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Why didn't I see this in the NYT/MSNBC/CBS/ABC/ETC. today? | Main | Jimmy Carter On The Palestinian Elections
January 27, 2006

Hamas And Fatah Exchange Ideas About Responsible Governance, With Occasional Automatic Weapon Gunfire

Quoting Karol: Give these people a state, quick!

Hamas and Fatah gunmen exchanged fire on Friday in political turmoil as the long-dominant Palestinian faction was threatened with a violent backlash to its crushing election defeat by the Islamic militant group.

Hamas, whose shock parliamentary election victory changed the face of Palestinian politics and put Middle East peacemaking deeper in limbo, said it would hold talks soon with President Mahmoud Abbas on "political partnership".

But Fatah leaders have rejected a coalition with Hamas and thousands of Fatah supporters, including gunmen firing into the air, marched in the Gaza Strip in protest at the idea. Thousands of Hamas backers celebrated their victory in separate rallies.

The militant al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of Fatah, issued a statement threatening to "liquidate" the faction's leaders if they changed their minds and joined a Hamas-led administration.

Why it's almost like the Constitutional Convention. If I recall correctly, Governeur Morris threatented to "liquidate" anyone who suggested that Congress consist of only one House. He retracted his objections when John Jay kidnapped his son and began sending him severed fingers through the mail.

From Newslinker. Which has more.

Juan Cole, a douchebag of the highest order, writes a gloating piece titled How Do You Like Your Democracy Now, Mr. Bush? As Allah commented when he sent it to me, the left is actually now, officially, anti-democracy.

To answer Mr. Cole, though, I like democracy just fine, even after these vile elections, and I imagine Mr. Bush does as well. People have the right to make their own mistakes. This notion is alien to the leftist mindset, which pays lip-service to democracy but still has the Soviet notion that the masses must be controlled by a ruling elite, lest they err.

The Palestinians have made a horrific choice. Hopefully a few years of civil war, punishing retalitatory airstrikes by Israel, and economic squalor will convince them that war is not the answer. Especially a war they can't win. If not -- well, again, it's not the job of the world, or world leftists, to continue trying to protect them from their own death-cult mentality. Self-determination is vital -- even when that self-determination results in death.

After the jump, I'll quote a little of Cole's piece to spare you the need of patronizing the very patronizing article.

The stunning victory of the militant Muslim fundamentalist Hamas Party in the Palestinian elections underlines the central contradictions in the Bush administration's policies toward the Middle East. Bush pushes for elections, confusing them with democracy, but seems blind to the dangers of right-wing populism.

Hamas is right-wing? Really? Then why is it the darling of the left-wing Guardian UK? And Jimmy Carter?

At the same time, he continually undermines the moderate and secular forces in the region by acting high-handedly or allowing his clients to do so. As a result, Sunni fundamentalist parties, some with ties to violent cells, have emerged as key players in Iraq, Egypt and Palestine.

Nonsense. What Cole means is that he has pressured, for example, Egypt to release political dissidents. He's been somewhat consistent on pushing for democracy, and Cole finds that that "undermines" the moderate, secular, and undemocratic Hosni Mubarrak.

Democracy depends not just on elections but on a rule of law, on stable institutions, on basic economic security for the population, and on checks and balances that forestall a tyranny of the majority. Elections in the absence of this key societal context can produce authoritarian regimes and abuses as easily as they can produce genuine people power. Bush is on the whole unwilling to invest sufficiently in these key institutions and practices abroad.

You can imagine what he means by "invest."

Sorry, Juan, people have to do for themselves. Democracy is the best hope of their achieving their goals. We are not going around the world spending trillions of dollars to build up perfect little socialist utopias before we press for democracy.


But the president's attempt to dismiss the old ruling Fatah Party as corrupt and inefficient, however true, is also a way of taking the spotlight off his own responsibility for the stagnation in Palestine. Bush allowed then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to sideline the ruling Fatah Party of Yasser Arafat, to fire missiles at its police stations, and to reduce its leader to a besieged nonentity. Sharon arrogantly ordered the murder of civilian Hamas leaders in Gaza, making them martyrs.

In other words, he "allowed" Sharon to defend itself against murderous acts of war.

Let's skip the obligatory "it's all Sharon's fault" cant.

In a mystifying self-contradiction, Bush trumpeted that "the Palestinians had an election yesterday, the results of which remind me about the power of democracy." If elections were really the same as democracy, and if Bush was so happy about the process, then we might expect him to pledge to work with the results, which by his lights would be intrinsically good. But then he suddenly swerved away from this line of thought, reverting to boilerplate and saying, "On the other hand, I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform. And I know you can't be a partner in peace if you have a -- if your party has got an armed wing."

This is mystifying only to Juan Cole. Again, just because the Nazis did, in fact, elect Hitler to power (yes, yes, I know, he didn't actually win, but the results of the election gave him enough power to demand the brass ring), doesn't mean the United States was obligated to view Nazi Germany as a "Partner for Peace" in the genocide against Jews and the destruction of half of Europe.

So Bush is saying that even though elections are democracy and democracy is good and powerful, it has produced unacceptable results in this case, and so the resulting Hamas government will lack the legitimacy necessary to allow the United States to deal with it or go forward in any peace process. Bush's double standard is clear in his diction, since he was perfectly happy to deal with Israel's Likud Party, which is dedicated to the destruction of the budding Palestinian state, and which used the Israeli military and security services for its party platform in destroying the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority throughout the early years of this century. As Orwell reminded us in "Animal Farm," some are more equal than others.

The continued insistence that terrorism is precisely equal to legal warfare.


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posted by Ace at 03:22 PM

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