Anti-imperialist militancy in the Middle East is rising by the day, due to the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the continued refusal on the part of Israel and US imperialism to negotiate a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. Iran’s unwillingness to submit to imperialist diktat, along with the victorious struggle that was waged last year by the Lebanese resistance and the heroic struggle that is currently being waged by the Iraqi resistance, have had a significant impact on the masses of the Middle East, whose natural wealth has been ruthlessly plundered by a handful of western imperialists for far too long.
In the face of this renewed resistance, Israel, the US and Britain are resorting to time-honoured divide and rule tactics. By refusing to engage with the elected Palestinian government led by Hamas, and by attempting to egg on the Fatah leadership (with bribes of arms consignments and development cash) to take up arms against Hamas fighters, the US and Israel are seeking to provoke a Palestinian civil war between the ‘moderates’ and the ‘Islamists’. This is their only hope of breaking the Palestinian national liberation movement and avoiding the negotiations that must surely lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. This desperate scraping of barrels will no doubt prove unsuccessful.
In addition to their attempts to create friction between the religious and secular elements of the wider middle-eastern resistance, the US, Britain and Israel have been doing everything within their power to sow divides between shias and sunnis, putting arms into the hands of various separatist groups on both sides of the confessional divide.
In Lebanon, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds injured in the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared as a result of clashes between the Lebanese Army and a group named Fatah Al-Islam. The western press has been busily painting Fatah Al-Islam as the big bad sunni bogeyman, and has attempted to show links between it and Al Qaeda. The intricacies of the situation are not easy to read, but there is some evidence that the US has been sponsoring small sunni ‘resistance’ groups in an effort to sow divisions in the Lebanese resistance and to create friction with the predominantly shia group Hizbollah, whose popularity has reached new heights since its heroic victory against Israel last summer..
Despite Hizbollah’s general opposition to the comprador Lebanese government, it has denounced Fatah Al-Islam’s attacks on the Lebanese army and called for a ceasefire.
One can at this stage only surmise that the US is trying to create an alternative ‘sunni’ leadership within Lebanon that will pit muslims against each other and thus weaken overall Lebanese resistance to Israel. (Hizbollah currently has support not only of shias but also of most sunnis and many christians.) The net effect of this would be an increase in Israel’s strength relative to Lebanon. Fortunately, Hizbollah has sufficient experience to know when a trap is being laid to hijack the rising tide of mass resistance. The party’s statement said: “We feel that there is someone out there who wants to drag the army to this confrontation and bloody struggle … to serve well-known projects and aims. We are hearing calls for more escalation and fighting, which will ultimately lead to more chaos and confrontation in Lebanon.” (‘Hezbollah backs Lebanon army in standoff’, The Guardian, 22 May 2007)
We are confident all of these imperialist plots to divide and rule will fail in the long run. Salute the rising anti-imperialist resistance across the Middle East!