Hamas is getting heavy pressure from Iran to keep on fighting.
Iran is exerting heavy pressure on Hamas not to accept the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, an Egyptian government official said on Sunday.This can only mean that Hamas is seriously hurting. It also means Iran is expecting full price for what it has paid for. It probably also means that they can't afford to pay for much rebuilding and would like to put off for a few more days at least the tendering of the bill. However, every day they put off payment causes the price to go up. Perhaps they are expecting the price of oil to spike. If so they are out of luck. After going up to the $50 a bbl. range oil has fallen back to around $40 a bbl. With Hizballah quiet and Hamas taking a very serious beating Iran has lost a lot of prestige with the current war.
The official told The Jerusalem Post by phone that two senior Iranian officials who visited Damascus recently warned Hamas leaders against accepting the proposal.
His remarks came as Hamas representatives met in Cairo with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Gen. Omar Suleiman and his aides to discuss ways of ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas representatives reiterated their opposition to a cease-fire that did not include the reopening of all the border crossings into the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesmen said on Sunday.
The spokesmen said Hamas voiced its strong opposition to the idea of deploying an international force inside the Gaza Strip.
The Egyptian official said that the two Iranian emissaries, Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, and Said Jalili of the Iranian Intelligence Service, met in the Syrian capital with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shallah.
"As soon as the Iranians heard about the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, they dispatched the two officials to Damascus on an urgent mission to warn the Palestinians against accepting it," the Egyptian government official told the Post.
"The Iranians threatened to stop weapons supplies and funding to the Palestinian factions if they agreed to a cease-fire with Israel. The Iranians want to fight Israel and the US indirectly. They are doing this through Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon."
Perhaps Iran is hoping that in only eight more days the new administration in Washington will save them. With respect to that I think it will be a question of who gave Obama more funds for his election campaign the Saudis or the Iranians, and/or who he intends to
Meanwhile the Syrians are putting in a token appearance.
The fighting in Gaza appeared to reach the Golan Heights on Sunday when gunshots were fired at an IDF vehicle along the border with Syria. It was the second attack along Israel's northern border since Operation Cast lead began in late December.If a serious attack by Syria was planned they would not fire a few token shots to announce their intentions. I think the urban renewal that Lebanon got in 2006 has decided the question for the Syrians. I don't think they want a piece of that action given that their patron Iran is in serious internal financial difficulties with inflation in Iran running well above the CIA estimate of around 18%.
It also appears that Egypt is considering digging a moat across southern Gaza to deter future smuggling tunnels.
Egypt is considering a range of proposals on how to stop weapons smuggling through tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor into Gaza, including the construction of a moat along the border that separates the Sinai desert from the Gaza Strip, The Jerusalem Post has learned.The ring is tightening around Hamas and Iran.
Israel has destroyed close to 150 tunnels since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead but estimates that there are at least another 150 tunnels along the 14-kilometer corridor. On Sunday, the Air Force bombed close to 30 tunnels that it said were used by Hamas to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, is scheduled to travel to Egypt later this week to hear Cairo's offer concerning the tunnels.
Since the operation began, Hamas has made attempts to smuggle weapons into Gaza through the remaining tunnels, officials said. Iran, they added, was trying to get explosives and weaponry - including long-range rockets - to the Sinai, from where supplies are transferred into the Gaza Strip.
While Israel has conditioned its acceptance of a cease-fire on an end to smuggling, the Egyptians have made clear that it will not permit the deployment of a foreign military presence on its sovereign territory. Egypt has however agreed to receive technological assistance from different countries including Germany and the United States, which has already sent combat engineers to Rafah in an advisory capacity.
Iran's last hope is getting atomic weapons. And even they they are not out of the woods. The weapons are defensive in nature, because if they use them offensively they will get wiped out. However, they are still trying.
The Iranian businessman was looking for high-quality American electronics, but he had to act stealthily: The special parts he coveted were denied to Iranians, especially those seeking to make roadside bombs to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.Inclinometers are gravity based attitude sensors. They would most likely be used in rocket guidance systems. I'm sure that is not all the Iranians are looking for. What all this means is that Iran has not given up its atomic ambitions.
With a few e-mails, the problem was solved. A friendly Malaysian importer would buy the parts from a company in Linden, N.J., and forward them to Iran. All that was left was coming up with a fake name for the invoice. Perhaps a Malaysian engineering school? "Of course, you can use any other company as end-user that you think is better than this," the Iranian businessman, Ahmad Rahzad, wrote in an e-mail dated March 8, 2007.
The ruse succeeded in delivering nine sensors called inclinometers to Iran, the first of several such shipments that year and the latest example of what U.S. officials and weapons experts describe as Iran's skillful flouting of export laws intended to stop lethal technology from reaching the Islamic republic.
There is a book out, Human Security in East Asia: Challenges for Collaborative Action,dealing with atomic weapons in the Near East. The Daily Times is of the opinion that the weapons are defensive in nature.
Nuclear deterrence is also not what it used to be, that is, the US deterring another superpower. Today it is challenged to deal with asymmetric nuclear threats which could come from a terrorist organization. Medium and small sized states acquiring weapons through proliferation seek to deter in a variety of patterns: to stave off conventional invasion, to shake off coercion and blackmail, etc. North Korea’s weapons deter coercive action in the region by the US; Iran wants to avoid ‘regime change’ compulsions; and Pakistan wants to deter perceived military aggression from India. On the other hand, India wishes to ensure security for its posture of a global power.It is possible that with Iran in such a precarious financial situation it fears internal problems more than external ones. Of course thinking you know the other guy's intentions while being severely mistaken is how wars start. Or at least start badly. One only need look up the history of December 7th, 1941 (At Dawn We Slept is a good one) to see the folly of not preparing for capabilities rather than relying on perceived intentions to see the folly of the method of intentions.
The new nuclear states face dangerous constraints — dangerous because they compel unorthodox behavior — like scarce resources, lack of technology and domestic scientific expertise and, last but not least, an undertow of suicidal nationalism. Once the weapons are acquired, the problem of establishing a command and control is compounded once again because of lack of technology and funds. India and Pakistan are faced with severe constraints in establishing their command and control systems, thus introducing the world to a new series of dangers, including accidental launch and repossession by terrorists.
So where will all this lead? In the near term Iran is going to have trouble buying new friends and keeping old ones.
Cross Posted at Classical Values