Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Epicenter" Book Review

Joel C. Rosenberg is a fiction author who became famous in 2001 when he predicted in a novel that terrorists would attack the United States using a hijacked aircraft with a crew of suicidal jihadists in his novel, The Last Jihad. Shortly afterward, he predicted the death of Yasir Arafat and an attack on a US diplomatic convoy in Gaza in his second novel, The Last Days (2003). In 2005, his novel, The Ezekiel Option, foreshadowed the rise of a dictatorial Russian leader who would form an alliance with Iran.

In three consecutive books, Rosenberg has been eerily prescient in his fictional works. Is this simply a case of life imitating art, or does Rosenberg have some special insights into world politics?

Joel C. Rosenberg has impressive credentials in international politics. He worked on Steve Forbes unsuccessful presidential campaign. He has also worked closely with former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky, former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and, last but not least, conservative talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh.

But there are many people with even more impressive credentials who are considerably less successful in predicting the future of the Middle East. What makes Rosenberg's books so "ripped from today's headlines"?

In Epicenter: Why The Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future, Rosenberg reveals that his muse is none other than the Bible. Specifically, Rosenberg bases his novels on chapters 38 and 39 of the book Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was an Old Testament prophet who wrote from six years before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC until about sixteen years later. Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel are prophecies that describe a war led by "Gog, of the land of Magog" and Persia. Rosenberg dissects the passage and shows evidence that Magog is Russia and that Persia is Iran. Many other nations are also identified as being part of the anti-Israeli alliance.
The focus of Gog's war is Israel. Rosenberg points out that Israel is a traditional foe of Iran. This is borne out by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric about how Israel will soon be erased from the map.

It has been more recently, however, that Russia became directly antagonistic toward the Jewish state. Even though Arab forces supported by the Soviet Union fought several wars with Israel, Russian forces were never committed. Arab forces used Soviet equipment and, it has been recently revealed, Soviet battle plans.

A major crux of Epicenter is that Russia and Iran have never before in recorded history had a military alliance as they now do. Russia and Iran already have numerous economic ties worth billions of dollars. Russia resists UN sanctions against Iran and is even building Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr. Russia is even supplying the Iranians with air defense systems that may one day be used to defend that facility.

So what does Rosenberg believe is in store in the Middle East?

One prediction is the discovery of oil reserves in Palestine. Huge amounts of oil might provide the motive for a Russian war against Israel. Iran already has ample religious motivations for war with Israel.

Another is the rise of a dictatorial regime in Russia. Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, has already announced that he will not leave government when his last term expires in 2008. He is prohibited from serving another term as president and will instead step into the office of Prime Minister. Vladimir Zhirinovsky is another possibility. Zhirinovsky is a candidate for president in 2008 and has already written a book, The Last March to the South, advocates a Russian invasion of nations to the south.

And how will Gog's war end? According to Ezekiel's prophecy, in the best tradition of the cavalry riding to rescue when all hope is lost and the destruction of Israel is imminent, Ezekiel writes that Gog and his entire army will be struck down and that fire from Heaven will devastate the nation of Magog.

Epicenter is an easy and quick read, and is packed with well-researched information. It contains a wealth of information that will not be found in the mainstream media, especially relating to the spread of Christianity throughout the modern day fundamentalist Islamic countries. Whether you agree with Rosenberg's assessment or not, Epicenter is definitely worth your time if you are interested in the Middle East.

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