Friday, July 17, 2015

"long considered"

The NYT today:
King Salman of Saudi Arabia met Friday with top political leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in the most striking example yet of the new king’s willingness to work with Islamist organizations long considered foes.
 The NYT in 2003:
Nearly a year ago, Khalid Mishaal, a senior leader of Hamas, the militant Palestinian organization, attended a charitable fund-raising conference here where he talked at length with Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto Saudi ruler.

According to a summary of the meeting written by a Hamas official, Mr. Mishaal and other Hamas representatives thanked their Saudi hosts for continuing ''to send aid to the people through the civilian and popular channels, despite all the American pressures exerted on them.''
One of the weirdest things about following middle eastern politics is how short everyone's memories are. It is true that Saudi support for Hamas dried up in the middle of the last decade (probably because of American pressure). The Saudis became more hostile to the group when Hamas supported the Arab Spring (the KSA did not) and accepted Iranian funding in the absence of Saudi dollars (thus triggering the Saudis' anti-Shia paranoia). But that has only been the Saudi attitude for the last few years. I don't see how anyone could call them to be "long considered foes" when just over ten years ago the Saudis were Hamas' biggest benefactor.