How Many Muslims Still Support Terrorism?

This article summarizes a forthcoming analysis by the author under the tile Islamism, Arab Spring and the Future of Democracy: Developing a World Values Perspective, under contract at Springer Publishers, N.Y.

Sixteen years ago, on a bright and beautiful September morning in New York, Islamist terror against the West reached a new stage. The attacks, which began at 8:46 local time, killed 2,996 victims.

To equate “Muslims” with terrorism is unjust—just recall the heroic example of the Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath Safi Yousef Al-Kasasbeh, who, on January 3, 2015, was burnt alive by ISIS after his F-16 crashed during an operation across ISIS territory. He, too, was a believing Muslim and a Jordanian patriot. “Muslims” today also include the 9 percent of the Arab population who, according to data from the ACRPS Institute in Qatar, advocate the diplomatic recognition of Israel, despite the prevailing climate of anti-Israeli hysteria.

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Mourning, Solidarity and “Transversal Grief”: How Judith Butler Misreads Paris

Traveling in Paris, Judith Butler published a “letter” dated November 14, in English on the Verso blog and in French in Libération, the day after the ISIS attacks, entitled “Mourning becomes the Law.” The short text treats two phenomena and argues for a connection between them: the process of mourning the victims of the attacks and the expansion of counter-terrorist practices by the state. Butler’s thesis is that the shared grieving of the dead served exclusively as a vehicle to justify amplified police powers: in this sense, mourning becomes the law, or at least law enforcement. A close look at her claims, however, shows significant deficiencies in the account of mourning and an important misreading of the Parisian response.

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Saving Mediation: The Topicality of Max Horkheimer’s Post-liberal Concept of the Political

If we want to gain a deeper understanding of the specific relationship between the ethical and the political in current times, we have to talk about the mediating agencies that enable this relationship. And if what the announcement for the Telos Conference 2016 in New York states were really true, namely, that at “the theoretical level, political reality has come to be seen as divorced from ethical life,” we need to ask: what has happened to these mediating agencies? That is exactly what the German philosopher Max Horkheimer was doing with his racket theory. He never explicitly referenced the “ethical” as a philosophical category. Yet he was able to show that in post-liberal societies, the social instances that made the relationship between the political and the ethical possible in the first place, are being destroyed—or they are at least tending towards a loss of their reflexive function. For Horkheimer this is at the core of what he called the racket society: that ultimately, every reference to universality and to society, or in German to the Allgemeinheit, is lost.

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Decided by the Other: Existential Vulnerability and Political Identity

Today’s world is witnessing a noticeable intensification of hostilities and confrontations on many fronts of international relations. A revisionist and neo-imperialist Russia, annexing Crimea and staging a cynical proxy war in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, is challenging the very foundations of the post–Cold War international order. The Syrian “quagmire,” which began in 2011, created a space for the emergence and gradual establishment of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), now widely recognized as the paramount terrorist organization threatening the security architecture in the Middle East as well as Europe. Terrorist attacks in France, Egypt, Mali, Tunisia, Lebanon, and other countries have been widely and justifiably interpreted as warnings signaling that Europe (or the West in general) is unable to cope with its new enemies. The chaos and uncertainty that ensued after the flood of refugees and migrants into Europe only exacerbated the perception of weakness and unwillingness on the part of the Western leaders to tackle these challenges seriously. In this alarming context, political philosophy once again gains significance as an existential occupation. This is the reason why a re-evaluation of the controversial oeuvre of Carl Schmitt, the thinker who articulated some of the most acute criticisms of modern liberalism, is so timely.

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The Fertile Grounds for ISIL Terrorism

This article presents statistical estimates of ISIL support in the Muslim world, based on Pew data covering 42 percent of the total global Muslim population on favorability of four terror organizations, to be well compared with ISIL: Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and al Qaeda, and the favorability of suicide bombing. It is assumed that these data (average support rates) reflect the true, but unknown, rates of ISIL support, which will be at somewhere around 17 percent of the entire global Muslim population. The article analyzes mechanisms that contribute towards ISIL favorability, such as anti-Americanism, the hatred of the State of Israel, and the advance of violent Islamism. Finally a comparison of the evolving terror scene with the conflict in Northern Ireland is also outlined.

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Reflections on Kurdistan, Iraq, and ISIS

The recent dramatic rise of Kurdistan as a major power player in the Middle East could not have happened without America’s 2003 regime change in Iraq. The change also resulted in a dramatic rise in the standard of living and in the way people live their lives and think about themselves and their world. Contrary to the common view in the West, the intervention did not break up a unified Iraq; it rather sped up the unraveling of colonialism’s post–World War I handiwork, which stupidly imposed the tyranny of a minority on the majority. Saddam Hussein laid the groundwork for ISIS’s emergence with his creation of Saddam’s Fidayeen paramilitary force following the first Gulf War.

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