Tensions within the Middle East and Washington

Tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East.  Over the weekend, Iranian forces boarded and commandeered an oil tanker flying the British flag.  Their claim was that the ship had violated Iranian sea space within the Persian Gulf.  Many, however, saw this as a retaliatory action because of the British navy impounding an Iranian vessel going through the Straits of Gibraltar.  The British claimed the ship's final destination was Syria.  This would have been a violation of the embargoes imposed against Syria by the European Union and the United States.  The British government is pondering the sending of a military fleet to join an American naval presence in the Persian Gulf and to guarantee that the Straits of Hormuz are free to all shipping, although a read a statement this morning where Iran said it could provide security for those straits.  Somehow I think this is sort of like asking the fox to guard the hen house.   


A week ago Iran claimed that it had shot down an unmanned American drone that had ventured into Iranian air space.  The United States claimed that the drone had not violated Iranian air space and that this act was another provocation that only escalated the tensions in the region. 


Meanwhile the verbal rhetoric between Iranian leaders and the Western world continues, with the greatest share of the attacks being directed to the Trump administration.  We know from intelligence sources within Iran that the sanctions imposed upon Iran by the EU and the United States are working.  The $150 billion dollars the Obama administration sent to Iran as part of the Iranian deal have now been spent.  The flow of Iranian oil has nearly evaporated due to the embargoes placed upon it and the penalties to be imposed upon those countries that accept Iranian oil.  You have to remember that the exporting of oil was the largest sector of the Iranian economy.  We know that the Iranians have not been bashful about their boast of having exceeded the amount of uranium that could be enriched and available for a nuclear weapons manufacture.  This is a violation of the Joint Iranian agreement reached during the Obama administration.  And they continue, at a feverish pace, to develop all types of ballistic missiles that have the potential of striking nearly anywhere in the world. 


Because of its economic problems, the Iranian regime can no longer send the massive amounts of financial aid to its proxies in the region.  The hardest hit is that of Hamas within the Gaza Strip.  Instead of using those billions of dollars the leaders of Hamas had received over the years to improve their infrastructure, to create jobs for its people, to provide modern medical care, those leaders used those resources to purchase rockets, to dig massive tunnels, and to organize a strong resistive presence along the Israeli-Gaza border.  Because of the lack of funding, the rockets do not fly as often as they once did.  Now it is incendiary balloons that are launched.  And the tensions continue to escalate along that border. 


Israeli leaders threaten to take drastic actions against Hamas which we know they are incredibly capable of doing.  It would only take a few days to accomplish.  But then what?  The leadership of Hamas would only disappear somewhere in the desert and regroup and begin again.  And Israel would have the massive task of reincorporating a belligerent group of Arabs back into an Israeli socio-economic structure.  No, I don't think Israel will do anything drastic unless it is seriously provoked.  Israel does not want to run the risk of additional international blame, nor does it want to see Israeli men and women die for a piece of land that they gave up back in 2005. 


But, what is going to happen?  Pressure will continue to be placed upon Iran by both America and Europe.  And those allies of the United States will also demand that pressure be increased.  The Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, the Bahrainians, the Iraqis and the Jordanians all fear the consequences if Iran should possess nuclear weapons.  One can hardly imagine the destabilization of the Middle East if that should happen. 


As those pressures continue to mount, I believe Iran will turn toward its one friend - Russia.  I believe we will see stronger ties between those two nations in the coming months.  One evidence of that strength, I believe, will be the continuation of the strong partnership between Iran and Russia with the Syrians and the Assad regime, and so that war will simply continue - becoming one of the longest civil wars in recent history. 


What concerns me is not the Iranian situation, but the continued rise of anti-Semitism around the globe and especially within the United States.  Take for example the vote that occurred yesterday within the United States House of Representative when House Resolution 246 which opposed the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel was presented.  The resolution passed with a 398 to 17 margin.  Of course you can guess that those four ladies who comprise "The Squad" voted against the resolution.  But, here is what troubles me: That the House of Representatives would have to take the time to address whether our nation would support the BDS movement against Israel.  This BDS movement has found great traction among the elites of Hollywood and a few representatives, including Minnesota's Ilhan Omar - a member of "The Squad."  This movement has little impact upon the Israeli economy, one of the strongest in the world.  Israel has been one of the few stable governments within the Middle East in recent years, and is the regions only true democracy.  So, why our nations leaders take time to debate something that seems so out-of-place?  I believe it is because we are living in a time when the intent is to so isolate Israel from the rest of the world that somehow it simply disappears from the maps of the world. 


Friends, I have news for you.  There will come a time when Iran will be no more.  There will come a time when Russia will be no more.  There will come a time when America will be no more.  But there will never be a time when Israel will be no more.  God has made those promises to Israel through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  We do not know what God's plans are for America - not revealed to us through the Word of God, but we do know what God's plans are for Israel. 


Israel is not a perfect nation - there is no such thing.  But Israel has been blessed by God.  Just look at God's hand upon that nation these past 71 years.  Yes, the Israeli people have worked hard, but do not discount the presence of God in that land.  Friends, I know how the story ends, and I certainly want to stand with those who are standing with God as the final chapter comes to a close. 

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