Hamas' out-going politburo chairman is leaving the Palestinian terrorist group to take a "high position in the Muslim Brotherhood movement," a "well-informed source in Hamas" told the Nazareth-based Arabic-language Al-Sinnara last week.
The move would see Khaled Meshaal—the longtime Damascus-based leader of Hamas—transition to a new, more international role, as head of the "Supreme Council of the [Brotherhood] movement." The Council is said to be "responsible for political issues," according to the report. It remains to be seen whether the article is referring to the group's Guidance Bureau, which largely deals with the movement's political affairs, or with another body altogether.
If true, the news would help explain why Meshaal has been so adamant about not seeking re-election. Earlier reports noted that the group made an official plea for Meshaal "to reconsider" his stance.
"This is a public matter that the Hamas institutions should decide, and not an individual person," the group said.
Not a day later, an informed Palestinian source told Ynet that Meshaal's request to withdraw from the one-man race was denied by the group's Shura Council, and that he would indeed continue to serve as the politburo chief.
It has been speculated that if Meshaal exits, the post could go to Hamas' Gaza-based Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, or Hamas' original political bureau chief, Mousa Abu Marzook.
Meshaal's purported move appears to have the blessing of higher-ups in the Brotherhood. According to the Al-Sinnara source, longtime Brotherhood spiritual advisor, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is in support of the leadership jump.