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<nettime> Re: Islamic Jihad, what is next?
Brian Holmes on Sat, 15 Sep 2001 02:55:35 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: Islamic Jihad, what is next?

>From my perspective, Felipe Rodriguez has written the first useful
reflection on the terrorism in New York and Washington.

Felipe, your text was written quickly, but you seem to know a lot. I have a
few questions, for you and anyone with answers:

Why do you say this global ideological and religious conflict begins with
the Gulf War, and not the Iranian revolution? Beyond the obvious facts that
the "Afghan" terrorists only emerged after the end of the rising against
the Soviets, and that the installation of the US military base in Saudi
came shortly thereafter, is there a regional or historical difference at
work - for instance, a specifically Sunnite aspect to the ideology you

Could you expand on your statement that "a growing group of Islamic
scholars and activists feel that... most Muslim nations are victims of
neo-colonialist exploitation by the capitalist western world?" Who believes
that, and where do they make their opinions known? How do they analyze this
neocolonialist, capitalist exploitation? To what extent is their analysis
similar to the neo-Marxist critique of globalization developing
particularly since 1994, and to what extent different?

Your prescription for facing this situation runs directly opposite to the
reasoning of someone like Robert Kagan, ironically of the "Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace," who wrote in Le Monde and the
Washington Post that, just like after Pearl Harbour, the US should now
ignore all those who say it somehow had a hand in creating the conditions
for the attacks, it should not seek to resolve any mysteries, but instead
retaliate massively and victoriously, against one or several countries if
need be.

I agree with your view, that the only middle and long-term solution to a
conflict waged via small, mobile terrorist networks, is to alleviate the
causes of anger and despair in the Islamic world, i.e. the conditions that
support such suicidal networks. Do you think that this issue can be
addressed with the existing critique of corporate and financial
globalization? Doesn't this attack demand a new, more complex articulation
of that critique? Do you think that anxiety about a possible long-term
conflict, along with police-state measures, could be a new reason for
people to ask for a change in all-out "free trade" and neoliberalism?

A finer point: Do you think there's anything to be gained politically from
precise demonstrations of the way that US support of anti-Soviet warfare in
Afghanistan, then of anti-Iranian warfare in Iraq, has in both cases turned
back around on the US itself?

And more generally, for anyone involved in the recent protest movements:
Doesn't this attack make it clear that we now need to distance ourselves
from every kind of violence, while inquiring more precisely into the
origins of the violence, and denouncing its inevitability under the current
world economic and political system?

Again, thanks for a very useful piece,

Brian Holmes

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