While Iran may not be the most powerful nation in the Middle East, its actions motivate a lot of the foreign-policy decisions of other nations in the region.
Here are two stories from the region this week involving Iran and its potential growth and loss in power.
Iran is now training hundreds of Taliban fighters and sending them back to Afghanistan.
According to a blockbuster report in the Times of London this week, between 500 and 600 recruits are being trained in Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc). They are being trained in tactics, leadership skills and recruitment, as well as bomb making and weapons use. Upon completion of the course, the terrorists receive Russian weaponry and return to fight in Afghanistan.
However, according to the Times, this unprecedented Iranian support comes with the demand that the Taliban must put more of an emphasis on attacking the Islamic State and nato interests.
These demands are interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, Iran has often used the fight against the Islamic State elsewhere as justification for its foreign troop deployments. This is what happened in Iraq, and it’s possible that we may see Iranian forces (especially the irgc commanders in Afghanistan fighting the Islamic State) remain even after the Islamic State’s defeat, as they did in Iraq. This would put Iran in a far stronger position.
Second, it is interesting to note that Iran specifically demanded that the forces be used against nato troops. While most will focus on the United States’ deployment in Afghanistan, we have long said that we should be watching Iran’s interaction with another nato nation: Germany. Germany currently has over 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, with no time table for return. Could we soon see Iranian-trained and, potentially, -commanded Afgahni troops in direct combat with German troops?
The impact of such a clash would have far-reaching implications. Based on verses in the biblical book of Daniel, Watch Jerusalem has long forecast that a clash involving Iran and a German-led Europe is imminent. This will be a precursor to other critical prophecies. Iran’s more direct involvement in Afghanistan appears to be one of the arenas in which this clash will take place.
For more reporting and analysis on this event, read Watch Jerusalem contributor Callum Wood’s article “Iran Trains the Taliban.”
The United States is now OK with Syrian President Bashar Assad remaining in leadership—so long as Iranian forces leave the country.
According to comments this week on Face the Nation, White House National Security adviser John Bolton said that the United States would like to work with Russia to remove Iran’s influence from Syria. He then said, “I don’t think Assad is the strategic issue. I think Iran is the strategic issue.”
U.S. President Donald Trump is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16. Syria will be one of the main topics of conversation.
While many commentators question whether Russia has sufficient leverage inside Syria to remove Iran’s forces, there are plenty of indications that the Russian-Iranian relationship in Syria is not as strong as some would think. Russia often sits on its hands, rather than intervening when Israeli jets pound Iranian forces in Syria.
It is also working with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to create an oil policy that could severely hurt the Iranian economy.
These Russian decisions, among others, have been noticed in Iran. One Iranian lawmaker recently told the parliament that Assad is increasing his harmony with Putin in a rude way. Putin and Assad may sacrifice Iran in Syria.
Reports that America wants to work with Putin at Iran’s expense in Syria are more important when considering what the Bible says about Syria’s future.
Based on a prophecy found in Psalm 83, Watch Jerusalem editor in chief Gerald Flurry has long forecast that Iran will lose sway over Syria. Based on that Bible passage, Mr. Flurry wrote a vitally important article six years ago at the very outset of the Syrian civil war titled, rather boldly, “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.” With the Syrian war looking as though it is about to wind down, especially considering this week’s news about the U.S.’s policy in Syria, right now is a good time to go back and read that article.