I doubt if the members of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) included a review of Ezekiel 38-39 in their research. But if they had, and if part of their mandate had been to come up with a plan to hasten its occurrence, they could hardly have devised a more brilliant strategy.
Management consultants deal with people in extreme situations, and have learned that whenever someone answered a question that is asked, they should look for the hidden truth. It is usually the opposite of their unsolicited answer. (Remember when Nixon declared, "I am not a crook!" on national TV? No body had asked if he was.) The US Administration is in an extreme situation Iraq. One of the first declarations of the ISG report is that the US will never abandon Israel as an ally. Who asked if we would?
The ISG's co-chairman is James Baker, an architect of the 1993 Madrid Peace conference. He remembers how Israel had to be dragged kicking and screaming into attending, so this time he's thinking why not have a similar Mid-East Peace Conference, but don't invite Israel. This would give the US an opportunity to make decisions "in the absence of Israeli pressure". The US state department loves it, from Sec'y of State Rice on down. With logic understood only in diplomatic circles, they point to the "successes" of Madrid's land for peace program as justification for trying it again. Think how much better it will work with Israel out of the decision-making loop.
They would require Israel to give up the Golan Heights in return for Syria's agreement to stop sending foreign fighters and weapons into Iraq and Lebanon. The loss of Israel's high ground in their north will make a sneak attack against them even easier, but that's not an issue here. We're talking about Iraq, remember?
Next, America would agree to meet directly with Iran to enlist Pres. Ahmadinejab's help in facilitating America's orderly exit from Iraq by promising not to incite any more sectarian violence there. As a reward for this help, America would stop opposing Iran's quest for nuclear power. Why is that a problem?
Then make Israel retreat to its pre-1967 borders and accept a two state solution to the Palestinian problem, permitting Jerusalem to be the Palestinian capitol. For their part the Palestinians will have to agree to say that Israel has a right to exist and that they've renounced terror as a means of getting what they want. (If the past is any indication, they won't have to do it, they'll just have to say it.) When Israel asks about their security in such an arrangement, offer to station international troops along its borders, like the UN did in Lebanon. The ISG plan suggests deploying US troops there as well, so long as both sides agree. Israel is so tired of war, they might be lulled into a false sense of peace by this.
Why so much emphasis on Israel from a group studying ways to end the Iraq war? Because even "moderate" Arabs like the Saudis have persuaded some of America's leaders, including VP Cheney, that Israel is the bad guy in the Middle East, not Iran. They say our problems in Iraq won't go away until we make Israel stop persecuting the Palestinians. If America will help reign in Israel then Iran and Syria can make our problems in Iraq go away and we can bring our troops home with honor. See how it works?
(Some years back an Israeli leader quipped, "If we ever find another planet that has life, and if people on that planet have a terminal disease, Israel will be blamed.)
A couple of years ago, I said that unless something happens to fracture the Evangelical vote, then America would remain strong and independent until the Rapture. Well, something did happen. Whether from media manipulation or more legitimate causes, the American public has apparently decided that the war in Iraq is a mistake. Recent polls put dissatisfaction with its management at over 70%. Something has to be done to get us out of there. The ISG believes that accomplishing that quickly without making it look like another Viet Nam requires active cooperation from Iran and Syria.
The ISG was given the task of finding a fast exit and they did it. Abandon Israel, turn to Iran and Syria for help, and let Iran become the dominant force in the Middle East and the newest member of the Nuclear Club.
Even though Moslem powers in the Middle East are afraid that the fighting in Iraq will spread into a regional war if it's not stoped, the ISG plan is actually guaranteed to make a major Middle East war more likely not less. The fact that its implementation clears the way for Ezekiel 38 is obvious only to students of prophecy.
America's enemies are already hailing this as a great victory. Iraq's leaders say it's a disaster. Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia are privately preparing for the worst. Israel's leaders are in denial. President Bush has rejected the parts about talking with Iran and imposing "agreements" on the parties involved.
But reports from one Middle Eastern source indicates a suspicion there that President Bush no longer controls US direction in the Middle East, that it's been taken over by others. Just who that is, nobody's saying but if true it's a scary prospect.
As students of prophecy, we should remember that God can use His enemies to bring His plan into fruition. In the Battle of Ezekiel 38 He makes Israel's enemies slay one another (Ezek 38:21). In the Great Tribulation He has the anti-Christ's leaders subdue and destroy the harlot church.
(Rev. 17:17) So, if it turns out that the US is about to yield to world pressure and begin our exit from the Middle East, giving our enemies the appearance of victory there, it's happening so that God's plan can proceed. Don't forget, God had Ezekiel write about this battle 2600 years ago. No force on Earth can prevent it. We've become Israel's powerful ally, helping hold its enemies at bay. Something has to happen to get us out of the way. Implementing the ISG plan could be just the ticket. .
I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Isaiah 46:9-10,11b