Monday, March 22, 2004

Yassin's assassination

It is not entirely clear to me why Israel decided to assassinate Yassin. It is not that I doubt that he really deserved it, I have little sympathy with spiritual leaders of terrorist organizations. However he was kind of old, and it is not clear that the gains outnumber the losses. Won't someone else just fill in to do the job that he is doing, and this will generate more immediate threats, while having the long-term threats stay level? Perhaps Israel's goal is to force Palestinian unity? Perhaps Sharon wants to intensify the conflict to justify the security fence, or to make Israel's position stronger? Maybe, and this is the official reason, a power and leadership vacuum in Hamas will emerge that cannot easily be filled. If this happens (and here is my prediction) there will typically be a number of groups all claiming to be the real Hamas, and various splinter factions. They will fight amongst themselves, compete for funds, and people. Each will be forced to start its own terror campaign, with varying degrees of success.

Apparently there was some dissention in the Israeli cabinet. I hope the choice was wise.

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