The killing of Osama Bin Laden is a tremendous triumph in the ongoing war on terror. It is a historic moment that has the potential to go down in history as a turning point in the war. It is not the end of the war but it is an attainment of a central goal of the war – a goal that was established from the outset as a priority. The importance of this event on the road to victory over terror cannot be underestimated.
That being said the juxtaposition of the elimination of bin Laden with the so-called reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas is striking.
Al-Qaeda has remained a pariah and no nation has offered to defend it publicly.
But the same cannot be said for Hamas.
The longtime conflict between Fatah and Hamas has been intense for well over a decade and often led to internecine violence. That is now over.
Al-Qaeda after Bin laden is still a very real threat and fight against it will continue. Tragically, though, the willingness of successive U.S. Administrations and European governments to recognize the legitimacy of Fatah complicates the war on terror. Fatah now stands with Hamas and the two organizations seem committed to working together and moving forward in concert.
Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in late March reported that there was significant al-Qaeda activity among the rebel groups in Libya. The admiral and others pointed at that there is still much to be concerned about in regard to the growth and strength of al-Qaeda.
There are too few decision-makers in Europe and the U.S. that see Hamas as the illegal Islamic terrorist army that it is and understand that it needs to be totally annihilated. Hamas is al-Qaeda’s partner in the war on Israel. Rohan Gunaratna documented this in his 2002 book “Inside Al Qaeda,” writing that “Al Qaeda has forged ties with Hamas…”
Hamas celebrated in the hours after the 9/11 attacks by distributing candy to Gazan school children.
Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Fatah share much more in common than they disagree about. The Fatah/Hamas alliance illustrates this fact in a profound manner.
The commitment by the U.S. and our allies to stop al-Qaeda must be extended to eliminating the terrorist threat emanating from Hamas and Fatah.