What if the West waits too long and Iran obtains nuclear weapons? What if the so-called Shia Islamic messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi” or the “Promised One” actually comes to earth, as Iranian leaders insist? What would the world look like? What type of apocalyptic events would be set into motion? How would Israel react? How would the U.S. react? These questions form the basis of my new novel, The Twelfth Imam — the first in a new series of political thrillers — which releases on October 19th.
[UPDATE: Israeli President Shimon Peres denounces Ahmadinejad at UN General Assembly -- President says Iranian leader is "a living declaration against the charter of the UN"; calls for immediate talks with Syria]
For Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, such questions are not fictional. They are questions he is consumed with every day. He arrived in New York City over the weekend and appeared on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.” When he addresses the U.N. General Assembly this week, and does other media interviews, it will be interesting to see if he offers new clues as to where he and the Iranian government are headed and how he is currently thinking about such questions. One thing we can probably expect: Ahmadinejad is likely to repeat his annual prayer for Allah to “hasten” the coming of the Twelfth Imam, the so-called Shia Islamic messiah.
In 2005, Ahmadinejad told colleagues in Iran that the Twelfth Imam would arrive to bring about the end of the world in two to three years. In 2007, he said publicly the Twelfth Imam’s arrival was “imminent.” Presumably, he is disappointed that his messiah has not yet come. But he and Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iranian government continue preparing for the arrival of this “Promised One.” They continue teaching Shia Muslims to get ready for a one-world Islamic government. They keep warning Israel that she will soon be annihilated. They keep defying U.N. resolutions by enriching uranium, and now have enough to build three nuclear weapons. They continue to develop longer range ballistic missiles. They continue strengthening their alliances with Russia, Turkey, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza.
Israel, meanwhile, continues preparing for a possible pre-emptive strike. Today, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet in Washington with top U.S. defense officials. The Jerusalem Post reports Barak is optimistic that the U.S. will sell Israel advanced “bunker buster” bombs that would be useful in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
I will provide analysis throughout the week of Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.S. In the meantime, we are releasing my upcoming book tour schedule. More details are posted on my website — www.joelrosenberg.com — and will be updated regularly. Lord willing, I will be speaking at events in each of these cities, and doing extended Q&A sessions and book signings. Please join us at one of these events. I’d love to meet you in person.