Restructuring of the Movement
The arrest of Yasin in 1989 followed by the mass deportation of nearly all the top class leadership in 1992 forced the movement to turn to vertical hierarchy between foreign based leadership and local activists. Following Yasin’s arrest Musa Abu Mazruq reorganized the movement and introduced a strict hierarchical division in the West Bank and Gaza. For example he divided both the regions into seven and five subdivisions each with their own headquarters and political, military and propagation wings. A central committee in the region, which was monitored by the Political Bureau abroad, interlinked all these subdivisions.
A Political Bureau was set in Jordan later moved to Damascus, Syria led by Khalid Mashal while Musa Abu Marzuq monitored the activities of the movement from Springfield Virginia. Now these two overseas headquarters mainly control Hamas. But the connections between the Military wing and the political bureau are loose, as the political wing does not know precisely about the activities of the militants while there are also some communication problems between the political bureau in Palestine and outside. Most of the interior leadership is not necessarily informed by the decisions made by the external political bureau.
One of the disadvantages of the reconstruction and its further expansion of activities on regional and international level weakened its coherence and for the first time the movement started relying on external sources and funding rather than the internal sources. Hamas is basically a militant organization therefore it prefers secrecy. Strict discipline is required to survive underground when there is a strong enemy out there. The military wing is therefore strictly hierarchical in nature and no dissents or disagreements are tolerated within the organization.
The military wing of Hamas consists of a very strong command and control structure. The wing is divided in small cells of around six to ten militants and the local commanders often operate on their own, though they need an approval from the top leadership. The military wing is shadowy in nature but it has a strong presence throughout Gaza and West Bank. The military leadership has widespread support and popularity in the region, which has helped them to evade arrests and assassination attempts and carry on their operations. Stability of Leadership:
The leadership of Hamas is quite stable and persistent in nature despite enduring several jolts from the Israeli repression. It was most badly effected during the first Palestinian uprising due to the arrest of Sheikh Ahmed Yasin and the deportation of the top leadership. Hamas has survived arrests, deportations and assassinations of his top leadership and continued to work effectively, specially the military and suicide bombing operations continued despite all the force used by the Israeli Defense Forces to eliminate them.
In 2004 the movement endured to big blows as the top leaders and founders of the movement Sheikh Ahmed Yasin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi were assassinated by the IDF. But Hamas has continued to evolve as the major player in the region and has gained popularity among the Palestinian masses, which increased steadily and led to the stunning victory in the 2006 elections. Today the Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister and nearly all top ministers and official are from Hamas.