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The Persian Empire Reborn? Ahmadinejad's Messianic Politics

April 17, 2006
Ruvy

Isralert, a Jewish news service run out of Texas by Harvey Weiner, published an analysis from the Sunday Telegraph called "The Frightening Truth of Why Iran Wants a Bomb". In essence, the explanation given by writer Amir Taheri is that the Iranian president has indeed met and is in consultation with the Mahdi, the mysterious Twelfth Imam of the Shia. The Mahdi is a messianic figure for the Shia, analogous to the Jewish messiah and to Jesus of Nazareth. Put simply, according to Tajeri, it is no longer a matter of "when will the Mahdi return?" He has returned. It is now a matter of "how to make the world ready for his appearance." This is messianic politics with a uranium coating.

The article details what President Ahmadinejad must do and the strategy he must follow to accomplish this goal. Harv Weiner picked out the key point made by Taheri in the article

"Iran is now the strongest presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, after the US. It has turned Syria and Lebanon into its outer defenses, which means that, for the first time since the 7th century, Iran is militarily present on the coast of the Mediterranean. In a massive political jamboree in Teheran last week, Ahmadinejad also assumed control of the "Jerusalem Cause", which includes annihilating Israel "in one storm", while launching a take-over bid for the cash-starved Hamas government in the West Bank and Gaza."

This evening, the Voice of Israel carried the story in Hungarian, French, Spanish, English, Amharic and presumably Hebrew that the Iranian government had donated $50 million to the cash starved Plaestinian Authority.

In case anybody in Israel had trouble mistaking the intent of the Iranian president,
Scotland on Sunday
carried this lead-in pair of paragraphs in its own article covering the same basic story.

"PRESIDENT Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was at pains to make sure he had not been misunderstood. He wanted the west, particularly the United States, to understand that he was not joking when he had called last year for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'....

'Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation,' he told his audience, knowing full well that Western capitals were watching closely. 'The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.'"



In the Sunday Telegraph, Taheri explains that the strategy of the reborn Persian Empire is one of parry the west and delay, making all sorts of phoney concessions until George Bush is a lame duck president who cannot command any military excursions into Iran, arguing that Bush is an exception to the kinds of presidents that the US has had since Eisenhower, that unlike the other presidents, Bush does not run away.

Once Bush is out of the way, the strategy would be one of provoking a clash of civilizations and manufacturing nuclear weapons with the intent of creating an alliance headed by Persia that would control four fifths of the world's oil reserves, a population filled with yong men ready to fight and die (while the aging Americans and Euopeans prefer to not fight and live) and that could intimidate the United States and Europe into essentially surrendering in a low intensity conflict that would inflict enough casualties on the United states to get Americans to want out of any conflict in the Middle East. One of the advantages cited, according to Taheri, is that the Unites States, the only western power with any will to fight, is hated in Europe and elsewhere.

Once the Americans were frustrated enough in dealing with the constant bodybags coming back from Iraq and the threat of a nuclear Iran, the time would then have arrived to announce the arrival of the Mahdi, the messiah of the Shia. Neither the Scotsman nor the Telegraph article says so in so many words, but it is presumed that at some point, Israel would be attacked, and presumably destroyed.

The Americans are viewed in both articles as being very impatient and unable to stay a course. The Iranians view themselves as patient carpet weavers.

Ruvy, born in New York, moved to Minnesota where he managed a Burger King and wrote stories. In addition to writing for Blogcritics Magazine, he is editor for the Root & Branch Information Service. Formerly living in Jerusalem, he lives with his family in Ma'alé Levoná where he is a freelance editor and writer.
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The Persian Empire Reborn? Ahmadinejad's Messianic Politics

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#1
Ruvy in Jerusalem
URL
April 17, 2006
04:57 AM

UPDATE TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

I found this item on Monsters and Critics. According to this article,we see a different wrinkle from the standard Arab patter.

"In the final resolution, recited by conference chairman Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, all Islamic states were obliged to aid Palestine and prepare the grounds for the return of all refugees to their homelands.

The resolution further called on the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and revival of the al-Aqsa mosque as the main centre for world Muslims."

This reflects the Shia view that they want control of the Temple Mount and are willing to stand Islam on its head - moving the center of the religion from Mecca and Medina to what was supposed to have been its original center, Jerusalem.

Hmmm....

There may be a lot more to this than meets the eye.

#2
history_lover
April 17, 2006
05:50 AM

This is from someone who is living in Zionist occupied Palestine !!!

#3
Ruvy in Jerusalem
URL
April 17, 2006
07:15 AM

History lover,

We do read the news in Israel, you know, and pay attention to events in the neighborhood.

Ahmadinejad has serious religious beliefs and it pays to respect them and him. You are seeing, not for the first time, "faith based" politics in action. The first time was the Pakistan Movement and the creation of Pakistan.

Ahmadinejad believes that his messiah has come. He is acting accordingly. Though I might be on the business end of one of his missiles in the near future, I am compelled to respect that he acts out of his faith, instead of mere realpolitik.

Do note, that these acts are not the acts of an idiot, either. They are calulated risks, based on what Iranians know of how Americans and Europeans think. Of course, if Ahmadinejad is wrong, he may well die at the hands of American missiles. But he knows that, and is to be praised for at least contemplating and taking the risk, rather than being a toady to the United States. I wish I could say the same of the "crime minister" sitting in Jerusalem.

#4
temporal
URL
April 17, 2006
09:57 AM

ruvy:

have read amir taheri in nyt for a number of years...having said that his quotes re:mahdi as reported:

that the Iranian president has indeed met and is in consultation with the Mahdi, the mysterious Twelfth Imam of the Shia

appears as a half baked april fool's joke if anything to those who are familiar with islamic history...(almost on par with bush's conversations with God)

as is this from the post: This reflects the Shia view that they want control of the Temple Mount and are willing to stand Islam on its head

the shia holy mosques are in iraq --basra and baghdad regions

al aqsa as the first qibla will always remain the third holiest muslim site

#5
Ruvy in Jerusalem
URL
April 17, 2006
11:45 AM

Temporal,

I'd be happy if this were shown to be an April fools joke over time.

#6
temporal
URL
April 17, 2006
12:20 PM

ruvy:

please note i wrote appears as a half baked april fool's joke

one can expect the unexpected from people (or countries) when they are pushed to the wall

most people would never part with the most precious gift they have -- their lives!

but daily we witness suicide bombers who sacrifice their lives...while there are exceptions most of them are pushed to the wall by the world around them to the degree that they lose sanity

i am saddened by the loss of civilian lives in tel aviv today -- but do we pause to think what causes those suicide bomber to act like that? why do they lose hope in living?

am saddened by the loss of civilian lives in iraq.....the living conditions under occupation there must also be worse than under the sadist saddam for them to part with their lives and kill innocents in the process of making statements

problems that are essentially political can not be stamped out by brute force for ever...we have all witnessed this...when will we learn?

#7
Tony
April 17, 2006
02:32 PM

Instead of saying Suicide Bombers Fox news calls them Homicide Bombers. The first rule of war is to demonise one's enemy.

#8
Ruvy in Jerusalem
URL
April 17, 2006
02:38 PM

Tony, on Israel National News and Walla they are called what they indeed are - terrorists.

#9
Anil
URL
April 17, 2006
03:27 PM

Well as they say "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".

#10
Nachiketa
April 17, 2006
08:03 PM

one can expect the unexpected from people (or countries) when they are pushed to the wall

most people would never part with the most precious gift they have -- their lives!

but daily we witness suicide bombers who sacrifice their lives...


I detect a tinge of sympathy and maybe admiration for the homicidal maniacs who take innocent lives.

How the f*^% will islamic fascism end when even supposed moderates like Temporal show this kind of sympathy for homicide bombers.

#11
temporal
URL
April 17, 2006
10:36 PM

sympathy? no ( not even a tinge)
admiration? far from!

just a reality check from one who has publicly proclaimed many times:

am against the loss of a single civilian life caused by an individual, group, organisation, state, or country

and who believes the so called suicide bombers have zilch qur'anic injunctions in favour of their murderous zeal...call their act cold blooded, murderous but not islamic...it is not there in my qur'an


and let me repeat the core of my post

problems that are essentially political can not be stamped out by brute force for ever...we have all witnessed this...when will we learn?

#12
gazelle
URL
April 18, 2006
02:52 PM

sometimes when one hears the same gossip from radically opposed sources one can be reasonably sure that it has been planted to try out the ideas with purpose usually serving to increase paranoia. its happening too often nowadays.

i suspect the article is quite lucid in describing less messianic politics than messianic conspiritorics. And by no means do i doubt that there are people who believe in apocalyptic ideas in nearly all camps (this side of the singularity... ;)

well, what is god's price for sanity?

this is one of those international 'gossips' that are going around.

my own recent take and concern on BC/DC was:
From Revolutionary Empowerment To Nuclear Enrichment: Iran Today

best

#13
gazelle
URL
April 19, 2006
03:17 PM

the persian empire and its prophet

thus spake nietzche

best

#14
Ruvy in Jerusalem
URL
April 19, 2006
06:25 PM

Hi all!

We got back from Beitar Illit visiting friends there. When we got to the Central Bus Station in J-lem, the first thing I did was to buy about 60 shekels ($12.70) worth of bourekas, the first leavening we have had for a week. Yummy!! We sat in the Bus Station food court and chowed down, next to a bunch of teenagers who were celebrating the end of Passover with a pizza pie.

I feel much better with some potato bourekas and a cup of kafé hafúkh in my system . Matza can get tiring after a week.

I read some of the comments added during the last day of Passover.

Gazelle, thank you for your references in comment #13. Thank you also for the informative article referenced in comment #12.

Ahmadinejad has his messianic politics - and we Jews have ours. It turns out that our own rabbinic authorities (called m'forshím) argue that the 'kingdom of the south' prophesied in Daniel witll be an alliance of Arab states led by Persia/Iran. If Ahmadinejad gets his way, or if this analysis from the Sunday Telegraph any validity, that is exactly what he is already creating.

I wrote this piece with two aims in mind. One was to give a faith based politician the serious consideration I believe he deserves, and the second was to point you in the direction of seeing that Ahmadinejad, in his attempts to recreate the Persian Empire of 1,600 years ago and fulfill the messianic prophecies of the Shia faith, was also fulfilling the messianic prophecies of the Tana"kh, the Hebrew Bible.

Temporal, at comment #11. I understand that you have no use for suicide bombers. For a long time Jews who live here have been noting that suicide bombing and suicide generally, is not historically recognized as a legitimate tactic according to Islam. In my own view, these suicide bombings, which lately have been killing many many innocent Moslems who do not at all deserve to die (all in Iraq or Afghanistan), have been the result of the warped mentality of the Wahhabi cult that seems to have overtakien legitimate Islam for its own sick ends.

problems that are essentially political can not be stamped out by brute force for ever...we have all witnessed this...when will we learn?

Wise words - but the problems that appear to be essentially political in this neighbnorhood are really susceptible to a religious solution. Unfortunately, within that religious solution, brute force will be necessary, to excise the cancer of distortion in one religion, and the cancer of defiance in the other.

But the solutions canmnot be imposed by outsiders, and the outsiders are more of a problem at the moment than the apparent enemies.

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