Hamas officially took control of the PA yesterday and the U.S. now says it won't deal with any agency in the government. They're terrorists, you see, wouldn't be prudent. (Now we really have an excuse not to deal with the Middle East peace process.) I'm just wondering about the apparent double standard here. I mean, how many people has Hamas killed in the past year compared to the Shiite militias in Iraq? Hamas has maintained a ceasefire with Israel for over a year and after being democratically elected by a large majority of the Palestinian people, they managed to very efficiently form a government in about two months.
No one is saying that Hamas is some great enlightened Jeffersonian operation that is being victimized by the Israelis ---far from it ---but they are the party in control, they have the support of the Palestinians and, at the very least, they're a lot less corrupt than Mamoud Abbas' Fatah party. International donors can be more or less assured that their financial aid is actually going to the poor and not winding up in Swiss bank accounts.
By contrast, the new Shiite majority in Iraq ---after over three months pointless point scoring and non productive squabbling --- have just announced they're not going to lift a finger to form a government because they're mad at us for an attacking one of Moqtada al-Sadr's militia compounds. This is the same Moqtada al-Sadr who killed a fellow cleric and waged two rebellions against us that caused the lives of dozens of U.S. troops. They're mad at us!
One of PM Jaafari's top spokesmen, Haydar al-Abdadi, went so far as to imply that the U.S. was responsible for the hundreds of mutilated bodies with bullets in the back of their heads popping up all over Iraq. He seems to think there are Iraqi army units solely under our control that are going around abducting Sunnis and killing them. Naturally, it couldn't be militias associated with the main Shiite political parties doing all this right under the noses of Iraq's democratically elected leaders. No way!
Back to Palestine:
After thirty years of brutal occupation, intifadas, suicide bombings and other acts of man's inhumanity to man, there is a chance that things may be going in the right direction in the Palestinian/Israeli "peace process." Instead of following Israel's lead, who once again is claiming they have no peace partner, we should use our influence to get both sides to moderate. Cutting off one side and just allowing the Israelis to unilaterally set the borders and do whatever the hell else they want to do, isn't going to lead to a lasting peace. Once and for all we should tell the Israelis that they can't pick and choose who they will and won't talk to. For better or worse, Hamas is there now. If Sharon had made even the slightest effort to work with Abbas, or we had insisted that he did, we wouldn't be in this position of having to deal with Hamas.
Back to Iraq:
Meanwhile in Iraq, it looks like they're on there way to thirty years of suicide bombings and even more brutal acts of man's inhumanity to man. W. & Co. really screwed the pooch by backing the religious fanatics. By L. Paul Bremer going along with Ayatollah ali-Sistani's approach to elections in an effort to quickly get out of this quagmire, he only hastened the breaking up of the country up into religious and ethnic blocs. Redressing centuries of wrongs done to the Shiites at the hands of the Sunnis and establishing majority rule is all well and good, except in a place like Iraq.
The BBC reported today that there may be as many as 30,000 Iraqis on the move in the country. Sunni and Shiites are moving from their homes in mixed neighborhoods into refugee camps and into the homes of their families in order to keep from getting killed by the various rampaging militias bent on cleansing those neighborhoods. Once this process is over, then the politicians can demarcate their green lines and get on with their civil war in earnest.
But all of this is something future Iraqi leaders and U.S. presidents can deal with. W. will have his presidential library fully stocked with picture books by the time things are settled in Iraq.