FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

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.

 

 

More articles by:

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

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail