Israel’s last large campaign against Hamas, Operation Cast Lead, was waged shortly before Obama’s 2009 inauguration. The timing of the current campaign should allow the Israelis much more flexibility in achieving their goals, which in addition to eliminating Hamas figures also includes degrading the military capacity of Gaza’s ruling authority. Presumably, the Iranians will be watching very closely how the White House treats the situation, whether it tries to restrain the Netanyahu government or encourages and even assists Jerusalem in a campaign against what are effectively Iranian assets.
Hamas’s military apparatus is tied to Iran, says Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “Anyone who is part of the Qassam Brigades gets Iranian training.” Schanzer believes that today’s operations against Hamas positions in Gaza are likely related to last month’s bombing of a factory in Sudan, believed to have been the work of the Israeli military. (Weekly Standard, Posted 14 Nov 12)