It has been a trend in current analyses of Iran to minimize the Shi’a brand of Islam as a critical motivator and factor in Iranian ideology, particularly in policies and the confrontation with the West. The Iranian protection off al Qaida leaders, whose Wahhabi hatred of Shiism would have seen to present a total block to Iranians sheltering al Qaida leaders. The presumed leader of ISIS today is Said Al Adel who is happily ensconced in Iran, one of many Al Qaeda operatives and their families who have traveled back and forth through Iran. Iranian leaders had copied the Marxist doctrine of promoting and uniting with ideologically and religiously impure organizations with an anti -Western animus. This led many analysts to downgrade the Shi’a end of times apocalyptic beliefs among their religious and ruling clerics. The same problem Western analysts, imbued with secularism, always have …..one of not understanding the critical impact on every aspect of Islamic influence.
Bernard Lewis, some time ago, wrote an article warning western analysts that indeed the apocalyptic aspect of Shi’a Islam was a critical point to consider in assessing Iranian way of war .Most analysts did not take this viewpoint seriously, including myself, despite my tremendous admiration of Bernard Lewis. I thought at the time he was going too far, but I do not anymore.
In particular, the impact of this Shi’a messianism on the current leader, Ali Khamenie is a vital aspect of assessing the Iranian threat, particularly as the nuclear watchers recently say they have the fuel at 80% purity just below the level required to have nuclear weaponry. Having irrational people with their finger on a nuclear trigger is a scaring thought.
Khamenei belongs to the school of Mashad, which is very different from the quietist school of Najaf….. which teaches some separation between the clerics and the State. The Mashad school deals in anti-rationalist and anti-philosophy , disregarding the use of reason in interpretation of religious texts. Ali Khamenei makes decisions based on superstitions such as bibliomancy….. randomly turning to pages of the Qur’an and interpreting the text as to what course of action they should take. But they are also smart but much of their success is based on the weaknesses of the European and American. based on their response to Iranian provocations. The slightest hint of Iranian softening of their outrageous conduct elicits slobbering Western diplomatic entreaties to “making friends with Iran again.”
Of course the Western diplomats are very susceptible to outward appearance, as is for example, the hapless Antony Blinken, America’s worst sec state in recent history He was schooled in expensive European schools and has never had an idea of the real world(.1) .He has no clue what people like then Iranian tyrants are capable of. Blinken and his ilk are not only naive but …plainly speaking…. stupid. They (the establishment elite) believe that deep down the islamists and quasi military leadership of Iran think just they way they do. I say the Iranian quasi-military because the so called military leadership of Iran are not really soldiers..they are terrorists in military uniform. They are smart however, and smell weakness. The odor coming from the West is overpowering at present. The so called accord between the Saudis and Iran graphically surface two points. The Saudis are no longer consider American protectionism a sure asset and secondly they see the Russian-Iranian- Chinese troika as the coming power force in the world. They figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Not that trust the the Iranians any further than they could throw the Kaaba. But the Saudis are great supplicants. For years they bought off the PLO and now it will be the IRGC.The Iranian regime has survived the upheavals of recent vintage and are now punishing those it felt responsible…including women by poisoning them. They were, for a spell feeling vulnerable, with riots and protests, but as expected the Western leaders issued feeble protests and avoided offending the regime being anxious to seek a nuclear accord…probably as valid the Nazi-Soviet accord in 1940…. but the Clerical-Terrorist organizations are back in firm control and feeling their oats…so to speak.
(1 )the Left wing Uber woke magazine Rolling Stone had a lovely puff piece on Blinken and his love of rock and roll music. It figures.