Warning: Iran may actually seek mutual destruction
Warning: Iran may actually seek mutual destruction

Policymakers considering the challenge presented by Iran today would be well advised to heed the warning of Bernard Lewis:

"...In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time -- Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced....

A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing.

"I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."

In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning.

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." Bernard Lewis The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2006

Time and again simulations have been carried out during which those assigned the Iranian roles operated under the working assumption that the ultimate goal of the Iranian leadership is to remain in power.

The true scenario and its outcome could be dramatically different if Bernard Lewis is right.