Ahmadinejad's Past Tells It All - By Oliver Guitta for Middle East Times
In just three years Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's controversial president, has become a household name. It is worth noting that for a man whose name is mentioned so much, not much is known about him and his past. Indeed, even his official biography lacks a lot of information. But grasping who is Ahmadinejad and where he comes from proves how dangerous this man really is.
Ahmadinejad was born in 1956 to a poor family. In his just-released book, "The Bomb and the Koran," French journalist Michel Taubmann masterly delved into Ahmadinejad's biography.
Taubmann unveils many unknown facts about the current Iranian president: for instance, his mother's name is Sayeed Khanom, which indicates that she is a descendant of the Prophet; but his father's pedigree is much less glorious. His name was originally Sabarian, which is most certainly an Arabic name (an insult for most Iranians).
Interestingly his father whose first name was Ahmad changed his family name to Ahmadinejad, which could translate in "of the race of the prophet" since Ahmad was one of the multiple names used by the prophet.
At the early age of seven, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a revelation in the person of Ayatollah Khomeini.
So, unsurprisingly, in 1979, at the onset of the Islamic Revolution, he became a member of the radical Office for Strengthening Unity (OSU) that was established by Ayatollah Beheshti (a key Khomeini collaborator) to fight off the Mujahedeen e-Khalq group.
While reports on Ahmadinejad's presence among the captors of the U.S. embassy in Tehran remain so far somewhat unconfirmed, what is almost sure is that Ahmadinejad had a hand in the planning of the operation. He also allegedly suggested storming the Soviet embassy at the same time as the United States.
During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), he joined the special forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and became one of the senior commanders of the elite Qods (Jerusalem) Force.
According to the Baztab Web site, close to former Iranian president Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad was a close associate of Ayatollah Malahati, who was among the people that set up Iran's terrorist activities.
Malahati reportedly supervised the Oct. 23, 1983 Beirut terror attacks against the U.S. Marines and French soldiers barracks that killed 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French paratroopers.
In his new role Ahmadinejad allegedly planned assassinations in the Middle East and Europe of opponents to the regime, such as the Kurdish leader Qasselou in July 1989 in Vienna.
Also, Ahmadinejad has reportedly been linked to a plot to kill British author Salman Rushdie. According to Taubmann, citing the famous Iranian poet Nemat Azarm, Ahmadinejad is behind the gruesome murder – of charismatic opposition leader MD Kazem Sami in 1988. His body was systematically cut in pieces with a knife.
Not only numerous credible stories accuse Ahmadinejad of several murders, but he also earned a reputation of a callous torturer. In fact, according to several sources, Ahmadinejad worked in the infamous Evin prison where he was nicknamed "The Executioner" because he was the one inflicting the coup de grace to some prisoners.
Also interestingly, according to Iran Resist, he was allegedly at the end of the 1990s the representative in Lebanon of the "Martyr's Foundation" that finances the Lebanese Shiite outfit Hezbollah. He has reportedly close relations with Hezbollah's chief Hassan Nasrallah that he met during training in North Korea.
When he became mayor of Tehran in 2003, he started implementing a very radical Islamist policy, forcing male city employees to wear beards and long sleeves along with setting up separate elevators for men and women in municipal offices.
This is not a surprise since even though Ahmadinejad is not from a clerical background, he is a very pious and religious man. Actually everything for him revolves around theology.
In September 2005, during his speech at the United Nations, Ahmadinejad said that he saw all the heads of state gathered blinded by a divine light while angels were circling above his head!
Ahmadinejad adheres to the Hojjatieh's interpretation of Shiism which holds a very messianic and apocalyptic view of the world. It actually predicts a period of universal chaos before the return of the Mahdi (the 12th imam, also known as the hidden imam).
Interestingly even radical Ayatollah Khomeini banned Hojjatieh Shiism in 1983, but it was recently revived. Ahmadinejad sees politics as the "continuation of war by other means." When asked by students to define "what's the most beautiful for a Muslim on earth," he answered very matter of fact: "To kill and be killed."
Ahmadinejad is convinced that he has been chosen by God to hasten the Mahdi's return. The way to achieve this goal for the Iranian president is the occurrence of a nuclear Holocaust. And this is why it is so vital for Ahmadinejad that Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.
Unfortunately many people in the West miss that point, while this proves beyond any doubt how serious and determined Ahmadinejad is about getting the Bomb.
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Olivier Guitta, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant (http://www.thecroissant.com/).