Allan Lang

Did Nostradamus predict the Gulf War?

During the recent events in the Middle East some people apparently rang radio talk-back programmes with the news that Nostradamus had predicted the crisis. Unfortunately I was not able to hear any of these claims, and have no idea what was said, At first I thought that this might prevent me from making any comment on the latest "nostradamus was a prophet' claim. Then it occurred to me that ignorance has never been a handicap to other people when writing about Nostradamus.

On the basis that any fool can make any case from Nostradamus, I decided to simulate a case for the Nostradamean prediction of current Middle Eastern events, considering that I have assumed an argument that was actually not made, its place would be completely filled with one that was worse (pace Mark Twain).

Author's disclaimer: The following is a simulated argument and should be believed at your own risk.

Nostradamus predicted the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait! Four hundred years ago Nostradamus foresaw that the Final Anti-Christ (A-C) would rise up when the Cold War between the USA and the USSR ended.

Quatrain 2:89

One day the great powers will become friends.

Their great power will be seen to increase.

The news land (America) will be at the height of its power.

To the man of blood (the A-C) the number is reported.

Nostradamus of course actually named his candidates for the first two Anti-Christs as Pau Nay Loron (Napoleon) and Hister(Hitler). Is it possible that he also named the third? In the Nostradamus industry, nothing is impossible. We can probably discount Nostradamus's naming of people like Louis Pasteur and Tony Barber in this context.

However, there is the interesting case of:

Quatrain 2:62

Mabus will soon die, then will come

A horrible slaughter of people and animals,

At once vengeance is revealed coming from a hundred lands.

Thirst and famine when the comet will pass.

Up to now Nostradamen have failed to interpret Mabus, However, I can now reveal the real meaning for the first time. As is well known, Nostradamus spoke anagrammatically (see Pau Nay Loron above). If we reverse Mabus, while at the same time reversing the "b" to make it "d", we get "Sudam" QED.

And where will the A-C arise? Nostradamus knew.

Quatrain 8:70

One who is ugly, wicked and famous will come to power

And Tyrannise all of Mesopotamia.

He will make friends by seducing them.

And the lands will be made horribly black by destruction.

The final line obviously refers to the use of chemical weapons by an Iraqi Third A-C. These are even more clearly referred to in another Quatrain:

Quatrain 8:77

The Third Anti-Christ very soon be annihilated.

Twenty seven years his bloody war will last:

The heretics dead, captives, exiles

Blood soaked human bodies, water and reddened icy

rain covering the entire earth.

There is a seeming conflict between 'soon dead' and a twenty seven year war. Nostradamus obviously meant, by personalising it to 'his' bloody war, that it covered Saddam's entire struggle to achieve his personal ambition. This can be considered to have begun in 1968, making 1995 the final year.

'Heretics dead' refers to the execution of Saddam's opponents; 'Captives' are western hostages; 'Exiled' are the Kuwaiti EI Sabah family 'A reddened, icy rain' is an obvious reference to chemical weapons.

The rise of the Iraqi war machine is predicted, as is the battle over the Shatt-el-Arab waterway, in:

Quatrain 3:61

The great band... will arise in Mesopotamia

Near the river shall be a light company

Which will hold that law for an enemy.

The Iraq-Iran conflict is also alluded to in:

Quatrain 5:25

The Arab Prince, Mars, Sun, Venus in Leo,

Will make the rule of the church suffer at sea,

Towards Iran nearly a million men will march

Ver. Serp will also invade Turkey and Egypt.

Here we have Nostradamus seeing Saddam Hussein (the Arab Prince), fighting the theocractic Iranian mullahs (Church...towards Iran) and then, later Turkey and Egypt (which were among the first countries to mobilise after the Kuwait invasion). The accuracy of Nostradamus's vision is attested to by the number he ascribes to the size of the Iraqi army (nearly a million). The World Defence Almanac 1989-90 (Monch Publishing Group) gives the strength of the Iraqi army as 950,000.

Immediately after the invasion of Kuwait, there was concern that an economic embargo of Iraa might fail because Turkey would not close a pipeline. Nostradamus knew better.

Quatrain 5:47

The Great Arab will march on,

But his ambitions will be undermined by the Turks.

The surprise of the Kuwaiti invasion and the speed of the western response is predicted in:

Quatrain 4:39

The Arb Empire will now reveal its intentions

And Hesperia (land of the west i.e. America) will compensate

for the losses,

Here endeth the argument.

The preceding was just to demonstrate that anyone can mine Nostradamus to find the odd reference for any historical event. The real question is, 'Did anyone see these predictions in Nostradamus's writing before August 1990?' As always, the answer is no.

The turn of events in the Middle East has been as much a surprise to the Nostradamen as to everyone else. Nevertheless, I will here make a fearless prediction. At least one Nostradaman will write a book, after the event, which will retradict N's knowledge of the events.

Real people, however, must recognise that Nostradamus lived in a world where the geopolitical situation was somewhat different from that which applies today. It was only 60 years since the last of the Moslem territory in Spain had been recaptured. To the east, the Ottoman Empire was advancing into Europe and was only 50 miles from Vienna. To the south, the Barbary States were major naval powers.

Under these conditions, Nostradamus's many quatrains dealing with a Moslem-European war, involving invasion of Europe through Spain, Italy and Germany, described a possible, though as history proves, a not-to-be fulfilled prophecy.

Where modern writers fall into absurdity is through assuming the situation today to be identical to that in the 16th Century. While Nostradamus spends considerable time worrying about a Moslem invasion of France, he spends none considering a Mesopotamian invasion to seize the oilfields of Arabia or the Gulf. (Does that surprise you?)

While it is easy for modern writers to produce predictions for a violent Arab/European war, getting specific forewarnings of actual events in the present day Middle East is slightly more difficult.

A brief review of modern writers on Nostradamus shows that almost all of them totally discount the possible rise of an Arab military leader in Mesopotamia, or as Nostradamus unaccountably failed to call it, Iraq. I examined the works of the current crop of Nostradamus analysts to discover how they had previously analysed two quatrains (3:61 and 8:70), which were chosen because:

(i) they mentioned Mesopotamia;

(ii) their meanings could, just possibly, be taken as referring to the current crisis:

Quatrain 3:61

The great troop and cross bearing sect

Will arise in (or direct itself to) Mesopotamia

From the nearby river the light company (will come)

Which such a law/religion will hold for an enemy.

Quatrain 8:70

He will enter, vile, wicked, infamous

Tyrannising over Mesopotamia.

He makes all (his) friends by the adulterine lady;

Horrible land, black of physiognomy:

Line 4 may have been meant to have been read 'horrible thief...' Much of the ambiguity in Nostradamus may be due to atrocious proof reading. In this case, Nostradamus may have written 'lerre' and his publisher then printed 'terre'.

In chronological order, Nostradamus's intepreters saw these verses as follows:

Lee McCann (1941) includes news of a bit of future trouble with the Arabs, principally by lumping N's Arab Threat quatrains into a bundle. However, she omits both Mesopotamia quatrains as an Arab invasion of Europe and that the events associated with this would be all over by August 1987.

Henry Roberts (1947) declares that 3:61 means 'A great organisation, with some sort of cross as its emblem, shall emerge in a land between two rivers. Near one of these rivers, some traitors shall given the enemy assitance.' Like most of Henry's interpretations, this is nicely literal and inane and no real advance on N's own impenetrable poetics. No-one could possibly specifically relate this to the current crisis, or indeed to anything else. According to Henry, 8:70 means 'the country near Babylon will be terrorised by a person of the Negrorace', which is even less apt than the previous example.

Erika Cheetham (1975) has no idea what 3:61 means, but thinks that Mesopotamia might be the area between the Seine and the Marne, and that the verse refers to Germany's occupation of France in 1940. In 8:70 she thinks Mesopotamia may be Avignon, between the Rhone and the Durance.

Charless Nelson Gattey (1977) includes N as one of the prophets in his They Saw Tomorrow. However, as Gattey only mentions past fulfilments, his book might better be called, They Saw Yesterday.

Probably the best claim could be made for Jean Charles de Frontbrune (1980). Although he considers 8:70 to refer to Ayatollah Khomeini's exile in Iraq from 1963-78, he did relate 3:61 to future Western-Arab conflict. Just to ensure that we did not overlook this, in August, a report from the Agence-France Presse pointed out that Jean Charles was saying 'I told you so'. The translation given in the report was:

'The great band and anti-Christian sect of Moslems shall rise up in Iraq and Syria, near the Euphrates, with an army and shall consider the Christian law as its enemy.'

This is substantially what he wrote in 1983, except that then he translated compagnie legere as 'tank force' rather than 'army'. It should be noted that Frontbrune tends to add his own interpretations into N's text. In 'anti-Christian sect of Moslems' the naming of the Moslems is solely Frontbrune's addition. What N originally said was 'sect crucigere'. Most commentators have taken this as coming from the Latin for 'cross-bearing', crux-gerens, Nostradamically modifed so that it will rhyme with the subsequent line three and meaning 'crusaders'. Frontbrune declares that the original was sect crucifigere or 'sect of crucifiers' meaning Moslems. I would be the first to admit that N did seem to suffer from syncope on occasion, however reading 'crucifying sect' as 'Moslems' stretches the meaning of crucifiers to Humpty Dumpty proportions. Frontbrune shares with Nostradamus the nationality of Nicholas Chauvin and restricts the basic arena of the predictions to France. As such, he probably reflects the original intentions much better than do British on American interpreters, however, while the predictions may be reasonable reflections of 16th Century France, their applicability to 20th Century occurrences requires a substantial suspension of reality. Frontbrune principally sees the Arab/European war occurring in Europe.

Rene Noorbergen 1981), although he follows a similar patter to de Frontbrune, sees it slightly differently. In his scenario, Russia is allied to France, America and Britain (Frontbrune has them allied with the Arabs). The Chinese attack before the Arabs, rather than after them. In particular, he places 3:61 at the end of the Holocaust War. (Prior to this, a large meteor has hit the Earth, China has launched a nuclear attack, then germ warfare, against the West, invaded Russia, invaded Europe in concert with the Arabs. England has been flooded, the British have landed in France, the Russians and Americans have taken the offensive and recaptured Europe and the Chinese have surrendered. Dull it ain't.) He does see 8:70 as referring to a Mesopotamian Arab, of questionable reputation, making trouble about August 1987.

John Hogue (1987) did not consider either of these quatrains worth mentioning. Indeed, Iraq does not loom large in his writing. This may be because he predicted that Hussein would be totally defeated by Iran in August 1987, so it is unlikely that current events would have been anticipated. Hogue, in his Nostradamus and the Millennium, nominated four candidates for the Third Anti-Chirst, none of them Saddam Hussein. But then Hogue also said that the great new spiritual teacher who will bring peace and enlightenment in the New Age, is none other than the late Silly Old Bhagger, Shree Ranjeesh, Hogue's four candidates for the Anti-Christ are:

A pair of terrorists known as the Two Abus; Ayatollah Khomeini and Colonel Khaddafi of Libya, whom Nostradamus considers a 'posturing fool', or at least that is what he told Delores Cannon.

Delores Cannon (1989) had the advantage of actually talking with Nostradamus. In Conversations with Nostradamus: His Prophecies Explained, she used hypnotic regression techniques to conjure Nostradamus from several subjects, similar to 'past life therapy'. But it can't be that. They couldn't all be Nostradamus, could they?

Despite this 'advantage' she failed to give us any warning of current events. Like the others, she appears not to consider Mesopotamia an interesting area and totally ignores both quatrains. (All may not be lost. Her book is styled Volume 1, and these verses may appear in Vol.2 as 'fulfilled predictions'. But what's the use of postdictions I say).

If any conclusion can be drawn it is that the current mob of Nostradamus experts have shown a remarkable degree of almost 'psi-missing' in failing to relate either of these verses to presently unfolding events. So, despite all claims for Nostradamus's amazing vision, the situation remains: in 400 years, no-one has yet managed to predict the future by using the writings of Nostradamus.


It has now been noted that a 1949 Warner Bros cartoon had Bugs Bunny falling into the clutches of a black-moustached Hussein of Baghdad. This appears to be a far more accurate prediction than any of Nostradamus's nonsense.


I wish to thank M.V. Jones for providing a non-credulous translation of Nostradamus, and, in particular, his suggestion of a possible misprint in quatrain 8:70.


Books refered to in the article:

Delores Cannon, Conversations with Nostradamus: His Prophecies Explained, Vol.1, 1989, America West, Boulder.

Erika Cheetham, The Prophecies of Nostradamus, 1975, Corgi, London.

Jean Charles de Frontbrune, Nostradamus: Countdown to Apocalypse, 1983, Hutchinson, London (English Translation)

Charles Nelson Gattey, They Saw Tomorrow, 1977, Harrup, London.

John Hogue, Nostradamus and the Millennium, 1987, Bloomsbury, London.

M.V. Jones, Nostradamus: A Guide to the Centuries (Unpublished).

Edgar Leoni, Nostradamus and his Prophecies, 1982, Bell Publish, New York (Original printing 1961).

Lee McCann, Nostradamus: The Man who saw through Time, 1941, New York.

Rene Noorbergen, Invitation to a Holocaust, 1981, NEL, London.

Henry C Roberts, The Complete prophecies of Nostradamus, 1985, Panther, (Revision of 1941 original).

The University of Regensburg neither approves nor disapproves of the opinions expressed here. They are solely the responsibility of the person named below.

Last update: 22 July 1998