Historians remind us that Hitler and Maskhadov also came to power democratically.
In the elections to the Palestinian Parliament on January 25, the HAMAS radical Islamic movement has got 73 seats out of 132. The ruling party, FATAH, whose victory was prognosticated by most analysts, has managed to get only 43. This has become an unpleasant sensation for many. ‘The radical stand of the HAMAS Palestinian movement, along with the disappearance of Ariel Sharon from political life, may plunge the process of settlement in the Middle East into a profound political crisis’, said Constantine Kosachyov, chairman of the State Duma committee for international affairs, and one can hardly disagree with him.
Indeed, the organization responsible for dozens of terrorist actions and abhorrent of the very idea of peace talks with its opponents can now form a new Palestinian government and gain international recognition. Though State Duma Deputy Alexey Mitrofanov believes the HAMAS militants will now put on jackets and engage themselves in something positive, pessimistic scenarios appear much more probable. After all, some people predicted a great political future to democratically-elected Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov as well and assured him he could build a democratic state in Chechnya. But things ended in a new war and rapid transformation of a legitimate president into an international terrorist.
The HAMAS leaders, though, have a much more gloomy reputation than Maskhadov had in 1997. And their experience in terrorism is much richer. ‘HAMAS does not intend to disarm the militants, nor will it abandon the idea of destroying Israel, even after the elections to the Palestinian legislative assembly’, representatives of this organization have already revealed.
In all appearances, the shaky truce in the Middle East is draining out. The growing instability in Iraq, the success of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, the demarches of the Iranian president and, finally, the triumph of HAMAS make most of the Israelis again feel like defenders of a fortress besieged from all sides. And this will inevitably affect their political choice to favour proponents of tough and consistent actions.