If this report is correct, and Israel did intercept a shipment of Iranian rockets bound for Gaza, it is one more sign of the shift in Middle East politics. As Haaretz reports, Israeli special forces boarded a Panama-flagged vessel about 930 miles off the coast of Israel in the Red Sea, and found aboard dozens of medium-range rockets, the kind Hezbollah frequently fired into Israel during the 2006 war.If the missiles did indeed come from Iran and were bound for Hamas, it would signal a reparation in relations that have been on the rocks for some time now. Before the coup in Egypt, Hamas was shifting away from Iran and Syria toward an axis of Sunni Islamist supporters—the AK government in Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, and the government of Qatar, which was aggressively pushing an alternative to Saudi Arabia’s brand of Wahhabi Islamism.But then the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was overthrown by a bitterly anti-Brotherhood army with financial support from the Saudis, and the new government set about marginalizing and weakening Brotherhood at home and its Hamas allies in Gaza. (As if to drive home the message, an Egyptian court yesterday banned all Hamas activities in Egypt.) Then the Turkish government got hit not only by the breakup of its alliance with Egypt but also by internal discontent and the struggle within the Turkish Islamic movement between forces loyal to Prime Minister Erdogan and the reclusive but powerful Gulenist movement.So Hamas has responded, apparently, by reaching out to the hated Shiite heretics in Iran, and, as in the past, the mullahs have been all too willing to help the enemy of their enemies. As in Europe’s 30-year war, which saw Catholic France aiding both German Protestants and Ottoman Muslims against its Catholic Hapsburg rivals in Austria, so in the current Sunni-Shiite religious war in the Middle East we are seeing strange alliances that cut across confessional lines.
Missile MullahsHave Hamas & Iran Kissed and Made Up?