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In Defense of What Cause? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A few weeks ago, a fleeting comment was made by one of the senior officials of Palestine’s Islamic Jihad movement regarding what was said of the relationship between Hamas, prominent figures of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) and of the Fatah movement. The question posed to the Islamic Jihad was one concerning its solidarity, backing and support of the Hamas movement. What was both strange and blatantly striking was that the comment emphasized that the Islamic Jihad movement was ‘unlike’ that of Hamas. Something caught my attention in this brief commentary; it has become customary for statements such as these to be resounding and zealous, always implying the phrases ‘common destiny’ and ‘all in the same boat’, etc.

However, a closer examination of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine’s recent history would reveal monumental truths and alarming facts about the magnitude of Iran’s unbelievable infiltration of the Islamic Jihad movement and the ‘projects’ that it sponsors and supports. It’s no secret that a substantial number of symbols and leaders of the Palestinian Jihad were impressed by the figure and experience of Khomeini, especially after the Iranian Revolution. Gradually, some of these personages declared their adoption of Shiism, and their following of the religious references and guides of Iran’s seminaries (hawza). This is a strange precedent seeing as Palestine had never encountered the presence of Shiism on its lands before. A number of student unions, charities, trade unions and religious authorities affiliated to the Islamic Jihad movement started to promulgate Shiism as a doctrine, ideology, culture, and a policy under a severe Iranian guide.

The reluctance of Palestine’s Islamic Jihad movement to participate in serious political mobility, its gradual withdrawal from the political arena and its focus on its own infrastructure was almost as if it were attempting to emulate Hezbollah’s project, which was undertaken in Lebanon. Historically, Iran is not characteristically known for its serious and effective support of the Palestinian cause. What it demonstrated of thunderous marches and organized chants, launched after the Friday prayers to revile the United States and Israel of which the threats were solely for the mobilization of the masses, which in turn was aimed for media consumption and towards the consecration of the Iranian Revolution and its rulers.

Currently, the process of a search for ‘a new reality’ on the ground in the Palestinian territories is gradually taking place. Despite the conspicuous Iranian financial and moral support of Hamas, Iran is fully aware that the true power and backing of Hamas comes from the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the global organization that leads it, of which Iran is a part. Iran is fully aware that infiltrating Hamas and diverting its support in favor of Iran is a difficult and complex endeavor. It also realizes that Fatah movement and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which are all projects that aim at achieving liberation, do not rely on religious discourse and culture. Consequently, Iran strongly depends on the Islamic Jihad movement to effectuate the new and aspired status quo that will propagate its project on the land of the most important of Arab causes. Ostensibly, Iran seems to provide a ‘resistance’ that is both free and noble whereas in reality it is a ‘secretive and ‘underhand’ attempt sheathed in political obscurity that offers a new chapter of national promotion of the so-called crescent.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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