JERUSALEM, Israel – Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has labeled the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran "the new Hitler" of the Middle East. What might have prompted the prince's pronouncement? He views Iran's, and therefore Khamenei's, blatant power-grab tactics throughout the Middle East as comparable to those of Adolf Hitler in Europe during the early 1930s. Bin Salman is the son of His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
MbS, as Mohammad bin Salman is been known in some circles, burst onto the scene with ideas of modernizing Saudi Arabia and moving that absolute monarchy ruled by Sharia (Islamic law) into the 21st century. His determination to do that is coupled with the desire to make his country a major global player. Among his first actions as crown prince was traveling to the United States, Russia and China to introduce himself to those major world players.
Bin Salman indicated early in his official elevation that he was opposed to Shia-led Arabs infiltrating Syria and their attempts to establish a caliphate in Muslim countries. He is especially concerned about an incursion into Islam holy sites such as Mecca and Medina. His moral clarity has been in full view, especially as it relates to Iran and its world threat.
The rapid rise of radical Islam in Europe, the United States and many other places is jarringly evocative of the rise of the Nazis. This should bring a shadow of déjà vu over the entire world. Unfortunately, many schools no longer teach about those moments in history that forever changed the world. Sadly, students of history are discouraged from making comparisons, such as that between radical Islam and terrorist attacks or between Ali Khamenei and the Nazis. It is simply not politically correct in the 21st century. Those things that might cast a light on how to avoid repeating history are seldom debated.
It appears that the crown prince has offered his country as the bulwark against Iranian incursion, while imploring other world leaders to stand against the danger of the Shia regime in Tehran. Iran's meddling in the affairs of other nations should not be deemed gratuitous, but rather a warning of what is almost surely to come.
While world powers have focused of late on North Korea and the ever-unpredictable Kim Jong Un, it appears the more probable arena of conflict could well be the Middle East. An enmity – dating from the seventh century – between what are now Saudi Arabia and Iran could trigger a conflict that could pull Russia and the US into defending their respective allies.
Hollywood has made numerous movies about zombies – the living dead. The world is staring at the reality of reviving three such carcasses: the Persian Empire, the Russian Empire and an Arab caliphate. Any one of these could wreak havoc on global security. A triumvirate would be anathema to the entire world.
The Persian Empire and an Arab caliphate would be the perfect match-up, with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as its leader. As the new Hitler, he would be in a position to leave a trail of dead and dying strewn across the Middle East, as did the Nazi leader throughout Europe. Hitler had apparently outlined a group of "key" countries that he saw as germane to his unfettered ambition to control Europe. Among them were Poland, Czechoslovakia, France and Austria-Hungary.
The Gulf region of the Middle East is squarely on Khamenei's list of "key" states and thus justifies his dispatching Iran's Revolutionary Guard to locations such as Syria, with which there is no shared border and no danger of invasion. Nor does it prevent a Shia/Sunni clash with terrorist groups such as the Sunni-controlled Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamic Jihad fitting firmly in the ayatollah's pocket.
As with Hitler before him, Khamenei is a fascist – a dictatorial leader who readily suppresses any opposition and has an iron grip on Iran's industry and trade. He is the supreme authority who determines the course Iran will take. At some point in his iron-fisted rule, he will likely set his sights on the opposition, a Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, and will prove the crown prince correct in his assessment that a new Hitler has sent his troops storming through the Middle East.
On his way to supremacy, Khamenei's legions could easily conquer Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. His Revolutionary Guard would make ISIS appear as though it engaged in child's play. Like Hitler before him, the supreme leader places little, if any, value on human life. Therefore, no one would be safe – not Sunnis, not Christians, not Jews, and not even those Shia who fail to fall in line with his rising caliphate.
The writer has published 89 books, including The New Iran. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem and serves on President Trump's Evangelical Faith Initiative.