The September 11, 2001 attacks, attributed to an “Islamic conspiracy” by the Bush administration, were interpreted as the first manifestation of a “clash of civilizations” both in Europe and the United States.

Thus, the Arab-Muslim world would have waged a war against the Jewish-Christian world. There would not be any other solution than the victory of one over the other: the triumph of Islam and the imposition of a world Caliphate (that is, an Islamic Empire) or the victory of the “American values” shared by a modern Islam in a globalized world.

An Apocalyptic doctrine

The Islamic complot and clash of civilizations theory proposes a holistic explanation of the world and establishes a world order after the disappearance of the Soviet Union. There is no longer a West-East confrontation between two superpowers with conflicting ideologies, but a war between two civilizations or, better to say, between a modern civilization and an archaic form of barbarism.

This theory, when stating that Islam is in war against American values, takes for granted that Islam cannot be modernized. This culture could not be isolated from the Arab society in the 7th Century, whose structures perpetuated, above all, the inferiority of women and only conceived its expansion through violence at the style of the Prophet’s war.

Likewise, this theory stipulates that “the United States” promotes freedom, democracy and prosperity, that it embodies modernity and represents the highest level of progress, the end of History.

Therefore, September 11, 2001 was the first battle of this war of civilizations, as Pearl Harbor was -for the United States- the first battle of the Second World War. That is, this war has no resemblance with previous ones.

During the first two World Wars, military coalitions had to fight titanic combats. During the Cold War, military combats were limited to peripheral areas or low-intensity conflicts (guerrillas), while the central clash opposes two superpowers from the ideological point of view. During the fourth World War, which has just begun, the classic military battles are replaced by asymmetric wars: a single power, leader of all other States, fights against a non-State omnipresent terrorism.

However, this is not a war between State despotism and resistance groups, but rather an insurrection of democracies against the Islamic tyranny oppressing the Muslim Arab world in an attempt to impose a world Caliphate.

This struggle between Good and Evil has its crystallization point in Jerusalem. It is there, after the Armageddon, where Christ’s return will mark the triumph of the «manifest destiny» of the United States, «the single free nation on Earth» entrusted by the divine Providence to shed the «light of progress upon the rest of the world». Thus, the unconditional support to Israel against Islamic terrorism constitutes a patriotic and religious duty of every American citizen, even though a Jew can only find salvation through his conversion to Catholicism.

A complex

This presentation of the Islamic complot and clash of civilizations theory is, in no way, an exaggeration. On the contrary, it is completely true to what American political parties and mass media are disseminating. Of course, from time to time one could wonder about its root prejudices, its internal coherent and irrational nature.

The Muslim-Arab world and Jewish-Christian world concepts are dubious themselves. Originally, the term “Jewish-Christian” did not refer to all Jews and Christians but, on the contrary, to a reduced group of original Christians who were still Jews, before the separation of the Church from the Synagogue. But, at the end of the 1960s, that is, after the United States came closer to Israel and the Six Day War, this term assumed a political meaning. It then referred to the NATO block, the West, in opposition to the Soviet block, known as the East.

At this point, there is a recycling of concepts. Today, the West is, more or less, the same as before, while the East (Soviet block) is no longer the adversary, but the Middle East. These concepts have nothing to do with geography or culture, but with propaganda alone.

Thus, Australia and Japan are West from the political point of view, like two European States whose population is Muslim: Turkey and Bosnia Herzegovina. And there is another important problem: in many States, mainly around the Mediterranean, it is impossible to currently distinguish the Jewish-Christian civilization from the Muslim-Arab civilization.

Therefore, the war of civilizations means the launching of civil wars to separate populations. From this viewpoint, Yugoslavia constitutes a successful experience. The struggle for the implementation of the separation project implied the eradication of the secular idealism. Then, it is inevitable, in the long run, for the French Republic [1] to become the most important structural resistance within the «West» block.

On the other hand, the prejudice by which the Islam is incompatible with modernity and democracy presupposes a great ignorance. The expression “Muslim-Arab world” emphasizes that the Islam is actually more comprehensive than the Arab world though the image we have is very narrow. Few Americans know that Indonesia is the first Muslim State in the world. Can we reasonably say that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not as modern as Kansas? Can we sincerely affirm that Bahrain is not as democratic as Florida? One of the mechanisms of this discourse is to associate Islam with the 8th Century Arabia. But, do we associate Christianity with the Middle East Ancient Times?

In correlation, this theory is based on the belief on “American values”. And this is, indeed, a simple belief because, how can we think so highly of a country whose Constitution does not recognize popular sovereignty, whose President was not elected but appointed, where corruption among Parliamentarians is not prohibited but regulated, where a prisoner is kept in solitary confinement without trial, with a concentration camp in the Cuban territory of Guantanamo, that imposes death penalties and tortures, where important newspaper owners receive weekly orders from the White House, that drops bombs on the civil population in Afghanistan, that kidnaps a democratically elected President in Haiti, that finances mercenaries to defeat democratic governments in Venezuela and Cuba, etc?

In sum, this theory is closely associated with an Apocalyptic religious thinking. The American Revolution is a complex movement where different ideologies merge. But, in the end, it is a religious project which served as a United States foundation and that religious project is what the current American administration must defend today.

The oath of loyalty, in effect since the Cold War and currently challenged in the Supreme Court, implies that in order to be an American citizen you must believe in God. George W. Bush came to the White House with his Christian faith as a political program and has professed fundamentalist beliefs according to which mankind was only created a few thousand years ago and without the evolution of species. In the White House, he established a Bureau of Initiatives based on Faith.

John Ashcroft, Secretary of Justice, echoed the «We have no other King than Jesus» motto. The Health Secretary shoved prophylactic programs in the name of religious convictions. The Defense Secretary included missionaries form Graham’s Church in the Coalition Forces sent to Iraq with the purpose of converting the population in Iraq.

There are many other examples like these ones leading us to wonder reasonably whether the United States is really a modern country, an open and tolerant country or rather the incarnation of sectarianism and archaism.

The Origin of the concept

Bernard Lewis

The «clash of civilizations» expression stemmed out in 1990 for the first time in an article by Middle East expert Bernard Lewis, generously entitled «The Roots of Muslim Rage» [2]. It includes the fact that Islam has nothing good and the bitterness it causes among Muslims turns into a rage against the West. Nevertheless, victory is guaranteed, as well as the “Lebanization” of the Middle East and the strengthening of Israel.

Bernard Lewis, who is 88 years old today, was born in the United Kingdom and trained as jurist and Islam expert. During the second World War he worked in the military intelligence agencies and the Arab Bureau of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the 1960s he became an important expert consulted by the Royal Institute of International Affairs where he was considered an outstanding specialist on British humanitarian interference in the Ottoman Empire and one of the last advocators of the British Empire.

Sponsored by the CIA, he participated in the Congress for Cultural Freedom where he was entrusted with the writing of a book entitled «The Middle East and the West» [3]. In 1974, he moved to the United States. He became professor in Princeton and adopted the American citizenship. Soon, he was advisor to Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor under President Carter. Together, they conceived the theoretical basis of the «instability arch» concept and planned the destabilization of the communist government in Afganistán.

In France, Bernard Lewis was a member of the NATO-follower Foundation Saint-Simon, for which he produced a booklet entitled «Islam and Democracy» in 1993, whose publication resulted in an interview for the French newspaper Le Monde. In that interview, he managed to deny the genocide committed against the Armenians, for which he was sent to trial [4].

However, the clash of civilizations concept evolved rapidly; from the neocolonial discourse on the white supremacy to the description of a world confrontation whose result was uncertain. This new meaning is owed to professor Samuel Huntington who, by the way, is not an Islamic expert but a strategist. Huntington develops this theory in two articles - “The Clash of Civilizations?” and “The West Unique, Not Universal”- and a book originally entitled “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” [5].

It is no longer a struggle against Muslims but a priority struggle before the struggle against the Chinese world. As in the Rome foundation myth, the United States must eliminate its adversaries one by one in order to achieve the final victory.

Samuel Huntington is one of the most important intellectuals of our times, not because his works are rigorous and brilliant, but because they constitute the ideological foundation of modern fascism.

In his first book entitled «The Soldier and the State», published in 1957, he attempts to prove that there is an ideologically united military cast while civilians are politically divided [6]. Thus, he develops a concept of a society in which trade regulations would be eliminated and the political power would be in the hands of multinationals under the tutelage of a Praetorian Guard.

In 1968, he published «Political Order in Changing Societies», a thesis where he affirms that authoritarian regimes are the only ones capable of modernizing Third World countries [7]. Secretly, he participates in the creation of the think tank group that submitted a report to the presidential candidate, Richard Nixon, on the way to reinforce the CIA secret actions [8].

In 1969-1970, Henry Kissinger, who is fond of secret actions, exerted his influence so as to appoint him as member of the Presidential Task Force on International Development [9]. Huntington advocates the need for a dialectic game between the Department of State and multinationals; the first one will have to exert pressure upon developing countries for them to adopt liberal legislations and to quit nationalizations while multinationals should transfer to the Department of State their knowledge on the countries where they work [10].

He then joins the Wilson Center and creates the Foreign Policy magazine. In 1974, Henry Kissinger appointed him a member of the USA-Latin America Relations Committee. Huntington actively participated in the enthronement of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Jorge Rafael Videla in Argentina. There, he tried, for the first time, his social model and shows that a non-regulated economy is compatible with a military dictatorship.

At the same time, his friend Zbigniew Brzezinski introduced him to a private circle: the Trilateral Commission. Once in this Commission he drafted a report entitled “The Crisis of Democracy” [11] where he promotes a more elitist society that would limit access to universities and the freedom of press.

When Jimmy Carter got rid of members from the Nixon and Ford administrations, Brzezinski, now National Security Advisor, gave a hand to his friend Huntington who then managed to remain in the White House and became planning coordinator of the National Security Council.

During this period, Huntington began his active collaboration with Bernard Lewis and conceived the need to first dominate the oil areas within the instability arch before attacking Communist China. Even though this was not a “clash of civilizations” yet, it was indeed quite similar.

But professor Samuel Huntington was forced to face an uncomfortable scandal. Reportedly, the CIA was paying him for publishing articles, in university magazines, justifying secret actions as a way to maintain order in countries where a friendly dictator suddenly died. When the scandal was forgotten, Frank Carlucci appointed him as member of the National Security Council and Defense Department Joint Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy [12].

His report would serve to justify the “Star War” program. Today, professor Huntington is manager of the Freedom House, an anticommunist association headed by former CIA Director, James Woolsey.

Jerusalem and the Mecca

Laurent Murawiec

The clash of civilizations theory crystallizes in religious matters. The Jewish-Christian control of Jerusalem is a required talisman for global victory. If the West loses the Holy City, it will also lose the strength to fulfill its manifested destiny, its divine mission. Likewise, if Muslims lose their control over the Mecca, their religion will crumble to pieces. Of course, this is not rational at all, but those superstitions are always present in the American popular press and form part of a well-conceived political discourse.

On July 10, 2002, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz convened the quarterly meeting of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee [13]. Only twelve members attended the meeting. Attendants heard the paper presented by a French expert of the Rand Corporation, Laurent Murawic, entitled «Expel Saudis from Arabia». The lecture was divided into three parts and the projection of 24 slides. At the beginning, Murawiec reintroduced Bernard Lewis theory: the Arab world has been under a crisis for two centuries. It has been unable to carry out an Industrial Revolution nor a Numeric Revolution.

This failure causes a frustration turned into a rage against the West, especially because the Arabs do not know how to debate since in their culture violence is the single political means. From that viewpoint, the 9/11 attacks are nothing but a symptomatic expression of their great dissatisfaction.

In the second part, Murawiec describes the Royal Saudi family as incapable of controlling the situation. Saudis have developed a “wahabism” in the world to fight against both communism and the Iranian Revolution, but today they no longer control what they have created.

Finally, the lecturer proposes a strategy: Saudis have the oil (at last, we got to the bottom of this matter), the petrodollars and the custody of Holy Places. They are the central and single pillar around which the Muslim-Arab world spins. Getting rid of them, the United States can take control of the oil it needs for its economy, the money coming from oil that it erroneously paid in the past and, above all, the Holy places and, therefore, the Muslim religion. Anf after the crumbling of Islam, Israel would be able to carry out the annexation of Egypt.

Laurent Murawiec was consultant of French Minister of Defense Jean-Pierre Chevènement and gave courses at the School of Social Science Higher Studies (EHESS, French acronym) [14]. For many years he was advisor of Lyndon LaRouche, then he suddenly abandoned him and joined the neoconservatives. Today, he is expert at the Richard Perles Hudson Institute and collaborates with Daniel Pipes Middle East Forum.

This meeting made a lot of noise. The Saudi Arabian Ambassador demanded an explanation and Mr. Perle, the meeting organizer, was asked to be more discreet for a time. Murawiec was invited to abandon the Rand Corporation. In any case, the meeting had been convened by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz who were fully aware of what the consequences would be. It was simply a trial to see how far the Pentagon could go.

[1Here we establish a difference between the French Republic as an idea and France as a nation-State.

[2«The Roots of Muslim Rage» by Bernard Lewis, Atlantic Monthly, September 1990.

[3The Middle East and the West, by Bernard Lewis, Weidenfelds & Nicholson, 1963 (an Encouter Book).

[4See «Affaire Forum des Associations arméniennes de France & LICRA contre Bernard Lewis» [Case of France Armenian Associations Forum and LICRA against Bernard Lewis], December 21, 1995 trial, 17e Chambre du TGI in Paris.

[5“The Clash of Civilizations?” and “The West Unique, Not Universal”, Foreign Affairs, 1993 and 1996; The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, 1996.

[6The Soldier and the State by Samuel Huntington, Harvard University Press, 1957.

[7Political Order in Changing Societies by Samuel Huntington, Yale University Press, 1968

[8The group was composed by Francis M. Baton, Richard M. Bissell jr., Roger D. Fisher, Samuel Huntington, Lyman Kirkpatrick, Henry Loomis, Max Milliken, Lucien W. Pye, Edwin O. Reischauer, Adam Yarmolinsky and Franklin Lindsay.

[9Presidential Task Force on International Development, presided over by Rudolph Peterson.

[10The United States in Changing Wold Economiy, US Government Printing Office, 1971.

[11The Crisis of Democracy by Crozier, Huntington and Watanuky, New York Press University, 1975.

[12Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy. It includes Charles M. Herzfeld, Fred C. Iklé, Albert J. Wohlstetter, Anne Armstrong, Zbigniew Brzezinski, William P. Clark, W. Graham Claytor, Jr, General Andrew J. Goodpaster, Admiral James L. Holloway. III, Samuel P. Huntington, Henry A. Kissinger, Joshua Lederberg, and Generals Bernard A. Schriever and John W. Vessey.

[13Headed by Richard Perle, the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee includes Adelman, Richard V. Allen, Martin Anderson, Gary S. Becker, Barry M. Blechman, Harold Brown, Eliot Cohen, Devon Cross, Ronald Fogleman, Thomas S. Foley, Tillie K. Fowler, Newt Gingrich, Gerald Hillman, Charles A. Horner, Fred C. Ikle, David Jeremiah, Henry Kissinger, William Owens, J. Danforth Quayle, Henry S. Rowen, James R. Schlesinger, Jack Sheehan, Kiron Skinner, Walter B. Slocombe, Hal Sonnenfeldt, Terry Teague, Ruth Wedgwood, Chris Williams, Pete Wilson and R. James Woolsey, Jr.

[14Created after the French Liberation under the inspiration of the CIA, the l’EHESS should act as counterpart of the CNRS under communist influence. Even today, this School is generously financed by the Fondation franco-américain (French-American Foundation)