The new Iran factor
Jan 22, 2016
This is one of the best geopolitical articles that I have ever read, telling us the current world situation, especially as it relates to Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia.
Now that US sanctions were lifted from Iran on January 16, Iran is back as a factor in world markets, especially in the energy market (oil sales). Given the fact that more oil is already being sold than the markets can use, the addition of Iranian oil (in increasing amounts each month) is going to result in mega-changes among the nations.
“But the key question is actually how, at what pace, and with what partners Tehran plans to rejoin global markets.”
Tehran may have resolved its nuclear differences with the US government, but this does not mean that the two are best friends. In fact, with the sudden imposition of more silly sanctions against Iran, the US has simply driven Iran’s business into the hands of Europe and China. The first order of business is for Iran to buy 114 airbus passenger jets to replace its aging fleet. Passenger jets are not on the sanctions list any more, but Boeing probably could have picked up a lot more business.
“So forget about Iran as a US partner. That won’t happen. In the West, the privileged partner will be the EU, especially concerning investment in energy and in the sprawling, young, educated, virtually “virgin” Iranian market. And then, there’s Eurasia integration.”
Likewise, the executives for Shel Oil (The Netherlands) and Total (Venezuela) are in Tehran now for talks. Sorry about that, Exxon-Mobil. The President’s policy is costing you billions, too.
“The fact is Iran is already selling more oil as we speak. Over 1,000 lines of credit have been opened for banks, according to President Hassan Rouhani. Energy-hungry Europeans are predictably going nuts. Even with non-denial denials, the fact is Shell executives, for instance, are already in Tehran, talking about Iran’s “energy potential” and solidifying their positioning as Iran’s “prime partner” in energy. Meanwhile, Iran’s oil tankers are already sailing under Lloyd’s insurance.”
I have written much about the kings of the east (Revelation 16:12) being China and Russia. But the original king of the east who led the charge against Babylon was King Cyrus of Persia. Persia is old Iran. I have understood since the 1980’s that Iran would have a hand in the downfall of Mystery Babylon at some point in the future. In fact, I explained this to an Iranian friend back in 1991. (I’ve had a standing invitation to visit Iran since then.)
In fact, back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, I believed that Iran would be the sole player in that regard. But then came the rise of China and Russia, and I realized that there was a bigger game being played here. Now, as of January 16, 2016, we are seeing the integration of the two views of prophecy. Yes, it is still Russia and China who are role-playing the parts that Cyrus and Darius first played many years ago, but now Iran has stepped into the role as a secondary actor on the stage of world history.
This week, with China’s president being the first head of state to visit Iran since the lifting of US sanctions, we can really begin to connect the dots that outline the fall of Babylon.
“And that brings us back once again to the ultimate confrontation; the vicious proxy war between Tehran and the (collapsing) House of Saud on multiple theaters, from “Syraq”, Bahrain and Yemen to the oil market.
“Everything is irreconcilable here. Wahhabism (spawning Salafi-jihadism) against Shi’ism. A tribal, dynastic, corrupt monarchy against a republic born out of a popular revolution. The weaponized American umbrella over the Persian Gulf against activist anti-imperialism.
“Xi Jinping’s Middle East trip cannot possibly work as a messianic cure. The strategic relationship that matters is Beijing-Tehran – from the energy sphere to Eurasia integration via One Belt, One Road. But Beijing also needs Saudi oil.
“Warrior prince Mohammed bin Sultan – who’s actually running the show in Riyadh - is thinking of selling Aramco. Why not offer it to Beijing? But be prepared to be paid in yuan. And all the oil goes to China. Talk about a New Silk Road offer one can’t refuse.”
Aramco, Saudi-owned, is the biggest oil company in the world. It is multiple times larger than Exxon-Mobil, which in itself is huge. Will the Saudis sell Aramco to raise cash to save its own economy? It’s an interesting speculation.
The New Silk Road (trade route) is perhaps the strategic key to alliances and finances in the 21st century. The original Silk Road in the 1400’s was the overland trade route connecting Europe to China, being named for the prized silk that the traders brought back from China. But it was slow by caravan and also dangerous. Finding a better route was one of the main motives of the early European explorers. They thought they could get to India or China by going west across the ocean. The problem was that they ran into the Americas, only to find another ocean stood between them and China.
Yet they did find that they could go around South Africa. It was not an easy trip, and it was long, but yet the explorers managed to connect Europe with India and the Spice Islands of Indonesia.
Today, with the advent of trains, automobiles, and pipelines, it is feasible to set up the New Silk Road. Trade is the key to business activity and to national economies. China has caught the vision of establishing its place in the world, its prestige, and its influence through trade, rather than through its military might. They offer financial incentives, rather than fear-based threats.
To accomplish this, they must be friends with every nation between China and Europe. When they buried the hatchet with Russia twenty years ago, they conquered the biggest obstacle. Iran and Pakistan are also keys to the New Silk Road. Silk, of course, is no longer a dominant article of trade, so it has now become an Oil-and Gas Road. And China’s desire for oil from Saudi Arabia makes it desirable for China to connect Saudi Arabia to the new “Road.”
Likewise, Iran wants to connect its oil to India, which must then run through Pakistan. Pakistan needs the business, too. The big problem is Saudi Wahabbist ideology that promotes and finances the jihadists, terrorists, and the rebels in Syria. Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have always been at odds, but when the Saudis executed the Shia cleric, Sheik Nimr al Nimr, on January 2, 2016, the anger reached new levels not seen in recent history. An Iranian mob burned down the Saudi embassy in Iran. The Saudis severed diplomatic ties with Iran the next day.
Now Chinese president Xi Jinping has visited both Iran and Saudi Arabia, stepping into the fray on a peace-keeping mission. Will he be able to offer both nations sufficient financial incentives to induce them to work together in the New Silk Road project? It hardly seems possible. In fact, as Iran is rising from its tomb, Saudi Arabia is collapsing. It may take a few years for this situation to reach critical mass, but it is happening nonetheless.
Iran can only go up from here, because it has been largely isolated and its development held back since its 1979 revolution. Saudi Arabia has been at the top ever since its petro-dollar agreement with the US government in 1973. But now the situation is reversed. The US “betrayed” the Saudis by making a nuclear deal with Iran last July. This came on top of Obama’s hesitation to back the Saudi financial commitment against President Assad in Syria in the past few years.
President Obama (i.e., his handlers) want war with Russia, but they do not want to be blamed for starting it. Their policy has been to bait Putin and hope that his pride will cause him to react in such a way that he can be blamed for starting the war. Putin, however, knows better and has managed to maintain his cool while Obama pokes him in the eye. But this also means that Obama does not dare to send troops to Syria, and this has angered the Saudis.
So Saudis believe that the USA has betrayed them and is now shifting its alliances toward Iran, its traditional, most hated enemy. As the influence of China and Russia continue to rise, their allies rise with them—including Iran. It is becoming increasingly apparent to the Saudis that their alliance with the USA is leading them to their demise.
The question is this: Is it possible for the Saudi government to find new allies that will reverse their slide into oblivion and bankruptcy? They only have two real options: The USA-led nations, and the China-Russia-led nations. Short of a nuclear war, which would devastate the whole world, the New Silk Road is a guarantee that the East is rising, and the West is collapsing. Whoever hitches their star to the right wagon will remain strong in the 21st century.
From my viewpoint, God is on the side of the kings of the east, because Revelation 16:12 makes it clear that these are the forces that will overthrow Mystery Babylon, which is centered in the West and is empowered by debt-money banking, energy monopolies (Big Oil), and drugs (Big Pharma and CIA control of “illicit drug trafficking”).
In fact, when we understand that the new kings of the east are replaying a slightly revised script of the Medes and Persians when they overthrew old Babylon, then we can understand the Cyrus prophecies in Isaiah 44, 45. Even as God took the side of Cyrus, even calling him a “messiah” in Isaiah 45:1, so also has God taken the side of China and Russia today. This new coalition between God and Russia, China, Iran, and their allies ensures their victory in the long run.
Hence, the US and the West in general would do well to treat them as God’s agents in setting the stage for the Kingdom of God. It is not likely that either Chinese nor Russian leaders truly understand how God is using them for His purpose, but neither did Cyrus and Darius in ancient times. God’s invisible hand in history is seen only by a few during those times of great change. This is because few political leaders bother to read the Scriptures, and if they rely upon Church leaders to explain prophecy to them, they receive only a skewed view, the blind leading the blind. It is only by understanding the history of the fall of ancient Babylon and by connecting that story to the modern geopolitical scene that we are truly able to understand where history is moving.
Here is our advantage, if we have studied the Scriptures with a serious level of understanding, and if we have identified the characters on the world scene who are playing their roles as God called them to do.
What is their calling? God has called them to set us free from the long Babylonian captivity.
Dr. Stephen Jones