Israel's Other Fear

Steven LeBlanc

From the Israeli point of view, there are two serious threats from Iran. One is the Iranian nuclear threat. The other fear is Iranian support for proxies such as Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza strip, and the Shiite government of Iraq led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. These are Iran’s good friends but are also enemies of Israel. The great concern is that since President Obama is now talking with the Iranians—the U.S. will soften its stance toward Iran’s use of these proxies to cause Israel trouble.

Israel is increasingly worried about the situation in Iraq. With the Syrian civil war escalating and talks with Iran making headline news, we must not forget the weight of Iraq. The importance of Iraq cannot be overstated, if anything, its role in the Middle East has grown. Iraq is a Shiite-majority Arab state and is viewed by the Obama administration as a counter to the rising jihadist threat in Syria. But this Shiite dominated nation is a potential threat to Israel—something that Washington seems to under-appreciate.

Keep in mind that a new Iraqi civil war is not out of the question. The country is divided by 3 groups all contesting for power. The majority (60%-65%) of Iraqi Muslims are members of the Shi’a sect, (32-37%) are Sunni, made up of both Arabs and Kurds. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslim but differ from their Arab neighbors in language and customs. Over ten years after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is at risk of being engulfed by civil war once again as al-Qaeda reclaims vast tracts of the country. The death toll (Sunni Shia conflict) for 2013 surpassed 7,000.

Lebanon’s Sunni Threat

Israel’s enemy Hezbollah is currently distracted by the Sunni threat in Lebanon. This threat also concerns Israel.

The January 2nd explosion in Beirut’s southern suburbs — the fifth attack targeting Hezbollah’s interests since July — reveals a growing jihadist surge and intent to push Hezbollah aside, Sunnis are anti-Hezbollah—Hezbollah is greatest military power in Lebanon today. As retaliatory sectarian attacks between Sunni jihadists and Shiite militants loyal to Hezbollah escalate over the next year, Israel will be watching closely to see if Sunni (Al-Qaeda sympathetic) backed rebels emerge as a true threat to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

For now, much of the fighting you see in the Middle East is Muslim against Muslim. But in time the whole Muslim world will seek to unify its efforts to destroy Israel.

In the future Lebanon will be involved with other Arab nations in a push to destroy Israel. Read Psalm 83: 4,6-8–The prophecy reads, in part, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more…The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites (Arabs; Saudi Arabia); Moab (Jordan) and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia (Gaza strip) with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot”.

Lebanon (Gebal) and Tyre play a prominent role in Psalm 83. Gebal was an important Phoenician port city “between Sidon and Arvad (see Josh. 13:5; 1 Kin. 5:18). It was called Byblos by the Greeks and Romans, and Gubla by the Assyrians and Babylonians.” The Phoenician city is today known as Jbail or Jubayl in Lebanon, 25 miles north of Beirut.

2014 promises to be a year of assassinations, war and blood feuds in the Middle East.

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