The Caliphate has represented Islamic domination of the known world in eras past. Today, while Usama Bin Laden used to call for the removal of western infidels from Islamic territory, he now calls for the conversion of the United States to Islam.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made disturbing references to the destruction of Zion (Israel), restoring the Caliphate, denial of the Holocaust, and predicting the imminent appearance of the 12th Imam.
Zion, originally a hill in Israel (Mt. Zion), has come to refer to Israel, Jerusalem, or the Jewish people. Zionists consider Israel to be the Promised Land, given by God to His Chosen People. Muslims believe Allah granted the same land to them through conquests after Muhammad established Islam as the ultimate evolution of religion.
Ahmadinejad undoubtedly advocates the end of Israel as a state. On or about October 26, 2005 Ahmadinejad spoke in Tehran at a state-sponsored conference entitled, "The World Without Zion," saying, "The Islamic umma (community) will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland." He spoke passionately about an "historic war between the oppressor and the world of Islam." The term "oppressor" is used by the Iranian clerical government to refer to the United States.
On or about December 15, 2005, Ahmadinejad said, "They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets," the Iranian President declared in a speech carried live on state television. "If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything," he said. "But if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the Zionist loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of Zionism will start to scream."
Though Shia and Sunni Muslims disagree about the proper succession of Muhammad's leadership, both believe in the Mahdi, who will, in accordance with Allah's word, bring global justice and peace by establishing Islam throughout the world.
The Shia believe this ultimate resolution will be presided over by the 12th Imam, the true and final successor to Muhammad whom Allah has concealed for unknown reasons but will ultimately be revealed as the Mahdi - the ultimate saviour of humankind. Ahmadinejad reportedly has told his cabinet he believes the 12th Imam could be revealed as soon as the year 2008. Today the Iranian government is spending millions on the construction of a special mosque and other supportive structures in Tehran to prepare for the coming of the Mahdi.
Ahmadinejad seems to believe it is his duty to work to restore global Islamic dominion, which militant Islamists say scripture dictates will occur after Islam is victorious in a final confrontation with infidels. Ahmadinejad demonstrates a lust for conflict paired with a faith that Allah will protect him, considering that Iranian insurgents and materials are regularly passed into Iraq while substantial Iranian support is given to Hizbollah in Lebanon and Syria. Some observers have suggested that Ahmadinejad may see himself as an emerging Islamic prophet, or perhaps even the 12th Imam.