21 Oct 2019

Trump, Israel, and the Kurds

 Well, President Trump is being roasted in the media for his drawdown of troops in Syria, which has created a pathway for Turkey to assert itself. He is also being roasted by some allies, including pro Israel folks.

But I do believe in the view that says Trump is wily and often moves quite a bit ahead of his opponents.

First, let’s look at the hand-wringing over the Kurds. They are an ancient people often maligned and persecuted by their neighbors. Iraq and Turkey in particular have damaged the Kurds for many years. 

It is also true that Christians in the region are being persecuted; this goes hand-in-hand with the apparent escape of some ISIS terrorists. Many Never Trumpers in the Evangelical world are, I think, using this Christian persecution issue to take yet another jab at Trump. Am I saying they are that craven and calculating? 

Yes, I am. 

However, Christians have been persecuted in the region since antiquity, and until very, very, very recently, nary a peep from Trump critics on this issue. Southern Baptist Convention [political] operatives like Russell Moore typically use issues like this to bash the President and his supporters. I’m all for supporting Christians in the region, but let’s put together a comprehensive and workable plan to do so. Let’s not use them as a political football, feigning compassion. Some of the most calculating, heartless people on the planet live in the evangelical leadership community. 

I digress. 

When Ataturk in Turkey persecuted the Kurds, some of the latter created a Marxist entity, the PKK, to combat all that. Thus, they evolved into a terror organization themselves. Trump is not wrong at all to point out that these internecine battles are chronic and ages-long. How much longer are we to police far-flung places with our blood and treasure? 

(The Iraqi area known as “Kurdistan” has adopted sharia law, which makes it an enemy of all decent people everywhere. I’m simply pointing out that the poor, maligned Kurds who are being “abandoned” by Trump, have some other elements to their makeup worth noting.) 

Now, how is this affecting Israel and her ability to defend herself? The hysteria now says that the introduction of Turkey into the region further erodes Israel’s defensive capabilities.

I disagree. 

When Israeli prime ministers say publicly sometimes that they can deal with any military reality in the region—and hint that they are light years ahead of their enemies—I believe them. 

And there is another factor, a very important one. By saying “See Ya,” Trump has left a real mess in the lap of…Putin. He now has another bad actor in the region to deal with. He faces the choice of jumping through hoops to prevent Iran from taking over the country, or a Russian defeat. So all of a sudden, far from being a cold abandonment of a key ally, Trump’s announcement is a bravo strategic move. 

And frankly, I like Trump’s pro-America thinking here, as he stated this week:

“’Lindsay Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years, with thousands of soldiers fighting other people’s wars,’ Trump said. ‘I want to get out of the Middle East. I am not going to lose potentially thousands and tens of thousands of American soldiers fighting a war between Turkey and Syria.’”

Further, Iran has shifted from a proxy war to more direct military conflict in the region. Personally, I don’t want American troops fighting a war against Iran in the Middle East. After Trump pulled out of the disastrous Obama-led “nuclear deal” in 2018, Iran adopted what it called a policy of “strategic patience” and since May of this year has been moving more toward direct military confrontation. Trump this week fairly scolded the Arab states, telling them to finance and fight their own wars. You can bet that Iran has Saudi Arabia in its crosshairs more than it has Israel in the same spot. 

A statement from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is very interesting: 

“Despite the significant change in Iran’s modus operandi, in our assessment, Iran does not strive for an all-out confrontation with the United States or Israel, preferring instead to pursue a policy of brinkmanship, constantly testing the ‘rules of the game.’” 

So then, let’s look more at long-term solutions regarding Iran, with an American-Israeli-led strike on the mullah’s nuclear facilities. Stop worrying so much about the Syrian civil war, which, as we noted, has now mired Russia in a long-term muck. 

You’ll notice I have not discussed this week the claims that Turkey’s entrance into Syria starts the clock ticking on Gog-Magog. I’ve given my views on this subject before this past year, but suffice to say I continue to believe we cannot be dogmatic about the timing of this coming end-times battle. I believe it will happen, of course, but I don’t set dates or say, “Yes, it has started.” 

In the meantime, let’s celebrate the fact that fewer American soldiers are dying in far-off wars. Let’s also celebrate even more that our God’s promises are sure and He has promised that Israel will never disappear again. 

Meditate on that fact this week!