Before discussing the role of doctrine in the war in Gaza, it is necessary to distinguish between the people of Gaza and the Hamas. Gaza people are oppressed and face destruction in the battle, and we empathize with their pain.
As for Hamas, which represents the de facto authorities imposed on Gaza people, it engages in military adventures and gambles without any study of the balances of power, military, and international political realities. This is done without consideration for the social security of Gaza, which is currently suffering a catastrophe due to the war.
For Islamic resistance movements, which are a branch of political Islam, there is a quasi-constant policy in justifying the wars they engage in. If we calmly examine it, we will find that it intersects in some of its points with the regimes that claim resistance and defiance.
Hamas’ invasion of the Gaza Strip does not deviate from this policy that we will clarify. The strange thing is that the military adventures of Islamic movements since the inception of the mother group (the Muslim Brotherhood, MB) until today, spanning an entire century, have not succeeded in any of their wars, whether against regimes or with Israel (with Hamas and Hezbollah as examples).
What is Hamas’s strategy in its wars with Israel? And what are the ideological foundations of political Islam movements during their battles? And specifically for Hamas?
Understanding the military motivations behind Hamas’s invasion of Gaza requires an examination of the ideological drivers behind Hamas. There are fundamental principles that govern their engagement in battles, including:
Liberating Nations Takes Precedence Over Human Liberation:
Sacrificing human lives for political goals contradicts Islamic principles.
For Hamas, the Palestinian cause is the most significant global issue, and Arab nations cannot achieve true independence without the liberation of Palestine.
Keeping the Palestinian Cause in International Focus:
Hamas believes in keeping the Palestinian cause on the international agenda, considering the Syrian revolution as diverting attention from it.
Hamas advocates for a return to global bipolarity to prevent the unilateral dominance of the U.S., supporting this stance through political and military unrest as seen in their support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict and Iran’s foreign policies.
Political Islam movements, including Hamas, aim to prevent Arab normalization with Israel, viewing it as a liquidation of the Palestinian cause.
Hamas follows the theory of Sayyid Qutb, advocating action irrespective of outcomes, attributing results to divine intervention, which includes a misinterpretation of certain Quranic verses.
The aforementioned theory, proposed by Sayyid Qutb and other Islamic political thinkers, suggests that increased suffering brings one closer to God, providing a warped justification for enduring hardships.
Hamas, Hezbollah, and similar movements believe that as long as resistance is not defeated, it has triumphed, echoing the idea that a military force is only defeated if it fails to conquer its enemy.
In military battles, misinformation, embellishments of defeat, and the invention of mythical stories are accepted tactics. Figures like Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Haitham al-Haddad and others perpetuate this on social media.
Hamas uses conflicts to secure the release of prisoners at any cost, portraying it as a victory for resistance, despite breaking the prisoner exchange rule in the latest battle with Israel.
Understanding these ideological tenets helps shed light on the motivations and justifications behind Hamas’s military actions and provides insights into the broader context of political Islam movements.
The Confusion in Hamas Leadership in its Invasion!
There are other geopolitical reasons that prompted Hamas to engage in this military adventure. In a conversation with some friends from Gaza, they stated that the Gazan society was preparing for an uprising against Hamas, a popular revolution against its oppressive policies towards its opponents and critics of its monopolistic and unilateral policies in Gaza.
In another interpretation of the invasion: “During the Arab Spring years, economic burdens increased on Hamas in Gaza. Therefore, the leadership of Hamas wanted to export its internal crisis through a war to distract the people of Gaza from their life problems and turn Gaza’s problem from a local crisis into an international one. Consequently, international and humanitarian aid comes to support Hamas indirectly to rescue it from its crisis,” the Palestinian politician (A.A.H), one of the Palestinian leaders, said
The journalist Abdel Salam Aql, who participated in a seminar on Gaza, sympathizing with Hamas in the war, mentioned that the head of the Israeli intelligence (Shabak) went to Doha, mediating through Qatar, to increase its monthly aid by $50 million, which comes to Hamas from Doha through Tel Aviv airport, protected by (Shabak), and delivered to the Hamas leadership in Gaza.
This was confirmed by the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, in a speech posted on social media. He stated that the deterioration of conditions in Gaza is beyond their capacity, and if they don’t receive Arab and international support, they will burn everything. This announcement is one of the many contradictions in Hamas leadership regarding the goal of the battle, which has not been agreed upon among its leaders so far, indicating significant confusion.
There is justification from Hamas leadership that they present to their allies and friends who question the timing and mistakes of the battle. Even Khaled Mashal referred to it in more than one media interview in the first week of the battle, saying in his justification: “The decision to engage in the battle is a specific decision of the Qassam Brigades, and we are not aware of it.”
And this justification is not accurate; anyone close to Hamas knows the timing of the battle and its plan. However, it was confirmed that the security apparatus leading the battle was not disciplined with the orders of the political leadership. The agreed-upon plan, known by some Islamic and Arab regimes supporting Hamas, was that the operation would be very limited, with an attack on the settlements in the Gaza Strip on the morning of October 7. It involved capturing some settlers in very small numbers compared to the number actually captured. The goal was to exchange prisoners for Hamas in Israeli prisons, and the operation was intended to exert Iranian pressure on the United States and thereby hinder normalization with Israel.
Media leaks announced by the heads of American and Egyptian intelligence and conveyed to Israel confirmed this. They spoke about what happened before the battle in the meeting that took place in Beirut, Lebanon, on the Monday preceding the Saturday on which the invasion of Gaza occurred.
However, the security apparatus that carried out the operation found the Israelis drunk after celebrating Yom Kippur. Instead of capturing a few individuals, they took 250 prisoners in a humiliating and documented manner, published in the media. This constituted a significant blow to Israeli military pride, prompting an excessively brutal response against the people of Gaza in general.
This statement from Hamas leaders claiming ignorance leads us to two possibilities:
The first is that it is a disavowal by the political leadership of the battle, as expressed by some prominent media supporters of Hamas’s battle who said, “Hamas has put us in a dilemma; we don’t know how to get out of it.”
The second possibility is that the political leadership abroad has become completely detached from the internal decision of Hamas and has no authority over it. The information from Gaza suggests that Yahya Sinwar, who unilaterally made the internal decision for Hamas, sees the external political leadership (Mishaal, Haniyeh, and Abu Marzouk) as ambassadors for Hamas abroad and not as a political leadership with authority, as they claim. This implies that the Hamas leadership abroad is separate from the internal leadership and decision-making of Hamas.
Gaza invasion from the Iranian point of view!
Iran, as usual, exploits any event that occurs in our troubled East to invest in its policy of expansion in the Arab region. Iran considers Hamas as one of its arms in our troubled East and deals with it accordingly. However, it deals with Hamas at a lower level than Hezbollah, which Iran considers an integral part of the Quds Force. In its foreign policy, Iran is keen on Hamas, supporting it as long as it serves its interests, and follows its orders, but if it deviates from its instructions and rebels against its policy, Iran abandons it.
The unexpected scale of the October 7th operation led the entire world to sympathize unconditionally with Israel. The expansion in the execution of the operation by the security apparatus of Hamas embarrassed Iran, considering it a rebellion against its instructions. This led Iran to abandon Hamas in its battle, as evident in Iranian statements and the hesitation and confusion of Hassan Nasrallah in his resistant behavior, as seen in his disappointing speech to the supporters of the Axis of Resistance and defiance in general, especially towards Hamas, and clear signals from Khaled Meshaal and other Hamas leaders indicate this..
However, Iran is at the same time very displeased with the behavior of the U.S. administration, which has violated the understanding of Iran. In the Iranian/American understanding in Vienna in 2021, between the U.S. administration and Iran, with the presence of the European Union, Iran agreed to halt the manufacture and development of nuclear weapons in exchange for allowing Iranian proxies to expand in our troubled East, represented by Hezbollah and the Houthis. However, Iran found the recent U.S. decision to close the borders between Syria and Iraq constraining Hezbollah on one hand and the militias affiliated with it operating in Syria on the other hand. Iran perceived this as a violation of the understanding, necessitating a response through agitating against American interests by its proxies. The Hamas invasion of Gaza was one form of this Iranian response, but the Israeli reaction exceeded expectations, leading to the destruction of Gaza and possibly resulting in the political and military end of Hamas.
Iran also believes in the theory of continuous unrest with its adversaries without reaching a point of embarrassing the opponent or taking them out of their element. While this principle is accepted in the U.S., the expansion of the October 7th operation took Israel out of its element. Today, Iran has matured and is fully convinced that it will not repeat its past mistakes, such as in the 2006 Hezbollah war, which Hassan Nasrallah admitted was a mistake. Therefore, Iran did not support the Hamas invasion of Gaza, recognizing the brutality of the Israeli response and subsequently abandoning Hamas.
Therefore, Hezbollah has been ordered not to enter the war. Close associates of Hassan Nasrallah even stated that those who want us to enter the war in support of Hamas should deposit $30 billion in the bank as the cost of what Israel will destroy in the south. This statement was made in the first week of the war when voices demanding Hezbollah’s entry into the war with Hamas increased. The Iranian policy accepts bargaining on everything for its supreme interests..
Israeli Society before the Gaza Invasion.
First: Weakness within the Israeli society.
The young Israeli society, in the era of technology and due to the neoliberalism it experiences, does not desire a large or expansionist war. Instead, it wishes to live safely, benefiting from what it has achieved and enjoying it. The Gaza war aligns with the political leadership’s vision of its strategy, aiming to bring Israeli society back to a culture of war that ensures Israel’s survival. Israel is considered scientifically, militarily, and economically superior to the Arab axis of resistance and defiance. Consequently, such a war reintroduces Israeli society to a militaristic culture, making it ready for any war and excelling in it for the aforementioned reasons.
Second: War is a political necessity for Israel.
Through the harshness of the Israeli response to war, those contemplating war against it are deterred, discouraging any thoughts of unrest. This ensures Israel’s security and the safety of its people. Therefore, on the second day of the Gaza invasion, a war government was formed to prevent other authorities from hindering the excessive Israeli deterrence. The brutal response to the occupation in Gaza aimed to end Hamas, which a significant group of Israeli decision-makers viewed as a strategic mistake. The previous implicit approval of Hamas’ control of Gaza on June 14, 2007, and the formation of a singular Hamas government were seen as Israeli strategic errors. The war was intended to correct this mistake, thereby ending Hamas militarily, politically, and popularly, as the people of Gaza would not be able to withstand the Israeli brutality.
The continued existence of Hamas, even on a very limited scale in Gaza, is considered a future catastrophe for Israeli society and a defeat for Israel according to Kissinger.
U.S. policy administration after the Gaza invasion.
The U.S. administration considered the October 7th operation a serious global issue because it occurred outside the established strategic context for the Palestinian issue. The ongoing efforts to engage with various parties were aimed at cooling down the Palestinian cause entirely. This was particularly evident during the Arab Spring. The Gaza invasion, however, served to reignite the Palestinian issue, placing it back on the international agenda for discussion.
As is well-known, the policy of the U.S. administration revolves around opening files without closing them. No file can be closed unless it poses a threat to American interests. Consequently, the U.S. will intervene to impose a solution it deems suitable for its strategic interests.
This is exactly what happened with the Syrian file. After ISIS’s defeat, the Kerry/Lavrov understandings in 2016 were reached through multiple meetings lasting from February to August. These understandings aimed to end the war on the Syrian territory, with each party halting its actions based on its current geographical position. Limited conflict points were allowed, and if they expanded, the Russians, Turks, and even Americans would intervene to return the situation to a cooling phase.
The U.S. administration wants to demonstrate to the world that it is the master and controller, unwilling to tolerate more than one pole. The Gaza invasion came to emphasize American global uniqueness. The U.S. dictates and decides for Israel how to respond to the Gaza invasion, rendering Israel essentially an American tool, similar to how Hezbollah is seen as an Iranian tool.
The American conviction in the Palestinian file is that Hamas must end militarily and politically in Gaza. There is no objection to it being opposition abroad, but any foreign opposition gradually loses its value and relevance, as seen with various opposition movements, including the official Syrian opposition and the MB in Syria in the 1980s and in Egypt opposing Sisi today. External opposition loses popularity and connection to the domestic scene over time. Therefore, after eliminating Hamas in Gaza, it would not matter if it turned into opposition abroad, even in Qatar, Yemen, or southern Lebanon, as it would lose its value and influence on the Palestinian domestic scene.
When the U.S. administration brings all these fleets to the region and takes a strong stance against Hamas, it means it unconditionally supports the military operation in Gaza, imposing a solution by force on the Palestinian issue, even if Israel does not agree.
While it is true that the Americans pressured Israel to mitigate the destruction of Gaza and accept a prisoner exchange, given the global public opinion backlash against Israel’s military brutality, there is a deliberate policy of slowing down the destruction of Gaza and gradually dismantling Hamas. This is done to avoid further provocation of the Sunni Arab Islamic street, preventing unpredictable actions that could be taken against American and Israeli interests worldwide. Later on, the focus will shift to striking the Shiite arm in the region represented by Hezbollah, aiming to appease the Sunni street. Through this, Arab-Israeli normalization will proceed smoothly.
The Sunni Mind in Wars:
The error of the Gaza invasion is a natural result of the Sunni mindset, which operates based on a set of constants, manifesting in inclinations such as:
- Acting without considering the catastrophic consequences on society and its infrastructure.
- Numerous defeats and losses do not necessarily mean you are on the wrong path, as divine trials for believers are inevitable, and complaining about them is not permissible.
- The more pain you endure as a believer, the closer you are to God.
- Confusing earthly authority with eternal happiness in the afterlife, as if pain, losses, and negative trials are the price for eternal happiness and a prerequisite for it.
- The Sunni mind relies on Quranic principles but often extracts them from their context, emphasizing the idea that a small group can overcome a larger one with God’s permission, neglecting the Quranic principle of causality found in many verses of the Quran.
- The Muslim mind in general, and the Sunni mind in particular, still believes in miracles and the supernatural. Consequently, it believes in narratives attributed to the Prophet related to these phenomena. Based on this belief, it engages in military adventures and gambles, often emerging as a loser but considering the loss a victory.
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