Is ISIS Nothing More Than A Well Armed Doomsday Cult?
A new book published by the respected Brookings Institution is offering compelling evidence that the militant extremist Muslim terrorist group, ISIS, may have its roots in an apocalyptic world vision that is rendering it even more powerful than al-Qaeda.
William McCants, author of The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, makes the case that a “clear, understanding ISIS's fascination with the apocalypse is essential to understanding the group itself.”
The U.S. has been unprepared to combat the jihadist group on its march across Iraq and Syria due to underestimating the tremendous appeal of religious zealotry in recruitment, including numbers of Europeans and Americans, to its cause.
The book is based on thorough research of Islamic texts, as well as current letters and writings of Islamic leaders. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, former State Department coordinator for Counterterrorism, has called McCants’ book, “masterful and illuminating” on the roots of ISIS in al-Qaeda, and its ideology and leadership.
As McCants explains, the terror group has cleverly combined religious fervor with “end times” philosophy in interpreting the Islamic past and applying it to the present.
The result has been a potent, seemingly unstoppable campaign to establish a caliphate, the inherited rule of Muhammad.
The evil genius of ISIS is in promoting its mission as both the manifestation of h ancient prophesies and as acting in accord with them.
McCants, the director of Brookings's Project on US-Islamic Relations, was quoted in Politico as saying,
"Based on their rhetoric, they believe that the final apocalyptic battles with the infidel are swiftly approaching."
The invasion of Iraq by the U.S. in 2003 renewed the belief in Sunni Muslims that the time of the apocalypse was at hand. Sunni leaders believed that Christians and Jews had joined together to wage war against them, signaling the “end times.”
While McCants believes that the current ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may not be as staunch a believer in the doomsday theory, he says al-Baghdadi is a savvy and manipulative political and military leader who knows how to use the appeal of a religious cause to attract fanatical followers, soldiers willing to die for the cause.
The Brookings Institution is regularly ranked as the most influential “think tank” in the world, and is dedicated to research and education in foreign policy, among other issues, such as economics and economy.