...I wondered what Iran would do. It seems I've asked the wrong question. It should have been "What has Iran done?"
Iran spawns new jihadist group in Gaza
"Out of the Palestinian unity deal forged between Hamas and Fatah earlier this month, a new splinter has formed. Hesn is a shadowy Iran-backed jihadist faction in the Gaza Strip. The group's name is an acronym for Harakat as-Sabeereen Nasran li-Filastin, or "The Movement of the Patient Ones for the Liberation of Palestine."
Iran's Hand in Gaza
"More than 200 Palestinian rockets have descended on Israel in recent days, triggering an Israeli counteroffensive that was still taking shape as we went to press Tuesday. But as the drama plays out in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, it's worth noting the role Iran—now under new and allegedly moderate leadership—has played in this latest spasm of violence.
In March, Israeli naval commandos interdicted a Panamanian-flagged ship, the Klos C, off the Sudanese coast in the Red Sea. The ship's cargo contained 40 M-302 surface-to-surface rockets, 181 mortar shells and some 400,000 rounds of 7.62 caliber ammunition—all concealed under bags of Iranian cement. The weapons were almost certainly intended for Iran's terrorist clients in Gaza."
"The panel concluded: "The shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran's obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747," referring to an embargo on Iranian arms transfers imposed by the Security Council in 2007. The panel didn't weigh in on the ultimate intended recipient of the shipment, yet previous such shipments have made their way to Gaza."
Iran connection: Why are Gaza rockets reaching so deep into Israel?
"A recent United Nations report, still classified, confirms that Iran is implicated in exporting longer-range missiles to the region, such as the M-302 rockets launched from Gaza."
"Evidence that Hamas is firing more sophisticated weapons at Israel – including longer-range rockets – than in past conflicts is focusing a new light on Iran’s role in arming the militant organization.
As Israel is contending with rockets launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza that are reaching deeper into its territory, a classified United Nations Security Council report concludes that a shipment of weapons intercepted by Israel on a cargo boat in the Red Sea last March originated in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
At the time, Iranian officials denied any knowledge of the arms, which were found in 20 crates buried under bags of cement. Iran is barred from exporting weaponry under an arms embargo approved by the Security Council in 2007." (Emphasis mine)
Kinda inspires confidence in the Useless Nations, don't it.
"...one reason the arms shipment – and the Security Council Sanctions Committee’s report on it – are drawing interest now is that under the bags of cement and among thousands of rounds of ammunition were tucked several dozen M-302 rockets. It’s the same longer-range, larger-payload rocket that Israel reports has been fired from Gaza in the current fighting."
Israel Isn't Eager For A Big Escalation In Gaza But Might Get One Anyway
"Hamas operates in plainclothes and launches rockets from civilian areas, all but ensuring that any major operation in Gaza will have civilian causalities-"
"The 2012 Israeli campaign against Gaza was mostly aimed at destroying a stockpile of Iranian-made Fajr 5 long-range missiles that arrived in the Gaza Strip through Egypt and Sudan. These rockets were capable of hitting both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and Israeli policymakers considered them to be a potential game-changer."
"A direct hit on Tel Aviv or Jerusalem might also leave Netanyahu with little choice but to launch a large-scale operation. So might another week with scores of rockets launched at Israel per day. This map tweeted by a pro-Palestinian twitter activists suggests that the rockets have already hit most of the populated areas around Gaza:
Interesting map showing the range of Hamas' (Iranian supplied) weapons
"...so far, damage from the rocket attacks has been minimal. There's a chance that Hamas or some faction within the organization is attempting to bait Israel into a conflict for its own internal or strategic reasons, or that the Qassam Brigades are acting independently of the rest of Hamas's highly fractured leadership structure. There's simply too much uncertainty for Netanyahu to want to act, along with too great of a potential downside.
But this calculus could be a few hundred rockets — or even just a couple of direct hits — away from shattering."
And, of course, Iran is feigning outrage:
Iran censures Israel’s attacks on Gaza
Iran urges end to ‘human catastrophe’ in Gaza
Iran Strongly Condemns Intensified Israeli Attacks on Gaza
Why do I have the feeling WWIII is about to break out? I have a feeling, if it does break out, several Arab nations will sit this one out while quietly cheering on the West. They want Iran defanged and are happy to let someone else do it for them. (Not that they could do anything.) And perhaps, the US of A will sit this one out. The One is not about to go to war against his brethren.
Labels: Hamas, Iran, Israel, war