Ahmadinejad and his faction want war.
By Ken Timmerman, FrontPageMag
[..] But what’s clear is this: Ahmadinejad and his faction want war. They believe that war with the West is their ticket to victory.
Even if they lose large portions of their country, or if their nuclear sites are destroyed, they believe that they will emerge victorious. Because in their eyes, this type of war with the West will hasten the return of the Imam Mahdi, the savior figure of the radical hojjatieh sect of Shia Islam in which Ahmadinejad and his faction believe.
But don’t make the mistake some have made in placing all your bets on Ahmadinejad. If somehow the U.S were able to wave a magic wand and get rid of him overnight, we would still be facing a security and political establishment in Iran that is devoted to confrontation with the West, and to the destruction of Israel.
Don’t forget that it was Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the “moderate” former president of the Islamic Republic, who first evoked publicly the possibility of a nuclear weapons exchange with Israel. I quote him in my book, Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran.
“The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while [the same][against [Iran] would only cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable,” Rafsanjani said in a sermon at Tehran University on Dec. 14, 2001.
Decoded, the message is chilling. Iran has no fear of an Israeli nuclear attack, because Iran is a vast country, with deep underground bunkers for its leadership, and clandestine nuclear sites that most likely are not on anyone’s target list. If the Israelis were to attack, or to respond to an Iranian nuclear attack, Iran will suffer great losses. But Israel will cease to exist.
Such is the calculus of a “moderate” leader of Iran’s Islamic “Republic.”
But the Iranian regime does not believe it will fight for its survival in Iran alone. Over the past nine months, since Hezbollah’s infrastructure in Lebanon was devastated by Israeli air strikes last summer (after Hezbollah’s unprovoked attack on Israel), the Iranians have been shipping massive quantities of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in preparation for the coming war.
Iran’s clerical leaders and Ahmadinejad believe that they actually defeated Israel last summer during Iran’s first proxy war with Israel. And that they can do even greater damage in the next war, which could come next month, this summer, or next year.
Arieh Eldad, a leader of the opposition National Union Party in Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament, told me this week while on a trip to the United States that he is convinced there is “no way to avoid the next war” in Lebanon.
He sees the massive rearmament of Hezbollah by Iran, with Syrian assistance, as clear evidence of Iran’s strategy to launch another war against Israel. “Hezbollah is becoming stronger every day,” he said.
Eldad believes Israel must “neutralize Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria as a preliminary step, or we will not be able to engage Iran.”
By “engaging” Iran he does not mean economic or diplomatic “engagement,” as the State Department might use the term. He is talking about having Israel’s military take out Iranian nuclear and missile sites.
Now that’s engagement.
Dr. Eldad is a plastic surgeon who headed the burns at Hadassah hospital for twenty years. He has personally treated Palestinian suicide bombers, only to see them come back after their treatment with bombs strapped to their chests to blow themselves up in the very hospital that saved their lives.
The foes that oppose Israel and America do not reason as we do, he says. “When states have missions that are bigger than life, they are not obeying the basic rules of logic that Western civilization obeys.”
He believes the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a state, is following the same logic as a suicide bomber. “If the goal is to kill the Big Satan [America] or the Small Satan [Israel], then your own life is not to be considered under their logic,” he told me. “The Iranian regime is willing to sacrifice millions and millions of their own people to defeat the Big Satan and the Small Satan.”
Because of this, we need to understand that Tehran regime will not comply with sanctions, and does not care about sanctions. “It’s just not the same logic,” he said.
Dr. Eldad’s fear is that Israel will be “left alone” and have to confront a nuclear Iran. And if that day arrives, he warns, “the world should know that we will be ready to destroy the nuclear infrastructure of Iran at whatever the cost it takes.” “That means we will be ready to use unconventional weapons, because conventional weapons will not be enough,” he added.
These are stakes.
A seemingly simple hostage-taking could be how this begins. A series of mushroom clouds could be how it ends.
In the meantime, the U.S. is conducting naval and air exercises in the Persian Gulf with two carrier battle groups. The message to Iran, one administration official told me yesterday, was clear: Don’t make any false moves.