Destroying Hamas won’t solve conflict, says top US Pentagon official

Lieutenant General Michael FlynnBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS |
The most senior military intelligence official of the United States has warned that the destruction of Palestinian militant group Hamas will not solve, and might even intensify, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Hamas, otherwise known by its full name, Islamic Resistance Movement, was founded with Israeli help in 1987 to combat the power of its secular rival, Fatah. Since 2007, Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip, after winning most of the votes in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election. Fatah, which refused to hand over power to Hamas, now governs the West Bank. Israel has for many years accused Hamas for leading what it describes as the “rejectionist” camp of the Palestinian nationalist movement, by refusing to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state. The US is in broad agreement with its close ally Israel, and has designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization. On Saturday, however, the outgoing director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, warned Israeli officials that wiping out Hamas will not mean the end of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, and that the group’s demise will probably lead to a far more radical group taking its place. Lieut. Gen. Flynn was speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, an annual gathering of senior defense leaders in Aspen, Colorado. The top US military intelligence official told his audience that “if Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse”. He went on to add that the militant group’s place in Gaza would probably be replaced by “something like ISIS”. Lieut. Gen. Flynn was referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, known as ISIS, which has emerged from the Syrian Civil War as the most powerful non-state actor in the region. The group has already announced the creation of an Islamic State in territory under its control in the borderlands of Iraq and Syria. Lieut. Gen. Flynn was echoing similar views expressed earlier this month by former Israeli intelligence official Efraim Halevy, who directed Israel’s covert-action agency, Mossad, from 1998 to 2002. Speaking to American television network CNN, Halevy said that numerous radical groups in the Gaza Strip would be far more threatening to Israel’s security than Hamas. He told CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour that Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, “is a very bad option” for Israel, but that some of the militant Sunni Islamist groups coming out of Syria and Iraq are “a lot worse” and posed a much more pertinent challenge to regional stability. He specifically mentioned ISIS, adding that “ISIS has its tentacles in the Gaza Strip too”. Hamas, however, denies that ISIS is active in Gaza.

10 Responses to Destroying Hamas won’t solve conflict, says top US Pentagon official

  1. says:

    On this basis a person should not defend themselves if attacked,as the next person to attack them may be even worse.
    This guy never commented on the 160 children that died as slave labour building the Gaza tunnels, or the poor civillians in gaza used as human shields,or the shooting of rockets from private homes, schools, and mosques,and the shooting of rockets at Israeli civillians that started this latest fiasco.All war crimes.
    If the US is ever attacked I hope this guy is enjoying his retirement.

  2. Tunde says:

    I expect much more insightful responses when on a spook blog than that above. You vent about the comments from LTG Flynn (who has somewhat of a pedigree of an outside the box thinker) without commenting on Halevy’s concurrence. Analysis without subjective sentimentality helps. There is plenty of literature out there that indicates that Israeli policy towards the Palestinians is either at variance with stated US policy (particularly latterly) or in connivance with US policy-makers (The Palestine Papers).
    For a senior intelligence official to publically voice skepticism about the strategic aims that Israel has set, says to me that the cost-benefit analysis that Israel weighs to strategic US relationships is becoming to much, particularly to analysis within the IC. In a word, ‘pushback’.
    I would be interested to hear alternatives to this interpretation.

  3. wren says: This latest fiasco did not begin with Hamas. Hamas didn’t suddenly initiate its barrage of rockets in a vacuum. it began with Netanyahu and his ridiculously overblown crackdown on the west bank in response to the kidnapping. Netanyahu’s response should have been a reasoned crime investigation, but he chose to conduct day and night raids on thousands of homes, senseless destruction of property, confinement of 10s of 1000s of civilians, and awakening waves of hatred on both sides by calling for revenge- all because he wanted to destroy a coalition government which had not one single member of hamas. Netanyahu used the kidnapping as an excuse to destroy a coalition that he feared might actually force him to negotiate a palestinian state- something israel never intends to do.

    As far as slave labor, you have no evidence of that. There would have been no need. In any dirt poor country with no employment opportunities, children will volunteer for any job that will keep them and their families from the starvation caused by israel’s blockade. You don’t need to use myths and rumors to try to bolster your anti-hamas position b/c no one is supporting hamas. But that does not mean they are supporting israel’s oppressive, violent, and counterproductive acts which ignite, provoke, and inspire hamas-like organizations. This should not be represented as a choice between hamas or israel because neither one is proposing reasonable options. It’s all about destroying the other.

  4. RangerJim says:, while I have no argument with the rest of your comment, I would like to know the source of the “160 children that died as slave labour building the Gaza tunnels” statement, please.

  5. says:

    As requested the link regarding the child slave labour building the terrorist tunnels.
    i notice wren does not make mention of the thousands of rockets fired into Sderot over many years, or the Israeli unilateral withdrawl from Gaza itself in an attempt to have peace in the reigion.
    Tunde presupposes that US policy in the middle east is sacrosanct,howeven well intentioned it may have been, it has contributed to the chaos.

  6. says:

    Tunde, your expectations ,are just that your expectations,and in a free society no one is obliged to comply with them.Alternative viewpoints exist, as can be seen by the amount of literature supporting both sides in this conflict.The botton line here is Hammas has a charter calling for the destruction of Israel,and when they attempt to impliment it, Israel resists and fights back.Michael Flynn ignores this basic,in his advice.
    If you had a neighbour coming over your garden wall night after night attacking your family, how long would you wait before taking action, and what action would you take.

  7. I too would like to see a more insightful explanation of the allegation that children were used and died in this alleged disgusting way. Not dissimilar but even worse allegations referring to 2004 appear at in a comment by “Joe” (dated 30th July 2014 timed 8.26am) on an article (dated 29th July 2014 timed 7.10pm) entitled “Hamas Police Shoot, Kill Starving Gazans a Day After Executing Protesters”. Joe’s comment read as follows:

    “Hamas admitted to killing 370 children with slave labour, just when building the fewer less extensive tunnels to Egypt. This was printed in a pro-”palestinian” Islmaist apologist publication less than 10 years ago. (Just like China used to use children, because they are more nimble and smaller). Hamas bragged about it in the context of the sacrifice in order to build the tunnels.”

    As we all know “comments” are just that until proven. If it was in a pro-Palestinian Muslim publication I would be very interested in knowing its name, knowing it was a pro-Palestinian publication and whether such an article was ever published and the allegations make sense, appear credible and if possible are backed up from another source. One might have thought if true this would be more widely known as it was propaganda on a plate for Mossad in 2004 and if continuing is still on the plate.

  8. says:

    the briebart link above will take you to the Palestinian Journal that exposed the deaths of 160 children digging the tunnels for hamas

  9. Jesse Taylor says:

    This conflict was around decades before Hamas even existed. The problem is the violent occupation of Palestine, and until the Israeli colonizers decide to work towards a *just* peace with the Arab population they’ve oppressed since the 1940s, they will continue to experience resistance. Even if they destroyed Hamas as an organization, some other organization would rise up to resist the Israeli occupation.

  10. says:

    Hi Jesse Taylor, you might enjoy this short video to get an accurate picture of the middle east situation.

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