World View: Iran's Supreme Leader Claims to Seek Annihilation of Israel, Not Jews

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Iran's Supreme Leader wants to annihilate Israel, but not Jews
  • Influence of the Great Islamic Revolution and Iran/Iraq war today
  • A brief note on Iran's nuclear issue
  • Israel extends the Gaza ceasefire by 24 hours, but Hamas does not

Iran's Supreme Leader wants to annihilate Israel, but not Jews

It's not unusual for Iran to call for the annihilation of Israel, and this week was no different, especially in the context of the war in Gaza. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei gave a speech on Friday, Qods Day (Jerusalem Day), an annual event by Iran to oppose Israel's control of Jerusalem. His speech called for an end to Israel:

These crimes [of Israel in Gaza] defy imagination. They are the essence of [Israel's] wolf-like and child-killer regime, for which the only solution is its annihilation and liquidation. Of course, until that time [when this happens], the determined and armed Palestinian resistance, and its spread to the West Bank, are the only way to deal with that bestial regime. 

...

As the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini [Khamenei's predecessor] said, Israel must be liquidated. [But] the annihilation of Israel as the only way to a real solution does not mean the annihilation of the Jews in the region. In order [to carry out] this logical operation [of annihilating Israel] there is a practical apparatus that the Islamic Republic [of Iran] is presenting to the international community. Based on this apparatus, which is acceptable to the nations [of the world], people living in the region, and belonging to it, will be polled to find out what regime they prefer. In this way, the occupying and forged regime [of Israel] will be annihilated. Of course, until that heartless and child-killer regime is destroyed, the forceful struggle, and determined and armed resistance, are the [only] path to solving [the problem of] this destructive regime...

Therefore, it is my belief that the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza. Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine, and who is capable of doing something, should provide arms to the people [of the West Bank] too...

I can't recall ever seeing this sharp distinction between the "wolf-like" Israeli regime, which is to be annihilated, and the Jewish people, who will NOT be annihilated, and will even be permitted to live in the region. He's actually recommending that all the people in the region participate in a referendum to decide who will govern them. This sharp distinction may represent a change in Iran's Islamic hardline policies.

Before commenting more on this, I'd first like to quote another Iranian Qods Day speaker, a military commander named Ali Fazli who says that the Palestinians in Gaza are partners in the resistance against Israel:

The people of Gaza are undoubtedly Shi'ite... because the people of Gaza could not have stood against the Zionist regime and sacrificed itself for two weeks with resistance alone. The blood spilled in Gaza and Palestine for the defense of all of Islam connects the Shia and the Sunna, and therefore the resistance front should unite and preserve its unity against the arrogance.

There are frequently many bizarre statements coming out of Iran, but this has to be one of the most bizarre of all time. In no way are the people of Gaza "undoubtedly Shi'ite." To the contrary, Gaza is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, with a tiny minority of Shia Muslims. Furthermore, there have been outbreaks of sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni groups in Gaza, and Shias have complained about the violence against them. Memri and Al Monitor

Influence of the Great Islamic Revolution and Iran/Iraq war today

When you're commenting on Iran, as I have been for many years, you have to understand that Iran is in the midst of a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s, and that there's a cavernous "generation gap" separating the attitudes of the old geezers, the survivors of the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution and Iran/Iraq war, and the attitudes of the people in the younger generations that grew up after the war.

Iran's population was enormously unified by the Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war, and that's the social climate that the geezers, like Khamenei, would like to bring about again. A signal event in 1979 was the takeover of the American embassy in Iran, and Iran's senior leaders look for ways to repeat that event in one way or another, to bring about renewed unity today, something that's impossible in a generational Awakening era.

So what you have in Iran is a senior leadership holding fantastical beliefs that are totally out of touch with reality.

The principal fantastical belief, which I've written about a number of times over the years, is Khamenei's fantasy of gaining hegemony over the entire Arabian peninsula and governing the Muslim world in the same way that the Ottoman Empire governed prior to its destruction. We've pointed out that this fantasy can never be realized because the Sunni Arab population will never agree to be governed by the Shia Persian Iranians.

The bizarre excerpts from the two Qods Day speeches that I quoted above are manifestations of these fantasies. In the view of Iran's geezers, Sunnis, Shias and Jews will be all alike and will all be governed by a new Persian empire, just like the old Ottoman Empire. The only thing standing in the way of a new Persian Empire is the "wolf-like" Zionist regime, which must be annihilated, and the rest settled by a referendum.

What's new in Khamenei's speech this time is the sharp distinction between Israel and Jews, where one is to be annihilated and the other not. However, with or without this distinction, the whole thing is a bizarre fantasy on the part of the senior Iranian leadership.

A brief note on Iran's nuclear issue

When I write about the attitudes and beliefs of senior Iranian leadership coming out of the Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war, it's worthwhile to add a brief note on the nuclear issue.

There is no doubt in my mind that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Iran was attacked with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in 1988 by Iraq, and Iran would already have developed nuclear weapons if Saddam Hussein hadn't been expelled by the Iraq war in 2003. Iran sees itself surrounded by potential enemies, Pakistan and Israel, both having nuclear weapons. For Iran, developing nuclear weapons is an existential issue.

However, as I've described before, Iran takes an enormous amount of pride in not having invaded other countries, even though other countries have invaded Iran. If you look back at Iran's major wars of the last century – the Constitutional Revolution of the 1900s decade, the Great Islamic Revolution of 1979, and the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s – Iran never attacked anyone else. This is now part of Iran's DNA, and even the top leadership would be repulsed by the idea of a preemptive attack on Israel.

So my conclusion is that Iran will develop nuclear weapons as a defensive measure but has no plans at all to use them on Israel, which is what is widely believed. In fact, even the Qods Day speeches quoted above emphasize this fact. Khamenei is calling for the destruction of the Israeli regime, not the destruction of Jews, and certainly not the destruction of all the Muslims who also live in and around Israel. 

Israel extends the Gaza ceasefire by 24 hours, but Hamas does not

Hamas has given Israel a new major credibility boost by refusing to extend Saturday's 12-hour truce by 24 hours, to Sunday midnight GMT, while Israel has done so unilaterally. In fact, reports indicate that Gaza was shooting rockets at Tel Aviv within 3 minutes after the 12-hour ceasefire.

Although Israel is observing a unilateral ceasefire, it is continuing military operations against the tunnels on the border between Gaza and Israel, since these tunnels are used by Hamas to enter Israel for terrorist operations. BBC

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