February 23, 2006

Competing rejectionisms?

David Hirst in today's Guardian:
the more democracy spreads, the more militancy in Palestine will find like-minded support in the whole region. Hamas began life as the Gaza chapter of the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood movement. Nowadays Arab democracy will mean the ascendancy of Islamism and its rejectionism almost everywhere. After the Muslim Brothers, despite gross obstructionism, won a fifth of the seats in Egypt's recent parliamentary elections, their leader said that his movement didn't recognise Israel and proposed that the 1978 Camp David peace treaty be put to a popular referendum; they are now using their pan-Islamic connections to raise emergency funds for the sanction-threatened Palestinian people. And why is it that, just as the Americans' well-known hankerings after "regime change" in Damascus seemed to be taking a purposeful turn, Israel suddenly took to urging them against it? Because it seemed better to preserve Bashar Assad, classical anti-Israeli nationalist despot though he may be, in his weakened condition than to unleash the demons of democracy, including the prospect of Syria's Islamists, a powerful subterranean force, clamouring for the liberation of the Golan Heights, which for 30 years has been the quietest of all Arab-Israeli fronts, thanks to the efficacy of the despot's repression.
The whole thing is here.


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