Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

This headline first appeared in the Trumpet in December 1994. Recent events make this even more of a possibility.
 

The king of the north and the king of the south are two powers prophesied to clash in this end time. It is vital that we understand who they are.

“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Dan. 11:40). Both powers are rising quickly on the world scene right now. This clash will shake this world as never before! And that is the good news. The bad news is, it will lead to World War iiiunless we heed God’s prophecy and repent!

Islamic extremism is going to be the king of the south. You need to understand why.

The Muslims of the world are comprised of a population second only to that of China. They inhabit a geographic area larger than Russia. The Islamic world also controls much of the world’s oil resources.

The stage is being set for an Islamic group of nations, almost certainly to be led by Iran as the prophesied king of the south, to push at the king of the north, the European Union. Iran has a foreign policy with a lot of “push.” And since the end of their war with Iraq in 1988, Iran has accumulated a massive arsenal of military weapons to back up its aggressive foreign policy.

Now that Iraq has been taken out of the picture, Iran is even closer to becoming the reigning king of the Middle East. It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now, but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq. At least, it will have a heavy influence over the Iraqi people.

Iran’s Nuclear Power

Iran has long sought to become the undisputed leader in the region, largely through aggressive and ambitious military development.

Iran’s weapons program is of enormous concern to the U.S. It isn’t only former Soviet weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material that Iran is getting its hands on—it has also actively recruited former Soviet atomic scientists. Communist China has also supplied the Iranians with nuclear technology.

It is clear Iran wants its own production capability. Under the guise of creating a civilian energy program, it is pushing to bring home whole facilities like uranium-conversion facilities—spending far more annually on nuclear hardware than would be required for mere domestic energy production. It now has two nuclear power plants. Iranian diplomats state that they were built only for energy. But nobody believes that, since their country is glutted with oil.

All this is in addition to nuclear weapons that Iran already has, thanks to the Islamic former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

Notice this quote from the European newspaper over a decade ago, in a front page article titled “Iran Has N-Bomb”: “Iran has obtained at least two nuclear warheads out of a batch officially listed as ‘missing’ from the newly independent republic of Kazakhstan, formerly part of the Soviet Union.” This article said the Russians sent a top-secret report to the cia disclosing that several nuclear warheads vanished from a just-closed nuclear base in Kazakhstan. “Two of the nuclear weapons were smuggled across the border from Kazakhstan into Iran last year and are now under the control of Reza Amrollahi, the head of the Iranian Organization for Atomic Energy. The fact that Amrollahi is also in charge of recruiting former Soviet atomic scientists has sharpened the West’s anxiety over Iran’s efforts to build an Islamic bomb” (May 7, 1992).

But nuclear capability is just the capstone of a comprehensive Iranian military buildup.

As far back as 1994, U.S.News & World Report gave some alarming statistics as to just how strong Iran’s military was becoming (emphasis mine): “Iran has been vigorously rearming its regular forces as well, mainly with help from Russia. The Rafsanjani government has spent up to $4 billion a year for the past five years on everything from artillery, tanks and advanced sea mines to missiles and Russian jets. Iran has even bought two attack submarines from Russia, and a third is said to be on the way. With some 1,200 tanks, 2,300 artillery pieces, 100 attack helicopters, two dozen Scud and Chinese css-8 cruise missiles, and 16 fighter and ground attack squadrons, the Iranian military is one of the toughest in the region. ‘They are rebuilding their forces in a very calculated way,’ says Zeev Eytan of Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies and co-editor of the Middle East Military Balance. ‘They are spending money carefully and buying good equipment’” (Nov. 14).

These are the actions of a country intent on becoming the superpower of the Middle East! They weren’t just buying cheap weapons.

Today, regionally speaking, Iran trails only Egypt in the size of its army (11 million men fit for military service, with over 800,000 more reaching military age annually), but it outranks Egypt in military expenditures, which, since that 1994 U.S. News article was published, have climbed toward $9.7 billion a year.

Iran also has several thousand tons of chemical agents stockpiled, including blister, blood and choking agents. According to testimony by Leonard Spector before the House International Relations Committee in 1996, it is capable of producing an additional thousand tons of these agents every year. And in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention it signed, Iran has had a biological warfare program for two decades, beginning back during the Iran-Iraq war.

For delivery of these deadly materials, Iran has artillery mortars, rockets, aerial bombs and Scud warheads—many also delivered from former Soviet countries, China and North Korea. Iran is now working hard to become self-sufficient in its missile production. In July 2000, Iran announced a successful test of its own Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of over 800 miles. Contacts within the Iranian regime claimed that the Shahab-4, with a range of 1,300 miles, was successfully tested in the summer of 2002. This missile uses entirely Russian technology.

In September 2000, Robert Walpole, a National Intelligence Council official, told the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on proliferation that “The probability that a missile with a weapon of mass destruction would be used against U.S. forces or interests [or Europe’s, I might add] is higher today than during most of the Cold War, and will continue to grow.”

In other words, in the hands of a country like Iran, this terrifying arsenal won’t sit idle for long. Their history shows that they are adept at using those means at their disposal to meet their objectives.

The Root of Terrorism

The Iraq campaign was the latest round in America’s global war on terrorism. But where did all of this world terrorism begin? Iraq is a dangerous part of the equation, but not the head of the snake.

We must go back in history to see terrorism’s roots.

When the Shah of Iran led the country, he was a strong ally of America. But our liberal press and politicians thought he was too undemocratic. So they helped to drive him from power. As he was falling, America gave him little or no support.

Then, in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah. For 10 years, until he died, Khomeini established Iran as the world’s number-one sponsor of terrorism. He was succeeded by Hashemi Rafsanjani, who intensified Iran’s worldwide network of terrorism.

Back in 1994, then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher called Iran “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.” America has known for years who “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism” is. But we lack the will to deal with Iran. State-sponsored terrorism became deeply entrenched in the 1990s, and our leaders did almost nothing to combat it.

We must understand how this relates to the present situation in Iraq. History shows how Islamic extremism can dramatically change the politics within a country, and it gives us an indication of the kind of power Iran could be very close to achieving.

Let’s look at Egypt, where Islamic extremism—which spawns terrorism—is gaining power at a frightening pace. Daniel 11:42 indicates that Egypt will be allied with the king of the south. This prophecy indicates we are about to see a radical change in Egyptian politics! That change is already well under way.

Radical Changes in Egypt

It is interesting that God’s end-time apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, visited with two Egyptian presidents, Anwar el-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. Egypt received a strong warning from God.

In 1981, Mike Wallace of the television program 60 Minutes interviewed Ayatollah Khomenei. He told the ayatollah that Anwar Sadat had said he was a “lunatic.”

Almost immediately afterward, President Sadat was assassinated!

That is the kind of power the leader of radical Islam has! America and the world allowed this evil power to change history. We didn’t have the will to stop such madness.

When the Sadat assassination occurred, Mr. Armstrong said it was a turning point in Middle East history! And that was almost an understatement. But virtually nobody in the media saw—or they refused to see—what a world-changing event that was!

Iran’s terrorist network was working frighteningly well.

Mr. Sadat was in the process of changing the Middle East for the good of the world. He took a stand against his own people and the Arab world to make peace with Israel. He proved to be a truly great man. If the U.S. and Britain had shown his courage, they would have dealt with Iran then. Because of their weakness, the Middle East began to look to the king of terror—the king of the south—for leadership. It all happened because of American weakness.

Islamic radicals are very effective in assassinating top leaders. They probably also assassinated the speaker of Egypt’s parliament, Rifaat al-Mahgoub (the country’s second-ranking official at the time), in 1990. Gunmen on motorcycles sprayed his chauffeured sedan with automatic rifle fire. They likely were behind the killing of Algeria’s President Mohammed Boudiaf in 1992. These are just a few examples of how Islamic extremism can influence Mideast politics.

President Mubarak could be assassinated just as Anwar el-Sadat was. This could radically change Egyptian politics, as happened in Iran in 1979. In fact, the Bible indicates that could happen: “He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape” (Dan. 11:42). The king of the north will destroy the king of the south—and Egypt. Why Egypt? Is it because Egypt is allied with the king of the south? Does that mean radical Islam will soon control or direct Egyptian politics? Bible prophecy answers yes. (Here Egypt is mentioned apart from the king of the south. This proves that Egypt is not the king of the south, although anciently it was, in type.)

Today, Egypt is the most stable country in the Arab world. It is viewed as the leader of the more moderate Arabs. But recently, Egypt has become much more friendly to Iran and more distant from Israel and the West. That happened after the death of Sadat and other violent terrorist acts committed against Egypt. In the past, Egyptian politics have been changed radically by Middle East assassinations and other violent acts directed by Iran. Such acts can rapidly change the minds of people. Revolutions often result. However it happens, Egypt will also become the enemy of the king of the north.

If radicals are willing to go to such extremes to influence a country like Egypt, what might they try to do in the weakened state of Iraq? How far would Iran be willing to go to secure the oil wealth of its neighbor in pursuit of its regional ambitions?

Supporting Terrorism

While President Bush considers Iran part of an “axis of evil,” most nations think differently. They are trading freely with Iran, making agreements and business deals. There is a lot of talk about how moderate the Iranian people are. That is why, even though Iran has committed worse crimes than Iraq, America’s policy has been much more lenient toward that country.

But what are Iran’s real fruits? After all, Iran is a theocratic republic. That means the religious leaders hold ultimate power. Under Iranian law, the ayatollah (now Khamenei, Khomenei’s successor) can override the president on any action he wishes. The 12-member clerical Guardian Council can scrap any decision of the elected parliament. Islamic leaders head the revolutionary court, the Tehran Justice Department and the special court for the clergy.

The fruits of the conservative clergy are those of condemnation of the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel, stifling political control (i.e. banning liberal candidates by the hundreds from supposedly “democratic” elections), censorship (banning books and closing down errant newspapers), floggings and executions, and hugely unsuccessful domestic economic and social policy.

Iran talks as though it is in the vanguard against terrorism. The terrible irony is, Iran’s definition of “terrorism” is vastly different from the U.S.’s. And not just among conservatives—even President Mohammad Khatami has said, “Supporting peoples who fight for their land is not, in my opinion, terrorism” (National Interest, Spring 2000). While out of one side of its mouth Iran condemns terrorism, it continues to support terror groups in Israel, Lebanon and Syria that sabotage peace and destabilize the region!

This is documented, proven fact. The evidence is available to everyone. Iran has vast links to regional terror groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Iran supports terrorism without qualms—morally, ideologically and economically.

Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

I believe the American economy will remain reasonably stable for a few years—until God’s warning message is delivered. But the U.S. has over a $6 trillion debt that is going to be a major cause of our economy collapsing very soon. We also lead the world in every major social disease: divorce and family breakdown, crime, drug usage and pornography.

Britain has similar problems.

So what will happen to Iraq when America and Britain can no longer support it? There is going to be a radical change in world events.

Can you imagine the power Iran would have if it gained control of Iraq, which was at one time the third-leading exporter of oil in the world? Experts say Iraq has more oil than any country in the world except Saudi Arabia.

I have believed for years that Iran will lead the king of the south and clash with the European Union, the king of the north. Iran is far ahead of any other Mideast country, apart from Israel, in developing nuclear warheads and bombs. They are a very aggressive force that will be stopped only by a superior force!

Saddam Hussein was the only leader that Iran feared. Now the U.S. has taken him out of the way. But does America have the will or strength to guard the spoils of war? Prophecy states that it does not.

Have we now cleared the way for Shiite Iran to rule over Shiite Iraq?

It was the U.S. that overpowered Serbian leader Milosevic. He was the only leader in Europe that Germany feared.

The staggering paradox may be that U.S. power cleared the way for both the king of the north (the European Union) and the king of the south— and ultimately paved the way for our own destruction, if we don’t repent.

The New York Times of May 1 wrote, “In recent weeks, there has been a steady trickle of intelligence reports about efforts by Iran to influence and shape events inside Iraq.

“Iran, in the view of American analysts, does not welcome a strong American role in Iraq, which would extend American political and military influence in the region.

“Under this assessment, Iran is not looking to confront American forces but to influence events so that the United States fails in its effort to shape Iraq and decides to leave.”

Of course Iran isn’t foolish enough to confront the U.S. directly at this point. After the Iraq campaign, America seems very strong.

But certain aspects of the Iraq campaign that actually show American weakness. And though the current U.S. administration is vowing not to allow an Iranian-style theocracy to gain hold in Iraq, there are also signs in the way it is rebuilding the country that show a fundamental lack of political will to see this pledge through. Perhaps it will not be during the term of the current president, but the Bible shows that America will fail to contain Iran the way it hopes to.

Already, it is clear that Iran is eyeing the situation for opportunities. It would like nothing more than to extend its influence over the majority Shiite population in Iraq, and assume control over its massive oil wealth.

Inroads

Shortly after Baghdad was taken by coalition forces, it quickly became clear how much the Iranian Shiites had made inroads into Iraq, even under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

Stratfor wrote this in its War Diary of April 23: “The Shiite population is creating a serious administrative problem for the United States. This was partly expected, partly a surprise. The surprise is not to the extent of anti-Americanism but the extent of the organization. The Shiites are much better organized than U.S. intelligence believed. It is clear that their long-term goal is to govern Iraq. …

“The United States cannot really crack down on the Shiites, and the Shiites know it. U.S. troops in riot control mode is not the image Washington wants. … In the end, the solution to this problem is likely in Tehran. The Iraqi Shiite community, to the extent to which it is organized, owes that organization to Iran. Iran’s goal is simple: Get the United States out of Iraq. Officials in Tehran do not expect this to happen immediately, but they do expect it to happen.”

One indication of the depth of the problem is coming in the form of an Iraqi Shiite cleric named Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. During Hussein’s rule, Al-Hakim was exiled for 23 years. He used that time to establish a large militia in Iran called the Badr Brigade, complete with heavy artillery and tanks. Since Baghdad fell, al-Hakim has returned home to Iraq, as have huge numbers of his brigade, to the cheers of thousands of Iraqi Shiites. He is demanding that American forces leave the country.

“Washington fears [al-Hakim] is an Iranian puppet who wants to impose a theocracy on Iraq, and some observers have compared his return from exile with that of former Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Tehran in 1979″ (National Post, Canada, May 13).

In addition, according to United Press International, Al-Dawa (a fundamentalist group affiliated with Iran-backed Hezbollah) opened 27 offices around Iraq during the week of May 10. This is yet another indication of the ties between Iran and great portions of the Iraqi populace—people who cannot be ignored if the U.S. really wants to establish democratic self-rule in Iraq.

The Shiites are holding bigger and bigger demonstrations demanding that the U.S. leave. Some of them are holding posters of Ayatollah Khomenei.

Religious Clash

When the king of the south clashes with the king of the north, the European king will be victorious. Then, the king of the north will unite with the rest of the Arab world not allied with Iran to destroy America, Britain and Judah (called “Israel” today)—unless we repent.

The clash of these two kings would be hastened greatly if Iraqi oil were to fall into the hands of Iran. But even a close alliance between the two countries could achieve the same goal. Germany and Europe get over a third of their oil from the Middle East.

Daniel 11:40 through Daniel 12:13 happen during the “time of the end.” Oil and money give the king of the south power to “push” and trigger a world catastrophe! The king of the north (the European Union) has shocked the world with its meteoric rise to power. We are now seeing the king of the south rise in a similar fashion.

All of these events are tied together. They are horrifying to contemplate! The Bible says we are about to see a religious clash that will stagger this world!

Bible prophecy is being fulfilled as you read this article. These prophecies are exploding on the world scene right now at a dizzying pace. This world is about to be plunged into its greatest suffering ever—trouble far worse than the concentration camps and the millions of people butchered in World War ii! It will all begin in the Middle East.

This issue concerns all of us. Events in the Middle East and Europe are major signs of the soon-coming Great Tribulation. The king of the north and the king of the south will spark the greatest time of suffering ever known to man! It will be far worse than Hiroshima or Nagasaki—or anything that happened in World Wars i and ii combined. We must awaken to the unparalleled nuclear holocaust just ahead of us!

With reporting by Joel Hilliker