Former Palestine Prime Minister and Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh has made a wrong-headed and in my view idiotic statement condemning the US for killing Osama bin Laden.
According to Reuters, Haniyeh said:
We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.
This statement is offensive. Bin Laden was a mastermind and symbol of violence against innocent people fueled by religious extremism and the exploitation of serious underlying grievances to pursue his own political ends.
Of all the wars and conflicts that were “just”, the battle against bin Laden who attacked and killed Americans on US soil was the most legitimate. We can debate the invasion of Iraq, or argue about the US doubling down with greater American involvement in an Afghan Civil War that lies beneath an India-Pakistan proxy struggle — but genuinely going after bin Laden and al Qaeda were always legitimate and important.
It was all the other mission creep and conflict that various institutions and players lopped on to this legitimate battle that I and many others have taken issue with.
Haniyeh, by paying tribute to bin Laden, suggests that Hamas has sympathies for the transnational insidiousness and instability that al Qaeda has wanted to create — while many of have argued that “Hamas is NOT Al Qaeda.”
Haniyeh’s idiotic statement blurs the issue, hurts his and the Palestinian peoples’ interests, and is highly irresponsible.
— Steve Clemons