Snapshot of Middle East threats toward Israel

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The developments in the Middle East are coming fast, yet how do we make sense of them? Sometimes it’s easy to identify red flags in headlines, but what do they mean? To what do they point?

I prayed about it, asked God to help me understand what I am seeing. He reminded me of a vision Rick Ridings, director of Succat Hallel, shared with us last fall.

Please go read “Praying for the nations: Iran and the Arab world” for the complete vision. Below is a visual representation.

In the vision, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were menacing Israel. Nearly a year later, Israel is preparing its citizens for retaliatory attacks from Iran and/or Syria as it contemplates striking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Let’s look at the rhetoric and actions of each of these nations. Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot of what is happening. It is intended to give you a regional picture and guide as you pray for God’s will in the Middle East.


The Persian nation has been a consistent agitator for years. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been saying Israel will by wiped from the map since at least 2008. This year is no different. Iran’s burgeoning nuclear program has Israel on alert.


The bloody civil war in Syria has destabilized the government with the world’s largest chemical weapons cache. Some in Israel are concerned Bashar Al-Assad may attack Israel in a last desperate move. A fresh report that Assad tried to destabilize neighbor Lebanon by orchestrating terrorist attacks gives credence to Israel’s concerns.


Lebanon has been suffering spillover violence from the civil war in Syria, though it turns out some of the violence was manufactured by Syrian President Assad. Shi’a Islamic militant group and political party Hezbollah is based in Lebanon and continues to threaten Israel in word and deed.

Saudi Arabia

It’s hard to see how Saudi Arabia fits. The mainly Sunni Muslim kingdom distrusts Shiite Iran. Still, the Sauds have made it clear that Israel may not fly over the Arabian Peninsula on the way to Iran. Also, recent uncovering of al-Qaeda cells as well as purchases of U.S. weapons send up warning flags.


The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt has made Israel wary. The leadership continues to say that they wish honor the peace treaty with Israel. A terrorist attack at the border in early August has put that to the test. In an effort to clean up the Sinai Peninsula of jihadists, Egypt has moved in tanks and helicopters, technically violating the 1979 peace accord. Also, Egypt continues to allow Iranian ships through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, most recently a cargo ship with weapons bound for Syria.


Rockets continue to be fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Ruling group Hamas admitted that 3 Gazans were involved in the Egypt-Israel border attack. Egypt has opened the border crossing with Gaza, raising concerns that arms may flow more easily to militants.

Palestinian Authority

I’ve split Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian claimed territory (Judea & Samaria aka the West Bank) because they function separately and because I see little chance of Hamas, Fatah and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority ever reconciling (read “Son of Hamas” for why).

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to ask the United Nations General Assembly for a status upgrade after getting stonewalled by the United States in the UN Security Council last year.


A year ago, Turkey was saber rattling toward Israel, threatening to have its navy escort ships trying to break the Gaza sea blockade. Right now, Turkey is distracted by the Syrian conflict, the resulting flood of refugees to its borders and the newly stoked insurgency by militant Kurds.

5 thoughts on “Snapshot of Middle East threats toward Israel

  1. thank you for your faithfulness to help us understand ‘the signs of
    the times’ – Makes us reflect on the importance we give to the cares
    of our daily routines. luv u

  2. In praying for the the Middle East, pray for the USA also. We are selling 78% of the world’s arms at a time when we are straying from Christianity and we have a charismatic leader that is wanting to disarm our populace.

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