Ayatollah’s health fails as Iran power struggle growsAbout the man tapped to replace him.
by Michael LedeenThree days ago, Iran’s dictator, Supreme Leader Ayatollah ali Khamenei, was rushed to the vast medical facility traditionally known as “Vanak” hospital (it now has an Arabic name that means “the 12th Imam Hospital”), a 1,200-room facility that saves half of its beds for the leadership.Khamenei is known to be suffering from cancer, and taking considerable quantities of an opium-based pain killer. He has lost more than 17 pounds in the past ten months, and was told last spring that he was unlikely to see another New Year (In the Iranian calendar, the New Year begins at the end of March).
The War Ayatollah By Patrick Poole FrontPageMagazine.com | December 11, 2006
Timothy Furnish, professor of Middle East History at Georgia Perimeter College, author of Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads and Osama bin Laden and editor of Mahdiwatch.org, told me yesterday that the consequences of such a scenario could be even more drastic, saying that Mesbah-Yazdi’s selection as Supreme Leader and the policy shift that would follow would be an inevitable prelude to war with Iran:
I think that his taking the helm there would virtually ensure eventual war with Israel and/or the U.S., for two reasons: Mesbah-Yazdi's geopolitical views – which include approval of first-use of nuclear weapons – make him perhaps the ultimate Shi`ite jihadist; and his eschatological fervor, which brings to mind previous historical examples of bloody Mahdist movements, such as Ibn Tumart of 12th century Morocco and Muhammad Ahmad of 19th century Sudan.
As I noted in an article published in August by FrontPage, Ahmadinejad’s Apocalyptic Faith, the extremist worldview promoted by Mesbah-Yazdi centers on the belief of the imminent return of the Shia’s 12th Imam, the cardinal element to the Hojjatieh faith. It is the implications I describe in that article of what they believe about the return of the 12th Imam, however, that should give Western leaders concern:
But rooted in the Shi’ite ideology of martyrdom and violence, the Hojjatieh sect adds messianic and apocalyptic elements to an already volatile theology. They believe that chaos and bloodshed must precede the return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi. But unlike the biblical apocalypse, where the return of Jesus is preceded by waves of divinely decreed natural disasters, the summoning of the Mahdi through chaos and violence is wholly in the realm of human action. The Hojjatieh faith puts inordinate stress on the human ability to direct divinely appointed events. By creating the apocalyptic chaos, the Hojjatiehs believe it is entirely in the power of believers to affect the Mahdi’s reappearance, the institution of Islamic government worldwide, and the destruction of all competing faiths.
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