October 14, 2003

End of the Worldism

Up for some eschatology? ("The doctrine of the last or final things, as death, judgment, and the events therewith connected," according to Webster's). Mark November 25th on your calendar. The 25th marks the disappearance of the 12th Imam in Islamic theology. In Shiite theology, from what I can gather, the return of the 12th Imam from hiding will precede by one day the Day of Judgement. I suppose now that Bonner's book is out, the timing is good for this sort of thing. More seriously, it's a date terrorists are well aware of. And it doesn't come too far after the date the Iranians have scheduled to test their first nuclear bomb (November 4th or 5th, according to Michael Ledeen at National Review) Will the Israeli's send warplanes to Iran like they did to Iraq's Osirik reactor in June of 1981? They've been buzzing Damascus. And it's not like there's anyone in the Arab world left for them to alienate. And politically, taking out an Iranian reactor is something Sharon can do that Bush probably can't. The Israelis take the public blame, and in private, while most of the rest of the world sighs in relief, the Americans signal that there had better not be any retaliation against Israel. It's all just hypothesizing, of course. But it does touch on one crucial question...where ARE the terrorists and when are they going to strike again? Have we been so successful against them in the part of the war that doesn't make the headlines that we've limited their capacity to strike us anywhere but in Iraq? Remember back in February of this year, bin Laden promised he would be martyered within one year, "in the Eagle's belly." Time's running short. Where is the eagle's belly? Is bin Laden hiding in Iran, as Ledeen has long suspected...and will he martyr himself with the help of mullahs in Iran who are now under the spotlight of the world community (not that IAEA is, aone, going to compel the mullahs to come clean on their nuclear program.) Lots of questions. No answers. To be honest, I don't know much about it, or how much to take serioulsy. I'm not an expert on Islam. I did find this link, which seems useful. Here's the money graph: Unlike Sunni Caliphs, who also lead the Islamic world in secular matters, Shi'ite Imams are spiritual leaders, and their followers believe they transmit the mystical aspects of God to humanity. The Shi'ite belief in the eventual return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi, is also a central feature of this form of Islam. The belief that the Mahdi will return to lead the forces of good against evil in an apocalyptic battle before the Day of Judgement is so important to Shi'ites that it overshadows life in the human world, which is seen as a corrupt and immoral place. Although Shi'ites are a minority of Muslims, they are a majority in modern Iran. The belief in the Imamate is so strong that during the Iranian Revolution in 1979 many Shi'ites believed that the Ayatollah Khomeini was the 12th Imam returning.


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