SYRIA IN THE CROSSHAIRS
At the beginning of the Lybia campaign, I told a friend of mine “Syria is next”. He laughed. The Arab Spring was spreading through North Africa and, to a lesser extent, popping up here and there in the Arabian Peninsula. But, Syria? Really? It was not like Bashar Assad did not have experience putting down dissent. One could say that it was in his genes. All I could do was to mention the prophecy of Isaiah 17:1, Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.
Where do we stand today? It is pretty much generally accepted that Assad’s days are numbered and that we are watching the closing scenes of this play. Back in mid December, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. President Barack Obama indicated that Syria would be crossing a line if it used chemical weapons and that foreign intervention in the civil war may follow. Very soon after this statement, activists started posting videos purportedly showing that Assad was indeed using chemical weapons on his own people. On Christmas Eve, Al Jazeera reported that seven people had died in Homs, and scores of others had been affected, after they inhaled an unidentified "poisonous gas" used by government forces. PM Netanyahu has stated that Israel is closely monitoring the developments in Syria. And this morning, Israel National News has reported that a MiG-21 aircraft, flown by Syrian pilot col. Hassan Hamada who defected to Jordan in June, had been upgraded to carry chemical weapons and to fly without a pilot. US experts believe that Russian engineers helped convert the plane and that additional Syrian aircraft have undergone the same transformation.
Syria has become the focus of interest for Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced a couple of days ago that Russia was helping Syria keep control of its chemical and biological weapons arsenals. That statement was probably meant as a deterrent for Israeli or NATO military action to seize control of those wmd’s. It was also a warning to the West not to intervene in the removal of Assad, either by direct action or by helping the rebels. At the same time, Russian military advisers are manning some of Syria's more sophisticated air defenses. Russia has delivered Buk-M2 and Pantsyr-S1 mobile missile launch and radar systems to Syria, while the delivery of modern long-range S-300 has not been confirmed. And, while Syria’s air defense command comprises two divisions and an estimated 50,000 troops – twice the size Gaddafi's force –, sources familiar with the Moscow-Damascus defense relationship confirmed the presence of Russian air-defense crews inside Syria. This may help explain why a US-led intervention – predicted as imminent for more than a year- has failed to materialize.
But Moscow is not the only one interested in the events unfolding in Syria. Teheran is actively working to continue the Syrian war while maintaining its grip on the country. Debkafiles has recently reported that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameinei has issued directives to the commander of Iran’s external intelligence and terrorist arm, for perpetuating the Syrian conflict by means of a terrorist network spread across the country, operating in conjunction with local militias. That is the tactic that has been used in Afghanistan, where President Karzai resides in a fortified palace, and Iraq with PM Nouri hiding in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
What is likely to happen in Syria? Saudi intelligence worries that Bashar Assad will pretty soon give the order to launch chemical and biological weapons against the insurgency and some of Syria’s neighbors. At this point all bets will be off. Israel will act, and so will the US in spite of the present Commander-in Chief. In this context, it is easy to see the prophecy of Isaiah 17 being fulfilled and Damascus becoming a ruinous heap. It is worth noticing that Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Though it has been attacked and conquered, it has never been completely destroyed. It has never been left uninhabited, but there is one more prophecy regarding Damascus. In the Judgment on Damascus, we read therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the Lord of hosts. “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad” (Jer. 49:26-27).
Damascus, and all of Syria indeed, is in the cross hairs of prophecy!