Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Palestinian Democracy

Last month, I suggested that a silver lining to Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections was that an Arab country had held elections in which the opposition peacefully came to power. However, it's turning out not to be that simple. First Fatah has worked to ensure its continued control over the security services. The lame duck Parliament gave Abbas control of the Constitutional court, a move the ramifications of which have yet to play out. Now the President has taken control of the official Palestinian media. This is a far cry from a civil war, but together they clearly represent anti-democratic measures as Fatah and its allies seek to render the election results meaningless. Hamas, meanwhile, is playing up reports of an American-Israeli plan to topple it, and if he's not careful Abbas could wind up being painted as a Western puppet-dictator, as role he has thus far avoided despite the role played by foreign powers in his rise to the Prime Ministership under Yasser Arafat.

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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