How Real is the Iranian Threat?
Vol: 91 Issue: 22 Wednesday, April 22, 2009
There is no question but that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did Israel a favor by kicking off the Durban II Conference with his racist rant against Israel.
Surely he knew the speech would prompt the reaction that it did even before the representatives of forty countries got up and walked out on him. Didn’t he?
Maybe he did, but probably he didn’t. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said what he said because he believes every word of it, and so does the regime that supports him.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is clearly one of the most misunderstood leaders in the world today. For if he were understood correctly, the entire world would rise up as one and demand both Iranian disarmament and an immediate regime change.
When Ahmadinejad stood before the assembled global dignitaries to launch his tirade against Israel, he didn’t do it to get a rise out of the West.
Ahmadinejad recently gave an interview to Der Spiegel in which he expressed his opinion that the majority of Germans hate Israel as much as he does and would be secretly relieved to see it wiped out.
In his heart, Ahmadinejad believes the same sentiment exists across Europe and he has ample reason to believe it is so.
Ahmadinejad has telegraphed his intentions for Israel as clearly as did Adolf Hitler for Eastern Europe and its Jewish population in his book, “Mein Kampf.”
The question is often asked, why didn’t the Jews of Eastern Europe do more to escape the Holocaust? There were no doubt lots of good reasons, but the most powerful was disbelief.
The Jews of Europe were a powerful asset to the Nazi war machine as slave labor. They kept the domestic infrastructure running, manufacturing goods, laboring on farms, repairing roads and bridges.
It was totally illogical that the Nazis would destroy such a valuable asset. They simply didn’t believe the Nazis would murder them all. Some refused to believe it right to the end. It was just too monstrous to comprehend.
The same principle applies to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated threats to wipe Israel from the map with nuclear weapons — it’s too monstrous to believe.
There was a point in the 1973 Yom Kippur War when it looked like Israel was going to lose. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered thirteen nuclear bombs assembled and loaded on bombers with thirteen different assigned targets.
The tide turned on the ground and the bombers were in the end, unnecessary. But the story is true and there is no doubt Ahmadinejad is aware of it. He therefore knows that even a successful nuclear strike on Israel will not prevent a massive Israeli nuclear retaliation.
The world can’t bring itself to believe that Ahmadinejad would risk it — the doctrine of mutually assured destruction comes into play. The MAD doctrine kept the world safe from nuclear destruction during the hottest moments of the Cold War.
The difference is, during the Cold War, both sides wanted to live more than they wanted the other side to die.
There is a sect within Shia Islam that is awaiting the return of the 12th Imam, also known as the Mahdi. The Twelvers believe that the Mahdi is “the righteous descendant of the prophet Muhammed” named Muhammed ibn Hasan.
According to the state religion of Iran, Muhammed ibn Hasan has been in hiding since the year 941. End times prophecy is one of the ‘five pillars of Islam’ — prophecy occupies as central a role in Islam as the 2nd Coming of Christ does within Christianity.
Most of Islamic ‘prophecy’ is inspired by the book of the Revelation but Islam sees itself in the role that Christians assign to the antichrist.
The coming of the Mahdi will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of Islamic paradise on earth.
Ahmadinejad believes, as does Iran’s dominant religious sect, that lesser mortals can not merely influence his return, but, by initiating that end-times conflict between Dar al Islam (the Zone of Islam) and Dar al Haran (the Zone of War), he can actually HASTEN the Mahdi’s return.
“The ultimate promise of all Divine religions,” Ahmadinejad said in an address to the UN in 2005, “will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being [the 12th Imam], who is heir to all prophets. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace. Oh mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one.”
As Christians, we believe that we can hasten Christ’s return by leading as many of the lost to salvation as possible. The Scriptures tell us that there are a finite number of people who will come to faith and when that number is filled, the Church is removed and the antichrist is revealed and he leads the world to Armageddon.
The Twelvers believe they can hasten the return of the Mahdi by starting the war of Armageddon. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is more than just a Twelver.
Ahmadinejad is connected with the messianic Hojjatieh Society, which is governed by the conviction that the 12th Imam’s return will be hastened by “the creation of chaos on Earth.”
Ahmadinejad’s ideological mentor and spiritual guide is Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi who heads the ultraconservative acolytes who believe the 12th Imam’s return is “imminent.”
He believes he was chosen by Allah to start that war, which will then force the Mahdi out of hiding. Ahmadinejad has made no secret of his belief, saying at a mosque recently that he expected such a war within two years.
According to Muslim tradition, the Mahdi is believed to ride forth on a white horse at the head of his forces.
In their book, “Al Mahdi and the End of Time”, Muhammad Ibn Izzat and Muhammad Arif, two well-known Egyptian authors, identify the Mahdi from the Book of the Revelation:
“I find the Mahdi recorded in the books of the Prophets. . . For instance, the Book of Revelation says: “And I saw and behold a white horse. He that sat on him. . . went forth conquering and to conquer.”
Izzat and Arif then go on to say: “It is clear that this man is the Mahdi who will ride the white horse and judge by the Koran (with justice) and with whom will be men with marks of prostration on their foreheads.”
Israel understands this about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It doesn’t find the concept that he would start a nuclear war too monstrous to be believed, but rather, it understands how monstrous it really is and therefore too monstrous to ignore.
“Seventy-three years after the Berlin Olympiad, yesterday the world saw the return of Adolf Hitler,” Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday after Ahmadinejad’s speech.
“This time he is bearded and he talks Persian. But the words are the same words, the goals the same goals and the resolve to use effective means to achieve them is the same threatening resolve.”
What Israel understands — and the world does not — is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is little more than a suicide bomber waiting for the right time and place to detonate himself for allah. If he gets his hands on a nuclear bomb and a missile capable of delivering it, it will be his religious duty to use it against Israel.
The Israelis understand how powerful a motivator religious duty becomes. The rest of the world only thinks it does. How does one negotiate with a suicide bomber? What do you offer him?
The latest estimates say that with 7000 centrifuges in operation, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have a nuclear weapon within sixty days.
And the clock is already ticking.