"Hamas extended big local election gains from the fractured ruling Fatah party Friday, buoying the group ahead of a Palestinian parliamentary election next month. Israel said that if Hamas achieved political dominance it would spell an end to all hopes for peace talks." Beirut Daily Star
"Preliminary results issued Friday by the electoral commission showed Hamas won control of the West Bank city of Jenin, taking more than half of the council seats after Thursday’s vote. Hamas overwhelmed Fatah in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, capturing 73 percent of the vote and 13 of 15 council seats. The other two seats went to a coalition of Fatah and independent candidates. Hamas won eight of 15 seats in the West Bank town of Jenin. Hamas also won 72 percent of the vote in Al-Bireh, a large suburb of Ramallah." Beirut Daily Star
Stephen King, in his apocalyptic novel "The Stand" makes repeated references to the "Beast" coming slowly out of the west.
We are in the presence of another "beast" this one coming out of the East. The "beast" is Islamist government and it is approaching assumption of power assisted by the misguided policies and judgments of the Bush Administration.
Islamist movements, political parties and enthusiasts all have two things in common. One is a determination to install the nightmare of medieval and anti-humanist Sharia law government wherever they can, and the other is un-remitting hostility to the United States as the leader of what the Islamists see as the anti-Islamic and heathen West. Any person knowledgeable of the nature of such movements knows that this is true. Muslims know that it is true. The Bush Administration does not seem to grasp this simple truth.
Instead, the Bush people assure us that the principle problem in the Islamic World is a lack of constitutional democracy and that fair elections and the rule of law will bring forth the "better angels" of peoples’ natures and that having been released from the grasp of dictatorial republican or monarchical rule, the Muslim peoples wil become Western in attitude and abjure support for Islamist Jihadis who wish to attack the United States. Presumably these "evolved" and "new" Muslims would also no longer desire to eliminate Israel as a factor in the world. The conjunction of the Bush view of this and the Israeli view is not a coincidence.
What do we see in the world:
-In Lebanon the "Gucci Revolution" has resulted in a re-distribution and re-confirmation of the roles and power of the existing power structure. The only exception to that is the marked increase in the power and political weight of Hizballah, the Shia surrogate of Iran in Lebanese politics and militia muscle flexing.
-Syria has now looked at the menace of French and American power and decided that there is less there than it had earlier feared. In particular, the UN "Mehlis Report" concerning responsibility for the death of Rafik Hariri has been revealed to be unsubstantiated, ambiguous, vague and dubiously sourced. Syria judges its adversaries incapable of bringing down the Assad government through street action and agitation. It also sees that the Bush Administration has not yet "imagined" a substitute government and hesitates. The Bush Administration has also begun to worry about the possibility of a successor government in Syria being an Islamist government. The House neocons who agitated for the Syria Accountability Act have lost the ability to do anything but write creatively.
-Iran is the major Middle Eastern power about which the neocons have assured us for several years now that pro-American and anti-Mullah sentiment has been so prevalent that a "Youth Revolution" (not enough Gucci types there) was about to sweep the theocracy from power and that the new Iran (Shia and therefore beloved of the neocons) would serve as the "earthquake" that would make the "tsunami" of modernism sweep the region. As the reader recalls there was a general election in Iran recently and the Bush/neocon theory of the sacramental and transformational power of elections tranformed the Iranian government into one that demands the end of Israel and hoots enthusiastically for theocracy in Iraq. How did that happen? Well, folks, elections don’t "transform." If fair, they simply reveal what people really are and want. What was revealed in Iran was that discontent with severe Sharia law is not enough to make people vote the way we would like.
-Egypt. After an election in which the process of campaigning was badly "tilted" in favor of the Mubarak government, the result was that the Muslim Brothers group increased their representation in parliament from 11 to 88. This will enable them to propose people for cabinet posts as well as to participate in parliamentary business in a serious way. Do the gullible stil believe the statements of these MB zealots when they attempt to seduce with soft words and protestations of a love of democracy? Are we really that foolish?
-Palestine. I wrote some time ago that Fatah’s star was setting and that the Palestinian people would choose Islamist rule. Now we see that this is coming to be evident. The trend will continue unless the Palestinian or Israeli government resorts to chicanery in the matter.
-Iraq……… I will write on this when the vote is final or has been re-counted enough to be interesting.