Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hezbollah-Hamas rift quietly widens further

[Originally posted at NOW]

There are, arguably, more important things going on in the Middle East at this moment, but no one who takes an interest in (or is simply entertained by) the fratricidal frictions between the region’s self-described “Islamic Resistance” movements brought on by the Syrian conflict can afford to ignore this ‘Letter to Hamas’ penned on Monday by Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin.

It takes the conventional Stalinist form of the apparatchik sternly reprimanding a comrade for deviancy from ‘revolutionary’ doctrine. Hamas, warns Amin, is “straying from the path of resistance.” Specifically, in siding with the Syrian opposition against the Assad regime, the movement has “implicated” itself “in questionable activity against the Resistance in Lebanon.”

Well, we knew that much already. What’s new now is Amin’s explicit accusations of violence carried out by Hamas not just against the Syrian regime, but Hezbollah’s civilian constituency in Lebanon itself:

It is common knowledge […] that a Palestinian named Ahmad Taha was behind the rocket attack on Dahiyeh several months ago. He was assisted by many, among them a prominent member of Hamas in Rashidiya refugee camp in South Lebanon by the name of Aladdin Yassine. When Lebanese army intelligence asked for Hamas’ cooperation, they helped with Taha but refused to surrender Yassine, claiming that he had left the camp and his whereabouts are unknown.

It’s hard to imagine what Hamas is thinking – does it not understand the repercussions of dragging its feet in such a critical matter? Does it not know that its actions could cause a major rift with Hezbollah – the main target of the Dahiyeh rocket attack – and supporters of the Resistance, who have never hesitated in their commitment to the liberation of Palestine and all those forces that are struggling to that end?

For Amin to all but accuse of treachery the foremost Palestinian militant group strikes me as rather significant. Also interesting is what it reveals about his attitude to “resistance” in general. Apparently when Hamas – which fought a week-long war with Israel as recently as last November – goes to fight in Syria on behalf of a popular uprising, this marks its “decline as a resistance movement.” Yet, when Hezbollah – which hasn’t traded serious blows with the Zionists in over seven years now – intervenes (on a far greater scale) on the side of the incumbent dictatorship, this leaves no blemish on its “resistance” credentials whatsoever. This might well make perfect sense to Amin, but for those of us without the benefit of his peculiar perspicacity, it begs again that old question: against whom is this “resistance?”

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