While US media has been focussed on alleged Russian hacking of the US electoral process, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has strengthened its role in the Middle East.
The morning that America suffered a major setback in the Middle East, American news networks led on two deaths – those of actresses Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Tragic though these deaths were, developments in the Middle East put America where Great Britain was exactly six decades ago.
Before World War Two, the British Empire was the dominant power in the region. Britain withdrew from Israel in May of 1948. Immediately, the Jewish nation was invaded by five neighboring Arab nations. Miraculously, Israel survived. In those early days, it was not helped by the United States.
In 1952, as a direct consequence of defeat against Israel, Egypt’s King Farouk was overthrown by the military. The new leaders soon seized the Anglo-French Suez Canal. Together with Israel, these countries invaded Egypt but were soon stopped by US President Eisenhower. This single event led directly to the dismantling of the British Empire. In 1958 the pro-British King of Iraq was overthrown. Britain was losing its remaining influence in the area. The country fought a war against rebels in Aden, withdrawing from the protectorate in 1967.
It was a gradual decline, with one setback after another. Now, the UK does not play any major role in the Middle East.
Since Britain, America has been the dominant power in the region. During the time of the Soviet Union, the US and the USSR were rivals in the area, with Moscow backing Egypt and Syria. Later, Egypt switched sides and allied itself with the United States, but Moscow retained its influence in Syria. Iran was in the US sphere of influence until the Shah was overthrown in 1979.
The region has seen never-ending turmoil since the fall of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire after World War One. That turmoil shows no sign of ending.
The recent war in Iraq has left a big mess in the region. At its root is the almost 1,400 year sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. Until the US invasion of Iraq, the country was dominated by Sunni Muslims, even though the majority of people were Shia Muslims (the reverse is the case in Syria). Following the US backed election in Iraq, the majority Shia now rule the country. This development has altered the religious balance in the region and is causing repercussions everywhere. ISIS was formed to protect Sunni Muslims from the now dominant Shia.
In Syria, Sunnis have been trying to overthrow the Alawite (Shia) minority regime of President Assad for five years. Enter Moscow. Russia’s backing of the Syrian president has enabled Assad to win. The US showed a great deal of weakness, refusing to get involved even when the Syrian government crossed the line and used chemical weapons on its own citizens. Now, after months of fighting in Aleppo, the biggest city of the country, Assad is firmly in power and Russia is sponsoring “peace talks” with the rebel factions in the country. The US is not invited to the peace talks. Russia now controls Syria. To accomplish this, the country needs Turkey’s help. The two are pushing for peace in the country. Turkey, the second most powerful military power in NATO, is now working with the Russians to bring peace to the Middle East.
That’s two set-backs for Washington in just a few days.
A third set-back is in Israel. The outgoing administration in Washington did not veto the latest UN vote against Israel, condemning the country for building new settlements for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Friction between the US and the only western style democracy in the region is unsettling, to say the least. This set-back may only be temporary as a new President takes over in the US in just three weeks, but that gives a few days for further negative developments. Even the British have criticized America’s condemnation of Israel. The State Department seems set on causing rifts with US allies in the final days of the current Administration.
Keep in mind, too, that Syria borders Israel on the Golan Heights. What happens in Syria may affect Israel. Perhaps that’s why Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow in June, the fourth time in a year that he sat down with President Putin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
The tables have been turned once again in the region. Over sixty years ago, the UK was the dominant power in the region; since then, it’s been the US. But now Russia is arguably the dominant power in the area. The Russians are in alliance with the Shi-ite Muslims in Iran and Syria; they are also working with Sunni Turkey, which ruled the whole area prior to 1919. At the same time, it seems that Israel’s prime minister is more comfortable with Putin than with Obama, with whom he’s had a serious exchange of heated words in recent days.
There’s even a fourth development that puts Russia ahead. Following the hacking scandal, President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US; President Putin made it clear that he will not expel any Americans. This is a triumph for Putin in the propaganda war with America.
What lies ahead? Remember that the Middle East is the primary focus of Bible prophecy with Jerusalem at the epicenter.
In the nineteenth century, there was no indication that the Jews were about to become an independent nation again. Their period of self-rule ended with the Romans before the time of Christ. Their rebellion against the Romans in the first century AD led to the Diaspora, a dispersion that scattered the Jewish people throughout the Roman Empire and left them scattered until fairly recently. Bible prophecy showed that the Jewish nation would be restored and that happened in 1948.
Exactly a century ago, British and Australian forces entered Jerusalem in the continuing war with the Ottoman Turks. At this point in time, a Jewish nation became possible. The British were given a mandate to administer Palestine by the League of Nations. This was an impossible task as Palestinians and Jews clashed repeatedly. Eventually, the League’s successor, the United Nations, divided the territory up between Jews and Palestinians, the latter never accepting their loss of land.
For over a decade she’s been called “the most powerful woman in the world”. In recent weeks, she has received the accolade “Leader of the Free World” as many nations see America turning its back on its international role.
But she may not even be in power one year from now.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, generously allowed into the country one million asylum seekers in recent months. On Monday, one of those migrants staged a terrorist attack in Berlin, killing twelve and seriously injuring almost 50. The attacker stole a heavy goods vehicle and drove into Christmas shoppers in one of the capital’s famous Christmas markets. The method copied the attack in Nice, France, which killed 84 people in July.
Many Berliners thought themselves immune from attack. Their liberal city welcomed migrants. Now, many Germans are doing a rethink. The right-wing AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) party looks set to gain at the polls next year. Their anti-immigrant policy is in stark contrast to their “conservative” Chancellor and other centrist parties. Germans could easily follow British and American voters by turning away from the liberal immigration policies of the past.
“Everything has changed for Merkel after Berlin terror attack, says expert” was the headline Thursday morning in the British Daily Express. ‘Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy will come slamming shut and Germany will become a Big Brother state after the Berlin Christmas market terror attack, a leading political commentator has warned.” (Alix Culbertson)
The article continues: “Josef Joffe said Germany has only had to deal with no or low victim lone-wolf attacks, unlike many other Western countries, until this year but after a spate of seven in 2016 the government will be forced to change the way the country is run.”
At the same time, there is concern across Europe about America’s commitment to the continent’s democracies. Many are now looking to Germany and Angela Merkel to take over America’s seven decade leading role in western Europe.
“President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t taken the oath of office or outlined his administration’s plans for the nation’s foreign policy, but his election has already forced the United States’ European allies to contemplate a future where the United States might no longer underwrite Europe’s security. Faced with an American president who has dismissed alliances such as NATO while denigrating liberal values, Germany will assume an increasingly consequential role as a leader in the turbulent transatlantic order while it takes gradual steps to shore up its lagging military capabilities. But the prospect of nationalist victories in important European elections next year raises an under-discussed question: as the European project comes under unprecedented strain and prepares to face a President who promises to turn the United States away from the world, could a fractured and increasingly nationalistic Europe come to fear a more powerful Germany again?”
The following paragraph is of particular interest: “In a profound twist of historical irony that is not yet appreciated widely, only 71 years after World War II, a sitting German chancellor has warned the next leader of the United States to respect the transatlantic order’s commitment to the rule of law and liberal values.” (“Could Europe fear Germany again?” by Adam Twardowski, Small Wars Journal, December 19th.)
Political Revolution Is Brewing in Europe
Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who leads the anti-immigrant party, was found guilty this week of inflammatory language against Moroccan immigrants, all Muslims. The following was written by Mr. Wilders and appeared in “The Gatestone Institute’s” newsletter:
The German authorities are dangerously underestimating the threat of Islam . . . They have betrayed their own citizens.
Let no-one tell you that only the perpetrators of these crimes are to blame. The politicians, who welcomed Islam into their country, are guilty as well. And it is not just Frau Merkel in Germany, it is the entire political elite in Western Europe.
Out of political-correctness, they have deliberately turned a blind eye to Islam. They have refused to inform themselves about its true nature. They refuse to acknowledge that its all in the Koran: the permission to kill Jews and Christians (Surah 9:29), to terrorize non-Muslims (8:12), to rape young girls (65:4), to enslave people for sex (4:3), to lie about one’s true goals (3:54), and the command to make war on the infidels (9:123) and subjugate the entire world to Allah (9:33).
We will have to de-islamize our societies . . . But it all begins with politicians with the courage to face and speak the truth.
More and more citizens are aware of that. This is why a political revolution is brewing in Europe. Patriotic parties are rapidly growing everywhere. They are Europe’s only hope for a better future.
Prince Charles warns against religious persecution
Prince Charles has spoken out about the danger of religious persecution, warning against a repeat of “the horrors of the past.” Delivering BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, the Prince of Wales said the rise of populist groups “aggressive” to minority faiths had “deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days” of the 1930s. The prince said the scale of religious persecution around the world was “not widely appreciated” and was not limited to Christians, but included many other minority faiths. He went on: “That, nearly seventy years later, we should still be seeing such evil persecution is, to me, beyond all belief.” The Prince said: “Whichever religious path we follow, the destination is the same – to value and respect the other person, accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God.”
ANGLOS ON DECLINE
It may not be too serious yet, but a group of Californians has just opened an “embassy” in Moscow. They are seeking international recognition for an independent California.
Don’t think it’s not possible.
Many Scots want independence from the United Kingdom, with a call this week for a second referendum within two years; many Australians want to sever the tie with the Crown after the Queen’s reign ends.
These three developments all have something in common – they reflect the decline of the Anglo-Saxons and the increasing presence of non-Anglo immigrants. Watch for more fragmentation in the Anglosphere. It’s inevitable considering the low Anglo-Saxon birthrate everywhere. California, remember, is now a majority Spanish speaking state.
THE FALL OF ALEPPO
I took the latest Economist magazine to a medical appointment yesterday, expecting to have to wait for some time. The doctor commented on the depressing cover on “The Fall of Aleppo.” I’m pleased to say that he did not ask: “What’s Aleppo?” You have to be a presidential candidate to be that ill-informed. Rather, he asked me what the difference is between East and West Aleppo.
I started to explain that East Aleppo was the “rebel” side, made up mostly of Sunni Muslims; West is where the pro-government Shi’ites live. The rebels have now been defeated, not by a few hundred Syrian troops, but by Shia volunteers from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Afghanistan; together with Russian air power.
He jokingly asked what my solution would be to the 1,400-year-old Shia-Sunni conflict. We then joked about attempts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which goes back even longer. It has been suggested that Donald Trump’s 35-year-old Jewish son-in-law could make a difference and resolve the conflict!
After I left, I remembered one of the funniest scenes in the movie “The Flintstones,” supposedly set in prehistoric times. As the paperboy delivered the morning newspaper, if you look carefully you can see the headline from 3000+ years ago: “Mideast peace talks fail.”
One small change has taken place in the Middle East and that’s in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, from where the BBC’s James Longman has been reporting to the world about the developments in Aleppo, 180 miles away. Apparently, the 29-year-old, good-looking, athletic reporter has quite a female following. Hundreds of thousands around the world who, until recently, thought Beirut was a root vegetable, an expensive perfume or a new wine at the local liquor store, are now becoming interested in Middle East affairs, so much so they eagerly turn to BBC World News first thing in the morning.
It is, however, having a negative affect on news channels. Fox started it all by employing attractive blondes, seemingly a requirement for employment at the news channel. Now even men on global news networks are being chosen according to their physical appearance.
Fortunately, Mr. Longman also knows his Middle East. Born in England, he is fluent in both French and Arabic, which give him a distinct advantage in the region. His reporting on the area is worth watching.
The BBC, like other networks, does not give enough attention to the religious divisions that exist in the Middle East. Religion is at the core of all the sectarian violence that afflicts the region. It may be difficult for people raised in secular England to fully comprehend this.
The Jewish-Palestinian conflict has the potential to lead to World War III. Increasingly, it seems that the Shia-Sunni conflict could do the same.
Some in the West think the solution is the end of religion. Another solution is found in the Lord’s Prayer, in the words “Thy Kingdom Come.” (Matthew 6:10)
When that Kingdom comes, the Bible shows us that the true religion of the Messiah will be imposed over all the false religions. You can read about this in the book of the Old Testament prophet, Zechariah, which looks to the future Millennial rule of Jesus Christ.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zech. 14:16-19)
Egypt is 90% Muslim, and is a country that is witnessing a continued decline in its Christian population, which has been persecuted and discriminated against for generations. The latest outrage was a bomb going off in Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral. This passage of scripture shows that the Egyptians will in the future be forced to change from the Islamic religion to the true religion.
Christians should also take note, especially at this time of the year. Christmas is not mentioned in this passage. Rather, we see the biblical Feast of Tabernacles mentioned; once thought of as a Jewish festival, it will, in the future, be observed by everybody. At the same time, we will see the end of all the sectarian violence that today is at the root of all the suffering and violence in the area.
WE’VE COME A LONG WAY
PBS’s “The Hollow Crown” is taking us through Shakespeare’s historical plays and the last kings of the Plantagents, England’s bloodiest dynasty. They reigned for over 300 years, from 1154 to 1485. The last thirty years saw the Wars of the Roses, as the two royal houses of York and Lancaster battled for supremacy.
The series has inspired me to read Alison Weir’s “The Wars of the Roses,” first published in 1995. The following paragraph should be of interest to all.
“Formal education was provided for boys only. Women were seen as the inferior sex and regarded as the chattels of men. The author of “The Goodman of Paris” (c. 1393) advised wives to behave like faithful dogs in order to please their husbands, and Margaret Paston of Norfolk referred to John Paston as “right worshipful husband” in her letters. The husband was lord of his family as God reigned supreme over the universe. The chief duty of a wife, therefore, was to be submissive. If there was discord in a marriage, or infertility, people automatically assumed it was the wife’s fault. Women had virtually no freedom beyond that which their fathers or husbands allowed them. Within these confines, however, many managed businesses, shops, farms or noble estates, and proved themselves the equal to men.” (page 17)
It’s not just the US that is in transition. Take a look at what’s happening elsewhere around the world.
The year That May Decide Europe’s Fate
2017 will be the most important year yet for the continuity of the eurozone as political and economic risk reaches the bloc’s very core in Germany, France and Italy. These countries not only have the largest economies in Europe, but they are also the main forces driving the process of European integration. If a nationalist party gains power in France or Italy, the eurozone’s days could be numbered. (Stratfor, 12/16)
In this world, it is often dangerous to be an enemy of the United States, said Henry Kissinger in 1968, but to be a friend is fatal . . . So it is today with Aleppo, where savage reprisals against U.S.-backed rebels are taking place in that hellhole of human rights.” (“Lessons from Aleppo – for Trump”, Pat Buchanan, 12/15/16)
Trump’s new US envoy to Israel seeks Jerusalem base
US President-elect Donald Trump has chosen right-winger David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to Israel. The 57-year-old lawyer is strongly critical of the long-held US goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also supports Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which the Obama administration considers an “obstacle to peace.” A liberal Jewish group opposed his nomination. Conservatives welcomed it. Mr. Friedman said he looked forward to working “from the US Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” a statement that will anger Palestinians (BBC)
ISIS leader in first interview:
“To behead an animal, it would be difficult; with enemies of Allah, it is a pleasure.” (Daily Mirror, London)
Deadliest Church Attack
The worst attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in recent years occurred Sunday, December 11, 2016. St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo, packed with worshipers celebrating Sunday mass, was bombed; at least 25 churchgoers, mostly women and children, were killed and 65 severely wounded. As many of the wounded are in critical condition, the death toll is expected to rise.
As usual, witnesses say that state security was not present, and that police took an inordinate amount of time to arrive after the explosion. Preliminary investigations point to a bomb placed inside an unattended woman’s purse on one of the rear pews of the women’s section.
Mutilated bodies were strewn along the floor of the cathedral. “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said one witness. (“Egypt’s deadliest church attack,” by Raymond Ibrahim, 12/12/16, Gatestone Institute).
1000 Radical Muslims Protest in London, Call for the Return of the Islamic Caliphate (PJ Media 12/16/16)
More Muslims Settle In Michigan
“Activists to Trump: Keep letting refugees into Michigan, US”
“Trump will have wide-ranging powers in deciding who to let in, or keep out, of the country. But it’s a move that could have deep reverberations in Michigan, which has welcomed more Syrian and Iraqi refugees than just about any other state in the nation.
“In the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, Michigan took in 1,374 Syrian refugees, second only to California. Additionally, 1,119 Iraqis as families fled civil war in the Middle East. Overall, the U.S. took in about 22,500 people from Syria and Iraq that year – a sizeable number, but far less than those being resettled in parts of Europe and Turkey out of millions displaced by Syria’s civil war.”
On a local level: ”Lansing took in some of those Syrian and Iraqi refugees. There were 56 Syrians and 46 Iraqis among the 776 people from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia resettled in Lansing by St. Vincent Catholic charities in the 2015-16 fiscal year . . .” (Lansing State Journal, Sunday)
White Americans Dying Off
A rapidly aging white population and fast-growing younger minority groups are speeding demographic changes across the nation, hastening a political divide likely to have long-term ramifications.
The percentage of the U.S. population that is white has decreased from 79.6 percent in 1980 to 61.9 percent in 2014. The percentage of Latino-Americans has increased from 6.4 percent to 17.3 percent over the same time period, while both the African-American and Asian-American populations have grown, too.
There are growing signs that the rate of change is increasing. The number of non-Hispanic whites who died in 2014 outpaced the number of white births in 17 states, according to a new analysis from the University of New Hampshire. That’s the largest number of states to experience a natural decrease in the white population in American history. (“Aging white population speeding diversity,” The Hill, 12/2))
Governments Fail To Protect Citizens Against Muslim Invaders
“Some scandals are so massive that they’re simply hard to believe. As many as one million white English children may have been the victims of Muslim rape gangs, better known as grooming gangs, in towns up and down Great Britain.
Policy analyst George Igler says, “When you encounter an issue that is just so unbelievable, just so outside your frame of reference and understanding, the immediate human reaction is just to not believe it at all.”
Perhaps even harder to believe is that while there have been prosecutions, the British government has still not stopped this criminal activity.
Former Home Secretary and parliament member Jack Straw once said, “There’s a particular problem involving Pakistani heritage men who target young, vulnerable, white English girls.” He also said these Pakistani heritage men view white English girls as “easy meat.”
This is when some shout ‘racism,’ but here are the facts: calculations based on convictions show that a British Muslim male is 170 times more likely to be a part of a sex grooming gang than a non-Muslim. And there are no recorded instances of non-Muslims doing this to Muslim girls as part of a criminal enterprise. In one local jurisdiction, it was estimated that six out of seven Muslim males either knew about, or were part of, a grooming gang.
Igler says, “What you do not have is any example of non-Muslim men targeting Muslim girls for this organized form of abuse. So, the argument that this crime exists everywhere is not only false, but is being deliberately cultivated by the media and by the government inquiry that is kicking the can down the road.” (CBN)
On 9-11, I felt for sure that this would wake Americans up to the serious threat posed by Islam.
The attacks came on a Tuesday. Three days later, the liberal Establishment had put together an inter-religious memorial service at the National Cathedral. Not an inter-denominational service, but an inter-religious service that included a Muslim imam, a Hindu priest, a Buddhist monk and a Jewish rabbi, as well as a Catholic priest.
I also remember reading, a few months later, that sales of the Koran had jumped significantly. Printing presses could not keep up with demand.
So it should not have come as a surprise that, seven years later, the country elected its first president with a Muslim name and definite Muslim connections.
The Obama Administration is staffed by a number of Muslims. Valerie Jarrett, the president’s chief adviser, is a Shi’ite Muslim from Iran; the head of the CIA, John Brennan, converted to Islam while in Saudi Arabia. There are others, too, in highly influential positions. It’s no wonder they are panicked at the thought of Donald Trump and his promise to suspend Islamic immigration.
Now, another seven years later, the same president has just declared that March every year will be Muslim History Month. Millions of dollars will be frivolously added to the national debt to pay for it. In the years to come, we will be hearing many lies, witnessing a re-write of American history, as Muslims did not contribute anything to America for the first 350 years (from 1607).
It should be noted that Muslim History Month follows Black History Month. Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, that came to prominence in the 1960’s, would never have believed that this could happen. But it is happening, right before our eyes. The media will now follow with programs to show just how it was Islam, not protestant Europeans, that gave birth to this land and made it the most prosperous country in the world.
Fifteen years after James Town, the English settlers had less of a presence on American soil than Muslims do today, less than 15 years after 9-11.
Is there any wonder Americans are flocking to Trump?
Muslims continue to dominate the news in other parts of the world.
Saudi Arabia has announced the creation of a 34-nation alliance of Sunni Muslims to fight terrorism. Before you jump for joy, keep in mind that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are also both Sunni Muslims, the latter staging 9/11. Members were heavily influenced by the Wahabbi sect of Islam, which is the official state religion of Saudi Arabia. They are the most extreme form of Islam. When mosques are built in western countries, they are often paid for by Saudi Arabia; after completion the country will generously send a Saudi Wahabbi Imam to the mosque to spread the faith. They also provide imams to work as chaplains in American prisons. These men work at converting prisoners and are paid by the Federal government.
When the Saudis were criticized for not taking in Muslim refugees during the mass migration to western Europe last summer, they “generously” declared that they would help by building 200 mosques in Germany, once again dispatching the imams needed.
And so we see the progressive spread of Islam into western democracies. Instead of embracing freedom, they will spread their pernicious religion, which means “submission” or “surrender,” the exact opposite of what America was.
Our children and our grandchildren will never forgive us!
Some Christians get excited about all this, believing that the Saudi led alliance is the prophesied “king of the south,” mentioned in Daniel chapter 11. Verses 40-44 show that immediately prior to Christ’s return, the “king of the south” pushes at the “king of the north” and the Holy Land gets invaded.
Let’s not be too hasty here to jump to conclusions.
Firstly, we should remember that the old “king of the south,” the Ptolemaic dynasty of ancient Egypt, did not include Saudi Arabia or most of the other nations in alliance with Riyadh. The kingdom was ruled from Alexandria, the capital of ancient Egypt. Egypt is home to roughly 50% of all Arabs. Egypt is more likely to be the leader of the king of the south.
Saudi Arabia is still a prominent player in the Middle East. Another is Iran. These two countries are involved in proxy wars in both Yemen and Syria. Whereas the Saudis are mostly Sunni Muslims, the Iranians are Shi’ites. The two sects of Islam hate each other with a passion. You would have to go back to the Thirty Years War (1618 to 1648) to see anything comparable in the Christian world.
At least one church organization that emphasizes Bible prophecy has been claiming dogmatically for over twenty years that Iran is the King of the South. This is not very likely when you consider that Iran (formerly Persia) was a part of the King of the North prior to the Christian era. The biblical king of the North was ruled from Antioch to the north of Jerusalem.
The two powers, the kings of the south and of the north, both born out of the rubble of Alexander’s empire, regularly came to blows. Each time they did, Jerusalem, the epicenter of Bible prophecy, was negatively affected.
It is also highly unlikely that Shi’ite Iran will lead a Sunni alliance.
So, who are the “kings of the north” and of the “south”?
Maps give you a good idea.
The following maps are of the two powers about 200 years before Christ, a little over a century after the death of Alexander and the division of his empire.
Now look at this contemporary map, showing the worlds of Shia and Sunni Islam. The red shows Shia Islam which is basically the old King of the North plus territory to the east. Blue shows Sunni Islam which includes the territory once ruled by the King of the South.
The West has been caught up in a growing Shia-Sunni conflict. We can’t be blamed for the animosity itself, as it began in the seventh century AD, but we must bear some responsibility for the rapid acceleration toward a major war between the two. Western intervention in Iraq 13 years ago led to the downfall of Sunni ruled Iraq and its replacement with Shia Iraq. This has led to the development of an arc of Shia Islam, comprising Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
The Shi’ites are now dominated by Iran. President Assad’s Syria is also led by Shi’ites, who also dominate Lebanon. This could all have been avoided if we’d known what we were doing, but we didn’t, so now we see the threat of major war between the two branches of Islam.
We still talk about democracy, but liberal democracy is irrelevant in the Middle East. Only Israel has a real democratic system.
This conflict is only going to get worse.
So, are Shia and Sunni Islam the kings of the north and south?
That’s certainly a possibility. But, in 60 BC, the King of the North fell to the Roman Empire. 29 years later, so did the King of the South when Cleopatra killed herself. After those two conquests, Judea and Samaria were also conquered by the Romans.
The two powers ceased to exist and are not mentioned again until “the time of the end.” Why do they suddenly appear again?
Remember that prophecy revolves around Israel. There was no Jewish nation from the time of the Roman Empire until it was restored in 1948. The lengthy prophecy in Daniel 11 is not about the kings of the north and south, so much as their impact on the Jewish people. Now that the Jewish people have been restored by God to their ancient homeland, any major threat to them from the North or South, or both, has once again become very relevant.
The principal threat right now is from Shia Islam. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has regularly warned the West about the threat from Iran. Events in Syria could also affect Israel. Shi’ite Hizbollah in Lebanon remains a constant threat.
As the US has turned against Israel, the country has been seeking closer working relationships with Sunni Islamic nations, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. (I wrote about this recently in a blogpost.)
The Saudi alliance is looking at getting involved in Syria, ostensibly against ISIS, but likely more against Assad. A Saudi-led intervention there would partially fulfill the prophecy about the King of the South pushing against the King of the North. But it could also be a side-war, another proxy war between the two branches of Islam.
So, again, let’s not get too excited. A lot could still happen before we see the fulfillment of Daniel 11: 40-44.
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.” But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
One thing is for sure and that is the need to watch the Middle East, as events there are often far more important than the events that get reported on our national news programs.
According to the BBC’s website: “Almost all of Australia’s state and territory leaders have signed a document in support of the country becoming a republic.”
This follows republican Malcolm Turnbull replacing monarchist Tony Abbot as prime minister of Australia. Both men are Liberals. The Liberal Party in Australia is actually the nation’s conservative party. Mr. Turnbull feels that this is not the time for a republic – it would be best to wait until the Queen’s reign ends.
Elizabeth II has been Queen of Australia for more than half the country’s existence as an independent nation. Nobody speaks ill of the Queen, who has been a conscientious monarch, serving the country well. But Australia has changed in the fifty years since the queen’s first Australian prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies, was in charge. Sir Robert was an ardent monarchist who attended the coronation of the monarch in 1953.
At the time, Sir Winston Churchill was the British prime minister. When the nine Commonwealth prime ministers met for their bi-annual conference, they spent a great deal of their time discussing defense matters. The Korean War was ending and there were serious threats to the British Empire in Egypt, where the new radical government of Gamal Abdul Nasser wanted to gain control of the Suez Canal, a move that would later deal a fatal blow to the whole idea of empire.
Today, the Commonwealth has 53 members, almost all of whom are non-white and mostly have different ideals and priorities to the mother country.
Trade ties have declined with Britain’s industrial decline. Australia now has closer ties with Asia than with Britain.
Demographic trends also mean that there are less people of British descent in Australia.
It’s interesting to note that the new Canadian prime minister feels very differently to Mr. Turnbull. In December, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was in Malta for the latest Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The BBC asked him if he had any plans to make Canada a republic, something his father favored when he was PM. Justin Trudeau, thirty years later, replied: “No, we are very happy with our Queen, the Queen of Canada.” Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party is a left-wing party, so very different from Mr. Turnbull’s Liberal Party.
Why the difference in attitudes toward the Crown?
I suspect the answer lies in the word “identity.”
Canada was founded by Loyalists who did not want to be a part of the new American Republic after the American Revolution. They asked for independence in 1864 while the US was fighting a Civil War. They did not think much of the American form of government, adopting a system more in line with Great Britain. They wanted to retain the British Head of State, Queen Victoria, as their own monarch. They laid the foundation of the Commonwealth. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa followed their example. These nations were the mainstays of the British Commonwealth until after World War II, when India, Pakistan and Ceylon joined the club.
Canada’s identity, dwarfed by its more powerful southern neighbor, is bound up in the monarchy. It needs to retain the link in order to maintain its sovereignty, separate and distinct from the United States.
The same dynamics do not apply in Australia, though a case can certainly be made for preserving Australia’s distinctly unique way of life, separate from other nations in the region. The link with the Crown is a part of Australia’s cultural heritage, which sets it apart from most other countries in the region.
magazine has been in favor of an Australian republic ever since the issue was first raised, describing the queen as “Elizabeth the Last.” But even The Economist admits that it will lead to ten years of political instability, as the ripple effects will require a number of constitutional changes. Perhaps now is not a good time to change the system.
It should also be pointed out that, approximately half the population remains very loyal to the monarchy, so any change could be divisive.
Interestingly, whereas many Australians who favor a republic would prefer the US system, it’s not likely to happen. Politicians prefer the German or Irish system, replacing the Queen with a figurehead president appointed by parliament. This is not a very good system. While the monarch is above politics, any political appointee inevitably won’t be. It should also be remembered that, when the German president, Paul von Hindenburg, died in office, the new Chancellor did away with the office and had himself proclaimed Fuhrer. The rest, as they say, is history!
It’s also interesting to note that the Toronto based organization “Democracy Watch” recently listed the seven most democratic countries in the world. All were constitutional monarchies, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The United States was not in the top seven. Sadly, America has become less democratic in recent decades, as big business together with lobbyists seem to determine everything in politics. Add to that the influence of the media – elections are increasingly just personality contests. Reality TV has taken over.
An additional factor for Australia to consider is that constitutional monarchy is the cheapest political system.
Christians should also remember I Peter 2:17 – “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
It might be good for everyone to ponder on the old maxim: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Sunday, November 1st, was the first anniversary of Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi, thereby becoming the Sinai chapter of ISIS.
They are now claiming that, to celebrate their allegiance and commitment to the terror state, they brought down the Russian flight that crashed Sunday in the Egyptian desert, killing everyone on board. They have not given any proof that they did this – they say they will do so when they see fit – but their claim has been taken seriously by a number of governments and airlines who will no longer fly over the Sinai desert. The United Kingdom is the latest country to announce today a total ban on flights.
The flight was cruising at 31,000 feet when it fell apart, after two bright flashes that were picked up by satellite. It is believed that ISIS does not have the capability to launch a missile that can hit at that altitude, so the most likely explanation is that there was a bomb on board. It is even possible that this was the work of a suicide bomber.
It is also possible that ISIS does now have the capability to launch missiles that can hit a plane at 31,000 feet. If this turns out to be true, then we have just entered a new phase in the never-ending War on Terror, which the West shows no sign of winning.
The crash of the Russian flight is a terrible tragedy as all such crashes are. A little over a year ago, Russians themselves brought down a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine, killing all on board, including many women and children. Politics played a big role in the aftermath of that crash – nobody has yet accepted responsibility. Politics is again playing a role in the Sinai.
The Egyptians do not want to acknowledge the possibility of terrorism for fear it will drive tourists away. Tourist numbers are still down by a third following the Arab Spring and subsequent events. They don’t want the numbers to go down even further. On the other hand, the Russians want it to be terrorism – they don’t want people to stop flying on their airlines because of technical worries. Russian airlines already have a bad flying record and reputation.
ISIS claimed responsibility almost immediately. In the absence of a free press, the Russians, the Egyptians and ISIS could all be lying. The truth may never come out.
In the West, where we supposedly have a free press, there is also a lot of lying going on. Or perhaps it’s best just to describe is as “denial” or simply an inability to connect the dots.
For when it comes to the European migrant crisis, ISIS and the myriad conflicts in the Middle East, little historical context is given.
The fact is that the Middle East has been in turmoil since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War One. That’s almost a century ago. The ripple effects of imperial collapse are still with us, getting worse by the day.
There is also a deeper relevance with the Ottoman Empire. Over the course of centuries, the Ottomans tried to conquer Europe. The nations of central Europe resisted them, but not always successfully – the Ottomans ended up incorporating vast territories in Europe into their empire. The descendants of those subjugated Europeans are the ones now resisting the massive influx of Muslims from the former Ottoman Empire, which included Syria and Iraq. They see clearly the threat from the Islamic world, which many in the West fail to see.
Even before the Ottoman Empire, Islamic forces tried to conquer Europe. It began as early as the eighth century, just after the founding of the new religion. Mohammed died in 632. Exactly one hundred years later, the French stopped the Arab advance on Paris at the Battle of Poitiers. If they had lost, everybody reading this article today would be a Moslem! The history of the world would have been very different.
We are now caught up in another advance of Islam into the Western world. It may turn out to be the prelude to the prophesied “push” by the King of the South against the King of the North that we read about in Daniel, chapter 11. Certainly, Islam right now is pushing against the Western world, which is led by compromisers who are constantly yielding to that push, allowing in hundreds of thousands of Muslims who are changing the composition of western countries.
A backlash has started. In turn, this could lead to a major clash with the Islamic world. There are reports today of another PEGIDA demonstration in Dresden, Germany, where over 8,000 people marched through the streets protesting against Islamization. They were carrying crosses, to show their allegiance to Europe’s traditional religion, as against the encroachment of the new. At a football game in Poland on Sunday, crowds unfurled a huge banner that showed hordes of ISIS invaders threatening Europe and crusaders ready to resist them.
Without a doubt, what is taking place now is a major development in history. Next year could turn out to be another of those axial years that change everything. In 1848, almost every country in Europe was convulsed by revolution with democracy the end result. In 1918 disillusionment with kings led to revolutions at the end of World War One. In 1989 communists were overthrown throughout Eastern Europe. There is now a growing disillusionment with democracy, as the governments of Western Europe do nothing about the invasion that threatens everybody’s way of life. Recent elections across the continent show a significant turn to the political Right. Some countries could see violence bringing about a further turn to the right as history repeats itself.
ISIS is not the only threat from the Islamic world. All Moslems see themselves as expanding the Islamic ummah, the community of believers. Filled with zeal for their faith, this is only natural. When the West had the upper hand, Christian missionaries went all over the world and were instrumental in converting millions to their faith. In the last few decades, Christians have been on the run, mostly from persecution in Islamic lands.
The followers of Mohammed are well on the way to being numerically greater than the followers of Jesus Christ.
What we are witnessing now is a tectonic shift in international relations. The West shows every indication of giving in, just as the Western Roman Empire did in Islam’s early years.
A generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is back in the Middle East. It cannot be good for America!
Britain dominated the Middle East between the two world wars. After World War II, that domination continued for about a decade. Then, in 1956, the Egyptians seized the British and French owned Suez Canal. The two countries, together with Israel, invaded Egypt in an attempt to reclaim the Canal, but they were stopped by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In hindsight, it marked the end of the British Empire. It also resulted in greater US involvement in the region.
The Book of Daniel is a prophetic book in the Old Testament, written during the sixth century before Christ. It’s a remarkable book because the writer, Daniel, who served two kings of Babylon while Babylon was the greatest power in the world, then served two kings of Persia when it was the Persian turn to attain the status of super power.
His writings predicted the eventual replacement of Persia by Greece and then, in turn, Rome. These were four of the greatest empires of the ancient world. Each rose to greatness and each descended into oblivion. Only their ruins remain.
Daniel put it well when he wrote the following:
“And He (God) changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.” (Daniel 2:21)
God is behind the rise and fall of nations. He also reveals His prophetic outline “to those who have understanding.”
Just as Great Britain’s period of pre-eminence came to an end, so will America’s. But, as with Britain, the change took a while to be fully realized.
Russia’s intervention in the Middle East fundamentally changes the balance of power in the region. Russia, in the form of the Soviet Union, was heavily involved in the area following the British withdrawal. While the US supported Israel, Jordan and the other conservative monarchies, including the Shah of Iran, Moscow supported Egypt and Syria. That changed with the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979. Moscow has not had much clout since.
But now that’s changed. Moscow is not only involved in Syria, propping up President Bashar al-Assad against ISIS and other groups, it is also involved in Iran and Iraq. In effect, Russia is backing the Shi’ite arc that starts in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and swings through Syria, Iraq and Iran. Bible students will remember that this is basically the territory of the old King of the North of Daniel, chapter 11, the Seleucid dynasty that had its origins in the conquests of Alexander the Great. The rivalry with the Ptolemaic dynasty labeled the King of the South in the scriptures continued for two centuries and constantly threatened the Jews who were in the middle. The terms “King of the North” and “King of the South” refer to their geographical location in relation to Jerusalem and the threat they posed to the ancient capital of the Jews.
The same chapter prophesies that these two powers will be revived in different form prior to Christ’s return and will once again threaten the Jewish nation of Israel.
So it’s interesting to see Russia getting involved.
Vladimir Putin had this to say at the United Nations just a few days ago:
“An aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty, and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life. I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you have done?”
President Putin was talking about the United States and the consequences of American intervention in the Middle East.
Discussing this speech on PBS’ McLaughlin Group, conservative columnist Pat Buchanan had this to say:
“We are responsible for the disaster in the Middle East by our interventions.”
The mess the US and its allies created in the Middle East is affecting peoples around the world. The Lansing State Journal carried the following front-page headline today: “Eager for Syrians to arrive”, referring to Lansing, Michigan, welcoming Syrian refugees in the coming days and weeks. Europe has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom are refugees, over the last few weeks. Australians are also seeing Syrian refugees arrive in their country. This could pose a serious security threat to western nations.
President Obama said the following at the UN: “The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow. You can jail your opponents, but you cannot imprison ideas. You can control access to information, but you cannot turn a lie into truth.”
What the US president was saying was intended as a warning to President Putin and the Arab dictator he intends to keep in power, President Assad of Syria. The latter is a ruthless dictator (the former is simply a dictator who can be ruthless; there’s a difference). The US position on Syria is that Assad must go. That now seems highly unlikely. When Mr Obama refers to “ideas” that cannot be suppressed, he is referring to democracy and the “moderate” resistance to Assad. However, recent history shows that democracy is not the winner when dictators in the Middle East are overthrown. Rather, Islamic extremism or chaos, and usually both, result.
Putin, unfettered by ideological constraints, instinctively knows that.
Russia is in Syria to stay.
This could pose a problem for Israel now that the Russian bear is on its border.
It could also weaken the Russians. Mr. Putin must remember that it was Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 that brought down the Soviet Union, which he has described as the greatest disaster of the twentieth century.
What it will mean for Russia is not clear at this time. However, it is clear what it means for the United States. Just as an American president’s decision in 1956 precipitated the fall of the British Empire, so an American president’s inaction over Syria and cozying up to Iran, with the resultant weakening of ties with traditional allies in the region, has directly led to America’s decline in the Middle East.
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill