Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ahmadinejad, the Bomb, and the Twelfth Imam

Earlier this month the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency warned that Iranian scientists – who in February this year were enriching uranium to just 5 per cent at the plant in Natanz – have made at least 22 kilograms of enriched uranium of up to 20 per cent purity. Although this is 70 per cent lower than weapons-grade uranium, the Iranians have thereby achieved a significant breakthrough. While sanctions have had an affect on the Iranian economy they have not hindered Ahmadinejad’s nuclear ambitions, and consequently Iran could have the Bomb within a year.

Ahmadinejad’s declaration a few years ago that Israel should be “wiped off the map” was widely dismissed as demagoguery or bluster – in much the same way as Hamas’s genocidal charter is – or else attributed to a clumsy misinterpretation of his remarks. Israel’s enemies were quick to point out that if Israel has a nuclear arsenal it is reasonable for Iran to have one too. The lefties blazed forth with their usual line: that the nuclear club should not be restricted to the United States and its allies. And the naïve have contentedly accepted that Iran’s nuclear acquisitions are intended for peaceful purposes only.

A poll taken in June on behalf of the Chicago Council on Public Affairs asked “If Israel were to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran were to retaliate against Israel, and the two were to go to war, the United States should or should not bring its military forces into the war on the side of Israel.” Of the 2,596 respondents, 56 per cent favoured the reply “No, it shouldn’t”, and 38 per cent the reply “Yes, it should”. And as the Jerusalem Post reports (20 September), Barack Obama, in an interview with the American news station CNBC, described as not “ideal” the option of preventative military action against Iran by the United States or Israel. "We continue to be open to diplomatic solutions to resolve this," he said. "We don't think that a war between Israel and Iran or military options would be the ideal way to solve this problem. But we are keeping all our options on the table."

How much longer will Obama dither? For how long will Obama – who responded last year in Turkey regarding whether he “sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world?" with the retort that he believes “in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism" (hat tip: Caroline Glick) – act as if he has abdicated the leadership of the West? For how long will he allow his perceived weakness imperil Israel – and not only Israel but the rest of the democratic world? How his reluctance to act must warm the hearts of the Israel-hating American pundits whom I saw on Press TV months ago smirking in triumph as they declared that Israel will be unable to count on any endorsement or aid from the United States in any plan to attack Iran’s nuclear facility.

But the Holocaust-denying Iranian dictator has not the hallmarks of a fully rational man. The Balance of Terror depends upon rational nuclear regimes which recoil from the ghastly prospect of mutually assured destruction. Ahmadinejad, however, appears to believe in the concept of the Twelfth Imam, a sort of messianic figure whose coming will be preceded by a period of violent turmoil, which Ahmadinejad might seek to expedite by unleashing a nuclear catastrophe in the region regardless of the consequences for Palestinian Muslims as well as for Israeli Jews.

This ominous possibility has been explored by political scientist John von Heyking, of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. He has warned:

‘Ahmadinejad’s speeches and actions cannot be understood exclusively in terms of a despotic figure who radicalizes politics for the sake of power. He has chosen to radicalize Iranian politics in a particular way, and one that issues a direct challenge to the underpinnings of the regime. This returns us to Ahmadinejad’s references to the return of the Twelfth Imam. The Hojjatieh’s belief in humans’ power to effect his return, which, to repeat, are unorthodox for Shi’ites, should be of grave concern for everyone....
While Ahmadinejad has not drawn an explicit connection between his desire to see Israel wiped off the map and an activist belief in the Twelfth Imam’s return, the dots are there to be connected once one understands the tyrannical "logic" behind someone who, perhaps viewing himself as a self-proclaimed deputy for the Twelfth Imam, might wish to effect Mahdi’s return....
Western observers need to be able to understand the ideological and religious overtones of the current situation in Iran. Ahmadinejad’s peculiar references to the Twelfth Imam are no mere eccentricity to be taken lightly. Nor do they seem to be the rhetorical ploy of a politician manipulating the excitable masses (as some have interpreted Saddam Hussein’s embrace of Islamism in the later part of his rule). Minimally, Ahmadinejad’s speeches and actions portend a constitutional crisis for the Iranian regime. Maximally, there are times when one should take bombastic statements not as double-talk, but for what they are.’
John von Heyking was commenting in 2005, and as Teheran edges ever closer to possession of the Bomb his words have a terrible urgency. You can read his entire piece here:

Let's hope that someone shows it to Obama.


  1. Charles Krauthammer in Washington Times Dec 16 '05 had a column about this too

  2. Yes, thanks - his op-ed piece is called "In Iran, Arming for Armaggedon".

  3. Ehud Barak: History Will Judge Obama on Nuclear Iran
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
    “History will judge this [Obama] administration when it comes to the end of its term whether Iran has nuclear weapons or not,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Fox News in an interview. He also said sanctions are not enough to stop Iran from reaching nuclear capability.

    Speaking in an interview while visiting officials in Washington, the Defense Minister added, “We are not frightened by [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad’s statements, but we have to take seriously that a nuclear Iran” would begin an arms race in the Middle East and “encourage global jihad and intimidation. We have to consider what follows sanctions, which will not suffice.”

    Barak estimated that Iran “technically” may be able to possess a nuclear weapon within a year and a half “if they break all the rules.” He explained the major problem is that Iran may “become immune” to a military strike by building several sites and protecting them by burying them deep underground.

  4. Well, Ahmadinejad certainly provoked a walkout at the UN yesterday with his assertion that the USA was behind 9/11 ...
    Obama's speech didn't do anything to indicate that he's fully woken up to the Iranian threat yet.