Saturday, March 07, 2009

Difficult days

Two important things happened last month - things that passed largely unnoticed in some quarters.

First, the United Nations said that Iran now has sufficient material to build a nuclear bomb. Second, Iran launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit. This means that Iran can now reach Israel, the European Union or the United States with a nuclear weapon.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is, of course, a Muslim. He is also a follower of the Mahdi. The Mahdi, a descendant of the prophet Mohammed and the 12th Imam, vanished in the middle of the ninth century with a promise that he would return. Mahdists believe that when he returns, all the world will convert to Islam. President Ahmadinejad is said to believe that he was appointed president by the Mahdi, and that his calling is to prepare the way for the Mahdi's return.

He is said to want to see the destruction of liberal democratic states and Western capitalism and an end to the United States as a superpower. In particular, he wants to see the elimination of Israel. He has promised publicly that Israel will be wiped off the face of the map, and he has said publicly that Israel's days are numbered.

The Bible says of Israel (in Jer 31:35 - 37):

Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
And the ordinances of the moon and
the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is his name):

"If those ordinances depart
From before me," says the Lord,
"Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before me for ever."

Thus says the Lord:
"If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth
searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done,"
says the Lord.

So could President Ahmadinejad destroy Israel?

Yes, he could. The only thing is that he would have to destroy the sun and the moon first. Perhaps he doesn't know that, which is a pity. Knowing that could save him an awful lot of trouble. Having said that, there is no doubt that a nuclear attack against Israel could do incredible damage.

Mahdists believe that the Mahdi's return will be at a time of chaos, with wars, earthquakes, famines and floods, and that the creation of favourable conditions can hasten his coming.

Israel does not want war, but neither is Israel likely to sit and do nothing while Iran launches nuclear weapons. You will remember that when Saddam Hussein was preparing nuclear weapons in Iraq in the early 1980s, Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin sent aircraft to bomb his nuclear facilities. (That caused international outrage. When they told Prime Minister Begin about the protests, he said "Just tell them 'Never again.'" He referred, of course, to the Holocaust.)

A nuclear attack against Israel would cause chaos indeed. On the other hand, Iran has said that a pre-emptive strike against Iran would be the beginning of World War III.

A problem indeed for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.