Hamas, Iran and Economic Warfare
Regardless of what one wants it to be or what the Quartet intends it to be, there's simply no getting around the fact that the aid enroute to the Palestinian people - reportedly bypassing Hamas - is, at the end of the day, aid for Hamas. It relieves Hamas' burden, whether the funds pass through them or not, and allows them to use their remaining resources elsewhere. There simply is no bypassing Hamas.
Victor Comras simply nails the failed logic embedded within the decision to resume Palestinian aid.
The devil in developing this program will certainly be in working out the details. But, one additional aspect that must be considered is the nature, scope and extent of other assistance currently being channeled to, and through, the Hamas government. It is one thing for the quartet to divert assistance around Hamas in order to help the Palestinian people. It is quite different if the result is simply to lessen Hamas payroll burdens so as to permit it to sustain itself with other sources of funding. One would hope that such matters will also play a role in determining how to proceed with this assistance. So far, there is no commitment from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other potential Hamas donors, to desist from continuing to channel financial and other aid directly to the Hamas government. [Emphasis added.]
Without doubt, helping the Palestinian people without simultaneously aiding Hamas is a difficult task. Difficult enough to possibly be considered impossible.
At Power Line, Paul Mirengoff makes a rather salient point on the issue.
Secretary of State Rice calls this move "a response to the needs of the Palestinian people." That it is. But it's also a response to the needs of Hamas. Why not use the money to respond to the needs of other populations in serious distress -- ones that have not selected terrorists to govern them?
Part of the strategy for cutting aid to Hamas - until they renounce terrorism and recognize the state of Israel - is to so burden htem as to make them unelectable the next time around, perhaps even as a catalyst for that 'next time around'.
The West has shown that they haven't the resolve nor the stomach to wage even economic warfare on a terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, in all our wisdom, we submit to economic warfare ourselves by pinning the price of oil directly to the volatile lips and deceptive pen of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Sometimes, we are simply brilliant.