The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.
The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.
Oh, yeah... "a reformed and chastened Fatah"... that'll happen... no really!
But beyond that bit of foreign relations vaporware, there is a real danger of attempting this for Israel that the author of the article hits pretty well...
The strategy has many risks, especially given that Hamas will try to secure needed support from the larger Islamic world, including its allies Syria and Iran, as well as from private donors.
There are more than enough screwheads in places like Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh, Cairo... even those bastions of liberal American-style democracy, Bagdad and Kabul who will be willing to pick up the tab for a Hamas dedicated to continue making trouble for Israel, and by extension the United States, and thereby securing their own political positions with iconic anti-Israeli demagougery.
I understand there is a little bit of a "chicken/egg" dichotomy here, but the basic problem is that we have nothing Hamas wants that they can't get elsewhere on better terms!
I think it would be a dire mistake to think that something like sanctions or international isolation will have the desired effect here. Seriously, Hamas has been an isolated organization internationally since its inception, except in those places where they want to be relevant. But now, I am supposed to believe that because "The West" won't take their phone calls, their leadership is going to shite themselves with woe?
And more importantly, what message does this send to the rest of a region that we are desperately trying to sell on the notion that "modern western democracy = good; medieval Islmaic theocracy = bad!" Sure, elections and freedom are all good, as long as you are doing the bidding of the United States. It reinforces every bad thing they think about U.S. intentions in South Asia.
Look, if it's about our hegemony in the region, then just say so, but please, Maximum Leader, Vice President Big Time, please stop the blathering about the spread of the freedom and democracy, when at the end of the day, you don't mean a fscking word of it!