Mideast Powder Keg

Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Mideast Powder Keg

From Tunisia to Yemen, the whole balance of power in North Africa and the Middle East is changing. What does this portend for the future in this volatile region?

Herbert Armstrong said it: “The boiling caldron in the Middle East continues to boil over. …

“Right now we are in the recess between World War ii and World War iii—the nuclear war that would blast all humanity off this planet except for the supernatural intervention of God Almighty. And the final massing of the world’s armies at Armageddon will occur on a battlefield north of Jerusalem.

“We should be tremendously interested, therefore, in the Middle East” (Plain Truth, February 1982).

Our editor in chief said it: “Events in the Middle East dominate global headlines. There is no doubt these events threaten global peace and warrant our attention.”

But in the current context of 21st-century global events fulfilling latter-day Bible prophecies, Gerald Flurry contributed a vital addendum to the admonition to watch events in the crucial Middle East (Trumpet, November/December 2006):

But we must realize that there is an even greater trend we should be watching. In many ways, the Middle East is a sideshow compared to this ominous threat.We must watch Europe now more than ever. Too many people, particularly the global news media, are allowing circumstances in the Middle East to distract them from what is stirring in Europe. Are you aware that Europe is beginning to react strongly to events unfolding in the Middle East? It is realizing that it must rise to meet Iran and its radical Islamist henchmen.

Current events in the Islamic crescent that arcs from Tunis to the southern tip of the Persian Gulf have the eyes of the media and foreign-policy exponents glued to their iPhones watching for the latest news on the wave of popular unrest sweeping across North Africa, into Egypt, Lebanon and as far south as Yemen.

Reuters reported Thursday that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s observed that “Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco all share the same risk factors that contributed to the events in Tunisia: young populations, high unemployment, weak economies, rising food prices, and a lack of political and civil liberties” (January 27).

Add to this list Yemen’s situation, where 10,000 have demonstrated in support of the removal of the country’s long-serving president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and a picture emerges of a crescent of unrest spreading from North Africa to the Persian Gulf that is causing extreme concern in foreign-policy circles.

Then there are the continuing challenges in Sudan and the Horn of Africa, added to ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and instability in Pakistan.

This great arc of unrest must be viewed in the light of Iran’s continuing efforts to take advantage of these situations in its concentrated and unwavering effort to pressure the United States and its allies to pack up and leave the region ripe for Iranian takeover.

Viewed in this light, the whole current North African/Middle East turmoil presents a scenario deeply worrying to those nations economically dependent on the continuing, uninterrupted supply of North African and Middle Eastern oil and gas, especially the European Union.

With U.S. President Barack Obama publicizing the imminent drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s no wonder that secessionist movements in this region would suddenly seek to take advantage of an American administration weak on foreign policy and lacking demonstrable will to be up for the fight to protect the flow of oil through the Gulf.

In fact, Washington’s stance of indicating support for the protest movements across greater Arabia is only adding fuel to the protest fire.

The Daily Telegraph, under the headline “Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising,” ran an item claiming that “The American government secretly backed leading figures behind the Egyptian uprising who have been planning ‘regime change’ for the past three years” (January 28).

Yet, in the current imbroglio, it might even appear that Washington finds itself on the same side as declared enemy Iran!

On Friday, CNSNews.com—citing Iran Daily and the Tehran Times as examples—commented that “Media in the Arab world are generally reporting cautiously on the protests rocking Egypt following the shakeup in Tunisia, but those in Iran are giving the turmoil prominent, almost gleeful, coverage.

“Sunni Egypt, viewed as the leader of the Arab world, and Shiite Iran are longstanding rivals.

“Iranian outlets, especially those linked to the government and establishment, are using terms like ‘revolution’ and ‘uprising’ to describe the protests, painting the demonstrators as heroic and giving headline treatment to voices predicting the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak” (January 28).

Though Tehran and Washington might appear to be on the same page, with both backing the Egyptian protest movement, you can be sure they have vastly different motives.

The U.S. has a history of backing the wrong horse in such situations then getting kicked in the teeth by any new regime. Thus America ought not expect any kudos from those who might gain office in North Africa and the Middle East in the wake of the current unrest, not the least any movement with the backing of Iran’s terrorist-sponsoring regime!

Obviously, this current situation presents an open invitation to any national power with a stronger political will to contend with it. A nation with the political will to engage any nation fomenting unrest that risks access to either its main—or as in the case of Europe—its planned alternative sources of energy. Enter Germany.

In this respect it is worth watching the upcoming Munich Security Conference slated to begin this week, on Friday, February 4, with top brass from leading nations gathering in Bavaria to consider the world’s main security threats and how to deal with them.

One can be sure that the North Africa/Mideast crisis will be top of the agenda.

Arab News carried a report from AP Brussels that EU President Herman Van Rompuy made a public statement Saturday that “appeared to be an effort to distance the bloc from Mubarak’s regime.” Van Rompuy “said on Saturday that the EU was ‘deeply troubled’ by the spiral of violence in Egypt. …

“The EU has traditionally had close relations with the Egyptian government as part of its partnerships with countries on the eastern and southern rims of the Mediterranean” (January 29).

Those relationships are about to change. They will change as the EU sees access to the only viable source of oil and gas next to its present main supplier, Russia, threatened. EU elites are very conscious of the strategic weakness presented by Europe’s over-dependence on Russia as the EU’s principal supplier of oil and gas. They will be currently feeling the need to formulate action to counter the threat to the world’s current main source of the black gold by political and social unrest in the Middle East.

Added to this, EU elites are very conscious that their chief Islamist antagonist, Iran, holds the current presidency of opec.

The one thing to which Iran’s political and religious leaders appear blind is the history of the EU’s leading nation, Germany. They are certainly blind to the prophesied outcome of their persistent provocation of the Eurobeast.

The increasing “push” by extremist Islam, under constant encouragement from Tehran, is destined to reap the whirlwind for the Iranian regime (Daniel 11:40).

Having first secured the submission of the strategically vital Balkan Peninsula to EU imperial dominance in the 1990s, elites in Brussels and Berlin were quick to deploy the German Navy in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Lebanon, and off the Horn of Africa.

This was the first step in developing those toeholds surrounding the crucial gateways of Suez, the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf into a more robust presence.

The present crisis in North Africa and the Middle East presents the ideal opportunity for the EU, via its proxy nato and an increasingly high-profile German Bundeswehr under the leadership of reformist Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, to step up its presence in this region.

Expect some sort of firm direction to emerge from the most assertive nations at the timely Munich Security Conference—one being the host country, Germany—in relation to a strengthened nato (EU) presence in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa in reaction to the present unrest spreading throughout the region.

In the immediate term, the current unrest in North Africa and the Mideast is going to accelerate efforts by EU elites to form an alliance with certain Middle Eastern states of a nature that will surprise most observers. It will change the whole equation of the balance of power in this highly strategic region.

That alliance is prophesied in Psalm 83. Our editor in chief has stated that “Iran, Iraq and Egypt will not be in that alliance.”

Which nations will be in that alliance? They are all listed in verses 6 to 8 of Psalm 83. This is an alliance of Middle Eastern nations formed against what the Psalm refers to as “God’s people.” Verse 8 shows these Mideast nations in alliance with a powerful people named Assur, the ancient Assyria of biblical history. The actual prophetic identity of these people in their modern configuration is revealed—along with those referred to as “thy people” in Psalm 83, verse 3—in our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

What is intriguing about this prophecy is that it relates to the not-too-distant future outcome of events catalyzed in North Africa and the Middle East over the past few weeks. It has deeply concerning relevance to the Anglo-Saxon and Jewish peoples of our day.

Our editor in chief has noted that “There has never been such an alliance to attack or totally destroy Israel in history. Concerning this Psalm, the Anchor Bible reads, ‘History transmits no record of the national crisis when the nations enumerated in this Psalm formed a league to wipe out Israel ….’ Lange’s Commentary points out, ‘The 10 nations who are here enumerated as being combined against Israel, are never mentioned elsewhere as enemies allied at the same time and for the purpose of annihilating Israel.’ Other commentaries make the same point. This must be an end-time prophecy!” (The King of the South).

To understand more about the current turmoil in North Africa and where it is leading, read our booklet The King of the South. It will give you the vital knowledge to fully comprehend events in this region, where they are leading and what type of world we will face following the outcome of the Psalm 83 alliance.

More importantly for you, it will lead you to understand why and just how this will lead to the fulfillment of one of the keynote prophecies foreshadowing the very event Herbert Armstrong prophesied as “the final massing of the world’s armies at Armageddon … on a battlefield north of Jerusalem.”

That keynote prophecy is that which Jesus Christ portrayed as a great sign to His Church of the imminence of His return: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. … And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:20, 28).

Events from Tunisia to Yemen these past few weeks have rapidly accelerated the fulfillment of that prophecy!