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What’s Next for Islamic State?

Although Islamic State (IS) is rapidly losing territory in both Syria and Iraq, Michael Rubin warns that victory is not necessarily at hand:

There will be no formal surrender. Nor will the eventual defeat of IS necessarily delegitimize its apocalyptic theology.

The theological problem is this: the late Turki al-Bin’ali, the grand mufti of Islamic State, cited a hadith [extra-Quranic teaching], attributed to Muhammad, declaring that there would be twelve true and legitimate caliphs before the end of the world. He counted [the current IS caliph Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi as the eighth, giving ambitious or megalomaniacal upstarts theological cover to be number nine, ten, or eleven. This creates a win-win situation for those who wish to emulate IS. Success proves theological legitimacy but failure doesn’t count because its authors can be dismissed, in hindsight, as imposters.

Beyond the very real possibility of a long-term insurgency in territory formerly held by the caliphate, Rubin predicts IS will continue to pose a threat as an international, underground terror network, and stresses the “the dual necessity of shutting down Islamic State activists’ cyber access and blocking the return of IS veterans to Europe, North Africa, and elsewhere.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy

 

The Threats Posed to Israel by a Palestinian State

Oct. 23 2017

To the IDF reserve general Gershon Hacohen, the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank would, given the current circumstances of the Middle East, create a graver danger for the Jewish state than either Iran or Hizballah. More damaging still, he argues, is the attitude among many Israelis that the two-state solution is a necessity for Israel. He writes:

Since the Oslo process began in the fall of 1993, dramatic changes have occurred in the international arena. . . . For then-Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, Oslo was based on the superpower status of the U.S. . . . At the time, the Arabs were in a state of crisis and aware of their weakness—all the more so after the U.S. vanquished Iraq in the First Gulf War in the winter of 1991. . . . It was that awareness of weakness, along with the PLO leadership’s state of strategic inadequacy, that paved the way for the Oslo process.

[But] over the [intervening] years, the America’s hegemonic power has declined while Russia has returned to play an active and very influential role. . . .

Something essential has changed, too, with regard to expectations in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere. At first, in the early days of Oslo, the expectations were of mutual goodwill and reconciliation. Over the years, however, as the cycle of blood has continued, the belief in Palestinian acceptance of Israel in return for Israeli concessions has been transformed in the Israeli discourse into nothing more than the need to separate from the Palestinians—“They’re there, we’re here”—solely on our own behalf.

The more the proponents of separation have honed their efforts to explain to Israeli society that separation is mandated by reality, enabling Israel to preserve its identity as Jewish and democratic, the more the Palestinians’ bargaining power has grown. If a withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state is a clear-cut Israeli interest, if the Israelis must retreat in any case for the sake of their own future, why should the Palestinians give something in return? . . . Hence the risk is increasing that a withdrawal from the West Bank will not only fail to end the conflict but will in fact lead to its intensification.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Oslo Accords, Russia, Two-State Solution