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.
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: www.ashbrook.org/publicat/.../vonheyking/twelfthimam.html
Let's hope that someone shows it to Obama.