What’s The Difference Between Hamas and The Taliban?

[tweetmeme] Helena Cobban points out that the United States now officially backs negotiations with the Taliban.  You know, that group that allowed Al Qaeda to operate in its territory?  Meanwhile, American still adamantly refuses to bring Hamas into negotiations – or even talk with anyone who might have once talked with Hamas.  So what is the difference between the Taliban – now a negotiating partner of an American ally- and Hamas – never to be a negotiating partner of an American ally?  Cobban explains:

So here are Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and SecDef Bob Gates now saying they support– and are giving active support to– the Afghan government’s initiative to negotiate with the Taliban. But the U.S. government continues to completely oppose any attempt by any parties, Palestinian or other, to reach out and deal with the Hamas government that, lest we forget, was democratically elected in Palestine in January 2006.

How does that work again? And why?

Let us remember about those January 2006 elections that the ground-rules for their conduct, including who could run and how the elections would be organized, were all agreed to in advance by Washington (and Israel). And the elections themselves were universally judged free and fair. But when those candidates from the pro-Hamas “Change and Reform” party ended up winning, Washington and Israel immediately joined in throwing a tight blockade around Gaza and funding and mobilizing anti-democratic, Contras-like forces within Palestinian society with the aim of overthrowing the elected leadership.

Potent warnings also went out at that time– from israel but with Washington’s clear backing– that any Palestinian independent politician who would join a Hamas-led coalition would be a target for “the very worst outcome” possible.

Human rights and women’s rights? The records on these issues of the two movements– Taliban and Hamas– are like night and day. Hamas is an enthusiastic proponent of women’s education and the full integration of women into all areas of society. Hamas even has four or five female MP’s. Indeed, many Palestinians say it was the women’s vote that gave Hamas its victory in 2006.

So once again, could somebody tell me: Why support negotiations with the Taliban, but continue ruthlessly opposing and suppressing Hamas?


The Arabist adds:

So you back negotiations the antediluvian crazies who hosted the people who killed 3000 of your citizens, but can’t touch the people who never attacked you, were legitimately elected and are defending their homeland. Makes a lot of sense.

Is having a consistent set of values really that disgusting to the American government?  And, more to the point, America chose the Taliban over Hamas?  Really?

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6 thoughts on “What’s The Difference Between Hamas and The Taliban?

  1. Excellent post. It’s really a very salient point and a ridiculous, illogical inconsistency.
    Hamas has never touched Americans…and they’re not medieval nutjobs like most Taliban fighters.

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