Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a long, rambling missive to US
President George W. Bush this week. It ended on a somewhat ominous note that
seemed to some Islamic scholars to constitute a declaration of war against
the US. Ahmadinejad wrote, "Liberalism and Western style democracy have not
been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts
have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the
shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic
After declaring the death of the ideals on which the United States is
founded, Ahmadinejad explained that "people around the world are flocking
towards a main focal point that is Almighty G-d." He then challenged Bush,
"Do you not want to join them?"
Experts on Islam in Washington have noted that since Ahmadinejad advocates
Islamic fundamentalism as the only true religious path, his question to Bush
was in fact an ultimatum to convert to Islam or face the consequences.
Islamic scholar Robert Spencer put it carefully on his weblog Jihad Watch
when he wrote, "this letter could be but is not necessarily a prelude
to an attack."
Ahmadinejad's letter was delivered on Monday. One would think that if the
Bush administration was concerned about the signals Tehran was sending that
Bush and top administration officials would be at pains for the next several
days to ensure that Iran and the rest of the world understood that the US
would not be surrendering any time soon to the dictates of its sworn
Sadly, the opposite occurred.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with her Russian
counterpart Sergei Lavrov, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the EU's
foreign policy chiefs at the UN for a summit of the so-called Middle East
Quartet. The meeting, which was the first official gathering of Quartet
members since the popularly elected Hamas government assumed power in the
Palestinian Authority and Ehud Olmert formed his government in Israel, was
dedicated to the question of how to continue to give the Palestinians
hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid even though they just
elected an international jihadist organization to lead them.
Notably, at the same time that Rice was meeting with her colleagues in New
York, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal was meeting with his colleagues in Qatar.
Seated at a dais with terror preacher Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi and Islamic
Jihad commander Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, Mashaal called on the Arab and
Islamic world to send Hamas "weapons, money and men." Mashaal reassured his
audience, explaining that their "weapons, money and men" would be a force
for good in the world because Hamas is engaged in "resistance, not
It should be noted that for years Mashaal has been cultivating Hamas's ties
with Iran. Ahead of Hamas's election in January, in one of his almost
monthly trips to Tehran, Mashaal reportedly told the Iranian leadership that
he wants Iran to view Hamas as a Palestinian version of Hizbullah. That is,
like Hizbullah, in exchange for Iranian weapons, money and training, Hamas
will act as Tehran's client and subordinate its actions to Tehran's command
hierarchy. Iran accepted his offer.
And so, the day after Ahmadinejad wrote his war letter to Bush, Rice was
meeting with her associates figuring out a way to give the Hamas-led
Palestinians millions of dollars of US taxpayers' money.
While administration officials insist that Rice's decision to agree that the
EU can formulate an artificial mechanism to continue to flood the PA with
international monetary assistance is not an American okay to flood the PA
with international monetary assistance, in fact it is just such an okay.
Israel's announcement Wednesday that it would be resuming the transfer of
tens of millions of dollars of tax revenues to the PA is proof that Tuesday's
Quartet meeting did conclude with a green light to renew Western monetary
assistance to the PA.
Rice's decision to enable the funding of the Hamas-led PA is significant,
and indeed disastrous for two main reasons. First, by so acting, the Bush
administration is ignoring strategic realities that present immediate
dangers not only to Israel but to the US as well.
Against the backdrop of Ahmadinejad's letter this week and his constant
threats against the US and its allies in recent weeks and months, it is
clear that Iran perceives itself as being in a state of active war against
the US. It is also a fact that Hamas is now an official client of Tehran. As
an Iranian satellite, an empowered and emboldened Hamas is no longer just an
Israeli concern. Hamas today can and ought to be perceived as an enemy of
the US as well an enemy to whom the Bush administration just pledged $10
million in medical assistance.
Indeed, even before Hamas subordinated itself to Tehran, the movement was in
a declared state of war against America. On December 17, 2001, Hamas
published a joint declaration with the Islamic Jihad in which it declared,
"Americans are the enemies of the Palestinian people," and Americans "are a
target for future attacks." Hamas's rhetoric has customarily been imbued
with virulent anti-Americanism. Hamas has financed Palestinian members of al
Qaida and in at least one instance, in 2003 it trained a naturalized
Canadian citizen from Gaza in terrorist tactics for the purpose of having
him carry out attacks in Canada and the US. Fortunately, Israeli security
forces arrested him before he was able to carry out his mission.
As Matthew Levitt points out in his copiously documented and detailed new
book, Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, in
2004 the FBI admitted that Hamas has the capabilities to carry out attacks
in the US. In August 2004, a Hamas terrorist was arrested while taking
pictures of the suspension cables of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
In its present capacity as an Iranian client there can be no doubt that
Hamas's willingness to take action against the US has increased. Its
interest in expanding its activities beyond Israel has been on full display
in recent weeks in Jordan. For the second time in so many weeks, on
Wednesday a Jordanian government spokesman announced the unearthing of Hamas
weapons caches in the kingdom, including Iranian-made rocket launchers. The
spokesman also announced that Hamas is seeking to recruit Jordanian
nationals to undergo terror training in Syria and Iran. The spokesman
referred to Hamas's activities in the country as posing, "a major threat to
the national security of the country."
And yet, even as Hamas devotes all its energies to building up its arsenal
and swelling the ranks of its jihadist forces, the US has answered the
frenzied call for more aid to the Palestinian people that has been sounded
by the usual suspects in the EU, the UN, and, (it must be said), the Israeli
To Hamas's calls for the destruction of Israel and the defeat of the US,
Rice answered on Tuesday by declaring that the goal of the Quartet meeting
was "to provide assistance to the Palestinian people so that they do not
suffer deprivation and do not suffer an humanitarian crisis." Rice then
proceeded to pledge $10 million in in-kind US medical aid to the Palestinian
health system, which was widely reported to be short of money for dialysis
treatments despite the fact that Israel allowed four truckloads of medical
supplies into Gaza this week.
The US and its Palestinian obsessed European counterparts and the Israeli
government claim that the hundreds of millions of dollars they are about to
provide the Palestinians in "direct aid," will not benefit the Hamas-led PA.
But of course this is incorrect. Firstly, the EU is already making clear
that their Hamas-evading mechanism for funding the Hamas-led PA will
facilitate the payment of salaries of PA employees who are supposed to be
getting paid by Hamas. That is, the EU will be paying Hamas's bills
Secondly, every cent transferred in "direct aid" to the Palestinians is
money that will prevent Hamas from failing. Every well-fed Palestinian
welfare case will be a vindication for the Palestinian people's decision to
vote Hamas into power. Every penny of Western and Israeli aid tells them
that they may both escalate their war against Israel while officially
joining the global jihad and eat well on the Israeli/ American/ European
This brings us to the second disturbing aspect of the US decision to bow to
EU, Russian and UN pressure and open the dam of international aid to the
Hamas-led PA. Indeed, it brings us to the disturbing nature of the Quartet
to which the US belongs. The fact is that in its decision this week to bow
to Quartet pressure and enable the renewal of aid to the Palestinians (after
a six week hiatus), like in its decision in 2002 to agree to the
establishment of the Quartet in the first place, the US continues to pin its
Middle East policy on a fiction that it is possible to achieve peace between
Israel and the Palestinians through Israeli concessions and land giveaways
to the Palestinians.
When the Quartet was founded to "advance the peace process," the peace
process had already died. The peace process ended in July 2000 when the late
Yassir Arafat rejected Israel's peace offer and the sovereign state of
Palestine the offer entailed in favor of war. From then on, all hope of
peace in our generation was extinguished as the Palestinian jihad against
Israel opened its current round.
The purpose the Quartet was founded to advance was the shunning of reality,
in the hope that if reality was rejected strenuously, that reality would
change. This was the context in which the Quartet members with the help of
Yossi Beilin and Shimon Peres wrote their roadmap peace plan that the Bush
administration shoved down Ariel Sharon's throat in May 2004.
In the end, the Quartet's refusal to countenance the reality of war caused
Israel to choose the capitulationist policy of unilateral surrender of
territory to the Palestinians. Viewing the behavior of Israel and the
Quartet, the Palestinians rationally assessed that terror and war were
winning strategies and thus elected Hamas to lead them. Now, in light of
Hamas's refusal to keep up the fiction of a peace process, the Quartet has
engaged itself in a new enterprise. Recognizing there is no chance for a
peace process until Hamas ceases to be Hamas, the Quartet is now convincing
itself that Hamas is not Hamas.
In short then, the US on Tuesday recommitted itself to a Middle East policy
that has no connection to reality and thus no chance of ever succeeding.
Indeed, failure is inevitable.
It has been argued that the American capitulation to EU, UN and Russian
pressure to fund Hamas was undertaken to secure their support for US efforts
in the UN Security Council against Iran. If so then the deal the US struck
is both delusional and counterproductive. It is delusional because Russia,
Kofi Annan and key EU member states such as Germany will not provide the US
with backing for any measure that could possibly succeed in preventing or
delaying Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons. And it is counterproductive
because the fact is that by aiding Hamas, the US aiding Iran.
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