Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Making a Mockery of Democracy

The US is setting off down the road to confrontation in Palestine. This will lead to nothing positive. To destroy Hamas, which Israel and the US can probably do, and turn it into another useless and corrupt organization such as the PLO, will not be in the long-term interests of either state. The anti-Semitism and sacrilization of resistance, which is already rooted in Hamas doctrine, will only intensify in Palestine and throughout the region if the Palestinians are further starved, their remaining state institutions further destroyed, and their leaders further humiliated. Spreading hopelessness is not a solution.

The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing any new U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas revokes its call for the destruction of Israel. The resolution is symbolic, but House members have introduced separate legislation that would provide for strong sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

"When Hamas looks at America, at the [Bush] administration, at the [U.S.] Congress, they must see nothing but fierce, unrelenting, and implacable rejection," said Congressman Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat. "There can be no political absolution for this pack of killers. And the very idea of giving our taxpayers money to these bloody-handed fanatics, people who have slaughtered our own citizens, is offensive."

Rice: 'Not one penny' for Hamas "Congress is still in the process of working on a binding bill that will oblige the administration to stop support to the PA, without giving the president any possibility to bypass the decision."

Robert Worth and Sabrina Tavernise explain how "Muqtada al-Sadr is Rising as a Kingmaker in Iraqi Politics. Sadr is responsible for getting Jaafari named as PM after Jaafari agreed on a 12-point program to set a timetable for pushing US troops out of Iraq. He also got Jaafari's consent to confront the Kurds on the issue of Kirkuk. Iraq's leadership, under the influence of Sadr, will adopt a more determined Arab nationalist stand, pitting it against SCIRI and greater Iranian influence, against the drift toward looser federalism, against Kurdish aims to make Kirkuk an integral part of Kurdistan, and against long-term American influence and bases. Muqtada is bent on bringing the Sunni tribal leaders back into the center of Iraqi politics as a counterweight to the Kurds, and, indeed, Iran. This also means bringing Syria into Iraq's circle of friendship as evidenced by Sadr's recent visit to Damascus and promise, not only to normalize Iraqi-Syrian relations, but also to defend Syria against American pressure and possible invasion.

Sadr's rise is good for Syria and bad for the Kurds. He has won the support of many Sunni Iraqis. His interests are not completely opposed to those of the US. Washington's stated goals of building an independent and united Iraq, which is not too tightly linked to Iran, are also those of Muqtada al-Sadr. Of course Sadr's anti-Americanism and opposition to Kurdish ambitions in Iraq are anathema to Washington. His rise within Iraq's leadership is also bad for secular Iraqis because he wants an Islamic government. His militia is not law-abiding. Although Sadr's instincts and methods are not democratic, it is possible that so long as his party is a minority party, he will be forced to act as a democrat, striking deals, and working, for the most part, within the confines of parliamentary politics. The fear, of course, is that the growing power of Iraq's various militias will not be contained by parliament. It seems quite likely that ethnic tensions and lawlessness will only grow with time, undoing parliament, and making a mockery of the constitution and rule of law.

The best hope is to allow groups like Sadr's and the Sunni tribal leaders to work their way into the center of Iraqi politics, where they may come to see their best interests fulfilled. Only if they taste the benefits that parliamentary order can provide, will they embrace republicanism. This is what political scientists call "democracy without democrats." Politicians don't have to believe in democracy; they do, however, have to discover that working within constitutional bounds satisfies their interests more than the use of force. So long as no faction believes it can win a civil war, they may accept the benefits of compromise.


At 2/16/2006 03:31:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"The anti-Semitism and sacrilization of resistance, which is already rooted in Hamas doctrine, will only intensify in Palestine and throughout the region if the Palestinians are further starved, their remaining state institutions further destroyed, and their leaders further humiliated. Spreading hopelessness is not a solution."

A very nice way to say that the US, EU and Israel should finance the Hamas. Are you aware how dumb it sounds? If the Hamas want to have a 'liberation war', good for them, but let them finance it with their own money. Not that it will be very effective now that the wall is almost ended.

At 2/16/2006 03:53:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


This is their most provocative account to date. The story throws around all sorts of crazy bombshells.

At 2/16/2006 03:56:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/16/2006 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Vox, your comment sounds dumber. everyone gets financed from foreign parties. if you want to put a fanatic party on your side, the chances are they will become less hostile, more pragmatic and tame if you support them. Hamas is not like the Taliban, they can be negotiated with. but your right wing nut-job mentality seems to be liking that wall so there is no sense in talking logic with you.

At 2/16/2006 04:10:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Vox, your comment sounds dumber. everyone gets financed from foreign parties."

I know, but you can't ask the US to finance the Hamas, it's just dumb.

Let the Saudis finance it, after all, they are full of petro-money.

Hamas say that it can get Arab support, but the problem is that on the past years, Arabs have delivered 10% of the money they promised.

If the Arabs don't want to finance the Palestinians, then it sure ain't the job of the US taxpayers.

At 2/16/2006 04:14:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Let us note that though the US help is substantial, most of the money comes from the EU. The problem is that the Hamas is on the EU terrorist list and therefore the EU commission is forbidden by law to finance it.

The only solution for the EU is to remove the Hamas from its terrorist list, but this is unlikely since the removal needs the unanimous approval of 25 governments. Moreover, the decision to remove a party from a terrorist list only because it has won an election is morally wrong.

At 2/16/2006 04:17:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


This is incorrect analysis. The US tax payers have financed a massive occupation of a country thousends of miles away. Presumably, they have agreed to do this to meet long term strategic goals for their country. Clearly, a peaceful palastine can qualify as a worth cause. The amount of money required will be a drop in the ocean. Indeed it will not even register on the balance sheet

At 2/16/2006 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Ehsani, I care about a settlement of this conflict, mainly because of the positive fallout that it will have on Lebanon.

Nevertheless, by electing Hamas, the Palestinians have declared war not only on Israel, but on the international community.

I do not believe that the Palestinians elected Hamas to protest against the Fatah. The Islamist program of the Hamas played an important part in this election. If they only wanted to protest against Fatah's corruption, why didn't they elect non-Fatah liberals? Why didn't they elect dissident Fatah candidates who were hostile to their corrupt leadership?

The peace process is going to be suspended for a few years if not for decades. Meanwhile, the time has come to destroy the Hamas. Paradoxically, now that they are in power, it will be a lot easier to achieve as Joshua reluctantly mentionned.

At 2/16/2006 04:38:00 PM, Blogger ugarit said...

Vox said

"The problem is that the Hamas is on the EU terrorist list and therefore the EU commission is forbidden by law to finance it."

To the best of my knowledge this is inaccurate. The US has been trying to push the EU to list them as such; however, I'm not certain that they were successful.

At 2/16/2006 04:50:00 PM, Blogger ghassan said...

The real mockery of democracy would have been to put ones head in the sand and pretend for thesake of political correctness that Hamas is a democratic organization.

It is strange when an informed, educated person, a university professor, confuses such two basic concepts as the franchise and democracy. It is clear to all that democracy demands as a first step free, equal and fair elections. But we all know; except for Joshua Landis; that winning the vote does not a democrat make. Substantive democracy demands much more than that. The confusion by Mr. Landis is understandable, afterall, he is the one that lets no occasion go by without lending his support to the democratic regime of Bashar Al Assad. They did after all win an election or two or three.

Recognition of the rights of others, civil law and the right to dissent in addition to a personal bill of rights and limits on the power of the state are not important. Heck, you are a democrat when you deny the right of your neighbour to exist and when you threaten the use of random violence against non-combatants. It is tragic that some refuse to stand up for what is right and will always counsel appeasement.

At 2/16/2006 04:56:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

"Nevertheless, by electing Hamas, the Palestinians have declared war not only on Israel, but on the international community."

EEEHHHHH WRONG!!! I think occupying their country with the support of the “international community” for decades is declaring war alright so stop your neo-con garbage. All you care about is how it falls out with Lebanon, you do not give two-shits about other people's injustice. Especially when that injustice is being supported by such advanced "civilized" countries like the US and Israel which you highly admire. you are so narrow minded in reading the issues that I would have to write for days trying to explain your faulty judgment and even then I know I wont succeed in changing your closed mind. The world of politics is NOT fair, so the Palestinians should not be judged differently than how their enemies are judged, at least not by the average Joe like you and me. And they have been fucked for too long and asking them to justify why they voted for Hamas after decades of embarrassment and let downs by the PLO is not only logical but its also surprising that didn’t happen earlier.

“why didn't they elect non-Fatah liberals?” why did Ralp Nader not win the US presidential elections? Because the other parties have more MONEY and they’re better organized.

Ugarit - Vox is right, Hamas is listed as a terror org by the EU so the US was successful.

At 2/16/2006 05:10:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I, for one, predicted the Hamas victory. Frankly, I am surprised that I was in a minority. When people feel as disfranchised as the vast majority of Palestinians do, it makes it a fertile ground for religious fundamentalists to recruit, expand and slowly win the hearts and minds. Hence, “Islam is the solution” was born. The region will continue to turn to Islamists unless their economic fortunes reverse. For the record, I categorically disagree with everything that Hamas stands. “Islam is NOT the solution”. The solution is a civil society, jobs, jobs and more jobs. What worries me about Hamas and all the Islamists is that they will use democracy to reach power but then turn around and take that very same right to vote away from everybody else. With one wave of the Quran, the opposition will be cowed. I am yet to be convinced that it is otherwise.

At 2/16/2006 05:33:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Hamas is indeed on the EU terror list, check wikipedia if you want. You can also find the terror list on the EU's portal if you have some time.

At 2/16/2006 05:35:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I perfectly agree with Ghassan. Joshua Landis confuse democracy and electoracy.

A system that does not protect individual freedoms is not a democracy, whether it's been elected or not.

At 2/16/2006 05:36:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/16/2006 05:42:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

" All you care about is how it falls out with Lebanon, you do not give two-shits about other people's injustice"

Exactly. I want Lebanon to do what every state is doing in the Middle East, (including Syria) taking care of its interests. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with the Palestinians being happy. It's just not my priority. There's enough injustice in Lebanon to take care of already.

At 2/16/2006 06:51:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

You know, Hizbullah and Hamas are extremely similar in the way they work. I wonder whether you lebanese who are against Hamas also think the usa and europe should end all support of Lebanon because Hizbullah has ministers in government? Or maybe Hizbullah should be destroyed, even though they are the only group in the country who has actually helped improve the lives of the people, and is not completely selfish and greedy.

It is true though, i don't expect west to support a palestinian government that is run by Hamas. If they were smart they would, but we have long since learned that the western powers are completely stupid and just lumber around the world causing destruction everywhere they turn. In that respect, it is good to get the West out of Palestinian affairs. The only thing that they have done is send the Zionist Dennis Ross over to lie and give support to Israel, while in the process making the Palestinian elite feel welcome in fancy hotels. It totally corrupted them, and the lost sight of the people who they claimed to be fighting for, so they were kicked out. Good Riddens!

The most idiotic thing about what comes out of Bush's mouth is that he continues to tell other people to renounce violence and to accept israel when he is the king of violence plus Israel has not accepted the Palestinians. It is true that hamas has no chance to win a war against israel, but fatah or arafat had no chance winning by negotiating with the USA and Israel. So basically, nothing has changed, just that the paint has been taken off and now we are exposed to the reality of the situation.

I am sick of hearing people blame hamas for the troubles of the palestinians. Israel is to blame. Hamas could become the greatest traitors in the world, yet it would not bring peace. Israel has not even accepted that the palestinians are human yet. so what do you think will happen? it is up to them, the Palestinians have no say anyway.

For all you lebanese who are so concerned about yourselves, maybe a Hamas victory is an advantage. because, unlike fatah, they are actually going to work with the refugees and try to include them in their political program. Not just ignore them. so, maybe you will be rid of them once and for all, or at least, someone else might finally take some responsibility for them.

Too, you talk democracy all day, but you are not organized enough, are not honest enough, do not have enough support and don't work hard enough to create a movement to take hold and create the change you want. You call for the USA to kill you enemies, to overthrow the regimes you don't like, and you buy you own position and status. So keep talking about how undemocratic Hamas is, do it until you are blue in the face. See if you can do what they have done. Go make meetings with rumsfield and condi, and have them bomb Syria to death. But then you are no different then the ones who killed your recently beloved Hariri. You have no real support, so you resort to the same thugish manner as they did. If you can do it is a serious way, then good, more power to you, you deserve it, I will support you too. But the snakes in Lebanon are the most poisonous kind. And when you build yourselves up on lies and the power of others, you are doomed to fail. So, before you go criticizing Hamas, I would take a look in the mirror.

At 2/16/2006 07:49:00 PM, Blogger ghassan said...

Joe M,
This must rank as one of the silliest and most incherent diatribes that I have read, even on this blog, for a long time.
I have necer been and I don't think that I will ever be a big fan of Hamas because I have a major difficulty with all theocratically based ideologies and I cannot support an illeberal organization of any sort. Having said that I will never deny you the right to be a Hamas supporter but I would also expect you to extend that same right, the right to differ, to others. Your post indicates that you are not capable of extending these democratic principles to others. That, my freind, is one of the big issues that Hamas will have to deal with. Contrary to your protestations, I will be surprised and willing to eat my hat:-) if Hamas does not in short order change its tune, pull a 1993 PLO like statment and ask for your dreaded Western help.

At 2/16/2006 08:41:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...


Just to be clear, I am a secular Christian Palestinian. So be it as it may, I don't support the Islamism of Hamas either. But they have won this one fair and square. And Fatah has totally failed in everything they tried to do. I will also eat my hat if they enforce Islamism on Palestine. We have enough problems with the military occupation, we don't need a cultural one as well. But, I am also willing to give them a try and see what comes of it. The truth is that we are doomed no matter what we do, Fatah, Hamas, mustafa barghouthi, pflp, MLK or gandhi... it doesn't matter. but there are some things that Fatah has done that they must to be kicked out for. And if Hamas makes mistakes, then they will be kicked out too.

But what bothers me about hearing Lebanese condemn Hamas is that they don't even have 5% of the skill Hamas has shown in keeping themselves together and in honestly fighting for freedom. Lebanon will shoot itself in the foot 1000 times if you keep calling on Saudi and France and the USA to save you. yet you criticize us when we elect a, more or less, honest movement that has genuine and established, home grown support. Seriously, give me a break. They are more democratic then Hariri and his billions ever were.

Anyway, my point is, I agree and i have serious concerns about Hamas as well. But I trust them more, and i think they have more of our best interests in mind when they do things. Unlike jumblatt who changes his tune with every blow of the wind, or the other lebanese "leaders" who either destroyed the whole country with their wars or bought their power in its wake, and I hardly even need to mention the syrian "opposition", all 20 of them, but no one can deny Hamas deserves its strength. Like i said in my other post, in that way they are like Hizbullah.

Absolutely true, I don't agree with Hamas on many issues, but they deserve respect. and i am willing to give them a chance.

At 2/16/2006 09:33:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Hamas was elected in free election, with wide margin, they are the product of respectable election, they represent the palastinian people , if that is not what Ghassan want this is his problem,he is against free election, he does not accept to respect other people idea, Hamas accept to listen to other people idea. Hamas is blamed that they accept no peace with their neighbor, and do not recognize their neighbor, How much silly is to recognize isreal, when isreal does not recognize the palestinian rights, if you dont respect me ,why should I respect you?if you attack palestinian with rockets, from airplanes, kill their leaders like Yassin, then hamas can do the same thing, what is right for you is right for me this is justice.
it is time that enemies pretend to be Syrian to disclose their identity, I like jews but I hate zionist who hate Arab, and wright in this comments, pretending to be Arab, or Syrian, they can say what they want , but has no courage to tell their real identity, munafiq

At 2/16/2006 09:42:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

sorry; I meaqnt write not wright

At 2/16/2006 09:50:00 PM, Blogger ghassan karam said...

Joe M,
I feel compeled to add one more comment to our dialogue.
The Palestinian people have demonstrated again within less than a year that they are the most advanced politically in the Arab world. That is crystal clear. It is the way the elections were conducted, the electoral system itself but above all the ability of the Palestinian voter to hold the parties responsible for their actions/inactions. Not many votes were cast on the basis of a traditional leadership. Again that is not debatable. Hamas registered an electoral victory that will entitle them to govern. Applying pressure to make them more responsibleis fair game and it is to be noted that they are not the only group that is signaled for such pressure. Many coutries have been applying all sorts of pressure on China, Russia, South Africa etc... To conclude , it was the Palestinian elections that were democratic and using various legal means to elicit a change of behaviour in Hamas is a positive step.

At 2/16/2006 10:06:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Good healthy discussion. Hamas has a historic opportunity to prove what it is capable of. Let us see if they can deliver. In the end, they are going to need a lot more than religious fervor to ensure that they can raise the abysmal standards of living of their people. It is easy to criticize when you are on the out looking in. Now, they are on the inside. Time will tell if they will be deserving of this opportunity. I am skeptical, but hopeful that they can prove me wrong.

At 2/17/2006 01:47:00 AM, Blogger Idaf said...

Joe M,

I can't agree more with your views. It's nice to hear a Palestinian view for a change here about the interlaced SyroLebanoPalestinian issues. Hope to see you here more often.

It's nice to see you hopeful and less of pessimist for a change. On that note, I advise you to skip the Al-Syassah-esque sources. They simply can't be called "media" sources. They only would increase your pessimism.. though they tend to be entertaining as fictions.
On a personal note, to answer you question posted in Rime's blog, you might be surprised to know that I for months think that you are a very successful Syrian in the US. Simply by reading your comments on the economy. I am happy for you, but this proves that you can form a somewhat accurate profile about a person in the Blogosphere simply by reading his/her comments regularly.

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to enjoy this cross-blogs discussions we are having :-)

At 2/17/2006 02:52:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

At 2/17/2006 03:05:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Guys Joe M is JAM(Joe Ali Mohamad) he is not a “Palestinian secular Christian”

Now back to the topic


"Contrary to your protestations, I will be surprised and willing to eat my hat:-) if Hamas does not in short order change its tune, pull a 1993 PLO like statment and ask for your dreaded Western help."

So that proves my point that they are much more pragmatic than your typical theocratically based ideology. And though i am the first to admit they are extrimist, i dont have a problem with them leading for temporary period because the parties on the other side are just as extreme.

Only a retard would not view the way the US and Israel have treated the Palestinians for the last half a century as extreme and brutal. Lets not forget that peace is NOT in the strategic interest of Israel or their friends in Washington. For as long as their is war/struggle the longer the financial & arms support will be flowing. So lets not kid ourselves on who's mess this is.

At 2/17/2006 05:05:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

""American Thinker Describers President As National Leader

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 08:15 PM

Aleppo, Northern Syria, (SANA) –

Writer and U.S. thinker David Leich has depicted President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday as a national leader of strategic vision and clear ideas formulated in calmness and force and based on his people’s interests and the political principals he believes in.""

Why not. Welcome in this club.


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