View Full Version : Beirut think tank...Conflicts Forum

05-21-2007, 01:27 AM

Offering this up as a potential reference for Middle Eastern discussion and analysis. Of note, Mr. Crooke is reportedly a veteran of 30 years service in MI6.

05-21-2007, 12:40 PM
From the NATO Parlimentary Assembly
2-4 May 06 - 12th Med. Dialogue Seminar - Istanbul, Turkey:

4. According to Mr Crooke, the consequences of this policy pose a serious risk for European countries since conflict with the Muslim world sparked off by the various regional crisis will not only play out at the level of states, but also between and within movements and communities. The growing sense of a Muslim community within a community in Europe and the feeling that Europe is moving away from its traditional empathy for the Islamic world are serious developments in this respect. In order to "pull the pendulum back from the revolutionaries", dialogue with pro-system groups must urgently take place. A starting point for this dialogue would be to move the Western language out of the military into the political sphere. Whereas Islamist movements talk in a language of ethics, politics and dignity, Western discourse is characterized by a language of force, power, and military. As long as the debate takes place in different spheres, it cannot seriously tackle the issues of mutual understanding and disagreement.

Tom Odom
07-17-2007, 08:07 PM
The London Review of Books had an interesting review by Alastair Crooke on the issue of Hamas and Fatah. Keep in mind the perspective this is written from; it s interesting to see the difference in views on Hamas and even Hizballah.



Our Second Biggest Mistake in the Middle East (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n13/croo01_.html)
Alastair Crooke
Hamas: Unwritten Chapters by Azzam Tamimi · Hurst, 344 pp, £14.95

Where Now for Palestine: The Demise of the Two-State Solution ed. Jamil Hilal · Zed, 260 pp, £17.99

Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Sara Roy · Pluto, 379 pp, £16.99

‘The situation in Gaza is dangerous, and the danger is that Hamas will take over and turn Gaza into “Hamastan” – into a kingdom of thugs, murderers, terrorists, poverty and despair.’ This was the reaction of Ephraim Sneh, Israel’s deputy defence minister, to Hamas’s seizure of a number of key security institutions in Gaza in the days leading up to 14 June, when Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, dismissed the unity government. But, despite what much of the media says, this is not a ‘civil war’, and Hamas is not made up of ‘gangs beyond the control of their leaders’. Hamas’s action was conducted with the aim of removing the influence of just one of Fatah’s security forces in Gaza, the militia controlled by Muhammad Dahlan, Abbas’s national security adviser. Hamas has insisted that this has not been a conflict with Fatah in general, and it was notable that neither the Palestinian security forces – effectively the Palestinian ‘army’ – nor the police in Gaza were targets of the recent violence.

The origins of the Hamas action in Gaza lie in the reaction of the international community, and of Fatah, to Hamas’s overwhelming victory in the parliamentary elections of January 2006. Fatah, Yasir Arafat’s movement, saw itself as the founder of the Palestinian Authority; it believed it was the natural party of government; and it had fought a long battle with Arab neighbours to establish itself as synonymous with the PLO, and therefore, implicitly, as the ‘sole representative of the Palestinian people’. Some within Fatah were unable to come to terms with their loss of power, or to reconcile themselves to the claim that, on the basis of the election result, an Islamist party best represented the views of the Palestinian people. At this crucial juncture, the International Quartet intervened: they pressed President Abbas not to yield to Hamas, to hang onto power; and they promised to support him if he did so.