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But We Can Still Trust Ahmadinejad on Nuke Talks, Right?

On December 7, Fox News was the only major English-language news organization to run a stunning story that revealed the futility of dealing with Iran’s nuke-obsessed ruling cult.

In an interview with Dubai-based Al-Arabiya, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of blocking the return of the Mahdi. This isn’t a dispute over immigration or diplomatic immunity, but a claim made by the follower of a radical Shia cult that the world’s sole remaining superpower is stopping the supernatural return of Muhammad al-Mahdi, the “Hidden Imam” who disappeared more than 1,100 years ago into a cave to await the End of Days.

We could hope this was some sort of dark joke,  but it isn’t:

Ahmadinejad reportedly claims he has documented evidence that the U.S. is blocking the return of Mahdi, the Imam believed by Muslims to be the savior.

“We have documented proof that they believe that a descendant of the prophet of Islam will raise in these parts and he will dry the roots of all injustice in the world,” Ahmadinejad said during a speech on Monday, according to Al-Arabiya.

“They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

The press will no doubt downplay this latest declaration as they have previous invocations of the Mahdi by Ahmadinejad — and if  media do discuss his seemingly bizarre beliefs, they immediately remind their audience that the real power in Iran is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

But despite attempts by the world’s media and politicians to avoid dealing with the dark religious overtones in his addresses, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly returned to the same message. That message, of an Iranian government pushing ever further towards the development of nuclear weapons that will fall under the control of an apocalyptic religious movement, is terrifying.

The study of Iranian Shiite eschatology is of interest to world governments that must deal with the region, and the United States is no different. The Pentagon was provided an unclassified January 2006 briefing entitled “Iranian President, Islamic Eschatology, and Near-Term Implications.” A 42-page copy of the slide deck used for that presentation focused heavily on the threat of a faction within the Iranian government, led by Ahmadinejad and his spiritual mentor Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. Yazdi is a powerful member of the Assembly of Experts, which has the authority to appoint or dismiss the supreme leader. Yazdi’s disciples have sanctioned the use of nuclear weapons.

The document led to a conclusion that Iran was preparing for war, and offered two scenarios. The first built around the idea of a massive Iranian invasion of southern Iraq by up to a half-million Iranians and sympathetic Iraqi Shia. At the time the report was written, there indeed was a possibility that such a scenario could take place — but with the current political climate in Iraq, this scenario seems less likely.

The second scenario was that of a “blitzkrieg-like” rocket and missile assault on Israel by Iran, Syria, and their proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon. In November, Israel intercepted a 500-ton shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah that included Iranian rockets identical to those used against American forces in Iraq.

At the time of the briefing in January 2006, the Iranian nuclear threat was largely discounted. Nearly four years of accelerated Iranian nuclear development has no doubt changed that picture, and nuclear warheads fired into Israel from Syria, from Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon, or by Hamas terrorists in Gaza or the West Bank could decimate Israel without the telegraphed punch of a long-range missile launch from Iranian soil.

A reasonable person would be quick to point out that Israel would likely know exactly where such an attack originated regardless of the actual launch site, and with their alleged but never acknowledged arsenal of nuclear warheads, the Jewish state has quietly allowed the rumor of the Samson Option to be their greatest deterrent to another attempted Holocaust.

Such an overwhelming retaliatory strike by Israel would stay the hand of any aggressive nation with an eye towards self-preservation. But the eschatology of the faction of the Iranian government fronted by Ahmadinejad and his powerful mentor Yazdi is decidedly not interested or deterred by earthly interests, a detail evidenced by Ahmadinejad’s famously spartan lifestyle and his searing rhetoric.

We know from the presentation that the Pentagon has been studying the threat posed by a powerful faction within the Iranian government for at least four years. We also know Iran is led by a faction rapidly developing the capability to carry out a preemptive nuclear strike and that one of the most powerful factions of their government is convinced that triggering such a war could create the cataclysm that would usher in the return of the Hidden Imam to save the world.

Against the distinct possibility of a nuclear Iran plotting a nuclear war that would end millions of lives, we face the flaccid foreign policy of the Obama administration. Since taking office, Obama’s government has not lifted so much as a finger in an attempt at public political deterrence of Iran’s desire for nuclear armaments. On the contrary, his State Department has given every indication of abandoning the Middle East entirely to Iran’s eschatological influence.

Obama dithers.

Will the Middle East burn?