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Last week, Russian troops entered Syria. We also learned that Moscow needs oil prices to rise from about $110 a barrel today to $150 a barrel for the next few years to allow Russia to fulfill recent promises to rebuild its military and increase pay for soldiers, policemen, retirees, and others. This raised the possibility that Russia might seek to foment more instability in the Middle East — not less — to help drive up the price of oil and bring more tax revenues into the Kremlin. That’s why last week I wrote a column entitled, “Evidence Grows That Israel Is Set For War, But What If Russia Intervenes?” I also discussed the implications of these developments over the weekend at a conference in southern California on “Israel, The Church and the Middle East Crisis.”
Now comes a curious new development: Vladimir Putin will make a high-profile visit to Israel in June, not long after he is sworn in as Russia’s new president on May 7th. News reports indicate Mr. Putin’s first foreign trip upon reclaiming his power will be to the U.S. for the G8 summit on May 20. That makes sense. The U.S.-Russian relationship has widely been considered the most important bilateral geopolitical relationship on the planet since the end of World War II. But with all the other important countries and leaders in the world Mr. Putin could visit, why is he choosing to make meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu his first objective after his meeting with President Obama? What is the Russian leader’s motive? What does he want to accomplish, and why? Will Putin seek to pressure Israel not to launch a preemptive strike on Iran? Will he visit other countries in the epicenter on the same trip? Will he, for example, visit Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, as well? What about other countries mentioned in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39? It’s too early to say, but a development well worth watching closely.
“Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin wants to visit Israel in June, and has expressed interest in unveiling a monument in Netanya honoring Jewish Red Army soldiers who fought in World War II, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz on Monday,” reports the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. “There have been no talks about specific arrangements because Putin has yet to be inaugurated, the source said. After he is sworn in on May 7, Israel is expected to begin preparing for his visit, the date of which will be formally announced, the official said. Israel is expected to be Putin’s second foreign destination after he is inaugurated on May 7. Putin is due to travel to the United States on May 20 to attend the G8 summit, where he is slated to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama….Putin last visited Israel in April 2005, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister. The highly irregular visit took place on Passover, with only three weeks’ notice. Israel lobbied unsuccessfully to get the visit postponed.”
- Israel seeking U.S. help to buy/build more “Iron Dome” rocket defense batteries
- Op-ed by Israeli Ambassador Michael B. Oren on need for more “Iron Dome” batteries
- Mitt Romney Says Russia Is No. 1 Geopolitical Foe
- Obama promises Medvedev ‘more flexibility’ after election
- Help Christians bless needy Israelis and Palestinians now, and be ready for a possible major new war with Iran in the epicenter — please consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.
- Implosion is now available for pre-order.
- The Tehran Initiative is available in hardcover or e-book
- Follow the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook with the latest news from the Middle East along with prayer requests.
- Sign up for Joel’s (free) email updates called “Flash Traffic”
- Would you like to have a personal relationship with God? A concise explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
RESOURCES ON ISRAEL, IRAN AND BIBLE PROPHECY
- Study notes on Ezekiel 38-39 — What Is The War of Gog and Magog?
- Study notes on the Book of Joel — Israel, Prophecy and the “Day of the Lord”
- Online video messages on the Old Testament Book of Joel from the 2011 Epicenter Conference
- Audio of Joel’s message on how God is shaking the nations (from the Book of Haggai, chapter 2) (given in June 2011)
>> Please register also for the worldwide “IMPLOSION SIMULCAST” set for Saturday, June 16th.