This week, I will give you the news along with more of the prophetic understanding and some history behind it, as well. The history will help you understand how the Bible’s prophecies have been, and are being, fulfilled. With this understanding, you will be armed with the means to see for yourself how the prophets’ words are coming to pass.
Read while you listen!
Thank you for listening!
Theme music by Mishkanim.
The US, UK France struck Syria: US, UK and France launch Syria strikes targeting Assad’s chemical weapons with 110 missiles at three chemical weapons sites.
So, now we have to deal with the aftermath, the escalating problems between the US and Russia. Ultimately, we will see that the Middle East conflict will boil down to two brothers – America and Russia, Jacob and Esau.
First, a quick recap to get you and me on the exact same page, even though I know you have already heard some or most of the news.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, responded to the strikes by moving two warships carrying tanks and military equipment away from the Russian naval base at Tartus on Friday, April 13th. That was before the US strikes. The ships were spotted moving back toward Syria through the Bosphorus on Sunday. And, on Sunday, Putin warned that the world would experience ‘chaos’ if Syria was attacked again.
The Bosphorus is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey.
The Sun, Daily Star and other disingenuous news outlets are making it sound like the Russian ships moving back to Syria are a new fleet. It is not. These ships are part of the Russian naval base at Tartus that were moved for security reasons before the US and its allies struck Syria. They are not new ships being moved to the Middle East.
I make this point to reduce the hype that so often causes panic, worry and anxiety in people. The truth is disconcerting enough without the exaggerations.
Another element of last week’s drama plays like the hunt for “Red October”, only with Russia doing the hunting and not the other way around. A British attack submarine played hide and seek from Russian submarines and warships in the Mediterranean. Russia searched for the British sub because it carries armed cruise missiles. This is believed to be the first time an underwater hunt by Russia has taken place. The hunt for the UK’s submarine may still be taking place.
The US allied strike was not a surprise to anyone because President Trump amply warned the entire world of his intention to strike the chemical weapons plants in Syria. Trump’s warnings gave Russia time to move its military troops and hardware out of harm’s way, but the Russians were not happy about being forced out of their Tartus military base. The Russians don’t like being forced to do anything. Sometimes people take their fight to another arena. This does not make it a different fight – it simply becomes the same fight in a different place, and I think we will see that will be what happens between the Russians and the United States.
Fighting in another arena is already happening. Has been happening for over four years. Ukraine is that arena. It remains one of the loggerheads between Russia and the US. Keeping in mind that both the Syrian and Ukraine conflicts have to do with possession of the earth’s fossil fuel supply is the best way to understand the current conflict in the Middle East and the diplomatic problems between Europe and Russia that will ultimately lead the world to global war.
Allow me to present to you this tidbit of Biblical and historical background for a moment. Another perspective about the US and Russia is similar to that of Israel and Iran. One is mostly from Jacob, physically and spiritually. The other is mostly from Esau, physically and spiritually.
Israel is, of course, Jacob. Iran embodies Esau. As I have pointed out before, Iran has a mixture of ethnic groups going back thousands of years. Some of their people are Edomites from long ago. Some are Jews left over from the Babylonian captivity. Some Iranians are from other ancient people groups. In fact, all nations of the earth are a mixture of the physical heritages. We must look to see the “spirit” of people in the end of days. Iran most closely resembles Esau’s spirit.
Like Israel and Iran, there are two other nations who closely embody Jacob and Esau. The entire Middle East conflict will ultimately boil down to these two brothers – America and Russia, Jacob and Esau.
This was God’s promise to Abraham: That his seed – both physical and spiritual – would be in every family of the earth – eventually.
Gen 12:1 The LORD told Abram, “You are to leave your land, your relatives, and your father’s house and go to the land that I’m going to show you.
Gen 12:2 I’ll make a great nation of your descendants, I’ll bless you, and I’ll make your reputation great, so that you will be a blessing.
Gen 12:3 I’ll bless those who bless you, but I’ll curse the one who curses you, and through you all the [families] of the earth will be blessed [because of you].”
That is now true. Take, for instance, China. It is a ‘red’ nation. We know that Esau is called ‘red’ many times in scripture because God wants us to associate ‘red’, at the end of days, with ‘red’ Esau from the Genesis.
Yet, China is full of spiritual Jacob, Christians who love Israel and who, at this very moment are being tortured and martyred for their Israelite faith by their ‘red’ Edomite government.
But let’s not forget that Esau is Abraham’s descendant, too. So, all the families of the earth will be genetically and spiritually filled with one of these Abrahamic descendants by the end of days.
This condition exists in every nationality and in every religion on earth. God’s people are hidden in every nation and religion so that Esau cannot find them all to destroy Jacob completely from the earth in the coming Great Tribulation.
The end time spirit of Jacob is embodied in the nations of Israel, America and its Western allies. The end time spirit of Esau is embodied in Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and their allies. The entire earth is now split between these two “spirits”. Genesis 12:3 has now been fulfilled.
Keeping that background in mind, we can better understand the conflict between the US and Russia. This isn’t simply about power and economic supremacy. A spiritual reality that was laid out 4,000 years is the huge iceberg underneath it all.
So, what do Ukraine and Syria have in common? Ukraine and Syria possess the geographic oil distribution pipelines and are the latest in a series of proxy wars between the US and Russia from the time period just after WW2. The importance of Ukraine’s and Syria’s distribution pipelines should not be underestimated or dismissed as reasons for this war.
Yes, oil nations use tankers and other means to export their oil, but it takes pipelines to get the oil from the pumps to the ports. He who controls the distribution controls everything even if he does not control all of the oil and gas fields.
There has been an ongoing debate by pundits about whether the Syrian conflict is over fossil fuels distribution or the redrawing of the Middle East map by the Western powers and the UN in the 20th century. The redrawing of borders in the Middle East was accomplished mostly through CIA operations and the enthronement of various Westernized leaders like the Shah of Iran that was deposed in 1979.
The Middle East’s current kings are on their thrones mostly because of the United States who led the effort to redraw the maps after Britain’s Balfour Declaration that got the ball rolling in that direction. There was a political shift between 1910 and 1950 away from Britain as the world’s political and military power toward the United States as the world’s superpower. So, the United States, more than Britain or any of the Europeans, get the credit and blame for redistributing the power to meet Western agendas for control in the Middle east.
The pundits can’t decide if the Syrian war is because of Syria’s ownership of the oil and gas distribution hubs or if it is simply a backlash against the West’s policies that redrew the Middle East map. The answer to this question is ‘yes’. Both are contributing factors from the past that are now reaching their long arms into the present.
From SDF-Press.com, we read, in an article by Dr. Ahmed Youssef:
Syria is not an important source of energy compared to other countries in the Middle East. However, it has geographical advantages that give it a special role in the energy distribution of non-renewable resources. As it is a gateway that can contribute to reducing the expenses of energy transfer from Iraq and the Gulf States towards the Mediterranean, which is the Asia’s most important gateway to the western countries, so Syria’s importance in the distribution map of energy from the geographical position in a location of strategic importance of global forces, It has an important source of interest and attention to it from those forces.
As the distribution map of renewable and non-renewable energy refers to the relative importance of the three eastern provinces, these provinces entered into the accounts of the contestants in the early stages of the Syrian conflict and later acquired their strategic importance in the accounts of the forces that took control of the Syrian arena after the filtering of the revolutionaries. Today, the areas under control of Syrian Democratic Forces, which expanded from 39,000 square kilometers in March 2017 to 46,000 square kilometers in October 2017, are the most strategic areas throughout Syria, equivalent to approximately 25% of the total.
Syria is located in the axis of the Mediterranean and East Asia, which extends to Asia Minor and China across Iraq and Iran. There is no doubt that this factor is of strategic importance to the world fighting powers to gain a foothold in the Middle East or to expand their sphere of influence.
The concentration of the fighting has been in the areas of Syria’s fossil fuel distribution and pumping hubs from where 150 thousand barrels a day, which is more than 90% of its oil exports, went to EU countries such as Italy, France and Germany.
Syria has another promising renewable energy source that no other Middle Eastern country has: Water. The Mesopotamian Basin, Euphrates basin and the AL-Tadmory basins have also been the site of numerous battles. These are the basins where Syria is able to pump oil, but it also lends itself to the ancient problem of fighting over water resources.
The role of oil must not be excluded or neglected in the analysis of the cause of this war. The exploration and extraction companies operating in Syria are Russia, Chin, Iran, Venezuela and Malaysia. This means that the Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, favors these oil investment companies in Syria, thus shutting out the West.
The West doesn’t like being shut off from its free-flowing oil supply. As Syria’s small oil fields shut down during the war under Obama, Ukraine became more important to Europe as a supplier for its oil and gas needs.
Another contributing factor in the Syrian war has to do with the decades-long Cold War between the US and Russia. These two powers have been at war with each other all over the earth starting with North Korea and Vietnam, Central America, the Congo, Eritrea, Rhodesia, Afghanistan, etc., and now Syria.
Sometimes, the brothers – the US and Russia – fight together as in the Nigerian Civil war of 1967-1970, where the US and Russia were the top two armies in the conflict, but mostly they fight each other.
Genesis 27 tells us the prophecy in the blessings given to Jacob and Esau by Isaac.
Gen 27:28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
Gen 27:29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
Gen 27:39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
Gen 27:40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
The blessing went to Jacob. His inheritance is the “fatness”, the wealth of the earth, along with plenty of grain for food and wine for the sacrifices.
Esau’s blessing was that he would get to take advantage of the wealth of Jacob by living where Jacob lives. Thus, where Jacob goes, Esau goes. This has been going on for 4,000 years.
So, do you think Esau wanted to get his blessing back? Of course. It was prophesied that Jacob’s blessing would begin to wane as Esau took it back.
Isa 17:4 And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.
Right now, Esau controls more of the ‘fat’. The Hebrew word, ‘mishman’, which is translated as ‘fat’, beginning in Genesis when Isaac gave the twins their respective blessings, can be taken to mean wealth. But ‘mishman’s’ root word, ‘shaman’, literally means ‘oily’. ‘Mishman’ means “the best part”, abundance, fertility (as in many children and other wealth), but it also is associated with something that is ‘oily’.
What is this discussion about? What are these wars about? Oil!
The fatness, the ‘mishman’, of Jacob has decreased slowly over the past hundreds of years. The decrease has now accelerated to the point that the West (America, Europe, their island allies and others) no longer control the greater potential wealth on earth.
We saw the rise of the oil-producing nations in the 20th century under OPEC. They control vastly more wealth now than the West. The Jacob-ite nations are becoming leaner all the time, even to the point that the number of children being born to them has decreased while, at the same time, all of these wealth indicators have increased for the Edomite nations. “Jacob”, the West, is desperately trying to hold onto the blessing!
Esau has chased Jacob all over the earth and has always found ways to confiscate what Jacob attained. But now, there is a problem because there is no new place for Jacob to go where Esau doesn’t already dwell.
This lends itself to understanding the wars of the past 4,000 years, all over the earth, as Esau vied for prominence and power. Wherever Jacob goes, Esau goes because Esau wants what Jacob got blessed with by YHVH. Esau’s Edomite descendants are always at war with Jacob’s descendants in every generation.
Another factor in the Syrian war is Shi’ite Iran’s desire to subdue the entire earth under Islam. Iran’s closest ally and literal brother is Russia. This is the factor that will ultimately escalate the entire globe into simultaneous wars in every country.
Another factor that affects the Middle East region is the localized tribal conflicts. The Huffington Post lays it out this way:
The Syrian war is not only one proxy war, there are several proxy wars happening that can be summarized as follows:
- The internal Wahhabi war: The internal Wahhabi war is pitting the various Wahhabi parties in the region against each other. The Saudi regime, Qatari regime, al-Qa`idah (Nusrah Front) and ISIS: all four are Wahhabi and each is trying to dominate the field of the Wahhabi movement.
- The Iranian-Saudi war (which I continue to point out are the most likely candidates for the Kings of the North and South in the Book of Daniel 11 starting at verse 40): The two sides are engaged in struggles in different parts of the region, from Yemen to Lebanon and Syria. This is a conflict over political dominance and hegemony. This is part one of the Kings of the North and South war.
- Part two is the Sunni-Shia war: This is a war that was instigated by the Saudi regime (remember that the Book of Daniel says the King of the South will provoke the King of the North). This proxy war was started at the behest of US and Israel to undermine Arab support for Hizbullah and Iran.
- The Russian-American war: This war is reminiscent of the Cold War. The conflict between the Russian government and the American government has never reached this level since the demise of the Soviet Union. The conflict over Ukraine and Syria, among other places, has pushed both sides to resort to the tricks and methods of the Cold War, including more proxy wars.
- Qatari and Saudi conflict: The two Wahhabi regimes are fighting over many issues but they both wish to speak on behalf of political Islam. Qatar banks on the Muslim Brotherhood and some elements of Jihadi Islam, while the Saudi regime banks on the Salafis and some elements of Jihadi Islam. This conflict may explain the conflict between the Nusrah Front and ISIS.
- The Hezbollah versus the Future Movement: Both of those Lebanese movements have been fighting in Syria. The Future Movement is a broad and loose movement which comprises various stands, including Salafis.
- Clash of Islamic identities: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran are all hoping to leave their national imprint on the political Islamist movement in the region.
A little explanation is needed here. The Saudis are Arabs, probably from Ishmael. Iran is a Persian nation, mostly from Esau. Turkey is ancient Magog territory and neither it or the Arabs or Persians acknowledge the Turks as bonafide Muslims. These people are, of course, all related by the same ancestors going back to Noah, but they developed different cultures and no longer recognize each other as relatives.
- The regional conflict between the global organization of the Muslim Brotherhood on one hand and the regional Salafis on the other.
These proxy conflicts now determine the course of events in Syria and the Syrian people themselves, on either sides of the conflict, have very little control over them. The slogans that are being raised by both sides of the conflict merely serve to rationalize the policies and decisions of external patrons.
Two more proxy wars between the US and Russia are worth mentioning – Turkey and Ukraine.
Turkey is a US ally and NATO nation that has gradually drawn closer to Russia because of the dispute between Turkey and the US over the Kurds. Ankara saw its first two combat deaths last January from Turkey’s clash with US-backed Kurdish fighters south of the border in Syria – a battle many see as a proxy war pitting Russian military might against a weakened America.
According to The Week dot com: “Relations between Turkey and Russia have been gradually getting closer in the context of the Syria conflict, whereas tensions have been rising between Ankara and Washington, which backs the Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.”
Moscow took advantage of Turkey’s discontent with the United States and has now entered into an “agreement” with Ankara on the border war against US-backed Kurdish fighters.
The other US-Russia proxy war is in Ukraine. This is the important one because Syria and Ukraine have the same feature – oil pipelines.
From Newsweek, December 2017:
The war in Ukraine has so far killed more than 10,300 Ukrainians, including at least 2,523 civilians, but hardly makes the headlines anymore. The war is not a particularly big one. Conventional combat operations are confined along a static, 250-mile-long front line in Ukraine’s embattled southeastern Donbas region. Although, Russia’s hybrid tactics—like cyberwarfare and weaponized propaganda—affect the entire country.
Nor is the Ukraine war the most deadly in the world today. The more than 10,300 Ukrainians who have so far died in the conflict pale in comparison to the approximately 400,000 people who have reportedly died in the six years of the Syrian war.
Yet, it is a war—the only ongoing one in Europe, in fact.
And if one were to draw a line back to the origins of Russia’s current hybrid conflict against the West, it would lead straight to the war in Ukraine. Russia invaded and seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, and then launched a proxy war in eastern Ukraine the following April. In turn, the United States and the European Union levied punitive economic sanctions on Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine.
Since then, relations between Russia and the West have hit a post-Cold War nadir.
Not to mention the Cold War-like escalation that just occurred this past weekend in Syria. This December 2017 article simply underscores the two most important proxy wars happening between the US and Russia now.
Using cyberwarfare and an empire of weaponized propaganda, Russia has since 2014 embarked on a hybrid war blitz against Western democracies intended to undercut the stability of the post-World War II world order, in which the U.S. and its democratic allies have steered the course of history. Russia and Ukraine have been in a de facto state of war for nearly four years.
After four years of constant combat, about 60,000 Ukrainian troops remain engaged in a static, trench warfare conflict against a combined force of about 35,000 pro-Russian separatists, foreign mercenaries, and Russian regulars. Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 could be a bellwether for the kind of offensive military operation Russia would conduct against NATO’s Baltic member countries.
Consequently, U.S. military forces in Europe are leaning forward to anticipate how Russia might integrate multiple war-fighting domains into a combined hybrid offensive.
In other words, the US and Europe are expecting this kind of invasion on European soil. Few are expressing concern about an invasion by Russia on US soil. The prophet, Jeremiah, spoke of the kings of the Medes attacking end time Babylon – the nation that turned away from its Israelite ancestry and turned toward ancient Babylon.
Jer 51:11 Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes—he has decided to destroy Babylon. Indeed, it’s the LORD’s vengeance, vengeance for his Temple.
I am speculating here, but Israel has been expecting Cyrus Trump to announce the building of the Israelite Temple. However, that has not happened. Perhaps we will see, in hind sight, that Trump’s lack of love for God and His Temple is what spurred God’s vengeance against America.
Isaiah also spoke of this situation:
Isa 13:1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.
Isa 13:2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.
Isa 13:3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.
Isa 13:4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
Isa 13:5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.
Isa 13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
Isa 13:7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:
Isa 13:8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
The history of the Medes and Persians is long and complicated. I have reported for many years that the Iranians and Russians are the same people as the ancient Medes and Persians. So, when Jeremiah speaks of the kings of the Medes attacking end time Babylon, he is speaking of these two particular modern, end time nations: Iran and Russia. They, and their coalition, will attack Babylon.
As you can see, the US and Russia are at war with each other in many proxies wars. These conflicts will not continue to be proxy wars, however. Eventually, the two brothers will duke it out in direct war with each other.
The technical truth is that WW3 began right after WW2 between the US and Russia. These proxy wars, when viewed back in the history books, will be called “battles”. So, the two brothers, Esau and Jacob, who are now called Russia and the United States, are in battles over control of regions that have oil pipelines.
One of these regions, Iran, is behind the impetus to make everyone on earth submit to Islam. The other region, Ukraine, now in the hands of the West, once belonged to Russian territory. To Russian Edomites, this is just another example of how Jacob takes blessings away.
This is why the fighting in Syria is so heated. Syria is closer to Isaac’s blessing, Israel and Jerusalem, and it is in possession of hundreds of miles of pipeline through which flows a lot of fossil fuels.
Right now, the US and Saudi Arabia have a glut of oil, but once full scale war begins, those fuels will be rapidly depleted. The West could be cut off from wealth, power, and worse, the ability to defend themselves against the Russians and Iranians.
That was some of the news with prophetic and historical background. Now let’s get to more of “just the news”.
ISRAEL, IRAN SHOWDOWN
Israel is preparing for a crossborder attack by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, in response to a strike allegedly carried out by the Jewish state against an Iranian-operated air base in Syria that killed seven of its soldiers.
Aerial photos of Iranian bases in Syria were released Tuesday morning that show Tehran has increased the scope of its military relationship with the Assad regime under the auspices of the IRGC’s air force commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. The release of the photos comes ahead of Iran’s national Army Day on Wednesday, when Israel also begin marking its 70th Independence Day in the evening.
Israel believes the attack will come in the form of precision- guided missiles or armed drones launched from a base in Syria by the IRGC itself – not by proxies, as was done before – under the command of Quds Force commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The source stated that civilian airlines Simorgh Air and Pouya Cargo Air are used by the IRGC as a front for military flights bringing in soldiers and weaponry to bolster Iran’s military presence.
According to the pictures, the IRGC has established several bases in Syria including a military base in Deir al-Zor province in eastern Syria where Ilyushin planes transporting weapons from Iran to Syria can be seen.
Roni Daniel, military editor for Israeli TV station Mako, said the disclosure was a signal to Iran that its deployments in Syria “are totally exposed to us, and if you take action against us to avenge (the T-4 strike) these targets will be very severely harmed”.
The information came from the Israeli military, according to a wide range of television and radio stations and news websites. Israel’s military spokesman declined to comment.
However, an Israeli security official seemed to acknowledge the leak was sanctioned, telling Reuters that it provided details about “the IRGC air force (which) the Israeli defense establishment sees as the entity that will try to attack Israel, based on Iranian threats to respond to the strike on T-4.”
According to Daniel, Israel was bracing for a possible Iranian missile salvo or armed drone assault from Syria.
Iran countered Israel by issuing a threat against last weekend’s attack on the Iranian drone base in Syria. The strike occurred the day following the US and allied strike on Syria’s chemical weapons plants.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi told local press Monday, “Tel Aviv will be punished for its aggressive action. The occupying Zionist regime will, sooner or later, receive an appropriate response to its actions.”
But does this mean an Iranian attack is immanent? I suspect it is not. I suspect the Iranians are not stupid enough to openly allow Israel to see images of military operations that provide Israel time to prepare for such a strike. Instead, Iran, descendants of Esau, are more likely to mislead Israel. Esau used to hide in the bushes before attacking someone. This is how he was able to behead Babylonian king Nimrod. So, it is more likely that Iran will pull a misdirection, or even many misdirections over time, that will allow Israel to use up resources and become tired of waiting for Iran to strike.
We will have to wait and see if my opinion is correct.
But, Israel rightfully sees an increasing threat in this deepening influence near its borders, which it fears could result in launching posts from which Hezbollah could attack.
“There are many Israelis who have felt obliged to plan out a war with Iran, and their political leaders have spoken ominously about that in recent years,” former U.S. ambassador to Syria Richard Murphy told CNBC, noting that the threat posed by Hezbollah is “considerable” given the missiles it commands in Lebanon and in supply posts in Syria.
Let us remember that Iran has openly blustered for decades about its intention to obliterate Israel.
In the meantime, Israel is making a new effort to directly engage the people of Iran by sympathizing with their suffering and hopes for freedom from Islamic rule.
Remember that only about 10% of the Jewish population returned from Babylonian captivity. Jews know that many of their brethren are still trapped in Iran. But this outreach is not just to those who know they are Jews, but to those who do not know or to those who are of ancient Persian descendancy.
What will be the next major flashpoint between Israel and Iran? The Assad regime’s fight for the southwestern city of Daraa, some 50 miles from the Israeli border. But while escalation is increasing, an all-out war between the two is unlikely, former U.S. ambassador to Syria Richard Murphy believes. “I don’t think that’s on the cards right now. The Iranian goal is to make sure Assad survives.”
Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times, believes the next war between Israel and Iran will be fought inside Syria.
He says, Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Syria is going to explode. I know, you have heard that one before, but this time I mean really explode. Because the U.S., British and French attack on Syria to punish its regime for its vile use of chemical weapons — and Russia’s vow to respond — is actually just the second-most dangerous confrontation unfolding in that country.
Even more dangerous is that Israel and Iran, at the exact same time, seem to be heading for a High Noon shootout in Syria over Iran’s attempts to turn Syria into a forward air base against Israel, something Israel is vowing to never let happen. This is not mere speculation. In the past few weeks — for the first time ever — Israel and Iran have begun quietly trading blows directly, not through proxies, in Syria.
And this quiet phase may be about to end.
Israel and Iran are now a hair-trigger away from going to the next level — and if that happens, the U.S. and Russia may find it difficult to stay out.
Let me try to explain what is unfolding from a lookout post on the Syrian-Israel border, where I stood a couple of days ago. Let’s start with the fact that the latest U.S., British and French cruise missile punishment attack appears to be a one-off operation and the impact will be contained. Russia and Syria have little interest in courting another Western raid and raising the level of involvement in Syria by the three big Western powers. And the three Western powers do not want to get more deeply involved in Syria.
It is the potentially uncontained direct shooting war brewing between Israel and Iran that is much more likely and worrisome, because it may be about to enter round two.
Round one occurred on Feb. 10, when an Iranian drone launched by a Revolutionary Guards Quds Force unit operating out of Syria’s T4 air base, east of Homs in central Syria, was shot down with a missile from an Israeli Apache helicopter that was following it after it penetrated Israeli airspace.
Initial reports were that the Iranian drone was purely on a reconnaissance mission. But the official Israeli Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said Friday that the drone’s flight path and Israel’s “intelligence and operational analysis of the parts of the Iranian unmanned vehicle” indicated that “the aircraft was carrying explosives” and that its mission was “an act of sabotage in Israeli territory.”
I have no ability to independently verify that claim. But the fact that the Israelis are putting it out should raise alarm bells.
[Israeli] defense officials say there is zero chance Israel will make the mistake it made in Lebanon — of letting Hezbollah establish a massive missile threat there — by letting Iran do the same directly in Syria.
Now you can understand why it is such a dangerous situation — even without the U.S., French and British punishment for Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Iran claims it is setting up bases in Syria to protect it from Israel, but Israel has no designs on Syria; it actually prefers the devil it knows there — Assad — over chaos. And it has not intervened in the civil war there except to prevent the expansion of Iran’s military infrastructure there or to retaliate for rebel or Syrian shells that fell on Israel’s territory.
I understand Iran’s security concerns in the Gulf; it faces a number of hostile, pro-American Sunni Arab powers trying to contain its influence and undermine its Islamic regime. From Iran’s perspective, these are a threat.
But what is Iran doing in Syria?
Tehran’s attempt to build a network of bases and missile factories in Syria — now that it has helped Assad largely crush the uprising against him — appears to be an ego-power play by Iran’s Quds Force leader Suleimani to extend Iran’s grip on key parts of the Sunni Arab world and advance his power struggle with President Hassan Rouhani. Suleimani’s Quds Force now more or less controls — through proxies — four Arab capitals: Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sana.
Iran has actually become the biggest “occupying power” in the Arab world today. But Suleimani may be overplaying his hand, especially if he finds himself in a direct confrontation with Israel in Syria, far from Iran, without air cover.
After all, even before this, many average Iranians were publicly asking what in the world is Iran doing spending billions of dollars — which were supposed to go to Iranians as a result of the lifting of sanctions from the Iran nuclear deal — fighting wars in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
That is surely one reason Iran has not retaliated — yet. Suleimani has to think twice about starting a full-scale, direct war with Israel, because of another big story many people have not noticed: Iran’s currency is collapsing back home.
The Iranian rial “has plummeted to a record low amid growing economic and political uncertainty, causing a rush to the banks as Iranians desperately try to acquire U.S. dollars with exchanges forced to shut their doors to prevent long and chaotic lines.” The rial has lost one-third of its value just this year, the story noted.
Moreover, Israeli military officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin and Suleimani are no longer natural allies. Putin wants and needs a stable Syria where his puppet Bashar Assad can be in control and Russia can maintain a forward naval and air presence and look like a superpower again — on the cheap. Iran’s President Rouhani probably also prefers a stable Syria, where Assad has consolidated his power and that is not a drain on the Iranian budget. But Suleimani and the Quds Force seem to aspire to greater dominance of the Arab world and putting more pressure on Israel.
Unless Suleimani backs down, you are about to see in Syria an unstoppable force — Iran’s Quds Force — meet an immovable object: Israel.
Fasten your seatbelt.
One of the most important elements of Friedman’s article for Americans and its Western allies to understand is what he said about Russia. Let me quote him: “Israel and Iran are now a hair-trigger away from going to the next level — and if that happens, the U.S. and Russia may find it difficult to stay out.”
It not only will be difficult to prevent the US and Russia from engaging in the situation between Israel and Iran, it will be impossible! Not only will the US and Russia engage directly inside Syria, but they will engage outside Syria, as well. More specifically, they will engage where no one believes it could possibly happen – even after the 9-11 attack – on American soil.
Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesy about a coming coalition that will attack end times Babylon. If you believe America has shifted spiritual alliances from being a nation, with the God of Jacob as its foundation, to being Babylon, a nation whose foundation is Esau, then you believe America is end time Babylon.