Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The End of the World, of Just a First Step towards It?

Today is the day of reckoning in the Islamic world, the return of the 12th imam, judgment day. Thus it’s little surprise to this writer that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has chosen this day to respond to international demands that Iran cease and desist in building nuclear weapons.  Perhaps the only question is whether he will stop at just words in his response, or attempt to provide a more physical representation of his judgment day.

Ahmadinejad has made no secret of his belief that judgment day, and the nirvana that follows it, can be brought around by the actions of men. He has quoted the Koran many times in noting that judgment day will follow major wars, chaos upon the lands, and a holy fire that will reach out and purge the sources of evil from the earth, and he has indicated that he believes that people can make all that happen.

But does he really believe it?  A friend at lunch yesterday indicated that he sees this as simply rhetoric, an attempt to appeal to the more radical fundamentalist sects that have so much power in Iranian society. And I would love to believe that.  But it certainly doesn’t escape my notice that, when given a deadline by the UN of August 31st to respond to demands to halt their weapons program or face sanctions, he instead chooses today to respond.

I honestly don’t trust Ahmadinejad, but that is potentially because of his direct verbal attacks on my country, Israel. However, I would like to believe my friend is correct, that he really is being more political than hateful, and securing his position in the government as opposed to really believing the rhetoric he spews.

Today, though, that point may become null and void.  If Iran chooses to go forward with its weapons program, as everyone suspects they will, a very dangerous chain of events is set into motion, as it may be only a matter of months before there is a nuclear bomb in the hands of a fundamentalist government. And if he chooses to punctuate Iran’s decision with action, the ramifications may be felt far and wide.

To think that less than a year ago, Ahmadinejad was next to nothing in Iran, a political candidate with little hope of winning his seat, running for a position that was little more than a figure head position to the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. And today, he may be the most feared man in the world, with all eyes on him on a day that should inspire fear in all the Western hearts.  Let’s hope his words are mere rhetoric, and that this day won’t bear witness to some worse actions!

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Posted by Scottage at 9:12 AM / | |