Thursday, December 27, 2012

Preparing the Region for War

From the desk of Reuven Kaminer
November 26, 2012
Preparing the Region for War Against Iran       
The Israeli attack on Gaza is yet another round in the ongoing efforts by Israel to squash any expression of active Palestinian resistance to the occupation. The siege of Gaza is of course, along with the settlement drive, part of the permanent structures in place to prevent the accumulation of any means that might help the Palestinians to enhance their resistance.
The latest Israeli operation exhibits all the permanent characteristics of typical forms of Israeli repression, but must be seen and analyzed on an additional level. Israel attacked Gaza, this time, mainly in pursuit of its duties as the regional deputy of the US in their common preparations for war against Iran.     
Indeed, enough evidence has accumulated to confirm that  Israel, with full US backing, attacked Gaza and the Hamas leadership after it became clear that Hamas refused to break off its main links with the Iranian bloc. The attack was punishment for that refusal.   
Following the ascension of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi to power, there were rumors that Hamas was well on the way to transfer its allegiance away from the Iranian bloc and to the US regional alignment.  The US hoped that Hamas would act in accord with its historical and traditional links to the Moslem Brotherhood, which had recently become the ruling power in Egypt. Well, things  are not that simple. The US and Morsi, backed by Qatari money, were indeed involved in encouraging Hamas to chose a path similar to that traversed by Abbas and Fatah in the WestBank. Their efforts proved futile.
" Iran and its regional rivals, the Sunni Muslim-led states in the Gulf, have been competing in recent months to lure Hamas into their respective camps. The top Hamas leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, is being hosted by the Gulf state of Qatar, which has promised hundreds of millions of dollars for Gaza." (Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2012)
The US and the Gulf sheikhs wanted very much to wean Hamas away from its Teheran connections.  Theoretically, the sheikhs could have included weaponry in the dowry for Hamas. But this was not feasible because Hamas refused to cooperate with the US, unlike its West Bank counterpart.  Haniah is not Abbas and Hamas is not Fatah. If Hamas wanted to move into the US sphere of influence, it would have to declare at the door that it had forsworn armed military resistance to the Israeli occupation.  And it was not willing to pay that kind of price.
Sources of weapon supply are usually considered a matter for discretion. But two key Hamas leaders have seen fit to relate precisely and openly to the issue of arms and the preservation of Hamas' links to Iran. It is essential to quote them at length since their statements are essential for understanding the specific nature of this round of the war. The Walrus was calling: Oh dear Hamas - Leave the Iranian monsters and come over to the side of democracy.
The WSJ continues:"CAIRO – Gaza's ruling Hamas won't stop arming itself because only a strong arsenal, not negotiations, can extract concessions from Israel, the No. 2 in the Islamic militant group stated.
The comments by Mousa Abu Marzouk in an interview just three days after the worst bout of Israel-Hamas fighting in four years, signaled trouble ahead for Egyptian-brokered talks between the hostile neighbor on a new border deal… an Israeli security official said this week that Israel would likely link a significant easing of the blockade to Hamas's willingness to stop smuggling weapons into Gaza and producing them there.
Mr. Abu Marzouk said Saturday that the group wouldn't disarm, arguing that recent Palestinian history has shown that negotiations with Israel lead nowhere unless backed by force.
"There is no way to relinquish weapons," Mr. Abu Marzouk said in his office on the outskirts of Cairo. "These weapons protected us and there is no way to stop obtaining and manufacturing them…
Hamas used to be evasive about Iranian weapons support, but in recent days senior officials in the group have openly thanked Tehran.
Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar told reporters on Saturday that he is confident that Iran will increase military and financial support to Hamas and the smaller militant group Islamic Jihad.
Mr. Zahar said Saturday that Hamas isn't beholden to anyone, but defended the group's ties with Iran. "If they don't like it, let them compete with Iran in giving us weapons and money," he said in an apparent jab at the Gulf states." (From the same article in the Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2012)
Follow the Guns (Rockets)
Haaretz (November 25, 2012) quotes the Sunday Times to the effect that Israel spy satellites have spotted an Iranian ship loaded with missiles that analysts say may be headed to Gaza. It is a poorly kept secret that Israel bombed a Sudanese arms factory last month
The next round in the fighting is shaping up. Israel and the US went to war to warn Gaza to stay out of ME politics, to threaten Hamas with the danger involved in taking arms from the Iranians and, meanwhile, to smash a significant section of long range missiles at the disposal of Hamas.
Tom Friedman in Search of Democracy
In case anyone still failed to understand the name of the game, Thomas Friedman chimed in with an outline of the proposal. It is to be understood that the attack on Gaza was a wonderful opportunity for Mohammed Morsi to chose between the pleasures of the Camp David peace and US aid and economic development or support for Hamas's radical pro-Iranian stand. Morsi had a great success in Gaza and was well on his way to becoming the hero of our time when he saw fit to announce to his people that he was really the state or that the state was really him. Friedman had advised Morsi that he could achieve eternal fame and glory if he would only team up with Mohammad Abbas. Morsi it seems has other problems.     
This last bloody chapter in the war against the Palestinians pitted a ultra-sophisticated war machine against the spirit of a people who demand freedom.  Someone said it seems like another case of David against Goliath.