Axis of Resistance

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Axis of Resistance
TypeUnofficial military alliance
Legal statusActive
PurposeAnti-Zionism
Opposition to American, Israeli and Saudi interests in the Middle East
Opposition to the MEK[1]
Location
Region
Middle East
Membership
Primary
Official language
Arabic, Persian
Houthis
Houthi movement (Ansar Allah)
Flags of the members of the Axis of Resistance

The term Axis of Resistance (Persian: محور مقاومت, romanizedmehvar–e moqâvemat, Arabic: محور المقاومة, romanizedmiḥwar al-muqāwamah) refers to an anti-Western, anti-Israeli and anti-Saudi political and informal military alliance[2] between Iran, Palestine, the Syrian Government and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.[3][4][5] Pro-Syrian government militias, Iraqi Shia militias that are part of the Iraqi Government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces and the Yemeni Houthi movement (officially: "Ansar Allah") are also considered part of the alliance.

Despite the alliance's differing ideologies, such as secular Ba'athism and Shia Islamism, they are unified by their goal of opposing the activities of pro-Western parties, Israel, Gulf states and Sunni Islamists in the region.[6] Russia and China has also been considered by Iran as part of the alliance, due to their anti-Western political stance and mostly positive relations with Iran and Syria.[7]

History

The term was used by the Libyan daily newspaper Al-Zahf Al-Akhdar in response to American president George W. Bush's claim that Iran, Iraq and North Korea formed an "axis of evil." In an article titled "Axis of evil or axis of resistance", the paper wrote in 2002 that "the only common denominator among Iran, Iraq and North Korea is their resistance to US hegemony."[8] The Iranian newspaper Jomhuri-ye Eslami subsequently adopted the language in reference to the Shia insurgency in Iraq, writing in 2004 that "if the line of Iraq's Shi'is needs to be linked, united and consolidated, this unity should be realized on the axis of resistance and struggle against the occupiers."[9]

In 2006, the Palestinian minister of the interior, Said Saim, used the term during an interview an Al-Alam television to refer to common political goals among Arabs in opposition to those of Israel or the United States. Noting the large number of Palestinian refugees in Syria, Saim stated, "Syria is also an Islamic Arab country and is also targeted by the Americans and the Zionists. Hence we see in Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas an axis of resistance in front of these pressures."[10]

The term "axis of resistance" was used as early as August 2010.[11] After two years, Ali Akbar Velayati, senior advisor for foreign affairs to Iran's supreme leader, used the term and said:

The chain of resistance against Israel by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the new Iraqi government, and Hamas passes through the Syrian highway… Syria is the golden ring of the chain of resistance against Israel.[12]

The phrase was used again in August 2012 during a meeting between Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, regarding the Syrian Civil War.[13] He said:

What is happening in Syria is not an internal issue, but a conflict between the axis of resistance and its enemies in the region and the world. Iran will not tolerate, in any form, the breaking of the axis of resistance, of which Syria is an intrinsic part.[12]

The Syrian state-run news agency, SANA, has stated that the two governments discussed their "strategic cooperation relationship" and "attempts by some Western countries and their allies to strike at the axis of resistance by targeting Syria and supporting terrorism there."[13] The alliance has been described as an "Axis of Terror" by the prime minister and ambassadors of Israel.[14][15][16]

With Hezbollah's intensifying participation in the Syrian civil war following the years after 2013, the coalition has become explicitly Khomeinist and anti-Sunni; with the Assad regime becoming beholden and subservient to Iran and its proxies for continued existence. Alienated by sectarian policies, Sunni Islamists such as Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas began publicly opposing Iran and Hezbollah and have aligned closely with Turkey and Qatar, countries which are engaged in geo-political competition with Iran.[17][18]

Background

At first, the alliance consisted of the Syrian government and Lebanese Hezbollah. Years later Iran, already closely aligned with Syria and Hezbollah, would form stronger relations between the three, creating the axis. Iraqi and Yemeni militants coordinating with Iran came in as the newest members of this alliance.[19] After the beginning of Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War, a slew of posters showing images of Nasrallah, Assad, Khamenei, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have appeared with an Arabic caption meaning "Men who bow to no one but God." The posters suggest another emerging regional Axis of Resistance, according to The Hill. However this coalition has been described as "deeply polarising" for its sectarian targeting of Sunni Syrians.[20] Hezbollah's actions have also arisen denunciation in Lebanon, most notably from Lebanese President Michael Sulieman who demanded an end to unilateral armed maneuvers by Hezbollah. Grievance is also widespread amongst Lebanon's Sunni minority, who charge Hezbollah with engaging in sectarian violence against other Muslims, and of forfeiting its anti-Zionist stance.[21]

Analysis

The axis has been described as altering "the strategic balance in the Middle East" by assisting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to remain in power and backing his war-crimes against Syrian civilians.[22] According to Marisa Sullivan, the programme of the Axis has three main pillars; shared regional objective in prserving the Assad regime, maintaining access to supplies of weapons and money from Iran and stopping a Sunni-majority government from ever coming to power in Syria.[23] The current ruling minority of Syria is primarily made up of Alawites, who are a sect of Shia Islam, which is also the majority religion of Iran.[24] This common background has made them strategic allies on various issues, including defense.[25] The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, although a Marxist-Leninist formation, is generally considered part of the Axis of Resistance, and receives support from Iran.[26][27] The Sunni Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has also at times been considered part of the axis due to its opposition to Israel and the United States. However, as of March 2012, the group has since pulled its headquarters out of Damascus and thrown its support behind the anti-Assad Syrian opposition.[28][29]

Iran–Syria

According to Jubin Goodarzi, an assistant professor and researcher at Webster University, the Iranian–Syrian alliance that was formed in 1979 is of great importance to the emergence and continuity of the axis of resistance. Both countries are in key locations of the Middle East, and they have been affecting Middle Eastern politics during the past three decades. Also, the alliance is considered to be an enduring one, lasting 34 years "in spite of the many challenges that it has faced and periodic strains in the relationship".[12]

Axis of resistance vs. Israel

The axis claims to be against Israel in order to shore up popular support across the Islamic world, according to Tallha Abdulrazaq writing in the Middle East Monitor, and it took a severe blow after Israeli Mazraat Amal air strike.[30] Three days before that airstrike against Hizbollah convoy, Hizbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah said: "...we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria."[31]

Axis of resistance vs. ISIL

Hezbollah rejects the idea of Lebanon helping in the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq arguing that it may lead to the U.S domination in the region or "substituting terrorism with flagrant US occupation".[32]

Taliban–Iran relations

Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, described the Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as part of the Axis of Resistance, with Iran at its core, a coalition of nations seeking “resistance, independence, and freedom.”[33]

The prominent Principalist daily publication in Iran, Kayhan, has also begun referring to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a member of the Axis of Resistance.[34][35]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Beware Iran's 'Axis of Resistance' | People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)".
  2. ^ "Syria: Iran vows it will not allow Assad to fall". The Daily Telegraph. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Iran backs Assad as Syrian forces choke off Aleppo". Reuters. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Iran: Syria part of 'axis of resistance'". CNN. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  5. ^ Drums Of War: Israel And The "AXIS OF RESISTANCE" (PDF), International Crisis Group, 2 August 2010, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04
  6. ^ Sullivan, Marisa (April 2014), Hezbollah in Syria (PDF), Institute for the Study of War, "Nasrallah continues to portray Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as a confrontation with Israel, the West, and Sunni extremists."
  7. ^ Miller, James (28 September 2015). "Putin's New Axis of Resistance: Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah". The Daily Beast.
  8. ^ "Collapse of US-Libyan Talks Highlighted by Revived Anti-US Rhetoric from Tripoli". Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily. February 12, 2002.
  9. ^ "BBC Monitoring quotes from Iranian press 18 May 04". BBC. May 18, 2004.
  10. ^ "Interview with Said Saim, Palestinian Minister of the Interior, discussing the security chaos in the Palestinian territories, the Palestinian national dialogue and relations with other Arab countries". Federal News Service. May 29, 2006.
  11. ^ "Calm on Israel-Lebanon front belied by talk of war". Reuters. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Goodarzi, Jubin (August 2013). "Iran and Syria at the Crossroads: The Fall of the Tehran-Damascus Axis?" (PDF). Viewpoints. Wilson Center.
  13. ^ a b "Iran: We're in 'axis of resistance' with Syria". CBS News. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  14. ^ 50 tons of weapons seized by Israel, Telegraph, 16 March 2011
  15. ^ Israel pursues strikes on Lebanon, BBC, 14 July 2006
  16. ^ GILLERMAN FINGERS 'AXIS OF TERROR', JPost, 22 Feb 2006
  17. ^ Wieland, Carsten (2016). "10: Syrian-Lebanese relations". In Felsch, Wahlisch, Maximilian, Martin (ed.). Lebanon and the Arab Uprisings: In the eye of the Hurricane. 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017: Routledge. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-138-88584-4.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  18. ^ Hussein, Ibish (23 March 2019). "As the Syrian war ends, the axis of resistance has been exposed for the illusion it always was". The National. {{cite web}}: Check |archive-url= value (help)
  19. ^ Sullivan, Marisa (April 2014), Hezbollah in Syria (PDF), Institute for the Study of War
  20. ^ Schenker, David (7 October 2015). "Putin and the Shiite 'Axis of Resistance'". TheHill. Retrieved 25 May 2016. Assad, backed by Hezbollah and Iran, began his campaign to eradicate Sunni regime opponents...this new axis — which targets Syrian Sunnis instead of Israel — is deeply polarizing.
  21. ^ Sullivan, Marisa (April 2014), Hezbollah in Syria (PDF), Institute for the Study of War, "Opposition is greatest with Lebanon’s Sunni community, which view Hezbollah as choosing sides in sectarian conflict, killing fellow Muslims, and losing sight of its resistance to Israel."
  22. ^ "Challenging the Axis of Resistance: Syria, Iran and the Strategic Balance in the Middle East". USIP. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  23. ^ Sullivan, Marisa (April 2014), Hezbollah in Syria (PDF), Institute for the Study of War, "Hezbollah’s support for Assad seeks to achieve three broad objectives. First, Hezbollah seeks to preserve the Axis of Resistance by shoring up the military capabilities of the Assad regime. Second, Hezbollah also seeks to retain access to Iranian and Syrian material support by securing the lines of communication that run from Damascus to Lebanon from any rebel interference....Third, the group also seeks to prevent the emergence of a Sunni-dominated regime in Syria"
  24. ^ The Alawi capture of power in Syria, Middle Eastern Studies, 1989
  25. ^ "Syrian DM Stresses Tehran-Damascus Joint Confrontation against Attacks". Fars News Agency. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2012.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2021/11/pflp-boasts-about-its-ties-to-iran.php
  27. ^ https://www.maannews.net/news/2046837.html
  28. ^ "Syria crisis causes Iran-led 'axis of resistance' to fray". CS Monitor. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  29. ^ "Hamas rattles the Resistance Axis". Al Alarabiya News. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  30. ^ Abdulrazaq, Tallha (28 January 2015). "The Axis of Resistance: Time to put up, or shut up". Middle East Monitor.
  31. ^ Levitt, Matthew (2015). "Hezbollah: pulled between resistance to Israel and defense of Syria". CTC Sentinel: 5.
  32. ^ Qanso, Wafiq (18 September 2014). "Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and Russia vs. the US-led anti-ISIS alliance: Cooperation or confrontation?".
  33. ^ "Regional Powers Seek To Fill Vacuum Left By West's Retreat From Afghanistan". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  34. ^ "Iran and the Taliban after the US fiasco in Afghanistan". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  35. ^ kayhan.ir (August 25, 2021). "اقتصاد مقاومت(یادداشت روز)". fa (in Persian). Retrieved 2022-04-13.