In parallel and intensively with the course of the war in Gaza today, a fiercer war is taking place in the field of narratives, which represents one of the most important strategic and symbolic dimensions in today’s wars, especially with the entry of social media and modern technology into the heart of policy and attitude industries and the packaging of public opinion. Many Arabs and Muslims, as well as Palestinians, may have been shocked by the overwhelming bias of Western and American policies and the Western media towards the Israeli narrative and even helping to build and disseminate it.
With lightning speed, the world captured the Israeli narrative; Western media and politicians branded Hamas as ISIS and hurried to build this mental image among international public opinion, circulating fabricated photos and videos of the Hamas attack, and ignoring the humanitarian disasters and the war of extermination carried out by the Israeli army in the besieged and stricken enclave.
The Israel and U.S. narrative of Hamas’ “ISIS-ification” is supported by Western governments. This narrative allows the Netanyahu government to commit humanitarian crimes as long as they are fighting “subhuman creatures” (similar to Al-Qaeda and ISIS from a Western media perspective). Western governments have found it convenient to turn a blind eye to the atrocities. However, the irony is that there is another side that the Biden administration and its advisors seem to have forgotten, and that is ISIS itself, along with Al-Qaeda. For them, the events in Gaza represent an ideal environment for advancing their own narratives and launching a new chapter. They see it as an opportunity to attract and recruit thousands of disillusioned Arab and Muslim youth who are dismayed by Western and American stances and have taken a clear position against the rights of the Palestinian people.
There is no better or stronger scenario than what is currently happening for the successors of bin Laden, Zarqawi, Baghdadi, and Zawahiri everywhere in the Islamic world to stand up and formulate their political and media message with full force: Didn’t we tell you, America is the world’s plague, Arab governments are complicit and democracy is an American-Western lie? This puts us in front of one pivotal truth, which was said three decades ago, by Samuel Huntington, “the clash of civilizations” is coming!
To remind Western politicians who raced to characterize what happened on September 11, as described by the well-known American diplomat, Martin Andyk, that these events came one year after Sharon’s entry into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the outbreak of “Al-Aqsa Intifada”, and the ignition of the Palestinian occupied territories. Think tanks in Washington, then, reformulated the well-known and famous question, “Why do they hate us?” A group of researchers and politicians came out with a dangerous statement under the title “Why are we fighting?!” to justify the war in Afghanistan, and a group of Saudi scholars and intellectuals (Salman Al-Awda, Safar Al-Hawali and others) responded to them with a statement called the Mecca Statement entitled “On what basis do we coexist?” in an attempt to draw attention to the fact that the scenario of a clash of civilizations will take everyone to catastrophic paths.
The war on terror (launched by the neoconservatives) did not end with the defeat of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, nor with the departure of the Taliban from power there, nor with the occupation of Iraq (in another strange link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda, to justify the destruction of the capabilities of Iraq and the Iraqi army for the benefit of Israel as well), but later came out what is more radical and capable than al-Qaeda, it is ISIS, which terrified the world, recruited tens of thousands of young men and women, constituted a great breakthrough in the course of radical movements. Later on, and when ISIS was defeated militarily with difficulties, the Taliban were once again able to return to Afghanistan with the signature of the White House itself, which found itself helpless after thousands of dead soldiers and billions of dollars at the expense of the American people.
The irony is that Western media and Western politicians, including Americans, now easily align themselves to label Hamas (which has long been accused by Al-Qaeda and ISIS with various allegations) as an organization similar to ISIS. What does this mean? It means that millions of supporters of this movement from around the world, all of whom share the Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic social fabric with Al-Qaeda, are now being antagonised by the United States and Western governments. They are fanning the flames of anger, frustration, and shock among these supporters due to the global silence surrounding what is happening in Gaza.
ISIS did not strengthen, spread and escalate until after the assassination of the dream of democracy after the Arab Spring, and today the war of extermination in Gaza leads us to a new phase in which the winds of anger, a sense of injustice and a desire for revenge sweep millions of people, and a dangerous new wave of bloody violence. I hope that no one will come out after that to ask: Why do they hate us?!