When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” and repeatedly denied the genocide of six million Jews by the Nazis, analysts around the world rushed to explain away his fanatical statements. When he said that the State of Israel should be transplanted to Europe or Alaska, some said the new president needed to consolidate his internal power base. The statements were “without doubt an aim of domestic policy,” said Saed Leylaz, an Iranian political analyst.
According to Reuters writer Paul Hughes, “Ahmadinejad's strident anti-Israel rhetoric may be part of a strategy aimed at boosting his own standing at home and Iran’s role in the region.” A number of commentators in Israel reached this same, very logical conclusion.
Ahmadinejad worked hard to reverse reforms
There’s only one, very major problem with this approach: It relies on the assumption that Ahmadinejad is a rational leader, whose words and actions are guided by sane political calculations. Unfortunately, there is much evidence to suggest that the opposite is true.
Ahmadinejad rushed to join the Islamic revolution of 1979 that overthrew the secular Shah who ruled Iran. He served in the Special Brigade of the Revolutionary Guards, and took part in covert raids against the Iraqi city of Kirkuk during the Iran - Iraq war. According to Iranian opposition websites, he helped coordinate a number of assassinations of “enemies of the revolution” abroad, and there are reports he helped plan an attempted killing of dissident author Salman Rusdhie.
Formerly mayor of Teheran, Ahmadinejad worked hard to reverse reforms made by previous moderate leaders. After rising to power as president, he wasted little time in taking up a confrontational, anti-Israel, anti-West stance, quickly achieving a growing isolation of Iran, a favored tactic by fascists in history to mask a dysfunctional economy.
'They were astonished'
A revealing video has recently appeared on an Iranian website, baztap.com, showing Ahmadinejad visiting a Shiite spiritual leader. Ahmadinejad did not seem to be fully aware that he was being filmed. He sat on the floor by his religious mentor, and calmly described his recent address to the United Nations, which he began with the words “in the name of Allah,” and which was peppered with Koranic references (one news network later described that speech as “intellectual.”)
The Iranian president described a “glow of light” that he thought surrounded him as he spoke, “I felt that all of a sudden the atmosphere changed there, and for 27-28 minutes all the leaders did not blink,” he said.
"I am not exaggerating when I say they did not blink; it's not an exaggeration, because I was looking. They were astonished as if a hand held them there and made them sit. It had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic,” said the belligerent ruler of a country on the verge of acquiring the technology to produce nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad not guided by rational political theories
Ahmadinejad is in fact a fundamentalist believer in the coming of Muhammad al-Mahdi, the twelfth Shiite imam who, according to Shiite Islam, is currently in hiding, and will reappear to rule the earth just before the last day of time. Under the rule of the Mahdi, Shiite Islam is meant to spread around the world.
A Shiite scholar writes that among the many warning signs for the coming of the Mahdi, “a color will appear in the sky and spread to its horizons; a fire will appear for a long time in the east remaining in the air for three or seven days; the Arabs will throw off the reins and take possession of their land, throwing out the foreign authority…”
For his part, Ahmadinejad has proved his subscription to this view in front of the whole world, when he concluded his speech last September to the United Nations with the words: "O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.”
Ahmadinejad is not guided by rational political theories taught at Western schools of political science, but by an alarmingly dangerous fanatical belief in Shiite Islam and a wish to hasten the arrival of the Mahdi.
When he calls for Israel to be destroyed, there is no need to search for complex explanations and cite internal Iranian political conditions to understand the Iranian leader. Rather, he issues these declarations for the simple reason that he believes in them. His comments, taken at their face value, should be triggering off a global alarm.
Yaakov Lappin is a Ynetnews editor