If Israel was so vulnerable, what new threats might far-less adept, less-equipped nations soon face?
Hamas’ heinous terrorist attack on Israeli civilians has implications far beyond the local Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The brutal, barbaric assault shattered conventional wisdom about Israel’s perceived strength, impenetrability, intel, and military capabilities, and has thus set a stirring precedent for terrorist groups across the world, from jihadists to the far right. As 9/11 sparked the global jihadi movement’s embrace of terrorist attacks, Hamas’ attack has provided a template for ambitious, strategically savvy offensives worldwide.
Immediately after Hamas began publishing news of its operation, Sunni and Shi’ite extremist factions alike began flooding social media platforms with celebratory messages, as did their scholars. The offensive—a prelude to a “Jihadi spring,” as al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) put it—injected inspiration into their own fights. It is virtually unheard of for Shi’ite and Sunni extremists to be on the same page about a subject, yet here were all of their online outlets, forwarding mirroring deluges of updates from Hamas.
Not unexpectedly, Shi’ite militants from around the world rushed to support to Hamas. Although Hamas is Sunni, it shares a common backer with Shi’ite groups in Iran. What was surprising, though, was the support coming from al-Qaeda, which marked a major shift, given both groups’ longstanding mutual hostility.
Since 2006, al-Qaeda’s leadership and supporters have condemned Hamas for leveraging democracy to gain power. In 2007, after multiple statements criticizing Hamas, Osama bin Laden claimed Hamas had “lost its religion.” In 2018, Ayman al-Zawahiri declared, “Hamas is not an Islamic movement nor is Islam its reference.” Throughout these years, Hamas has reciprocated by arresting al-Qaeda aligned operatives and preachers in Gaza.
FATHER-IN-LAW OF AL-QAEDA CHIEF: “THIS WAR MIGHT EXPAND OUTSIDE THE ARAB REGION AND REACH FROM TANGIER IN MOROCCO TO JAKARTA IN INDONESIA.”
Yet now, after almost 20 years of enmity, al-Qaeda has completely changed its tune following the attack in Israel. Official al-Qaeda entities and their supporters have roundly congratulated “our honorable loved ones, for these victories” and called to support the group by any means possible.
“The strength of this Ummah lies in the strength of its jihadi fronts, and its strength in supporting jihadi operations against the international coalition and occupiers,” exclaimed the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia.
There are three major aspects of Hamas’ attack that need to be taken very seriously by the US and its allies as potential global threats and a paradigm shift in insurgency.
Source: By Rita Katz