Iran is establishing bases in Syria, but according to some sources, their preparations to engage Israel are motivated far more by Messianic aspirations than military or political ones.
Iran has frequently stated its desire to destroy Israel, claiming the Jewish state as the focus of its nuclear and long-range missile program. Iran has also funneled millions of dollars into proxy enemies of Israel, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
According to Debka, a Middle East military analysis site, Iran is now stepping up its pace, having established 13 military installations in Syria. Some experts see behind this a sinister desire for the end of the world – Islam style.
Indeed, the escalation of Iranian military efforts in Syria are religiously motivated, Ryan Mauro, a political analyst for the Clarion Project, explained in a recent interview.
“This isn’t normal competition between hostile powers, this isn’t even the normal Iranian sponsorship of terrorism or attempts to expand their military presence,” Mauro said. “To the Iranian regime this is the fulfillment of prophecy.”
Mauro pointed out that new Iranian troops are called Ansar al-Mahdi (“Supporters of the Messiah”). It has also created a 313th brigade, into which it is is recruiting young Syrian Shiites. According to tradition in Shiite Islam, 313 is the number of fighters that will arrive with the Mahdi, the Islamic Messiah.
Islam’s tradition holds that Mahdi is the redeemer of Islam. The arrival of Mahdi will coincide with the arrival of the Christian messiah, who will be the Mahdi’s assistant in fighting the Masih ad-Dajjal, the false messiah, or anti-Christ.
According to the tradition, the Mahdi will reappear along with Jesus, who will declare himself a Muslim, and kill Christians who refuse to convert. Shia Islam holds that the end-of-days will be a bloody battle, killing off two-thirds of the world population and leaving the rest to convert to Islam.
The concept of Mahdi is explicit in Iranian politics. In a speech in front of the UN General Assembly in 2008, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left the gathered politicians aghast as he explicitly begged Allah to hasten the return of the Mahdi.
“You are not dealing with fully rational actors,” Mauro said. “You can be irrational and strategic and pragmatic at the same time, which is what Iran is doing. If you understand these prophecies, you can understand Iran.”
Mauro explained that according to Shiite theology, Iran believes they will lead the battle against Sunni adversaries, continue down into Israel, and eventually take over Jerusalem. He believes that the recent destabilization in Saudi Arabia is a direct result of Iran’s apocalyptic agenda.
Debka editor Giora Shamis agreed. “The basis of Iran’s policy is based on spreading Shiite Islam and making it the dominant religion in the world,” Shamis told Breaking Israel News.
“The Iranian revolution in 1978 was solely a religious movement focused in a religious battle against America. This is being carried out today in the smallest details. It is impossible to discuss the Iranians or their actions in the region without taking into account their religious agenda.”