Mostly overlooked in the coverage about the Yemen crisis, the UK elections, the crisis of immigrants pouring into Europe from Africa, etc. is another, and potentially more dangerous crisis. This is the growing chances of a battle erupting between the US Navy and the Iranian military in the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea regions.
The Iranian military essentially hijacked a merchant ship flying the flag of the Marshall Islands and ordered it into Iranian waters (first link). The Marshall Islands are a nation, but their security needs are overseen by the USA. Therefore, this incident was a “provocation” instigated by the Iranians against the USA. It was a reminder that Iran is in a very strong position to close down the Strait of Hormuz to American or any other ships seeking to traverse the Strait between the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. I suspect that the Iranian action was a response to an action by the US Navy to prevent an Iranian fleet with Iranian military supplies from reaching Houthi Shiite rebels aligned with Iran (second link). This action showed solidarity by the USA with the Saudi-led Sunni coalition waging war against the Houthis in Yemen. I sense Iran wanted to demonstrate that while the USA, Saudi Arabia and Egypt control the Bab al Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea by Yemen, that Iran has the dominate geographical position at the Strait of Hormuz.
The USA has seen and responded to the Iranian seizure of the Marshall Islands merchant ship, which was a thinly veiled threat by Iran that it could close the Strait of Hormuz if it wants to do so. The US Navy will now begin accompanying US-flagged and British-flagged ships as they transit the Strait of Hormuz in either direction (third link and fourth link). The US Navy says it is “accompanying” the civilian vessels, not “escorting” them. That sounds like a “distinction without a difference” to me, but the terminology is less threatening as the word “escorting” would imply an action taken for wartime convoys. One link, quite correctly, refers to this confrontation as a “high stakes chess game in the region.” It is in just such situations where military forces are on high alert and in a state of opposing each other watchfully that an incident can occur where an open battle erupts. Let us hope that there is no repetition of an incident that occurred years ago when a US warship shot down a civilian Iranian passenger jet when it mistook it for a military warplane (fifth link).
Matthew 24:6 warns of “wars and rumors or wars” in the latter days. Right now we have actual wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq which are raging between the Iranian/Shiite- and the Saudi Arabian/Sunni-led blocs. The Iranian-US naval confrontation is still a “rumor of war,” but it could escalate into actual shooting if events spin out of control. A ground war in Yemen does seem to be ever more likely. The Saudis and Iranian-backed Houthis have already had army clashes on the Yemeni-Saudi border (sixth link), and Egypt is ready to join the Saudis in a ground campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen if it becomes necessary (last link).
Iran, as long-time readers of this blog know, is a part of the Gog-Magog alliance biblically prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 to come into being in the latter days of our age in an alliance with Russia and China. This has been fulfilled. While Ezekiel 38-39 foretells details about an age-ending, cataclysmic World War III that will end our age, that prophecy does not preclude the possibility of proxy or regional wars breaking out between the Gog-Magog alliance and its enemies before the final great world war erupts. Remember what happened leading up to World War II. Before the British and French became involved in 1939, Germany had already field-tested its new military hardware in the Spanish civil war, Italy had invaded Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) and Japan had invaded Manchuria, the Korean peninsula and parts of China. These preliminary wars had started and occurred years before 1939 when World War II erupted in Europe in 1939 and before 1941 when the USA entered the war. It is possible that limited regional wars or proxy wars between the nations of the Gog-Magog alliance and some of their eventual enemies will occur before the final global war erupts, as prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39. Such wars are already being fought in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It is possible that a battle will also erupt between the USA and the Iranians in the Mideast/Persian Gulf region. It may turn out to be only a “rumor of war” which will not erupt into a shooting war, but the escalation has now entered a higher stage of confrontation. I am not predicting either outcome. I am simply trying to alert readers to the growing danger of such a battle erupting in the Mideast. All it would take is an unexpected event to trigger a battle between Iranian and American forces.