July 11, 2007

Abbas: Hamas Allowing AQ Infiltration Of Gaza

Mahmoud Abbas knows what buttons to push in the West in order to keep his rivals in Hamas marginalized. In an interview on an Italian television program, Abbas accused Hamas of allowing al-Qaeda to infiltrate Gaza now that Fatah has been pushed aside. Hamas denies it, but it will be difficult for them to prove it:

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has accused his rivals in Hamas of having opened the door to Al Qaeda in Gaza.

In an interview on Monday with Italy’s RAI TV, Mr. Abbas, of Fatah, said, “Thanks to the support of Hamas, Al Qaeda is entering Gaza.”

The charge, denied by Hamas, underscored the depth of Mr. Abbas’s hostility toward Hamas since it seized control of Gaza nearly a month ago in a rout of Fatah forces.

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, responded that Hamas had “no links” to Al Qaeda, adding that Mr. Abbas was “trying to mislead international opinion to win support for his demand to deploy international forces in Gaza.”

Regardless of whether al-Qaeda has set up shop in Gaza or not, the policies of Hamas are similar enough to AQ to warrant the comparison. They both spring from Muslim Brotherhood origins, and they both want to impose radical Islamist rule in areas under their control. Both of them want to wipe Israel off the map, and in this point of convergence, an alliance certainly seems more likely than Hamas' insistence that they need no assistance from "this group or that group".

Isabel Kershner points out one key observation about this interview, which is Abbas' obvious hostility towards Hamas. It has grown into a very public and deadly rivalry, the result of the Gaza rebellion -- but perhaps more calculated than heartfelt. Abbas sees an opportunity to set the West Bank up as a model of the "good Palestinian" -- the one who wants an end to occupation in a two-state solution. Hamas then represents the "bad Palestinian" who supports terrorism and genocide, intractable and deaf to negotiations. That kind of staging gets Abbas more Western aid, which means more power, and most critically, a less radicalized populace and more security for Abbas himself.

Abbas has a stake in the peace process that he didn't have before. That may not make him an honest broker, but if he's smart, he'll see that he has only a narrow window now in which to deliver any kind of improvement for Palestinians. If he can't get Israel to the bargaining table with some serious concessions, the West Bank will opt for Hamas instead, and Abbas will likely be the first one up against the wall.

His demand for an international force to secure Gaza is unlikely to be honored, though, and even Abbas knows it. What country will send its troops into Gaza for Hamas to butcher them, and to what purpose? Israel's occupation of Gaza is instructive. They knew how to keep the lid on Gaza, but in the end it did no good at all. After their withdrawal, Palestinians finally understood the benefits of Israeli management in Gaza, but those days are gone. If the Israelis have to return, it won't be for a lengthy occupation, and no other nation will bother at all.

Abbas doesn't need Gaza now anyway. Hamas loses credibility by the day trying to run Gaza, and that benefits Abbas. Eventually the people of Gaza will have to find a way to conduct a counter-coup against the Islamist nutcases, and when they do, Hamas will be completely discredited -- even if al-Qaeda comes to their rescue.


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Comments (8)

Posted by TomB | July 11, 2007 8:07 AM

I wouldn't count on the Palestinian people to find a way to get rid of Hamas, now they are too busy growing beards and things in a hurry. Ruthless, fanatic regimes do not get easily overthrown, and usually only after they become corrupted and fat (see Fatah).
Also I am puzzled by any doubts that AQ is settling in Gaza: It is a perfect place, a failed state with the Hamas brothers welcoming mate and encouraged by Iran, right at the door of the greatest enemy, with big civilian population kept as hostage and providing effective camouflage and recruits. For AQ it is like heaven on earth (except for readily available virgins).

Posted by KauaiBoy | July 11, 2007 9:48 AM

I will be interested to see the Israeli reaction. They have been quite effective in identifying, locating and eliminating other terrorist leaders. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

Posted by Duchess Of Austin | July 11, 2007 9:53 AM

It makes perfect sense to me that AQ would be setting up shop in Gaza. As the comment above this states, it's a failed state with the welcome mat out for anybody with a checkbook, and AQ has one with a big balance.

It seems to me that Hamas would be happy to have AQ helping them, as that's about the only source of funds outside of the Iranians that they're going to get free and clear. Relief supplies from the west are going to have strings, and Hamas doesn't like strings.

And, of course, there is their mutual hatred for all things Western, and their shared desire to wipe Israel off the map....personally, I think it's going to come to an all out war, and the Israelis will end up wiping Gaza, as we know it, off the map. I have no sympathy for them.

Posted by Papa Ray | July 11, 2007 11:10 AM

The Cap'n said: "Eventually the people of Gaza will have to find a way to conduct a counter-coup against the Islamist nutcases, and when they do, Hamas will be completely discredited -- even if al-Qaeda comes to their rescue."

Ok, I may just be a dumb West Texas Redneck, but that statement is BS, wrong and unrealistic.

People with hatred and guns are not going to be " overcome with a coup" by poor everyday people with no guns and not trained in the use of them.

Even if they were secretly trained (and how would that little trick be done?) and given guns by our SOF or the SOF of other ME countries, the chance of them overcoming Hamas alone or Hamas and aQ is about zero.

Israel might be able to do it, but in doing so would only worsen their situation, because anything they do is seen as wrong and criminal.

We could send in a few thousand men, and air support and do it, but it will be a cold day in hell when that happens.

You think Egypt or Saudi Arabia might just say, "We will go in and overthrow Hamas!"
Pigs really will be flying that day.

Now, Iran might send a few of its IRG troops in to give Hamas a hand...what do you think?

No one is willing to just let them just starve, the UN and others will make sure that they just continue on as before, not quite starving but not quite desperate enough to leave or do something stupid.

MultiCulture rules, PC rules, the UN's stupidity and bias rules, the US and Israel have no credibility or power to do anything politically except pay ransom and bribes.

No one believes our threats anymore.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by Philip | July 11, 2007 12:29 PM

"Hamas loses credibility by the day"

Of course those who hate America (even some in the West) will do all they can to restore Hamas credibility and thereby drag this human suffering out. People and groups that support Hamas are a true evil in the world. When Hamas is defeated these people and groups will need to be held to account for their moral and financial support of blood thirsty terrorists. I have a long memory. I will not forget.

Posted by bayam | July 11, 2007 7:57 PM

What country will send its troops into Gaza for Hamas to butcher them, and to what purpose?

If al Qaeda is in Gaza, then what makes it any different than Iraq? Shouldn't US forces be there also?

Posted by Bostonian | July 12, 2007 8:03 AM


The voters of Iraq made very different choices from the voters of Gaza--or didn't you notice that?

Posted by anonymous Israeli | July 13, 2007 12:22 PM

I fear the Captain has not a clue of what he's talking about.

Firstly, there is no connection between prosperity and moderation. The two initifadahs started after a period of relative economic growth. Most terrorists are middle-class and above, OBL is a Saudi multi-billonaire, etc., etc.

Secondly, should Hamas ever have any problems governing Gaza, all Hamas will have to do is to attack Israel. If Israel reconquers the Strip, Hamas will get rid of all their problems while giving Israel the hot potato. If it merely reacts Hamas will blame Israel for all the problems in Gaza. And if it does nothing then Hamas will get the prestige of being the "strong horse". Regardless of the result, the chance of a popular uprising against Hamas in nil (see above comments).
It will be Fatah which will lose credibility here - either they do nothing and be attacked as traitors who will let down their own brothers in Gaza or they try to attack Israel, fail, and be disowned both by the West and their own people.
Thus, the idea of setting up the "properous West Bank" vs the "starving Gaza" to encourage moderates cannot work.

P.S. Olmert and the rest of the Israeli government are going down, and are in no position to provide "serious concessions", especially as Israel gets nothing in the bargain. After they're going down, expect yet another 6+ months of no possible changes in the Israeli side's posture because of the impending elections.