Brinkmanship in the Middle East
by Sarah Ann Haves
Recent U.S. and European negotiations with Iran over its nascent nuclear military program ended without an agreement. This time, French President Francois Hollande intervened at the last minute in Geneva to disrupt concessions to Iran. He felt that U.S. President Barack Obama was willing to give too much too soon in light of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s charm offensive.
The negotiations resume on November 20, 2013. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already furious with the U.S. and Europe over a possible deal with Iran that would not really halt its nuclear military program but just delay it a few months. Netanyahu's most pressing concern has been that Western powers will lift some of the most important sanctions that are in place — those that have been stiff enough to bring Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's recent comments regarding the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations upset an already suspicious Israeli public. Now, most Israelis see Kerry as a one-sided pro-Palestinian diplomat. Kerry gave a veiled threat to Israel that if it didn't concede to the Palestinians it would face greater isolation, more de-legitimization and possibly a third Intifada (Palestinian Uprising). This caused a large Israeli protest at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Citizens are blaming Kerry for inflaming an already tense situation between Israelis and Palestinians. Following Kerry's accusations against Israel, a car bombing took place in Judea and Samaria causing injuries to a couple living in the settlements.
In the midst of this Middle East pressure cooker, Americans, on the whole, are adopting an isolationist approach to the region. A recent poll suggests that most U.S. citizens do not want the Obama Administration to get involved in the Middle East. Despite the fact that Syrian President Bashar Assad may not be revealing all his chemical stockpiles to UN inspectors, a majority of Americans do not want any U.S. military action taken against him. Weary after involvement in two Middle East wars, they don't care to be a part of any new conflict that might develop in the region.
One of America's redemptive purposes has always been to extend mercy and aid to other nations. But, with more than 120,000 dead in Syria, 1400 killed by Assad's chemical weapons and millions of people displaced, Americans have not been interested in intervention in that nation — not in the beginning of the civil war when it was possible, and not now, when it is nearly impossible to even get Red Cross aid into certain parts of the country.
This affects American foreign policy in the Middle East as both the White House and Congress are acting based on the views of the general public. This should be cause for concern for pro-Israel Bible believers. It is a strong America that, in the past, was able to keep the Middle East quiet through leverage. A strong America was able to provide economic aid to countries in the region in order to generate stability. A strong America was able to show military might in order to keep a balanced order in the region.
That is all changing now. For years, diplomats in Israel and the international community have expressed concern that America is losing its superpower regional status in the Middle East, along with its deterrence power. The Arab Spring which turned into an Islamic Winter and now seems to be turning into a Jihadist Dream is causing chaos in the Middle East. Yet, Obama's approach has been to pull back and not involve America as the leading regional player.
Russia is therefore emerging as the new superpower in the Middle East and continues to supply advanced arms to both Syria and Iran. This unholy alliance is getting stronger while America stands on the sidelines. If Iran does become nuclear capable, Arab countries that once came under the umbrella of the United States will, out of fear, approach Iran for political cover. There will also be nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Already, Saudi Arabia has approached Pakistan for help in developing nuclear power. Other nations will follow suit.
Estimates are that Iran could reach nuclear "breakout" within 1-6 months. The "breakout" is the point in which Iran could quickly develop a nuclear bomb without it being detected by international intelligence agencies in time.
Next year is a pivotal point in this brinkmanship. First of all, the U.S. has given Israel and the Palestinians until January 2014 to reach a peace agreement. If it is not reached, then the threat from the Obama Administration is that U.S. President Barack Obama will impose a solution on both Israel and the Palestinians, based on the Clinton Parameters. There is not only a division of the land mentioned in those Parameters but also a division of Jerusalem.
The threat from
Secondly, by early to mid 2014, Iran may already become nuclear capable. If the U.S. and Europe work out a deal with Iran on November 20th — a deal that would temporarily stop the centrifuges from spinning and stop Iran from enriching uranium — it would only be good for six months. That agreement would last until the Spring of 2014. This would give Israel and the U.S. time to consider military action against Iran and prepare for it. But, it is also a huge risk, because Iran may figure out a way to become nuclear capable during that period. In other words, Iran may still reach the "breakout" stage without international detection in that six months time frame.
Right now, it may already be too late for Israel or the U.S. to risk hitting nuclear installations in Iran without fear of environmental disaster because of nuclear fall-out. Obviously, neither nation wants to see that kind of collateral damage affecting the Iranian population.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Administration continues to link the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the Iranian issue as a way of leverage with Israel. If Israel concedes "land for peace" with the Palestinians, and gives up some of its rights, then the Obama Administration will move quicker on the Iranian situation and be tougher in negotiations with Rouhani. But, if Israel holds its ground, and does not concede to Palestinian demands, then the Obama Administration will continue to be tougher on Israel, while at the same time, appeasing the Iranians in nuclear negotiations. The linkage, which this reporter has been mentioning for some time, is clearer than ever. It is choking Israel's diplomatic leverage and must be broken.
Israel must not concede God's covenant land to appease the nations. And, the nations must not appease Iran and concede to the Persian State's demands for nuclear capability.
Americans have been worried about Al-Qaeda because of 9/11 and the continued threat to U.S. security. Al-Qaeda has an extensive terrorist network of Sunni extremists throughout the world. An estimated 30,000 Sunni jihadists are operating now in the Middle East. It is cause for concern. But Israel puts Iran first as its greatest enemy. Iran is a Shiite kingdom expanding from Lebanon to Iraq and to Syria. If Iran becomes nuclear capable, even opposing Sunni forces will come under the umbrella of Iran.
There has been a high level of political deception released throughout the world due to these negotiations with Iran. Rouhani is a master deceiver. Pro-Israel Bible believers need to pray for a greater measure of God's discernment poured out on the earth to overcome the spirit of deception that has been released. Pray for U.S. and European leaders not to be taken in by Rouhani's charm offensive.
Both Shiite and Sunni extremists want to establish a caliphate state that will eventually spread out and dominate the Middle East region. Currently, they are fighting each other and Israel is quietly standing by. But when they come together as a united force of political Islam, they will be looking at Israel as the main obstacle to their regional plans of hegemony. The question is: Will Americans continue to stand by with an isolationist attitude or will they come to the aid of their regional ally when Israel confronts its enemies in a future war against the Jewish State?
"Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance and the ends of the earth for Your possession." Psalm 2:8
(c) 2013 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.