Ricardo Israel Z. explains how, paradoxically, Israel will be the one to benefit from Hamas’ victory of the Palestinian elections, and that among those who will suffer most from an ever-imminent Palestinian civil war will be Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian cause itself. Ricardo Israel Z. believes that the new international scenario created by Hamas’ extremism will permit Israel to make decisions that before were unviable: such as carrying forward a unilateral withdrawal from a good part of the West Bank, and establishing the borders of a Palestinian nation.
Augusto Zamora R. analyzes the possible scenarios in case of a US military intervention in Iran, and states that an aggression of such kind would throw the world towards a situation of enormous uncertainty and with no within-sight benefit. Zamora R. believes that the possibility of a nuclear attack to the Iranian installations would repeat the atomic horror, would produce a human hecatomb and would provoke an energetic and economical collapse all around the world. In short, it is about an impossible war to wage due to its enormous costs; unless the decision is to commit suicide, he alerts.
George E. Irani thinks that signals coming out of Washington lead observers to believe that George W. Bush is again putting on his hat as a necon ideologue ready to teach unruly Muslim Iranian heathens a lesson. But the American Administration ought to cool down their ideological heels and let European, Chinese and Russian pragmatisms prevail. Iran is today is a powerful country: the current regime has expanded and consolidated its regional and global alliances, and enjoys a large influence among the Shia community in Iraq, being present and influential in Lebanon and Syria and have signed very advantageous economic agreements with Russia, China and India.
By Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (for Safe Democracy)
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam considers that instead of attempting to excavate the true, eternal essence of Islam, it is worthwile to comprehend the expanding discourses about it within specific ideational situations. This is what he believes is the real challenge posed by Islam. Adib-Moghaddam also illustrates how two transnational Islamic spaces have created a cognitive divide in which the rational majority suffers: “East” by neo-fundamentalist movement and “West”, by neo-conservative strategists. He notes that Bali, Madrid, London, New York, Baghdad, Kabul, Najaf and the Palestinian territories have been caught in the cross-fire of this divide.
Mohammad Darawshe discusses the implications of the results in the recent March 2006 Israeli parliamentary elections and states that the elections increased the Arab minoritie’s representation in Israel’s Knesset, thereby winning ten percent of Parliament seats. Darawshe explains the three factors that contribute to the Arab lower share of voters in terms of their actual population and they are: lower turnout rate, age, and citizenship status. According to him, the Arab political parties must unite to form one coalition (rather than four, separate parties) in order to establish legitimacy as a true option and not simply remain an opposition voice.
Dr. George E. Irani believes that Bashar Assad‘s Syrian regime is in the eye of the storm due to three factors: pressures from the Bush Administration, the UN investigation into the Hariri murder, and regional powers. Dr. Irani does mention the success Assad had in Arab solidarity against the US Congress-sponsored sanctions against Syria. However, Dr. Irani adds that Assad failed to achieve a consensus on both the Lebanon and Palestine arenas. Dr. Irani states that the regime is manipulating the remaining leverage it holds on Lebanon, and it hopes to continue using the Palestinian faction as a means to maintain Syrian intervention: Syria can always play for time and use US diplomatic blunders as a means to enhance and maintain some kind of respect.
Walid Salem states that in Palestine, separation between freedom and democracy was witnessed during the peace process, in two, contradictory experiences: the first occurred during 1996-2000, with the implementation of a strategy to obtain more freedom to the Palestinians was practiced within the Oslo peace process, yet this process was practiced without democratization. In the second experience (2000-2006), the Palestinians were asked to promote democracy as a precondition to obtain more freedom from Israel. According to Salem, now is the time to build a process of democratization – freedom for the Palestinians without separation. Moreover, he states there are two ways to reach this objective: negotiations resulting in two states solutions, or two, unilateral Israeli and Palestinian tracks, leading in the same direction.
Walid Salem says that beyond the panic, and the fear of Hamas success in the Palestinian elections and impact on peace and on the area, the international community has two political options towards Hamas, and also two financial options. First, working for a short term arrangement of conflict management that include Hamas extending the Tahdiya unilaterally (calmness) and second, helping for transformation of Hamas towards recognizing of Israel. Regarding the option of stopping the funding to the Palestinian Authority, Salem says it is problematic: it will lead to collapse mainly to the health and education sectors among other sectors, and this will be not more than a punishment to the Palestinian people, which will lead to more support to Hamas.