Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Matthew Clark, " Egypt slams Iran’s Hamas, Hezbollah connection," Christian Science Monitor's global news blog, January 28, 2009.

[I have been looking for documentation of the oft-repeated view that Hamas is a proxy of Iran. If this is true, I wonder why Iran doesn't send Hamas better rockets. Hezbollah had rockets that took out about one Merkava tank per day and nearly sank a state-of-the-art anti-missile frigate designed to defend against far more sophisticated enemies of NATO et al.

Hamas, on the other hand, has rockets that won't reliably hit a slow-moving toddler or even an old person. What kind of benefactor is that? Hezbollah was better armed, better trained, and had better intelligence than Hamas has had.

Well, it seems that the Iranian government has been asking the same questions. If nothing else, the Israeli tantrum has brought a nascent relationship out of the woodwork.

Yesterday, Al Jazeera's report on the Davos conference contained an insight into this thinking on the other side:

Asked about achieving peace in Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel's Likud party who was attending the forum, swiftly turned his answer to Iran, which he said was in a "100-yard dash" to get nuclear weapons.

While he did not specify any planned military action, Netanyahu said if Iranian rulers were "neutralised", the danger posed to Israel and others by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in south Lebanon would be reduced.

Netanyahu said the global financial meltdown was reversible but "what is not reversible is the acquisition of nuclear weapons by a fanatic radical regime".

  Across the Arab world the conflict continues to tear at the rift between factions that extol resistance to Israel and the Western-friendly autocracies and monarchies that rule in the region.
Nicholas Blanford
Christian Science Monitor

Play in your own sandbox.

That seems to be the message Egypt is delivering to Iran.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, fired a verbal broadside against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah, on Wednesday, saying the three “worked together in the fighting over Gaza to provoke conflict in the Middle East,” reports Reuters.

“[They tried] to turn the region to confrontation in the interest of Iran, which is trying to use its cards to escape Western pressure … on the nuclear file,” Mr. Gheit said in an interview with Orbit satellite channel on Wednesday.

This comes one day after Iran summoned the head of Egypt’s interest section in Iran to protest the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow Iranian aid to pass through Egypt to Gaza.

But aid isn’t the only thing Iran is attempting to send to Gaza, according to numerous reports. “An Iranian freighter carrying weaponry for Hamas has been blocked by Egypt from entering the Suez Canal, amid concerns that Tehran is trying to supply the Palestinian militant group with missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv,” reports The Australian.

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