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Sunday Jan. 22, 2012 2:58 PM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Abu Marzouk a favorite to replace Hamas leader Meshaal?

Read more: Mousa Abu Marzook, Khaled Meshaal, Hamas, Damascus, Arab revolts, demonstrations, Jordan, elections

RAMALLAH, January 22 (JMCC) - Since Hamas announced that its Damascus-based leader Khaled Meshaal may not seek reelection to his post in coming internal elections, speculation has been rife about the implications.

The New York Times suggests that Meshaal is merely following the movement's bylaws, which prevent a leader from heading the organization for more than two terms. It also writes that former leader Mousa Abu Marzouk, expelled from the United States in 1997, is a possible replacement.

Hamas' base in Damascus has become problematic since the start of an uprising there last year. The group has avoided taking sides between the regime and its opponents, and is concerned about worsening security in the country. 

An analyst close to Hamas, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested that Mr. Meshal, who has Jordanian residency documents, might want to quit so that he could return to Jordan because the situation in Damascus had become unbearable. Jordan has said that Hamas leaders who hold Jordanian papers can return to its territory as long as they refrain from conducting any political activities there.


Mr. Meshal took over the political bureau after his predecessor, Mousa Abu Marzook, was arrested in the United States and held in jail there for two years on suspicion of terrorism, before being deported to Jordan in 1997. Mr. Marzook became Mr. Meshal’s deputy, and he is considered to be a likely candidate to replace him.

The elections may take place in April, although the internal vote is intended to be a secret process.






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