Gjesteskribent

Laurent Murawiec er professor ved Hudson Institute. Han har nylig utgitt boken The Mind of Jihad, som er en meget skarp analyse av den moderne jihadismen. For å gi et inntrykk av hans tanker presenterer vi en artikkel fra 2006, der noen av de samme tankene som i boken, uttrykkes.

av Laurent Murawiec

Deterrence works because one is able credibly to threaten the center of gravity of the enemy: the threat of inflicting unacceptable losses upon him, whether in a bar brawl or in nuclear escalation. The calculus deterrence relies upon is: is it worth it? Is the Price/Earning Ratio of the contemplated action so hugely negative that it would wipe out the capital? Deterrence works if the price to be paid by the party to be deterred hugely exceeds his expected earnings. But deterrence only works if the enemy is able and willing to enter the same calculus. If the enemy plays by other rules and calculates by other means, he will not be deterred.

There was nothing the Philistines could have done to deter Samson. If the calculus is: I exchange my worthless earthly life against the triumph of Allah on earth, and an eternity of bliss for me, if the enemy wishes to be dead, if to him the Apocalypse is desirable, he will not be deterred.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the Mayor of Tehran, he insistently proposed that the main thoroughfares of Tehran should be widened so that, he explained, on the day of his reappearance, the Hidden Imam, Mohamed ibn Hassan, who went into the great occultation in 941 AD could tread spacious avenues. More recently, he told the Indian Foreign Minister that «in two years, everything will be settled,» which the visiting dignitary at first mistook to mean that Iran expected to possess nuclear weapons in two years; he was later bemused to learn what Ahmadinejad had meant, to wit, that the Mahdi would appear in two years, at which points all worldly problems would disappear.

This attitude, truly, is not new, nor should it surprise us: religious notions and their estranged cousins, ideological representations, determine not only their believers’ beliefs but also their believers’ actions. Reality, as it were, is invaded by belief, and belief in turn shapes the believer’s reality. The difference between the religious and the ideologically religious is this: the religious believer accepts that reality is a given, whereas the fanatic gambles everything on a pseudo-reality of what ought to be. The religious believer accepts reality and works at improving it, the fanatic rejects reality, refuses to pass any compromise with it and tries to destroy it and replace it with his fantasy.

As Pat Moynihan memorably told an opponent, «you are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to your facts.» Ahmadjinedi inhabits his beliefs rather than the common earth. With him we do not share the same facts, even though we share a planet. The sharing takes the form of bombs and bullets.

Ahmadjinedi wants to hasten the reappearance of the Hidden Imam, whose coming, in traditional Muslim, and especially Shiite, apocalyptics, will be the Sign of the Hour, that the End of Days is nigh. Ahmadinejad’s politics cannot be labelled ‘radical,’ as opposed to ‘moderate.’ His politics are apocalyptic and eschatological. Its vanishing point is not earthly but otherworldly. Famously Ayatollah Khomeini said: «We have not made a revolution to lower the price of melon.» The task of the Mahdi, when he reappears, will be to lead the great and final war which will bring about the extermination of the Unbelievers, the end of Unbelief and the complete dominion of God’s writ upon the whole of mankind. The Umma will inflate to absorb the rest of the world.

The politics carried out by the complex in power in Tehran — Ahmadinejad, the Pasdaran, the Basiji, the ministry of Intelligence, Supreme Guide Khamenei — is apocalyptic and millenarian — but it also is autistic: in the world, nothing that contravenes their perverted sense of what is and what ought to be, may be allowed to exist; conversely, anything in the world that contradicts their representations must be eradicated: the only things allowed to exist are their representations.

In their revolt against the Order of the world, they are determined to impose upon that world an Order that is incompatible with most institutions and people. They are disposed to destroy a world that refuses their dawa, as it stubbornly clings to its own ways, in order to make way for their fanciful views.

DETERRING THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY DEAD?