Quick links 7-2-07
Again, in the interest of saving time, here are the links that I find important, but think it’s OK to lump them together:
Winds of War
Iran is making a mistake that may lead the Middle East into a broader conflict.
BY JOSHUA MURAVCHIK
Monday, June 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
Several conflicts of various intensities are raging in the Middle East. But a bigger war, involving more states–Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and perhaps the United States and others–is growing more likely every day, beckoned by the sense that America and Israel are in retreat and that radical Islam is ascending.
A large portion of modern wars erupted because aggressive tyrannies believed that their democratic opponents were soft and weak. Often democracies have fed such beliefs by their own flaccid behavior. Hitler’s contempt for America, stoked by the policy of appeasement, is a familiar story. But there are many others. North Korea invaded South Korea after Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that Korea lay beyond our "defense perimeter." Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait after our ambassador assured him that America does not intervene in quarrels among Arabs. Imperial Germany launched World War I, encouraged by Great Britain’s open reluctance to get involved. Nasser brought on the 1967 Six Day War, thinking that he could extort some concessions from Israel by rattling his sword.
The splitting of Palestine into two entities is clarifying.
By Charles Krauthammer
Gaza is now run not by a conventional political party, but by a movement that is revolutionary, Islamist, and terrorist. Worse, Hamas is a client of Iran. Gaza now constitutes the farthest reach of the archipelago of Iranian proxies: Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Mahdi army (among others) in Iraq, and the Alawite regime of Syria.
This Islamist mini-replica of the Comintern is at war not just with Israel, but with the moderate Arab states, who finally woke up to this threat last summer when they denounced Hezbollah for provoking the Lebanon war with Israel. The fall of Gaza is particularly terrifying to Egypt because Hamas is so closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the chief Islamist threat to the secular-nationalist regime that has ruled Egypt since the revolution of 1952. Which is why Egypt has just invited Israeli, Jordanian, and moderate Palestinian leaders to a summit next week — pointedly excluding and isolating Hamas.
The splitting of Palestine into two entities is nonetheless clarifying. Since Hamas won the parliamentary elections of January 2006, we’ve had to deal with the fiction of a supposedly unified Palestine ruled by an avowedly “unity” government of Fatah and Hamas. Now the muddle has undergone political hydrolysis, separating out the relatively pure elements: a Hamas-ruled Gaza and Fatah-ruled (for now) West Bank.
The Hamas victory over Fatah in Gaza on June 14 has great importance for Palestinians, for the Islamist movement, and for the United States. It has rather less significance for Israel.
Tensions between Fatah and Hamas are likely to endure and with them, the split between the West Bank and Gaza. The emergence of two rival entities, "Hamastan" and "Fatahland," culminates a long-submerged conflict; noting the two regions’ fissiparous tendencies in 2001, Jonathan Schanzer predicted it "would not be all that surprising" were the Palestinian Authority (PA) to divide geographically. Subsequent events did indeed pulled them apart:
- The anarchy that began in early 2004 spewed forth Palestinian clan chieftains and criminal warlords.
- Yasir Arafat’s death in November 2004 removed the transcendentally evil figure who alone could bridge the two regions.
- Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in mid-2005 deprived Gaza of its one stabilizing element.
- Hamas’s victory in the PA elections of January 2006 provided a strong base from which to challenge Fatah.
Vladimir Bukovksy, the 63-year old former Soviet dissident, fears that the European Union is on its way to becoming another Soviet Union. In a speech he delivered in Brussels last week Mr Bukovsky called the EU a “monster” that must be destroyed, the sooner the better, before it develops into a fullfledged totalitarian state.
Mr Bukovsky paid a visit to the European Parliament on Thursday at the invitation of Fidesz, the Hungarian Civic Forum. Fidesz, a member of the European Christian Democrat group, had invited the former Soviet dissident over from England, where he lives, on the occasion of this year’s 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. After his morning meeting with the Hungarians, Mr Bukovsky gave an afternoon speech in a Polish restaurant in the Trier straat, opposite the European Parliament, where he spoke at the invitation of the United Kingdom Independence Party, of which he is a patron.
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