HAMAS' INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY WORKS
By Dr. Michael Rubin
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lauded the election process, but condemned its victors. "You cannot have one foot in politics and the other in terror," she explained. "Our position on Hamas has therefore not changed."
Nor did Hamas change. To mark the six-month anniversary of its election the group staged a cross border attack on Israel, killing two soldiers and kidnapping 19-year-old Israeli Defense Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit. Hamas continues to endorse missile strikes on Israeli civilians. And, despite Haniyeh's calls for dialogue with Fatah, Hamas stewardship has led to daily clashes with rival Palestinian factions.
Blame for the violence lies not only in Gaza and Ramallah, but also in Riyadh and Tehran. Hamas is not autonomous. Saudi donors helped launch the group in 1987 and provided a steady flow of cash until at least 2004. In October 2002, the World Association of Muslim Youth made Khalid Meshaal, the Hamas Political Bureau Chief and an unapologetic advocate of terrorism, a guest-of-honor at its annual convention in Riyadh. After Saudi authorities, worried about blowback, cracked down on funding Sunni extremists, Iranian authorities picked up the slack. Canadian intelligence estimates that Tehran provides Hamas up to $18 million per year and welcomes Hamas fighters into its Revolutionary Guards training camps.
So where does Hamas stand a year into its tenure? As a governing force, it has failed. While Hamas leaders say they do not have money to pay civil servants, they find sufficient cash to conduct military operations. Where Hamas has succeeded, though, is in convincing some governments that it now deserves legitimacy. First, there was Turkey, which, under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is more Middle Eastern than European. Less than a month after Hamas' election win, Erdogan invited Meshaal to Ankara. A European Union travel ban collapsed soon after when the Swedish government offered Hamas Minister Atef Adwan a visa. It was not long before European officials and many non-governmental organizations insisted that the Western world had an obligation to fund Palestinian relief, even though, with money fungible, such assistance mitigated pressure upon Hamas and enabled it to spend more on weapons.
European equivalence signals Hamas' sponsors that their strategy works. Europe's rhetoric may be strong, but its resolve is weak. An Arab boycott of Israel can last more than half a century, but the West's boycott of terrorist groups cannot last a month. Saudi princes and Iranian revolutionary foundation managers understand they should ignore Brussels and perhaps even Washington and continue to launch, fund, and sustain groups that embrace terrorism and eschew the rule of law, constitutionalism, and democracy.
Washington, however, has given Hamas and its radical sponsors perhaps their greatest victory. Not only did the Bush administration fail to insist that forfeiture of armed political party militias should be among the ground rules for legitimate democratic participation, thus allowing a Trojan horse into the election, but, once the scale of Hamas' victory became known, the White House rewarded Middle Eastern terrorist groups and their sponsors with an effective abandonment of the Bush constitutional democracy agenda.
Whereas Rice once spoke about the need for constitutional democracy and political reform at the American University of Cairo, in her recent trips to Egypt, she has appeared beside Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and said hardly a word about reform. Neither the U.S. State Department nor the U.S. Ambassador in Cairo has spoken about the arson attack on the Ghad Party headquarters, the kangaroo court conviction of its leader Ayman Nour, Mubarak's postponement of municipal elections or the videos of Egyptian police torturing dissidents, videos that surfaced in November, 2006, after thieves stole several police officers' cell phones at a wedding reception. The State Department has quietly squirreled away and diverted funding to support Iranian democracy and no longer, in practice, supports reform in Saudi Arabia. Fathi al-Jahmi remains imprisoned in Libya, where five Bulgarian nurses also face a firing squad.
Arab states and Iran have used Hamas to revert to a comfortable state of affairs in which they pay rhetorical heed to Palestinian political demands but, in practice, are indifferent. They fund terrorism that prolongs conflict and causes the Palestinians to further spiral into a morass. Their investment in Hamas has paid huge dividends. It will not end the Jewish state but, for the region's kings, hereditary presidents and ayatollahs, it sidetracks the far more worrisome agenda of democratization, reform, and accountability.
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
American Foreign Policy -- Constitutional Democracy:
U.S. Promotion of Constitutional Democracy in Foreign Countries
Islamism & Jihadism -- Radical Islam & Islamic Terrorism
Page Three Page Two Page One
International Politics & World Disorder:
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Dr. Michael Rubin, a Ph.D. in History (Yale University) and a specialist in Middle Eastern politics, Islamic culture and Islamist ideology, is Editor of the Middle East Quarterly and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Dr Rubin is author of Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami's Iran (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001) and is co-author, with Dr. Patrick Clawson, of Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). Dr. Rubin served as political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad (2003-2004); staff advisor on Iran and Iraq in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense (2002-2004); visiting lecturer in the Departments of History and International Relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2001-2002); visiting lecturer at the Universities of Sulaymani, Salahuddin, and Duhok in Iraqi Kurdistan (2000-2001); Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1999-2000); and visiting lecturer in the Department of History at Yale University (1999-2000). He has been a fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, the Leonard Davis Institute at Hebrew University, and the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.
The foregoing article by Dr. Rubin was originally published in Bitterlemons International, February 8, 2007, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * France
Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor