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

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.

Read more at New York Post

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

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict