Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Somalization of Hamas | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Khalid Mishal as leader of the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Qurei as Prime Minister, Saeb Erekat as Foreign Minister and Ismail Haniyeh as Minister of the Interior. This is what the Palestinian political scene would be like if we transferred the results of the previous Somali elections which obtained political confirmation, and US blessing, and instead apply them to the Palestinian scene with regards to the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

I am aware of the substantial geopolitical differences between Palestine and Somalia, but there are similarities that need to be examined. The new Somali President, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed heads the political movement known as the United Islamic Courts [UIC] which has a military wing, while Khalid Mishal is leader of the Hamas movement. The UIC was previously considered to be a terrorist organization by America, as Hamas currently is. America attempted to suppress the “terrorist organization” of the UIC by using the Ethiopian cats-paw, while America attempts to stifle the “terrorist” Hamas movement by using the violent Israel cats-paw. America ran the UIC out of Mogadishu, while it gave its blessing to the bloody and terrible Israeli attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. And so the former [the UIC] collapsed, while the latter [Hamas] survived, and this is due to the different ideological structures of the two movements. The UIC used Islam as a uniting cause because it is not homogenous, while Hamas on the other hand was founded upon ideologically harmonious principles, even though its leadership varies between hawks and doves, and on their degree of political ambition.

Sheik Sharif became a refugee in Eretria, a country that is hostile to the Ethiopian aggressor, while “Sheik” Khalid Mishal remains a refugee in Syria, the country of “resistance” against the Israeli aggressor. Eritrea does not ideologically agree with the UIC, while Syria does not stand with Hamas with regards to its line of action. The former Somali President [Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed] was appointed by America after the UIC was quashed, while the President of the Palestinian Authority received US blessing after Israel had destroyed Gaza. Both have been put into place as a result of large US political support, but it is the Somalis, and the Palestinian public who do not cheer [this], and who are not quenched from hunger.

The former Somali President fled to Yemen as a refugee after America took away the Ethiopian life-support [of his political regime], while if America were to withdraw the political and financial life-support from certain Palestinian leaders in Ramallah they too would flee to America.

Mohammed Dahlan [former leader of Fatah in Gaza] was described as the strong-man of Gaza, but we did not witness any strength after the arteries of external support stopped flowing. The fact is that Hamas did not defeat Dahlan; rather Dahlan was defeated due to his lack of popular support amongst the Palestinians. They [Fatah] had no leader, and [therefore] no victory [in Gaza], and although Hamas’s attack on Dahlan’s offices in the Gaza Strip are not comparable to the Israeli attack on Gaza; Hamas managed to survive in the face of the terrible Israeli military might, not due to military strength, but because of their arteries of popular support, for any liberation movement cannot –even in the face of a superpower’s army- be destroyed.

And so what America has learned late on is that it has no choice in Somalia other than to engage with a section of these Islamist “former terrorists” who are led by Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who has become in the eyes of America the moderate political figure. Following the destruction of Mogadishu, they realized that it would be impossible for the Ethiopian occupation to continue whilst being attacked by Islamist forces. They also realized that those they [America] had put into power in Somalia could not be described as rulers, for they only controlled the district where the Ethiopian troops were based. It was for this reason that they fled from the allied Islamic forces as if they were fleeing from a pack of African lions.

And so since “Obama’s America” engaged with a former Somali “terrorist” will they find themselves forced to engage with current “terrorists” in Palestine, who hold in their hand hands blank checks of support from the bank of Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic public support, rather than those Palestinian leaders who only have traveler’s checks that can be spent in American banks?