Saturday, December 17, 2005

  • Saturday, December 17, 2005
  • Elder of Ziyon
Different cultures have different psychologies. While there are always exceptions, to a remarkable degree one can understand nations' actions by understanding their underlying cultural and psychological influences. And even though it may be popular academic theory that we are all the same, it doesn't take much to realize that this is not true.

The Arab psyche in regards to Israel is pretty simple, and I have touched on it in various ways a number of times. Briefly, it is not based on anti-semitism per se; rather it is based on Muslim supermacist ideology combined with Arab pride and territorialism. Since Jews are meant to be second-class dhimmis in this mindset, and since Arabs dominated "weak" Jews in the Middle East for many centuries, the idea that small numbers of Jews could not only control land that they consider Muslim but could repeatedly defeat the combined Arab armies is nothing less than catastrophic (hence, the name Nakba.) It is nothing less than an assault on their basic concepts of Islam and Arab power. The very existence of Israel is, every day, a reminder of their weakness and this is, in a nutshell, why there will never be real peace without a wholesale change to Arab culture.

Iran is a whole different animal. Iran is not Arab, and indeed in some ways Arabs regard Iran as another Israel, a foreign people who have claims on Arab territory. Also, Iran has many non-Muslims which breeds mistrust from the Arabs.

Iranians, in turn, look down on Arabs as well.

Iran seems to have a significant population that is very much against the Ahmadinejad flavored Islamicization - some seem to call it Arabization. This does not seem to translate into any love of Israel - Iran's anti-Israel stance appears to be fairly uniform. But the "moderates" do not like seeing the Iranian president pretend to obsess over Palestinians whom they could care less about. I do not have a way of measuring how many Iranians are in this "moderate" group.

So in Iran at least, many of the people and the government seem to have different psyches, even though the vast majority of Iranians are Shi'ite Muslims.

From the government press and
Ahmadinejad's remarks, it seems that the Iranian regime is feeling very isolated and is desperately looking for validation from the world of Ahmadinejad's hate. A few times already I have found articles in Iran's press finding an obscure Indian professor or Lebanese MP who they quote as agreeing with them that Israel is racist or whatever. The open question is whether the validation that they claim from seeing leftists protesting in Europe is grasping at straws, or is it complete denial as to how isolated they really are.

The worrying part about
Ahmadinejad is that he really does seem to have messianic tendencies. This article in the anti-government Persian Journal shows a scary tendency of Iran's president to try to hasten the coming of the "12th Imam":

"Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi," Ahmadinejad said in the speech to Friday Prayers leaders from across the country.

"Therefore, Iran should become a powerful, developed and model Islamic society."

"Today, we should define our economic, cultural and political policies based on the policy of Imam Mahdi's return. We should avoid copying the West's policies and systems," he added, newspapers and local news agencies reported.

Ahmadinejad refers to the return of the 12th Imam, also known as the Mahdi, in almost all his major speeches since he took office in August.

A September address to the U.N. General Assembly contained long passages on the Mahdi which confused Western diplomats and irked those from Sunni Muslim countries who believe in a different line of succession from Mohammed.
This indicates, first of all, that Ahmadinejad is even more irrational than he appears, and therefore less predictable - he could literally do anything to bring about his messianic imam.

It also may mean that he feels that the religious center of Islam is in Iran, not Saudi Arabia, and that any moves he makes would be to ensure Iran's predominance and leadership of Islam.

Israel is the one issue that the Muslim world agrees on, and Iran's fixation on Israel may be a way to take this leadership role in Islam.

His now regular threats against Israel, his clear pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the fact that he does not appear to fear a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario as long as it brings about his Mahdi all point to an extraordinarily dangerous and insane enemy who is uniquely impervious to diplomatic pressure.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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