OpinionWorld News

The jihadi-leftist convergence

The terrorist Carlos the Jackal was an early adopter.

An illustrative image of the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez aka Carlos the Jackal. Source: Deep AI.
An illustrative image of the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez aka Carlos the Jackal. Source: Deep AI.
Clifford D. May
Clifford D. May is the founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), as well as a columnist for “The Washington Times.”

Younger readers may not have heard of Carlos the Jackal and older readers may have forgotten (because sometimes that’s how it goes, as we were reminded last week). So, let me tell you his story.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was born in Venezuela in 1949. His father, a wealthy Marxist lawyer, gave him his first name in honor of Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

From 1968-1970, young Ilich studied at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow.

He then went for training with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which was—and remains today—a secular Marxist-Leninist anti-Israel terrorist organization.

His PFLP mentors nicknamed him “Carlos.” Journalists added “the Jackal” after he became established in the terrorism business. By his own count, some 2,000 people were killed in more than 100 bombings, assassinations and other attacks carried out under Carlos’s “coordination.”

Among the plots in which he was involved was the 1974 occupation of the French embassy in The Hague by members of the Japanese Red Army, a militant communist organization.

In 1975, French detectives tracked Carlos to a Paris apartment. He invited them in, offered them drinks, then pulled out a machine pistol and opened fire, killing two and wounding a third.

Later that year, he and five colleagues stormed an OPEC meeting in Vienna, killing three people and taking more than 60 hostages.

An adept negotiator, he arranged to be flown to Algeria, where he was warmly received. He collected millions of dollars in ransom for his hostages.

To make a long story a little shorter, in 1994 French agents captured Carlos in Sudan and transferred him to France, where he was tried and convicted of multiple homicides and sentenced to life in prison.

While incarcerated, Carlos converted to Islam. At the time, that seemed like a curious twist.

In 2003, he published a book titled Revolutionary Islam, in which he expressed admiration for both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Osama bin Laden. He called the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 a “lofty feat.”

This slice of history has been on my mind as I’ve watched woke leftists join with Hamasniks and other self-proclaimed jihadis to demonstrate, often violently, on campuses, by the White House, outside the Nova Music Festival Exhibition in New York City and many other locations against Israel, Zionists, Jews, America and the West.

There’s more: China, ruled by the most powerful communist party in history, has been forging closer relations with the Tehran regime.

In March, Wang Kejian, a Chinese diplomat, met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar and, according to Hamas, said, “The Hamas movement is part of the Palestinian national fabric and China is keen on relations with it.”

TikTok, the popular social media platform owned by Bytedance, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has been using its significant algorithmic powers to propagandize against Israel, not least among young Americans.

There’s also this: Guermantes Lailari, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, now a visiting scholar at National Chengchi University in Taiwan, reports that the Israel Defense Forces have found large amounts of advanced Chinese military equipment and weapons technology in Gaza. Moreover, tunnel engineers from China’s People’s Liberation Army helped Hamas build the sophisticated, extensive and expensive fortress under Gaza, a key strategic component in the ongoing war against Israel.

Why would atheist Communists support Islamists who shout “Allahu Akbar!” as they murder and rape?

Part of the answer, I think, is that Israel is seen, with justification, as America’s loyal ally and, beyond that, an outpost of Western values in the Middle East—despite efforts over the years by Israeli leaders to maintain amicable relations with Beijing, including by hiring Chinese firms to (can you guess?) bore Israeli highway tunnels.

In other words, anti-Zionism coincides with Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s broader goal: to diminish America as a serious superpower in a world that will be dominated by Xi’s CCP.

As America goes, so goes the West—and both Islamists and leftists want the West gone or at least made to submit. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was candid, calling the 1979 Islamic Revolution that he led in Iran a fight “against the Western world.”

Now recall that, in 1987Jesse Jackson led 500 protestors at Stanford University chanting: “Hey hey, ho ho, Western civ has got to go.”

Their complaint, or so they claimed, was that courses on Western civilization implied Western superiority that didn’t comport with “multiculturalism.”

University administrators—compliant then as now—replaced Western civ with courses on “Cultures, Ideas and Values,” and “Western imperialism and colonialism.”

These courses have stressed the ostensible sins of Europe and America, questioning the West’s foundational values of open inquiry, free markets, constitutional democracy and human equality.

Scant attention has been given to the empires of the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa and their abhorrent practices (e.g., the Ottoman and Arab slave trades and Aztec child sacrifice).

Middle East studies departments were transformed into centers of “anti-Orientalist” activism, especially against Israel.

Meanwhile, ignored on most campuses, are the contemporary empire builders in Tehran, Moscow and Beijing.

Are there contradictions between jihadism on the one hand and the ideologies of the CCP and the woke left on the other? Carlos and his acolytes apparently think not.

In Revolutionary Islam, Carlos called on “all revolutionaries, including those of the left, even atheists” to accept the leadership of Islamists because they represent the only “transnational force capable of standing up against the enslavement of nations” given the collapse of the Soviet Union. (China’s relations with Washington were amicable 20 years ago.)

He predicted: “From now on terrorism is going to be more or less a daily part of the landscape of your rotting democracies.”

Originally published by The Washington Times.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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