Welcome to HAMAStan; That's Democracy for you
HAMAS Charter, Article 17:
Therefore, you can see [the Zionists] making consistent efforts [in that direction] by way of publicity and movies, curricula of education and culture, using as their intermediaries their craftsmen who are part of the various Zionist Organizations which take on all sorts of names and shapes such as: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, gangs of spies and the like. All of them are nests of saboteurs and sabotage. Those Zionist organizations control vast material resources, which enable them to fulfill their mission amidst societies, with a view of implementing Zionist goals and sowing the concepts that can be of use to the enemy. Those organizations operate [in a situation] where Islam is absent from the arena and alienated from its people. Thus, the Muslims must fulfill their duty in confronting the schemes of those saboteurs. When Islam will retake possession of [the means to] guide the life [of the Muslims], it will wipe out those organizations which are the enemy of humanity and Islam.
Another fine mess we're in today. Rotary Clubs are marked for death. The Palestinian militant organization HAMAS unexpectedly finds itself in command of the Palestinian Authority, whatever that means these days. Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon lies in a vegetative state, and Israel's Kadima Party is essentially a political platform without any organization behind it.
So within the space of a few weeks, the leading political formations have shifted from Likud + Labor vs. Fatah, to a likely Kadima vs. HAMAS arrangement. No one saw this coming, from the Israeli intelligence services to the high officials of the Terrorist Organizations in Damascus. Only this act of supreme petulance from the Palestinian public could make everyone else look so stupid.
HAMAS was expecting to play the minority spoiler to Fatah. Instead, it's very much like in 1977, when the Likud Party unexpectedly took Israel, even though Likud seemed like an unsavory band with a history of armed gangsterism, and a maximalist view of controlling the Holy Land, as this brilliant piece from Haaretz, "Introducing HAMAS - the New Likud" clearly explains. (In less than a year, Likud PM Menachem Begin cut a Peace Treaty with Egypt and got out of the Sinai. So hardliners can be flexible, let's please remember).
Let us also remember that Israel actually helped build up HAMAS as an anti-Marxist, anti-PLO alternative within the territories in the 1980s. Talk about your golems run amok. In 1978, Begin approved Sheik Yassin's charter that started the HAMAS seed organization Mujama. Raimondo reflects on the irony of this. Robert Dreyfuss explains in this Podcast, as well as Richard Sale in UPI:
"Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel 'aided Hamas directly – the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),' said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic [and International] Studies. Israel's support for Hamas 'was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,' said a former senior CIA official."
Israel was certainly funding the group at that time [in the 1980s]. One U.S. intelligence source who asked not to be named said that not only was Hamas being funded as a "counterweight" to the PLO, Israeli aid had another purpose: "To help identify and channel towards Israeli agents Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists."
Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acquiesce in its very existence.
But even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: "The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place," said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named.
(Does this remind anyone of the CIA-ISI-Taliban connection? Oh wait, it's immoral and paranoid to suggest that intelligence agencies set up Islamic militant organizations. Sorry.)
Well, thanks a lot, George W. Bush. You thought that you could ignore the substance of the Palestinians' calls for a real state in the West Bank and Gaza, you thought that when the United States officially approved of "Israeli population centers" in the West Bank, it was a really fucking shrewd move.
Here's some advice, Mr. President. Fire your advisers. They're all a bunch of fucking morons who have turned most of the world against you. I don't know how much of this is really your fault, but I know that so many of our problems come from their staggering incompetence, and fanatical, ignorant and militant racism towards so much of the world (especially Arabs).
And now, it turns out to be a huge surprise that people in the Middle East will vote for well-organized hard-core theocrats when they get the chance. That's Democracy for you. The Muslim Brotherhood, the root organization from which HAMAS sprang, is now the most powerful opposition in Egypt (with 88 of 454 Parliament seats - and the potential for many more). Hezbollah is decidedly successful in Lebanon.
Lo and behold, in Iraq, the Shiite fundamentalists turned out to be the best organized. Who would have thought that groups like SCIRI and the Dawa Party would be able to marginalize everyone else, and seize control of Iraq's security ministries? Now southern Iraq will effectively be a satellite state of Iran. It was so goddamn predictable that this would happen, and now it has.
But I respect the Israeli public right now. After the madness of the last few years, they are feeling pretty damn raw about life, but according to the polls, they actually seem a lot more sane than the Cheney Administration. Right now, it appears that Kadima would get about 44 seats in the Knesset, Labor about 21, and Netanyahu's Likud around 13. This shows that Netanyahu's dangerous fanaticism has been discredited in Israel, and that's great news. On the other hand, here in the U.S., Netanyahu gets to pimp his racial chauvinism, on, for example, MSNBC's Hardball, saying disgusting things about his future plans:
If we make additional unilateral retreats, they'll simply fire rockets into our airports and Khassam projectiles into our cities and so on. So I think we have to establish a security belt around the Palestinian areas. This doesn't annex any population [LAND?! -Dan], it doesn't do anything except provide for stability and security, which is the first foundation of peace.
...... [MATTHEWS:] And then [Sharon] said the demographic situation, whereby there's so many more Arab people living within the territory under Israeli control that Israel had to avoid becoming a colonizer by stepping back and only claiming land that it where the Jewish people were in the majority. How's your view different?
NETANYAHU: Well no, we didn't disagree on that and I don't want to go back into the Palestinian towns, I don't want to go back to Gaza and I certainly don't want to go back into the Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
I have no intention whatsoever—we won't do that. But the territories that are in dispute are largely empty of Palestinians, or anybody, for that matter. [WHAT A SON OF A BITCH -Dan] Yet they could be used as launching ground for more Hamas terrorist attacks against us.
So I say first of all, provide a security cordon of these largely empty territories. Don't annex and don't re-enter the Palestinian-populated areas. Leave that to the Palestinians.
But build, if you will, a real defensive perimeter around the Palestinians. Tell them that they will be rewarded for peace-making and they will be punished for terror-making. I think that's a pretty sound policy. I practice it as prime minister and I brought terror to its lowest level in the last decade. It wasn't because the Hamas and Arafat became Zionists, believe me, Chris. It was because this policy of strength and deterrence works to restore hope and peace.
Madness. In Israel they don't buy his bullshit anymore, but on American cable news, he's a goddamned patriot. Insane. And of course Matthews doesn't call him on it. Netanyahu has to sell it here because the rest of Israel doesn't trust his shady ass one bit.
"Strength and Deterrence" is pretty much equal to the old neoconservative advice for Netanyahu, telling America that "peace through strength" is the way to victory, as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser advised Netanyahu in the famous 1996 neo-con manifesto, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", which suddenly seems more relevant than ever. Oh, by the way, let me put what Feith wrote in June 1996, according to the "Peace through Strength" Neo-con Center for Security Policy:
Likud's position on settlements reflects the peace-through-strength principle. The diplomacy of Israel's outgoing Labor Party government confirmed a lesson with long roots in Zionist history: Israel is unlikely over time to retain control over pieces of territory unless its people actually live there. Supporters of settlements reason: If Israelis do not settle an area in the territories, Israel will eventually be forced to relinquish it. If it relinquishes the territories generally, its security will be undermined and peace will therefore not be possible.
(So that was the intellectual foundation of the key architect of the Iraq war. Feith also made lots of money as a lawyer for Israeli arms dealers with his settler/partner Marc Zell, but that's a tangent. The Occupation is profitable for some interests — a crucial point always missed)
I find it amazing that now Bush says he won't talk to the Palestinians until they swear off violence. We should say that we won't talk to the French until they ban croissants, won't talk to the Afghans until they swear off narcotics, won't talk to Wisconsin until they destroy the cheese, won't talk to the Pentagon until it swears off corrupt contracts, won't talk to the Chinese until they quit trading goods, won't talk to Iran until they stop being Iran, won't talk to the Israelis until they swear off building their FUCKING INSANE settlements. Sorry, why the fuck don't people get it?
George W. Bush, you need to actually be a Man for once in your life, and go talk to these people personally. Get everyone in a tent in the desert, lock it down and give everyone tea until there's a peace deal. Why the fuck is it considered so brave to refuse to talk to people, like some pissy teenager?
I would like to throw in an additional FUCK YOU to Bob Shrum, who bears a lot of personal responsibility for this disaster. On the same Hardball episode, Shrum, who was John Kerry's senior campaign director, offered the following enlightened bit:
Well I think we have to be realists about this. I mean, democracy has led in the Palestinian territories now to the rise of Hamas. And I thought Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on your show just a few minutes ago, did a very good job of giving his basic stump speech, which is “I told you so, I told you so, I told you so.”
I think you're going to see the Kadima party of Sharon move to the right, there's a very real prospect that Netanyahu is going to win [wrong yet again, you idiot. -Dan] because Israelis are going to say, “Why in the world should we negotiate with or make any kind of settlement with people who only want to negotiate our destruction? Why should we turn over territory to people who are going to let Hamas use it as a base from which to launch terrorist attacks?”
I will always bitterly remember the day in 2004 that Bush declared that "Israeli population centers" in the West Bank were a fabulous fucking idea. My bitterness doubled when the Kerry campaign chimed in, "Oh yeah, that's a great fucking idea," because Bob Shrum is too much of a racist to understand that the settlements are a principal source of hatred towards America in the Middle East. And too much of a coward to even dare trying to have Kerry explain this to the American people.
And so now the flyers of the green flags have seized the territories through legitimate democratic methods.
Way to go, you geopolitical geniuses, you guys are so fucking smart. We invaded Iraq to make Iran more powerful, we paid Israel to build settlements to make apocalyptic American Christian Zionist fundamentalists and their fanatical Likud friends happy. Now we are broke, the U.S. Army is wedged between Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'a as low-level ethnic cleansing breaks out, the Iranians are happily building the Bomb, our Afghan allies are pumping out most of the world's heroin, and everyone in the world hates us.
Thanks, Washington. Obviously no one is as smart as the War Party.