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Two new collections from Tim Furnish, plus two

[ by Charles Cameron — a chance to have Tim Furnish’s recent writings in book form, plus a couple of recent apocalyptic issues bcoz apocalypse hasn’t gone away, oh no ]

Friend, blog friend and colleague Dr Tim Furnish recently tweeted:

I hope to review these two volumes of Tim’s essays here on Zenpundit.


Plus Two:

While we’re on the topic of apocalypse..

Sara A. Carter of the American Media Institute posted on the 28th on USA Today:

Islamic State recruitment document seeks to provoke ‘end of the world’

An apparent Islamic State recruitment document found in Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands reveals that the extremist group has grand ambitions of building a new terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and triggering a war in India to provoke an Armageddon-like “end of the world.”

The 32-page Urdu-language document obtained by American Media Institute (AMI) and reviewed by USA TODAY details a plot to attack U.S. soldiers as they withdraw from Afghanistan and target American diplomats and Pakistani officials.

AMI obtained the document from a Pakistani citizen with connections inside the Pakistani Taliban and had it independently translated from Urdu by Harvard researcher and translator Mustafa Samdani. The Pakistani’s identity was shared with USA TODAY, which has agreed not to identify him publicly because of concerns for his safety.
The document was reviewed by three U.S. intelligence officials, who said they believe the document is authentic based on its unique markings and the fact that language used to describe leaders, the writing style and religious wording match other documents from the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS. They asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The undated document, titled “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror. It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”

“Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,” it proclaims. “This is the bitter truth, swallow it.”

Retired Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who also reviewed the document, said it “represents the Islamic State’s campaign plan and is something, as an intelligence officer, I would not only want to capture, but fully exploit. It lays out their intent, their goals and objectives, a red flag to which we must pay attention.”

That. friends, is the Ghazwa e-Hind, which we’ve been discussing on occasion here on Zenpundit for several years:

  • http://zenpundit.com/?p=4462
  • http://zenpundit.com/?p=12683
  • http://zenpundit.com/?p=12756
  • http://zenpundit.com/?p=20592
  • http://zenpundit.com/?p=31402
  • http://zenpundit.com/?p=44267
  • Look for Tim Furnish to have more to say about this document and its implications



    from a Jewish source quoted and discussed in the Times of israel on March 11 this year — yes, I’m playing catch up here — comes an apocalyptic call for two nuclear attacks — with a specific reference to the coming of the Messiah in the final paragraph:

    Op-ed calls on Israel to nuke Germany, Iran<

    Right-wing media outlet Israel National News published an opinion piece Tuesday calling on Israel to launch nuclear bombs at Iran and Germany, only days after the outlet came under fire for publishing a piece accusing a war widow of killing her husband over her pro-peace views.

    In the opinion article published Tuesday, the author claims that only through nuclear annihilation of Iran and Germany, with 20 or 30 nuclear bombs each, can Israelis prevent the state’s destruction.

    “If Israel does not walk in the ways of God’s Bible,” author Chen Ben-Eliyahu wrote in Hebrew, “it will receive a heavy punishment of near complete destruction and doom and only a few will be saved.”

    One of Israel’s missions is to remember the crimes of Amalek, a tribe representative of pure evil in the Bible, whom Jews are commanded to obliterate. Among those descended from the band, the author writes, are Iranian leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and current President Hassan Rouhani.

    “They don’t miss an opportunity to discuss the need for the annihilation of Israel,” he wrote.

    To combat this Israel must respond in kind, Ben-Eliyahu declared. “To an existential threat we must respond with an existential threat,” he wrote, “not with speeches in Congress. We must make it clear to the Iranians that Israel will wipe out their nuclear program and Tehran and Isfahan as well.”

    “If [an enemy] rises up to destroy you, rise earlier to destroy him: twenty, thirty nuclear bombs will do to assure the job gets done,” he continued.

    He also called on the Jewish people to remember its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis and exact revenge on Germany, now a staunch ally of Israel.

    When the Messiah comes, Ben-Eliyahu wrote, Israel will reverse the Final Solution. “Twenty, thirty atomic bombs on Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Dresden, Dortmund and so on to assure the job gets done. And the land will be quiet for a thousand years,” he wrote.

    Of note here: The phrase rendered here “If [an enemy] rises up to destroy you, rise earlier to destroy him” is not a remark of Ben-Eliyahu — he is quoting the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 72a:

    Im ba l’hargekha, hashkem l’hargo

    variously translated “If he come to slay thee, forestall by slaying him<" in the Soncino edition and more colloquially "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him (first)" on the AJC site.

    7 Responses to “Two new collections from Tim Furnish, plus two”

    1. Charles Cameron Says:

      It occurs to me that there’s a Janus-like feature of the “nuking Germany and Iran” op-ed — it suggests the obliteration of a past (realized) threat and a future (possibe) one, a feature that might well be of interest to David Ronfeldt in terms of his STA-C theories.

    2. Charles Cameron Says:

      Tim has just posted on his own MahdiWatrch blog announcing these two volumes of his collected recent writings, adding that there’s more to come:

      My third book is on Tolkien; it is entitled High Towers and Strong Places: A Political History of Middle-earth (to be followed, next year, by Bright Swords and Glorious Warriors: A Military HIstory of Middle-earth). The cover, however, is not yet available.

      There’s much to look forward to!

    3. david ronfeldt Says:

      Yes, Charles, what a uniquely terrible time perspective. I’ve never seen anything like it. But on second thought, maybe it is not so unique. It resembles an extreme tribal vengeance mindset in which the avenger wants to wipe out not only the villain but also his entire lineage — past, present, and future. The classic purpose is to wipe out a genetic strain. Here, it is to wipe out a memetic strain as well — with Islamist Iran seen as the ideational heir of Nazi Germany.
      Maybe I can ask you to entertain another grim point as well: This guy’s disposition seems layered with a conviction that he is on God’s side, abiding by His dictates, compelled to act on His behalf. More than that, I suppose he thinks he is among the select, chosen.
      Which leads me to offer a broader point: Key actors in all the wars / conflicts across the Middle East and extending into South Asia and North Africa seem to think they are not only on God’s side, but that they have been selected by God above all others there. I see examples almost every day, in every nation across the region. This suggests a name for this collective multi-faceted multi-layered set of conflicts: the Wars of (or among) the Chosens, or the Chosens Wars. Maybe it’s too sensitive a name for this set of conflicts that has so far gone without a transcendent name. But it would cover both the sectarian and geopolitical currents at stake.

    4. Charles Cameron Says:

      Thanks, David:
      I think the leap between Germany, representing the past, and Iran, representing the future, is what distinguishes this example – the geography and genetics are so clearly distinct, even if the meme is (arguably) transmitted from one to the other.
      But I too have a further insight arising here.
      I’m not in any way a scholar of warfare and strategy, as you are, and as are others among our writers and readers, so this must be taken as an entirely amateur observation, and if I’ve simply missed nuances that others are familiar with, I’m happy to be enlightened – but I have the impression there’s this idea called “asymmetric warfare”, and while it may have synonyms such as “guerrilla warfare” or “insurgency”, it is generally viewed as a Thing, the David and Goliath Thing if you like. And FWIW, David is clearly marked as Chosen in both Tanakh and Qur’an.
      Goliath? Not so much. And the war of AQ or IS vs the US is asymmetrical not just in terms of AQ and IS being non-state actors and the US a world power, but also in the sense that AQ and IS are overt about being Chosen, while the US may see itself informally as a City upon a Hill, but makes no formal claim to being Chosen in terms of its foreign policy – just The Power that Can.
      So there are Chosen vs Chosen conflicts — Iran vs Saudis, Hamas vs Israel, the Thirty Years War — some of them asymmetrical, some perhaps symmetrical, some of them “hot” and some of them “cold” – but also Chosen vs Secular wars, if I can put it that way. And indeed, whether the Cold War was Secular vs Chosen, Chosen vs Chosen, or Secular vs Secular depends a lot on how you view both the US and the USSR – which Norman Cohn suggested was an extension of Joachim of Fiore’s apocalyptic third kingdom in Pursuit of the Millennium.
      And then there’s the age-old war of Sword and Pen to consider..

    5. david ronfeldt Says:

      Charles, my concern is based on reacting to the fact that so many violent actors in the Middle East claim to be God’s special agents — indeed, chosen. This is evident across all three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
      Never before has an era or region been so fraught with wars among peoples claiming to be Chosen. Maybe the era of the Crusades; but not quite, as I recall. Certainly no other region has been characterized by so many wars among Chosens; for the world’s other great religions — e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism — are not constructed around a Prophet and a Book sent by God, at least not explicitly and overtly. Only the Middle East is this way.
      Thus, believers in the Middle East — be they Jews, Christians, or Muslims —have good reason to feel special, select, even chosen. Since God sent His prophets there, its lands and peoples must be special.
      But I’ve also heard that God works in mysterious ways. So, I began wondering whether God may have blessed the Middle East for different reasons than various Chosens seem to presume. And here’s the speculation I’ve come up with:
      Presumably, God figured it was time, long ago, for Man to start receiving His Word. And the way He chose to do so was to send a Prophet to attract good people who’d spread the Word. Now, God could have placed His Prophet anywhere in the world. Yet He chose the lands and peoples of the Middle East three times, via three Prophets — Moses, Jesus, Mohammed — and three Books: the Torah, Bible, and Koran.
      But why the Middle East? Why not start elsewhere? People in the Middle East seem to presume that it’s because there is something worthy, even wonderful about them, even though (if not partly because) being chosen brings a burden of obligation and responsibility.
      But I’m not so sure about this anymore. Presumably, God wants His Word to spread round the world. Starting with the lands and peoples of the Middle East would make good sense, for they form a crucial crossroads of civilizations. Yet, perhaps God also sensed that if He started by placing a prophet elsewhere, then his Word might not spread ultimately into the Middle East in due time. Instead, its peoples would turn even more extraordinarily tribal than they already were, and then put up a terrible resistance that could jeopardize the entire project. Wiser, then, to start with a prophet there, and have the Word spread outward to the rest of the world.
      But the lands and peoples of the Middle East did not prove easy. With the first prophet, Moses (not to mention Abraham), his own tribe took hold of the Word — but it didn’t spread beyond. So God sent a second prophet, Jesus. This time the Word spread far beyond, but little more inside the region. So God sent a third prophet, Mohammed. Now, the Word spread far across the Middle East and far around the world. Progress?
      In short, according to this speculation, God chose to start with the peoples of the Middle East not because they are so wonderful, so deserving to be chosen, but rather because they are so difficult — and because they would prove even more difficult later if He started elsewhere. And indeed many difficulties remain, for actors from all three religions keep claiming to be the ones truly chosen — more chosen than others — by their version of the Word and its Prophet. In so doing, they keep reverting to extreme tribalism, in ways that disparage not only other peoples but even the other prophets. Indeed, the more chosen they feel, the more tribal they turn. Is that what God wants? Or is that what He dreaded? I suggest there are lots of new questions to be asked and answered.
      And that’s why “The Wars of the Chosens” (or some variant) seems an apt name. More fully spelled out, it might even help with rethinking the kinds of narratives and counter-narratives that are and/or should be in play in the region and elsewhere. I wish I could propose that everybody just cool it with their chosenness, but prophetic disarmament might be far harder to negotiate than nuclear disarmament.

    6. Grurray Says:

      Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not as silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

    7. Charles Cameron Says:

      The Refiner’s Fire…

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