Europe must learn from Israel on Daesh
RAW EMOTION following the atrocities in Paris is giving way to reflection on how best to deal with the unprecedented terror threat now posed to the West by Daesh.
Initial suggestions have ranged from the unfathomably inane (Madonna: let’s shower the jihadis with hugs and kisses to show them they are loved) to the tediously predictable (Jonathan Cook: the starting point should always be accepting that the emergence of Daesh is entirely the fault of our foreign policy).
More intriguing was a commentary by the maverick Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, who argued, in his inimitable way, that we should just leave Daesh alone in the hope that they in turn would, as a consequence, leave us all in peace.
It is easy to understand the logic to Hitchens’ proposal; but it is based on a fundamental misconception.
Namely, that Daesh is the same as Al Qaeda. The latter’s guide and leader, Osama bin Laden, had repeatedly stated that the aim of his terror outfit was to get the West’s armies to withdraw from the Middle East.
He repeated like a mantra: if you stop killing Muslims, we will stop our attacks on the West. Whether or not that was sincere, we will never know.
However, for Daesh, the approach of Al Qaeda is as anathema as it is to us. Daesh is inspired not by specific policies regarding the Middle East, but by an apocalyptic vision of world domination. The process of achieving this involves the slaughter or enslavement of everyone who does not subscribe to its fascistic interpretation of Islamist supremacy.
Any move on our part to pacify them would therefore only galvanise them into even more outrageous acts of barbarism and swifter moves to expand.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt this week to differentiate between the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the atrocities carried out last Friday — the former, according to him, having “perhaps a legitimacy… a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow” — was a prime example of how some in the West have failed to grasp this fact.
This was the stark reality that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was alluding to when, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in France, he pointed out that Israel and the West were fighting the same kind of Islamist onslaught.
There is indeed a clear and direct analogy to be drawn here.
Just as Daesh seeks the destruction of the West come what may, so groups like Hamas and Hizbollah seek the destruction of the Jewish state — regardless of any attempts to bring about peace or reconciliation on Israel’s part.
Iran and Daesh are fighting each other in Iraq and Syria. But the fact that they agree on the question of Israel was underlined just weeks before the Paris attacks, when Daesh released its first Hebrew-language video.
Narrated by one of the dozen or so Israeli-Arabs believed to have joined the terror organisation, its rhetoric about the coming destruction of Israel and death of Jews worldwide could have come straight from the mouth of a crazed Hamas or Hizbollah official.
The obvious conclusion is: any show of weakness on the part of either the West in the face of Daesh, or of Israel in the face of Hamas and Hizbollah, would have fatal consequences.
Any moveon ourpart to pacify Daeshwould galvanisethem intomoreacts ofbarbarism
John R Bradley’s latest book is ‘After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts’
Daesh fighters on the SyriaIraq border