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Larry Johnson Almost Gets It

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
7 Comments   

Larry Johnson rips into Condi for her inability to recognize the Hamas victory in Palestine (quite rightly as I wrote about earlier) but then he engages in a bizarre discussion about Islamists prevailing over secularists as a rule in the Middle East.

Apparently Maslow doesn’t apply to the region.

60% of Palestinians are below the poverty line; a majority are secular. They are voting for food, water, and electricity. Not grandstanding bullshit.

This aside Mr. Johnson is a great voice to listen to though. He is an expert in terrorism with field time with both the CIA and the State’s Office of Counter Terrorism and currently heads up Berg Associates – a threat management business consultancy.

I have asked him for a response to this argument and will post if he gets a chance to respond.



-Shlok
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Gartenstein-Ross Gets It

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Counterterrorism Blog says today what I said yesterday – except he does not pay any attention to the inner makeup of Hamas that makes it very very vulnerable to moderation.

Other than that it’s a great read –

Third, being elected tends to have a moderating effect on radical groups. Observe the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which — while far from an exemplar — has served in Jordan’s parliament since 1987. However, moderation is not a given. It is important that the U.S. and the world community not be myopic, but instead hold Hamas accountable moving forward and not make excuses for them. Particularly unhelpful in this regard are comments such as those by the UN’s envoy to the Middle East Alvaro de Soto (as noted by my colleague Andrew Cochran yesterday): “Let’s judge the participants in the government by what they do, not by what they have said in the past.” Aside from the fact that Hamas’s critics are not just judging the group by what it has “said in the past” but rather by the fact that it is literally responsible for hundreds of deaths, positing a sort of “blank slate” for the terrorist group sends a dangerous signal of weakness and moral confusion.



-Shlok
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Why Was Hamas a Surprise?

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
2 Comments   

REACTION

For some reason people are thinking Hamas gaining a majority in Palestinian politics is a surprise… as evidenced here here and here.

Hamas, with its focus on providing social services that the previous governments could not, has done more for the average Palestinian than its Fatah or PA counterparts with their corrupt government. 95% of Hamas’ budget (70 million?) goes towards its social services network through which it provides education, health care, and recreation.

RAMIFICATIONS

Hamas’ internal focus on hearts and minds will undermine its extremist elements. The leaders who are involved in the moderate stance of grassroots development will naturally face off with the leaders who are focused on violence. The moderates derive their power from lifting the standard of living for Palestinians. They’ll realize very quickly that their efforts are being counteracted by Hamas’ international hardliner status. Those extremists who derive their power from the gap between the Palestinians and the Israelis and will splinter off when they realize that the moderates don’t want to buy into their plan.

Simply put Hamas will split, following the mold of the PLO’s various splinter groups, the Real IRA and the IRA, and the GIA and the FIA in Algeria.

Or it will gradually collapse much like its predecessors and the cycle will repeat until this scenario rings true.



-Shlok
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