Monday, June 25, 2007

The Downward Spiral

The jihadis remain threats even as the tide has turned against them. Arab rulers and the Arab people increasingly see the jihadis as threats to their own rule or lives.

It was fun for Arab autocrats when the jihadis just wanted to kill Jews or Americans. It was a convenient distraction from the reality that the autocrats were responsible for the mess these countries were in. Since 9/11, even the autrocrats have found reason to battle the jihadis in their own countries rather than tolerate them safely assuming the jihadis would only strike Jews and Americans

And now, the old reliable Palestinians have betrayed the trust that the Arab world placed in them to only hate Jews. The jihadis see Hamas as a potential ally:

Al-Qaida's deputy leader called on Muslims around the world to back Hamas with weapons, money and attacks on U.S. and Israeli interests in a Web audiotape Monday, urging the Palestinian militant group to unite with al-Qaida's "holy warriors" after its takeover of Gaza.

Hamas used to just hate Jews but Iranian money convinced them that there were so many more to hate, including Arabs. So it doesn't even matter if Hamas rejects al Qaeda or continues to embrace Iran. And Arab rulers have noticed the shift:

On Tuesday, Mubarak is to meet with Saudi King Abdullah in Sharm el-Sheik, seeking to unify an Arab front behind Abbas.

Mubarak is afraid a Hamas-ruled Gaza on his country's border could embolden Egypt's own banned Islamic opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, and spawn terror attacks. Abdullah is afraid the Fatah-Hamas conflict could spread to the West Bank and spill over to neighboring Jordan, where about half the population is Palestinian.

And both, along with Saudi Arabia, are afraid Gaza could become a forward position for their regional foe, Iran.
And now al Qaeda bids for the alliance of Hamas (assuming the Zawahiri call for alliance is not made with the cooperation of Tehran in the first place). While I think a failing Hamas could be a good lesson for Palestinians in the long run, with Iranian support and jihadi hatred, Hamas Gaza will be a threat in the short run.

Yet simply overthrowing the Hamas government wouldn't help even if we could do it. The Gazans are too far gone for such a simple solution, and like they did under a Fatah government or under a joint government, Hamas would wage war on Israel whether they run Gaza or simply operate in Gaza. The people of Gaza (and the West Bank to a lesser degree) are simply too obsessed with killing Jews rather than building their lives:

This is not a failure of the Bush diplomacy, the disorder now on full display in Gaza and the West Bank. This is the harvest of Palestinian history. What we see is the inevitable fate of a national movement given over to the cult of the gun.
As we force the Arab world to confron the reality of the myth of jihad, we reduce the support the jihadis find in the Arab world. So we must push Hamas to fail in order to reduce the zeal that Gazans have for their beloved jihad. Only then can we hope that the Palestinians will elect good men. And maybe other people will get the idea, too. Democracy is the solution--eventually--and not the problem.

Unless you think the solution to the cult of the gun is just a question of who controls the gun. That wouldn't be very progressive of you at all.