Ayatollah Khamenei Facebook
Breitbart, by Andrew G. Bostom, March 2, 2015:
In light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress this week and the continuation of Iranian nuclear talks, it is important to understand Iran’s history of Islamist threats against both Israel and the United States. For Part I of this analysis, click here.
Briefly, Shiite doctrine on jihad evolved to be indistinguishable from its Sunni counterpart by the late 13th century, i.e., open-ended warfare against non-Muslims. Iran’s theocratic Shiite Safavid and Qajar dynasties, its primary rulers from 1501-1925 (i.e., barring a period of Sunni Afghan invasion, internecine turmoil, and the heterodox reign of Nadir Shah, covering ~ 70 years during the 18th century), fully implemented this warfare doctrine, including the notion that jihad was more laudable in the absence of the 12th imam.
Al-Amili (d. 1622), a distinguished jurist under Shah Abbas I, encapsulated these views in his authoritative manual of Islamic Law. He wrote, “Jihad against followers of other religions, such as Jews, is required unless they convert to Islam, or pay the poll-tax (per Koran 9:29)”
Predatory jihad campaigns (under the longest reigning Safavid Shah Tahmasp, r. 1524-1576) waged against Christian Georgia—punctuated by massacre, pillage, enslavement, and deportation—were consistent with this doctrine. The killing of non-combatants during jihad campaigns was fully sanctioned according to the prominent 14th, and 18th (to early 19th) century Shiite jurists, respectively, Allameh Helli [Hilli](d. 1325), and Sayyid Ali Tabatabai (d. 1816). Allameh Helli maintained there was a consensus among Shiite legalists that if defeating the enemy required attacking and killing children, women, and the elderly, then these actions were to be undertaken. Ali Tabatabai invoked Muhammad’s campaigns against the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Nadir and his siege of Taif to justify such actions
This shared, mainstream Sunni and Shiite doctrine on jihad is the validating context in which Iran’s 1979 Constitutional provision on its self-proclaimed “Ideological Army” must be evaluated. Animated by the ideology of jihad, The Islamic Republic’s aggressive, conquering Weltanschauung, is self-evident.
Invoking Koran 8:60, the 1979 Iranian Constitution declares:
In the formation and equipping of the country’s defense forces, due attention must be paid to faith and ideology as the basic criteria. Accordingly, the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are to be organized in conformity with this goal, and they will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of Allah’s law throughout the world (this is in accordance with the Koranic verse “Prepare against them whatever force you are able to muster, and strings of horses, striking fear into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them” [8:60]).
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The Islamic Republic of Iran melds Islam’s totalitarian religious zealotry—a living embodiment of aggressive jihadism and Sharia supremacism—to Shi’ism’s najis-inspired Jew-hatred. Having forcibly returned its indigenous vestigial remnant Jewish population (i.e., the small minority of those 120,000 post-World War II Iranian Jews who have not fled!) to a state of obsequious dhimmitude, this toxic amalgam of belligerent, if “sacralized” Islamic ideologies animates Iran’s obsession to destroy the autonomous Jewish State of Israel, the initial goal of its larger hegemonic aspirations. Moreover, the Islamic Republic’s “pious” adherence to a jihad martyrdom mentality renders deterrence of its expressed nuclear annihilationist designs on Israel, a dubious proposition. Regardless, Iran’s jihadist proxies, in particular, Lebanese Hezbollah, with itsdemonstrated jihad martyrdom pedigree, and now possessing an estimated 100,000 rockets, could operate with impunity under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.
Deciding to cancel a planned visit to her Iranian homeland, Jewish refugee Farideh Goldin, born (1953) and raised in the Shiraz, Iran Jewish ghetto, made these plaintive observations, in a 2006 essay:
Visiting Iran for the last time in the summer of 1976, I vowed never to return. But during the past few years, the temptation slowly crept into me, like a long-abandoned addiction…My husband has never visited the country of my birth. We had planned to spend a year in Iran after he finished his medical internship…[A] medical conference in Mashad [Iran] seemed to be my best chance to introduce my husband to my first homeland. I made the decision to go with much trepidation, however. I am a woman; I am Jewish; I am a writer; each category subjected me to discrimination and suspicion…That was October 21, 2005. Barely a week later, Iran was in the headlines. Its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called for the destruction of the state of Israel: every man, woman and child; artist, farmer scientist, grocer; the young girl whose parents walked from Yemen; my friend who was carried out of Syria in her father’s arms, screaming from hunger; the young man from Ethiopia who left everything behind; …—and yes, my mother, father and sister too. What are they to this fanatic leader but a small price to pay on the road to heavenly redemption? …How could I go back to Iran? I mourn for my parents’ loss of dignity, for all the Iranian Jewish refugees still numb with the political earthquake that tumbled their lives. The hands of evil are strong and long, seeking them still—not with daggers and clubs, as when my parents and grandparents lived in the dark ghettos of Iran, when Jew-haters, encouraged by fanatical mullahs, rampaged through their meager belongings—but now with missiles and atomic bombs.
All the potentially catastrophic dynamics Goldin characterized with such eloquence—and despair—persist, and now, after the delusive and destabilizing “P5 + 1” negotiations process approaches finality, have advanced to a truly imminent stage.
The question arises as to why more than 12-years after the August 14, 2002 revelations about Iran’s Natanz and Arak nuclear installations—6-years under the Bush II Administration, and another 6-years (and counting) during the Obama Administration—sound, practical U.S. geostrategic arguments, and actions, such as those advocated by Professor Matthew Kroenig, have been dismissed. My book Iran’s Final Solution For Israel examines at some length, the origins of this tragic, yet entirely avoidable failure of imagination, and will, rooted in intellectual sloth, and cowardice.
The case for limited, targeted military strikes on Iran’s four known nuclear facilities has been made with cogent clarity by Professor Kroenig, Georgetown University International Relations Professor, and expert on Iran’s nuclear program. Kroenig’s dispassionate May, 2014, study, A Time to Attack, elucidates the profoundly destabilizing threat posed by an Iran armed with nuclear weapons:
From Iran, a revisionist and risk-acceptant state, we can expect…reckless behavior. Iran will almost certainly be willing to risk nuclear war in future geopolitical conflicts, and this will mean that it will be able on occasion to engage in successful nuclear coercion. It also means that, in playing these games of brinkmanship, it will increase the risk of a nuclear exchange.
Kroenig then outlines the tactical obstacles military strikes on Iran’s four established nuclear facilities would confront, from the relative ease of attacking the surface Isfahan and Arak sites, to the difficulty of targeting the underground Natanz and Qom complexes.
…Isfahan and Arak are above ground and therefore are easy military targets. We [the U.S.] could easily destroy these facilities using air- or sea-launched cruise missiles, launched from U.S. B-52 bombers operating outside Iranian airspace or U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.
Natanz is buried under seventy feet of earth and several meters of reinforced concrete, and Qom is built into the aide of a mountain and is therefore protected by 295 feet of rock. To destroy these sites we would need to use the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The MOP weighs 30,000 pounds and according to open source reporting, is capable of penetrating up to 200 feet before exploding. Some simple arithmetic (200 feet is greater than 70+ feet) suggests that Natanz doesn’t stand a chance. It is unlikely that the MOP could penetrate into the enrichment chamber of Qom in a single shot (295 feet is greater than 200 feet), but we could simply put subsequent bombs in the crater left from a previous bomb and thus eventually tunnel our way in. Putting multiple bombs in the same hole requires a fair bit of accuracy in our targeting, but we can do it. In addition to destroying their entrances, exits, ventilation heating and cooling systems, and their power lines and sources. The MOP can only be carried on the U.S. B-2 stealth bomber. Since it can be refueled in midair, the B-2 can be sent on a roundtrip mission from U.S. bases in Missouri and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to its targets in Iran and back home again without stopping. The B-2 could also be escorted by stealthy U.S. F-22 fighters, or F-16s, to protect it against fighter aircraft.
This relatively limited, and very brief campaign consisting of “a barrage of cruise missiles and bombing sorties,” Kroenig observes, plausibly conducted in one night, would almost certainly succeed in its intended mission and destroy Iran’s key nuclear facilities.
Citing four historical precedents where pre-emptive bombing of nuclear facilities achievedthe goal of non-proliferation, decisively—“Nazi Germany during World War II, Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq several times in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and Syria in 2007”—Kroenig concludes by enumerating the multiple benefits which would accrue from similarly destroying Iran’s known nuclear installations:
There is absolutely no doubt that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facility would significantly set back Iran’s nuclear progress and create a real possibility that Iran would remain non-nuclear for the foreseeable future. Moreover…[a] strike…would stem the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and bolster the nonproliferation regime around the world. Furthermore, a U.S. strike would also strengthen American credibility. We declared many times that we were prepared to use force if necessary to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. A strike would demonstrate that we mean what we say and say what we mean and that other countries, friends and foes alike, would be foolish to ignore America’s foreign policy pronouncements.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Deputy Commander Brigadier-General Hossein Salami made the following comments at a conference held in Tehran, which aired on Al-Alam TV on March 11, 2014:
Despite the geographical distance, we are attached to the hearts of the Palestinians. How is it that our slogans and goals are identical to the slogans and causes of the Palestinians? Why do we strive to become martyrs and risk our lives for the Palestinian cause? The answer is that the religion of Islam has designated this for us – this goal, this motivation, this belief, this energy – so that we, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity, more than 1,400 kilometers away. We are ready for that moment in the future.
The “Trusting Khomeini-Khamenei-Rohani” brain trust shaping current Obama Administration Iran policy maintains the good general Salami doesn’t mean any of this, and it is somehow mere “cultural bluster.” Conservative “Trusting Montazeri/Green Movement,” self-styled “Iran shenasans” (“Iran experts”) would argue the good general is simply “distorting” Shiite Islam and we must be patient, support the (Soylent) Green Movement of Iranian Jeffersonian Democrats, and at some unstated future time point, “regime replacement” will solve the Iranian nuclear weapons, and all other such problems engendered by the “distortion of Shiite Islam.” Accordingly, we must ignore the hard data that show 83% support for the Sharia in Iran, or the 63% of Iranians who insisted that Iran should continue to develop its nuclear program, even at the height of the period of strictest international economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Till now, those are your Iran policy options from the ones who control such discourse—and current or planned actions—across the political and ideological spectrum. As a potential alternative to this dangerously misguided policy morass, I queried Professor Kroenig (in early November, 2014) about the possibility of urgent Israeli airstrikes. Kroenig’s A Time to Attack argues persuasively about the limitations of such an Israeli campaign, Israel lacking any known capability, for example, to penetrate the deeply embedded fortifications of Iran’s Qom/Fordow uranium enrichment facility. However, given what is truly needed two-years from now, hope against hope—a complete U.S. political and policymaking class “regime change”—I offer Professor Kroenig’s temporizing solution until the U.S. regains its geostrategic and moral bearings:
As a last resort, an Israeli strike– and the year or two of breathing space, at minimum, it would buy– would be preferable to acquiescing to a nuclear Iran.
Finally, the American public, regardless of the attitudes of current political leadership and policymaking elites, appears fully cognizant of Iran’s intentions, and the unacceptable security threat posed by an Islamic Republic armed with nuclear weapons. Polling data from a U.S. national sample of 1800 Americans completed Sunday, November 23, 2014,indicated the following:
- 85% of Americans do not believe the Iranians’ assertions that their nuclear program is peaceful
- 81% of Americans do not believe the current government in Iran can be trusted to keep agreements
- 69% of Americans oppose any negotiated agreement leaving Iran with nuclear capabilities
Hope springs eternal such gimlet-eyed Americans will elect equally astute political leaders also endowed with the courage necessary to authorize targeted military strikes which complete a task Israel will have initiated by 2015: destroying, or severely damaging the Islamic Republic of Iran’s current nuclear development facilities, forestalling, and perhaps even preventing long term, a nuclear weapons-armed Iran.
Illustrative materials, particularly key background doctrinal and historical quotes were reproduced from the author’s Iran’s Final Solution For Israel, re-published with an updated preface November 26, 2014.