Friday, January 25, 2008

Gaza: the Empire strikes back (and risks loosing Egypt in the process)

It was the be expected: the Pharaoh, who had been told by his masters that he was expected to "solve the problem" moved his stormtroopers in to attempt to close the border between Egypt and Gaza. Simultaneously, the Empire sensing that the situation might be getting out of control at the United Nations moved to prevent the adoption of a UNSC resolution on the blockade of Gaza. Lastly, Israel carried out to airstrikes close to the Rafah crossing and killed senior Hamas officials.

The USraelian Empire's response to the collapse of the Gaza Wall is now clear: put the burden of handling the political fallout from the clashes with the Palestinians on Mubarak and get the rest of the world to turn its attention away from the resulting violence. This was all very predictable. What will be interesting to observe will be Hamas' reaction to these developments.

So far, I have seen no reports of Hamas forces taking action to keep the border open or to protect the Palestinians from Mubarak's goons. Hamas needs to take a strategic decision to either a) get a secret understanding with Mubarak that the border will not really be shut down again, or b) to openly defy him and engage any force attempting to restore the status quo ante. But 'engaging' does not necessarily mean using armed force

The most effective tactic, a least for the time being, is probably get as many Gazans as possible to demonstrate and protest against Mubarak's betrayal. There should be a continuous presence of 100'000 Gazans ON the border 24/7.

The key here is to set up Mubarak politically *before* engaging his forces on the ground. Hamas will have to constantly keep in mind the following strategic factors:

1) Hamas simply cannot allow the border to be closed down again. Ever. It can allow a semblance of control and a "face-saving fig leaf" (-: Mubarak deserves no less :-) for the Pharaoh, but the blockade on Gaza should not be allowed to be reimposed.

2) Egypt is not the "Jewish state". Civil disobedience, non-violent protest and conventional rioting will have an impact upon Mubarak's ability to act. Hamas should only use guns in strict self-defense as the main 'weapon' in the hands of Hamas is a political one: the Arab public opinion.

3) Hamas should make full use of the fact that Mubarak is hated by the Egyptian street by coordinating actions of mass protest against Mubarak's collaborationist policies with the opposition forces throughout Egypt.

Ideally - Mubarak should be pushed in the exact same corner where the Shah of Iran was placed by the Iranian opposition: a political quicksand in which each movement of the regime brings it one step closer to death.

The boundless arrogance of the Empire whose leaders cannot even begin to imagine that a bunch of "bearded Islamists" could actually take control of Egypt (something truly apocalyptic for the Imperial policies in the Middle-East)

Conclusion: Ægypto Delenda Est (Egypt must fall)

From the Palestinian point of view Egypt is definitely the weak link the the Imperial chain shackling the Palestinians in general, and Gaza in particular. The latest developments have only made this fundamental truth more obvious. Consequently, the Palestinians need to use all their considerable political power in the Arab and Muslim world to push Mubarak to either follow Musharraf's example and become a de-facto buffer between the Empire and the Palestinians or the Shah's example and loose it all.

It is also crucial for Hamas never to forget, not for one second, that neither the USA nor Israel will ever be able to move in to protect Mubarak. All Mubarak has are his "security forces" and the corrupt cronies living off the billions his regime gets from the USA.

Egypt is a ripe (although "rotten" might be a better term) fruit, ready to be plucked by the Resistance forces and Gaza border might just be the place to make that happen.