After Seventeen Years, Is an End to the War on Terror in Sight?

Sept. 12 2018

Yesterday was the seventeenth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s bloody attacks on New York and Washington. Clifford May uses the occasion to reflect on the state of America’s long war on jihadism:

A grand illusion to which Americans and Europeans are susceptible [is that] war is an aberration, and peace is the normal state of the world, a condition to which all peoples aspire. Even a cursory reading of history shows this to be wishful thinking. . . . The grim reality is that after seventeen years of conflict, we have not decisively defeated al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Far from it: al-Qaeda franchises proliferate and, according to Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “the Taliban’s men contest or control approximately 60 percent of [Afghanistan]—as much ground as at any point since the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.” . . .

[Meanwhile], the Islamic Republic of Iran’s long-term goal remains, as it has for nearly 40 years, “Death to America!” Its supreme leader now projects power into Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza, and Iraq. He aids those fighting Americans in Afghanistan. He sponsors terrorists with impunity. . . .
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[O]ur enemies do not appear exhausted, discouraged, or underfunded. Do we know them yet, or are we still trying to imagine what “drives” people to “violent extremism?” Do we have the stomach to endure the long war—which, I believe, should be recognized as a multi-front struggle against jihadism? Do we have the patience to develop a winning strategy even if that requires—as it clearly does—much trial and too many errors?

In the days after the 2001 attacks, it was said that a sleeping giant had been awakened. Today, there are many on both the left and the right telling the giant to go back to bed and pull the covers over his eyes. If that’s where our enemies find us, they’ll know what to do.

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More about: Al Qaeda, Iran, ISIS, Jihadism, Politics & Current Affairs, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy

Why Israel Pretends That Hamas Fired Rockets by Accident

March 21 2019

Israeli military and political officials have repeated Hamas’s dubious claim that the launching of two rockets at Tel Aviv last week was inadvertent. To Smadar Perry, accepting Hamas’s story rather than engaging in further retaliation is but a convenient, and perhaps necessary, way of aiding Egyptian efforts to broker a deal with the terrorist group. But even if these efforts succeed, the results will be mixed:

The [Israeli] security cabinet has met in Tel Aviv and decided that they would continue indirect negotiations with Gaza. A message was sent to Egypt, whose delegation is going back to Gaza to pass on the Israeli demands for calm. The Egyptians also have to deal with the demands from Hamas, which include, among other things, an increase in aid from $15 million to $30 million per month and an increase in the supply of electricity.

The requests are reasonable, but they do leave a sour taste in the mouth. Israel must ensure that this financial aid does not end up in the pockets of Hamas and its associates. [Israel] also knows that if it says “no” to everything, the Iranians will step in, with the help of their Gazan friends in Islamic Jihad. They are just waiting for the opportunity.

Hamas also must deal with the fallout from a series of massive handouts from Qatar. For when the citizens of the Gaza Strip saw that the money was going to the Hamas leadership, who were also enjoying a fine supply of electricity to their own houses, they took to the streets in protest—and this time it was not Israel that was the focus of their anger. . .

[But] here is the irony. With Egyptian help, Israel can reach understandings for calm with Gaza, despite the lack of a direct channel. . . . In the West Bank, where the purportedly friendlier Fatah is in charge, it is more complicated, at least until the eighty-three-year-old Mahmoud Abbas is replaced.

As evidence for that last statement, consider the murder of two Israelis in the West Bank on Sunday, and the Palestinians who threw explosives at Israeli soldiers at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem yesterday.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, West Bank