Volume 37, Issue 3 _________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

Israel's Strategic Decline

Israel’s Strategic Advantage in Decline

      Israel has demonstrated its superiority in battle four times since its miraculous rebirth in 1948. Surely, Old Testament Zechariah’s prophecy regarding the capacity of Israel to defend itself in the Last Days has been uniquely demonstrated to all potential enemies of Israel. But unfortunately, they are still yearning to annihilate the nation of Israel.

      Zechariah 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

      This demonstrative capability has been a festering sore in the pride and psyche of many of the Arab regional powers for decades. The old Soviet Union attempted twice ( 1967 and 1973 ) to empower the Arab regimes enough to enhance the prospect of destroying the tiny nation of Israel, and thereby also to diminish the power of the West throughout the Middle East region. Each of these previous attempts to reverse the balance of power in the Middle East has only resulted in the demise of those powerbrokers. Collectively, most of the anti-Israel sentiment powers within most of the countries of the Middle East have discovered that they need to approach their controversy with Israel from a different strategic position. Those strategies have involved the use of oil as an international weapon of blackmail, and terrorism to exact diplomatic leverage and bargaining power from a better-equipped and more powerful adversary.

      The failure of the West to procure a resolution between the Palestinians and Israel, has opened the doors for the more radical elements of Anti-Zionism, and anti-Western influences, to plot new strategies to undermine the security of Israel, and to thwart the world ( Oslo ) Peace Movement to build a circle of peace-friendly neighborhoods around Israel. By failing to inculcate Syria into the Jordan-Egypt circle of peace-pacts, the impetus for rejecting the Oslo Peace process was too easy for Yasser Arafat. Yasser Arafat has demonstrated through his rejection of the Camp David accords in 2000 that he is fervently entrenched into the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah model of dealing with Israel. Just as had been planned in the infamous “Phased Destruction of Israel” plans of the PLO, Arafat has indeed gained his foothold within Israel, and now looks elsewhere for a supporting cast to launch a new Jihad for the extermination of Israel. The weaker that Israel appears in its negotiations for peace, the more enticed become the real enemies of Israel!

      Many geopolitical developments in the region point inevitably to that very situation. Most significantly, Iraq and Syria entered into a secret military alliance covering both in any future war against Israel. One of its clauses grants the two allies reciprocal strategic depth and bases of operation with each other’s air force and missile units. Iraq and Syria have, moreover, carried out joint maneuvers at command level, focusing on their air forces; Iraqi intelligence officers are now posted for the first time at Syrian army headquarters in Damascus. Six Iraqi armored divisions, two on full combat readiness, have remained poised in the Western Desert near the Iraqi-Syrian-Jordanian border junction since last September, when the Palestinians launched their intifada. Those divisions hold daily practices to simulate a two-pronged push west and south to the Israeli frontier through the countries of Syria and Jordan.

      Syria and Iraq have also intensified their economic relations, the former providing the latter with its most important back door for smuggling oil to world markets. With this revenue, Saddam Hussein has succeeded in the past year in undoing most of the economic and military sanctions imposed by the UN after the 1991 Gulf War. He has even gone back to full-scale production of missiles and weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological and chemical. Every American effort to salvage the sanctions regime has run aground.

In the opposite direction, most Western experts are concerned about the stability of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, faced not only with the perennial threat of radical Islamic groups; dissident elements have begun to infiltrate the senior officers caste and security services which underpin Hosni Mubarak’s power base. But Egypt’s strategic standing in the Arab world and outside too suffered its most painful knock in the current year from the Palestinian intifada, after the Egyptian President failed to restrain Yasser Arafat’s violent offensive against Israel and its escalation. Although Arafat has not completely escaped from Egypt’s circle of influence, he has flaunted his independence repeatedly, often acting adversely to Egyptian interests and goals. His tireless efforts to form Iraq, Syria, the Hizballah and the Palestinian entity into an anti-peace Arab bloc that leaves Egypt out in the cold have gained momentum. They are strongly reflected in all the various inter-Arab forums ( Arab League, OIS ) since last year. Time after time, the raucous radicals shout down the moderate line advocated by Egypt. Egypt remains the leading Middle East Arab power, but Arafat’s gambits have cut deeply into its standing.

      For Israel, the strategic effect of Egypt’s waning star is negative. For two decades, Egypt’s central position in the Arab world and its existing peace treaty with Israel have been an important buttress in Israel’s strategic situation. Cracks are now visible in that edifice.

      To fill the potential gap left by Egypt’s deteriorating fortunes, the United States, with the Israeli involvement, is fostering Turkey’s buildup as the leading Moslem power in the region. To further its role, Turkey has been making diplomatic and military advances towards Iraq, Syria and the Moslem republics of Central Asia, as well as sending a senior emissary to the Palestinian Authority with a view to planting the seeds of Turkish influence. In calmer times, Turkey’s tentative attempts, after an absence of eighty years, to regain a foothold in what was for 400 years a province of the old Ottoman Empire, would not have gone unnoticed. But the current Palestinian-Israeli turbulence and Turkey’s own domestic and economic fragility detract from what may be the start of an important trend.

      Israel’s second peace partner, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is in even sorrier shape than is Egypt. The instability of a peace-full neighbor in Egypt is certainly enough to worry the government in Jerusalem. Abdullah II, who registered some success in steadying the kingdom of Jordan after the upheaval of his father, King Hussein’s death, faces fresh upsets resonating from the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. This conflict is a constant source of unrest among the Jordan’s Palestinian majority.

      Amman sources report that the Royal palace is so apprehensive that it has instituted unprecedented restrictions on the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the kingdom. Recently entry has been barred to Palestinians under the age of 50, even though they hold Jordanian passports. Many West Bank Palestinians kept their Jordanian citizenship and business interests after the 1967 war with Israel. They typically have families in Jordan too, as well as in the West Bank. Now the younger Jordanian Palestinians are being sent back at the Jordan River crossings and told to bring letters of recommendation from Palestinian referees in good standing in Amman. With a regime shaky enough, despite Israel’s military, economic and intelligence support, to enact such draconian measures, Jordan can hardly count as a continuous mainstay for Israel’s strategic stability.

      Many analysts believe that Israel suffered extreme damage to its strategic health and deterrent strength through its precipitated withdrawal from South Lebanon without any peace agreement with Syria last May. One need look no further than the meteoric rise since then of the Hizballah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, ( Islamic cleric ) to realize how Israel, by a single stroke, transformed an implacable enemy from a local chieftain to a Pan-Arab force while also gratifying the Shiite revolutionaries in Tehran. Hezbollah belives that Israel withdrew because of its internal weakness, and that conventional ideology has served as a pattern to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians. Only this week, Nasrallah was the star performer at Syrian state ceremonies marking the first anniversary of the death of Syrian President Hafez Assad, urging the faithful followers to fight on to Jerusalem. Addressing the notables gathered around the tomb at Kardaha, Nassrallah shouted at the top of his voice that the battle must go on until all of Palestine, repeat all of Palestine.was liberated. Armed with Iranian rockets and backed by the Syrian army, Hassan Nassrallah’s name is on every radical Arab and Moslem’s lips. He has grown into a strategic threat to Israel as large as Yasser Arafat.

      Tanks, warplanes and sophisticated submarines armed with cruise missiles are not the measure of a nation’s strength, but its ability to stand up to its enemies in aggregate, especially if their challenge is directed against its nationhood. Over the past year, Israel has been confronted by two bitter enemies, Yasser Arafat and Hassan Nasrallah, and failed to come up with the tools, the men, the ideas or the planning, to quell them. Incapacity on this scale cannot but seriously impair any country’s strategic and deterrent might. Thus Israel finds its internal security threatened on multiple fronts, not the least of which is right smack in their own backdoor, via an armed 85,000 strong Palestinian army, which illegally smuggles offensive weapons into PA controlled areas through its Gaza sea and airports.

      Once again the perpetual haters of Israel are becoming engrossed with the conviction that the tide of strategic balance is beginning to tip in their favor. The supply line of weaponry from Russia is again open. The religious zeal of Islamic Jihad is stirring the stew to a boil. And a young arrogant and brash leader named Bashar Assad believes that he can do what his father failed to accomplish! ( retake the Golan and march on to Jerusalem ) And Yasser Arafat has taken that bait………

      Ezekiel mentions the allies of Gog-Magog, the Prince of Rosh; when Russia finally decides to make its mad dash south upon the mountains of Israel. They include Persia, ( Iran ) Libya, Ethiopia, Gomer, and Togarmah ( Muslim republics along Russia’s south border and East Turkey ). Conspicuously absent from the list of that invasion is Syria and Iraq! Why?

      It may well be that Syria and Iraq, along with the PLO-Hezbollah, will have mis-calulated the strategic balance of power in the Middle East, and launched an ill-advised campaign against Israel, before Russia-China are prepared to enter into the fray.

      The strategic balance of power in the Middle East will figure greatly into the carefully orchestrated schemes of the Last Days Empire of the Antichrist!

Darrell G. Young

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