Bombs on Syria- Pilgrimage to Tehran

Earlier today YNET News reported that the incident in which Israeli planes reportedly invaded Syrian airspace was actually an attack on Iranian weapons transferred to Syria.

Israel Matzav believes the IAF may have destroyed a Syrian chemical weapons factory.

Meanwhile, Barry Rubin director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center reveals a meeting held in Tehran recently between Hamas, Fatah and Iranian officials that was not widely reported in the news:

Pilgrimage to Tehran
By Barry Rubin

The big picture can be found in the little details. Here’s a great example. Iran recently held a summit meeting bringing together Palestinian leaders. Hamas was there, of course, and Islamic Jihad, too. No surprise that. But there was someone else participating in the gathering: Farouq Qaddumi (pictured).

Qaddumi is a veteran Fatah and PLO bureaucrat who now heads the former group. He is one of three men—the other two were Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas—who represented Fatah on the PLO Executive Committee. He has never accepted even the 1993 Oslo agreement. In most ways, he is more representative of Fatah leadership than the Palestinian Authority’s relatively moderate two heads, Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad.

What was Qaddumi doing in Tehran? Well, he has long been an ally of Syria which is Tehran’s closest ally. But there is something else going on here which is of historic importance and which shows the difference between reality and what is said in the Western media or governments. Not Egypt, not Saudi Arabia but Iran is now the mediator between Hamas and Fatah.

The Egyptians spent a lot of time negotiating with the two groups but never pushed very hard or achieved anything. The Saudis thought they had ensured cooperation with the recent Mecca agreement. But Hamas, another ally of Iran, used the deal to seize full power in the Gaza Strip and kick out Fatah altogether (See Here).

So it makes perfect sense for Palestinian leaders to see Iran holding the cards. If anyone is going to persuade Hamas to make up with Fatah it would be Tehran, the Islamist group’s sponsor. Of course, Iran is not going to do it but it can play games with Fatah, perhaps find Fatah people who, in exchange for power and money, might accept second place as a junior Palestinian partner of Hamas and Tehran.

Perhaps you thought the United States is now Fatah’s sponsor and good buddy. Well, Fatah is an equal-opportunity embezzler. Again, let me make clear my support for a strategy of talking with Fatah and helping it survive in the West Bank in exchange for its clamping down on terrorism and incitement. Fatah is preferable to Hamas. But a strong dose of cynicism and some tough bargaining is needed in this policy, which has been adopted by the United States, Israel, and (with a bit more ambiguity, yearning for the chance to appease Hamas) Europe.

As so often happens, however, the debate jumps out of one fire and into another…

Read the rest at GLORIA Center.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (GLORIA) Center His latest books are The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

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