There has been a news story running around loose that ISIS is causing ripples of violence and is intending to replace Hamas as the governing body in Gaza. Should this actually come to pass, what difference it would make has not been explained in the stories I have seen and I am pretty sure I know why, the truth would be too revealing. The other reason this story has had the emphasis given it is so that the world will see such an event as something horrific and of causing a sea of change probably for the worse. This is true only if your name happens to be Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal of Hamas or Ramadan Shalah and Abd Al Aziz Awda of Islamic Jihad and potentially some of the other top echelon commanders such as Hamas Military Commander Muhammad Deif. The terrorist members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been complimented by the lead members of ISIS in Gaza as far back as last summer’s Operation Protective Edge though you would be hard pressed to find many, if any, news stories mentioning such, especially outside of Israel. Even within the Israeli media the subject was barely ever breached for reasons that escape me for their logic. The most news that mentioned Hamas and ISIS in the same breath was those quoting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and a few other Israeli politicians and top security officers in the IDF and Shin Bet who were making the point publically that there was really no discernible difference between Hamas and ISIS despite what the world media cared to report. The actual discernible difference should both Hamas and Islamic Jihad along with the remaining Fatah and Palestinian Authority individuals all be supplanted by ISIS would be that Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal of Hamas as well as Ramadan Shalah and Abd Al Aziz Awda of Islamic Jihad and perhaps some of the secondary commanders who were seen as not sufficiently bold in their efforts against Israel as that would be the level of the majority of the change. I am fairly sure that the topmost leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, al-Qaeda of Gaza and any other top commanders who have been getting excessively wealthy usurping funds off the top for personal gain, better known as greed, then you have something to fear as such activities are not pure and will deserve punishment by the leaders of ISIS. The top people with the most profit from their positions such as the billionaires of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal who are both worth many billions of dollars, will simply be spending a lot more time at their mansions in Qatar and as time passes less and less time anywhere near Gaza, Mashal has not visited Gaza except for that occasional photo-op just to validate his credentials and to raise morale amongst the troops. The main loss to these leaders is that the gravy train will stop running and they will just have to suffer a serious financial setback and need to spend very carefully such that they do not spend through their billions of dollars too quickly.
In Gaza the difference will be minimal until ISIS has attained what they consider a critical mass such that they have the troops and equipment in place and everything ready for their assault on Israel. They will tell their forces that the day when the Zionist entity will pay dearly and no longer be in possession of the stolen Muslim lands and their fellow Muslims who are pure in their practice and intentions will finally celebrate their victory over the much hated enemies of Allah. Needless to point out but if you happen to be an Arab, Muslim or not, resident in Israel and ISIS were to even temporarily for some few hours gain control of your area of residence then you would be best served to be elsewhere during that period as any Israel Arab, especially the Muslims, will be treated according to Quranic texts and their most violent and strictest of interpretations. This means that those who are followers of Islam will have to explain to deaf ears why they had not risen up and destroyed Israel from the inside and were instead living so peaceably with the Jews. After said testimony, which will be interpreted to be more of a confession of guilt, these Muslims will be declared apostate and appropriately murdered, most likely burned alive as has been the lot for the Shia captured by ISIS. The best off will be the Arab Christians who will be permitted to live after paying the Jiyza, the tax especially levied against Christians and other non-Muslims under which their Muslim leadership will protect them until the next payment comes due, but be warned that sooner rather than later you will either not have the funds to pay the Jiyza or will be given the final choice between adopting Islam or death, and conversion will not necessarily save you as your forced conversion may be determined not to have been spiritually uplifting and you would then meet the fate of an apostate, burned alive.
After Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the terrorist forces in Gaza would necessarily come under the control of ISIS the sea change would barely be more noticeable than a ripple added to the surf pounding the coast; simply put it would produce negligible change. The changes would mostly be cosmetic as while the production of rockets would be increased with the rockets being stored for intense use in support of the eventual ISIS assault to eliminate Israel and liberate the stolen lands which they as the next Caliphate should rule over all the lands that were ever under Islamic rule and that includes all of Israel. The reality would likely be very different as ISIS has a much larger and more important foe than Israel which has been under attack for some time using Gaza as a safe haven and supply depot. The other dirty little secret that the news media have not reported about is that ISIS presence in Gaza is mostly to operate as their liaison with Hamas who manage the supplies and provisions so as to have ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula provided with the appropriate weaponry and ammunition for their attacks on Egyptian forces as their intent is to be able to take possession of sufficient amounts, all or the vast majority, of the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula and have successfully pushed all Egyptian forces from the field of battle and be capable of announcing their great victory and spread into the Sinai Peninsula and declared it as a part of the Islamic State being founded by ISIS. Such an accomplishment would necessarily demand an Egyptian counter-offensive to retake control over the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula using solely Egyptian forces so as not to need Israeli assistance of any note as such would arm ISIS with a propaganda battering-ram with which to unseat President Sisi and the Egyptian government and replace such rule over all of Egypt claiming it for the Islamic State’s Caliphate, just another jewel in their turban and another loss for the Arab Muslims desiring peace under which they can continue their lives.
Once ISIS has managed to wrest the Sinai Peninsula from Egyptian control, then ISIS would turn their attention on capturing Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt and then annex the remainder of the country setting to purify the Egyptian population by testing the people on their levels of devotion and knowledge of the Quran and Muslim Law, the Sharia. Should ISIS have the capability of defeating the Egyptian military, not only would such a victory be impressive adding greatly to their reputation, it would serve as another reason proving they are in fact and deed the Caliphate they have declared themselves to be and thus would attract even larger numbers of disenfranchised youth from Western nations as well as across the Muslim world. Such a victory would make any plans to defeat ISIS close to impossible, especially utilizing solely the Iranian forces, even were there to be provided airstrikes as required in support of ground operations to defeat ISIS or seemingly to stop their incremental advances creeping across the landscape. Such a gain would also connect ISIS forces in Libya to the rest of ISIS as well as placing ISIS that much closer to uniting with Boko Haram in western Africa and based in Nigeria. Adding the weapons systems and fighter aircraft to the ISIS arsenals would also be augmented by providing safe zones in which ISIS could train their own pilots providing them with a force multiplier, air support and bombing targets in order to soften them for the ensuing ground assault, something carried out currently by suicide bombers. Such gains made by ISIS would pose a direct threat to the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and place increased fears in Europe, particularly the southern nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea. One might suspect that such gains and the accompanying threats would provide sufficient threats that the United States would act in a more forceful manner beyond limited airstrikes, but it is our conjecture that until, at the earliest, mid-January 2017 the world can pretty much rule out any increase in their commitment than to provide minimal air support of a few sorties on an active day. One reason that President Obama would not escalate the situation with ISIS would be due to any expansion westwards across northern Africa poses no imminent threat to Iran. In such a case, western movement would take the focus off Iran allowing them to better prepare for their inevitable conflict with ISIS for as long as ISIS exists, the Shia Muslims will not be safe anymore than Jews, Christians and others who do not bow to Allah.
The current efforts by ISIS are bringing more forces to bear in the Sinai Peninsula and it appears they will simply be cementing their gains in Iraq for the time being while continuing their efforts in Syria while striking in the Sinai in an effort to overwhelm the Egyptian forces currently holding the area. This is a natural fit for ISIS to open its next expansion as they already have a resupply base where they are able to keep supplies safely and a place they can hide away from the warfront retreating and enjoying relative peace in which to lick their wounds and plan for their next strike. The ISIS strategy is to strike hard with as many forces across as many fronts of the area of operations causing confusion and high casualty counts on their enemy attempting to overrun their checkpoints and other positions. This is the first time ISIS is fighting a national armed forces as until now they were fighting the remnants of a the Syrian Army and militias such as the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Sunni and Shia militias in Iraq and some of Iranian IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) forces which have continued to hold Baghdad and stymying further advances. This has forced ISIS to open a new front from which to make headway and continue to project their strong horse imagery and their invincible forces. Their raid this week assaulted multiple targets striking checkpoints and guard positions across the Sinai Peninsula. These strikes met with varying levels of defense but by the end of the day the Egyptian army had regrouped and pushed ISIS from all the positions they had taken earlier in the day. This was accomplished using assets wisely. The coordinated fight was conducted using forces including the Egyptian Air Force, armored units and those ground forces already deployed in the Sinai Peninsula. ISIS actually brought supplies out of Gaza prompting one Egyptian military leader to breach the subject of Gaza claiming that Egypt held the option of their forces going into Gaza and striking hard at any opposition units that may be; including Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror forces they find in Gaza. Initial results have shown that ISIS can push the Egyptian forces from their positions but they have thus far been unable to retain the grounds gained and are forced back into hiding. This may prove to be a war of attrition which would favor ISIS as they are gaining strength as the Western Powers, particularly the United States, appear reticent as they refuse to commit ground troops and actually fight against ISIS. Their anxiousness might be due to their having a plan for one great rout of the United States forces reminiscent of the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam. What that taught the leaders who have studied the History of the United States, particularly their innovative abilities to adapt to their situation and implement strategic options changing their tactics and adopting new and innovative tactics to fit that situation but that as long as the enemy can claim a victory and have produced large numbers of casualties that the media will reside with the isolationist reporting the offensive as have created a new and perilous situation where the forces fighting the United States are described as valiant while the United States military are cast as murderous and treacherous and any other derogatory terms and cast as losing the war or at best not winning. Once the American public has been bombarded with such news reports they demand the troops be brought home and from that point forward the United States has lost and their enemies need only keep up a modicum of effort as a constant reminder and to continue the nightly body count at the opening of every newscast. This was what defeated the United States in Viet Nan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq once already and the one strength the terror forces have is they have nowhere to run to so they will fight to the last man, woman and child. That sort of determination takes an amount of steady and constant levels of ruthlessness in order to not only defeat them in every battle but to break their spirit and prove to them beyond any doubt that their cause is useless and, in this case, Allah does not favor them being deserving of victory and has handed victory to their sworn enemies. The only question is once the coming war begins, will the American people have the stamina and stomach for completing the fight or will they simply first surrender to the coming propaganda and then inevitably face the final surrender, surrendering to Allah and becoming Muslim and all that does entail.
Beyond the Cusp