The COVID-19 pandemic…presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating…
Millions of enterprises face an existential threat. Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods…Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families…
The pandemic has been…disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets…the food security and nutrition of millions of women and men are under threat…
Now is the time for global solidarity and support…Only together can we overcome the intertwined health and social and economic impacts of the pandemic and prevent its escalation into a…catastrophe…
Only then can we…ensure that our ‘new normal’ is a better one.
And when in the history of mankind has the powerful generously shared their excess of resources with the helpless?
The same people who urge humans to be generous and kind believe that the principle of survival of the fitness evolved mankind into what we are today. Two concepts completely at odds with each other.
And so, as humanity scrambles to survive without the guidance of the Creator and Sustainer, things will only get worse.
World War is the inevitable result of multiple ethnic messiahs seeking to liberate only their own people, in contrast to the one Mashiach who came to free the whole world.
The prophet Zechariah’s vivid description of a team of four horses furiously racing to change history would have been in Yeshua’s and his listener’s minds’ eyes, and should be in ours. John’s description of a future recurrence of this repeating pattern in history matches up.
“And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
- In the first chariot were red horses [war]…
- and in the second chariot black horses…go forth into the north country [famine]
- And in the third chariot white horses…and the white go forth after them [promising deliverance]
- and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses….the grisled go forth toward the south country…and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth – [death from war starting in the south spreads throughout the world]
These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.”
The Fertile Crescent, AKA the Middle East, is always at the center of biblical prophecy, so we can place “the south” as Egypt and “the north” as Asia Minor / Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran.
This does pan out with world-changing battlegrounds.
- nation [ethnic group] shall rise against nation, and kingdom [geopolitical organization] against kingdom:
- “Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against [in the sense of supporting his back] the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates” (II Kings 23:29) in one of the great turning point battles of history that resulted in Nebuchadnezzar rising to power and establishing an empire stretching from Egypt to Persia, through Palestine and Syria, from Lydia (Asia Minor) to the Persian Gulf.
- “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant;” (II Kings 24:1-2)
- “I raise up the Chaldeans [Iraqis], that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land…They are terrible and dreadful…they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence…And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it….imputing this his power unto his god. (Habakukk 1:6-11)
- famines as both weapons and consequences of war
- Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged..
- and pestilences
- This would naturally occur from unsanitary conditions during the siege as well as lowered immunity from malnutrition, but biological warfare is also a factor. The earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is possibly recorded in Hittite texts of 1500–1200 BCE…in about 590 BCE, Athens…poisoned the water supply of the besieged town…with the toxic plant hellebore. According to Herodotus, during the 4th century BC Scythian archers dipped their arrow tips into decomposing cadavers of humans and snakes or in blood mixed with manure, supposedly making them contaminated with dangerous bacterial agents like Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium tetani, and snake venom.
- “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD…in wrath remember mercy. Before him went the pestilence, he…drove asunder the nations…his ways are everlasting.” (Habakkuk 3:1-5)
- and earthquakes, in divers places, among nature’s most destructive forces.
- The panic caused by Amos’ earthquake must have been legend in Jerusalem, because 230 years later Zechariah associated his prophecy of doom with that terrifying event.
The warmongers in the Middle East are easy to spot.
Islamic Jihad: in the 1990’s in North Africa and South Asia…conflicts with government authorities led to bloody civil wars, as in Algeria between 1992 and 2002, resulting in the exile of many Islamist activists to Europe and the Americas and led many others to join such military fronts as the Afghan Jihad. Morocco and Indonesia formed Islamic political parties when authoritarian regimes—faced with serious socioeconomic crises and seeking to legitimize themselves in the eyes of the public—implemented limited political liberalization.
ISIL or ISIS (depending on the translation) – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – was created in 1999 as the latest iteration of Pan-Arabism against Western interference into Islamic operations. It introduced itself by pledging allegiance to Al-Qaeda and participating in the Iraqi insurgency following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. In 2014, the group proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate by which it claimed religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide, changing its name to Islamic State.
The United States-led international coalition intervened against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in 2014, with an airstrike campaign, followed by a smaller-scale Russian intervention exclusively in Syria with airstrikes and cruise missile attacks.
But in 2015, ISIL was estimated to have an annual budget of more than US $1 billion and more than 30,000 fighters. They were conducting ground attacks on both government forces and opposition factions, held an area extending from western Iraq to eastern Syria ,and ruled over an estimated eight to twelve million people on whom it enforced its interpretation of sharia law. ISIL is believed to be operational in 18 countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Taliban, meaning “students”, are made up of former Afghan mujahedeen, who fought the invading Soviet forces in the 1980s…Following the end of the Russian-Afghan War, the Taliban emerged in 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War, establishing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996. After 9/11, the Americans invaded Afghanistan in December 2001, and the Taliban regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the War in Afghanistan.
In August 2021, two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war, the Taliban blitzed across the country, forcing an undignified and embarrassing retreat. The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away, the Western-backed government that has run the country for 20 years collapsed, and the President fled the country.
The short answer? Corruption.
The U.S. and its NATO allies spent billions of dollars over two decades to train and equip Afghan security forces. But the Western-backed government was rife with corruption. Commanders exaggerated the number of soldiers to siphon off resources, and troops in the field often lacked ammunition, supplies or even food…As the Taliban rapidly advanced in recent days entire units surrendered after brief battles, and Kabul and some nearby provinces fell without a fight.
There is widespread hatred, for good reason, of The Great Satan America when even Christians disregard basic human decency.
Emigration of Muslims from the Middle East and South Asia throughout the host of 20th century Islamic conflicts produced large Muslim communities in the United States, Canada, and the countries of western Europe, creating a polarization of Moslems across the world. While Islam was becoming politicized and imposed on society in the East, Western Muslims were struggling to practice their religion in a non-Muslim society. In the first decade of the 21st century, Western Muslims were still not fully integrated into their societies, and many suffered various forms of discrimination. Controversies as the banning of the veil in public schools in France and the publication in Denmark of cartoons caricaturing the Islamic faith (and particularly the Prophet Muhammad) became instantly global, challenging the modes of regulation of Islam not only in Muslim but non-Muslim countries as well. Western Moslems began questioning whether full participation in Western culture and political life was even possible, let alone desirable.
It was in this context of the Western degradation of Islam that 9/11 occurred, creating a world divided in a war between Muslims and “Crusaders and Zionists.” The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Iraq War in 2003, and the protracted inability of the international community to solve the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel only served to strongly reinforce this belief.
In this context, one must seriously consider the possibility that the Bush administration staged the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania airplane crash to justify a “defensive” rather than “first strike” position against what was becoming a more and more powerful and feared Islamic civilization, no longer discrete individual nations, beating the war drums announcing their intention of taking over the world.
The 33 Strategies of War includes in the Taking Offensive section: “Don’t trust people’s words. They will find moral justifications for their amoral behaviors.”
Our presidents don’t have constitutional authority to start a war, so they just don’t declare war. They just wage it. There are only five times Congress declared war:
- War of 1812
- Mexican-American War 1846
- Spanish-American War 1898
- The War to End All Wars 1914
- World War II beginning 1939 with America entering in 1941
Does that come as a surprise, given America’s lead role in the permanent state of world conflict since World War II? Naming just the significant officially undeclared but officially named wars, American has been involved in the
- Mexican Revolution of 1914
- Russian Civil War of 1918
- Korean War 1950 – 1953 among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, with approximately 3 million war fatalities, a larger proportional civilian death toll than World War II or the Vietnam War, thousands of massacres by both sides, the destruction of virtually all of Korea’s major cities as one of the most heavily bombed countries in history.
- Vietnam War 1964-1973
- Persian Gulf War 1991
- War in Afghanistan 2001-ongoing
- Iraq War 2003-2011, with emergence of ISIS as a direct result.
It appears that the President of the United States is the greatest change agent the world has yet known, bringing about the new world order.
The Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 began with the invasion of Iraq by the United States–led Western coalition under false pretenses. The Bush administration claimed that Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, and that Iraq posed a threat to the United States and its allies. No stockpiles of WMDs or an active WMD program were ever found. Some US officials falsely accused Saddam of harbouring and supporting the terrorist group al-Qaeda which was blamed for 9/11. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission said there was no evidence of an operational relationship between the Saddam Hussein regime and al-Qaeda. The rationale for war faced heavy criticism both domestically and internationally. Kofi Annan called the invasion illegal, under international law it violated the UN Charter. The Chilcot Report, a British inquiry into its decision to go to war published in 2016 concluded that peaceful alternatives to war had not been exhausted, that the United Kingdom and the United States had undermined the authority of the United Nations Security Council, that the process of identifying the legal basis was “far from satisfactory”, and that the war was unnecessary.
Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005…The al-Maliki government enacted policies that alienated the country’s previously dominant Sunni minority and worsened sectarian tensions, changing the invasion to an occupation.
The Iraq War caused at least one hundred thousand civilian deaths, as well as tens of thousands of military deaths, the majority of which occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007. Subsequently, the War in Iraq of 2013 to 2017, which is considered a domino effect of the invasion and occupation, caused at least 155,000 deaths, in addition to the displacement more than 3.3 million people within the country.
In 2011, coincident with America’s exit from Iraq, The Arab Spring erupted as a series of pro-democracy uprisings enveloping several largely Muslim countries, including Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Bahrain… The political and social impact of these popular uprisings remains significant today, years after many of them ended. Many of these protests tore down regimes, leading to instability that ended with violent civil wars.
I supported the Iraq War in 2003 because I believed the Bush administration’s case that Iraq was again actively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons…
Yet the goal in 2003 was bigger than denuclearization. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was both oppressing his own subjects and menacing his neighbors. By replacing Saddam’s regime with a more humane and peaceful successor, the U.S. could set the Arab Middle East on a path to a better future—contributing to America’s own security after 9/11.
Inside the Bush administration, we thought we were ready to remake Iraq for the better—but we were not. We were ignorant, arrogant, and unprepared, and we unleashed human suffering that did no good for anyone: not for Americans, not for Iraqis, not for the region. Almost two decades later, the damage to America’s standing in the world from the Iraq War has still not been repaired, let alone that war’s economic and human costs to the United States and the Middle East.
The ignominious retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan should be evidence enough that United States has passed its zenith and is on a free-fall from world power. The opportunity to seize power is tantalizing for many players. In the rush by America’s enemies to grab what they can, WWIII is inevitable.
Who will dare lead the face off against American claims to world power? Dare? There are zealot-led armies begging to be let off the chain. To date it seems that the only thing that has kept any one of them from rising to the top of the food chain is the incessant internecine warfare America has managed to keep in play.
In spite of a surfeit of suspects, the culprits are plain to see for those who know history.
The Roman Emperors waged bloody wars of succession, so from a biblical perspective the Cold War and Arms Race and Space Race should all be viewed as competition between the Western and Eastern branches of the European Leg of the Roman Empire.
Follow the pattern of the downfall of “God’s people” who corrupt themselves by alliances with pagan nations. As detailed in the post The Fourth Kingdom, today that is not only the nation of Israel allied with America, but America which with malice and forethought took over the Western branch of the European Roman Empire from England during WWII. Whoever Christian America placed their trust in and put their money on for a defense league will conquer her.
That is not the United Nations, which is essentially an extension of America. It is not NATO or the EEC. England paid America to be her ally in World War II through the Lend-Lease Act and Germany transferred massive military assets to America after the war in exchange for reconstruction of her economy.
It is Islam.
Ottoman Empire, empire created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia (Asia Minor) that grew to be one of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ottoman period spanned more than 600 years and came to an end only in 1922, when it was replaced by the Turkish Republic…
At its height the empire encompassed most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna, including present-day Hungary, the Balkan region, Greece, and parts of Ukraine; portions of the Middle East now occupied by Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Egypt; North Africa as far west as Algeria; and large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. The term Ottoman is a dynastic appellation derived from Osman I (Arabic: ʿUthmān), the nomadic Turkmen chief who founded both the dynasty and the empire about 1300…
The historical accumulation of titles of the Ottoman ruler includes Padishah (Emperor) of Iraq / Babylon, Persia / Iran, Greece / Turkey, and a host of other known states, as well as Caesar of Rome (Kayser-i Rûm) of much of Eastern Europe…Istanbul as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean Basin, was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries until its dismantling after WWI.
Turkey is the political successor to the Ottoman Empire. A revolution by the Young Turks in 1908 turned the Empire into a constitutional monarchy…a coup d’état in 1913 created a one party regime which allied the Empire with Germany against the British incursions into Ottoman territory. After being reduced to a small homeland in the Anatolian heartland by the British and French division of spoils after the war, the Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies was a rare success. Led by Mustafa Kemal who gave himself the name / way Atatürk / Father pf the Turks, the Republic of Turkey abolished the Ottoman monarchy but not the dreams of restoring the Empire.
Whereas the historical literature about Turkey emphasizes the country commitment to the West since the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal, later known as “Atatürk” (Father of the Turks), little is written about the country relations with Arab and Muslim countries…Hence, in the 90th year of existence as a republic in the Middle East any scientific analysis of Turkey with its impressive examples of political, economic, cultural as well as societal development should also spotlight its relations with the countries it formerly shared one single empire with…
After having secured its Western borders by signing the Balkans Pact with Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia on 9 February 1934, Turkey…signed a pact with Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq in 1937…
[In the 1950’s] Turkey initiated an assertive foreign policy in the region and to a certain extent achieved renewed importance in the Arab and Islamic world…
the first Islamic country to recognize the Jewish state of Israel on 18 March 1949, less than one year after Israel’s official proclamation of independence on 14 May 1948, Turkey changeful relations with Israel peaked in a trilateral security alliance [with monarchal Iran as the third member] in 1958. Israel and Turkey are considered as two main democracies and Western-oriented states in the Middle East which are often said to have shared common values and common interests in regard to their regional antagonists throughout history…
whenever Israel was in direct confrontation with Arab states and whenever Israel was directly humiliating Palestinians, Turkey was on the side of the Palestinians. Likewise, whenever Arab countries were intimidating Turkish concerns, Turkey returned to Israel’s side…
Combined with rational decisions of realpolitik (closeness with the US because of financial necessities, NATO-membership to counter communist influence, and close ties with European organizations to fulfil the Kemalist state ideology of Westernization alike modernization)…a Turkish “Ostpolitik” started to become part of a newer Turkish ideology. Turkey relations with countries which were formerly part of the Ottoman Empire and which were now part of the Islamic world were no more avoided or discreet…
In 2002 Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan…formed a pragmatic Islamist government that successfully cultivated diplomatic relations with Western powers.
Having gained America’s confidence, Turkey is now openly edging its way into the place vacated by the United States in the Middle East. Turkey is cozying up to its Muslim neighbors to the east with a desire to re-establish the influence and power lost by the Turkey-based (I know, that’s a really bad pun) Ottoman Empire not that long ago.
Turkey, which has strong historical and ethnic ties in Afghanistan…has developed close intelligence ties with some Taliban-linked militia. Turkey is also an ally of neighbouring Pakistan, from whose religious seminaries the Taliban first emerged.
When in August 2021, ISIL killed 13 American military personnel and at least 169 Afghan civilians during the U.S. evacuation of Kabul:
…as chaos gripped Kabul airport…which Turkish troops have guarded for six years [Turkish] President Erdogan said he viewed messages from Taliban leaders with “cautious optimism”….“Turkey is ready to lend all kinds of support for Afghanistan’s unity…”
Prof Ahmet Kasim Han, an expert on Afghan relations…says further ties in Afghanistan allow President Erdogan to “broaden the chessboard” of his foreign policy and play to his AK Party’s support base.
“They consider Turkey as a country with a manifest destiny – an exceptional position within the Muslim world… based on Turkey’s…Ottoman heritage as the seat of the caliphate.”
The Turkish proposal to secure and operate the Kabul airport is influenced by…fraying U.S.-Turkish relations…Turkey has found itself sidelined and its political sensitivities ignored…
A greater Turkish role in Afghanistan would also allow [capitol city] Ankara to…become the most important foreign military actor in Afghanistan and a key political patron of the traditional leaders of country’s Turkic minorities, thus furthering its geopolitical and economic linkages with the largely Turkic nations in Central Asia.
Fundamentalist Muslims have good reason to line up with Turkey to clear the Western nations / The Romans out of their land.
As the Syrian Civil War created vast ungoverned spaces after its March 2011 initiation, some of the Syrian jihadists who had joined ISIS in Iraq returned to Syria. They returned partly because they were originally Syrians and had family and clan connections in Syria. The other reason was because the Syrian town of al-Dabiq [just below Syria’s northern border with Turkey] is the site of a prophecy, allegedly by the Prophet Mo- hammed, that the final battle between Islam and the “Romans” (literally the Christian West) would begin at al-Dabiq. ISIS propaganda often featured al- Dabiq.
There is a dark side to Turkey’s ambitions.
The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey…between 15% and 20% of the population…primarily concentrated in the east and southeast of the country, within the region viewed by Kurds as Turkish Kurdistan…
Massacres…have periodically been committed against the Kurds since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923…During the Kurdish–Turkish conflict, food embargoes were placed on Kurdish villages and towns…many instances of Kurds being forcibly expelled from their villages…Many villages were reportedly set on fire or destroyed…political parties that represented Kurdish interests were banned.
Iran—formerly an ally with Turkey and Iraq – became one of Israel’s main security threats in the region after regime change following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. This fact shows that even though former allies worked closely together, they can dramatically drift apart when once-shared concerns diverge or fundamentally change…
By 2015, aid to anti-Assad forces became the most expensive US covert action program in history, topping 1 billion USD. However, some of the funds and arms wound up in the hands of violent extremists, while some of the troops with the units funded by the United States defected to other groups, taking their arms with them. After the rise of ISIS in June 2014, more US aid went to groups professing to be anti-ISIS, but some of these groups had violent jihadi orientations…
- Assad [Syria] received support from Iran and Hezbollah
- triggering pacts between Israel and Arab countries who had mutual interests in curbing Iranian influence in the eastern Mediterranean
- ad Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries increased their support for Sunni opposition groups,
- which fueled Iran’s and Hezbollah’s increased support to Assad.
- triggering Turkey to fund extreme jihadi groups affiliated with al-Qaeda-linked organizations, because they were anti-Assad and anti-Kurds.
- triggering Russia to support Assad
- triggering concerns that Russia will establish a broader base of influence in the Middle East
Rodríguez: What are the reasons for this to be a turning point in international politics?
Sorenson: The internationalization of the Syrian conflict raised real doubts about the validity of the previous international order [with America reigning supreme]….Great-power rivalry was increasing…but the Syrian Civil War gave Russia new opportunities, as Russia has positive, if tenuous relations, with Iran, most Arab states, Turkey, and Israel. Russia has no domestic barriers to expansion beyond its laggard economy [which, as with Germany for WWII, is not a barrier but an impetus to war] while the American public is tiring of two long wars that have cost close to 2 trillion USD just in direct costs…
Trump’s exit from Syria represent [s] a game-changer in the US geopolitics…
The United States has rested its security on forward presence and forward engagement since World War II. So…decision to withdraw American forces from Syria…was seen widely as a signal that the United States under Trump was withdrawing from its larger global role. The US Syrian withdrawal came as Trump questioned Ameri- can alliances in both the Pacific and NATO…appeared to downplay the European threat posed by Russia under [Pres. Vladimir] Putin….talked openly about withdrawing residual American forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel and other American friends in the region interpreted the American withdrawal as both a retreat from a region and abandonment of a[n]…ally…
After Trump’s exit, Turkey has entered again in the war scene with virulence.
We can expect to see Turkey reintegrate Iran, Iraq into an alliance – oh, wait – Turkey already did that in the Baghdad Pact of 1955.
And a Jerusalem Post headline in March 2021 reads “Iran, Russia and Turkey Signal Growing Alliance“.
For many years, Ankara would say one thing to Moscow and Tehran about partnership while telling Washington’s Iran hawks that it was “against Russia and Iran…”
However, the reality was that Turkey was always working closely with Russia and Iran…
This is the long-term goal of Turkey in finding an accommodation with states in the region and bringing together its alliance with Iran and Russia to legitimize its continued occupation of parts of Syria and bases in Iraq.
“The Real Outcome of the Iraq War: US and Iranian Strategic Competition in Iraq” which is available on the CSIS web site at: http://csis.org/files/publication/120308_Combined_Iraq_Chapter.pdf
Since the 2003 war, both the US and Iran have competed to shape the structure of Post-Saddam Iraq’s politics, governance, economics, and security.
the US invasion now seems to be a de facto grand strategic failure in terms of its cost in dollars and blood, its post-conflict strategic outcome, and the value the US could have obtained from different uses of its political, military, and economic resources. The US went to war for the wrong reasons – focusing on threats from weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi-government sponsored terrorism that did not exist. It had no meaningful plan for either stability operations or nation building. It let Iraq slide into a half decade of civil war, and failed to build an effective democracy and base for Iraq’s economic development. The US failed to establish anything like the strategic partnership it sought.
Iran has very different goals from the US. It seeks to ensure that Iraq does not…reemerge as a threat to Iran. It seeks to rid the country of American influence – particularly of American military personnel – to the greatest extent possible. Iran has aggressively used its networks, patronage, economic ties, religious ties, aid money, and military support to various factions in Iraq to achieve these goals…
Iran seems likely to be the de facto winner of the US invasion of Iraq. It now enjoys deep ties in a neighboring country with which it once fought a fierce and bloody eight-year war. Iran has a great deal of cultural, military, and economic resources available to influence Iraq.
This US-Iranian competition will not only have a major impact on Iraq, but the far broader range of US and Iranian competition in the Arab world – especially the Southern Gulf, in Turkey, and in dealing with Iran’s efforts to create an area of influence that includes Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and which poses a major challenge to Israel…
For more than two decades, the United States has seen the politics of the Middle East as a tug of war between moderation and radicalism—Arabs against Iran. But for the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, it was blind too different, more profound fissures growing among the region’s three non-Arab powers: Iran, Israel, and Turkey.
For the quarter century after the Suez crisis of 1956, Iran, Israel, and Turkey joined forces to strike a balance against the Arab world with U.S. help. But Arab states have been sliding deeper into paralysis and chaos since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, followed by the failed Arab Spring, leading to new fault lines. Indeed, the competition most likely to shape the Middle East is no longer between Arab states and Israel or Sunnis and Shiites—but among the three non-Arab rivals…
Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear capability and its use of clients and proxies to influence the Arab world and attack U.S. interests and Israel are now familiar. What is new is Turkey’s emergence as an unpredictable disrupter of stability across a much larger region. No longer envisioning a future in the West, Turkey is now more decidedly embracing its Islamic past, looking past lines and borders drawn a century ago. Its claim to the influence it had in the onetime domains of the Ottoman Empire can no longer be dismissed as rhetoric. Turkish ambition is now a force to be reckoned with.
For example, Turkey now occupies parts of Syria, has influence in Iraq, and is pushing back against Iran’s influence in both Damascus and Baghdad. Turkey has increased military operations against Kurds in Iraq and accused Iran of giving refuge to Turkey’s Kurdish nemesis, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey has inserted itself in Libya’s civil war and most recently intervened decisively in the dispute in the Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Officials in Ankara are also eyeing expanded roles in the Horn of Africa, and in Lebanon, while Arab rulers worry about Turkish support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its claim to have a say in Arab politics.
And don’t forget Russia, America’s only major ally in WWII, allowed to retain seized booty in both territory and military scientific assets like rocket science for its participation in the Allied forces against the Axis powers. Immediately following the close of WWII America turned on Russia in the Cold War using Communism’s atheism as a religious justification to overthrow the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire and attain total supremacy. And if I sound utterly unpatriotic, think. Seriously, how does total supremacy ever turn out for the population? Totalitarianism under any label of type of government is oppression.