September 3, 2016

THEIR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON THE JUSTNESS OF THE CAUSE:

Assassinating al-Qaeda's leaders crushed its power. Will the same happen with Isil? (DAVID BLAIR, 9/03/16, The Telegraph)

[I]t seems incontestable that Osama bin Laden's original al-Qaeda network was gravely weakened by the remorseless elimination of one figurehead after another - including bin Laden himself - at the hands of US drones and commando raids after 2009.

If "core al-Qaeda" is a shadow of its former self, then the heavy toll inflicted by Predators and Reapers is a big part of the explanation.

So why do targeted assassinations damage al-Qaeda but have little effect on the likes of Hamas and Hizbollah? The answer lies in the differing nature of these groups. Rather than being a movement firmly grounded in a society, al-Qaeda was a network, built around individuals with charisma and expertise.

Once those kingpins were toppled by missiles falling from a clear sky, the network around them crumbled. Whatever technical or other expertise the targets had built up over the years proved extremely difficult to replace.

Hamas, by contrast, is not the brainchild of one man, but a product of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It has been shaped by the deeper currents within Palestinian society, particularly the growing appeal of radical Sunni Islam. So individuals are not vital to Hamas; those who are killed can be replaced.

If an operative with particular expertise, such as a master bomb-maker or rocket designer, happens to be eliminated, then Hamas may become temporarily less dangerous. The reprieve will last only until a replacement can learn those skills.

So the question of whether killing Adnani will weaken Isil depends, at root, on whether the movement is closer to al-Qaeda or Hamas.

Hamas and Hezbollah are popular nationalist movements.  The Salafists repel the populace when they try to govern it.
Posted by at September 3, 2016 9:47 AM

  

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