Axis of Resistance & Defiance

“The Axis of Resistance and Defiance”
Mihwar al-Muqawama w’al Muman’aah

The axis of resistance is a powerful web of Shi’ite and Sunni political and military —non-state, semi-state, and state entities—cultivated, developed, armed, and sponsored by Iran. 

The Shi’ite part of the axis of resistance and defiance is comprised of agents and proxies, including Shi’ite militias in Iraq; Hezbollah in Lebanon; the Assad regime in Syria (Assad is Alawite; the Alawites, who are a minority in Syria, are a distant branch of the Shi’ites); Afghan and Pakistani Shi’ite militias in Syria; and the Houthis in Yemen (the Houthis are Zaidiyyah Shi’ites—the second largest group after the Twelver Shi’ites.)

The Sunni part of the axis of resistance and defiance is primarily comprised of Palestinian militant Islamist organizations Hamas, Islamic Jihad in Palestine (IJIP); the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip; and a militia called Saraya al-Muqawama al-Lubnaniya “The Lebanese Resistance Brigades” located in southern Lebanon—particularly around the coastal city, Sidon, which is Lebanon’s third-largest city, and predominantly Sunni.

The concept of the Resistance and Defiance (in Arabic: Al-Muqawama w’al Muman’aah) became popular in the Muslim world’s intellectual, political, and cultural discourse following World War II. At that time, al-Muqawama, “the Resistance,” was primarily about the struggle to end Western control in North Africa.

In its essence, al-Muqawama’s core philosophy is a blend of traditional Arab values and modern global aspirations. Advocates of al-Muqawama believe that the best way for Arabs and Muslims—as communities and as individuals—to live is by rejecting Western cultures and powers and creating a cultural and political life whose core is the noble tradition of Arab culture and Islam’s enlightened moral values.

But also inherent in al-Muqawama are modern political concepts, including emancipation, independence, and statehood.

The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the evolving Israeli-Arab conflict added another layer to the concept of al-Muqawama.

Al-Muqawama became the rallying cry calling to ‘Liberate Palestine’ and destroy the State of Israel.

The phrase, al-Muqawama, has become part and parcel of the vernacular of the modern Middle East. The successful branding of al-Muqawama has in many ways defined a generation of Muslims—both Sunni and Shi’ite— throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Leaders throughout the Muslim world have used al-Muqawama to rally the masses.

Since 1979 – the Iranian Revolution, Iran is a Shi’ite theocracy. The mullah regime understood the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the hearts and minds of the Arab world.

Most of the Palestinians—like most Muslims—are Sunnis. The Shi’ite regime knew that if it positioned itself as the defender of the Palestinians, it would earn points in the Arab Sunni world and smooth over the resentments of Arabs toward their historical rival—the Shi’ite (Persian) Iranians.

Building on the rallying cry to destroy Israel, under the banner of al-Muqawama, Iran recruits, cultivates, trains, finances, and manages a global infrastructure.

This network is called ‘Mehwar al-Muqawama w’al Muman’aah’—“The Axis of Resistance and Defiance.”

For Iran, adding the goal of ‘Liberating Palestine’ to the already present cry calling for ‘the destruction of the State of Israel’ turned the slogan of al-Muqawama into a perpetually winning card for Iran.

The Iranian regime uses the slogan of al-Muqawama and the axis of al-Muqawama w’al muman’aah to fan the flames of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And this creates a permanent and continuous loop to advance its hegemonic vision.

Here is how the mullah regime’s strategy works:

Hamas and IJIP vow to destroy Israel. And they are committed to eliminating Israel through the use of military power.

Therefore, their goals and interests overlap with Iran’s.

The mullah regime equips Hamas and IJIP with arms, military know-how, and financing, knowing it will further fuel the violence between Gaza and Israel.

The escalating violence feeds hatred toward Israel in the Arab and Muslim world.

That further injects and embeds the slogan of al-Muqawama into the hearts, minds, and public discourse of the Arab world.

And this is how Iran etches in the hearts and minds of the Arab and Muslim world that the mullah regime is leading the charge to eliminate Israel and liberate Palestine.

The concept of al-Muqawama, the axis of resistance and defiance Mihwar al-Muqawama w’al Muman’aah, and the call to ‘Liberate Palestine’ is the perfect mechanism for Iran. They work hand in glove to continue to incite hatred of Israel, position Iran as the defender of the Palestinians, the patron of the axis of resistance, and the liberator of Palestine.

This triad—that Iran both controls and capitalizes on—ensures the Israeli – Palestinian conflict never ends. And that is good for the mullah regime.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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