5 years, 4 months ago
The danger in Pakistan negotiating with Tehrik-i-Taliban is the presumption that they’re interested in accommodation, local or national politics. We have previously pointed out regarding the internet interview of Ayman al-Zawahiri that “Over the past year, Zawahiri and other senior al-Qa’ida figures have been waging a vigorous propaganda campaign against the Palestinian organization HAMAS. Although Jihadists unanimously denounce Israel they continue to disagree over whether HAMAS should be considered a legitimate Islamic movement. For Zawahiri, HAMAS’ embrace of nationalism, democracy, and its legacy in the Muslim Brotherhood — arguably the three things al-Qa’ida hates most — delegitimizes the group.”
We also observed that “What we see as a transnational insurgency is to the jihadists simply a world wide struggle. They don’t recognize nation-states as legitimate.” In recent Internet postings we have now learned that:
Sheikh Hamid al-Ali, based in Kuwait, is a leading Islamist ideologue whose teachings are often posted on Islamist Web sites.
“Lebanon is a vivid example of the Iranian expansionist scheme at the expense of real Arab causes, which are exploited by Shi’ite sects,” Ali said in a recently posted message on an al-Qaida affiliated Web forum. “The jihadi movement has to be aware of the reality of the size of Iran’s influence, and must not allow Iran to exploit legitimate causes.”
Al-Qaida ideologues have also expressed deep disappointment with Hamas, which they accuse of being too nationalist and provincial. Al-Qaida members routinely condemn Hamas for failing to declare an Islamic emirate in Gaza, an entity they say could link up with other pockets of Islamist rule in a future caliphate state.
One message, posted on the jihadi al-Firdaws forum several months ago by a user who identified himself as Palestinian, read, “When Hamas took over Gaza, we eagerly anticipated their announcement of the establishment of an Islamic emirate, as was the case in Afghanistan and in Somalia. But this did not happen.”
There is the recurring theme of condemnations of Hamas (to which we have pointed), but in reality the situation is far more dire for this region of the world.
The Hamas regime has been alarmed by a new Islamic revivalist movement that eschews politics.
The movement, known as Salafis, was said to receive funds from the Gulf as well as sources within the Gaza Strip. The Salafis, who appear to resemble the Taliban and Al Qaida, have established a mosque and religious school and were believed to number up to 50,000.
“They have become the new rival of Hamas and are supported by very powerful sheiks in the Gulf,” a Palestinian security source said.
The source said the Salafis have become established in every major town in the Gaza Strip. Salafi members, dressed in robes and long beards, spend their evenings going from door to door in efforts to recruit Muslims to attend mosque on a daily basis. The Salafis have their own mosque, A-Sahabah, as well as an elementary and high school in Gaza City, Middle East Newsline reported.
The Salafis have urged Gazans to live a modesty lifestyle and throw away their television, alcohol, pictures and cosmetics. Recruits to the movement have been encouraged to spread these principles and influence mosques, schools and the work place.
Hamas has sought to limit the Salafi influence. Palestinian sources said Hamas security forces raided mosques under the influence of the Salafis.
Several militias have derived their inspiration from the Salafis. They include the Army of Islam and the Army of the Nation — the former sponsored by the Dughmoush clan and the latter comprised of former members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Palestinian sources said the Salafis were said to have participated in or inspired a series of strikes on Internet cafes and cellular phone stores around Gaza City. They said Salafis were also involved in a grenade strike at a United Nations-sponsored festival in Rafah in 2007.
“Hamas has been very careful in dealing with the Salfis, fearing that any crackdown will anger its supporters in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates,” the source said.
There’s that same theme: eschewing politics for transnational interests and global aspirations. The Captain’s Journal predicts that within short order Hamas will either be completely absorbed within the Salafist movement in Palestine or disappear.
In the mean time this also points to another, perhaps much larger, problem. Not only are radicals in Palestine being supported by oil-engorged sheiks, the Taliban and al Qaeda are similarly recipients of oil wealth. Whether there is any concerted effort – financial pressure, black operations, or covert warfare – to dry up these funds and take out the leaders is not currently known to us. What is clear, however, is that one of the quickest ways to kill the evil progeny is to dry up the support.