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August 24, 2006
The Birth Of The Caliphate? Nice Try

Fatah leaders will conference for the next three days in Jordan to determine their relationship with Hamas. However, by the time they have that figured out, they will return to a Gaza that will be the seat of the new Caliphate -- at least according to an even more radical group than Hamas:

Meanwhile, a radical Islamic group called Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) is planning to declare the birth of an Islamic caliphate in the Gaza Strip on Friday. The relatively small party, which is seen as more extreme than Hamas, is said to have increased its popularity following what is perceived as a Hizbullah victory over Israel.

On Tuesday, thousands of the party's supporters staged a demonstration in Gaza City to mark the anniversary of the end of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It was the first demonstration in the Gaza Strip in which demonstrators called for establishing an Islamic caliphate that would rule not only in the PA territories, but the entire world.

Buoyed by the large turnout, the party's leaders are now considering declaring an Islamic caliphate in the Gaza Strip during Friday prayers, sources close to the party said.

Jordanian security forces recently foiled a similar attempt by the party's followers in the kingdom and arrested most of their leaders. Ramzi Sawalhah, the leader of Hizb al-Tahrir in Jordan, was arrested shortly after he delivered a sermon in a mosque in which he called for replacing the monarchy with an Islamic caliphate.

Ruling the world from Gaza would indeed be a nifty trick, since the Palestinians have proven themselves singularly incapable of governing their own people within the territory. Jordan took the group seriously, however, especially when they called for an overthrow of the monarchy. They wanted to kneecap this movement before it could gain momentum.

Of course, that's precisely what the leaders of Hizb al-Tahrir want to create in Gaza -- political momentum. The Arab reaction to the Shi'ite Hezbollah, apparently one of their key allies, has created disunity and suspicion across the Arab world. Hizb al-Tahrir wants to rally Muslims with a call for a new Caliphate, one that would exacerbate tensions over a Jewish state in close proximity.

It's not likely to succeed. The Iranians want a new Caliphate -- based in Teheran. The Saudis want a new Caliphate -- based in Mecca. Arabs don't trust Persians, Sunni don't trust Shi'a, and so on. No one will trust Hizb al-Tahrir with the leadership of the Muslim world, and while some may humor the newcomers as a way to tweak the Israelis, none of them will take direction from upstarts among a people that they scorn except for their value in rabble-rousing in their own nations.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 24, 2006 5:50 AM

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