Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (Source: Agência Brasil, Wikipedia)
Syria remains in the news, and this latest development may be of concern to its president:
Globe and Mail - 21 March 2012The UN Security Council, including Russia and China, threw its weight on Wednesday behind efforts by Kofi Annan to end the bloody conflict in Syria…
Mr. al-Assad’s forces have chalked up a string of gains as they turned their firepower on areas held by rebels. But the fighting shows no sign of abating and analysts expect the insurgents to change their tactics and adopt guerrilla warfare.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 21 civilians were killed in Syria on Wednesday, the majority in government shelling on towns in Syria’s central Homs province.
Russia and China, competing with Western powers for influence in the Middle East, previously vetoed two UN draft resolutions that would have condemned Damascus and have resisted calls from Western and Arab states for Mr. al-Assad to step down.
But faced by growing global outrage at the bloodshed, the two countries agreed to a so-called “presidential statement.”
Russia and China had been strong supporters of Syria’s President, and now they have started to waiver on their support.
This is something I have written here would happen. Russia and China would prefer to assist and trade with Syria, but when it comes down to it, other international markets are more important to them.
Today’s move verifies this.
Here is a minor variation of something I wrote on November 14, 2011 (the minor variation has to do with adding the statement about Russia and China’s current move today):
Syria’s President Assad has basically four choices:
- Continue to function as he has and hope that his efforts to quell dissent and all the international sanctions will not hurt Syria’s economy to the point that more will rise up against him and overthrow him. He may decide that he can make enough deals with Russia, China, and Iran to keep his economy afloat, if he thinks that Russia and China will not yield to international pressure (which would seem to be a risky move as the Arab League was already turned against him)–and what happened today shows that he really needs to be careful about trusting Russia and China too much.
- Make deals with those protesting against him, actually keep most of the deals, and hope that this will keep him in power and result in internal and international pressure against him diminishing.
- Make a deal to resign and perhaps go to another country.
- Get closer with Iran and conclude that an attack against Israel (no matter who begins a new conflict in the region) will keep his people focused more on Israel and less on removing him.
Quelling dissent has not yet worked completely for President Assad.
Back in biblical times (cf. Isaiah 7:8) and current times, the capital of Syria was Damascus. The Bible shows it will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1). Technically, Syria is still at war with Israel as it never did sign a peace deal with Israel. So, in addition of the risk of civil war and international pressure, an actual war involving Syria and Israel is quite feasible. If so, Israel may hit back so hard that it might eliminate Damascus as Isaiah 17:1 says will happen. If not, perhaps the internal rebellions in Syria will cause this biblical prophecy to be fulfilled. Either way, something will cause this to happen (including perhaps unintended mistakes by Syria’s Assad or the Russians).
While some Protestant sources have indicated that Russia and Iran (a close ally of Syria) are about to get together to to fulfill prophecies in Ezekiel 38, this cannot happen before Jesus returns (see also WSJ Suggests that Israel Should Destroy Iran; Ezekiel 38?). So, they may misunderstand the current Russian presence.
Russia (along with China) will try to do what is in its best interest and Syria is simply not important enough to back Assad under all scenarios. Russia may have supported earlier statements against Syria if it had not felt so betrayed by what it thought it backed related to Libya last year and what the West ended up doing there. But just because Russia is not encouraging the West to overthrow Syria, it simply will not support Syria against all odds. What happened today confirms that.
Much is going on in the Middle East. The King of the South will rise up (Daniel 11:40) and Syria (directly or indirectly) is likely to play a role in that occurrence.
As Jesus said in Mark 13:37, we all should watch.
Some articles of possibly related interest may include:
The Arab World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What does Islam teach about the Imam Mahdi?
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Is he the Imam Mahdi? What does the Bible say?
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters Where did the Chinese people come from? This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
Russia: Its Origins and Prophesied Future Russia in prophecy. Where do the Russians come from? What about those in the Ukraine? What is prophesied for Russia and its allies? What will they do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach?