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Israeli Think Tank: Don’t Destroy ISIS; It’s a “Useful Tool” Against Iran, Hezbollah, Syria

Head of a right-wing think tank says the existence of ISIS serves a "strategic purpose" in the West's interests.

According to a think tank that does contract work for NATO and the Israeli government, the West should not destroy ISIS, the fascist Islamist extremist group that is committing genocide and ethnically cleansing minority groups in Syria and Iraq.

Why? The so-called Islamic State “can be a useful tool in undermining” Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia, argues the think tank’s director.

“The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose,” wrote Efraim Inbar in “The Destruction of Islamic State Is a Strategic Mistake,” a paper published on Aug. 2.

By cooperating with Russia to fight the genocidal extremist group, the United States is committing a “strategic folly” that will “enhance the power of the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis,” Inbar argued, implying that Russia, Iran and Syria are forming a strategic alliance to dominate the Middle East.

“The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction,” he added. “A weak IS is, counterintuitively, preferable to a destroyed IS.”

Inbar, an influential Israeli scholar, is the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, a think tank that says its mission is to advance “a realist, conservative, and Zionist agenda in the search for security and peace for Israel.”

The think tank, known by its acronym BESA, is affiliated with Israel’s Bar Ilan University and has beensupported by the Israeli government, the NATO Mediterranean Initiative, the U.S. embassy in Israel and the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

BESA also says it “conducts specialized research on contract to the Israeli foreign affairs and defense establishment, and for NATO.”

In his paper, Inbar suggested that it would be a good idea to prolong the war in Syria, which has destroyed the country, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing more than half the population.

As for the argument that defeating ISIS would make the Middle East more stable, Inbar maintained: “Stability is not a value in and of itself. It is desirable only if it serves our interests.”

“Instability and crises sometimes contain portents of positive change,” he added.

Inbar stressed that the West’s “main enemy” is not the self-declared Islamic State; it is Iran. He accused the Obama administration of “inflat[ing] the threat from IS in order to legitimize Iran as a ‘responsible’ actor that will, supposedly, fight IS in the Middle East.”

Despite Inbar’s claims, Iran is a mortal enemy of ISIS, particularly because the Iranian government is founded on Shia Islam, a branch that the Sunni extremists of ISIS consider a form of apostasy. ISIS and its affiliates have massacred and ethnically cleansed Shia Muslims in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Inbar noted that ISIS threatens the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. If the Syrian government survives, Inbar argued, “Many radical Islamists in the opposition forces, i.e., Al Nusra and its offshoots, might find other arenas in which to operate closer to Paris and Berlin.” Jabhat al-Nusra is Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, and one of the most powerful rebel groups in the country. (It recently changed its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.)

Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based militia that receives weapons and support from Iran, is also “being seriously taxed by the fight against IS, a state of affairs that suits Western interests,” Inbar wrote.

“Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys,” Inbar explained.

This article originally appeared in Salon.Schermata 2016 08 29 alle 22.16.31

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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