Posted by Curt on 13 June, 2007 at 7:40 pm. Be the first to comment!

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Would be funny if not for:

"They’re firing at us, firing RPGs, firing mortars. We’re not Jews," the brother of Jamal Abu Jediyan, a Fatah commander, pleaded during a live telephone conversation with a Palestinian radio station.

Minutes later both men were dragged into the streets and riddled with bullets.

Meanwhile Hamas is now very close to controlling all of the Gaza Strip and gathering the weapons of Fatah which were supplied by the US and other countries in hopes of the Palestinian Authority succeeding in bringing some semblance of normalcy into the area.

Worked out real well

Hamas has been locked in a bloody power struggle with the rival Fatah party ever since it won a landslide parliamentary election in January last year. After months of on/off violence, the stalemate between the militant Islamists and the ousted Fatah moderates seemed destined to keep the Palestinian government paralysed.

Now, Hamas is pressing a fierce offensive in the Gaza Strip, systematically laying siege to the Fatah-dominated security services and looking at last for the decisive victory that could give it complete control of the Palestinian government.

The Fatah security services ruled the streets here for 15 years but are now holed up in fortified bunkers and a handful of neighbourhoods awaiting a threatened fully-fledged assault by Hamas.

The unprecedented surge of violence threatens to topple the Palestinian unity government less than three months after it was formed.

First the people of Palestine vote in Hamas, a terrorist group with many many ties to al-Qaeda, and now they have themselves a civil war.  In fact, al-Qaeda may be the driving force in this conflict:

Increasingly there are signs that al-Qaeda is gaining strength in the Gaza Strip. Amid the decaying internal situation in Gaza, with its regular gun battles between the well-established Hamas and Fatah militias, more incidents are reported of attacks against symbols of Western presence from an UNRWA school to a Christian bookstore. Internet cafés have also been repeatedly bombed. Al-Qaeda generally thrives wherever central authority of governments is collapsing and therefore its current success in war-torn Gaza should not come as a surprise.1

Seeming to emulate the al-Qaeda operations in Iraq, the militants in Gaza who belong to these new terrorist organizations are targeting Western reporters as in the famous cases where journalists from FOX News and the BBC were taken hostage. They have even adopted al-Qaeda style death threats, promising to slit the throats of Palestinian women journalists who appear on television without covering their hair. Even external appearances show al-Qaeda’s growing influence as members of its affiliate movements in Gaza often wear the same black head covering that was a trademark of the late al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. All the evidence indicates that rather than challenge al-Qaeda’s bid to expand its presence in Gaza, Hamas prefers to collaborate with these new militant groups. 

Just after Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, there were reports that al-Qaeda had exploited the new security vacuum that had been created and begun to dispatch its operatives to this territory. The Hamas leader who would later become its first foreign minister, Mahmoud al-Zahar, admitted to Corriere della Sera on September 13, 2005, that "a pair of men from al-Qaeda has infiltrated into Gaza." Within a month an organization calling itself al-Qaeda in Palestine was distributing leaflets in a Gaza mosque. By March 2006, no less than the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) told the London Arabic daily al-Hayat, "We have signs of the presence of al-Qaeda in Gaza and the West Bank."

Although Abbas described this as a "very dangerous situation," no Palestinian security service subsequently took any measures against al-Qaeda. Indeed, this became official Palestinian Authority policy especially after Hamas swept the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006 and formed a new government. A Hamas official, Said Sayyam, who became the Palestinian Authority interior minister at the time, stated openly that he would not order the arrest of terrorist operatives who would attack Israel. This essentially amounted to an open invitation to global jihadi organizations that they could find a new sanctuary in postwithdrawal Gaza, under Hamas rule. It was the first clear indication that Hamas could work together with elements from al-Qaeda coming into the Gaza Strip.

In the meantime throughout the Middle East the external Hamas leadership maintained close ties with well-known figures associated with the al-Qaeda network, like the leader of the Kashmiri organization Hezb ul-Mujahidin, Sayyid Salah al-Din, in Pakistan and Abd al-Majid al-Zindani, a bin Laden loyalist, in Yemen who recruited local candidates for al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.3 The latter met with Khaled Mashaal on March 20, 2006. 

This is gonna get real bad folks.  Real real bad.  Once Hamas gains complete control, as it sure appears destined, Israel will have no one to talk to…no one to negotiate with, other then Hamas and al-Qaeda and that will not happen:

Anyone in Israel side still contemplating the question of a Palestinian partner might also need to do some rethinking. In Gaza, at least, it seems there is nobody left for Israel to talk to. The Rafah crossing yesterday had a long line of Palestinians seeking to leave Gaza. Haaretz received letters from Palestinians asking Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to save them from Hamas.

That, at the moment, looks like the last thing Olmert plans to do. Officials in the government and defense establishment are following developments with grave concern. But Israel, so long as it can afford to, will steer clear of military involvement in Gaza. The directives given to the army’s Southern Command talk about a high state of alert and readiness, but also restraint. The Israel Defense Forces will not enter the internal Palestinian conflict unless it is forcibly dragged into it. Qassam rocket fire will not elicit a wide-scale ground incursion, particularly when the chief of staff is still extremely preoccupied with preparing for a possible flare-up in the Syrian arena.

Debka says that Syrian arena is connected to this Hamas conflict:

It was the second triumph in a week for a Palestinian force backed by Iran and Syria, after the Lebanese army failed in four weeks’ combat to crush the pro-Syrian factions’ barricaded in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian camp near Tripoli in four weeks of combat.

Tuesday, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Palestinian Authority forces faced disaster. Their inevitable ejection from the Gaza Strip effectively severs Palestinian rule between Ramallah, where Fatah will have to fight to retain control of the West Bank and Gaza, dominated now by an Islamist Palestinian force manipulated from Tehran and Damascus.

The Iran-Syrian alliance has acquired by brute force two Mediterranean coastal enclaves in northern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Its momentum, launched a month ago in both sectors was unchecked. The Fouad Siniora government’s troops failed to break through to the Palestinian camp and crush the pro-Syrian uprising. The Olmert government stood by unmoved as the most radical elements in the Middle East snatched the Gaza Strip on Israel’s southwestern border.

And do not forget about Egypt.  I do not think they will look to kindly on al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas ruling next door.

Nope, things will be getting quite bad real quick.

Another front in the War on Terror is now being joined and I doubt Israel is going to stand by too long.

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