Since the creation of Israel after the Second World War, the Middle East has been a cauldron of emotion, as states from Iran to Morocco have seethed at perceived injustice and at the post-war solutions imposed by the Allies. Huge financial benefits from the exploitation of oil reserves subsequently empowered these countries, giving them considerable leverage against USA. With the decline of oil in coming years, this leverage will ebb out. Globalization and the ubiquity of the internet and social media, along with the coming of age of the predominantly young populations of Middle Eastern countries will probably lead to a weakening of religious fundamentalism and a corresponding growth of liberalization. This is a recipe for change in the Middle East.
Israel – the next decade
When the Jewish leader and subsequent prime minister Ben Gurion read the Proclamation of Independence at 4 p.m. on May 14th, 1949, finishing at 4.32 by banging his shoe on the table with the words “The State of Israel has arisen”, this was one of those clear moments when a potent astrological chart for a country can be drawn. So potent in fact that even the Israeli government has used this foundation chart, which has proved to very accurately forecast later wars. (Note 1)
HOROSCOPE: Israel. May 14, 1948, 16.00 Tel Aviv
This was a true resurrection for Jews worldwide after the Holocaust in World War II, which had decimated the Jewish population of Europe. The horoscope for Israel shows this rebirth, with the South Node in Scorpio in square aspect to the Pluto/Saturn conjunction representing a history of pogroms. It does not get tougher than that, and this legacy of survival against all the odds is part of the DNA of the State of Israel. During the 6-Day War in June 1967 Israel’s progressed MC conjoined Pluto, and in this short war they gained control of the Sinai and Suez Canal from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. Later, when Israel’s progressed Ascendant exactly conjoined this Node, the Yom Kippur war also saw victory going to Israel, and nearly brought the Soviet Union and USA into a deadly conflict too.
By chance or design the horoscope for Israel guarantees victory in conflict. With Mars in Leo in the 11th House in exact trine to Jupiter in Sagittarius, the country possesses incredible chutzpah – the confidence to win and keep on winning. It shows powerful friends internationally, not least the USA, indicated by Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus in the 9th House. With the Ascendant ruler Venus in Cancer, on USA’s Venus/Jupiter conjunction, there is a rich diaspora which will always nurture this nation. Donald Trump, who has his Mars and Ascendant on Israel’s Mars is a natural friend to the nationalist politicians who dream of a Greater Israel.
When the Camp David peace talks in 1993 laid the groundwork for negotiations for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, progressed Venus was moving retrograde and crossing the boundary from Cancer back to Gemini where it would go direct and conjoin Uranus for several decades. This influence has only exacerbated the whole idea of a country split into two separate races and religions. The two-state solution can only fly whilst Israel’s Venus is in Gemini, and when Venus returns by progression to Cancer in 2028, it will be officially dropped.
Currently the fate of the Netanyahu government is in lockstep with the USA. Israel’s MC/IC axis is on the US Mercury, which is where Trump’s Saturn is, and opposite to where his son-in-law Jared Kushner (who has assumed the role of Middle East mediator) has his Mercury in square to Pluto. As Pluto and Saturn will conjoin in 2020 around 22 Capricorn, activating all these sensitive degrees, Israel will undergo a long period of upheaval stretching to 2022, when Israel’s Descendant progressed comes on Uranus. It is a dramatic and unpredictable time for Israel.
From 2025-2026 Israel’s Ascendant will conjoin Jupiter, and whatever troubles Israel will have had earlier in the 2020’s will be resolved with resounding success. A one-state solution will be dominating the conversation at this time, which will seem like a kind of victory. However, with current demographics, the Arab population of Israel is likely to overtake the Jewish population some time mid-century, so, unless Israel tries to maintain an apartheid system, the whole country will have to live as a democracy where everyone is equal. This is the likely outcome 100 years after the creation of Israel.
The Transformation of Saudi-Arabia
With its public amputations and executions, banning of alcohol and women drivers, and many other customs which are totally at odds with Western values, Saudi Arabia has long been a source of puzzlement to Western liberals. Like Iran, Saudi Arabia has actually been a far more liberal country, and it was only with the Islamic Revolution and the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran in 1979 that a wave of fundamentalism swept the Middle East. Saudi Arabia cultivated its own brand of extremism – Wahhabism – to counter Iran’s growing influence as each country competed to be most “Muslim”.
In 2017 things suddenly changed as the 32-year old Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) took over the reins of power from his father, the current 82-year old head of the Saudi royal family Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He has “imprisoned” hundreds of the richest and most influential Saudi leaders in a luxury hotel on charges of corruption, and embarked on a major reform campaign, which amongst other things includes the right of women to drive cars. The religious police have had their power limited, and a new epoch of tolerance has been born. This is remarkable, because MBS seems to be anticipating the coming Pluto transit over Saudi Arabia’s Saturn/Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn.
Saudi Arabia. Capture of Riyadh. 15 Jan 1902 Riyadh. AS 10.40 SG
The Capture of Riyadh in 1902 from the Turks is considered the founding moment for Saudi Arabia, although National Day is celebrated on 23rd September 1932 when the country was formally unified. This was when Saturn returned to its 1902 position.
In 2017 and 2018 Pluto conjoins 1902-Saturn, which shows the anti-corruption drive and structural changes that MBS is trying to implement. Of course, bin Salman is also corrupted by the great riches of Saudi Arabia, having for example purchased his own half-billion-dollar yacht, but he seems to have the right idea as to how to pre-empt the coming Pluto transit. With oil-revenues plummeting in recent years, he plans to sell off a 5% share of state-owned Aramco, create a tourist paradise on Saudi’s beaches and invest $500 billion in a high-tech megacity on the coast.
We are just seeing the beginning of an enormous power grab by this young leader, and the outcome is still unsure until we see the result of Pluto’s transit to the Sun and Jupiter in 2019-2020 and Neptune’s conjunction with Saudi IC. MBS, born on 31st August 1985 has Mars in Leo square Saturn in Scorpio, so there are strong autocratic tendencies. There can be a backlash, and he could be deposed.
Iran and the Legacy of Khomeini
It seems that Iran and Saudi Arabia are mortal enemies competing for power in the Middle East. Currently they are waging a proxy war in Yemen, which is undergoing terrible suffering and privation. The November 29th, 1967 horoscope for South Yemen (at 15.00 hrs. in Aden), when the British ceded control, tells the story. In 2017 and 2018 Uranus is transiting Yemen’s Ascendant, and in 2018-2019 Pluto transits its MC, so it looks like the suffering and destruction will continue for the next two years.
The horoscope for Iran is based on the declaration of the Islamic Republic in 1979, after Khomeini returned from exile in France to a rapturous reception. The US-supported Shah of Iran fled the country, and a fundamentalist government of ayatollahs has been in power since.
Iran – Islamic Republic. 1 Apr 1979. 15.00 Teheran. AS 17.16 LE
Shortly after Khomeini came to power, Iran and Iraq were at war, and the USA, smarting at the ransacking of the US embassy in 1979 and the subsequent imprisonment of its diplomats for 444 days, gave logistical support to Saddam Hussein at that time. This lasted from 1980 to 1988, and was characterized by extreme brutality and loss of life, not least through the military use of poison gas. The sacrifice of the male youth of Iran is clearly seen in the Mars/Mercury conjunction in Pisces and the 8th house. The trine to Jupiter in Cancer shows perhaps the willingness to fight for a spiritual cause, whilst the square to Neptune indicates its futility.
Venus is also in Pisces in this horoscope, and in opposition to Saturn and square the Moon, which indicates the willingness of the female population to sacrifice themselves and subdue their femininity. Religious police have enforced the wearing the hijab and headscarves, and generally terrorized women, who cannot by decree show any strand of hair or bare skin apart from the face, let alone dance, laugh loudly, ride a bicycle or go on a date. It does not help that Venus and the Moon are at the midpoint of and sesquisquare Pluto, which adds to the general astrological signature of female suppression.
What is strong in Iran’s horoscope is the position of the Ascendant ruler, the Sun, exalted in Aries and in the 9th house. This shows the power of the supreme religious leader, once Khomeini and now Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It is worth looking at Khamenei’s horoscope (born 17th July 1939) because he was born with a new moon conjoining Pluto in exact opposition to Mars and exact square to Saturn. You don’t get more dictatorial than that. No politician should ever look to Khamenei for flexibility or kindness; the only way to deal with his rule is relentless pushback.
There are no clear indications of the sorely-needed change in the way Iran is governed until the Saturn/Pluto conjunction opposes his Sun in 2019-2020, at which point he will hopefully disappear. This will probably lead to a period of chaos, and then to a revolution or at least change in government style, as transiting Uranus conjoins Iran’s MC in 2021-2022. Neptune will be squaring Iran’s Neptune and conjoining the 21 degree Pisces Ascendant for the date Ayatollah Khomeini arrived in Teheran (February 1st, 1979), so there is a strong likelihood that existing conditions will dissolve, and that the predominantly young population of Iran will gain influence.
Over the next few years, the situation will continue to surprise, but structural changes are on the way, which will affect all the main players from 2019-2022. Upheaval and transformation is part of the chemistry of the Middle East, which has been destabilized by the colonial powers and the Ottomans during the last century or two. As renewable power gains ascendancy, and oil goes the way of coal, and as climate change brings increased drought and desertification, it will take some time before balance is re-established.
January 19th, 2018
1. Book of Word Horoscopes