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Book Recommendation: Ancient Religions, Modern Politics

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

[by J. Scott Shipman]

ancient religion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Religions, Modern Politics, The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective, by Michael Cook

Charles Cameron recently had a post here at Zenpundit, Which is mightier, the pen or the sword?  Frequent commenter T. Greer recommended this volume in the comment section and I ordered immediately. My copy arrived this morning and I had some quiet time and a bit of commuting time to devote to Cook’s introduction and the first few chapters. This is a very good treatment of roots of Islam and how those roots affect today’s political climate. Cook divides the book into three large parts: Identity, Values, and Fundamentalism. The comparative element is his use of Hinduism and Latin American Catholicism when compared in scope and influence to Islam.

Here are a couple of good pull quotes from the Preface:

I should add some cautions about what the book does not do. First though it has a lot to say about the pre-modern world, it does not provide an account of that world for its own sake, and anyone who read the book as if it did would be likely to come away with a seriously distorted picture. This is perhaps particularly so in the Islamic case—and for two reasons. One is that, to put it bluntly, Islamic civilization died quite some time ago, unlike Islam which is very much alive; we will thus be concerned with the wider civilization only when it is relevant to features of the enduring religious heritage. (emphasis added)

Cook’s emphasis on shared identity is one of the best and most cogent descriptions I’ve found:

“…collective identity, particularly those that really matter to people—so much so that they may be willing to die for them. Identities of this kind, like values, can and do change, but they are not, as academic rhetoric would sometimes have it, in constant flux. The reason is simple; like shared currencies, shared identities are the basis of claims that people can make on each other, and without a degree of stability such an identity would be as useless as a hyperinflated currency. So it is not surprising that in the real world collective identities, though not immutable, often prove robust and recalcitrant, at times disconcertingly so.”

In the same comment thread where T. Greer recommended this Ancient Religions, Charles called Cook’s work his opus. Based on the few hours I’ve spent with the volume and the marginalia, Charles was characteristically “spot-on.”

Published in March of this year, this is a new and important title. With any luck, I’ll complete the book and do a more proper review sometime soon.

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Recommended Reading

Monday, August 18th, 2014

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"]

TOP BILLING! Small Wars Journal (Gary Anderson) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Theory and Practice of Jihad 

….Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not a formally trained military commander. However, he is not illiterate or a common thug such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who led al Qaeda in Iraq until his death in 2006. Al-Baghdadi holds a doctorate in theology from a theological seminary and appears to be a keen student of American tactics as they were passed on to the Iraqi Army, as well as the military practices of his Syrian Baathist opponents. Whether he is a military prodigy or merely a very talented student and practitioner of military art is irrelevant. To date, he has shown himself to be a very effective commander.

Like the prophet Mohammed from whom he claims descent, al-Baghdadi sees himself as a soldier-Imam and recognizes no difference between fighting, governing, and religion. This allows him to flow seamlessly between mediums. If we write him off as a mere terrorist, we make the mistake of underestimating him. He is generally considered to be a crackpot by serious Islamic scholars, but he controls a tract of land that includes most of al-Anbar province, much of eastern Syria, and Iraq’s second largest city; that makes him a serious player in the region. However, we should also beware of making him out to be ten feet tall. If we are going to deal with him, we need to understand how he fights and governs as well as his strengths and weaknesses.

….PRACTICE MANEUVER WARFARE. The army of the newly proclaimed Caliphate is well versed in the theory and practice of maneuver warfare. Maneuver Warfare is not just about movement. It is about putting of all of your force’s effects where they will do the most damage to the enemy. Al-Baghdadi has proven adept at the key tenants of maneuver warfare:

Avoiding Surfaces and Exploiting Gaps. Al-Baghdadi understands the concept of striking the enemy where he is weak and avoiding his foes’ strengths; this is true of physical military capability as well as the exploitation of enemy moral weaknesses. He exploits reconnaissance and intelligence to gauge whether an operation is doable. In Mosul, al-Baghdadi judged Iraqi army leadership to be rotten to the core and was able to take the city with a main force of about 800 men routing thousands of Iraqi government security forces after their leaders fled. However, when Iraqi government commandos provided steadfast resistance at the Baji oil fields, al-Baghdadi’s commander on the scene recognized a surface and moved on to softer targets.

Attack the Enemy’s Moral Cohesion. Through the selective use of terror, al-Baghdadi has gotten inside the opponent’s decision cycle. Iraqi government commanders in Baghdad found themselves issuing orders to subordinate leaders who have left the field. Junior soldiers woke up to see their commanders boarding mini-busses and panicked fearing the fate of fellow soldiers who had previously surrendered only to be massacred. This deliberate use of terror is selective as was the case with Genghis Khan. He massacred the populations of the first cities of any region that he attacked, and the word got around that resistance was futile. The great Khan conquered many cities, but based on his reputation, he had to lay siege to very few….

A tour de force piece by Anderson.

Cheryl Rofer –  George Kennan, The Long Telegram, And Russia in 2014 – Part 1 and George Kennan, The Long Telegram, And Russia in 2014 – Part 2 

….Kennan lists in this section his reservations and qualifications on what he has described as the Soviet viewpoint. Kennan’s words in italics.

First, it does not represent natural outlook of Russian people. Although Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are at record highs, similar highs during the Georgian crisis of 2008 quickly subsided. Russians will support their government, and this government is giving them a sense of self-respect and standing in the world through its annexation of Crimea and bold stand on Ukraine. A heavy propaganda campaign has reinforced these feelings.

Second, please note that premises on which this party line is based are for most part simply not true. This has been bothering me about Russian claims for some time. Many of them are arguable or have a couple of ways of being seen. For example, NATO expansion can be seen as a Western plot to encircle Russia and a betrayal of promises made in the 1990s. However, an examination of that expansion shows that, while there was discussion of Germany and NATO, no written guarantees were made, and that, further, the former Soviet satellites and republics that have joined NATO were eager to do so in order to escape the threat of renewed Russian expansionism. Both Russian and Western actions have led to today’s circumstances, but Russia emphasizes a narrative of its victimization rather than agency.

Russian arguments that the West is economically weak and about to fail are based on the crash of 2008 and a weak European recovery. Russia’s economic position, however, has its own problems. In the twenty-plus years since the wrenching conversion from Communist economics, Russia has failed to develop an industrial economy and relies on oil and other resource exports. When oil prices are good, its economy is good. But both the fall of the Soviet Union and the ruble crash of 1998 were associated with drops in oil prices. Russia is also vulnerable economically, more so than the West.

Max Hastings - Barbarians, genocide and a terrifying lack of Western leadership 

….Thus the huge problem for the West is that, while attempting to repel the Islamic State, it cannot identify any other local faction to champion, except the Kurds who suffered years of persecution. Indeed, the West should urgently give the Kurds the means to defend themselves. Otherwise, the least bad option is the one Obama has chosen: hit the extremists hard and fast with air power. He says there will be no U.S. troop commitment, but let us not kid ourselves: at the very least, some presence on the ground will be indispensable to provide targeting intelligence and control U.S. aircraft. Satellites and drones cannot do this on their own.

Regardless, this will leave us – and I say ‘us’, because it’s hard to see how Britain can escape participation – in a very deep hole. The fact is that Western follies since 2001 have contributed mightily to unleashing forces we cannot control, demented hordes who are killing more people than the dictators did. These are worrying times for those fearful of a descent into a historic confrontation with militant Islam. Although the jihadis in Iraq are killing Muslims as well as Christians, multiple stress points around the world – Gaza not least among them – intensify the danger that we shall eventually find ourselves going head-to-head with a vast religious grouping.

Professor Sir Michael Howard, Britain’s most distinguished historian and strategist, now 92, lamented to me last month the tottering, if not collapse, of every pillar that has supported international order through his lifetime. By that he means the UN, Nato and a strong America. I thought that he overstated the scale of the chaos that is currently unfolding, both in the Ukraine and the Middle East. But today, his words seem dismayingly justified.

al-Arabiya (Hisham Melhem) Enough lies, the Arab body politic created the ISIS cancer  

….Ever since the 1967 Arab defeat in the war with Israel, Arab politics have been influenced and mostly shaped by various stripes of Islamists, including the radical and violent groups that constitute the antecedent of al-Qaeda and ISIS. Their emergence was in the making for decades. Today most of the politics in various Arab states from the countries of the Maghreb; Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, through Egypt and on to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen is highly influenced by Islamists who occupy a shrinking spectrum. Most of the debates are essentially “all in the family” of Islamists kinds of debates. The rise of the Islamists; such as al-Nahda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the various Salafists, the Jama’a Islamia, Hezbollah, Hamas and later al-Qaeda and ISIS has been facilitated by the depredations of the “secular” Arab regimes, the military strongmen and the one party rule, particularly the depravities of the Baath Party in both Syria and Iraq.

War on the Rocks ( Bryan McGrath) THE PARADOX OF AMERICAN NAVAL POWER 

….The U.S. Navy is to some extent, a victim of its own success. It consistently provides presidents with flexible options for response and it rarely has to say, “No, we cannot do that.” Unless a president comes into office with the idea that the nation must begin to prepare for the rigors of great power competition again, the Navy will appear sufficiently sized to meet the requirements of crisis response, for these are the requirements against which its size and capabilities are resourced. And since there is no bureaucratic incentive for anyone within the chain of command to advocate for such preparation in the absence of presidential leadership, we may unfortunately someday find ourselves with a navy we can afford, but not the one we need. 

Global Guerrillas - iWar 101: Kicking the Squirrel 

Bruce Kesler - Rand Paul’s Foreign Policy: Obaman Bluster Without Substance 

Steven Metz -The Rise of the Islamic State and the Evolution of Violent Extremism

Israel’s version of The Onion and The Duffel Blog – introducing  The Israeli Daily !

China Matters -ISIS Tentacles Reach Toward China

Scholar’s Stage – It’s time to talk Honestly about the US-Japanese Alliance

Chicago Boyz (Lexington Green) -History Friday: Oliver P. Morton, The Great War Governor 

Watch how Western Culture migrated.

Sic Semper Tyrannis - IS Diary – 7 August 2014

The Glittering Eye -In What Belief System? and The Real Fear 

USNI Blog (Alex Smith) -Cooperative Strategy in the 21st Century 

David Brin -More Science: Microbes, Pathogens & Parasites

Cicero MagazineSpymaster Jack Devine on Building a Better CIA 

Studies in Intelligence - The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warlord  

PARAMETERS –  Options for Avoiding Counterinsurgencies  

That’s it.

 UPDATE:

Broken link to The Scholar’s Stage is now fixed.  My apologies to T. Greer.

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Recommended Reading

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a "zen"]


Top Billing! The Hill (Laurie Blank) Asymmetries and proportionalities 

….There is no doubt that, after an attack, the urge to simply count up the casualties and declare a war crime is powerful. However, an effects-based analysis — that is, using the numbers of casualties and extent of destruction to make legal claims — is simply incorrect. The law does not require that commanders be right all the time. The law also does not require perfect accuracy in targeting. But it does require extensive steps to protect civilians and reasonable judgments about the potential harm to civilians and the actions needed to minimize that harm.

This methodology is not designed to give militaries a free pass for causing civilian deaths. In fact, judging the legality of an attack solely on the actual effects of that attack actually does far less in the end to protect civilians from suffering during war.

First, an effects-based analysis gives commanders no way to know, at the time of the attack, how to determine the parameters of lawful conduct. Many commanders might well simply disregard the law entirely as no longer relevant — an invitation to unrestricted warfare and much greater harm to civilians. It is undoubtedly more protective to follow the law of war’s central obligations: attack only military objectives; refrain from indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks; and take precautions to minimize harm to civilians through choice of weapons, provision of warnings and other steps.

Second, a focus on effects incentivizes the enemy to simply surround itself with civilians in every conceivable location and circumstance, effectively guaranteeing greater civilian casualties and increased civilian suffering. As the United Nations Secretary General has reported, along with media around the world, Hamas does exactly that, storing weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques and locating tunnels under residential houses, mosques and other civilian property.

Importantly, Hamas’s use of the civilian population as a shield — a blatant violation of the law of war — does not in any way absolve Israel of its obligations to comply with the law’s fundamental obligations to protect civilians, including the principle of proportionality. But the effects-based analysis, or numbers game, not only minimizes Hamas’s legal responsibility for such civilian harm, but actually rewards it for exploiting the law’s protections for civilians by suggesting — wrongly — that every civilian death in Gaza is an Israeli war crime.

CICERORussell Crandall on COIN and America’s Dirty Wars 

How much of the problem is the lack of political or popular will for Vietnam-style counterinsurgencies, versus one of force posture or the mentality of our military/armed forces, which seems more enthralled and better suited to fight conventional wars?

This might sound evasive, but I think the key element in any particular case of American involvement is that “it all depends”. Political will and popular support can certainly help America prosecute these types of wars but the ongoing case of Afghanistan shows that this alone does not ensure success. It is fascinating to see how episodic the U.S. military understanding and embrace of irregular warfare has been over two centuries. The default has been that these dirty wars are aberrations that the military will fight only if it must. Following Iraq the new COIN philosophy assumed that the murky realm of irregular warfare would be the default conflict and was thereby embraced. But now a new sobriety is questioning this fidelity. What this suggests is how either knowingly or otherwise recent events weigh on our understanding of the past, present, and future. If Iraq and Afghanistan had been the cakewalks they appeared to be in their initial phases, our understanding of America’s ability to influence irregular warfare would be decidedly different. Yet the difference between cakewalk and quagmire in these two cases was remarkably thin.

CIMSEC – The Geographic limits of National Power 

….Afghanistan’s false reputation as a “graveyard of empire” comes not so much from it’s inhabitants who seem to habitually resist any attempts at outside control, but rather the problem of maintaining a large force in such a remote region. Western armies from Alexander the Great to the present U.S. and NATO force in the country have had to create a long, tortuous, and expensive supply line into or though Afghanistan in order to sustain their military operations there  or in adjacent lands. Alexander, British imperial forces in three wars, and now American and NATO forces have always crushed Afghan resistance and have been able to maintain a reasonable amount of control within the region. They have departed only when deprived of the economic support that provides the technological edge to their warfighting and logistics capabilities. A nation can maintain an army of many thousands in Afghanistan, provided that power or group of powers is willing to fly in supplies or negotiate their delivery through unfriendly states over long and difficult overland routes. Now that financial support for the technological effort necessary to sustain a large Western force in Afghanistan is failing, the limits of geography are again re-imposing themselves on the remote Central Asian region.

LAWFARE (Charlie Dunlap)- Book Review: Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates 

….Curiously, Gates never seems to question in any depth a doctrine for American troops that, among other things, cites French counterinsurgency theorist David Galula’s call for each soldier to become a “social worker, a civil engineer, a school teacher, a nurse, [and] a boy scout.” Exactly why Gates or anyone else thought that mostly high-school educated infantrymen–however earnest and valorous–were supposed to be focused on soldiering and also perform a set of divergent tasks that could stymie an army of PhDs is not explained in Duty. Implementing the counter-insurgency doctrine meant that Gates gave the U.S. military the Sisyphean task of trying to fundamentally reconfigure the hostile, alien cultures in Iraq and, later, in Afghanistan into countries congenial to Western sensibilities and purged of terrorists. (Regrettably, the terrorists rather easily outflanked Gates’ strategy by metastasizing into Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere.)

The Scholar’s Stage – The Next 40 Years in Twelve Hundred Words and Quantum Libraries

The Bridge – The Role of Nuclear Weapons in National Security 

Slightly East of New - Centers of Gravity – Do they Still Matter?

War on the Rocks (Frank Hoffman) -ON NOT-SO-NEW WARFARE: POLITICAL WARFARE VS HYBRID THREATS 

Global Guerrillas – Bot Dominance 

Adam Elkus - Bad Intentions

SWJ (Gary Anderson) -Solving Iraq’s Constitutional Problems: The Hard Way

Aim of Education by Paul Yingling 

TDAXP annihilates an author before praising him

POLITICOHow the Left took over the Democratic Party 

Presentation Zen -Story structure, simplicity, & hacking away at the unessential and 7 things good communicators must not do 

That’s it.

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Recommended Readings, hipbone version

Monday, July 14th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- Andrew Bacevich on the "religion" lesson, with Tim Furnish on the eschatology of the "caliphate" as a chaser ]
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Here’s Andrew Bacevich with a provocative piece titled Lessons from America’s War for the Greater Middle East — of which it is the tenth that most interests me personally:

Tenth, religion.

No single explanation exists for why the War for the Greater Middle East began and why it persists. But religion figures as a central element.

Secularized American elites either cannot grasp or are unwilling to accept this. So they contrive alternative explanations such as “terrorism,” a justification that impedes understanding.

Our leaders can proclaim their high regard for Islam until they are blue in the face. They can insist over and over that we are not at war with Islam. Their claims will fall on deaf ears through much of the Greater Middle East.

Whatever Washington’s intentions, we are engaged in a religious war. That is, the ongoing war has an ineradicable religious dimension. That’s the way a few hundred million Muslims see it and their seeing it in those terms makes it so.

The beginning of wisdom is found not in denying that the war is about religion but in acknowledging that war cannot provide an antidote to the fix we have foolishly gotten ourselves into.

Does the Islamic world pose something of a problem for the United States? You bet, in all sorts of ways. But after more than three decades of trying, it’s pretty clear that the application of military power is unlikely to provide a solution. The solution, if there is one, will be found by looking beyond the military realm — which just might be the biggest lesson our experience with the War for the Greater Middle East ought to teach.

And furthermore…

Timothy Furnish has a detailed post up about Dabiq magazine and its end-times implications:

New Islamic State Magazine: We’re On the Eve of Destruction

Since the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [Greater Syria] declared the resurrection of the caliphate a few weeks ago, analysts and journalists have focused on the ramifications of that putative political office for the Islamic world. However, at the start of Ramadan the new “Islamic State” and its caliph attempted to move the propaganda needle from the merely realpolitickally ridiculous to the apocalyptically awe-inspiring — by invoking Muslim eschatological traditions.

[ .. ]

The writers credit the late Abu Mus`ab al-Zarqawi, decapitator extraordinaire of the IS[IS] predecessor organization the Islamic State in Iraq, with first linking the jihad there to the End Time battle at Dabiq. Also, Dabiq has several pages extolling al-Zarqawi’s virtues and strategic vision for rec-creating the caliphate via these stages: 1) hijrah 2) jama`ah 3) destabilizing the taghut 4) tamkin 5) khilafah. The original hijrah was the “flight” of Muhammad and the small Muslim community from Mecca to Yathrib/Medina in 622 AD. Ever since, this exploit has served as an example for groups of Muslims who deem their society and/or rulers insufficiently pious and who thus repeat the paradigm of flee, consolidate power and return to conquer. Jama`ah is “community,” the expected group solidarity that hardens during hijrah. Such a community then must act to undermine the tyrannical regime(s), the taghut (literally “despots” or “gorillas”). As the oppressive rulers are rendered illegitimate via jihad and tuwwahhush (literally “savagery” or “brutality”), controlling less and less territory, the true Muslims will be able to consolidate power (tamkin), ultimately leading to the caliphate—as IS[IS] has now proclaimed. This rising new Muslim power “will trample the idol of nationalism, destroy the idol of democracy” and trigger the “demolition of Sykes-Picot” (the World War I British-French agreement which laid out plans for those two nations to rule over the Arab sections of the post-war Ottoman Empire). This five-step program for attaining power can be repeated elsewhere — notably Yemen, Mali, Somalia, Sinai Peninsula, Waziristan, Libya, Chechnya, and Nigeria, as well as in certain areas of of Tunisia, Algeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Dabiq also takes a number of pages to lay out an Islamic theological basis for the political power being claimed by “Caliph” Ibrahim. …

Furnish doesn’t address the Mahdist connection I made via the two hadith in an older post by Will McCants on Jihadica in which the Mahdi’s arrival is presaged by the death of the caliph, but offers a different emphasis in which al-Baghdadi himself might receive recognition as the Mahdi..

I’m sure more good readings will catch my eye as soon as I post this — but for now, that’s it from me.

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Dabiq magazine: an end-times reference from the IS “Caliphate”

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- the new caliphate has a new magazine hot off the presses, and it's bookended with apocalyptic hadith ]
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A new caliphate’s new magazine demands a new name — and on this occasion the name chosen carries a very specific end-times connotation:

As for the name of the magazine, then it is taken from the area named Dabiq in the northern countryside of Halab (Aleppo) in Sham. This place was mentioned in a hadith describing some of the events of the Malahim (what is sometimes referred to as Armageddon in English). One of the greatest battles between the Muslims and the crusaders will take place near Dabiq.

So there you have it in a nutshell — the IS caliphate announced their arrival with the first issue of a magazine named specifically for an impending battle associated with Armageddon.

**

To give those they seek to recruit to the cause more detail, the extended hadith is then narrated:

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“The Hour will not be established until the Romans land at al-A’maq or Dabiq (two places near each other in the northern countryside of Halab). Then an army from al-Madinah of the best people on the earth at that time will leave for them.

When they line up in ranks, the Romans will say, ‘Leave us and those who were taken as prisoners from amongst us so we can fight them.’ The Muslims will say, ‘Nay, by Allah, we will not abandon our brothers to you.’ So they will fight them.

Then one third of them will flee; Allah will never forgive them. One third will be killed; they will be the best martyrs with Allah. And one third will conquer them; they will never be afflicted with fitnah. Then they will conquer Constantinople.

While they are dividing the war booty, having hung their swords on olive trees, Shaytan will shout, ‘The [false] Messiah has followed after your families [who were left behind.]’ So they will leave [for their families], but Shaytan’s claim is false.

When they arrive to Sham he comes out. Then while they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (‘alayhis-Salam) will descend and lead them.

When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water. If he were to leave him, he would melt until he perished, but he kills him with his own hand, and then shows them his blood upon his spear” [Sahih Muslim].

**

The magazine next cites Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi:

Shaykh Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi (rahimahullah) anticipated the expansion of the blessed jihad from Iraq into Sham and linked it to this hadith saying,

“The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify -– by Allah’s permission -– until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq” [Ayna Ahlul-Muru’at].

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Finally, the editorial concludes:

According to the hadith, the area will play a historical role in the battles leading up to the conquests of Constantinople, then Rome. Presently, Dabiq is under the control of crusaderbacked sahwat, close to the warfront between them and the Khilafah.

May Allah purify Dabiq from the treachery of the sahwah and raise the flag of the Khilafah over its land. Amin.

**

You thought, perhaps, that those who put forth the magazine were kidding about Dabiq as the location of an end-times battle, sometime shortly after which Jesus [the son of Mary -- ‘Isa Ibn Maryam] will descend? On the 50th and final page of the magazine, the entire long hadith that graced page 4 is repeated — with, hey, different paragraph breaks to provide a little novelty:

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“The Hour will not be established until the Romans land at al-A’maq or Dabiq (two places near each other in the northern countryside of Halab).

Then an army from al-Madinah of the best people on the earth at that time will leave for them. When they line up in ranks, the Romans will say, ‘Leave us and those who were taken as prisoners from amongst us so we can fight them.’

The Muslims will say, ‘Nay, by Allah, we will not abandon our brothers to you.’ So they will fight them.

Then one third of them will flee; Allah will never forgive them. One third will be killed; they will be the best martyrs with Allah. And one third will conquer them; they will never be afflicted with fitnah.

Then they will conquer Constantinople. While they are dividing the war booty, having hung their swords on olive trees, Shaytan will shout, ‘The [false] Messiah has followed after your families [who were left behind.]’ So they will leave [for their families], but Shaytan’s claim is false. When they arrive to Sham he comes out.

Then while they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (‘alayhis-Salam) will descend and lead them.

When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water. If he were to leave him, he would melt until he perished, but he kills him with his own hand, and then shows them his blood upon his spear.” [Sahih Muslim]

The IS Baghdadi caliphate is part and parcel of the end-times, apocalyptic, Armageddon-style war as understood in one strand [see David Cook's books, below] of Islamic eschatology…

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Recommended readings:

  • JP Filiu, Apocalypse in Islam
  • David Cook, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic
  • David Cook, Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature
  • Timothy Furnish, Holiest Wars
  • Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth
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    Quote from Baghdadi: 'The Muslims today have a loud, thundering statement, and possess heavy boots.'

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