Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hamas won't become more moderate

Prof. Eyal Zisser

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as "ISIS") broke into the limelight last June. The extremist (some would say outlandish, insane) organization had for years been operating far away from the public eye in Syria and Iraq, but suddenly made the leap from a sparse, marginal organization to a force to be reckoned with, using its fierce ideology, as well as its warriors' unwavering commitment, to overthrow the Iraqi state in just a couple of days, declaring an "Islamic caliphate" from the outskirts of Baghdad to the outskirts of Aleppo.
If you thought or hoped that ISIS' achievements would moderate the group or its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its recent behavior has certainly proved otherwise. Baghdadi declared the establishment of the Islamic caliphate, making it absolutely clear that its intention was waging jihad against the whole world, starting with the Shiites in Iraq, then the Syrian government, Iran and Jordan, Israel and the United States. He rules his subjects through characteristic and boundless brutality.

ISIS has proved that extremists function according to their own logic, and that judging such a radicalized extremist group as if it were a rational player, or functions by a logical politics, is a mistake.
Contrary to ISIS, many have tried to see Hamas as a rational player, as a group that operates as a state actor. After all, Hamas doesn't comprise a bunch of lunatics from across the Arab and Muslim world bent on jihad or the messianic vision of establishing an all-encompassing Islamic caliphate. Hamas always stood on two legs -- the Islamist leg, which ties it to its predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Palestinian leg, which ties it with all its might to the entity in which it has flourished.
The problem is, Hamas' logic resembles that of ISIS, neither reconciling with Israeli-Western logic, nor the logic of regional powers, which Israel has acclimated to over the years. A total commitment to religious ideology may give Hamas some flexibility, but in no way does it give its leaders the ability to compromise or make concessions. Hamas' rationale was and remains the logic of radical Islam, not of an organized state. That is precisely why analysts and experts who predicted that Hamas would become more moderate once it gained control of Gaza failed in their foresight.
After all, it would have been in Hamas' clear interest, by pure common sense, to maintain and even improve relations with Egypt, to preserve regional calm at any cost. Instead, Hamas consistently moved to uphold the circumstances and spirit of resistance (muqawama), which by definition entail an incessantly volatile environment alongside confrontation with Israel. Hamas doesn't hesitate to escalate the situation or to cause a deterioration along the border with the Gaza Strip. It didn't amass massive amounts of missiles solely to defend itself from the Jewish state, or to stave off Israeli attacks, but to make the necessary preparations for its next onslaught against the Jewish state, for the coming rounds of belligerence.
It is good, by the way, that the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi is no longer the president of Egypt. Despite the Egyptian defense system's pressure on Israel, one could assume that Israeli-Egyptian relations wouldn't have survived for very long had the country been led by the Muslim Brotherhood right now. And actually, Morsi is the perfect example of how even the presidency can't change the Muslim Brotherhood's people or conduct.
It's possible to hold Israel responsible for the recent deterioration along the Gaza border, and it's possible to allege that Hamas adopted extremist positions to separate itself politically on the Palestinian street from the Palestine Liberation Organization -- which would explain why Hamas both refuses to recognize Israel or commit itself, verbally or otherwise, to a peaceful solution. But that's why the Americans say: If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it's a duck. As far as we're concerned, once a radical organization, always a radical organization, whether it be the caliphate-founding ISIS or Gaza's Islamic-state-founding Hamas. You can't have a dialogue or reach a compromise with such groups. Indeed, you have no choice but to fight them.

1 comment:

Hans said...

Ha!mas, is pure evil...

One solution; one end; they must be destroyed in detail and once for all.

Furthermore, the stupid Americans, must also stop funding the ILO and Abbas.

If people do not understand that the only aim of Hamas is death and bloodshed, they should not be take seriously in any fashion.