Monday, January 05, 2009
Gaza as Iran's Platform [J. Peter Pham]
In a commentary today, Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at Israel's Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, discusses the major regional implications of Gaza being allowed to remain "Hamastan":
In a year or two, an extremist state, allied with Iran, Syria and Hizballah, could emerge on Israel's southern border, with a good chance of taking over the West Bank and affecting the stability of Jordan, Egypt and possibly also the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Revisiting a theme he has argued in the past, Karmon argues that "the 18-year struggle by Hizballah in Lebanon provided a model for what Tehran would like to recreate on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip: another Lebanon." After the takeover of Gaza by the terrorist group in June 2007, writes Karmon, "Hamas began building a military and security force on the example of Hizballah: a hierarchy, a clear division of roles, a training system, groups responsible for smuggling weapons, groups in charge of preparing explosive devices and planning sophisticated terror attacks in an effort to take advantage of the IDF's weak points."
Thus, Karmon concludes:
The present conflict in Gaza must therefore be understood in its broad regional context. Israel is fighting not only Hamas, a radical Islamist religious/political movement whose ideological and strategic goal is to destroy the Jewish state in order to build on it a Taliban-style one, but is facing a coalition of radical actors — Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas — which is responsible for the destabilization of the entire Middle East for the last two decades . . .
Hamas is a crucial element for Iran because it is the only Sunni member of the coalition, a faction of the broader Muslim Brotherhood movement (the Sunni Syria is actually led by an Alawi/Shia dictatorship), and represents the Palestinian cause, so dear to the Arabs and Muslims worldwide.
Hamas entrenched and victorious in the Gaza Strip represents a deadly threat to the moderate leadership in the West Bank and affects the stability and possibly the survival of the moderate regimes in Jordan and Egypt, thus playing in the hands of the hegemonic aspirations of Tehran.
It is imperative therefore for Israel to win decisively the present war against Hamas, the first step in order to back off the until now successful Iranian coalition.
01/05 02:03 PMShare