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Thursday, January 18, 2018
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    meet me in dabiq

    The Apocalypse

    by | 14 | Nov 18, 2015

    the Apocalypse by Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld

    Were I to tell you a story in which Jesus, the son of the virgin Mary, was sent by God to guide the children of Israel, perform miracles including curing blindness, raising the dead and casting out demons, was crucified and raised alive into heaven to be the God incarnate. Jesus, who is promised to come back as the Messiah on judgment day to lead God’s army against the armies of Rome led by the Antichrist to the final victory in Jerusalem. What holy book do you think that would be from?

    That’s right, the Quran (aka: Qur’an or Koran). Surely by now everyone is opening up their alQuran app or is getting their copies of the Quran off their book shelf to do some fact checking.

    While you are at it, check what the Bible says. That’s right. You never knew you had so much in common with your Muslim neighbors, did you?

    Sure there are plenty of differences, too. Are you one of those people who looks for the differences or are you one of those people who looks for what we have in common? If you are stumped, which you should be, ask yourself, or your spouse, or your child, or your preacher, pastor, reverend, priest, chaplain, primate, teacher, elder, abbot, vicar, fire keeper, guru, godman, gymnosophist, patriarch, protopriest, dob-dob, lama, abbess, ash shaker, ayatollah, rabbi, tzadki, laminae, duster, life coach or ovate.

    Now before you go all GOPresidential on me, let me state that I am not advocating anything here other than my belief that we should honor what we have in common and appreciate our differences. Since we are all brothers and sisters in evolution, everything else comes from growing up in different neighborhoods around the planet. I know you must be saying to yourself that it, “doesn’t explain Donald Trump.”

    It is troubling these days to listen to conservative presidential candidates speak of closing mosques, denying Muslims entry into the United States and declaring war on a religious group.

    It seems like just yesterday that the GOP came into power in the House and vigilant new members spoke so proudly of carrying the Constitution in their pockets. Some even demanded that whenever a bill was brought for a vote, the part of the Constitution which made the pending law “constitutional” would be read.

    I’d like to suggest that these candidates get points off for forgetting the First Amendment, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Turn on any television newstainment channel and within minutes you’ll likely hear and see that the world is going crazy and we’re all going to die. That’s newstainment. The reality depends on where you live and how you define crazy. Here in the US, we haven’t had a war on our soil in 150 years (except for the war on drugs), but 33,000+ people will die by guns this year – a total that is only exceeded one place in the world – the current war in Syria.

    On the other hand, we haven’t been at peace since 1979 (Carter), before that 1935-1939 (Roosevelt), before that 1897 (McKinley), but I digress. Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack wrote a great story last year at Slate titled, “The World Is Not Falling Apart.” In it, they document the decline in recent years of battle deaths, wars, genocide, civilian killings, victimization of children, rape and domestic abuse and crime. Even percentagewise, more people are dying from old age than ever before and that is a good thing.

    I also suggest points off to the governors and mayors who want to keep Syrian refugees out, returning medical workers quarantined, climate change denied and poor without health insurance (vague reference to expanding Medicaid as provided by the Affordable Care Act), but that is just me. Back to the pending apocalypse.

    Screen Shot of Abu Bakr al-Baghdad

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

    On June 29, 2014 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a descendant of Mohammed, declared the Islamist State as the eighth caliphate. This is important because Jesus doesn’t arrive until the 12th caliphate, but it really is in the counting. Search it and you’ll likely find a higher number, which of course, were false caliphates that didn’t enforce Sharia.

    Baghdadi became the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (aka: alQaeda in Iraq) in May 2010. He had been detained at Camp Bucca by US forces for eight months in 2004 before being released as a “low level prisoner ” (oops for the George W. Bush apologists).

    So how is that ISIS is recruiting here? Imagine that you were a young, single and unemployed man living in the west (not the wild west – west as in western civilization) and Muslim. You were sick and tired of putting up with shit from people, especially infidels. You heard about the new caliphate and technically, you had to join up and pledge allegiance or you’d become apostate (that’s really bad).

    You would be part of the cause of jihadism where you’d have lots of Facebook friends, get to grow a beard, have your travel paid for (one-way only), receive salvation and have a chance to drive one of those white Toyotas and use all that stuff that was swiped from the US military supplied Iraqis. Plus, you’d get free health care and free tent and board.

    You would finally prove that you aren’t a loser to your mom and dad by fighting to extend the caliphate, purifying as you go by either chopping off the heads of non-Muslims (kuffar) or make them your slave or concubine (you’d finally get laid), following takfiri (basically, excommunication by death), you could help purify the world, ridding it of all those people you thought were assholes anyway.

    Recapping, you’d get a woman, a gun, a pick-up truck and a purpose.

    Then, there’s this higher purpose of fighting until there are just 5,000 of you left to fight the battle in Dabiq, Syria (it’s near Aleppo). It is basically a flat desert. Prefect for the Messiah vs. Antichrist (Dajjal) battle to occur that would be the beginning of the end of days.

    map of areas where ISIS is operating or controlsYou can stop imagining now.

    The Islamic State is a misnomer. They aren’t a government. They have no borders. They don’t offer passports. No planes. No factories. The land area under their control is small. President Obama’s characterization last year of them being JV is still accurate.

    This is not something that will end with a peace treaty. Negotiating with the west is not allowed. Negotiating with other Muslims isn’t either – other Muslims either join or they are takfiri. ISIS is all in.

    I’m not trying to scare anyone, but it would be really good to keep this movement out of Turkey and out of Europe.

    Sunni/Shia Map Showing Shites Percentage of Muslim Populations (Credit: Pew ResearchThis really is an amazing moment. You see many of our allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey, are majority Sunni and are pro-ISIS (ISIS is a branch of Sunni). Whereas, a couple of our heretofore enemies are majority Shia (Syria and Iran). And don’t forget Pooter. Russia supports Syria.

    What if our President flip-flopped and said Bashar al-Assad could stay for a while. Or, Assad agreed to leave. Either way, it becomes a moment where we and most of the western world could be allies with Russia and Iran against ISIS. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

    As someone answered during one of the debates, this isn’t our fight, but we broke the middle east in 2003 and we are in our 12th year of trying to fix it using our military. Looks as if we’ll have to wait for the next president to have peace.

    ###
    • Author’s Note: In preparing this piece, I acknowledge and am grateful for Wikipedia.org (yes, I support their efforts) and the great work of Graeme Wood who wrote for Slate the story “What ISIS Really Wants.” I highly recommend it.
    Lee Leslie

    Lee Leslie

    I’m just a plateaued-out plain person with too much time on his hands fighting the never ending lingual battle with windmills for truth, justice and the American way or something like that. Here are some reader comments on my writing: “Enough with the cynicism. One doesn’t have to be Pollyanna to reject the sky is falling fatalism of Lee Leslie’s posts.” “You moron.” “Again, another example of your simple-minded, scare-mongering, label-baiting method of argumentation that supports the angry left’s position.” “Ah, Lee, you traffic in the most predictable, hackneyed leftist rhetoric that brought us to the current state of political leadership.” “You negative SOB! You destroyed all my hope, aspiration, desperation, even.” “Don’t you LIBERALS realize what this COMMIE is talking about is SOCIALISM?!?!?!” “Thank you for wonderful nasty artful toxic antidote to this stupidity in the name of individual rights.” “I trust you meant “bastard” in the truest father-less sense of the word.” “That’s the first time I ran out of breath just from reading!” “You helped me hold my head a little higher today.” “Makes me cry every time I read it.” “Thanks for the article. I needed something to make me laugh this mourning.” “If it weren’t so sad I would laugh.” "... the man who for fun and personal growth (not to mention rage assuagion) can skin a whale of bullshit and rack all the meat (and rot) in the larder replete with charts and graphs and a kindness..."“Amen, brother.”

     

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    • Will Cantrell

      Lee, normally when one of our friends on ‘The Dew’ writes a good piece, the first thing I normally write in response is “I enjoyed it” but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind and that’s not really what happened in my case. Instead, I’ll say (1) I thoughtfully agree with very much of what you write today and that (2) this piece makes me think even deeper. Thinking about complicated matters is not something that most Americans like to do on more than a superficial level. What’s more, we’re not especially good at considering matters that are “complex”, “nuanced” or “subtle.” Sad since that is what much of life really is. Certainly that’s what the situation in the Middle East is.

      Even before the Paris Attacks by ISIS, what appeared to be on the minds of many, many Americans (as well as Europeans and Middle Easterners) these recent days is (1) What are we going to do about ISIS? and (2) Why didn’t Obama do something about it ‘yesterday’? The Middle East is a Witches Brew, a quagmire and quicksand all at once and the answer to the problem is not obvious. Also “it’s complicated” and nuanced and subtle — conditions most of us aren’t necessarily ‘good at’ thinking through. For example, for months now, everyone I know who insists that we need to send American troops in to take back ISIS land gains CONSISTENTLY fails to consider that once we might take land back, the land we take back HAS to be held. Holding land requires troops and the only troops that appear to be close to being battle ready and able are American troops. Iraqi troops don’t appear to be lusty fighters and the relationships between the Shiites, Suni, Kurds, Turks, etc is REALLY complicated. Thus what we’re talking about here is another War of Occupation. (I say “No Thanks.”) (Can’t you just see 90 year old John McCain ranting about the fact that he told President Hillary to keep 100,000 American troops in New Syria?

      It’s also the political season (isn’t it always) and the GOP Presidential have seized upon the moment recent attacks in Paris to be blow-hards, to figuratively yell “Fire” in a crowded theater and demand that Obama ‘do sumthin’ about the fact the ‘sky is falling in the Middle East’ before it falls at home.” They also demand that we keep out of the country suffering Syrian refugees, especially those who may not fully embrace Christianity. Wow!

      This American is grateful that we have a President who seems bound and determined to (1) not take the bait; (2) to keep the U.S. out of another foolish War of Occupation and (3) keep us out of another massive land war period. It is an understatement to say the choices for America are not easy. However, I KNOW THIS: The fight against ISIS ‘ain’t’ America’s war. Not solely anyway. Not even ‘mostly’. This time, the Arab States and the European countries MUST play VERY prominent roles and contribute the most of the blood and treasure required to the ISIS War.

      As far as Americans are concerned, we mainly need to not panic and let the GOP carry us down the path to another endless War of Occupation. Great piece, Lee. Will

      • Thank you, Will. Whenever you combine generations of war, boat loads of guns, oil, sand, greed, religion and misogyny, these kinds of things happen.

    • Eileen

      You certainly provoke our thoughts. Exceptional.

    • hannah

      Sibling rivalry is a terrible thing. However, I don’t think these renegades are a Middle East thing. We’ve got some home-grown ones in the U.S. and Scandinavia has not been immune. They pop up anywhere and, when they do, the response ought to be the same — restraint. Renegades need to be restrained, not killed. That’s not because killing some doesn’t get rid of some; it’s because killing is an after-the-fact response. Restraint needs to be imposed whenever abuse raises its ugly head — before people end up dead.

    • Trevor Irvin

      Excellent piece Lee …
      T

    • Noel W Holston

      A powerful, realistic piece, Lee. Thanks. I said something along the same lines a few days ago when responding to a friend’s Facebook post about the time having come for us to engage in “all-out war” and quit worrying so much about the killing of noncombatants. I argued that ISIS is not a state, not a nation, not Nazi Germany, but rather a monstrous fraternity. And I then argued that blasting the Middle East to hell and back in the name of defeating ISIS would be like decimating Mississippi or Alabama to stop the terrorism of the KKK.

      • I know almost nothing about waging war (though I’d love a chance to learn how to wage peace). I played paintball once with my grandson and my lack of experience in the strategy of war left me bruised for most of a year. I defer to experts.

        I do not think we have any business attempting to mitigate another country’s civil war. I do believe that those countries that are at greatest risk -- the lands within walking distance, will have to wage this war. I suspect we will help as is appropriate to treaties (NATO, for instance) and a need to protect allies while remaining vigilant for those who attempt to bring the war to us.

        I don’t believe this monstrous fraternity will go away voluntarily and know we add to their members with each martyr or civilian death. It may not die-out for generations more. Taking out their leaders, cutting off their supplies and sources of financial support (including everything we can do to keep the price of oil down) will help force an earlier end… and that is the strategy we are doing already.

        Thank you for reading it and for taking the time to comment.

    • And if the possibility of having Russia and Iran as allies isn’t opportunity enough, according to Straits Times Asia, “China vows justice after ISIS executes national” (http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/china-vows-justice-after-isis-executes-national) -- ISIS becoming a unifying force in the world.

    • Good column, Lee.

    • tom ferguson

      i get tired just thinking about this problem… but a couple things come to mind: U.S. support of fundamentalists in Afghanistan, simply to stick it to Russia, support for ol’ Saadam & Saudi Arabia, uncritical support for Israel, installation & support of dictators all over the planet, illegal invasion of Iraq & Afghanistan… i’m tired… but i’d say so far our strategy doesn’t seem to be working -- if its meant to promote democracy, silly me, of course it’s to assist the 1% in their insatiable quest to maintain & expand their profits, privilege and power. tom ferguson

      • And yet, participation in democracy around the world is at an all time high. It seems to work best when we are not involved. Also, some connection with living in relative peace, an independent judiciary, improving standard of living, access to clean water and medical care with voting.
        No question we have stumbled as an empire; greed, politics and religion have often been at cross purposes; and our people certainly haven’t taken advantage of the educational opportunities which might have expanded their world views, provided some sense of empathy, allowed appreciate for facts and secular aspects to life; but hey, we’ve made it this far, maybe we will evolve. Thanks for reading and weighing in.

    • Since the story posted, I have learned that ISIS is using its money to tempt fighters from Afghanistan and other places. NPR (http://www.npr.org/2015/11/16/456174727/isis-gains-a-foothold-in-afghanistan via my dear sweet daughter, Maggie), reports in an interview with Najibullah Quraishi who has covered militant groups in Afghanistan for over a decade, “So Afghan army, they get $300 per month. And most of the time it’s delayed. After five months they get two months’ salary. And they cannot support their family. And that’s why thousands of Afghan troops left the army. But ISIS offer $700 and they pay monthly. And without any delay. And most of the Afghan people, especially the young generation, they are unemployed. So of course everyone going to join them. They are poor. They don’t have anything to eat. And they want to support their families. And also the way they -- they pitch their ideas -their opinions on these people -- they are very clever. They say and God says this and Quran says this and because these people are uneducated, they can’t read Quran. They don’t know about Islam. So they think, yes. He is right. Let’s do whatever he’s saying. So that’s why ISIS succeed in Afghanistan. And day by day they -- they are recruiting people.”

    • Mark Maisel

      I’ve often deployed verses from the holy books of the Jews and Christians when they’ve behaved or expressed a view in opposition to the faith they purport to know and follow. I was given a English translation of the Quran years ago and have had at least as much entertainment from pointing out the many passages that speak of the Christian savior in a positive light. If I correctly recall, the Quran makes more references to that character than do the Christian books.

      It is also handy and often reciprocally entertaining and informative to whip out those books and several others when missionaries of one stripe or another show up and I’ve time to indulge them. I had a couple of young Latter Day Saints show up recently and I met them at the door with 8 books, each with adherents claiming that 1 was all anyone needed. They were taken aback when I asked which ones they’d like to discuss. I invited them in, offered them hospitality, and true to form would only accept water. We spent over 3 hours having a great discussion, touching on each including their own Book of Mormon. That one really shocked them since I have never been one. I explained that I’d acquired each book in the name of learning about the faiths & creeds in order to determine if one might fit me.

      Forgive the blather, but your introduction really reminded me of what I have related to you.

      • In all candor, when I read the similarities, especially the shared vision of end times, I had to write a piece that allowed me to share it.
        Thank you for sharing the stories. It is obvious to me that you are better read and nicer than I am. I hope you the hear more.

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