Last month, the Obama administration and the leaders of the G8 industrialized nations gave Iran a deadline of September to accept serious, high-level negotiations over its nuclear program or risk stiffer economic sanctions. Thus far, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his senior aides have rejected any negotiations with the “infidels.” And the clock is running.
In that context, Israeli President Shimon Peres met with his Russian counterpart, President Dmitry Medvedev, in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi Monday. During the meeting, Peres expressed Israel’s serious and growing concern about the state of the Russian-Iranian alliance, Russia’s continued assistance to Iran’s nuclear program, the extreme views of the Iranian regime, and the gravity of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The problem in Iran is not just the desire to develop nuclear weapons but the character of the regime,” said Peres, in a report by the Israeli paper Haaretz. “Mr. President, I am a Jew, and a large part of my family [from Belarus] was murdered by the Nazis and I cannot sit with my hands folded while I hear the declarations of the president of Iran calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
“From my standpoint, a nuclear bomb in Iran’s hands means one thing — an airborne death camp,” Peres said.
Medvedev gave no indication that Russia intends to change it’s policy towards Iran, though he reiterated Moscow’s official policy that it does not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
On Friday, however — before Peres’ arrival — Medvedev publicly declared the Kremlin’s opposition to more economic sanctions against Iran and then went further to warn Israel of the grave dangers of launching a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “We know that certain players are planning an attack against Iran,” noted the Russian President. “But we oppose any unilateral step and military solution to the nuclear crisis.”
It’s too soon, of course, to know whether Iran will eventually agree to negotiations (perhaps to buy more time to complete its nuclear weapons development), or will stiff the West entirely. The Obama administration has pinned a lot of hope on the President’s ability to persuade Tehran to “engage.” We will see if he is successful.
By Friday night, September 11th, we will a clearer sense of what is happening and whether the prospect for another war in the epicenter is rising or diminishing. I hope you are planning to join us for the “National Town Hall Meeting on the Threat of Radical Islam and the Church’s Response” we are planning for that night. Nearly 300 churches have signed up to show the two-hour webcast to their congregations that night, 7pm to 9pm eastern. We hope you can join us. More information is available at www.insidetherevolution.org, including a partial list of churches that are participating and details on how your congregation can sign up to show a high-resolution webcast in your sanctuary.
In separate but related developments, I’m hearing concerns coming from evangelical Christian leaders in Georgia — now voiced by a Washington military analyst in a newspaper column — that Russia may be preparing for another attack against the small, democratic republic. Last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Abkhazia, a breakaway section of Georgia, and announced that Moscow would build a $500 million military base there. Today, Georgia officially quit the Commonwealth of Independent States, an organization of former Soviet republics. Recent reports from the region indicate Russia and Ukraine are negotiating a ban on arms to Georgia.
It was just a year ago in August that tensions between Russia and Georgia erupted into armed conflict. As noted last year, one of the interesting elements about this particular conflict from the perspective of Bible prophecy — notably Ezekiel 38-39 and the “War of Gog and Magog” — is that for Russia to send ground forces south to surround Israel, Russian commanders would need to move through Georgia and the Caucasus and eventually through Turkey, Syria and Lebanon to reach the northern borders of the Jewish State.
This is a situation worth keeping an eye on. Let’s be praying for peace for the people of Georgia, and the people of Israel and the epicenter over the course of the next month. ExileStreet
copyright 2008 Joel Rosenberg
Russian President warns Israel not to attack Iran, but might Russia attack Georgia?