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November 8, 2011

Why Iran’s Top Leaders Believe That  the

End of Days Has Come


Published November 07, 2011

Why would Iran  authorize a major terrorist operation on American soil? Skeptics say the  much-discussed “foiled” Iranian plot makes no sense. We will know soon enough if  the Feds have sufficient evidence related to this specific plot. But Iranian  leaders may, in fact, have a motive to accelerate direct attacks on the U.S.:  Shia Islamic eschatology, or “End Times” theology.

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali  Khamenei and President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad are convinced that the End of Days has come. They believe the  Shia messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi” will appear soon to  establish a global Islamic kingdom known as the caliphate.

What’s more, they believe the way to hasten the  coming of the Twelfth Imam is to annihilate Israel  (which they call the “Little Satan”), and the United  States (which they call the “Great Satan”). We should not, therefore, be  surprised that Iran is probing for weaknesses in American intelligence and homeland  security.

Khamenei told Iranians in July 2010 that he  personally met with the Twelfth Imam. He also claimed to be the personal  representative of the Mahdi on earth, and said all Muslims must “obey him.” Meanwhile, Western intelligence agencies say he continues to work with  Ahmadinejad and the Iranian military to develop nuclear warheads and the  ballistic missiles to deliver them.

Much of the media has focused on Iran’s threats to  wipe Israel “off the map.” But journalists have generally ignored the fact that  the Iranian regime is equally determined to destroy the United States.

On October 26, 2005, for example, Ahmadinejad said, “God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world  without the United States and Zionism.”

On June 2, 2008, Ahmadinejad said, “Today, the time  for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the  countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has  started.”

Iran’s leaders actually believe that the destruction  of the U.S. is foreordained, just as the Soviet Union’s implosion was  predetermined. They see U.S. economic weakness as a sign that the end of America  is near.

Other signs include President  Obama’s political weakness in the polls and his unwillingness to use force  against Iran even after the Iranian murder of Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi  Arabia and Lebanon  over the years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu sees the gravity of the situation. “The Obama presidency has two  great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear  weapons,” he told The Atlantic magazine in March 2009. “You don’t want a  messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” Netanyahu said of the  Iranian leadership. “When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power  and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and  that is what is happening in Iran.”’

Unfortunately, Netanyahu hasn’t seen the Obama  administration strengthen the American economy or take decisive measures to stop  Iran from getting the Bomb, and he is getting anxious. “The international  community must stop Iran before it’s too late,” Netanyahu warned in his United  Nations speech last month. “If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the  specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab  Spring could soon become an Iranian winter….The world around Israel is  definitely becoming more dangerous.”

To truly understand how just how dangerous Iran’s  regime really is, American leaders need to better understand Shia  eschatology.

The Twelfth Imam was a real, flesh-and-blood person  who, like the eleven Shia leaders who went before him, was an Arab male, a  direct descendent of the founder of Islam, and was thought to have been divinely  chosen to be the spiritual guide and ultimate human authority of the Muslim  people. His actual name was Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali, and it is generally  believed by Shias that he was born in Samarra, Iraq, in AD 868.

At a very young age, however, Ali vanished from  society. Some say he was four years old, while others say five and some say six.  Some believe he fell into a well in Samarra but his body was never recovered.  Others believe the Mahdi’s mother placed him in the well to prevent evil rulers  from capturing him and killing him, and that little Ali subsequently became  supernaturally invisible. This is where the term “Hidden Imam” is derived, as  Shias believe that Ali is not dead but has simply been hidden from the sight of  mankind – Shias refer to this as “occultation” – until the End of Days, when  Allah will reveal him once again.

Shias believe the Mahdi will return in the last days  to establish righteousness, justice, and peace. When he comes, they say, the  Mahdi will bring Jesus with him. Jesus will be a Muslim and will serve as his  deputy, not as King of kings and Lord of lords as the Bible teaches, and he will  force non-Muslims to choose between following the Mahdi or death.

By most accounts, Shia scholars believe the Mahdi  will first appear in Mecca and conquer the Middle  East, then establish the headquarters of his global Islamic government—or  caliphate—in Iraq. But there is not universal agreement. Some believe he will  emerge from the well at the Jamkaran Mosque in Iran and then travel to Mecca and  Iraq. Some say that he will conquer Jerusalem before establishing his caliphate  in Iraq. Others believe Jerusalem must be conquered as a prerequisite to his  return.

None of this is actually written in the Kuran, and  Sunnis reject this eschatology.

But one thing that is fairly well agreed upon among  devout “Twelvers” is that the Mahdi will end apostasy and purify corruption  within Islam. He is expected to conquer the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Syria, “Palestine,” Egypt and North Africa, and  eventually the entire world. During this time, he and Jesus will kill between 60  and 80 percent of the world’s population, specifically those who refuse to  convert to Islam.

Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini, a professor at the  Religious Learning Centre in Qom, wrote a noteworthy book entitled, Al-Imam  al-Mahdi, the Just Leader of Humanity, describing the connection between Shia  eschatology and Iranian foreign policy. “Those who persist in their disbelief  and wickedness shall be killed by the soldiers of the Mahdi,” wrote Amini. “The  only victorious government in the entire world will be that of Islam, and people  will devotedly endeavor to protect it. Islam will be the religion of everyone,  and will enter all the nations of the world. . . .The Mahdi will offer the  religion of Islam to the Jews and the Christians; if they accept it they will be  spared, otherwise they will be killed. . . . It seems unlikely that this  catastrophe can be avoided. . . . Warfare and bloodshed [are] inevitable. . .  The Imam of the Age and his supporters will overcome the forces of disbelief and  godless materialism by undertaking jihad.”

In light of such End Times theology, we shouldn’t be  surprised that the Iranian regime is taking a more aggressive posture towards  the U.S. and Israel. Instead, we should be taking decisive measures to prevent  Iran from blind-siding us in the not-too-distant future with a nuclear terrorist  attack or even an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Unfortunately, most of Washington and the world’s  leadership is asleep to the prospect of this gathering storm. It is time to wake  up, before it’s too late.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the author of eight New York  Times best-selling books about the Middle East. His most recent political  thriller is “The Tehran Initiative.” Visit his website at

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