Monday, June 25, 2007

Hamastan Grooves On, Man

Don’t let em get away
Don’t think they can play
Nail ‘em to the wall
Cause you really need to say
Fascinating stuff....
Mid-East Quartet to debate crisis

Hamas is in full control of the Gaza Strip

The Quartet of Middle East mediators is meeting in Jerusalem to assess the situation in the region, for the first time since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip.
The Quartet - the EU, Russia, the UN and the US - will also discuss making outgoing UK Prime Minister Tony Blair its envoy to the region.

The meeting comes as Hamas said it was ready to talk to its Fatah rivals.

Separately, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said he would ask his government to release 250 jailed Fatah members.

Mr Olmert was speaking at a summit in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh that was also attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan.

The summit was aimed at boosting Mr Abbas and his moderate Fatah movement and isolating his Islamist rivals from Hamas, after their takeover of Gaza nearly two weeks ago.

Oh, boy....where to start?

The US' handprints are all over Hamas' takeover, as the wedge the West drove between Fatah and Hamas has been almost consistently driven into the heart of Palestine since Hamas destroyed Fatah in the parliamentary elections.

Of course, historically, Gaza has been a Egyptian protectorate, and at times Egyptian itself, as the West Bank is historically tied to Jordan, and may again be thtrust into Amman's hands. So, where to look?

Hamas and Hezbollah are increasingly the playthings of a petro-fueled Iran. Iran, for its part, seems to care little of the "Sunni-Shiite" divide as the "enemy of my enemy.." slogan, as long as Hamas keeps up its intent to destroy Israel, Iran will keep the juice flowing. Is this obvious? Well, Hamas and Hezbollah are increasingly moving in tandem, which is interesting considering Hezbollah enemies within Lebanon are Sunni (and Maronite, of course).

Of course jockeying with Iran's middle eastern supremecy are Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Egypt is the real and historical leader, and the most powerful of any state in the region, with the exception of Turkey. Egypt has the army, the connections and the money to extend its power well-beyond its borders, and now faces a recurring problem on its doorstep: Gaza.

Hamas and Egypt share Sunni belief, but are miles apart on secularism. As a race, secular ME states are a dying breed, and will eventually be overtaken by Islamic fundamentalists, intent on a Islamic superstate. It's possible that within a short time, Mubarak will have to attempt a handover, and that will his point of greatest weakness, a time when the Muslim Brotherhood may attack, as they test Assad after his father passed away in Syria. Hamas, of course, is the bleak future of Egypt in a nutshell. A state where the secular forces (Fatah) have fallen victim to zealotry and fundamentalism, and an unfortunate love of violence and religious fascism.

So Mubarak is in a tight spot. How to counteract Iran and her proxies, while attempting to appear independent, unlike the uber poodle Abbas? Egypt, of course, will attempt throught the Arab league to bring in the forces of moderation (aka: Fatah) back to the coast at any cost, while Israel and the west may have other designs. Israel, for its part, would love to divvy up the territories, making them easier to negotiate with Abbas on the one hand, and easier to corner enemies (Hamas) on the other. Placate and negotiate with the West Bank, and possibly handing them back to Jordan, a la pre-69 arrangement.

It's interesting to think that before 1969, the entire Arab world was involved in a joint movement to eradicate Israel, whereas in the modern age, Arafat made it appear as if only the Palestinians were being attacked by Israel. It's a huge difference, when you consider that the Muslim world is so massive in comparison to Israel, but by taking the "conflict" down to a local level, Israel is apparently the big dog in the neighbourhood. That is simply not so. Iran's proxies and the nation states themselves are always in play, whether they are Israel's enemies or not.

I'm not going to speculate how this shakes out, but you can bet that we are in for interesting times.

Here's some pop punk for ya...still like this song for whatever reason:

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