Bernard Lewis (courtesy Princeton University)
MAD, or mutually assured destruction, just won’t work any more, according to one Mideast expert whose forecasts that the night of Aug. 22 may prove to be cataclysmic are fueling worry around the world.
Bernard Lewis of Princeton has had opinion pieces circulating for two weeks now about how that night, the anniversary of one of Islam’s holiest events, could be a time Iran would pick to spark a battle Muslims believe forever will resolve the battle between “good” and “evil.”
That MAD policy, which prevented nations for decades during the Cold War from pushing the button, isn’t a realistic hope with fanatic Muslims, Lewis said.
“There is a radical difference between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other governments with nuclear weapons,” Lewis writes. “This difference is expressed in what can only be described as the apocalyptic worldview of Iran’s present rulers.”
He said there is developing an “apparently callous unconcern” over who is a victim, or how many victims there are, for terrorists. Lewis believes the perception they hold is that in death any infidel, or non-Muslim, will go to a well-deserved punishment in hell while any Muslims would go straight to heaven.
According to this view, the bombers are in fact doing their Muslim victims a favor by giving them a quick pass to heaven and its delights – the rewards without the struggles of martyrdom. School textbooks tell young Iranians to be ready for a final global struggle against an evil enemy, named as the U.S., and to prepare themselves for the privileges of martyrdom, Lewis said.
He said while a direct attack on the U.S. is possible, Israel is a nearer and more likely target.
As WorldNetDaily has reported, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged his people to prepare for the coming of an Islamic “messiah,” raising concerns a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions will set the stage for the end of the world.
He’s also said, in a WND report, that Islam and its followers must prepare to rule the world, because it is a “universal ideology that leads the world to justice.”
Now comes Lewis, who notes that the world must be concerned about a leader for whom the possibility of death is not a deterrent.
“In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning,” Lewis wrote. “At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead – hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers.
“For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint, it is an inducement,” he said.
Lewis noted that Ahmadinejad has talked of Aug. 22 mulitiple times, a date that corresponds to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427 for Muslims.
“This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to ‘the farthest mosque,’ usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back,” Lewis wrote.
Lewis wrote, “This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadanejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.”
Lewis, the Cleveland E. Dodge professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, specializes in Muslim history and interaction between Muslims and the West.
His comments echoed those made just a few days earlier by Robert Spencer, another scholar of Islamic history, theology and law and the director of Jihad Watch.
In an article for FrontPageMagazine.com, he wrote that Farid Ghadry, president of the Reform Party of Syria, noted the commemoration of Muhammad’s ascent to heaven from the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Also, “Atomic Iran” author Jerome Corsi notes that it’s less significant whether Hezbollah survives, “but it’s really the first chapter in the play for Iran and the Shiite Islam nation to come to ascendancy in the Muslim world.”
In the updated edition of “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians,” now available in paperback from WND Books, Corsi discusses many of the disturbing developments related to Iran.
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