Wars and Rumors of Wars: Syria
Trying to dig into conflict in the Middle East (anywhere in the Middle East) is like peeling an endless onion – it is just layer after painful layer of a history of intrigue and treachery and international interventions and hatred, all of which is directly influencing current events. A succession of American presidents have tried to play peacemaker in the Middle East, only to get mired down (and ultimately embarrassed) in the intractable opinions and regrettable history of every player in the region; each player has thousands of reasons (and thousands of years of history backing their reasons) not to trust or work with the other players in the region. If American presidents, with their legions of arguably brilliant advisors, can come to such an undistinguished end in the Middle East, it should serve as a cautionary tale for minor authors and analysts such as myself. Still, inasmuch as this blog deals with the fulfillment of prophecy as seen in (and driven by) the accelerating decline of our physical earth, it is pretty much impossible to stay away from events in the Middle East – they are just too important and too germane. So, in that spirit, lets look at Syria.
The problem is, we can’t just look at Syria. If we are going to look at Syria, we have to look also at its two major backers – Russia and Iran. Syria is host to Russia’s major naval base in the region and, beyond that, Russia still desires a larger presence of the world stage and will thwart the ambitions of the US wherever it can, particularly in the Middle East. And then there is Iran – Iran has enthusiastically backed Syria and seen it as the pathway to waging war on Israel (which is seemingly the major and blinkered goal of just about everything the leadership of that nation does). The other constancy with Iran is that they will do anything – anything – to get a good kick in at America, which again brings us back around to Israel because any blow landed on Israel is seen by Iran as a blow landed on the US. So lets bring Israel fully into the conversation: the two share a border, are “technically” at war (and have been since 1967), and have been trading shots mortar rounds, bullets, rockets, jet strikes) over the past several months (a good summary of their history of conflict here). And, of course, if we are going to talk about Syria and Iran and Israel, we need to talk about Hezbollah, which, depending on your view, is either a Shi’a Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon, or a bloody terrorist group funded by Iran (which channels funds through Syria) and dedicated to the obliteration of Israel. Truth is, they are probably both. And we can’t talk about Hezbollah without talking about Lebanon: Hezbollah is a major political force in Lebanon and Lebanon shares a border with Syria.
Just a little more context, and then we will peel the onion a little: It is well established that the rebellion in Syria was triggered by a historically long and severe drought which was, in turn, triggered by shifts in climate patterns. In this previous post, I lay out my argument for tracing the effects of sin on the earth’s systems (oceanic, atmospheric, fresh water, climate, and food production systems), and then linking the accelerating decay in those systems to disruptions and conflict in human society. Essentially, I demonstrate how the effects of sin on the physical earth are driving the fulfillment of prophecy in our age – and we can see this fulfillment in what is going on in Syria right now.
And what is going on in Syria right now is that the conflict is spreading. What started as demonstrations, became a rebellion, which became a civil war, which has thus far pulled in Turkey (early on) Israel, Lebanon (in the form of Hezbollah) and Iran, with the US and Russia furiously providing weapons and other covert support to the respective sides. Hezbollah has fielded fighters directly in Syria, as has Iran. Hezbollah has vowed a full fight in order to keep Assad (President of Syria) in power. But Hezbollah does not represent all of Lebanon, only the Shi’a part. The rest of Lebanon is eager to see Assad fall. Thus we see a possible rekindling of the Lebanese civil war, with rockets now falling on Hezbollah facilities in southern Lebanon. Analysts all around are warning of Lebanon being fully drawn in to Syria’s civil war.
We also see Israel conducting air strikes and artillery strikes in Syria and preparing to launch a “surprise war” (see here also). At issue is the massive chemical weapons arsenal that Syria possesses. As Syria falls further into chaos, some of those weapons will inevitably fall into the hands of Hezbollah, and there is no doubt that Hezbollah will use those heinous weapons on Israel (with Iran cheering wildly). For this reason, Israel is on highest alert and is launching proactive attacks to try and destroy chemical weapons that Syria is transferring to Hezbollah or may transfer to Syria. Problem is, the Syrian chemical weapons stock is truly massive and seems to be disbursed around a number of storage sites, so keeping control of the weapons in a government melt-down (which seems likely) is almost impossible. Which, of course, is exactly why many are urging the US military to become directly involved, though in any reasonable assessment of the situation, all of the apparent options open to the US military seem to be very poor.
poor options or not, it is almost a certainty that either or both the US and Israel will be drawn further – perhaps deeply – into the Syrian conflict. For that very reason, Iran is also sending strong signals, including the announcement today that they have fielded a “massive” number of field missile launchers. The message they are sending is clear and is aimed at Israel and, ultimately,at the US: Iran is saying that they are capable of sending a “swarm” of missiles at Israeli cities and that such a swarm could overcome the capabilities of Israels vaunted “Iron Dome” anti-missile system. Implicit in that announcement is the underlying message: Don’t mess with their client state, Syria.
So, what we have is a rapidly developing situation where more and more states are getting involved in the Syrian conflict, and it is ultimately a conflict that has its roots in the accelerating decay of the earth, in this case causing a historic drought. When you add it all together, what we are seeing is, in real time, the fulfillment of prophecy. I speak specifically of the “wars and rumors of wars” prophecy Christ made in Matthew 24:6-8. If and as the situation builds, others may see the fulfillment of prophecy from Revelation, but since I am not an expert in that area, I defer to others.
Of this much I am certain: we will see more and more conflict in the near or immediate future for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Israel is forecasting a drought of – excuse the phrase – Biblical proportions and is planning for the water conflicts that it knows will accompany the drought. For an overview of the coming regional water conflicts, see this previous post and follow the links.
We really are living in an age of prophetic fulfillment. Not only that, but we are living in an age when we can see with our own eyes the converging consequences of sin in both the physical world and the society of man.