International Iran experts are consistently behind the curve in missing how Iran’s current rulers are influenced by Mahdism. What is behind the most recent threats by Hassan Nasrallah against Israel concerning the gas rigs in Israel’s exclusive economic zone? Nasrallah, like other leading Khomeinists, genuinely and strongly believe that the Hezbollah-led Iranian axis has the capability to destroy Israel. He therefore believes that he can frighten Israel into conceding parts of its gas fields by threatening Israel with war. Nasrallah is the barking small dog that believes that he is a big dog. Yet Iran also recognizes that most governments in the Middle East increasingly rely on Israel for their security and is determined to sweep away all those governments. The Khomeinists understand that control over those countries would transform Iran into a superpower through the extortionist power of oil and by giving other countries only conditional access to the Suez Canal. According to Islam are the Jews followers of the Dajjal (the Deceitful Messiah) who will be killed by Jesus and the Jews too will become totally defeated. In fact, Khomeinists believe that the destruction of Israel is a precondition for the reappearance of the Hidden Imam. The Khomeinists believe that with Israel destroyed will the other countries in the Middle East fall like dominoes.
Governments in the Middle East unlike the international Iran experts understand how the Khomeinists think and do understand perfectly well that their only 100% reliable ally is Israel. They do not at this point want to publicly confront or risk humiliating Iran’s rulers and therefore keep their defense relations with Israel below the public radar. Yet, the reality is that a Middle Eastern NATO is by any standard very rapidly being put in place as the new regional security architecture in the Middle East is being quickly constructed. Yes, this is not an arrangement between Arab states but an arrangement between Israel and individual Arab states and so is different from the multilateral NATO as the Arabs trust neither America nor each other but they do trust Israel because they understand and appreciate Israel’s existential interests vis-a-vis Iran.