Shiites: Syria War Will Ignite End Times

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A Lebanese reporter for the Al-Monitor Middle East news service explains that Iran and Hezbollah view the Syrian civil war not only in a strategic context, but in a prophetic one. In their belief, the radical Sunnis will conquer Syria for a short period of time and then Iranian forces will intervene on their way to destroying Israel.

The unnamed reporter points out that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is, like Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, “known for being a strong believer” in the Shiite prophecy that Iran will lead an End Times war against Islam’s enemies. At that time, the Mahdi will “reappear” and defeat the infidel.

According to the author, Iran and Hezbollah rely upon a book of prophecies called Al-Jafr to guide them. It was passed down to Jafar al-Sadiq, for whom the Jafari school of Shiite jurisprudence is named after. Teachers of this book say that the Syrian leader will be killed in a civil war during the End Times.

A Sunni leader will take over Syria and persecute Shiites, Allawites and Christians. The persecution will continue until an Iranian army invades Syria via Iraq, killing this Sunni leader on the way to capturing Jerusalem. Once Jerusalem is taken, the Mahdi will appear. Interestingly, in a modern context, this means that Hezbollah is fighting to preserve the regime of a man (Bashar Assad) that they believe will be killed.

Keep in mind, the Jafari school of jurisprudence is mainstream Shiite doctrine. There’s bound to be disagreement over the interpretation of prophecy, but these are not the beliefs of an isolated cult. In July 2010, a senior Iranian cleric said that Khamenei told his inner circle that he had met with the Mahdi, who promised to “reappear” during his lifetime.

A very similar eschatological viewpoint is articulated in a 2011 documentary produced by the office of then-President Ahmadinejad. The film, titled The Coming is Upon Us, does not predict a Syrian civil war but shares many of the same details articulated by the Al-Monitor reporter in Lebanon.

A critical point of convergence between the two sources is about Saudi Arabia’s role in prophecy. Both agree that the death of Saudi King Abdullah will be a major trigger. In fact, this event is so central to the Iranian film that it opens up with the statement, “Whoever guarantees the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, I will guarantee the imminent reappearance of Mahdi.”

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Iran’s Grand Strategy


The Iranian regime believes what it says and can achieve its stated objectives. That’s the blunt truth that few can accept.

To determine Iran’s strategy, we must determine its goals and ideology. President Ahmadinejad consistently states that he acts in order to “hasten the arrival” of the Mahdi, also called the Hidden Imam, who is to appear during the End Times to bring victory over the enemies of Islam. Since at least July 2010, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has been telling his inner circle that he has met the Mahdi, who promised him an imminent return.

A number of voices opposed to a potential Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities reassure us that the regime is a rational actor and we should not take this rhetoric seriously. Former Mossad director Meir Dagan went so far as to say Iran is “very rational.” The statement made headlines but their simplicity is misleading. Dagan actually said that Iran is “not exactly our rational.” What Dagan likely meant is that the regime weighs costs and benefits. It rationally pursues goals that we’d consider irrational.

Eight Christian leaders are among those that want the U.S. to embrace a policy of containment towards a nuclear-armed Iran. On March 5, the director of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Office of Public Witness co-wrote a letter to Congress, urging that resolutions ruling out such a policy be shot down.

It said the resolutions “sets a dangerously low threshold for war” and compares Iran to the Soviet Union.

A little-noticed documentary titled “The Coming is Upon Us” was produced by Ahmadinejad’s office last year and it lays out the regime’s beliefs and planned path forward, much like Mein Kampf did. And it debunks the notion that the U.S.S.R. and the Iranian regime are equivalent. The film makes the case that the regime’s leaders are the incarnations of specific End Times figures foretold in Islamic eschatology.

Iran is the “nation from the East” that paves the way for the Mahdi’s appearance. Supreme Leader Khamenei is Seyed Khorasani, “the preparer” who comes from Khorasan Province with a black flag and a distinct feature in his right hand. Khamenei’s right hand is paralyzed from an assassination attempt. Khorasani’s commander-in-chief is Shoeib-Ebne Saleh, who the film says is President Ahmadinejad. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is the incarnation of Yamani, a commander with a Yemeni ancestry who leads the Mahdi’s army into Mecca.

These three “preparers” wage war against the Antichrist and “the Imposters”-the U.S., Israel and the West’s Arab allies. The film also mentions that a figure named Sofiani will side with Islam’s enemies. Former Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer Reza Kahlili, who leaked the film, told me that the full-length version identifies him as Jordanian King Abdullah II.

The film lists various End Times prophecies that have been fulfilled to argue that the Mahdi’s appearance is near. The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran; the invasion of Iraq from the south and subsequent sectarian violence and death of Saddam Hussein; the Houthi rebellion in Yemen; the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the increasing amount of open homosexuality, cross-dressing, adultery and women taking off the hijab are correlated to specific Islamic prophecies.

There are two signs yet to be fulfilled that will trigger the final grand conflict that the Mahdi will intervene during: An Arab coalition is to unite and rid itself of foreign influence and Saudi King Abdullah, who is 87 years old, is to die. The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise is fulfilling the first prophecy,the film says.

The speakers state that Islamic prophecy talks of the Bani Abbas Dynasty ruling modern-day Saudi Arabia during the End Times, which is the Saudi Royal Family. The prophecy is that this dynasty will be ruled by someone named Abdullah, whose death will lead to internal turmoil right before the Mahdi’s appearance. It notes that no one named Abdullah has ruled there in the past 100 years.

“For about 10 minutes [in the full-length film], the video lists the names of clerics, including very influential ones like Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi and former Revolutionary Guards chief commander Seyed Yahya Safavi, who affirm their belief that Khamenei is Seyed Khorasani. This isn’t propaganda, the regime really believes it,” Kahlili told me.

The Iranian regime has a realistic strategy to dominate the Middle East and lead an Arab coalition in taking Jerusalem–the two tasks that will, in its mind, trigger the Mahdi’s appearance.
Read more: Family Security Matters