Putin Is No Partner in the War on Terror

Although Russia claims to be fighting Islamic State alongside the U.S. and its allies, David Satter argues that nothing could be farther from the truth. Moscow’s brutal bombings of civilians and support for Iran and Syria run contrary to American interests, and Russian intelligence may even be abetting terrorists when it finds them useful. (Free registration required.)

Ayman al-Zawahiri, [now] the head of al-Qaeda, was arrested in Dagestan in 1996 while en route to Chechnya to survey the possibility that it could be used as a safe haven for Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the terrorist organization that he [then] headed which became famous for its role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. At the time of his arrest, Zawahiri was one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. . . . He arrived in Russia on a phony passport and claimed to be working for an Azeri trading company. . . . Zawahiri ended up spending six months in jail, . . . spent another ten days meeting with Islamists in Dagestan, and then left Russia for Afghanistan, where he joined Osama bin Laden and began to plan the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Something similar happened with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston-marathon bomber. Then there are Russia’s ties to IS:

With the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, there is evidence that Russia is facilitating the transfer of dangerous radicals from the North Caucasus to the war zone, where they fight for IS. . . . Among those showing up in IS-controlled territory are radical preachers from Dagestan, [who have become the organization’s main recruiters in Iraq]. . . . In the meantime, the number of casualties in armed clashes between insurgent forces and security forces in the North Caucasus has declined by about 50 percent since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, a sign that many members of the Islamist underground in the North Caucasus are now fighting in the Middle East.

[But beyond such malign activities], the most important reason why Russia cannot be a U.S. ally in the war on terrorism is that its geopolitical goals are fundamentally different from, and often opposed to, those of the United States.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy, Vladimir Putin, War on Terror

Hamas Won’t Compromise with the Palestinian Authority, and Gazans Won’t Overthrow Hamas

July 24 2017

Since the terrorist organization Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, much of Israeli strategy toward it has stemmed from the belief that, if sufficient pressure is applied, the territory’s residents will rise up against it. Yaakov Amidror argues this is unlikely to happen, and he also doubts that improved living conditions for ordinary Gazans would deter Hamas from terrorism or war:

The hardships experienced by the Strip’s residents, no matter how terrible, will not drive them to stage a coup to topple Hamas. The organization is entrenched in Gaza and is notorious for its brutality toward any sign of dissidence, and the Palestinians know there is no viable alternative waiting for an opportunity to [take over].

[Therefore], it is time everyone got used to the idea that Hamas is not about to relinquish its dominant position in the Gaza Strip, let alone concede to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. . . . [Yet the] assumption is also baseless that if Gaza experiences economic stability and prosperity, Hamas would refrain from provoking hostilities. This misconception is based on the theory that Hamas operates by governmental norms and prioritizes the needs and welfare of its citizens. This logic does not apply to Hamas. . . .

[Hamas’s] priorities are to bolster its military power and cement its iron grip. This is why all the supplies Israel allows into Gaza on a daily basis to facilitate normal life have little chance of reaching the people. Hamas first and foremost takes care of its leaders and makes sure it has what it needs to sustain its terror-tunnel-digging enterprise and its weapon-production efforts. It then sees to the needs of its members, and then—and only then—what little is left is diverted to rehabilitation efforts that benefit the population.

This is why the argument that Israel is responsible for Gaza’s inability to recover from its plight is baseless. Hamas is the one that determines the priorities by which to allocate resources in the enclave, and the more construction materials that enter Gaza, the easier and faster it is for Hamas to restore its military capabilities. Should Israel sacrifice its own security on the altar of Gazans’ living conditions? I don’t think so.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security