Kurds take Raqqa, but lose Kirkuk to Iraq

Kurdish Peshmerga Troops on a T-55 Tank (Boris Niehaus)


The Kurds have claimed to take control of Raqqa from the Islamic State today:

October 17, 2017

Kurdish-led forces in Syria declared a final victory over Islamic State in the extremist group’s Raqqa headquarters, signaling the near total collapse of a self-proclaimed “caliphate” that tyrannized residents, attracted foreign fighters and inspired terrorist attacks around the world.

 “Military operations have ended in Raqqa but combing operations are underway to destroy sleeper cells, if there are any,” Talal Sillo, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, said in an audio message. “The situation is under control in Raqqa and soon there will be a formal announcement about Raqqa’s liberation.”

Backed by airstrikes and special forces from a U.S.-led coalition, the SDF first encircled Raqqa and then squeezed the extremists into smaller pockets of territory, battles that left thousands of civilians and fighters dead and much of the city in ruins. The fight for Raqqa’s old city began in June and looked to have ended on Tuesday as it entered a stadium where militants had staged a final stand.

 Islamic State lost control of its most important bastion in neighboring Iraq — Mosul — three months ago, and is now reduced to a guerrilla force in its former heartlands. The militants have been driven out of all of Iraq’s cities and are now concentrated on the Iraq-Syria border and in some towns in western Anbar province. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-17/islamic-state-self-declared-capital-in-syria-falls-monitor-says

In the past couple of year, the so-called Islamic State has lost most of the territory it once held.

The USA has ‘rewarded’ the Kurds, by militarily forcing them to lose control of Kirkuk, a city they earlier liberated from the Isalmic State:

October 17, 2017

The independence dream of Iraq’s Kurds may be over. It was felled by a lightening advance by Iraqi counter-terror units, trained and equipped by the United States, and Shi’ite militias, trained and equipped by Iran, who seized the disputed city Kirkuk and its surrounding oilfields after isolated skirmishes and a withdrawal order by Peshmerga commanders.

The Peshmerga commanders either had no stomach for a fight or had already entered into a secret deal with the central government in Baghdad to retreat.

Amid accusations of betrayal, Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa, the Peshmerga commander of 70 Force, a key unit charged with the defense of Kirkuk’s southern approaches, said he had ordered his men to withdraw to protect their lives in the face of overwhelming forces.

“I bear all the responsibilities – in success and failure,” Mustafa told the Kurdish news outlet Rudaw. He dismissed claims there was a prior deal by some Peshmerga commanders to allow the Iraqi army to enter the city “without a fight.”

In Washington, as the advance into Kirkuk unfolded, a U.S. defense spokesman told reporters Iraqi forces the United States is “monitoring movements of military vehicles and personnel in the vicinity of Kirkuk.” He added: “These movements of military vehicles so far have been coordinated movements, not attacks.” Col. Rob Manning added: “We are aware of reports of a limited exchange of fire…and we believe this to have been an isolated incident,” he said of media reports of fighting between Iraqi and Kurdish fighters.

In Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, rival Kurdish factions blamed each other for the loss of Kirkuk and surrounding oilfields, holding out the prospect of Kurd-on-Kurd retaliation. In Kirkuk, there were some incidents of local Kurds angry with the withdrawal firing at retreating Peshmerga.

Who’s Fighting?

The Kurdish Peshmerga and forces loyal to Baghdad, the latter consisting of the Iraqi army, counter-terror forces and Shi’ite militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Outside Iraq most people think of the Peshmerga as a single force but it is in fact largely split and controlled separately by rival Kurdish parties, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, the party of Kurdistan’s president, Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which owes allegiance to the Talabani family, who are supportive of the idea of Iraq remaining one country. The withdrawal of Peshmerga forces in the face of the Iraqi advance Monday is being blamed by some of Barzani’s supporters on the Patriotic Union, which they suspect cut a secret deal with Baghdad.

Why is Kirkuk Important?

The city is 98 kilometers south of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Command of the city dictates control of the surrounding oilfields that the Kurdistan Regional Government was banking on to make an independent Kurdistan economically viable. Without the oil, Kurdistan is even less feasible as a breakaway state than it was with the oil — some critics of independence thought even before Monday’s lightning strike by the Iraqi army Kurdistan would struggle to make ends meet as an independent country.

Is Kirkuk a Kurdish city?

The Kurds say it is. They have long disputed Arab claims, arguing that the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, changed the demographic make-up of Kirkuk by moving Arab families into the city and surrounding areas. And the demographic profile of the city has undergone changes since the U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein and the war against the Islamic State terror group. But the city and the province of Kirkuk has had a highly diverse population for centuries and has been a home for Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs and Assyrians — all of whom claim it as theirs. https://www.voanews.com/a/the-fight-for-kurdish-independence-maybe-over/4073465.html

The USA has long treated the Kurds differently than many would feel it should. The Bush Administration used to claim that the USA was in Iraq to promote democracy. Last month the Kurds voted for independence, but the USA (and others) refuse to accept that. The hypocrisy of the USA related to the Kurds is obvious to anyone who looks at this.

While the Kurds have tended to be a more loyal ally to the USA than the USA has been to the Kurds, the USA has often tended to defer to the governments of Turkey and Iraq–despite the fact that the government of the USA considers that the Islamic State is a terrorist threat and that the Kurds are not a terrorist threat, as far as the USA is concerned.

The Bible warns that destruction is coming to “an hypocritical nation” which will end up being destroyed (Isaiah 10:5-11, KJV). While there are serious problems and conflicts in ISIS, those who think that the USA will not reap what it is sowing by often betraying allies (cf. Galatians 6:7-8; Lamentations 1:1-2), are in error (Daniel 11:39).

Despite how the USA seemingly defers to Turkey and Iraq on the Kurds (and maybe now Syria’s Assad and the Russians), eventually the Kurds and others in the Middle East and North Africa will plot to eliminate the USA based upon the 83rd Psalm.

Notice the following rendering of that Psalm with the modern national identities shown in [ ] which mainly come from an article titled The Arab World in Prophecy from the Plain Truth magazine dated December 1979:

4 They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

5 For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:

6 The tents of Edom [Esau or modern-day Turkey, a non-Arab but Islamic nation] and the Ishmaelites [Saudi Arabia]; Moab [part of Jordan] and the Hagrites [anciently these peoples dwelt in the area known as Syria today];
7 Gebal [Lebanon], Ammon [modern Jordan], and Amalek [part of the Turks]; Philistia [the modern Palestinians] with the inhabitants of Tyre [Lebanon]; 8 Assyria [whose descendants, the Assyrians, migrated to Germany] also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot [Jordan and Western Iraq]. (Psalms 83:4-8, NKJV)

The above shows a coalition of North African and Middle Eastern peoples, like those that will initially support the coming King of the South in Daniel 11:40-43. They will want to eliminate the USA, its Anglo-Saxon descended allies, and the tiny nation of Israel. They will then make a deal with end time Assyria, the main power in Europe. And this will be successful (Daniel 11:39; see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses), but not completely (Jeremiah 30:7).

Regarding Iraq, it probably should also be mentioned that some others consider that the Iraqis are better identified as Ishmaelites or being Hagarenes. Some consider that the Hagarenes are better identified with Iraq–yet since Ishmael’s mother was Hagar–Genesis 16:15–they would all tend to be related. Whether they are identified better as Hagarenes or Ishmaelites or descendants of Lot, Iraqis and other Arabic peoples are prophesied (along with others) to be part of a confederation that will decide to eliminate Israel (and not just the area in the Middle East). Turkey is represented in Psalm 83 as Edom–other prophecies show that it will ultimately break its alliance with the Arabic peoples and primarily support the European power (Daniel 11:40-43; cf. Daniel 11:26-27).

Notice a little bit more about a coming confederation involving the Arabs in Ezekiel:

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“‘Wail and say, “Alas for that day!” 3 For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near- a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down.

5 Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt. (Ezekiel 30:1-5, NIV).

5 “Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword.” (Ezekiel 30:5, NKJV)

So a confederation will form, Iraq and Syria will be part of it, and many of the nations that enter into a confederation with Egypt will suffer. This includes Iraqi and Syrian peoples, and possibly the Kurds (the Turks escape this per Daniel 11:42; but have other problems later; cf. Obadiah 8-11).

Why might the Kurds be referred to in Ezekiel 30? The word translated in the NIV as Libya, Puwt, may be referring to some of the peoples of Iran as Puwt was a Persian tribe and the Kurds are an Iranian people with mixed heritage. There are estimated to be at least 30 million Kurds, most of which are in the Middle East (with the largest populations in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria). The Kurds could be part of the ‘mingled people’ as the NKJV translates a portion of Ezekiel 30:5.

Although the Kurds themselves have long wanted independence, they have a history of making many alliances. Like the Turks, the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims. Despite the fact that the governments in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran have caused problems for the Kurds, the Kurds may well support a future Arabic-Turkish alliance (Daniel 11:40-43), especially if they get some protection of autonomy to do so. It is also possible that they could be among those that escape the wrath of the King of the North (Daniel 11:42). But that power also will end (cf. Revelation 11:15; 18).

The time will come when God will call all people in the world, including the Turks and the Kurds. When that happens, there will be a time of peace (Isaiah 2:3-4; Revelation 21). But until then, war and destruction appear to be part of the expected fate of that region of the world for some time (though a temporal peace will come per Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

But for now, the Kurds are hoping that their vote sends a signal that they want independence.

Some items of possibly-related interest may include:

Iraq, the King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy What will happen to Iraq? Is it the prophesied Mystery Babylon? What is Armageddon and how does that have to do with Iraq? Here is a related video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.
Damascus and Syria in Prophecy Will Bashar Assad hold power as he has it? Does the Bible show that Damascus, the capital of Syria, will be destroyed? What will happen to Syria? Will the Syrians support the final King of the South that the Bible tells will rise up? Which scriptures discuss the rise and fall of an Arabic confederation? Does Islamic prophecy predict the destruction of Syria. This is a YouTube video.
Turkey in Prophecy Do you know the Turkish people descended from? Did the Ottoman Empire possibly fulfill a promise in Genesis? Will Turkey support the European King of the North or Arabic King of the South? Will it betray one of them? Will Turkey be involved in the encouraging the destruction of Israel? Is Turkey going to become Catholic? Is Turkey mentioned in Psalm 83, Daniel 11, and elsewhere in the Bible? A related video is also available: What Should You Know About Turkey in Prophecy.
Can the Final Antichrist be Islamic? Is Joel Richardson correct that the final Antichrist will be Islamic and not European? Find out. A related sermon is titled: Is the Final Antichrist Islamic or European? Another video is Mystery Babylon USA, Mecca, or Rome?
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.
The Bible and the Arab World In 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?
Can the Final Antichrist be Islamic? Is Joel Richardson correct that the final Antichrist will be Islamic and not European? Find out. A related sermon is titled: Is the Final Antichrist Islamic or European? Another video is Mystery Babylon USA, Mecca, or Rome?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2026 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president/prime minister? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand. A video of related interest is available titled: Should Christians Vote?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be: Are Chinese threats against Australia for real?
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?

Get news like the above sent to you on a daily basis

Your email will not be shared. You may unsubscribe at anytime.