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Zawahiri, Nasrallah, and exportable services

Mashari al-Thaydi

Published: Updated:

The techniques and weapons of terrorism have become a tradeable, exportable “merchandise” even among those of different creeds; a global merchandise, like any other, that knows no religious or racial discrimination.

Yesterday, in a televised speech to his followers in Beirut’s southern suburb, Lebanon’s Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah has been producing drones in Lebanon and is ready to sell them to “whoever wants to buy them.” With a threatening, show-of-force tone, Nasrallah said: “We now have the capability of turning thousands of our rockets to precision missiles. We began production years ago. The Israelis can look all they want for our missiles’ location, but they must know we do not store them all in one place; we disperse them.”

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Before delving into the significance of this statement, let us, once again, reaffirm an already evident concept, which is the striking resemblance between all the makers and leaders of transnational groups and militias that have no regard for the intuitive concept of states.

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri had walked in the footsteps of Nasrallah, or, shall we say, Nasrallah has walked in al-Zawahiri’s footsteps. It makes little difference, anyway. In an old recording, al-Zawahiri, brazenly boasting a white “ghutra,” a headdress traditional to Gulf countries, said that al-Qaeda and all jihadists are willing to assist all those who request their services, including non-Muslims. Sure enough, his words were not as explicit, since he engulfed them in the necessary hadiths, verses, and usual inflammatory language, such as: “We must support all those who fight the slaves of America and Zionists.” In short, he justified and legitimized support from al-Qaeda and its groups to all those who ask for their help –and even those who don’t; al-Qaeda is willing to volunteer its services– be they Muslim or infidels.

So, what is the difference between Nasrallah’s exportable services and al-Zawahiri’s?

This question inevitably leads to a bigger question: to what extent are these stances based on religious ideology and true faith? And to what extent are they motivated by political “manipulation,” intelligence collaboration, smuggling and arms trade cartel operations, and international terrorist service offerings?

The infamous Palestinian Abu Nidal terrorist organization founded by Sabri al-Banna had started out as a “militant” organization in the Palestinian revolution, but later became a mere contract killer for regimes and intelligence agencies.

In conclusion, we must delve beyond the ostensible religious ideals in the calls of these groups, for in the hidden depths of their claims lies the naked truth.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

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