FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Legitimacy, Toujours Legitimacy

by WILLIAM S. LIND

Over the past several weeks, another state has failed. In this case it was a proto-state, the Palestinian Authority. Following a Hamas coup in Gaza, the PA has been reduced to the West Bank, while a non-state, Fourth Generation entity now rules in Gaza. Here we see the setting for a head-on clash between states and a non-state force, Hamas. How it turns out may be an important indicator for the development of Fourth Generation War theory.

On the surface, the PA and its governing party, Fatah, seem to hold all the cards. Both Arab governments and the international community have rushed to support Fatah. Money, lots of it, will quickly flow into Fatah’s coffers. The PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, is to meet today in a prestigious regional summit with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah of Jordan, and even Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It is clear what side states are on.

Hamas and Gaza, in contrast, are effectively under siege. People cannot get out of Gaza, and most goods, beyond a trickle of food and medicine supplied by NGOs, cannot get in. Fatah is moving to cut off the cash going to Hamas, by requiring all non-governmental groups in its territory to get new operating licenses. It is safe to say Hamas’s application will get lost in the mail.

Steven Erlanger of the New York Times described the states’ strategy in a piece printed in the June 17 Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The idea is to concentrate Western efforts and money on the occupied West Bank, which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction control, in an effort to make it the shining model of a new Palestine that somehow will bring Gaza, and the radical Islamic group Hamas, to terms.

To this grand ambition, Fourth Generation theory says, lots of luck.

It may work to some extent in the short term, if the people in the West Bank actually see some improvement in their conditions. Given the corruption of Fatah, that mayor may not happen, however much money states pour in. But in the long run, 4GW theory is betting on Hamas. The reason, as always, is the core of the Fourth Generation phenomenon: legitimacy.

Nothing could do more to de-legitimize Fatah and PA President Abbas than open support from Israel and the United States. Such open support may have played a role in Fatah’s defeat in Gaza. Some months ago, the U.S. publicly announced a major grant, in the millions of dollars, to Fatah’s armed forces. That allowed Hamas to call those forces a “Jew-American army” during the fighting in Gaza. How many Gaza residents, one wonders, wanted to support an army paid by America?

The Bush administration, as usual, refuses to learn. It is now busy undermining Fatah’s legitimacy in the West Bank. According to a piece in the June 20 Plain Dealer by LA Times reporter Paul Richter, describing Israeli Prime Minister’s White House visit last week,

The leaders (Bush and Olmert), appearing before a White House meeting, praised Abbas as a moderate and a democratically elected leader (the last Palestinian election was actually won by Hamas), and said they will work with him against his rivals in the militant Hamas movement. ….

Bushpraised Salam Fayyad, chosen by the Palestinian president this week as prime minister, as a “good fella.”

One can almost hear what is left of Fatah’s legitimacy gurgle away into the sands of the desert.

Here we see displayed in all its naked glory what may be the main reason the state cannot stem its crisis of legitimacy: it refuses to perceive it. As Martin van Creveld said to me years ago, “Everyone sees it except the people in the capital cities.” By rushing to embrace Abbas and Fatah, with money as well as praise, Bush and Olmert may help them at the physical level of war, but at the moral level, it is the kiss of Judas. The gnostic gospel of Judas suggests that he, too, saw himself as a saint.

Speaking of the course of the Fatah-Hamas struggle to date, Steven Erlanger wrote in the previously-mentioned piece,

Both the United States and Israel are reeling from the rapid and ignominious collapse of Fatah in Gaza in recent days, despite significant injections of U.S. political and military advice and aid.

Until Washington comprehends that Fatah’s defeat was it least in part because of, not despite, that open advice and aid, we should expect to continue to reel, if not in the short term then certainly in the long.

WILLIAM S. LIND, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

 

 

WILLIAM S. LIND, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail