by Patrick Appel

Andrew Exum counsels:

Understand that in the same way in which Hizballah does not like aid programs taking place in southern Lebanon without at least their tacit -- and public -- approval, Hamas does not want competitors in this arena either. This explains some of the fighting which has taken place between Hamas and Fatah in the past few days.

In the aftermath of the war, Fatah and Hamas are already fighting over who will distribute humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Hamas is preventing Fatah activists from playing a role in the rebuilding of Gaza, and recently hijacked 12 trucks full of aid donated by the Jordanian government, meant for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

So this is the fight to watch next. Pay close attention to who rebuilds Gaza -- and how Hamas will seek to get credit for every bit of aid that is delivered to the people. That fight will help determine the long-term strategic effects of this latest spasm of violence.

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