The military pacts Palestinian Hamas interior minister Said Siyam signed with his Iranian counterpart Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi in Tehran on Oct. 12 are designed to transform Hamas’ military wing, the Ezz e-Din al Qassam, into a crack operational arm of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and Gaza into a second Lebanon.
Syam was in Tehran for two days at the head of a 7-man delegation.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report Tehran has committed to training Hamas’ rapid deployment force of 6,500 men in Hizballah combat tactics, with the accent on missiles, especially the anti-tank variety which were used with devastating effect against Israeli tanks in the Lebanon War. The force will be sent over in batches for six-week courses at Revolutionary Guards installations in southern Iran.
Iran will foot the $60 million bill for the training as well as for the top-notch weaponry.
The Hamas military delegation flew from Cairo to Dubai and on to Tehran. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and intelligence chief, Gen. Omar Suleiman, were apprised of the Hamas leaders’ trip and the military accords they were to sign, but did nothing to detain the travelers.
This was taken by Hamas and the Iranian government as signaling Cairo’s assent to the Hamas-Iranian transaction, a green light for the trips through Egypt of trainee groups to and from Iran and a continuing blind eye to the delivery of Iranian armaments via Egypt to Gaza.
Egypt is thus assuming the same role In relation to Tehran and its terrorist proxies as does Syria, which places its airfields at Iran’s disposal for delivering arms to Hizballah.
The accords merely formalize Tehran’s massive arming of Hamas which is already in progress. Smuggling tunnels from Egyptian Sinai under the Philadelphi border strip are the conduits into S. Gaza for supplies of long-range anti-tank missiles, Grad rockets and some two tons of TNT every month. Israeli forces have been battling the Hamas and its supply routes for the last three days.
According to our intelligence and Iranian sources, the pacts that were signed were compiled in September down to the last detail by three Revolutionary Guards generals stationed in Syria since the Lebanon war, as Hizballah’s forward command, and the Damascus-based Hamas politburo head, Khaled Meshaal.
Hamas’ military wing is accordingly undergoing a process that within months will transform the Palestinian terrorist group into one of Tehran’s overseas operational military arms, the second after Hizballah in Lebanon.
This will enable the Islamic Republic to ignite two simultaneous wars against Israel – from Gaza in the south and from Lebanon in the north.
This development is the direct consequence of this summer’s Lebanon War. It was made possible by Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip in September 2005.
The Gaza maneuver shows Iran’s rulers striking with speed, efficiency and ruthlessness in their determination to isolate the Jewish state and draw a military noose around its borders.
Instead of resistance, they encounter inertia on the part of Israel’s political and military leaders. Prime minister Ehud Olmert has eyes for nothing but broadening the base of his government coalition. He has offered to create for Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the (Russian immigrant) party Israel Beitenu, the new post of Deputy Prime minister for Strategic Threats. Defense minister Amir Peretz thinks it is more important to prepare the armed forces for the evacuation of unauthorized West Bank settlements than for the next war. By the time they find a moment from these preoccupations, they will find Iran, Syria and Hamas have perfected a real strategic threat. By then it will be too late to repel except by a major campaign to recapture the Gaza Strip and crush the Hizballah-style force threatening southern Israel.
This campaign may be even tougher than the Lebanon war because it will have to be fought mainly in densely built-up areas against a staggering volume of war materiel.
But Tehran will win the chance of repeating its successful ruse of July and August, 2006: Whenever the UN Security Council comes close to a sanctions debate, an Iranian surrogate is sent into action to start a new Middle East war. Now, the Iranians have bought themselves the option of a double-barreled offensive from two of Israel’s borders.