You got it, folks. The Thug-in-Chief, pictured left, predicts that the United States as well as Israel will "soon" be "destroyed." It is known of course that Ahmadi Nezhad subscribes to a Shi'ite form of millenarianism according to which the return of the Mahdi is now imminent. He also seems determined to stir up enough trouble to create what he takes to be the conditions for that. He probably thinks the Mahdi will destroy the U.S. after Israel is destroyed by its neighbors as a warmup. I'm not familiar enough with the bizarre theology of all this to know why the TIC thinks the Mahdi needs a little preliminary help from his friends, and I'm not disposed to acquire the necessary expertise. But in the final analysis, the TIC's intellectual development hardly matters. What matters is what spirit animates him and what he proposes to do.
It gets ugly indeed: the rush to nuclear armament, the concrete as well as rhetorical support of Hezbollah and Hamas, the funding and inflitration of Iraqi Shi'ite militias, the hosting of a Holocaust-denial conference, and other actions doubtless confined to the shadowy world of covert warfare. When he says he wants to see Israel "wiped off the map," we should not only take him at his word but expect him to do something about it. Most of the facts I just cited are what he's doing about it. He's got plenty of oil money for such mischief, and our adventure in Iraq has actually made things easier for him. Moreover, I have read stories, purportedly based on sources in U.S. and Israeli intelligence, saying that this man was a major torturer, executioner, and terrorist during the Khomeni days. I don't know that that's true, but I'm inclined to believe it. If the TIC were just a psycho, the Iranian clergy under the current Supreme Leader would not have pulled out all the stops to put him into the presidency. He's not just a psycho we must tolerate until he does something crazy enough to get himself removed by his associates. He represents the thinking and values of the ayatollahs who ultimately rule Iran. He's a religious fanatic with real and growing power.
If this situation were an isolated deviation in an otherwise stable region, there would be no cause for great concern. We could just wait it out. But it's not.
- Iraq is a theater of spiritual warfare that explains the nature of the physical war.
- Israel blew it in the brief Lebanon war last summer, when the hesitancy and ineptitude of its leadership ended up leaving Hezbollah, also pledged to Israel's destruction, stronger than it was before. That is why Hezbollah now leads a determined effort in the streets to force out Lebanon's democratic, pro-Western government.
- Despite the growing poverty and chaos in the Palestinian territories, Hamas continues to attack not only Israelis but Fatah, which I doubt they would have the confidence to do without Iranian support.
- Using Iranian money, Syria is buying the most sophisticated conventional weapons in the world from the Russians, who will sell almost anything to almost anybody for a high enough price. And this after it's become clear to all the world that Assad murders his opponents in Lebanon.
- Despite its reverse in Somalia several weeks ago, Al Qaeda remains active throughout the Middle East; its goals and Iran's often converge.
- Pakistan has given up trying to root the Taliban out from its mountainous border with Afghanistan, thus allowing the insurgency to reheat.
It astounds me that more Christians don't see that. A lot more energy is devoted to excoriating President Bush for seeking victory of sorts in Iraq, and to blaming him for the sad plight of Iraqi Christians, than in discerning the true spiritual contours of what's going on in the Middle East. I'm certain that one of Satan's top lieutenants is encouraging and coordinating all of it. We're not going to protect ourselves from it by just pulling out of Iraq, as if doing that would merely leave that wretched country to its own devices. Those capable of discernment need to discern with prayer and act with prophetic courage.