Hamas vs Islamic State: The Overlooked Differences

2023-12-01 07:17:58
2023-12-01 15:17 United News Network 24 Hours A graffiti in Tel Aviv, Israel, equates Hamas with the Islamic State. The Islamic State (IS) formerly known as Iraq…

In the past two months since Israel has been at war with the Palestinian armed group Hamas and launched retaliatory bombings of Gaza, the Israeli propaganda machine has continued to use an argument: Hamas is equivalent to the “Islamic State” (IS), an An extremist organization that frightened the world nearly 10 years ago and vigorously exported terrorism. However, most experts cannot agree with such a flat description. This move will not only demonize Hamas and the people of Gaza, but may also cause its own misjudgment, and Israel will become further and further away from real security.

“Hamas is the Islamic State,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the attack on October 7. “The armies of civilized countries must support Israel in defeating Hamas.”

Since then, almost all Israeli politicians, down to many military commanders, have adopted this narrative, repeatedly linking Hamas’ massacre of civilians and kidnapping of more than 200 hostages with IS’s terrorism in speeches and public propaganda. together. Israel even equates its counterattack against Hamas with the U.S.’s global anti-terrorism campaign to defeat IS.U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Israel in mid-October and also made it publicexpressHamas’s actions are “worse than IS”.

French President Emmanuel Macron goes one step furtherCooperateNetanyahu’s statement said that the international community should unite to “fight the enemy” just like counter-terrorism. When Macron visited Jerusalem on October 24, he said: “France is ready to join the coalition and, just as it fought against IS in Syria and Iraq, it will now also fight against Hamas.”

However, from various aspects, Hamas and IS can be said to be worlds apart. The Associated Press pointed out that Israel’s argument ignores the differences between the two and attempts to portray Hamas as a terrorist organization that is spreading across the world like wildfire. This will only lead to Israel’s unrealistic illusions about “victory.” It also makes the efforts of the United States and other countries to mediate more difficult and makes an armistice even more elusive. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Israeli bombings have killed at least 15,000 Gaza residents and displaced at least three-quarters of the more than 2 million people.

Colin P. Clarke, a terrorism expert at the Soufan Group, an international strategic consultant, and Michael Kenney, director of the Ridgway Center for International Security Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, also wrote in Politico that the only comparison between Hamas and IS is , roughly only the bloody attack on October 7th – Hamas broke into Israel’s Peace Music Festival and ordinary villages, killed and burned civilians alive, and took the elderly, weak, women and children hostage. The horrific images spread to the world through social media platforms are indeed reminiscent of the horror videos that were often circulated when IS “emerged” around the world nearly 10 years ago. IS is known for its brutal treatment of dissidents, with beheadings and burnings being common. s method.

The article emphasized that the two organizations have far more differences than similarities, and the outside world should not confuse them. Only by understanding how Hamas operates and its goals can it be possible to help Israel regain security and end the war.

On October 27, people supported Israel on the streets of Barcelona, ​​holding signs that read “Hamas equals the Islamic State” Picture…

▌International terrorism vs. local regimes

IS, formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), began to emerge around 2006. It appeared on the international stage after the Arab Spring in 2011. Because its active areas are in Iraq and Syria, it is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham). Iraq and al-Sham (referred to as ISIS), until it was renamed “Islamic State” in 2014, further claiming to have dominance over Muslim countries around the world, and attempting to export ultra-conservative Sunnis to the worldWahhabismand implements strict Islamic law in the areas under its jurisdiction, so no country in the world recognizes its sovereignty.

After IS seized large areas of territory in Iraq and Syria, it also actively recruited “fighters” from all over the world: not only in the Middle East and North Africa, Muslims of all ethnic groups and regardless of gender will fly thousands of miles to the Middle East from Europe, Africa or the former Soviet Union. Become a member of IS; however, most of these fighters are not familiar with Arabic language and culture, and many of them are extremely uncomfortable. Coupled with IS’s radical and violent governance methods, it is difficult for them to gain the support of the majority of the people.

In addition, IS has also successfully established branches around the world and spread radical ideas. Many people have been trapped by its dense organization. After being encouraged, they will launch terrorist attacks on the spot in their residential areas. Major European cities such asParisbrusselsThere have been “lone wolf attacks” that often killed dozens or hundreds of people. In the past few years, large-scale terrorist attacks have been staged continuously. Turkey, Egypt, European, American, Asian and African countries are not immune. Many stadiums, squares, churches and other public buildings once became dangerous areas feared by tourists.

The Islamic State (IS) has caused many terrorist attacks around the world. The picture shows the 2016 serial terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium…

The rise of Hamas is a completely different story. Hamas, whose full name is the “Islamic Resistance Movement”, rose to prominence during the first Palestinian uprising (the first Intifada) in 1987. Its predecessor was the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, and it is also one of the most Islamist organizations in the Palestinian national movement. one. Hamas advocates ending the Israeli occupation by force and intends to establish an independent Palestinian Islamic state. Compared with the moderate line of another Palestinian political party, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hamas’s image of being unwilling to compromise has gained popularity. With the support of the Gaza people, it successfully gained full control of Gaza in 2007.

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Although Hamas also adheres to conservative Islamic ideas in its rule, and its ideology is also violent, it can be found that its founding purpose is entirely for Palestine, and the fundamental purpose of most actions is to resist and retaliate against Israel. Although Israel and its Western allies label Hamas a terrorist organization, it is undeniable that Hamas’ deadly attacks often only target people and things in Israel and rarely extend to other areas.

In addition, Hamas has positioned itself as a comprehensive political and military force. Within the 16 years of controlling Gaza, it not only has armed forces, but also established government organizations and police systems, etc., and will also establish public services such as mosques, schools, and hospitals. Although some people in Gaza are dissatisfied with its rule, there is still a certain degree of support for Hamas as a whole. Even among the exile communities in the West Bank and other Arab countries, Hamas also has a lot of popular support.

Because of this, Monica Marks, professor of Middle East politics at New York University Abu Dhabi,point out, from the perspective of Hamas, serving as the “flag-bearer” for Palestinian national liberation is actually more important than promoting religious ideology. Marcos criticized that comparing Hamas to IS is intended to portray them as inhumane demons. Even some Israeli military officers will generally refer to the entire Gaza people as such religious fanatics, and these are just for legitimate reasons. to transform his own cruel revenge.

It is worth noting that IS not only brutally kills infidels, but also shows extreme contempt for Shia Muslims. This is also reflected in IS’s view of Hamas. Mustafa Ayad, director of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a British independent think tankTellAccording to Spanish newspaper El Pais, although Hamas believes in Sunniism, it has also long received funding from the Shia power Iran. This alone makes IS very disdainful. IS, which adopts a totalitarian approach, also dislikes Hamas’s willingness to “play politics” and “engage in democracy.” “IS supporters have said that Hamas supporters are just ‘Jewish jihadists,'” Ayad said.

The Islamic State (IS) is known for its brutal methods in the face of its enemies, often releasing videos of beheading and torturing hostages. Picture/Newspaper… The terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) has exported terrorism to the world and recruited fighters from foreign countries. The picture shows the IS war in Iraq…

▌The rout is latent vs. the indelible existence

From 2017 to 2019, the U.S.-led counter-terrorism coalition made concerted efforts to defeat important IS strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Its founding leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi was also confirmed dead by the U.S. military in 2019. Tens of thousands of IS’s exiled members are scattered and dormant in various places. Although there are still affiliated organizations operating in the name of the Islamic State, the overall momentum is far less than before.

On the other hand, Netanyahu once claimed that Israel would make Hamas disappear from the earth this time, but he has gradually softened his stance recently and began to emphasize that it only intends to eliminate Hamas’s armed forces and its ability to govern Gaza. But with Hamas’s home-grown background and its roots deeply rooted in the Palestinian tragedy, I’m afraid no one would naively believe that Israel can completely wipe out this organization.

The Associated Press further pointed out that Hamas’s military strongholds and underground passages did not seem to be greatly affected by the Israeli military bombardment, and the exiled leadership has always maintained close cooperation with important countries such as Egypt and Qatar. Alon Pinkas, the former Israeli Prime Minister in New York, bluntly wrote in the media that Netanyahu simply cannot define what “victory” means, but he cannot afford to fail and cannot find a way to win.

Nathan Brown, a professor of political science at George Washington University, said that if Israel still clings to the expectation of “erasing Hamas”, it will just continue to “dig holes for itself”, not to mention Israel’s post-war reconstruction plan for Gaza. No idea either. Brown emphasized that after this war, whether Hamas develops into an underground armed organization, continues to control Gaza residents, or establishes strongholds in the West Bank and other areas, in short, it will definitely make a comeback and will not withdraw from the regional stage.

“Hamas will be there,” Brown said.

Hamas is deeply involved in the Gaza region and is still a leader that many Palestinians believe can persist in resisting Israel. Pictured is Jordan…

Text/Wang Yingzhi

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