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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Arming Force 17

The Times of London reports today that several 'diplomats' of other countries are opposed to the US plan to arm 'Force 17,' Arafat's Abu Mazen's 'Presidential guard'. The dipolmats argue that it would be like "supporting one faction in a potential civil war." I think there's no question that's what it would be. The US wants to arm Force 17 so that it can confront Hamas in the event that the current 'unity talks' fail.
The divisions have led to a stand-off over the past month, with US officials saying that the unity government proposal had “no legs”. Other members of the “quartet” of international mediators — made up of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia — say that it should be given a chance instead of arming one of the Palestinian factions.
I cannot disagree with the assessment that the 'unity government' has no legs. The problem is that arming Fatah is no better as an alternative. Force 17 was headed by a wanted murderer until Israel captured him, and when Israel has armed Force 17 in the past, the arms have been used against Israelis. In other words, there is no lesser of two evils here, and letting the two groups murder each other may actually be the best (and only) choice.

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