THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS MAN
We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world. We must prepare ourselves to rule the world.
The powerful army of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in the service of peace and security and is no threat to anyone. But in the face of enemies, it is like a meteorite. It will cut off the hand of any aggressor and leave the enemy covered in shame.
I have traveled to all the continents except for one, and I know what is going on out there. Everybody is eager to hear the Iranian people’s message.… The world is rapidly becoming “Ahmadinejadized.”
Depending on your own beliefs, Ahmadinejad is either mystical or deranged. In either case, he is exceedingly dangerous.
The real danger is that Iran could become one gigantic suicide bomber.
We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon civilization.…We must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are twenty-nine sensitive sites in the U.S. and the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them.
HASSAN ABBASSI (CHIEF STRATEGY ADVISER TO AHMADINEJAD)
A WORLD ON EDGE
As U.S. naval forces are conducting training exercises in the Persian Gulf, Iranian Revolutionary Guards fire on a U.S. ship, claiming it entered Iranian waters. Rumors of the confrontation spread like wildfire. Oil prices immediately spike. The United States quickly denies the report. In spite of this denial, rumors about the military confrontation in the Gulf spur panic buying in afterhours trading on March 27, 2007. The price of oil shoots up $5 to $68 a barrel in a matter of minutes. This is only the beginning. Speculators prepare for $150-a-barrel oil.
Then suddenly, prices fall back to $63 a barrel within a couple of hours.
It turned out to only be a rumor. Or was it?
Saudi Arabia has said that if the United States or Israel ends up in open confrontation with Iran, oil prices will triple overnight. That means oil at $150—$200 a barrel. That means $5, $6, or even $7 a gallon at the pump. The economic consequences will be catastrophic.
But high gas prices will be only the first in a series of dangerous dominos to fall if a misstep in the Gulf escalates out of control.Terror alerts will go to level red in the homeland. Iran will unleash Hezbollah on Israel from the north and Hamas from the west; Syria might even join in. Tehran will stir an onslaught of sectarian violence in Iraq and turn it into a brutal bloodbath. American troops will be caught in the crossfire and sustain heavy losses. The conflict will spiral out of control. Russia may feel the need to get involved. China could act to protect its vital oil lifeline in Iran. A chain reaction of triphammer blows will be set in motion.
The end result will be so catastrophic that no one probably has a complete picture of the destruction and confusion.
At this moment, this scenario is still fiction, but in truth it might not be in the near future. Iran is a powder keg waiting to explode. Iran is repeatedly, brazenly defying UN Security Council sanctions against its nuclear program. Threatening Israel with genocide. Stoking sectarian violence in Iraq. Capturing British sailors. Humiliating them in front of the world. Taunting the United States–“the Great Satan.”
What’s this all about? Is it just political jockeying? Is it a new muscular sense of Iranian nationalism reacting against Western “imperialism”? Or is there something more sinister behind it all?
Certainly many complicated, intertwined variables are involved in any political, international state of affairs. But no doubt remains that in Iran today an irrepressible force is at work–a relentless force with which there can be no successful negotiation or appeasement. A rabid ideology that seeks worldwide chaos, bloodshed, and war, all toward achieving its twisted, utopian fantasies.
And behind the ideology is a man. A man whose face is dominating the headlines. A man whose incendiary, bombastic bile is shocking the world. A man named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A man whose apocalypse may rock the world.
MAN WITH A MISSION
He stands a diminutive five feet four inches, smiles incessantly, blinks frequently, stares through squinting slitlike eyes, dresses plainly, and almost always wears his trademark tan jacket, which has become known as the “Ahmadinejad jacket.” Yet behind the dapper appearance and smiling persona lies the heart of a genocidal terrorist. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is the most dangerous man on earth.
He makes Saddam Hussein look like Santa Claus. He is a son of the Islamic Revolution and played a major role in the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the ensuing 444-day Iran hostage crisis. He’s a former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. His organization participated in the bombing of U.S. marines in Lebanon. He and his organization were also involved in the horror of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. And he is now in command of a world-class army and air force and is actively seeking the ability to make and deliver a nuclear weapon. His goal is to bring about a “second revolution” in Iran.
THE OPENING SHOT
First impressions are important. Think about this for a moment: Ahmadinejad’s very first public statement as president-elect on June 30, 2005, was to declare that the Iranian government was going back to its brutal beginnings. “Thanks be to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic Revolution has arisen and the Islamic Revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world. The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes, tyranny, and injustice has reached its end.… The wave of the Islamic Revolution will soon reach the entire world.”1 This was the way he first introduced himself to the world. His international audition. No subtle, quiet easing into office. No polite “Hi, I’m Mahmoud.” But rather, an announcement of a new Islamic revolution that will sweep the globe.
The world has begun to awaken to Ahmadinejad and the threat he poses. Bridget Johnson minces no words when she calls him “arguably the world’s most dangerous man.”2 Glenn Beck, almost every night on his CNN program, warns of the peril Ahmadinejad presents to the world. His face and his name–which is admittedly a tongue twister–is dominating world headlines.
THE WORLD TAKES NOTE
The Newsweek cover on February 19, 2007, featured closeup photographs of Ahmadinejad and U.S. president George W. Bush side by side, almost cheek to cheek, with the headline “The Hidden War with Iran: Skirmishes, Threats, Missed Signals. Why the Standoff Could Soon Turn Deadly.” The cover article inside was titled “Rumors of Wars”–a clear reference to the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:6. Time’s September 25, 2006, cover featured a large picture of Ahmadinejad and the headline “What War with Iran Would Look Like (And How to Avoid It).” Inside the magazine, Time recorded an interview with Ahmadinejad titled “A Date with a Dangerous Mind.”
A photograph of Ahmadinejad with a prayer scarf draped over his shoulders filledNewsweek’s February 13, 2006, cover, accompanied by the headline “How Dangerous Is Iran?” Two other headlines on the cover read “The Next Nuclear Threat” and “Radical Islam in Power.” Inside, the main article on Ahmadinejad is titled “Devoted and Defiant,” picturing Ahmadinejad reverently kneeling at the grave of Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
U.S. News & World Report, on July 31, 2006, ran a cover story titled “Dangerous Liaisons: How Radicals in Iran Are Roiling the Middle East from Lebanon to Iraq.” It included an article titled “An Impulse for Intrigue: Iran Has Really Big Plans, and Lots of Folks Have Really Big Headaches.” On November 13, 2006, U.S. News & World Report contained an article titled “The Dark Cloud on the Horizon: Why Israelis Eye a potentially Nuclear-Armed Iran and Worry That a Cataclysm Can’t Be Averted.”
The cover story of the Economist in February 2007 sported a picture of a stealth bomber and the intriguing question “Next Stop Iran?”
The Middle East magazine, in its February 2007 issue, displayed the title “The Year Ahead.” The only picture on the cover was a photograph of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the top left corner. The cover of the New Republic (April 23, 2007) carried the caption “The Persian Paradox: What to Do About Iran” accompanied by a purposely distorted picture of Ahmadinejad.
All the world is taking note of this man. But what makes him so hazardous?
THE TRIPLE A OF AHMADINEJAD’S APOCALYPSE
Most informed people know by now that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an international troublemaker in charge of a rogue regime. That he’s a menace to world peace and Middle Eastern stability. But few people understand what drives him.
A prophetic dream drives him, a purported revelation from Allah. I call it Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse.
I believe that the apocalypse of Ahmadinejad brings together the combustible mixture of three explosive ingredients:
1. Fanatical messianic ideology.
2. Vicious hatred of Israel and the West.
3. Hot pursuit of nuclear weapons.
These three key factors converge to make Ahmadinejad the world’s most dangerous man. I like to call them the Triple A (AAA) of Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse. Together, they form the signature of his regime. I’ll briefly summarize them here, then expand on them in the next three chapters.
1. Apocalyptic Ideology
Ahmadinejad holds to a radical Shiite ideology–an ideological fervor run amok.3 This fanatical worldview gives him a reckless, arrogant sense of invincibility inspired by his belief in the imminent return of the Mahdi–an Islamic messiah figure. Ahmadinejad dreams of a Shiite theocracy that will rule the Muslim world and ultimately the entire globe. He believes that the Mahdi will return in his lifetime–probably in the next two to three years.
Never before in modern history has a world leader so overtly flaunted his religious ideology and its influence on his policies. Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar observe: “Never before had an Iranian leader so publicly acknowledged his messianic belief. With Ahmadinejad’s election, this formerly taboo subject has become part of the central ideology of one of the most influential leaders of the world, with frightening implications.”4
2. Anti-Semitism and Anti-Westernism
A second central component of Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse is his vicious anti-Semitism and fierce hatred of the West. He has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel, the “little Satan,” off the map (and he calls the United States the “Great Satan”). For him, the United States and Israel are two main roadblocks that must be removed from the path of the Mahdi. Ironically, this is the same man who calls President Bush “Mr. Danger.”5 Is he really serious? Or is this just all talk?
People often wonder if or when Iran will attack Israel. The truth: they already have. Ahmadinejad took the first hostile step when he unleashed his terrorist, attack-dog proxy on Israel. The Hezbollah attack in July 2006 was phase one of Iran’s war with Israel. Hezbollah–a Shiite terrorist group–is, in essence, an Iranian threat on Israel’s northern border. Omar Fadhil notes, “It’s common wisdom to say that the war between Hezbollah and Israel is a regional struggle that also includes Iran and Syria, who have supported and supplied Hezbollah. What seems to be less understood is that this is the first war between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Israel, via Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, and that its overarching purpose is to advance Iran’s ambitions to export the Islamic Revolution throughout the Middle East.”6
The Hezbollah attack on Israel was the initiation of Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse. It was a test run for Iran to try out its own command-and-supply capabilities, to probe Israel’s defenses, and to gauge the reaction of the international community.7
The hostilities are far from over. Iran is arming Hezbollah for round two.
• Iran has provided Hezbollah with about twelve thousand rockets with a range of 26 to 120 miles–far enough to reach Tel Aviv.
• Iran has trained about 3,000 Hezbollah terrorists.
• Iran has set up at least 20 permanent missile bases in Lebanon.
• Iran has equipped Hezbollah with trucks to serve as launching pads for rockets.
• Iran has supplied experts in Lebanon to assist in targeting.8
Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, has pledged allegiance to Iran’s supreme leader.9 Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage calls Hezbollah the “A-team” of terrorist organizations. Hezbollah has metastasized throughout Lebanese culture and society, permeating every thread of the nation’s fabric.10 Ahmadinejad wants to turn Lebanon and Syria into armed Shiite outposts.11
Iran is also doing all it can to challenge the West. Ahmadinejad views the West, especially the United States and Britain, with disdain. He despises Britain because of its colonial policies of the past and the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the establishment of a Jewish homeland. The United States draws his ire because of its presence in the Middle East and its support of Israel. He employs various names for the Western nations: “Global Arrogance,” “Oppressor World,” and “Infidel Front.” He’s made it no secret what he thinks of the West and that he would love nothing more than to destroy it.
Ahmadinejad initiates overt hostilities against the West politically, militarily, and economically. Politically, he defies the West and curries favor with Russia and China, who cover his back in the UN Security Council. Through his strong alliances with Hezbollah and Syria and attempts to subtly intimidate other Gulf States into turning against the United States, he’s doing all he can to position Iran as the regional superpower.
Militarily, he has announced that Iran has developed a strategic “war preparation plan” for what he calls “the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization.”12 And he has already embarked on his plan as opportunities have arisen. He has actively manipulated the war in Iraq, maintaining a steady stream of Iranian troops and arms into Iraq to combat U.S. troops. And most recently in the news, he displayed bold aggression by kidnapping fifteen British sailors in a show of power.
On March 23, 2007, Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized fifteen British sailors who were patrolling for smugglers in the Persian Gulf. This sparked a thirteen-day standoff between London and Tehran. As the crisis unfolded, Ahmadinejad did all he could to stoke the fire. He said, “The British occupier forces did trespass our waters. Our border guards detained them with skill and bravery. But arrogant powers, because of their arrogant and selfish spirit, are claiming otherwise.… Instead of apologizing over trespassing by British forces the world arrogant powers issue statements and deliver speeches.”13
Finally, at an April 4, 2007, news conference, he presented a medal to the commander of the Iranian Coast Guard who captured the Brits. Then he droned on for about an hour about British and U.S. treachery, before springing his great proclamation: “On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet [Muhammad] and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people–with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial–forgave those 15.… The pardon is a gift to the British people.”14
The scene of Ahmadinejad making each British sailor stand before him and thank him for his pardon was an open display of his pride and disdain. The look on his face during this spectacle showed the twisted pleasure he received from this act of humiliation. Ahmadinejad could easily exploit or even provoke another “trespass” into Iranian waters as justification for triggering a regional firestorm.
Economically, Ahmadinejad has traveled extensively and worked hard at maintaining old alliances and gaining new ones. He’s trying especially to make friends with nations geographically close to the United States. He has developed a fast friendship with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, forged from their mutual disdain for the United States. Both Ahmadinejad and Chavez are exmilitary populists.15 Chavez is quickly turning Venezuela, the fourth largest source of U.S. oil imports, into a second Cuba–an enemy outpost within easy striking distance of the U.S. homeland.
Ahmadinejad and Chavez envision themselves as the final great hope against U.S. “imperialism.” Together they agreed to create a $2 billion “strategic fund” to “help implement new projects in other world countries.” Chavez noted, “Iran and Venezuela have clear and transparent objectives and strategies and will continue their resistance against imperialism.”16 Ahmadinejad views Chavez, with his country’s oil reserves, as a convenient ally in his economic war with the United States. Part of his overall strategy is to use every chance he gets to hit the United States in the pocketbook.
3. Atomic Weapons
To support and accelerate the first two prongs of his strategy, Ahmadinejad has been relentlessly pursuing atomic weapons to destroy Israel and the West and so to inaugurate the advent of the Mahdi. Nuclear weapons are his powder-keg fuse, a key means to accomplishing his destructive mission. His bellicose stance on nuclear weapons is unyielding. Even as the United Nations places more sanctions on his nuclear program, he boasts that Iran will build more reactors and install more centrifuges for enriching uranium. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said that Iran will never suspend its nuclear program, “even for one hour,” and has promised that there will be no retreat, “even one millimeter back.”
These three A’s of Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse are intricately intertwined, each dependent upon the other. Ahmadinejad’s conviction concerning the imminent return of the Mahdi (first A) furnishes him with unwavering confidence, which allows him to act recklessly upon his hatred of Israel and the West (second A), most dangerously manifested in his desire to obtain nuclear weapons (third A).
Do you begin to see the world-shaking ramifications of his end-of-days messianism?
IS PEACE POSSIBLE WITH THIS MAN?
How can anyone hope for peace with someone who holds to this belief system? How can one possibly reason with an ideological zealot who resorts to so much bravado and grandstanding. A religious fanatic who may control nuclear weapons very soon. No amount of carrots or sticks would seem to work. This mentality was expressed well in 1992 by Hezbollah’s former leader, Hussein Massawi: “We are not fighting so that you will give us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”
Of course, not all in Iran hold to this idea, but as we’ve seen, the majority of the leaders do, as does their Hezbollah attack dog. They subscribe to a violent, confrontational mentality that leaves no apparent room whatsoever for negotiated peace.17 It’s all or nothing for Iran and Ahmadinejad. And this attitude is fueled in large part by his apocalyptic vision of the future. A future that he believes is now. A future that he believes he can bring to pass.
Even King Abdullah II of Jordan has expressed grave concern over Ahmadinejad’s grandiose vision. King Abdullah warned of the growing threat of what he calls a “Shiite Crescent” stretching from Iran, through Iraq, and all the way to southern Lebanon. The purpose of this crescent is to drive the United States from the Middle East, destroy Israel, and challenge the Middle East nations whose Muslim populations are largely Sunni.18
Middle East expert and best-selling author Joel Rosenberg points out the integral linkage between Ahmadinejad’s Shiite eschatology and Iranian foreign policy: Too many Western analysts are missing the central importance of Shiite eschatology in Iranian foreign policy. They mistakenly believe that Iran’s current leadership can be somehow cajoled into making peace with the West. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cadre of loyal mullahs are not being driven by the same goals and aspirations as are the diplomats in Washington, Brussels or at the United Nations. The President of Iran and his team fervently believe the Islamic Messiah is coming back soon, possibly as soon as this Spring. They are convinced that their divine mission is to create the conditions for
the Mahdi’s return. As a result, they are committed to instigating more anti-American violence in Iraq, not less. They are determined to obtain nuclear weapons at all costs, not negotiate away their atomic research and development program. What’s more, they are deeply committed to building political and military alliances with anti-Western powers, not finding accommodation with the West.
Bottom line: the leaders of Iran are preparing for an apocalyptic war with the U.S. and Israel. It’s not a question of “if ” but “when.”19
This is ultimately what makes Ahmadinejad the most dangerous man in the world. He is shaping official government policies from his messianic beliefs.20 In short, here are the items that top Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic to-do list. Any of these pieces has the potential to spark another Middle East conflict:
• Unleash Hezbollah on Israel, arm and fund Hamas.
• Further destabilize the region.
• Build a Shiite Crescent from Iran to Lebanon.
• Tighten the oil noose around America’s neck by controlling Middle East oil and deepening ties with Venezuela.
• Demonize the Jews and plan for genocide.
• Foment further sectarian violence in Iraq (by training, arming, and funding terror) and thereby weaken and humiliate the United States.
• Posture Iran to be the regional superpower.
• Pursue nuclear weapons at all cost.
That’s what this book is about. Ahmadinejad’s twisted view of the end times and how he is scheming to bring it into existence as soon as possible. How he is working feverishly to get all the pieces in place to launch his version of Armageddon.
Does this mean we don’t try to talk with leaders like Ahmadinejad or give diplomacy a chance? No! In our current international environment, talking–and a lot of it–is a necessary part of the process. However, we need to do so with our eyes wide open, recognizing the seriousness of the stakes and the implications of his belief system. Recognizing that ultimately we don’t have anything he wants–except surrender. This means that Iran is on a head-on collision course with Israel in particular and the West in general.21 Interestingly, this is exactly what the Bible predicts for the end times.
AHMADINEJAD AND AN ANCIENT PROPHECY
Since his inauguration as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been forging closer ties with many of Iran’s neighbors. Russian-Iranian ties have deepened with Russia’s sale of a nuclear reactor and high-tech missiles. Under the rule of Vladimir Putin and his old KGB associates, Russia is seeking to restore its influence in the Middle East and revive its cold war arms deals, while the United States flounders in Iraq.22 Russia, a member of the UN Security Council, has consistently obstructed any stiff sanctions against Iran for its nuclear defiance, thus strengthening ties with Iran as a key part of their strategy.
Ahmadinejad has been something of a globetrotter during his brief tenure in office. He has bragged that the world is quickly becoming “Ahmadinejadized.” During the summer of 2006 he visited Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to improve Iranian relations with these neighbors.
Ahmadinejad has also strengthened ties with Sudan. He visited the capital city, Khartoum, in early March 2007 and gave a lecture titled “Iran and the World.” Sudan, led by President Omar al Bashir, is considered by the United States to be a state sponsor of terror. Omar al-Bashir visited Tehran in April 2006. During that visit, Ahmadinejad made this statement at a press conference: “The Iranian and Sudanese nations and governments have a joint enemy that is constantly creating obstacles in the way of their advancement, and hatching plots against them.”23
Sudan is a hardcore, radical Islamic nation. Osama Bin Laden was granted asylum in Sudan in the 1990s. Sudan has refused to allow the international community to deploy troops in Darfur, where most believe genocide is occurring. During Ahmadinejad’s visit to Khartoum, the two nations signed seven memoranda of understanding (MOUs) related to economic and political issues. The two nations have already expanded their mutual defense cooperation through the exchange of experts and stated their willingness to stand together against colonialism. Sudan declared its support of Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons, and Iran pledged to work to increase the volume of trade between the two nations. Iran is already involved in helping Sudan with water and electricity projects and is willing to assist Sudan with expertise in oil exploration.
It’s bad enough, of course, that these radical Islamic countries and Russia are forging ever stronger ties in their jihad against Judeo-Christian civilization. But what is particularly important about these Iranian alliances is that they were foretold over twenty-five hundred years ago by the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel 38 tells us that Persia, which is modern Iran, will be allied with Russia and a group of other Middle Eastern countries in an effort to destroy Israel. Bible scholars refer to this as the War of Gog and Magog.
“And the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops–many peoples with you.” ’ ” (Ezekiel 38:1—6)
The ancient names in Ezekiel’s prophecy do not exist on any modern map, but it’s possible to discover where these ancient lands were in Ezekiel’s day and identify the modern counterparts. The name Gog, which means “high” or “mountain,” is a title for the leader of this invasion. Rosh is the modern nation of Russia.24 Ancient Magog was the land of the Scythians, which today is the area we know as Central Asia. Turkmenistan and Tajikistan are part of modern Magog. The other participants listed in this invasion in Ezekiel 38:1—6 are Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Bethtogarmah, which are all in the modern nation of Turkey. The final members of the invading force are Put (Libya), Persia (Iran), and Cush (Sudan). Interestingly, in Ezekiel 38:5, Persia (modern Iran) and Cush (modern Sudan) are mentioned right next to one another as allies in this end-time battle. Iran and Sudan were listed side by side over 2,500 years ago by Ezekiel. This is incredible.
Persia and Cush are coming together. God, who knows the end from the beginning, is the only One who can accurately tell the future because He alone knows all things and controls all things. The precise correspondence of the Ezekiel prophecy with the events we see today confirms once again the truth of the Bible. This end-time coalition could be forming right before our eyes. And all this is occurring at the same time that Israel is back in her land, in desperate need of the peace treaty brokered by the West that will set the stage for the battle of Gog and Magog.
In a bizarre twist, Ahmadinejad, who believes he can usher in the apocalypse, may be part of God’s plan to set the stage for the true end-time scenario predicted in the Bible.
But which of these eschatologies is true? Whose view of the apocalypse is correct? Is the prophecy in Ezekiel true, or is Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse? How can we know? Is there any sure word about the future?
We’ll answer this question later. Right now, let’s explore who Ahmadinejad is, what makes him tick, what he believes about the end times, and what he’s doing to make sure it happens.