Book Review: Damascus Countdown

DamascusCountdownby Timothy Lane   8/12/14
This is Joel C. Rosenberg’s second version of the anti-Israel Armageddon predicted in the book of Ezekiel and other books (though I don’t know that it matches Revelation). In the first version (which climaxed in The Ezekiel Option, though there were 2 additional books in the series after that), God intervened directly at the very last moment to save Israel by devastating its enemies (Russia and a large array of Muslim nations, though not Egypt) by way of a “natural” cataclysm. In this one, the Lord helps those who help themselves, and it’s up to Israel (or maybe America, if a president probably based on Barack Obama can bring himself to act on their behalf) to prevent the Mahdi from wiping them out.

in this series, Rosenberg links the Jewish and Muslim apocalyptic predictions. One key character is a Muslim expert on the last days – who has (so far secretly) converted to Christianity. Religion was obviously important to the earlier series, but not so much active religiosity. In this one, however, there’s a great deal of religious activity (which may be why liberals seem to dislike the books), and frequent citations of Biblical texts. (Fortunately, I have our copy of the RSV handy to my laptop, which enables them to check them out. This was also useful when reading the previous series occasionally.)

Shiah eschatology predicts the arrival of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, after a series of signs. Other signs will occur as he appears. So in The Twelfth Imam, this actually begins – the appearance of the Mahdi, who seems to have supernatural powers. Despite this, there are increasing numbers of Christian conversions even in Iran. But this may not matter as the Mahdi prepares to exterminate Israel and create the ultimate Muslim goal of a worldwide Caliphate. In The Teheran Initiative, the United States comes up with a clever way of infiltrating the Mahdi’s communications, hoping to avert an Israeli pre-emptive war. But despite a great deal of success, the imminence of catastrophe – Iran has completed 8 nuclear weapons and will shortly be able to use them on you-know-who – is too much for the Israelis. Waiting and hoping is too risky for them, and they start the great struggle.

Damascus Countdown covers the events of the war up to its great climax, as the Mahdi prepares to bomb Israel (their strike got rid of 6 of the bombs, but the other 2 are still available). Meanwhile, the US team that infiltrated their communications is on the prowl, and the Israelis are ready to act if they know where they need to move. Will the Mahdi get his rockets off, or will the Israelis or the CIA team abort his holocaust in time? Rosenberg has a nice surprise, and you’ll have to read it to find out.

There is an interesting bit, as the Mahdi prepares to launch and denounces the West. One of his complaints, a familiar one to many conservatives, is their sexual degeneracy. He particularly complains about entertainment media (pornographic or nearly so), but this caused me to think a bit further. As I recall, Hillary Clinton was very concerned about Muslim bans on abortion. She never showed such concerns about Chinese forced abortions, or about the wide array of Muslim misogynistic practices (female genital mutilation, honor killings, child brides and forced arranged marriages, burqas and chadors and hajibs, restrictions on female freedoms and education, even treating a woman as worth only half a man in legal testimony).

So why is abortion so important? Well, obviously feminist activists pressure liberal administrations to push the issue. But then, why do they never get them to act on Muslim misogyny? Clearly, this is another example of how the main – arguably sole – concern of “feminism” is abortion and contraception. (This isn’t the point Rosenberg was making, but a good book can lead to interesting and unexpected conclusions.)


Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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