Charles Elias Chartouni: Neo-Totalitarianism, Terrorism and Criminality/شارل الياس شارتوني: الاستبداد الجديد والإرهاب والجريمة


Neo-Totalitarianism, Terrorism and Criminality
Charles Elias Chartouni/February 10, 2023

شارل الياس شارتوني: الاستبداد الجديد والإرهاب والجريمة/10 شباط/ 2023

The watching of the French documentary on Hezbollah, “Hezbollah the Forbidden Inquiry”, brought me back to the paradigm that guided me through and through while analyzing Post-Cold War conflicts: the continuum between totalitarianism, terrorism and criminality. The unfolding political events in Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Turkey, China, Lebanon…, testify to the veracity of this observation and allow us to understand the interlocking dynamics and their interfaces. Whatever might be the idiosyncrasies and the structural features of the actors (States, Criminal and Terrorist Organizations…), they all partake of the same pattern of intersected politics, criminality and terrorism.

The Russian State is a parody of Statehood, not only on account of its nomothetic and constitutional deficiencies, but since it failed to uphold the least requisits of institutional autonomy, and muted into a simulacrum instrumentalized by a fake Czar who impersonates the avatar of an absolute dictator mingled with a mafia boss who runs a bankrupted empire, as if it were a personal fiefdom and a wasteland made available to his predatory instincts. So is Venezuela and Nicaragua, which shelter behind the rhetoric of debunked Bolshevism to justify the cruelty of tropical caudillismo, and the oligarchic plundering of wealth by a coterie of charlatans living off the bluffs of Castrism and Guevarism and their humbug.

Whereas the Iranian regime features the typical playbook of an Islamic revolution inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood motto “Islam is the solution”, that turns out to be the living refutation of an ideological fallacy and its flaunted promises. It developed into a murderous religious dictatorship, the engine of political and strategic destabilization throughout an imploding Middle East, and the epitome of a failed Islamic modernity. The Turkish case illustrates the enduring intellectual and strategic cleavages between the Neo-Ottoman pan-Islamic imperialism, and the aspiring secular and liberal democracy.

The ambivalence of the Islamic Neo-Ottomanisn and its opportunist alliances has to come to an end, at a time when its ethno-political cleavages are resurfacing, repression is doubling down, and the Liberal-Islamic divides are coming to the forefront of political life. The Chinese Communist party has a hard time with political liberalization and abiding by Human Rights, aligning State led Capitalism to the norms of a working democracy, and renouncing its resuscitated imperial hubris. The sabotaging of international institutions and consensuses are running against his paradoxical endeavor to join the global economic mainstream, while trying to escape its regulations. As for Lebanon, it typifies the downfall of the only pluralistic and liberal democracy in the Arab world, deliberately destroyed by the avatars of Arab Nationalism, Third World leftisms, Political Islam and their political and nihilistic modulations.

The chances of democratic change in these different case studies are slight, as long as these dynamics did not enter a self defeating stage, did not implode, and are not contained, let alone destroyed. The war in Ukraine unveiled the structural weaknesses of a corrupt Russian autocracy, its military flaws, crimes against humanity, inherent terrorism, nuclear blackmailing and restiveness towards international arbitration. The tropical leftisms with their ideological fallacies yielded cumulative failures in every respect, and muted into open wastelands hijacked by drug cartels, criminal gangs and terrorists joint venturing.

The Iranian regime and its fascist replicas in Lebanon, are part of an inchoate political reality partaking of the same characteristics, and trying to force its way amidst the rubble of an unraveling Arab Middle East, with no other alternative but ideological fallacies, feckless governance, and State terrorism. What’s striking is their common strive to create an international counter-order through opportunistic alliances, coalesce destructive synergies, safeguard their wastelands and promote criminal and terrorist joint venturing. They are determined to destroy the Post Cold War era, its normative embedding, international governance and consensuses, exemplified in domestic repression (Russia, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon…), geopolitical destabilization (Ukraine, Central America, Southern American rims, Middle Eastern seams, European limes and South East Asia), and promotion of international criminality and terrorism.

Liberals and liberal democracies are confronted with overlapping challenges at the intersection of domestic and international politics: Containment and ultimate defeat of the imperial outbursts of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian regimes, destruction of the platforms of international criminality and terrorism, debunking of radical ideologies, and support of liberal and democratic reforms all across geopolitical spectrums. The rising tide of fascism and totalitarianism echoes earlier times in the twentieth century, when democracies were late crushing the unleashed beast and narrowing its realms