"The world is at war. Whoever doesn't see it should wake up," said Dr. Mordechai Kedar, founder and director for the Study of the Middle East & Islam at Bar-Ilan University, as he opened his talk on "Between ISIS and General al-Sisi – Where To?" He then "connected the dots of this war" for the 28 people who attended this American Friends of Bar-Ilan University (AFBIU) sponsored outreach event on January 13th at the offices of Kaufmann, Gildin & Robbins, LLP in New York City. AFBIU Board member Daniel Gildin hosted this event.
"This new type of ongoing war" Kedar said began with the destruction of the USS Cole in 1998, followed by the Kenya attack that same year, 911, attacks in Bali, Madrid, London, Fort Hood, the aborted attack in Times Square, and this month's Paris attacks. "We diminish the problem by calling this violence perpetrated by a few individuals," added Kedar, who is a member of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Kedar viewed ISIS as a greater threat than al-Queda because it now controls territory in Iraq that is three times the space of Israel. He said that US air strikes against ISIS have been "totally ineffective" in getting this territory back. "They have 100,000 combatants. You cannot get rid of them from the air," he added.
"ISIS no longer views territories it controls as parts of Syria or Iraq. It is now considers these areas to be part of the entire Islamic Nation," said Kedar.
When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood's intentions in Egypt, Kedar said you need not look any further than its logo. It has two swords with the words "and prepare," which are only mentioned in the Koran as to "prepare to strike terror into the enemies of Allah." He added, "The Muslim Brotherhood is the enemy of General al-Sisi, who has spoken out against Islamic extremism."
Kedar was troubled by al-Sisi's friendship with Syrian President Assad, who has now killed approximately 300,000 of his own people. He said, "In reality, there is no Syria anymore. It has no borders, no law, no justice. There is no sense in talking about the Syria of the future. It would be like resuscitating a dead body."
He expressed concern about the safety of the Druze in southern Syria, who may come under attack by the Jihadists. "The Druze would rather die than go into exile. I believe they won't ask to go into Jordan if threatened." He added that the Jihadists would find it hard to take over Druze territory, which is mountainous and filled with huge boulders. "Being under a siege by the Jihadists would be a bigger threat than direct attack."
This event is part of a series of AFBIU Lunch & Learn outreach events sponsored by the New York Region. To learn more about bringing a Bar-Ilan professor to your synagogue or Jewish organization, please call Michelle Dinenberg at 212-906-3916.