Op-Ed: ISIS, Syria, Iraq and - Israel
Dr. Mordechai KedarDr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at...
Israel, while mourning its sons, is, however, facing a new situation in the Middle East:
1. The Arab world is imploding into itself: our enemies – led by Syria – are drowning within a swamp of blood, fire and tears (this doesn't make me happy, but it is the objective truth). The Jihadists challenge country after country (Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Lybia, Yemen and while they are at it, Saudi Arabia and Jordan). The "Zionist Enemy" has long ceased to be a unifying element. Arab Nationalism has turned into an empty mantra and Arab solidarity is a fig leaf covering hatred, extremism, conflict and subversion of one regime against another.
2. Those living in Zion, our homegrown Israelis, are sobering up from their "peace" binges", because they now understand – even if not at the highest possible resolution – that a Palestinian state, if such an entity does arise, will be another Iraq, Syria, etc or end up like Gaza. As time passes, trust in our neighbors corrodes more and more. I was never a fan of this trust, but the man in the Israeli street now asks himself if a Palestinian state will actually stop the ISIS forces if they threaten to cross the Jordan?
I am not ignoring the Iranian threat and Iran's ability to worm its way into Iraq and Syria in order to advance its own interests on the ruins of those countries. A situation in which Iran expands westward would probably awaken the west because it brings the Shiite radicalism closer to Europe, and it might be backed by nuclear power.
That's why the general picture, excepting Iran, is one of a geo-strategic improvement as far as Israel is concerned, despite the instability taking over the region. As far as an Islamic State rising in Iraq and Syria, this cannot happen for several reasons:
a. It is impossible to run a modern state by 7th century Sharia law. For example – how does one run a banking system without interest?
b. The world will not allow a state like that to continue because the world fears the terror it will export. No one will do business with that state.
c. They will have to do without some of the Sharia instructions in order to be accepted by the general population and then the conflicts between the pragmatic moderates and the dogmatic fundamentalists will begin. They will begin to battle one another.
d. Every intelligence service in the world has agents inside ISIS because they accept everything that moves. That means that when they start internal fighting they will become extremely vulnerable.
e. What happened in Afghanistan until late 2001 was that al-Qaeda infiltrated the Pakistani dictatorship of Mula Omar like a virus. Al-Qaeda can hardly do that to itself. It needs another governing body to use as a base.
f. ISIS is an organization that lives on conflict, movement, expansion, massacres, revenge on enemies and armed robbery. These fighting bandits do not know how to do anything besides shooting and killing.
That is why I am not worried about the establishment of an Islamic state because even if one arises, it will disintegrate and split up in no time and turn into a few local Emirates under the rule of several warlords.
Despite that, in the event that their advance in Iraqa continues to reap successes, more and more people will join their ranks, and they will have enough strength to take advantage of success in Syria against Assad, in Lebanon against Hezbollah, in Jordan against Abdallah – and will try their luck against Israel.
Their maps include Israel, and there is danger of border skirmishes, with possible forays in Judea and Samaria, because there will be plenty of people there who will want to get on the bandwagon and imitate ISIS' methods: Is it impossible to shoot from one moving vehicle into an Israeli one on the roads of Judea and Samaria? Is it impossible to position a machine gun on a pickup truck, travel the roads at night and shoot at Israelis and their homes?
And why can't this scenario be repeated in the Galilee and the Negev?
This scenario is intended to fill Israeli hearts with fear (terror), but that does not establish a state.
If Israel can stand strong in the face of the terror wave that ISIS will create, it will guard its borders.
It is possible that the despicable murders of our beloved three boys as well as last week's shooting on the Golan – purposeful aim at people working on the fence – is the beginning of this wave.