January 13, 2009:
The only chance Hamas has of surviving its current battle with Israel, is to stir up enough anger against Israel to force the Israelis to stop fighting, and enter into a ceasefire agreement that Hamas can easily subvert. This Information War campaign is not going well for Hamas. While there are demonstrations in Moslem countries, and in the West as well, they are not as numerous or as spirited as in the past. Worse, most Arab countries are either lukewarm in their criticism of Israel, or openly blame Hamas for the current round of fighting.
There are several trends going on here. First, most Moslem nations have had it with Islamic terrorism. Even before September 11, 2001, the current round of Islamic terrorism was unpopular in Moslem countries where Islamic terrorists had already been operating. The al Qaeda campaign in Iraq was particularly demoralizing to Moslems worldwide. Al Qaeda revealed itself to be more capable, and willing, to kill Moslem civilians, than non-Moslem troops. Al Qaeda made things worse by bragging about non-existent successes and claiming that victory was inevitable. By 2007, it was obvious that al Qaeda had been defeated, and even al Qaeda eventually admitted it. Now Hamas is asking Moslems to buy into another campaign, just like the failed al Qaeda effort. A lot of Moslems are not taking the bait, despite efforts by Arab media organizations to make it appear otherwise.
Second, Hamas is seen as counterproductive to Moslem goals. That raises another problem. What exactly are "Moslem goals." To the Islamic radicals, it's turning the world into one big Islamic state. To Islamic moderates (or just "non-radicals") it's getting Moslems in general a little more respect. Islam, as a religion/culture, is not big on introspection and taking responsibility for failure. But the Islamic world has lower economic and educational achievement than the rest of the world, and a lot of that is a direct result of some Islamic practices (no education for women, or working outside the home, and general resistance to new ideas and technology). An increasing number of Moslems are beginning to question these traditional practices, and are hostile to the old school attitudes espoused by Hamas.
Third, there is the Iranian connection Hamas has developed. Iran is another Islamic state, but one that opposes the majority (80 percent of Moslems) Sunni sect of Islam. The Iranians champion Shia Islam (ten percent of all Moslems). Nearly all Palestinian Moslems are Sunni, and many are uncomfortable with this Shia connection, as well as the failed radicalism of the Shia clergy that run Iran (as a religious dictatorship which calls itself an "Islamic republic.")
Hamas is seen as a spoiler, an organization that concentrates on destruction, rather than trying to build something positive. While most Moslems back the destruction of Israel and killing of Jews, if only because of decades of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda, most also prefer the Fatah approach to dealing with Israel (lie and cheat all you have to in order to establish a separate Palestinian state). Actually, more Moslems are coming to accept Israel, and are not supporting a genocide of all Jews. Hamas is backing the wrong trends.