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One of Iran’s almost instant responses post Wednesday the 8th‘s missile retaliation, has been to fully withdrawn from the already deeply flawed JCPOA, the so-called Iranian nuclear deal.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).