It’s hard to imagine things getting worse between Iran and Israel, but they did. Last week, in fact.
Let’s step back and remember how we got where we are.
Before Iran dubbed Israel “The Little Satan,” the country shared a friendly relationship with Israel. Iran was the first Islam-majority nation to recognize Israel. Iran and Israel developed military technology together. But that was in the 1950s, when pro-Western leadership ruled Iran.
Things slid downhill after the 1979 Iranian Revolution brought hardline Islamists into power. Iran cut ties with Israel and funded terrorists who vowed Israel should be “wiped off the map.” Iran later called Israel a “cancerous tumor in the heart of the Islamic world” responsible for many problems Muslims faced.
Those problems? Secular ideas and Western culture represented by the United States of America. Iran leaders call the U.S. “The Great Satan” because of our freedoms. It sees Israel as America’s representative in the Middle East, and that threatens Iran’s efforts to seal off its populace from outside influences.
Thus, today’s Iranians are brainwashed into constant chants of “Death to America. Death to Israel.”
Enter Syria’s Civil War
When the Arab Spring erupted in 2010, some wondered if democracy would finally engulf the Arab world. Instead, populist protests for freedom resulted in destabilizing civil wars and power vacuums. Religious elites, Jihadists and growing discontent among the people filled the void.
The Arab Spring faded, but the destruction it brought remains.
In 2011, one of those Arab Spring civil wars detonated in Israel’s neighbor, Syria. The diluted state of Syria opened a gateway for Iran to bring military might closer to Israel. Iran leaped like a spider on its prey.
According to The Atlantic, “Though Israel has virtually no direct impact on the daily lives of Iranians, opposition to the Jewish state has been the most enduring pillar of Iranian revolutionary ideology.” To this end, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has invested billions of dollars and thousands of lives in positioning itself ever closer to Israeli targets from within Syria.
Iran Will Use Any Means Necessary
Since the 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers loaded its treasury, Iran has established in Syria both a forward air base and factories for GPS-guided missiles that could hit targets inside Israel.
“Syria is the golden ring of the chain of resistance against Israel,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, a close adviser to Khamenei.
Until February, Iran had largely used proxies to attack Iran. Israel has struck back at the proxies, with no direct hits to Iran.
The Fuse is Lit
In February, Israel shot down an Iranian drone launched from its air base in Syria. Last week, Israel confirmed that the drone contained explosives bound for an undisclosed Israeli target.
“This is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel – not by proxy,” a senior Israeli military source told Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times opinion columnist. “This opened a new period.”
That “new period” manifested with a pre-dawn missile raid on Iran’s Syrian air base on Monday, April 9. An Israeli military official told Friedman, “It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people.”
Since then, Iran has threatened to retaliate, and Israel says it will take out Iran’s entire Syrian military infrastructure if it does.
Meanwhile, the U.S., Britain and France conducted a retaliatory missile strike on Syria after a vile use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad. Russia has threatened to respond in retribution for that strike.
In reality, the only nation wanting further escalation is Iran, and that would be to achieve the goal of eliminating Israel, not for the security of Iranians or the Arab people.
“Syria is going to explode,” the Times’ Friedman wrote.
The Atlantic predicted that, “So long as the 78-year-old Khamenei remains in power, this hatred will justify Tehran’s continued commitment of blood and treasure to support Assad’s use of all means necessary – including chemical weapons – to preserve his rule.”
How You Can Pray
Pray now, asking God for:
- De-escalation of Iran’s aggression against Israel, and for calmer minds to prevail in Syria
- The use of chemical weapons inside Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world to cease
- The safety of innocent men, women, and children who are in Iran’s crosshairs
What Your Gift Will Accomplish
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