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Middle East War Scenario

Bob Westbrook, Editor of Trumpet Sounds.
February 19, 2002

Even without any consideration of Bible prophecy, can anyone doubt that war is inevitable in the Middle East? For the last few years, we've been discussing and speculating about the events that may surround the impending Middle East war. The September 11 attacks have dramatically changed the worldwide political and military equation, and have had an equally dramatic effect on any potential war scenarios regarding Israel.

This will be especially true if the event that triggers the war is a shockingly disproportionate terrorist attack against Israel, an attack that causes even the most tepid observers to momentarily declare solidarity with her actions. Though this widespread support will ultimately shift and the world will rage against her, at the beginning she will benefit for a little while from the current stream of global anti-terror sentiments.

One of the fascinating developments in the wake of September 11 which is undoubtedly Divinely ordained is that the enemies of Israel have been named by President Bush as the enemies of America. Whether or not the US actively pursues any kind of offensive against Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad may not be as important as the shift in policy which will allow Israel to now have a freer hand to take forceful action. This will be especially true if the attacks continue to increase in frequency and intensity as has occurred in recent days. Terrorists have become "the" enemy, especially terrorists that look and act like Al Qaida.

The current deterioration of the security situation in Israel was inevitable. The Oslo "peace process" crumbled because it was based on false premises, primarily, the premise that the Palestinians had renounced violent confrontation and genuinely desired peace. As a result, when the negotiations finally reached the crisis point over the critical issues that had been postponed, the inevitable deterioration began. With a Palestinian populace that repeatedly expresses in polls and actions the determination to continue conflict with Israel, the only possible result will be large scale conflict. It is only going to get worse until it ends in a final showdown. This will likely inflame the entire region into a war.

This will not be just "another" war, but a war that will drastically shift the geopolitical realities in the Middle East. For Israel, it will be an astounding victory that will have many long-term ramifications. Some may think it rash to say so, but in my opinion this war will have more prophetic implications than any event since 1948 and 1967. And perhaps even moreso, because in the long term it will have a dramatic impact on the way the people of Israel look at themselves and their God.

When examining the prophecies regarding what is about to happen, some things can be said with certainty, and others are a bit more fuzzy. For example, we can say with certainty that at some point there will be no more talk about a Palestinian state, and Israel will not be plagued with terror attacks. Ezekiel supplied us these details. On the fuzzy side, please provide me the liberty to entertain some educated conjecture, and don't suppose that "Bob says this is absolutely going to happen this way."

  • Any number of events could trigger the war. A US attack on Iraq where Saddam retaliates by sending Scuds to Israel, an Islamic coup in Jordan, a barrage of missiles from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, or a huge Hamas suicide attack claiming many lives could all trigger it.
  • Though any number of events could trigger the war, I hesitatingly suggest (based on Isaiah 14:29) that it may begin by the assassination or death of Prime Minister Sharon, possibly in conjunction with an attack that causes great loss of life. Recent intelligence reports have indicated that Hamas plans to attempt broader strategic attacks including killing "senior government officials."
  • Sharon's successor, presumably Benjamin Netanyahu, would obviously then possess a broad consensus for decisive action against the Palestinians. As a result, he would direct a campaign for the elimination of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, moving in to all areas of the "West Bank" with overwhelming force. Though in his first term of office he was forced to conform to the Oslo process, now that the "peace process" has in effect been repudiated by the Palestinians, Netanyahu will have a free hand to act in Israel's best interest.
  • The initial response of the United States would be that Israel has the right to protect herself, but should show as much restraint as possible. The primary interest of the US is to prevent the entire region from exploding in flames, threatening the Arab oil flow and thus the health of the US economy.
  • Though these actions would trigger an Israel/Palestinian war, it would not necessarily initiate a broader Middle East war. You may have noticed that until now, most of the major players among the Arab nations have been content to make a lot of noise but do little on behalf of the Palestinians. Whether the Arab/Muslim nations would take up arms against Israel to "protect" the Palestinians is debatable.
  • However, other parties will likely seize what they will perceive as a golden opportunity. Hezbollah, under increasing pressure from the worldwide anti-terror efforts, will see this as its best chance of inciting the Arab world for the destruction of Israel. It may then begin to unleash its arsenal of 8000 missiles against Israel. Iran, though not actively involved in the war, will rush military supplies to Hezbollah and also to their people in the West Bank.
  • After Israel strikes Syria and Lebanon with bombing raids in retaliation for the Hezbollah attacks, Syria also begins raining missiles on Israel, and moving its substantial conventional army into action. This may ultimately develop into a full-blown war between Israel and Syria/Lebanon.
  • Shocked by the severity of the Israeli response against Lebanon and Syria, Saudi Arabia also may join the fray against Israel, though its effectiveness is negligible. They have been reticent in the past to become heavily involved in Arab/Israeli conflicts, but this time it is unlikely they would sit idly on the sidelines. Though they have little conventional military capability, their US supplied air force is formidable on paper, but probably not in practice.
  • Egypt makes a lot of noise against Israel, but declines to enter the war.
  • Saddam Hussein finally decides to send his "Jerusalem Army" westward into Jordan. He sees this as a way to rally the Arab world, not only against Israel, but for the protection of his regime against the American threat.
  • King Abdullah initially rebuffs the Iraqi incursion, but pro-Palestinian and extremist Islamic elements rise up, with much popular support, and depose the King. The new government in Jordan then joins forces with Iraq and invites the Iraqi army to invade Israel via Jordanian territory.
  • The Palestinians, heartened by the activities of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, launch a full scale offensive against Israel, thinking this is their chance to achieve statehood in the "West Bank".
  • The only conventional forces employed against Israel are the combined Iraq/Jordan army (which would be shredded by the IAF en route), the Palestinians, and a limited Syrian offensive in an attempt to regain the Golan Heights. The rest of the attacks consist of missile bombardments of Israel.
  • In a combination of desperation, Islamic fanaticism, and fateful miscalculation, both Syria and Hezbollah make the dreadful decision to employ weapons of mass destruction (chemical and/or biological missiles) in their bombardment of Israel.
  • Israel has no choice but to respond with tactical nuclear weapons against southern Lebanon and Damascus. Because of the imminent threat of more WMB missile launches, Israel would not have the time to initiate conventional operations against Syria and Lebanon. The threat would need to be eliminated immediately.
  • During this time the Palestinians rise up en masse in Yesha, thinking it is the opportune time to establish their state by force. In response, the IDF employs a full scale invasion to retake control. As the Palestinians subsequently view the demise of their allies and are entirely demoralized, nearly all of them exit Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
  • On the eastern front, Israel repels the Iraqi-Jordanian invasion attempt and pushes back in a broad counterattack across the Jordan river.
  • Large number of Jordanian/Palestinian refugees flee southward along the eastern side of the Dead Sea.
  • After the Iraqi retreat, what had been the nation of Jordan is now in control of Israel in the west and Iraq in the east.
  • With Jordan no longer in existence, Syria's capital and army destroyed, Lebanon an inferno, the Palestinians out of Yesha, and Saudi Arabia humbled, there will be no more security threat to Israel from her immediate neighbors.

"Whew Bob," you may be thinking, "this is a pretty radical scenario." Perhaps it is, but even it is not a very accurate projection, it is likely that we will soon see unprecedented, shocking events in the Middle East. If I am proved to be correct about some of these things, my intention is not to tout my superior prognostication (the prophets foresaw it, not I), but to point out that God has ordained and outlined a plan in His Holy Scriptures, a plan with Israel at its center. We are just now entering a new phase in that plan, and it is essential that we pay attention to what He has said about what He is doing in the world.

The "what" may be hard to precisely predict, but the "why" is not. God has stated that He is remembering His covenant with Israel, and is beginning to rise up on her behalf. His intention, as expressed by King David, for Israel to be "the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for Himself, to make a name for Himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders" has not changed. Watch and see what He does.

Bob Westbrook, Editor of Trumpet Sounds.