Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, who produced the first TV interview with Osama bin Laden in 1997, asks the question: Why is ISIS antagonizing everybody? Why has ISIS set out deliberately to make enemies of the entire world?
ISIS militants have beheaded American, British, French, and Japanese infidels; burned alive Jordanian apostates, Egyptian Coptic and Yazidi heretics; murdered Shia idolaters, and massacred Kurdish kaffirs.
As Bergen noted, even some of history’s worst villains, including the Nazis, sought tactical and strategic alliances to strengthen their positions, but along comes a rag-tag band of insurgent militants with limited resources to prosecute war, yet with unbounded appetite for war that compels them to seek to take on the entire world alone.
Not only have ISIS militants succeeded in uniting Arab Muslim nations against them, they also succeeded in alienating themselves from their closest natural ally, al Qaeda.
Anyone who has watched ISIS’ penchant for glorying in what the rest of the world considers “war crimes,” exploiting proudly the facility of twenty-first century social media to publish their criminal atrocities would sense a departure indicative of a group bent on an ideologically driven suicide mission.
Bergen and other Western analysts have stated lately that ISIS appears to be an apocalyptic or millenarian religious cult subscribing to a form of Islamic end-time doctrine and that the group appears to be deliberately trying to initiate the Muslim version of Armageddon that leads to the Muslim Day of Judgment and the end of the world.
The analysts point out that the evidence backing up this theory comes from the latest and seventh issue of the group’s English-language magazine, Dabiq.
Bergen observes that a close reading of the latest issue of Dabiq leads to the chilling conclusion that the group’s actions cannot be analyzed on the basis of the assumption that its leaders are rational actors. According to Western analysts, the magazine reveals that the militants are actuated by the belief that we are living in the end times and that their actions could help to hasten the fulfillment of Islamic end-time prophecies.
Even the magazine’s name, Dabiq, is a reference to the Syrian village of Dabiq, close to the border with Turkey, where the Prophet Mohammed supposedly predicted that the final clash between Islam and “Rome” — that is, the West — would occur.
The final battle of the Day of Judgment precedes the Islamic apocalypse and the final universal triumph of Islam.
In an analysis published by the Brookings Institute, William McCants notes the fact that although Dabiq is not significant in military terms, ISIS militants fought desperately to capture the village last summer because they believe that the village is the place where believers and infidels will clash in an apocalyptic Muslim “Battle of Armageddon” preceding the Day of Judgment.
However, some analysts point out that the apocalyptic element to ISIS ideology began featuring prominently in the group’s propaganda only recently. But this does not necessarily mean that apocalyptic ideas were not present at the inception. It could mean that members of group have only recently started expressing their apocalyptic worldviews openly.
According to McCants, tweets about the “al-Malhama al-Kubra,” that is, the “Great Battle” of Dabiq, began trending in ISIS Twitter cirlces recently when the US government announced it was considering its options for military action against ISIS.
Further evidence of the role of apocalyptic ideas in ISIS war campaign came for a statement attributed to the ISIS executioner “Jihadi John,” after Peter Kassig, the American aid worker, was killed, according to analysts.
The ISIS executioner reportedly said, “We bury the first crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the rest of your armies to arrive.”
Western analysis say that existing evidence suggests that ISIS atrocities are part of efforts to lure Western ground forces into Syria to fulfill the Prophet Mohammed’s alleged prophecy about the “Great Battle” of Dabiq that will usher in the Muslim Day of Judgment.
But before Westerners begin scoffing with an affected air of superiority at the “superstitions” of these ill-educated Arab folk, they would do well to note the identical “superstitions” of Christianity held by some citizens of First World nations.
“Who and what is Barack Obama? Obama claims nobody can stop him or change anything he’s done. This evil must come to pass before the Lord’s return and the rise of the Antichrist, but you better know what evil you’re dealing with. Nobody is promised another minute of life upon this earth, and judgment comes at the time of your death.”
The words quoted above, published by the Lexington Dispatch, an American newspaper, were not written by an Arab Egyptian Coptic Christian sequestered in a “Third World” rural village, but by an American living in the heart of Western Civilization in the U.S., albeit in North Carolina.
Also keep in mind that Orthodox Jews hold similar beliefs about Judgment Day and the end of the world, when the “Lord will roar out of Zion” to destroy the nations assembled against God’s “chosen nation” of Israel.
Commenting on the influence of apocalyptic religious ideology on ISIS, Bergen notes Graeme Wood’s comments in an article published by the Atlantic Magazine that “Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, ‘the Prophetic methodology.'”
ISIS militants believe they are privileged participants in and Islamic version of the Nordic Ragnarok, a cosmic struggle between the forces of good and evil; and of course, not only is ISIS the good side in the struggle, the inherent goodness of ISIS means that all atrocities committed by ISIS militants in the war receive automatic divine approval.
Now you understand why ISIS posts its war crimes proudly to social media for the world to see.