Hezbollah ready for new war

Intel report: Hezbollah ready for new war

MI6 worries situation now tailor-made for strike on Israel


Posted: April 16, 2010
8:52 pm Eastern

© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.


Hezbollah flag

 

A new report from Britain’s MI6 intelligent agency confirms the situation in the Middle East is tailor-made for Hezbollah to strike at Israel, especially since the terrorist group recently received a supply of state-of-the art missiles from Iran, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The situation is so serious that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and opposition leader David Cameron both have been briefed as the nation’s general election advances. The winner soon could be facing a serious international crisis.

Historian Benny Morris has described Hezbollah as a threat to world peace, and tension has been mounting in the Gaza Strip after last month’s violent clashes in the Hamas-ruled enclave.

Already Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nazrallah, and Hamas’ Khalid Mashal have met with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in Tehrann. In the words of one MI6 intelligence officer, the meeting was “to rub their hands in glee” over the year-long rift between Israeli Prime-Minister Netanyahu and President Obama’s administration over Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel’s relations with the U.S. are rupturing at a time when the Jewish state needs every ounce of support from Washington. And now the arrival of the state-of-the-art Scuds has alarmed Washington.

Iranian president Ahmadinejad is identified with Messianism, one of the factors contributing to the further radicalization of the regime but also challenging the rule of the mullahs.

Iranian president Ahmadinejad is identified with Messianism, one of the factors contributing to the further radicalization of the regime but also
challenging the rule of the mullahs.

 

The strengthening of Messianism in Iran

 

 

President Ahmadinejad’s Messianic tendencies as depicted by an Iranian cartoon artist (Ruz, October 2006)

 

A picture of President Ahmadinejad with a holy aura around his head (Fars, an Iranian official news agency)

1. In recent years, there has been a growing public debate in Iran around Messianism. Messianism is a popular grassroots movement which has given a concrete dimension to the return of the Hidden Imam (Imam al-Mahdi), to the point of calling for action. Iran’s president Ahmadinejad is identified with Messianism and, after being elected president, made many public references to the return of the Hidden Imam.

2. The belief that the imam is a superhuman, omnipotent, and faultless leader is one of the unique tenets of Shi’ite Islam. According to Shi’ite belief, the first imam was Ali, the “leader of the faithful”, Muhammad’s son-in-law and, according to Sunni tradition, the fourth caliph. The prevailing school of thought in Shi’ite Islam (the Twelvers) holds that there were twelve imams between the death of Ali in A.D. 661 and A.D. 874, when the twelfth imam disappeared. The Hidden Imam, according to Shi’ite belief, will return to the world as a “mahdi” (“guided by Allah on the path of righteousness”). He will return bearing the word of salvation, dispatch the Shi’ites’ enemies, and usher the world into an era of Islamic justice.

3. Messianism, which considers the Imam’s return to be a distinct, tangible possibility, poses a theological-conceptual threat to the foundations of the Iranian Islamic regime. Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, based his rule on the combination of religious authority as a model to be followed ( Marja’ Taqlid ) and political-governmental authority. Messianism, however, disconnects (in theory) Shi’ite belief (waiting for the “mahdi”) from the vanities of this world. That is one of the reasons that holders of such views have been persecuted in the beginning of the revolution; accusations of Messianism are still used to besmirch political opponents; and the movement is strongly criticized by senior officials of the regime and the religious establishment.

Ahmadinejad as a representative of Messianism

4. Iran ‘s president Ahmadinejad is notable for his public statements on the coming return of the Hidden Imam. More than just political rhetoric, such statements stem from his authentic religious beliefs and his social and political background. The president of Iran seems to belong to the Jamkaran group, 1 itself a part of the larger movement of Hojjatiyeh (see below), which holds that a true Islamic regime is only possible when the Hidden Imam returns, and that the time of his return is drawing ever closer. Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s spiritual teacher (his Marja’ Taqlid , or “role model”) is the spiritual leader of the Jamkaran group.


President Ahmadinejad with his spiritual teacher,
Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi

5. Since being elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made many statements about the possible return of the Hidden Imam, claiming divine inspiration. For example:

a. Speaking at a convention of clerics on November 16, 2005, Ahmadinejad declared that “the main purpose of the Islamic revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the twelfth imam and to define economic, cultural, and political policy in accordance with the policy of the return of [Imam] al-Mahdi.” Before that, a television camera captured the president telling a religious cleric named Ayatollah Amoli that during his speech at the UN (September 2005), he had felt himself “bathed in a divine aura” (and that he had even had a direct connection with Allah).

b. In a statement given to a crowd of supporters, Ahmadinejad claimed divine inspiration while saying that the President of the US was inspired by Satan 2 ( Iran News, October 15, 2006).

6. President Ahmadinejad’s Messianic faith also has political implications. Apparently, President Ahmadinejad’s belief in the coming return of the Hidden Imam (which will follow an apocalyptic war against Israel and the West) is one of the factors making him more extreme. That might explain some of his behavior and policy, such as his stubborn, arrogant pursuit of technology for manufacturing nuclear weapons and his extreme, defiant tone regarding Israel and the Jewish people (statements about destruction of the State of Israel and Holocaust denial which completely disregard international sensibilities).

7. President Ahmadinejad’s Messianic rhetoric is frowned upon by pragmatic conservatives—the “first generation” of the Iranian Islamic revolution. Top regime and religious establishment members widely and strongly criticize the spread of Messianism. They consider the interest in Messianism to be a growing threat and a significant ideological challenge to the regime and status of Iranian leader Khamenei, the focus of the “religious jurist’s rule” ( Velayat-e Faqih ) who is supposed to serve as a role model and to replace the Hidden Imam until he returns.

8. Even though President Ahmadinejad is associated with Messianism, it still carries little weight in the Iranian regime. However, should it gain ground and begin to influence Iran’s decision-making, coupled with a strengthening of Ahmadinejad’s status and that of the ultra-conservative faction, it is possible that Iran’s inner consensus will shift in a religious-ideological direction that will further radicalize its policy.

Appendix A

Portrait of Iran ‘s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Personal details

1. Origin: Ahmadinejad was born in 1956 in the village of Aradan , a suburb of Garmsar (a city in the province of Semnan ). He is the fourth oldest of seven children. One year after his birth, his family moved to Tehran .

2. Education: Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST); PhD in transportation engineering from the University of Science and Technology.

Previously held positions and political activity

3. Before the Islamic revolution and concurrently with his studies, he began taking part in the religion lessons of clerics Motahari and Taleqani. It was then, as he participated in student activity against the Shah, that his political views began to form. At the beginning of the Islamic revolution he was chosen to represent the University of Science and Technology at meetings of Iran ‘s student organizations, held in the presence of the leader Khomeini.

4. With the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War, Ahmadinejad was sent to the front where, until 1985, he was involved in logistics and auxiliary activities. In 1986 he volunteered for the special Revolutionary Guards brigade situated at the Ramadan base and operated beyond Iran ‘s borders (in the town of Kirkuk in northern Iraq ). After that, he served as a combat engineering commander in a Revolutionary Guards division.

5. In the late 1980s Ahmadinejad served four years as the deputy and governor of the municipal area of Maku and Khoy (in the province of West Azerbaijan ). Later he spent two years as a development advisor in charge of the war effort in the western provinces.

6. In April 1993 he worked as cultural advisor for the Minister of Education and Higher Education. Between 1994 and 1997 he served as the governor of the province of Ardabil . In 1995 and 1996 he was elected Iran ‘s outstanding governor, and was highly praised for his efforts to rebuild and restore approximately 7,500 residential units destroyed in the earthquake that occurred in the region.

7. In April 2003 Ahmadinejad was elected the Mayor of Tehran , with the rise of the “New Conservatives” (Abadgaran, the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, the radical right-wing faction of the conservative bloc) in the municipal elections. During his term, he was praised by the residents of Tehran for his management of the city. Ahmadinejad was perceived as a talented, modest manager, effective in solving problems of Tehran ‘s residents. During his campaign he focused on political-economic aspects and presented himself as an Islamic Robin Hood (trading on his history as the son of a blacksmith), promising a comprehensive solution for the problems of poverty. Thus, he refused to accept a salary for his duties as mayor, and promised that women, too, would receive pensions, health insurance, and unemployment allowances. He also promised to grant interest-free loans to peasants and young couples (for marriage and housing), stabilize the inflation, increase teachers’ salaries, and transfer government funds from the big cities to the backward peripheral regions.

8. Before the presidential elections he won the support of some parties in the conservative Abadgaran coalition and the Ithargaran group—the dominant factor in the Majles’ conservative coalition. However, old-guard elements in the revolutionary establishment, particularly those belonging to the traditional right wing (the first generation of the revolution) were strongly against his candidacy, attempted to derail his campaign and called him a “political rookie”.

9. On June 24, 2005, Ahmadinejad was elected the president of Iran . He won the majority of the votes (approximately 62%), defeating Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president and candidate of the conservative-pragmatic bloc.

10. Ahmadinejad’s election to the presidency of Iran marked the ultra-conservative takeover of an important source of power in Iran . He was elected based on a platform of promises to make fundamental changes in the economy and society. In practice, however, he failed and was strongly criticized. His promises to fight corruption proved unfounded, particularly in light of appointments of his associates to key positions.

11. Ahmadinejad’s influence in day-to-day management of political-strategic issues, particularly Iran ‘s nuclear program and relations with Hezbollah, remains limited. Such issues are still controlled by those senior to Ahmadinejad (the “leader” and the Supreme National Security Council).

Appendix B 

What is the Hojjatiyeh movement and what is its connection to Ahmadinejad?

1. The Hojjatiyeh movement was founded in the early 1950s by Mahmoud Halabi, a cleric of Arab descent and Iranian nationality. The movement believes in the approaching return of the Hidden Imam, whose coming is predicted for a time of chaos and injustice. It believes that true Islamic rule is possible only upon his return. The movement does not accept the principle of Velayat-e Faqih established by Khomeini. Therefore, in 1983 it was outlawed in Iran . 3 Revolution leader Khomeini denounced the movement in a speech given in July 1983, and ordered that its supporters be persecuted (some were arrested and even executed).

2. Contrary to the idea of Velayat-e Faqih , which holds that all political power should be in the hands of a single leader, Hojjatiyeh claimed that a collective leadership should rule until the Imam’s return. The movement’s economic views are liberal, perhaps the reason for the support it receives from merchants and land owners, who object to any official supervision.

3. Over the years, rumors began to spread about a rift in the Hojjatiyeh movement, when its founder, Mahmoud Halabi, left to lead the Mahdaviyat group. While remaining ideologically close to Hojjatiyeh, it supports a more active approach focusing on spreading chaos to hasten the return of the Twelfth Imam. The movement made the headlines on April 24, 1999 when, according to official publications, its members attempted to assassinate the head of Tehran ‘s judicial system, Ali Razini.

4. In late 2002 and early 2003 Hojjatiyeh increased its activity. In response, Iranian senior officials quickly issued a warning against the entrance of its members into government institutions. Musavi Lari, then Interior Minister, said he was concerned about the movement’s activities whose purpose, he said, was to cause a religious rift. Ali Fallahian, former Intelligence Minister, suggested that the National Security Council examine whether the Hojjatiyeh movement posed a threat to national security. He indicated that during his tenure as Intelligence Minister his man had monitored the movement.

5. Ahmadinejad apparently belongs to the Jamkaran group, itself a part of the Hojjatiyeh group. Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor and the leader of the Jamkaran group, also holds Messianic views and is perceived by extremist circles as the embodiment of true revolutionary ideals. Some of the president’s closest associates are also members of the Hojjatiyeh movement. It cannot be confirmed that Ahmadinejad himself formally belongs to the Hojjatiyeh movement, however, belief in Messianism is common ideological ground between them.

 

1 Jamkaran is a Shi’ite group which holds radical views on both internal and foreign affairs. It is named after the Jamkaran Mosque, situated some 6km east of the Iranian holy city of Qom . According to Shi’ite traditions, the Hidden Imam was staying there when he disappeared. He is said to have proclaim it a sacred site and ordered that a mosque be erected there. Belief has it that it will also be the site of the Hidden Imam’s coming return. Accordingly, the mosque became a pilgrimage site for Shi’ites from across the globe. Ahmadinejad is said to have allocated funds to construct a railway from the Jamkaran Mosque to Tehran .

2 See MEMRI report no. 1328, dated October 19, 2006: “Iran President Ahmadinejad: ‘I have a Connection With God, Since God Said That the Infidels Will Have No Way to Harm the Believers’; We Have [ONLY] One Step Remaining Before We Attain the Summit of Nuclear Technology’; The West ‘Will Not Dare To Attack Us’”.

3 Some claim that the movement was never officially banned in Iran .

Regime Change Only Solution for Iran, Israeli Expert Says

Regime Change Only Solution for Iran, Israeli Expert Says
By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
October 19, 2006

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – The time for imposing sanctions on Iran is over. The only way to deal with Iran now is through regime change, an Iranian expert said here on Thursday.

The issue of Iran topped the agenda when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Russian President Vladimir Putin met this week. Olmert’s three-day visit to Moscow ended on Thursday.

Israel is eager to convince Russia, which is helping Iran complete its nuclear reactor in Bushehr, to support international sanctions against Tehran. Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been dragging its feet on the issue.

Israel, the U.S. and Europe believe that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear bomb under cover of its civilian nuclear program. Tehran denies it and Russia backs Iran’s right to have nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Before his trip, Olmert said that Iran represents an “existential threat” to Israel and the world. Israel “cannot countenance” a country like Iran possessing non-conventional capabilities, he said following his meeting with Putin.

“I made it clear that the State of Israel has no margin of error, has no privilege to err. There is no way to prevent nuclear arms, if Iran is not afraid,” he said.

The Iranians “need to fear” the consequences if they continue in their nuclear pursuits, Olmert said, adding that he did not discuss specifics of what Israel would or would not do.

Olmert’s Cabinet Secretary Israel Maimon said on Thursday that Putin was just as worried as Israel about the prospects of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, the radio reported. But Olmert admitted that there are “still differences in approach between Israel and Russia.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by the RIA news agency on Wednesday as saying that “reports from Iran do not indicate a real threat to peace and security.”

For more than a year, the U.S. has been trying to get the issue of Iran’s nuclear development referred to the U.N. Security Council. That finally happened after Iran ignored an August 31 deadline to halt its uranium enrichment program – a process that can be used to make nuclear fuel or an element necessary for an atomic bomb.

Since then, there has been no agreement on sanctions.

But Iranian affairs expert Menashe Amir said it’s already too late for sanctions.

“The only solution is to topple the regime,” said Amir, an Iranian who has lived in Israel for decades. There needs to be a breakthrough in the European and American behavior, he said, where they realize the great danger of Iran.

The problem with sanctions, said Amir, is that first of all there aren’t any. After the U.N. decides on sanctions, they will be too “weak and feeble” to influence the regime. Even if there is an escalation in the sanctions, it will take years, he said. “It doesn’t help. It will not really endanger the regime.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated many times recently that Iran would not halt its uranium enrichment program. And in a speech last week, Ahmadinejad said he did not believe that the West would do anything to confront Iran.

“The enemies are completely paralyzed, and cannot in any way confront the Iranian people. If our people maintain unity and solidarity, they [the enemies] must expect a great [Iranian] victory, because we have [only] one step remaining before we attain the summit of nuclear technology,” he was quoted as saying by the Iranian Fars News Agency.

But Amir, who hosts a Farsi language radio program, which is broadcast into Iran, said the people are waiting for change. Amir has contact with Iranians through the weekly phone-in program broadcast by Israel’s government-run Kol Israel (the Voice of Israel) as part of its Farsi (Persian) language broadcast.

Amir said he attended a special reception in the U.S. last week with President Bush. “I told him I have a message [for him]. The message is: ‘The Iranian people are waiting for you to come and rescue them.'”

Israel’s Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said on Thursday that Israel was not responsible for leading the international campaign against Iran’s nuclear pursuits. It is up to the U.S., Europe and Russia, he said.

Difference between Iran, North Korea
Even though North Korea recently conducted a nuclear test, Amir said a bomb in Ahmadinejad’s hands is much more dangerous.

“Iran is a very sensitive place,” said Amir.

In North Korea, the leaders want an atomic bomb so that they can extort money from the West. But the reason Iran wants a nuclear bomb is for the purpose of exporting their revolution and converting all human beings into Shiites. “There is a big difference between Iran and North Korea,” he said.

“When you have a lunatic president that claims a direction connection with God and is waiting for the Shiite messiah [who is] dangerous, adventurous, and an [un]stable person, having a [nuclear] bomb is the biggest danger,” Amir said.

Iran News reported this week that Ahmadinejad said he was assured of victory.

“I have a connection with God, since God said that the infidels will have no way to harm the believers. Well, [but] only if we are believers, because God said: You [will be] the victors…If we are [really] believers, God will show us victory, and this [a] miracle,” Ahmadinejad said. (A translation was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.)

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is not an anti-Semite. — Is this guy nuts or what ///

Iranian leader ‘not anti-Semite’

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is not an anti-Semite. “Jews are respected by everyone, by all human beings,” he told a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The remarks come months after Mr Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be wiped off the map – and described the Holocaust as “myth”.

In response to questions about Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, he said the Iranians “do not need a bomb”.

The Iranian president’s comments on anti-Semitism came during remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Some people think if they accuse me of being anti-Jew they can solve the problem.

“No, I am not anti-Jew,” he said. “I respect them very much.”

“Let us remember that there in Palestine there are Muslims, Christians and Jews who live together,” he said.

Later, he added: “We love everyone in the world – Jews, Christians, Muslims, non-Muslims, non-Jews, non-Christians… We are against occupation, aggression, killings and displacing people – otherwise we have no problem with ordinary people.”

‘Nuclear talks’

The Iranian president said he was “at a loss” in understanding what further guarantees Iran needed to provide to prove its nuclear programme was, as it claims, entirely for civilian purposes.

Iran has failed to meet a UN deadline to suspend the enrichment of uranium.

However, Mr Ahmadinejad said talks with the EU on the issue were “on the right path”.

“Hopefully others will not disrupt the work,” he said

He said Iran was willing to negotiate on suspending uranium enrichment “under fair and just conditions”, but gave no timetable.

Mr Ahmadinejad also accused the US of double standards, asking what it had done to destroy its own nuclear weapons and accusing it of developing new ones.

‘Old system’

In comments taking in issues ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Hurricane Katrina, the Iranian president was also critical of the international political system.

He said the current system emanated from a “group of victors who emerged from a world war and are ruling the world”.

He said that some members of the UN Security Council sat in judgement of other countries, despite the fact that they were parties to some of the world’s conflicts.

He did not specify which countries he was referring to.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Mr Ahmadinejad accused the US and UK of using the UN Security Council for their own ends.

He accused the two of being prosecutor, judge and jury in their differences with other countries.

Playing The Israel Card

By Amir Taheri
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006

”When nothing else works, there is always Israel!” This is how the late Egyptian journalist Lutfi al-Khuli liked to describe the motto of Arab radicalism decades ago. The analysis was apt because the Arab obsession with Israel did work on countless occasions.

Despots used Israel as an excuse for their brutal rule. Corrupt leaders adopted an anti-Israel rhetoric as a diversion from their misdeeds. Confused intellectuals used Israel as an object of hate to hide their ineptitude.

During the past 10 weeks arms supplies to Hezbollah have increased and Iran’s Defense Minister has met with Hezbollah leaders.

Arab radicals were not alone in using Israel as the “other,” whose hoped-for destruction would be the ultimate act of redemption for peoples seemingly abandoned by history. The late Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Republic in Iran, also used anti-Israel rhetoric whenever he found himself in a tight corner.

More recently, three men have tried to play the Israel card as a means of getting out of their respective tight corners: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic, President Bashar Assad of Syria, and Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. The reason is that these members of the triple alliance are under increasing pressure both from their domestic constituencies and from international opinion.

Ahmadi Nezhad is under pressure to respond to a carrots-and-stick offer by the five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany. He knows that a positive response to the offer could mark the end for his strategy of extending the Islamic Republic’s influence throughout the Middle East. At the same time he knows that a rejection of the package could isolate his regime, bring about international sanctions and weaken his already shaky rule inside Iran.

To avoid that choice Ahmadinejad decided to play the Israel card. This meant moving the Hezbollah pawn that the Islamic Republic created in Lebanon in 1982 and has financed, trained and armed for the past quarter-century.

It is no accident that during the past 10 weeks arms supplies to Hezbollah have increased dramatically. In the same period the Islamic Republic’s defense minister has met with Hezbollah leaders and commanders on at least two occasions.

According to Iranian media, the Islamic Republic has also increased the size of its military advisory delegation to Hezbollah as a “precaution against Israeli aggression”.

Syria’s Assad also found himself in need of an “Israel diversion.” He and members of his family and administration risk indictment for alleged involvement in the murder of Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. Worse still, his regime’s opponents have just created a united front in which senior ex-Ba’athists sit alongside leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and prominent liberal and social-democratic figures.

Assad has tried to survive by becoming a liege of Teheran; but he knows that his Iranian masters might abandon him at any time.

Provoking a new conflict with Israel over Lebanon could give Assad a chance to cast himself in the role of the peacemaker. Buthaina Shaaban, one of Assad’s aides, has hinted that, if allowed to return to Lebanon, the Syrians would be prepared to disarm Hezbollah and make sure that the Lebanese border with Israel is as calm as the cease-fire line between Israel and Syria has been for decades.

Assad may also be prepared to drop Hamas, just as he dropped the PKK as part of a deal he made with Turkey a decade ago.

The third member of the triple alliance, Hezbollah, also needs an Israeli diversion. With the departure of the Syrians and the beginnings of democratization in Lebanon, Hezbollah has found itself increasingly isolated. Its performance in Lebanon’s first democratic general election was disappointing, to say the least.

Even more disappointing was its failure to fight the new democratic forces in the streets. Each time Hezbollah organized a demonstration against democratic forces, the latter responded with even bigger crowds. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of Lebanese want to see Hezbollah disarmed so that the country can have a single army under government control.

So what better tactics for Hezbollah than inventing a new war with Israel to remind the Lebanese that they still need the militia as their “national resistance”?

Most Arabs refuse to be dragged into a bigger war and most Lebanese do not see why they should risk their nation ruined solely to allow Hezbollah to remain a state within a state.

The trouble for Ahmadi Nezhad, Assad and Hezbollah is that the Israel diversion may not work this time as it has done in the past.

The current conflict may have diverted some attention at the G-8 from the Iranian nuclear dossier. But the issue is unlikely to fade away.

Ahmadi Nezhad knows that there is no substantial anti-Israel constituency inside Iran. His hope, therefore, is to win the support of the Arab regimes and masses for his ultra-radical stance against Israel. However, that has not happened. With the exception of Syria, no Arab regime has rallied behind the Islamic Republic over the nuclear issue. As for the mythical Arab Street, there is no evidence that it is about to explode in support of Ahmadi Nezhad.

As for Syria, it is unlikely that the current conflict in Lebanon will divert international attention from the Assad regime’s involvement in the Hariri murder. Nor is there any evidence that Washington may be prepared to make a deal with Damascus to insure the Assad regime in exchange for its cooperation on other issues, including disarming Hezbollah.

The biggest loser from this new Israel diversion may well be Hezbollah. Neither the Islamic Republic nor Syria is prepared to risk a bigger war in order to save it from destruction.

This was made clear Friday, when Ahmadinejad, speaking during a provincial tour, called on the “international community” to end the conflict by “restraining Israel.” This was strange – coming from a man who, before the current fighting, had vowed to destroy Israel on more than a dozen occasions.

Inside Lebanon, Hezbollah has failed to enlist the support of General Michel Aoun, the Maronite politician who has signed an alliance with Nasrallah.

Ahmadi Nezhad, Assad and Hezbollah may well have planned for a limited conflict with Israel, one in which the Jewish state would ultimately back down, handing them a moral victory. Their plan may have been based on the assumption that Israel would not dare widen the scope of the war triggered by Hamas and Hezbollah.

Today, the trio find themselves alone. Most Arabs refuse to be dragged into a bigger war – in the shaping of which they had no say. Moreover, most Lebanese do not see why they should risk the destruction of their country solely to allow Hezbollah to remain a state within a state. The “Israel diversion” tactic may have passed its sell-by date. ENDS ISRAEL HEZBOLLAH 19706
Editor’s note: Mr. Amir Taheri
is a well known Iranian journalist, commentator, political analyst and writer.

The above article was published on 18 July by “The Jerusalem Post”.

Highlights are by IPS

God’s Army Has Plans to Run the Whole Middle East

By Amir Taheri
Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006

‘You are the sun of Islam, shining on the universe!” This is how Muhammad Khatami, the mullah who was president of Iran until last year, described Hezbollah last week. It would be no exaggeration to describe Hezbollah — the Lebanese Shi’ite militia — as Tehran’s regional trump card. Each time Tehran has played it, it has won. As war rages between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Tehran policymakers think that this time, too, they can win.

“I invite the faithful to wait for good news,” Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last Tuesday. “We shall soon witness the elimination of the Zionist stain of shame.”

What are the links between Hezbollah and Iran? In 1982 Iran had almost no influence in Lebanon. The Lebanese Shi’ite bourgeoisie that had had close ties with Iran when it was ruled by the Shah was horrified by the advent of the clerics who created an Islamic republic.

Seeking a bridgehead in Lebanon, Iran asked its ambassador to Damascus, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a radical mullah, to create one. Mohtashamipour decided to open a branch in Lebanon of the Iranian Hezbollah (the party of God).

After many meetings in Lebanon Mohtashamipour succeeded: in its founding statement it committed itself to the “creation of an Islamic republic in Lebanon”. To this end hundreds of Iranian mullahs, political “educators” and Islamic Revolutionary Guards were dispatched to Beirut.

Within two years several radical Shi’ite groups in Lebanon, including some with Marxist backgrounds, had united under the Hezbollah name and became the main force resisting the Israeli occupation of Lebanon after the expulsion of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1983.

Terror has been its principal weapon. Throughout the 1980s Hezbollah kidnapped more than 200 foreign nationals in Lebanon, most of them Americans or western Europeans (including Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy). It organised the hijacking of civilian aircraft and more or less pioneered the idea of suicide bombings against American and French targets, killing almost 1,000 people, including 241 US marines in Beirut and 58 French paratroopers.

The campaign produced results. After Hezbollah’s attacks, France reduced its support for Saddam Hussein. America went further by supplying Iran with TOW anti-tank missiles, shipped via Israel, which helped to tip the Iran-Iraq war in favour of Iran. In exchange Iran ordered Hezbollah to release French and American hostages.

Once the Iran-Iraq war was over, Tehran found other uses for its Lebanese asset. It purged and then reshaped Hezbollah to influence the broader course of regional politics while using it to wage a low-intensity war against Israel.

In 2000, when the Israelis evacuated the strip they controlled in southern Lebanon, Tehran presented the event as the “first victory of Islam over the Zionist crusader camp” and Hezbollah was lauded across the Arab world. Hezbollah taunted the Israelis with billboards on the border reading, “If you return, we return”.

To prop up that myth, Tehran invested in a propaganda campaign that included television “documentaries”, feature films and books and magazine articles. The message was simple: while secular ideologies — from pan-Arabism to Arab socialism — had failed to liberate an inch of Arab territory, Islamism, in its Iranian Khomeinist version working through Hezbollah, had achieved “total victory” over Israel in Lebanon.

Since 1984 Iran has created branches of Hezbollah in more than 20 countries. None has equalled the success of the Lebanese branch, which until recently enjoyed something akin to cult status among Arabs, including non-Muslims, because of the way it stood up to Israel.

It has not even cost Iran very much. Hezbollah was launched with just £13m. After that, according to best estimates, Iran spent £32m to £54m a year on its Lebanese assets. Even if we add the cost of training Hezbollah fighters and equipping them with hardware, Hezbollah (the strongest fighting force in the Middle East after Iran and Israel) has not cost Iran more than £1.3 billion over two decades.

According to Naim Kassem, Hezbollah’s number two, the party has an annual budget of £279m, much of which comes from businesses set up by the movement. These include a bank, a mortgage co-operative, an insurance company, a travel agency specialising in pilgrimages to Muslim holy places, several hotels, a chain of supermarkets and a number of urban bus and taxi companies.

In its power base in southern Lebanon, particularly south Beirut and the Bekaa valley, it is possible for a visitor to spend a whole week without stepping outside a Hezbollah business unit: the hotel he checks into, the restaurant he eats in, the taxi that takes him around, the guide who shows him the sights and the shop where he buys souvenirs all belong to the party.

Hezbollah is a state within the Lebanese state. It controls some 25% of the national territory. Almost 400,000 of Lebanon’s estimated 4m inhabitants live under its control. It collects its own taxes with a 20% levy, known as “khoms”, on all incomes. It runs its own schools, where a syllabus produced in Iran is taught at all levels. It also runs clinics, hospitals, social welfare networks and centres for orphans and widows.

The party controls the elected municipal councils and appoints local officials, who in theory should be selected by the central government in Beirut. To complete its status as a virtual state, the party maintains a number of unofficial “embassies”: the one in Tehran is bigger and has a larger number of staff than that of Lebanon itself.

I invite the faithful to wait for good news. We shall soon witness the elimination of the Zionist stain of shame.”

Hezbollah also has its own media including a satellite television channel, Al-Manar (the lighthouse), which is watched all over the Arab world, four radio stations, newspapers and magazines plus a book publishing venture. The party has its own system of justice based on sharia and operates its own police force, courts and prisons. Hezbollah runs youth clubs, several football teams and a number of matrimonial agencies.

Its relationship with the rest of Lebanon is complex; it occupies 14 seats in the 128-seat national assembly and holds two portfolios in the council of ministers. But it still describes itself as “a people-based movement fighting on behalf of the Muslim world”.

The backbone of all that is Hezbollah’s militia, a fighting force of about 8,000 men, trained and armed with the latest weapons by Iran and Syria. Of these about 2,000 men represent an elite force under the direct command of the party’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, a former pupil of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the man who founded Iran’s Islamic republic. But the party also claims more than 30,000 reservists.

Arab and western experts concur that Hezbollah’s militia is a stronger fighting force than the Lebanese army that is supposed to disarm it under United Nations resolution 1559. Also, most soldiers in the official Lebanese army are Shi’ites who would balk at fighting their own.

Accounts concerning Hezbollah’s arsenal of weapons vary. The militia is said to be armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and an Iranian rapid-fire gun initially modelled on the Israeli Uzi. The party’s crown jewels, however, are an estimated 14,000 rockets and missiles shipped in from Iran over the past six years. Most of these are modified versions of the Soviet-designed Katyusha. The party also has some Chinese-made Silkworm missiles for special use in naval warfare.

“The Israelis would be foolish to think they are dealing with nothing but a bunch of mad fanatics,” says a former Iranian diplomat now in exile. “Hezbollah in Lebanon is a state in all but name: it has its territory, army, civil service and economic and educational systems.”

A few minutes’ drive south from central Beirut takes you into what appears to be a different country. Beirut itself has European-style architecture, shops, hotels and cafes with men and women mostly wearing western clothes.

Once you enter Hezbollah land, the scene changes. You feel as if you are in Qom, the Iranian holy city, with men sporting bushy beards and women covered by mandatory hijab, milling around in noisy narrow streets fronted by nondescript shops. Billboards that advertise global bands in Beirut are used in Hezbollah land for pasting giant portraits of Khomeini and the Iranian “supreme guide” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Not surprisingly Hezbollah describes its territory as “Dar al-Iman” (House of Faith).

When it took over southern Lebanon, Hezbollah found a territory devastated by years of domination by the Palestinian al-Fatah (the area had once been called Fatahland) and the Israeli invasion of 1982. There were almost no schools, no hospitals, few jobs and certainly no security.

Hezbollah provided all that. At the same time the movement imposed a strict religious code that gave the poor Shi’ites a sense of moral superiority over other Lebanese who aspired after western lifestyles. A generation of Shi’ites in southern Lebanon has grown up in a world shaped by Hezbollah’s radical ideology.

Over the years the Lebanese branch has been woven into Iran’s body politic. Many Hezbollah militants and officials have married into Iranian religious families, often connected to influential ayatollahs. Dozens of Lebanese Shi’ites have worked and continue to work in the Iranian administration, especially in the ministries of security, information and culture. Since the mid-1980s, most of the Lebanese Shi’ite clerics have undertaken training in Iran.

In exchange, thousands of Iranian security officers and members of the Revolutionary Guards have lived and worked in Lebanon. As Ali Yunesi, Iran’s former intelligence minister, said: “Iran is Hezbollah and Hezbollah is Iran.”

Throughout the 1980s Hezbollah kidnapped more than 200 foreign nationals in Lebanon, most of them Americans or western Europeans

Support for Hezbollah cuts across the political divides within the Iranian ruling establishment. Whether “reformist” or “hardliner”, Iran’s ruling mullahs and their political associates look to Hezbollah as a reflection of their own revolutionary youth. Last week parliamentary members of the Islamic Majlis in Tehran set aside their disputes to unite in their demand to go and fight alongside Hezbollah in Lebanon if Sheikh Nasrallah called them.

Why has Tehran decided to play its Lebanese card now? Part of the answer lies in Washington’s decision last May to reverse its policy towards Iran by offering large concessions on its nuclear programme. Tehran interpreted that as a sign of weakness. Ahmadinejad believes that his strategy to drive the “infidel” out of the Islamic heartland cannot succeed unless Arabs accept Iran’s leadership.

The problem is that since the Iranian regime is Shi’ite it would not be easy to sell it to most Arabs, who are Sunni. To overcome that hurdle, it is necessary to persuade the Arabs that only Iran is sincere in its desire and capacity to wipe Israel off the map. Once that claim is sold to the Arabs, so Ahmadinejad hopes, they would rally behind his vision of the Middle East instead of the “American vision”.

That strategy pushed Israel to the top of Tehran’s agenda. This is why, in May, Tehran became the first country to grant the Hamas government in the occupied territories an emergency grant of £27m to cope with a freeze imposed by European Union aid and other international donations. As moderate Arab countries have distanced themselves from Hamas, Iran along with Syria has stepped in.

The pincer war launched by Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel is also related to domestic politics. In the occupied territories, Hamas needs to marginalise Mahmoud Abbas’s PLO and establish itself as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. In Lebanon, Hezbollah wants to prevent the consolidation of power in the hands of a new pro-American coalition government led by Fouad Siniora, the prime minister, and Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader.

(Shi’ites make up about 40% of the population, Christians 39% and Sunnis, Druze and others the remainder.) If the pincer war against Israel is won, Iran would be able to expand its zone of influence, already taking shape in Iraq and assured in Syria, to take in Lebanon and Gaza. This would be the first time since the 7th century that Persian power has extended so far to the west.

The strategy is high risk. If the Israelis manage to crush Hamas and destroy Hezbollah’s military machine, Iran’s influence will diminish massively. Defeat could revive an internal Hezbollah debate between those who continue to support a total and exclusive alliance with Iran until the infidel, led by America, is driven out of the Middle East and those who want Hezbollah to distance itself from Tehran and emphasise its Lebanese identity. One reason why Hezbollah has found such little support among Arabs in Egypt and Saudi Arabia this time is the perception that it is fighting Israel on behalf of Iran, a Persian Shi’ite power that has been regarded by the majority of Arab Sunnis as an ancestral enemy.

In Lebanon, for the first time in two generations, a consensus is emerging among the country’s different ethnic and religious communities that the only way they can live together in peace is by developing a sense of Lebaneseness.

This means that Arab Sunnis must abandon their pan-Arab aspirations while Christians must stop looking to France as their “original motherland”. In that context Hezbollah’s Iranian ideology cannot but antagonise the Sunnis, the Druze and the Christians, many of whom are angry at the destruction of their country that Hezbollah has brought about by once again antagonising Israel.

The mini war that is taking place between Israel and Hezbollah is, in fact, a proxy war in which Iran’s vision for the Middle East clashes with the administration in Washington. What is at stake is not the exchange of kidnapped Israeli soldiers with Arab prisoners in Israel. Such exchanges have happened routinely over five decades. The real issue is who will set the agenda for the Middle East: Iran or America? ENDS HEZBOLLAH26701

Editor`s note: Mr Amir Taheri is a veteran Iranian journalist, commentator and writer. HE CONTRIBUTE THE ABOVE ARTICLE TO tIMES; WHICH PUBLISHED ON 23 July 2006

Highlights are by IPS

IRAN GOVERNMENT URGING THE HIDDEN IMAM TO HELP

 

Posted Friday, October 21, 2005PARIS, 21 Oct. (IPS) “You don’t understand. These non turbaned men like the Iranian President Mahmmoud) Ahmadi Nezhad and others like him are the real believer in Shi’a scripts, not most of the akhound, who are aware of the theatre their ancestors have written and they continue to play. Have you ever heard of an akhound going to war or commits suicide except some crazy like Moqtada (al Sadr, the Iraqi rebel cleric manipulated by the Iranians)?” my friend, probably one of best Iranian connoisseurs of the mollah’s mind system told me.We were talking about this unbelievable news that the ministers, at a recent meeting, on suggestion from the first Vice President, had written a “misaq”, or Promise or Pact” with the hidden imam Mehdi, (the Shi’a’s twelfth imam who went into hiding at the age of eight centuries ago) and thrown it into the Jamkaran well, near the city of Qom, by the Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister.First Vice President proposed that a misaq, or Pact must be passed with Mehdi, the Imam of All Times.According to some Shi’a superstitions, Mehdi is supposed to come out from that well and anyone with any wish can help advancing the time of his apparition by writing to him and recite one thousand times “Mohammad is the Prophet of God and Ali is His Representative”.The well has now a big hotel and other modern amenities to receive thousands of pilgrims who flock there, mostly by tours that brings them to the place usually on Wednesdays for a 24 hours “wish filling” holiday that included also a visit to Qom (the cradle of the militant Shi’ism), where is buried Ma’soumeh, the sister of Reza, the eighth imam of the Shi’ites, who has his shrine in Mash-had, the Capital city of the north eastern Khorasan Province.Entekhab (Choice), an internet news site that first reported the incredible event, said the misaq, with the “Imam of All Times”, that is the hidden imam Mehdi was drafted and signed by all the ministers.“At the start of the meeting”, Entekhab reported, “First Vice President (Parviz Davoudi) proposed that the same as a misaq had been signed between the ministers and the President, one such promise letter must also be passed with the Imam of All Times. The proposal was greeted by all the members of the cabinet who, after discussing the terms of the Pact, they signed it.“However, the report continue, ”as any pact has two sides, therefore the question aroused of what will happen to the Imam’s signature?”“The members then devised an arrangement and Mr. Saffar Harrandi, the Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister was entrusting to take the Letter to His Eminency the Imam of All Times. On the next Friday night, he took the Letter of the Cabinet members to Jamkaran and threw it into a well in which worshippers and pilgrims put their demands”.
It was after this report that Mr. Ali Zadsar Jirofti, a conservative deputy from Jiroft and Anbarabad wrote a letter to the President, asking him to spell out “clearly” his and his government positions to questions raised recently in the press, like:A) Ahmadi Nezhad considers himself as chosen by the Imam of All TimesB) Ahmadi Nezhad take order from Mesbah YazdiC) Ahmadi Nezhad favours the fossilized (dogmatists)D) Ahmadi Nezhad helps and encourages panegyrists and eulogists etc.. questions that are aimed at indulging the people to believe that their hope in the President is the best, since linked to the highest Authority.Iranian observers says that since the arrival to power of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, there an “escalation” on religious superstitions and adds that “extremist personalities” around the President are “unabatedly” tell him about the signs pointing to the resurrection of the Mehdi, going as far as “convincing” him that the controversial issue of Iranian nuclear activities is “in direct relation” with the appearance of the Imam of All Times.Some influential hard line clerics had ruled that Ahmadi Nezhad is the “chosen” of Imam Mehdi and therefore it is a religious duty to vote for him.“In private and public meetings, these figures insists that the Government must stand firm to international pressures over the legitimate and natural right of Iran to have nuclear technology for the question is one of the ways to prepare the re apparition of Mehdi”, one source close to the President told Iran Press Service on condition of not being named.Before his surprise election, some influential hard line, orthodox clerics like Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi used to propagate that Ahmadi Nezhad is the “chosen” of Imam Mehdi and therefore it is a religious duty for the faithful to vote for him.It was no surprise to see the new President devoting half of his precious speech time at the last General Assembly of the United Nations in New York to explain the so-called “doctrine of Mehdi”, or the principle of Waiting, telling the leaders of the world that they should first learn and then do “their best” to help paving the path for the coming of Mehdi in order to establish peace and justice on earth.Going back to the beginning of this story, I was telling my friend about my astonishment to understand how is it possible for a Government that has plenty of urgent difficulties both at home and abroad spending its time to draft a pact with some one, in this case an eight years old boy who, for unknown reasons, took refuge in a well centuries ago, asking him to help solving the problems the nation faces?“May be this is the reason of hate between the leaders of the Islamic Republic with those ruling in Washington and Tel Aviv”, my friend said, adding: “don’t forget that all of them claim to be the sole envoy of God. Peace be on all of them”. ENDS JAMKARAN 211005