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The victory of Hamas in January 2006 should no be seen as an unexpected surprise, or as some kind of shocking quirk in the Middle Eastern democratic process. In fact, it was just the opposite -- it was a golden opportunity for Palestinian voters to publicly endorse a violent Jihadist organization that has been supported and admired throughout the Islamic world for twenty years. After all, in the spring of 2002, two million people participated in mass demonstrations in favor of Hamas' homicide bombing tactics. These demonstations took place in every Arab capital. Like the sounding of a battlefield trumpet, more than four-hundred-and-forty-thousand Palestinian voters gave a loud and clear affirmation to the now-incarnated aspirations of at least four generations of Middle Eastern Arab Muslims, who have all been saturated from birth on the liberation theology of Jihad.
Like the rising of a glorious new Qur'anic dawn, Hamas has emerged as the preeminent, idealized representative of the global Jihadist movement. From the point of view of a majority of Middle Eastern Muslims, Hamas is admired for its heroic, well-spoken leadership and regional and international political savvy, its fierce willingness to engage the enemies of Islam, i.e., Israel and the West, its proven efficiency in social services and apparent lack of corruption, its enthusiastic promotion of Islamic Shari'ah law, and its encouragement and worshipful adoration of Shaheeds (homicide bombers). Hamas stands at ground zero, at the epicenter of the Jihadist theological universe, and it is directly engaged in the valiant apocalyptic battle that all Jihadist groups yearn for. These roaring lions of Hamas are seen as the new Saladins, the new liberators of Jerusalem, and have been appointed as the "democratically legitimized" arbiters of a new Islamic millennium.
Jihadist groups in the Middle East are linked together like an ideological string of pearls -- Palestinian Hamas is affiliated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, while the Brotherhood is affiliated with the Taliban's new Islamic State of Waziristan, while the Taliban is allied with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which in turn recognizes Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is then connected to other Shiite Jihadist groups from Palestine to Iran -- and they are all organically connected to a network of influential Imams, Mullahs, Sheikhs and Qadis in Iran and Saudi Arabia (the strongholds of Shiite and Sunni theology, respectively).
Just as water is gradually transformed into ice -- at first soft and slushy, and then cold and hard -- the radicalization of the Islamic world by Jihadist activists and avid devotees of Shari'ah law is much further along -- much colder and harder -- than many seem to realize. According to an ongoing Al-Jazeera poll, sixty-four percent of its online audience supported the election of Hamas. This poll is yet another validation of widespread public support for the current spate of 'democratic coups' in the Middle East. An ominous 1992 precedent for the democratic coup by Hamas was Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front ("One man, One vote, Once!"). The FIS intended to infiltrate the National Liberation Front (i.e., Hamas vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority), dismantle the county's fragile political system, and establish Shari'ah law. Although the NLF dissolved the second round of elections and officially banned the FIS, more than 100,000 people have been killed in FIS-inspired civil conflict (Jihad) since then. Likewise, in Iran, people can 'vote' -- but only for officially sanctioned candidates who support the Shari'ah status quo.
More recently, Hezbollah gained all 23 seats in southern Lebanon in their June 2005 elections, while Egypt's "outlawed" Muslim Brotherhood gained 88 of 454 government seats in their December 2005 elections. On March 04, 2005, Mahdi Akef, the Brotherhood's leader, rejected the G8's 2004 Sea Island initiative for Middle Eastern reform ("Partnership for Progress and a Common Future")... in favor of establishing Shari'ah law. In Jordan, the Brotherhood continues pushing King Abdullah for "true democratic reforms" -- in other words, for elections that would allow radical Jihadist groups to play a more active role in Jordan's constitutional monarchy. Meanwhile, Shari'ah law -- which will be overseen by state-appointed judges -- is part of the new Constitution of Iraq, which was finalized in August of 2005, and eighty-five percent of the members of the newly elected Parliament in Afghanistan are former Mujahideen leaders who fully support implementation of Shari'ah law.
To bring the first part of this discussion full circle, the
emphatically stated intention and raison d'être of Hamas is to
use Jihad to implement Shari'ah law in Palestine, which, in their
view, includes all of Israel. The support of the entire Islamic world
is behind them -- no matter how long it takes, or what the ultimate
cost may be.
It is ironically revealing that 'No' (La) is the very first word in the 'First Pillar of Islam,' La Ilaha Illa Allah, Muhammad Ur Rasul Allah (There is no other god except Allah, Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah). Revealing because, under Shari'ah law, not only is there no other god, but there is no room for competing political systems (especially Western-style democracy), no room for individual freedom of expression or 'personal rights,' and virtually no vestige of heartfelt mercy or forgiveness for those infuriating Kafirs (Infidels). Multiple generations and uncounted millions of bombed Jews in Israel, massacred Christians in Iraq and Lebanon (and Africa), persecuted Copts in Egypt, murdered Assyrians in Syria and annihilated Hindus in India -- Dhimmis all -- can attest to this fact.
Hamas is by no means an exception to this implacable Islamic "Law of No." In fact, Hamas is the front-line champion and chosen protector of Shari'ah law and the Glorious Qur'an, which has now been shown to the whole world by multitudes of outraged believers who threaten punishment and revenge against anyone who dares to defame Muhammad or blaspheme Islam... even if its just a simple cartoon. The mask of Islam has been taken off -- the old façade has been removed -- for all those who have eyes to see. Some of the face(s) that have been revealed may still be 'charming,' apologetic and deceptively attractive, but for those who have ears to hear, their words are eerily similar to ones we heard after the 1932 elections in Germany, when the National Socialist German Workers Party captured a majority of the seats in the Reichstag, and won thirty-three percent of the popular vote.
The choreographed hysteria and cynical manipulation of Islam's beguiled millions is remarkably similar to the dark period from 1932 to 1939, when Germany convinced itself that it was time to conquer the world. The leaders of Hamas (and their wry enablers in the PLO) are apt disciples of those infamous Germanic authors of the Final Solution. For example, Hamas Leader Khaled Meshaal gave a post-election 'victory speech' at a Damascus mosque on February 03, 2006, that was a straightforward declaration of war (Jihad) on Israel and the West (it was entitled "Islam Will Sit at the Throne of the World"). Any lingering doubts about the nature of Hamas should be thoroughly dispelled by Meshaal's doctrinally pure comments, such as: "I say to America, Europe, and the West -- it is in your interests to change your relations and policies regarding the Arab and Islamic nation and the Palestinian cause. Because we are winning, it is in your interests to deal with the victors, not the losers. Israel will be defeated and will be of no use to you. The Arabs will be victorious. The Muslims will be victorious. Palestine will be victorious. Change your policy soon, if you want to protect your interests, and maintain healthy relations with the East."
Another example of the true face of Hamas is this direct quote from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA): "From earliest childhood, lurid messages demonize Zionists and Jews as evil and extol the joys of martyrdom attained in killing them. Hamas is in the forefront of Palestinian groups exploiting the Internet to disseminate propaganda, with approximately 20 sites in seven languages. A children's online magazine called 'Al-Fateh' (The Conqueror, www.al-fateh.net) juxtaposes child-like cartoons and stories with surreal images of Palestinian children bloodied by Jihadist violence. Issue 38 of Al-Fateh includes a photograph of the decapitated head of a female suicide bomber. The caption reads 'Zainab Abu Salem who carried out the suicide bombing attack. Her head was severed from her pure body and her headscarf remained to decorate her face. Your place is in heaven in the upper sky, Zainab... sister [raised to the status of heroic] men." In her 'heroic' attack, Abu Salem killed two Israeli border policemen and wounded seventeen others.
Mariam Farahat (Umm Nidal) is a highly esteemed Palestinian woman with three sons who joined Hamas. One of her Jihadist sons killed five Israelis before being shot himself, while the other two engaged in separate anti-Israel actions and were also killed by the IDF. Umm Nidal, who has three more sons, campaigned on the Hamas "Change and Reform" platform ("Hamas has killed Jews, too!"). Mahmoud Abbas swore her in to the new Palestinian legislature on February 18, 2006. In an interview translated by Middle East Media Review (MEMRI), Mrs. Farahat declared that "even [Israeli] women and old people" are occupiers and "all means are legitimate" against them.
Finally, as reported in the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch, Hamas posted two 2004 homicide bomber video messages on its website just after the 2006 election victory. The first bomber said: "My message to the loathed Jews is that there is no god but Allah, we will chase you everywhere! We are a nation that drinks blood, and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews. We will not leave you alone until we have quenched our thirst with your blood, and our children's thirst with your blood. We will not leave until you leave the Muslim countries." The second terrorist declared: "In the name of Allah, we will destroy you, blow you up, take revenge against you, [and] purify the land of you, pigs that have defiled our country...this operation is revenge against the sons of monkeys and pigs." This is the mandate that Hamas has been entrusted with... which it intends to fulfill to the letter.
For years, a popular Hamas slogan has been "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." In other words, the proposed Islamic State of Palestine will reach from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. There is no place for Israel. The Hamas icon vividly illustrates how this goal is promoted in the Islamic world.
[See * below for an explanation of the symbols in the logo]
Short Term -
At the local level, Hamas -- and other energetic Palestinian Jihadist groups -- are busy planning a new campaign of violence against Israel (the "Third Intifada"). Ismail Haniyeh, the newly appointed Prime Minister, is negotiating with his volatile terrorist colleagues, forging alliances and delegating assignments for the onslaught to come. However, keeping everyone happy won't be easy, even for the "moderate" Haniyeh, who is known as an "excellent negotiator." For example, Abu Nasser, leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, insists that an Israeli/International conspiracy put Hamas in power, and warns that the Brigade is preparing its own terror onslaught. Ramadan Shallah, who leads the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, operates from Damascus and regularly visits Tehran. Hezbollah operatives have encouraged Shallah to carry out attacks, partly to draw Israel into a prolonged guerilla conflict, and partly to distract the world's attention away from Syria and Iran. Ahmad Saadat, the just-released-by-Hamas Marxist leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has authorized shooting attacks and rocket firings from the Gaza Strip, while Abu Hani, leader of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades (the PLFP's "armed wing") is also building an arsenal for the next Intifada, saying, "the Palestinian people preserves its right to fight against Israel." These are just four examples of homegrown Palestinian Jihadist groups -- there are at least ten more that are not mentioned here.
Internationally, in addition to the outspoken pledges of political and financial support from Iran and Syria, Hamas has already gained diplomatic recognition (and more subdued promises of financial aid) from Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Venezuela, and has received "cautious" political endorsements from Egypt, France, Jordan, Russia and Turkey. In Moscow, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov recently announced that Russia plans to supply military hardware to the Palestinian Authority (i.e., Hamas), but "only if Israel agreed." Meanwhile, while speaking before Saudi Arabia's consultative Shura Council on March 06, 2006, President Jacques Chirac of France endorsed the Hamas position that "sanctions against the Palestinian Authority will serve only to hurt ordinary people." Chirac, who led an official delegation of five major French high-tech defense and electronics companies, also said that he was "against any international sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, which is now lead by the resistance group Hamas. I know well that there are some who envisage sanctions. For my part, I am hostile to sanctions in general and in this case in particular... basically the Palestinian people would bear the brunt of it."
In addition, on February 28, 2006, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's Commissioner for External Relations, announced plans to "provide the Palestinian people with EUR 120 million in aid before Hamas takes office." A senior EU diplomat added that it "was not in the EU's interest to see the Palestinian Authority break down," and that "several ideas were circulating," including "how to channel aid toward Mahmoud Abbas." Finally, O Estado de Sao Paulo (Brazil) reports that Hamas is sending emissaries to Palestinian expatriate communities in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela to explain its position... and raise cash. Brazil, which hosted the first-ever Summit of South American and Arab Countries in May 2005, is home to more than 10 million people of Arab descent, with many concentrated in the Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay 'Three Borders' area.
For such a "small" organization, Hamas is certainly casting a large shadow around the world...
Long Term Goals -
Hamas will continue following the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired multi-phase plan (Resistance & Jihad) to defeat Israel and humiliate the West, under the spiritual guidance of the Brotherhood's Holocaust-denying leader, Mahdi Akef. The first phase of this multi-phase plan has now been accomplished -- i.e., winning the Palestinian election.
Under the second (current) phase, Hamas will  re-create the Palestinian resistance infrastructure -- damaged during the Second Intifada -- in its own image,  seek to build up its stockpile of weapons and vastly increase military training of Palestinian citizens, and  continue to search for international political legitimacy (and financial support), especially from Islamic Shari'ah states, the UN (via UNWRA, the UN Relief and Works Association) and the EU (via the formal EU-Arab agreement entitled "Dialogue Between Peoples and Cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean Area").
During this phase, Hamas will also use Da'awa ("Islamic propagation" aka propaganda) to expand its local and international influence, until it gains enough political power to unilaterally establish a Shari'ah-based regime in Gaza and the West Bank, where Jews will be "invited to live as Palestinian citizens." At the same time, as co-founder and Gaza leader Mahmoud al-Zahar recently said, Hamas may "revise the Hamas Charter" and offer Israel a Hudna (cease fire) or Tahdi'a (calm) -- if -- Israel pulls back to the pre-1967 borders and recognizes all Palestinian rights, including the "right of return"...even though Hamas "will never recognize Israel's right to exist."
The final phase, a combination of  strategic attacks against the West, and  continuous Jihad against Israel, was summed up by the late Abu Shanab just after the 2000 Camp David Summit, who warned: "We support one thing: full withdrawal from our land! We are coming. We have accepted the challenge. We are coming to Tel Aviv. We are coming to every place in Palestine to purify it from the Jews." During a speech in Khartoum, Sudan, on February 22, 2006, Khaled Meshaal enhanced Abu Shanab's warning. He said, "Oh West, the Islamic nation's history with you is bitter. We do not believe you anymore. We do not trust you anymore. We do not rely on you. We are not waiting for you. We will rely only on Allah, and then on ourselves, because you are an international community that respects only force. We have witnessed your oppression -- all the Zionist oppression in the land of Palestine... Let us make use of this [election victory] in order to outline a new strategy, with which we will address the world, and force it to respect us. The days of enslavement are gone."
Four days later, Meshaal spoke at Tehran University, where he declared, "Resistance [will] not end or stop. There is no freedom without resistance, and there is no resistance without arms. We have no choice but to resist." Introduced as the "current leader of Hamas," Meshaal was greeted by cheering students holding flowers and wreaths, who were assembled in a hall decorated with posters of Cuba's Fidel Castro, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, plus Khaled Meshaal himself, Venezuela's Hugo Chaves and Bolivia's Juan Evo Morales.
Though hardly a month has passed since the elections were confirmed, Hamas has already established a Palestinian army in the Gaza Strip, which is specifically designed to fight the West and Israel. Using the nom de guerre Abu Huzaifa, a Senior Commander of Hamas's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades -- named after a famous Arab Nationalist cleric killed by the British in 1935 and the namesake of the Hamas-developed Qassam rocket -- told the online Palestinian newspaper Dunya Al-Watan [http://www.alwatanvoice.com/] on March 04, 2006, that Hamas has established units in every major city and refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Huzaifa said thousands of Palestinians have been trained to fight the West and Israel, and he added that the army would "be used in the Holy War against non-Muslims." Huzaifa also said "Palestinian cadets were taught firearms training, rappelling buildings and outposts, launching Qassam short-range missiles and infiltrating Israeli enemy bases. The instructors were Hamas fighters who were trained abroad in such countries as Iran, Lebanon, Sudan and Syria."
In conclusion, as we move into the future, strategic attacks against the West will increase. These attacks will be planned and conducted in partnership with affiliated Jihadist groups, partly because the West is considered a distinct enemy of Islam itself, and partly to weaken Israel by alienating and isolating her from the West. At the same time, Jerusalem will become the ever-sharpening focus of the ground zero conflict between Israel and the Islamic world. Even if all the other Israeli-Palestinian issues were somehow resolved (i.e., realization of the two-state solution, return of the refugees, etc.), Jerusalem will remain the most volatile issue facing Israel (and the world). As Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (Yasser Arafat, the 'Father of the Palestinian People') once declared: "What they are saying is that [Jerusalem] is their capital. No, it is not their capital. It is our capital. It is the first shrine of Islam and the Moslems."
When all is said and done, the sober truth is that the ascent of Hamas as the arbiter of global Jihad really isn't about a local election in the Middle East -- it is about the future of the West and Israel, and the final status of Jerusalem. Viewed from this perspective, all other issues seem merely secondary.
* The Hamas emblem consists of the Dome of the Rock,
two crossed swords, and two Palestinian flags embracing the Dome with
the phrases, "There is no god but Allah", and "Muhammad is the
messenger of Allah." At the top is a map encompassing the boundaries
of the State of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with
"Palestine" written under the picture and a strip at the bottom
stating "Islamic Resistance Movement--Hamas." --
Philip B. Haney is a professional observer of the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islamic Theology, with more than 30 years of experience in the Middle East. This article appeared in Front Page Magazine
(www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21658) March 16, 2006.
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