For the First Time in Three Centuries, Jihad Strikes Vienna

On Monday night, an Austrian associated with Islamic State—who was arrested last year for attempting to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group—went on a shooting spree in Vienna, killing four and wounding some two dozen more. Daniel Johnson observes:

The [attack’s] lesson should not be lost on any of us: the enemies of Western civilization respect neither borders nor politics. The peoples of Europe stand or fall together—and for these purposes at least, the British are very much still Europeans.

The Viennese had hitherto been spared the terror to which Parisians and Londoners have become accustomed in the past few decades. Taking a longer historical perspective, however, the Austrian capital is no stranger to the clash of Christianity and Islam. Besieged by the Ottomans in the 16th and 17th centuries, Vienna was also Europe’s gateway for Turkish influence, as its coffeehouses still testify. Mozart and Beethoven wrote popular tunes alla turca. By 1900 Vienna had become one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the continent and the Habsburg empire had developed a relatively tolerant relationship with its millions of non-Christian subjects.

Once the imperial city had become the oversized capital of a much-diminished Austria, however, that tolerance seemed to evaporate. No sooner had Hitler annexed his native land in 1938, than [Austrian Jewry] was successively humiliated, expropriated, and murdered. Few of the Jews who escaped ever returned. . . . Anti-Semitism had not ebbed away even long after the Holocaust: it resurfaced in the late 1980s during the Waldheim affair, [when the Austrian president’s involvement in Nazi atrocities during World War II was revealed], and has been exploited by the far right ever since.

We must hope that this week’s rude awakening from Vienna’s dreams of past glory does not lead to a resurgence of past horrors—either in Austria or across Europe.

Read more at The Article

More about: Austria, European Islam, Islamic State, Jihadism, Vienna


As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas