Light for the Last Days

Israel Desk – Israel’s defence:  Threats to Israel.

Preparations for the War of Gog and Magog.  September 2017.

The leading countries in the Gog and Magog alliance of nations coming against Israel according to Ezekiel 38-9 are Russia (Rosh / chief prince of Meshech and Tubal), Iran (Persia) and Togarmah (Turkey).  These three countries today are emerging in an alliance of countries seeking to settle the Syrian civil war.  Here are some news stories showing how these nations are coming together in a position to the north of Israel in a way which lines up with the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-9.  

Russia.

On 27th July the Russian president signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its Hmeymim air base in Syria for almost half a century.  The Hmeymim airbase has been at the heart of Moscow’s military foray since it intervened in the conflict in September 2015, helping turn the tide in favour of Assad, as well as disrupt key ISIS oil supply lines which have resulted in the imminent collapse of the Islamic State. By this action Vladimir Putin has made it clear that clear that Russia isn’t going anywhere from the one nation that has emerged as a key regional presence for Russia in the middle-east

Iran.

A vast Iranian empire could take over lands occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS) once the terror group is defeated, according to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger wrote on CapX.com that recapturing the lands ISIS currently controls could come at a steep price for the Middle East and the rest of the world.  While most of the world agrees that ISIS should be destroyed, the question of what comes after it is more vexed.  “If the ISIS territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire,” he wrote.

Iran’s confidence is growing as it carries the war for Assad in Syria in addition to supporting Iraqi forces in Iraq.  President Assad is a Shiite with limited support in Syria.  Without Iranian forces he would have fallen long ago to Sunni rebels.  The Russians have supplied the air power, but it is Iranian boots on the ground that have enabled him to regain territory.  Iran is building up a force in Syria and Lebanon which will ultimately be used against Israel.

Turkey.

The Herald of Hope magazine (August 2017) reports:  ‘Stratfor Intelligence reported on June 29th that Turkey is to purchase the Russian air defence system.  As a member of NATO Turkey has previously depended on US air defence system but the ‘worm has turned’ and this constitutes a major shift in policy which points Turkey in the direction of the ‘last days’ alignment of nations as foretold in the Bible.  Ties between Russia and Turkey have recovered over the past year after being strained by the Turkish downing of a Russian fighter jet in 2015.’   Turkish troops are also operating in the north of Syria and Turkey has taken part in the Russian led peace conference on Syrian held in Kazakhstan.

Lebanon and Israel.

The Israeli military is warning that northern Israel faces threats from Hezbollah.  The danger is that a miscalculation could result in war on the Golan Heights. In recent months Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has engaged in a war of words with Jerusalem. Education Minister Naftali Bennett has warned that a new war would involve all of Lebanon.  Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel told the Herzliya conference in June that the Air Force could accomplish in 58-60 hours what it did in 34 days in 2006.  “Unimaginable in its scope” is how he describes Israel’s power.

Nasrallah responded with claims that war with Israel would involve thousands of Shi’ite fighters from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  With Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Units, a mostly Shi’te militia that numbers 80,000, on the border with Syria, the next step to get to Israel is just a short plane or truck ride.  At Metullah, Israel’s northernmost town on the border with Lebanon Israeli houses are in the shadow of a large Hezbollah poster on a hill.  The sign says “we are coming” in Arabic and Hebrew, and has a photo of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and a picture of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini glowering down.  The message is clear to Israel, they took the time to write it in Hebrew and they want to provoke and show how close to the border they can get.

Sheba and Dedan – Could Saudi Arabia become a friend of Israel?  September 2017.

‘Breaking Israel News’ reported on July 1st that the newly appointed crown prince of Saudi Arabia is a friend of the US and Israel.  ‘Prince Mohammed is currently the kingdom’s Defence Minister and is a regional leader in the Sunni opposition to Iran.  Prince Mohammed has united most of the Sunni countries in an alliance to oppose the burgeoning strength of the Shiite nations led by Iran.  Mohammed bin Salman is also reported to enjoy close ties with Israeli defence officials.’  

It is significant that the move to replace the existing crown prince with a friend of Israel and the US comes shortly after President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.  It means that in the event of the death of the King of Saudi Arabia the next king will be opposed to Iran and have a close relationship with Israel and the US.  This also ties in with Ezekiel 38 and the prophecy that when Israel is invaded it appears that ‘Sheba and Dedan’ (Arabia) will oppose the invasion and take Israel’s side :  ‘Sheba, Dedan, (Arabia) the merchants of Tarshish (UK / US?), and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’”’  Ezekiel 38.13.

Israel Prepares To Counter Iran, Hezbollah Build-Up In Syria.  July 2017

One of Israel’s most highly-regarded national security experts has warned Iran and its proxies — Hezbollah in Lebanon and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus — that the Jewish state will not hold back on using military force to counter Tehran’s growing presence in Syria.  Retired IDF Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror said that if the Iranians continued exploiting the recent Syrian ceasefire negotiated by Russia and the US to boost their presence in the country, “that might lead the IDF to intervene and to destroy every attempt to build infrastructure in Syria.”  He said Israel should do all it can to prevent ‘the Iranians and Hezbollah from building launching pads in Syria.’

Iran has already leased a military airfield from the Syrian government in the center of the country to station fighter aircraft.  Iran is also said to be negotiating with the Assad regime to establish a land base for Shia militiamen and a port in the city of Tartus.  “The establishment of an air and sea base and the attempt to permanently station 5,000 Shiite fighters on Syrian soil are not acceptable to us, and will have heavy consequences,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.  “We will not accept it.  We insist that there be no trace of Iranian presence on Syrian soil.’

Iran invests around $100 million a year in Hezbollah, which has enabled it to become the dominant political and military force in Lebanon.   It has an estimated 150,000 rockets, which is significantly more than all 29 NATO countries combined, with the exception of the US.  Iran has mobilized Hezbollah to prop up its client Bashar Assad in Syria, however its original and main purpose has always been to use it as a weapon against the Jewish state.

The Iranians have also built up a pro-Assad militia composed of local Syrians, called the National Defense Forces, which has tens of thousands of members.   There are Iranians integrated into Assad’s army and they are trying to link up their forces from Iraq and Syria, with a view to creating a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon and then try to attack Israel from southern Syria or Lebanon.  If Israel cannot get the Russians to stop the Iranians from building up a presence on their border, this could be a ‘casus belli’, justification for war.

Meanwhile Former Israeli Defence Minister Ya’alon has said that Iran runs Lebanon, and promises Israel will destroy Lebanon completely if war breaks out. ‘If there is a war, we will annihilate Lebanon’s infrastructure.’

All of this sounds like the trigger for the war of Gog and Magog, Ezekiel 38-9.

Dangers to the north remain.  June 2017.

The Syrian conflict took on a new dimension as the US shot down a Syrian regime bomber attacking Islamic State positions near Raqqa, after it ventured too close to positions held by US-allied forces.  The US has also shot down at least two Iranian armed drones over Syria and armed skirmishes have been reported between US-allied forces and Iranian-backed Shi’a Islamist militias. 

Russia, which is allied to the Syrian regime and the Iranian forces, has responded angrily, declaring that it will treat US-led coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria as ‘potential targets.’  This raises the possibility of US and Russian forces fighting each other and the spectre of World War 3.   Unrelated to Syria, but part of the growing tension between the two powers, on 21st June, a Russian jet flew within five feet of a US spy plane operating over the Baltic Sea.  

As ISIS is pushed out of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the fear of Sunni Muslims and of Israel is that the space left behind could be taken over by Iran and its Shiite Muslim proxies.  This would create the so-called ‘Shiite corridor’ from Iran through northern Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and the borders of Israel.  This gives Iran uninterrupted access to all those parts of the region where it exercises political control through its ‘boots on the ground’ and its Revolutionary Guards.  Because Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Israel have a common enemy in Iran, the Saudis are looking to Israel as allies in the fight against Iran.  This is the main reason why they are open to a peace settlement with Israel.  

The consequences for Israel of a Shi’a corridor are acute. Since the war in Lebanon in the mid-1980s, Israel has been aware of Iran’s ability to wage direct war on its territory, through the missile barrages of its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon.   The existence of a land corridor will transform Iran’s capacity in this regard, perhaps to the point where a land-based war launched against Israel from Syria and Lebanon could be as perilous as a nuclear attack.   Is this a link to the War of Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel 38-9?

Missile dangers to Israel.  February 2017.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that at least four missiles were fired in the direction of Israel’s southernmost city Eilat, from the direction of the Egyptian border. Three of the missiles were successfully intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, while the fourth landed in an open area.  The missiles were fired by ISIS affiliated rebels fighting against the Egyptian government in northern Sinai.  Israel believes Hamas operatives from Gaza are cooperating with ISIS groups and are encouraging attacks on Israel as well as on Egyptian army forces.

The IDF responded earlier to a mortar shell that landed in the Golan Heights, which was shot from across Israel’s border with Syria.  There were no casualties or damages that were reported.  The IDF said that it launched an attack on a target on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights region, holding the regime in Damascus responsible for such action.  “The IDF will not tolerate any attack on Israel’s sovereignty or the security of its citizens, and sees the Syrian regime is responsible for what happens in its territory,” an IDF spokesperson said.

Israel’s main fear on this front is a renewal of conflict with the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.  Hezbollah has at least 120,000 rockets aimed at Israel, many of them able to strike anywhere in the country. The IDF Home Front Command is preparing for the thousands of rockets expected to strike Israel during the next war, investing hundreds of millions of shekels over the past two years on defensive measures and strengthening strategic capabilities.  The IDF expects that an estimated 150,000 civilians would leave their homes in the North in the event of a war with Hezbollah.  In addition to preparing for a mass evacuation, the IDF has spent millions of shekels on upgrading and constructing new public bomb shelters. In this respect, Tel Aviv is considered one of the best protected cities whereas many areas in the Negev are said to be most at risk.  The command, which conducts annual drills to prepare for emergency scenarios, has also begun conducting annual nationwide emergency drills for schoolchildren.  It has also begun a project to teach high school students how to administer first aid to themselves, in the event that the arrival of emergency services is delayed.

Netanyahu warns Putin about Iran.  March 2017.

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Russian President Putin in Moscow on March 8th to address developments in Syria and how to combat Iran’s military presence in the war-torn country.  He said Iran was seeking to exploit recent attempts to reach a political settlement in Syria in order to cement its military presence there. “There is an attempt by Iran to entrench itself permanently in Syria, with a military ground and naval presence,” he said. He added that even without an agreement guaranteeing its long-term military presence in the country, Iran will seek to ensure it retains a foothold there.  Netanyahu also said: “There is also a gradual attempt to establish a front against us in the Golan Heights.”  He expressed to President Putin Israel’s ‘strong and resolute opposition to this possibility”

Since its intervention in the Syrian civil war in 2015, Russia has worked closely with Iran in order to help prop up the regime of President Bashar Assad and preserve the two countries’ respective interests in Syria.  Netanyahu has sought Russia’s help in seeking to thwart the attempts of Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah to use Syria as a base from which to attack Israel, telling Russian media outlets during a visit to Moscow last June that “Iran will not be allowed, using Hezbollah, to use Syrian territory to attack us and open up another terrorist front against us in the Golan.”

Another Israeli concern is the S-300 anti-aircraft system that Russia has supplied Iran with.  This advanced weapons system makes it virtually impossible for Israel to launch any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Mr Netanyahu remains convinced that Iran is still working on producing a nuclear weapon and that this possibility represents a mortal danger to Israel.

Meeting with Putin in Moscow three days before the Jewish holiday of Purim, commemorating the events of the book of Esther, Netanyahu said Persia had made “an attempt to destroy the Jewish people that did not succeed” some 2,500 years ago. “Today there is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy the state of the Jews,” Netanyahu said. “They say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles.”   Putin said that the events described by Netanyahu had taken place “in the fifth century BCE.”  “We now live in a different world. Let us talk about that now,” Putin said.

The exchange highlighted the radically divergent world views of the two leaders: Netanyahu has said he sees himself as the guardian of the Jewish people against existential threats, most notably from Iran and its nuclear program.  Putin, on the other hand, has sought to maintain positive ties with Tehran, including by selling the country the advanced S-300 anti-aircraft system over Israel’s objections.

Israel anti-missile defences upgraded.  April 2017.

A joint U.S.-Israeli missile interceptor meant to counter the type of medium-range missiles possessed by Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants became operational on April 2nd, completing Israel’s multi-layer defence system amid tensions on its frontiers with Syria and Gaza.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the unveiling ceremony for the David’s Sling system that defending the home front is of the “utmost importance.” He went on to warn “whoever tries to strike us will be hit, those that threaten our existence put themselves in existential danger.”

David’s Sling marks the completion of Israel’s multi-tier system that includes the Arrow, designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles in the stratosphere with an eye on Iran, and Iron Dome, which defends against short-range rockets from the Gaza Strip.

David’s Sling was developed by Israeli defence firm Rafael with American defence giant Raytheon.  The system became operational amid heightened tensions along Israel’s northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.  In a rare clash along the Syrian border last month Israel shot down an anti-aircraft missile fired at its planes as they were carrying out an airstrike on a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy from Syria to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.  Israel is also on alert in the south of the country after Gaza’s Hamas rulers accused it of assassinating a member of the Islamic militant group.  An annual intelligence assessment found that both Hezbollah and Hamas are probably not interested in sparking a war in 2017, but it warned of the danger of a dynamic of escalation leading to conflict.  In February, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah was not seeking a resumption of hostilities. But he vowed that if war did begin, his forces would strike Israel’s Dimona nuclear facilities.

Tony Pearce

Tony Pearce

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