Monday, February 20, 2006

The Tehran-Hamas Terror Axis

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies BackgrounderThe Tehran-Hamas Terror Axis
Jonathan L. Snow February 7, 2006
Since Iran's 1979 Revolution, the ruling clerics have sought to export their concept of Militant Islamism throughout the Muslim world.
Many Palestinian terrorists embraced the Islamist message, actively taking up arms to fight “infidels” and the West.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was a product of the Iranian Revolution. Iran still funds, trains, and directs this terrorist group. PIJ is also linked to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian Baathist regime.
Hamas, the largest of the Palestinian terrorist groups, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and also has strong, and growing, ties to the Iranian regime.
With extremist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now leading Iran toward the development of nuclear weapons and threatening to destroy Israel and the West, and Hamas now in control of the Palestinian parliament, the Tehran-Hamas terrorist axis has become more dangerous than ever.
Iran-Hamas Ties
Hamas began as a Sunni extremist group at the beginning of the “First Intifadah” in 1987. While initially hostile to the Shiite Iranian regime, within a few short years relations warmed between the two.
After Israel disrupted the Hamas network in the early 1990s, many of Hamas' expelled leaders found refuge across the region, including in Iran. Hamas took this setback as an opportunity to reorganize, moving a great deal of its leadership abroad. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan soon became important bases of Hamas activities.
Relations between Hamas and Iran flourished during this period. Hamas established its first “ambassador” to Tehran, Imad al-Alami, after his deportation from Gaza in 1990. He has since risen through the ranks of Hamas, and according to the U.S. Treasury, “Al-Alami has had oversight responsibility for the military wing of Hamas within the Palestinian territories. As a Hamas military leader, al-Alami directs sending personnel and funding to the West Bank and Gaza.” Hamas is currently represented in Tehran by Abu-Osama Abd-al-Moti.
Iran spends millions of dollars every year funding Hamas activities. While estimates on the exact funding vary, an investigative report from 1993 claims that Iran budgeted nearly $30 million that year to aid Hamas. A more recent report from the Council on Foreign Relations notes that diplomats estimate that Iranian support to Hamas could amount to $20-30 million per year.
Leaders of Hamas and Iran joined together to call for the destruction of Israel. At the “World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran in October 2005, both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas' representative in Tehran, Abu-Osama Abd-al-Moti, called for the destruction of the Jewish state. While Ahmadinejad's comments were widely reported, those by Hamas' Abd-al-Moti were not, though his language closely mirrored Ahmadinejad's.
The Iranian President held a strategy session in Damascus with Hamas and other terrorist groups. On his most recent trip to Syria in January 2006, Ahmadinejad made a point of meeting with the leaders of various Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas' Khalid Mishall.
In Their Own Words
Hamas' representative in Tehran, Abu-Osama Abd-al-Moti, on Iranian support: “With your [Iranian] help and support and the support of the entire Islamic nation, our people can remain steadfast and confront Israel and America until this cancerous gland is removed.” (At the “World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran, October 2005)
Ahmadinejad on Hamas' electoral victory: “We thank God that struggles, self-sacrifices and martyrdom seeking attempts of the children of Palestinian nation have today resulted in the first stage of victory.” (Congratulating Hamas leader Khalid Mishall on the terrorist group's electoral victory, January 2006)
Senior Hamas Leader Mousa Abu Marzuk on Iranian threats: “The [recent] meetings of the Iranian president, Mr. Khatami, with different Palestinian groups in Damascus were the real display of Iran's attitude toward the Zionist regime and Tehran's clear message to Tel Aviv.” (June 1999)
Hamas founder Sheik Ahmad Yassin on Iran's desire to destroy Israel: “I found that the Iranians have an intense desire to liberate Palestine and to endure all the U.S. harassment and difficulties in order to achieve this objective.” (August 1998)

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