Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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How Russia Enabled Hamas’s Devastating Attack on Israel

Putin's sinister agenda: Diverting global attention from Ukraine by assisting Hamas's offensive against Israel.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Hamas, Russia, Israel

On October 7, 2023, the world witnessed a horrific attack on Israel by Hamas, resulting in over 1,200 Israeli deaths and the capture of over 200 people. Since then, Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,622 Palestinians and resulted in widespread destruction. This surge in violence has brought renewed attention to the clandestine alliances supporting Hamas, with mounting indications pointing towards coordinated backing from Russia and Iran

As the dust settles, questions are being raised about the possibility that Russia were involved in the planning and execution of this devastating attack. The notion that Hamas could independently orchestrate such a sophisticated strike against a well-guarded nation like Israel seems extremely implausible, which suggests that they received assistance from powerful allies.  

With the Kremlin grappling with escalating losses in Ukraine and dwindling backing for its contentious military campaign, an attack on Israel would be a perfect diversion to shift global attention away from Kyiv. On Putin’s 71st birthday, the world witnessed the grim consequences of this alleged collaboration: Operation Al-Aqsa, a meticulously planned cross-domain offensive that has plunged the Middle East into a severe conflict.

If there was indeed Russian collusion in the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, it would further tarnish Donald Trump’s stance on Russia. Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin, echoed by many other Republicans, is not only ill-advised but also potentially perilous. Aligning with a nation that sponsors terrorism and perpetuates violence should raise red flags for all Americans.

The Russia-Hamas Connection

Hamas, Moussa Abu Marzouk, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s ties to Hamas are well-documented and date back nearly two decades. Since 2006, when Hamas leaders first visited Moscow just weeks after taking power in the Gaza Strip, Russian officials at the highest levels have maintained regular contact with the terrorist group. 

Less than a month before the attack, Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh was in Moscow as a part of a senior delegation for direct talks with the Russian government. According to Anna Geifman, a senior researcher at Bar-Ilan University’s political science department, this meeting was a warning from Russia to Israel that aligning too closely with adversaries of Russia—such as Ukraine—could trigger stronger relations with Israel’s enemies. “The message may be: ‘If you become our enemy, we’re going to deal with your enemies,’”suggested Geifman.

Hamas leaders have made numerous visits to Moscow over the years, meeting with high-level Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. These meetings have included not only Hamas’s political leaders but also senior members of its military wing, such as Husam Badran and Saleh al-Arouri, who have been designated as terrorists by the United States.

To dismiss Russia’s ties to Hamas and Iran as mere coincidence is to ignore the long history of Russia’s relationship with terror. This is, after all, a regime that rose to power on the back of false flag apartment bombings and has never hesitated to use violence, both overt and covert, to achieve its objectives. Let’s be clear: Putin’s Russia is not some neutral actor in this conflict, it is an active enabler of terrorism, providing material support and training to Hamas. 

Russia’s Military Aid to Hamas

Wagner Group in Africa
The Wagner Group in Africa

Beyond the high-level diplomatic contacts between Russia and Hamas, there is growing evidence that Moscow may have provided more direct military support to the terrorist group in the lead-up to the October 7 attack. 

Russian-American security expert Vera Mironova, currently a research fellow at Harvard University, stated that “it was unequivocally orchestrated in conjunction with Moscow.” Shedding light on Putin’s role, she claimed, “While not explicitly commanding an attack on Israel, it was undoubtedly a fully coordinated effort.”

Mironova alleged Russia supplied arms to Hamas through Iran and Syria in order to distance itself from direct involvement in the conflict. In exchange for supplying arms to Hamas, Iran provided Russia with cost-effective kamikaze drones to counter advanced Western defense systems used by Ukraine, such as the US-manufactured MIM-104 Patriot and the Norwegian-made NASAMS.

According to Ukrainian intelligence sources, fighters from the Wagner Group—a Russian private military company with close ties to the Kremlin—were involved in training Hamas militants in assault tactics and the use of small drones to drop explosives in both Belarus and Africa. Additionally, declassified intelligence from the White House confirmed that the Wagner Group was preparing to provide an air defense system to either Hezbollah or Iran. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby highlighted that Wagner’s actions were at the behest of the Russian government, signaling a coordinated effort. 

While the Wagner Group has attempted to cloak itself in a veneer of deniability—claiming to operate independently of the Kremlin—the reality is that the group is nothing more than a tool of the Russian government, carrying out Putin’s dirty work in Ukraine, Syria, and throughout Africa.

There is also evidence that Russia has been supplying Hamas with weapons, either directly or through intermediaries such as Iran and Syria. Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov has stated unequivocally that Russia supplied Hamas with weapons seized from Ukrainian forces, claiming that the sophisticated use of FPV-drones against Israeli armored vehicles bore the unmistakable hallmarks of Russian tactical training.

Millions in Crypto Laundered for Hamas via Russia

garantex russia crypto exchange hamas e1718064754502

In an era of global sanctions, Russia has turned to cryptocurrency to circumvent Western economic pressure. The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas, with Russia’s tacit approval, has been using Russian cryptocurrency exchanges such as Garantex to launder money and fund its terrorist activities. Hamas has received millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency through Garantex alone. 

From Tehran to Moscow: Iran’s Partnership with Russia

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin

To grasp Russia’s role in the October 7 attack, one must consider its deepening alliance with Iran, the principal supporter of Hamas. Over recent years, this partnership has solidified across financial, military, and political spheres, united by a mutual antagonism towards the United States and its allies. 

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the two countries have worked together to evade Western sanctions, with Russia becoming the largest foreign investor in Iran and the two countries establishing direct bank-to-bank connections to facilitate trade.

On the military front, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu traveled to Tehran just two weeks before the October 7 attack to meet with top Iranian security officials and inspect Iranian-built drones and missile systems. During the visit, Shoigu stated that Russia and Iran had been working for months on long-term military cooperation. 

According to reports from Arab media and Iranian opposition sources, there is a significant and far-reaching alliance between the Iran Revolutionary Guard and Hamas. Iran expert Dr. Hassan Hashemian asserted in an interview that planning behind the attack occurred during Qasem Soleimani’s leadership of the Quds Force. He emphasized that the operation’s groundwork, including tunnel construction, weapon procurement, and overall planning, occurred under Soleimani’s tenure, with Ismail Qaani, Soleimani’s successor, executing the operation.

Furthermore, from April to June 2023, Iranian leaders allegedly held clandestine meetings with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and allied groups in Syria and Iran. By August, Quds Force commanders, along with Hamas and Hezbollah representatives, convened regularly in Beirut under the supervision of Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. 

Iran then allegedly gave the “green light” to Hamas, PIJ, and other militant groups to launch the pre-planned attack on Israel, backed by Iranian resources and intelligence. Given the close alliance between Iran and Russia, it is implausible to think that Moscow was unaware of the impending assault. Considering the strategic advantages Russia stood to gain from such an attack, it’s not unreasonable to assume that they assisted Hamas alongside Iran. 

Putin’s Puppet? Trump’s Concerning Affinity for Russia

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, 2018

If the evidence of Russian and Iranian involvement in the October 7 attack is confirmed, it would have serious implications for U.S. policy in the Middle East and beyond. It would underscore the extent to which Russia will use its allies and proxies to destabilize the region and undermine U.S. interests. It would also highlight the significant convergence of interests between Russia and Iran, two of the United States’ most implacable adversaries.

The October 7 attack, and the evidence of Russian and Iranian involvement, also has significant domestic political implications in the United States. For years, former President Donald Trump and many other prominent figures on the right have expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin and sought to downplay the threat posed by Russia. Trump has even praised Putin as a “genius” and has repeatedly sided with Russia over his own intelligence agencies.

In light of the evidence of Russian involvement in the Hamas attack, this coziness with Russia looks even more misguided and dangerous. The continued defense of Putin by Trump and Republicans is not only detrimental but runs counter to American values, painting a picture of disloyalty to the nation’s interests. This situation underscores the urgent call for a bipartisan, vigilant strategy in confronting the threats posed by Russia and other adversarial countries.

Democrats have capitalized on the October 7 attack to highlight the shortcomings of Trump’s foreign policy. They have emphasized his reluctance to challenge Putin and his general aversion to international collaboration as factors that have emboldened America’s adversaries and eroded its global partnerships. 

As new details emerge linking Russia to Hamas, President Biden’s foreign policy—particularly his unwavering support of Ukraine against Russian aggression—has earned additional praise and shows that Donald Trump’s reverence for Vladimir Putin is woefully misguided at best.

Confronting The “Axis of Evil”  

The substantial evidence pointing towards Russia and Iran’s assistance of Hamas underscores the troubling reality of their roles in fostering terrorism and instability in the Middle East. This troubling evidence underscores the perilous nature of these alliances, provoking global concern over their blatant disregard for international norms.

The support provided by Russia and Iran to Hamas in orchestrating such a devastating attack calls into question the credibility of figures like former President Trump and other key Republicans, who have lauded Vladimir Putin while professing allegiance to Israel. This stark contrast between their pro-Putin rhetoric and the reality of Russian support for Hamas reveals a glaring inconsistency. 
The events surrounding the October 7 attack highlight the urgent need for bipartisan unity in addressing the threats posed by Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran, who have come together to form an axis of evil far more dangerous than the one that former President George W. Bush envisioned nearly two decades ago. As these nations align their interests against the U.S. and its allies, it is imperative that our leaders put aside partisan differences and unite to protect the American people against this growing threat.