Signs of the Times

Russia and Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia Form Alliances

It is time to get ourselves ready as the nations begin cementing their alliances for the time of the end. This week (1st of March 2021)  saw the cementing of alliances between Russia and Iran being counterbalanced with an embryonic formation of Gulf State Military Alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE. As the world staggers along under the weight of the Coronavirus; the nations described in Ezekiel 38 are moving into their pre-assigned positions and cementing their forecast alliances.  The move to international war-footing after decades of chasing the shadows of al-Qaeda and Isis is becoming apparent. The scriptures predict such a move:

Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about.” (Joel 3:9–11)Russia and Iran

The prophets of old have long foretold the position that individual nations will take. Russia and Iran are to form, not just a political, but a military alliance:

Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, (RV Gog in the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,) and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:   will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:” (Ezekiel 38:2–5)

This week saw the cementing of the military alliance between Russia and Iran. The Times of Israel reported the joint position of Russia, Iran and Syria over the US strike on the Iranian-backed militias in Syria:

Bible Prophecy about the Latter Day Kings of the North and South

Syria and Iran on Friday condemned a deadly US airstrike on Iranian-backed militias with Damascus calling it a “bad sign” from the new Biden administration and Tehran saying it would further destabilize the region.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said two F-15E “Strike Eagles” dropped seven precision-guided munitions Thursday on facilities in eastern Syria used by the militias believed to be behind a spate of rocket attacks on US troops in Iraq.

Syria condemned the strike as “cowardly American aggression.”

“It is a bad sign regarding the policies of the new US administration which should adhere to international [norms],” the foreign ministry said.

The Iranian foreign ministry strongly condemned what it called “illegal attacks” that are a “clear violation of human rights and international law.”[The} Foreign ministry spokesman said the strikes by “the new US administration [would] lead to intensifying military conflicts and further destabilize the region.”

Syria’s ally Russia also condemned the attack, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov questioning the Biden administration’s plans in Syria.

“It is very important for us to understand the United States’ strategic line on the ground,” Lavrov said.

The Voice of America reported joint Naval exercises between Russia and Iran in the Indian ocean:

Russian and Iranian naval forces conduct joint exercises in the Indian Ocean

Iran and Russia have embarked on a joint naval drill in the northern part of the Indian Ocean that they say has been designed to “enhance the security” of maritime trade in the region, Iranian state media reported.

State television said on February 16 that the exercise dubbed Maritime Security Belt will cover an area of about 17,000 square kilometres and include units from the Iranian Navy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Navy, and the Russian Navy.

Tehran has been seeking to step up military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid tensions with the United States.

Interestingly, India declined to participate in the exercises as Turkey’s Andou Agency reported :The Indian Navy, in a statement Thursday, said it “did not participate” in the two-day exercise, two days after top Iranian Navy officials said India requested to join the drill.

The drill, which began Tuesday, aimed to “secure collective security in the region”, according to Iranian officials, besides “securing maritime trade and fighting piracy and maritime terrorism.”

It was the second major naval exercise between Tehran and Moscow since December 2019 when the two countries, along with China, held a four-day maritime drill in southeastern Iran.

Russian and Iranian Naval forces conduct joint exercises in the Caspian (February)The Jamestown Foundation for Global Research & Analysis reported the reasons behind the increased Naval activity in both the Indian Ocean and also the Caspian Sea (which both Iran and Russia border):

Moscow is alarmed by the expansion of Turkish influence in the Caspian region, most immediately by Turkey’s enthusiasm for trans-Caspian natural gas pipelines, something that could undercut Russia’s ability to dominate that market.

Moscow has not limited its actions in the Caspian to its own forces. In recent weeks, it has held two exercises with Iranian ships in the central and southern portions of that sea, where most of the hydrocarbon fields and energy infrastructure between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan exist. It has been able to do so because Tehran is at least as worried about the implications of growing Turkish influence in the region as Moscow is.

The goal is to contain “Turkish influence in the region”. This is fascinating as it is against Turkey, the “him” of Daniel 11:And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him (Turkey – fulfilled by Britain in 1917 when it pushed the Ottoman’s out of the Holy Land) and the king of the north shall come against him (Turkey) like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40)Not only this, but the Jamestown Foundation also pointed out that Iran is becoming “Russia’s delegate” in the Gulf – and it is arming it with ships: Russian and Iranian Naval forces conduct joint exercises in the Caspian (February)

In a new Vzglyad (VIZ-GLI-AD) commentary, Moscow security analyst Aleksandr Timokhin writes that, from many points of view, the current moment seems propitious for such cooperation. Moscow could provide Iran not only with important components for its Navy but also, if Tehran were interested, with finished ships. Iran has already purchased three Russian-produced submarines and, thus, has experience with Russian yards and. He focuses on the advantages that a larger Iranian navy would give Russia in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, allowing Moscow to “delegate” to the Iranians part of the task of containing the US that, “crudely speaking,” the Russian Navy does not have sufficient strength to do on its own. But it seems clear that the Russian analyst is also interested in seeing Iran develop its naval presence, albeit within limits, northward. Moscow would like the Iranian fleet there to be strong enough to help Russia contain Turkey but not so strong as to be in a position to promote Tehran’s plans for an expanded Iranian empire including “Armenia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and other” lands to its north.

This is absolutely fascinating. Russia is “delegating” to the Iranians to be a counterbalance to America in the region. After all, Ezekiel described Iran (Persia) as being “with thee” – Gog, the prince of Rosh or Russia.

Ezekiel outlines the role of Russia in “preparing” those that are “assembled to it:”

Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” (Ezekiel 38:7)

This is precisely what Russia is doing with Iran, preparing and arming it for future conflict. It is arming it with “ships” which speaks to Daniel’s prophecy:…the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40)

It is with ships and submarines that Russia is arming Iran. Another developing angle is the discussion to build a canal from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf, as Jamestown reports:

“The revival of talk about an even more gigantic project involving Russia and Iran: the possible construction of a 7,200-kilometer-long canal across Iran that would carry cargo and allow for the movement of ships between the Caspian and the Persian Gulf.”

This would allow Russia closer access to insert its ships into the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia and Israel

Counterbalancing the Russian-Iranian alliance are the Israeli’s and the Saudi’s. The scriptures identify the Saudi’s as protesters to the future invasion, along with the Tarshish nations:

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil ?” (Ezekiel 38:13)

The Arabian peninsula contains the historical regions of Sheba and Dedan. Dedan equates with Saudi Arabia, and Sheba with Yemen. When Israeli refugees flee the coming invasion, they spill over into Saudi Arabia:

The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.” (Isaiah 21:13–15)

So the future Israeli refugees will flee to the area of Saudi Arabia (or Dedan), and it is one of the protesters against the Russian-Iranian invasion, so one can look for a growing alliance between the two countries.

Biden’s new policies are encouraging this alliance through their negative impact on the region.

There has been a growing rift between the Gulf States and America since Biden took office. The Times of Israel Reported on Feb 6:

US President Joe Biden is quickly if subtly rebalancing US priorities in the Middle East, walking back his predecessor’s all-encompassing embrace of Saudi Arabia and Israel while seeking diplomacy with Iran.

Two weeks into his presidency, Biden on Thursday announced an end to US support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen which he said has “created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.”

The American rift with Saudi Arabia is in the open. Biden made clear his position in an interview with Univision:

Biden in interview with Univision speaks to King with dementia rather than Crown-Prince Salaman

“I spoke to the king yesterday, not the prince. I made it clear to him that the rules are changing, and we are going to be announcing significant changes today and Monday. We are going to hold them accountable for human rights abuses and make sure that, in fact, if they want to deal with us, they have to do it in a way where human rights abuses are dealt with. And we are trying to do that all over the world, but particularly here.”

This week the Times of Israel reported on the growing security alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia:

Senior Israeli and Saudi officials recently held several phone calls to discuss the Biden administration’s plans to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, Israeli television reported Tuesday.

During the conversations, the Saudis expressed concern over the new US administration and lamented its focus on human rights violations in the kingdom, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Israel has no diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia but has maintained long had clandestine ties that have strengthened in recent years, as the two countries have confronted a shared threat in Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Red Sea city of Neom on November 22, along with then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

Saudi Crown-Prince Salaman met with Netanyahu November 22, 2020Israel and the Arab states are moving to form an defence alliance, a move that is being prompted by America’s changing role in the Middle East. Israel’s i24 news reported:

Jerusalem is currently in talks with the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in establishing a four-nation defense alliance, according to an exclusive i24NEWS report. The reported defense alliance talks likely come in response to the “growing Iranian threat” in the region, specifically regarding its budding nuclear program along with its expanding influence in the Middle East with countries like Syria and Iraq. News of the reported talks comes as the new Biden administration sends signals to Tehran and world powers that it is ready to rejoin the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama, which Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently opposed at the time.

Yesterday, the Chinese publication CGTN ran an article under the headline, “The Middle Eastern NATO is coming” where it stated:

The relations between Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have become closer. According to some reports, these four states are in the midst of negotiations to establish a four-nation defense security alliance. Although there are still some obstacles to the establishment of the security alliance, the closer ties between Israel and the Gulf Arab states suggest a new beginning for Middle Eastern geopolitics.

The geopolitics in the Middle East transformed significantly in the past decade. The rise of Iran and the decline of Arab powers changed the landscape and led to closer ties between Israel and the Arab world. Talks and contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain became widely noticed. In the second half of 2020, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalized their ties with Israel. Both Israel and the Gulf Arab states share their concerns and worries towards Iran’s regional influence, and Iran’s rising power becomes a major driving force for the formation of a regional alliance between Israel and some Gulf Arab states.

Another driving force for forming the alliance is the U.S.’s Middle East policy. Joe Biden’s Middle East policies have led to worries and dissatisfaction from Israel and some Gulf Arab states. They perceive Biden’s hope to contact Iran and lift sanctions against the country imposed by the former Trump administration as U.S. concessions to Iran.

The possible formation of regional security and political alliance might lead to more intensive regional rivalries in the Middle East. A Middle Eastern NATO might take shape, but it will not be led by the U.S., which would leave Biden a narrower space to balance Washington’s policies with Iran and its Middle Eastern allies.

The picture offered by Ezekiel 38 of a southern confederacy of nations protesting Russia and Iran’s invasion of Israel is coming clearly into position.

Take your places everyone, the greatest struggle in the history of mankind is about to begin.

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15)For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.

This has been Jonathan Bowen

Bible In The News