War talk is more than an idle threat. It is the spillover of language that has taken place behind the scenes after diplomacy has failed.
Historically, the reality of an impending war can be measured by the language used by opponents as the horrific day of actual battle approaches. In 1936, Fascists and Republicans clashed in Spain. Extreme Leftists purged the moderates in Soviet Russia. Even in the United States, rightists vigorously opposed Roosevelt’s growing statist tendencies. In 1937, pastors were jailed by the Nazis in Germany. The Japanese bombed Shanghai. Chiang Kai-shek of China joined with Mao Tsetung to oppose Hirohito’s forces. Then, the Chinese broke and Chinese Communism exploded.
Fascists were stoned in a London rally. Alarmed Jews began to flee to Palestine, then Jewish access to their home country was restricted by the British. The Japanese sank U.S. ships. In 1938, Hitler promoted himself to become Germany’s military chief.
The Nazis took Austria. European leaders bowed to Hitler on the disposition of Czechoslovakia. Then, the Fuehrer invaded the Sudetenland and further mocked the peacemakers by taking Czechoslovakia on a southward course that eventually included Africa. In 1939, this move was compounded as the Nazis moved eastward, with designs upon Poland, eastern European nations and finally, Russia.
The year 1941 witnessed German blitzkrieg and the siege of Moscow. Japanese kamikaze fighters and Pearl Harbor electrified the world. With the United States fully involved, the world had fallen into a massive war.
Only five years had passed since serious war talk had raged back and forth across the globe. In retrospect, it seems that anyone alive in those days could have known with absolute certainty that war was inevitable.
Currently, Syria’s despotic President, Bashar Assad, has adopted a siege mentality and threatens to hurl rockets in every direction. But he has specifically named Tel Aviv as his prime target.
Today, the Middle East has left the field of peace talk. War talk has broken forth!
While Israel continues as a tiny island in a large and stormy sea, militant talk swells in an unimpeded fashion. Each verbal exchange is more vicious than the one that preceded it. For weeks, Assad has used the violent force of his military to quell the growing street demonstrations against his administration. His regime is little more than a continuation of the dictatorial rule of his father, Hafez, who reigned terror over Syria as an absolute dictator for over 30 years. In the 1982 Hama massacre, nearly 40,000 of his own people were mowed down with machine guns, rockets and poison gas.
As with the father, so with the son. Bashar, a European-educated sophisticate, doesn’t hesitate to use maximum force, often using his armed forces to massacre demonstrating citizens, then bury them in mass graves within hours. Sometimes his troops quickly lay asphalt pavement over the new graves!
Both NATO forces and Turkey – on Syria’s northern border – have threatened to force his hand. He and his ruling clique are Alawite Muslims, thought of by the Shiite factions as untrustworthy apostates. They see Assad as a dangerous threat to the solidarity of their cause.
In particular, Turkey has become increasingly warlike since its parliament fell to radical Islamic factions, who now constitute the political power. The Turkey, Syria, NATO axis has made Israel an imminent target.
Flattening a City!
An ongoing high-level threat against Israel is now a dark reality. War could come in moments. The following report gives the reasoning behind the threat.
In an October 4th news release, DEBKAfile reports that, “For the past three months, Syrian President Bashar Assad has staved off a military attack by Turkey or NATO for halting the exceptional brutality of his crackdown on protest by explicitly holding Greater Tel Aviv’s 1.2 million inhabitants under threat of missile retaliation. Iran and Hizballah are exercising the same deterrent. This standoff was the main theme of the talks US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta held with Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv Monday, Oct. 3.
“According to Western intelligence sources, Syria, Iran and Hizballah have charted a coordinated military operation for flattening metropolitan Tel Aviv. Israel’s financial, industrial and cultural center, with thousands of missiles launched simultaneously by all three – plus the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami [Islamic jihadists] firing from the Gaza Strip.
“Israeli officials have never publicly admitted that this threat is on record, but Western intelligence sources have reported that Israel reacted with a warning of its own: If a single Syrian missile explodes in Tel Aviv, Damascus will be the first to pay the price, and if the missile offensive persists, one Syrian town after another will be destroyed.
“The Israeli message to Assad cited the warnings Defense Minister Ehud Barak and government members addressed in the past year to Hizballah, that if Tel Aviv comes under attack from its missiles, not only Beirut but all of Lebanon would go up in flames. Assad was given to understand that Syria would go the same way as Lebanon if it engaged in missile belligerence against Israel.”
For decades, we and other Bible scholars have pointed to an amazing prophecy in the book of Isaiah. It prophesies the “flattening” of Damascus. And we have often pointed out that this city has never suffered the fate described by the prophet. It has existed in its present location for about four thousand years, being continuously inhabited. But one day, it will be smashed, as in the following description:
“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts. And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean” (Isaiah 17:1-4).
And now, for the first time in history, we see warring parties following a course that could very well fulfill this prophecy. War talk has now reached the stage that historically, has led directly to battle.
Note that in the above passage, “… the cities of Aroer …” are mentioned in conjunction with Damascus. Aroer is the territory south of Damascus, along the eastern side of the Jordan River, all the way down to today’s Amman, Jordon. Note also that Israel suffers in this battle. Apparently, even central Israel is involved in this action, suffering some sort of severe injury as an offshoot of the battle.
All this started less than a year ago, with the Arab uprisings that have resulted in almost total destabilization in the traditional politics of the region.
The Widening Battlefield
Beginning with the Tunisian revolution in December of 2010, a few street demonstrations steadily grew in scope, size and focus. Their longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was deposed in January, 2011. The demonstrators, motivated by a lack of jobs, inflation, governmental corruption and an oppressive police force, came together spontaneously. Then, they discovered that they were in a position to demand a new government. Their success sparked an uprising in Egypt that soon resulted in the ousting of Hosni Mubarak.
Other uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria also witnessed varying degrees of success, leading to protest demonstrations in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Mauritania and Libya. Western news writers began to refer to an “Arab spring.” They painted the popular protests as the blooming of democracy in the Middle East as a whole, foreseeing the advent of an era of peace.
Instead, the last year has been characterized by increasingly uncensored declarations of all-out war. Tunis gained a more sympathetic government, but Egypt’s Mubarak was replaced by a military junta that is utterly ruthless. Dissenters are spirited away in the night, never to be seen again. Ten percent of the Egyptian population is Coptic Christian. For centuries, this sect has been allowed to live in peace as next-door neighbors to the Islamics. But now, it is being harassed to the point that many have been forced to flee Egypt after centuries of peaceful coexistence.
Libya, a major oil producer, is still wracked by revolutionary war. Its outcome is unpredictable, but most foresee a takeover by the radical Islamic Brotherhood. And this is the story in today’s Mideastern panorama.
Increasing radicalization is seen in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. Hizballah in Lebanon boasts a rocket inventory exceeding 40 to 50 thousand individual missiles of different designs. Some of them can, indeed, reach Tel Aviv with explosives, as well as chemical and biological devices.
But war talk has reached a peak in the words of Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Rising to power in conjunction with Turkey’s radicalized parliament, Erdogan has committed what Jewish writer Shmuley Boteach calls, “Erdogan’s blood libel against the Jewish state.”
Writing in The Jerusalem Post on Oct. 3rd, he speaks of the Prime Minister as having, “… made himself into a living fountain spewing anti-Israel invective.
“His latest attack on the Jewish state, to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, beggared belief. Israel, he said, ‘shows no mercy’ and is ‘cruel’ in its treatment of Palestinians. Not content to feed the worst anti-Semitic, Shakespearean stereotypes of Jews being vindictive and heartless, he trivialized Jewish suffering due to the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas before offering an unbelievable blood libel, claiming “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed” as a result of military action by Israel. Earlier he had accused Israel of acting like ‘a spoiled child’ and described the flotilla raid as ‘savagery.’”
“Erdogan claims that Israeli actions border on genocide and that Israel indiscriminately kills Palestinians when the truth is that the Israeli military is, given the level of threat it faces, one of the most humane and restrained in the world. Even if it were true that Israel has killed anything near that number it would still have to be seen in the context of the Palestinian people declaring a non-stop war of annihilation against the Jewish state and Israel being forced to defend itself.”
Boteach adds, “The second intifada, from 2000 till the present, is said to have seen the death of 4,850 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli security forces and 594 Palestinians killed by Palestinians. It bears mentioning that during the second intifada 1,062 Israelis died at Palestinian terrorist hands.”
Finally, Turkey has mobilized its troops along the Syrian border in its southern Hatay region. There, they can transport arms to the Syrian protestors. They seem to be trying to escalate a war there.
The Turks and NATO
A number of biblical prophecies make it clear that Israel will successfully stave off the invasions that are sure to come in the near future. The prophet Zechariah tells of the latter-day “governors” of Judah, more correctly translated as “military commanders.” Apparently, they will lead a massive defense with distinction in defense of Israel. But as the following description of the battle shows, the Israelis will also suffer a great loss:
“And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
“In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
“The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:5-10).
Clearly, Judah – the Jews – are about to engage in the greatest battle of their entire history. And they will be successful, but not without some defeat and great injury in the process.
This battle may be much closer than we now think, given the escalating language of war that now rages across the region. And actions will speak louder than words.