Playing Nuclear Chess with Russia and Iran
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
Welcome to this edition of the Rapture Report for 10/24/09. Today we will look at the news for the past week and provide an indepth prophetic analysis of the news coming out of the world, especially as it relates to the Middle East. One of the most encouraging news reports this week is that the US and Israel are currently holding military exercises in the Middle East called "Operation Juniper Cobra" which is an exercise that the US and Israel holds every other year. This year the exercise is especially important considering the recent spike in tensions in the region, especially between Israel and the Gog/Magog ally Turkey. The Israel National News is reporting that the exercises began on Wednesday and will last two weeks. The news article reports:
The IDF and American forces will continue their joint military exercises on Thursday. The two week long drills began on Wednesday and involve, among other dimensions, preparing defenses for missile attacks.
The Home Front Command is set for more drills at several locations in Herzliya and Ramat HaSharon on Thursday morning. An increased presence of security vehicles and soldiers donning protective gear is anticipated throughout both locations. More information on this drill and other activities of the Home Front Command is available at www.oref.org.il.
The Israel National News on Friday indicated:
The Juniper Cobra 10 defense exercise continues Friday. The multi-level exercise is concentrating on simulated missile attacks on Israel. About a thousand ground, sea and air troops each from Israel and the United States are taking part in the exercise.
The military exercises with the US will help provide Israel with thorough and effective military training for all aspects of warfare in the Middle East. The special emphasis will be on missle defense techniques as this will be a huge threat Israel will face in any future regional conflict. The reports I have read have said that the US and Israel will be shooting off mock missiles, both real and simulated, in order to test several of the anti-missile defense systems being deployed for the exercises. These missile systems will likely involve the Aegis, PAC3, and Arrow anti-missile systems among others.
According to a Haaretz news website there will also be computer based simulations. The Haaretz articles reports:
A major air defense exercise launched with Israel this week will help the United States craft its European missile shield, a U.S. commander said on Thursday. Signaling the strength of their alliance against what they say is a threat from Iran's nuclear program, Israeli and U.S. forces launched a biannual drill on Wednesday. Known as Juniper Cobra, it includes target practice against missiles, both real and in computer-simulated exercises.
Featuring in the three weeks of maneuvers is Aegis, a U.S. Navy anti-missile system that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama plans to deploy in the eastern Mediterranean as the first part of a missile shield for Europe announced last month. Aegis is made by Lockheed Martin Corp and fires the Standard-Missile 3, which is made by Raytheon Co. "In this series of exercises we continue to advance our understanding of the art and the science of ballistic missile defense," Rear Admiral John Richardson, the U.S. officer overseeing Juniper Cobra, told reporters in Tel Aviv.
There had been recent speculation that the US would leave behind elements of the equipment used in the current "Operation Juniper Cobra" exercises, but this recent article seemed to throw cold water on that possibility as indicated below. After reading reports about the exercise I was hoping that the Obama administration would make a genuine and friendly gesture to the Israelis by leaving behind the equipment since it is possible that Israel may need to go it alone against Iran soon. The article quoted the senior officials involved with the exercises and went on to say:
Both Richardson and his Israeli counterpart in Juniper Cobra, Brigadier-General Doron Gavish, declined to be drawn on whether Iran was the main adversary envisaged in the exercise. They said it served to test the interoperability of Aegis and other American anti-missile systems like THAAD and Patriot with Israel's Arrow II interceptor, and to establish procedures for the emergency U.S. "enhancement" of Israeli forces. None of the American materiel used in the drill will remain in Israel after the exercise winds up in mid-November, they said. But the United States does have a small military garrison in Israel's Negev desert. "The Israel Defense Forces can defend Israel alone," Gavish said. "But it is good to know that U.S. capabilities are available."
Despite it looking like the US will not leave behind any valuable equipment after the military exercise, there is a possibility that the US could change it's mind depending on the situation on the ground. It could also be that the US is denying the possibility as not to tip off the Iranians that something could be coming down the road soon as it relates to a strike on their nuclear facilities. If the US said they were leaving behind elements of the anti-missile defense sysmtes then this could be seen by the Iranians that Israel was about to make a strike. Afterall, war is an art of deception. You certainly wouldn't want to give the enemy a any reason to suspect a soon to be military strike. If/when Israel strikes Iran, the element of surprise will be critical so I think we can safely say that the denial of leaving behind any of the high tech missile defense equipment is a strategic move on the part of the allies. It makes good opertional sense to me.
In other news, Russia has declared that they would continue to arm the Iranians with advanced weapons despite the current turmoil surrounding the nuclear situation with Iran. The Iran Focus website reported:
Russia on Thursday said it would continue military cooperation with Iran amid widespread unease in the West over Moscow's controversial contract to sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran. "The Russian Federation implements and plans to further implement the military-technical cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran in strict accordance with existing legislation and its international obligations," Russia's Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said.
This news is not surprising yet it is disturbing for students of Bible prophecy who are keenly aware of the prophecies given by the Jewish prophet Ezekiel where he foretells of a future invasion of Israel in the last days. These prophecies foretell of a Russia and Iranian led Islamic coalition that invades Israel from the North. This invasion invokes the judgment of God as he supernaturally intervenes and destroys the vast majority of the invaders.
The Iran Focus article also went on to discuss the fact that Russia so far at this point has not supplied the Iranians with their most advanced anti-aircraft missile systems. The alleged holdup is that Iran has not paid for them. Whether this is true or whether it is a deceptive maneuver to deceive, only time will tell. However, many of us who have been watching the situation with Israel and Iran know that the introductions of the advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems will be a red line in the sand for Israel that is not to be crossed. These advanced Russian made systems are a threat to the IAF and it would be wise for the Israelis to strike before these systems make their way to Iran. The Iran Focus news article went on to further state:
The service released a rare statement after the Interfax agency, citing a Russian government source, reported ealier this week that Iran had not yet paid Russia for the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. The source said no payments had been made because Russia's government has not given its final approval for the sale of S-300 missiles to Iran. "We can't give comments regarding concrete plans or obligations with regards to existing contracts as it would mean becoming an unreliable partner (and) give potential competitors a chance to take advantage of the situation," the military service said. Thursday's statement is likely to fuel further unease in the West over Russia's cooperation with Iran. Russia has so far refused to discuss tougher sanctions against Tehran, which the West suspects of seeking to obtain nuclear weapons.
In further news relating to the Iranian nuclear program, the Iran Focus news website had another article that reported that Iran had yet again defied the international community and failed to meet a deadline for handing over it's stockpiles of enriched uranium for processing abroad. The Iranians had met recently with the international community and had agreed to have the majority of it's enrichment activities completed by the Russians in an effort to appease the international community. Now it appears that the Iranians are having second thoughts. The Iran Focus news article reports:
Tehran frustrated hopes it would move quickly to resolve fears about its nuclear programme by saying it would only give a formal response "next week". However, in an apparent effort to buy time after stalling the negotiations, an Iranian nuclear official insisted the regime was "considering the proposal in depth and in a favourable light". It had earlier said it was making fresh proposals under which it would keep its current stocks and buy even more enriched uranium for its civilian research reactor. Reports from Tehran suggested that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, had refused to back the original deal, put forward by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, in talks in Vienna.
The original deal that the Iranians had agreed to was basically this:
Under the deal, the Iranians would hand over three quarters of their stockpile of 1.5 tons of uranium, enriched to five per cent, to Russia, who would further refine it to 20 per cent, possibly with French help. It would then be returned in "fuel plate" form for use in Iran's long-standing research reactor, which has medical uses. Iran is thought not to have the technical ability to convert fuel plates to the 90 per cent enrichment levels needed for a bomb. However, its total stockpiles, if they do not leave the country, could be enriched from their current state sufficiently to create a single bomb within a year, according to western security analysts.
To me, this whole situation with Iran is a highly calculated chess game and if the international community is not careful and continues to play along with the delays by the Iranians, we could find the international community "checkmated" by the Iranians. The Iranians are trying desperately to obtain weapons that Hitler could only imagine. This is truly one "chess game" the international community can't afford to lose. The world with a nuclear Iran is one that we do not want to live in as it is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and the chance of nuclear proliferation is almost guaranteed. It is my prayer and hope that our government leaders are guided by the Holy Spirit in dealing with Iran. However, it appears that US President Obama is made up of the same appeasement material as Neville Chamberlain. What the world really needs right now is a strong leader along the likes of Ronald Reagan to reign in the Iranians. But Ronald Reagan belonged to another time and we are currently dealt the hand we have, and it does not look good. However, one thing does remain constant and that is that nothing escapes the knowledge or awareness of our Father in Heaven. And that is definitely a comfort we can delight in.
I'd like to encourage all of our readers to rely on the Lord during these trying and desperate times. Anxiety and tension abound all around us. But it is the peace beyond all understanding that we seek. And we can find that in the refuge of our Lord who has promised not to leave nor forsake us. Let your hearts be at ease in the Lord as we watch the prophetic dominoes start to fall, let us remember what the Lord said, "that when these things come to pass, look up, for your redemption is drawing nigh". What a powerful and wonderful thought to behold. Let it be today Lord Jesus. Amen.