The Matrix of Terrorism

By Youssef Hindi



English, French and Russian Revolutions

A parallel can be drawn between the methods of political terror deployed in England by Cromwell during the 17th century, those deployed by the Wahhabi Saud tribe in the Arabian Peninsula during the 18th century and those of the French Revolution (1789), which foreshadowed the anarcho-socialist revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. These revolutions, many of which were accompanied by territorial expansion, all have one point in common: ideological domination by means of mass extermination. The aim was to build modern institutions on the remains of traditional ones.

The modern era and its murderous revolutions began with Protestantism, an Old Testament religion which is inherently revolutionary.

In 1641, the “English Revolution” began. It was led by the Puritan, sectarian and fanatical Oliver Cromwell (1699-1658), who belonged to those who went by the name of “Old Testament Christians”. He banned the celebration of Christmas, burnt churches and murdered priests. This revolution ended in 1649 with the execution of King Charles I (just as, a century later, the French Revolution culminated with the execution of King Louis XVI). The modus operandi of the French revolutionaries was clearly identical to that of their English predecessors.

The French revolutionaries massacred some 260 000 Vendean Catholics, who fought against the anticlerical Revolution. Cromwell, who had set out to conquer Scotland and Ireland, had foreshadowed the French revolutionaries and their methods. La Terreur clearly came to serve as a model for the majority of terrorist extermination wars of the 20th century: the Armenian genocide, led by the Sabbatean Young Turks (the Donmëh), and the messianic Judeo-Bolshevik revolution. The Vendean genocide came to be used as reference for Lenin’s crushing of the Tambov peasant revolt by means of chemical weapons (June to December 1921). The death toll of this new Vendean massacre is estimated to be 240 000.

The Talmud and Frankism: the source of revolutionary anarchism ?

The origin of this modern nihilism, driving force of the 19th and 20th century socialist revolutions, is found in the Sabbatean-Frankist interpreation of  Kabblah and, going back further in history, is also found in the Talmud itself.

Following the antinomian Kabbalists Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676) and Jacob Frank (1726-1791), both Kabbalah and messianism in its Sabbatean-Frankist form paved the way for atheist messianism (atheist in appearance, at any rate).

As the Jewish Marxist philosopher Michael Lowry explains very clearly, the structure of socialism is that of Jewish messianism.

Of all the movements within socialism, it was the anarchic movement (the historical manifestation of which was the Bolshevik Revolution) which remained the most faithful to the cataclysmic messianism of the Frankist interpretation of Kabbalah. Indeed, this Sabbatean-Frankist aspect of anarchism can be very clearly seen in the work of Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876). Indeed, one would think he was paraphrasing Jacob Frank when he wrote:

“The passion for destruction is also a creative passion”

“I believe in neither constitutions nor laws…it is something else we need: passion and life, a new world without laws and therefore free.” (1)

A century before Bakunin, Jacob Frank declared :

“I have come to Poland uniquely to eradicate all laws and all religions, and my desire is to bring life to the world.” (2)

The roots of this Frankist messianism are found in the Talmud and, specifically, in this Midrash (Talmudic commentary of the Bible):

“Israel asks God: when will you send us redemption? He replies: when you have descended to the lowest level, then I will bring redemption.”

This is the Talmudic prophecy which Jacob Frank attempted to fulfil by spreading depravity and general chaos. He thus declared:

“I have not come to elevate, I have come to destroy and lower all things until everything has sunk, that it can descend no more…There is no ascension without prior descent…” (3)

Catastrophe and widespread depravity is, in traditional Jewish eschatology, the prerequisite for the coming of the messianic age and redemption. As the leading expert of Kabblah and Jewish messianism Gershom Scholem explains, there are certain interpretations which give a new meaning to Psalm 146:7. As opposed to the traditional version, according to which during the messianic age “The Lord sets prisoners free”, we should read “The Lord removes prohibitions.” (4)

Following Jacob Frank, Bakunin echoes this perfectly.

It is not all surprising, therefore, to find Jewish messiansim in its Frankist form at the heart of socialist thought, once we know that it was precisely in Central Europe (where Frankism was born and took root) that socialist movements were formed.

As Michaël Lowy explains, for the majaority of socialist thinkers,

There were only two ways out (within the framework of neo-romanticism): either a return to one’s own historical roots, one’s own culture, nationality or ancestral religion; or adherence to a revolutionary utopia of a universal nature. Unsurprisingly a number of Jewish thinkers from the German culture, who were close to anti-capitalist romanticism, simultaneously chose both these paths through a rediscovery of the Jewish religion (in particular the restorative utopian  interpretation of messianism) and an affinity for or identification with the profoundly nostalgic utopias of the revolutionaries…This dual approach characterises several Central European Jewish thinkers who formed an extremely diverse group but who, nonetheless, were unified by this central problem. Among them we find the greatest mind of the 20th century…Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Gustav Landauer, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Ernst Toller, Ernst Bloch, Georg Lukacs” (5)

Ernst Toller, Ernst Bloch and Georg Lukacs were, as Lowy highlights, “assimilated anarcho-Bolshevik Jews” as opposed to the others who had “abandoned their Jewish identity while keeping a vague connection with Judaism.”  This is not inherently contradictory, bearing in mind the close relationship between European Jewish assimilationism and Frankism (6). Lowy explains that “the references of their religious atheism (a term invented by Lukacs) are both Jewish and Christian” and their political evolution led them to a point where they faced the problem of reconciling the two (7).

Several contemporary accounts of Georg Lukacs reveal his fervent and apocalyptic messianism. Marianne Weber, his wife, described Lukacs as being an intellectual who was “stirred by eschatological hopes that a new messiah would come” and for whom “a socialist regime based on fraternity is the prerequisite for redemption.”

Lukacs himself terms this materialist form of messianim “atheist religiosity.” During a conference held in 1918, he paid homage to the Anabaptists (an evangelical Christian movement) and advocates their categorical imperative:  “Bring forth the Kingdom of God to this earth.” (8)

During the same period, that of the 1918-19 German Revolution, the German Jewish socialist Gustav Landauer was, like Lukacs, seized by messianic fervour and compared the “spirit of the Revolution” to the action of the “ancient prophets.” In the preface to the second edition of the Call to Socialism, he wrote:

“Chaos is here. Minds are awakening…May the revolution bring rebirth…May the revolution produce religion, a religion of action, life, love, that makes men happy, redeems them and overcomes impossible situations.” (9)

Revolutionary terror, deployed by Cromwell in England and by the revolutionaries in France, was the model for the Bolsheviks. It was also that of the Jewish homeland (1920) with the creation of the Yishuv terrorist organisations the Haganah and the Irgun (the foundation of the Israeli Defence Forces) whose role was to support colonial expansion in Palestine.

We shouldn’t forget the famous Nakam terrorist group. In 1945, Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, former chemist and leader of the World Zionist Organisation, supplied the Nakam Group* with chemical formulas to poison the water supply in Munich, Nuremberg and Hamburg. Abba Kovner was arrested on his return from Israel were he had obtained the poison, and his commando of mass murderers were stopped from executing their plan. In 1946, however, they succeeded in poisoning the bread for the prisoners held at Langwasser. Abba Kovener is today celebrated in Israel as a hero…

Terrorism on a national scale, however, is but one version of revolutionary terror. The International Brigades (Spain 1936-1938) ushered in the age of international terrorism. Wahhabi “jihadism” continues in this vein.

From Revolutionary Terror to Wahhabi Terrorism

The French Revolution of 1789 was, from the outset, a project to establish a “Universal Republic” (10) by violent means. Gustave Le Bon, anthropologist and sociologist, had understood this perfectly:

The violence of the Revolution, its massacres, its need for propaganda, its declarations of war against all kings can be explained only if we consider that it was the establishment of a new religious belief in the soul of the masses. (11)

Wahhabi terrorism, as is known, has been used by the US ever since the late 1970s (12). Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928-2017), who was national security adviser to president Carter at the time, supervised the coordination between the CIA and the Pakistani and Saudi intelligence services with the objective of financing future terrorists, including Bin Laden. The idea was to lure the Soviet Union into the Afghan graveyard. This strategy was again used in the late 1990s in Chechnya, in order to trigger the disintegration of the Russian Federation. It was then later deployed in Iraq, following the 2003 war. Since 2011, it has been applied to Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere…

Indeed, in an interview with the Nouvel Observateur (15 January 1998), Brzezinski explained why and how he had financed Bin Laden in Afghanistan. In response to the question “Do you not regret having promoted Islamic fundamentalism, having given weapons and advice to future terrorists?” he answered:

What is most important for world history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? Some Islamic hotheads or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

And when the journalist remarked:

“Some hotheads?” But it has been said time and time again: today Islamic fundamentalism represents a world-wide threat…

Brzezinski replied:

Rubbish! It’s said that the West has a global policy regarding Islam. That’s hogwash: there is no global Islam. Let’s look at Islam in a rational and not a demagogic or emotional way. It is the first world religion with 1.5 billion adherents. But what is there in common between fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, moderate Morocco, militaristic Pakistan, pro-Western Egypt and secularized Central Asia? Nothing more than that which connects the Christian countries… (13)

What Brzezinski is explaining here is that Wahhabi terrorism is an artificial creation and that the extent to which it spreads across the globe depends on Western policy. And history testifies to this. Indeed, Saudi Arabia would not have been established without British support during and after the First World War. In 1945, Ibn Saud and Franklin Roosevelt made a pact aboard the USS Quincy: in exchange for Saudi oil, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia would from now on be protected by the Americans, who took this opportunity to drive out the British.

With the American dollar linked to Saudi oil, the Wahabbi doctrine, funded by petrodollars, expanded beyond Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism has since sought to conquer Islam via various institutions, such as the World Islamic Congress, the Islamic Congress of Jerusalem, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the Muslim World League, World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

The Saudi Wahhabists also finance university chairs at Harvard, California, Santa Barbara, London and Moscow. In addition, Saudi Arabia holds 30 per cent of the total Arab satellite budget, controls fifty TV channels and almost as many newspapers and magazines (14).

All this is done with the support of the Anglo-Saxon powers which lead the “free” world. This support was recently renewed by president Trump who, with his Riyadh speech and the very large arms contract which he signed with Saudi Arabia, has tacitly approved the continuation of Wahhabi military aggression in the Middle East.

* Known in English as “The Avengers”, from the Hebrew Nakam, meaning revenge, this group belonged to the Bricha movement, and was led by the Zionist Abba Kovner.


[1] Quoted in Michaël Lowy, Messianisme juif et utopie libertaires en Europe centrale, Archives de sciences sociales des religions. N. 51/1, Persée, 1981, pp. 6-7.

[2] In Gershom Scholem, Aux origines religieuses du judaïsme laïque, de la mystique aux Lumières, Calmann-Levy, 2000, p. 212.

[3] Charles Novak, Jacob Frank, le faux messie, 2012, l’Harmattan, p. 56.

[4] Cité par Michaël Lowy, op. cit., p. 8.

[5] Michaël Lowy, op. cit., p. 11.

[6] See : Youssef Hindi, La mystique de la laïcité, chapter IV, 2017, Sigest.

[7] Michaël Lowy, op. cit., p. 12.

[8] Michaël Lowy, op. cit., p. 36.

[9] Michaël Lowy, op. cit., p. 22.

[10] See Anacharsis Cloots, La République universelle, 1792.

[11] Gustave Le Bon, Psychologie des foules, 1895, Presses Universitaires de France, 1981.

[12] Regarding Wahhabism, see : Jean-Michel Vernochet, Les Égarés, le wahhabisme est-il un contre islam ?, 2013, Sigest.

[14] See the list in Al-Farsy, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques : King Fahd ben Adbul Aziz, Chanel Islands : Knight Communication, 2001, pp. 220-228.



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