FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Arab Democacy American-Style … or How to Lose a 4th Generation War

by FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY

It is well established that Menachem Begin’s Likud government of Israel helped to give birth to Hamas by giving it financial aid in the late 1970s in order to provide the Palestinians with a Islamic alternative that would offset and weaken the secular PLO. Israel’s goal was to use a divide and conquer strategy to make it easier to control the Arab territories it grabbed in the 1967 war.

With the election of Hamas to control of the Palestinian parliament, long term effects of the seeds planted by that strategy are now seen to have backfired spectacularly, a debacle not unlike the blowback from the secret aid the CIA provided to the radical Islamists, including Osama bin Laden, who were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

What to do?

More of the same, apparently. According to a recent report in the Sunday Times [UK], the US, Israel, and the PLO are now conspiring in a secret strategy to undo the results of what appears to have been a fair election, because they do not like the results.

It was obvious that news of this kind of cynical conspiracy had to leak — probably by Israelis in this case, because the leak works so obviously to further Israel’s interests, to wit: it discredits the PLO further, it drives the US deeper into the Israeli camp by increasing its alienation from the Arab world, and it increases the resistance of Hamas.

Together, these effects will work to continue the conflict and to justify the continuing occupation of the West Bank on the basis of “security” requirements. They also have the added benefit of making it easier to garner more blind support from the religious right in the US.

The PLO looks especially bad, because the leak that it is working secretly with the Israelis comes on same day as Israel’s decision to suspend monthly payments of around $50 million in customs and tax receipts it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority under an economic protocol established in 1994. “This is a measured response that sends a message to the incoming Hamas leadership,” said Mark Regev, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman. [Financial Times, Feb 19, 2006]

A smarter grand strategy for the United States would be to learn from past mistakes and give Hamas some room to work things out, including their governing policy toward Israel. If Hamas refuses to moderate its position regarding Israel’s existence, then that decision should be its free choice — and the more obvious its its freedom in making that choice the more moral leverage we have in dealing with them.

But instead, Ameica is used to paint Hamas into corner. Hamas will have no choice but to resist both rhetorically and ultimately by action, perhaps by restarting its suicide bombing campaign. That resistance will increase its moral authority among the disaffected Palestinian masses supporting Hamas.

Even worse, the mismatch between America’s moral pretensions and its actions will bring into sharp relief the bankruptcy of our rhetoric about freedom and democracy, not to mention our support for a Palestinian state. So, once again, it looks we are setting the stage for a mutual amplification of tensions and continuation of the conflict … and more blowback that will further moral isolation of America.

And at the end of the day, the world will be left with yet another example of US policy being complicit in helping the Israeli right wing to entrench itself domestically, while it systematically weakens the effectiveness and legitimacy any Palestinian government (remember how the Likud weakened PLO after Israel became its partner Oslo “peace” process).

The Israeli right will then use the never-ending instability and conflict to continue its permanent expansion into the West Bank, where, it should not be forgotten, Israel gets one third of the fresh water needed to support is water-starved economy.

Franklin Spinney is a former Pentagon analyst and whistleblower. His writing on defense issues can be found on the invaluable Defense in the National Interest website.

 

 

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail