After a series of military provocations by Iran against Saudi Arabia, the USA and the world community, the Trump administration has put Iran “on official notice” (first link). That term is undefined, but it has an ominous tone to it that Iran will be hit next if they do anything more to provoke or attack other nations. There is a lot of actions which are coinciding to raise the possibility of a regional conflict breaking out in the Mideast. These provocations include Iranian ICBM tests which are apparently forbidden under UN resolutions and perhaps the US-Iranian “agreement” that was little more than a capitulation by the Obama administration to Iran. The second link reports that Trump spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia on the Iranian ICBM test, and that King Abdullah of Jordan is coming to the USA for military/security talks. The third link offers another perspective on this possible crisis, calling the Trump warning to Iran a “fiery” one.
The fourth link reports that the Iranian missile program has a connection to the North Korean missile program. If Iran is cooperating militarily with a rogue state like North Korea, it makes Iran an even greater risk to Israel, the USA, the Sunni Muslim nations and the world community. Off the coast of Yemen, three small Houthi maritime craft attacked a Saudi Frigate with one of them blowing itself up on contact with the frigate, killing two Saudi sailors according to media accounts. I’ve also seen reports on cable-TV programs that there is a belief that the Houthi craft thought they were attacking a US warship instead of a Saudi one. More analysis is included in the fifth link. Either way, it is an attack by an Iranian backed proxy force (the Houthis) against the US-Saudi-Egyptian coalition operating in the waters off the coast of Yemen. In a further Iranian provocation, a swarm of Iranian military craft engaged in attack maneuvers against a US warship in the Persian Gulf (sixth link).
The Iranians are acting with impunity in provoking their rivals in the region. One can understand why as the Obama administration allowed the Iranians to go unchallenged with one weak US response after another as Iran engaged in bellicose actions in the region. There are plenty of military assets in the region to respond to Iran’s warlike actions, but so far they have lacked the leadership or will to respond. That can be expected to change under a Trump administration in the USA. The seventh link reports that a naval exercise involving American, French, British and Australian warships is occurring in the Persian Gulf. The report includes an ominous phrase that these naval exercises will “simulate conventional and non-conventional warfare (emphasis added).” The term “non-conventional warfare” can be a reference to fighting in an environment where weapons of mass destruction are being employed–I assume that means either defensively or offensively, but the term is open to more than one possible interpretation.
The final link brings up a point which may give insights into the real reason for the Iranian provocations. It examines the question of whether the Iranians could sink an aircraft carrier in any warfare in the Persian Gulf. While Iran has no naval assets that could challenge US and NATO warships in the Persian Gulf, Iran has one major advantage in any battle there. Its land mass along the northern shore of the Persian Gulf surely has many bases where many anti-ship cruise missiles are stationed. These missiles could be fired at all NATO warships in the event of a shooting conflict in the Gulf. Many previous posts have documented that the Russians and Chinese are Iranian allies, and that Russia and China have developed supersonic cruise missiles most likely designed to sink US aircraft carriers and major surface combatants. It may well be that China and/or Russia have secretly stationed their newest cruise missiles in Iranian locations to fire at American/NATO warships in the event of a shooting conflict. They very likely want to test their missiles in actual combat conditions to see if they can sink American and NATO warships. Iran may be trying to provoke an American/NATO/Saudi response so they can fire the new Russian/Chinese cruise missiles and later claim that they were “Iranian” cruise missiles. China would especially be eager to base some of its cruise missiles in Iran to test-fire them at any US carriers or other warships in the Persian Gulf if a regional war erupts. They very much need to know if their newest anti-ship weaponry works as expected before they openly provoke a confrontation with the American fleet in the South China Sea. Firing Chinese cruise missiles from Iranian bases in the Persian Gulf at US warships is an especially advantageous situation for China as there is minimal room for warships to maneuver in the Persian Gulf, and it can only be exited via the very narrow Strait of Hormuz. If China or Russia can successfully sink or do major damage to American/western warships in a limited Persian Gulf conflict, one can expect China to then provoke a much larger regional war in the South China Sea.
There is a lot at stake in any warfare which erupts in the Persian Gulf. As readers of my blog realize, Russia, China and Iran are leaders in what biblical prophecy (Ezekiel 38-39) refers to as the Gog-Magog alliance that will come into existence at the very end of our current latter-day period of prophetic time (Ezekiel 38:8, 16). That alliance has already come into existence, affirming that biblical prophecy has to be Divinely-inspired in order for so precise a prophecy to be fulfilled today. While the global war prophesied to occur in Ezekiel 38 will take place at the very end of our age, that prophecy does not at all preclude the possibility that prior regional or lesser wars will occur between the Gog-Magog alliance and its foes: the American/NATO alliance plus its allies around the world. If Iran does not stop its provocations, a conflict seems increasingly possible. My sense of President Trump is that, in a crisis, he does not back down. He “doubles down.” This situation, given very little attention in the American media, bears close watching.
For related articles that give deeper biblical perspectives on this topic, I urge readers to read my articles: Are We Living in the Biblical Letter Days?, What Ezekiel 38-39 Reveals about a Future World War III, and The USA in Biblical Prophecy.