Jesus H.! This account of the Bush administration’s attempt to engineer a coup in Gaza is more terrifying than anything I’ve ever imagined. Let’s look at the gory highlights:
[Palestinian national-security adviser Muhammad] Dahlan says he warned his friends in the Bush administration that Fatah still wasn’t ready for elections in January. Decades of self-preservationist rule by Arafat had turned the party into a symbol of corruption and inefficiency—a perception Hamas found it easy to exploit. Splits within Fatah weakened its position further: in many places, a single Hamas candidate ran against several from Fatah.
“Everyone was against the elections,” Dahlan says. Everyone except Bush. “Bush decided, ‘I need an election. I want elections in the Palestinian Authority.’ Everyone is following him in the American administration, and everyone is nagging Abbas, telling him, ‘The president wants elections.’ Fine. For what purpose?”
The elections went forward as scheduled. On January 25, Hamas won 56 percent of the seats in the Legislative Council.
Few inside the U.S. administration had predicted the result, and there was no contingency plan to deal with it. “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” Condoleezza Rice told reporters. “I don’t know anyone who wasn’t caught off guard by Hamas’s strong showing.”
“Everyone blamed everyone else,” says an official with the Department of Defense. “We sat there in the Pentagon and said, ‘Who the fuck recommended this?’”
And since the elections didn’t go as the Boy King planned, guess what he did then? That’s right, he tried to undermine them:
Washington reacted with dismay when Abbas began holding talks with Hamas in the hope of establishing a “unity government.”
At their joint press conference, Rice smiled as she expressed her nation’s “great admiration” for Abbas’s leadership. Behind closed doors, however, Rice’s tone was sharper, say officials who witnessed their meeting. Isolating Hamas just wasn’t working, she reportedly told Abbas, and America expected him to dissolve the Haniyeh government as soon as possible and hold fresh elections.
Apparently, Condi believed that having an American-backed leader dissolve a democratically-elected government would warm the Palestinians’ hearts to American aims.
You can see where this is headed:
Weeks passed with no sign that Abbas was ready to do America’s bidding. Finally, another official was sent to Ramallah. Jake Walles, the consul general in Jerusalem, is a career foreign-service officer with many years’ experience in the Middle East. His purpose was to deliver a barely varnished ultimatum to the Palestinian president.
We know what Walles said because a copy was left behind, apparently by accident, of the “talking points” memo prepared for him by the State Department.
The memo left no doubt as to what kind of action the U.S. was seeking: “Hamas should be given a clear choice, with a clear deadline: … they either accept a new government that meets the Quartet principles, or they reject it The consequences of Hamas’ decision should also be clear: If Hamas does not agree within the prescribed time, you should make clear your intention to declare a state of emergency and form an emergency government explicitly committed to that platform.”
Authoritarian shadow governments, a.k.a., the Linchpin of the Freedom Agenda.
Long story short: the US government decides to bolster Fatah by sending them a bunch of arms. Word of these shipments leaks to a Jordanian newspaper. All hell breaks loose, Hamas and Fatah start a civil war. Hamas wins the war and proceeds to use the American-supplied arms it confiscated from
Hamas Fatah against Israel. Now, here’s the punchline:
“You know,” says [Khalid Jaberi, a commander with Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades], “since the takeover, we’ve been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise. [...]
Now that it controls Gaza, Hamas has given free rein to militants intent on firing rockets into neighboring Israeli towns. “We are still developing our rockets; soon we shall hit the heart of Ashkelon at will,” says Jaberi, the al-Aqsa commander, referring to the Israeli city of 110,000 people 12 miles from Gaza’s border. “I assure you, the time is near when we will mount a big operation inside Israel, in Haifa or Tel Aviv.”
How have we survived the last seven years? Through what miracle of God are we not all dead by now? Or is it His cruel sense of humor that forces us all to live through it?