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The Hamas-Russia Connection
By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen | March 10, 2006

annotated article on

Russia’s determination to undermine the U.S. policy in the Middle East may
well weaken U.S. power. But opposing punitive sanctions for Iran at the U.N.
and endorsing HAMAS is likely to cost Russia dearly.
On March 8, 2006, after discussing the Iran crisis with U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
conveyed Russia’s objections to sanctioning Iran, while warning that “there
is no military solution to this crisis.” Instead, he welcomed the European
Union proposal to continue exploring diplomatic solutions with Iran, despite
years of European-led negotiations that merely allowed Tehran to continue to
develop its nuclear program. And nuclear weapons in Iran, are likely to pose
a grave danger to Russia; much graver than to the U.S.

In a similar move, after visiting the State Department, Lavrov said that the
HAMAS government should receive international funding because HAMAS chief
Khaled Mashaal had assured him that the money would “be spent in a
transparent manner.” And Like Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas before him,
Mashaal promised Lavrov to allow international monitors to ensure this.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Khaled Mashaal noted, “At the Russian
Foreign Ministry we felt that we were being understood.”

Mashaal went on to praise Russia for breaking “the blockade which Israel and
the United States have been trying to impose on us,” and added that his
visit to Russia “opened the door to the entire global community.”

HAMAS wants the international community to accept its goal to destroy
Israel, which Mashaal reiterated on March 6, 2006 on Al Jazeera and Al
Arabiya TV. “If they [Israel] want an all-out war – we are ready. If they
want peace – let them acknowledge the rights of the Palestinian people and
get out of our land.” The demand to turn HAMAS into a mere political party
is unrealistic, he said, elaborating on a February 13 Dream 2 TV interview,
in which HAMAS deputy head and designated terrorist Musa Abu Marzouq
explained the “phased” approach to seek “an independent Palestinian state
with full sovereignty over the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza,” while
unflinchingly insisting that “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean]
Sea belongs to the Palestinians …”

This is not only the HAMAS agenda; as evidenced by the large majority of
Palestinians that elected HAMAS, they too, identify with this terrorist
agenda. This should be reason enough for international leaders to avoid
contact with the HAMAS Palestinian Authority government, which can only
serve to legitimize this terror regime.

Russia, for now, is only talking with HAMAS, not funding the terrorist
organization. But its accommodating stance sends exactly the wrong signal to
other members of the international community, who are already opening their
checkbooks. On March 7, 2006, the World Bank granted $42 million to the
HAMAS-led PA. Lavrov expressed the apparent reasoning for the grant, in his
Washington D.C. press conference, the same day, saying that HAMAS would
“hopefully endorse the road map as drafted by the Quartet without any
reservations.” The World Bank grant followed $143 million in emergency aid
granted to the PA by the European Union on February 27, 2006. Clearly, the
international donor community is willing to be duped again by yet another
Palestinian leader.

Wasting no time, HAMAS on March 9, 2006, declared that Lavrov’s hopes are
utterly wrong. Hamas official Assad Farhat said that “Hamas rejects the
Roadmap Plan,” because it is a non-binding “American Zionist” plan. The
HAMAS spokesman reiterated, “After Israel announces she will withdraw to
pre-1967 boundaries, releases Palestinian prisoners, ceases attacks against
the Palestinian people, and agrees to the Palestinian right of return, only
them will Hamas enter into negotiations.”

The international grants should have been avoided not only because HAMAS is
a terrorist organization and proud of it, but because the exact same
promises made by Mashaal’s Palestinian predecessors helped to encourage and
spread terrorism. Those past promises facilitated the disappearance of more
than $10 billion in foreign aid into the coffers of corrupt Palestinian
officials and funded all Palestinian terrorist organizations. That much had
already been recognized even by the Palestinian people who voted HAMAS in,
in part, to clean up the PA’s corruption.

“The vast plunder of EU money by the Palestinian Authority has had much to
do with the electoral success of HAMAS, stated Dr. Charles Tannock, a member
of the European Parliament, on March 1, 2006. He added, “We would be
showing that we have learned absolutely nothing if we sent so much as a
penny to a Palestinian Authority led by HAMAS.”

Yet, it seems that the EU and the World Bank are competing with Iran to fund
the HAMAS led PA. Already, Iran has announced that “they would fulfill all
financial needs of the Palestinian Authority.” Thus, U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice was correct to repeat, on March 9, 2006 at a Senate hearing
that “Iran is a central banker for terror.”

Meanwhile, HAMAS is busily preparing for war. A HAMAS official, identified
as Abu Huzeifa in an interview with Gaza City newspaper Dunia al-Watan,
revealed that since Israel left the Gaza Strip, HAMAS has built training
camps in all Palestinian cities. These camps are training new cadres of
Jihadists. The basic training lasts a month, followed by three more months
of advanced instructions in battle skills, endurance building, marksmanship,
missile launching, commando fighting, hand-to-hand combat, crawling under
fences and urban warfare.

The instructors are HAMAS members trained internationally, most likely in
Lebanon, Syria and Iran. According to Abu Hufeiza, the HAMAS military
production units are diligently developing new weapons, including rockets
and advanced explosives. He emphasized that the al-Kassam Brigades will
remain as HAMAS’ military arm and will continue its struggle to liberate all
Palestinian lands. According to the Dunia al-Watan reporter who accompanied
Abu-Hufeiza to these training camps, each camp occupies over five acres, and
accommodates dozens of trainees.

HAMAS coordinates its activities via an internal communications system known
as SENAO, which is also used to alert thousands of loyalists of Israeli Air
Force strikes. SENAO in addition conveys instructions on where and when to
attack Israelis. Abu Hufaiza ended by warning Israel that if it tries to
reconquer the Gaza Strip, it will face extraordinary resistance.

While HAMAS gets more organized and openly establishes itself in the
territories, the Fatah terrorist arm, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, on March 1
also announced the start of a new military campaign against Israel: the
Ababil Campaign – named after the legendary birds that dropped stones on the
infidels. This new military campaign aims to launch 200 Kassam rockets at
Israeli towns along the border. This is the so-called “moderate” Fatah, led
by Mahmoud Abbas.

This is the same Abbas who allowed HAMAS to participate in the election in
the first place, without demanding that they disarm and renounce terrorism.
This is the Abbas who told al-Jazeera on March 2, “let us give it [HAMAS] a
chance,” and further offered that HAMAS should “proceed with any course or
program you want.” Moreover, Abbas agreed to transfer all the Palestinian
security forces, excepting one intelligence unit, to HAMAS.

Even if international money supported only civilian and humanitarian
projects, it would be equivalent to giving money to North Korea for
humanitarian purposes – every dollar frees another to spend on its nuclear

Moreover, supporting the HAMAS led PA is also the same as supporting Al
Qaeda. According to Dore Gold, al Qaeda “operations chief Abu Zubaydah
entered the world of terrorism through HAMAS. And according to a 2004 FBI
affidavit, al Qaeda recruited HAMAS members to conduct surveillance against
potential targets in the United States.”

Russia should know better since it suffers obvious susceptibility to
domestic and international Islamic terrorism. Chechen terrorists have since
1991 committed more than 240 terror attacks, killing and wounding thousands
of innocent Russian victims. Traditionally, Russia has quite understandably
taken a hard-line stance against Chechen Islamic terror, presumably thanks
partly to proven Chechen links and ideological affinity to Al Qaeda, and
HAMAS. The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the
Center for Special Studies revealed last month, that HAMAS supports the
Chechen rebels in their battle for independence against the Russian regime
and considers them part of the global Jihad.

All those factors make Russia’s current HAMAS and Iran policies simply
incomprehensible. It is difficult to understand why Russia would now
simultaneously give succor to HAMAS terrorists and Iran’s thuggish
nuclear-club hopefuls. While Russia attempts to weaken U.S. influence in the
region, doubtless these decisions will come back to bite Moscow sooner
rather than later.

IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis


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