The natural sequence of events from war are famines from disruption of food production and distribution, pestilence from lowered immunity and exposure to environmental health hazards, and earth-shattering experiences even in Yeshua’s day from military causes like the catapult.
The prophet Zechariah’s vivid description of a team of four horses furiously racing to alter the course of 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… [famine]
- And in the third chariot white horses…and the white go forth after them [disease]
- 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 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.
- For almost a century now the development of humanity’s most destructive forces – nuclear weapons – has been the nations’ top priority for attacking with and defending against.
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.
WHY DID THE AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES COLLAPSE?
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 Christianity disregards 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.
Refugee camps filled with famine, violence and despair of displaced persons are an inevitable feature of war.
At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II.
The findings were published on Tuesday, weeks before the United States enters its 20th year of fighting the war on terror, which began with the invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; yet, the report says it is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies.
The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger.
“This has been one of the major forms of damage, of course along with the deaths and injuries, that have been caused by these wars,” said David Vine, a professor of anthropology at American University and the lead author of the report. “It tells us that U.S. involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States, in many ways myself included, have grappled with or reckoned with in even the slightest terms.”
Death toll climbs above 50,000 after Turkey, Syria earthquakes
25 February, 2023
In Turkey alone, 44,218 people died as a result of the earthquakes, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said on Friday, while the latest announced death toll in Syria was 5,914.
The first earthquake on February 6 that hit southeastern Turkey and northern Syria measured a magnitude of 7.7 and a second, a little later, measured 7.6. The region has been rocked by more than 9,000 aftershocks since, according to the AFAD.
Nearly 240,000 rescue workers, including volunteers, continue to work in the 11 quake-hit provinces in Turkey. Some of the areas affected by the quakes were initially difficult to access but recovery efforts continue and casualty numbers are rising as they progress.
Nearly 530,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area in Turkey alone…with more than 1.9 million people taking refuge in temporary shelters or hotels and public facilities.
Think that will drive Turkey to take drastic measures to provide for its people?
Let’s compare to America’s response to its worst natural disaster,
Hurricane Katrina, tropical cyclone that struck the southeastern United States in late August 2005…claimed more than 1,800 lives, and it ranked as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history…It was not until September 2 that an effective military presence was established…Since then, New Orleans’s flood-protection system was bolstered by $15 billion in federal funds,
Frankly, in terms of cost of human lives and lost resources America’s natural disaster is a drop in the bucket compared to Turkey’s, so seriously, can’t we anticipate that Turkey will implement an exponentially greater response? This won’t cripple Turkey, it will motivate Turkey to get whatever it needs, however it gets it, to remain a strong power.
Turkey has been investing in dam projects in its eastern parts (on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) within the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) framework…As of [June 2022], there are reportedly 22 hydroelectric dams in Turkey. However, dam projects have triggered discontent in regional states like Iran, Iraq, and Syria over the last several years.
- water shortages in Iraq, as 70 percent of Iraq’s water supplies flow via the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which run through Turkish territories.
- the Ilisu Dam, which was inaugurated in 2021 in Turkey’s southeastern province Mardin…can generate 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectricity. The diversion of water downstream exacerbated severe droughts in Iran that led to deadly mass riots in several Iranian cities.
Turkey’s growing military activities in the region, particularly regarding Turkey’s recent counter-terrorism operation in Iraq’s Sinjar province is enough of a problem to cause concern for kindling war, but the current water resources dispute poses an even more serious problem for the uneasy bilateral relations of the two neighboring countries for the foreseeable future.