Shadows over Israel
By Matt Ward
The balance of power in the Middle East is obviously shifting. From Russia to the Caucasus region, from Egypt to the borders of Israel—change is afoot. Nations are entrenching armies, digging in and readying themselves. Alliances are being sought in shady Machiavellian maneuvers across the entire Middle East region. The stage is seemingly being set for war.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have over the last few weeks intensified their efforts at closing any gaps between their two nations, especially in their collective approaches to ISIS and militant Islam.
Syria, also, is a common cause of concern for both nations as is the almost miraculous reversal of Syrian President Bashir Assad’s fortunes from an international war criminal to the undisputed master of a regime that is now in high demand from all Western nations.
President Barack Obama, who once demanded the head of Bashir Assad and his removal from power as a basic element of his entire Middle East strategy, now views Assad as a potential ally. This despite the fact that Assad has used chemical weapons in Syria on at least ten separate occasions.
Obama now views Assad as the head of a regime capable of making positive advances against ISIS and Islamic terror within Syria, which therefore puts Assad’s strategic objectives alongside America’s.
At the same time, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has secretly extended the olive branch of peace to Assad, potentially allowing for the ominous formation of a Syrian-Turkish-Iranian-Hezbollah-Russian alliance that spans almost the entirety of the Middle East. To say that this has prophetic undertones is a huge understatement.
This Turkish initiative to court Assad comes at the same time as Turkey’s tentative attempt at mending relations with Israel breaks news around the world.
These two actions, mending relations with both Syria and Israel at the same time are clearly at odds with each other and lead to the obvious conclusion that Turkey is acting disingenuously toward Israel. This “mending of relations” between the Israeli-Turkish governments is likely duplicitous and not a genuine effort at all.
The outcome of Turkish efforts to placate and re-establish relations with either Assad or Israel will profoundly affect Iran. If Turkey were to renew friendly relations with Assad, instead of Israel, then it would directly impact upon the relative strengthening or weakening of Iran within Syria and the Middle East in general.
Biblically, we should all know on which side of this alliance system the Turks will eventually fall, and it will not be with Israel. Ultimately it will be Iran that is strengthened and emboldened by this alliance system, and not Israel—no matter what this present round of negotiations and shuttle diplomacy bring about.
It is also increasingly clear that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is actively taking up positions in southern Syria against Israel. They are entrenching and digging in with significant numbers, both against ISIS encroachment and in preparation for a potential direct future confrontation with Israel.
While these complicated machinations unfold, recent advances by transnational actors in the same Middle Eastern area cannot be overlooked. ISIS and Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, alongside allied groups, have now completely overrun the entire Syrian side of the border area between Syria and Israel.
This is significant because Israel believes that one of the groups commanding this area is called the Khaled Bin Al-Walid army; a group with very close ties both to Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden’s successor, Abu Musab al-Zaraqawi.
Its leader, a man called Abu Abdullah al-Madani is a veteran of war and is vastly experienced. Well-financed and well-motivated, Israel believes this group is actively engaged in trying to buy chemical weapons from military bases that have been overrun within Syria.
This group is also currently engaged in training potential homicide bombers using chemical weapons to be detonated inside Israel itself. This group currently controls the border area with Israel facing the Golan region.
If this comes to pass and Israel is attacked with any kind of chemical weapons, it would be, in every sense, a game changer with ominous biblical implications for as yet—unfulfilled Bible prophecy. Which brings us to the unspoken elephant in the Middle Eastern room—Russia.
Amidst all of this ongoing Middle Eastern chaos, Russia continues to methodically and systematically solidify its position in the Middle East. At this point Russia is fully entrenched in Syria and in an almost unassailable position.
Russia continues to insist that the only legitimate regime in Syria is the Assad regime and that all other entities are by definition “terrorists” because of it. Although Washington abhors the tactics used by Russia and the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, the U.S. fears another void in leadership in Damascus more because of what may come to fill that vacuum, so is muddling from one “peace process” to the next.
Truly, the United States has not looked this irrelevant for generations. Obama seems to have conceded leadership in Syria to Putin, and Russia in general has emerged from this civil war emboldened and significantly more powerful.
This current status quo will ultimately lead to a much more powerful Russia. America and her allies in the Middle East will continue to attack, degrade and destroy ISIS (even if it is at a lukewarm effort because of the weak American president), while Russia will mop up any opposition rebel groups fighting against Assad’s regime within Syria. This includes opposition groups that the U.S. have previously agreed to support, who they have now abandoned.
The end result will be a hugely enhanced Iranian presence in Syria; and Hezbollah will have definite resupply from Iran. Russian cover through Syria, and Sunni civilians will continue to abandon Syria and Iraq for Europe. This will leave the victors Russia, Iran and their allies to claim the field of victory, and as conquerors they will remake the Middle East in whatever way they see fit.
Fundamental change is coming to the Middle East region. The countries we know on our maps of the region do not and will not exist in the future as they do today. Countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, amongst others, no longer exist as they once did. Neither do their borders.
The temporary new Middle East may very well be one made and defined entirely by Russia and her allies. The United States, Britain, France and NATO will play a limited part at best in this reshaping process.
The Middle East seems to be readying itself for the coming of Gog and his horde. Indeed, his shadow covers the entire region at this point. It will not be long until the Lord God Himself, puts His “hooks” into his jaw and “brings him forth.”
God is preparing the world and the Middle East for the time to come when He will turn His face once again back to his Holy inheritance, Israel. It will be through Gog and his horde, and the evil that they intend for Israel, that He will magnify Himself. God will deliver Israel from Gog as He will deliver her from the Antichrist at the conclusion of the Tribulation period.
Soon and once again, the Lord God will be known amongst the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then the whole world through them.
This Gentile church age is drawing to a close before our eyes. The time is fast approaching when God will address all the nations of this world through Israel, as He always originally intended. He will refine Israel through the fire of the Tribulation, until they reach the point that all hope of human deliverance is gone.
At that point Israel will cry out to Jesus, their Messiah, for the mercy and deliverance He longs to bring to them: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Then the Lord, their God will return to them and He will bring justice, compassion and deliverance!
First though, will come Gog with his hordes. Today, in 2016, you can almost hear their approaching footsteps.