We've been counting down to the year that Iran will finally become a nuclear power ever since Iranian dissidents exposed the Iranian nuclear program in 2002. European intelligence estimated it would take Iran until 2012 to achieve this. Israeli intelligence figured late 2007.
Last year's National Intelligence Estimate completely undercut the Bush administration's Iran foreign policy when it estimated Iran was still "many years" from being able to build a bomb.
The NIE predicted: "… with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU [highly enriched uranium] for a weapon is late 2009, but that is very unlikely."
Unlikely though it may have been, the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran had enriched enough uranium to make its first atomic bomb on Nov. 21, 2008. By now, as it brings new centrifuges online, Tehran may well have enough for a second.
The head of Russia's state nuclear corporation, Sergei Kiriyenko, was quoted from the Kremlin on Wednesday confirming the launch of the Bushehr reactor later this year. Iran's nuclear ambitions are no longer even remotely unclear.
Yet, knowing this, Moscow fully intends to supply Iran with all the nuclear material it needs
In Gaza, Hamas is claiming victory on the same ground as did Hezbollah in 2006. It survived, and Israel pulled out without meeting all its objectives. Rockets continue to rain down on Israel from Gaza, and Hamas continues to hold Israeli solider Gilad Shalit hostage.
To the north, either out of nervous tension or tactical plan, Hezbollah launched several rockets into Israel. Syrian troops opened fire with small arms on Israeli troops on their side of the border near Sheba Farms. In a couple of days, Israeli voters are likely to return Benjamin Netanyahu to power, which changes the whole equation in the region.
WorldNetDaily reported yesterday of a secret message sent by Netanyahu to Hamas' top leadership saying that if they don't stop the rocket attacks against Israel, he will order the IDF to "wipe them out."
Netanyahu makes three specific promises to voters upon the strength of which he is expected to win. The first is the destruction of Hamas.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu speaking from the site of a Grad missile strike in Ashkelon on Monday, saying: "A government under my leadership will overthrow the Hamas rule in Gaza and bring about a cessation of rocket fire," he said. "The policy of blindness followed in the past years has brought us to this situation."
The second is the destruction of Hezbollah and Syrian influence over Lebanon. The third promise is left deliberately vague: "Iran will not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons." Netanyahu doesn't elaborate on exactly how Israel will prevent it. But notice something curious about that. Not many Israelis want him to.
Taking a step back and looking at the Big Picture, it is hard not to miss the fact that events are developing in concert with the ancient prophecies of Scripture.
The Prophet Isaiah foretold the "burden of Damascus" (Isaiah 17:1) in which the prophet predicts the overnight destruction of that great city in the last days: "At evening time, behold there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who pillage us." (Isaiah 17:14)
The Prophet Ezekiel predicts an alliance between Russia and an Islamic confederacy headed by Iran, or Persia.
Hamas continues to attack Israel with rocket attacks for the sheer joy of the violence of it all. Related to this, the Prophet Obadiah pronounced this verdict against Edom, who is one of the forefathers of the people of Hamas, saying, "Because of violence to your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever." Interestingly, the word translated as "violence" in this Scripture is the Hebrew word, chamac, pronounced "hamas."
Of all the generations in history, it is to this generation that the prophecies of the last days are addressed. Previous generations looked for the signs given by Scripture, but only this generation can truly see them all come together at one time – which is itself a key fulfillment of prophecy.
The Prophet Daniel predicted these conditions: "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, 'Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.'" (Daniel 12:8-9) We are witnessing the "unsealing" of the end-times prophecies.