May 10, 2006:
There's an arms race underway in the Palestinian Territories. Terrorist group Hamas, and its opponent, the Fatah party, are both bidding for weapons and ammo getting into their neighborhood. The highly organized, and well funded (by its international fund raising network, and Iran) terrorist group Hamas recently won the Palestinian parliamentary elections. This was done by a fluke, and unexpected. So, technically, Hamas now controls the Palestinian Authority and its 165,000 employees. But Western donors have cut off the billion or so dollars a year in aid they provide for the Palestinians. The president of the Palestinian Authority, elected in a separate election, was a Fatah stalwart, and still had the loyalty of many of those 165,000 civil servants. That included 80,000 armed men belonging to about a dozen different "security" organizations. Fatah can't meet the payroll either, but, like Hamas, they have some money, and are apparently using a lot of it to buy up weapons and ammo getting smuggled into Gaza. So is Hamas, and the gunrunners have been taking advantage of the situation by holding auctions. It's business, followed by a civil war.