Today, in many countries' political realities, tribalist and nationalist or globalist forces clash fiercely, undermining chances of peace and democracy. This is particularly topical in Middle East, where efforts by established leaderships to discourage armed conflict have reached a new phase, in which both Hezbollah and Hamas, organizations labeled 'terrorist' by US, are nudged to start thinking about participation in mainstream politics.
The number of countries in world at moment that are in some form of transition is higher than some ten years ago, and in some ways more efforts are made to resolve situations that threaten stability. And moves of all involved parties are not without major-league risks.
By finally addressing security issues by making a clean sweepthrough, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is slowly shifting into gear, starting clampdown on Palestinian insurgency that has long been called for. he has even told Hamas fighters publicly to give up their arms, This was a first for president who until now has been anything but clear on security issues. The Hamas leaders according to a report in London Asharq Al Awsat paper are reportedly planning to return to Gaza after Israelis have withdrawn.
The newspaper report detailed that leaders are likely to move their group's political bureau to Gaza as soon as Israel transfers control over border crossings to Palestinian Authority. "When a militia turns into a political party, I believe issue of a need for arms becomes irrelevant," Abbas was quoted as saying. "There will be only one authority, one law and one legal [armed force]," according to recently elected Palestinian leader, who played down risks involved in operation, saying that this has happened many times before in history.
Hamas leaders however deemed it necessary to reiterate that they have no intention of disarming at all. "Our fingers will remain on rifle triggers until removal of occupation," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said, according to Israeli Al Haaretz paper. Even though Hamas has participated in elections recently, Masri doubted that this means members are actually going to function as such.
It is remarks like these that worry international community very much. US President George W. Bush has been said to be waiting with inviting Palestianian leader Abbas until he has got something of substance to report. Perhaps an invitation will finally be extended soon now. The Palestinian leader has installed a hardliner as new intelligence chief. Tareq Abu Rajab, who used to be deputy intelligence chief, is known to have played an important role in a crackdown on militant group Hamas.
Hamas, which has participated in municipal elections already, might see next July's municipal elections turn out in its favor. "Extrapolating from present point in time, Hamas I believe would gain between 30 and 50 percent in elections to Palestinian Legislative Council in July. Fateh is in total disarray and is searching for its lost identity", said Matti Steinberg, an Israeli former security advisor to two heads of Israel General Security Service. "Hamas could register considerable gains in elections and possibly demand to play a role in next Palestinian Authority government", according to Yossi Alpher, a former senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The gains that 'party to be' is likely to win are largely due to unhappiness of Palestine population with Fateh party, which has lost its identity more or less due to dysfunctioning of PA.
This is echoed by Ghassan Khattib, Palestinian Authority minister of planning. "It is possible that Hamas, which so far maintains a fundamentalist ideological and extreme political position, will become a pragmatic movement if it has chance to be part of official politics, locally, regionally and internationally. The rhetoric of Hamas now reminds many of Fateh's rhetoric when it was treated by "legitimate powers" as an "illegal terrorist group". Fateh successfully worked out a trade-off. It was recognized and included in system in return for playing politics within parameters of international legality", he says.