Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gone and Beyond

Since the 2006 election that saw Hamas take power in the Palestinian Authority the US has adopted a policy of dividing the politically unsavory victors from the "new" and moderate Fatah. By severing monetary aid and conducting exclusive diplomatic talks with Fatah, the US policy finally succeeded, though not likely in a desired fashion. The PA is, today, effectively two failed states as President Mahmoud Abbas has fled to Ramallah in the West Bank where he has re-established his government and replaced acting Hamas member Ismail Haniyeh with a Fatah Finance Minister Salam Fayyad. Fayyad's appointment has led to cries of coup from Gaza's Hamas and overshadowed any hope of unity.

Certainly both factions bear the brunt of responsibility for this collapse. Both parties have regularly put the interests, ideologies and philosophies of their own ahead of the common goal; realizing a cohesive Palestinian state. However, the diplomatic actions of both the US and Europe have served to pour fuel on what has become a wildfire.

First, the shallow ideology that places democracy at the heart of stability without regard to the existing socio-economic conditions. The framework for a successful democracy (read: one that falls in line with our western vision) is based upon many preconceptions that are, apparently, lost upon those that enact American foreign policy. A solid economic foundation in the form of a "middle class," political definition within a government, and the ability of said government to project security for the people are a few of the more important structural elements that define "democracy" as we know and love it. The PA (nor Iraq for that matter) did not and certainly now, does not contain any of these basic principles. In short, if your encouraging democracy in what is a failed or not yet attained state, be careful what you wish for. Even if America's most famous peanut farmer is watching intently.

Second, the myopic policy of ignoring the popular winner of the 2006 election on the basis of they being a "terrorist" group. Such decision shows zero regard or, perhaps, zero care for the will of the people who voted in such an election. Such a decision shows absolute ignorance of Fatah founder, Yasser Arafat and his corrupt 40 years of rule and how he funneled foreign aid from both sympathetic Arab and western states into his own coffers. Meanwhile, Hamas took on the task of societal guardian in much the same fashion of Hezbollah after the Israeli war of last summer. By providing basic societal needs along with an incredibly strong pro Palestinian (and anti-Semitic) political visage Hamas grabbed hearts and minds as Fatah grabbed dollars and cents.

The most basic principal of human rights isn't the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms or the right to domain. It is the want of security or stability and this need proclaimed itself quite clearly in 2006 when the Palestinians launched Hamas from "resistance" or "terrorist" to ruling political faction. American foreign policy kicked this want aside and wished for utopia rather than reality. When it received reality it threw a tantrum and buried any possibility of resolve in mountains of sanctimonious finger wagging and monetary control. The end result finds us here, with a divided state of affairs between the Gaza and West Bank territories.

The silver lining will likely be an excited SecState Rice visiting the new territory of West Bank and hammering out a deal that entails co-existence but ignores the spirit of the Palestinian people and continues to mitigate the overtly popular Hamas.

Note to Sec. Rice: Engage Hamas in the same fashion the British should have and did engage Sin Fein...


Anonymous said...

Agreed. The presence of the Al-Qaeda inspired militants in Gaza and elsewhere alone should make us feel there is some ground to negotiate with Hamas.

Jay@Soob said...

Thanks Eddie. As far as elsewhere, I'd add the recent AQ insurrection in a Palestinian "camp" in Lebanon.

While Hamas is, in effect, an extension of the Eqyptian founded Muslim brotherhood and the presence of al Zawahiri (an "expat" of said MB) invites one to simply lump Hamas and AQ together such is not the case. The sooner the "West" realizes the ideological divisions (indeed, even begins to understand the enemy) among the vast network of "terrorism" the sooner they'll start successfully addressing it and the political crisis wrapped around it.