ISIS-Israeli Relations: A Marriage of Convenience?
The question of why the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) hasn’t launched a single attack against Israel so far has been bothering international analysts for months, since the “Jewish State” would seem a somewhat logical target for alleged “radical Islamists” supposedly building a “caliphate”.
Ever since 2014, when this terrorist group began capturing large areas of land in Iraq and Syria it hasn’t engaged in a single hostile act against the “Zionist regime”, as they call Israel. One of the lastest public threats against Israel released by ISIS last December, involved a masked terrorist who announced in a video clip:
We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes. The rule of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza
However, after careful evaluation, one can safely conclude that the ISIS threat against Israel – is a tribute to the traditional Arab perception of the “Zionist regime” that has “occupied” Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. Muslims of the Middle East have been critical of ISIS due to the fact that so far it has been waging a bloody war against co-believers, while leaving Israel, who has consistently oppressed and subjugated the Palestinians, alone. To address this increasing frustration, ISIS published an article in its weekly journal that tried to explain that Israel is the enemy of ISIS, but not the most important one under current circumstances.
The top priority in its so-called “holy war” in the Middle East are the Shia centers of power, to be followed by Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf who are “occupying” two sacred Muslim shrines in Mecca and Medina. Therefore, the Shia Hezbollah group and other pro-Iranian allies are to go first, ISIS representatives argue, only to be followed by Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. Once those targets are “dealt with”, only then ISIS would agree to launch a “holy war” against Israel.
But there’s yet another possible explanation of the extremely high “tolerance” that ISIS affords Israel. A number of United Nations reports (in particular, S/2013/345, S/2014/401 and S/2014/85) contain data that the Israeli Armed Forces (IDF) has been in regular contact with ISIS militants since 2013. The journal Addicting Info has even made an attempt to bring some light to this story:
In a new report from the UN, it is revealed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. Initial reports from the IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but that story fell apart when the UN observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed at this time. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council. This report from the UN strengthens the claims by the Syrian regime that Israel is heavily involved in operations within the nation.
To some extent, this version in which Israel is collaborating with ISIS can by confirmed by recent developments like the air raid Israel launched against military facilities near Damascus International Airport or the murder of Iranian General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi in Syria. Additionally, Israel was pretty reluctant to support US military actions against ISIS at the initial stages of the operation.
Acting on the principle of ” my enemy’s enemy is my friend ,” Israel has been supporting ISIS to address the growing regional influence of Iran and Syria. It’s clear that in an effort to put an end to “the problem of Hezbollah” once and for all, Israel found itself drifting towards Saudi Arabia’s position. That is why the Hezbollah was put in the list of terrorist organizations by the League of Arab States, due to the massive amount of pressure applied on it by Riyadh. However, ISIS won’t be able to find a spot for itself in this “marriage of convenience” between the two states.
However, Israel has already realized by now that it will have to fight terrorists such as ISIS all the same, since they are well-prepared for the both military and political engagements. Even though ISIS is in no position to launch a frontal assault, it can attack Israel from within. There’s reports that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is frankly worried that the ever growing Arab population of Israel may fall victim to ISIS propaganda, despite a massive amount of countermeasures that have been put in place by Israeli secret services. Europe may serve as a perfect example of how a well defended entity can be infiltrated by terrorist cells that are capable of subsequently brutal attacks.
The Economist underlines that Israel is facing jihadists everywhere, by noting:
ROM the military observation points overlooking the spot where Israel’s frontiers meet those of Syria and Jordan, Israelis can clearly see the positions of Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk—the Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade. It is only one of many dozens of Syrian rebel groups, yet Israeli officers half-jokingly describe the fighters, mainly Syrians from nearby villages, as “Daesh lite”. The brigade, which may have between 600 and 1,000 men, has sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “Caliph” of Islamic State (IS), also known by its Arabic acronym, Daesh. The black flag of IS forms part of its logo
Thus, Israel has already started to “play chicken” with ISIS, while preparing for direct military engagements with Hezbollah. The situation in the region is getting out of control rapidly. By making an attempt to use terrorists to promote its own interests, Washington has transformed the Middle East into a powder keg, and the fuse is burning. Therefore, before it’s not too late, the White House should abandon the extremist forces in the Middle East, regardless of the political and economic costs, in order to start fighting this plague genuinely. Washington only correct position – is combating ISIS.