Monday, August 21, 2006

Iran planning Aug. 22 attack on Israel?

From Crosswalk:
August 22 could usher in an apocalyptic period in the Middle East thanks to some belligerent action on the part of the Iranian regime. Or maybe not.

As Tuesday approaches, the Internet is running hot with speculation about what Tuesday may bring, ranging from a new refusal by Iran to shut down its controversial uranium-enrichment activities to an attack -- even a nuclear attack -- against Israel.
But others are less sanguine, noting that the date is significant in Islam, for several reasons.

It coincides with the Islamic calendar date Rajab 28, the day Jerusalem fell to the Islamic warrior Saladin, in October 1187. Many Muslims regard Saladin's victory as a high point in Islamic history, and just weeks ago, Syrian fans of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah were likening him to the 12th century Kurdish hero.

On the night of August 21-22, Muslims believe Mohammed underwent his "night journey," a trip on a magical steed from Mecca via the "farthest mosque" -- later said to be al-Aqsa in Jerusalem -- and on to heaven and back.

The two-stage journey is known in Islam as the "isla and miraj," and tradition holds that a divine white light appeared over Jerusalem at the time.

"The night of August 21 is a very, very important night in Shi'a Islam," according to Farid Ghadry, a Sunni Muslim and president of the exiled Reform Party of Syria, based in the U.S.

Ghadry claimed that Ahmadinejad would deliver his answer to the international community in the form of a "light in the sky" over the al-Aqsa mosque on the night of Aug. 21-22.

He urged the world to take the date seriously, adding that "nothing happens without a reason in Iran."

Apocalyptic belief

Commenting on Ghadry's interpretation, Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch argued that an Iranian attack on Israel, conventional or nuclear, would "be consistent with Ahmadinejad's oft-repeated denials of Israel's right to exist and recent predictions that its demise was at hand."

"Will he attempt to make good on these threats this year on the anniversary of the miraj, illuminating the night sky over Jerusalem?" Spencer wrote in Front Page magazine. "Will Western powers heed Farid Ghadry's words and move to stop Iran before it is too late?"

An article published by the pan-Arabic media organization al-Bawaba noted Ahmadinejad's adherence to the Shi'ite belief in the 12th imam - also known as the "hidden" imam, Mahdi, who disappeared more than a thousand years ago but has been miraculously kept alive, pending his emergence at a time of global chaos and war.

"Some believe that Imam Mahdi will be returning some time this August, also the time some military experts predict that Iran will be ready to construct its first nuclear weapon," it said.

"Apparently, Ahmadinejad sees himself as an instrument to pave the way for the arrival of Imam Mahdi as well as an important successor to Saladin in terms of the liberation of Jerusalem."
Not to worry. Mike Wallace has told us that Ahmadinejad is a cool guy, so I don't see what all the hubbub is about!