However the Debka report below makes one pause on that reflection and wonder if perhaps it is possible that the U.S. could become involved. At a minimum, the rhetoric coming from the U.S. has changed very recently and new questions arise:
Panetta: Iran is just months away from a nuke - a red line for US and Israel
"Despite the efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, they have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less," said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in a CBS interview Tuesday, Dec. 20, marking a radical change in US administration policy, he added: "That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it."
In the CBS interview he gave on his way back from trips to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, he drew no distinctions between America and Israel on the Iran issue.
Pelley then asked: If the Israelis decide to launch a military strike to prevent that weapon from being built, what sort of complications does that raise for you?
Panetta: We share the same common concern. The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it.
Asked if "it" included military steps, the US defense secretary replied: There are no options off the table. A nuclear weapon in Iran is unacceptable.
Below we see the changes that these statements represent and the implications:
Until now, DEBKAfile's Washington sources note, the Obama administration stood firmly by sanctions, which could be made tougher, as the only course of action for putting the brakes on Iran's weapons program.
However, Panetta made no mention of sanctions in this interview – not even of the ultimate penalties of an embargo on its oil trade and blacklisting its central bank.
DEBKAfile's intelligence sources link this radical change of posture, and its implied open door to joint US-Israeli military action, to the discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue President Barack Obama had with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Washington last Friday, Dec. 16. It took place at about the same time as Leon Panetta was meeting with Turkish leaders in Ankara. (The night before, the Turkish military council met urgently to review preparations for war hostilities on two fronts: Syria and Iran.)
Both meetings, say DEBKAfile's Washington sources, addressed the reality of Iran having a nuclear bomb within months.
The administration's change of course finds expression in six areas:
1. Panetta has tossed aside the various intelligence estimates of a three-to-four year timeline for Iran to have a nuclear bomb. He now accepts that Tehran may be only months away from this target.
2. His reference to "a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel" reflects the growing conviction among Western and Middle East intelligence experts that Iran has fast-tracked its high-grade uranium enrichment in underground facilities.
3. He is no longer warning Israel against attacking Iran and appears to be taking the opposite tack: We must stop Iran crossing the shared red line to an "unacceptable" nuclear weapon. "If we have to do it we will deal with it," he said, referring to the military option.
4. It is the last moment for the US to avert the Middle East's plunge into a nuclear race.
Dec. 5, the former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal said that after failing to persuade Israel and Iran to give up their nuclear weapons, Riyadh had no option but to develop its own; and Turkish leader have been saying to the Obama administration that if Iran has a nuclear weapon, so too will Turkey.
5. Iran's capture of the American RQ-170 stealth drone on Dec. 4 brought home to US military and intelligence planners that a military showdown between the US and Iran is no longer avoidable and if America does not take the initiative, Iran will keep on driving it into corners until there is no other option but to hit back.
6. The sudden death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong II and the period of uncertainty facing his successor Kim Jong-un could potentially lead to Pyongyang - or factions fighting for power – stepping up its involvement in Iran's nuclear weapon and missile development programs.
This is very interesting information. It still seems hard to believe that the U.S. would become involved in a direct conflict with Iran. It seems easier to see a situation in which the U.S. would give Israel support in certain areas, indirectly. But who knows, in this day and age, what may happen.
However we get there, we know with certainty that there will be significant warfare in the Middle East - as described in the prophetic scriptures. This warfare seems imminent and we also know that these battles take place at the end of the age - either just before the Tribulation or very early in the Tribulation.
Coupling the speed at which things are happening in the Middle East with the changes that are taking place in the revived Roman Empire, not to mention the world financial crisis - one word comes to mind: Change. It's hard to recall a time when there was so much change happening in so many different areas of prophecy. Instability also comes to mind.
We are on the verge of seeing a very different EU emerge from this financial crisis, and we know that the 10 Kings phase is looming.
We are on the verge of finally seeing how the Iranian nuclear situation will evolve as that "red line" is rapidly approaching.
We are on the verge of seeing each and every one of Israel's enemies - enemies who will be involved in upcoming battles (Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 37-38) morphing into a unified radical Islamic, bloc. The last stages were set as a result of the "Arab Spring" movement.
The examples above are just the most recent in an array of signs that we have been following - but ultimately, it will all boil down to the Middle East and that's where the action is now. In abundance. Sooner or later a tipping point will be reached and when it does the birth pains are going to accelerate at breathtaking speed.