(Rochester, New York) — In the Kremlin’s biggest military operation in the Middle East since 1941, Russian air and ground forces are now engaged in combat in Syria. And they are now operating just miles from the northern mountains of Israel.
The Kremlin’s stated objective is to defeat ISIS and protect the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time Russian ally in the Middle East. But Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves have broader, more ominous implications.
- Putin is a Czar, an imperialist, consumed with “Mother Russia’s” need to expand it’s borders and influence — and he is now on the move to seize control of the dynamic in the epicenter.
- Putin specifically wants to replace the United States as the dominant military and political force in the Near East. It’s been firm, bipartisan U.S. foreign policy since World War II to keep the Russian military out of the Middle East. Yet President Obama is surrendering the region to the Kremlin with breathtaking speed and foolish recklessness.
- Putin is not alone in making these moves — he is working hand-in-glove with Iran’s government, which is also sending military forces into Syria.
- The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel wrote 2,500 years ago that in the “last days” of history, Russia and Iran will form a military alliance to attack Israel from the north. Bible scholars refer to this eschatological conflict, described in Ezekiel 38-39, as the “War of Gog & Magog.” Are these sudden and dramatic moves by Moscow and Tehran are simply coincidental, or have prophetic implications?
In the days ahead, I will examine the prophetic angle.
For now, let’s simply consider the magnitude of what Putin is doing.
“This is not only the Kremlin’s biggest military expedition outside the old Soviet Union since 1989, but the first Russian campaign in the Middle East since Moscow allied with Britain to invade Iran in 1941,” notes the UK Telegraph.
Putin is rapidly building two new Russian military bases in Syria, including a forward operating air base. He’s ordering Russian ground forces, tanks, heavy equipment into the Syrian theater. He’s ordered the Russian air force to launch bombing missions throughout Syria. He’s doing this in close coordination with the Iranian government and military. And today he signed orders to draft 150,000 more Russian men into the military.
As I wrote on September 16th, Putin is taking advantage of the geopolitical vacuum in the Middle East created by President Obama’s full-scale retreat from the region and appeasement of American enemies. And he’s not inching in — he’s going big and bold.
And the whole region is watching. Netanyahu was just in Moscow last week, holding an emergency meeting with Putin to discuss the dangers of this rapidly intensifying Russian-Iranian alliance.
Jordan, Egypt, the Saudis and the Gulf states are watching, too. They see America cutting them loose, and the Russian military surging into the region — not in advisory capacities as during the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars, but in full combat mode.
More news and analysis soon. But here are the latest headlines…..
- Top NATO general: Russia building anti-access bubble over Syria (Jerusalem Post) — “Russia is building advanced, long-range air defenses in its new air base on the Syrian coast, which could disrupt the military activities of the US and its allies in the sector, NATO’s top commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, warned on Monday, according to a report that appeared in the Breaking Defense website…”
- Russia seen building up two more military facilities in Syria: Jane’s (Reuters)
- Pentagon: Russia building forward air base in Syria (Military Times) — “Satellite imagery suggests the activity includes reinforcing aircraft runways, building helicopter pads, installing mobile housing units, and constructing several new buildings including an air traffic control tower…”
- Russian general tells US diplomats: ‘We launch Syria air strikes in one hour. Stay out of the way’ — Vladimir Putin orders airforce into action over Syria in first Russian war in Middle East since end of Soviet Union – giving US diplomats one hour’s notice (UK Telegraph)
- Putin signs decree drafting 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military, as Iran and Hezbollah prepare major ground offensive in Syria with air support from Moscow’s bombers (UK Daily Mail)
- Iran troops to join Syria war, Russia bombs group trained by CIA (Reuters)
- Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources (Reuters)
- Iranian troops prepare to aid Russia with Syrian ground assault, officials say (Fox News)
- Russia defends Syrian airstrikes as claims mount of blows to U.S.-backed rebels — “Russian officials acknowledged Thursday that the country’s airstrikes in Syria are targeting groups in addition to the Islamic State, as evidence mounted suggesting that U.S.-backed rebels and others were facing the brunt of Moscow’s attacks.” (Washington Post)
- Netanyahu visits Putin amid concerns about Russian involvement in Syria (CNN)
- Iran Buys $21 Billion in Aircraft, Satellites from Russia (Washington Free Beacon)
- Palestinian president says he is no longer bound by Oslo Accords (AP)
- What is the War of Gog and Magog? (my series of notes on Ezekiel 38-39)
- Read Epicenter, my non-fiction book that looks at Ezekiel 38-39 in more depth.
- Read The Ezekiel Option, a novel about a Russian-Iranian attack on Israel.
- Pre-order your copies of THE FIRST HOSTAGE now in hardcover, e-book or audio formats — it releases on December 29, 2015
- Order The Third Target today — the New York Times best-selling novel about ISIS capturing chemical weapons in Syria and plotting genocidal attacks.
- To read The Twelfth Imam series — a trilogy of novels I wrote about an American President pressuring an Israeli Prime Minister not to launch unilateral military strikes against Iran, but Israel feeling forced to do so anyway — please click here.
- Order Implosion: Can American Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?
- Follow on Twitter — @joelcrosenbergReceive every blog post automatically via the RSS feed.
- Invest in The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net), our non-profit organization to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, care for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief, and strengthen the Church in the epicenter. Read our latest Donor Report, and make a tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
- Abbas: Palestinians No Longer Bound by Agreements With Israel (Voice of America)
- Abbas’ Empty Bombshell — analysis of UN speech by the Palestinian president (Jerusalem Post)