Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 3 Levels Of 'Moderate' Terrorism

Over the last number of years, the approach the West has taken to terrorism has become more nuanced (read: desperate). As a result, we have seen 3 different levels assigned to 'moderate' terrorists.

In the first--and highest level--there is the terrorist who turns around and becomes a moderate, recognized as such lauded by the West, even as he fails to win the respect of the Muslim world.

Mahmoud Abbas is such a moderate terrorist--he has to be, because the West insists he is.

This in spite of the fact that

  • The reason Abbas gives for seeking peace is that terrorism has not worked (and has not ruled out the possibility of returning to using terrorism)
  • Abbas speaks openly and with pride of his days as a terrorist
  • Abbas requires recognition of Israel only to the extent that it is necessary to sit at the same table during negotiations--and explained that it was necessary to recognize Israel to get money from it.


o Abbas ordered all flags at half mast for 3 days after the death of terrorist George Habash


o The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades--an arm of Fatah headed by Abbas--announced in November 2007 that it would escalate attacks against Sderot from Gaza--and has taken credit for such attacks as late as last month.

And this is the epitome of what the West will insist is a 'moderate' Muslim leader--but there are 2 other levels yet.

The second level is where there are not one but two leaders of a group of terrorists: one side is the moderate terrorist group while the other is the evil terrorist group. The good terrorists can be brought into the fold if they can only be reasoned with: this is Hamas.

This must be true--after all, the Associated Press wrote already back in 2005:

Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and has carried out dozens of attacks that have killed hundreds of Israelis in recent years, but the group also is pragmatic and has proven itself willing to make ideological compromises when it suits its political interests. [emphasis added]
And The LA Times writes in 2007 "Hamas walks an ideological tightrope" and "disavows Islamic radicalism but faces tension between its religious hard-liners and pragmatists who want to convince the West that it is not a political mask for jihad"

Clearly what Hamas needs is not more money--they need Valium.

According this theory of a moderate vs extremist sides of Hamas:
Hamas chose Ismail Haniyeh as its prime minister and Khaled Mashaal as its political leader. While Haniyeh is considered a moderate willing to discuss peace with Israel, Mashaal adheres to Hamas' charter that calls for the destruction of Israel.
Simple: Haniyeh is moderate--Mashaal is not.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows the script:
"There is a split inside Hamas," Fatah legislator Jamal Tirawi, who represents the Nablus district in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said. "Siam, Zahar and Abu Zuhri represent the radical trend, while Haniyeh and Mashaal belong to the moderate side." [emphasis added]
But no matter: there is a moderate side and an extremist side somewhere in there--and either way, Hamas in Gaza are moderate and can be talked to.

The third and last level is to claim that a terrorist group is splintered--and we must somehow reach those who are moderately...greedy:
In response to a question about how many of the Taliban might be considered "moderate" and therefore open to reconciliation, Mr. Biden ticked off some percentages.

"Five percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated. Another 25 percent or so are not quite sure, in my view, [of] the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency," Mr. Biden said during a press conference.

"And roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money, because of them being...paid," he said.
No real moderates here--just mercenaries, and how do you negotiate with mercenaries other than by paying them off? That of course is an effective way to dissuade mercenaries, and encourage more to follow.

(Interesting how the implied assumption is that extremists must be defeated--something that has not be said by the Obama Administration about Hamas, or any of Israel's other enemies)

The search for moderation among terrorists is pursued not so much with laser-like precision as with a large set of blinders.

Is there any situation where in confrontation with a terrorist group a way cannot be found to find someone worth talking to?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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