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by Dr. Steve Carol


Last week, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Iran's goal of "wiping Israel off the map." President Ahmadinejad, while speaking at a conference of visiting heads of Arab terrorist groups operating in areas under Palestinian Authority controlstated that, "whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is on the road to being eliminated." He formed a strategic alliance with Syria last November, and currently supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. He also has announced that it is his goal to provoke a "clash of civilizations" in which the Iranian led Muslim world, engages the "infidel" West, led by the United States, ultimately resulting in a defeat of the West in a slow but prolonged conflict. According to this plan, eliminating Israel would be only the a first step. As Ahmadinejad emphasized "the Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."

Having successfully tested Shehab-3 missiles with multiple warheads on January 17th 2006, and announcing uranium enrichment and the determination to proceed with nuclear weapons development, do we finally take Ahmadinejad's words seriously?

Adolf Hitler during the Sudetenland Crisis of 1938, announced at a major conference that "it is my unshakable will that Czechoslovakia shall be wiped off the map." Less than 10 months later in March of 1939 Czechoslovakia was no more. Less than 16 months later, the world was plunged into the largest instance of global conflict in modern history, that the world had ever experienced.

Did we take Hitler's words and actions seriously?

On January 30, 1939, Adolf Hitler, while addressing the Reichstag in Berlin threatened that if war was to come to Europe, the "result" would be "the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!"

Did we finally take his words seriously?

On Nov. 26th 1956 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, shortly after bloodily and savagely suppressing the Hungarian Revolution, told the United States and other Western powers that "whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you." Nine months later on Aug. 27th 1957 the Soviet Union successfully launched the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of over 6,000 miles. The most dangerous period of the Cold War followed, culminating with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Did we take Khrushchev's words and actions seriously?

On May 28th 1967, days before the outbreak of the June 1967 Six Day war, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, declared while mobilizing the armies of the Arab world, "Israel's existence itself is an act of aggression. We accept no kind of coexistence with it."

Did we take his words and actions seriously?

Several days later, on June 1st 1967, Abdul Rahman Aref, the President of Iraq, told Iraqi air force pilots preparing for the coming war that "our clear aim [is] wiping Israel from the map...." On that same day, PLO Chairman Achmed Shukairy was asked by journalists what would become of native-born Israelis if the Arabs were successful in the impending war? His response was, "those who survive will remain in Palestine. I estimate that none will survive."

Did we take their words seriously?

Since the Khomeini revolution, Iran has traded with North Korea for both nuclear components and missiles. It is well known that Iran has defied the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has continued the development of nuclear weapons. Last week Ahmadinejad announced Iran is now part of the "nuclear club" having successfully enriched uranium, the process needed for nuclear weapons development. Despite Western attempts at diplomacy spearheaded by Great Britain, France, and Germany, the Iranian nuclear program continues unabated.

In July 2003, Iran successfully tested the Shehab-3, capable of carrying a small nuclear warhead with a range of 930 miles. Iranian engineers are similarly moving forward with the Shehab-4 and Shehab-5, with ranges of 1,240 and 3,100 miles respectively. Brigadier General Safavi, who heads Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, declared in 2003 that "Iranian missiles can cause irreparable damage to either Israel or the United States." This is partly grandstanding. Israel indeed lies within range of Iranian missiles, as do Turkey and Western Europe. The United States does not -- not yet.

With these developments in mind, isn't the Iranian president sincere?

On Oct. 26th 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before the world press at a conference held in Tehran called "The World Without Zionism." During his speech he articulated that "the Islamic nation will not allow its historic enemy [Israel] to exist in its heartland." He further stated that the goal of a world without the United States or Zionism, is "attainable and could definitely be realized. ...Our dear Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] ordered that the occupying regime in Jerusalem [Israel] be wiped off the face of the earth. This was a very wise statement."

Do we now take his words seriously? The UN Security Council has achieved nothing. Diplomacy as in the cases of 1938, 1962 (prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis), and 1967 failed. Only a firm military stance resolved the threats -- some sooner, others after a protracted period. Any delay means greater cost to the West in dealing with the threat. What steps will the U.S., Israel and other free nations take to prevent a coming catastrophe?

Dr. Steve Carol is author of "Israel's Foreign Policy in East Africa (1948-1973)", Official Historian "Middle East Radio Forum", and Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Middle East Studies, ( in Scottsdale, Arizona. Contact him at

This article was submitted April 24, 2006


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