Hamas has been firmly in Iran’s camp for more than 20 years. But that relationship is deteriorating and giving way to an improving relationship with Iran’s regional opponent: Saudi Arabia.
Hamas is the Sunni terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip. Almost every summer it seems, it wages wars with Israel. It has a murderous penchant for launching missiles at Israeli cities and towns.
Hamas has owed its continued existence to Iran. The Islamic Republic has armed, trained and funded Hamas—to the tune of tens of millions of dollars every year. Why? In Hamas, Iran has had an ally right on the doorstep of Israel, its greatest enemy. Hamas has been a major instrument of Tehran’s foreign policy—as has Syria’s Bashar Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah—enabling it to project power in the Levant and to threaten the Jewish state.
Hamas’s importance to Iran makes the break in this strategic alliance remarkable. But it is happening. And what makes this even more remarkable is that Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry forecast the break in that relationship—in 2012!
A Remarkable Forecast
Mr. Flurry based that projection on a prophecy in the book of Psalms about the predominantly Sunni Arab states forming a confederation, allied with Germany. He wrote: “This prophecy in Psalm 83 reveals a tremendous amount about what we can expect to see in the time ahead—including some dramatic changes!
“Gebal, modern-day Lebanon, is home today to the Iranian terrorist puppet Hezbollah. We can expect it to … switch allegiance!
“This prophecy also reveals that the Philistines are with the inhabitants of Tyre. Get a map and you will see that Tyre is in southern Lebanon, the stronghold of the Hezbollah terrorists. Their alliance with Iran is about to be broken, and Germany will be the main cause.
“The Philistines—or the Palestinians of Gaza and even those in the West Bank—are going to shift their alliance to Germany as well.
“Iran has recently led Hezbollah and the Palestinians in their terrorist activities. They all share some common enemies—especially America and Israel. But they have some different views in religion and politics, which could cause Hezbollah and the Palestinians to ally themselves with Germany.
“[T]here may soon be some significant power shifts in Lebanon and Gaza” (Trumpet, September 2012; emphasis added throughout).
When Mr. Flurry wrote that, there was little evidence of a split between Iran and Hezbollah or Hamas. In fact, it seemed outlandish that the Palestinians in Gaza would turn on Iran and align themselves with the nations of the Psalm 83 alliance. Iran was giving Hamas millions of dollars a year. It was smuggling truckloads of weapons into the Gaza Strip via tunnels under the Egyptian border. Even as recently as last summer, Iran staunchly supported its Gazan proxy.
But something was happening behind the scene that began to set the stage for a fulfillment of the biblical forecast.
Though there was little proof of it at the time, the Hamas-Iran relationship started to diminish when Syrian President Bashar Assad, a key Iranian ally, began killing his own Sunni population in order to retain power. Hamas vocally opposed Assad’s heavy handedness, much to Iran’s dismay. This led to an on-again, off-again relationship, where Iran supported Hamas in times of war with Israel, but did little to help fund daily life in the Gaza Strip.
Now, backed into a corner but unwilling to bow to Iranian pressure, Hamas is pursuing other benefactors.
Rapprochement With Saudi Arabia
“After years of alignment with Shiite Iran and its Arab allies,” wrote the Times of Israel, “the Palestinian Hamas group is bidding for Sunni patronage from Saudi Arabia in a dramatic shift to its geostrategic orientation” (July 21). This article reported on a high-level Hamas delegation visiting Riyadh on July 17 to meet with top Saudi leaders—the first such meeting in more than three years.
Despite this overt rapprochement between revolutionary Hamas and conservative Saudi Arabia—both followers of Sunni Islam—Hamas’s ultimate purpose has not changed. One of the group’s leaders wrote on Facebook that “Hamas’s compass will remain directed to Jerusalem, with the liberation of Palestine the basis of its strategy.”
This meeting with Saudi officials infuriated Tehran’s mullahs. News outlets in Iran launched scathing attacks on Hamas for what they regarded as treachery. The Times explained: “Hamas’s public appeal for American favor does not please Iran, Hamas’s former benefactor. The Islamic Republic would not accept [one Hamas official’s] attempt to pacify everyone, indicating that Hamas’s shift toward Saudi Arabia means a cut with Iran.” The article cited a headline in a pro-Hezbollah (and thus pro-Iran) Lebanese daily that read, “Hamas takes a step toward Riyadh and two steps away from Tehran.”
Saudi Arabia’s Strategy
Reuters observed that the Saudi-Hamas meeting “was part of an effort by Riyadh to shore up Arab unity in the face of a perceived threat from Iran that it believes has become more urgent since last week’s nuclear deal” (July 20).
A lot of this is happening in the wake of and in response to America essentially giving Iran nuclear weapons. It’s happening because America is emboldening Iran politically and giving it legitimacy. The U.S. is also helping Iran financially by easing sanctions.
Saudi Arabia is understandably concerned. It is looking around at the Middle East and even globally, and it is considering its options to counter Iran. “Saudi Arabia, a conservative Sunni Muslim monarchy, has grown more aggressive this year in countering Shiite, revolutionary Iran across the region, believing its influence to be the main cause of instability and insecurity in Arab states,” Reuters continued. It quoted Mustafa Alani, an Iraqi analyst close to the Saudi Interior Ministry, as saying, “It’s part of the grand strategy of countering Iranian influence. It’s the main issue for Saudi Arabia, and it’s more urgent after the nuclear deal.”
Saudi Arabia sees an opportunity with Hamas in Gaza. Prying this organization away from Iran costs Tehran major leverage, as it represents the loss of one of its key assets in the region.
Jamal Khashoggi, who heads a news channel owned by a Saudi prince, said, “Saudi Arabia is in a confrontational mood against Iran, and it’s in the business of gathering as many allies as possible. So if they reach out to Malaysia or reach out to Hamas, it’s the same. It’s to create as many allies as possible.”
Saudi Arabia’s overtures to Hamas, Turkey and the Gulf states are a remarkable fulfillment of the Psalm 83 prophecy and the forecast Mr. Flurry made in 2012.
Meanwhile, Iran responded to Hamas’s outreach to Saudi Arabia by completely cutting off financial aid to the group.
Newsweek reported July 28: “Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has transferred millions of dollars to the Palestinian group’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, within the last year to finance Gaza’s tunnel network and replenish rocket caches used against Israel during last summer’s conflict, according to Western officials. However, Hamas’s politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is believed to currently reside in exile in Egypt, has now claimed that Iran’s financial backing has dried up.”
“All assistance has stopped—both civilian aid to the Gaza Strip and military assistance to Hamas,” Marzouk told Al Jazeera. “[Iran] greatly helped the resistance in Palestine; without this assistance it will be hard for us to cope.”
Marzouk added, “The relations between Hamas and Iran are not advancing in a direction in which [Hamas] is interested and aren’t improving to the degree the organization wants in order to help the Palestinian issue.”
Look at the prophecy in Psalm 83. It begins, “Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones” (verses 1-3).
Here, “thy people” is referring to the modern nations descended from ancient Israel—primarily to the birthright nations of Israel and the Jewish state in the Middle East. (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to learn Israel’s modern identity.) The main goal of the Psalm 83 alliance is to destroy these nations! (verses 4-5).
This prophecy then lists which peoples comprise the alliance: “The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah” (verses 6-8).
If you study Bible history, you can identify the modern descendants of the Psalm 83 nations. The modern descendant of Edom is Turkey. The Ishmaelites are the Saudi Arabians. Moab and Ammon make up modern Jordan. The Hagarenes can be found in Syria. The Philistines anciently inhabited the region of southern Israel that is called Gaza today. Gebal is Lebanon, and Tyre is the area of southern Lebanon. Assur is Germany.
The Middle Eastern nations in this alliance are commonly referred to as “moderate” Arab nations. That is a terrible misnomer—they are anything but moderate in their hatred for America, Britain and the Jewish state. These nations appear moderate today because they oppose Iran and the Islamic State and because they have close trade relations with the West. But this prophecy exposes their hatred for the West. Iran is not the only dangerous anti-Western nation in the Middle East—these Psalm 83 alliance countries will show themselves hostile to Western interests too!
“These verses foretell a massive shift in alliances among the nations of the Middle East!” Mr. Flurry wrote in his 2012 article. “Events are about to stagger the imagination of many authorities in this world! And God prophesied it all thousands of years ago.”
Should we believe in the Old Testament? We should if we want to understand current events in light of end-time prophecy. Psalms is the only book in the Bible that contains this prophecy. Without Psalm 83, there would be no way to understand these particular events until well after they had snapped into place.
This is an exciting, wonderful prophecy—yet the world understands almost nothing about it. People should understand, because this message has been publicized for them for about 70 years by the Trumpet and by Herbert W. Armstrong!
Ultimately, this prophecy is exciting because of the good news that comes after it. It’s a prophecy that will continue to be fulfilled in the time ahead—right before our eyes!