Reconstruction Funds Will Help Hamas Prepare for Its Next War

On October 12, the U.S., Qatar, the EU, and others pledged $5.4 billion to Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority, half of which is earmarked for the reconstruction of Gaza and the rest, presumably, for appropriation by Fatah officials. In not demanding that Hamas disarm, says Khaled Abu Toameh, the donors are only strengthening the terrorist organization and further harming the people of Gaza:

First, the promised funds absolve Hamas of any responsibility for the catastrophe it brought upon the Palestinians during the confrontation with Israel. Now the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will no longer be asking Hamas to compensate them for the loss of their houses and family members. Any Palestinian who asks Hamas for financial aid will, as of now, be referred to the PA or the donor states.

Second, the talk about rebuilding or repairing infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is the best thing that could have happened to Hamas. The funds promised by the donor states will help rebuild various Hamas-controlled installations in Gaza, such as ministries, security bases, universities, mosques and charities. The infrastructure in Gaza is almost entirely controlled, directly and indirectly, by Hamas. Third, Hamas members and supporters would be among those entitled to some of the money coming from the Western and Arab donors.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Gaza, Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Protective Edge

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security