Stuxnet, Iran and the Burden of Damascus

Stuxnet, Iran and the Burden of Damascus
Vol: 109 Issue: 1 Friday, October 1, 2010

To this point, it seems highly unlikely that we will ever learn definitively who released Stuxnet on Iran, although the most obvious suspect is also pretty much the only real suspect. 

Stuxnet’s complexity has stunned the computer security industry. Symantec says Stuxnet was designed by a well-funded, well-organized group, almost certainly affiliated with a government.  They are convinced the worm was written to target facilities in Iran.

Symantec says the worm was apparently designed to penetrate and take over the computerized control systems used in nuclear plants there.  

Adding up all the available evidence, if Israel is NOT the source of the Stuxnet worm, it should have been.   Iran’s leadership has been threatening Israel with annihilation with alarming regularity since Iran’s secret nuclear program was first exposed in 2002.

September 2nd, 2010 was supposed to be a red-letter day in Iranian nuclear advancement, a day that would have gone down in history as the day Iran officially became a nuclear power.  It was the day that Israel and the West has been dreading for eight years.   

On September 2nd, Iran’s first working nuclear reactor, located at Bushehr was to have gone online.  But Stuxnet struck first.   On October 1st, Iran announced another delay in activating the facility, which Iran denies has anything to do with Stuxnet.

While Iranian Vice-President Ali Salehi said the delay would be more than two weeks, in reality expectations are that it won’t go online this year.

According to Iran, the Stuxnet worm did no damage to the country’s nuclear program.  But according to the Israeli website Debkafile, the Stuxnet computer worm infection has done more damage to Iran’s nuclear program and civilian infrastructure than an actual military strike.

Who is right?   There is zero reason to believe that Iran is telling the truth. 

The Stuxnet worm’s clear intent was to attack Iran’s infrastructure, a clear and undeniable act of war. It is all the pretext Iran would need to launch a retaliatory strike against Israel.  

At the very least, it should have spawned a spate of spittle-spewing denunciations of the evil Zionists – but most of the spittle-spewing has come from other countries also infected by the Stuxnet worm.  Iran seems strangely serene about it all. 

“This contamination has not reached our main system. It was detected in some personal laptops and necessary measures were taken in this regard. Our main system is clean,” Salehi said on Wednesday.

Odd.  Here is a sampling of news reports from Iran over the last five days. Not a lot of “Death to Israel” and not much apparent concern about the worm.  

If Iran is actually battling a crippling computer worm, that would be a critically valuable piece of intelligence the Iranians would be desperate to keep to themselves.  Recall the price Saddam was willing to pay for the illusion of nuclear capability.

Using that historical marker as a guide, I’d say Stuxnet’s hammering them pretty hard.

Assessment:

Security experts and intelligence sources are playing their cards close to the vest on this one for a lot of reasons.   Whoever created Stuxnet, cyber-security experts say it is to cyberwar was splitting the atom was to conventional warfare.

NATO is calling Stuxnet the “first cyber superweapon”and China is reporting that the worm has infected millions of computers across the country. 

Axel Dyevre, a director at the European Company for Strategic Intelligence, said Stuxnet represented “an escalation towards the potential military or political use” of vulnerable computer systems.

The next major conflict could indeed be launched with a traditional bombing campaign in tandem with a cyber blitz, an electronic Pearl Harbor paralyzing the enemy.

Here we are, on the cusp of the second decade of the 21st century.  The world is even more technologically sophisticated than anyone could have imagined twenty years ago. 

Twenty years ago, Operation Desert Shield was just ramping up. If you had a home computer, it was little more than a really expensive word processor.  The internet was unknown. 

Just look at us now!  And just look at where we are heading! 

Twenty-six hundred years ago the Prophet Ezekiel said that during the last days an invasion force led by Russia and Iran would launch a sneak attack against Israel.  

In the 21st century of satellites and computer chips, a sneak attack against anybody is impossible. 

So what are the two big Stories of the Moment?   Well, if cyberwarfare doesn’t fry the system, maybe the solar storms will.   As we head into the second decade of the 21st century, we’re moving closer to Ezekiel’s vision, not further away.

That attack would come at a time when Israel would be at peace, dwelling with neither bars nor gates, a land of unwalled villages.    

The Prophets Obadiah and Isaiah also forecast major war in the Middle East in the last days.   The protagonists in that conflict are also named; the Palestinians, Gazans, Egyptians, Jordanians, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Syria . . . but no Persia (Iran).   

The protagonists in that conflict correspond roughly with the old Babylonian Empire.

In Ezekiel’s vision, the protagonists are the nations that roughly correspond with the old Persian Empire.  They must therefore be prophecies of two separate and distinct conflicts

But Iran has been involved in training, equipping and supplying Hezbollah and Syria and has even sent Revolutionary Guardsmen and trainers to Hamas.  Iranian weapons bound for Hamas have been intercepted on numerous occasions.

The other day, I heard King Abdullah of Jordan say on “The Daily Show” that if there wasn’t a breakthrough in the peace process by September 30th, there would be war before the end of this year. 

Today is October 1st and no such breakthrough has been announced.

Iran’s serial threats against Israel make it almost impossible to imagine war breaking out in the Middle East without Iran being directly involved.   

But if what King Abdullah is predicting is the war prophesied by Isaiah, Obadiah and Psalms 83. If so, (and that is, of course, a big ‘if’) when the smoke clears, Israel will be the only one left standing.

Damascus is prophesied to be a smoking heap.  All the enemy nations surrounding Israel will be so decimated by the war that Israel will be truly be able to become the land of unwalled villages dwelling in peace and safety foretold by Ezekiel.

That’s how Bible prophecy lays it out.   Including two seemingly-impossible details.  Iran isn’t part of the next Middle East war.   And when Iran IS ready to invade as part of Gog Magog, it will be in secret – currently a technical impossibility.

What I want you to take away from this isn’t so much the details, although they are interesting and valuable additions to your toolbox.  

What I want you to see is how, no matter how we try to explain away inconvenient details, (like spy satellites) to make our theories work, when the time comes, God arranges things His own way.

What we used to think had to be figurative or symbolic, as the time approaches, suddenly starts to trend towards the literal. Like signs in the sun, moon and stars, and the sea and the waves roaring.  

That was all symbolic — until global warming made it literal.

No matter how we try to parse current events to fit Bible prophecy, reality tends to put things back into the proper order.  Bible prophecy came first.  And that is how it will play out. Exactly as prophesied.  

Be confident.  And unafraid.

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”  (Proverbs  3:25-25)

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About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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