It's hard to know just what to make of the situation in Gaza, where Palestinians affiliated with Hamas are killing Palestinians affiliated with Fatah and vice versa. and the situation has escalated into at least paramilitary action and something very close to a civil war is breaking out. Now Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas has dissolved the government in which Hamas gained a majority through elections last year and ... well, who knows? Apparently Hamas now effectively controls Gaza, while the Fatah-led quasi-government of Abbas has effective control of the West Bank. Israel (and probably the U.S.) has been supporting Fatah quietly. Who knows where things will stand in the next day or so.
This basically blows up the Hamas-Fatah peace deal the Saudis tried to broker in March, and makes any idea of any eventual peace deal between Israel and Palestine even more unlikely than it was a couple of weeks ago, and it was virtually unthinkable then. But it could well lead to the establishment of a Hamas-led terrorist state in Gaza, which is tiny on the map but big enough to harbor a lot of people and weapons and make trouble not only in the region but beyond. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are hardly thrilled at the prospect.
Andrew Sullivan has been having some pointed fun wondering on his blog why Glenn Reynolds and other Iraq war supporters don't favor U.S. or allied occupation or re-occupation of Gaza. "Glenn favors indefinite U.S. occupation of Iraq to prevent a terror-state energing in the chaos we helped unleash there. So why is he happy to allow Gaza to become a terror-state without our military intervention? Isn't the threat to the West the same -- or maybe worse?"
The corollary of the question, of course, is that if is tolerable to allow a terror-state to emerge in Gaza -- not that it is inevitable yet or maybe ever -- why is it intolerable to withdraw from Iraq, where there is certainly a serious prospect of tragic sectarian fighting, but the emergence of a state dominated by al-Qaida or an explicit international terrorist outfit is in fact rather unlikely?