Druze leader Walid Jumblatt (radiofarda.com)
Hamas and other Palestinian groups are being used by Iran and Syria to threaten the stability of moderate Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said in an interview.
“The Iranians are trying to use some part of Hamas and other Palestinian groups to threaten the Lebanese independence at same time [as threatening] Jordan and Egypt. The Iranians, with their expansionist souls, are trying to use all kinds of groups, including Hamas, to destabilize the area,” said Jumblatt, speaking to WND and ABC Radio’s John Batchelor on Batchelor’s national radio program.
Jumblatt is the head of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party and is largely considered the most prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politician. He said Iran has been working with Syria to thwart efforts to bring independence to his country.
“We want to have an independent Lebanon away from Syrian interference,” Jumblatt said. “They don’t acknowledge the simple fact of Lebanese independence, so they are using all means at their disposal to intimidate us. We won’t be intimidated.”
Last week, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1680, which calls on Syria to recognize Lebanese independence, establish formal diplomatic relations with Beirut and demarcate the common border.
Within hours of the resolution’s passage, Palestinian groups allied with Syria attacked a Lebanese army patrol unit, sparking violent clashes in eastern Lebanon.
“It’s a war to destabalize Lebanon,” said Jumblatt of the clashes. “Resolution 1680 makes [the Syrians] furious and angry. They did their best to thwart it and they failed. … They are using some of the Palestinian groups to attack our sovereignty and our army and it will continue. But we will answer back.”
He said Iran has been using Hamas to threaten Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
Earlier this month, Jordanian officials announced security officers caught a large arms cache smuggled from Syria into the country by Hamas members. Jordanian television broadcast confessions by three Hamas militants who said they smuggled the arms into the country for possible attacks against Jordanian officials and interests.
Hamas has a history of anti-Jordan activity. Officials there say they caught several other arms caches in the past belonging to the terror group. Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, a Jordanian citizen, was expelled in 1999 along with other leaders after a crackdown on the group following accusations of illegal activities.
Egypt has a mixed relationship with Hamas, many analysts say. In its role as a Middle East powerbroker, Egypt often hosts Hamas delegations for regional talks. But there are rampant reports of tensions in the Hamas-Egypt relationship.
Last month, Egypt’s foreign minister reportedly refused to meet Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar while he was visiting the country.
Egyptian officials told WND last week Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak berated Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, accusing Hamas of smuggling weapons from the Sinai desert in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt occasionally has accused Hamas of involvement in attacks on its soil. Egyptian security reports hinted at possible Hamas involvement in the suicide bombings of tourist centers in Taba in October 2004, killing 34 people, including 11 Israelis.
Last month, two suicide bombs exploded near a multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai adjacent to Gaza – attacks blamed on Sinai cells affiliated with global jihad groups. The two attacks took place at the same time members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Palestinian terror organization closely affiliated with Hamas, was set to carry out a large-scale car bombing at the Karni Crossing, the main cargo passageway between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The attack was foiled at the last minute.
Palestinian security officials said the Karni attack was coordinated with anti-Egyptian militants responsible for the Sinai bombings.
Israel’s Shin Bet Security Services announced the Karni attack was directed by Hamas senior member Ahmed Randor. It said Hamas and the Committees work together regularly. The overall Committees leader, Jamal Abu Samhadana, was recently appointed by Hamas to the post of interior minister and general supervisor of the Palestinian police.
Also, Egypt is said to be very closely monitoring the Hamas relationship with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to create an Islamic theocracy in place of the current Mubarak regime, considered a regional ally to the U.S. Hamas is an offshoot of the Brotherhood, which won an unprecedented 20 percent of the Parliament in the latest Egyptian elections.
Palestinian security sources close to Hamas told WND Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akif has been serving as a replacement Hamas spiritual leader ever since Israel assassinated former spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin in March 2004.
Multiple Brotherhood leaders in Egypt have stated many times their group is strengthened by the Hamas ascension to power. They have said they wish to stage a similar takeover of Egypt.