As most of you know by now the flag of Hamas (shown at the left) is now flying over Gaza. Hamas militants have smashed all the Fatah bases in the coastal enclave and effectively seized total control. Almost a month ago, I warned that taking sides in the emerging civil war between Hamas and Fatah was probably not a good idea because:
Ultimately, Hamas will probably win this struggle because their followers are more radicalized and fanatical. Then, we will have an implacably hostile entity to deal with for decades to come in the Palestinian territories.
Well, Hamas has now won, in Gaza at least.
The Bush administration's involvement in these unfolding events has been something of a comedy of errors from the very beginning. They refused to deal with Yaser Arafat (remember him?) and demanded that the Palestinian Authority hold free elections. The Palestinian people spoke their mind in the elections by supporting Hamas and sticking their purple-stained fingers in George Bush's face.
Bush promptly ignored the will of the Palestinian people and unleashed a program designed to topple the duly-elected democratic government through a policy of diplomatic isolation and economic strangulation. The US threatened to freeze the assets of any financial institution that attempted to transfer money to the Palestinian Authority. We funneled supplies and financial aid to Fatah while the Israelis supplied weapons and helped trans-ship Fatah fighters across their territory into Gaza.
All of which of course backfired ingloriously right in our face. Undoubtedly the assistance that Fatah received from the Americans and the Israelis proved instrumental in Hamas' victory. They were easily able to portray Fatah as traitors and stooges of the Americans and the Jews. Hamas won the battle of Gaza for the same reasons that they won the election: they are better organized, more disciplined and dedicated and less riddled by corruption than Fatah. The common view among the residents of Gaza, is that Fatah is nothing more than a corrupt grouping of criminal gangs.
One Gaza resident summed it up this way reported by the Guardian:
What is there to say?' asked Mahdi al-Shala, a resident of Rafah on Gaza's southernmost tip, wearily. 'Fatah were no match for Hamas even if they had more men. First they killed the Fatah men and stole their weapons, then they took control of the streets. Now we are all Hamas. There was fighting. And now Fatah is finished, and Hamas has everything. It has the streets. Hamas has the guns. It will stay quiet now.'
One can only wonder what the Keystone Cops in the Bush Admnistration are dreaming up right now to deal with this unfolding disaster. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will blow up in their faces and ultimately work to strengthen the forces of Islamic extremism in the Middle East.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!