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The United States talks to Islamists. So what?
The United States talks to Islamists. So what?
I know we’re supposed to be frightened by Jay Solomon’s recent story in the Wall Street Journal about how the U.S. State Department has been reaching out to Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood—in Solomon’s telling, "the decades-old political movement active across the Middle East whose leaders have inspired the terrorist groups Hamas and al Qaeda"—but I’m actually encouraged by the news.
Thursday, July 26,2007 18:57
by Blake Hounshell Foreign Policy

I know we"re supposed to be frightened by Jay Solomon"s recent story in the Wall Street Journal about how the U.S. State Department has been reaching out to Syria"s Muslim Brotherhood—in Solomon"s telling, "the decades-old political movement active across the Middle East whose leaders have inspired the terrorist groups Hamas and al Qaeda"—but I"m actually encouraged by the news.

It"s not because the Syrian opposition, led by the Brotherhood, would have any real impact while Bashar al-Assad is so strong. Rather, I"m encouraged because sooner or later, the White House will understand that it has to deal with Hamas, as distasteful as that prospect is. If the current momentum towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians is to lead anywhere, Hamas needs to be inside the tent pissing in, not outside the tent blowing things up.

No less a personage than Colin Powell understands that a group that won the 2006 Palestinian elections simply isn"t going to wither away and die, and an excluded Hamas will have every incentive to ensure that Mahmoud Abbas fails. The State Department"s flexibility in dealing with Syria"s Muslim Brotherhood, a kindred spirit of Hamas, shows me that pragmatism is alive and well in Foggy Bottom. If you can talk to the Brotherhood—and, for that matter, Sunni insurgents in Iraq—it"s not much of a leap to talk to Hamas.


Posted in MB in International press , MB and West , Political Islam Studies  
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