What the next US president will need to know about Iran and Islamic State.

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(New York, New York) — Just landed in New York this morning to begin a month-long book tour for The First Hostage. It’s great to be back in the U.S., especially at such a critical moment.

Given the darkness that is falling over the Middle East, and the high stakes American elections that are about to kick off, I’m looking forward to discussing the novel’s themes, from the growing threat of catastrophic ISIS attacks against the American people and our leaders, to the threat posed to the entire Middle East by an American president who is abandoning Israel, our Sunni Arab allies, and all common sense.

To that end, I’m grateful that The Jerusalem Post has just published the first column I’ve ever written for them. I hope you’ll read it in its entirely, post your comments on our Epicenter Team page on Facebook, and share it through social media with others. Thanks so much.

What the next US president will need to know about Iran and Islamic State By Joel C. Rosenberg, Jerusalem Post, January 7, 2015

In less than a month voters in Iowa will cast their ballots, officially setting the 2016 presidential election in motion.

The big question: Will Americans choose a leader who will truly be ready on Day One to face the enormous global challenges that lie ahead, particularly those in the Middle East? Above all, the next president of the United States must understand that the greatest challenge facing the Western alliance in the Middle East is not simply the threat of radical Islam, but that of apocalyptic Islam.

Unfortunately, most candidates and voters are still not adequately familiar with such distinctions. But they need to be.

Why? Because while adherents of radical Islam (such as al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hamas, etc.,) use violent acts hoping to drive the US, Israel and other “infidels” out of what they regard as their holy lands, adherents of apocalyptic Islam seek to use genocide to annihilate all infidels and establish a global Islamic kingdom known as the caliphate.

For the first time in human history, the leaders of two nation states are being driven by eschatology. The rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran are consumed by ancient Islamic prophecies that predict the end of the world as we know it. So are the rulers of Islamic State (IS). The former are Shi’ite. The latter are Sunni.

Yet both believe their messiah – known as the “Mahdi” (and to the Shi’tes as the “Twelfth Imam” or “Hidden Imam”) – will appear on Earth at any moment. Both believe he will usher in the End of Days.

Both are determined to hasten his coming. But each has very different strategies to get there.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, believes his mission is to immediately build the caliphate in the Levant (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian-controlled territories) and slaughter all who refuse to convert to his brand of Islam. He wants to draw the Western powers (“the forces of Rome”) into an apocalyptic battle in the Syrian town of Dabiq, because that’s where he believes Islamic prophecy has promised a great victory. Then he believes the Mahdi will arrive to expand the caliphate’s reach around the globe.

“Rush, O Muslims, to your state,” al-Baghdadi proclaimed in a July 2014 audio recording. “It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis.

The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims….This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.”

By contrast, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his close advisers believe the priority is not building the caliphate but rather building the infrastructure to create an arsenal of nuclear weapons. When they are ready to commit genocide on an epic scale….. [to read the full column, please click here]

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