THE HEADLINE on the brief story in Time magazine is campy, a little too cute for the subject at hand. "Hamas Goes Global," it reads, announcing in pop-business lingo that the terrorist outfit that’s recently slaughtered nine innocents in 48 hours plans to extend its murderous activities beyond Israel’s borders.
These are tough times for Hamas, the story goes on to explain. Young recruits eager to blow themselves up are increasingly hard to find. When they are found, they tend not to stay in the organization very long, opting instead for the early-retirement package that promises 72 submissive virgins.
But the real problem for Hamas, according to Time, is that the organization faces stiff competition among fellow terrorist groups. These days, the best and brightest young Islamists are all signing up with Hizballah, leaving Hamas’ recruiters desperate to find new members. The Hamas HR department has even had to look outside the Palestinian Authority. Apparently, it’s struck gold in Afghanistan among former al Qaeda members—those who haven’t taken up residence in Guantanamo Bay—who have been looking for a new hate-club to join these last two years.
Time cites Jordanian security officials who report that "two Hamas agents recently traveled to Afghanistan to recruit the remnants of al-Qaeda’s network to join its operations in the Arab world." And in a departure from Hamas’ traditional policy of launching attacks within Israel, "a growing number of Hamas leaders now argue that the best way to strike Israel is to attack U.S. targets in Arab countries."
For Time, this isn’t especially big news, not like, say, Secrets of the New Matrix, its recent cover story. The item on Hamas’ global ambitions nets a paltry three paragraphs and 345 words. But that’s more attention than the story has received just about anywhere else in the establishment press, which has largely buried or ignored an important development that tells us much, not only about the future of the War on Terror, but also about the nature of America’s enemies.
For starters, Hamas’ plans to target Americans should lay to rest the tenacious myth that Israel’s war on terror is somehow unrelated to our own. Hamas and al Qaeda are natural allies, committed to ridding the world of the infidel, beginning (but certainly not ending) with the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. It’s thus not only hypocritical, but contrary to America’s own national interests, to condemn Israel for waging its own war of self-defense against our shared enemies. Every Hamas member that Israel is able to dispatch is one who won’t later try to score Islamofascist bragging rights by staging the next anti-American bombing in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else.
(Likewise, every al Qaeda member who remains safely imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay—much to the consternation of American "civil libertarians"—is one who won’t be available to sign enlistment papers when the Hamas recruiters pass through their hometowns.)
Then there’s the question of Iraq. The last time the world saw Saddam Hussein, the now dethroned if not deceased Iraqi tyrant was sending $25,000 reward checks to the family of Hamas homicide bombers. Back then, the appeasers who opposed the liberation of Iraq shrugged off the Saddam–Hamas connection. It wasn’t of American concern, they said, as Hamas kills only Israelis (a claim that wasn’t even true then, and which, even if it were, hardly makes the organization any less malignant). Hussein might support Hamas’ cause, they argued, but he would have nothing to do with the likes of al Qaeda, our real enemy in the War on Terror. In fact, they insisted, Islamofascist tyrants like Hussein are the sworn enemies of Islamofascist fanatics like Osama bin Laden.
So went the rationalization.
But lo and behold, Hussein and bin Laden share more in common than the appeasers were willing to admit. The ideological purists in Hamas obviously see no conflict in dealing with both. Hamas, the group Saddam subsidized, is all too eager to do business with al Qaeda, the group that pulled off 9-11. So similar are their sensibilities, their means, and their objectives that the two can quite comfortably share their membership rolls—and sponsors.
The unseemly string of relationships is a microcosm of the greater tangled web that is the Islamofascist enterprise. The connections between all the players—the states that support terrorism and the organizations that carry it out—are sometimes murky, sometimes erratic, but always present. The factions may have their own special interests and pet peeves, but for now, they have a common enemy that puts them squarely on the same page. They’ll worry about killing off each other after they’ve killed off the rest of us first.
To use Time’s pop-business lingo, Hamas is but a subsidiary of Islamofascism, Inc.—and that company "went global" long, long ago.