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The Three “Stooges” of Kata'ib al-Farouq

Screenshot Meir Amit January 18, 2024

By Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D.


War Blog #38  Splitting the World into Black and White



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.



Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information

I always read the daily briefing by Meir Amit Center concerning the jihadis not just for its narrative analysis but most especially for the images that accompany it. This past week of January 18, 2024 a striking photo caught my eye of the emerging jihadi group in Sinai called The Kata’ib al Farouq. Its Islamist brigades were established in the Sinai Peninsula to “assist” the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Above Photo  

Kata’ib means battalions in Arabic and al-Farouq is not only one of Allah’s 99 names but more importantly here – the distinguisher الفاروق, the one who decides morality -- right from wrong. I will address the issue of psychological splitting below with regard to morality in the shame honor jihadi world. We have repeatedly encountered their reverse world in which, what is good is bad and what is bad is good as in Hamas’s atrocities of October 7th.


The Three Stooges

Knowing how Hamas and Kata’ib al Farouq’s world works I intuitively associated to The Three Stooges – the slap stick comedy team who were aptly named since stooge expresses being the butt of the joke though they were endearing unlike Kata’ib. Jihadis lack humor. That is always a bad sign of mental health.

At the time of the Stooges in Hollywood there was the rule not to engage in politics yet they cleverly slipped in an attacking on Nazism.


The Three Wise Monkeys and its variants

Screenshot Wikicommons

I also associated to the Three Wise Monkeys of the Japanese pictorial maxim. There the issue of morality surfaces again with the turning of the blind eye away from what is morally unacceptable – not listening nor speaking out. We see too that while the image comes from Japanese culture, a shame honor culture, it easily relates to the shame honor world of the Arabs and its jihadis.


I even found an Egyptian take on the Three Wise Monkeys and so I insert it here even though it references Egyptian PM Essam Sharaf (ironically whose last name means honor and serves as a genealogical link to the Prophet Muhammad), Sharaf  was anti-Israel, cf.

Screenshot Wikicommons


Yet it is with the absurd image of "The Three Stooges" of Kata’ib al Farouq that we can clearly see how they come to embody the evil of jihadism – a kind of literal stark representation of its “scary” perverse sense of morality. Twisted – they represent the perfect image of paranoia’s black and white thinking. Indeed, they concretize it. They must be dressed in black without any “differentiated” personalities.

They are one fused group having never passed through a psychological developmental stage of individuation-separation from their ummi, “mommy.” If one fails to achieve this stage of development, a superego is not constituted and hence the lack of morality. Therefore, jihadis must foist and inflict their twisted perverse sense of morality on us.


Black and White

Their black dress reflects their black and white thinking which is called splitting. There is no grey. This is paranoia personified; we must remember that paranoia is serious because it is out of touch with reality. It is a psychosis. Let’s look at this PMS, Primitive Mental State which functions as a defense mechanism for whose who are psychologically fragile and mentally damaged.


From The Jihadi Dictionary

Psychological Splitting – Black & White Thinking -- the Hallmark of Paranoia



split: to break apart, especially along a straight line; to separate or divide into parts or groups; to separate or divide into groups that disagree.

split: 1590s, narrow cleft, crack, fissure 1567 from Middle Dutch splitten.1161 Meaning piece of wood formed by splitting 1610s. Meaning act of separation [emphasis added], a divorce


Ψ Splitting is “a primitive defence mechanism where objects that evoke anxiety are dealt with by compartmentalising the negative and positive emotions. “Splitting occurs when a person cannot keep two contradictory thoughts or feelings in mind at the same time and, therefore, keeps the conflicting feelings apart, focusing on just one of them.”

Splitting of the ego is a term “used by Freud to denote a very specific phenomenon which he deems to be at work above all in fetishism and in the psychoses: the coexistence at the heart of the ego of two psychical attitudes towards external reality in so far as this stands in the way of an instinctual demand. The first of these attitudes takes reality into consideration, while the second disavows it and replaces it by a product of desire. The two attitudes persist side by side without influencing each other.”

Splitting, a primitive defense mechanism, “begins to operate in very early infancy. It involves the inability to integrate contradictory qualities of the same object into a coherent picture. This leads to cycles of idealization and devaluation of the unintegrated object.


X The Crossed Swords of Jihad

Splitting is a jihadi’s primary defense mechanism and constitutes a primitive mental state. The jihadi engages in pervasive splitting ideologically and psychologically through black-and-white, us-vs.-them thinking, which leads to attacking the other with the goal of annihilating them. While we think in binary oppositions, the jihadis’ psychological splitting exceeds this. It also fits hand in glove with paranoia. The jihadis make Klein’s idea of psychological splitting concrete through their use of weapons and the dismantling of bodies. At the same time they concretize what Freud states: their love‒hate relationship means that the jihadis actually “love” us in a perverse way, like little boys who say to their mothers, “I hate you” but actually love and are dependent on them. The jihadis cannot integrate and express their conflicting feelings appropriately.

Osama bin Laden recognized this when he cautioned his followers, among other things, to “Focus your fighting on America, not each other.” And yet they always wind up fight each other because they lack stability. OBL also said people like the strong horse, meaning that they have an easy identification with the aggressor and they vicariously enjoy sadomasochism of it. Hence this is why globally so many get their “jollies” from Oct. 7th as they too did not go through an individuation separation stage in their development; like the jihadis they split, project their hatred. They remain locked in an earlier stage of development of complete negativity.



To conclude

We cannot remain paralyzed by denial and we must speak out, listen and see with wide eyes open.

Screenshot Wikicomons

To dive deeper into the imagery of jihad in which we are immersed is an imperative as it reveals how psychotic, mentally damaged and fragile the jihadis are in their perversions as they seek our annihilation. The deep dive strips away the terror that jihadis like the Kata’ib al Farouq seek to project through this photo. By calling their bluff, we can be more pro-active and most importantly not in denial. In this way we ARE the strongest horse prevailing.







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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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