September 30, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8950

Senior Palestinian-British Journalist: The Taliban Showed That Terror Attacks Are The Way To Defeat The West; The Israel-Bahrain-UAE Agreements May Turn The Palestinians Back To This Path

September 30, 2020
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 8950

Ahead of the signing of the Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace agreements, senior Palestinian-British journalist 'Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, editor of the online pan-Arab daily, wrote that these agreements, which serve only the interests of the U.S., enrage the vast majority of Arabs. As a result, he said, they may bring the Arabs, and especially the Palestinians, back to the path of armed resistance.

Citing the opinion of the commanders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), 'Atwan argues that concessions can be won from the U.S. and Israel only by means of terror and force, for instance by hijacking planes, attacking embassies, and using other forms of armed struggle, as practiced today by the Taliban in Afghanistan and by the Houthis in Yemen.

Referring to the launch this month in Doha, Qatar of formal peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in attendance, 'Atwan stated that the Taliban, with simple military means but with great determination and steadfastness, waged uncompromising war against the American occupation. Now, he added, it seems to be "very close to victory," for it is negotiating with a superpower like the U.S. from a position of strength and forcing it to meet all its demands – so much so that Pompeo "is standing humiliated beside the group of Afghan mujahideen representing the Taliban." The Houthis in Yemen have presented a similar model, he said: using relatively simple weapons, they managed to upend the power balance and bring the war to the cities, airports and oil facilities of their enemy, who possess advanced Western-made weapons. 'Atwan concluded that the "humiliating and disgraceful state of defeat in the Arab regions," in which Arab governments rush to normalize relations with Israel, may "lead to the ultimate triumph of the models of the Taliban and the Houthis," thus restoring the Arabs' and Palestinians' national honor.

'Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan (Source:, September 14, 2020)

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"Dr. Wadia Haddad, a top commander of the Popular [Front] for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] and a comrade of PFLP leader George Habash, subscribed to the theory that the West, and Israel of course, were 'rational' – that is, tending towards 'rationalism,' 'logic,' and 'precise calculations' – and that in order to defeat them, we must be the opposite – that is, 'irrational,' and fight them in an 'opposite' way, one closer to 'madness' and 'lack of realism,' and not according to plans that are 'logical' and 'out of the box.'

"Accordingly, he [Haddad] and his comrades tended to use fighting methods and paths that the West had not considered – first and foremost hijacking planes and attacking embassies. At that time, the West called [these methods] 'terrorism.' They demonized them and their perpetrators, and unfairly pressured the PLO and offered it monetary incentives to end them, while waving [the banner of] peaceful resolution that would lead to a Palestinian state.

"I recalled this theory as I followed the current negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban in Doha, and saw Mike Pompeo, the greatest U.S. Secretary of State in history, standing humiliated beside the group of Afghan mujahideen representing the Taliban. Mullah Muhammad Nabi [Omari], a former Guantanamo detainee, was among them, and I realized that [Pompeo] didn't dare ask for him to be removed from the delegation.

"The Taliban, which many Arab 'moderates' accuse of being backward and whose commanders they refer to as the cave-dwellers of the Hindu-Kush and Tora Bora regions, has risen to become an equal opponent of the U.S. for the past 19 years, during which its [fighters] challenged the [American] occupation with their 'primitive' military means – patient, persistent, and determined to prevail, no matter the sacrifices. It now appears that they are very close to victory, as the U.S. government complies with their every demand – chief of which is the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which was toppled by the U.S. invasion [of Afghanistan] after the events of September 11, in exchange for [letting] the U.S. forces quietly withdraw [from the country].

"The Houthi Ansar Allah movement in Yemen follows a more or less similar model, and after some six years of steadfastness in the conflict with the Saudi-UAE coalition – with its advanced aircraft and weapons produced by U.S. and U.K. military industries, including F16 and F15 aircraft – the movement succeeded in upending the military balance, and moved the conflict into its opponents' cities, airports, and oil facilities. It will undoubtedly achieve what the Taliban has achieved, if not more. Who would have predicted that this movement, whose opponents ridiculed it and called its fighters the cave-dwellers of [the city of] Sa'dah, would become a serious threat to the countries of that coalition – who are drowning in wealth, whose governments have trillions of dollars in capital, and who have the West and its media on their side [?]

"The humiliating and disgraceful state of defeat in the Arab regions – in which Arab governments pounce on normalization agreements with the occupying State of Israel as other countries rush to congratulate and support them, all the while waving the flag of surrender to the West and to Israel – ... may lead to the ultimate triumph of the models of the Taliban and the Houthis. [These models] may rise in the region, emerging from the ashes of such normalization agreements and from this prostration at the feet of the enemies with nothing to show for it in return – which has so enraged the vast majority of the Arab peoples.

"Just as the Palestinian 'irrationality,' that arose from the accumulated defeats of 1948 and 1967, ultimately sparked the Palestinian cause's return to headlines across the world, I do not consider it impossible that the so-called peace agreements that are to be signed at the White House tomorrow [September 15] will lead the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians, or some of them, to return to the theory of Dr. Haddad [i.e. terrorism], one way or another, sooner or later.

"The Taliban, which [currently] negotiates [with the Afghanistan government and with U.S. participation] from a position of strength in Doha, has forced the American superpower to submit to all its demands. It achieved this because it presented the Afghans and Pashtuns, who constitute its base of support, with an alternative plan that restored their national honor and waged cruel resistance against the occupation – while another Afghan plan, adopted by [Afghanistan] President Ashraf Ghani and his rival [Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation chairman] 'Abdallah 'Abdallah, that was born from the womb of this occupation, was contrary to Afghan, Islamic, and national values and relied on American defense and funds.

"The agreements to be signed [with Israel] tomorrow [September 15] by the UAE and Bahrain may yield the opposite [of their intended result,] and may in the foreseeable future bring existential dangers and a period of instability for Israel and its new allies – not only because they [were signed] for nothing in return, but also because they serve American and Israeli interests and turn them [the signatory countries] into a front of conflict with Iran and Turkey.

"The Taliban won. This is because its leaders have no private aircraft and no luxurious four-wheel-drive vehicles, and do not wear silk shirts and ties. I say this from experience in the field. The same will go for its comrade [organization], the Ansar Allah [Houthis] in Yemen. Certainly, the next Palestinian leadership will follow the same path, one way or another, because the humiliation and disgrace have already been heaped too high."


[1], September 14, 2020.

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