Pop quiz: what terrorist organization pioneered the modern use of suicide bombing, and what was their first target?
We’ll get back to that later.
Israel’s enemies are seemingly endless. Hamas is the militant offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian Territories. Their charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel; no compromise until the Jews are pushed into the sea.
In 2005, Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip, removing all soldiers and settlers, in a preview of the fabled land for peace deal everyone says is inevitable. Hamas moved in to dominate the area and launch repeated terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians from their secure base. The most generous terms Hamas has ever given to Israel is a 20 year cease fire if Israel withdraws to the original borders. In other words, if Israel returns to an indefensible border, Hamas will wait to attack until the new Palestinian state has fully rearmed.
To its north, Israel faces possibly its most competent and capable terrorist foe – Hezbollah. Hezbollah launches frequent raids across the border to kill or capture Israeli citizens and soldiers. In 2006, one such raid left several Israeli soldiers dead and two captured.
Finally having enough, Israel chased Hezbollah into Lebanon, briefly occupying a portion of that country in an attempt to destroy or severely weaken the terrorist organization. Hezbollah was bloodied, but made politically stronger for having survived an Israeli assault. Hezbollah is now part of the Lebanese government.
Much of Hezbollah’s strength comes from its sponsorship by Iran and Syria, for which it acts as a proxy. Hezbollah forces are currently fighting side by side with the Syrian, Iranian, and Russian militaries in Syria’s civil war.
Hamas, a militant offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah, the terrorist proxy of Iran and Syria, are the primary terrorist enemies of Israel.
But what does this have to do with America?
Another militant offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, initially kept its focus on Egypt. Then in 2001, the Emir of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Ayman al-Zawahiri, merged with the terror group founded by the son of a wealthy Saudi businessman. That Saudi businessman made his fortune through a construction company and once sent bulldozers to Palestinian fighters to turn into makeshift tanks. His son, Osama bin Laden, would create the international terror organization al Qaeda out of his personal rolodex and a merger with a militant Muslim Brotherhood offshoot.
This post began by asking which organization pioneered the modern suicide bombings and who was their target. The first modern suicide bombing was carried out by Hezbollah in 1983. Their target was not an Israeli pizzeria, an Israeli bus, or any of the other familiar locations we’re used to seeing suicide bombings. Their target was a US peacekeeping compound in Beirut, and it killed 241 US Marines, along with 59 French peacekeepers, and 2 civilians.
The explosives and training needed to kill Americans that day were provided by Iran, just as Iran provided the funding, weapons, and training to build the deadliest weapons used against American service members during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Many of those weapons were smuggled into Iraq from Iran and Syria, where terrorist fighters were also trained and given safe haven. Some of the terrorists who killed US soldiers in Iraq did so with Iranian weapons and were trained by Hezbollah.
Iran, which funds so much terrorism directed against Israel, calls America the Great Satan. Can there be a bigger enemy for a theocracy than Satan? Instead of sending the Mullahs in Tehran billions of dollars we should take them at their word that they are our enemy.
We all know the saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Well, Israel is the enemy of numerous American enemies. They are the favored target of barbarians who purposefully bomb civilians and slit the throats of infant children. Israel’s enemies are the enemy of all mankind.
There are many on the left who will ask why we should support Israel. Why should we give them billions of dollars in military aid and incur the anger of the Arab world? There are several reasons why America should continue to support Israel, including upholding commitments to our ally and supporting the only democracy in the region.
But first and foremost, we support the Jewish state because Israel’s enemies are our enemies. If Israel wants to kill terrorists who want to kill Americans, the only reasonable response is “have at it, and please take this Apache helicopter with our compliments. Good hunting.”