Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's new president, "could be the most dangerous foreign leader we have faced," according to Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch. Why?
Because Ahmadinejad is a fanatical true believer in an Islamic "End Times" scenario that corresponds eerily to Christian Dispensationalism.
Ahmadinejad said at the U.N. in October:
“From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world. All of us can contribute to the establishment of such a world. When that day comes, the ultimate promise of all Divine religions will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being [12th Imam] who is heir to all prophets and pious men. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace. 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.”
Shades of Sir Laurence Olivier in desert brownface rasping "I am the Mach-di . . . the Ex-pec-ted One" in "Khartoum"! Really want to get the creeps? Ahmadinejad actually said later that he felt a holy light surround him as he spoke and that the audience of world leaders was riveted by his words:
"[Someone present] said when you began with the words 'in the name of God,' I saw that you became surrounded by a light until the end [of the speech]," Ahmadinejad appears to say in the video. "I felt it myself, too. I felt that all of a sudden the atmosphere changed there, and for 27-28 minutes all the leaders did not blink. [ . . . ] I am not exaggerating [ . . . ] 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."
The latter I can believe, but he may have mistaken incredulous horror for rapt enlightenment.
The potential good news is that these scary remarks, from a CD-ROM of a private meeting with an ayatollah, may have been distributed by political enemies of the new president to embarrass him. More in this excellent story from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
Hossein Bastani, an Iranian journalist based in France, told RFE/RL that Ahmadinejad's comments can be interpreted in two ways.
"One analysis is that this government believes that it came to power with the votes of the so-called lowest class of the Iranian society and these are classes that believe more in such supernatural tales," Bastani said. "Therefore, this government tries, by propagating such rumors, to gain a dogmatic, charismatic, and holy status among those whom they think support them. The second view is that despite the fact that they are trying to fool people, maybe they also believe in these things that are being repeatedly published about them and said by them. This is more dangerous.”
It seems like an understatement when Schippert at ThreatsWatch says:
[This] points to a troubling predicament of a purist fundamentalism potentially even more radical and dangerous than that of al-Qaeda, which seeks to establish a global Islamist Caliphate. Ahmadinejad appears to go one step further than the Sunni al-Qaeda and possibly seek to usher in the ‘second coming’ of the hidden 12th Imam, the Mahdi. [ . . . ]
His openly stated desires to “wipe Israel off the map” and “pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam” open the possibility that, with the power of nuclear weaponry at hand, he could unthinkably forsake the well-being of his own nation. In order to serve a ‘greater purpose’, he may be capable of creating a situation so cataclysmic that it would usher in the 12th Imam[.]
Schippert says that Ahmadinejad, although the choice of the ruling Guardian Council of mullahs, has alarmed the mullahs by jeopardizing what's left of Iran's foreign economic ties, and has alienated the Mejlis, or parliament -- elected, but from slates of candidates vetted by the Guardian Council -- by his "continuous appointments of people almost exclusively from within his ‘inner circle’ and his shake-up of government positions." Sounds like a man who is trying to forge his own cabal or junta. See this story from RFE/RL, which says that despite parliamentary opposition Ahmadinejad "is essentially creating a new elite in Iran." Says Joe Katzman at Winds of Change:
That class of "true believer" imams and revolutionary guard types have been quietly consolidating their control over all sectors of Iranian society over the last few months, and I do not believe anyone in the world today has both the will and the capability to stop them.
Imagine Hitler, in 1933, reaching for a nuke.
Wretchard at Belmont Club wrote in 2003, before Ahmadinejad was a gleam in the mullahs' eye:
The taboo which held back generations from mass murder has been mentally crossed by radical Islam and their hand gropes uncertainly for the dagger.
However, Wretchard also saw the possibility that a nuclear-armed Islamist world will turn on and destroy itself, Shi'a against Sunni.
NOTE: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's coverage of Iran seems particularly thorough and measured. If you want to be informed but not panicked, you can subscribe to their weekly e-mail Iran Report.
UPDATE: Listen to Kobayashi Maru.