(Washington, D.C.) — “The worst of the weapons are gone.”
That’s what Secretary of State John Kerry told us in June 2014. At that time, President Obama and his administration promised us that the Syrians had allowed the Russians and the U.N. to remove all of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
But it wasn’t true. Over the past two years, there have been repeated chemical weapons attacks in Syria — both by the Assad regime and by ISIS. Today, we have new reports of yet another horrific attack, apparently involving sarin gas, that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, including scores of children.
“Syrian opposition health minister Firas Jundi put the death toll at more than 100 civilians and said 500 others, mostly children, were affected by the gas,” reports USA Today.
This is what I feared when in 2013 I began writing my current series of political thrillers — The Third Target, The First Hostage and Without Warning — that Syria’s chemical weapons would, in fact, be used one day against innocent civilians. That’s why I wrote about a fictional foreign correspondent, J.B. Collins, who hears a rumors that a cache of chemical weapons has been captured in Syria and is about to be used to advance genocide. At the time, however, I was simply writing fiction. Now we know it’s fact.
Who is to blame for these war crimes? Bashar al-Assad and his bloodthirsty regime, who have no problem slaughtering innocents to stay in power. They have lied, killed and destroyed, and they must be removed. Also to blame are Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs in Iran who prop up Assad to keep this butcher in power. They should not be allowed to seize control of Syria when Assad collapses, which he will.
Consider the carnage already. More than 500,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war to date. Millions more have been wounded. Still millions of more Syrians are on the run for their very lives, many having fled to neighboring Jordan and Lebanon. This is the implosion of a modern Arab state, and it is tragic, heart-breaking to behold.
President Obama and his administration also bears much guilt. Mr. Obama famously drew his “red line,” warning Assad never to use chemical weapons or he would face the wrath of the American military. Yet when Assad used them anyway, Obama refused to keep his word, and American credibility suffered an immeasurable blow not just in the Middle East but around the world.
We are witnessing sheer evil in motion in Syria, and the devastating legacy of Mr. Obama’s failed and utterly immoral foreign policy.
Amidst such carnage, can President Trump reestablish American credibility and protect us from ISIS, radical Islamic terrorism and the use of chemical weapons inside the U.S.? The jury is still out, but I pray the answer is yes. After all, Without Warning is specifically about Syrian chemical weapons being used inside the homeland. God forbid.
Yesterday, President Trump met with Egyptian President el-Sisi to revitalize US-Egyptian relations, so badly damaged during the Obama years. (No Egyptian leader has been to the White House in eight years until yesterday). The timing of the visit is fortuitous. Mr. el-Sisi wants to work closely with Washington to fight and defeat radical Islamist terrorism. Trump is right to embrace him and improve our strategic and tactical coordination on these and other matters. I will write more on the el-Sisi visit soon.
Tomorrow, President Trump will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II. This timing is also critical. Few leaders better understand what’s happening in Syria than the King, who is our most faithful Sunni Arab ally. Jordan borders Syria and has been hugely helpful in caring for more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees. Jordan is also working closely with us in the fight against ISIS, and believes the Assad regime should be removed from power. Like Egypt, Jordan needs and deserves more American support. These are two vital American allies. Again, I’ll write more on this after the King’s visit.
On a personal note, let me just say that I am sickened by the images and reports coming out of Syria (and Iraq). The wickedness on display — as well the resultant human suffering — is beyond belief.
That’s why I don’t just write novels about these matters. Eleven years ago, my wife and I founded a non-profit organization called The Joshua Fund to strengthen the Church in Israel and five Arab nations, to provide humanitarian relief to Holocaust survivors, to provide food and other assistance to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, to help the Church in the Middle East preach the Word of God and be a true light in the darkness. The needs in the region are greater than one organization can meet, but I’m deeply grateful for the work The Joshua Fund is honored to do to be a true blessing in the name of Jesus. Please pray for our team to have great wisdom at this critical time. And please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the work.
- Removal of Chemical Weapons From Syria Is Completed (WSJ, June 23, 2014)
- Syria activists: Scores dead in Idlib chemical attack (USA Today)
- Activists say gas attack kills 58 in northern Syria, with victims ‘foaming at the mouth’ (Washington Post)
- Gas Attack Is Said to Kill Dozens in Syria (New York Times)
- McCain calls White House policy on Syria ‘disgraceful chapter’ in U.S. history (Politico)
- Israel Strongly Condemns Syria Chemical Attack, Calls on World to Intervene (Haaretz)
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