Wednesday, 25 June 2008

RESISTANCE IN BABIL, IRAQ

Babil police worried about calls for national resistance
Arablinks
Monday, June 23, 2008

In AlHayat this morning (Monday June 23):
Leaflets are being distributed on a daily basis in Babil urging a
fight against the Americans and the stockpiling of weapons, and some
residents awake to the sound of explosions preceded by enemy gunfire.

[A Babil police official] told AlHayat that "there are many sleeper
cells in the governate, which have perhaps taken the occasion of the
announcement of Sayyed Al-Sadr to appear and be activated, under the
umbrella of that announcement. And he added that among these cells
some are connected with the Baath party, and others are connected,
perhaps, with the Army of Heaven or other extreme Shiite movements.
(But none of the leaflets are signed, and AlQuds alArabi, in a story
this morning relating the same facts, says: "This [no claim of
responsibility] has led many experts to think that this coincides
with the call by Al-Sadr for the formation of special groups to
fight the Americans").

The Babil police official said those caught distributing the
leaflets are referred to the courts under the relevant laws,
stressing: "Under no conditions should we minimize these
developments, which could have such tragic ends". The reporter
continues:

AlHayat has obtained a copy of a leaflet which begins: "National
resistance is the only option for Iraqis for expelling the
occupation and its agents". The leaflet urges citizens to obtain
sufficient materials and to stockpile them "for when the zero hour
comes", and invited them to follow the internet and what is
broadcast there respecting "the armed Iraqi revolution", asking all
who become aware of these directives to distribute them among the
citizenry.

The leaflet said fighting in the ranks of the armed national
resistance is a sacred national obligation. This leaflet is not the
first of its kind in Hilla and environs. There were earlier leaflets
in the district of Abu Gharaq calling for fighting the Americans,
and another in the district of Wardiya Hajam (?) distributed by
the "high Islamic council" which they described as a terrorist
organization.

The other major Iraq story this morning in AlHayat is headed: "The
founder of the Amariya [Baghdad] Awakening says the Americans have
cut him loose and the [Iraqi] government is pursuing him." The
person in question, Saad Aaribi, alias Abu Al-Abd, is said to have
been a former Islamic Army in Iraq fighter, who was instrumental in
facilitating the spread of the Awakenings concept from Anbar to
Baghdad. The implication in this story is he is now

being "prosecuted" for pre-awakening resistance activities, but that
isn't spelled out. He is quoted to the effect his home has been
broken into, he doesn't know where his family is, and regrettably
this shows there was some truth in what AlQaeda said at the time,
namely that the he and other Awakening people would be liquidated
once they had served their purpose. Another Baghdad awakening
official said the same thing could well happen to him. A government
person is quoted to the effect this is nothing more than impartial
application of the laws.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

IRAQI BAATH RESISTANCE LEADER

Izzat al-Douri speaks

Nicola Nasser, Al-Ahram Weekly

The resistance speaks Nicola Nasser reviews the recent words of the
highest commander of the Iraqi resistance, confident in the defeat of
the US occupation

June 20, 2008

'The resistance depended on the rules and principles of people's wars
and guerrilla war, after developing its fighting methods and tactics,
and was innovative in its logistic and special operations. More
important, it adapted the Iraqi environment to serve the people's
war.

Through practice, it has developed the rules [of people's war] very
much, 'to move quickly' so as to ensure 'all the land is ours and all
the time is ours,' and to be up to date to what is new from the enemy
in order to confront it with innovative new [tactics] of our own'

Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, deputy of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's late
president executed by the US occupation in Iraq in 2006, has surfaced
despite a $10 million bounty on his head. In a lengthy interview
published last month with Abdel-Azim Manaf, editor-in-chief of the
Egyptian newspaper Al-Mawqif Al-Arabi, Al-Douri laid out the strategy
and tactics of the Iraqi resistance led by the former ruling Baath
Party. Al-Douri's reappearance and the patriotic Iraqi resistance
constitute a direct challenge to the US-led occupation.

Manaf told the Associated Press (AP) that he interviewed Al-Douri "on
the battlefield". The "dialogue" was conducted "with a commander in
his lion's den and among his soldiers", and on the "combat field
while weapons were talking", Manaf said in his introduction. Al-Douri
spoke in his capacity as "the supreme commander of the Jihad and
Liberation Front, the pan-Arab secretary-general of the Baath Arab
Socialist Party and secretary of the Iraq region," the Egyptian
editor added.

The AP reported that, "Al-Douri is believed to play an important role
in financing" the resistance, "though little is known about how
directly he leads fighters on the ground". The United States as
occupying power, as well as Iran and the Iranian- allied regime
Washington installed in Baghdad after occupation, have been keen to
downplay the role played by Al-Douri and the Baath Party in the
national resistance, instead highlighting the marginal role played by
Al-Qaeda, which was brought into Iraq thanks to the United States.

If history illuminates current events, what Al-Douri refers to as a
"blackout" media policy is echoed in the precedent of US-British
planning for the coup that brought down Iranian leader Mohamed
Musaddiq's government in August 1953 and which installed the shah in
power.

From Mark Curtis's Web of Deceit : "One key aspect of the plot was to
portray the demonstrating mobs [against Musaddiq, which was 'a
mercenary mob. It had no ideology. The mob was paid for by American
dollars'] as supporters of the Iranian Communist Party -- Tudeh... As
in every other British and US military intervention until the
collapse of the USSR, the 'communist threat' scenario was deployed as
the official story... The real threat of nationalism [and dirtier
aims like protecting oil profits] were downplayed or removed from the
picture presented to the public."

In Iraq, the US propaganda machine has replaced the "communist
threat" with that of Al-Qaeda.

Manaf, in his introduction, noted how much Al-Douri was a dedicated
religious man, very well versed in Islamic theology and Arab history,
and familiar with Sufism. His Arab and Islamic culture was reflected
extensively in his answers, which were full of quotations from the
Holy Quran and the sayings of historic Arab and Muslim leaders, a
fact that makes the translation of his interview into English an
impossible mission at times.

Al-Douri identified the Baath Party as a "revolutionary organisation,
a brave and innovative leadership, an armed revolutionary jihadist
organisation; it represents a fearless army and glorious armed
forces."

Denying media reports about his ill health (Al-Douri was born 1 July
1942), the resistance commander confirmed, "I am in good health and
at the height of the jihad spirit," adding that he is "garrisoned for
God and for His Sake" until "either victory or martyrdom".

THREE CHAPTERS OF RESISTANCE: "Our resistance and battle with the
[US] occupier is not new," Al-Douri said. "It started during the
early years of the Baath Party's formation to expanded and deepen
after the glorious Tammuz [July] revolution of 1968... Prior to 2003,
the imperialist enemy used local forces from Iraq, and the [Arab]
nation sometimes; other times it used regional powers to fight us on
its behalf. When its local and regional instruments failed to stop
the pan-Arab renaissance march of Iraq, the US enemy directly entered
the field of struggle and combat, amassed great powers, and led the
invasion and occupation by itself."

Al-Douri identified three stages of the Iraqi resistance to the
US-led invasion and occupation. "The first chapter was the official
showdown, when the regular formations of the brave armed forces stood
up to the US invasion; then the launch of the popular confrontation
against the invasion, which intertwined with this chapter. The
popular, official and military integration occurred immediately and
the people's war of liberation started during the first week of the
invasion, as was planned by the leadership and according to its
strategy."

During this second chapter of the resistance, formations from the
civil organisations of the party, the Fedayeen Saddam and volunteers,
took part in carrying out "martyrdom operations". The "glorious women
of Iraq participated in the first formations of the popular
resistance". Some of those women carried out martyrdom operations,
"the first of which was the heroic operation carried out by two women
in Baghdad on the third day of the occupation; another operation was
carried out by a glorious Iraqi woman in Al-Nassiriyah south of
Iraq."

The third chapter of the Iraqi resistance "is sustaining the
resistance and continuing the battle until the liberation of Iraq".

Al-Douri said that during the occupation more than 1.3 million Iraqis
fell as martyrs, and "so far the number of Al-Baath martyrs in this
battle amounts to 120,000." He sees "this historic decisive
showdown", which he described as "the holy battle", as the "fate and
the responsibility of Al-Baath as much as it is the responsibility of
the great people of Iraq and its jihadist national, pan- Arab and
Islamic powers, and the free people of our [Arab] nation and humanity
as a whole," all who were "targeted by the invasion".

DEFEATED OCCUPATION: Al-Douri is confident of victory and reiterated
that the US-led occupation is already defeated and "in despair is
looking for an exit". The Iraqi resistance "has destroyed the
alliance of evil, the parties of which are escaping one after
another. Only [US President George W] Bush remains blundering in his
debacle," he said.

Replying to questions about the truth of media reports that there
were "contacts between you and the Americans", whether Al-Douri made
any "direct or indirect contact with official US authorities",
whether Al-Douri is "willing to negotiate with the Americans", and if
the answer is affirmative what the "negotiating terms" would be;
"would you lead the negotiations personally" or authorise others to
negotiate; would such negotiations be bilateral (between the Baath
Party and the US) or in the name of the "resistance front", and
whether Al-Douri was sure that the yield of negotiations would
correspond to the real weight of the resistance on the ground,
Al-Douri responded, "As the saying goes, you cannot reach at the
negotiating table farther than your artillery can reach."

Al-Douri added: "Friends and foes are very well aware of our strategy
[programme of resistance and liberation], which was made public via
the media. The Baath Party doesn't negotiate with anybody at all if
they don't recognise this strategy beforehand, and will negotiate
neither with America nor with intermediaries or friends except on
this basis. If the enemy recognises this strategy we will sit with
them directly, negotiate with them, and help them exit our country
without losing face and will facilitate their exit. Prior to this
recognition, there are no negotiations with the occupying enemy."

"The Baath Party will meet with whoever it decides to meet, except
with the Zionist entity [Israel] and the government of collaborators
in the Green Zone... We will be happy when the enemy is convinced of
its defeat, accepts our strategy, sits with us to negotiate a
programme for its implementation," he added. Al-Douri detailed this
strategy, indicating, "any negotiations with the invaders without it
represents a desertion and treason and is refused by all national,
pan-Arab and Islamic factions of the resistance."

According to the strategy and programme of the Iraqi resistance, the
following is demanded of the US-led occupation:

- Official and pronounced recognition of the armed and unarmed
national resistance -- including all its factions and (political)
parties -- as the sole legitimate representative of the people of
Iraq.

- An official declaration of unconditional withdrawal from Iraq by
the US leadership.

- Declaring null and void all the political and legislative
institutions, as well as all the laws and legislation issued by them,
since the onset of occupation, with the de-Baathification law at the
forefront, and compensating all who were adversely affected by them.

- A stop to raids, prosecutions, arrests, killings and displacement.

- Release of all prisoners of war (POWs) and detainees without
exception, and compensating all for their physical and psychological
damage.

- Reinstating the army and the national security forces in accordance
with pre-occupation laws and regulations, and compensating all who
were adversely affected by dissolving them.

- A pledge to compensate Iraq for all material and moral losses
incurred because of the invasion and occupation.

GUERRILLA WAR, PEOPLE'S WAR: Al-Douri detailed his concept of "the
people's war of liberation and guerrilla war" and advised resistance
fighters to "adhere to the principles and rules" of this kind of war,
listing the 15 "most effective" tactics to hurt the enemy. First, he
said, "appear quickly behind, in front and on the sides of the enemy
as dictated by the nature of the place, time, climate of the
operation, and the type and nature of the target, then hit quickly
and disappear quickly before the enemy has time to react."

Second, "In planning, implementing and selecting the target, take
care to secure a kill in the enemy."

Third, "Your weapon is your life, so take care to keep it always
ready and away from the eyes of the enemy and its spies."

Fourth, "Protect the security of information... as a red line or a
holy matter" and trust nobody "because trust is endless in society".

Fifth, "The enemy is blind without spies, so exert all efforts to
disclose and liquidate them."

Sixth, "Don't be carried away by your successive victories" or drawn
to "showing off", or lose your self-control by praising your heroic
acts, boasting of your success, "noting that the enemy is hunting you
at all times, so keep discreet, disguised and vigilant".

Seventh, "Inflict the biggest losses in the ranks of the enemy and
decrease to the minimum your own losses."

Eighth, "Make your hands heavy on the enemy during their rest hours"
and make "no place safe" for them and give them "no time to recover".

Ninth, "the supply lines are the enemy's lifeline," so "concentrate
on and cut" these lines.

Tenth, "concentrate on the enemy's bases, camps and headquarters day
and night" to "break its morale".

Eleventh, "take your time to deal with extreme accuracy with traitors
and spies to avoid hurting innocents."

Twelfth, "expand the circle of monitoring, following up and hunting
the enemy... so it doesn't surprise us."

Thirteenth, "sustain your traditional ties with your relatives,
neighbours, neighbourhood and friends and make these ties deeper and
more intimate, but don't make any of them feel you have a mission
they don't understand" and "help them to overcome the details of
daily life hardships, which are so many nowadays" so they will
protect you when in trouble; they are "your safe armour and honest
cover".

Fourteenth, "let belief in God... be our strong starting point."

Fifteenth, "fight for the sake of God the enemies of God... until the
tyrant... invaders are defeated, until the clear-cut victory, the
liberation of the homeland, and raising the flag of 'There Is No God
but The God' and bringing back the 'Flag of God Is the Greatest' to
fly in Iraq skies".

[end]

Friday, 20 June 2008

ON THE ISRAELI-HAMAS TRUCE

Hamas’s wise step

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank - 20/06/2008

The Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement between Israel
and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is, ostensibly
at least, a wise, dignified and expedient step for several
reasons.

To begin with, the ceasefire deal would suspend the daily
acts of murder and terror carried out by the Israeli
occupation forces against the nearly totally unprotected
people of the Gaza Strip.

For years, the Gestapo-like Israeli army used excessive
force, including tanks, warplanes, heavy artillery and
other lethal machines of death to wreak death, havoc and
terror on the civilian population of Gaza, resulting in the
murder and maiming of thousands of innocent people.

Thus, the latest arrangement would give the thoroughly
tormented Gazans a certain respite, however uncertain, from
Israeli terror and criminality.

Moreover, the arrangement, which is due to go into effect
Thursday morning, is also supposed to lead to the gradual
lifting of the 18-month-old harsh and callous blockade
Israel has been imposing on 1.5 million Palestinians of the
Gaza Strip.

This alone should be viewed as a worthy achievement if only
because Gaza was being decimated by a genocidal siege
unprecedented since the Nazi blockade of Ghetto Warsaw in
1943.

It is therefore hoped that the gradual dissipation of the
nefarious blockade, which really reflects the brutal
ugliness of the Zionist mentality, will allow Gaza to
revive and rehabilitate itself and bring a smile back on
the faces of its tormented children and savaged men and
women.

Needless to say, the decision by Hamas to accept the
ceasefire is a strong proof that Hamas is not a nihilistic
organization, e.g. like al Qaeda, as Israeli and Zionist
hasbara has been trying to portray the Palestinian-Islamic
movement.

In fact, Hamas had always called for a cessation of
violence in Gaza whereby both sides would refrain from
targeting innocent civilians. However, it was always
Israel, not Hamas, that rejected such calls by keeping up
murderous attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Israel, especially when addressing western audiences,
repeatedly but mendaciously claimed that its army didn’t
deliberately target innocent Palestinians civilians.

However, that fact that hundreds of Palestinian children
and other civilians continued to be killed and maimed
throughout the Gaza Strip, and else where, eviscerated the
Israeli pretensions of innocence of any veracity and
credibility. In the final analysis, Israel was not only a
brutal murderer, but a big a liar as well.

After all, killing knowingly is killing deliberately, and
when the number of innocent victims is so high, even intent
becomes irrelevant.

There is no doubt that Hamas’s heroic steadfastness,
resilience and patience are being vindicated.

Thus, the enduring vigor of Hamas and the people of Gaza,
who defied death and clang to life, should serve as a
lesson for the Palestinian people that steadfastness in the
face of brute power eventually pays off.

This is also a lesson for the Fatah-dominated Palestinian
Authority (PA) that the stubbornness of justice can
eventually triumph over the arrogance of oppression.

Winners and losers

There is no doubt that the forces of peace and reason on
all sides have won against the forces of bellicosity,
hatred and terror, especially in Washington and Tel Aviv
and some other regional capitals as well.

The people of Gaza, the victims of American-Israeli
criminality, are undoubtedly the biggest winners of this
deal. At least, they can breathe again, following 18
nightmarish months of unimagined brutality and
ruthlessness.

In addition to the gung-ho neocons in Washington and
war-drummers in Tel Aviv who wanted to exterminate Hamas,
not a small amount of consternation is also likely to be
permeating now in Ramallah where a Zionized group within
Fatah had been hoping to see the Israeli army overrun Gaza,
murder hundreds, and then hand Gaza over to the Fatah
leadership on a silver platter.

On this occasion, one feels prompted to call on Fatah to
eject these traitors from their midst for the sake of Fatah
itself and for the sake of Palestine.

Vigilance

Non the less, it would be naïve, even stupid, to be carried
away or give Israel the benefit of the doubt by thinking
that the Zionist regime is going to abide by the agreement
and terminate its murderous aggressions on our people.

Israel, after all, has repeatedly proven itself to be a
venomous snake which must never be trusted.

Hence, Palestinians, especially Hamas, ought to be
constantly vigilant and ready to repulse any Israeli
aggression.

However, Hamas should make meticulous efforts to preserve
the ceasefire since doing so is first and foremost a
supreme and paramount Palestinian interest.

Hamas should also make it abundantly clear to the military
wings of other Palestinian factions that the security and
safety of the people of Gaza must not be subject to the
whims of this or that faction.

In fact, preserving the ceasefire would send a positive
message to the international community that Hamas is
responsible organization with which “business can be made.”

Moreover, a careful abidance by the agreement on Hamas’s
part would show good- will toward Egypt whose support and
backing is essential for the survival of the Gaza Strip, at
least at this juncture of the Palestinian struggle for
freedom and liberation from Zionism.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

WHAT AN ISRAELI 'TRUCE' LOOKS LIKE

Israeli air strikes kill five Palestinians and wound five others in Gaza

Palestinian Information Center


June 17, 2008

KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)-- Five Palestinians were killed, four of them
reportedly affiliated with the Army of Islam, and five others were
wounded following two Israeli aerial attacks carried out Tuesday
afternoon on two cars in southern and central Gaza Strip.

Palestinian eyewitnesses in Khan Younis city where the first strike
took place told the PIC reporter that an Israeli military drone fired
one air-to-ground missile on a car traveling at the crossroads of
Al-Qarara, north of the city, which resulted in the death of four
Palestinians in the car and one passerby and the injury of three
others.

Medical sources also told the PIC reporter that the victims were not
yet identified because their bodies were charred and mutilated beyond
recognition.

The second air strike targeted a car in the Berka area in Deir
Al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, which led to the injury of two
Palestinians, also thought to be affiliated with the Army of Islam.
The Israeli warplane chased the two wounded Palestinian citizens who
abandoned the car after the strike and fired another missile at them.

Palestinian local sources reported that the two citizens survived but
were seriously wounded and transferred to the Aqsa Martyrs hospital
in Deir Al-Balah.

In light of this brutal aggression, the Hamas Movement underlined
Tuesday that the Israeli occupation uses two faces before the world,
one wants a truce to win the public opinion and the other is thirsty
for blood-shedding and destruction.

In an exclusive statement to the PIC, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas
spokesman, said that Israel aims by the assassination of five
Palestinian citizens in Gaza to overthrow the Movement, destroy its
government and to reply with its usual well-known bloody message to
the truce efforts.

Barhoum called on Egypt in its capacity as the truce mediator to
respond to the Israeli crimes committed today through moving
immediately to open the Rafah border crossing for the transfer of the
wounded and to pressure the Israeli occupation to stop its ongoing
criminal operations in Gaza.

SAMINA MALIK WINS APPEAL

'Lyrical terrorist' wins appeal

By Jan Colley,
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
The Independent

The woman who called herself the "lyrical terrorist" won
her appeal today against conviction for collecting
information of a kind likely to be useful to a person
committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Former Heathrow shop assistant Samina Malik, 24, who was
given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months at
the Old Bailey last December, was the first women convicted
under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Today, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, sitting in
the Court of Appeal with Mr Justice Goldring and Mr Justice
Plender, quashed the conviction after the Crown conceded
that it was unsafe.

He said: "We consider that there is a very real danger that
the jury became confused and that the prosecution have
rightly conceded that this conviction is unsafe."

Afterwards, the Crown Prosecution Service said it has
decided not to seek a retrial in the case.

Malik, who was not in court, adopted her nickname because
of the extremist lyrics which she wrote on till receipts at
work.

Sue Hemming, head of the CPS's counter terrorism division,
said: "Since Ms Malik's conviction, the law has been
clarified by the Court of Appeal.

"The result is that some of the 21 documents we relied on
in Ms Malik's trial would no longer be held capable of
giving practical assistance to terrorists.

"However, other documents in her possession, including the
al Qaida Manual, the Terrorist's Handbook, the Mujahideen
Poisons Handbook and several military manuals, clearly
retain that potential. We therefore have no doubt that it
was right to bring this prosecution.

"Nevertheless, taking into account the time Ms Malik spent
on remand before her first trial, and the likely
non-custodial sentence she would receive upon conviction in
a retrial, we have decided not to seek a retrial on those
manuals.

"Ms Malik was not prosecuted for her poetry. She was
prosecuted for possessing documents that could provide
practical assistance to terrorists."

Giving judgment today, Lord Phillips said that in February
this year, the Court of Appeal gave detailed consideration
to Section 58 of the Act and decided that an offence would
be committed only if the document or record concerned was
of a kind likely to provide practical assistance to a
person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Propagandist or theological material did not fall within
the Section.

The problem in Malik's case was that it went to the jury on
the basis that the 14 documents - out of the 21 - which did
not fall within Section 58 were also capable of founding a
conviction.

"The jury was required to consider not only documents which
were capable of being of practical utility for a person
committing or preparing an act of terrorism, but a large
number of documents that were not.

"We consider that there was scope for the jury to have
become confused."

Had the test of practical utility been appreciated, the
prosecution would no doubt have founded their case on the
small quantity of documents satisfying that test.

As it was, he added, the trial judge, who did not have the
benefit of the appeal court's judgment, simply left it to
the jury to decide in the case of each document whether it
was likely to be useful to a terrorist.

At her trial, Malik was acquitted of the more serious
charge, under Section 57 of the Act, of possessing an
article for terrorist purposes.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

SOUTH AFRICAN PROGRESSIVES DENOUNCE ISRAELI APARTHEID

Powerful statement from South Africa against Zionist Apartheid

We fought apartheid; we see no reason to
celebrate it in Israel now!


17 May 2008

We, South Africans who faced the might of unjust and brutal apartheid machinery in South Africa and fought against it with all our strength, with the objective to live in a just, democratic society, refuse today to celebrate the existence of an Apartheid state in the Middle East. While Israel and its apologists around the world will, with pomp and ceremony, loudly proclaim the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel this month, we who have lived with and struggled against oppression and colonialism will, instead, remember 6 decades of catastrophe for the Palestinian people. 60 years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland, suffering persecution, massacres, and torture. They and their descendants remain refugees. This is no reason to celebrate.

When we think of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, we also remember the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.

When we think of South Africa’s Bantustan policy, we remember the bantustanisation of Palestine by the Israelis.

When we think of our heroes who languished on Robben Island and elsewhere, we remember the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

When we think of the massive land theft perpetrated against the people of South Africa, we remember that the theft of Palestinian land continues with the building of illegal Israeli settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

When we think of the Group Areas Act and other such apartheid legislation, we remember that 93% of the land in Israel is reserved for Jewish use only.

When we think of Black people being systematically dispossessed in South Africa, we remember that Israel uses ethnic and racial dispossession to strike at the heart of Palestinian life.

When we think of how the SADF troops persecuted our people in the townships, we remember that attacks from tanks, fighter jets and helicopter gunships are the daily experience of Palestinians in the Occupied Territory.

When we think of the SADF attacks against our neighbouring states, we remember that Israel deliberately destabilises the Middle East region and threatens international peace and security, including with its 100s of nuclear warheads.

We who have fought against Apartheid and vowed not to allow it to happen again can not allow Israel to continue perpetrating apartheid, colonialism and occupation against the indigenous people of Palestine.

We dare not allow Israel to continue violating international law with impunity.

We will not stand by while Israel continues to starve and bomb the people of Gaza.

We who fought all our lives for South Africa to be a state for all its people demand that millions of Palestinian refugees must be accorded the right to return to the homes from where they were expelled.

Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians!

- Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence / End Occupation Campaign
- Blade Nzimande, General Secretary, South African Communist Party
- Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions
- Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela Foundation
- Eddie Makue, General Secretary, South African Council of Churches
- Makoma Lekalakala, Social Movements Indaba
- Dale McKinley, Anti-Privatisation Forum
- Lybon Mabasa, President, Socialist Party of Azania
- Costa Gazi, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
- Jeremy Cronin, South African Communist Party
- Sydney Mufamadi, Minister of Provincial and Local Government
- Mosioua Terror Lekota, Minister of Safety and Security
- Mosibudi Mangena, President, Azanian Peoples Organisation / Minister of Science and Technology
- Alec Erwin, Minister of Public Enterprises
- Essop Pahad, Minister in the Presidency
- Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Education
- Roy Padayache, Deputy Minister of Communications
- Derek Hanekom, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology
- Rob Davies, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry
- Lorretta Jacobus, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services
- Sam Ramsamy, International Olympic Committee
- Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights
- Pregs Govender, Feminist Activist and Author: Love and Courage, A Story of Insubordination
- Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
- Frene Ginwala, African National Congress
- Salim Vally, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Na’eem Jeenah, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Brian Ashley, Amandla Publications
- Mercia Andrews, Palestine Solidarity Group
- Andile Mngxitama, land rights activist
- Farid Esack, Professor of Contemporary Islam, Harvard University
- Elinor Sisulu, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Andre Zaaiman
- Virginia Setshedi, Coalition Against Water Privatisation
- Max Ozinsky, Not in my Name
- Revd Basil Manning, Minister, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
- Firoz Osman, Media Review Network
- Zapiro, cartoonist
- Mphutlane wa Bofelo, General Secretary, Muslim Youth Movement
- Steven Friedman, academic
- Ighsaan Hendricks, President, Muslim Judicial Council
- Iqbal Jassat, Media Review Network
- Stiaan van der Merwe, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Naaziem Adam, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Asha Moodley, Board member of Agenda feminist journal
- Suraya Bibi Khan, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Nazir Osman, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Allan Horwitz, Jewish Voices
- Jackie Dugard, legal and human rights activist
- Professor Alan and Beata Lipman
- Caroline O’Reilly, researcher
- Jane Lipman
- Shereen Mills, Human rights lawyer, Centre for Applied Legal Studies
- Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand
- Bobby Peek, Groundworks
- Arnold Tsunga, Chair, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Mcebisi Skwatsha, Provincial Secretary, ANC Western Cape - Owen Manda, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg - Claire Cerruti, Keep Left

NB: Organisational affiliations above are for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect organisational endorsement

Organisational endorsements:

- African National Congress
- Al Quds Foundation
- Anti-Privatisation Forum and its 28 affiliates
- Azanian Peoples Organisation
- Congress of South African Trade Unions
- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- End Occupation Campaign
- Groundworks
- Media Review Network
- Muslim Judicial Council
- Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa
- Not In My Name
- Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Palestine Solidarity Group
- Social Movements Indaba
- Socialist Party of Azania
- South African Communist Party
- South African Council of Churches

source: palestinemonitor.org

Saturday, 7 June 2008

FIVE YEARS ON, SADDAM'S SUCCESSOR RESURFACES

Addouri Outlines Anti-U.S. Strategy, Tactics of Resistance

By Nicola Nasser* Jun 5, 2008

Axis of Logic

For the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in April 2003,
the deputy of Saddam Hussein, the late President of Iraq, Izzat
Ibrahim Addouri has resurfaced, despite a $10 million U.S. bounty on
his head, in a lengthy interview with Abdel-Azim Manaf, the
editor-in-chief of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Mawqif Al-Arabi, not a
mainstream, on May 26 to lay out the strategy and tactics of the
Iraqi resistance led by the former ruling party, Al-Baath. Addouri's
resurface and the resistance strategy he has laid out represent a
direct challenge to the U.S. occupying power.

Manaf told The Associated Press (AP) he interviewed addouri "on the
battlefield." The "dialogue" was conducted "with a commander in his
lion's den and among his soldiers," in the "war zone" and on the
"combat field while weapons were talking," Manaf said in his
introduction. Addouri spoke in his capacity as "the Supreme Commander
of the Jihad and Liberation Front, the Pan-Arab Secretary General of
the Al-Baath Arab Socialist Party and the Secretary of Iraq Region,"
the Egyptian editor added.

The AP said "Addouri is believed to play an important role in
financing" the resistance, "though little is known about how directly
he leads fighters on the ground." However the U.S. occupying power,
as well as Iran and the Iranian-allied regime Washington brought
about in Baghdad after the occupation, have been keen to downplay the
role played by Addouri and his party in the national resistance and
instead highlight the marginal role played by Al-Qaeda, which was
brought into Iraq for the first time ever thanks to U.S., and other
Islamists.

If history could illuminate current events, Addouri's reference to
this "blackout" media policy is vindicated by the precedent of the
U.S. – British planning for the coup that brought down the Iranian
leader Mohamed Musaddiq's government in August 1953, which installed
the Shah in power.

"One key aspect of the plot was to portray the demonstrating mobs
(against Musaddiq, which was 'a mercenary mob. It had no ideology.
The mob was paid for by American dollars.') as supporters of the
Iranian Communist Party - Tudeh … As in every other British and US
military intervention until the collapse of the USSR, the `communist
threat' scenario was deployed as the Official Story … The real threat
of nationalism (and dirtier aims like protecting oil profits) were
downplayed or removed from the picture presented to the public."
[Mark Curtis, "Web of Deceit," Vintage, 2003]

In Iraq, the U.S. propaganda machine has only replaced the "communist
threat" by that of Al-Qaeda.

Manaf, in his introduction, noted how much Addouri was a dedicated
religious man, very well versed in Islamic theology and Arab history,
and familiar with Sufism. His Arab and Islamic culture was reflected
extensively in his answers, which were full of quotations from the
Holy Quarn and the sayings of historic Arab and Muslim leaders, a
fact that makes the translation of his interview into English an
impossible mission sometimes.

Addouri identified Al-Baath as a "revolutionary organization, a brave
and innovative leadership, an armed revolutionary Jihadist
organization; it represents a fearless army and glorious armed
forces."

Denying media reports about his ill health (born July 1, 1942),
Addouri confirmed that, "I am in good health and at the height of the
Jihad spirit," adding that, "today, I believe I am immigrating to God
and His Prophet," and "left the world, myself and its fortunes behind
my back" to be totally dedicated to and "garrisoned for God and for
His Sake" until "either victory or martyrdom."

Three Chapters of Resistance

"Our resistance and battle with the (U.S.) occupier is not new,"
Addouri said. "It started during the early years of Al-Baath
formation to expand and deepen after the glorious Tammuz (July)
revolution of 1968 … Prior to 2003, the imperialist enemy used local
forces from Iraq, and the (Arab) nation sometimes; other times it
used regional powers to fight us on its behalf. When its local and
regional instruments failed to stop the Pan-Arab renaissance march of
Iraq, the U.S. enemy directly entered the field of struggle and
combat, amassed great powers, and led the invasion and occupation by
itself."

He identified three stages of the Iraqi resistance to the U.S.-led
invasion and occupation.

"The first chapter was the official showdown, when the regular
formations of the brave armed forces stood up to the U.S. invasion;
then the launch of the popular confrontation against the invasion,
which inter-wined with this chapter. The popular, official and
military integration occurred immediately and the people's war of
liberation started during the first week of the invasion, as was
planned by the leadership and according to its strategy."

During this second chapter of the resistance formations from the
civil organizations of the party, Fedayeen Saddam and volunteers took
part in carrying our "martyrdom operations." The "glorious women of
Iraq participated in the first formations of the popular resistance."
Some of those women carried out "martyrdom operations, the first of
which was the heroic operation carried out by two women in Baghdad on
the third day of the occupation; another operation was carried out by
a glorious Iraqi woman in Al-Nassiriyah south of Iraq."

The "third chapter is sustaining the resistance and continuing the
battle until the liberation of Iraq." Addouri said that during the
occupation more than one million and three hundred thousand Iraqis
fell martyrs, and "so far the number of Al-Baath martyrs in this
battle amounts to one hundred and twenty thousand."

He sees "this historic decisive showdown," which he described as "the
holy battle," as the "fate and the responsibility of Al-Baath as much
as it is the responsibility of the great people of Iraq and its
Jihadist national, Pan-Arab and Islamic powers, and the free people
of our (Arab) nation and humanity as a whole," all who were "targeted
by the invasion."

Ready to Negotiate U.S. Withdrawal

Addouri sounded definitely confident of victory and reiterated that
the U.S.-led occupation has already been defeated, and "in despair is
looking for an exit." The resistance "has destroyed the alliance of
evil, the parties of which are escaping one after another. Only (U.S.
President George W.) Bush remains blundering in his debacle," he
said.

Replying to questions about the truth in media reports that there
were "contacts between you and the Americans," whether he made any
"direct or indirect contact with official U.S. authorities," whether
"you are willing to negotiate with the Americans" and if the answer
was positive "what are your negotiating terms," "would you lead the
negotiations personally" or would authorize others to negotiate,
would such negotiations be bilateral (between Al-Baath and the U.S.)
or in the name of the resistance "front," and whether he was sure
that the yield of the negotiations would correspond to the real
weight of the resistance on the ground, "as the saying goes, you
cannot reach at the negotiating table farther than your artillery can
reach," Addouri said:

"Friends and foes" are very well aware of our strategy (below), which
was made public by the media; "Al-Baath doesn't negotiate with
anybody at all if they don't recognize this strategy beforehand, and
will negotiate neither with America nor with intermediaries or
friends except on this basis. If the enemy recognized this strategy
we will sit with them directly, negotiate with them, and help them
exit our country without loosing face and will facilitate their exit.
Prior to this recognition, there are no negotiations with the
occupying enemy."

"Al-Baath will meet with whoever it decides to meet, except with the
Zionist entity (Israel) and the government of collaborators in the
Green Zone … We will be happy when the enemy is convinced of its
defeat, accepts our strategy, sits with us to negotiate a program for
its implementation," he added.

Addouri detailed his strategy, indicating that "any negotiations with
the invaders without it represents a desertion and treason, and is
refused by all national, Pan-Arab and Islamic factions of the
resistance."

An official pronounced recognition of the armed and unarmed national
resistance, including all its factions and (political) parties, as
the sole legitimate representative of the people of Iraq.

An official declaration of unconditional withdrawal from Iraq by the
U.S. leadership.

Declaring null and void all the political and legislative
institutions, as well as all the laws and legislations issued by
them, since the occupation, with the deBaathization law in the
forefront, and compensating all who were adversely affected by them.

A stop to raids, prosecutions, arrests, killings and displacement.

Release of all prisoners of war (POWs), prisoners and detainees
without exception and compensating all for their physical and
psychological damage.

Reinstating the army and the national security forces in service in
accordance with their pre-occupation laws and regulations, and
compensating all who were adversely affected by dissolving them.

A pledge to compensate Iraq for all the material and moral losses it
incurred because of the occupation. Iraqi Tactics of Guerrilla War

Addouri detailed his concept of "the people's war of liberation and
the guerilla war," advised the resistance fighters to "adhere to the
principles and rules" of this kind of war and listed fifteen "most
effective" tactics to hurt the enemy.

First, he said, "appear quickly behind, in front and on the sides of
the enemy as dictated by the nature of the place, time, climate of
the operation, and the type and nature of the target, then hit
quickly and disappear quickly before the enemy could have time to
react."

Second, "In planning, implementing and selecting of the target take
care to hit a kill in the enemy," he added.

Third, "your weapon is your life, so take care to keep it always
ready and away from the eyes of the enemy and its spies."

Four, "protect the security of information … as a red line or a holy
matter" and trust nobody "because trust is endless in society."

Five, "the enemy is blind without spies, so exert all efforts to
disclose and liquidate them."

Six, "don't be taken away by your successive victories" or attracted
by "showing off" or loose your self-control by praise of your heroic
acts, to be a big mouth boasting of your success, "noting that the
enemy is hunting you at all times, so keep discreet, disguised and
vigilant."

Seven, "inflict the biggest losses in the ranks of the enemy and
decrease to the minimum your own losses."

Eight "make your hands heavy at the enemy during their rest hours"
and make "no place safe" for them and give them no time to recover."

Nine, "the supply lines are the enemy's lifeline," so "concentrate on
and cut" these lines.

Ten, "concentrate on the enemy's bases, camps and headquarters day
and night" to "break its morale."

Eleven, "take your time to deal with high extreme accuracy with the
traitors and spies to avoid hurting innocents."

Twelve, "expand the circle of monitoring, following up and hunting
the enemy … so it doesn't surprise us."

Thirteen, "sustain your traditional ties with your relatives,
neighbors, neighborhood and friends and make these ties deeper and
more intimate, but don't make any of them feel you have a mission
they don't understand" and "help them to overcome the details of
daily life hardships, which are so many nowadays" so they will
protect you when in trouble and don't hand you over to the enemy;
they are "your safe armor and honest cover."

Fourteen, "let belief in God … be our strong starting point."

Fifteen, "fight for the sake of God the enemies of God … until the
tyrant … invaders are defeated, until the clear-cut victory, the
liberation of the homeland, and raising the flag of `There Is No God
but The God' and bringing back the `Flag of God Is the Greatest' to
fly in Iraq skies," Addouri confirmed. Other Excerpts:

Manaf: It is noted that the Iraqi resistance started immediately
after the desecration of the Iraq land by the U.S. forces. How could
it (the resistance) have started and grown so quickly?

Addouri: "Al-Baath Arab Socialist Party is the party of Iraq and the
Arab nation … It did not lay arms or stop fighting even for an hour
during day and night and its Jihadist march did not stop any time …
It wasn't surprised by what happened, but increased … its
determination not to be exhausted to relentlessly fight the invaders,
their stooges and spies whatever the sacrifices are and regardless of
how long it would take until full victory and the liberation of
Iraq."

Role of Army Rank and File

Manaf: What role the officers and ranks of the Iraqi armed forces
play in resistance?

Addouri: Today they play "a heroic and decisive role in the march of
the resistance. In addition to their Jihadist fighting role through
their own formations … under the flag of the General Command of the
Armed Forces, they are, in accordance with the guidance of the party'
(Al-Baath) leadership and the General Command of the Armed Forces,
dispersed into other Jihad factions where they act as field
commanders, planners, technicians, makers and developers of most of
the various weapons of the resistance. They represent the soul of the
resistance and the secret of its innovations, accurate performance
and victories."

New `Unprecedented' Methods

Manaf: What distinguishes the Iraqi resistance? How was it able to
fight the occupier in open areas?

Addouri: "The resistance depended on the rules and principles of
people's wars and the guerrilla war, after developing its fighting
methods and tactics, and was innovative in its logistic and special
operations. More important, it has adapted the Iraqi environment to
serve the people's war. Through practice, it has developed" those
rules very much "to move quickly" so to make "all the land is ours
and all the time is ours," and to be up to date to what is new by the
enemy in order to "confront it with innovative new of our own."

"We have made and innovated new ways and methods unprecedented in the
people's wars of liberation, or even in the intelligence sciences … I
cannot go into more details for security reasons; this is what kept
the resistance" and its leadership a " mysterious secret, humiliating
the enemy, its collaborators and spies."

Al-Baath Live and … Recruiting

Manaf: Do your resistance formations disperse equally to cover the
area of Iraq now or they are concentrated in certain areas and
governorates?

Addouri: "The party (Al-Baath) is more than half a century old in
Iraq … the organization of Al-Baath today … is stronger many times
than it was before the occupation … (I will not elaborate) for
reasons Al-Baath will speak out on time." Today the party disperses
in all the cities, villages, plains, mountains and deserts of Iraq;
outside Iraq it also disperses among Iraqis wherever they are in
every Arab or foreign country."

After the occupation, despite "the strict conditions" for joining the
party and the deBaathization campaign, "thousands joined the party,
mostly young people aged between 16 and 25. Tens of thousands of
other Iraqis joined the resistance factions led by Al-Baath."

"In the end the National, Pan-Arab and Islamic Front emerged;
Al-Baath is one of its basic pillars."

No outside Support

Manaf: The Iraqi resistance is unique in the fact that it has no
Arab, regional or international incubator or support; how could
Al-Baath have provided for sustaining the resistance strong and
escalating?

Addouri: "Our resistance … not only has no incubator outside the
borders of its country, but what is worse and more bitter is that 99
percent of the influential world powers are either directly involved
with the enemy against it or sympathize with the enemy; the one
percent, which sympathizes with the resistance, turned its back to it
fearing its enemies, but God provided for it and made it in no need
for them. The people of Iraq have provided their money and offspring;
it is an inexhaustible source."

Manaf: Some say the role of Al-Baath in the resistance is limited.
What is the size of the Al-Baath-led resistance?

Addouri: "The occupying enemy and its regional and local partners
have launched a genocide against the Baathists, their families,
supporters and sympathizers. The collaborators' constitution, which
was prepared by the CIA, includes a Nazi racist article stipulating
the liquidation of Al-Baath as an organization, thought and persons."

"They targeted by physical liquidation, destruction and displacement
the society of the party to the sixth neighbor."

"One of the most important and dangerous deBaathization methods,
after assassinations and physical liquidation of Baathists, is the
attempt to completely censor the role of Al-Baath on the field as a
resisting party and an armed resistance, and to smear it image and
role."

"Had Al-Baath not been the initiator of resistance since the first
day of the invasion and occupation, and had it not acted as if the
battle is its own and the cause is its own cause, the world could not
have seen the emergence of the strongest national resistance
immediately following the invasion."

"The other Jihad factions emerged after the resistance was deeply
rooted in confronting the occupier and undermining its strategy; some
of them were formed and started to act three years after the
occupation."

Operations Documented on CDs

"The backbone" of the "wide and strong base of Jihad today is the
resistance of Al-Baath and the national, Pan-Arab and Islamic forces,
with those members of the Higher Command of Jihad and Liberation in
the forefront, who cover the whole area of Iraq," from Um-Qaser in
the south to Zakho in the north and from al-Qaem in the west to
Khanqeen and Mandali in the east.

This resistance is targeted by imposing a media, economic and
political siege on it to black out its military operations, political
activities and its destructive physical and psychological influence
on the soldiers of the occupying power and its forces in Iraq.

"Don't you see how the invaders, collaborators, traitors, spies,
renegades … despite their differences on many other things, have
agreed to censor its role and action and instead inflated … the claim
that it (the resistance) is terrorism?"

"I have documented over the past five years on CDs thousands of
operations against the enemy … while the enemy is highlighting the
role of other groups, some of which was directly formed or via
intermediaries by the occupation itself, and some other were formed
by foreign powers hostile to Iraq … who kill the people on ID"

(Addouri explicitly was referring to sectarian militias formed by
Iran, but did not mention Iran by name).

Pluralistic Future System

Manaf: How do you perceive the ongoing political process in Iraq?
What is you comment on reported reconciliation conferences under the
auspices of the League of Arab States?

Addouri: "No truce with those … and (we'll) resist whatever entity is
established under occupation and in its service, first among them the
traitors' government in the Green Zone."

Manaf: Do you have a strategy to administer the ruling of Iraq after
the liberation?

Addouri: Since the first day of the occupation Al-Baath called for
"the unity of the resistance as a historical necessity." With
endeavor and persistence the party succeeded in forming the
"National, Pan-Arab and Islamic Front in 2005" then the "Jihad and
Liberation Front for armed factions (33 armed resistance factions
according to him) on the field in September 2007. Both fronts are
open to all anti-occupation armed and political forces" to achieve
more unity during the liberation and post-liberation.

Al-Baath has never adopted a one-party stance; it doesn't "believe in
and refuses the one party theory." However in the past, and "for
objective circumstances," it offered "the theory of the leading
party."

"Al-Baath deeply and principally believes in the creation of a
pluralistic national democratic system in which power is
democratically rotated on the basis of ballot boxes through free,
transparent and fair elections."

Every deviation from this in the past "falls within the context of
the mistakes" of the Al-Baath march.

Committed to Turkish Autonomy

Manaf: What is your program to deal with the Kurdish question after
liberation?

Addouri: "We are confident that our Kurdish people will not get their
national and cultural rights … except within the unity of … a free,
liberated, independent and prosperous Iraq … Al-Baath Party will
remain committed to the historical March 1970 statement and the 1974
Law of Autonomy as the basis for dealing with the national, cultural
and political rights of our Kurdish people in Iraq."

Manaf: Recently the anti-U.S. occupation "Freedom and Justice Party
of Kurdistan" was publicly founded; what role do you expect this
party to play in Kurdistan?

Addouri: Two Kurdish parties were founded in the name of freedom and
justice party of Kurdistan, one chaired by Johar al-Hirki, the son of
a prominent Iraqi Kurdish family, which is loyal to the people of
Iraq, and the other chaired by the "brother fighter" Arshad Zibari.
Both have made a lot of sacrifices from their families and tribes
against the occupation and in defense of Iraq freedom and
independence.

"The birth of both parties will contribute to strengthening and
expanding the Kurdish national movement against the occupation and
its stooges."

* Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West
Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

LEGACY OF LIBYAN FREEDOM FIGHTER - OMAR AL-MUKHTAR

Omar al-Mukhtar: the formation of cultural memory and the case of the militant group that bears his name

Authors: Hala Khamis Nassar ; Marco Boggero
Yale University, USA
Published in: The Journal of North African Studies, Volume 13, Issue 2 June 2008

Abstract
This paper investigates how the martyr figure of Omar al-Mukhtar (1858-1931) became a popular transnational icon in Africa, Asia and the Arab world. Originally part of the history of Cyrenaica, Omar al- Mukhtar became part of Arab culture during the struggle against colonialism and is now part of a suggested Arab 'imagined community'. The paper
explores how his memory has been shaped in new
and multiple ways in contemporary culture and politics of Middle
East and North Africa. Al-Mukhtar's historic character has crossed
the Libyan boundaries and the Cyrenaican leader became instrumental
not only in the history of modern Libya, but contributed to the
formation of different forms of Arab nationalism during their
struggle against colonialism. The authors investigate how the
construction of martyrdom developed and show that the pattern of
collective memory did not proceed unambiguously. Further, they
demonstrate how the martyr's legacy has been and is still utilised
for political mobilisation and make the case by studying the
activities of transnational insurrection groups - the 'brigades'
or 'forces of Omar al-Mukhtar' from its original inceptions to
recent occurrences.

Keywords: terrorism; suicide terrorism; Libya; Palestine; martyrdom;
nationalism; collective memory; colonialism; cultural studies

In order to explain and describe what is currently known about the
Omar al-Mukhtar Brigades, this article proposes and relies on both a
thematic and a transnational use of the theory of nationalism as
source of identity and an application of sociological concepts
regarding the study of martyrdom. Given the role of culture and
literature in the formation of the national identity made explicit,
for example, in the theory of imagined communities, it seems
interesting to develop the analysis of icons and myths, or martyrs
in this specific case; in other words, the heroes of Benedict
Anderson's novel. The approach rests on two key assumptions. First
and foremost, it is assumed that the concept of imagined communities
could legitimately be applied to at least some Arab countries.1
Second, it must be mentioned that the assumption is not, strictly
speaking, part of the original 'imagined communities'.2 Thus, the
article is divided into four sections. We begin by introducing Omar
al-Mukhtar in historical context. Second, we look at the official
collective memory and illustrate two cases. In the third and fourth
section, we show elements that suggest that Omar al-Mukhtar could be
part, together with other time-honoured heroes, of an Arab imagined
community and how the process of construction of martyrdom took
place in the 1930s. Given the available evidence, we outline the yet
unstudied Omar al-Mukhtar Brigades and offer some preliminary
hypothesis on the nature of the brigade's militant activities and
their symbolic nature.

Martyrdom and genocide in Cyrenaica

Omar al-Mukhtar was born in 1858 as Omar al-Mukhtar bin Omar bin
Farhat part of the Ghieth family and part of the Farhat clan, which
is a branch of the of the Manfaha Bedouin tribe from Burqa in Libya.
His father was known to be a courageous man and a fighter. His
mother was Aesha bint Muhareb who raised Omar and his brothers on
the teachings of piety and Islam. Later on he was assigned by Ahmed
Sharif al-Sanusi as a teacher in one of Sanusian schools.3 It is
reported that Omar al-Mukhtar had only one son al-Haj Muhammed Omar
al-Mukhtar.4 Only in 1931, after 20 years of fight, Omar al-Mukhtar
was finally captured. With a few thousand men he had faced a
colonial army of as much as 20,000, with airplanes and modern
weapons. His guerrilla techniques, based on small-scale, swift
attacks, followed by his retreating and vanishing in the desert
angered the Italians to the point that they resorted to the worst
methods. The Fascists bombed their enemies with poison gas,
inaugurated a policy of ethnic cleansing of the interior - which
drove out a population of 100,000 - hit their holy cities,5
expropriated the zawias, expelled the religious leaders. Finally,
they resorted to cutting the supply lines with the construction of
an enclosure wall - an endeavour of enormous proportion and cost. In
September 1931, he was captured. After a mock trial, Omar al-Mukhtar
was executed, publicly hanged as a bandit in front of his own people
at the camp of Soluch.6 Omar al-Mukhtar was the symbol of the
resistance against the colonial enterprise and became the martyr of
the Cyrenaican rebellion. Others had a huge part in the resistance
movement - Sayyid Idris, chief negotiator and future King of Libya;
Ramadan al-Suwayhli, head of the Republic Tripolitania; or Sayyid
Ahmed Sharif, military leader against the French from 1902 to 1912,
the British in Egypt and the Italians and the British in Cyrenaica
in 1916. Yet, Omar al-Mukhtar became the one hero of the resistance
to be remembered. But just how will his memory be constructed? How
was and how is his martyrdom interpreted and what kind of emulation
do militants who bare his name politically and culturally suggest?
The word martyr has a relatively clear etymological meaning
of 'witness'. On the other hand, its many definitions lend to
misuses and to possible misunderstandings and fanaticism.7 In
general, a martyr is one who chooses to suffer or die rather than
renounce his principles or beliefs. Authors often distinguish
between an active martyr - who actively seeks death and suffering -
and the individual who passively accepts the suffering imposed on
him (Weiner and Weiner 1990; similar distinction can be found in
Smith 1997, or in Khosrokhavar 2002). Omar al-Mukhtar's own
surrender to an unjust death sentence, for a man of 73 years old,
was in no way a mark of self-destruction. It was not an active
choice. Before the fake trial that condemned him to hanging, he
could have saved his life by submitting to the occupying colonial
forces. Generals gave him a choice and yet he did not succumb. His
martyrdom was rather involuntary or passive. The message may be, as
it often is, subject to different interpretations. It may be re-
coded and reinterpreted. An assumption could be made that militants
can be duped into thinking that they are imitating martyrs and
mistakenly assume that they voluntarily immolated themselves. The
example of Hussein, the martyred grandson of Muhammad, is
illuminating (Davis 2003). Although he was killed at the famous
battle of Kerbala, he did all he could to avoid fighting and make
peace. 'He even walked onto the battlefield holding a baby in his
arms and pleading for mercy.' And yet, as Davis points out,
the 'September 11 band believed they would be following in the
footsteps of Hussein'. Bearing in mind this distinction, the analogy
with Hussein to stress that Omar al-Mukhtar had no intention to
sacrifice himself. He submitted no orders to his guerrilla force to
continue a hopeless fight after his capture; he gave a freedom of
choice to each. Therefore, his martyrdom was involuntary. He may be
identified as a defensive rather than offensive martyr (Khosrokhavar
2002).

Collective memory

Martyrs are at the mercy of time. They do not immediately
metamorphose themselves into 'recorded myths'. Before they are
elevated to a higher status, they often turn into a different
category - e.g. traitor, criminal - or, sometimes, they are
forgotten for a long time. National identities translate their
different narratives of history through heroes and martyrs at
different epochs. By looking at two cases, diametrically different
in their end-result, reflect how the state distorted or manipulated
the martyr figure of Omar al-Mukhtar. In the first case, Libya, the
martyr was in and out of the official discourse for 40 years; in the
second case, Italy, it was (and still is) erased from school
textbooks and censored.

Libya's national hero

Amidst the flow of Fascist propaganda, the memory of the Cyrenaican
rebellion faded on both sides of the Mediterranean. Omar al-Mukhtar
was invoked in Libya after the war when nascent nationalism needed
an icon. In Lisa Anderson's analysis of early nationalist sentiment
in Libya, many patriots are sketched: Ramadan al-Suwayhli, Azzam
Bey, al-Baruni but few characters are so evocative like al-Mukhtar.
Yet, al-Mukhtar's death and living memory became threatening since
the revolution. The representation of the shahîd was evocative of
the Sanusi monarchy, ousted by the revolution, as well as conducive
to Cyrenaica's separatist feelings. A remarkable discontinuity has
been reflected in historiography and monuments. Lisa Anderson writes
that, in the course of the twentieth century, 'Libya has known three
distinct periods of political historiography: the Italian
preoccupation with the Roman legacy during their occupation, the
monarchy's attention to the development of the religious
brotherhood, the Sanusiya (); and the Qadhdhafi's regime emphasis on
the popular resistance to Italian imperialism' (Anderson 1991a, p.
73). Notably, after 1945, the 'same Italian preference for
ethnography and anthropology over history () would be reflected in
Libyan studies. A text like the Sanusi of Cyrenaica
became 'virtually the only historical text for twenty years'
within 'British-Sanusi interpretation to Libyan historical studies'
(p. 82). After the 1969, the revolutionary regime launched a new
approach to history. Soon, the new publications were less flattering
towards the Sanusi in spite of the praise for individual actors,
like Ramadan al-Suwayhli8 or Omar al-Mukhtar. al-Hudayri, a Libyan
author and a decent, claims that his books on al-Mukhtar, although
given as gifts to the Libyan libraries, were confiscated and never
made it to the shelves (Hudayri 2000b).

The second aspect is the discontinuity in public attention to
monuments and memorials. One can still find many Omar al-Mukhtar
streets in Libya. There is one Omar al-Mukhtar University, in al-
Bida in Libya and an ambitious construction project - the Grand Omar
al-Mukhtar, also known as the Great Man-Made River project which is
supposed to supply fresh and clean water from Libya's southern
desert. However, the monument built to commemorate his martyrdom in
Benghazi was demolished in 2000 by an order from Qadhafi, who also
ordered the demolition of al-Nadi al-Ahli (The People's Club) in
Omar al-Mukhtar Street in Benghazi. The club was known to have
members who are politically active and advocates of the al-Mukhtar
teachings.9 The recent comments on the trial and subsequent hanging
of Saddam Hussein fit this alternate pattern. In fact, the trial
brought forth comparisons with Omar al-Mukhtar.10 After the
execution, the regime proclaimed that a dual monument for both Omar
al-Mukhtar and Saddam will be created. Libya also declared three
days of mourning after Saddam's death and cancelled public
celebrations around the Eid al-Adha; flags on government buildings
flew at half-mast.

There are reasons for this ambiguity. On the one hand, as mentioned
above, the regime had to distance itself from symbols that could
fuel sympathy towards the Sanusi as well as ambitions of
independence for Cyrenaica. On the other hand, the martyr was and is
valuable for many reasons. First, Omar al-Mukhtar conveys a message
of traditional religious values in a time of continuous social and
economic modernisation. Second, it provides a message for specific
targets groups like the elders, particularly in rural areas, whose
childhood memory embrace at least part of the colonial period.
Studies in political development stressed the tribal and
traditionalist nature of the population.11 Third, Omar al-Mukhtar is
attractive to those segments of the population, particularly the
youth, which may be seduced by pan-Arab ideals. At a recent
inaugural session of a summit, Qadhafi called on African peoples 'to
be inspired in their work by the great actions of the continent's
great leaders such as Samori Toure, Omar al-Mukhtar and Gamal Abdel
Nasser and others who had through the history of Africa refused to
accept the life of slavery and oppression'.12 Finally, it represents
anti-western rhetoric and in specific times, subconscious reference
to the Palestinian cause. In his analysis of Qahdafi's speeches,
published by the Green Book Center in Tripoli, Vandewalle writes:

one is struck at the repeated and powerful references to notions of
a common history that has pitted Libyans against the West. () The
memories of the Fascists' brutality, the capture and hanging of Umar
al-Mukhtar, and the removal of the local population form their own
land in favor of Italian settlers have all provided constant focal
points of Qadhafi's rhetoric. (Vandewalle 2006, pp. 124-130)

The analogies of the occupation and, most recently, of the wall13
are obvious to the Arab youth familiar with the popularised history
of the martyr and aim at suggesting analogies between Fascism and
Zionism.

Collective historical amnesia

When Omar al-Mukhtar was executed, the Italian press, strictly
controlled by the regime, gave a pompous but somehow limited
attention to the event.14 Then, after the war, an admission of the
crimes of genocide - and hence the story of Omar al-Mukhtar - was
wrung with great difficulty from official Italian historians
(Bosworth 2002). It was the beginning of a national collective
amnesia that lives on until the present. Omar al-Mukhtar was but one
episode in the study of colonialism, on which Italian historiography
could hardly undertake a critical revision for a long time. Within
the difficulty of coming to terms with Fascism, the study of
colonialism in Libya itself, suffered of a specific and apparent
removal.15 Only in the 70s the military archives were opened.
Finally, a military historian published an essay dedicated to the
repression in Libya - later, a book called Colonialismo Italiano -
where he defined the Cyrenaican repression as a genocide -
mentioning the disturbing figure of 40,000 deaths out of the 100,000
deportees. In the 1980, Rochat's military study (1974), circulating
in English, Arabic and French translations, sanctioned, with Del
Boca's Gli Italiani in Libia, the new phase in research.16 In 1982,
however, the release of the movie The Lion of the Desert, a story of
Omar al-Mukhtar, was not authorised.17 Even today, it can be shown
only with a special authorisation. While Italy painfully uncovered
some truths on the horn of Africa.18 Some point out that it is still
the emblem of historical removal (Giannelli in Labanca and Venuta
2000). The manipulation of a symbol, or its utilitarian rhetorical
use, is partly suggestive of the 'Machiavellian, instilled symbols'
of a nationalist ideology (Anderson 1990, 1993) or in Hobsbawn and
Ranger's use of ancient material to 'construct invented traditions
of a novel type for quite novel purposes' (Hobsbawm and Ranger
1983). In Italy, in a negative sense, there was a state-imposed
constraint, part of a nation rebuilding process. In Libya, the
institutions of 'nation-building' - the museum, the map and the
census - asymmetrically mentioned the martyr. Thus, al-Mukhtar
monument had a peculiar history.19 Yet, Omar al-Mukhtar is alive in
the memory of Libya and one of its foremost 'founding fathers'.

The construction of a martyr

In this section we investigate how the mythologisation of the martyr
occurs. First, the martyrdom relied on a process of narrative
construction within a specific context and time. Then, the imagery
was immortalised in the literature, with public celebrations and
commemorations that took different forms. An accurate mapping of the
martyr's use, for which this article signals a work in process,
shows that Omar al-Mukhtar eventually became a symbol in Africa and
Asia, and in the Arab world in particular.

A climate of dissension

Unquestionable courage is not enough to elevate an unjust death into
martyrdom. Wide publicity and a climate of dissension are central to
the process of construction of martyrdom.20 In September 1931, the
name of Omar al-Mukhtar was constantly invoked across Asia and
Africa. Many funerals were held in Damascus, Palestine, Haifa,
Tripoli, and prayers for the dead were held many mosques. Sermons
called for boycotting Italian products and shops were closed.
Thousands of people went out to the streets demonstrating as a
reaction to his execution.21 In Tunisia as in many capitals of the
Arab world, memorial services were held and many intellectuals,
writers, and politicians participated and gave speeches.22 Memorial
services throughout the Arab world were perceived as a sign
reflecting the unity among Arabs and Moslems in their struggle
against foreign occupation and presence in the region.23 Notably,
these celebrations occurred at a time of heightened anti-colonial
disputes and sentiments. The capture and death occurred just weeks
before the World Islamic Congress in Jerusalem. Tensions were so
high that the Mufti had to guarantee that nothing provocative would
have been said. Particularly, he was instructed that nothing should
be said about the 'alleged Jewish encroachment on Holy Places () and
nothing on the subject of Italian action in Tripoli'.24 At the
Muslim Congress, the martyrdom of Omar al-Mukhtar provided a vivid,
present, and convincing image of how colonial powers were ousting
Muslims from their lands. It united the representatives in their
resolve against the danger of Zionism. Abderrahman Azam Bey tackled
the issue forcefully. A long applause marked the end of his speech
and five minutes of silence were called for.25

The same tension could be found elsewhere. It was reported that the
largest memorial event to be planned was organised by Hamad al-Basel
Basha in his palace in Cairo. Many dignitaries, intellectuals, and
political figures from all over the capitals of the Arab world were
invited but the event was cancelled and banned by the authorities.26
In the entire Islamic world, reactions abounded. The occasion of the
World Islamic Congress clearly provided the framework for a wider
social validation of Omar al-Mukhtar as a martyr. It was the main
channel of transmission of the narrative of martyrdom that
determined al-Mukhtar posthumous immortality. It is through
Jerusalem and the Muslim Congress that one commentator in particular
would elevate the hero to a higher status; and it was in Palestine
that we observe the first instance of an association of the martyr
with anti-Zionist narratives and feelings.

Publicity and censorship

Censorship and attempts to sidestep the issue did not discourage
supporters. The attempt to muzzle the debate during the days of
mourning did not undermine the popularity of Omar al-Mukhtar. In
Europe, only few newspapers covered the issue. The London Times
wrote an editorial in the aftermath of the execution.27 The Cri du
Peuple in Paris called al-Mukhtar the 'Abdel Karim of Cyrenaica'.28
However, the most effective exposure came from La Nation Arabe, a
polemical periodical with an avid readership. Its founder, Lebanese
intellectual Shakib Arslan, covered the story with the utmost
intensity. Arslan can be identified as the 'martyrologist', who
managed to 'chronicle the raw occurrences into events of social
significance'.29 He kept the name of al-Mukhtar in print between
1930 and 1931 by producing a number of articles of considerable
proportions. Particularly, the plight of the Cyrenaican population
was well described and accurate. The number of 80000 displaced was
reported, a good approximation of the truth.30 The same message was
repeated over an over again in the summer of 1931. On the very first
days after his death, Arlsan wrote a long article dedicated to Omar
al-Mukhtar. His article had two underlying threads. The first aimed
at justifying his fight: 'Omar al-Mukhtar was not a rebel', Arslan
reiterates. The occupying force had no legitimacy in the occupation
and 'the rebel is he who refuses to obey to the legitimate
authority'. Second, he constructed a narrative with a heroic
perspective. The romanticised celebration included the depiction of
a gallant soldier, captured by way of 'intrigue and corruption'.31 A
loyal fighter, it is claimed that al-Mukhtar never killed a single
Italian prisoner.32 Like many, he compared him with Abed al-Karim
and Abed-al-Kader. Last, he added a personal note about a meeting
they had in 1911, and a personal contact where al-Mukhtar had
foreshadowed his end.33 We can also retrace how the construction of
martyrdom traveled beyond the Arab world and reached Asia. The all-
embracing Islamic nationalism of Arslan often transcended the Arab
cause:

He patterned the imagery of protest on that used in the campaign
against the Berber dahir and cast his opposition in Islamic symbols.
He told his readers that when Italians captured Kufra, they turned
it into a tavern where they drank toasts to the extermination of the
Muslims.34

Shakib Arslan was a crucial character. The mere amount of publicity
he created in terms of articles, letters, and telegrams was
impressive, and his standing as a prophet of the Arab world was
unique. 'He was the "Arab-Lawrence", spreading the contagion of pan-
Arabism.'35 A master of eloquence, he provided the martyrdom with a
symbolic dignity, with dedicated Islamic references, and would
crucially contribute to the memory of the martyr. In the way that it
was originally constructed, sheds the light on how the martyr was
going to elicit support for a radical cause. Thus, through Arslan
and particularly during the World Islamic Congress, Omar al-Mukhtar
had a strong echo in Palestine. This was the peak in the process of
construction of martyrdom. In order to commemorate his name, the
Mayor of Gaza, Fahmi al-Husseini, decided to name the largest street
in the city Omar al-Mukhtar Street, which again, angered the
Italians, particularly the Consulate in Jerusalem.36 Beyond Libya
and Palestine, Omar al-Mukhtar became the name of streets, squares,
and universities. There are Omar al-Mukhtar Mosques from Khartoum to
Baghdad.37 If Arslan had constructed a quasi-literary immortality,
Ahmad Shawqi was to follow and become one of the most important
custodians of the memory of the martyr. The famous Egyptian poet
wrote his most popular elegy dedicated to al-Mukhtar. It is not a
coincidence that Shawqi was a close friend of Shakib Arlsan.38 In
the elegy, Shawqi talks about the heroic characteristics of al-
Mukhtar describing and comparing him to a desert warrior from
medieval Arabic poetry:

You, sword unsheathed and raised in the wilderness,

Which gives sharpness for ever to the swords of the Arabs,

Whose Bedouin deserts have been the scabbard of every sword

Which has been well tried against the enemy

And are the graves of the young Umayyad braves,

And their fathers, who live in memory and in God.39

The elegy inaugurated the imagery of the lion. 'A mean-spirited lion
whimpering in captivity' follows 'Africa being the cradle of lions
and their grave'. The word 'lion' is repeated seven times. Shawqi's
elegy set a trend among many modern and contemporary Arab poets.
Gibran Khalil Gibran also wrote an elegy dedicated to al-Mukhtar, as
well as Tunisian poet Mahmoud Abi Ruqaibah.40 Many Libyan, North
African and Palestinian poets either dedicated or wrote poetry about
Omar al-Mukhtar In the realm of popular culture, it is worth
mentioning the wide notoriety of the film The Lion of the Desert
(1981) starring Anthony Quinn, produced and directed by the late
Syrian director Mustapha Akkad. The film is still considered a
blockbuster in the Arab world and newspapers indicate it is
presently enjoying a renewed popularity.41

Icons, images, drawings and paintings of Omar al-Mukhtar have often
accompanied the written narrative of his life and death. Through one
main icon painter, Nicola Sayigh, and one of his students in
particular, we find some of the first vivid depictions of the Lion
of the Desert.

In 1933, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by his student Zulfa al-
Sa'di (1905-88) was shown in the Palestine Pavilion in the First Pan-
Arab Fair in the halls of the Islamic Supreme Council in Jerusalem.
The exhibited a series of lustrous portraits representing national
and historical heroes: Saladin, who liberated Jerusalem from the
Crusaders; 'Umar al-Mukhtar, the Libyan fighter who had been
executed by the Fascists two years earlier after leading a twenty-
year guerrilla war against the Italian occupation; and Sharif
Hussein of Mecca and Amir Faisal, who led the Arab revolt against
the Ottomans during World War I.42

Another important cultural articulation dedicated to the memory of
the martyr is that of public commemorations with large audiences,
like festivals. Special occasions and anniversaries were organised
in Libya and beyond. An interesting festival was organised by the
Jaffa Center for Study and Research in Cairo. In the year 2000, the
celebration was not only dedicated to al-Mukhtar but also to the
Palestinian intifada.

Omar al-Mukhtar and the Palestinian intifada

Given the construction of narrative of martyrdom that we have
described, it is not surprising that the memory of Omar al-Mukhtar
is particularly vivid in the Palestinian Territories. Notably, the
martyr figure is a very popular icon in the topography. As we
mentioned above with reference to Gaza, many mayors decided to
immortalise the martyr figure on street names. Nowadays, the
Palestinian Authority flies its national flag and host the
legislature in a grandly domed structure off Omar al-Mukhtar Street,
the main street that connects the central market of Gaza City to the
sea, and the name of one of its largest mosques. In a wider study on
the foundations of Palestinian national identities, it was found
that al-Mukhtar is one of the few historical characters belonging to
the recent political past to be commemorated in Palestinian-Arab
cities prior to 1948 (Azaryahu and Kook 2002, p. 210). Omar al-
Mukhtar left its deep marks on the Arab streets for generations and
in Palestine in particular.

There are several instances that show an association of the martyr
figure with Palestine and, more specifically, with the intifada
itself. Reuven Paz (see next section and Table 1) documents its use
as a symbol for the Omar al-Mukhtar Brigades. Many attacks occurred
at the beginning of the second intifada. Since 1989 the Jaffa Center
for Study and Research in Cairo organised the annual festival
commemorating the death of Omar al-Mukhtar. On the 5th of October
2000 the festival was dedicated not only to the 69th anniversary
marking the death of Omar al-Mukhtar but also to the Palestinian
intifada. The festival 'Omar al-Mukhtar and the Palestinian
intifada' was widely covered by the Egyptian press. The festival
followed closely the beginning of the Palestinian intifada, which
erupted on the 28th of September 2000 as a reaction to Ariel
Sharon's visit to Temple Mount in Jerusalem. More than 80 Arab and
Egyptian poets, intellectuals, and politicians attended.
Interestingly, both the late Shiekh Ahmad Yassin, the spiritual
leader of Hamas and Hassan Nasrallah the Hezbollah Shia Secretary
Leader in Lebanon were guests of honours. The speeches given in the
gathering can be found in a collection by al-Hudayri, The important
historical meeting on Omar al-Mukhtar and the Palestinian intrepid
intifada.43 Most of the speeches delivered focused on some specific
points. First of all, the urgent need for Arab and Islamic unity to
support the intifada and to liberate Palestine from the Israeli
Occupation. The participants urged the Arab youths to volunteer for
an open Jihad.44 At the same time, there was a call for boycotting
Israel's products and cutting off the oil supplies from the west.
Second, there was a strong call for reform, for the spread of
democracy, for legal and civil rights, and freedom of speech
especially with reference to media coverage on Palestine (Hudayri
2000a, pp. 34, 38). In addition the festival stressed the fact that
moral and financial support should be given to Omar al-Mukhtar
Brigades and lessons should be learned from their Jihad attacks
against the Israeli IDF (Hudayri 2000a, pp. 46, 22, 24). Martyrs are
central figures in Palestinian highly expressive culture and
historiography. Ted Swedenburg's in Memories of the revolt (2003), a
work on the anti-colonial revolt in Palestine, identifies symbols
from earlier times embedded in the modern-day struggle. He shows how
present narratives drew upon memories of prior insurgencies,
particularly the 1936-1939 revolt. Yet, it is striking that a non-
Palestinian martyr, such as Omar al-Mukhtar, is widely remembered,
and particularly evoked during the second intifada. The, Israeli
censorship policies continue to eradicate expression that could
foster Palestinian nationalist feelings, therefore, alternative
narratives were sought for. One could claim that Omar al-Mukhtar was
a viable alternative for the purposes of the struggle against
colonial policies and possibly, an icon with an emotional charge
equal to other local symbols and heroes. As 'Palestinian writing was
tightly regulated; the word "Filastin" or "Palestine" was sometimes
excised from the printed page, and it was illegal to display the
national colors (red, black, green and white) together' (Swedenburg
1990, p. 63), other martyrs elevated themselves into equally
evocative symbols. In the 1930s, at the time when al-Mukhtar was
metamorphosing into an iconic martyr, especially through the artful
writing of Arslan, his name became the mark of strong substitute
narratives in Palestine that were re-codified and revived during the
contemporary struggle.

Table 1.Incidents related to the Omar Mukhtar Brigades.
Event Year Location Event Affiliation

aMIPT: Whether the UNO was an independent organisation, or simply an
alias for the National Revolutionary Command (Omar al-Mukhtar), it
is likely that group has deactivated and will not be responsible for
further violence.
bArutz Sheva reported that the Haifa district court convicted Abu
Chanani, 28, of the murder of a woman. 'He and a friend wanted to
join the Omar al-Mukhtar terror group, run by Hizbullah in Jordan.'
Yet, this is the only mention available of a connection to
Hizbullah.

1 March 1986 Beirut Kidnappings (Reed, Ciccippio) OMB a.k.a.
National Revolutionary Command (Libya)
2 28 March 1986 Beirut Dynamite attack at John Kennedy Center
building near American University of Beirut OMB a.k.a. National
Revolutionary Command (Libya)
3 28 March 1986 Beirut Rockets at US Embassy in West Beirut OMB
a.k.a. National Revolutionary Command (Libya)
4 29 March 1986 Beirut British Airways office bombing (failed) and
rocket attack at offices of the American Life Company OMB a.k.a.
National Revolutionary Command (Libya)
5 April 1986 Beirut Rocket attack at British Ambassador's residence
OMB a.k.a. United Nasserite Organisation (UNO) (Libya)
6 August 1986 Akrotiri, Cyprus Mortars and small arms fire at
British base OMB a.k.a. United Nasserite Organisationa (UNO) (Libya)
7 Jan. 2000 Hadera Remote control bombing Unknown
8 Nov. 2000 Gaza strip Rafah crossing Shooting at Israeli civilian
car Fatah
9 Nov. 2000 Gaza strip-Kfar Darom Attack on Israeli army patrol
Fatah
10 Nov. 2000 Gaza strip-Kfar Darom Attack on Israeli army post Fatah
11 Nov. 2000 Israel Threats Fatah
12 Jan. 2001 Gaza strip-Kfar Darom Remote control bombing at Israeli
army Fatah
13 April 2001 Galilee Israeli citizens stabbed Fatah
14 Oct. 2001 Haifa Woman murdered Unknownb
15 2004 Various Threats Unknown
16 Sept. 2006 Iraq Road bomb Unknown
17 Nov. 2006 Iraq Road bomb Unknown
18 Dec. 2006 Iraq Mortar fire Unknown

Omar al-Mukhtar Brigades

Millitant groups are a peculiar and novel element that may reveal
elements of identity and nationalism. The investigation of the Omar
al-Mukhtar Brigades - later referred to as OMB - is elusive because
events span over two decades. The available data shows 18 cases or
incidents (see Table 1) and a cyclical pattern of appearances with
three waves that correspond to 1986, 2000-2001 and 2004-2006.

Sources and definitions

Many studies on terrorism stress the necessary caution in accepting
as 'data' empirical evidence that may be dubious and controversial.
We rely on secondary literature and news sources that are as
reliable as they can be. We also rely on different datasets
available to the public. The first is on international terrorism. In
its annual report, Patterns of global terrorism, the US State
Department tracks terrorist incidents. The second is the dataset of
the Rand Corporation. The third and more specific is the data from
the ICT, which focuses on the 'second wave' or the Palestinian
cases. As a matter of definitions, first of all, what we call
incident is not necessarily an act of terrorism; rather it combines
acts of guerrilla and terrorist acts. Terrorism is defined by the
State Department as a 'premeditated, politically motivated violence
perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or
clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience'.45
Non-combatants include both civilians as well as military personnel
who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty. Our
choice of the terminology suicide attacks or martyrdom operations
avoids the use of terrorism and stems from a narrow definition of
suicide operation.46 Second, whether threats should be included as
events could be put into question. Some may qualify violence in such
broad terms as to include any act that results in mental anguish;
other may restrict the definition to its physical dimension.
Assumptions must be made for tractability so we include threats as
incidents because of the inherent apparent connection between the
events of 2004 and 2006. If all these episodes of 2004 were of a non-
belligerent nature, the later incidents were violent. Third, we
define the OMB as a transnational group. 'When a terrorist incident
in one country involves victims, perpetrators, or audiences in two
or more countries, terrorism takes on a transnational character'
(Enders and Sandler; 2005, p. 467). The first incidents would be
transnational (Libyan interference into Cyprus), the second episodes
may be defined as such, and as for the third wave (2004-2006), we
lack evidences to make a decisive claim. Yet, for the sake of unity
of analysis, we nonetheless choose to apply the definition of
transnational.

The first episodes


In 1986, a National Revolutionary Command Omar al-Mukhtar appeared
for the first time and targeted both British and American interests
in Lebanon, claiming that it was retaliating against 'American
Aggression' against Libya:

On 3 August 1986, gunmen attacked the UK base at Akrotiri, Cyprus,
with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire. In
claiming responsibility for the attack, the United Nasserite
Organization invoked the Omar al-Mukhtar Martyr Group. A group using
a similar name claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the
British Ambassador's residence in Beirut two days after the US
raid.47

A third occurrence, in 1986, involved the capture of an American
hostage in Beirut, Frank Herbert Reed, by the 'Arab Revolutionary
Cells - Omar al-Mukhtar Brigade'.48 The hostage remained in custody
for 44 months49 but the responsibility claim, made five days after
the abduction, was never authenticated.50 According to the
Washington Post, the group is supposed to have kidnapped and killed
Peter Kilburn in 1986, reportedly in retaliation for the US bombing
Libya. Further, it has allegedly participated in the killing of
three British citizens in April 1986.51 As a matter of fact, the
Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) quotes
only four occurrences in 1986, thereby excluding these two latter
episodes. All these attacks on American and British interests were
part of the reaction to the Gulf of Sidra events and, largely
speaking, part of a turbulent time of terrorism, with a growing
networks supported by Qadhafi since the 1960s and 1970s.52 As such,
these incidents are quite distinct from episodes of Islamic
fundamentalism. They should not be confused with the episodes of
Libyan internal Islamic opposition (e.g. the LIFG) (Ronen 2002, pp.
79-89).

The second wave


Later, a Palestinian group began to use the name 'Forces of Omar al-
Mukhtar' in its attacks in Israel and the Occupied Territories.53
The cooperation between Palestinian groups and the OMB is reported
by Reuven Paz to have produced 'dozens of attacks' in 2001 even if
we were able to document only seven in the 2000-2001 period.
According to Reuven Paz:

In an article on the daily Al-Khalij, it is claimed that the Forces
of Omar al-Mukhtar belong to Hamas.54 This second group appeared for
the first time in April 1998 when, according to the Jordanian Al-
Dustur, it claimed responsibility for an attack on Israeli settlers
at Maon, in the Hebron area on 19 April. 'For four months, since
September 28th, 2000, the group claimed responsibility for dozens of
operations in 23 communiqus published on the website of 'The Free
Arab Voice'.55

They claimed responsibility, together with two other minor groups,
for an attack on a school bus near Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip.56
Then, the group issued a pamphlet in East Jerusalem in which it
threatened to kill Palestinians in Jerusalem accused of being
Israeli collaborators.57 At this point, it is unknown whether all
the incidents are related. Another point is whether the affiliation
to Hamas can be taken for granted. Yonah Alexander and some news
sources mention the group as belonging to Fatah.58 As a third and
last note, it is worth mentioning that the cell may have been taken
apart by the Israeli police in 2001. This would be confirmed by
police investigation, reporting the arrested six residents of the
territories were recruited to the 'Omar al-Mukhtar' cell whose
objective was to commit murders and attacks within the Green Line.59
This dismantling would also be confirmed by the fact that certain
types of attack came to an end in 2001.

The third wave

More recent events consist of threats directed to countries
supporting the intervention in Iraq, either directly or indirectly
(the Netherlands, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Turkey,
Australia, Poland, Bulgaria, San Salvador; all in 2004). In
September 2006, an attack with road-bombs and mortar fire against
American patrols was claimed by the OMB and by the Salah al-Din al-
Ayubi Brigades60 - part of an umbrella organisation that formed when
several Sunni resistance groups in northern Iraq joined forces,
according to the Rand Corporation.

Another concern here is to investigate if there is a consistency of
the violence displayed. Overall, there seem to be at least four
common features. First, most events present a low level of violence.
One vivid exception is one case of 'initiation test', consisting of
a murder of a woman in Israel. Second, there are no apparent
connections to the network of Al-Qaeda,61 or to forms of global
Jihadism.62 Third, the events associated to the OMB seem to suggest
a polarisation of the conflict. The three waves correspond to 1986,
2000-2001 and 2004-2006, i.e. the Lebanese civil war, the second
intifada, and the Iraq conflict. Fourth and last, there is no use of
martyrdom operations.

The phenomenon of suicide missions has become the defining act of
political violence of our age (Gambetta 2005, p. 13), the signature
tactic of the fourth wave of modern terrorism (Pedahzur 2006, p.
xv). It rose from an average of three per year in the 1980s to about
ten per year in the 1990s (Pape 2005). Hence, it seems relevant to
ask why there were no martyrdom operations. Militants select
narratives, symbols and traditions to inspire their collective
action. The choice of a symbol can render more intelligible motives,
beliefs and convictions. If the narrative regarding Omar al-Mukhtar
does not bring about a culture of martyrdom, one can speculate for
to the present day, there is no evidence of any suicide operation
conducted in association with the name Omar al-Mukhtar. Kalyvas and
Sanchez-Cuenca (in Gambetta 2005, pp. 209-232), discuss the issue of
why some organisations do not resort to suicide missions. Among the
explanations that they propose, one could apply to the OMB - i.e.
the normative choice. The authors would speak of self-imposed moral
constraints - either from a religious, ideological perspective or
other - that make the insurgents believe to be part of a just war.

More specifically, the incidents of 1986 and 2000-2001 coincide with
two of the peaks identified within Ricolfi's four waves of suicide
attacks (Ricolfi in Gambetta 2005, pp. 84-96). These are the Lebanon
war, the beginning of the first intifada, implementation of Oslo
agreements, and the eruption of the second intifada. At a time of
increased propensity for suicide missions, another question is then,
regarding the Palestinian incidents in particular, why the attacks
of the OMB did not imitate Hezbollah, Hamas or the Palestinian
Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and replicate martyrdom operations. In this
case, one could conceive of a cost related aspect.63 Suicide attacks
are a strategic choice, 'based on cost-benefit calculations by weak
groups with limited resources seeking to wage war against formidable
opponents' (Hafez 2006, p. 25). The cost is also human - the
availability of individuals. In this sense, the smaller the
organisation, the lower is the likelihood that suicide missions
would be adopted, either because the pool of possible members is
small or the cost of recruitment is high. The size of the OMB group
does in fact support this point. If militants emulate an iconic
historical figure, then it might be contentious to idolise Omar al-
Mukhtar to propose a 'mission of martyrdom'.64 If Mukhtar's own
surrender to a death sentence was in no way a mark of self-
destruction, then, it seems we could tentatively assume a self-
imposed moral constraint for the purpose of reading the OMB.

Conclusion


This paper investigates how the study of militant group like the
Omar al-Mukhtar Brigades can be placed in an historical and cultural
dimension. Transnational aspects characterised the process of
construction of martyrdom. The martyr figure was generated and
propagated in the Middle East in the 1930s and then reclaimed by
Africa. In African contexts, where some traditions and legacies are
imported, it is part of local traditions and one of the 'ideals of
popular resistance to colonialism'.65 Therefore, retention and
propagation of the martyr figure akin to an invented tradition. The
references to Omar al-Mukhtar are a mark of a specific identity and
a transnational 'imagined community' as he stands for justice,
fierce independence, pious leadership, fighting spirit and
determination. Under the weight of the later usage, in connection
with radicalism, the original message of justice and rectitude may
in the process of utilisation become partially obscured. Yet, the
idea of Omar al-Mukhtar as part of a national identity and
ideologies of belonging is a strong part of the conveyed message and
is continuously demonstrated through the examples of different
gradation, from the Palestinian context to the wider Arab countries.
The study of the Omar al-Mukhtar Brigades reveals the message of
resistance imbedded in the reference to the martyr. The dispersed
nature of the attacks associated with the iconic figure drove us to
consider relevant literature on politics as culture.


Acknowledgments

All translations from Arabic to English are by Hala Khamis Nassar.
Marco Boggero presented parts of this paper at the Africa Conference
at the University of Texas at Austin 2007 and he specially thanks
the participants for their comments. He also expresses gratitude to
Ellen Lust-Okar, William J. Foltz, Angelo Del Boca and Lisa
Anderson, Nicola Labanca, Giorgio Rochat, Lamin Sanneh, Sihem
Ghdira. Peter Bergen, Reuven Paz, and Gabriel Weimann.

Notes

1. Cf. Israel Gershoni, 'Old and new narratives', in Gershoni and
Jankowski (1997). Gershoni considers that the model of imagined
communities proposed by Benedict Anderson can be applied to some
Arab countries.


2. Benedict Anderson's Imagined communities (1993) is chiefly about
how nations are imagined rather than what they imagined themselves
as. Yet, a thematic interest can be found in earlier works and it
seems to be a complementary development to the study of nationalism.
Thematic essays have been written before the publications of
Imagined communities in 1983. Cf. 'The interesting cartoons and
monuments: the evolution of political communication under the new
order', in Language and power: exploring political cultures in
Indonesia (Cornell University Press, 1990). For the latest
discussion on Imagined communities, cf. Cheah and Culler (2003).


3. For a study of the Sanusiyah, cf. Evans-Pritchard and Edward Evan
(1954), or Ziadeh's Sanusiyah: a study of a revivalist movement in
Islam (1958), or Triaud's Lgende noire de la Sansiyya: une confrrie
musulmane saharienne sous le regard franais (1840-1930) (1995).


4. He is referred to as either Mohammed Sahle (according to the
trial papers reproduced in Santarelli et al., 1981, p. 259) or as al-
Haj Muhammed Omar al-Mukhtar (Hala Khamis Nassar; cf. Omar Mukhtar
in the culture and literature, forthcoming).


5. Kufra. Cf. Del Boca (1994, p. 198).


6. Cf. Chapter 8, 'Soluch like Auschwith', in Del Boca (1991, pp.
165-182).


7. The history of the concept of martyrdom is of relevance. Both
Islam and Christianity assimilate the concept of martyr to that of
the 'witness'. Yet, the term shahîd, often translated as martyr, had
originally a different meaning, it simply indicated the individual
who followed a suitable and devout manner of living. It is
originally referred to Jihad, but in terms of defensive and non-
violent resistance.


8. On Ramadan al-Suwayhli, head of the Republic Tripolitania, cf.
Lisa Anderson's Ramadan al-Suwayhli: hero of the Libyan resistance
(1993); or on the short-lived story of the Republic itself, the
first example in the Arab world, of the same author: The Tripoli
Republic, 1918-1922 (1982).


9. Accounts of the club or association can found in Khadduri (1963,
pp. 62-66). An early sketch of the members and publications is
provided, as well as the relevant distinction between the
Tripolitanian and the Cyrenaican branch. The writings of the
Jam'iyyat 'Umar al-Mukhtar were collected by one of its members,
Muhammad Bashir al-Mughayribi; cf. Watha'q Jam'iyyat 'Umar al-
Mukhtar, safhat min ta'rikh Libya (Cairo: Mu'assasat Dar al-Hilal,
1993). An interesting account is found in Baldinetti (2001).


10. Dr A'ishah Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi, a member of Saddam's defence
team and daughter of Colonel Qadhafi, said: 'What is happening today
reminds us of the sheikh of Moudjahidine, Omar al-Mukhtar, standing
before the fascist court. History repeats itself with new faces and
new heroes. If, God forbid, Saddam was to be executed, his life will
still be longer than that of his executors.' Text Transcripts from
Tripoli Great Jamahiriyah TV, 5 November 2006, available on Word
News Connect.


11. No recently updated publication appears to be available but for
a survey-based analysis of rural and urban Libya's political
development cf. El Fathaly and Palmer (1980), or for thematic
studies cf. Deeb and Deeb (1982).


12. Mena, Cairo, 1 June 2006. Transcribed text, available on World
News Connect.


13. A wall of 270 km of barbed wire was built against Omar al-
Mukhtar between Cyrenaica and Egypt (with a phone line, three forts,
six small forts and three air bases).


14. Cf. Santarelli et al. (1981, pp. 287-295). Of interest the
following comment: 'the death of Omar did not raise much interest
among anti-fascists or at least not enough to be used as an argument
of anti-colonial propaganda' (p. 300). On the other hand, the press
in the Arab world strongly reacted: from Cairo's Al-Ahram, to
Baghdad's Al-Akla Ul-Watani, from Morocco to Java. In Jerusalem and
Aleppo, the Druze prince Shekib Arslan became its defender.


15. Labanca speaks of 'blocco o silenzio', in Labanca and Venuta
(2000, p. 21). Rochat and Romano, quoted in Santarelli et al. (1981,
p. 13), Del Boca (1992).


16. Labanca and Venuta (2000, p. 27). Other important authors are
mentioned like Sergio Romano, Francesco Malgeri, Paolo Maltese, Eric
Salerno.


17. Some argue that cinemas refused to show it fearing the same
riots that occurred in France with the movie The Battle for Algiers.
Cf. Del Boca (1991, footnote 36, p. 184; and footnote 73, p. 392).


18. For a complete account, see Del Boca (1996), where the author
describes how its first revisionist attempt of 1965 brought him
scorn and insults.


19. The monument in Benghazi was erected and subsequently torn down;
it is claimed it will be rebuilt on a par with one for Saddam
Hussein. The mapping of monuments on Omar Mukhtar is ongoing and
part of a work in process on this research.


20. On how the idea of martyrdom lends itself to topical analysis,
cf. Weiner and Weiner (1990).


21. Al-Zawi (1970, p. 190).


22. Al-Zawi (1970, pp. 192-193). In one of the memorial services
held in Tunisia the young Tunisian poet Mahmoud Abi Ruqaibah wrote
an elegy for al-Mukhtar (Hala Kh. Nassar, Omar Mukhtar in culture
and literature, forthcoming).


23. Muhammad Bashir al-Mughayribi; cf. Watha'q Jam'iyyat 'Umar al-
Mukhtar, safhat min ta'rikh Libya (1993).


24. The Congress was called at the behest of Amin al-Husayni, the
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, whose intentions and actions were closely
monitored by the British authorities. In this occasion, the Mufti
had guaranteed that nothing provocative would have been said about
the 'alleged Jewish encroachment on Holy Places () and nothing on
the subject of Italian action in Tripoli', telegram from the High
Commissioner to Palestine to the Secretary of State for the
Colonies, 21st November 1931. Reprinted in Burdett (1988).


25. La Nation Arabe, November-December 1931, p. 8. He adds that 'the
Italian government could not prevent an outburst of anger for the
wide repercussions in the Muslim world and requested the expulsion
of Azam Bey from Palestine'.


26. Al-Zawi (1970, pp.193-206).


27. London Times, 17 September 1931, p. 13.


28. La Nation Arabe, September-October 1931, p. 4.


29. Weiner and Weiner (1990, p. 21). The authors credit Methvin for
having studied 'martyrisers' and documented the process of
manufacturing martyrs (Methvin, 1970).


30. 'A formidable anti-Italian movement has spread across all the
Muslim world within the last three weeks, following the occupation
of Kouffra by Italian troops. The occupation was carried out with
barbarity and brought about the exodus of 80000 Arabs (). The
official denial by Italian representatives in Cairo, Jerusalem,
Baghdad, in the Indies have convinced none.' La Nation Arabe,
Juillet-Aout 1931, p. 23. The quoted 80,000 is the population
displaced from Cyrenaica but he writes of a quarter of a million as
the total population displaced by the Fascists. Cf. also 'Les Quatre-
vingt mille Arabes de Cyrenaique seraient-ils rapatris dans leurs
foyers?' La Nation Arabe, September-October 1931, pp. 48-50.


31. 'Il fut pris par la ruse et la corruption.' La Nation Arabe,
September-October 1931, p. 4. This is partly verified although air
reconnaissance also played a part (cf. Rochat, in Santarelli et al.
1981).


32. La Nation Arabe, September-October 1931, p. 3. This is obviously
propaganda. Though less cruel than their enemy, the soldiers of Omar
al-Mukhtar did kill some prisoners, even officers. The case of Lt.
Beati is documented.


33. 'Omar Mukhtar had never written to me. However, two or three
months ago he thanked me for an article that I had published on the
Italian atrocities and assured me that it was only part of the whole
truth. () He ended his letter by declaring he would fight until the
end.' La Nation Arabe, September-October 1931, p. 6.


34. Cleveland (p. 100).


35. 'He was the "Arab Lawrence", spreading the contagion of pan-
Arabism, shaping the opinions of Moroccan and Tunisian students in
Paris and issuing directives from Geneva that were followed in Rabat
and Constantine; he was the prophet and tribune of pan-Arabism, his
statement were taken as the bellwether of Arab-Islamic opinion.'
Desparmet and Jalabert, quoted in Cleveland (footnotes 77 and 78, p.
111).


36. Al-Zawi (1970, p. 191). When Fahmi al-Hussieni declared his
intentions to name one of largest streets in Gaza after al-Mukhtar,
the Italian Consulate in Jerusalem prompted a meeting between the
British Governor of Gaza and al-Hussieni. The Mayor of Gaza wrote a
letter to the British Governor saying 'Every city has a feeling, and
every municipality of a city has the right to reflect this feeling.
Just as the Municipality of Tel Aviv has the right to commemorate
Hertzl and Belford (), the Municipality of Gaza has the right to
commemorate a figure who is widely loved and respected among the
people of Gaza. If the memory of al-Mukhtar is insulting Italy that
is because of what Italy has committed and not the Municipality of
Gaza. Therefore, I believe that the Italian objection is not
appropriate. 20th of Ramadan 1350, Fahmi al-Hussieni, the Mayor of
Gaza City.'


37. Nassar.


38. Cleveland (p. 11). Shakib Arlsan had with Shawqi 'one of the
deepest friendships among the cultural elite'. (There are many
quotations that support this thesis in Cleveland.)


39. From the translation of Evans-Pritchard, cf. 'translation of an
Elegy by Ahmad Shauqi Bey on the occasion of the execution of
Sidi 'Umar al-Mukhtar al-Minifi', Arab World, February 1949.


40. Cf. the forthcoming work of Hala Khamis Nassar. For more poetry
dedicated to al-Mukhtar's memory, also refer to Omar al-Mukhtar fi
al-Tarikh wa al-Adab wa - fi-Uyun al-Shurara (Omar al-Mukhtar in
history, literature and in the eyes of poets, 1999). Al-Huda Press,
Cairo.


41. For the relevance of the movie to the public, cf. The Boston
Globe, 15 April 2005, where it is argued that the movie can be found
on every market in the Arab world. According to the paper, it is
enjoying a second life because it recreates an imperialist campaign
carried out in the grand manner. Other sources indicate that Omar al-
Mukhtar has become the 'TV face of the Iraqi insurgency'. 'The face
of actor Anthony Quinn, bearded and in Bedouin dress, looms into
view. Cut from a hugely popular 1980s film, the clip is instantly
recognisable to an Arab audience. He is playing Omar al-Mukhtar, a
desert folk hero who fought against the Italian occupation of
Libya. "We will not give up", he says. "We will win or die." A
jingle starts up and the picture fades, leaving a slogan: "Al-
Zawraa - Victory or Death!" This is the TV face of the Iraqi
insurgency, a 24-hour satellite channel that beams grisly footage
glorifying car bombings, mortar strikes and sniper attacks to
millions of homes in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.' The Irish
Times, 17 February 2007.


42. Boullata (2001).


43. Hudayri (2000a).


44. Hudayri (2000a, pp. 15, 34).


45. Department of State (2006).


46. Reference to Moghadam in Pedahzur (2006, pp. 13-23). This a
presuppose the narrow definition for expediency. A broader
definition, which assumes a time lag between the act of killing and
dying, could possibly allow for false negatives.


47. MIPT website, accessed 11 April 2006. Also, although they did
not penetrate the base's perimeter, the attackers wounded two women
before withdrawing. Available information strongly links Libya to
the attack, which was undoubtedly undertaken in retaliation for UK
support of the US April air strikes. It was claimed the base at
Akrotiri had been used by US aircraft involved in the raid.


48. The Washington Post, 3 November 1986. In a later article,
acknowledging lasting disagreements among intelligence analysts, it
is mentioned among the 10 main terrorist groups operating in Lebanon
and it is claimed that the Arab Revolutionary Cells or Omar Mukhtar
Brigades or Revolutionary Commando Cells are one and the same. The
Washington Post, 8 August 1989.


49. In the Lebanon hostage crisis, the last release was that of
journalist Terry Anderson, after seven years in captivity. Cf. his
account in Den of lions (1993).


50. 'Frank Herbert Reed, a director of a privately owned school
here, and Joseph James Cicippio, comptroller of the American
University and its hospital. A group calling itself the Arab
Revolutionary Cells - Omar al-Mukhtar Forces said it had kidnapped
the pair. The group is believed to be linked to the Palestinian
figure known as Abu Nidal.' The New York Times, 17 September 1986.


51. Authorities in Lebanon found the bodies of the three Britons in
Druze-controlled mountains about 10 miles southeast of Beirut. A man
called the Christian Voice of Lebanon radio station and said: 'We
are the June 23 Unit of the Omar al-Mukhtar Forces. We carried out
the attack this morning in retaliation for (Britain's) support to
the U.S. in the attack against Libya.'


52. For an interesting discussion, cf. Davis (1990).


53. Many of the attacks claimed by this group were actually carried
out by members of the Tanzim, although Hamas has claimed that this
group is in fact comprised of members of Hamas's Izz al-Din al-
Qassam Brigades, operating under a different name in order to avoid
investigation and prosecution. http://www.tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID
= 277 (accessed 11 April 2006).


54. '() and not to Fatah-Intifadah. He explained how and why the
movement's military wing started to use this name for its
operations, rather than the more familiar name, "Al-Qassam
Brigades" '.


55. http://www.ict.org.il/articles/cooperative_terrorism.htm


56. Reuters News, 'Radical Palestinian group claims Gaza attack', 23
November 2000.


57. http://www.ict.org.il/articles/cooperative_terrorism.htm


58. Cf. Alexander (2003). AFP (12 July 2001) mentions the Forces
Omar al-Mukhtar as part of Fatah-Intifada's military branch of al-
Asifa (a spin-off from the Fatah faction of Yasser Arafat).


59. http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2001
(accessed in April 2006).


60. See Table 1. 'Salah al-Din al-Ayubi Brigades Issue Statement 77,
claim attacks on US forces', 20 October 2006, Jihadist Websites -
OSC Report, available through World News Connection.


61. Communication with Peter Bergen, May-June 2006.


62. For a definition, refer to Habeck (2006).


63. Technological costs in Kalyvas and Sanchez-Cuenca (Kalyvas and
Sanchez-Cuenca in Gambetta 2005, p. 225). Suicide attacks are a
strategic choice, based on cost-benefit calculations by weak groups
with limited resources seeking to wage war against formidable
opponents (cf. Hafez 2006, p. 25). The cost is furthermore human -
the availability of individuals. In this sense, the smaller the
organisation, the lower is the likelihood that suicide missions
would be adopted, either because the pool of possible members is
small or the cost of recruitment is high.


64. See the reference to Hussein on this point.


65. Cf. Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983), which shows how the repudiation
of foreign cultures and legacies led Ngugi, in the Kenyan
context, 'to embrace the tradition of Kenyan popular resistance to
colonialism' (p. 262). The term 'invented tradition' is meant to
include 'both traditions actually invented, constructed and formally
instituted and those emerging in a less easily traceable manner
within a brief and dateable period - a matter of a few years
perhaps - and establishing themselves with great rapidity'. Cf.
Hobsbawm (1983).

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