIslamicRevolutionofIraninhisbooktitled“Khomeini:TheIslamicsolutionandthealternative.”

Backthen,thecurrentdemanded“administrativereforms,”intermsoforganizationalstructureand

decision­makingmechanismswithintheIslamicJihad,accordingtoHarb,buttheIslamicJihad“was

notabletocontainthisnewcurrentandbecameunwillingtohaveitapartofit.Thus,thereformative

current,whichisfundedbyIran,defectedandformeditsownmovementcallingit‘Al­Sabireen[the

patient]fortheVictoryofPalestine.’”

Observersfollowinguponthemovement’spositionscanclearlyseethatthesepositionsareinline

withthepositionsofboththeSyrianandIranianregimes.Suchpositions,withIran’sfinancialaid,led

toclaimsbysomeSalafijihadistgroupsinSunnimajorityGazathatAl­SabireenMovementisa

religiousonethatseekstocreateaShiiteentityintheGazaStripthatwouldbeanextensionofIran’s

influenceintheregion,alongthelinesofHezbollahinLebanonandAnsarAllah[Houthis]inYemen.

AllthesegroupshaveShiitebackgrounds,areactiveinvariousArabcountries,andarefundedand

supportedbyIran.

Harb,forhispart,believes“theclaimspromotedbytheseSalafigroupsarebaselessallegationsand

anattempttoreplicatethesectarianconflictsprevailingintheArabregion”[inGaza].

Harbdoesnotbelievethatthemovementhasanysectarianaffiliation,“asAl­SabireenMovementis

supportingthese[Iranian­funded]groupsintheirstanceandhostilityagainstIsrael.”

21/3/2016

WhatisHarakatal­SabireenandwhyisHamastryingtoblocktheirexpansion?­Al­Monitor:thePulseoftheMiddleEast

Harbrefusedtorevealthenumberofthemovement’smembersasheconsideredthistobe

confidentialinformationthatAl­Sabireenwouldrathernotdisclosetothemedia.

AlthoughAl­SabireenwasestablishedduringHamas’controlovertheGazaStrip,therelationship

Hamas,especiallyaftertherehadbeenevidenceofAl­Sabireen’sinvolvementinactsagainst“the

ideologyandmethodologyofthepeopleofGaza,”accordingtothepresssources.

However,afewhoursfollowingtheissuanceofthesereports,Salemdeniedreceivinganynotification

todissolvethemovement.

Inthesamevein,HarbpointedthathehadbeendetainedbytheHamas­affiliatedsecurityforcesfor

criticizingthemovement’smanagementofGazaandfordiscussingtheproblemsofGazansonhis

Facebookpage.“IwasinterrogatedaboutmyrelationshipwithAl­SabireenMovement,”hesaid.

Al­SabireenhasbeenaccusedbySalafiactivistsofbeingaShiitemovementcreatedbyIraninthe

GazaStriptoreplacetheIslamicJihadandHamas.However,Harbbelievestheseaccusationstobe

unjustandunfounded,as“themovementisanewlyfoundedIslamicmovementseekingtofight

againstIsrael,alongsideHamasandtheIslamicJihad,”hesaid.

MustafaIbrahim,aresearcherinPalestinianmovementsaffairs,toldAl­Monitor,“Al­Sabireen

MovementdoesnotposeanyideologicalthreattoHamas,”althoughsomesupportitandjoinitsranks

asbeingaPalestinianresistancemovement.

AccordingtoIbrahim,“Al­SabireenMovementisaPalestinianresistancemovementwithaShiite

background.Hamas’approachtothemovementisbasedonthelatter’scommitmenttofightIsraelin

linewithHamas’visions.ShouldAl­Sabireenfailtoadheretothesevisions,Hamascouldresortto

forcetocompelittodoso.”

ItisdifficulttoknowwhatthefutureholdsforAl­Sabireenwithouttakingintoaccountthesharp

polarizationprevailingintheArabregionbetweenthetwomainaxesleadingthecurrentphaseand

headedbySaudiArabiaandIran.ThissituationhasdirectlyaffectedthePalestinianorganizations,

andthedisagreementsbetweenAl­SabireenMovementandtheSalafigroupsopposingitarenothing

butareflectionofthispolarizationinGaza.TheexistenceofAl­SabireenMovementisthusdirectly

linkedtotheachievementsIrananditsalliesmayachieveintheregion.

ReadMore:http://www.al­monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/palestinian­al­sabireen­movement­

spread­shiism­gaza.html

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