By Will Hall, Message Editor
30 civilians as well as the related stepped up air attacks against Islamic State militants in Syria are both successes for ISIS.
On the one hand its strategic objectives have been enhanced by the terror and chaos created within Western nations it considers enemies – France, Belgium, Germany and the United States among them.
On the other hand, the severe military response ISIS has provoked fits into the bizarre end time prophecies that are prompting the group to be so barbaric in its atrocities against the countries it has incited.
TERRORISM & THEOLOGY
Paris was placed under curfew, the first since 1944, after gunmen and suicide bombers coordinated separate attacks targeting restaurants, a rock concert and a sports stadium Nov. 13, killing 130. France’s President Hollande also ordered the country’s borders sealed and lawmakers voted to extend a national state of emergency through at least February 2016.
Brussels officials, meanwhile, declared a terror alert Nov. 22, closing schools and putting troops on patrol in the streets while conducting raids (21 arrests so far) to locate suspects connected to the Paris terrorism. The rest of Belgium remains on high alert, but below level four which engulfs the country’s capital — home to the headquarters of the European Union.
While both countries have launched sweeping operations to track down terrorists within each nation’s borders, France also is taking the fight to the terrorists’ strongholds.
In a message before both houses of France’s parliament last week, President François Hollande declared France was “at war” with ISIS and vowed to “destroy them.”
Moreover, he demonstrated his resolve by tripling the country’s air power in the Middle East with the deployment of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the eastern Mediterranean for combat strikes into Syria and Iraq.
But France is just one of three superpowers that have ramped up operations against ISIS, or promised to do so, in the last ten days.
Russia announced Nov. 23 it had increased its air attacks in the region, hitting 472 ISIS targets in Syria (primarily related to black market oil operations) in just two days, after confirming last week that an ISIS bomb had brought down a Russian airliner last month.
Additionally, China’s President Xi Jinping has proclaimed his country would join the war on ISIS after the Islamic terrorists executed an abducted Chinese citizen in Syria, and, killed three more Chinese nationals during an attack on a hotel in Mali, also last week.
“China will strengthen cooperation with the international community, resolutely crack down on violent terrorist operations that devastate innocent lives and safeguard world peace and security,” he said.
Incredibly, this intensifying military response fits the prophetic vision which is driving ISIS’ brutality – they welcome a crushing defeat, believing its near-annihilation will trigger events which will culminate in ultimate victory and establishment of world-wide Islamic rule.
Meanwhile, the United States continues to conduct air strikes against ISIS targets, focusing on infrastructure and the tools of waging war, not people, reportedly dropping leaflets ahead of time so personnel can abandon equipment and sites before its planes drop munitions.
Earlier this year, the Islamic State revealed some of its “end times” tenets in a glossy propaganda magazine Dabiq (seventh edition) — named for the Syrian city, surrounded by plains, where ISIS adherents believe the armies of Rome (figurative of any non-Islamic country and believed to be the United States) will meet their doom at the hands of the armies of Islam.
It is this “end of days” apocalypse for which ISIS exists and it undergirds their interpretation of Islam as a “religion of the sword not pacifism.”
Indeed, in the ISIS literature U.S. leaders are mocked for “obstinately” claiming that “Islam is a religion of peace.”
Peace will only come through the sword, an article in the magazine explains – when Isa (Jesus) kills the Antichrist. Thereafter infidels will be destroyed and “Islam and its justice will prevail on the entire Earth.”
Graeme Wood, in The Atlantic earlier this year, offers even more detail.
After victory against the infidel armies in Dabiq (which starts a seven-year countdown), ISIS will establish an Islamic government (a caliphate) that includes Istanbul, perhaps beyond, Wood shared.
“An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters,” he wrote, “until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem.” It is here that “Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam – will return to Earth, spear Dajjal (the Antichrist), and lead the Muslims to victory.”
WE ARE AT WAR
France’s president declared the nation at war in a message he presented to both houses of the country’s parliament Nov. 16.
“We are not in a war with a civilization, because these people are not one,” he said. “This is a war against the jihadist menace that threatens not just France.”
He offered that the attacks on Paris were launched from Belgium with the help of confederates in France, but he named Syria as the place where the plot was hatched.
“Our enemy in Syria is D.A.E.S.H.,” he said, using the pejorative acrostic for ISIS.
“It’s not about containing this organization,” he added, “but destroying it.”