- (Photo: Reuters/Caren Firouz)
Key officials in President Barack Obama's administration have expressed concerns that a military strike against Iran over its nuclear program is fast becoming the only option as the potential for a new war in the Middle East looms on the horizon.
It has also been specualted that the U.S. could play a supporting role if Israel attacks first, and many are losing hope that continued sanctions will have any significant effect on Iran. Observers fear the Middle East nation is determined to keep researching nuclear weapons and is not bothered by international pressure.
All other options are being tested, The Guardian reported, and an unidentified official knowledgeable on Middle East policy explained that the White House certainly wants to see sanctions succeed and war be averted. However, that scenario seems to be becoming less likely.
"Its problem is that the guys in Tehran are behaving like sanctions don't matter, like their economy isn't collapsing, like Israel isn't going to do anything. Sanctions are all we've got to throw at the problem. If they fail then it's hard to see how we don't move to the 'in extremis' option," the official explained.
"We don't see a way forward," said another official. "The record shows that there is nothing to work with."
The Guardian report speculated that if the U.S. is indeed left with no other choice but to go to war, President Barack Obama will wish to hold off on any military action before the presidential election in November – but if the matter becomes urgent and Israel initiates preemptive military measures, the president may have to act sooner.
Bill Salus, an author, researcher and lecturer who focuses on the relevance of current Middle East and world events in light of biblical prophecy, shared with The Christian Post his interpretation of the current crisis.
Salus commented that Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, recently hinted that Israel is still contemplating a unilateral strategic strike against Iran's nuclear program, as the country is "determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear," Barak declared in January at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
In no uncertain terms, Barak provided clarity that Israel was not banking upon crippling sanctions or diplomacy to end Iran's quest for nuclear nationhood. Referring to a military alternative, he added, "It seems to us to be urgent, because the Iranians are deliberately drifting into what we call an immunity zone where practically no surgical operation could block them."
Iran's nuclear program rapidly rose atop the list of international concerns when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a damaging report on Nov. 8, 2011, revealing that the rogue state was on fast-track to developing a nuclear bomb. Since then world focus has shifted from the unpredictable Arab Spring of 2011 to the problematic Persian Gulf in 2012, according to Salus. Immediately, Israel went on high alert, Iran threatened an oil war, and the U.S., U.K., and France deployed warships into the gulf.
A number of prominent Christian authors with Middle East experience have also warned in recent times that military conflict with Iran may be imminent, and they insist there is good reason to believe a new war involving Israel may very well be linked to biblical prophecy.
"War is coming," said Joel C. Rosenberg at the First Baptist Jacksonville Pastors' Conference on Jan. 29. Rosenberg an Evangelical Christian and New York Times best-selling author who has extensive experience in Middle East affairs.
"You and I are living in an extraordinary moment in one of the most dangerous moments in the history of our country; one of the most dangerous moments in the history of Israel and the Middle East; and one of the most dangerous moments in the history of the church," he said.
Salus made similar warnings in his latest book, Revelation Road, Hope Beyond the Horizon. He claims that the Rapture, a belief that Christians will be taken into heaven, leaving unrepentant sinners behind on Earth to experience God's judgment, will soon occur – and that believers today might be living in the last days.
His timely new book predicts a potential attack on Iran's nuclear program and how the U.S. and Israel will be involved. The author says that Ezekiel was not the only prophet who predicted Iran's future, but that "Jeremiah also issued a stern warning to Iran, under the banner of ancient Elam."
A prophecy that Salus hypothesizes has yet to find historical fulfillment involves Iran being attacked at the "foremost of its might," which, in light of the recent IAEA findings, could mean its nuclear sites. Moreover, the author claims that radioactive fallout contamination could occur because the prophecy predicts the attack prompts a worldwide dispersion of the affected population.