Click on map to enlarge. Notice importance of world events as they relate to this map.
Click on map to enlarge. Notice importance of world events as they relate to this map.
By Joel Rosenberg
Posted: February 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
The butchery of the Assad regime is horrifying to behold. More than 6,000 Syrians have been brutally murdered by the thugs in Damascus. The evil Assad government must be brought down and brought to justice, or face judgment.
Bible prophecy tells us in Isaiah 17:1-3 and Jeremiah 49:23-27 that Damascus will be destroyed as a city in the last days. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly when or how this will happen, but I believe that day is steadily approaching. Indeed, it may not be far off. I’m currently writing a political thriller called The Damascus Countdown about how this could play out.
In the meantime, followers of Jesus Christ around the world must be praying and working for the spiritual and political liberation of the Syrian people. We need to be praying and working to strengthen the persecuted Church in Syria, and to help believers there spread of the Gospel to every person in that precious country. Make no mistake: God loves the people of Syria. The Apostle Paul came to faith in Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Believers were first called “Christians” in Antioch, Syria. And our God and Father wants every Syrian to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. We need to act now and share the good news with Syria before judgment comes. For God is not going to allow this current evil to go unchecked much longer. In Genesis 12:1-3, the Lord told us that those who bless the children of Israel will be blessed, and those who cursed them will be cursed. The Syrian government faces judgment for killing its own citizens, but also for killing so many Jews and Israelis over the years, and cursing the State of Israel on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, since we don’t know when the judgment of Syria’s government will happen, the U.S. government — and our allies — can and must take decisive steps to stand with and for the people of Syria against the Assad regime. This past week, 58 foreign policy experts urged President Obama to take strong, specific action. Among their recommendations:
The experts noted: “For eleven months now, the Syrian people have been dying on a daily basis at the hands of their government as they seek to topple the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad. As the recent events in the city of Homs—in which hundreds of Syrians have been killed in a matter of days—have shown, Assad will stop at nothing to maintain his grip on power. Given the United Nations Security Council’s recent failure to act, we believe that the United States cannot continue to defer its strategic and moral responsibilities in Syria to regional actors such as the Arab League, or to wait for consent from the Assad regime’s protectors, Russia and China. We therefore urge you to take immediate steps to decisively halt the Assad regime’s atrocities against Syrian civilians, and to hasten the emergence of a post-Assad government in Syria. Syria’s future is not purely a humanitarian concern. The Assad regime poses a grave threat to national security interests of the United States. The Syrian government, which has been on the State Department’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list since 1979, maintains a strategic partnership with the terror-sponsoring government of Iran, as well as with Hamas and Hezbollah. For years, it facilitated the entry of foreign fighters into Iraq who killed American troops. For years, it secretly pursued a nuclear program with North Korea’s assistance. And for decades, it has closely cooperated with Iran and other agents of violence and instability to menace America’s allies and partners throughout the Middle East….The Syrian people are asking for international assistance. It is apparent that American leadership is required to ensure the quickest end to the Assad regime’s brutal reign, and to clearly show the Syrian people that, as you said on February 4, 2012, the people of the free world stand with them as they seek to realize their aspirations.”
I agree. Time is running out, according to Bible prophecy. Now is the time for the free world to speak out, and act decisively. Now is also the time for followers of Jesus Christ to do our part.
Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has put it at odds with other countries in the Arab world.
Russia drew a lot of flack from Arab countries and the West when it vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at pressuring Assad to stop his crackdown on protesters. That has some analysts in Russia doubting whether the Kremlin really has a cogent strategy for the Middle East.
The dilemma for Russia policy in the Arab world can be illustrated by two very different events that took place this week.
On Tuesday, crowds of Assad supporters in Damascus greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the country’s foreign intelligence chief, Mikhail Fradkov.
Lavrov said Russia was willing to serve as a mediator in the conflict, although Assad’s forces continued their assault on the opposition. Meanwhile, a very different scenario was playing out in New York.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, appeared at a hastily called news conference to deny rumors that he had threatened the prime minister of Qatar. The rumors, which were widely circulated in the Arab media, said Churkin had warned the Qatari leader that Russia would “wipe Qatar off the map.”
“There was nothing, not even any hints of any threats, intimidation, rudeness from me or from the prime minister of Qatar, for that matter,” Churkin said.
Russia’s relations with Qatar have been strained since December, when customs officials in Doha allegedly manhandled Russia’s ambassador to that country.
Although Churkin denied using any bullying tactics, he added something that sounded vaguely like a warning.
“Apparently somebody is trying very hard in order to drive a wedge between Russia and the Arab world. If it’s somebody who is really coming from the Arab world, I think there is a very good Russian saying, which they, I think, should keep in mind: ‘Don’t spit into a well. You may well need it for a drink of water,’ ” he said.
At this point, it’s unclear who needs whom.
Analyst Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Moscow Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, says Russia doesn’t really need Syria as a trading partner. He says Russia’s support for Syria is part of a pragmatic effort to contain Islamic extremism by balancing opposing factions.
“Russians understand there are no nondictatorship regimes in the Middle East. There is no chance for democracy of the Western style in the Middle East. And we try to make balance,” Satanovsky says.
But other analysts say Russia needs to be careful of its image in the Arab world.
Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, points out that Russia’s stand on Syria puts it at odds with important members of the Arab League, such as Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia has enormous leverage on the global oil market. Saudi Arabia has resources that could be used to minimize Russia’s control of parts of its own country,” Trenin says. He means the North Caucasus, the region that includes volatile areas such as Chechnya.
Trenin says that what Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, tried to do in Damascus this week should have been done months ago, when the Arab Spring protests first erupted.
“If Russia wanted to uphold its prestige as an important player, it needed to engage more fully in looking for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict,” he says.
Both analysts say one of Russia’s main concerns is keeping a lid on Islamic radicalism, the kind that is spreading in the Muslim parts of Russia’s own territory.
Satanovsky says Russian policy seeks to play off the Islamic fundamentalist regimes of the Arab world against Iran.
In putting such strong and public support behind the Syrian regime, though, Russia has put itself at a pivot point in the major struggles of the Arab World.
It’s not clear whether it has a strategy to affect the balance there.
A riveting and timely survey of things to come!
Widespread revolutions in multiple Arab nations. New powers rising to challenge entrenched despots and ruling bodies. Bitter new conflicts further enflaming the many already in place. And a pall of uncertainty over how it will all play out.
Indeed the Middle East is burning.
How can we make sense of it all?
At first glance the many hotspots may seem without a pattern, without rhyme or reason. But Bible prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock takes a look at Scripture and helps paint a clear picture of what’s taking place, giving insight on current events in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and more.
(Sharon’s note:) To read an excerpt from this book, click on the link below. I think you will find it very interesting, as we relate it to our study of prophecy.