By Giancarlo Elia Valori*
The attack perpetrated in Manchester on May 23 last is a turning point for the Daesh-Isis war in Europe and, in the future, in the rest of the Mediterranean. We must focus our attention on two factors, in particular: firstly, the attack on the Manchester Arena is the first terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated by a Libyan jihadist, although born in Great Britain in 1994 from parents opposed to Gaddafi’s regime.
The generation of millennials, to which the Manchester terrorist partially belongs, is the generation in which so far the largest number of boys (and girls) ready for the “martyrdom” fi sabil Allah (on the way to Allah) have been found.
If you think about it, this is obvious.
The young people born after the end of the Cold War are tabulae rasae; they have been raised up in schools, in families, and especially on the media – and so much so on the web – to be manipulated as quickly as the way in which styles, trends, symbols and jobs change.
They have no identity so as to adhere to the gig economy, the “gigonomics” or “micro-job economy” theorized by many American and European gurus and so-called economists. They have no memory so as to be adaptable to new consumption styles and trends, without too much advertising effort. They have no history so as to be transferable and interchangeable, in the future, in the new large spaces of the geoeconomics that will be created by mass poverty.
The first clue to study is the following: the Daesh-Isis jihadist myth is both the substitute and the opposite of this postmodern passive revolution – in Gramsci’s sense of the term – with which the global ruling classes in the West accept and even stimulate the worst behaviours of masses so as to later use them in their favour.
While some years ago the “two-thirds” society was theorized, in which the “affluent” two thirds abandoned the poor third to its destiny, today we have the “three thirds” society: a very small walk of society getting increasingly rich; a third of middle class divided between new poor and members of the establishment; a huge mass of old and new poor abandoned to their destiny.
Currently politicians protect the rich and gives them the spoils of the middle class that is close to its end. They tell the poor to go to hell by creating for them a mythical and media-like Disneyland distracting them from their condition and destiny.
Hence the Caliphate myth against Western uprootedness; the obsession of a faked identity against the destruction of identity; the mnemonic and silly – but far too strong – jihad doctrinarism against the Western “weak thinking”.
Finally, against the infinite present of Euro-American consumption, the jihadist myth of the “near-end times” of the Sunni Mahdism which, by no mere coincidence, was the first political and military goal to be destroyed by the Ottomans’ Caliphate, namely the true one.
Therefore, while there is persistent economic crisis in our “extreme West”, savings are made on processes and products and hence the labour costs and the number of workers are reduced. Workers are scarcely paid, they are delocalized and hence a great amusement park is built for them until old age.
Resuming a Marxist analysis model, which is often not useless, the myth of the Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate is also the great identitarian and even professional myth of many uprooted and marginalized young people in the outskirts of our cities.
As proletarians and bad guys went to Fiume as volunteers with Commander D’Annunzio, proletarians and petty criminals consider themselves blameless and recreate a mythical, warlike, ennobling and inspiring identity – and with a salary.
A Western amusement park for the poor in which you survive only if you accept to remain poor and devoid of identity, at the same time – the identity which is provided, as a substitute, exactly by the jihad of the new Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate.
This reminds us of the terrible and enlightened Nietzsche of the Posthumous Fragments, when he imagined our times as an immense mass of “Chinese” on which the “soothing oil” is poured, thus making them go on – like “soma”, the acceptable hallucinogenic drug of Orwell’s 1984.
No longer religion as the “opium of the people”, but the myth of desiring desire, of the instinctive matter, of the immediate and irrational fulfilment and satisfaction.
It is no coincidence that in all the propaganda dedicated to Daesh and Al Qaeda’s youth, as well as in magazines and online material, the focal point is the end times and the urgency of conversion to Islam, before it is too late – a conversion to be carried out also and above all with the sword jihad.
The second more strategic factor to be studied is that – given the scarce presence of the Caliphate’s jihadists in Raqqa and Mosul during and after the evacuation following the victory of the Syrian forces of Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies – we can only infer that many Daesh militants fled before the Caliphate’s fall into those regions and retreated behind the lines so as to quickly spread to Europe and other areas of our “extreme West”, probably protected by tribes such as Zu-bi and al-Masalmeh that participated in the initial uprisings against Bashar el Assad.
What we generally call “terrorism” is primarily an instrument of psychological war, considering that it is terror – and the most brutal one, in particular – to indefinitely block the enemy’s reactions, our reactions.
It was Genghis Khan’s tactic and now it is the primary instrument of the jihad presence in the “enemy” territory, in our territory.
After terror, there comes the sequence of other war actions, all linked to the primacy of a well-known Islamic psywar technique: the systematic deception of the enemy, namely us.
Taqyya – namely the lawful deception, a sort of “honest dissimulation”, just to use the title of Torquato Accetto’ book of 1641, which Croce brought back to fame – has sound Qur’anic foundations.
The basic criterion for understanding the issue is the one found in Al Tabari’s commentary of Qur’an verse 3:28, which reads as follows: “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Auliya (friends, supporters) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger for them. And Allah warns you against Himself (His Punishment), and to Allah is the final return. ”
Al Tabari’s commentary on this Qur’anic verse is enlightening and vey topical: “Let not believers take disbelievers as friends and allies rather than believers. Whoever does that has nothing to do with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence, obeying them if they are in power but always preserving animosity towards the infidels.”
Hence the theory of deception and later – as first stage of the jihadist clash – the terror which blocks the infidels’ reaction for the desired time – and the more terrifying the better.
Then, in sequence, the other techniques of psychological and material war, which always go hand in hand in the Islamic universe.
Furthermore, the Qur’anic doctrine of war is linked to two psychological and political characteristics: the recognition of the possible “repression” made by infidels against the Islamic community seen as a whole – just as it happened at the beginning of Muhammad’s preaching by the Mecca’s Quraysh enemies – and the absolute right of Islam to its universal expansion – and its being peaceful or not only depends on the “infidels”.
A theory of war which is both victimist and arrogant at the same time .
In fact, in recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has always repeated that “Europe will be conquered peacefully” and hence the sword jihad is not needed.
Is it Taqyya? Certainly so, but rather Western stupidity and myth of the so-called “multiculturalism”.
It is worth recalling that there are as many as 40 major Islamic texts on war and its techniques, written in the period between the 8th and the 15th century AD.
Without a philosophy of war you cannot understand Islam, not even the so-called “moderate” Islam.
The jihad techniques, however, are Qital, “fighting” or even “killing”, witnessed in the Qur’an since its first Mecca’s Surahs; Ghazw, namely the direct fight or raids for expanding the territory subject to Islam; Siriya, namely the fight ordered by the Prophet or by one of his successors, but not directly led by Muhammad or by Islamic people; Baatha, a mission or expedition which can be diplomatic, but does not rule out the armed clash.
Terror, at first, and then the sequence of these techniques – obviously modernized.
Furthermore, in the Qur’anic texts of the Wahhabi tradition, there is a final chapter on jihad – which is not the case in other interpretative traditions.
Moreover, in the Wahhabi world, which is at the origin of contemporary jihad, also the verses prohibiting suicide (195 of Al Baraqah, Al Nisa’29-30) are not considered, besides translating as a vital and generic obligation the fact of “giving” (even life) fi sabil Allah, “on the way to Allah” – a “giving” that was previously referred specifically to the tax to be collected by the “infidels”.
Hence, to recap, now the Caliphate’s network will soon extend to Europe and will start to spread terror, so as to later use normal warfare techniques, but always according to the sequence we have seen above.
We should not forget that the first great battles of Prophet Muhammad were all against Medina’s Jewish tribes – and this is an essential factor.
The final clash will be between Judaism and Islam – the clash for the End Times – and Christianity is “infidel” because it derives from Judaism and accepts Jesus, the Mediator and Risen Christ, not as a Prophet (which would also apply to the Qur’an), but as Filius Dei and Deus.
If there is an Israeli reaction against one single Muslim, as was the case with Osama Bin Laden, it can be inferred – on the basis of the theology that Ibn Taymiya developed against Tartar Islam – that the jihad can be declared.
Also other theologians of the Islamic war infer that the mere existence of the State of Israel can justify the jihad. All the wars between Jews and Palestinians, secular and non-secular Arab countries, jihadist Islam and the Jewish State were exactly a jihad, ending only with the victory of believers and the arrival of “End Times” – another eschatological and military factor at the same time.
Islam clearly perceives that the current West does no longer want and possess eschatòn.
It wants and possesses the recurring cycle of births and deaths, which will continue to recur in a similar form – the Nietzschean Eternal Return or Recurrence.
However relegated to an increasingly reduced consumption cycle.
The carnivalesque, materialistic and satanic vision of the Cycle that Nietzsche had in Sils Maria.
But what is eschatòn? It is the neutral form of the Greek word “end”. End Times.
For us “infidels”, initially the theme is that of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.
Conversely, the katechòn about which Saint Paul speaks is precisely the Antichrist.
It holds the Evil because it is held back by the Saint who is partially present in the world; it prevents it from being seen, it keeps time still. It masks, tames and stabilizes it. And it cannot do evil in all its power.
It is on its relationship with the Evil, in its temporary “holding and standing still” – as Carl Schmitt maintained – that the West bases Politics, with the “social contract” and the previous Hobbes’ bellum omnium contra omnes, whose king becomes the only one who can do evil to defend his subjects’ lives, property and freedom.
It is the beginning of dialectics.
Macbeth, the protagonist of Shakespeare’s tragedy, rose to power and lost it due to the same and only witchcraft of the three witches, who predicted he would lose everything when the “walking forest” came against him – an apparent paradox.
Katèkhon does not lead to eschatòn.
In the first Letter to the Corinthians Saint Paul maintained that, after the end of time, “we will all be changed” (15: 51).
The model is the model of resurrection narrated by Ezekiel, with the dry bones wrapped with muscles and skin coming back to life
In Saint Paul, however, faith in the Kingdom – which is still an acceptable model for an Islamic person, namely a perfect future Caliphate in universal Islam – becomes only faith in the Risen Christ, that even replaces the Kingdom.
And faith in the Risen Christ may even defer His return indefinitely; it can “contain” evil on its own and defeat the katechòn without the Fullness of Time coming.
As we can see, it is in the subtleties of theological, Catholic and Islamic analysis that we can properly read the political-religious dimension of jihad and its possible cultural, strategic, and even military contrast on our part.
Moreover, if the Risen Christ does not want to reappear, instead of building his Kingdom – as the jihadist Islam believes it can do against the “sinners-infidels” (sinners insofar as infidels) – Saint Paul’s eschatòn becomes internal. The return of Christ and the end of time are secondary, because we are all in Christ, who has already resurrected.
It is the notion of pleroma, namely Christ who always fills the world with Him and brings it to Salvation within the Church, but also within mankind.
Thinking of the constant mechanism inimicus-hostis, personal enemy- public enemy, which – as already seen – characterizes the practice and the doctrine of jihad, we cannot fail to note the radical nature of the separation between the West, founded by the Judeo-Christian theology, and Islam.
The Catholic theology is a specific theory of the End Times, but of parusia, namely the Fullness of the Spirit, which has to face the Islamic theology of the End Times, which is a doctrine of the war to which, afterwards, Allah responds by destroying this phase of the visible world.
In this regard it is important to reflect upon the Qur’anic verse stating that “Allah is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. If he wishes, he could destroy you and bring about another creation” (Al Fatir, 16).
This means that, without any mediation, our universe will be destroyed and later Allah, if He so wishes, will create another one we cannot even imagine. He will bring us back to life and will separate the souls going to Hell and those going to Paradise.
There is no possibility in Islam to stop the katechòn. Everything happens inside Allah and not even the elimination of all “infidels” is a harbinger of the end of time, but only one of its preconditions.
Hence the nihilism of current jihadists – to use our historical-political notions and definitions: they know they only have to destroy the world of infidels, and later Allah only – without any sign – will recreate a new one.
A kind of nihilism which, apart from its theological foundations, reminds us much of the Russian nihilism of the mid-19th century. However, it also reminds us of the nihilism of the so-called millennials, who put their bodies to test, climb up to the top of skyscrapers, attempt suicide and are violent without a cause.
Certainly this is an action of the Enemy that, in Islamic theology, Allah creates from “smokeless fire” and is expelled from the Grace of God when he refuses to pay tribute to Man, created by Allah with clay and not with fire, without using fire.
The devil will die at the end of time after having deceived mankind – but this is his task.
Nevertheless it is precisely mankind who is the sole enemy of Iblis, the devil; Allah cannot obviously be his enemy.
It has always been above the enemy – and here lies the ambiguity of Islam about Evil, an unresolved theology according to which what is evil for us may appear to Allah in a different way.
These are probably remnants of gnosticism in Islamic theology while, in Catholic theology, Jesus, the Risen Christ, is already the Lord of History and has already defeated the devil.
The devil who is Man’s enemy, but also enemy of God’s designs.
However, it is exactly the ritual of violence that sometimes imitates the Satanist death rituals so widespread among Western youth, which creates the terrorist specific death ritual shaping the deep identity of Islamic jihadists.
For Daesh-Isis militants, participating in the materialization of Evil, which will destroy this unfaithful world, is a gnostic way of “calling God” after the end of this world.
We always revert to the game of the reverse and the opposite about which we have previously spoken.
Polytheistic gnosticism in the West, gnosticism of the One to be called int0 History for the Islamic jihad.
It is also worth noting how the Daesh-Isis use of the web is obviously for propaganda purposes, but it is also identitarian and often overlapping with the advertising or political mechanisms (assuming that there is a difference today) with which the Web is used in the West.
I do not want to reiterate the usual trivial platitude of those who say that Isis videos are “well-done” or that the communication of the two Caliphate’s magazines, namely Dabiq and Rumiyah, seems to be developed by excellent professionals who know the Western media rules.
Quite the reverse. I wish to say that the Western political mix – namely the “idea-platform-specialists” that made Obama, Trump and Macron rise to power and made Brexit possible, and will keep on doing harm in the future – is currently the same paradigm of Daesh- Isis.
Barack Obama used the VoteBuilder platform that enabled him to collect 72 million US dollars in tiny donations, but above all enabled him to know the tastes, trends, preferences and idiosyncrasies of a huge mass of his potential voters.
Conversely, Donald Trump used his ProjectAlamo platform, which identified potential voters through the LookalikeAudiencies software, measuring also the efficacy of advertising with the BrandLift system.
Cambridge Analytics’s planned Brexit at communication and political levels (which is currently the same thing).
On the contrary, Daesh-Isis uses its social media or traditional networks especially to urge a response from its users.
It is very likely for the Caliphate – especially now that it is moving to Europe and probably in the United States – to use platforms that are very similar to those of the West, with a view to tracking news, data, areas of possible protection-flanking and new militants, in addition to information about the “infidel” enemy.
The Caliphate’s communications are often included – by pre-selected audiences – in the most popular Arab news websites, such as Al Ahram. In the social media fora, indicators increasingly appear for collecting messages according to the various entries: shar’ia, militancy, news from the Caliphate, Qur’an interpretations, etc.
It is certainly possible to obscure and create networks tracking this mass of jihadist big data simultaneously, but it is also worth recalling the cultural, theological and political postulates we mentioned earlier.
About the author:
*Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “La Centrale Finanziaria Generale Spa”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group and member of the Ayan-Holding Board. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title of “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France.
This article was published by Modern Diplomacy