This article outlines the means by which the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas has developed and implemented a consolidation of power strategy that is inexorably driving it to a state of increasingly authoritarian control in the Gaza Strip. It discusses the factors that have driven Hamas in terms of power seeking as primordial to all radical Islamist movements or as a result of or response to other factors outside its control. The article highlights the concurrent demise of the Fatah organisation in the Gaza Strip as the largest and most visible symbol of secularism. It then reflects on the role of external, including international, actors in accelerating consolidation tactics following the Hamas 'takeover' of power from the Fatah-dominated institutions of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in June 2007. The article aims to demonstrate that Hamas' control in Gaza is an important signpost in terms of developing Islamism in the Middle East region.
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