The Management of Savagery: Part I

Hamas’ devastating assault on Israel’s southern border over a holiday weekend in October has not only exposed a disturbing intelligence failure at the core of the Israeli security apparatus, it has also dramatically reconfigured the politics of the Middle East. Prior to the raid, and despite continuing reservations about Israeli settlements on the West Bank, the lineaments of a US-brokered agreement between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to work together against the growing regional influence or Iran and its Revolutionary Guard had begun to emerge.

The attack and the inevitable, but disproportionate Israeli reaction, resulting in Palestinian casualties in the Gaza strip, has undermined any prospect of such a concord emerging any time soon .

The attack, launched by land sea and air by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon indicates a degree of coordination and planning that caught Israel’s Defence Force off guard. The timing, coinciding with a damaging constitutional crisis within Israel over judicial reforms, was impeccable. The inevitable beneficiary of all this is Iran and intimates its involvement, at some level, in the preparation of the attack.

The invasion and its brutal savagery also suggests that the nominally Sunni Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Shiite Hezbollah, together with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, have absorbed key lessons for the conduct of terror from Islamic State’s death cult playbook and its guide to jihad, The Management of Savagery.

 Thanatos unchained?

Before we too quickly assume the inevitable destruction of Hamas, we need to know more precisely what Islamic State (IS) then and Hamas now consider it achieves with an ultra-violent savagery. As early as 2004, in the wake of the Madrid bombings, Islamists everywhere defined the divide between a pluralist secular world order and their brand of apocalyptic millenarian caliphism, which Hamas and other Middle Eastern terror groups share, by the formula: ‘You love life, we love death’. This slogan went through several mutations after 2004, with phrases like ‘The Americans love Pepsi, we love death’. In essence,  this eroticised death instinct defines itself against a secular, Western, Enlightenment belief in life, as graphically illustrated by Hamas’ Nukhba commando units brutally murdering the innocent revellers attending a  desert rave on October 7.

As the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco observed in a different ideological context, Fascism is political necrophilia evincing a taste for killing and martyrs. Contemporary Islamo-Fascism is similarly obsessed. It means, as the disturbing images on the internet sickeningly demonstrate, adoring and serving death.

In fact, this beatification of violence, is as telling as the professed politically religious commitment. Indeed, to love death as Hamas and Hezbollah do is to say that it is beautiful to receive it and to risk it and that the most saintly love is to distribute it. This putrid need for death is evident today across the Middle East. If that’s what jihadism at its fundamentalist core wants, it has certainly got it. It is a form of political religious nihilism made possible by the sacralisation of violence.

This species of revolutionary violence and the capacity of its version of Islam to play into the cult of death is not to desensitise youth to death but to sacralise it. Hence the recent tactical shift from somewhat passé decapitation to something even more transgressively vile and therefore stimulating, demonstrating once more the ‘attractiveness of evil.’[1]

Managing Savagery

Such cruelty and the addictive craving it elicits, at the same time, serves a broader ideological and strategic purpose. As Abu Bakr Naji explained in The Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Stage Through Which the Umma Will Pass (2006)[2]

the chaos of savagery represents the intermediate stage of state breakdown, which the revolutionary cadre must manage en route to the purified Islamist vision. As Naji explains, ‘if we succeed in the management of savagery, that stage will be a bridge to the Islamic state which has been awaited since the fall of the caliphate’. The strategy distinguishes between the stage of state breakdown characterised as one of ‘vexation and exhaustion’ where the failing state’s power, as in the Palestinian Authority, remains contested, the subsequent stage of ‘savage chaos’, essentially a Hobbesian state of war of all against all, where the people ‘yearn for someone to manage the savagery’. Management requires securing the region’s borders, providing basic food and medical treatment and establishing sharia justice, prior to transition to the final historical stage of the reformed caliphate.

Stages 1 and 2 clearly conform to Mao’s understanding of guerrilla areas and base areas identified in On Guerrilla Warfare (1936) . As with Mao so with Hamas and Hezbollah: the control of the people and the support of the masses achieves both unity and power ‘through armed struggle’. This Maoist strategy now serves not the liberation of the poor and blank peasantry, but the instrumentalisation of sharia justice and the destruction of Israel. To achieve this, ‘violence is crucial’ any backsliding or ‘softness’ will ‘be a major factor in the loss of the element of strength’.Moreover, even if Israel survives and the Caliphate is not achieved immediately, it is not the end of the matter. As Naji continues chillingly, ‘the more abominable the level of savagery is’, it is still less abominable than enduring stability under ‘the order of unbelief, nizam al kufir by several degrees’.


[1] Eric Voegelin, cited in Barry Cooper, New Political Religions (Columbus, University of Missouri Press, 2007) p.106.

[2] Abu Bakr Naji (trans William McCant) The Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Stage Through Which the Umma Will Pass  Harvard, Harvard University Press, 2006

37 thoughts on “The Management of Savagery: Part I

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    Mao had a famous dictum: ’Support what the enemy opposes; oppose what the enemy supports.’
    The reason these Islamic fanatics do not fear death, is the simple fact that Islam promises each martyr in the struggle for its eventual and global triumph a personal harem of 72 beautiful virgins. That is, in addition to the four wives (max) he is allowed in this pre-martyrdom life.
    But pigs and pigmeat are strictly not halal. So if a promise is made that every terrorist killed in the course of fighting for Islamic jihad will have his remains sealed in a watertight steel drum whose remaining empty spaces are filled to the brim with pig manure, he would be in no condition to enter Paradise and be given his due reward of the said 72 virgins.
    That might just give him pause..
    Worth a try, surely.

    • STD says:

      Ian I have a query- the gender, race and weight of the said virgins? Sounds like there’s a lot of peace to be HAD in that direction!

    • STD says:

      Oh and Ian I thought the 72 virgins was and analogy that was representative of a handful of raisins. What happened to luscious? Maybe the promised land is all hear say! A dream in reality- plenty o motivation in that.

    • cbattle1 says:

      Don’t know about the number, but the Penguin translation of the Koran mentions that in Paradise one will have as playmates: “bashful dark-eyed virgins” , who’s “virginity is renewed every morning”, and also describes them as “high-breasted maidens”. Sounds good to me, where do I sign-up? I can’t recall what, if anything, will be in Paradise for women; perhaps they get to be the bashful dark-eyed virgins?

      • STD says:

        Perhaps, make no mistake tho, sweet sunbeam raisins are in the same (league) as cashews and dark chocolate, in that they are by any measure extremely moorish-and by the sounds of things are always eternally going to be in this here hamlet of happiness, in plentiful as well as perpetual supply.
        Certainly sounds as though both virgins and virginity per se’ are one hell of a logistical catering nightmare for somebody,without any negotiation.
        If I may avail myself further in being awfully presumptuous ,in regard to your “ high-breasted maidens”, am I to presume analogously that at this point it is a given certain that the martyr has seen the light and has arrived at the point of no return – the heavenly harem- I do hope it doesn’t turn out to be a frivolity of sort’s- a pseudo oasis- a shimmer on the horizon.
        PS, all together yummy, paradise sounds very fattening-all those sweet sugary sultanas and chocolate-could I or should I take someone with me, Jenny Craig and her diversity range of low fat low caloric dietary range of vegan meals as equity insurance perhaps?
        Abstinence and obstinance are very strange bed fellows indeed.
        At this point I am in reminiscence and sentimentalising the thought’s of Saint Augustine.

      • STD says:

        Is that mourning!

    • Jason Gardner says:

      Hear, hear!

    • whitelaughter says:

      sorry, no. Under Islamic law a ‘martyr’ doesn’t even need a funeral.
      The ideal would be some form of cyrogenic freezing, and hurl the frozen terrorist off into interstellar space – heck, it wouldn’t even need to *work* – so long as the murderers *thought* they would be denied paradise, it should have some deterrent value.
      But in the meantime, we need to focus on helping sane muslims leave their evil death cult. The so called ‘peaceful’ Muslims still have children, who can then continue the jyhad, We need them to *leave* the cult.

  • Sindri says:

    The contemporary useful idiot, described and skewered with devastating accuracy by Henry Ergas yesterday:

    “Woefully ignorant both of international law and of the realities of war, drenched in the moral earnestness that is nothing but moral luxury, those voices are the price we pay for having bred the moral sense out of large sections of an entire generation, much as the wings have been bred off chickens to produce more white meat.
    Little wonder then that the religion-hating Greens, who epitomise the wingless generation’s moral confusion, have linked arms with Islamic fundamentalists who would, if only they could, crucify gays, behead transsexuals and force women into the perpetual darkness of illiteracy, childhood marriages and burqas.”

  • lbloveday says:

    “The attack and the inevitable, but disproportionate Israeli reaction”
    From Peter Smith’s article “The Long and Short of ‘Proportionality’”:
    I was conscious that proportionality was used by some as an anti-Israeli trope designed to keep Israel permanently besieged by its enemies. In that context, it’s akin to Nazi propaganda in my eyes.

  • pgang says:

    Very interesting. It confirms for me that Islam is a religious form of socialism, following the socialist creed to its logical end.
    Equalise all in death to create humanity’s utopia. It is the opposite of Christianity, which aims to justify all in life within God’s kingdom.

  • cbattle1 says:

    I just want to be able to say that, elsewhere, I was not stating that Jews and Arabs were two distinct races, which is why I had put the word “race” within inverted commas. I had also used the word “racism” within inverted commas, because I was using that word to describe how various peoples have been classified into seperate groups or “races”, with labels such as “good” or “bad”, etc., being applied to differentiate them.

    • ianl says:

      Hopeless confusion, and very nasty detritus from it, attends the word “race”. Morphed into being applied to anyone who is disliked by anyone else, it has no specific attributes now. So, as abusive fallout: I don’t like him because he’s racist …

      Culture ? Ethnicity ? Melanin concentration ? Language ? None of these seem equivalents but all are used as a conflation of “race”.

      I’ve read in various peer-reviewed journals that, for example, certain ethnic groups have slight DNA variations that render those groups susceptible to some diseases that other groups cope easily with, or the opposite in that some groups cope more easily with certain specific diseases than the global populations. Are these distinct groups “races” as determined by slight genomic differences ?

    • rosross says:


      Race is a term much misused. Jews are a religion and no religion makes a race. Arab is a culture, although really it just links Arab-speaking countries. It does not link Muslim countries because neither Iran or Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, are Arabic speakers. Arabs are not a race either. But we need apples with apples – religions with religions not religions with cultures.

      • cbattle1 says:

        What if a Jew is an atheist, and/or can’t prove any ancestorial connection with people who were living in the “Holy Land” in ancient times? How is that person a Jew? And what about the people that were clearly Arabs, that identified as Jews and came to Israel after they were deported from their home countries in retaliation for the establishment of Israel? Or the Ethiopian “Jews”?
        The Apostle Paul makes the claim in Galatians 3:29 that “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” Does that mean that a Christian is a Jew, and therefore has the “Right of Return”?

        • rosross says:


          You articulate the clear problem with a religion claiming rights to land because some followers lived there long ago.

          My understanding is that anyone with a Jewish ancestor can become an Israeli citizen. So, yes, technically being atheist or Christian but having a Jewish ancestor gets you in the door. Many of the Zionists were atheist, now called secular, but it seems odd to think that someone can reject totally a religion and its God and yet still call themselves a member of the religion.

          This no doubt rankles with orthodox Jews who represent probably a greater threat to Israel than the Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

          And in 1947 Israel gave immediate citizenship to all Arab Palestinian Jews so clearly being Arab or Palestinian was never an issue.

  • Stephen Due says:

    Hopefully the principle of ‘proportionality’ will be exhibited in the comments to this article (having been conspicuously violated in some comments to previous articles on this topic). Perhaps commenters with a lot to say could submit their material to the editor in the form of articles?
    My point here concerns the idea that this conflict started because of a “disturbing intelligence failure at the core of the Israeli security apparatus”, Was it really a failure? Or was there something else going on? Such as the need for a dramatic pretext along the lines of 9/11 for the IDF to move against Hamas? As a “failure” it was quite remarkably complex, almost as if it was designed to draw the enemy to attack.

    • Katzenjammer says:

      In your “implied” conspiracy theory, was it Israel’s or Hamas’ idea to capture, torture, rape and murder a bunch of young partygoers, babies and 80 years olds? Please note that “implied” is in quotes.

      • Stephen Due says:

        My point really is that one cannot know what is going on behind the scenes here. One cannot know why the IDF ‘failed’ to detect and respond fast enough to the Hamas incursion. My impression is that some Israelis at least are appalled that their government has used this as a pretext to launch the country into a vicious war. Almost invariably atrocities are committed by both sides in war. Surely war itself is an atrocity. I note that there are Jews protesting in Washington right now with the slogan ‘Not In Our Name’.

        • Katzenjammer says:

          Would any Muslim be brave enough to hold a bannar saying ‘Not In Our Name’.
          “My point really is that one cannot know what is going on behind the scenes here.”
          The intelligence failure could be due to Netanyahu not receiving proper advice from military and intelligence. With the division over judicial reform many said they would refuse mobilisation if called upon. Intelligence may have known, thought it would be the usual attempt to breach the border, and though it could be their opportunity to finally dethrone Netanyahu.

  • STD says:

    Israel- Birth of a State a German perspective- the British couldn’t be as bad as that or could they?
    Warts and all everyone.

  • STD says:

    In regard to the video- who is more righteous the chicken or the egg.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    The historical, academic and religious context to events can be quite helpful.
    But the large scale, planned, meticulously organized vicious murders across numerous small villages in Israel including innocent little children, babies and toddlers while they were sleeping peacefully in their beds by terrorists who broke into their homes and personally slaughtered and tortured innocent people right on the spot with their own hands speaks for itself.
    This hand-to-hand murder and torture of innocent civilians in their own homes while they slept in their beds is in another category altogether to the usual horrific things that go on in wars.
    So is taking little babies and toddlers hostage into Gaza to be murdered as required by Hamas.
    So is torturing, raping and murdering a young woman and dragging her mutilated corpse into the streets and laughing at the disgusting, monstrous and inhuman spectacle.
    No amount of historical background to events justifies this. I don’t need any historical, religious, academic or political background to see this for what it is: absolute, unequivocal evil.
    Evil that was planned, meticulously organized and perpetrated on such a large scale that a substantial number of people in Gaza must have had knowledge that this was going to happen. Not only knowledge of it but complicity in what happened.
    Those in Gaza who weren’t aware of it would certainly be now. We’ll see how that might temper their actions from now on. I wouldn’t hold out any hope though.

    • BalancedObservation says:

      Those who came out immediately after these atrocities happened and before Israel retaliated – to demonstrate for Palestinians in our streets and publications, disgust me. I will not debate with such people. It would be like swimming in a sewer. I have no respect for them whatsoever.
      The perpetrators of these abominable murderous acts would be seeing the demonstrations in Sydney and posts elsewhere as support for such acts. You can be reasonable sure those who were chanting ” gas the Jews” at those public demonstrations in Sydney would have supported the atrocities.

      • cbattle1 says:

        Balanced Observation: I don’t see where anyone commenting on Quadrant-on-line is blatantly celebrating or condoning atrocities or terrorism. Yes, there are some commentors who don’t mention those sort of things that you do, and instead write of the bigger picture and present a historical perspective that people often are unaware of. People have different opinions and different understandings of where we have come from, where we are, and what should be the best way forward. Not loudly echoing what you say is not the same as condoning terrorism, etc.

        • BalancedObservation says:

          Thanks for you comment.
          The only people protesting who I said we could reasonably assume support the atrocities I referred to above (which are actually worse than most terrorist attacks) were those who were chanting at the demonstrations : ” gas the Jews”.
          Although given the timing of the demonstrations and posts immediately after the atrocities I referred to above and before the Israeli retaliation – Hamas would be viewing them as supporting the inhuman atrocities Hamas perpetrated.
          What disgusted me in particular was the timing of the support for Palestinians immediately after the atrocities and before Israel retaliated. More than the fact that demonstrators may have avoided mentioning just how bad they were.

          • BalancedObservation says:


            Oh and no matter whether ” people have different opinions and different understandings of where we have come from, where we are, and what should be the best way forward ” – it’s my opinion that none of that would justify supporting these abominable atrocities.

  • rosross says:

    Radicalism flourishes where injustice and powerlessness exist. And never more so than when a sense of righteousness is at work.

    While Islamic radicalism is not particular to Palestine, there is no doubt the situation there plays a part in fomenting it in general. Israel’s presence has always been controversial in the Muslim world and a weeping sore for the Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim.

    The sensible thing for Israel would have been to take that into account as part of the big picture, instead of continuing unabated violent dispossession and continued colonisation of Palestine. If justice were done for Palestine, although one could argue after 75 years of violent oppression it might be too late, then one rallying cause would be removed from the radical agenda.

    The Arab world did offer peace to Israel, over a decade ago on the condition it ended the occupation. Israel should have accepted that olive branch but it did not. Acceptance by the Arab world and justice for Palestine would have removed much oil from the radical fire.

    It is also wise to separate the clear injustice the Palestinians continue to suffer from claims made by Islamic fanatics because without resolution for the Palestinians there is no future for Israel anyway. World opinion has changed, including for many Jews and the occupation must end.

    It is impossible for Israel to rid Palestine of all Muslims and Christians, who number around 6 million without also ridding Israel of its 20% of citizens who were formerly Palestinians. Even if such a thing were to happen there are still 8 million Palestinians in the Diaspora who would continue the fight to free Palestine and of course, any such attempt would inflame Muslims in general and the radicals in particular.

  • Jason Gardner says:

    I’ll stop you right there, champ. When did the “Arab world offer peace to Israel”? Your definition of “occupation” is the actual existence of Israel, ergo, your idea of peace is predicated on the destruction of Israel. Your banal words show that you really don’t understand what’s at work here. The atavistic blood lust of the Arabs (and if you don’t believe me, ask 500,000 dead Syrians what they think) is the key issue here. You describe Israel as a “weeping sore”. Your analogy calls for precisely the kind of surgery we saw on October 7th, hence you are in fact calling for pack rape, the murder of infants and the elderly and the taking of hostages to use as human shields. Sadly, there are far too many armchair serial killers like you in the Western nations. They’re crawling out of their academic sewers to cheer on the Hamas scum, as are you.

  • Mike says:

    There is an urgent need for the West to better understand the theology underpinning Islam.

    One possible starting point :

  • gilmay97 says:

    An old Islamic chap who says Australia is the paradise spoken of in scriptures, his daughters have professional degrees thanks to Australia, where they came from women are banned from education to keep them ignorant and subservient to males. He cannot understand Muslims who escaped from their dung-heap country come here then want to turn it back into the dung-heap they left.
    He gave me these teachings of incitement to torture, kill and main from the Koran, they are hereunder, read them and learn, these teachings are why we have barbaric acts in the name of Allah.

    Incitement to Kill Infidels “………… in the whole world, just as Mohammad did”.

    After the Moslem riots in Sydney 15 September 2012 one of their leaders proudly said on TV, “We are taught to love Mohammad more than we love our parents”. With that thinking you can understand why they will not tolerate any denigration of his words.

    Below is a little of what we are up against, and not just the Jews, but all of us, Infidels, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, in fact anyone who does not believe in Islam.

    We are told that there is a difference between extremist Islam and peace loving normal Islam.
    Unfortunately this is not what the Quran says, a good Muslim when the time is right and they are called will fight for the cause of Allah, infidels are considered “Allah’s enemy”. Allah also said that Muslims were to kill all their enemies. This of course means endless war against all non-Muslims. The most repeated verse of the quran is: “Obey Allah and obey his messenger”

    Qur’an 8:67 “It is not fitting for any prophet to have prisoners until he has made a great slaughter in the land.”

    Bukhari:V4B52N220 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror.’”

    Ishaq:588 “When the Apostle descends on your land none of your people will be left when he leaves.”

    Qur’an 9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

    Qur’an 8:39 “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.”

    Qur’an 8:7 “Allah wished to confirm the truth by His words: ‘Wipe the infidels out to the last.’”

    Tabari IX:69 “Killing disbelievers is a small matter to us.”

    Tabari VIII:141 “The battle cry of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah that night was: ‘Kill! Kill! Kill!’”

    Bukhari:V5B59N512 “The Prophet had their men killed, their women and children taken captive.”

    Ishaq:324 “Fight them so that there is no more rebellion, and religion, all of it, is for Allah only. Allah must not have rivals.”

    Ishaq:587 “Our onslaught will not be a weak faltering affair. We shall fight as long as we live. We will fight until you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge. We will fight not caring whom we meet. We will fight whether we destroy ancient holdings or newly gotten gains. We have mutilated every opponent. We have driven them violently before us at the command of Allah and Islam. We will fight until our religion is established. And we will plunder them, for they must suffer disgrace.”

    Ishaq:580 “Our strong warriors obey his orders to the letter. By us Allah’s religion is undeniably strong. You would think when our horses gallop with bits in their mouths that the sounds of demons are among them. The day we trod down the unbelievers there was no deviation or turning from the Apostle’s order. During the battle the people heard our exhortations to fight and the smashing of skulls by swords that sent heads flying. We severed necks with a warrior’s blow. Often we have left the slain cut to pieces and a widow crying alas over her mutilated husband. ‘Tis Allah, not man we seek to please.”

    Tabari IX:69 “He who believes in Allah and His Messenger has protected his life and possessions from us. As for those who disbelieve, we will fight them forever in the Cause of Allah. Killing them is a small matter to us.”

    Ishaq:327 “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’”

    Tabari VIII:122/Ishaq:515 “The Prophet gave orders concerning Kinanah to Zubayr, saying, ‘Torture him until you root out and extract what he has. So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinanah’s chest, twirling it with his firestick until Kinanah was near death. Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him.”

    etc… and remember the most repeated verse of the quran is: “Obey Allah and obey his messenger.. and this is the man that Muslims follow today.. Terror is mainstream Islam. Even Muhammad was a terrorist—leading 75 brutal raids in less than 10 years. Osama bin Laden is just following his example. Here is a sampling of what Muhammad and Allah said about terror:

    Bukhari:V4B52N220 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror.’”

    Qur’an 8:12 “I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle.”

    Non Muslims are not counted as the innocent only Muslims are the innocent.

    Judging by their behaviour, Muslims are anti-West, anti-Democracy, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu, anti-Atheist and anti non Muslims. Muslims are involved in 25 of some 30 conflicts going on in the world today: in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, India, Indonesia (2 provinces), Kashmir, Kazakastan, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Macedonia, the Middle East, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Russia-Chechnya, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda and Uzbekistan etc.
    Doesn’t this mean that extremist Islam is the norm??? Read the last three quarters of the Quran and learn for yourselves.

    Ali Gom’a, the grand mufti of Egypt, the highest Muslim religious authority in the world, supports murdering non-Muslims. If it is not part of Islam why no outrage from Muslims?

  • bomber49 says:

    In 1899 Churchill wrote, “Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world,” Churchill was especially condemned the treatment of women in the Muslim world.

  • Andrew L Urban says:

    “The attack and the inevitable, but disproportionate Israeli reaction, resulting in Palestinian casualties in the Gaza strip, has undermined any prospect of such a concord emerging any time soon .” Douglas Murray has already ridiculed the notion of proportionality in this situation. It is the most absurd notion; can the author describe how it would be manifest?

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