News & Prophecy Blog

Is Israel Going to Bomb Iran Within Months?

Israeli flagAs Iran rapidly approaches the “zone of immunity” when its nuclear program would become unstoppable, will Israel attack? Where would this lead?

Is Israel going to war against Iran? Israel has decried recent attacks against some of its diplomats and families as terrorist acts of Iran. But that’s not what might drive Israel to bomb Iran.

In early February, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that his biggest worry was the possibility that Israel would attack Iran within months. That’s a startlingly frank statement from a top government official. A tip-off of something unusual coming was Israel’s withdrawal from a planned joint military exercise with the U.S. late this spring.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was apologetic, saying that Israel “couldn’t devote the resources” to the exercise. His words ignited speculation that the Israelis are planning a preemptive attack on Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program.

With or without American approval?

David Ignatius of the Washington Post wrote that Israel would go to war with or without American approval. Ignatius’ colleague, Dr. Charles Krauthammer agreed: “I think it’s fairly certain the Israelis are going to attack or you would not have had this leak, deliberately coming this week from [the] secretary of Defense. … He said three months, April, May or June. And you don’t say that unless there [are] obviously indications from the Israelis that they are going to do this even if they get and they are getting a signal from the United States not to do it.”

Krauthammer went on to explain that the issue isn’t Iran having reached the capability of producing or of delivering a nuclear weapon. Rather, Israel sees the need to stop Iran from entering what he called the zone of immunity at which it would have enough enriched uranium in virtually untouchable storage deep within its mountains.

He made these comments on the weekend of Feb. 4-5. Several days later on the Fox News Channel, Krauthammer repeated and amplified his views: “I think the Israelis are serious unless [something] happens between now and midyear or even November that will threaten the regime, because it won’t change the policy. I think Israel will strike, because it cannot live under the threat of annihilation from Iran.”

A disturbing wild card

Western news has often conveyed the torrent of anti-Semitism from the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yet within Iranian politics, the real authority rests with the chief cleric, the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Iranian flagIn late January, the Ayatollah Khamenei himself publicly warned, “In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty God, the Zionists and the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated.” He claimed that the world is on the verge of a great event; that the world will soon realize “the power of Allah.” Khamenei didn’t say how.

Was this just more rhetoric? quotes sources within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards saying the ayatollah recently gave the Guards two orders: Give the West hope by saying that Iran is willing to reopen negotiations about its nuclear program (which has since been done). Secondly, the Guards were ordered to complete with all possible speed a nuclear weapons program, including bombs and the missiles to deliver them. If this is true, it is shocking.

Shiite doctrine includes the belief that the mysterious “12th Imam” will lead the present world into one ruled by Islam. This imam, also called the Mahdi (“hidden one”), supposedly disappeared long ago at age 5 but will supernaturally reappear at the end time. Shiite belief includes the conviction that plunging the world into a nuclear war will only speed the desired end. Khamenei believes that the Mahdi is already present on earth.

This cannot be ignored as just religious sermonizing, when it comes from a nation rapidly becoming a nuclear power. All of this adds up to a very real possibility that Israel will attack Iran within months. The consequences would be catastrophic from a number of perspectives.

  • An Israeli attack would bring the ire of much of the world upon Israel after so much international effort has been put into a peaceful attempt to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
  • Israeli-U.S. relations could also be set back decades, reminiscent of when President Eisenhower stopped the Israelis and Europeans from attacking the Suez Canal in 1956.
  • Iran would undoubtedly violently retaliate through its proxy, Hezbollah, showering Israel with its huge stockpile of weapons. Israel could expect hundreds of casualties.
  • Some have speculated that Israel may launch a rocket to detonate over Iran to create an electromagnetic pulse. This could throw Iran back into the 18th century. It might stop nuclear development, but it would also wreak great hardship upon the population.
  • The West fears that Iran will try to close the Strait of Hormuz through which much of the world’s oil is transported. This could have devastating effects on the world’s economy.

A step toward the rise of the king of the South?

Then, there are inevitably the unintended consequences. What might they be? Islam is not a united faith by any means. But could an Israeli attack on Iran so anger the world’s Muslims that they would unite behind a charismatic leader?

Bible prophecy tells of such a figure who will rise “at the time of the end,” called “the king of the South” (Daniel 11:40). Scripture doesn’t say that the king of the South is an Islamic leader, but if now is the time of the fulfillment of these words, Islam fits the puzzle perfectly.

This would trigger a chain of unstoppable events that would bring about “Armageddon.” See “What Is Armageddon?” for more details.

Cecil Maranville is a minister of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He coordinates the responses to questions our readers send to our Contact page.

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