Monday, January 17, 2005
Haaretz has profiles of some Palestinian militant groups. One aspect of regional politics which these protrayals bring home is that the Palestinian Authority - whether led by Arafat or Abbas - is a very weak government, and its power comes partly from its ability to deal with the outside world and partly from its leaders ability to bribe or persuade people into following them. What's more, it's a situation in which foreign governments can easily become the real powers among some Palestinians. There are connections between the IRGC and Hizbullah, and reports continues to suggest that Hizbullah is linked to many of the individual cells of Palestinian militant groups. In this case, Hizbullah acts as the conduit for Iranian influence in Palestinian affairs. The caveat to this is that these reports rely on Israeli intelligence, and Israel has its own reasons for wanting to attract American attention to Iran and Hizbullah. However, the model dates back to when Arafat was still alive and kicking, and I don't think the Israelis would have wanted to falsify information undermining their case that he was the Terrorist-in-Chief just to attach blame to people the U.S. already opposed.