The question of what to do with the Middle East surely haunts the dreams of many a Western politician. The region is the epicenter of many of the Western world’s most urgent and dangerous troubles: the radicalization of Islam; the war on terror; nuclear proliferation; the war in Iraq; the absence of peace in Israel.
Western leaders know these issues are deadly serious. They are well aware that the problems that beset the Middle East are not local issues—that, unless they are solved, they pose a threat to global peace.
Take radical Islam, for example. Its heart lies in the Middle East, but its pulsations reverberate across the globe, stirring controversy in Europe, Asia, Africa and the U.S. The same principle applies to the war on terror, nuclear proliferation and oil supply volatility. Acutely aware of the ramifications of these distinctly Middle Eastern issues, Western nations—most especially the U.S.—dedicate a lot of attention in their foreign policies to dealing with that region, allocating enormous amounts of money and manpower to address its problems.
As serious as the troubles are, the question of how to solve them has become one of the most complicated and divisive issues in international politics. Nations are divided on how to handle the radicalization of Islam. Nations are divided in their support of the war in Iraq. Nations are divided on how to best handle Iran’s nuclear program. Nations are divided on how to ensure a steady flow of oil from the region. Nations are divided on the solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Nations are divided on how to prevail in the war on terror—or whether such a war should even be waged. The issues are viewed as complex and convoluted. Western politicians are operating in a system weighed down with bureaucracy and political correctness. Nations that act unilaterally on an issue are condemned, yet it is virtually impossible for nations to act as a unified force.
World leaders know these issues must be solved, but they are at their wits’ end as to effective solutions.
This is because there is a reality they refuse to deal with, or even recognize.
Radical Islam; the war on terror; nuclear proliferation; the war in Iraq; peace in Israel—one common thread links every one of these Middle Eastern issues.
What is that thread? Every major trouble in the Middle East is rooted in Iran.
Iran is king of the Middle East. Its influence permeates the governments and politics of every nation in the region. It is the regional hegemon and the central force motivating all of the major troubles that emanate from the region. And as the leader of the region that receives the most attention from Western nations, Iran has successfully gained a massive amount of influence in international affairs.
The ascension of Iran as the leader of the Islamic Middle East—and the paralysis of the West in solving the problems this has spawned—is hugely significant. This scenario fulfills two major Bible prophecies.
King of Global Terrorism
Plenty of evidence proves Iran’s involvement with the world’s most dangerous Islamic terrorist groups. Note a recent statement on this subject from Congressman Brad Sherman, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations subcommittee on terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Referring to Iran, Mr. Sherman stated, “Key operatives of the most successful terrorist organization in history [al Qaeda] are spending their time in the number-one state sponsor of terrorism” (Los Angeles Times, March 21). Many of al Qaeda’s key leaders live in Iran—including Saif al-Adel, “believed to be one of the highest-ranking members of al Qaeda, behind Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri” (ibid.).
In 2005, safe behind Iranian borders, Adel posted on the Internet a lengthy dispatch about al Qaeda’s activities in Iran and Iraq. In it he mentioned that he and Abu Musab Zarqawi planned to make Iraq the new battleground against America from various safe havens in Iran. The L.A. Times noted that U.S. intelligence officials believe, based on satellite feeds and telephone eavesdropping, that Iran hosts “much of al Qaeda’s remaining brain trust” and allows al Qaeda leaders the freedom to communicate and plan terrorist operations (emphasis mine throughout). Too many American bullets are flying in Afghanistan and Pakistan apparently, so al Qaeda’s leaders have packed their bags and relocated to a more peaceful environment—Iran. There, in safety, al Qaeda operatives plan attacks against America and the West.
U.S. intelligence officials also contend that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is forging an alliance with al Qaeda as a way to expand Iran’s influence in the region. Some observers counter this claim, saying that because Iran is Shiite Muslim and al Qaeda is Sunni Muslim, religious differences mean it’s unlikely that the two could ever work together successfully. This is untrue. Both groups are Muslim and share a mutual desire for the death of America and the West. U.S. officials firmly believe there is a history of cooperation between Iran and some Sunni militant groups, including al Qaeda. Iran nurtures such ties, they say, “to enhance its regional influence and punish Arab political foes through intimidation and violence” (ibid.).
There is no mistaking the connection between Iran and al Qaeda. The highest authorities in Iran, including the president, unapologetically embrace this most notorious terrorist group in the world.
Of course, Iran’s support of terrorism isn’t confined to al Qaeda; the nation also embraces and actively supports the activities of Egyptian and Palestinian groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the list goes on.
In January this year, just days before Palestinian elections, a virtual who’s who of the terrorist world met together in Damascus with Ahmadinejad. In the meetings, aptly called “a summit for terror” by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the Iranian leadership “stress[ed] the need for full coordination of the four leading [Palestinian] terrorist groups and their role in assisting Iran and Syria” (www .geostrategy-direct.com, March 22).
Israel’s Arutz Sheva stated that President Ahmadinejad made the trip to Syria “to be sure that the terrorism against Israel would not slow down for a moment, and would even increase” (January 22).
This is the most frightening aspect of Hamas’s electoral victory earlier this year. It wasn’t simply a victory for the terrorist group Hamas; it was a colossal victory for Iran—augmenting the Islamic Republic’s presence in Israel.
After the election win, Hamas’s leader, Khaled Mashaal, met with Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. At the meeting, according to the Jerusalem Post, Mashaal embraced Tehran’s involvement with his organization and told the Iranian ayatollah that his “regime will have an extensive role in Palestine” (February 21).
After Hamas’s victory, America and Europe threatened to cut off monetary aid to the organization if it didn’t stop its terrorist activities. The Iranian president brashly countered these threats by saying that Iranian funding to the organization would dry up if Hamas stopped its terrorism against Israel!
Iran isn’t partial in its support of Palestinian terrorist groups. In an interview with Ynet News in Tel Aviv in March, Defense Minister Mofaz claimed that Iran, in an effort to facilitate a higher number of terrorist attacks against Israel, had increased its funding of Islamic Jihad. In February alone, Tehran supported Islamic Jihad to the tune of us$1.8 million.
The infamous Hezbollah is another limb of terrorism whose origins lie firmly entrenched in Tehran. Created in 1982 by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah is an extension of Iranian influence in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. “Hezbollah—created … to export the Islamic revolution to the Arab world—receives financial, ideological and armed support from Iran and from the Islamic Republic’s Alawite allies in Syria …” (Stratfor, January 16).
Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad—these terrorist groups and “political” organizations form the greatest barriers preventing peace in Israel. And Iran fuels every one of them. Viewed realistically, these groups essentially serve as proxies of Iran, helping the Iranian leaders achieve their goals.
Iran is the king of global terrorism!
The radicalization of Islam is a disconcerting phenomenon emerging throughout the world. In Europe, Britain, America, and even Asia, Islamic believers are growing more forceful in pursuing the right to practice their religious beliefs, even if these clash with the fundamental beliefs and ideologies of the nations they live in.
The significance of this trend was brought to the fore earlier this year in the cartoon crisis that erupted in Europe. (To learn more about this issue, please read “Cartoon Jihad” in our April edition.) This crisis highlighted the fact that Islam’s voice and presence in Europe—if not America, Britain and Australia—is strong, and that it will not be marginalized or relegated as unimportant.
Islamic leaders concocted the crisis in order to underscore Islam’s new position in national and global affairs. Consider what the American Spectator said about it: “The cartoon intifada is significant because it is entirely manufactured by Muslim governments, fueled by their radical imams and intended to intimidate non-Muslim nations into making free speech Muslims find offensive illegal” (February 13).
Mortimer Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S.News & World Report, recently said this of the movement: “It is important to understand that what fuels such [Islamic] fanaticism isn’t just the existence of a democratic Israel or even U.S. policy. To think this is to underestimate the depth of a set of shared political and religious fantasies. Hamas’s election victory, on top of advances by Islamists in Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt, has energized and unified the radicals. This is no longer a political conflict about borders and identity. Militant Islam has declared a religious war in which the destruction of Israel is seen but as the first step in establishing a Muslim caliphate” (March 20). Islam is radicalizing because a number of radical leaders are inspiring the Muslim masses with a fantasy vision of Islam’s ultimate triumph over Israel, America and the whole Western world.
Where are these radical leaders from? Mr. Zuckerman continued, “These are the omens of an evil confluence, the formation of a Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah-Gaza axis in which Iran will fund and arm a new front of terrorism with its head in Iran, its body in Iraq and Lebanon, and its feet in Gaza and the West Bank.” Iran’s leaders are closely connected to the rise of radical Islam throughout the region!
Analysts at Stratfor described how Iran benefited from the cartoon uproar: “As Iran moves toward a confrontation with the United States over nuclear weapons, this [cartoon crisis] helps to rally the Muslim world to its side: Iran wants to be viewed as the defender of Islam, and [other Muslim factions] … are now seeing Iran as the leader in outrage against Europe” (February 7).
The voice of Islam is growing stronger in the West. Islam is making its presence felt. Iran is at the vanguard of these efforts to radicalize Islam!
Presence in Iraq
The war in Iraq dominates the attention of America and the West, yet the issue remains unsolved. Iran is at the heart of that failure. We have already examined proof of how Iran prevents peace in Israel by supporting Palestinian terrorist groups. Tehran is doing the same in Iraq.
Iran’s government—including its spiritual leaders—is intimately involved in the inner machinations and day-to-day operations in Iraq. A senior news analyst from United Press International noted this trend last year: “Suddenly, Iran’s growing influence in Iraq is top of the national security agenda again in Britain and America. The influence is real, massive and growing. More than that, following the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the empowerment of Iraq’s Shiite majority, it became inevitable” (Oct. 12, 2005).
The terrorist insurgency that began immediately after Hussein was deposed in early 2003, has been stoked by Iran from day one. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have supplied weapons to Shia militias. In August last year, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld condemned the Iranian government after American forces stopped a truck filled with high-tech explosives entering Iraq from Iran.
In areas free from insurgent violence, Iran is setting up shop. Last year, Britain’s Telegraph reported that a “silent and largely undocumented social revolution has transformed the Shia-dominated south of Iraq into a virtual Islamic state in the two years since the U.S. Army invaded” (Feb. 14, 2005). Several news sources have confirmed that Basra, Iraq’s main port city and oil production center, which borders Iran, is dominated by extremist Shiite Muslims and “steadily being transformed into a mini-theocracy” (New York Times, July 7, 2005). Residents of Basra, once one of the more secular of the Shia cities, “describe the changes as an Iranian-style revolution, hesitant at first but rapidly building momentum” (Telegraph, op. cit.).
The stamp of Iran is found everywhere in Iraq. Posters of the father of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, are displayed in the streets. The rhetoric is the same also: A poster of Khomeini outside the governor’s office displayed the words “All the problems of Islam stem from colonialism and the Great Powers.” The Telegraph reported that sharia law is now routinely used instead of civil codes in Basra’s courts.
Though the Shiite takeover of southern Iraq and the imposition of the strict code of Islamic law have been underway since Saddam Hussein was deposed, the process has accelerated since Iraqi elections in January 2005. More-radical politicians are in power; Shiites have consolidated their religious rule. Numerous small religious parties—such as God’s Vengeance and Master of Martyrs—enjoy the backing of major Shiite groups and are suspected of “being agents of the Iranian government” (New York Times, op. cit.).
Iran is 89 percent Shia; Iraq is 65 percent Shia and 35 Sunni. Thanks to its religious connection with the majority of Iraqis, Iran has a dominant voice in Iraq, including Iraqi politics. Shia political parties dominate Iraq’s new government, many of which have a publicly stated sympathy with the radical Iranian leadership. In other words, thanks to American efforts to remove Sunni leadership of Saddam Hussein and establish a democratic, majority-ruled (that is, Shia-dominated) government in Iraq, Iran now has a firm foothold in Iraqi politics.
But the influence of the Iranian clerics isn’t confined to Iraq. As the Telegraph noted, “[T]he voice of Iran’s clerics also holds sway with Shia minorities and Iranian communities in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Its capacity to destabilize the Middle East also extends to the West Bank and Gaza Strip” (March 19). Iran can effectively destabilize the entire Middle East!
With Iraq up its sleeve, Tehran has a powerful bargaining chip in its relations with America. A few phone calls from Iranian imams to their counterparts in Iraq can spark violence and unrest, or do the opposite. In other words, peace and stability in Iraq largely swing on an Iranian hinge.
Such a position doesn’t bode well for the United States. The prospect of achieving a stable, Western-friendly Iraqi government depends on the maneuverings of a nation bent on the destruction of Israel, America and the West.
Earlier this year, Britain’s Spectator wrote, “For it is now becoming all too clear that the Islamic Republic has emerged as the surprise victor from the invasion of Iraq and is making the most of the power vacuum in the Gulf to establish itself as the new regional superpower.
“The demise of Iraq, together with Iran’s dash to nuclear capability—another development that the West has disastrously mishandled—has meant that the balance of power is changing radically in the Middle East, with Iran firmly in the ascendancy” (February 11).
The Spectator called Iran’s premier status “an unmitigated disaster.” From this position of power, Tehran is the maestro supporting and directing all of the major issues originating in the region: the collapse of peace efforts in Israel; the radicalization of Islam; the roiling insurgency in Iraq; international oil volatility. On top of its intimate involvement in all of these issues, Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
These stunning facts all demonstrate that a major biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. The identity of a crucial power in end-time events stands revealed!
The King of the South
In Daniel 11:40, the Bible describes two major coalitions of nations, ruled by two “kings,” that will be present in the end time—our day today.
The “king of the south” mentioned in this verse is Iran—at the helm of the Islamic Middle East!
You can request our free King of the South booklet for further proof of the prophesied rise of an Iran-led Islamic coalition of nations.
The evidence proves that Iran is the definite leader of the Middle East. Terrorism; the radicalization of Islam; the war in Iraq; conflict in Israel—these are the most troubling issues facing Western nations today. And the king of the Middle East, Iran, is the driving force behind them all.
For those willing to recognize this fact, the solution to the troubles stemming from the Middle East would seem to be relatively straightforward: Decisively eliminate Iran from the equation.
Such a move would do much to solve a number of the issues plaguing the world today. Destroying Iran would cut off the head of the terrorist snake. Al Qaeda would lose a safe-house from which to plan its attacks. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah would lose their biggest supporter and contributor. It would unscramble the dilemma in Israel. Removing a dominant and influential Iran from the Middle East would send a message to radical Islam and significantly handicap its efforts to establish a global caliphate. In the long run, America’s efforts in Iraq would prove much more successful. There would be no threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb or Iran giving nuclear weapons to terrorists.
Certainly the region’s troubles wouldn’t disappear, but they would be overwhelmingly more simple and straightforward. The immediate threat they pose would be eliminated.
And the simple truth is, Western nations have the military power to crush this Iranian threat.
Clearly, however, this isn’t the approach taken by the West today. Instead, it wrestles over more complicated “solutions.” It seeks to manage the effects, and fails to deal conclusively with the cause.
America can’t decide on whether or not to work with Hamas in order to foster peace in Israel. Western efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program are complicated and fruitless. America is working tirelessly in Iraq, but the nation is still far from becoming a functional, Western-friendly democracy. Iran’s sabotage of the Middle East peace process, the U.S. has completely ignored.
Dealing with Iran would be the most definite course of action the United States could take in solving these problems. But the nation clearly suffers from a crushing deficit of will to undertake this task. Why?
The answer to that question is the fulfillment of a second major biblical prophecy!
America’s Lack of Will
The God of the Bible foretold that the United States, as well as the other nations that comprise modern-day Israel, would suffer such a curse of willpower. In Leviticus 26:18-20, God states: “[I]f ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain ….” This monumental prophecy, as well as the identity of the nations that comprise modern-day Israel, is explained thoroughly in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
What a curse this lack of pride is proving to be. The world has never been more dangerous and volatile—it is on the brink of World War iii! Now is not an opportune time to experience such a staggering crisis of will.
But a clear-minded look at the facts shows that the weakness of the West is enabling the biblically prophesied rise to power of this deadly dangerous “king of the south.”
At its core, this is a spiritual problem. It’s easy to say that the solution to the present problems stemming from the Middle East would be to deal decisively and forcefully with Iran. But, as long as the U.S. and Britain have broken willpower, this is never going to happen. And, unless those nations were to repent and turn to God in obedience and trust, that willpower will not be restored!
It is a challenge for most people to recognize that there is a connection between events occurring here on Earth and events discussed in the Bible. This is because God is not real in the minds of most people. Few believe that God has a real presence in global operations.
This is a relatively new trend. Even as recently as 60-70 years ago, many people believed in a divine presence in human affairs. Speaking before the U.S. Congress on Dec. 26, 1941, Winston Churchill stated that a person “must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose is being worked out here below.” In Churchill’s words, most people today have a blind soul when it comes to believing in God.
This is why America, Britain and the other nations of modern-day Israel are in the state they are in. These nations have largely turned their backs on God. As a result, God is allowing other nations, such as Iran, to rise up on the world stage—and to assume the dangerous role of “kings.”
Just as the king of the south has risen, and just as America has lost the pride in its power—as prophesied in the Bible—so we can know that other end-time prophecies will come to pass. A king of the north will rise. Its clash with the king of the south will occur. And the modern nations of Israel will be brought down and enter a time of unprecedented national trouble, unless they repent. Though our nations refuse to even see the need to repent at this time, God gives us each, individually, the opportunity to do so. If we turn to Him now, we can be a part of the ultimate solution to this world’s problems—when Christ’s prophesied return to this Earth occurs.