The victory of Hamas in democratic elections in the occupied territories surprised Arab regimes. A victory that will allow that movement to lead the country and relieve pressures by the US and Europe, which demand reforms.
What happened at the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is a true copy of what happened in Algeria during the elections of 1991. Algerians voted for the Islamic Salvation Front not because they were extremists but because they wanted to burry a corrupt regime through democratic elections. The main difference is that the prevailing military pressure group in Algeria at that time rejected the results and did not hesitate to declare null and void such results some days later, thus announcing the beginning of a bloody war that claimed tens of thousands of innocent lives. But, in the case of Palestine, the Authority and its president Mahmud Abbas insisted on holding elections and respecting the results.
For Arab regimes, especially for Egypt, the US reaction to Hamas victory is another element for it to foster its oppression policy and forge election results to prevail as long as it can. It justifies its actions to take power through the need for safety in the region bearing in mind that democratic elections will serve first the interests of the Islamic extremist groups. Besides, the Israeli government has adopted this vision and dictated it to the US and European leaders.
It is not the first time that the Bush administration is wrong about the information on the situation in the occupied territories. A defeat due to the fact that when it comes to drafting its policy, this administration relies on Israeli calculations and some experts of the Middle East from study centres in Egypt and occupied Palestine. And there is something worst. The neoconservatives take the risk of making a serious mistake by refusing to financially support the government that the Islamic movement will establish. In other words, they want to punish the Palestinian people for their electoral and democratic action while increasingly pushing it into extremism. The US decision shows that the latter insists in cooperating with dictatorships, as long as these ones continue to signing peace agreements with the Hebrew state, thus fully approving the US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan and supporting a war against Tehran.
Hamas has shown to be much smarter and civilized than the Bush administration, especially for having declared its willingness to cooperate with the international community. The US administration, which runs the free and democratic world, declared the war against Palestinian elections just two days after it had acknowledged they had been democratic. It is true that the Islamic movement should bear a heavy responsibility, but its lack of experience in the management of a corrupted authority such as that of Abu Mazen and his anti-American policy give it the right to make mistakes.
The US-Europe refusal to financially support a Hamas government could complicate the movement’s job. But, fortunately, there are always other alternatives and one of the main ones continues to be the Iranian support. Indeed, people talk about the Iranian support since we are certain that the Arab regimes will never hurry to support Hamas.

Al Quds Al Arabi (United Kingdom)

«أنظمة العرب وفوز حماس», by Abdel Bari Atouan, Al Quds Al Arabi, January 30, 2006.