Guardian | Punishment of Palestinians will create a crucible of trouble for the world: "Even if the US did succeed in bringing Hamas down, it would, like the overthrow of Saddam, be a catastrophic kind of success - plunging Palestine, too, into the chaos and internecine strife that is the antithesis of the modern, democratic, pro-western Middle East order the US is trying to build. It is clear that, with President Mahmoud Abbas's bombshell proposal for a referendum on the nature of a final peace raising the political stakes and with skirmishes in Gaza raising the military ones, war between Hamas and Fatah is eminently possible. It is far from clear that America's 'side' could win. 'If Fatah couldn't fight Hamas while it was still in power,' said General Ilan Paz, the former head of Israel's civil administration in the territories, 'how could it gain control with Hamas in power and itself disintegrated?'
Furthermore, chaos in the territories would open the way to militants, jihadists and suicide bombers from the rest of the world, just as it did in Iraq. Iran, the non-Arab country that is now the main state patron of Arab radicalism, was quicker than any Arab government to offer money to the new Hamas regime. An intrinsic part of its wider strategic and nuclear ambitions, Palestine now ranks among Iran's top foreign-policy priorities. Abbas says that Hizbullah and"