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  Global Views
Op-Ed Special
Hamas and the End of the Arab Spring
Special Contribution
By Prof. Abdelkader Zerougui
American University
Yasser Arafat (1929-2004): The late Palestinian leader was the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). He was also the leader of the Fatah political party and former paramilitary group.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) sided with Saddam Hussein, and as a result suffered a heavy blow after the defeat of the Iraqi military and the “liberation” of Kuwait by the US forces. Since its inception in 1964, the PLO went from a liberation movement to an organization plagued with cronyism and nepotism.

The Islamic Resistance Movement known by its Arabic acronym Hamas came into existence in 1987; however, and it only rose to prominence after winning the elections in the Gaza strip in 2006 against its arch enemy, the more secular PLO. However, Hamas like the PLO miscalculated, and it came out as the biggest loser in the Arab Spring, part II.

Hamas, like the PLO remain amateur gamblers, unable to develop a strategy of liberation. Both became entities in themselves catering to their loyal members, and hired guns to their financiers in the Arab world. Hamas came into existence because of the failure of the PLO to create a home for the Palestinians. For the past 50 years, the PLO could not come up with a viable map that could be backed by the international community. Like the PLO, Hamas failed to read the world events, and sacrificed its major supporters in the region for the Arab petro-dollars. Syria, Hizbullah and Iran were Hamas main backers, until the latter decided to dissociate itself from Syria in 2012.

Hamas moved its headquarters to the Doha – the capital of the mini-state of Qatar-. Doha became the financier of the Hamas, which did not hesitate to condemn its old allies as Shiite enemies, and sent its Jihadists to help the terrorist organization of Al Nusra to fight the Syrian army. Hamas gambled on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government under the now deposed –Mohammed Morsi- for a greater political clout. However, two major events have completely isolated Hamas. The military coup in Egypt ended the short-rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the coming to power of the new Emir in Qatar. Egypt is now de-Islamizing its government, and Sheikh Tamim al-Thani is in the process of distancing his country from the Islamic movements in the region, and thus cutting their life-line of financial assistance. Hamas is now on artificial-respiration, as there is little money supply in the region, and less sympathy for its cause.

Hamas like the PLO did not learn from their history that political movements must rely on themselves and their constituencies in order to advance their cause. The PLO and Hamas have pawned their future to the ultra-conservative regimes of the Arabian peninsula, and as result became unworthy of support from democratic regimes in Europe and elsewhere.

Pan-Arabism, and Pan-Islamism were only slogans, and delusions. The Arab armies lost three wars - in 1948, 1967 and 1973. On each occasion, the Palestinians and the Arab armies lost more territories, and blamed the world for their misdeeds. The failure to self-criticism and the absence of self-evaluation affected not only the policies adopted by immature leadership, but continued to believe that Palestine is an Arab cause.

The Palestinian involvement in Jordan in 1970, led what its known as Black September. In Lebanon in 1975 Civil War, and their position in Iraq’s adventure in Kuwait and their misguided involvement in Syria in 2012 made their cause lesser popular, and the Arab sympathy towards them is withering away.

Zerougui Abdelkader, PhD
Adjunct professor
American University - Washington DC

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Prof. Abdelkader Zerougui is an adjunct professor of sociology at American University in Washington DC, where he received his MA and PhD in sociology. Prof. Zerougui’s writings have appeared on many respected media including the Washington Times and The Seoul Times.






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