3 ‘Bully Goats’ Gruff: Putin, Erdogan, and Rouhani :: By Tom Hoffman

Syria and Bible Prophecy

What is happening politically, military, and geopolitically in Syria today is simply astounding and has astonishing Bible prophecy implications.  For some time now, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has been a puppet leader, and three countries have bullied their way into Syria and now have a strong political and military presence.

These three countries are Russia, Turkey, and Iran. I think it’s important to examine the leaders of these three countries and, specifically, why they seek religious, political, and economic influence in Syria.

Vladimir Putin, Russia

Russia began airstrikes in Syria in the fall of 2015, positioning itself as assisting in the fight against the improbable rise of Islamic State. But don’t be fooled; Russia’s insertion into the Middle East has never been about protecting Syria but, rather, about two specific goals that Putin has been coveting all of his leadership years.

The first Russian strategic goal in occupying part of Syria is regaining recognition as a global power instead of the belittling assertion as a regional power by the United States and her allies. Because the United States has established a policy to withdraw troops from Syria, Russia is more than willing to step into the vacuum created by U.S. withdrawal and act as a diplomat between the Kurds and Turkey’s armed forces. Just last week Putin took diplomatic credit for a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds in northern Syria.

Make no mistake about it; Putin has an unquenchable desire for Russia to be seen as the leader in global political power. There is no place better to gain significant political credibility than in engaging peace processes in the Middle East.

The second Russian goal by being in Syria lies in the need to reassert herself as a global economic power through control of additional oil and natural gas resources. If you are a Bible prophecy student, you know that Israel has recently discovered a vast cache of oil and natural gas resources that Benjamin Netanyahu called a gift from God.

Russia’s primary interests in Syria are not to help the Syrian people, but to reestablish a global power perception and to get closer to newly discovered oil and gas in Israel.

Recep Erdogan, Turkey

In a recent move that made most people pause, President Trump pulled 50 specialized American soldiers out of Northern Syria and gave Turkish President Recep Erdogan to protect and enforce the Turkish/Syrian border.

Without hesitation, Erdogan invaded the part of the Kurdish-held northern border on the Syrian side to eradicate terrorists who have killed thousands and thousands of Turkish people over the past decade. In effect, Erdogan felt compelled to clean up the border it shares with Syria to stop ethnic fighting – apart from the fighting the Kurds were involved with in supporting the Syrian anti-government forces.

In response, President Trump did threaten Erdogan with severe economic sanctions if Turkey does accelerate their military response beyond the immediate Turkey/Syria border.

We will wait to see what happens in northern Syria, but it remains clear that Turkey now has a high- stakes military presence in Syria on the pretense that she is protecting herself against terrorism coming out of northern Syria.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran

Iran’s current leadership (President Hassan Rouhani) holds the same hostile position against the United States and Israel that its last president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) held. And that is the United States is the ‘Great Satan’ and Israel remains the ‘little Satan.’

Iran feels very strongly that America’s presence in Syria is an “occupation” and therefore their presence is required to protect Assad’s failing Syrian government.

It is also commonly agreed that Iran funds the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah. By the way, Hezbollah means, literally, “The Party of Allah.” It’s important to know that Hezbollah acts as a proxy of Iran and has an active mission to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

While Iran feigns support for the Syrian government to help in its civil war, her primary interests in Syria are to continue to financially support and religiously inspire Hezbollah in their pursuit to destroy Israel and to form a strong coalition with Putin to expunge United States presence in the Middle East, thus destabilizing the region.

As recently as 2018, Rouhani was quoted as saying, “In eastern Euphrates [where] it is mainly America’s illegal interventions that are causing the problems … one of our demands is for American forces to get out of Syria immediately.”


Putin has a thirst for global power, and his eye is on Israel’s natural gas and oil resources. Erdogan wants to protect the northern border he shares with Syria but has a thirsty relationship with Russia and Putin.  Rouhani hates the United States and will destabilize the entire region in order to pull out U.S. troops. Iran also funds the terrorist group Hezbollah which wants not more than to annihilate Israel.

Implications – The Prophecy of Isaiah 17:1

“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.'”

Most, if not all of us who are passionate about Bible prophecy believe that Isaiah 17:1 will happen prior to the Tribulation Period and could very well be the genesis of the great invasion of Israel predicted in Ezekiel’s prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 38.

One prophecy scholar that I trust in very much is Amir Tsarfati. Amir, in his recent Middle East Update, declares something we must all think about very seriously:

“My eyes as an Israeli are fixed on Damascus. My eyes as a believer are fixed on Damascus. My eyes as a Jewish believer and an Israeli are fixed on Damascus because I understand that, Biblically, Damascus is to fall, and to collapse, and to cease from being a city … as Isaiah 17 says. And I understand also that such a thing might bring about a great war on Israel from the site of the three musketeers from the north: the Iranians, the Turks, and of course the Russians are already there.  And their bankrupted allies – Sudan and Libya. So, we are watching all these things happen right now before our very eyes.” – Amir Tsarfati, BeholdIsrael.com

If you want to know how close the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is – it is wise to keep your eyes on Syria, especially Damascus. And because of the presence of the three bully presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, there is no telling how close we truly are to the end of days.