Only days after the Islamic State released a video warning of a climatic final battle in the city of Dabiq, Syria, Sen. Rick Santorum invoked the so-called caliphate’s end times vision during the undercard GOP debate.
“There’s all sorts of theological reasons why we may not want to go into Syria to take ISIS,” Santorum said. “ISIS is a caliphate. They’ve established a caliphate, the first Sunni caliphate since 1924, when Ataturk disbanded the Ottoman Empire. They’ve established a caliphate and under Islamic law, ‘good Muslims’ who see them as a legitimate caliphate are required to follow them. That’s why we have people in this country, who see them as a legitimate caliphate, who is a leader of this Sunni Muslim world, they are required under their law to follow them.
“How do you defeat their caliphate?” Santorum asked rhetorically. “Well, it’s very clear in Islamic law how you do so. You take their land. You have to take land back from the caliphate and in the Islamic world that delegitimizes the caliphate. It makes the caliphate unsuccessful, therefore not blessed by Allah, therefore you should not follow it.”
However, though Santorum advocated using troops in Iraq for this goal, he did not want to send troops into Syria.
“I have great hesitancy, based on ISIS’ desire to draw us into Syria, and to a particular town in Syria, for their own apocalyptic version, to go in with ground troops at this point,” he said.
Though not named, Santorum is referring to the town of Dabiq in Syria, where many Sunni Muslims believe a final battle is prophesied to take place. Dabiq is a term of special importance to the Islamic State’s propaganda efforts, serving as the name of the so-called caliphate’s magazine.
According to a particular hadith, the “Romans” are supposed to confront an Islamic force in the final hours of the world before the coming of an Islamic Jesus Christ.
It reads, in part, “The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them).”
Lindsey Graham noticeably shook his head and rolled his eyes during Santorum’s response.
“You’re not going to win that way Rick,” he said. However, seemingly confused, he argued there “was no one left to train” in Syria, even though Santorum had been talking about Iraq. As if to emphasize the point, Santorum was nodding his head.
When his turn came again, Santorum again denied any desire to put ground troops in Syria.
“You have to learn what they’re telling their people,” he said. “They want to draw the United States, the Great Satan, into Syria, into a particular town in Syria, because it’s consistent with their theology. And you say, well, this sounds like gobbledygook. It’s what they believe!”
Some interpretations of the hadith claim a coalition of 80 nations will mobilize against the Islamic State.
Recent ISIS propaganda has actually highlighted the extent of the coalition against them as proof the prophecy is being fulfilled and that the final end times battle is near.
The debate comes as American is fewer than 50 days away from the first 2015 presidential election season votes.
The word fight in Las Vegas came as billionaire business tycoon Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were jockeying for the lead.
Going into the CNN debate, Cruz and Trump were locked in a two-man race in Iowa. Cruz was up 31 percent to Trump’s 21 percent among likely Republican caucus-goers, according to a Bloomberg Politics-Des Moines Register poll published Saturday. Another Iowa poll conducted Dec. 7-10 by Loras College had Cruz leading Trump by 29.7 percent to 23.4 percent on Tuesday.
But nationally, Cruz is still lagging far behind Trump, who hit a new high of 41 percent in a Monmouth University poll conducted Dec. 10-13. In that poll, Cruz landed at just 14 percent.
In yet another national poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, Trump trounced Cruz by 23 points. Trump’s surge came after the GOP front-runner proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. until Congress can get a handle on the issue of terror.