16 January 2007

If the West is leery of Iran, why are they doing it favours?

The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again. For years, the West harangued the Palestinians, insisting they attack corruption and adopt democratic process. So they did both in one fell swoop, elevating Hamas into government in a free and fair election while sweeping out the corrupt Fatah. But, alas, Hamas doesn't meet with the approval of the West. It refuses to recognize Israel and it insists, like every other government in the world, on reserving the right to use violence in defence of its interests. So Israel, the European Union and the United States (and Canada, not that we matter anymore) act to crush the new government by cutting off its funding. Thus both the Palestinians and democracy itself are grievously insulted, and Western nations are shown up as hypocrites.

The plan was to bring Hamas to its knees, but it hasn't quite worked out that way. Hamas has sought funding elsewhere, including in Iran, with some success. Iran has now replaced the EU as the Palestinian Authority's biggest donor.

The West laments Iran's growing influence in the Middle East, then hands it the Palestinians on a platter. If Western nations want to limit Iranian prestige in the region, they might start by treating the Palestinian people and their duly elected government, to say nothing of democracy, with respect.

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