Has World War Three Begun?
By: David Dolan
When I spoke recently at a church in the American Pacific Northwest, where I am now residing after living in Israel for 33 years, I told my audience about a word I shared last January at a Messianic congregation just outside of New York City. The congregation is headed by Jonathan Cahn who authored the best selling Harbinger novel. As most of you will know, the novel focuses on possibly pending divine judgment upon America. I am scheduled to speak at Jonathan's congregation once again this coming January 16th and 18th.
My message last January concerned a word that I perceived the Sovereign Lord had shared with me during a time of prayer in late 2013. I was told to warn the congregants that the year 2014, then just beginning, would end up closely resembling 1914. That was when the "Great War"-later renamed World War One-broke out in central Europe.
With less than two months left before we move into 2015, I am not alone in strongly suspecting that several international developments currently unfolding may indeed be presented in future history books (if any are written that is!!) as the genesis of new global war. Commenting recently on the mounting evidence that the world is sliding toward another multi-nation conflict, American Jewish political activist Noam Chomsky predicted it would most likely "spell the end of the human race." Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev echoed this, saying the deteriorating global situation is becoming more ominous every day.
TWO WAR FRONTS OPEN UP
Two jarring international developments this year may well be setting the explosive fuel in place for a new worldwide conflagration that could eventually make the huge death tolls in both earlier world wars pale by comparison. The first development is the rapidly escalating Russian aggression in south central Europe and elsewhere around the globe. This comes as the increasingly dictatorial Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin, continues his apparent efforts to resurrect the collapsed Soviet empire. His actions have already led to a new East-West "cold war." Many political analysts are warning that Putin's aggressive moves up until now may signal his willingness, if not intention, to take his homeland and the planet into yet another global conflagration, probably involving nuclear exchanges.
In his most recent moves, Putin has been clearly testing the Western will to confront his escalating military aggression by moving undisguised Russian soldiers and equipment into the eastern portion of Ukraine. You will recall that earlier this year, the Russian leader seized control over the country's strategically located Crimea Peninsula, which has given Moscow another major naval port on waters close to the Middle East.
Reported Russian government hacking of American web sites, some of them connected to the American military, is another sign that a "hot" war may be brewing between NATO forces and Putin and his Kremlin comrades. Many other things too numerous to mention here, including Russian air force violations of NATO airspace, are also pointing to the apparent fact that Putin is dangerously beating the drums of war. Among the most ominous air force operations carried out this year was a mock attack upon a heavily populated Danish island. Just today (Nov 17) NATO F-16 warplanes were scrambled to intercept a Russian SU-27 jet fighter that was heading for NATO airspace near Latvia.
In a clear revelation that the Putin regime is planning to expand its military might all over the earth, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced in mid November that he has ordered Russian air force long-range bombers to begin operating not far from the United States' western, eastern and southern coasts. He told reporters in Moscow that "In the current situation, we need to secure our military presence in the western part of the Atlantic, eastern part of the Pacific oceans and the waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico." While the Obama administration dismissed the planned flights as legal if carried out over international waters, there have already been several Russian violations of American airspace reported this year on top of those aimed at several European countries.
The second jarring development is, of course, the lighting-like military expansion of the Al Qaida based "Islamic State" terrorist movement. Although many people were not aware of the group before this year, I began doing periodic Eye On The Middle East radio reports on the group's growing power and influence over two years ago. Although the Sunni Muslim jihadist militia has its roots in Iraq, it earlier metastasized in both size and strength while aggressively operating in many portions of war-torn Syria.
Many Mideast security experts say Islamic State's ability to fight and grow in Syria was at least partly the result of earlier inaction by Barack Hussein Obama to take concrete steps to enforce his own repeated statements that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad must be quickly removed from power. In mid November, Kurdish military commanders battling Islamic State jihad warriors reported that the militant militia has now grown to some 200,000 men, which if true would make it one of the largest armed forces on earth.
Instead of ISIS or ISIL or simply IS, I prefer to call the Islamic State group "ITS" for "Islamic Terrorist State," which is certainly what the growing group's heinous practices reveal it to be. For one thing, Isis is the name of an Egyptian "goddess" who was widely worshiped as the ideal wife and mother in the ancient world, and is still revered by contemporary woman who engage in witchcraft. The English acronym ISIL, which the Obama government has adopted for use, stands for "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant." It sounds too much like "weasel" to me, but at least that hints at what the group acts like, with one encyclopedia describing weasels as having "a reputation for cleverness, quickness and guile."
As all know by now, Islamic State commanders-many of whom worked hand in hand with Western coalition forces during the long war that began with Saddam Hussein's ouster in early 2003-have proved to be extremely brutal in the conduct of their military conquests, mostly of Sunni Muslim communities. Their methods were even considered too extreme by their Al Qaida mentors, although the notorious group founded by the late Osama Bin Laden is now actively supporting Islamic State operations, as are a growing number of Muslim terrorist groups around the Middle East and North Africa. Reports say the number of foreign recruits heading to the region to fight in the intensifying conflict is rapidly rising at present, foreshadowing much more violence and warfare ahead.
On November 10, five Al Qaida-linked jihadist groups in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya and Algeria released statements declaring their undying allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the self proclaimed "caliph" of the expanding territory controlled by his blood thirsty Sunni Muslim forces. This came amid news reports that the clerical terrorist leader might have been killed or wounded by an American airstrike in northern Iraq. However in a subsequent Islamic Stare video recording, Al Baghdadi mentioned developments that occurred several days after the airstrike took place. More ominously, the "caliph," echoed Bin Laden by calling upon Muslims in Saudi Arabia to rise up and toss out the Saudi family regime that has ruled the Muslim holy land since the 1920s. He also warned that Americans would soon be attacked at home while urging all Muslims living around the world to "explode volcanoes of jihad" in their own regions.
CENTER OF THE STRUGGLE: JERUSALEM
The largest and most dangerous group that pledged active support for the Islamic State's declared goal of establishing a caliphate over the entire Middle East-including Israel-is the Egyptian terrorist group known as Anssar Bait Al Maqdis, which roughly translates into English as "Supporters of the Islamic Shrines in Jerusalem." The terrorist group has been increasingly active since former Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi was tossed out of power by the US-backed Egyptian military in July 2013. Based in the lawless Sinai Peninsula abutting southern Israel, the terrorist militia has launched rockets into the Jewish State on several occasions while more frequently attacking Egyptian security forces stationed in the area.
So as something approaching World War Three is seemingly beginning, earth's only Jewish-run country is now surrounded by Islamic State jihad fighters located to the north in Syria, to the east in Iraq, to the south in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and to the west in Libya, not to mention Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hizbullah to the north in Lebanon, and its main patron, the "Shiite Republic of Iran" to the east. Coming on top of the continuing threats of annihilation emanating from Tehran and now also from the Islamic State movement, tiny Israel is facing the growing likelihood of a major conflict involving pumped up jihad Muslim fighters from all over the turbulent region and the world. Before then, the relatively moderate Hashemite government in neighboring Sunni Muslim Jordan will undoubted be targeted by Islamic State commanders.
As I have shared in the past and wrote about extensively in my 2001 book Israel In Crisis, I believe such a war will probably be the fulfillment of a prophecy found in Psalm 83. It basically foretells that Jordan and other surrounding Arab countries, including Syria and Iraq (which are referred to by the ancient name of Assyria which stretched across the territory of both modern Arab countries) will jointly attack Israel in an attempt to "wipe them out" as a nation. However the Arab world's largest country, Egypt, where the American backed military is now once again in firm control, is not mentioned as part of the genocidal conspiracy. This means that the apparent end-time prophecy (since no such joint regional conspiracy or attack is recorded in ancient history) was not fulfilled in the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973 when Egypt was the largest enemy force.
Meanwhile Muslim terrorist assaults have sharply escalated this year inside of Israel and the disputed territories, where evidence is mounting that a third Palestinian attrition war "uprising" has begun. The main perpetrators of the attacks are followers of the extremist Hamas movement, based in the Gaza Strip. Now part of the Palestinian Authority government, the Sunni Muslim terrorist group, which often rivals the Islamic State movement in its sheer brutality, has been egged on by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, Israel's supposed "peace partner." He recently called for all Muslims to "rise up and defend" the supposedly endangered Islamic shrines on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The spreading canard that the Netanyahu government is preparing to change the existing status quo on the site sacred to three world religions, which currently only allows for Muslims to openly pray on the Temple Mount, is widely believed in the Muslim world.
During my first years in Israel in the early 1980's, I learned something from Hebrew University Professor Moshe Sharon, an expert on Islam, that has stuck with me ever since. He noted that a close study of Islamic history demonstrates that when Muslim armies were winning significant victories, or at least appeared to be, their leaders had a fairly easy time recruiting additional jihad fighters since it seemed "apparent" that Allah was siding with them. When the opposite was the case, Muslim military commanders tended to quickly back off and go quiet.
In the modern context, this was most evident after the near Arab-Muslim triumph in the early stages of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Despite the fact that the attacking Arab armies were strongly buttressed by the Soviet Union superpower, the end result was yet another humiliating rout for them. No other major Arab country has launched a full on military assault upon the Jewish State since then, although Saddam did send some of his Soviet-built Scuds Israel's way in 2003 and many skirmishes have taken places with the Lebanese Hizbullah militia, Hamas, the PLO and other non-state Muslim terrorist forces.
The Kremlin already has alliances with Iran and Syria. Vladimir Putin has been busy trying to woo the Egyptian government away from American influence, but experts say that is unlikely to go very far. However like Adolph Hitler did with the Palestinians and various Arab countries, Putin may well decide to join forces with Islamic State warriors since he shares common enemies with them in the Middle East and the West. Very few Americans expected in the 1930s that in the midst of a new global conflict, President Franklin Roosevelt would forge an alliance with the brutal Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, but it happened.
What roles would nuclear armed North Korea and Pakistan play in a new world war? What about China, India, Japan and Brazil? Only the future can say. One thing is clear: With the world's population continuing to explode like never before in history, placing increasing strains on fresh water supplies and many other things, any new international conflagration will be horrendous at best.
TO YOUR KNEES!
Both Russia and the Islamic State group are clearly on a roll, and I believe the result will most likely be a third world war that will probably usher in the final world ruler known to Christians as the Antichrist. In the meantime, I expect ever growing chaos, terrorism, and economic collapse will engulf all parts of the planet, partly fueled by America's declining power and influence that has become especially evident under the current President's six year rule. While the "Great War" that began exactly one century ago ended with a deadly worldwide flu plague, this one seems to be beginning with a far more vicious virus spreading fast in parts of Africa, while also now popping up in other continents as well.
As the biblically prophesied "end of days" appears to be rapidly approaching, may our Gracious God literally bring us to our knees so that we will cry out to Him like never before! As we do so, let us remember that we are not to fear what people in the world can do to us, but to fear the Lord who created and redeemed us: "It is the Lord your God who you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear. And He shall be your dread. Then He shall become a sanctuary (Isaiah 8:13).
DAVID DOLAN currently resides in the United States. For three decades he was a Jerusalem-based author and journalist who lived and worked in Israel.