Iran Rekindles Relations with Hamas

(Wall Street Journal) Con Coughlin - Iran's ayatollahs are rebuilding relations with Hamas, the Sunni Islamist group that controls Gaza. According to a senior Western intelligence official, Iran's Revolutionary Guards during the past few months have transferred tens of millions of dollars to Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades. Intelligence reports show that the funds were transferred on the direct orders of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, who also dedicated an annual budget to finance Hamas' military operations. The funds are being used primarily to help Hamas rebuild the network of tunnels that were destroyed during the Israeli Defense Force's response to rocket attacks launched by Hamas militants from Gaza last summer. The Palestinian brigades are also replenishing their depleted stocks of medium-range missiles. The Revolutionary Guards are eager to revive their relationship with Hamas because it gives them access to Israel's southern border, in addition to the northern border with Lebanon, where Iran funds Hizbullah militants. Tehran is also willing to set aside its sectarian differences with Sunni Hamas because it shares the same long-term objectives as the Shiite ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the State of Israel. Given that Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and its allies, Iran's fresh outreach to the group should raise another caution flag as world powers negotiate with Tehran over the Iranian nuclear program. The writer is defense editor of the Telegraph (UK).

2015-04-22 00:00:00

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