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By Barry Rubin

Ayman al-Zawahiri, nephew of a Nazi collaborator and grandson of the man who helped produce the genocidal antisemitic doctrine in Islamism, now seems to be head of al-Qaida.

In what appears to be his inaugural speech as al-Qaida leader, al-Zawahiri thanked Ismail Haniya, leader of Hamas, for his praising Usama bin Ladin after his death.

Haniya is often described as a moderate in the Western media.

The group that Haniya heads benefited from:

–U.S. and Western pressure on Israel to stop fighting Hamas in early 2009 and not to overthrow that regime.

–U.S. aid to pay Palestinian Authority employees in the Gaza Strip, which thus benefits Hamas by improving the economy there and thus stabilizing its rule.

–U.S. pressure on Israel to reduce sanctions against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip to the absolute minimum.

–U.S. efforts to overthrow the anti-Hamas regime in Egypt and President Barack Obama’s support for bringing Hamas’s ally, the Muslim Brotherhood, into Egypt’s government.

–U.S. willingness to say and do nothing while Hamas, led by Haniya, made a merger deal with the Palestinian Authority so that it could enter into the PA government.

–The PA government receives massive aid and diplomatic support from the U.S. government.

–The U.S. government has treated the Syrian regime, also a Hamas patron, as a friend and has done everything possible to avoid acting against the Syrian dictators’ bloody repression of peaceful demonstrations.

Perhaps Haniya, once he becomes one of the main leader (or even prime minister? president?) of the state of Palestine will introduce President Obama to al-Zawahiri and they can discuss the virtues of bin Ladin, the finer points of training suicide bombers, and that jolly little party al-Zawahiri and bin Ladin organized in New York…on September 11, 2001.

Indeed, since Haniya is also an ally of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist Iran, the revolutionary Islamist Hizballah, and repressive Syria, too, they can all get together at Haniya’s house. But I don’t recommend making it a beer summit.

OK, I don’t want to be unfair. But in reality U.S. policy–whatever its intentions–has protected and helped Hamas in practice. Currently, the strategy of the greatest superpower in the world is based on standing by, watching, and hoping that the Fatah-Hamas deal will fall apart. Even while it tries to advance the creation of a Palestinian state–half under the rule of Hamas–as fast as possible.

Meanwhile, in “respectable” circles of the West it is permissible to argue that Hamas has become and is becoming more moderate. Attacking the United States for killing a “good guy” like Usama bin Ladin seems to be no barrier to that perception.

Think I’m exaggerating? Read this AP article claiming that Hamas is really going to be moderate now and doesn’t really want any power.

 Just like, no doubt, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t want power, right? They began by saying that they wouldn’t seek any political power; then they were only competing for 30 percent of the parliamentary seats, then 50 percent but not running a presidential candidate; and now 50 percent and a presidential candidate.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at


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