The Syrian Time Bomb
While one war rages in Libya, another rages in Washington as to the necessity of U.S. action there. Indeed, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said as much this weekend, noting that Libya was not a "vital national interest." But if Washington is looking for an Arab state in the throes of unrest, one that is key to its regional and national interests, planners might want to pay more attention to Syria, which is currently undergoing upheaval not seen since the early 1980s.
The next quotes seem lifted directly from the pages of biblical prophecy:
Syria lies at the center of a dense network of Middle East relationships, and the crisis in that country -- which has now resulted in the deaths of well over 100 civilians, and possibly close to double that number -- is likely to have a major impact on the regional structure of power.
If the regime fails to tame this domestic unrest, Syria's external influence will inevitably be enfeebled, with dramatic repercussions across the Middle East. As the crisis deepens, Syria's allies tremble. Meanwhile, its enemies rejoice, as a weakened Syria would remove an obstacle to their ambitions. But nature abhors a vacuum, and what will come will be unpredictable, at best.
And that quote above could apply to almost any country in which we are seeing violence and unrest: "nature abhors a vacuum, and what will come will be unpredictable, at best." And at worst, we will see what we have seen in Egypt and Lebanon, where radical elements of Islam will take over, or are in the process of taking over. Be careful what you ask for.
The protests started in mid-March in Daraa, in southern Syria, a city that has suffered from drought and neglect by the government in Damascus. The heavy hand of the ruling Baath party was particularly resented.
The government, to put it bluntly, responded poorly. Troops in Daraa fired live rounds against youthful demonstrators and virtually all communications -- Internet and telephone -- were shuttered to prevent the seepage of unrest.
By all accounts, the debate about how to deal with the growing protests has led to increasingly violent confrontations inside the regime between would-be reformers and hard-liners. The outcome of this internal contest remains uncertain.
We can see the ramifications of whatever happens in Syria - throughout the region:
Meanwhile, Turkey is deeply concerned by the Syrian disturbances: Damascus has been the cornerstone of Ankara's ambitious Arab policy. Turkey-Syria relations have flourished in recent years as Turkey-Israel relations have grown cold.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, have actively sought to mediate local conflicts and bring much-needed stability to the region by forging close economic links. One of their bold projects is the creation of an economic bloc comprising Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan -- already something of a reality by the removal of visa requirements as well as by an injection of Turkish investment and technological know-how.
Turkey's loss, however, may turn out to be Egypt's gain. Freed from the stagnant rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, Cairo is now expected to play a more active role in Arab affairs. Instead of continuing Mubarak's policy, conducted in complicity with Israel, of punishing Gaza and isolating its Hamas government, Egypt is reported to be pushing for a reconciliation of the rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah.
The upshot of all of this turmoil in the Middle East may wind up involving Israel - so what else is new?
Undoubtedly, the failed peace process has bred extreme frustration among Palestinian militants, some of whom may think that a sharp shock is needed to wrench international attention away from the Arab democratic wave and back to the Palestine problem.
They are anxious to alert the United States and Europe to the danger of allowing the peace process to sink into a prolonged coma. Israeli hard-liners, too, may calculate that a short war could serve their purpose:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government may sense weakness and quietly dream of finishing off Hamas once and for all. Syria has been a strong supporter of Hamas and has given a base in Damascus to the head of its political bureau, Khaled Mashal. Turmoil in Damascus could deal Hamas a severe blow.
On all these fronts -- Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel -- Syria is a key player. But its internal problems now threaten to reshuffle the cards, adding to the general sense of insecurity and latent violence in the region.
To close, we go back to Syria:
Meanwhile, Washington seems at a loss as to how to respond to the growing unrest in Syria. In tempered language, the administration has condemned the use of violence against civilians and encouraged political reform. But the undertones are evident: Stability in Syria may still preferable to yet another experiment in Arab governance.
Assad will need to act quickly and decisively -- and one hopes not harshly -- to quell the rising current of dissent.
This edifice may now be crumbling, and the United States would be wise to spend a little less time thinking about Libya and a little more time thinking about a state that truly has implications on U.S. national interests. If things go south in Syria, blood-thirsty sectarian demons risk being unleashed, and the entire region could be consumed in an orgy of violence.
Unfortunately, we already know where all of this is heading and declaring such as "an orgy of violence" is very consistent with what we know is coming from Isaiah 17 and Ezeliek 38-39. It is most definitely coming.
Now we see this development:
Syrian Cabinet resigns amid huge protests
Syria's Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago and is now threatening President Bashar Assad's 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian and closed-off nations in the Middle East.
Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of concessions.
State TV said Tuesday Assad accepted the resignation of the 32-member Cabinet headed by Naji al-Otari, who has been in place since September 23. The Cabinet will continue running the country's affairs until the formation of a new government.
The resignations will not affect Assad, who holds the lion's share of power in the authoritarian regime.
As mentioned before, one of the roots of the current situation involves the fundamental differences between the Sunni majority and the ruling Shiite branch.
The protests and ensuing violence have brought sectarian tensions in Syria out in the open for the first time in decades, a taboo topic here because the country has a Sunni majority ruled by minority Alawites, a branch of Shiite Islam. Assad has placed his fellow Alawites into most positions of power in Syria.
The unrest in the strategically important country could have implications well beyond the country's borders given its role as Iran's top Arab ally and as a front line state against Israel.
Exactly - once again, its all about Israel - the epicenter. All of this unrest will ultimately, somehow end up in coalitions who will attempt to destroy Israel. For now, we're just watching these things coming together, but we know the ultimate outcome. Its all described in the pages of biblical prophecy - we just don't know what exactly how we get there. Meanwhile, we watch in fascination as it all comes together - exactly as God informed us.