Islamic State’s Strongest Recruiting Tool? Not What John Kerry Thinks

Secretary of State Kerry has revived the myth that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is a prerequisite to the solution of all the Middle East’s problems. According to his recent statement, Muslim anguish over the plight of the Palestinians is “a cause of [IS] recruitment and of street anger and agitation.” Giving the lie to this claim is the enormous success of IS in drawing volunteers from Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, where Muslims, even radical ones, rarely give thought to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The real reason for IS’s popularity lies elsewhere, according to Christina Lin:

Muslims in Southeast Asia were traditionally moderate and tolerant. But in the 40-odd years since the oil crisis and petrodollars became a windfall in the Muslim world, Saudi extremists have been proselytizing, and building mosques and madrassas that preach Wahhabism. [Former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has] argued that this Wahhabi brand is a “venomous religion” that has radicalized Southeast Asian Muslims. . . . It would be more helpful for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition if Secretary Kerry would ask his Saudi and Qatari friends to stop feeding those [flames].

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: ISIS, John Kerry, Linkage, Saudi Arabia, Southeast Asia, Wahhabism

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7