Friday, August 22, 2014
The Islamic State Cancer: Part 2
How Is Hamas Different from Islamic State? - Rabbi Daniel Gordis
Israelis have taken great interest in Obama calling Islamic State a "cancer" after the gruesome beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. When Islamic State executes an innocent American - befuddled Israelis noticed - Obama has the capacity for outrage and moral clarity. But in Israel's conflict, even though Hamas is sworn on Israel's destruction and has been killing innocent Israelis for years, the best that Obama has been able to utter is the standard "Israel has a right to defend itself."
Israelis still remember when then-senator and presidential candidate Obama sounded different. In 2008, Obama said in Sderot, Israel: "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if...somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
That is exactly what Israelis have been doing, for weeks now. But U.S. diplomats and politicians have tried, for the most part, to calm the waters by treating Israel and Hamas as two morally equivalent opponents. Why is Islamic State a "cancer" while Hamas is a legitimate partner in a Palestinian unity government?
The writer is senior vice president at Shalem College in Jerusalem.
Pentagon: Islamic State Threat "Beyond Anything We've Seen"
- Missy Ryan
The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the U.S. that may surpass that once posed by al-Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said. "They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of...military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen."
U.S. Eyes Wider Action on Islamic State - Felicia Schwartz and Dion Nissenbaum
The beheading of journalist James Foley has prompted American officials to begin working to knit together a broader international campaign to combat the extremists of the Islamic State. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the Islamic State can't be defeated without choking off its operations in Syria. Asked whether the Islamic State can be contained, Gen. Dempsey replied: "Yes, the answer is they can be contained, not in perpetuity. This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated."
(Wall Street Journal)
ISIS Is to America as Hamas Is to Israel - Alan M. Dershowitz
While President Obama has called for an all-out war against the "cancer" of ISIS, he has regarded Hamas as having an easily curable disease, urging Israel to accept that terrorist group, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, as part of a Palestinian unity government. Like ISIS, the Hamas Charter calls for a worldwide "caliphate," brought about by violent Jihad. Everything we rightly fear and despise from ISIS we should fear and despise from Hamas. Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.
Just as ISIS must be defeated militarily and destroyed as a terrorist army, so too must Hamas be responded to militarily and its rockets and tunnels destroyed. ISIS and Hamas must first be defeated militarily and only then might they consider accepting reasonable diplomatic and political compromises.
We Must Confront the Enemy in Our Midst - Editorial
The chilling internet video of Mr. Foley's final moments on Earth serves as an affront to this country, for his killer speaks with an unmistakable British accent.
Stopping the Worst People on Earth - Charles Krauthammer
The Islamic State is overstretched. It's a thin force of perhaps 15,000 trying to control a territory four times the size of Israel. Its supply lines, operating in open country, are not just extended but exposed and highly vulnerable to air power. Stopping the Islamic State's momentum creates a major shift in psychology.
Guerrilla armies thrive on a sense of inevitability. The Islamic State has grown in size, demoralized its enemies and attracted recruits from all over the world because it seemed unstoppable, a real caliphate in the making. People follow the strong horse over the weak horse, taught Osama bin Laden.
Obama was slow to bring American power to bear. And slower still to arm the Kurds. But he was right to wait until Baghdad had gotten rid of Nouri al-Maliki, lest the U.S. serve as a Shiite air force. We don't know how successful Haider al-Abadi will be in forming a more national government. But Obama has for now wisely taken advantage of the Abadi opening.
[W]hy not state the real objective of the U.S. air campaign? Stopping, containing, degrading the Islamic State.
For now, Obama can get away with stretching the existing rationale, but not if he is to conduct a sustained campaign. For this you must make the larger case that we simply cannot abide a growing jihadist state in the heart of the Middle East, fueled by oil, advanced weaponry and a deranged fanaticism.
These are the worst people on earth. They openly, proudly crucify enemies, enslave women and murder men en masse. These are not the usual bad guys out for land, plunder or power. These are primitive cultists who celebrate slaughter, glory in bloodlust and slit the throats of innocents as a kind of sacrament.
We have now seen what air cover for Kurdish/Iraqi boots on the ground can achieve. But for a serious rollback campaign, Obama will need public support. He has to explain the stakes and the larger strategy.
Destroy the Islamic State - John R. Bolton
We must seek to destroy the Islamic State. It is simply not enough to block the group's threat to the Kurds or other vulnerable minorities in the region. The risks of even a relatively small "state" (or "caliphate") are chilling. Leaving the Islamic State in place and in control only of its current turf in Iraq and Syria (including northern-Iraqi hydrocarbon deposits and associated infrastructure) would make it viable economically and a fearsome refuge for terrorists of all sorts, just as Afghanistan's Taliban gave al-Qaeda a base of operations to launch terrorist attacks culminating in 9/11.
The writer, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former U.S. ambassador to the UN.
Obama: "Degrade and Destroy" the Islamic State
President Obama said: Steven Sotloff "traveled across the Middle East, risking his life to tell the story of Muslim men and women demanding justice and dignity....Americans are repulsed by their [Islamic State] barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists."
"Our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so that it's no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States."