By Barry Rubin
As I predicted in early February, it is now clear that Egypt no longer tries seriously to stop weapons and terrorists and money from flowing into the Hamas arsenals in the Gaza Strip. Western newspaper headline statements by the military that it will keep the treaty with Israel but Egypt is already an ally of Hamas.
“Egyptian security forces’ diminished control in Sinai has allowed the Palestinians to exponentially increase their weapons smuggling into Gaza, senior Israeli defense officials say. In the past few months, Hamas has acquired improved high-trajectory rockets, ready-made explosive devices, anti-tank missiles and possibly anti-aircraft missiles, the sources told Ha’aretz….”
“Former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter told Ha’aretz: “The Sinai went from being an area through which they smuggle weapons to an area through which they simply transfer weapons….No Egyptian security official dares to confront the Bedouin anymore.” Dichter said parts of the steel fence on the Rafah border, which Egypt began to construct last year, were already being dismantled by the Bedouin. He said Iran and Hamas want to concentrate large stores of weapons in Gaza and, when the opportunity arises, to deliver them to the West Bank.
But there’s more! The article continues:
“After the Libyan army lost control of vast weapons stores in the east of the country, local arms dealers made contact with Gaza smugglers, and new weapons began to flow by a much shorter and easier route.”
In other words, the Libyan rebels capture Libyan army weapons, then sell them to arms dealers who sell them to Hamas.
Do you know what that means? It means that the NATO and U.S.-backed Libyan rebels have now become the main source of arms for Hamas.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and Middle East editor and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His articles published originally in places other than PajamasMedia can be found at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com