March 15, 2012 | Quote

Iran’s Gaza Missile Gambit

As Jonathan Schanzer writes in Foreign Policy, the latest terror offensive that led to more than 200 missiles being fired at Israel was the brainchild of the Iranians. By starting the fight that the Israelis finished, Iran’s terrorist proxies were not just seeking to burnish their image by seeking to kill Jews; they were also punishing Hamas for walking away from its long alliance with Tehran:

As the Iranians see it, Hamas has outlived its usefulness.… The Iranian leadership also has its own reasons for wreaking havoc in Gaza now. For starters, it deflects international attention from Tehran’s nuclear activities. With Israel on the brink of war with the Palestinians, the international community’s Pavlovian response is to rein Israel in and call for calm on both sides. The United Nations is now rushing to avert a war in Gaza instead of looking at new ways to halt Iran’s nuclear drive.

Moreover, any unrest in the region reverberates in the oil markets. Traders don’t like to see violence near their energy sources — just look at the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, which drove oil prices up almost 15 percent, despite the fact that Lebanon is not an oil exporter. Causing spikes in oil prices is the easiest way for Iran to circumvent sanctions: The more oil costs, the more cash Tehran can raise as it takes those last fateful steps toward the nuclear threshold.


Schanzer is spot on in his diagnosis of the way the Iranians have been able to manipulate their terrorist proxies. In doing so, not only has Hamas been embarrassed, but the violence also helps exacerbate the split between its various factions, thereby making the Gaza region it rules unstable.

But the problem goes deeper than that. As Schanzer notes, though Hamas may be trying to wean itself from its Iranian sponsor, the “martyrdom” culture it helped cultivate, weapons tunnels it helped build and maintain, and small but lethal terrorist groups it continues to finance,” roils the region.

Read the full article here.


Iran Palestinian Politics