French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested repurposing the international anti-IS (Islamic State) effort to focus on Hamas and support Israel in its fight against the group. While standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem, Macron equated Hamas with other terrorist groups like IS and Al-Qaeda. However, his comparison seems to disregard the different objectives and regional dynamics involved.
IS primarily aimed to establish a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, with ambitions to broaden its influence in Arab countries. The main threat posed by IS was to the stability of Syria. It is worth noting that the US and its Western allies, in their attempt to overthrow President Bashar Assad, indirectly hindered Syria’s fight against terrorism by arming Syrian rebel jihadists. In addition, Israel was even reported to have treated wounded militants from Al-Qaeda in Syria, Syria’s common enemy, thus hindering the fight against IS.
The Global Coalition against Daesh, formed in 2014, purposefully excluded Russia, even though Russia’s involvement played a significant role in stabilizing Syria and combating the terrorist threat. Former US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw funding for the US incursion in Syria further contributed to IS’s defeat. With the most effective anti-IS fighters excluded, who would be left in Macron’s proposed coalition to combat Hamas? Excluding Russia, Syria, and Iran’s Hezbollah allies, who were instrumental in combating IS, seems counterproductive.
Macron’s suggestion raises questions about the effectiveness and desirability of repurposing the anti-IS coalition to target Hamas. The idea that global action against Hamas will yield significant results is doubtful. Anti-Israel unrest outside the conflict zone is driven by perceived injustices and concerns over the protection of Palestinian civilians. Protests in Western Europe and the US are not directly linked to Hamas. They reflect a broader sentiment of frustration with what is considered an overwhelmingly pro-Israel bias in the Western establishment.
The anti-IS coalition focused on countering the group’s propaganda, but the effectiveness of such efforts is debatable. Governments often use propaganda to promote their own narratives under the guise of combatting it. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s recent comparison of Russia and Hamas illustrates the flaws of anti-propaganda campaigns. Such campaigns often end up spouting misinformation and oversimplifications.
Furthermore, there are already numerous vehicles and coordination mechanisms for intelligence sharing, propagandizing, and security operations. Adding another interventionist entity to the mix may not yield significant benefits. It is also worth noting that better intelligence may not have prevented the recent Hamas attack, as Egyptian and American officials claim that Netanyahu had prior warning.
In conclusion, Macron’s proposal to repurpose the international anti-IS effort to target Hamas raises many concerns. The comparison drawn between IS, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas oversimplifies the complex dynamics and objectives at play. It is doubtful that a global action against Hamas would yield significant results, considering the broader sentiment of anti-Israel protests. Moreover, the effectiveness of anti-propaganda campaigns is questionable, as they often perpetuate misinformation. The West already has ample vehicles for intelligence sharing and security operations, making further interventionist entities unnecessary.