by Moshe Sharon
An Israeli attack on
If it fails, or fails to achieve the majority of its objectives, it could amount to an act of national suicide. Fanatical Muslims on every side will be encouraged by the failure and outcome of an Iranian retaliation which would cause heavy damage to the whole center of our country.
The repeated declarations of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the aim of
The damage to
A non-nuclear Israeli attack on
Since the late ninth century, the Shi'ites have been expecting the emergence of the hidden imam-mahdi, armed with divine power and followed by thousands of martyrdom-seeking warriors. He is expected to conquer the world and establish Shi'ism as its supreme religion and system of rule. His appearance would involve terrible war and unusual bloodshed.
Ahmadinejad, as mayor of Teheran, built a spectacular boulevard through which the mahdi would enter into the capital. There is no question that Ahmadinejad believes he has been chosen to be the herald of the mahdi.
Shi'ite Islam differs from Sunni Islam regarding the identity of the mahdi. The Sunni mahdi is essentially an anonymous figure; the Shi'ite mahdi is a divinely inspired person with a real identity.
However both Shi'ites and Sunnis share one particular detail about "the coming of the hour" and the dawning of messianic times: The Jews must all suffer a violent death, to the last one.
Both Shi'ites and Sunnis quote the famous hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad: The last hour will not come unless the Muslims fight against the Jews, and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or the tree would say: "Muslim! Servant of Allah! Here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!"
Not one Friday passes without this hadith being quoted in sermons from one side of the Islamic world to the other.
Shi'ism regards the Jews as an embodiment of filth and the contaminating source of ritual impurity — which adds another religious justification to the Muslims to rid themselves of the Jews and their state.
THE OTHER side of
The present Islamic regime has the same aspirations. Nuclear power is necessary to achieve this desire. As fantastic as it sounds, the destruction of the State of Israel seems necessary for the expansion to the east Mediterranean (which might include the elimination of a few Sunni entities such as
LET US try a scenario in which
The Iranian people, including the opposition would, at least in the initial stage, rally around the ruling mullahs. The price of oil would soar,
Moreover, being an easy target,
There is no question that these two organizations will move into action together with
This gruesome situation can happen any time, and not necessarily as a result of an Israeli attack on
ARE THESE facts not known to the Israeli intelligence agencies? They are, but so were Hitler's intentions known to the British and the French before World War II, and they were known to the Russians before Operation Barbarosa. None of them did anything to stop the German dictator before it was too late.
At the end of the war,
There is no second chance.
Moshe Sharon Professor (Emeritus) of Islamic History and Civilization The
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