Rob : I have one more question for you, and it may not be a short answer, and that's Israel. Now just today we learned that Barak is going to retire from politics and from governing. He's been the moderating force there in the coalition with Netanyahu and Lieberman. What do you see happening with Israel? They just had the truce which Hamas is celebrating as a great victory, do you see it as a great victory, and where do you see things heading, where it now looks like Qatar will start giving more money to Hamas than Iran was giving to Hamas?
Glen : I have problems with words like "moderating forces." The Israeli regime is a racist regime. I believe that the truce occurred because of the contradictions that that we we talked about earlier in this conversation, between the kind of balancing act that the United States has to try to accomplish when it has an alliance with Muslim fundamentalists in that region, and at the same time a long time alliance with this racist Israeli regime. This is unsustainable, and I believe that Hamas understands the contradiction there, knows that the United States was forced into a position where it had to force the Israeli regime to do what apparently from the polls most Israelis did not want it to do, which is not to continue with its ground defensive, its ground move into Gaza. Israeli internal politics finding moderates, I think, certainly doesn't illuminate any situation for me. I can't distinguish between Barak and Netanyahu and their alliance, I believe, shows that there isn't too much of a damn difference between the two.
Rob : What about what looks like it could be a shift for Hamas getting hundreds of millions from Qatar, whereas in the past they've gotten about a hundred twenty five million a year from Iran./
Glen : Of course, that is going to happen, and in terms of Hamas' relationship with forces on the ground in Egypt, forces that can bring pressure on Morsi no matter what he wants to do. That's been greatly strengthened as well. Hamas of course comes out stronger in this; not just because of the financing that's now open to it, which also makes it much more independent of the United Nations - and that means more independent of the United States which dominates the United Nations - but also because Hamas and the plight of the Palestinians is now part of the domestic dialogue in Egypt right next door and the rest of the Arab-Muslim world, in ways that it has not been in recent years. And the US has to deal with that (laughs).
Rob : And a shift from a Shiite to a Salafi financial support situation?
Glen : I don't understand what you mean.
Rob : Well, Iran was giving them about one hundred twenty five million dollars a year. They recently withheld the money for four months, and now Qatar is committing to provide several hundred million dollars a year to Hamas.
Glen : Yeah, and that creates a bigger contradiction for the United States, which is what Americans ought to be more concerned about, because the US's prime allies in that region, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, then become the prime benefactors of Hamas, who the United States calls a terrorist organization, and of course the Israeli government is sworn to crush. This is a huge contradiction for US policy in the region.
Rob : I've long said that what's happening in the Middle East is one of the hardest problems in the world. And it doesn't sound like it's getting any better.
Glen : It means that the Israeli's freedom of movement is seriously curtailed, which is shown by them having been forced into a truce that they clearly did not want to enter. And it also means that the United States' range of movement is also limited by these new and strengthened relationships on the ground. Now, the parties who are involved here: Hamas - which certainly is to the right in conventional terms of the secular PLO, and Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- these are not good guys from any left perspective. But, their relationship has the effect of limiting the range of choices that the United States has in the region. See, so sometimes what looks like bad news for the left is actually worse news for the US Imperial project.
Rob : Fascinating. So, you might say that Israel's assault on Gaza was a very bad strategic move both for Israel and for the United States.
Glen : Yeah, and I believe that this crazy regime in Israel was testing to see what the reaction would be, to see how the world had changed since the Arab Spring. Israel has not been as aggressive. It's always incrementally wearing down on the Palestinians on the West Bank, that's a constant. But Israel has not been as aggressive since the advent of the Arab Spring. It's been looking around, trying to see how its big patron, the United States, was going to deal with these new realities. I believe that it sabotaged what most people believe was Hamas truce efforts by assassinating their military commander in order to test the waters, to see what was permissible in this new order - what was the nature of the new order. It got its answer from the United States with that flurry of frantic activity designed to make the Israelis pull back.
Rob : Do you see anywhere in Israel, and with its neighbors, people or groups that have the potential to come to some kind of a peace, some kind of balance?
Glen : I despair of there being anything in Israeli society - I'm talking about Jewish Israeli society - people seem to forget that twenty percent of Israeli proper is Palestinian, is Arab. I despair of any Israeli peace movement having any significant role to play. That's not in the cards, and I won't waste any time trying to encourage it.
Rob : OK. We've kind of hit the time barrier here. We've had a great conversation, and we could go on and on, I've got a whole list of topics we haven't discussed - I'm going to have to have you back. Thank you.