Is the Scene Being Set for World War III?

As you look at world events of the past few to several years, one may be tempted to ask, "Is there a world war coming?"  Al-Qaeda is bent on the destruction of the West and Iran rails against "The Great Satan" as it continues unimpeded on building a nuclear program, much of which is underground; not to mention their rhetoric concerning what the regime sees as the coming demise of Israel.  Are these part of a whole host of disconnected events in the often chaotic Middle East or is there something else that is going on?

President Obama said things and took stands on the campaign trail that are drastically different than what he is doing while in office.  Perhaps you remember that when he was president-elect, word got out that he got a rather somber, overwhelming briefing on national security issues.  And now, he is pushing a treaty with Russia with leading foreign policy experts from Republican administrations all around him while the cameras are rolling.  His changes in stance on prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and other national security issues have liberal critics aghast as his foreign policy is increasingly a continuation of President Bush's.  Is this coincidental or has President Obama become privy to things that have changed his mind concerning what President Bush did?

In the Middle East, events have been mind-boggling.  Israel delivered a punishing campaign of blows against Hamas in Gaza a few years back. Suspected Syrian nuclear facilities were attacked by Israeli air forces.  Sunni Saudi Arabia, fearing Shiite Iran more than Jewish Israel, months ago publicly granted rights for Israel to overfly its territory in order to strike at Iran and just recently, President Obama has promised the royals of Saudi Arabia a $60 billion dollar arms deal that will modernize their airforce.  Egypt had even granted Israel the rights to send warships across the Suez Canal.  Even more surprising was President Obama advocating for a seat for India on the U.N. Security Council, throwing the normal caution to the wind that has been the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in respect to  Pakistan and India.

What is causing this kind of activity?  Besides what is listed above concerning al-Qaeda and Iran, there are some troubling events coming out of the Middle East.  These events, while seemingly disconnected, may be more linked than we would like to acknowledge.

Why would President Obama reverse course from the balancing act typical of U.S. relations with Pakistan and India?  To answer that, we have to go back to 9-11.  You may not have noticed that Pakistan was drug kicking and screaming away from its relationship with the Taliban after the September 11 attacks by the Bush administration.  Disturbing data has come from U.S. forces on the ground and other sources that leading members of Pakistani intelligence are helping the Taliban in its fight against the U.S. and its coalition allies which include Afghan forces.  In addition, while fighting militants who endanger Pakistanis, the government of Pakistan refuses to act against militants who cross the border and engage in attacks in Afghanistan.  One may be tempted to believe that Pakistan never really forsook its strange and self-destructive relationship with the Taliban.  My theory is a chilling one:  that President Obama and his national security team have washed their hands of Pakistan, believing that it is only a matter of time before the country succumbs to the militants and becomes a radical Islamic state with nuclear weapons.  Let's hope that it is just a bargaining chip, a pressure tactic, to compel Pakistan to join in the fight against Taliban insurgents who have safe haven in Pakistan.  However, I suspect the worst.

Iran appears to be seeking to become Israel's chief rival in the Middle East.  Besides the nuclear program, the Islamic State has been active all throughout the Middle East.  In Iraq, the greatest challenges coming from I.E.D's are ones that have been manufactured in Iran.  Iranian agents and actors have been playing a role from within Iraq and the U.S. has reacted to them, albeit softly.  An unintended consequence of the U.S. war on Saddam Hussein's regime was that we strengthened Iran by taking out its primary foe.  The government of Iraq, brought into power due to the brave actions of U.S. troops and paid for by U.S. taxpayers, leans heavily toward Iran.  The Shiites have gained real power in the Iran-Iraq region.

Beyond that, Iran has sent its tentacles across the Middle East toward Israel.  Hamas is supported by the Iranians.  Syria is an ally which allows the transit of deadly Iranian hardware to Lebanon's Hezbollah.  The United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel have all taken notice and have begun to act.  Apparently, these allies are acting in concert with each other to mitigate and eventually eliminate Iran's ability to export terror and to establish a neo-Persian empire within the Middle East.  That explains the Saudis desire to allow Israel, no friend to the Saudis, to use its airspace in an attack on Iran.  It then makes sense that Obama would perhaps reward the Saudis, not to mention strengthen them against external (Shiite) threats, with a state-of- the-art airforce.  Such an alliance vs. Iran provides a context to recent events with Russia to reset relations, to include them in a shield over Europe, to pass a new strategic arms reduction and verification treaty with them.

So, how does Pakistan, Afghanistan and India fit in?  Well, I think that they are players which could provide a second front in this potential war.  India and Pakistan have had numerous battles and wars over disputed territory.  Militants, both Hindu and Muslim, have played huge roles in the conflict, both internal and external. Our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq need to be seen in the larger picture here; apparently, the U.S. had other motives beyond 9-11 and weapons of mass destruction.  Is is mere coincidence that the U.S. is introducing battle tanks in the war in Afghanistan?  The scene is being set and it appears that the 9-11 attacks, the Mumbai attacks, those in Europe and our response in Afghanistan as well as all these other events are mere skirmishes for what is to come.

That being said, if I am correct to link these events, or even  largely, though not totally, correct, what is a believer in Jesus Christ to do?  I think we need to pray for our president and ask God to help him to be successful in his efforts to protect us and our freedoms here, as well as those of our allies.  Whether we agree with his policies is not relevant.  What is relevant is that something big is on the horizon and Russia, China and North Korea, as well as Europe are all potential game-changers in the drama unfolding in the Middle East and the Near East (which includes Pakistan and India).  Wisdom is needed.

Believers should also pray for our brothers and sisters in this region.  A Christian woman has been sentenced to hang for allegedly blaspheming the prophet Mohammed in Pakistan.  Iran is involved in persecution in its land while the church there is growing by leaps and bounds.  Throughout the Middle East and Near East, as Joel Rosenberg said, the followers of Jefferson, Jihad and Jesus are seeking victory.  And blood is flowing at an alarming rate.  Yet, the war is only beginning to take shape, if my assessment is correct.

What do you think?  Please feel free to respond even if many of these pieces have been unknown to you up to this time and even if you disagree.  May God bless you and God bless America.  Note:  your comments won't appear right away, but I will review them and post them as expeditiously as possible, unless of course you are deranged, insulting or otherwise profane :).

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