Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.
The distinction between Hamas and ISIS is obvious. One is a violent Islamic terrorist group that is determined to destroy Israel. And the other is a violent Islamic terrorist group determined to destroy Israel. Hamas is funded by Qatar. So is ISIS. Hamas likes to wear green. ISIS sticks to black and white.
If you have to choose between genocidal Islamic terrorist groups, go with the one that has a wider range of color in its wardrobe. Your civilians will regret it, but at least their killers will look fabulous.
Also ISIS hates Shiites while Hamas accepts Iranian weapons.
Clearly Hamas is moderate and ISIS is extremist. Maybe if ISIS also agrees to accept Iranian weapons with which to kill Jews, we will all be able to breathe a sigh of relief at its new moderate attitude.
The good news is that in the last few months Al Qaeda also became moderate. Numerous news stories tell us that Al Qaeda thinks that ISIS is “crazy”. Al Qaeda has less to say about it than the Western pundits speaking on its behalf, but it’s rumored that Zawahiri beheaded a Western aid worker without inviting Baghdadi which is considered a major snub in the high society codes of top terror groups.
That raises the question, should we have destroyed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan?
Wouldn’t it have been better to leave it intact to prevent ISIS from taking over? Indeed didn’t weakening Al Qaeda make it possible for ISIS to emerge as a dominant global Jihadist force? Look for this to become a major theme of mainstream media foreign policy commentary and of Obama’s new Iraq strategy.
The only way to defeat terrorists is by not fighting them. Only by doing nothing can we hope to prevail.
And who is to say that ISIS is as extreme as it gets? Shouldn’t we be careful not to bomb ISIS too much or it will be replaced by an even more extreme group such as SuperJihad or “Behead Anyone Who Isn’t a Salafi”? It not only could happen, it probably will. Islam is good at replacing one bloody maniac with another bloody maniac. If Baghdadi lives long enough, he’ll end up in a house with three wives, a dozen cans of Viagra and an email account that no serious Jihadi forwards fatwas to… just like Osama.
Every Muslim terrorist is potentially a moderate, not because he moderates his position, but because tomorrow someone will chop off twice as many heads. If Malik has a six-year-old chop off three heads, Mohammed will have a three-year-old chop off six heads and Abdallah will have a one-year-old shelling Kurdish villages. And then Hamid will get his hands on some WMDs and a bunch of two-month- olds and we’ll realize that Malik, Mohammed and Abdallah were really moderate Muslim terrorists after all.
Imagine if we decided that Charles Manson really wasn’t so bad compared to later successors like John Wayne Gacy. We would have to free Manson and set him up with a new cult and a bunch of weapons. And then when the Green River Killer showed up, we would have to reconsider whether maybe Gacy wasn’t the lesser evil. And it’s not like any of them hold a candle to Abdul Djabar who raped 300 men and boys while strangling them with a turban back in 1970s Afghanistan.
But wait, sure Abdul seemed like a bad guy then but compared to the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS, he was really a moderate. It’s a shame he was executed. Maybe we could have negotiated with him in Qatar.
It’s not just a joke; it’s also our foreign policy.
Obama did his best to negotiate with the “moderate” Taliban and they not only raped boys, but they also inflicted horrifying tortures that made Abdul with his turban strangling seem like a nice guy.
We can’t define democracy by the popular vote and we can’t define moderates in relation to the bloodiest murderer on the block. But that’s the kind of common sense that rarely enters the heads of policymakers who keep trying to make friends with Abdul even while he’s strangling them with a turban.
Hamas, we are now told, is the only thing keeping ISIS out of Gaza. But ISIS is already in Gaza since anyone can become ISIS by affiliating with it. The Fort Hood Jihadist announced that he wants to join ISIS last week, but that doesn’t mean much as long as he’s locked up in prison and needs help going to the bathroom.
A practical approach to keeping ISIS out of Gaza would be to ‘Nidal Hassan’ both Hamas and ISIS until they need help going to the bathroom, let alone launching rockets at the Golan Heights or Tel Aviv. A completely insane approach is believing that we need Hamas to launch rockets at us so that ISIS doesn’t launch rockets at us.
And if SuperJihad ever shows up, we’ll have to turn Gaza over to ISIS before you can say the Shahada six times fast so that it can bomb Tel Aviv before SuperJihad bombs Tel Aviv.
Hamas and Al Qaeda in Iraq have historically enjoyed positive relations. If Hamas decides, it can join ISIS whenever it pleases. Without Hamas, ISIS is unlikely to take over Gaza since it would need to spend decades building a political infrastructure. Without that it would be stuck trying to fight the same kinds of battles as Hamas, but without any local or international support. It would lose and lose badly.
But let’s set aside these practical considerations.
The very notion that we should continually choose to support the lesser terrorist evil to hold at bay the bigger terrorist evil (until it too becomes the lesser evil) isn’t policy; it’s an untreated mental illness.
If you accept the premise that Hamas is the lesser evil, then Israel has to leave it intact, endure the rockets falling on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the huge numbers of civilians packed into bomb shelters, because if ISIS takes over Gaza it will be even worse. And Israel taking over Gaza would somehow be even worse than that, even though there were no rockets falling on Tel Aviv or Jerusalem back then.
This isn’t a strategy. It’s learned helplessness.
Hamas shut down Israel’s international airport, forced residents from its major cities into bomb shelters and dug tunnels meant for major incursions into Israel. Now Hamas has become the buffer zone against ISIS while Abbas is the buffer zone against Hamas and ISIS will one day be the buffer zone against the Martyrs Brigades of Abdul Djabar who strangle and rape their victims; not necessarily in that order.
An Islamic terrorist group that shells your major cities is not a buffer zone. One serial killer is not more moderate or extreme than another. Neither of them should be on the loose.
The options were always clear and they were laid out during the Disengagement; Israel can be in Gaza or it can be attacked from Gaza.
There is no third option except wishful thinking.
The new moderate reimagining of Hamas and Al Qaeda is the work of the same diseased minds that got us into this mess and can’t wait to drag us in even deeper. It needs to be rejected if we’re ever going to break the cycle of arming and funding the “moderate” terrorists to stop the “extremist” terrorists.
Either that or we can start climbing into bed with the ISIS moderates now.
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