During my February 2019 visit to Iraq, I participated in a panel discussion, convened at the Soleimanieh American University, titled: “The New Geopolitics in the Middle East”.

John Hopkins University also discussed the question of “The New Structure of Power in the Middle East” recently.

Certainly, one of the main and influential actors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) theatre is the Islamic Resistance. This entity and its constituting players are among the main issues contributing to the existing tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Now the question is: What is the Islamic Resistance, its background, status, and strong points.

Relaying on my experience in MENA diplomacy, I will try to find the right answers to the above-raised questions.

In my view, the three main trends contributing to the formation of the Islamic Resistance are:

  • The power vacuum created by the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union;
  • The victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the counterproductive policy of the Arab States wanting to ignore Iran’s regional role, pushing the country to create and engage with non-state actors, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, the Al-Houthi in Yemen and the Hashd Al-Shabi in Iraq,… ;
  • The victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and her policy vis -a vis American and Israeli policies in the Middle East.

The focus of this paper is to explain that the core of the Islamic Resistance which was formed in the 1980s, has taken profound steps, is being empowered day by day and now has the capacity and the strength to impact regional developments.

In general, the main turning points of the Islamic Resistance can be articulated as:

  • Formation phase, during which the resistance defined its priorities and principles within its national borders.
  • Self-empowering and Stabilization by:
  • Accumulation of power and absorbing other resistance elements.
  • Overcoming challenges posed by competitors and internal opposition.
  • Affluence; at this stage, the resistance expanded entity is formed, the movement has played a crucial role in the battlefields and at the same time has created organic relations with its different elements leading to a distribution of tasks and responsibilities among themselves.
  • Strategic Shift; which is the current stage of the Resistance, in which, it shoulders two responsibilities:
  • To resist any imposed changes to the region.
  • Utilizing its capacities to shape the scene in its favor.

I am of the view that three major achievements of the resistance during the 2006 war in Lebanon, the Syrian Crisis since 2011 and the recent war in Gaza Strip 2019, has provided an opportunity for the Resistance to make a leap in its approach.

These achievements can be summarized as follows:

  • Official, public and field support of the components of the Resistance from each other.
  • Enhanced self-confidence of the members of the Resistance.
  • Expanding the battlefield geographically (operation theatre), in favor of the Resistance.
  • Matching parts of the interest of the Russian Federation and the People Republic of China with those of the Resistance.
  • Enhancing the experience of the Resistance in the field, especially fighting against terrorism.
  • Active and influential presence of different nationalities in the Islamic Resistance.

At this stage, according to the behavior of the Resistance, its movements and positions, her present status may be summarized as follows;

  • Cohesion and optimal mutual support,
  • High battlefield capability in terms of abundance, availability, and quality of weapons.
  • Having important, strategic and influential geographical points.
  • Suitable political position within their countries and national units.

In the end, the question may arise regarding elements that form the backbone of the Resistance. Some factors may be viewed as the engine of the movement:

  • Presence of vigilant leadership and charismatic elements within the Resistance.
  • The existence of the Palestinian issue as an inspiring cause.
  • Model of the Lebanese Hezbollah as a responsible resistance movement regionally.
  • A clear objective of fighting the Israeli occupation and US subversive policies in the region.
  • True Islam as a reliable model of resistance theology, especially after the failure of Wahhabi Islam.