Eerie front-page NYT story examines ISIS prophecies about an apocalyptic showdown in Syrian town of Dabiq. (Story looks ripped from THE FIRST HOSTAGE, my forthcoming novel about a showdown over Dabiq.)




(Dallas, Texas) — Readers of this column know that I have been trying to draw the attention of leaders in Washington and Jerusalem, U.S. presidential candidates, journalists, Evangelical leaders, and the American people more broadly to the emerging threat of what I call “Apocalyptic Islam” of both the Shia and Sunni varieties.

My last series of political thrillers — The Twelfth Imam, The Tehran Initiative and Damascus Countdown — imagined a scenario in which Iran’s Shia Muslim leaders, driven by their genocidal belief in End Times Islamic prophecies, built an arsenal of nuclear weapons and set into motion a plan to annihilate Israel and the United States.

Now, my latest political thriller series — The Third Target (which was published in January 2015), and my forthcoming novel, The First Hostage (which releases December 29th) — imagines a scenario in which the leaders of ISIS are driven by a Sunni version of genocidal End Times prophecies to capture chemical weapons in Syria and launch a series of horrific attacks against U.S., Israeli, and Sunni Arab leaders. At the heart of the series is a fictional New York Times reporter trying to understand what Apocalyptic Islam is and get ahead of the coming attacks.

As The First Hostage unfolds, ISIS leaders are trying feverishly to draw the U.S. and the Western powers (“the forces of Rome”) into a bloody ground war in Syria. Why? In order to fulfill Islamic prophecies about an apocalyptic End Times battle in an obscure Syrian town called Dabiq and establish a global Islamic kingdom or caliphate.

No matter how many speeches I’ve delivered, or columns and blogs and interviews I’ve given, it’s been challenging, to say the least, to get leaders to focus on the genocidal intentions of our enemies and the Islamic eschatology that is driving them.

That said, I’m encouraged by three recent developments:

The first was the publication in August of an absolutely excellent non-fiction book called, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. It was written by a Brookings Institution scholar, Dr. Will McCants. It is extremely well-written and carefully sourced and explains the significance of these Islamic prophecies, including those concerning Dabiq. I have already highly recommend it to various presidential candidates and Members of the House and Senate, and I hope it is widely read among the general public, as well.

The second is that two GOP presidential candidates — Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rick Santorum — are speaking out clearly about the threat not just of Radical Islam but specifically of Apocalyptic Islam, including at the recent conference organized by the Republican Jewish Coalition. (to read more, click here) My hope that other candidates and current office-holders, military leaders and intelligence experts will start studying and publicly discussing this matter.

The third source of encouragement — and amazement — is a front-page story in the New York Times this morning, headlined, “U.S. Strategy Seeks To Avoid ISIS Prophecy.” I commend it to your attention. Indeed, in reading the article, it was a bit eerie. After all, a real-life New York Times reporter is trying to understand Apocalyptic Islam and is reporting about a possible U.S. showdown with ISIS in the Syrian town of Dabiq, something ripped right out of my novels. Unreal.

Here are a few excerpts:

As the debate on how best to contain the Islamic State continues to rage in Western capitals, the militants themselves have made one point patently clear: They want the United States and its allies to be dragged into a ground war.

In fact, when the United States first invaded Iraq, one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the move was the man who founded the terrorist cell that would one day become the Islamic State, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He excitedly called the Americans’ 2003 intervention “the Blessed Invasion.”
His reaction — ignored by some, and dismissed as rhetoric by others — points to one of the core beliefs motivating the terrorist group now holding large stretches of Iraq and Syria: The group bases its ideology on prophetic texts stating that Islam will be victorious after an apocalyptic battle to be set off once Western armies come to the region.
Should that invasion happen, the Islamic State not only would be able to declare its prophecy fulfilled, but could also turn the occurrence into a new recruiting drive at the very moment the terrorist group appears to be losing volunteers….

The Islamic State’s propaganda is rife with references to apocalyptic prophecy about the last great battle that sets the stage for the end times. Terrorism experts say it has become a powerful recruiting tool for the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which sells potential fighters on the promise that joining will give them the most direct chance to battle Western interests and will bring ancient Islamic prophecies to fruition.

The specific scripture they are referring to describes a battle in Dabiq as well as in al-Amaq, small towns that still exist in northern Syria. The countdown to the apocalypse begins once the “Romans” — a term that militants have now conveniently expanded to include Americans and their allies — set foot in Dabiq…

Fascinating. I’ll do my best to keep you posted as this drama unfolds….


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