Is Hamas the identical as ISIS, the Islamic State group? No − and sure

Is Hamas the identical as ISIS, the Islamic State group? No − and sure

Within the aftermath of Hamas’ bloody raid into Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, many Israelis and folks around the globe equated the newly ultraviolent and audacious Palestinian militant group with the world’s deadliest terrorist group, ISIS – the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for instance, linked the 2 teams instantly on Oct. 25, 2023, stating: “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.” President Joe Biden and Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin made related comparisons. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Hamas killing households “brings to thoughts the worst of ISIS.”

There are many causes for Israel to need the world to assume Hamas is ISIS – together with the hope of marshaling the type of abroad help that led to the 2014 creation of the 86-member International Coalition to Defeat ISIS. In preventing between 2014 and 2019, the coalition reclaimed all of the territory the Islamic State group had seized in Iraq and Syria.

And it’s true that the Oct. 7 assault displayed techniques which might be remarkably much like these of the Islamic State group. However as a scholar of ISIS particularly, and Center Japanese militants generally, I’m inclined to agree with those that say the comparability between the 2 terrorist teams overlooks their underlying variations. The similarities are on the floor, in strategies and techniques – however their objectives and ideologies stay vastly completely different.

Basic variations

As numerous information articles have identified, the Islamic State is a Sunni group militantly against the Shia department of Islam and calls Shiites “rafida,” which implies “rejecter of Allah.” Whereas it’s true that most Palestinians in Gaza are Sunni, Shia-led Iran is Hamas’ major benefactor.

And Hamas and ISIS have even met in battle. Bloody clashes between ISIS and Hamas in 2015 resulted from efforts by Islamic State supporters to ascertain ISIS associates within the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip and the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.

In January 2018, leaders of the Islamic State group within the Sinai declared struggle on the “Hamas tyrants” through a prolonged on-line video that included the execution of a Hamas member.

The 2 teams’ variations additionally embrace their divergent objectives. The Islamic State group goals to create a worldwide theocracy primarily based on the ideas of fundamentalist Sunni Islam, with no nationwide or territorial borders.

Hamas, against this, is narrowly centered on developing a Palestinian nationwide state by “armed resistance to the occupation” of the Palestinian territories by Israel.

So it’s fairly clear that Hamas will not be ISIS. However it’s not that easy both.

Hamas fired rockets into Israel as a part of the Oct. 7, 2023, assault.
AP Photograph/Hatem Moussa

Interconnections and exchanges

Regardless of their variations, there are a number of similarities, together with the truth that each teams are on the U.S. record of overseas terrorist organizations. The 2 organizations have from time to time additionally shared widespread strategic, if not essentially ideological, objectives. And, as grew to become apparent on Oct. 7, their techniques have turn into related, although in service of various targets.

My lengthy research of Islamic State preventing techniques, together with subject analysis in Iraq, leads me to consider Hamas has not too long ago undergone a radical ISIS-inspired transformation that has not but gotten widespread public consideration. Previous to its Oct. 7 blitz, Hamas’ actions have been restricted to lobbing imprecise rockets and digging tunnels into Israel to kidnap or kill small numbers of Israelis.

However as College of Miami professor and skilled within the research of jihadism Nathan S. French has famous in El Pais, “Hamas operatives – like different Islamist and jihadist teams – borrow, steal and applicable techniques and methods from different related political, guerrilla, or militant actions.” And it appears that evidently Hamas has borrowed techniques from ISIS.

It’s seemingly that Hamas realized from the a whole bunch of Palestinians who joined each the core ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq and the ISIS affiliate within the Sinai.

And regardless of their variations, Hamas officers have up to now met instantly with leaders of the Islamic State within the Sinai. These conferences have been seemingly linked to collaboration between the 2 teams for particular actions that benefited their respective objectives, akin to weapons smuggling, undermining Egyptian authorities affect within the Sinai and transporting injured Islamic State fighters to Gaza for medical therapy.

In October 2023, an article within the U.Ok. newspaper The Occasions cited an intelligence official who mentioned, “It’s clear that the 2 actions have labored collectively shut sufficient over the previous few years to repeat one another’s strategies, study techniques and practice on weapons they’ve procured collectively.”

Tactical similarities

In some ways, Hamas’ Oct. 7 shock assault resembled ISIS assaults, akin to a June 2014 blitz through which Islamic State group fighters burst out of secret desert bases to conquer a lot of northern Iraq, together with the nation’s second-largest metropolis, Mosul.

Each teams’ assaults took their opponents by full shock, indicating a excessive diploma of secrecy and superior preparation. And each assaults utilized “technicals” – pickup vans with machine weapons mounted of their cargo beds and carrying squads of fighters. Each attacking forces used industrial drones to supply air help for his or her troop actions. And each organizations deployed suicide-attack fighters referred to as “inghimasi,” Arabic for “plungers into battle.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas fighters reportedly left black ISIS struggle banners on the scene of a number of assaults. There have been additionally movies posted on-line that appeared to indicate Hamas fighters singing standard ISIS struggle songs as they stormed into Israel.

Made for the media

A further notable similarity is that Hamas launched ISIS-style movies of the horrific atrocities it inflicted on Israelis. The Islamic State group’s media strategy concerned disseminating movies of mutilation, rape, amputation, slavery, suicide warfare, torture and mass homicide.

On and after Oct. 7, Hamas fighters equally uploaded movies and pictures of their executions of cowering Israeli civilians and different atrocities to a Telegram channel. These visuals made their approach to X – previously referred to as Twitter – and TikTok and different platforms.

Israel Protection Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has particularly mentioned these movies are a part of why Israel has been equating Hamas with the Islamic State group.

The Occasions of Israel got here to the same conclusion, noting: “Taking a look at photographs of the Hamas assault, it’s honest to imagine that Hamas realized a lesson from the ISIS terror playbook.”

Rape as a weapon

One other tactic new to Hamas, however to not ISIS, was the alleged rape and mutilation of women and girls. Hamas has denied the allegations. Islamic State non secular students have beforehand sanctioned violence towards girls and instructed fighters to rape non-Muslim girls “to make them Muslim.”

Equally, Israel Protection Forces officers have mentioned the Hamas non secular leaders gave their fighters ISIS-like non secular texts primarily based on extremist interpretations of conventional Islamic jurisprudence telling them captives have been “the spoils of struggle.”

All these developments point out that ISIS has had an affect on Hamas, even when their objectives stay fairly completely different – or in direct opposition.

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