We do not regard this uprising/ insurrection to be a Zionist one solely on account of Israeli and Syrian opposition figures’ open love for one another. Nor is it solely on account of the Zionist state’s official support for this opposition and their shared interests in toppling the Assad government and destroying the Syrian Arab Republic.. What really makes this a Zionist uprising is the fact that in just two years it has achieved the same strategic objectives that Israel sought hard, yet failed to affect in over 60 years of its existence. And it has succeeded in achieving Israel’s goals almost exclusively with sectarianism, which has effectively become the new Israel in our midst. No Israeli invasion, attack, occupation, annexation, settlement construction, humiliating peace, or hasbara [Israeli PR] campaign, was ever able to force resistance movements like HAMAS to change their priorities and abandon their erstwhile allies; or to persuade the Arab people that the Assad government, Iran and Hizbullah are their primary enemies as opposed to Israel; or to reduce anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism to the politically incorrect “old school” politics of a bygone era; or to elevate the statuses of once despised Arab monarchs to regional liberators; or to render Shi’ism as the cancerous cell in the region rather than the Zionist entity. An uprising which not only collaborates with Israel but serves its strategic interests can only be a Zionist uprising. And the worst part is, that we have reached a point where such labeling is no longer taken as an insult or seen an accusation.
Unfortunately, the Israelis talked of their “enemy’s enemy” and “friend’s friend”. Isn’t the Israeli enemy the benchmark? Isn’t this rudimentary? This is part of our Islamic lexicon.
Of course there were objectives behind Israel’s attacks which it sought to realize. I want to define this reality so I can discuss the nature of the [Syrian] response and so that we can understand it.
One of its objectives, especially over the past two years— its objective and that of others— is to remove Syria from the military equation in the struggle with Zionist enemy. First of all, Syria hasn’t made a peace agreement with Israel as other Arab states have. Although there is a hudna (truce), everyone knows—the enemy knows this more than friends do—what Syria offered resistance movements for tens of years now and especially over the past few years, particularly the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements. If the day comes when our brothers in the Palestinian resistance will declare on their pulpits what they used to admit in private meetings, they will say that no Arab regime has offered us what the regime of Bashar al-Assad offered us.
The Israeli knows that one of the most important sources of strength for the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine is Syria. This is why they want to remove Syria from the [military] equation and they want to besiege the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. What this siege means is that any material or moral or military support from whoever supports the resistance must end. The Israelis said they won’t allow the transfer of any weapons which could upset the balance of power with the resistance into Lebanon. Now they are saying they will prevent the resistance’s military capability from growing, meaning we won’t even allow you to increase the weapons you currently have. So they struck Damascus and its environs, in order to tell Syria—and we should read this part carefully so we understand the nature and scope of the Syrian response—that the continuation of support for the resistance and the transfer of capabilities will spell the demise of the regime and a declaration of war on Syria. Therefore, the real objective behind the latest attacks is the subjugation of Syria and breaking the will of its leadership, army and people and to permanently remove it from the resistance equation.
By the way, everything you heard in the media about 200, 300 and 400 [Syrian army] martyrs, is all lies. Unfortunately, we heard on [Arab] cable tv takbeer [cries of Allahu Akbar] and jubilation, because Israeli planes were bombing Syrian facilities or locations or bases. This is very sad. According to the reliable information I have, those killed were 4 or 5 martyrs from the Syrian army who were guarding these places.
So these were their objectives. How should one respond? First of all, one must thwart the aims of the aggression. This is the minimum response for resistance and mumana’a movements, and if possible, to turn the magic on the magician. And this is what the Syrian leadership did. There are some well-meaning people who want Syria to bomb occupied Palestine for reasons related to morale, and some hateful people who want it to bomb occupied Palestine so that war can break out between Israel and Syria and let all hell to break loose.
The first [Syrian] response: You Israelis are saying that the aim behind your aggression was to prevent the resistance’s military capability from growing, so the first response is that if you consider Syria to be a weapons’ conduit for the resistance then know that Syria will continue supplying the resistance with weapons. This is a huge strategic decision. More than this, if you are claiming that the aim behind your aggression was to prevent the resistance’s military capability from growing, then Syria will provide the resistance with game-changing weapons that it did not possess before. This means upsetting the balance of power.
Show me one Arab regime which would dare to openly supply the Palestinian resistance with so much as a rifle, let alone a game-changing rocket. And then we have a leadership which was bombed just two days ago which says I want to give them weapons they don’t even have. This is Syria’s strategic response, and it is much more significant than firing a rocket or launching an attack on occupied Palestine.
The second strategic response, which is no less important or dangerous, is to open the Golan front—opening the door to the popular resistance on the Golan front. In this war you have launched on Syria, the threat has been turned into an opportunity.
Let us set the third response aside for now. To go back to the first response, we the resistance in Lebanon announce that we are ready to receive any sophisticated weaponry even if it is game-changing and we are ready to protect this weaponry and use it to defend our people, country and sanctities.
As for the second response, just as Syria stood by the Lebanese people and supported its popular resistance materially and morally until this resistance was able to liberate South Lebanon, we in the Lebanese resistance declare that we will stand by the popular Syrian resistance and offer it our material and moral support, as well as cooperation and coordination, in order to liberate the Syrian Golan.
[Chuckling] The third response is a huge deal so we won’t discuss it now.
All the latest events and responses and positions taken by the Syrian leadership suggest that it is a leadership with nerves of steel, that it is a very wise leadership which is managing the battle with the Israelis with a strategic mind and not in an emotional or impassioned manner. This is how the resistance and mumana’a axis has foiled all schemes in the region since the 1990s.
Whoever wants to retrieve Jerusalem, whoever wants to achieve Palestinian rights and realize Palestinian aspirations, should know that this won’t be achieved in the Arab league or the UN or the Organization for Islamic Cooperation or anywhere else. The only choice has always been resistance and remains so.
Oh Palestinian and Arab people who reject Israeli hegemony, you will not find anyone to stand by your side except he who has stood by your side for tens of years. Protect those who stood by you, protect the sources of strength in your axis. Any serious effort to find a political solution in Syria which refuses to allow Syria to fall into the hands of the US, Israel and the takfiris is effectively the battle for Palestine, the battle for Quds, the battle for the Aqsa mosque.”
AFP reports that a PFLP rally held in Gaza, protesting Israel’s strikes on Syria, was violently dispersed today by Hamas’ police force. Hamas’ security forces beat the protesters with batons after ordering them to disperse the rally within 2 minutes. 3 protesters were injured and taken to hospital. So this is the new Hamas—solidarity with the Syrian people in the face of Zionist aggression is subject to repression. Enjoy your Syrian revolution and your [House] Arab Spring.
“Hezbollah has already declared that it is operational and active in Qusayr” in central Syria, Hezbollah expert Amal Saad-Ghorayeb told AFP.
“The Iranians have admitted in the past that they have advisers there and yesterday we heard them say they were ready to train the Syrians… the involvement of these actors has become more open,” she said.
“But I also think that it has increased.”
The intervention raises the prospect of a dangerous “regionalisation” of the conflict, the analysts warned.
“I don’t think Hezbollah’s going to respond to this,” Saad-Ghorayeb said.
What’s problematic is how Syria’s going to respond,” she said, adding that Damascus was unlikely to respond “conventionally” but would feel forced to produce some reaction to avoid emboldening Israel.
“I think what’s required now is for them (Syria) to find a way to respond in an unconventional way that wouldn’t drag the region into a war.”
Israeli media delights in how Zionist-friendly Syria’s opposition is: “I don’t like Israel, there’s no question about that,” wrote one Damascus-based Twitter commentator … But right now, all I do is fight for a free Syria.” “It is still my enemy, no argument. But when an enemy does a neat job, I admit it.” A blogger from Homs who goes by the name of Kendeeel reported that his friend from Baniyas … jokingly told him that Israel has more honor than Arab states. “[Israel] retaliated against the massacres in Baydha and Baniyas immediately. Where is your retaliation, Arabs?” wrote Kendeeel on May 5, in a comment that was retweeted 107 times. Yasser Al-Zaiat, a Damascus native studying sociology in Beirut, shared his inner distress following the Israeli strike. “I’m sorry, but I can’t make up my mind between the Syrian army and the Israeli. The latter never harmed me, but the Arab inside me hates it; whereas everything inside me hates the former,” Al-Zaiat tweeted .
Not that we needed confirmation, but al-Mayadeen TV reports that the FSA media spokesman described to Israeli Channel 2, the “great joy which filled the hearts of the Syrian revolutionaries and fighters” after Israel’s attack on Syria. He further acknowledged that prior to Israel’s military intervention, the rebels were in a state of “despair” on account of the military successes the Syrian Army had scored [in Qusayr particularly]. Mayadeen reported elsewhere that the prominent Syrian opposition figure, Kamal al-Labwani announced that the “Syrian people” were “happy” that Israel hit Syrian military facilities. Enjoy your Zionist revolution.
Nobody has any delusions about Abbas’ Zionist- collaborator status, but we have a reached a point in the struggle with imperialism/Zionism whereby traitors like him don’t even try to sugar-coat a policy of surrender with euphemisms like “hudna” any more, but boldly declare “Armed resistance is banned,” and that Hamas has signed on to this policy in Gaza too. Nobody can deny that peaceful intifada/ popular resistance is an invaluable tool for the oppressed, but when it becomes a substitute for rather than a complement to armed resistance, the notion of popular resistance becomes tantamount to disempowering the people. Excerpts from the Jerusalem Post story here: “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said over the weekend that he was in favor of a peaceful and popular resistance and that he and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal have reached agreement on the need for a peaceful intifada. “Armed resistance is banned,” he stressed. “This is a law and it is forbidden. It is also forbidden in the Gaza Strip.” The PA president said that the PA security forces in the West Bank have been arresting Palestinians who smuggle weapons from Israel. “They smuggle weapons from Israel, including M-16 rifles and explosives,” he claimed. “These weapons could destroy my country. What am I going to do with all these Israeli weapons?”
An op-ed today in al-Akhbar referred to Israel as “the enemy” in Arabic. Although use of this term to describe Israel was once very common in Arab popular parlance and in local media, its use in this context has significantly decreased since the Syrian uprising. Once a term reserved almost exclusively to Israel, the concept of the enemy from without has been fast replaced by the enemy from within in both pro-government and opposition circles. While government supporters can hardly be faulted for depicting the Zionist-normalizing, NATO-loving FSA as an “enemy” force, especially given its proxy status and military links with Syria’s strategic enemies, as well as its intent to destroy Syria as a state, it is both morally inexcusable and intellectually indefensible for Syrians and Arabs who profess enmity towards Israel, to use this term to describe the Assad government or Hizbullah or Iran, all of whom have paid a high price for confronting the Israeli enemy both politically and militarily.
The danger of such labeling can hardly be overstated in this case; the link between power and language has been well documented by the likes of Michel Foucault and Edward Said. As these thinkers have noted, language creates not only knowledge, but reality itself. The resulting discourse, which becomes internalized by its subjects shapes their assumptions, values and cultural habits. In short, it changes and re-fashions their political identity and beliefs.
To be more accurate, this discursive onslaught began in 2005 when the Lebanese became divided over whether Syria or Israel was their real enemy, with some March 14 politicians referring to the Zionist entity as “our neighbor”. But irrespective of this semantic divide and March 14’s collaboration with Israel during the July war as Wikileaks documents later revealed, not once did Hizbullah refer to the opposing camp as “the enemy”,” and settled on terms like “ our opponents/rivals” and “the other camp”. Compare this to the Syrian opposition camp today, whose leading “intellectuals” and activists in the Arab world have no qualms about speaking of the “Shia enemy” or the “Iranian enemy”, or cheering on the FSA who issue empty threats to attack Hizbullah and assassinate Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah.
By redefining the concept of the “enemy”, both the Syrian uprising and to a lesser extent, its US- engineered counterpart in Lebanon, have succeeded in reversing decades of Arab political socialization, whereby those who prioritize resistance to Israel and the US are mocked and dismissed as old-school anti-imperialists, or more disparagingly by Third Wayers like Bassam Haddad, as “Fumigating Anti-Imperialists”.
The Arab Spring may not be a revolution in the economic or political sense of the term, but it has achieved a semantic revolution which, if left unchecked by counter-hegemonic forces, will lead to the full intellectual and political colonization of the Arab mind and the Arab identity.
Excerpts from interviews with the martyred Tunisian opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, who exposes the role of the ruling Nahda party in the war on Syria and in sowing strife: ” these American and Zionist criminals enter our mosques and militarize our youths and send our children to die in Syria to defend a project that isn’t theirs…” The courageous Belaid accuses a Nahda official of collaboration with Israel in one of his interviews “you are a collaborator, a collaborator for the Zionists and Americans!”
But there is no room for the anti-imperialism of heroes like Belaid in the Arab Spring’s democratic-regimes, which are dominated by the most sinister form of colonized Arab—the House Islamists.
It is instructive to recall here Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s warning about this phenomenon in December 2008 and in later speeches:
“Neither America nor Israel cares about our prayers or fasting. Fast as you want, pray as you want, or perform pilgrimage as you want, but leave things, sovereignty, and the major political interests for America and Israel…In principle, the Americans do not mind if the ruler is Islamist, Communist, Marxist, Leninist, Maoist, or nationalist. This is not important for them. You can have whatever ideology or thought you want. What matters is what is your political program? What is your position on Israel? What is your position on the United States?”
See guys, Third Wayers and oppositionists were right. Israel wants Assad to remain in power. Threats of intervention and attacks on Syrian targets are just decoys, duh. And Third Wayers were so on point about Assad’s uselessness to the anti-Zionist struggle in the region. Fears of Hizbullah procuring more advanced conventional weapons from the Syrian Arab Republic are just a red herring thrown in by Israel which secretly hearts Assad and needs him to maintain peace with Israel. Hizbullah actually gets its weapons from the US-Zionist friendly Syrian opposition. But by all means, Palestine solidarity activists like Angry Arab and Ali Abu Nimah should simply dismiss this latest Israeli attack and latest round of threats and continue calling for Assad’s overthrow. Because lets face it, nothing but Intifada chic will free the region from the Zionist cancer planted in our midst. Now be sure to wear those kuffiehs the next time Israel strikes.
“On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned his cabinet ministers of the risk that chemical weapons from Syria could be falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon.”It is necessary to look at our surroundings, both at what is happening with Iran and its proxies, and what is happening in other arenas - lethal weaponry in Syria, which is steadily breaking up,” Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Israeli sources said on Tuesday that Syria’s advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or Hezbollah guerrillas based in Lebanon.”
The Israeli commentator Ben Caspit writes “In its Middle Eastern-Islamist version, democracy comes off as a recipe for riots, trouble, extremism and instability.” I know many secular Arabs are now repeating this mantra but if we think more deeply about such sweeping Orientalist generalizations about the Arab and Islamic world, we should lay the blame for this “recipe” for chaos on the imperialist-Arab axis rather than on our political culture. It isn’t that our region is incompatible with democracy. It is just incompatible with mega doses of imperialist interventions masquerading as democratization.
This chaos is the outcome of half baked revolutions that have been overtaken by the Empire and its Arab lackeys who have turned newly created “democratic” spaces into open arenas for naked [mainly sectarian] power struggles, leaving a security void that Al-Qaeda and other extremists flourish in, and a political void that only well-organized Islamists backed by petrodollars, can fill.
This chaos is what happens when the hegemonic liberal brand of democracy is grafted onto our societies, albeit in procedural form only.
This chaos is what happens when find ourselves still under the yoke of economic and political imperialism, despite having unseated authoritarian leaders, as our economies remain beholden to the IMF’s dictates, while the US/NATO and their regional allies continue to manipulate our domestic politics by propping political parties which serve their geostrategic interests.
Support for Islamists and others with sectarian agendas is not the product of political choice and pluralism, but the product of military intervention that arms and empowers these groups, granting them influence over locales they control. Sympathy for the more extreme of these religious and/or sectarian agendas is not the natural outcome of democratic elections or popular uprisings, but of the intellectual and political colonialism that has been mediated by Arab monarchies. And they have done so by means of overtly sectarian media campaigns and narratives which aim to de-prioritize the Empire and its Zionist outpost as the Arabs’ main enemy by replacing them with the “Shi’ite threat.”
The real recipe for riots, trouble, extremism and instability is not democracy but the lack thereof. This is the product of the de-democratization of the region that has accompanied Empire-sponsored and/or Empire-hijacked, uprisings, and the ensuing military struggles and political processes whose micro-management is subcontracted to its GCC allies.
Our region and our political culture have never been averse to democracy, for what could be a greater expression of popular sovereignty than our rejection of imperialism and our resistance to Israel? This has been the cornerstone of OUR understanding of democracy as popular sovereignty and self-determination. It is precisely the undermining of this democratic, freedom and justice-seeking culture—this resistance identity— that has created this chaos and instability. And that is why we call them counter-revolutionary revolutions because they constitute a revolt against the once widespread revolutionary movement against our imperialist oppressors.
I will allow myself to say this now that the war on Gaza is over: So Israel allows Khaled Mishaal entry into Gaza but bans the Islamic Jihad leader, Ramadan Shallah, from entering, threatening to break the cease-fire if he does. That is the real yardstick of one’s resistance credentials. The day Israel allows you entry anywhere, while banning your more principled comrades, is the day you are no longer a representative of the Moqawama. So easy to wish for “martyrdom” when you are luxuriating in your Doha villa. Al-Qassem will break off soon from Hamas’ external leadership inshallah.
There can be no denying that the PA’s attainment of UN non-member observer status for a Palestinian micro-state is a public relations victory which successfully capitalized on the Palestinian resistance’s recent military victory . Moreover, Israeli and US officials’ hysterical responses, particularly Livni’s depiction of this victory as a “strategic terrorist attack”, also makes it something of a political defeat and a source of humiliation for the Zionist entity.
More confusing still, is how divided Israeli media has been over the danger this development represents, with some belittling the significance of the statehood bid’s success and others decrying it. Most illuminating is the op/ed below written by Sever Plocker for the November 30 edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, entitled “THE VOTE IS ALSO GOOD FOR US”. The implications of this piece are more disturbing still when one recalls Khaled Mishaal’s recent [and considering Hamas’ military success, completely uneccesary] concession to Christian Amanpour on CNN ” I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return.” Mishaal also implied in the interview that he would be willing to recognize Israel once this Palestinian mini-state [22% of historic Palestine] was established: “I want my state. After this state is established, it — besides its standing toward Israel, don’t ask me when I’m in prison and under pressure, under Israeli pressure. You cannot ask me, as a victim, what is my stand toward Israel. I have mentioned my stand when there is a Palestinian state…”
Excerpts from the Yedioth Ahronoth piece:
“The nations of the world did just vote in favor of the Palestinians last night. They also voted in favor of Israel. In favor of a sovereign, independent Israel, separate from Palestine, separate from the Palestinians. By giving recognition to the Palestinian state, the UN gave, for the second time since the end of World War II, its repeated recognition of the Jewish state.
The PA delegation formulated its request in diplomatic language that left no room for doubt: the Palestinian people request to establish for itself a state in West Bank and the Gaza Strip based on the 1967 borders that will live in peace alongside Israel. The sensitive issue of Jerusalem was not mentioned in the operative section of the request and remains open to negotiations between the sides. The same for the issue of the final borders and the settlements.
The resolution passed by the UN is not anti-Israel. It is only seen as such by Israelis who are opposed to the idea of two states. In practice, this could serve as the jumping-off point for pulling the peace process out of the mud. True, unilateral steps are never the best solution, but the recognition that the world conferred last night on the Palestinian state does not constitute a major injury to Israel’s vital interests. We can live with it and even derive benefit from it. The benefit—including to Israel —is in setting a new opening point for negotiations: between two nation-states and not between an occupying nation and a national entity living under occupation. The gaps have been reduced in a non-violent way. That, in and of itself, is positive.
In the last few years, the Israeli government in general, and the foreign minister in particular, waged an intimidation campaign against the idea of UN recognition of the Palestinian state. We scared ourselves good, at least up until last week, when official spokespersons began to mightily spin the propaganda wheel backwards in a desperate attempt to explain that the devil wasn’t all that bad. And indeed it isn’t: the only concrete danger that the intimidators can mention is the hypothetical appeal of the PA to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”
The author neglected to mention that the ICC issue is no longer even hypothetical considering that the Palestinian Authority has given assurances, that in exchange for recognition of a tiny sliver of Palestine, it will not hold Israel accountable for its war crimes by means of legal instruments like the ICC. As the Guardian reports:
“Palestinian officials said Britain and the US had pressed Abbas to sign a confidential side letter, which would not be presented to the UN general assembly, committing the Palestinian Authority not to accede to the ICC.”
In the final analysis, the non-member observer status does not appear to be much of a game changer and may even be detrimental to the longer-term objective of a one state solution in ALL of historic Palestine if the fate of Palestine remains in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal. The only real guarantee of Palestine’s liberation is a unified resistance movement that does not abandon its raison d’étre or principles. In other words, what is required for real Palestinian statehood is Islamic Jihad’s expansion both in size and military power, and for a break to occur within Hamas’s ranks, specifically between the external Doha-based leadership and the Gaza leadership, or for Hamas’ military wing, al-Qassam, to split from its political wing. As the example of Hizbullah demonstrates, a resistance movement that is effective and capable of scoring strategic victories and retrieving land needs to be a military movement with a political wing and not the reverse.
The somewhat misleading title of this piece— “United by a common threat: Israel, Egypt and Hamas all fear Iran and its Islamic Jihad proxy in Gaza”—from the Times of Israel belies a very interesting analysis about Hamas’ conflicting tendencies and identities :
“The rise of Islamist regimes, such as the one in Egypt, has translated into a greater shared hostility for Israel on the one hand, but an increase in the importance of religion and ethnicity in the region alongside a dwindling emphasis on national interests [important to note here that even Israeli writers acknowledge that unity over Israel served our national interests], as seen in Iraq, Lebanon and especially Syria.
“Once you take Damascus out of the Iran-Syria-Hamas axis, there is no more axis.”
In this Hamas is trapped between its two clashing identities. On the one hand, according to an Israel Radio interview with Kadima MK and former deputy director of the Shin Bet Israel Hasson, Hamas views itself, after shirking the rule of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, as the bellwether of the Arab Spring — the first Arab entity to shake off corrupt, semi-secular control for a devout, Islamist government in the mold of Turkey and Egypt. In other words, a legitimate mainstream Sunni regime. On the other hand, according to Livne, Hamas’s credibility within Gaza is also very much linked to its ability to retain supremacy as the chief agent of “resistance” to Israel.
Livne described the two major players in the region as Egypt and Iran, both vying for supremacy in the Middle East. “In the end, the war for control of the region is between them,” he said. And Hamas – linked by ideology and religion to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt – “does not want to be the marionette of Iran.”
“Gazans offered very public thanks to Iran on Tuesday for helping them in this month’s fight against Israel, when Iranian-made missiles were fired out of the Palestinian enclave towards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
“Thank you Iran”, said large billboards on three major road junctions in the Gaza Strip - the first time there has been such public acknowledgement of Iran’s role in the arming of Islamic terrorists in the tiny territory.
The message was written in Arabic, English, Hebrew and Farsi. The posters also depicted the Iranian Fajr 5 rockets that were used for the first time to target Israel’s two largest population centers.
The billboards were not signed, but a senior official with the Islamic Jihad, Khader Habib, said it was only natural to show gratitude for Iran’s role in the conflict.
“Iranian rockets struck at Tel Aviv. They reached out to Jerusalem. Therefore it was our duty to thank those who helped our people,” he told Reuters.”