Friday, May 11, 2007

Hamas failure would be a Salafi victory

For background reading for what follows, take a look at the Conflicts Forum article posted yesterday, called "Blueprint for the third Intifada: America's reverse Midas-touch. The following is an illustration how this will could well be unfolding.

Al-Quds al-Arabi devotes its top story this morning to warnings by a senior Hamas person to the effect that if Hamas continues to be frozen out of Palestinian Authority affairs, the result will be a drift in the direction of the Salafi ideology of AlQaeda which denigrates and rejects the whole idea of this kind of particiption in government. The Hamas official, Yunis al-Astal said:
I don't have conclusive evidence of a presence of AlQaeda in Gaza; what I am saying is that the current political conditions are providing fertile ground for the growth of the ideas of AlQaeda, whether in connection with the specific organization, or not.
The journalist notes Palestinian security arrested seven members of a strict Salafi group earlier this week when they attacked a cultural festival in Gaza which they said included violations of strict Islamic law. And there have been previous attacks on internet cafes and cultural centers, along with statements issued from time to time by unknown groups with statements which (in the words of the reporter) "intersect with the ideas and the spirit of the AlQaeda organization which is led by Osama bin Laden".

It appears that the immediate news-hook for these observations was the deployment of hundreds of Palestinian security personnel at various key points in Gaza at dawn on Thursday , a deployment that the reporter says has triggered controversy about the respective roles of the various Palestinian authorities. The reporter explains:
The minister of the interior Hani al-Qawasami said he thinks this deployment was the result of efforts of "certain officers"; and a government spokesman said [this deployment] was not part of the expected security plan. [On the other hand] Palestinian security sources said this was the start of the security plan, explaining that hundreds of agents were deployed in northern Gaza, and at the entrances to Gaza city and at major street-corners, this being startup for execution of the security plan which is supposed to end the current state of security chaos.
Sure enough, the "controversy" exploded, and by Friday there was street fighting reported beween Fatah and Hamas loyalists.

What is missing from the Western accounts of this is the fact that there is a specific plan being promoted by the Americans to build up the prestige of Abbas, Fatah, and the office of the presidency, in order to sideline Hamas, largely but not entirely based on training and arming of security forces loyal to Fatah. A February-March version of this plan has been published in the Jordanian paper Al-Majd and entirely ignored by the Western media. (See here, and here, for details).

Keeping readers in the dark about US policy, and this plan in particular, helps foster the idea that what happens in Palestine is the spontaneous outbreak of group-rivalries. This obviously helps the Bush administration in two ways: (1) by obscuring the role of US policy in fomenting civil war; and (2) by contributing to the denigration of the Palestinians.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

...the idea that what happens in Palestine is the spontaneous outbreak of group-rivalries.

D'ya think? Gee, where have we heard this idea before? I think this page in the playbook has been overused. People are catching on. At least, some of them are.

4:49 AM  

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