Hamas Declares New Ceasefire:Launching Bid for Massive Aid for Gaza / Prof.B.Rubin

Israel’s operation into the Gaza Strip last January and the embargo on aid has had an effect. Hamas is now announcing that it will stop attacks on Israel. This, in effect, ends Hamas’s renewal of the fighting a year ago. Here’s the problem: Is Hamas just stopping long enough to get the aid money?

An important press conference by Hamas’ Interior Minister Fathi Hamad has said the group made an agreement with all the Palestinian factions that they will stop firing rockets into Israel except in retaliation to Israeli operations. And since Israel usually attacks in response to rocket firings, that means a new ceasefire may occur. The press conference came immediately after a rocket was fired into Israel on November 21 that didn’t hit anything.

That announcement seems like good news but here are the problems:

--Hamas will continue smuggling in arms, including parts for more advanced missiles which can strike further into Israel. If Israel were to attack the tunnels to try to interdict this smuggling, this would be made to appear as Israel initiating hostilities.

--The main issue will be a Hamas bid, which will find some support in the West—but how much?—to start large-scale aid to Gaza, as has been promised by the Obama Administration among others. Western statements insist that the money won’t go to Hamas or its front groups and no doubt a sincere effort will be made to implement that plan. But of course it will be difficult to succeed as Hamas will steal resources and, of course, benefit from the increased money and supplies, both directly and through increased popularity.

Hamad himself signaled this effort in his statement. "We don't want to curb the resistance and are not preventing the acts of the resistance" but want to let Gaza residents have some “breathing room and enable the Strip’s reconstruction.”

--No doubt there will be more voices in the West that Hamas is now becoming “moderate” and engagement should begin. This will probably be ineffectual, though.

The press conference set off a great deal of talk about the possibility of an imminent deal to release Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit in exchange for hundreds of captured Hamas gunman. I rather doubt that—though it could be true—but it is not the most significant aspect of this new development.

Of course, it is possible, given the way the Middle East, terrorism, and Hamas work, that a rocket could be fired into Israel and the whole thing fall apart. But otherwise the aid flow and reconstruction of the Gaza Strip may now commence. It will be argued that Hamas would not encourage this rebuilding only to go to war and wreck everything again. Those who say such things don’t know much about Hamas.

Obama's General Says: Syria Allied with Al-Qaida, Attacking U.S.; White House Says: Is that a Problem?

Posted: 21 Nov 2009 06:14 PM PST

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By Barry Rubin

Does anyone read the newspapers in the U.S. government? How about checking out the dispatches coming from its generals in the field? Here’s a news story which tells all.

A Reuters’ dispatch from Iraq interviews the commander of U.S. forces there. What’s he say?

Al-Qaida is joining forces with Saddam Hussein’s supporters.

And where are both al-Qaida’s forces fighting in Iraq and Saddam’s backers headquartered with lots of money stolen from Iraq? Syria.

Syria? So Damascus is now allied with al-Qaida, the perpetrators of the September 11 attack to kill Americans and defeat the United States in Iraq? Is that right, general?:

“Investigations into massive suicide bombings in Baghdad on Oct. 25, in which more than 150 people died, indicated that explosives or fighters were coming across from Syria, U.S. General Ray Odierno also said.”

So, again, Syria is letting al-Qaida and Saddamist terrorists come in, get armed and trained, cross the border in Iraq, and run back for safe haven. Right, general?:

“The U.S. commander's comments reinforced accusations by the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that al Qaeda and former Baathists were working together to undermine improved security and elections expected to be held in January. Maliki's government has also accused neighboring Syria of giving a safe haven to Baathists plotting attacks in Iraq.”

Yes, that’s what I said, right? And do remember that the Obama Administration has refused to support Iraq’s complaints against Syria. Are the Syrians helping kill a lot of people?:

“Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply in the past 18 months and November so far has experienced one of the lowest civilian casualty levels since the 2003 U.S. invasion. But attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents like al Qaeda remain common. The twin suicide bombings in Baghdad on Oct. 25 devastated the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad governorate headquarters, while two similar suicide bombings on Aug. 19 killed almost 100 people at the foreign and finance ministries.”

So violence is continuing. As U.S. forces withdraw someone is trying to wreck the situation there so that the U.S. departure looks like defeat. Wonder who?

"`We believe that there will be attempts to conduct more attacks between now and the elections because they want to destabilize those,’ Odierno said.”

And who might be making those attacks, general?

"`My experience is there probably was some movement of fighters or explosives coming from Syria,’" he said when asked if the investigations had indicated any links to Syria.”

Thank you. So, the Obama Administration’s military commander says Syria is behind massive attacks and working closely with Usama bin Ladin’s guys.

Has the president of the United States said anything about this? Has he made any criticism of Syria? Is he ready to break off engagement efforts with the dictatorship? Has he backed up Iraqi government requests for backing in demanding Syria stop facilitating such attacks and turn over those Iraqis responsible?

No, no, no, and again no.

If the Obama Administration is fighting a war against al-Qaida why is Syria, today that group‘s main organizational and military base in the Middle East getting away with allying to the people who murdered 3,000 Americans on September 11?

If the Obama Administration is fighting a war in Iraq why is it doing nothing about the main ally of the insurgents killing American soldiers and so many Iraqi civilians, trying to wreck your policy?

Not to mention Syria trying to take over Lebanon, allying with Iran, sponsoring Hamas and Hizballah, being a major sponsor of international terrorism, and trying to build nuclear weapons’ facilities secretly?

There is an old expression about fighting with one hand tied behind your back. The Obama Administration is waging a foreign policy with both hands tied behind its back, plugs in its ears, and a gag over its mouth.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.


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