Monday, June 18, 2007

The problem with Palestinians

I still haven't been able to quite wrap my head around what's going on with the whole Hamas take-over of Gaza thing and all the various scenarios this development is going to entail, so I'll just say this about that: At first blush it seems to me that the administration's rush to embrace Abu Mazen is yet another major blunder in the making. As the WaPo quoted Robert Malley saying:

"The less we try to intervene and shape Palestinian politics, the better off we will be, almost every decision the United States has made to interfere with Palestinian politics has boomeranged."

[Of course, that pretty much applies only to W. & Co. doesn't it? I mean, I don't recall every move Clinton, Bush Sr. and Carter made in Palestinian politcs exploding in their faces.]

I don't know what the solution is to this entire mess is, but just deciding to ignore the fact that Palestinians voted for Hamas in a democratic election and coming out now putting the stamp of approval on the newly unelected Fatah "emergency government" in the West Bank can't be a good start.

What little legitimacy Abu Mazen might have enjoyed in the eyes of the Palestinians will also surely be damaged by appearing to be propped up by the US and Israel. And what little ambiguity there was about where all the money and weapons for the Fatah's security arm was coming from is right out there in the open now. Here we go again by backing a fatally weakened "leader," in the al-Maliki/Sinoria mold.

And just as al-Maliki has had his little problem with both condemning and relying on the Madhi army, Mazen has the al-Asqa Martyr Brigades and Islamic Jihad to deal with. It seems to me I saw pictures on the front page of my newspaper showing al-Asqa Brigade types storming the PA parliament a couple of days ago.

Strangely, I'm buying the notion that Abu Mazen is somehow going to have the political capital and or the military might to roll up those two groups. And, obviously, if he isn't capable of keeping these militant off-shoots in check, the Israelis are not likely to view Mazen as a "partner for peace," for very long; especially, if Netanyahu get's into power.

Who knows, maybe another round of the Lebanese war this summer will get everyone's mind off this mind boggling conundrum and we can kick the Palestinian problem down the road for another -- oh, I don't know -- say, 18 months?


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