Defense Update News:

Israel is not the only player against Hamas

Although the Israeli army is fighting Hamas in Gaza, Sunni Moslem nations in the Middle East are closely watching its outcome, as it is very much their concern. The moderate Mid-Eastern countries will benefit from Iran losing its strategic hold on the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas base along the Mediterranean. However, this goal is not nearly in-sight since neither Egypt, nor Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf states can wield sufficient power to keep the Tehran Mullahs at bay. Only a strong and determined American president with enough muscle and willing to use it when necessary can save the turbulent Middle East from another disaster.

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Although the Israeli army is fighting Hamas in Gaza, Sunni Moslem nations in the Middle East are closely watching its outcome, as it is very much their concern. Not only are they dismayed at the heavy loss of lives in the fighting, but their greatest fear is from a situation, in which a clear decision is not reached by Israel this time against what the so-called moderates regard, is the growing threat from Shiite domination over the "silent" Sunni majority.

Two an half years ago, when Israel fought against Tehran's proxy, the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah, the outcome after 33 days of fighting was undecided and Tehran's involvement in Lebanese internal affairs grew dangerously towards Hezbollah taking over the Western oriented nation.

Should a similar situation be created, when the present warfighting in Gaza ceases and Iranian backed Hamas remains in power as a major military player, then Tehran's next stop could well be a spill-over into Egypt -- with the Moslem Brotherhood, Hamas' spiritual creator, challenging President Hosni Mubarak's pro-western regime.

Even the most pessimistic analysts were surprised by the unprecedented quantities influx of modern arms, which Hamas massed in its Gaza Strip enclave over such a short time. Only unlimited Iranian funding could have provided and sustained the endless military lifeline through the Gaza Tunnels to create the largest terrorist arsenal, which kept the unprovoked rocket offensive against Israel's territory almost ceaselessly going for months.

Israel, with all its advanced technology is still at loss to defend against the rather primitive, but still highly lethal Qassam and Grad harassment. It will take at least 18 months until a viable system will be ready to deploy against this threat. Until then, the IDF must act decisively to convince Hamas, to stop or be destroyed.

The "new" IDF, which is currently fighting inside the Gaza Strip has changed. The 2006 Lebanon fiasco is long forgotten. The Israeli ground forces have recovered their professional "killer instinct" and are fighting an equally motivated Hamas Izzadin al Qassam face to face, causing them heavy casualties in close-in urban combat.

Israel's strategic target is not to eliminate Hamas rule in Gaza. That is an ideological objective which cannot be achieved. What the military wish is to weaken the Hamas military wing so much, that new rules of this ruthless game can be negotiated, which will assure Israel's security from this rocket threat.

While this particular goal can be achieved by decisive military action, in order to sustain a longtime non-aggressive attitude by the Islamists, will require a different strategy.

It should be Egypt's clear strategic interest, to hermetically seal off the Sinai smuggling corridor and eliminate once and for all, the subterranean tunnel city at the Rafah border. Once this is achieved and sustained, Hamas will lose it's weapons lifeline and it's huge arsenal will dwindle and having been severely depleted during the fighting, will soon become insignificant. This will allow a sane Gazean administration to rebuild from the ruins and start caring for the million and half hapless Palestinians, who have suffered through hell for decades of untold misery.

But not only Egypt will gain from a more peaceful Gaza, Iran will lose it's strategic hold on the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas base along the Mediterranean, which as an important by-product, might also weaken it's position in Lebanon.

Neither Egypt, nor Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf states can wield sufficient power to keep the Tehran Mullahs at bay. Only a strong and determined American president with enough muscle and willing to use it when necessary can save the turbulent Middle East from another disaster.

Will Barack Obama be that man?