King of the Mountain with Live Ammo

I have a simple question for people who support Hamas and other Islamist organizations: do you know why Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is fighting ISIS in Iraq?  After all, they are all Muslims.

Islamist groups come in many varieties.  Think of them as denominations in Christianity or sects in Judaism, but there is a significant difference between Islamists who disagree among themselves and Christians and Jews who disagree among themselves.  Each Islamist group believes that it knows all the truth perfectly and that if you don’t see things their way, you deserve to die.  Not just die, but be butchered and put on public display as an object lesson for kids.

Many Westerners mistakenly believe that Islamists only hate the West, Israel, and Jews.  That’s regrettable and absolutely not true.  They hate each other even more.  So, what binds them together?

Is it the Quran?  No.  It can’t be.  They all say that they believe in the Quran but they slaughter each other every day and video their debauchery for keepsakes.  They even publish their barbarism on YouTube as a form of entertainment.  Therefore, it must be something else.  What is it?

It boils down to two words: hate and Israel.  Hate is the common thread tying Hamas, Fatah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, ISIS, and other Islamist groups together.  It infects everything they say and do.  Hate to Islamists is like water to most humans.  They need it to survive.  Next to hate in general, hate for Israel in particular binds them together.  Just about the only thing that can cause them to stop hating each other and everybody else temporarily is hate for Israel, but that’s just a respite and nothing more.

Frequently, Islamists join forces to fight Israel.  The most recent conflict is one of many examples, but it’s not a perfect example.  Most Arab nations and other Islamist groups have had enough of Hamas, and their leaders were hoping that Israel would destroy them.  Even hate master and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah refrained from helping Hamas.  That speaks volumes.

As soon as Islamists get their butts beat, they declare victory and resume fighting each other and everybody else.  Here’s proof: when Israel started withdrawing troops from Gaza a few days ago, Hamas declared victory.  Completely forgotten were their pleas for help, decimation of a terror tunnel system that cost a fortune, an obliterated military infrastructure, and the fact that their Islamist brothers refused to join the fight.  Think of it as a hybrid form of delusion.

One Israeli journalist was fired during Operation Protective edge for explaining that genocide may be the only solution to the “Hamas problem," or words to that effect.  I don’t think he meant that genocide was a realistic or desirable option.  The history of Jewish people all but precludes that possibility.  I believe he was simply pointing out that as long as there are Arab Muslims in the world, there will be people who think that Israel and Jews should be annihilated.  That’s spot on.  His choice of words was wrong.

This is the appalling truth: if Islam was the only religion in the world and everyone had to be a Muslim, Islamists would kill each other.  Carried to the logical extreme, they would continue killing each other until there was only one man or woman left alive because 2 people don’t agree on everything no matter how close they are.  Think of it as the ultimate zero sum game.

This is another way to think about Islamism: it’s like the kid’s game King of the Mountain played with live ammo.  That’s what is taking place right now all over the world.  The difference between King of the Mountain and this game is that you’re in it whether you want to be or not.  So this is the question that non-Islamists need to answer: will we defend ourselves or will we gamble that the game won’t reach us? 

Before you answer, here’s a hint: 9/11.  If that doesn’t help, here’s another one: Fort Hood.  If that’s not enough, try this one: Mosul.  You shouldn’t need more assistance than that, but if you do, you may want to consult a psychiatrist.


Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog,, is posted daily.