Signs and wonders
We asked for signs. The signs were sent. - Leonard Cohen
Afraid the time's too short today for writing, but time's getting shorter every day. I don't mean to get all John the Revelator about it, but as Juan Cole's written, "Tuesday was an apocalyptic day in Iraq."
The destruction of Samarra's Askariyah shrine marks a Biblical moment of provocation in Iraq's ersatz Civil War. And just in time, too, because there's a time-table to keep where "real men" want to go.
These must be hard times for soft-headed apologists of "benign" empire, who thought there could be something of worth even to the fiction of liberation and democracy; who believed that civil war would be the last thing sought by Western powers, which wanted peace and security rather than provocation and chaos.
The Samarra mosque contains the shrine of the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, whom many Shiites believe is about to manifest himself. It's a belief shared and encouraged by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as Iraq's Muqtada all-Sadr. (The United States, of course, couldn't comfortably confront Iran so long as its presidency was held by the frustratingly reasonable Mohammad Khatami. In Ahmadinejad - who, like Bush, most probably won his office as well by election fraud - the US has a fine millenial foil.)
As Washington's Republican Guard must know, one advantage of cultivating a base which believes in the imminent end of the world is that the more catastrophic a regime's governance, the more encouraged its supporters become that they picked the right horseman for an apocalypse. Is all hell breaking loose? Great - all hell should break loose.
How short is our time, and how hot the coming hellfire? One more month, maybe, of this New Normal, before we tumble into the next circle. Consider this report published last Friday by Newropeans Magazine, via the RI forum, thanks to "seemslikeadream":
The Laboratoire européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020, LEAP/E2020, now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006 will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929. This last week of March 2006 will be the turning-point of a number of critical developments, resulting in an acceleration of all the factors leading to a major crisis, disregard any American or Israeli military intervention against Iran. In case such an intervention is conducted, the probability of a major crisis to start rises up to 100%, according to LEAP/E2020.
An Alarm based on 2 verifiable events
The announcement of this crisis results from the analysis of decisions taken by the two key-actors of the main on-going international crisis, i.e. the United States and Iran:
- on the one hand there is the Iranian decision of opening the first oil bourse priced in Euros on March 20th, 2006 in Teheran, available to all oil producers of the region;
- on the other hand, there is the decision of the American Federal Reserve to stop publishing M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world) from March 23, 2006 onward.
These two decisions constitute altogether the indicators, the causes and the consequences of the historical transition in progress between the order created after World War II and the new international equilibrium in gestation since the collapse of the USSR. Their magnitude as much as their simultaneity will catalyse all the tensions, weaknesses and imbalances accumulated since more than a decade throughout the international system.
LEAP/E2020 anticipate that these two non-official decisions will involve the United States and the world in a monetary, financial, and soon economic crisis without precedent on a planetary scale. The ‘monetarisation’ of the US debt is indeed a very technical term describing a catastrophically simple reality: the United States undertake not to refund their debt, or more exactly to refund it in "monkey currency". LEAP/E2020 also anticipate that the process will accelerate at the end of March, in coincidence with the launching of the Iranian Oil Bourse, which can only precipitate the sales of US Treasury Bonds by their non-American holders.
Perhaps it won't be March. It may be April, or May. But I can't think of a circumstance arising, short of a global religious and numinous event (and who knows - maybe just as ersatz), to prevent War with Iran.
Remember the story of Manhattan's talking fish? In March 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, a 20 lb carp began shouting in Hebrew about the end of the world. Where it was reported it was played for laughs - the lighter side of apocalypse. Naturally, because such a thing doesn't happen in the world most of us inhabit. And so it must not have happened.
Two fish-cutters, Nivelo, a Gentile who does not understand Hebrew, was so shocked at the sight of a fish talking in any language that he fell over. He ran into the front of the store screaming: 'It's the Devil! The Devil is here!' Then the shop owner heard it shouting warnings and commands too.
'It said "Tzaruch shemirah" and "Hasof bah",' he told the New York Times, 'which essentially means that everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is near.'
Nivelo, a "devout Christian," reportedly still believes the carp was the Devil: "I don't believe any of this Jewish stuff. But I heard that fish talk."
A local resident noted, "Two men do not dream the same dream." I don't know about that. How many of us are there? And surely this can't be our waking lives.
We have the signs. Keep a sharp lookout for the wonders.