The situation in Syria
continues to deteriorate. Last week, the Arab League voted to suspend
Syria's membership until Bashar al-Assad either steps down or stops his
government's crackdown on protesters. The United Nations estimates that more
than 3,500 have died in the continuing violence.
The economic sanctions
imposed by the League will be a blow to Syria's economy, which is already
weakened. But the suspension is an even bigger blow to Syria's pride. It has
long considered itself a bulwark of Arab nationalism.
response -- not to mention Iran's and Hezbollah's moves to strengthen their
ally's position -- has caused seven of Syria's neighbours to place their
armed forces on high alert.
To further heighten the
tension in the region, Russia has dispatched three warships to its naval
maintenance base at Tartus, Syria. Its only aircraft carrier, the Admiral
Kuznetsov, is headed for Syrian waters, too. Although Russia denies it,
its naval presence in the region is widely considered a response to the fact
that the United States has moved its carrier USS George H.W. Bush and
part of the Sixth Fleet to lie off the Syrian coast.
Russia has already let
it be known that it will not allow to happen to Bashar al-Assad what
happened to Muammar Gadaffi in Libya. This, however, is not necessarily a
stand Russia is taking on principle. Libya was one of Russia's prime
customers for a variety of goods and services, arms included. Syria is also
a major client state of the Russians. They've lost one good customer, they
don't intend to lose another.
This will be the first
military standoff between the two superpowers since the end of the Cold War
two decades ago.
Some have asked if this
might be the lead-up to the Bible's Psalm 83 war or the Gog-Magog war of
Ezekiel 38 and 39. At this point, it doesn't appear to be developing as
such. However, Isaiah's unfulfilled chapter 17 prophecy of the total and
almost instantaneous destruction of Damascus makes any movement toward armed
conflict with Syria worth watching. Especially since Syria has threatened
Israel with attacks utilizing weapons of mass destruction. Israel has
already made clear that if that happens, it will respond quickly and with
overwhelming force. And Israel has the capability to make good on its
threats. The only weapon that could cause the sudden and total destruction
of Damascus -- as Isaiah predicted -- would be nuclear.
“The oracle concerning Damascus. Look! Damascus is about to be removed from
being a city, and it will become a heap of ruins.” (Isaiah 17:1)
Folks, it's time to get
ready for Christ's return. The utter destruction of Damascus is an important
benchmark in God's "last days" scenario.