Feb 12, 2018

War in the North

Among the “challenges” Israel faces every day is the threat from its northern border with Syria and Lebanon.

It has always been this way.

For decades, the terrorist group Hezbollah has been a menace in Lebanon. And back in the 1970s, the PLO wreaked havoc on Lebanese politics, with propaganda and assassinations ruling the day. The 1982 murder of president-elect Bashir Gemayel was a particular tragedy, as he had established dialogue with the Israelis. Arab terrorists in the region have been successful in only one respect: visiting death and horror and tragedy on civilian populations, including their own.

Today, the situation is more complex. The now six-year Syrian “civil war” shows no signs of being over, and now the Russians and Iran are involved. Hezbollah is just one of several actors in this drama.

Israel is of course keeping its eyes on the situation, and this week Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Syrian border. According to the Jerusalem Post:

“’Our face is turned toward peace, we are ready for any eventuality, and I don’t suggest anyone test us,’ he said Tuesday in a video message he posted on Twitter, the sound of helicopter blades whirring in the background.”

The conventional wisdom is that Hezbollah has tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel’s heartland. If most of us had a secular worldview, this would be dire. However, as God’s people, we do not ultimately fear for Israel.

Still, there is not only the rocket and “militia” threat, but Iran’s proxies and the Russian influence are troublesome.

Interestingly, the Americans are pretty much staying out of the fight.

“A U.S. leadership vacuum is creating anxiety.

“President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian missile base last year after it was revealed that Syria used chemical weapons against civilians, but otherwise the U.S. engagement with shaping the outcome of Syria’s civil war has been desultory. Russia is filling the vacuum, which is stoking Israeli anxieties. Despite generally good relations between the Netanyahu and Putin governments, Israel cannot rely on Russia to advance Israeli interests in the same way it has with the United States.

“’As the shape of the Syrian war changes, Israel may find its working relations with Russia undermined by Moscow’s desire to exercise influence in Syria generally from afar, and by its shifting relations with Iran,’ Shoshana Bryen, the senior director at the Jewish Policy Center, wrote this week in The Algemeiner.

“Absent focused U.S. leadership, Israel may strike out on its own to prevent Hezbollah from becoming the preeminent force in the nations to its north.”

Everyone knows about the mega-rich natural gas Israel recently found in the Mediterranean, and now 2-3 countries dispute who owns what. This will continue to bring Russia into the mix, and for the longest, Bible prophecy experts have long speculated over what would prompt the “hook” in Gog’s jaw, to bring him and his massive coalition army to bear on Israel. Natural riches would seem to be a plausible catalyst for Gog-Magog, so this is a development worth watching.