Everyone wants to get into the Messiah Business.
#1 with a proverbial bullet - Christians, waiting for the "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ. By far the most popular and well-known Messiah scenario.
Of course we Jews are awaiting our Moshiach ("Messiah"), whose coming would be (in our world view) the first, not second, appearance on Earth.
Jews and Christians are getting a run for our money from Shi'ite Islam, whose own Messianic version of "reality" is reflected in the doctrine of "Mahdi."
Disconcertingly, our neighbors in Iran are ardent Messianics! And according to ALL THREE Messianic Scenarios, the whole thing is going to be a big, bloody mess, AND the "real thing" will be preceeded by an "Anti-Christ" sort of figure, aided by a "False Prophet" who will be his demonically-inspired PR man.
Along those lines, the Jerusalem Post reports the following:
While the world catches its breath after the sudden resignation of Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, questions are being asked about the background and beliefs of his successor, Saeed Jalili. The answers, it turns out, are troubling.
Until today, not much has been known about the 41 year-old gray-haired official. He has a Ph.D from Imam Sadegh University in Teheran. As a soldier during the Iraq-Iran war, he apparently survived a chemical attack by Saddam Hussein's forces.
Sometime later during the war he was shot in his right leg, which according to one report, had to be amputated. According to the same report, since then Jalili has worn an artificial leg. He is a known follower of Khomeini's "simple living" lifestyle philosophy. During his stint as a Foreign Ministry official, he served at a number of departments where, apparently, he did not make use of amenities made available to employees. For example, he continued to drive an inexpensive KIA Pride to work instead of trading it in for a more luxurious car.
As the deputy head of the American and European section at the Foreign Ministry, Jalili is known to have worked until the early hours of the morning in his office in his efforts to strengthen the co-operation of Iran with Southern hemisphere countries. This was part of the "south-south" strategy, according to which it was believed that Ahmadinejad's government would be able to look for and find alliances with countries such as Venezuela.
It is also reported that that Ahmadinejad has consulted Jalili on a number of key moves - according to one report, Ahmadinejad's infamous 18-page letter to President George W. Bush was, in fact, Jalili's idea.
THE MOST worrying revelation about Jalili's past appeared recently in the Iran Diplomacy Web site. This Teheran-based news agency, in an article titled "Dr Ali Leaves, Dr Saeed Enters" revealed that for most of his career at the Foreign Ministry, Jalili worked closely with Mojtaba Hashemi Samare, a leading messianic and a close ally of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the most well-known and high-ranking messianic cleric in Iran.
The article talks about how Jalili cooperated with Hashemi Samare in the Inspectorate department of Ministry. It also mentions that for a short time, Jalili also worked with Ahmadinejad.
Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi is a former member of the Hojattieh, a messianic splinter group which was disbanded by Ayatollah Khomeini in the early 1980s because of its extremist views. The sect's goals are to sow chaos - the goal of which is to incite a massive war, presumably necessary to speed up the return of the Shi'ite messiah, known as the Mahdi.
After the forced disintegration of the sect, Mesbah Yazdi moved to the holy city of Qom, where he ran the Imam Khomeini Foundation and the Haghaniye school. From there, he passed on his messianic beliefs to young clerics and revolutionaries whom he hoped one day would reach senior government levels.
One of his early successes was Hashemi Samare, who in the early 1990s managed to find a position inside Iran's Foreign Ministry. He soon rose through the ranks and became one of the key officials at the ministry. His main job there was to make sure that Iranian ambassadors were staying true to revolutionary beliefs and Islamic ways while serving abroad.
He soon developed a much-feared reputation for recalling diplomats and even ambassadors whom he suspected of becoming Westernized. Some were said to have been locked inside the basement of the Foreign Ministry for days, where, using interrogation techniques including physical violence, he "re-educated" them.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT characteristic of Hashemi Samare was that in his office, instead of a picture of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, he hung a portrait of the messianic Mesbah Yazdi. He showed no fear about showing where his true allegiances lay.
During his entire career, Hashemi Samare has looked for, and recruited fellow messianics. No one else would be allowed to work with him. In the 1990s, one of these associates included a little known war veteran and bureaucrat called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who for a very short while, worked for him at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. After that Ahmadinejad was posted to the Ardebil province where he became the governor. The two men continuously maintained contact and upon his return to Teheran in 1997, their friendship and cooperation continued.
Today, Hashemi Samare is Ahmadinejad's deputy and most trusted confidant. He can be seen everywhere with the president, especially during foreign travel, such as his recent trip to New York, and when receiving for senior foreign visitors such as Putin. Some former reformists have even said that while praying, Ahmadinejad stands behind Hashemi Samare; an unmistakable sign of respect and adherence which a person can show to his mentor in Iranian religious circles.
JALILI'S CLOSENESS with Hashemi Samare, and his appointment as the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and as the head of Iran's nuclear negotiation team shows that the messianics have scored another major victory in placing one of their allies in a senior political position.
Now they can boast that, along with holding positions of power in the Ministry of Intelligence (Gholam Hosssein Ejehi), Ministry of Interior (Mostafa Pour Mohammadi), and, of course, the Presidency (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) - by having Saeed Jalili as chief nuclear negotiator, they now have a stronger say over how Iran deals with the West over its nuclear program.
Despite this power, the messianics will still find a strong obstacle, in the form of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who, for now, has the last word on Iran's nuclear program.
The increasing presence of messianics and their allies in high ranking positions inside the Iranian government makes it hard to believe that Iran's leadership would ever be ready for a negotiated settlement of the current nuclear crisis.
Meir Javedanfar, the writer of the above-quoted article, is the co-author of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran. He runs the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis (Meepas). This analysis is re-published from Pajamas Media. www.pajamasmedia.com
And, if all of that was not bad enough....
From YNET News:
Awaiting the Iranian messiah
A glimpse into the apocalyptic ideology gripping the Iranian government
He challenges the largest superpower on earth, threatens a regional superpower with annihilation, and mocks international efforts to keep tabs on his nuclear program. Where does the unswerving confidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad come from?
To whom did Ahmadinejad refer to when he told the United Nations in September: "I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for… the perfect righteous human being and real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet. Almighty God… make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause. "
According to Shiite Islam, the twelfth Imam, named Mahdi, is the awaited messiah who will establish the rule of Islam around the world – following a massive war during which Islam's enemies are expected to be decimated. Iran's official state websites are filled with information about the Islamic Republic's messiah.
"Imam Mahdi was unseen from the eyes of common people and nobody could see him except special group of Shiites... After the martyrdom of his father he was appointed as the next Imam. Then he was hidden by God's command and he was just observable by the special deputies of his own," the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting website declares.
'One strike to end infidels'
Iran's state broadcasting website also contains a special hadith (tradition) prayer, to be recited on the birthday of the Mahdi: "Today is Friday, a day you are expected to come; the faithful will be free of cares and troubles when you shall arrive, and with one strike shall put an end to the intrigues of the infidels."
Speaking to Ynetnews, Professor Raymond Tanter, one of the authors of the forthcoming book 'What Makes Iran Tick,' which explores the Shiite Islamist ideology of Iran, said there was no questioning the belief of Iran's leaders in the coming of the Mahdi.
Tanter, President of the Iran Policy Committee, a Washington-based organization comprised of former officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence services, said: "The Iranian leadership, particularly Ahmadinejad, welcome the apocalyptic vision of the return of the hidden Imam. And all the strains of Islam believe in the eventual return of the Mahdi, also known as the twelfth Imam, or the Shiite messiah. After a period of great destruction, once the forces of evil are defeated, the so-called twelfth Imam is supposed to reign over a period of great prosperity."
"When Ahmadinejad was mayor of Tehran, he set up an urban renewal program that would make it easier to facilitate the Mahdi's return. He created passageways and roadways that would allow the Mahdi to return triumphantly. He operationalized this concept," Tanter added. The Iranian president did not view himself as the Shiite messiah though, according to Tanter.
'Man of a thousand bullets'
"Ahmadinejad was called the man of a thousand bullets. Because he would give the last bullet for someone who has been tortured, and primarily executed by firing squad. Ahmadinejad's role was to put the last bullet in, in case the person was still squirming. After a thousand people had been killed, supposedly he said, he had it with that particular job," Tanter said.
Tanter noted Ahmadinejad's comments after a speech to the UN General Assembly in 2005, which he also concluded with a call for the Mahdi to return. After the speech, Ahmadinejad said that "the hand of God had held all of them" in a hypnotized-like state, and had "opened their eyes and ears."
"Before the return of the Mahdi, there must be a suitable representative to govern in the Mahdi's place," Tanter explained.
"They are ruling until the Mahdi comes. That is the justification for Khamenei to rule," he added.
Tanter said that "most of the ayatollahs in Iran don't buy this, that you can facilitate the return of the messiah," adding that Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah probably "doesn't take it that seriously."
"Ahmadinejad is taking steps well beyond the rest of Islam," he said.
Messianic nuclear weapons
"There is a link between Iran’s nuclear weapons program on one hand, and its ideology of trying to facilitate a cataclysmic event to hasten the return of the Mahdi. As a result, no conceivable positive or negative incentives will influence the leadership of the clerics and the revolutionary guards from acquiring nuclear weapons. They need nuclear weapons in order to facilitate the ideological precepts of the return of the Mahdi," said Tanter.
"The process of diplomacy as far as Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are concerned is to prevent sanctions that would constrain the nuclear weapons progress, and to that extent Iran has done well to drag out this process," he added.
Citing realist arguments that Iran needs nuclear weapons "to deter neighbors in a tough neighborhood," Tanter said such views were misguided. "These nuclear weapons are tied to the return of the Mahdi, and no one says this," he says.
An excerpt from 'What Makes Iran Tick' left no doubts over the authors view of Iran's intentions: "Just as it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting, so it is in the nature of the ayatollahs ruling Iran to establish an Islamic empire and destroy Israel."
It continued: "Toward these ends, the regime pursues nuclear weapons, subverts Iraq, and supplies money and arms to Islamist terrorist groups like Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad… The deliberate initiation of war with Israel in July 2006 by Hizbullah, most probably at the direction of the Iranian regime, confirmed the worst fears about Ahmadinejad… a nuclear-armed Iran the single greatest security threat to the international community in general, and to the United States and Israel in particular."