Iran Conquered Lebanon … Now What?
Do you understand just how dangerous what happened in Lebanon in May truly was? May 9, Iran put a choke hold on Lebanon in order to preserve its position on Israel’s northern frontier. This act of war sounded a death knell for Lebanese democracy, strengthened Iran’s grip on the Middle East, and dramatically increased the threat to Israel and beyond.
Amazingly, the United States and the international community did nothing.
In fact, they did worse than nothing. If you read the general news media at the time, you might have thought that the deal that emerged from this terrorist violence left Lebanon better off than it had been before! Civil war was averted, commentators said. A political face-off ended in reconciliation. After 19 failed attempts since last November, the country installed a new president. As one hopeful writer put it, the settlement reached in Doha, Qatar, on May 21 “puts an end to an 18-month national crisis and raises hopes for a stable future for that beleaguered country” (Middle East Times, May 29).
That is gross ignorance! What occurred in Lebanon was nothing less than a bleak surrender by Lebanon’s Western-backed governing coalition—and a major victory for the Hezbollah terrorist group and its primary sponsor, Iran.
That the United States, the United Nations and others pretended it was anything else is a measure of their own capitulation to Iran.
Hezbollah’s Show of Strength
The Lebanese government had just taken steps to restrict communication and travel between Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Iran—dismissing the security chief at a major airport facilitating Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah, and launching an investigation into an Iran-built telecommunications network maintained by Hezbollah. Iran treated these moves as a declaration of war.
Within hours, Iranian Guardsmen joined Hezbollah gunmen in a massive show of strength, rapidly overwhelming the streets of West Beirut. They blockaded the airport, shut down pro-government news outlets, and besieged the headquarters of Lebanese leaders Fouad Siniora and Saad Hariri—all within one day.
Everyone knows Hezbollah operates as a proxy of Iran. A similar scenario occurred in the summer of 2007, when the mullahs in Tehran engineered the violent overthrow of the Gaza Strip through their proxy Hamas. The world was silent then too!
After its display of force in Beirut, Hezbollah did something extraordinary: It turned its new gains back over to the Lebanese Army. The message: Iran will not tolerate attacks on Hezbollah’s power and military infrastructure in Lebanon—yet it is not interested in taking over formal governance of the nation. All it needs is a weapon to unleash against Israel at some point yet future. Hezbollah already proved its value to that end in the war against Israel during the summer of 2006.
Iran is the number-one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the Middle East, and it has been since the 1970s. After it gained control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 through Hamas, Tehran began to focus more diligently on cementing control of Lebanon. It accomplished that goal in May. Iran now controls both Gaza and Lebanon!
“Hezbollah’s victory in taking over western and central Beirut … has had the effect of adding another link to the pro-Iranian chain encircling Israel,” reported debkafile. “In many ways it is a more damaging setback for Israel’s national security than the Palestinian Hamas’s seizure of the Gaza Strip” (May 15). In fact, one Hamas activist told the Washington Times that it was the second stage of a plan to tighten the noose around Israel—a plan that started with the Gaza coup and will spread to Jordan and Egypt.
The Beirut putsch was a monstrous act of war by Iran! If it were America or Israel taking over in Gaza or Lebanon, you can be sure there would be a massive international outcry!
But it wasn’t America or Israel. It was Iran. And the international community essentially stood back and let it happen.
Washington’s response to the crisis was anemic. Its first move was to try to drum up international support for the Lebanese government. Condoleezza Rice busied herself with visits to the United Nations secretary general and the foreign ministers of France and Saudi Arabia. Washington called on the Arab League to “show its displeasure with Hezbollah and its sponsors,” the Washington Post reported (May 10).
The phone calls and meetings changed precisely nothing, of course. For 19 months, the United Nations has stationed 15,000 troops in Lebanon, supposedly to contain Hezbollah, and that changed nothing. What possible good could expressions of “displeasure” do?
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called on “those who have influence over Syria and Iran to encourage those countries to use their influence with Hezbollah.” It is hard to imagine a more ignorant statement. Syria and Iran were already using their influence with Hezbollah—to control Lebanon.
As Barry Rubin wrote, “Iran and Syria back their friends with weapons and help; the West responds with words backed by nothing. Who can blame Hezbollah and Damascus and Tehran for laughing in contempt?” (Jerusalem Post, May 11; emphasis ours).
What then made this shameful situation far worse was the political agreement that consolidated and legitimized Hezbollah’s victory.
A Disgraceful Agreement
Back in late 2006, the Hezbollah-led opposition resigned from the national unity coalition cabinet, demanding more power and a veto in all government decisions. Since then, amid numerous assassinations of prominent Lebanese figures, the Lebanese government had been deadlocked. When the president’s term ran out last November, no new president could be elected without Hezbollah’s cooperation, even after 19 grounded attempts.
Now this deadlock is resolved. After five days of negotiations in Doha, the Lebanese government submitted and gave Hezbollah what it had been holding out for 18 months for: veto power in a new government.
Why the change? Because of Hezbollah’s brutal display of military might.
Yes, once again in the Middle East, violence paved the way for more political power for terrorists.
What Hezbollah’s veto power in a new national unity government means is clear. It means the Lebanese government can pass no legislation calling for the terrorist group’s disarmament. It means the government can’t direct the army to take action against Hezbollah or stop a Hezbollah attack on Israel. In truth, it means the government can’t make any decisions that might favor Israel or the West. All key decisions and appointments in the new government will have to be approved by Hezbollah. The Doha agreement didn’t even mention UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, which call for Hezbollah’s disarmament.
As Reza Hossein Borr wrote for Global Politician, “The fact of the matter is the opponents of Hezbollah were very happy that it did not capture and execute them during the short civil war. They were humbled sufficiently to accept what they couldn’t accept for nearly two years. They were happy that they were alive and they were happy that Hezbollah was happy to withdraw its troops from their territories” (June 2).
It was a clever plan by Hezbollah. Flex its tremendous power—enough to let the Lebanese see it, enough to wring from them the political concessions it sought—and then retreat to the shadows and play the whole incident down. Nothing to see here, folks.
The Doha deal also enabled the election of Syrian-backed Gen. Michel Suleiman as president on May 25. This was widely seen as perhaps the most positive outcome of the agreement. In reality, Suleiman is a sympathizer of Hezbollah and an enemy of Israel. He was handpicked by former Syrian President Hafez Assad as Lebanon’s Army commander. During his nine years in that role, he never confronted Hezbollah—not even during the Second Lebanon War. In May, rather than directing the army to repel Hezbollah’s attack, he presided over a largely pro-Hezbollah force that stood by while the terrorists seized ground.
Any notion that Suleiman might take stronger action against Hezbollah as president is ridiculous.
The Failure of Negotiation
After World War ii, President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought he could negotiate a peaceful handling of Eastern Europe with Russia’s Joseph Stalin. Yet Stalin, one of the worst dictators ever, ended up enslaving all of Eastern Europe. That’s what happens when you sit down and try to negotiate with these very ambitious and vile dictators. Sadly, too few people are paying attention to this alarming history today.
On May 15, the American president spoke at the Knesset to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Israel. “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” he said. “We have heard this foolish delusion before. … We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
President Bush was exactly right! It is not a time to negotiate. It is a time to stop terrorist acts. Hezbollah will never be talked out of abandoning its cult of death. Efforts to pacify these terrorists by giving them political power are doomed to spectacular failure!
Both U.S. Democratic presidential nominees at the time strongly disagreed with the president’s remarks. Barack Obama said that America needs to “use all elements of American power—including tough, principled and direct diplomacy—to pressure countries like Iran and Syria.” Hillary Clinton called Bush’s comments “offensive and outrageous.” Of course, Winston Churchill was also vilified for warning against Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany before World War ii. But we fail to learn from our own history.
What happened in Lebanon was clearly a setback for Washington and its allies that seek to disarm Hezbollah. Amazingly, however—just days after his Knesset speech—President Bush said, “I am hopeful that the Doha agreement … will usher in an era of political reconciliation to the benefit of all Lebanese.” He congratulated Suleiman on his election, and a U.S. congressional delegation attended the parliamentary vote that officially made Suleiman president—right along with the foreign ministers of Iran and Syria.
It was bad enough that the U.S.—not to mention the United Nations—did nothing while Hezbollah strong-armed the Lebanese government into submission. But to then pretend that the resulting Hezbollah-dominated political landscape would be more peaceful and stable was an even more shameful betrayal!
Reza Hossein Borr believes that this acceptance by the Western world was the greatest concession Hezbollah received. “The international recognition of Hezbollah as a political force will encourage this organization to increase its military power even further to secure even more recognition,” he wrote (op. cit.).
By smiling upon the Doha agreement, the Western world put its stamp of legitimacy on the new state of Hezbollastan that now occupies the former nation of Lebanon!
Clearly, Hezbollah, our mortal enemy, must be destroyed. But we—Israel and the United States, even Europe at this time—simply do not have the will to do it.
And will is one thing Hezbollah and its backers in Iran and Syria don’t lack: They’ll kill anyone and destroy anything to win.
Victory for Iran
Make no mistake: A victory for Hezbollah is a victory for Iran. Syria—as much as it has influenced Lebanese politics in the past—is a far less consequential figure in the Middle East than Iran is. Iran, not Syria, is Hezbollah’s chief patron. Iran gives Hezbollah at least $100 million in aid annually—some sources say more than $3 billion; it provides Hezbollah extensive training and masses of weapons, ranging from machine guns to anti-ship cruise missiles; it gives Hezbollah its directions, its ideology.
And now, via Hezbollah, Iran has tightened its choke hold on Lebanon. Through Hezbollah’s military putsch and cleverly planned retreat—followed by an agreement hailed by the Arab world and passively approved by the West—it not only consolidated its political position in the country, but also eliminated any possible threat of its forced disarmament. And it got its choice of president to boot.
What does this development mean for America? It means the U.S. is losing its war against terrorism! It is a calamity of the highest order! Most of the media and most of our politicians don’t view these events this way, but every terrorist victory is a dangerous warning sign to America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East.
As Iran keeps marching forward and winning systematic terrorist acts of war, we see a clear failure of will on the part of America and the Western world.
The reason America’s efforts in Lebanon have failed could not be more clear. It is because Iran, via Hezbollah, has the Lebanese government under siege. Yet still, the U.S. simply will not go after Iran.
Do you know why? Did you know that God prophesied this would happen? If you have been reading the Trumpet for any length of time, you know that biblical prophecy foretold this disaster—and reveals precisely why it is happening: because God has broken America’s will.
Read the prophecy in Leviticus 26. God says that if we do not obey His laws, He will curse us. One of the curses God warns us about is this: “I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain” (verses 19-20). Yes, America has power—yes, it has strength. But the pride in that power is broken, and the strength is being spent in vain.
The fact that the U.S. is abandoning Lebanon to Iran is a truly remarkable sign of just how powerless it has become.
Lebanon is clearly a project the U.S. is heavily invested in. Washington trumpeted the Cedar Revolution of 2005 as being a symbol of the Middle East’s future, of freedom and democracy sweeping the region toward peace and security. It has funneled $1.3 billion into the Siniora government over the past two years.
Those big ideas have been trampled. $400 million of that money went toward strengthening the Lebanese Army, and now Hezbollah has co-opted that force. “The Lebanese Army is by now more an operational arm of Hezbollah than an armed force that serves the government,” debkafile reported (May 16).
President Bush has pursued three priorities in the Middle East: Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Lebanon. Despite massive expenditures, he finds himself unable to lock down even one of these situations.
Here is the plain truth: Iran is the problem behind all three.
The U.S. will never resolve Iraq without confronting Iran. The U.S. and Israel will never put down the Palestinian terrorist groups without confronting Iran. Lebanon will never be secured unless Iran is put down. All efforts to put these issues to rest—while ignoring the Iran connection—are exercises in futility.
The fact that the U.S. simply will not confront Iran is the single greatest proof today that God has broken the pride of our power.
The U.S. is truly spending its strength in vain in Lebanon, in Israel and in Iraq. The single greatest reason is Iran. The Islamic Republic is bloodying America in all three theaters. And still, Washington acts as though France or the Arab League can solve the problem.
The Iraq War alone is costing the United States $341 million per day. It has killed well over 3,000 American soldiers and cost half a trillion dollars. And the truly remarkable thing about it is where it is all leading: In the end, the U.S. is going to pull out, and Iran is going to take over.
The U.S. went into Iraq not only to put down Saddam Hussein, but also to use that area as a staging ground for dealing with the second member of the “axis of evil”—Iran. But in the end, all the strength we’re spending there is achieving exactly the opposite of what we wanted. We are preparing to hand control of Iraq—and subsequently the Middle East—to Iran.
Many people are criticizing the Bush administration harshly for its decisions. They fail to see the bigger picture. This problem is not merely the result of bad decisions by one administration: It is the result of curses from God that have descended on the United States for our disobedience to His laws.
It wasn’t our president who broke the pride of our power—it was God. He is trying to teach our nation the problems that result from forgetting Him.
Iran’s Next Move
The Trumpet has been warning for 15 years that Iran would take over Iraq en route to its becoming the “king of the south.” Its role in biblical prophecy is clear, and today we see events leading to its fulfillment in a truly remarkable way.
Now we must ask the question: What piece of territory will Iran conquer next? It will undoubtedly go after the West Bank.
The Arabs of the Fatah party currently control the West Bank. However, Hamas terrorists (and weapons) are present throughout the West Bank and there is little doubt that they are working toward getting control of this strategic region of Israel. Iran’s ultimate goal is to overrun Jerusalem. The West Bank adjoins the city. The Iranians believe that if they can conquer Jerusalem, they can unite the Arab world under their control.
Despite Tehran’s diabolical strategy to slaughter Jews and overrun Jerusalem, many in the U.S. still want to negotiate with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even as he continues to commit terrorist acts of war! We want to negotiate just as Neville Chamberlain of Britain wanted to negotiate with Hitler leading up to World War ii. Hitler took over a big portion of Europe and almost won World War ii before the Allied powers finally woke up and realized there was no other recourse but to fight!
We face the same situation in the Middle East today. Iran has taken over Gaza and Lebanon, and soon it will get control of the West Bank. Then it will turn its attention toward its ultimate prize—the capture of Jerusalem!
Bible prophecy says Iran will then push at a European power (Daniel 11:40). That push will undoubtedly revolve around Jerusalem, which remains a focal point of Catholicism, and is rapidly being besieged by radical Islamic forces led by Iran. Conquering Jerusalem has been Iran’s openly stated goal for some time. But can you imagine what will happen to the Arab world when it takes control of East Jerusalem—including its third-holiest site? (You can learn more about this event by reading our March 2006 cover story, “Jerusalem Is About to Be Cut in Half.”)
That event will likely transform many moderate Arabs into dangerous Arab radicals. Despite that victory, however, Iran is not going to get control of all of Jerusalem because when it pushes at Europe, Europe will react by descending upon it as a “whirlwind.” This is the clash between the king of the south and the king of the north prophesied in Daniel 11:40.
Strong’s Bible Concordance states that this European whirlwind will leave people terror-stricken! It will probably be a nuclear whirlwind that will do a lot of damage very quickly. Remember, Iran started this state-sponsored terrorism and has been the predominant power behind it. Gaining control of Jerusalem is its number-one ambition. America and other Western nations can negotiate with it, and turn a blind eye when it overthrows governments, but nobody’s going to talk it out of that goal. It has claimed that as its avowed aim for years, just as Hitler did before he started World War ii. As Churchill said, we just never seem to learn from history!
God wants us to know that just before Christ’s return will be a time when prophecy will be very specific and detailed. He said we would even be counting the days. What could be more inspiring, stirring and uplifting than that? And when we see Iran’s continual pushing, though it is bad news, it will lead to this greatest event ever to occur in the universe: the return of Jesus Christ!
This will happen, and you can prove it from your Bible. You don’t want to take our word or any man’s word for it—but you can take God’s word for it! When He says it, it will surely come to pass! These are the most exciting times in human history! The Messiah is about to come!