By John Batchelor on January 7, 2009 10:44 PM
Tehran Sends Larijani to Meshaal in Damascus
The report in the last news cycle that Ali Larijani conferred for several hours in Damascus with Hamas gang boss Khaled Meshaal is the first unambiguous indication that Hamas is looking for the best possible deal to save face in Gaza. The so-called talks in Cairo among the players, Egypt, Israel, the Quartet and Hamas are stuck until and if a decision is reached in Damacus.
Hamas wants to know what does defeat look like? The IDF is taking too many prisoners to paper this over with celebrations at funerals in front of film crews hired by Reuters for agitprop.
The POWS are talking. Hamas must secure resupply of cash and weapons in Gaza after the IDF withdraws. But how? The EU is talking about a watchdog force at the border, and the French are offering naval patrols. This is sufferable because it won't last long and can be penetrated over time.
However, Hamas needs to know if it can count on Tehran pushing in large the amount of money it will need right away to sustain its power. Fatah is ready to make a comeback into the vacuum.
All of Gaza, all of the West Bank, all of Jordan, knows that Hamas is blinking, and that Tehran is stumped, and the there are going to be new mysteries soon. This has the possibility of being the worst setback for Tehran since Zarqawi was killed and his Al Qadea in Iraq network fell apart.
The Quartet Remains Unpredictable
Someone very shrewd is slowing down the Quartet and keeping it from imposing a ceasefire on the IDF. My best information 24 hours ago was that Israel could not resist a ceasefire and peace-keepers along the Sinai border. But then there was the odd three hour ceasefire, and more rockets, and now the debate continues.
It is striking and confounding to see the UN Security Council kept out. Is this T. Blair working with G. Bush and using N. Sarkozy as a blocking back? Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptians must have convinced everyone that bleeding Hamas is good policy.
What is left to do in Gaza is the Rafak corridor and the rough neighborhoods outside Gaza City. Chiefly Khan Younis to Rafak. Khan Younis and Rafak are under daily bombardment. Someone or something has yet to make a decision. In the meantime, Hamas continues to torture and execute Gazans who have collaborated with the IDF -- mainly Fatah ops and their cousins.
Hamas is weaker and weaker. It has already lost all its advances since 02. Now it is shrinking.