Yesterday, MEMRI posted a clip of Hamas Leader Khaled Mash'al giving an address at the Al-Murabit Mosque in Damascus. The speech was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 3, 2006. MEMRI thoughtfully supplied translated excerpts. If a patient in a Psychiatric hospital were speaking in a manner so at odds with the reality of their situation, it would be diagnostic.
"We apologize to our Prophet Muhammad, but we say to him: Oh Prophet of Allah, do not be saddened, your nation will be victorious.
"We say to this West, which does not act reasonably, and does not learn its lessons: By Allah, you will be defeated. You will be defeated in Palestine, and your defeat there has already begun. True, it is Israel that is being defeated there, but when Israel is defeated, its path is defeated, those who call to support it are defeated, and the cowards who hide behind it and support it are defeated. Israel will be defeated, and so will whoever supported or supports it.
"America will be defeated in Iraq. Wherever the [Islamic] nation is targeted, its enemies will be defeated, Allah willing. The nation of Muhammad is gaining victory in Palestine. The nation of Muhammad is gaining victory in Iraq, and it will be victorious in all Arab and Muslim lands. 'Their multitudes will be defeated and turn their backs [and flee].' These fools will be defeated, the wheel of time will turn, and times of victory and glory will be upon our nation, and the West will be full of remorse, when it is too late."
The speech is filled with this type of typical bombastic rhetoric we have come to expect from this part of the world. Middle Eastern Arabic is famous for its use of florid phraseology, however, even taking the linguistic excesses and style into account, the speech raises pertinent questions about the speaker and his audience and their mental state.
"Don't you see that every act of deceit they contrive is being turned against them by Allah? Don't you see that they make every effort to defeat us militarily, but fail to do so? Israel and the occupation forces in Iraq are supplied with the entire Western military arsenal, yet they fail and are defeated."
If we look past the almost ritualistic declarations of victory over their oppressors, the Israelis and the Americans, we are left with a question. Does Mash'al and his audience actually believe they are winning militarily on these two fronts of the Islamist war against the West or do they understand that the only reason they are still able to spout their nonsense is because of the restraint of the United States and Israel? But Mash'al is just getting started:
"I say to the [European countries]: Hurry up and apologize to our nation, because if you do not, you will regret it. This is because our nation is progressing and is victorious. Do not leave a black mark in the collective memory of the nation, because our nation will not forgive you.
"Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination, but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing. Apologize today, before remorse will do you no good. Our nation is moving forwards, and it is in your interest to respect a victorious nation."
The grandiosity of this is staggering and the demand for an apology is revealing. Mash'al feels "dissed", he and Islam have been "disrespected" by the West, both in relation to the victory of Hamas and the manufactured insult of the cartoons. This leader of an Islamist movement that has produced nothing original and of value in almost a thousand years, which is the real humiliation of the Islamists, whose culture is completely dependent on the charity of the West and those Muslim states cursed with oil, for all their necessities and luxuries, proclaims that his morally bankrupt nation will control the world. This is actually perfectly explicable, if we think of the Islamists as being analogous to a Psychiatric patient. The next section is crucial:
"Their weapons will be of no avail to them. Their nuclear weapons will be of no use to them. They thought that they had hegemony over the region with their nuclear weapons, but suddenly Pakistan popped up with Islamic nuclear weapons, and they are afraid of Iran and several Arab countries have some chemical weapons.
"Israel has begun to sense that its superiority has come to an end. Its army, which has superior conventional weapons - the air force, the armored corps, and the missiles - there are no longer wars in which these are used.
"The Arabs have said: We don't want [conventional] wars, thank you very much. Leave the war to the peoples. Today, the Israeli weapons are of no use against the peoples. We have imposed a new equation in the war. In this equation, our tools are stronger. That is why we will defeat them, Allah willing."
"If you fight them, they will turn their backs on you, and will not be victorious." But the problem is that we need to fight them first. If we sleep at home, how are we to beat them?! 'If you fight them...' - that is a divine promise... 'If' - It is conditional: 'If you fight them, they will turn their backs on you and will not be victorious.' [Emphasis mine-SW] And indeed, when we began to fight, and we armed ourselves with a will to fight, we defeated them.
Hamas interpreted Israel's abandonment of Gaza as a military victory. They have no choice but to continue the war; if they stop short of their maximalist goals, they lose.
"That is why Allah akbar [Allah is greater]. We say that every day - Allah akbar. Yes, Allah is greater than America. Allah is greater than the oppressors. Allah is greater than the superpowers. Allah is greater than the tyranny of the oppressing world, and Allah is greater than Israel. Since Allah is greater, and He supports us, we will be victorious."
Mash'al concludes with a mixture of threats and bravado:
"I say to America, Europe, and the West: It is in your interests to change your relations and policies regarding the Arab and Islamic nation and the Palestinian cause. Because we are winning, it is in your interests to deal with the victors, not the losers.
"Israel will be defeated and will be of no use to you. The Arabs will be victorious. The Muslims will be victorious. Palestine will be victorious. Change your policy soon, if you want to protect your interests, and maintain healthy relations with the East."
When a young patient develops Paranoid Schizophrenia, a most devastating Psychiatric disorder, there is a typical prodrome during which they become more and more dysfunctional over time. Their thinking becomes disordered. If they are in college, they begin to lag in their courses and eventually start to fail and typically drop out. They have more and more trouble making sense of their world until they experience a sudden moment of clarity, when their delusions crystallize: They are not sick and damaged, they are actually powerful and important. Some believe they are Jesus Christ returned to rescue mankind; others, with less grandiosity, believe they are being followed by the CIA or the FBI. I described this in an early post, Paranoia and Reason:
Paranoia has a number of virtues to offer a frightened individual who secretly worries he is worthless. Consider a hypothetical Paranoid Schizophrenic patient, admitted to the hospital with paranoid delusions that the FBI, CIA, and Mafia are out to get them.
Their illness, in reality, has estranged them from their family, made it impossible for them to maintain long term relationships or productive employment, often leaving them prone to drug and alcohol abuse, frequently victimized on the streets, in general with a bleak future outlook. A person who suffers the devastation of Schizophrenia, with rare exceptions, is emotionally and cognitively crippled. The delusion that they are being followed by the FBI suggests many compensatory attributes. They are never alone (there are always people thinking about them), they are clearly extremely important (the FBI doesn't waste time following people who are inconsequential) and often, they have grandiose fantasies that they are the key to world peace, or some other such problem. We admit them to the hospital, give them powerful medications to help them return to more appropriate reality testing, and often, have to deal with a severe, sometimes dangerous, condition referred to as a Post-psychotic Depression. Giving up their position of power and importance, and facing the bleakness of their lives is terribly distressing; for this reason suicide is a significant risk in young patients who recover from a first psychotic episode.
We can see the problem for men like Mash'al. They believe with the greatest conviction that they are chosen by Allah to rule over the infidels. The very existence of Israel in the heart of the Middle East, and American and allied troops in Iraq is a constant humiliation, not just of them but of their God. This is intolerable and they have no choice but to fight with every tool at their disposal. The alternative, to make peace and accept their humiliation, would lay bare all their grandiose fantasies and rationalizations; they would have to confront all their actual failures instead of their fantasied successes. It is unlikely that their version of Islam, which they see as indistinguishable from themselves, could survive such humiliation. Elevating suicide/murder to an ideal then becomes explicable as a measure of their need to hide their reality from themselves, even if it costs them their lives.
In ancient days, when one people conquered another, it was typical not only to kill many of the losers but to destroy their idols. A reader e-mailed me and asked what would happen if Israel destroyed Mecca and Medina; should the Israelis threaten this as a form of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction)? That people are asking this question, and that Israel and the United Sates, along with France and Britain, clearly have the capacity for such destruction suggests that the Islamist's need for war is leading them toward disaster.
The Islmaists are defining this war as a holy war against the Jews and Christians. For them to admit defeat would be devastating to their conception of Islam.
No one has yet been willing to define (or perhaps even knows) what victory means in the war on Islamist fascism. If Iran does in fact have, or soon will have, a nuclear weapon, we may yet be forced to find out.