The number one goal of any empire is to divide. The reason for this is the fact that empire’s objective is to consolidate power and in order to do so, it must make sure that no other geopolitical competitor is allowed to consolidate its own power for whatever objective, be it beneficial to the people or not. In the case of the Middle East, the fractious and multi-faceted ethnic, religious, and historical background of this ever-shifting region provides a fertile ground for the incubation of modern-day neo-imperialist subversion and covert destabilization.
This can take a wide array of forms ranging from the catastrophic, as in NATO’s prolonged “nonconventional war” against Syria, to the subtle where the imperialists attempt to influence the geopolitical context in order to either destabilize relations between states or at least create some degree of mismatched objectives. The prolonged conflict between Israel and Gaza and the neglected historical backdrop is a particular example of this.
We Must Understand the Nature of Our Enemy
In the process, the nature of the empire must also be understood as not simply an “American empire” or a “Zionist empire” because this empire knows no national identity and is rather driven by a supra-national, globalcratic and oligarchial network of elite operating out of both the west and seeking global hegemony. More relevantly, they dictate US foreign policy through a network of think-tanks, like the Council on Foreign Relations, which they fund, allowing them to control the talking points of the policy debate and move their agenda forward under different political labels however it is convenient. That is our real government operating its agenda through its various proxies; therefore, calls to boycott Israel over its brutality will be ineffective if we do not go one step further and boycott Wall Street, rooting out the underlying illness spreading death and destruction around the world of which Israel is merely a proxy among others like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.
Here is such a byproduct of the imperialist attempt to divide and manipulate the Arabs and geopolitics of the Middle East. It is benign on the surface and unlikely to cause a major rift on the world stage in and of itself but is indicative of an underlying reality that many have overlooked in the role of Hamas and the geopolitics of “resistance”; thus it is an excellent time to step back from the current dynamics of world events and understand the historical background that makes it what it is. According to a recent article by Al Monitor titled, “Iran, Hezbollah break with Assad to support Hamas”, the current Israeli massacre in Gaza is allegedly driving a diplomatic wedge between Assad and his Hezbollah and Iranian allies over the issue of backing Hamas. Hezbollah and Iran seek to revive the “resistance triangle” against Israel, an understandable geopolitical position to take considering the historical injustices done to the Palestinian people and the presence of western hegemony in conjunction with the ongoing destabilization across the Middle East. However, Syria is understandably reluctant to lift its boycott of Hamas following Hamas’ support for the Syrian opposition which is by and large Islamist and serving western foreign policy objectives.
Israel Created Hamas to Divide Palestinians and Prevent Peace
While I support the Palestinian right to resistance, a few essential points must be noted regarding Hamas and its role in context to the resistance that would illuminate some of the points. To truly understand this, you must realize that it is an admitted fact by both Israeli and US officials that Israel created Hamas in order to offset secular Palestinian nationalism, radicalize the Palestinian population through deliberate provocation, and deliberately prevent a peaceful settlement. Consider the points noted by Washington’s Blog that are raised in this United Press International (UPI) report:
According to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel “aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic [and International] Studies.
Israel’s support for Hamas “was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,” said a former senior CIA official.
According to documents United Press International obtained from the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism, Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in Israel and Palestine were “weak and dormant” until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab enemies. (emphasis added)
UPI would continue by stating:
In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acquiesce in its very existence.
But even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support:
“The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,” said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named.
Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with,” he said.
All of which disgusts some former U.S. intelligence officials.
Another piece to be noted is Professor Stephen Zunes’ article in AlterNet titled “America’s Hidden Role in Hamas’ Rise to Power” which states many revealing facts that contradict the Zionist narrative. It is stated that in 1993, Hamas had only 15% support among the Palestinian population according to official polls; deliberate US-Israeli antagonizing and tacit encouragement saw the movement grow in support to win 44% of the vote in the 2006 Palestinian elections backed by the US. One point of interest is that Israel forcibly exiled Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian Christian pacifist who followed Gandhi teachings of nonviolent resistance, while simultaneously allowing Hamas to circulate anti-Jewish literature and call for Israel’s destruction.
Even after the PLO agreed to recognize Israel, American officials were still barred from meeting with them while being allowed to meet with Hamas leaders in 1993. Israel, often brutal in suppressing peaceful pro-PLO rallies, stood by in violent quarrels between secular Palestinian nationalists like the PLO and Hamas such as in Gaza in 1981 when Islamists “attacked and burned a PLO-affiliated health clinic in Gaza.”
This was one piece in a long list of cases. Alvaro de Soto, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, cited by Zunes in his article, stated in a final confidential report that the American policy deliberately encouraged confrontation between Fatah and Hamas and worked to isolate and damage Hamas while arming and recognizing the PLO. As he noted in a report to the UN secretary general, this in turn was deliberately designed, in conjunction with Israeli policy, to encourage continued action by militants in the antagonizing atmosphere that developed. Factionalism in Fatah and the lack of a viable peace through PLO-Israeli-US negotiations also contributed to Hamas’ growing appeal. This has been noted by Israeli commentators as well; Zunes points out:
Some Israeli commentators saw this strategy as deliberate. [Uri] Avnery noted, “Our government has worked for year to destroy Fatah, in order to avoid the need to negotiate an agreement that would inevitably lead to the withdrawal from the occupied territories and the settlements there.” Similarly, M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Center observed, “the fact is that Israeli (and American) right-wingers are rooting for the Palestinian extremists” since “supplanting … Fatah with Islamic fundamentalists would prevent a situation under which Israel would be forced to negotiate with moderates.” The problem, Avnery wrote at that time, is that “now, when it seems that this aim has been achieved, they have no idea what to do about the Hamas victory.”
Other articles worth noting that document the specifics in how Israel incubated Hamas’ current dominance over Gaza to serve its hegemonic interests include Wall Street Journal’s “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas” and Middle-East analyst Ray Hanania’s “Sharon and Hamas: How the Likud Bloc Mid-wifed the Birth of Hamas.” To confirm this, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freemen, has stated, “Israel started Hamas. It was a project of Shin Bet, which had a feeling that they could use it to hem in the PLO.” Robert Dreyfuss’ book, “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam” notes these crucial points that get lost in the minds of both academics and the everyday American. All these points confirm what was noted by Larry Johnson, a counterterrorism official in the US State Department who stated:
The Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism. They are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer. They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it.
Israeli Belligerence is a Catalyst for Expansionism and Western Hegemony
The purpose in fragmenting the Palestinians is to allow Israel to continue its expansionist aims, creating an Israel with the West Bank as a central part of its territory in the “essence of Zionism” as former Israeli President Ezer Weizman called it; Weizman has also admitted that the 1967 “Six Day War” was launched by Israel not to protect against a non-existent ” threat of annihilation” but to expand the state as many previous commentators have documented. In a piece by Joseph L. Ryan published by the Carnegie Council titled, “The Myth of Annihilation and the Six-Day War”, direct quotations from prominent Israeli leaders during the war, including then-Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, noted that the idea of annihilation on the eve of June 1967 was a myth concocted in the wake of what was really a war started by Israel, knowing that Gamel Abdel Nasser in Egypt posed no threat. It is through this war that Israel would acquire Gaza and the West Bank.
Statements by these prominent leaders generated much controversy and debate in Israel, as documented by Ryan, but ultimately the truth could not be denied. Then-General Ezer Weizman, who as chief of operations played a leading role in the 1967 Israeli victory, noted the expansionist motivations behind the war that undoubtedly play a role in current Israeli strategic calculations. Joseph L. Ryan says of Weizman’s confessions in a Haaretz piece:
Rather, he states categorically, a state does not go to war only when the immediate threat of destruction is hanging over it. At issue, he notes, is not our physical security but the realization of our historical and national interests, our Zionist principles. The western regions of “Eretz Israel,” that is, the West Bank, belong to the essence of Zionism, and without them the Jewish state does not constitute an historical wholeness. (emphasis added)
Israeli expansionism in turn serves as an outlet for western hegemony and domination over the Middle East. Israel is a convenient, nation-sized “military base” in the Middle East along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both known geopolitical manipulators whose objective is to perpetuate their interests in conjunction with their western financiers, an objective in which a “new Middle East” will be crafted per western hegemony. It must be noted that Retired US Army General and Supreme Allied Commander-Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000, General Wesley Clark, has admitted that following 9/11, the United States was formally hijacked by a policy coup whose objective was to “destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, and bring it under our [US] control.” He criticized this policy coup by stating that the purpose of the military was to deter conflicts, not deliberately provoke them. All these strategic elements of hegemony and global domination must be factored in whenever the newest crisis breaks out in the Middle East and we must not allow ourselves to be subjected to a short-term view of history, confined into neatly packaged presidential administrations.
Muslim Brotherhood is a Tool of Western Hegemony Against Arab Nationalism
There may be the urge by some supporters of the “resistance” to tell me that I am spreading “lies against Hamas” designed to discredit it. These would be the critics who, though motivated by legitimate allegiance to the Palestinian struggle are still blind as to the geopolitics at play. Then there are the Israeli critics, which either through ignorance or through disingenuous intent, try to argue that Israel did not directly support and enable Hamas which is clearly not the case.
But for those who think that I am trying to “discredit Hamas”, know that Hamas has already discredited itself by its own bumbling geopolitical stance, pandering to Saudi Arabia and Qatar and attempting to crush the heart of the Palestinian struggle which was and will always be secular and nationalist, regardless of the individual’s religious beliefs. Hamas was the “Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood” and on that basis, along with the facts above, we can condemn it and the Brotherhood who are documented historically as having served the interests of the British and the US against secular Arab resistance to western imperialist designs, especially the resistance and ideals of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. As Eric Draitser notes:
The [Muslim Brotherhood] was founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928 with the intention of reestablishing a purer form of Islam as had existed centuries before. However, this was merely the religious veneer that was created to mask the political intentions of the organization. As explained in the Mother Jones article entitled What is the Muslim Brotherhood and Will It Take Over Egypt?, the author explains that, “The Muslim Brotherhood served as a battering ram against nationalists and communists, despite the Brothers’ Islam-based anti-imperialism, the group often ended up making common cause with the colonial British. It functioned as an intelligence agency, infiltrating left-wing and nationalist groups.” This indisputable fact, that the Muslim Brotherhood functioned, even its early days, as a de facto arm of Western intelligence, is critical to understanding its development and current political power.
Draitser continues by saying, “As Robert Dreyfuss, author of the Mother Jones article clearly points out, there is ample evidence tying the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood directly to the CIA”:
By then , the group’s chief international organizer and best-known official was Said Ramadan, the son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna. Ramadan had come to the attention of both the CIA and MI-6, the British intelligence service. In researching my book … I came across an unusual photograph that showed Ramadan with President Eisenhower in the Oval Office. By then, or soon after, Ramadan had likely been recruited as a CIA agent. Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson has since documented the close ties between Ramadan and various Western intelligence services … Johnson writes: ‘By the end of the decade, the CIA was overtly backing Ramadan.
The Current Connections
To connect this with Syria today, Tony Cartalucci has written extensively of the implications of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s work on the Middle East in the context of Syria today, citing very prophetic quotes from his New Yorker piece, “The Redirection” that predicted the engineered quagmire today. As Cartalucci revealed, Seymour Hersh notes:
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
And as if to dispel any claims by critics who fail the read the report in its entirety and try to claim that this support is passive and not active, Hersh noted:
“…[Saudi Arabia’s] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
Considering the havoc Islamist extremists have wrought on Syria, Assad was strategically correct when he recently alluded to Hamas by speaking out against those who “wear the mask of resistance” to serve their own objectives and the need to differentiate between the real resistance that is the people of Gaza and Hamas on an organizational level. Hamas is not to be trusted and neither the Muslim Brotherhood or Islamists. Any organization who claims that its role is to accomplish the “Islamization” of Palestine is essentially no different than Israel and its “Judaizing” agenda (even though Zionism is fundamentally incompatible with Judaism and was an outgrowth of secular colonialist ideals during the “Enlightenment”). A friend of mine has recently stated that a Palestinian Christian told him, “Palestine was stolen from me twice; first by the Israelis and second by Hamas.”
It is for this unreliability and suspicion of Hamas that President Assad called Hamas “uninvited guests” to the table of the Palestinian peace process according to leaked cables obtained by Wikileaks in 2010. A revealing December 2010 LA-Times article, “Syria’s Assad seems to suggest backing for Hamas negotiable, leaked cables say,” written quite prophetically three months before the NATO-Saudi-Muslim Brotherhood backed uprising began in March 2011, noted that:
Syrian President Bashar Assad described Hamas as an ‘uninvited guest’ in his country in confidential conversations with American lawmakers…Although Syria has forged strategic alliances with ideologically driven, Iranian-backed movements such as Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Hamas, Damascus continues to view the rise of political Islam as one of its primary internal threats. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has resided in Damascus since 2001, but such a blunt assessment of the group by Assad hasn’t been made public before. (Emphasis added)
Whatever you may think of Assad, he was right in his judgment on this issue. Hamas and anybody who receives funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood are to be treated with suspicions as subversives of western interests. The “Israel versus Hamas” stunt is part of an orchestrated geopolitical theater, a theater of death designed to keep the political hamster wheel spinning in the tumultuous world of the Middle East, ultimately bolstering Israeli strategic objectives and more specifically, their western supporters who use it as their military base in the Middle East. When violence broke out between Israel and Hamas in 2012, Tony Cartalucci noted:
While US representatives frequently meet in Doha, Qatar to support and continue propping up the political front serving as cover for Western, Saudi, and Qatari backed terrorists in Syria, Qatar’s unelected leader-for-life, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has slinked in and out of Gaza to pour 250 million dollars into Hamas just before the latest Israeli-Hamas violence broke out…It is documented that since 2007 the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia have been colluding to arm and unleash sectarian extremists, both Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, against their collective enemies across the region. With the West using Qatar as a base of operations, not only to continuously prop up the so-called “Syrian National Council,” but to base the corporate-funded Brookings Institution think-tank’s Doha Center, are we to believe that Qatar is not-so-secretly trying to destroy Israel right under America’s nose? Without condemnation or protest from the US or any of its co-conspirators?
The Current Catastrophe
Keep in mind that Qatar was not sanctioned by the west as Syria was for “harboring” Hamas following Hamas’ departure from Syria when Khaled Masahl took up residence in Doha. The clear history of US-Israeli-Saudi cooperation with the Islamic right-wing against Arab states that threaten western hegemony is indicative of this. However, just because I criticize Hamas organizationally does not mean I disregard the Palestinian’s right for a better life. Even though Israel created Hamas to divide Palestinians, Hamas is nonetheless a multi-faceted movement that has been working towards moderation and participation in the political process which in turn may dilute and render ineffective the seditious forces of the Brotherhood which the imperialists seek to exploit. The fact that Hamas recently formed a “unity government” with the secular Palestinian Authority was seen as a threat to the objective that Israel intended for it to serve. And so to destabilize any “peace offensive” by the Palestinians, Israel deliberately provoked the recent crisis by covering up the murder of three Israeli teens in order to falsely blame Hamas, launch a brutal crackdown, and fragment Palestinian unity and hope. Keep in mind that there is no evidence Hamas was responsible; in fact, an ISIS-affiliated group, backed by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, claimed responsibility.
What is going on in Gaza has nothing to do with rockets or “tunnels” but everything to do with crushing the Palestinians as a people and subjecting them to the foot of American and Israeli hegemony. Israel is an imperialist, colonial power and we must realize that such things are admitted,as Steve Chovanec has pointed out, by even pre-eminent scholars of Israel like Zeev Maoz, a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Correlates of War Project at the University of California, Davis, as well as Distinguished Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel and former Academic Director of the M.A. program of the National Defense College of the IDF (1990–1994), In “Defending the Homeland” Maoz notes,
“Most of the wars in which Israel was involved were the result of deliberate Israeli aggressive design. None of these wars – with the possible exception of the 1948 War of independence – was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Berah (war of necessity). They were all wars of choice.” (emphasis added)
“I review a number of peace-related opportunities ranging from the Zionist-Hashemite collusion in 1947 through the collapse of the Oslo Process in 2000. In all those cases I find that Israeli decision makers – who had been willing to embark upon bold and daring military adventures – were extremely reluctant to make even the smallest concessions for peace. I also find in many cases Israel was engaged in systematic violations of agreements and tacit understandings between itself and its neighbors.”
No article has better expressed what his happening now in Gaza better than this one by Steve Chovanec titled, “Is Israel’s Assault on Gaza a Response to Hamas Rockets? Would Cessation of Rockets from Gaza Stop the Atrocities?” In it, Chovanec deconstructs the mainstream media fabrications surrounding the recent conflagration and the red herring that is the rocket attacks. It is demonstrated that Israel initiated the hostilities, falsely blaming Hamas for the death of three Israeli teenagers, suppressing knowledge of their deaths for several days to whip up public support for a brutal crackdown in the West Bank and subsequent and deliberate provocations in the Gaza to which Hamas initially showed restraint. It is clear then that Israel’s unprovoked war is the highest war crime that can be committed as the situation continues to escalate.
May a new people’s resistance prevail and may it prevail in a pragmatic means.
May it prevail through the means of peace, nonviolent resistance, the dispersion of information, and in the means of self-sufficiency. May it prevail in true national independence and progress outside the vulture claws of both imperialism and the shortcomings of the Arab leaders.
Sam Muhho is a student of history at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and is an advocate of anti-imperialism and anti-globalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.