If I said, “Tensions are running high in the Middle East,” most Americans would yawn and reply, “So? What else is new? Tensions in the Middle East have been going back and forth between a simmer and a boil for the last hundred years.”
But this time the United States sent an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and its carrier strike group. This time there have been credible threats against US forces in Iraq. The Iran-sponsored Shia Muslim militias that helped rid Iraq of ISIS are now being repurposed for attacks on US troops in the region.
Iran’s goal is to get the US involved in a ground war against those Shia militias in Iraq. They do not want to face an American assault on their homeland. But President Trump has made it clear that if Iran-sponsored groups hit American forces, this country will retaliate against Iran itself. That threat alone may be enough to keep war at bay — for now.
But the radical Muslim leaders of Iran are not known for giving up. While they know than can’t withstand a direct assault by the United States, they will push America to the edge again and again. And they will not quit.
They are responsible for the catastrophe in Yemen where some 16 million people are at this moment in danger of starvation. Numerous aid agencies are trying to help, but the Houthi rebels steal the aid for their own use. Like other Shiite Muslim terrorists in the Middle East, the Houthis are financed and directed by the government of Iran. The Iranians could stop the catastrophe any time they want. But they don’t seem to care about the people of Yemen. They just want to keep control of the land near the Gulf of Aiden and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.
Iran has long been considered the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. That’s growing worse, not better. Recently, the US State Department designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.
Iran is a close ally with North Korea. Iranian missiles use technology developed in North Korea. And North Korea now has intercontinental ballistic missiles in its arsenal. Have they shared that technology with Iran? With North Korea’s financial predicament, it’s seems almost certain that they have. We also know about Iran’s obsession with nuclear weapons. Intelligence sources say that Iran’s North Korean friends have at least a hundred of those. The combination of ICBMs and nuclear weapons in Iranian hands would put the whole world in danger.
Iran is Shia Muslim. Their bitter enemies are the Sunni Muslims. Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons has pushed several Sunni nations in the Middle East to actively seek nuclear weapons of their own. To get such weapons, Saudi Arabia and others in the region can skip the long process of developing them. They can surreptitiously buy them from their fellow Sunni Muslims in Pakistan, one of the world’s nuclear powers.
The dynamics of all of this changed dramatically when Iran convinced mighty Russia to join them as an ally. The Chinese also remain on good terms with Iran. The ancient conflict between rival Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups is now a major destabilizing force in global politics.
All of these events fit into the geopolitical pattern described in the Bible for the last days.
Don’t be discouraged by that. Be encouraged. It proves again that we can trust the Bible with our lives. Its warnings are again proving accurate. That is yet another reason to trust the Bible’s positive messages. Jesus is coming again, and He’s coming soon! In the meantime, all the Bible’s promises remain in effect — promises from God to you. So take heart!