Will Iran Be Stopped by Diplomacy?

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Will Iran Be Stopped by Diplomacy?

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Diplomacy seems to be the new order of the day. Just about everywhere in the world, traveling diplomats are on their way to meetings and conferences. American House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently visited Syria and met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, but not with the blessings of the White House.

In fact, according to a USA Today lead editorial, "She violated a long-held understanding that the United States should speak with one official voice abroad—even if the country is deeply divided on foreign policy back home" (April 9, 2007).

Will diplomacy win the day?

On her trips to the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has tried her level best to restart the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians—but with little obvious success.

Various newspaper headlines tell us that "Saudis Increase Overtures to Israel," "Israel Panel Hears that Damascus Wants [a] Deal," "Talk to Iran and Syria? Yes" and "Syria Finds the World Suddenly Visiting with Carrot and Stick."

Clearly the prevailing mood in the diplomatic world is to talk. "Very well, let's talk," one headline in The Economist says. The article itself speaks wryly of "the axis of the formerly evil." A newspaper article advises, in "dealing with Iran, try to talk. You can use the stick later."

But will mere talk stop Iran from generating nuclear weapons? That is the question.

The dismal track record so far

Europe's track record when it comes to restraining Iran is dodgy at best and bordering on complete failure at worst. Fairly recently the big three in Europe—Germany, France and Britain—did not succeed in trying to halt Iran's nuclear plans. Yet parts of Europe are just as vulnerable to Iranian missiles as the state of Israel is.

Still the European Union is Iran's largest trading partner, and the EU sells sniper rifles to this rogue regime while its diplomats continue to totally rule out force in dealing with the Ahmadinejad administration.

Some say that Washington has nothing to lose in employing the diplomatic option almost exclusively, but there is such a thing as delaying too long in effectively confronting an enemy apparently bent on arming itself with atomic weapons. The danger is keenly felt in Israel, Iran's chief target. But Israel is not the only one who should worry.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former foreign and defense minister of Britain, stated: "Iran is more powerful than it has ever been. Few doubt its nuclear weapons aspirations and its ability to realize them. It is already the leading power in the Gulf and with nuclear weapons could dominate the Muslim Middle East" (International Herald Tribune, March 7, 2007).

Iran's strategy against Israel

President Ahmadinejad is already well known for his role as a Holocaust denier. He even convened a conference to try to establish that there was no Jewish Holocaust.

Clearly this mid-20th century cataclysm is a target of the Iranian government. To Iranian rulers, Nazi death camps become jails and genocide stories mere fabrications.

Fomenting suspicion of the Holocaust as lacking historical evidence strengthens the Iranian case against Israel's right to exist. It is a vital part of President Ahmadinejad's strategy to destroy the state of Israel.

Western moral relativism, multiculturalism and the current tendency to reconstruct history in terms of promoting planned political agendas are all factors that help Iran to confuse people by casting doubt on the historicity of the Holocaust.

Aside from terrorist suicide bombers and occasional rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza, conventional military efforts against Israel have fallen out of fashion. Israel's enemies, and Iran in particular, are now seriously considering the nuclear option. Atomic weapons in the hands of mullahs is a real concern. Then at last the enemies of Israel could possibly prevail. Can you imagine a number of Middle Eastern countries allied against Israel under an Iranian leadership armed with nuclear weapons?

Can we seriously contemplate any Israeli prime minister sitting on his hands some 60 years after the Holocaust, should Tehran persist in threatening Israel's annihilation and should it also become apparent that Iranian nuclear weaponry is an absolute certainty? Not likely!

Asaph's insightful prophecy

Consider the words of Asaph. He was a descendant of Levi, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. He was chosen by the chief Levites as a leading singer when the ark was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:17). King David made him leader of choral worship (1 Chronicles 16:4-5). He wrote some of the psalms, undoubtedly under the guidance of David. Psalm 83 is a case in point.

Asaph implores God to recognize that the enemies of Israel "have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against your sheltered ones. They have said, "Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.' For they have consulted together with one consent. They form a confederacy against You [Israel's God]" (Psalm 83:3-5, emphasis added).

Then Asaph goes on to mention some specific Middle Eastern nations lined up against Israel. "The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek; Philista with the inhabitants of Tyre" (verses 6-7).

These are ancient nations, but their descendants still populate parts of the Middle East. Asaph's prophecy may very well be dual in nature, but even if it is not, the principle remains very clear. It transcends the time gap.

The state of Israel has very few friends in the Middle East and those few may be tempted to become enemies again in the eventuality of a serious crisis.

Keep a watchful eye on events in the Middle East. Watch diplomatic as well as military movements.

As an essential background aid to understanding both the historical and the prophetic angles, request our free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. It will also shed much light on current occurrences in that troubled part of the world. WNP