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)
“Median income today is lower than it was a quarter century ago,” according to economist Joseph Stiglitz, interviewed by CNN’s Richard Quest at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The two men were discussing the charity Oxfam’s statement this week that said the top 1% now have as much wealth as all the rest of us put together. According to Mr. Stiglitz, this is due to government policies in the US and other western nations in the last 25 years. His prediction for the coming year was quite gloomy.
John Defterios, CNN Emerging Markets Editor, reminded people that the global economy has 7-8 year “cycles.” Whereas many are saying we just came out of a cycle following the 2008 collapse, we are in fact ending one cycle and moving into another.
The 7-year cycle will be a familiar concept to any Bible scholars who understand the Old Testament financial cycle, based around the seven-year land Sabbath. Debt, both governmental and private, is now at an all time high and threatens the global economy, which is nothing more than a house of cards. Increasingly needed is a biblical Jubilee Year, where all debts are cancelled and we start over. God’s plan was for a Jubilee Year every fifty years, after seven land Sabbaths had been completed.
Leviticus, chapter 25, explains this financial plan. The instruction was that all debts be cancelled and that people return to their ancestral land and start again. We no longer live in an agricultural economy, but the principle can be applied. The vast majority of people worldwide are now in debt to one degree or another, while the 1% gets richer and richer. Eventually, there will be an explosion with revolutions everywhere, unless something is done to cancel the debt.
Don’t hold your breath — governments and banks are not likely to let that happen. Until they have to, that is!
Meanwhile, I found Leonardo DiCaprio’s statement that “oil should stay in the ground” rather intriguing. If conservationists get their way, how will he fly his personal plane? He may have money to burn but it’s not a good jet fuel!
I’m finishing The End of Byzantium, the book by Jonathan Harris I mentioned in a previous post. Constantinople, the capital of what had been the greatest power in Christendom, fell to the Muslim Turks in May, 1453. The fall sent shock waves throughout Europe. The next 250 years was to be dominated by the threat from the Ottoman Empire, which did not completely end until the collapse of the empire less than a century ago. This was the last caliphate.
There are lessons to be learned from Byzantium.
There was great division at the top among the various leaders. We have this today with the presidential candidates, each one looking for his or her own advantage, regardless of what damage may be done to the country. That was the same in Byzantium amongst the ruling class.
Secondly, some of the wealthy elite did well from their connections with the Turks, mostly in trade, but also donations to co-operate with the Turks. Reading this, I was mindful of the Clinton Foundation receiving donations from Middle Eastern leaders, a conflict of interest for sure.
Thirdly, Byzantium was weakened financially, losing its trading advantage to other nations. The Republics of Venice and Genoa had become the banking centers by the time of the fall of Constaninople.
A fourth point of great interest was that once the capital fell, it wasn’t long before the rest followed. Could this happen in the US? Of course it could. If terrorists could deliver crushing blows to both Washington DC (the political capital) and New York City (the financial capital), the rest of the country would follow.
I should add that although I would have preferred life under the Byzantine Emperor to life under the Ottoman Sultan, the former was hardly Christian and thoroughly deserved its fate. That’s another lesson for us today – the West deserves its fate, which it has brought upon itself.
A further lesson from Byzantium is the truth of Daniel 2:21, that God is behind the rise and fall of nations. “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.” In this case, Constantine XI, the last Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, was overthrown by Mehmed II, the Sultan at the head of the Ottoman Empire.
Talking of Washington DC, the news yesterday was dominated by the threat of a severe snow-storm bringing the city to its knees. It still hasn’t started, at 10am Friday morning, but could come any time. MSNBC stated that, every time there’s a severe snow-storm: “230,000 federal government workers sit idle.”
Since when did this have anything to do with snow???
Back to Turkey and the Middle East. Up to this point, Islamic terrorism has been perpetrated by Sunni Muslims. With the end of sanctions on Iran and the release of hundreds of millions of dollars being held by western banks, Iran could also be in the terrorist business. Shia Islam could be an even bigger threat than Sunni.
Still in the Middle East, more German Jews are moving to Israel as a result of increased anti-semitism in Germany. Headlines can be misleading. The anti-semitism does not come from German Germans, but from Muslim immigrants. But it still makes life in Germany worrying and unpleasant.
The influx of migrants has affected many European countries. Sweden is now being called the “rape capital of the world.” Swedish women have a 1 in 4 chance of being raped. Reports say that gangs of young Middle Eastern men grope, sexually assault, and rape women. Where are the women and children we were being shown on nightly television a few months ago? It turns out that 80% of migrants were young men, who left their families behind in war-torn Syria and other countries. The outcome is not surprising.
An article by Boyd D. Cathey contains the following, in defense of President Putin:
In support of his goals, Putin has championed Russian laws that: (1) have practically outlawed abortion in Russia (no abortions after the 12th week, and before that time in limited cases, and also the end of financial support for abortions, reversing a previous Soviet policy); (2) clamp down on homosexuality and homosexual propaganda –absolutely no homosexual propaganda in Russian schools, no public displays of homosexuality, with legal penalties imposed for violating these laws; (3) strongly support traditional marriage, especially religious marriage, with financial aid to married couples having more than two children; (4) have established compulsory religious instruction in all Russian schools (including instruction in different Christian confessions, in different regions of the country); (4) implement a policy instituting chaplaincy in Russian military regiments (and religious institutions now assist in helping military families); (5) have made religious holidays now official Russian state holidays; (6) have instituted a nationwide program of rebuilding churches that were destroyed by the Communists (the most notable being the historic Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow); and (7) officially support the Russian film industry in producing conservative religious and patriotic movies— interestingly, the most popular film in Russia in 2009 was the movie “Admiral,” a very favorable biopic of the leader of the White Russian counter-revolutionary, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, who was executed by the Communists in 1920. The film was supported by the Russian cultural ministry.”
Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Russia has built 26,000 new Christian churches. As the writer points out, Russians are returning to (traditional) Christianity at the same time that Americans are turning progressively against it, embracing secular and anti-Christian values.
Thirty years after Ronald Reagan, we see a Christian Russia opposed to a post-Christian America (President Obama’s description of the country). No wonder people are confused – the world has been turned upside down in our lifetimes!
Justin Trudeau has just become the 29th Canadian prime minister. Son of the most famous Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, the new PM also leads the Liberal Party. His party received 39% of the vote. Conservative Stephen Harper, who has led the country for almost a decade, conceded defeat.
Canadian elections do not normally make a big difference. This one might.
Within 24 hours of taking over, Mr. Trudeau ordered the Royal Canadian Air Force to stop bombing ISIS in Syria, thereby effectively withdrawing from the Coalition against the terror group. By doing this, it is hoped that Canada will not suffer further terrorist attacks.
This decision came a day after ISIS called for Palestinians in Israel to step up their attacks on Israelis. Instead of stabbing Jews or running them over, they are now being urged to set them alight. The strength of ISIS is in Syria and Iraq. Mr. Trudeau’s second act is likely to be opening the doors wider for Syrian refugees, ironically a move that almost guarantees further terrorist attacks. What’s happening in Israel is almost certainly going to become a daily occurrence in Europe, North America and Australia in the months and years to come.
However, it’s all part of a trend throughout Western countries, of compromise with Islam, compromise that is assuredly leading to the Death of the West.
Yesterday, Bret Stephens, one of my favorite writers, wrote in his weekly Wall Street Journal column, that Europe is compromising itself out of existence, pointing out the same threat from Islam. The Europeans are unwilling to spend more on defense and are yielding to international pressure on immigration. He seemed to write off European civilization, which is now in its death throes. Europe has lost its way.
“What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things. Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart.” (“In Defense of Christendom,” Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, 10/19/15).
What Mr. Stephens had to say was absolutely correct, as is almost always the case when he writes. What he did not say, however, is that the same suicidal tendencies exist on this side of the Atlantic, as we saw in Monday’s Canadian election. We see it also in the US, as I wrote last week in my post “Islamization continues.”
While Americans may lament the state of Europe, they often fail to see the same problems in the US.
It’s true that Europeans no longer believe in the Judeo-Christian beliefs that were a part of their history, but nor do most Americans.
Mr. Stephens also wrote: “Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing. It’s that it stands for shallow things, shallowly. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary.”
Europeans, North Americans and Australians have turned their backs on their Judeo-Christian heritage and can no longer see clearly the threats posed to their existence.
They should heed the words from that Christian heritage: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). The West has lost its vision.
The entire Western world is compromising itself out of existence.
I should add that not all Europeans have lost their vision – Russia’s leader still has his. The world woke up today to see Syria’s President Bashar Assad in Moscow, visiting his benefactor and protector, Vladimir Putin. Russian military might is making a big difference in Syria. This is the first time in four years the Syrian president has felt secure enough to leave the country! Putin has the will to defeat ISIS –whether he can or not remains to be seen.
With that in mind, note the following headline from MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute):
“Australian Islamic Leader Al-Wahwah: Syria Will Become The Graveyard Of The Russian Czars And The Infidel West.”
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.
September 11th will long be remembered as the date of a major setback in the struggle between Islam and the West.
September 11th, 1683, that is.
The forces of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire had continued their expansion into Europe and had arrived at the very heart of Europe, Vienna, the capital of the Austrian Empire.
They were met by a combined force of Austrian, French, German and Polish troops, an alliance of Catholic emperors, princes and kings.
Together, they stopped the Islamic takeover of Europe.
Over the next two centuries, Muslim forces would be pushed back into modern day Turkey, which has a small foothold in Europe, but not much else.
Mindful of their defeat, Muslims significantly chose the same day to perpetrate 9/11 exactly fourteen years ago. This time, they scored a victory and hope to go on to bring about the Islamization of the western world.
After 9/11, President George W. Bush launched an attack on Afghanistan, commencing the longest conflict in American history. This was followed by a war in Iraq. The negative consequences of these two wars remain with us and are likely to continue indefinitely.
Amazingly, after the terror attacks on 9/11, the first new president chosen by the American people was the first one with definite Muslim connections! Refusing to allow members of the Administration to use terms like “Islamic extremism,” most Americans remain clueless as to the seriousness of the threat Islam is once again posing to the western world. Multiculturalism is another factor that contributes to this blindness, as western nations welcome hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees into their countries.
Ancient Rome suffered many setbacks before it finally fell, but the last blow came from the new religion of Islam, which swept all before it. We now see history repeating itself.
Michael Morrell, author of “The Great War of Our Time,” a book that helps us understand the very serious threat from militant Islam, was interviewed on CBS Thursday morning. Mr. Morrell is a former Assistant Director of the CIA. In his interview he was asked how the fight against extremism is going. He replied that there are three battlefields. One is a military battle in Iraq and Syria. Here, he said, we have a “stalemate.” The other two are the ideological battle to win the hearts and minds of young people in the West; and the battle against other militant organizations around the world linking up with ISIS. These two, he said, we are losing. In other words, we are not doing well against this very serious threat. One reason for this is that intelligence reports are being doctored to make it look as if the US is winning against ISIS. A report on this appeared in today’s Daily Beast.
He also discussed increasing Russian encroachment into Syria. Building an air base, with a view to making air attacks on behalf of Syria’s President Assad. The flow of Russian arms over Bulgaria and Greece has now been stopped, but Russia can still send arms via Iran. Moscow and Tehran are working together to keep Assad in power.
Although there are only 16 months left of the present Administration, there is no guarantee of any improvement under another. Political correctness has made it very difficult for anybody to see clearly the threat from militant Islam.
9/11 in 2001 was just the start of the latest Islamic push against the West.
It may yet turn out to be the “push” the biblical Book of Daniel predicts will happen “at the time of the end.”
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40).
This prophecy is about a powerful Islamic leader who “pushes” against the King of the North, a revived Roman Empire.
Interestingly, in the midst of the migrant crisis, where hundreds of thousands are fleeing Islamic lands and moving into Europe, there are increasing European calls for a united effort to deal with this crisis. The root of the crisis is the Syrian civil war. Russia is increasingly involved in the conflict, which means it will go on even longer.
It’s also possible that many of the refugees are being sent deliberately by ISIS into Europe, giving them a far greater advantage than they ever had in 1683. In the last hour, Saudi Arabia, which has taken no refugees from Syria, announced it will help those fleeing to Germany – by building 200 mosques in which they can worship. This will, of course, advance the cause of Islam even further.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in London this morning where he told British Prime Minister David Cameron that the “Middle East is disintegrating.” The region remains the world’s most dangerous neighborhood. Recent developments and increasing threats pose real dangers for the West in general and Israel in particular.
The Middle East and Europe are still at the center of world events, just as they were on September 11th, 1683.
Following the Republican debate Thursday evening, one newspaper quoted on PBS’ McLaughlin Group observed that Jeb Bush spoke as if he thinks that America’s problems are all psychological and not real at all. The Bushes have done well and live the dream and can’t understand why others have failed to achieve the same.
On Sunday, reports from Moscow showed a similar problem. President Vladimir Putin, by some accounts now the richest man in the world, thanks to the accumulation of ill-gotten gains, ordered the destruction of 350 tonnes of food from the EU in retaliation for western sanctions on Russia. Mr. Putin’s decision shows that he is oblivious to the fact that millions of Russians are struggling to feed their families. 40% of Russia’s food was imported before the sanctions were announced.
Jeb Bush and Vladimir Putin aren’t the only two politicians who are out of touch with reality. It’s difficult, for example, to imagine how Hillary Clinton, who, together with her husband, earned approximately $30 million last year, can possibly claim to represent the middle class.
It’s dangerous when politicians at the top are out of touch with people at the bottom.
In 1789, France’s Queen, Marie Antoinette supposedly said: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.” That same year, the monarchy was overthrown and, three years later, the hated Marie lost her head to Madame Guillotine. It wasn’t that simple. The queen actually did a great deal for the poor through her charitable work and the words she supposedly uttered were recorded over a century earlier, attributed to the Spanish wife of King Louis XIV.
But hungry people don’t care about historical accuracy – they just want to eat.
A lack of food has been a regular cause of revolution throughout history. In 1917, a bread riot in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) started the revolution that led to the downfall of the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty. It’s not inconceivable that something similar could happen to Mr. Putin. Of course, the revolution did not improve the situation – seven decades of communism included many years of famine and regular food shortages even at the best of times.
No nation is exempt. If billboards in Michigan are to be believed, one in five Michigan children go to bed hungry.
Former presidential candidate Ross Perot warned a few years ago that food stamps are all that stand between us and anarchy – in other words, take away free food for the poor and you could see a revolution in the United States.
In June, 1932, veterans marched on Washington demanding that a bonus they were promised by Congress should be brought forward as, in the midst of the Depression, they could not afford to feed their families. They built shanty-towns outside of Washington and were determined to stay until Congress met their demands. President Herbert Hoover sent in troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur to tear down the camps and send them home. Reports at the time tell of great hunger amongst the vets and their families, including young children. President Hoover was seen to be out of touch and uncaring (the shantytowns were dubbed “Hoovervilles”) and lost the election a few months later to Franklin Roosevelt.
Mr. Bush should remember the fate of the last Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Mr. Obama. Mr. Romney was recorded dismissing the “47%” of the electorate who depend on government and who, therefore, were not going to vote for him anyway.
Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush, both claiming to be conservative, should have read a biography of Benjamin Disraeli, the nineteenth century Conservative British prime minister who warned of Britain becoming “two nations,” one rich and the other poor. He reshaped the Conservative Party to be a party that reached out to the working-man. If the Republicans are to succeed, they have to do the same, to show how their policies will help improve the life of Joe Citizen. To do this, they need to distance themselves from Big Business.
They can do it. The 1896 election was held in the midst of a Great Depression that saw 50% of the people unemployed, at a time when there were no unemployment benefits for those who were out of work. Understandably, the election saw the highest turnout in American history. 80% of the electorate voted. The presidential election that year was won by Republican William McKinley. He promised the people sound money and high tariffs to increase employment at home. It’s interesting to note that the same issues still prevail.
Left-leaning parties, whether the Democrats in the US or the Labour Party in Britain, do not represent working people. They are the parties of Big Government, which gives jobs to their supporters, but leads to a rise in taxes. Those taxes are paid by ordinary people and small businesses, making life harder for the majority of people.
Leaders, and aspiring leaders like Jeb Bush, cannot afford to be out of touch with the common people. This is especially true in democracies where every citizen has the vote. Perhaps Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin should copy Britain’s Prince William, who spent the night sleeping on the streets of London to get the feel of homelessness. At the very least, his gesture showed empathy with the poor, a realization on his part that tens of thousands of people are homeless and unable to take care of themselves.
Only a return to conservative values, including restoration of the traditional family, can help people get out of poverty. Conservatives everywhere need to convince the voters that they represent them and not Big Business.
They could start by following the example of Menachem Begin, an Israeli conservative and former prime minister. Mr. Begin spent many years in prison under the Bolsheviks. Reading a biography of Benjamin Disraeli helped him maintain his sanity and inspired his future conservative course. Focusing on struggling voters makes more sense than pursuing big business! After decades of Big Government, people want change.
"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