Missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran.
(photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE YAZDI/ TIMA VIA REUTERS)
Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, militant proxies, and quest for expansion “from Tehran to the sea” through Lebanon, Iraq and Syria threaten not just Israel and America, but the world.
Iran’s insidious ideology animates these threats.
Iranian mullahs have devised a peculiar brand of jihadist and Shari’a-rule – with a twist.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1970 book Velayat-e Faqih (Governance of the Jurist) endows a Shi’ite faqih (Islamic scholar) with full political and religious powers, including rule over Shi’ites worldwide – and ultimately, global dominance.
Khomeini conveniently granted himself the title “imam,” and declared himself a stand-in for the 12th Imam (the Mahdi – a messiah figure). His doctrine, now enshrined in the 1989 constitution, sanctions state-sponsored violent jihad and “mandates global export of the same Islamic Revolution that brought the mullahs to power,” said retired US Marine Corps Lt.-Col. James G. Zumwalt. The constitution’s preamble concludes with “the hope this century will witness the establishment of a universal holy government and the downfall of all others,” said security expert Richard Horowitz.
Shi’ites believe their supreme leader has power only until their Mahdi returns, an event that must be “triggered by world chaos,” followed by global Islamic rule, Zumwalt said.
In a deviation from traditional Shi’ism, Iran’s mullahs believe man can be a catalyst of the chaos required for the Mahdi’s return, citing Israel’s destruction as the trigger. Iran’s nuclear program is believed to be a means to these ends.
If history offers any lessons, then the parallels between Iran’s (and radical Islam’s) ideology, and Japanese State Shinto in World War II deserve consideration.
The deadly assaults of Japan’s crazed banzai troops and kamikaze suicide pilots – most younger than 24 – have significant parallels to radical Islamic “martyrs.” Kamikaze means “divine wind,” referring to a typhoon that wrecked an invading Mongolian fleet – attributed to the gods answering the Japanese emperor’s prayers, according to War History Online. Japan considered its emperor a sacred descendant of the ancient sun goddess Amaterasu – whose red-sun symbol is emblazoned on the Japanese flag.
“The idea of the sacred imperial line descended from the sun goddess became a political dogma about 500 years ago,” said Ian Buruma, for The New York Times. The fertility cult Shinto was also cast as the national religion, with Amaterasu as its principal female deity, to “enforce unification and national identity.” State Shinto is a “contrived version of Japanese culture... turned into a religious cult for political reasons,” Buruma said. An example was Japan’s notoriously militant propaganda. Striking a similar tone, both Iranian and Palestinian leaders use religion to foment anti-Israel fervor under the banner of the “Al-Aksa is in danger” campaign.
As Amaterasu’s descendant, the emperor was Shinto’s high priest, giving him “a divine right to rule not only Japan, but the world,” the BBC said. It also became official doctrine that since the Japanese descended from the gods, they were superior to all other races – chillingly familiar concepts in Nazism.
As head of the allied occupation, Gen. Douglas McArthur targeted State Shinto – the militaristic religious ideology that fueled Japanese aggression – but allowed non-politicized “Shrine Shinto” to stand. According to the BBC, he attempted to deconstruct State Shinto by reforms, which, among others, severed religion and state, and implemented freedom of religion – which is protected by Israel, but rejected in Gaza and the West Bank.
He also restructured Japan’s education system, including teaching manuals and textbooks – like calls for similar initiatives in Palestinian schools, which distort history and foment violence against Israel.
MacArthur’s directives also rededicated Japanese national life to peace and democracy.
Without addressing the longterm effectiveness of MacArthur’s reforms, his is an encouraging example of a leader who understood the central role that despotic religious ideology plays in conflict resolution, and who did something about it when given the chance. The Allies’ military superiority doubtless provided the leverage for positive change.
Since the concluding sentence of Iran’s constitution says its theocracy and ideological basis are “unalterable,” leverage and intervention are required.
Rescinding and revising the nuclear deal is our best first step.
World stability is at stake.
The author served four US presidents and is currently an international Christian broadcaster and journalist who is actively engaged in humanitarian projects in support of Israel