Israel – Middle East
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Jack KinsellaOmega Letter Editor

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Yahya Safavi now heads one of the most formidable military forces in the world, despite international sanctions designed to prevent an Iranian military buildup.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is an entity separate and distinct from Iran’s regular armed forces that is loyal and answerable only to Iran’s ruling mullahs. The Revolutionary Guard was created and set up specifically to prevent a military coup by secularists against Iran’s religious rulers.

And under Safavi, the Revolutionary Guard has developed into a force numbering as many as TEN MILLION dedicated and fanatically religious soldiers.

That’s ten MILLION Iranian soldiers — those ten million make up JUST the IRGC — Iran also has a separate army, navy and air forces. Plus tens of thousands of religiously devoted volunteer suicide squads.

In all, according to the CIA World Factbook, Iran has more than THIRTY MILLION citizens of military age and fit for military service, thanks to Iran’s lopsided population ratio.

The carnage of the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq War killed off the majority of Iran’s previous generation, resulting in 70% of the population of Iran being under the age of thirty.

Over the past three years, the IRGC has been given the best of Iran’s weapons and platforms. The force has developed and maintained control over Iran’s entire strategic arsenal and is responsible for, among other duties, securing the nation’s nuclear program.

"The IRGC began as a buffer against a military coup," reported Geostrategy-Direct.com. "Today, it is far superior in strength to the regular military and can conduct the bulk of the fighting against any enemy, including the United States."

In a recent interview, General Safavi outlined both his own war strategy and the perceived weaknesses of the enemy [Israel/USA]. "We make full use of satellite systems, and can handle the enemy’s satellite systems," Safavi bragged. "We can disrupt the satellite systems of the enemy. We can disrupt the communication networks of the enemy."

Safavi made his comments after Iran’s recent ten-day wargame exercise, dubbed "The Great Prophet" that showcased Iran’s growing military prowess.

Safavi’s force fired hundreds of missiles and rockets towards targets, demonstrating the IRGC’s capability in precision strikes as well as command and control. The IRGC proved that in any war with the United States, Iran could obliterate virtually any strategic target in the Gulf and Iraq.

Safavi highlighted Iran’s successes with the Shihab-3 missile, adapted from North Korea’s NoDong-3, which Safavi said was accurate to within several meters.

"The Shihab 3 missiles, which were fired with a cluster warhead, deviated a few meters" from the target, Safavi said. "Naturally, a 20 to 30 meter [deviation] is acceptable, because the force of the explosion and the radius of the shock waves exceed 20 or 30 meters."

Safavi said the new cluster warhead of the Shihab-3 ensures a killing zone of several square kilometers. The new missile variant was designed against aircraft carriers and large military bases.

The Shihab-2, with an estimated range of 500 miles, which includes most of Iraq, carries a 2,000 pound conventional warhead and 20 tons of fuel.

The IRGC has been developing a range of strategic assets. Under Safavi, the Shihab-3 is intended for conversion from the current liquid-fuel to the more efficient solid-fuel variant. With solid fuel, the Shihab could be prepared for launch within minutes.

Safavi, in an assessment echoed by Western analysts, asserted that the IRGC is a motivated force. This contrasts with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan and Iraq where Americans do the bulk of the fighting while their NATO allies avoid combat.

"We don’t see any motivation among the American forces in Iraq," Safavi said. "They are very cowardly. There are even scenes from Iraq in which they are seen crying. When their commanders encounter a problem, they burst into tears. We did not see such spectacles in the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war. I can therefore say that our advantage over the foreign forces is moral and human."

Although Safavi was pointed in his assessment of the Americans as crybabies, America isn’t Iran’s target of choice. At least, not at first.

"If the Zionist regime was defeated by a group of Hezbollah in Lebanon — after all, Hezbollah is a small group in Lebanon, which defeated the Israeli army in this 33-day war — how can Israel withstand a great nation that numbers 70 million, 90 percent of which are Shiites?" Safavi asked.

Most of Safavi’s bluster was aimed at keeping America at bay while Iran makes short work of Israel. To that end, Iran and Syria have worked out a military cooperation agreement designed and focused on keeping America from coming to Israel’s aid when Iran makes its move against the Jewish State.

The two countries also plan to cooperate in air defense. Under two agreements signed over the past year, Damascus and Teheran pledged to make their air defense batteries interoperable, allowing for either country to help the other during an emergency.

Iran has begun taking delivery of the Russian Tor-M1 air-defense missile — rated as one of the best in the world. Syria has already purchased Russia’s SA-18 ‘Grouse’ missile system. The ‘Grouse’ — (or ‘Igla’ in Russian) has already proved its superiority over the US Stinger missile system in tests conducted by the South African military.

The Syrian model is a substantially improved variant with longer range, more sensitive seeker, improved resistance to latest countermeasures, and a heavier warhead. As we discussed in previous briefings on this subject, the entire Arab Middle East is arming and preparing for war with israel, believing that this time, it can not only annihilate the Jewish state, but defeat any American intervention effort on Israel’s behalf.

Egypt, a nation with no strategic enemies, is quietly spending more of its budget on defense than either Iran or Syria. What Iran and Syria are to Hezbollah, Egypt is to Hamas — but without the bluster.

Egypt conducts annual wargames in the Sinai against an imaginary enemy nation Egypt identifies as a "small country northeast of Egypt", according to the subtitle of the annual ‘Bader Exercises’ manual.

There is only one such country on the map. The indoctrination of new Egyptian officers focuses on preparation for a possible future war against Israel, although Egypt has had a peace treaty with Israel since 1977.

What is fascinating to me is the fact that all of these nations are preparing for what they agree will be the Battle of Armageddon.

The Muslims have their own eschatological scheme for the last days, lifted from the Scriptures and then ‘tweaked’ so that the Muslim forces come out on top in the end.

Islam awaits its own messiah figure, the ‘Mahdi’ who will lead the forces of Islam in a victorious conquest of the world for Islam, after which everybody will live happily ever after.

Islamic scholars have even pointed to the rider on the white horse of Revelation 6:2 as the Mahdi of Islamic ‘prophecy’. (Christian scholars identify the rider on the white horse as the antichrist.)

Let’s add it all up and see what we get.

In Israel, devoutly religious Jews are preparing for the coming of the Messiah. For the first time in 1,600 years, the Jewish Sanhedrin has been reconstituted, since Jewish law requires the Jewish Messiah to be certified by Israel’s Supreme religious court.

Gershon Salomon’s Temple Mount Faithful fully expect the Messiah in the near future, and each year attempt to lay the cornerstone for the Third Temple. The Temple Mount Institute has recreated all the necessary elements for Temple worship and is training Kohanim priests in preparation.

Christians are awaiting the Second Coming of Christ in this generation. Western culture is also beginning to reflect that expectation through books, movies and television programming.

Movies with plot lines involving the end of the world are consistent box office winners; books about Bible prophecy are best-sellers; networks like National Geographic and A&E can’t make documentaries about the Bible and the last days fast enough to meet demand.

The Islamic world is so convinced of the soon appearance of their own messiah that they are willing to bring about a global conflagration in order to hasten his appearance.

So we have the world’s three largest monotheistic religions all convinced at the same point in history that this is the generation of the messiah. All three are actively making preparations in advance of his appearance.

The Jews expect their messiah to bring global peace. The Muslims expect their messiah to bring global war. Daniel identifies the antichrist as a false messiah who rises to power by means of the promise of peace and then plunges the world into a global war of annihilation against Christians and Jews.

Revelation 6:2 pictures the rider on the white horse as carrying a bow — but no arrows, symbolic of a peaceful ascent to power, followed by the rider on the rider on the black horse who plunges the world into war.

The details remain fuzzy — since they are working themselves out in real time — but the shared expectation is crystal clear. Almost against its will, even the secular world has begun entertaining the notion that the end is near.

What does it all mean? According to the New Testament, there is only one thing preventing global messianic expectations from playing themselves out — the appearance of the antichrist. And there is but one obstacle to his revelation — the ministry of the Holy Spirit during the Church Age.

"And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth (‘restrains’) will let (‘restrain’), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:" (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8)

Paul says the Holy Spirit ‘withholdeth’ or restrains the ‘mystery of inquiity’ until the antichrist’s appointed time, when He is ‘taken out of the way’.

Since the Holy Spirit is God and God is omnipresent and therefore everywhere, (even ‘in hell’ says the Psalmist) the Holy Spirit must be ‘taken out of the way’ in the specific sense of His activity in restraining evil.

The only logical way to understand this is that His indwelling presence in mankind is withdrawn. The Bible also promises that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and that He will continue to do so until Jesus returns.

So it is not logically possible for this to be accomplished without also ‘withdrawing’ the Church He indwells at the same instant.

The Bible explains, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

The Rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. Given all the signs that already point toward the coming Tribulation, that event could take place at any moment.

"Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

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