Friday, January 05, 2007

Iranian Leader Says Islamic Messiah Is Coming This Year


From National Review:


The new year may not be so happy if Iranian leaders have their way. The Islamic messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “mahdi” may come to earth in 2007 and could be revealed to the world as early as the spring equinox, reports an official Iranian government news website. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website says the world is now in its “last days.” It claims that the mahdi will first appear in Mecca, and then Medina. He will conquer all of Arabia, Syria, Iraq, destroy Israel, and then set up a “global government” based in Iraq, interestingly enough, not Iran.

Such Islamic eschatology is driving the Iranian regime and helps explains why Iran has no interest in helping the United States and European Union create peace in Iraq or the region, much less in ending its bid for nuclear weapons, the Iraq Study Group Report notwithstanding.

Anticipation of the imminent arrival or “illumination” of the Islamic messiah has been steadily intensifying inside Iran since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerged as president of the country in June of 2005. An Iranian television series called The World Towards Illumination has been running since last November to help answer the many questions Iranians have about the end of the world as we know it. The series explains the signs of the last days and what to expect when the Islamic messiah arrives. The program also says that Jesus is coming back to earth soon as a Shiite Muslim leader and it denounces “born again Christians” for supporting “the illegal Zionist state of Israel.”

An Israeli news site was the first to pick up the story and its significance to Israeli national security, noting that the mahdi will soon “form an army to defeat Islam’s enemies in a series of apocalyptic battles” and “will overcome his archvillain in Jerusalem.”

Some intelligence analysts are growing concerned by Ahmadinejad’s announced plans “to hold the big celebration of Iran’s full nuclearization in the current year.” Iran’s calendar year ends on March 20, which is the usual date of the spring equinox.

Is Ahmadinejad signaling that Iran will have nuclear weapons by then? Is he suggesting that a messianic war to annihilate Israel could come in 2007, perhaps as early as this spring or summer? It is not yet clear, though Ahmadinejad today vowed to “humiliate” the U.S. and Israel soon.

Too many Western analysts are missing the central importance of Shiite eschatology in Iranian foreign policy. They mistakenly believe that Iran’s current leadership can be somehow cajoled into making peace with the West. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cadre of loyal mullahs are not being driven by the same goals and aspirations as are the diplomats in Washington, Brussels, or at the United Nations.

The president of Iran and his team fervently believe the Islamic messiah is coming soon. They are convinced that their divine mission is to create the conditions for the mahdi’s return. As a result, they are committed to instigating more anti-American violence in Iraq, not less. They are determined to obtain nuclear weapons at all costs, not negotiate away their atomic research and development program. What’s more, they are deeply committed to building political and military alliances with anti-Western powers, not finding accommodation with the West.

Bottom line: The leaders of Iran are preparing for an apocalyptic war with the U.S. and Israel. It’s not a question of “if” but “when.” The sooner the White House and our new congressional leaders realize this and take decisive action to stop this nuclear nightmare, the better.


Go read the rest at National Review.