World News and Trends: The Iranian threat to the Middle East

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The Iranian threat to the Middle East

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To Daniel Mariaschin, influential lobbyist for the Jewish service organization B'nai B'rith International, Iran remains Israel's most pressing concern: "Iran is issue number one, issue number two and issue number three in importance . . . We have been saying for years that Iran is not just Israel's problem, and fortunately the democracies seem to be waking up to this now. We hope it's not too late . . . We are watching as Iran builds a complex deployment system for their warheads. We are not talking about crude devices but sophisticated weaponry. Their idea is to create intercontinental ballistic missiles" (interview with Simon Round, "The Man Warning the West on Iran," The Jewish Chronicle, Nov. 26, 2010).

Saudi Arabia has also become increasingly concerned about the possible fulfillment of Iran's nuclear ambitions. In 2006 the crown prince of Saudi Arabia stated, "They have to be dealt with before they do something tragic." Then in 2008, the Saudis conferred with U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, during which a leading Saudi official "recalled the king's 'frequent exhortations to the U.S. to attack Iran'" (David Sanger, James Glanz and Jo Becker, "Widespread Distress Over Iran," International Herald Tribune, Nov. 29, 2010).

Said a London Times article regarding the WikiLeaks releases: "They also provide the first published evidence of an alleged shipment to Iran of missiles capable of reaching western European capitals, including Moscow. They depict the leaders of Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as united in their pleas for the US to take the lead in crafting a military solution to the Iranian problem, but refusing to condemn Tehran publicly for fear of enraging their own Shia minorities" (Giles Whittell, "Israel's Warning to Obama: If You Don't Sort Out Tehran We Will," Nov. 30, 2010).

Finally Philip Stephens commented: "Yet if Tehran does succeed in its ambition, it will probably start a nuclear race in one of the world's most volatile regions. The pressures on Arab states to follow suit—Saudi Arabia and Egypt spring first to mind—would be intense. Turkey would have to consider whether to cross the nuclear threshold. Proliferation in the Middle East would signal in turn the end of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. John F. Kennedy's nightmare of a world held in terror by the threat of nuclear conflagration would come a big step closer" ("Caught Between Bombing Iran and an Iranian Bomb," Financial Times, Oct. 8, 2010).

To understand the historical and prophetic significance of the current dilemmas in regard to Iran, download or request our free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. (Sources: The Times [London], Financial Times, International Herald Tribune.)

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