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June 14, 2007

U.S. Mideast Envoy On Palestinian Civil War: "I Like This Violence"

So Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the Palestinian government today, with US approval. Here's State Department spokesman Sean McCormack this afternoon, publicly decrying violence in Gaza:

...we haven't seen the spread of violence in the West Bank and I think everybody's glad for that and everybody's pleased for that. Nobody wants to see violence.

Yes, the US sure hates all this violence!

Here's Condoleezza Rice, speaking in public on February 15, 2007, after Fatah and Hamas agreed in Mecca to form a unity government:

Americans did not want to see Palestinians killing Palestinians. Palestinians should be living in peace among themselves and with Israel. And I know how difficult it was to watch the violence and to watch innocent people lose their lives. And so the calm, the hopes for a ceasefire between the Palestinian factions, that's something we very much support.

This violence! We hate it!

Now, here's David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and US Envoy to the Middle East, speaking in private several weeks before Rice. This appears on p.21 of the leaked report (pdf) by Alvaro de Soto, former UN coordinator for the Middle East:

...the US clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fateh and Hamas -- so much so that, a week before Mecca, the US envoy declared twice in an envoys meeting in Washington how much "I like this violence", referring to the near-civil war that was erupting in Gaza in which civilians were being regularly killed and injured, because "it means that other Palestinians are resisting Hamas".

(via Paul Woodward at War in Context)

EARLIER: From a June profile of Condoleezza Rice in the Atlantic (sub. req.):

In the fall of 2005, as part of a new push for democracy in the Middle East, Rice insisted that legislative elections be held in the Palestinian territories...To Rice’s surprise, the elections in January 2006 were won by Hamas...

Eager to reverse the results of the election, Rice decided on a new plan of action that resulted in fighting in the streets of Gaza between Hamas and Fatah gunmen. The plan, which she developed after speaking to President Bush, was to put pressure on the Hamas government by providing the Palestinian security forces loyal to Abbas with training, intelligence, and large shipments of supplies and new weapons, paid for by the United States and by Saudi Arabia. The hope was that Hamas, faced with a well-armed, well-trained force of Fatah fighters, might be cowed into moderating its positions or relinquishing the power it had won through elections. Alternatively, Hamas might be pressured into an escalating series of gun battles, in which case Abbas, as head of the Palestinian security forces, would have an excuse to crush Hamas by force...

Hamas won the clashes, which left more than 140 Palestinians dead, and the Hamas government remained in power.

And from Conflicts Forum last January:

Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams — who Newsweek recently described as “the last neocon standing” — has had it about for some months now that the U.S. is not only not interested in dealing with Hamas, it is working to ensure its failure. In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas elections, last January [2006], Abrams greeted a group of Palestinian businessmen in his White House office with talk of a “hard coup” against the newly-elected Hamas government — the violent overthrow of their leadership with arms supplied by the United States. While the businessmen were shocked, Abrams was adamant — the U.S. had to support Fatah with guns, ammunition and training, so that they could fight Hamas for control of the Palestinian government...

The Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006 by a group of White House officials who wanted to shape a coherent and tough response to the Hamas electoral victory of January...Since at least August [2006], Rice, Abrams and U.S. envoy David Welch have been its primary advocates and the program has been subsumed as a “part of the State Department’s Middle East initiative.”

AND: Tony Karon has more.

Posted at June 14, 2007 06:55 PM | TrackBack

Apartheid South Africa did the same sort of thing--arming and encouraging Inkatha against the ANC, which then led to a black-on-black civil war and thereby "proved" that blacks couldn't govern themselves.

Of course, that all happened more than five minutes ago, which is practically the Paleozoic Era as far as Americans are concerned, and remembering this could make our country feel bad about itself, so I feel confident in predicting the analogy probably won't take root in the MSM.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at June 14, 2007 11:05 PM

yeap, it's a big game of "let's you and him fight" - amazing how well it works.

I printed up some of the articles you cited and gave them to foreign policy aide of dole, burr and Rep Shuler. In the last case, it may actually do some good..... he seems to be listening.

I didn't have the Atlantic one, however.

Posted by: Susan at June 15, 2007 02:54 AM

Maybe I've missed it, but I can't find any reference to the de Soto memo or what it contains in the New York Times this morning. What a surprise.

Their editorial is the usual masterpiece of hypocrisy and fake humanitarian concern. Hamas's treatment is to depend on its behavior, but the behavior of Israel is something that should be changed, don't you know, but certainly they are a part of the civilized community. The fact that we are civilized goes without saying. And Fatah is a lovely organization--they recognize Israel and so a little matter of conspiring with the US and Israel to overturn the results of an election is not worth mentioning.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at June 15, 2007 07:48 AM

Not to sound religious, or anything, but I wonder what the KARMA pays out on this one.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 15, 2007 10:56 AM

We know how They always (!) deal with elections they don't like, Hamas being merely the latest example. And remember- when a similar election happens here, say ummmm 1960 -- we get the same result. So, if their attempts at fixing the 2008 vote doesn't work, or gives the inescapable conclusion that its going the wrong way, please be well prepared for HAMAS/USA right here.

Posted by: David Rubinson at June 15, 2007 11:06 AM