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Hamas's Failure to Launch

A Total “Systems” Breakdown During Hamas’s Early Childhood - Failure to Launch PSYCHOLOGICALLY

Screenshot IDF on Hamas's Failure to even launch rockets

By Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D.

War Blog #46

Consider this: 94% est. of thinking is unconscious & 95% est. of communication is nonverbal, thus symbols and fantasy are at the core of the problem of political violence. Form follows function; function follows fantasy. All behavior can be potentially understood.


So What Else Went Wrong?

In the previous War Blog Post #45 I sketched out the nonverbal communication of the pathological fusion states of the jihadis like Hamas where two become one. They must be or are seeking to be in a constant fusion state which harkens back to being with their prenatal mothers in utero. Their fused states aptly reveal and articulate their psychological confusion concerning their identity as well as the identity of the other.

First, we will review a few concepts – shame, projection, cultural prohibition, lack of empathy and then we will move to a brief discussion of the deep unspoken and largely missed hidden problem of Hamas’s early childhood development which causes the failure to launch -- The Failure to Integrate Three Information Processing Systems of Early Childhood = Affect, Cognition and Language. This is the hidden problem that we must all come to understand.


Shaming in Early Childhood – Extremely Destructive and Psychologically Crippling

We have examined this key notion in Hamas’s violence. I have linked it to their growing up in a shame honor culture. Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas, the Green Prince, has noted that shaming is the real greatest enemy. Its destructiveness can be seen in the unconscious matricide encountered in the femicide on October 7th.

We know then that this is a key element in their reverse world. When I write Hamas, I am also including the herd which follows Hamas, the Gazans and the PA and all others who support Hamas emotionally and mentally.

Projection is what facilitates the capacity to shame the other. The shame-blame-game is Hamas's "gambit."


Cultural Unconscious Prohibition NOT to Separate from the Mother

The next concept which incorporates the idea of fusion which was discussed in the previous blog post is this prohibition. It precipitates and promotes neotenization which is the inability to grow up. We have also discussed in this vain the fused states which appear in their nonverbal communication with jihadi and ummi. Everything is always already about the jihadi’s relationship to his mother.


Lack of Development of Empathy and Morality

What is good is bad and what is bad is good in the shame honor world of the jihadis. The favorite phrase “moral equivalency” that is often bandied about nowadays reveals on critical inspection that there is nothing moral nor equivalent in its arguments against Israel. That is because since they have not individuated; thus, they cannot see the proverbial forest from the trees. The fusion does not allow for the development of an independent point of view back to analyze a situation, an event, or a relationship with the other. The other is always blamed facilitated by the projection which purifies the toxic group self.


Objectification of the Other

The victims as in the case of October 7th were not perceived as people with needs and feelings; they were merely objects in the mind of Hamas and the Gazans to be annihilated. The objectification shows their concrete behavior and impoverished intellectual and psychological development.


But what else went wrong then in their early childhood?

  • Screenshot Wikicommons Information Processing System

As I have also emphasized there is traumatic bonding with their mothers and the maternal attachment is utterly skewed. The telling sign is that they bond to us violently.

This is the upshot of a kind of “system failure” during early childhood –The Failure to Integrate The Three Main Information Processing Systems which are Affect (i.e early feelings), Cognition (i.e. thinking) and Language.

These three systems are all “messy” and challenging to integrate according to psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist Paul Holinger, M.D., M.P.H., whose forthcoming book entitled Affect, Cognition and Language as Foundations for Human Development delves into this problem in depth. I encourage you to read the book as he is far more eloquent in explaining how complicated and delicate a critical task this is for an infant growing into childhood with (we hope) the help of a parent. Until the book is available at amazon, Dr. Holinger’s newsletter this month addresses these three messy information processing systems in a succinct way in “Wondering about having children.”  Cf.


To conclude

If this “messy” triad of Affect-Cognition-Language is not successfully integrated, the Hamas child fails to launch psychologically and is left mired in the mud of negativity, hatred, annihilating rage leading to acting out violence. Hamas's psychological unmet needs are huge. Yet psychological unnmet needs should NOT be confused with economic needs. Even poor uneducated mothers can nurture their babies appropriately who don't grow up to be suicide bombers.

Counter terrorist experts and all of us must try to rise to the task of studying and understanding early childhood development, a time when the brain quadruples in size and empathy is evolved. Otherwise it should come as no surprise that there is this failure to launch into a productive adulthood and the proof of this for Hamas is that they only know how to build tunnels and try to launch rockets.

If not, we will continue to chase our tails and deal with only 6% of consciousness. While we might not be immersed in annihilating violence like Hamas, instead we will be tragically stuck in denial which is THE paramount psychological defense to protect fragile selves who are not able to listen well to the other, who can not strategize effectively, and who are doomed then to having unwittingly helped to facilitate more jihad.




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Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D.

Psychoanalyst Counter Terrorist Expert

Psychoanalyst Counter Terrorist Expert

The aim of this blog is to promote and advance an understanding of the relationship of early childhood to the jihadis’ violent behavior and externalized hatred. Many aspects of culture will be addressed in order to do a deep dive and a deep dig into the unconscious behavior behind all the political ideologies and the verbiage. 


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