The Year Ahead
Vol: 40 Issue: 2 Sunday, January 2, 2005
Although I am not a prophet and have no special insights apart from those available to anyone who cracks their Bible, I am going to go out on a limb and make a few predictions for 2005. Unfortunately, the outlook for 2005 is much like the outlook was for 2004, only more so, and with fewer bright spots.
Iraq will be a lot tougher nut to crack than was Afghanistan. Afghanistan was transformed by the Bush administration after it was invaded and conquered in 2002. Although still one of the most dangerous places in the world, Afghani voters turned out in droves to elect Hamid Karzai to head Afghanistan’s first central government in its history.
Afghanistan has never had a genuine central government — it was run by a cadre of warlords before the Taliban came to power. And the Taliban wasn’t a central government, it was a collection of religious zealots with guns, fighting against a powerful northern insurgency who had been conducting a civil war since the Soviets were defeated in 1990.
Iraq, on the other hand, is the world’s oldest civilization and was once the most powerful government on earth. Although that was thousands of years ago, in the Middle East, time is of no consequence. (The Madrid bombing, according to al-Qaeda, was in retaliation for Islam’s loss of Andalusia — five hundred years ago.)
More recently, although Saddam’s regime was a brutal, oppressive system, they at least HAD a system. Unlike in Afghanistan, where a real enemy had conducted a real attack against the American homeland, Saddam had not. To many Iraqis, the US had no business removing their government, even if they themselves hated it.
Additionally, the war in Iraq was designed to draw al-Qaeda terrorists into one place where they would be easier to mop up. Although the overwhelming majority of Iraqis welcomed the fall of Saddam, they were humiliated that the US had to do it for them.
Also unlike Afghanistan, the anti-Saddam insurgency was mainly a Kurdish insurgency and not a civil war among Iraqis. Iraq is an artificially constructed nation created after the first World War by the British who just arbitrarily drew borders, separating tribes and forcing warring tribes into an artificial political alliance.
The popularity of the ongoing insurgency in Iraq is, at least in part, a reaction to the arbitrary British actions of eighty years ago.
Domestic support for the Iraq war will continue throughout the new year, provided US losses don’t exceed the toll taken in America on September 11. If we lose more than that, expect to see the antiwar movement begin to mushroom.
Iran will not become a nuclear power in 2005, but will continue to be a regional problem. The mad mullahs in Tehran will face a growing insurgency of their own that will distract them from continuing their nuclear advance, at least in the short term.
Most of the revolutionaries that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1977 are dead — victims of the eight-year war with Saddam.
Their children don’t remember the Shah, they just remember that Iran was once the most pro-Western country in the Islamic Middle East — and also the most prosperous.
Today’s Iranians grew up fatherless, thanks to the policies of the mad mullahs that started the Iran-Iraq War, and they have no interest in seeing their own children grow up the same way. Iran was a largely secular society before the Revolution and they have no long-standing tradition of Islamic rule.
The mullahs find themselves sandwiched between the new democratic Afghanistan and the developing democratic society in Iraq.
Now that the US election has guaranteed four more years of the Bush Doctrine, the Iranian opposition will be emboldened enough to resume the strikes and student protest movements, putting even more pressure on the mullahs to accept democratic reforms.
It won’t be enough to bring down the Islamic Republic this year, but, barring military action against Tehran by either the US or Israel, it could be enough to start a domino effect within the country itself.
If Iran is attacked by either the US or the Israelis, however, all bets are off, and it is possible, even likely, that we will witness the final details of the scenario envisioned in Ezekiel 38 begin to unfold before our eyes.
Yasser Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, is exactly that. Arafat’s successor. Any speculation about his bringing a ‘new hope for peace’ is an illusion.
Abbas’ campaign theme is that he would follow in Arafat’s footsteps, vowing to seek a state in all of the ancient biblical and modern disputed territories of Gaza, Judea & Samaria, with East Jerusalem as its capital and the ‘right of return’ of Palestinian ‘refugees’ to what is now Israel.
This right “is not an issue for debate” and “is a common goal” of all Palestinian Arab factions, Abbas says. In November, Abbas promised to never abandon the ‘right of return’, telling supporters, “We promise you [Yasser Arafat] that our heart will not rest until we achieve the right of return for our people and end the tragic refugee issue.
The true meaning of the ‘right of return’ for the Palestinian ’cause’ is what it always was — the only certain way to destroy the Jewish State. If Israel agrees to allow Palestinian ‘refugees’ to flood into Israel, Israel will become a majority Arab state and Israel will cease to exist at the next election.
If Israel refuses, the intifada and the terrorists attacks will continue.
Contrary to the hopes of the West, Abbas is no more interested in peace than Arafat was. In a speech in Jenin, Abbas declared the terrorist killers of Jewish men, women and children were neither criminals nor murderers. Rather they are fighting for the honorable lives of their Palestinians brothers.
Local Al Aqsa leader Zakariya Zubeidi, who tops Israel s list of most wanted terrorists, personally carried Abbas on his shoulders through Jenin s refugee camp.
Speaking later to Israel s Channel 10 News, Zubeidi said there had been no talking about the end of the intifada, not about a ceasefire and not about an end to terror attacks when he and Abbas met.
The US has begun distancing itself from the Israeli side and has begun courting the Palestinians, backing statehood for them, despite the fact they continue to be led by an unrepentant terrorist who is willing to share power with other terrorists like Hamas and the al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade. That sets the stage for Europe to take a greater role in the process.
The European Union has made no secret of its desire to replace the US as the principle peace broker between Israel and the Arab world, and the post-9/11 US is secretly welcoming the chance to let them try.
The Europeans believe that the prestige of succeeding where the US has failed will continue to weaken the perception of America as the world’s only superpower and provide them with a chance to claim the title for themselves.
Europe’s ‘Euromed’ policy puts them in a unique position to make their move in 2005. The Euromed policy envisions a massive free trade zone extending throughout the Middle East, and Israel is one of seven nations tapped for membership.
The Israelis are ecstatic about being included and are willing to overlook Europe’s resurgent anti-Semitism if it means a chance to live in peace.
This fits neatly with the Bible’s prophecies concerning the rise of the antichrist from a revived form of the old Roman Empire that will result in a confirmation of a failed seven year peace treaty [Oslo was to run seven years]. But any peace treaty with the Palestinians will be no more effective under Abbas than it was under Arafat.
Daniel says that the antichrist’s peace treaty is a false peace that will last only three and a half years and will ultimately kick off a wave of anti Jewish persecution that Jesus said would be the worst holocaust the world has ever known.
The Western European Union’s influence within the greater EU will continue to grow in 2005 under the joint leadership of Javier Solana, which also fits with Daniel’s prophecy that the core of the revived Roman Empire will consist of ten ‘kings’. The WEU only has ten full members — the rest have associate or observer status.
Christianity will continue to be the secondary target of choice [after Israel] in 2005, despite the new ‘Red State/Blue State’ dynamic created by the Election 2004 voter map.
Following Election 2004, America’s ‘Red States’ were derisively dubbed ‘JesusLand’ by the secularists and everything America does in 2005 will be criticized as being religiously motivated.
Being a Christian in America in 2005 will be harder than it was in 2004, and being a Christian in the Third World will exact an even higher price than it did last year.
In 2004, Christians were slaughtered wholesale in Islamic Sudan, were targeted by terrorists in Iraq, and suffered persecution unlike any seen in modern times in dozens of countries, from Vietnam to Saudi Arabia.
In 2005, it will get worse, as America’s foreign policy continues to be linked [in the minds of our enemies] to Christianity.
Watch for the administration making efforts to unlink America from its Christian identity in the hopes of mollifying our non-Christian erstwhile ‘allies’ during its next term.
The next successful Supreme Court appointee will NOT be a staunch conservative, but rather a center-left justice more along the lines of Sandra Day O’Conner, as part of the ‘deChristianization’ of America.
More so than in any previous year, 2005 looks like the year the Bible’s prophecies will start to come together in a manner so obvious that only a blind man could miss them. But don’t expect it to mean a sudden wave of conversions to Christ.
Proselytizing will become even more difficult in 2005, as unbelievers react to the unfolding of Bible prophecy the way Peter said they would.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.” (2nd Peter 3:3)
Becoming a Christian in 2005 will mean marginalizing oneself outside the mainstream and joining an ideology that many blame for the war on terror.
The ACLU’s efforts to deChristianize America will accelerate in 2005 and so will its victories in court, despite the current backlash against ‘judicial activism.
Despite voicing all the gloom and doom, 2005 will again confirm that what looks like chaos to the world is proof positive that things continue to unfold according to a Divine Plan, that God remains on His Throne and remains intimately involved in the affairs of men.
2005 may or may not be the Year of the Trumpet, and I am not going to go so far out on a limb that I will predict the Rapture this year.
But I predict that I will be surprised to find myself writing a column making predictions for 2006.