Hamas, Iran’s Bloodthirsty Sock Puppet
Hamas has murdered, so far, over 600 Israeli civilians in its new war. Only the War of Independence (1948-49) and the Second Intifada (2000-05) killed more non-combatants. In addition, over 400 Palestinians have died. Both sides are sure to lose more. Especially the Gaza Palestinians. Because Israel’s wrath is kindled. And with good reason.
Hamas: Elected Terrorists
What is Hamas? It’s the Palestinian branch of the global Muslim Brotherhood. The name is actually an acronym from Arabic. Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyah, “Movement of the Islamic Resistance.” Founded in 1987, Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006. But it lost control of the West Bank to the non-jihadist Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Relegated to the tiny Gaza Strip, Hamas has spent the past 17 years periodically attacking Israel. It’s one of the 55 Islamic terrorist groups in the world (81% of the total). The vast majority of which are Sunni.
Iran: the Puppeteer
However, Hamas and some Sunni groups, like the related Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are supported by staunchly Twelver Shi`i Iran. Since the 1979 “Islamic Revolution” the ayatollahs fancy themselves leading a global Islamic insurgency. Not merely sponsoring terrorism. But insurgency against what, exactly? Against the West in general. And the United States in particular. Why? Because European-American civilization has dominated the globe for 500 years. In the past, Muslims saw the West as pushing Christianity on others. Now, it’s seen as imposing godless secularism and the LGBTQIA+ agenda. (Orthodox Christian Russia and officially Communist China also see the post-modern West as overbearing. Which is why the three civilizational blocs often cooperate against the U.S.)
The Little Satan is Closer
So what’s that have to do with Israel? Fundamentalist Sunnis and Shi`is agree on one thing, at least. That the Jewish state is the tip of the Western spear, embedded in the Muslim Middle East. A “foreign body” that must be expelled. Sunni Usama bin Ladin often referred to the “Crusader-Zionist” alliance. The Shi`i ayatollahs now say the same. But unlike UBL, they’re loathe to directly attack the Great Satan. Besides, it’s the Far (Away) Enemy. So they provide funding and weapons — especially rockets—to attack the Little Satan. Which is a convenient Near Enemy.
How Hamas’ War Benefits Iran
What do Iranian zealots get out of goading, if not directing, such horrible Hamas attacks at this juncture? Five benefits, in ascending order of importance.
First, a thumb in the eye of the Biden Administration, which recently “released” $6 billion to the Islamic Republic, to ransom hostages. Earmarked, say Bidenistas, only for “humanitarian purposes.” The ayatollahs are laughing all the way to the weapons market.
Second, sparking a major conflict in the Middle East gets Ukraine off the front page. This helps Russia, one of Iran’s patrons.
Third, the war makes the planned Turkish-Israeli rapproachment untenable.
Fourth, it scuttles the possible Saudi-Israeli normalization. Neither Turkish President Erdoğan nor Saudi ruler Muhammad bin Salman can meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not when the IDF is leveling Palestinian buildings. With people inside.
Finally, there are some in Tehran obsessed with eschatology. These want to hotwire the apocalypse. Which means what? Destroying Israel in order to spark the return of the Twelfth Imam, the messianic Mahdi. In this view “the annihilation of the Zionist regime is one of the preconditions for the arrival of the Mahdi.” Iran’s President, and probable next Supreme Leader, is almost certainly of this mindset, too.
Hamas: Jihadist or Joker?
What does Hamas get out of this bloodletting? Many of its members will get a one-way ticket to the afterlife. Unfortunately, many of them have been convinced that they will be rewarded by Allah there with sensual delights. Instead, they will be punished by the true God for their evil deeds. Hamas’ jihadists truly exemplify that “some men just want to watch the world burn.”
If Only They’d Listened to Trump…
More’s the pity. In his last year in office President Trump came up with a brilliant plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It focused on economic development of both Gaza and the West Bank. But given the choice between hotels and missiles, the Palestinians chose the latter. They chose poorly. And the IDF is about to reinforce that message. With extreme prejudice.
No, You Don’t Need F-15s….
Two years ago President Biden said that “to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” He was mocking America’s Second Amendment supporters, who maintain that personal weapons ensure liberty. But look at that statement in the current Middle Eastern context. If by “take on” you mean “overthrow,” then he’s probably right. But if you mean “cause lots of death and suffering,” he’s totally wrong. Hamas is committing mass slaughter with assault rifles, drones and rockets. Israel’s F-15s can take out rocket launchers, but they can’t go street-to-street, into tunnels, or under water. IDF’s ground and special forces will have to do that.
Do the Right Things, Democrats
We must support Israel diplomatically and, if need be, militarily. The Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxy Hamas cannot be allowed to succeed — and the latter should probably not be allowed to survive. God willing, the Democrats will finally abandon their madness of trusting Tehran and instead reason their way into backing Tel Aviv. Before too many more, on either side, have to die.
Timothy Furnish holds a Ph.D. in Islamic, World and African history from Ohio State University and a M.A. in Theology from Concordia Seminary. He is a former U.S. Army Arabic linguist and, later, civilian consultant to U.S. Special Operations Command. He’s the author of books on the Middle East and Middle-earth, a history professor and sometime media opiner (as, for example, on Fox News Channel’s War Stories: Fighting ISIS). He currently writes for and consults The Stream on International Security matters.