Thursday, December 28, 2006

Forces of Peace

Initially, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas denied that arms were being transferred to presidential security forces but that transfer has indeed occurred. Egypt, through Israel, has now sent 2000 assault rifles and 2 million rounds of ammunition to Abbas security forces in an effort to bolster Fatah's position in its conflict with Hamas. As this is sure to only escalate hostilities among Palestinian factions, bemusement is the order of the day when looking at the headline that accompanies this story in Ha'aretz:
Fatah arms transfer bolsters forces of peace
This from an IDF official who no doubt would also call Israel's killing of 660 Palestinians this past year -- mostly civilians and children -- a peaceful effort. Despite the fatuous media bromide, what we're seeing is an effort on the part of the western agencies and their proxies to further agitate a potential civil war among the Palestinians, a situation that Israel is probably salivating about. It is always much more efficient when you can get your enemy to kill each other rather than having to do it yourself. It further means that even the weak international remonstration of Israel is also ameliorated; hey, they're shooting each other, it ain't our fault.

Since Israel does not consider Hamas a party to be dealt with -- not entirely without justification -- Abbas has been in the good graces of Ehud Olmert, who recently released $100 million directly to Abbas, mostly designed as an effort to bring Abbas back into the good graces of Palestinian voters; a bribe in other words. All of this is in concert with Abbas recent call for early elections, which Hamas labeled a "coup." After months of brutal punishment of the civilian population for voting the wrong the way, Israel, the EU and the US have re-embraced Abbas as the one who can lead Palestinians to peace with Israel and have exacted any number of harsh measures to ensure that, this time, the Palestinians vote the "right way."

Why don't we just call this what it is: the EU, Israel, the US and other western proxies (Egypt) are funding and arming an insurgency against a democratically elected government and punishing the Palestinian public for their uncomfortable choice. Historically, this is hardly unusual. But it has rarely been done so openly and with the media happily labeling it as something else, something legitimate. And it lends nothing but an air of farce to the policy of spreading "freedom and democracy" to the Middle East.

Indeed, as everyone lauds Gerald Ford in his passing, he was one who cautioned against such a policy; that is might produce results inimical to US interests:
Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people. Whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what's in our national interest. And I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security.
Either you support democracies as your policy says you should, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, or stop spouting off about the value of democracy and trying to bring to democracy to places you ought to know will not vote favourably in US interests. And in the Middle East, that is quite a large segment of the region -- most of it, in fact. This sounds extremely cynical -- and it is -- but it has also been the foreign policy of the United States for decades.

The real problem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Bush gained office has been the near unilateral backing Israel has received from the US at the expense of Palestinian interests. The Palestinians, sensing this biased re-alignment, decided that they had to take care of themselves and that Hamas was the party that would do that. The decision about whether Hamas was capable of that or not should have been left to the Palestinians themselves without the economic sanctions, assassinations, kidnappings, invasion and arms dealing that we have seen since Hamas was elected. I suspect that Hamas' intransigence on its Israel position would have been enough to indicate that an Hamas government was going nowhere. We should have had the patience to simply let them play out their time while the population grew disenchanted with a lack of progress, rather than stomping all over the Palestinians, which now I fear has only hardened them further.

It took the American public six years of disastrous Bush policy before an electoral repudiation came to pass. Democracy takes awhile and that is something that the Bush administration has never understood nor cares to understand. We can seen this playing out in Iran right now, with an election that indicated the Iranian people are fed up with Amedinijad's hard-line position. But Bush and his neo-con hit men are unwilling to wait for the democratic pendulum to swing back to the middle in Iran They have long believed that democracy should produce instantly gratifying results. It is the belief of people who have no understanding of the very institution they claim they are promoting.

Consider the dreadful result of a Bush presidency; that alone should dispel anyone of the notion that democracy always yields the best result. But, in time, it can be corrected.

[hat tip to Kel for the arms deal story.]


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