Axis of Resistance: from Donbass to Gaza

The resistance in Donbas and Gaza share an essential common vision: overthrowing the unipolar hegemon that has quashed their national aspirations.

During my recent vertiginous journey in Donbass tracking Orthodox Christian battalions defending their land, Novorossiya, it became starkly evident that the resistance in these newly liberated Russian republics is fighting much the same battle as their counterparts in West Asia.

Nearly 10 years after Maidan in Kiev, and two years after the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, the resolve of the resistance has only deepened.

It’s impossible to do full justice to the strength, resilience, and faith of the people of Donbass, who stand on the front line of a US proxy war against Russia. The battle they have been fighting since 2014 has now visibly shed its cover and revealed itself to be, at its core, a cosmic war of the collective West against Russian civilization.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin made very clear during his Tucker Carlson interview seen by one billion people worldwide, Ukraine is part of Russian civilization – even if it is not part of the Russian Federation. So shelling ethnic Russian civilians in Donbass – still ongoing – translates as attacks on Russia.

He shares the same reasoning as Yemen’s Ansarallah resistance movement, which describes the Israeli genocide in Gaza as one launched against “our people”: people of the lands of Islam.

Just as the rich black soil of Novorossiya is where the “rules-based international order” came to die; the Gaza Strip in West Asia – an ancestral land, Palestine – may ultimately be the site where Zionism will perish. Both the rules-based order and Zionism, after all, are essential constructs of the western unipolar world and key to advancing its global economic and military interests.

Today’s incandescent geopolitical fault lines are already configured: the collective west versus Islam, the collective west versus Russia, and soon a substantial part of the west, even reluctantly, versus China.

Yet a serious counterpunch is at play.

As much as the Axis of Resistance in West Asia will keep boosting their “swarm” strategy, those Orthodox Christian battalions in Donbass cannot but be regarded as the vanguard of the Slavic Axis of Resistance.

When mentioning this Shia–Orthodox Christianity connection to two top commanders in Donetsk, only 2 kilometers away from the front line, they smiled, bemused, but definitely got the message.

After all, more than anyone else in Europe, these soldiers are able to grasp this unifying theme: on the two top imperial fronts – Donbass and West Asia – the crisis of the western hegemon is deepening and fast accelerating collapse.

NATO’s cosmic humiliation-in-progress in the steppes of Novorossiya is mirrored by the Anglo–American–Zionist combo sleepwalking into a larger conflagration throughout West Asia – frantically insisting they don’t want war while bombing every Axis of Resistance vector except Iran (they can’t, because the Pentagon gamed all scenarios, and they all spell out doom).

Scratch the veneer of who’s in power in Kiev and Tel Aviv, and who pulls their strings, and you will find the same puppet masters controlling Ukraine, Israel, the US, the UK, and nearly all NATO members.

Lavrov: ‘No perspectives’ on Israel–Palestine

Russia’s role in West Asia is quite complex – and nuanced. On the surface, Moscow’s corridors of power make it very clear that Israel–Palestine “is not our war: Our war is in Ukraine.”

At the same time, the Kremlin continues to advance itself as a mediator and trusted peacemaker in West Asia. Russia is perhaps uniquely situated for that role – it is a major global power, highly vested in the region’s energy politics, a leader of the world’s emerging economic and security institutions, and enjoys robust relations with all key regional states.

A multipolar Russia – with its large population of moderate Muslims – instinctively connects with the plight of the Palestinians. Then there’s the BRICS+ factor, where the current Russian presidency can draw full attention from new members Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt to advance fresh solutions to the Palestine conundrum.

This week in Moscow, at the 13th Middle East Conference of the Valdai Club, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went straight to the point, stressing cause, the Hegemon’s policies; and effect, pushing Israel–Palestine toward catastrophe.

He played the role of Peacemaker Russia: we are proposing “holding an inter-Palestinian meeting to overcome internal divisions.” And he also delivered the face of Realpolitik Russia: There are “no perspectives for an Israel–Palestine settlement at the moment.”

A detailed Valdai report opened a crucial window for understanding the Russian position, which links Gaza and Yemen as “epicenters of pain.”

For context, it is important to remember that late last month, Putin’s special representative for West Asian affairs, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs ML Bogdanov, received an Ansarallah delegation in Moscow led by Mohammed Abdelsalam.

Diplomatic sources confirm they talked in-depth about everything: the fate of a comprehensive settlement for the military-political crisis in Yemen, Gaza, and the Red Sea. No wonder Washington and London lost their marbles.

‘Disappearing the Palestine question’

Arguably, the most critical round table at Valdai was on Palestine – and how to unify the Palestinians.

Nasser al-Kidwa, a member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) and former minister of foreign affairs of the Palestinian Authority (PA) (2005–2006), stressed Israel’s three strategic positions, all of which are aimed at maintaining a dangerous status quo:

First, Tel Aviv seeks to maintain the split between Gaza and the occupied West Bank. Second, per Kidwa, is to “weaken and strengthen one or the other, preventing national leadership, using force and only force to suppress Palestinian national rights and prevent a political solution.”

Third on Israel’s agenda is to actively pursue normalization with a number of Arab countries without dealing with the Palestinian issue, that is, “disappearing the Palestinian question.”

Kidwa then stressed the “demise” of these three strategic positions – essentially because Netanyahu is trying to prolong the war “to save himself” – which leads to other likely outcomes: a new Israeli government; a new Palestinian leadership, “whether we like it or not”; and a new Hamas.

Implied then are four vast fields of discussion, according to Kidwa: the state of Palestine; Gaza and the Israeli withdrawal; changing the Palestinian situation, a process that should be domestic-based, “peaceful,” and harboring “no revenge”; and the overall mechanism ahead.

What is clear, says Kidwa, is that there will be no “two-state solution” in the offing. It will be back to the very basics, which is affirming “the right of national independence for Palestine” – an issue already ostensibly agreed on three decades ago in Oslo.

On the mechanism ahead, Kidwa makes no bones about the fact that “the Quartet is dysfunctional.” He pins his hopes on the Spanish idea, endorsed by the EU, “that we modified.” It is, broadly, an international peace conference in several rounds based on the situation on the ground in Gaza.

That will imply several rounds, “with a new Israeli government,” forced to develop a “peace framework.” The end result must be the minimum acceptable to the international community, based on UNSC resolutions galore: 1967 borders, mutual recognition, and a specific timeline, which could be 2027. And crucially, it must establish “commitments respected from the beginning,” something the Oslo crowd couldn’t possibly fathom.

It is fairly obvious that none of the above will be possible under Netanyahu and the current dysfunctional White House.

But Kidwa also admits that on the Palestinian side, “we don’t have a maestro that puts these elements together, Gaza and West Bank together.” This, of course, is a strategic policy success of the Israelis, who have long toiled to keep the two Palestinian territories at odds and have assassinated any Palestinian leader able to surmount the divide.

At Valdai, Amal Abou Zeid, an advisor to the former Lebanese president General Michel Aoun (2016–2022), noted that “as much as the war in Ukraine, the Gaza war disrupted the foundations of the regional order.”

The previous order was “economic-centric, as the pathway to stability.” Then came Hamas’ 7 October operation against Israel, which triggered a radical transformation. It “suspended the normalization between Israel and the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia,” and revived the political resolution of the Palestine crisis. “Without such a resolution,” Zeid stressed, the threat to stability is “regional and global.”

So we’re back to the coexistence of two states along the 1967 borders – the impossible dream. Zeid, though, is correct that without closing the Palestinian chapter, it’s “unattainable for the Europeans to have normal relations with Mediterranean nations. The EU must advance the peace process.”

No one, from West Asia to Russia, is holding their breath, especially as “Israel extremism prevails,” the PA has a “leadership vacuum,” and there’s an “absence of American mediation.”

Old ideas vs new players

Zaid Eyadat, director of the Center for Strategic Studies at The University of Jordan, tried to adopt a contrarian “rationalist perspective.” There are “new dynamics” at play, he argued, saying “the war is much bigger than Hamas and beyond Gaza.”

But Eyadat’s outlook is bleak. “Israel is winning,” he insists, contradicting the region’s entire Axis of Resistance and even the Arab street.

Eyadat makes the point that “the Palestinian question is back on the stage – but without the desire for a comprehensive solution. So Palestinians will lose.”

Why? Because of a “bankruptcy of ideas.” As in “how to transform something from untenable to more reasonable.” And it is the “rules-based order” which is at the heart of this “moral deficit.”

These are the kinds of yesteryear statements that are at odds with today’s resistance-minded, mutlipolar visionaries. While Eyadat frets about Israel and Iran competition, an extremist and uncontrolled Tel Aviv, splits between Hamas and the PA, and the US pursuing its own interests, what’s missing in this analysis is the ground arena and the surge in multipolarism globally.

The Axis of Resistance “swarm” in West Asia has barely started and still carries a slew of military and economic cards yet to come into play. The Slavic Axis of Resistance has been fighting nonstop for two years – and only now are they starting to glimpse a possible light, linked to the fall of Adveevka, at the end of the (muddy) tunnel.

The resistance war is a global one, played out – so far – in only two battlefields. But their state supporters are formidable players on today’s global chessboard and are slowly racking up victories in their respective domains. All while the enemy, the Hegemon, is in economic free-fall, lacks domestic mandates for its wars, and offers zero solutions.

Whether in the muddy black soil of Donbass, the Mediterranean shores of Gaza, or the world’s essential shipping waterways, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hashd al-Shaabi, and Ansarallah will take all the time they need to turn “epicenters of pain” into “epicenters of hope.”

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