Clashes in Lebanon – a symptom of the Resistance Network?

Are the clashes between the Lebanese Army and the 'Fatah al-Islam' organization a local manifestation of the Global Jihad or a sign of cooperation between the Global Jihad and the Resistance Network?

In the past few days, battles have raged in the Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, between the Lebanese army and militants of the 'Fatah al-Islam' organization, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda. The crisis appears against the backdrop of a number of arrests of 'Fatah al-Islam' militants by the Lebanese Defense Forces; Syria and the Palestinians denied any connection to the matter.

In light of these recent events, the question arises whether this is a local Lebanese manifestation of the Global Jihad or whether we are witnessing cooperation between the Global Jihad and the Resistance Network:

The Resistance Network in Lebanon - The 'Fatah al-Islam' organization is affiliated with Al Qaeda, and part of the Global Jihad. However, the latest events in Lebanon might be an example of the cooperation between the Global Jihad and the Resistance Network. The following characteristics of the Resistance Network can be recognized: (See the concept The Resistance Network)

  • A systemic phenomenon with fluidity in roles - it is possible for any actor to initiate, facilitate, host or even execute the operation, depending on circumstances, objectives and specific arenas.

  • Undermining or taking control of local governments – The Resistance Network prospers in countries where the central government is relatively weak and lacks a monopoly on force.

  • Limited warfare The Resistance Network exploits the asymmetry that it encounters vis-à-vis conventional armies. It aims not to achieve decisive military victories, but rather to use terror and limited warfare to exhaust its enemy over time

  • Promoting a radical agenda - The Resistance Network promotes a radical political agenda that threatens moderate states such as Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Israel.

  • The Resistance Network is global - it takes advantage of information and other technologies created by globalization, which result in rapid transfer of information, goods and people; as such, organizations affiliated with Global Jihad and Al Qaeda can take part in it.


The Resistance Network against Israel - A central characteristic of the Resistance Network is its actions against Israel. Seemingly the events in Lebanon are a part of a local struggle. However these events could "spill over" and influence Israel in the long run; either directly (see the example of Al-Qaeda firing Katyusha Rockets on Israel in March 2006), or indirectly through their reflection in the Palestinian System (see for example the connection between the war in Gaza and the Second Lebanon War in the Summer 2006, or the similarities between the integration of the Hizbullah into the Lebanese political system and the integration of Hamas into the Palestinian political system, see The Hizbullah Precedent). The Resistance Network's actions against Israel are characterized by the following:

  • The military logic of the Resistance Network is secondary. The Resistance Network acknowledges Israel's military supremacy. Hence, it avoids direct military confrontations with the Israeli army, where it is expected to be defeated. As an alternative, the Resistance Network conducts continuous wars of attrition, limited to terror and guerilla fighting. Thus, it precludes Israel from reaching either decisive military victory or significant political achievement.

  • The Resistance Networks carries out a two-pronged political strategy against Israel. On the one hand, it uses terror and other means aimed at impeding Israeli progress both militarily and politically. On the other hand, the Resistance Network promotes the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamist state in place of Israel. Thus, the Resistance Network is opposed to the 'end of conflict' between Israel and the Palestinians or Israel and Lebanon, and to the 'finality of claims' between the above mentioned sides.

Sources

Blanford, Times, 5/24/07, full article.

Stern, Haaretz, 5/24/07, full article. (in Hebrew)

Harel, Haaretz, 3/13/06, full article. (in Hebrew)