A senior U.S. administration official flies to Tel Aviv to pressure the Israeli government not to launch a preemptive strike against Iran, despite the rapidly growing nuclear threat posed by the Ayatollah and the mullahs and the increasing possibility that Iran could unleash a Second Holocaust. “Under no circumstances can the president tolerate an Israeli first strike against Iran,” warns the U.S. official. “I am here as a personal representative of the President of the United States to make it unequivocally clear that our government wholly, completely, and utterly opposes a preemptive strike by the State of Israel on the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Fact or fiction? The answer is both.
The paragraph above comes from p. 173 of my forthcoming political thriller, The Tehran Initiative.
But this scenario is no longer fiction. Earlier this week, a senior U.S. official flew to Israel to apply this very same pressure, and do so in a surprisingly high profile manner. “U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Israel Monday with a clear message from his boss in Washington: The United States opposes any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities,” reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “The United States, he said, is ‘very concerned, and we will work together to do whatever is necessary” to keep Iran from posing “a threat to this region.’ But doing so ‘depends on the countries working together,’ he added. He repeated the word ‘together’ several times in this context.”
Panetta’s strong-arm tactics towards Israel was likely overlooked by most Americans, who are currently focused on high unemployment, surging foreclosures, anemic growth, skyrocketing national debt, the 2012 presidential campaign, and final days of the Major League Baseball season. But it was certainly noticed by the people of the Middle East who are growing increasingly concerned about the prospects of a major new regional war.
- The latest U.N. report found credible evidence that Iran is moving steadily towards building and deploying nuclear weapons.
- Iran’s leaders continue to espouse apocalyptic beliefs about the End of Days, the coming of the Twelfth Imam, and the rise of an Islamic caliphate, even as they long for the annihilation of Israel (the so-called “Little Satan”) and the United States (the so-called “Great Satan”).
- Yet while Western diplomats keep talking and talking about restraining the Iranian threat, the world is not taking decisive action to actually stop Iran from getting the Bomb.
- The Israelis are getting anxious, and believe time is running out. “The international community must stop Iran before it’s too late,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in his U.N. speech last month. “If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab Spring could soon become an Iranian winter….The world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous.”
- A senior Israeli general in September warned that Iran is getting closer to the Bomb and the “Arab Spring” could turn into a “radical Islamic winter” and that “this raises the likelihood of an all-out, total war, with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction being used.”
Such talk has the region buzzing:
- “Is Israel Again Weighing an Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities?” asked a new Time magazine headline in October .
- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad this week threatened to shower hundreds of rockets and missiles down on Tel Aviv if Israel and NATO were to make a militarily move in the region.
- Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan this week warned Israel a “nuclear threat” to the region.
No wonder Israelis feel increasingly isolated on the world stage. Even the U.S. is pressing them not to defend themselves. Israelis, therefore, continue to make preparations for war. They don’t want a war with Iran, but they are steadily coming to the conclusion a preemptive strike might soon become their only option.
I’ve written The Tehran Initiative to imagine the conditions that could lead to such a strike, to imagine why and how Washington might pressure Israel not to launch such a strike, and to imagine how such a strike might unfold. We are hosting “The Gathering Storm” simulcast in churches throughout the U.S. on Saturday, October 22nd to discuss these threats to America, Israel and the Church in more detail, and give practical suggestions on how Christians can serve the Lord at this critical hour. And we are building and expanding the operations of The Joshua Fund to educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, and to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to Israelis and Palestinians who are struggling today and to stockpile humanitarian relief for coming wars and natural disasters — and we would be grateful for your prayers and financial support.
>> Please keep praying the Lord spares the life of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He was supposed to be executed today (Wednesday). That hasn’t happened yet, but he’s still at risk and the Iranian government is trumping up new charges against him — click here for more details.
>> To learn more about and support The Joshua Fund’s efforts to educate Christians around the world about God’s love and plan for Israel, and to support our humanitarian relief work to care for needy Israelis and Palestinians, please click here.
UPCOMING EVENTS WHERE JOEL WILL BE SPEAKING THIS FALL:
- October 7 & 8: “Understanding The Times” conference at Grace Church in Eden Prarie, Minnesota
- October 22: “The Gathering Storm” national simulcast – please encourage your pastor to host this simulcast in your church; this event can only be viewed at churches hosting the special simulcast; it won’t be available on Oct. 22 for individuals hoping to watch on the web.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- What is the “War of Gog & Magog” described in Ezekiel 38-39? — notes from a recent conference
- Israel, Prophecy, and the “Day of the Lord”: Understanding the Old Testament Book of Joel – notes from a recent conference
- Watch the videos from the 2011 Epicenter Conference online — and/or order the DVD package of all the messages