Al Aqsa Brigade, the military elite of the Fatah Party, is responsible for the training and deploying of the 20-year-old suicide bomber who just destroyed a sandwich shop in Tel Aviv.
Islamic Jihad claims credit, because the 20 year old, now indicated as Sami Antar, was an IJ recruit from the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank. However the bomber was entirely handled by Al Aqsa, led by the cadres out of Jenin.
The bombing is said to be the first of waves of bombings directed at testing and weakening new acting Prime Minister Olmert as he demonstrates his Sharonism prowess in the campaign for voting in March.
The bombing is also meant to show that PA President Abbas is a fool and false witness, that Fatah is fractured into many parts, that Al Aqsa is the only vigorous part of the old PLO, that the election next week is the end of Abbas as a politician.
What this means for the U.S. State Department is that the U.S. policy is attached to the losers in the Palestinian Authority. What this means for the Bush Administration is that Olmert will be boxed in by terror bombs and will struggle mightily to prove that unilateral concessions to murder gangs is effective state policy. The Gaza withdrawal last summer was a failure and is now the crux of the imminent triumph of Hamas in the rogue state of Gaza.
I routinely speak with the terror gangs. They do not fear Olmert or Bush or the UN; they are cocky and well financed and aggressive; they mean to grab Gaza, then the West Bank, then Egypt after Mubarak, then the whole of the crescent from Damascus to Cairo. Not apocalyptic thinking, rather tactical and scheduled.
Appeasement from Olmert, appeasement from Bush, appeasement from the EU or the UN or anyone who shows up with an acronym, will fail.
Bomber weather. And you are right this is on the table in Tehran: where do you think Damascus gets the money to feed the gangs?