Time to attack Israel? / Hot debate under way in Iran (NEW YORK POST OP-ED) By AMIR TAHERI 02/22/12)
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Has the time come for Iran to destroy Israel?
With “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad
promising to wipe Israel off the map, the question is being debated
in Khomeinist political and theological circles.
Khamenei has recently claimed that, under his leadership, the Islamic
ummah is heading for victory against Israel and the United States.
Implicitly comparing himself with the Prophet Muhammad, Khamenei
asserts that his victories will be as great as those of the founder
of the faith at Badr and Kheibar.
The battle of Badr (624) resulted in the expulsion of “pagan forces”
from the region of Medina, where Muhammad ruled. Khamenei believes
that, with the United States retreating from the Middle East, his
Islamic Republic is about to score as great a victory.
The battle of Kheibar (629) brought the destruction of the last
Jewish state in the Arabian Peninsula. Plainly, Khamenei believes the
destruction of Israel is more than a theoretical possibility.
Several Khomeinist theoreticians have delivered sermons aimed at
giving the “destroy Israel” debate some direction. Among them are
ayatollahs Ahmad Khatami, Ahmad Jannati and Muhammad-Taqi Mesbah-
One key question is finding a theological basis for total war against
the Jewish state.
Traditional Shiite theologians assert that jihad is not permitted
except in self-defense or when the existence of Islam as a religion
is in danger. On that score, no war against Israel would be allowed,
because the Jewish state hasn’t attacked Iran and clearly doesn’t
threaten Islam’s existence as a religion.
To address that problem, a theologian from the holy city of Qom has
published a pamphlet arguing that Israel must be destroyed (although
an adviser to Khamenei’s office, Ali Reza Forqani says the tract is
not “binding on the Iranian government”). His arguments are based on
citations from the Koran and tracts by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.
Forqani insists that any attack on Israel should be aimed
at “exterminating its Jewish population,” singling out Tel Aviv,
Haifa and Jerusalem as places to be “totally destroyed.”
He envisages a first wave of missile attacks from Iran, possibly
using chemical and bacteriological warheads, and a second wave from
sites controlled by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. He also
recommends attacks by Iranian warships stationed at the Syrian port
of Tartus, near Israel.
According to Forqani, the war to destroy Israel should be launched
before the end of Ahmadinejad’s second and final term as president in
2013. Perhaps he fears that Ahmadinejad’s successor might not prove
as keen to wage war against the Jewish state.
Forqani is part of a circle linked to German neo-Nazis through
Muhammad-Ali Ramin, an Ahmadinejad adviser. The circle runs the Web
site Aleph and has been campaigning for total war against Israel
Despite attempts by Khamenei and Forqani to push the “destroy Israel”
idea higher on the Iranian agenda, the idea of war against the Jewish
state enjoys virtually no popular support in Iran. Neither is able to
cite any plausible reason as to how “wiping Israel off the map” might
serve Iran’s national interests.
In comparing himself to the prophet, Khamenei makes three mistakes:
First: Swamped by flattery, he deludes himself into believing that
he’s the supreme leader of the world’s estimated 1.3 billion Muslims.
Yet Shiites represent only 15 percent of all Muslims — and Khamenei
has never been accepted as a religious leader of Shiites. He’s the
political leader of a faction in the Khomeinist movement, itself a
minority in Iran.
Second, Khamenei confuses modern times with Muhammad’s epoch 1,400
years ago, when one could wipe a Jewish state off the map without
anyone outside that patch of the Arabian desert even noticing.
His third mistake is to believe that the United States has
disappeared from the Middle East for good, as did the “pagan”
Qureishi emirate of Muhammad’s time.
A victim of hubris generated by criminal delusions, Khamenei may yet
lead Iran into wars that the overwhelming majority of Iranians don’t
want. If he does, it could spell the end not of Israel and/or
America, but of his regime. (© Copyright 2012 NYDailyNews.com.
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