The U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan Has Emboldened Islamist Radicalism across the Globe

Aug. 26 2022

A year ago today, amid the shambolic American retreat from Afghanistan, a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport killed 170 people, thirteen of whom were members of the U.S. military. Soon thereafter, the Taliban gained control of Kabul, and reimposed its rule on most of the country. This, writes Jonathan Schanzer, is but one example of how the American withdrawal encouraged jihadists—both near and far:

Afghanistan is once again a safe haven for al-Qaeda, as evidenced by the American operation that killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the group’s commander. Just after the withdrawal last year, the Middle East was rocked by yet another Gaza war, with Hamas showering more than 4,500 rockets on Israel. Earlier this month, the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad picked another fight with Israel, raining down another 1,000 rockets on the Jewish state.

Islamic State may be weakened in Syria and Iraq, but a faction in Congo is active. The jihadist group has conducted two prison raids in the last year.

Elsewhere in Africa, the al-Qaeda affiliate group al-Shabaab attempted an incursion into Ethiopia. The group remains active in Somalia. Here at home, Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage last week as he prepared to deliver a lecture.

Jihadists have become emboldened by America’s ignominious defeat in Afghanistan. And they appear to be mounting a global offensive. Just like they did back in 1989.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Jihadism, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship