The Repercussions Of Bringing Former Terrorists To Mainstream Politics

Written by Angelique van Engelen

Today, in many countries’ political realities, tribalist and nationalist or globalist forces clash fiercely, undermining chances of peace and democracy. This is particularly topical inrepparttar 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’ byrepparttar 135916 US, are nudged to start thinking about participation in mainstream politics.

The number of countries inrepparttar 135917 world atrepparttar 135918 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. Andrepparttar 135919 moves of all involved parties are not without major-league risks.

By finally addressing security issues by making a clean sweepthrough,repparttar 135920 Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is slowly shifting into gear, startingrepparttar 135921 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 forrepparttar 135922 president who until now has been anything but clear on security issues. The Hamas leaders according to a report inrepparttar 135923 London Asharq Al Awsat paper are reportedly planning to return to Gaza afterrepparttar 135924 Israelis have withdrawn.

The newspaper report detailed thatrepparttar 135925 leaders are likely to move their group’s political bureau to Gaza as soon as Israel transfers control overrepparttar 135926 border crossings torepparttar 135927 Palestinian Authority. "When a militia turns into a political party, I believerepparttar 135928 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 torepparttar 135929 recently elected Palestinian leader, who played downrepparttar 135930 risks involved inrepparttar 135931 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 onrepparttar 135932 rifle triggers untilrepparttar 135933 removal ofrepparttar 135934 occupation," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said, according torepparttar 135935 Israeli Al Haaretz paper. Even though Hamas has participated inrepparttar 135936 elections recently, Masri doubted that this meansrepparttar 135937 members are actually going to function as such. It is remarks like these that worryrepparttar 135938 international community very much. US President George W. Bush has been said to be waiting with invitingrepparttar 135939 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 onrepparttar 135940 militant group Hamas. Hamas, which has participated in municipal elections already, might see next July’s municipal elections turn out in its favor. “Extrapolating fromrepparttar 135941 present point in time, Hamas I believe would gain between 30 and 50 percent inrepparttar 135942 elections torepparttar 135943 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 ofrepparttar 135944 Israel General Security Service. “Hamas could register considerable gains in elections and possibly demand to play a role inrepparttar 135945 next Palestinian Authority government”, according to Yossi Alpher, a former senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The gains thatrepparttar 135946 ‘party to be’ is likely to win are largely due to unhappiness ofrepparttar 135947 Palestine population withrepparttar 135948 Fateh party, which has lost its identity more or less due to dysfunctioning ofrepparttar 135949 PA. This is echoed by Ghassan Khattib,repparttar 135950 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 hasrepparttar 135951 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 byrepparttar 135952 "legitimate powers" as an "illegal terrorist group". Fateh successfully worked out a trade-off. It was recognized and included inrepparttar 135953 system in return for playing politics withinrepparttar 135954 parameters of international legality”, he says.

Just how democratic is the Middle East getting?

Written by Angelique van Engelen

If democracy is any more up for a redefinition anywhere, now would berepparttar time andrepparttar 135915 Middle East would berepparttar 135916 place. Events in Iraq andrepparttar 135917 elections ofrepparttar 135918 Palestians had a contageous effect in other Middle Eastern countries too. Forrepparttar 135919 first time in at least 50 years, we see grassroots demand for updated versions of democracy in countries that have long been dominated by authoritarian regimes; Egyptians have been demanding to be allowed a multi party system, in Lebanonrepparttar 135920 fall of a strongly Syrian influenced government went accompanied by street rallies and even in Syria, where street bans are most stringent,repparttar 135921 people going out onrepparttar 135922 streets were unusually defyant. What arerepparttar 135923 chances thatrepparttar 135924 grassroots demand for democracy will actually begin to intersect with supply from home governments? Go to any Arab country and readrepparttar 135925 headlines of background sections of newspapers and you’ll surely find yourself immersed in series and series of studies onrepparttar 135926 merits of true democracy, women’s rights as well asrepparttar 135927 links between Islam and women’s rights. You could argue that news inrepparttar 135928 Arab world is taken in a literal sense here but afterrepparttar 135929 sixth week, you’ll find yourself harboring less than democratic feelings forrepparttar 135930 editors ofrepparttar 135931 papers for their lack of ingenuity. Slowly, however, allrepparttar 135932 theorising is being replaced by real live examples of efforts to effect greater democracy in Middle Eastern countries. Not least torepparttar 135933 satisfaction of senior US officials including President Bush, who reiterated thatrepparttar 135934 time has come forrepparttar 135935 Middle East to shrug offrepparttar 135936 shackles of authoritarian regimes only last week. Both in policy circles and onrepparttar 135937 ground, change is taking place, observers say. To descrIbe whererepparttar 135938 two parties interlock would be to coverrepparttar 135939 story ofrepparttar 135940 century no doubt. A lot has been said already aboutrepparttar 135941 spread of democracy inrepparttar 135942 Middle East, but events are finally beginning to providerepparttar 135943 poignancy thatrepparttar 135944 rhetoric went short of for decades and decades. Whyrepparttar 135945 euphoria? Inrepparttar 135946 Middle East, grassroots still really means grassroots. That is why ever sincerepparttar 135947 9/11 attacks,repparttar 135948 think tanks (who have a reputation of providingrepparttar 135949 most dependable information onrepparttar 135950 societies they are active in)’ refocus fromrepparttar 135951 Israeli Palestinian piece efforts to ways of combating terrorism has been more onrepparttar 135952 money than ever. Afterrepparttar 135953 9/11 attacks, many institutions overhauled their agendas and soon their work started to reflectrepparttar 135954 exact concerns that were alive onrepparttar 135955 policy making level. Topics included research into promotion of democracy in a way that endorses, rather than undermines stability;repparttar 135956 war on terrorism, along withrepparttar 135957 diminution of extremism and radicalism as well asrepparttar 135958 nation-building process in Iraq. What was taking place was a shift toward new realities. Initially,repparttar 135959 organizations were accused for totally missing out on any alarming signals thatrepparttar 135960 wider Arab societies might have issued ahead ofrepparttar 135961 9/11 attacks, but this was soon forgotten. More pressing issues such as bigger scope for democracy in more Arab countries were gaining momentum asrepparttar 135962 invasion of Iraq andrepparttar 135963 effort to build a democracy in that ravaged country became a matter of western style branding of a seemingly revamped phenomenon. As Washington was showing itself ready to ‘entertain an unprecedented level of political risk and uncertainty’,repparttar 135964 idea of Arab autocracy was slowly beginning to become more and more old fashioned. All nice for who was buying into it when listening to hyper modern tv reports, but what did this work out onrepparttar 135965 ground? How isrepparttar 135966 US making good on its promise to actually effect greater and true democracy inrepparttar 135967 Arab world. Good question. How do you go about effecting deeper democracies in countries which hardly have any other idea of ruling other than by what they deem decent autocratic approach.

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