Daily TIP

Hamas, ISIS increase collaboration across Gaza-Sinai border

Posted by Tip Staff - August 01, 2016


 

Egypt is enraged over new reports of ISIS and Hamas working together in the Sinai—an unsurprising development given the history of collaboration between the two terrorist organizations. The latest finding comes a few days after Egypt carried out an attack against ISIS fighters, only to find that they were then transferred to hospitals in Gaza for treatment. The fighters had been planting explosives in Al-Arish, the Egyptian resort city located in western Sinai. Not only are the attackers receiving medical care in Gaza—as is often the case with ISIS fighters—but Egyptian sources say they were likely smuggled into Gaza via Hamas’ elaborate tunnel system. This builds upon the growing evidence that the tunnels serve as a nexus for facilitation and cooperation between the two groups.
This is not the first time ISIS and Hamas have found reason to conspire. Hamas provides “tens of thousands” of dollars per month to ISIS in the Sinai—money deliberately earmarked for securing weapons shipments. Hamas trains ISIS fighters in planting deadly IEDs and firing lethal anti-tank missiles, and has smuggled weaponry across the border into Sinai. Top level officials from both organizations cross borders to coordinate their activities. Hamas terrorists have joined ISIS in Sinai and at least one senior Hamas official has been killed fighting alongside ISIS. Last month, Times of Israel journalist Avi Issacharoff classified the relationship between Hamas and ISIS’s Sinai Province as one of “close cooperation.” Issacharoff also reported that Hamas launched drones to spy on Egyptian troop movements in Sinai along the Gaza border, part of an effort to “keep smuggling routes open between Sinai and Gaza. These routes are vital to Hamas on one side of the border, and Islamic State on the other.”

 

Iraq’s prime minister officially incorporated the Iran-backed, terrorist-led Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) into his nation’s armed forces, cementing Tehran’s influence in the country, the Long War Journal reported on Thursday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi decided to incorporate the PMF as an “independent military formation” within the Iraqi army in February, according to an official government document called Office Order 91, which was just made public.
The PMF was established two years ago after Iraqi clerics called on citizens to take up arms in support of the Iraqi military and police forces, which had been overwhelmed by the Islamic State. Established militias, including many that are backed by Iran and previously fought against U.S. and British forces in Iraq, answered the call and became the core group within the PMF.
According to Office Order 91, the PMF will report directly to the “general commander of the armed forces,” which is the Iraqi prime minister. Despite being incorporated into Iraq’s military forces, Office Order 91 specifies that the PMF will retain its “staff, brigades, and members.” For example, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis kept his status as operations leader for the PMF, now with government approval. Muhandis was listed as a specially designated global terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2009.
Even though the PMF claim to be non-sectarian, “its brigades have been accused of razing Sunni towns and have even threatened Christians in Baghdad,” the Journal noted. Human Rights Watch called on Iraq’s government on Sunday to ban PMF groups with records of “summary killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and the destruction of homes” from the government’s operations in Mosul.
Despite these concerns, al-Abadi effectively cemented the PMF as a parallel military organization similar to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), with which it has extensive ties. While not all militias within the PMF answer to Iran, top PMF commanders have publicly spoken of their admiration for Iran’s supreme leader and the chief of the IRGC’s elite Qods Force, and “the network backed by IRGC has the most sizable, experienced, strongest, organized, trained, and funded militias,” the Journal wrote. “The experiences of the IRGC in Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon serve as precedents for how this Iraqi network can expand its influence.”
Office Order 91 will thus “[institutionalize] Tehran’s influence in the country,” the Journal observed.
In I Saw the U.S. Hand Iraq Over to the Iranians. Is the Whole Region Next?, which was published in the February 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Michael Pregent described how Iran gained a foothold in Iraq.
Iranian-backed Shia militias changed the demographics of Baghdad by targeting and killing charismatic Sunni leaders throughout the city. Sunni men of military age were rounded up and executed, with one left alive to tell the story to other Sunnis. These extra-judicial killings were often conducted by uniformed security forces with vehicles from the ministries of health and transportation. These ministries were headed by members of the Badr Corps, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and the OMS—all militant Shia groups.
 
In effect, American fear of a Ba’athist return to power allowed Iran to become the guarantor that Baghdad would remain in Shia hands—or, more accurately, Shia who were friendly toward Iran.
 
There was little we could do to stop this process. I was part of several efforts to curb sectarian violence and Iranian influence in Iraq. At one point, I was tasked with identifying sectarian Shia figures in the government’s security and intelligence apparatus. We developed a list of the top 50 sectarian actors in Iraq and soon realized that removing them from their positions would essentially require the overthrow of the Iraqi government. (via TheTower.org)

 
Ukraine vs. Lithuania and Russia vs. Israel are the two opening games today at the European Under-21 Baseball Championship taking place at the Baptist Village in Petah Tikva. The championship will run through August 4. The Israel Baseball Association is hosting the bi-annual international tournament, which is sanctioned by the Confederation of European Baseball. Team Israel is made up of players from the Israel Baseball Academy — the elite program for 14-21 year-old baseball players in Israel. The Israel Baseball Association comprises five leagues throughout the country. (via Israel21c.org)

 


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