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Gaza Is Not About to Become an Islamic State

Matthew Levitt

Also available in العربية

New Republic

August 7, 2014


The jihadist elements in Gaza are far fewer in number than Hamas members, and they lack the group's deep social roots and capacity for control through governance.

Hopefully, the current Gaza ceasefire will stick and a diplomatic resolution to this latest crisis -- albeit not the overall conflict -- will replace the fighting of the past few weeks between Israel and Hamas. So far, each painstakingly negotiated ceasefire collapsed just about as soon as it was set to begin, leading to intensified fighting with little end in sight. With rockets flying, few people tried looking beyond the conflict to what could come next. And among the few who did, some feared that Hamas could be replaced by something far worse: A Salafi-jihadist statelet a la the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. That position gained strength when U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said at a forum in Aspen, "If Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse. The region would end up with something much worse...A worse threat that would come into the sort of ecosystem there...something like ISIS." The good news is, he's wrong...

Read the full article on the New Republic website.