Is U.S. enabling a Middle East apocalypse? Part 2
Last week, in Part 1, I detailed how the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran will gravely increase Middle East instability. Despite what American officials think or say, any freshman student of global politics can figure out that Iran will eventually use its nuclear resources to develop a bomb. And when it does, the likelihood of a second Holocaust for the Jewish people will be imminent, if Israel doesn’t execute a pre-emptive strike first.
This week, in Part 2, I will describe how the White House is playing into the eschatology plans of ISIS and particularly the Muslim view of the apocalypse.
Over the past year, President Obama has referred to ISIS as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaida’s “JV team.” It is nothing short of sheer ignorance to make such statements – and to think that type of confusion is coming from the U.S. commander in chief makes it easy to understand why and how his administration continues to make many significant strategic Middle East errors.
To call ISIS “not Islamic” – as Obama and many Muslims do – is like calling Mickey Mouse “not Disney.” According to Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the ISIS theology, he says such a view is “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Haykel says such ignorance of ISIS’ true religious nature thwarts a real strategy to defeat ISIS and stems from an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”
In March, Graeme Wood, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, wrote the exposé “What ISIS really wants,” in which he detailed ISIS’ true intentions by tracking down some of the most notorious recruiters for the Islamic State. His article is a must-read for anyone truly seeking to understand ISIS and Islam’s ultimate intent.
Wood notes, “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.”
Wood contends that U.S. officials and others can be ignoring the heart of ISIS theology and particularly its view of the apocalypse. Those views are not extremist views but “are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic State’s propaganda. These include the belief that … the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.”
The identity of Rome is debated in Islamic eschatology. Some think it’s the Eastern Roman empire or Turkey. But Wood adds: “Other Islamic State sources suggest that Rome might mean any infidel army, and the Americans will do nicely.”
Syria has played and will play a central role for ISIS. Former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice warned: “the civil war in Syria may well be the last act in the story of the disintegration of the Middle East as we know it.” U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper took it one step further last year when he explained to the Senate that the war in Syria had created an “apocalyptic disaster.”
It is no coincidence that Syria has such prominence in Islamic eschatology. ISIS’ own magazine derives its name from the Syrian city of Dabiq, which has huge significance for Islam. Dabiq is the location of the Ottoman defeat of the Mamluks in 1516, which emboldened the last caliphate in the region.
Dabiq is the region where many Muslims believe the apocalypse will occur. And is it merely a coincidence that Megiddo, from which Armageddon gets its name in the Bible, is only 298 miles south as the crow flies?
For the end to come, according to Muslims, it will not take 10,000 jihadists. Wood met with Musa Cerantonio, an Australian preacher reported to be one of the Islamic State’s most influential recruiters. Cerantonio explained: “It is foretold that the caliphate will sack Istanbul before it is beaten back by an army led by the anti-Messiah, whose eventual death – when just a few thousand jihadists remain – will usher in the apocalypse.”
Through the Obama administration’s strategy and actions, the U.S. is playing into the very hand of Islamic groups like ISIS and their views of the end days. Specifically, the U.S.’ stall to get involved in Syria’s civil war and the complete withdraw of American troops from Iraq provided the geographical area and framework through which ISIS established itself and built its caliphate. Experts say that while al-Qaida can exist by going underground, ISIS cannot because territorial authority is essential in establishing and maintaining a caliphate and ushering in the apocalypse.
Therein also lies the way to defeat the Islamic State. If ISIS loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate and lose the heart of its power – but that can’t happen under President Obama’s present military plans and promises. He has tied his own hands and the U.S. military from cutting off ISIS’ power by first giving them the land by vacating it, and then re-entering a select Middle East war but refusing to escalate it beyond dropping bombs. In fact, doing so – as well as dropping leaflets in Syria – only substantiates and empowers Islamic extremists’ belief that they are fighting the final religious war against the greatest Christian nation. Together with Obama’s promise not to provide boots on the ground, it only vitalizes ISIS’ caliphate and hastens the apocalypse.
Singer superstar Kenny Rogers once wrote in his No. 1 song, “The Gambler”: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
Then again, if you know very little about the game of poker, it’s probably best to stay away from the table.