Not a Bad Thing After All.
By Ali Sina
The victory of the Hamas, a group listed as
terrorists by the
, and pretty much everyone, except of course other rouge regimes such as
the Iranian mullahs, has shocked the world.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted: “I don't know anyone who
wasn't caught off guard by Hamas’ strong showing”.
Meeting in London, the diplomatic Quartet on Middle East peace,
consisting of US, EU, Russia and UN, pledged to keep money flowing into
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas's interim caretaker administration
meanwhile, until Hamas forms its government in three months.
But the Quartet warned that the Palestinians' critical lifeline of
foreign aid that amounts to one billion dollars a year, could be lost
unless Hamas abandons violence, recognises Israel, honors the agreements
reached by the PA and embraces the diplomatic road map to peace.
Hamas however called this “blackmail”.
A senior Hamas leader, Ismail Haniya, appealed on Monday to the Quartet
to meet the Hamas leaders for "a dialogue without preliminary
conditions and in a spirit of neutrality".
Things seem to be reaching an impasse. It seems that the road map to
peace is now ashes in the wind. It
would be ludicrous for the
and EU to enter into dialogue with an organization that considers
terrorism a legitimate means of operation.
However things are not as bad as they look. Two things could happen and
both are good.
One is that the Hamas’ leaders find a face saving way to recognize
’s right to exist and give up violence. This would be the ideal
scenario, which many hope would happen. The advantage of this is that
Hamas can deliver what its rival al Fatal could not, and that is the guarantee
that a ceasefire would be respected.
But the main advantage of Hamas as the government is that now the enemy
has a real face. Now the PA can be held responsible if the suicide
missions in the
continue and punished accordingly. What gives the terrorist their power is
their anonymity. Ironically the terrorists are powerful because they are
cowards. Their strength comes from the fact that they can hit and hide.
Once they become the government, they can hide no more and lose their
Paradoxically, by winning, Hamas is weakened. A suicide attack in
will not be seen as an act of terrorism anymore but as an act of war,
which would leave
’s hands free to strike militarily at any target in
. Hamas leaders are not stupid (at least not to this degree). They know
the difference between operating a terrorist organization and an army.
They can be successful as terrorists, but as an army, they will be
squished in matter of hours.
Would Hamas eventually recognize the right of
to exist? I would say yes. But I am not going to bet on it. After all we
are talking about Muslims and there is an element of obstinacy and
unpredictability when you deal with them.
But let us be practical. If the money does not flow in from outside,
how would the Hams pay the salaries of the policemen, the clerks, the
teachers, or the bus drivers? Hamas receives a lot of aid from other
Islamists, with which they financed their soup kitchens, schools and
hospitals. Those operations were intended to gain the loyalty and the vote
of the people – a stratagem, which obviously has worked. They learned
this from their Iranian co-ideologists when they staged their revolution
in 1979. The Islamic “charities” are for gaining the support of the
masses and enlist them in the Islamists cause. This is how they are
Now, running a government is entirely a different ball game. This is
expensive business. Where the Hamas is going to get the one billion
dollars needed to pay the bills?
is one possible source. But remember that the Iranian government is
extremely unpopular among its own people. Despite the propaganda, this
government is not elected by the people. The candidates were decided for
them. The choices were between Rafsanjai, a cleric cum business mogul,
corrupt to his bone marrow and hated by everyone, and an unknown younger
candidate without the clerical robe, of whom the Iranians knew nothing. So
they voted for the unknown hoping for the best. As it turned out, the
unknown was even worse than the known. It is better to have a thief as the
president than a lunatic religious nutcase, with messianic vision of the
Ahmadinejad was born to a very poor and low class worker family. This
Mr. Nobody is suddenly the president of the country. Sudden power has made
his head swell and now he really believes to be a divine instrument to
bring the end of the world and haste the advent of the “hidden Imam”,
which according to a saying of Muhammad would
come when Muslims kill the Jews. This guy is crazy. He scares even the