It's all about the Benjamins
Posted by aogThursday, 31 August 2006 at 23:12 TrackBack Ping URL

It’s always amusing when someone who has strong, counter-factual views manages to get so tangled up that he posts evidence contradicting his own theses (although, to be fair, it’s not that hard to get in to a state where any facts are counter).

The case study today is this post which quotes a senior Hamas representative

“We’re always afraid to talk about our mistakes,” he [ Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority] added. “We’re used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories - one that has limited our capability to think.”

Hamad admitted that the Palestinians have failed in developing the Gaza Strip following the Israeli withdrawal and in imposing law and order. He said about 500 Palestinians have been killed and 3,000 wounded since the Israeli pullout, in addition to the destruction of much of the infrastructure in the area.

Of course, this makes the claim that “Israel and the U.S. squandered the opportunity to help rebuild Palestine following Hamas’s election” laughable. Hamad is stating outright then any such help would have been squandered along with all the other international aid, like the archetypical green houses.

But let’s leave that behind because there is a deeper issue than just tweaking someone who is delusional about the realities of modern Arab culture. That issue is the sustenance of dysfunctional cultures and organizations by large cash streams.

Judd frequently claims that Hizb’allah is an organization that represents the local Shia. But in reality Hizb’allah is no different than the Saudi Entity, an effectively externally imposed government that is sustained by money not derived fom the governed. Not only should you not have taxation without representation, but you can’t have representation without taxation.

It is commonly understood that large oil reserves have been more of a curse than a benefit for those nations where they are a large fraction of the the national wealth. The citizenry gets used to something for nothing and the government gets used to doing as it wants without much reference to the local street. Judd has himself noted the corrosive effects of this. Yet how is the situations with Hizb’allah any different? There is just one more layer of indirection, where Iran sells the oil and then sends the money to Hizb’allah. This lack of economic connection between Hizb’allah and those it putatively represents is why Hizb’allah is a terrorist organization, a mercernary army for a foreign power rather than an indigenous collective.

Hizb’allah has no stake in the well being of those it alledgedly represents because its money comes from elsewhere. Total devastation in southern Lebanon wouldn’t decrease the Hizb’allah budget much, if not actually increase it. That kind of disconnect is precisely what enables a goverment to become completely alienated from its subjects without collapsing. If the Iranisn cash flow was shut off, Hizb’allah would disappear within months because it has no organic support that isn’t purchased with petro-dollars (or counterfeit dollars).

The PLO was the same way, sustained not by Iranian petro-dollars but by massive foreign aid. It ended up disconnected as well, unsurprisingly. Hamas thought it could get its hands on that same cash flow but for once the West managed to at least slow down the flow. It is that, not elections, that is causing Hamas to be held accountable. Massive aid, as Judd suggested, at the start would have done much to harden Hamas’ beligerence and achieve popular support for that intransigience. Hamas is expected to govern only because it can’t live off taxpayers in other countries. In the end, the USA and Israel didn’t miss the opportunity, they seized it, to make a Palestinian government finally face some local responsibility.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Michael Herdegen Friday, 01 September 2006 at 03:18

The good news is that Iran will essentially be out of oil in twenty years, and by then Europe won’t have enough spare cash to do more than send some food aid, so the trends are in favor of the developed, (or, in this case, one might say civilized), world.

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