Friday, May 8, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Hamas Looks to Offset Dependency on Iran

by David Bedein

The Middle East Newsline has revealed that the Hamas regime in Gaza has sought military assistance from other Islamic countries to offset dependency on Iran.

According to Hamas sources, the Islamist leadership in Gaza City has decided to acquire military training and assistance from countries other than Iran and Syria. They said the Hamas policy was drafted in the wake of the war with Israel because Hamas was virtually entirely dependent on Tehran during the conflict.

“There is no intention to replace Iran, which remains important,” a Hamas source said. “But much of Iranian guidance was not relevant for us in the war.”

The sources said Iranian military tactics taught to Hamas in 2008 were ineffective against Israel. They said the Hamas tactics were based on doctrine adopted by the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah, located in the mountainous areas of southern Lebanon. The Gaza Strip is a flat area that is much smaller than Lebanon.

Over the last few months, Hamas has maintained contact with several potential sources of military assistance. The sources identified them as Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Turkey.

The sources said Sudan would provide most of the training for Hamas while serving as a key supplier of weapons. They said Turkey, under the auspices of the ruling Justice and Development Party, has also been quietly training Hamas personnel in security tactics.

“Hamas got 20 academic scholarships for internal security training from Turkey to fight Fatah,” a Hamas military source said.

A Hamas military investigation determined numerous flaws in combat doctrine during the 22-day war with Hamas. The sources said 3,000 Hamas officers were investigated and 50 field commanders were dismissed.

The investigation recommended that Hamas acquire proven combat systems from foreign suppliers rather than seek to produce indigenous weapons, such as the Qassam-class, short-range rocket.

The probe also urged Hamas to focus on the procurement of Russian-origin rather than on U.S. air defense systems, such as the Stinger.

See this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this story at Israel Behind the News

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