What Would Happen If Israel and Iran Went to War? :: By Matt Ward

The world, it would seem, has stepped back from the brink. Waking up on the morning of Wednesday, 8th January to the news that Iran had fired 22 missiles at two large Iraqi military bases housing United States troops, I was convinced that war was the only outcome.

It now appears that a direct military confrontation between the United States of America and Iran, as close as both sides have come to open war for a generation, has entered a de-escalatory phase.

Yet, on that Wednesday morning, as I considered the likelihood of a direct, full-scale military exchange between the United States and Iran, there was one thing that dominated my thoughts: Israel.

Wednesday’s exchange brought into sharp focus a question I have been considering for a number of years now: “exactly what would be the likely outcome of a war between Israel and Iran?”

It is a war that has been on the horizon for a long time, discussed often in diplomatic circles, usually in hushed tones because of the chaos many believe it would cause. But what might such a confrontation look like? One thing about such an unpredictable conflict is certain; most people outside military, intelligence or academic circles have absolutely no understanding of how volatile such a war would likely be.

Such a war would not merely be something we “tuned in and tuned out” of on CNN, then go about our normal lives completely untouched. It is likely that each of us would be impacted by such a war.

Considering such a potential future Israel-Iran war is no hypothetical exercise either. Immediately after the Iranian missile attack of Wednesday the 8th, Iran made clear their intentions should the United States decide to respond and retaliate. Iran threatened that their response to a United States retaliation to their missile strike would be to attack Dubai, and then to move directly against Israel.

An Israel-Iran war would not be a limited conflict. The chances are that many other countries would be quickly drawn into such a war.

And this war is becoming increasingly likely. It is indeed sobering to note that the immediate actions of Iran, even in this so-called de-escalatory stage, further guarantee that war will one day soon happen.

One of Iran’s almost instant responses post Wednesday the 8th‘s missile retaliation, has been to fully withdrawn from the already deeply flawed JCPOA, the so-called Iranian nuclear deal. Iran has publicly declared their unwillingness to abide by any of the terms contained within this agreement. This means two things: first, that Iran will now enrich uranium to a point where it can only be used for one thing, in a nuclear weapon; and second, Iran will continue this process now with abandon, at a pace not restricted by international inspections or oversight.

The consequences of this are that Western intelligence agencies now believe that Iran will have enough material for a nuclear bomb in about twelve months from now. So by mid-2021 at the latest. (1)

This one factor alone guarantees war in the near future, short of some astoundingly successful secret sabotage. Israel, and the United States under this President, will simply not allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons state. War is coming, and soon.

So, what would an Iran-Israel war look like? Unfortunately, there is no definitive, publicly available study on just such a war, but what does exist is a plethora of information about the nature and scope of the threats facing Israel currently, in 2020, and how Iran influences and controls these said threats.

In the near future, somebody will have to act. Whether it be Israel directly or the United States. When that happens, the Iranians will respond. They will simply not allow their territory to be attacked without a significant response.

When this happens, all sides will quickly become locked into a cycle of mutual escalation, with one side attacking the other, triggering a counter-attack, triggering a much greater counter-response.

If, or when, a war breaks out between Israel and Iran, the probability of this war becoming a major regional-wide confrontation within just two days is currently rated as extremely high, as much as 90% by some leading Israeli think tanks.

Iran is certain to activate their proxy assets throughout the Middle East, especially those groups neighboring Israel, such as Hezbollah. Over the past two decades and more, Iran has equipped and paid for a huge force in Lebanon, directly opposing Israel. The 2006 Israeli-Lebanon War, known also as the Second Lebanon War, was an effort by Israel to diminish this Iranian proxy threat. It failed utterly.

In the second Lebanon war of 2006, Israel concluded that if it was going to wipe out and nullify this vast threat, entailing hundreds of thousands of rockets, it would result in the loss of a huge amount of Israeli lives and equipment. Therefore, the Israeli Defense Force concluded that the only way to affectively deal with this threat, without such a catastrophic loss of Israeli lives, was to use a low-yield neutron bomb. They concluded this because a neutron bomb has a higher short-term radiological output, but less blast output than normal nuclear weapons, therefore limiting the widespread damage that would be caused.

The world reaction to such an action would be vitriolic. The Muslim world’s reaction to such an act would be equally vitriolic.

Today, in 2020, fourteen years after the Second Lebanon War, the threat from this same force is now even more significant and malign. A conservative estimate is that the total number of missiles and rockets in Lebanon, currently aimed at Israel, stands at between 40,000 and 110,000 in number. This is a conservative estimate. Many of these rockets are unguided Katyusha rockets; however, many are now longer-ranged, quite sophisticated guided missiles. All of Israel will become the front line in the next war.

Manning and protecting this arsenal is believed to be a Brigade-sized group of Hezbollah Special Forces. These men have been trained and equipped directly by Iran. Additionally, these men answer only to Iran, not the Lebanese government. This means that the trigger, so to speak, for this vast arsenal is in Tehran, not in Beirut. In any strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, or war with the United States and/or Israel, Iran would certainly pull this trigger.

Israel faces a huge throw-weight of missiles and rockets. In any Iran war, they would also be contesting against the extensive forces aligned against them in Syria, which has much longer range and larger missiles available to them, not discounting the combination of small rockets and missiles in both the West Bank and Gaza.

The Jewish State would be attacked from all sides at the same time, impacting the border areas of the country and, this time, the heartland too. Israel would clearly be completely overwhelmed against such a bombardment. They face a truly massive number of rockets and missiles aimed at them.

Unfortunately, their situation can and does get even worse. It is now the belief of Israel, and many in the West, that some of these rockets and missiles have radiological, chemical or biological agents attached to them. Especially so concerning the Syrian threat. In fact, it is now quite well-known that the biggest arsenal of non-nuclear WMD currently on Earth resides underneath one city, in large but distributed underground storage facilities: Damascus.

In any future war with Iran, if any of these weapons do have radiological, chemical, or biological agents in them, and are used against the Jewish State, the Israeli response would be unequivocal: the nuclear annihilation of Syria, Iran and parts of Lebanon. Many, many people would lose their lives in such a scenario.

But the matter would not end there, with unprecedented destruction and death in the Middle East. Iran is and has been the greatest sponsor of state-level terrorism in the world for almost a generation. Such an exchange would no doubt entail the activation of any Iranian sleeper cells in the West, in America and Western Europe. Their objectives would be simple and clear – to wreak havoc on domestic western populations, either through direct attacks, or through any number of malicious manufactured killer viruses potentially being released into general population centers.

When one looks at Bible prophecy and reads the words of Ezekiel, amongst others, and then looks at the events of today, one cannot help but think that these words of yesterday were written about our today. We will live through these events. They are events for our time, for our world, for our generation, now.

In light of such events, how should we live and prepare? We should fix our eyes on Jesus and trust in Him only. He is the author of our salvation, the bringer of hope and our only deliverer.

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides in him” (John 3:36).

Approach every day with the unique hope that only those regenerated though faith in Jesus Christ can have, and then be about your business bringing salvation to the lost.

“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).

Then, when all is done, lift up your heads and rejoice, for your salvation does indeed draw nigh.

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

  1. https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Soleimani-killing-Window-of-opportunity-open-for-Israel-against-Iran-614151


Assassination :: By Matt Ward

Late on Thursday night, the United States military launched four missiles, via drone, that have sent shock waves crashing through Iran, the Middle East and the world.

In the strike, authorized directly by President Donald Trump, legendary Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and spearhead of Iran’s spreading military influence in the Middle East, was killed. The impact within Iran’s leadership has been huge.

This is a hammer blow to Iran; make no mistake about it. It is also no over-exaggeration to say that such an action could well be the spark for a renewed war in the region, with some commentators even questioning if this could be the opening salvo of a much wider regional confrontation. Some commentators are even whispering “World War III” in hushed tones.

“At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani,” a Pentagon statement reads.

The assassination of Qasem Soleimani comes amid the widespread US belief that he was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq, and throughout the region, in the very near future.

There is also a widespread belief in America that Soleimani is personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members, and the injuring of thousands more.

Up until this point, Qasem Soleimani has always been the “man that got away,” seemingly immune from any Israeli or American retaliation. Many believed that he acted in the Middle Eastern theatre with near impunity. Not anymore.

Iran has openly called this a “declaration of war,” and declared three full days of national mourning. Qasem Soleimani was much more than merely a military leader to the Iranians.

Within Iran, Soleimani was an emblem, a figurehead, for Iran’s stand against the West in the Middle East, and the world generally. He was a revered hero, seen by many as an all-conquering warrior against the Zionists and the infidel West; he was a national icon, second only to the Ayatollah himself in popularity and esteem.

He is now dead.

For Iran, Qasem Soleimani’s death was the unthinkable. But it has happened, and the response from Tehran has been immediate, vowing that America will receive a “crushing” retaliation for this strike.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami, also a top military leader for the elite Al-Quds Brigade, of which Qasem Soleimani was the head, said, “A crushing revenge will be taken for this unjust assassination. We will take revenge from all those involved and responsible for his assassination.”

US Defence Secretary Mark Espira has, in the wake of this attack, announced the United States’ policy to begin pre-emptive strikes against her enemies in the Middle East, “to Iran and it’s proxies: we will not accept the continued attacks against our personnel and forces in the region. Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner and place of our choosing. We urge the Iranian regime to end malign activities.”

There is no doubt that this assassination could be the catalyst for a major escalation in the Middle East. Some have even described this as akin to throwing a stick of dynamite into a dry powder keg. Others to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 that sparked the beginning of World War One. This assassination is potentially that important.

Such an action, without question, carries with it the risk of swift and significant escalation, yet it is difficult at this early point to estimate with any specificity what Iran’s response will be. But that they will respond is an absolute certainty.

The immediate Western response from Israel, the United States and regional allies has been to put embassies, bases and all personnel, military and non-military, on high alert for immediate retaliatory strikes.

Additionally, all embassies and consuls around the world, not just in the region, have now been placed on a state of high alert. The Iranians are masters of asymmetric warfare, something we may all potentially learn in the weeks ahead.

At this point, all eyes must be on Iran. Much of what happens over the coming weeks, months and even years will be determined by how Iran responds to this assassination right now, over the coming days.

When Iran does respond, they will be walking a very fine tightrope indeed. Not go far enough, and they look weak; go too far and they will provoke war with a country that they cannot hope to defeat in direct, conventional warfare.

There is a very real danger that any Iranian response could lock both them and the United States into a cycle of mutual escalation that might end in a much wider regionwide war, one which would impact all of us, and be almost impossible to pull back from.

In any direct military confrontation between the United States and Iran, the probabilities of the conflict becoming a major regionwide war within 48 hours are currently estimated to be about 90% or higher, quickly drawing in other nations and US allies.

The Iranians have equipped and paid for a massive missile force in Lebanon, estimated by some to be as many as 110,000 rockets. This evening, Israel sits firmly in the crosshairs of any potential Iranian response.

It is hard for me to overstate the potential significance of this moment. Whatever happens over the next few days, one thing is certain: the United States is closer now to a real, direct hot war with Iran than it has ever been in recent times.

Equally, for the US, the end result of this may be a huge loss of influence. Iraq has already declared this US assassination to be against their sovereignty. In this context, it may well now lead to the forced military withdrawal of the United States from Iraq, a question that the Iraqi government was already considering before the strike occurred. This would be a huge, worldwide humiliation for America.

Considering the tangled alliances in the Middle East, and that Soleimani controlled Iranian foreign policy across the region, we very well could be looking at a Franz Ferdinand, 1914 moment.

I have been watching the Middle East intently for 25 years now, and this is one of the most frightening set of circumstances I have ever seen.

What happens next no one can reliably predict, but one thing is for sure – something is going to happen. When, where and how? We will just have to wait and see.