The slaughter continues. Over the weekend, Syria's army unleashed a massacre on Homs, killing 350 and wounding 1,300.
Nearly a year ago, protestors began to call for change in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad responded by sending his forces to put down these protests by shooting into crowds and by imprisoning and torturing survivors. However, his tactics effectively poured gasoline on the fire, as protests massively grew across the nation. But Assad continued his gruesome tactic, which then spawned an epidemic of desertions from his military, providing the opposition movement armed soldiers. Thus, a civil war is now waging across Syria, and Assad is desperately seeking to hang onto power—and onto life itself.
Assad's troubles are heaping up. For example, last week, Syrian opposition leader Colonel Riyad al-As'ad declared that half of Syria is no longer under Assad's control. In addition, there is mounting pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down from Arab leaders. Furthermore, Syrian army defections are rising sharply.
According to U.S. intelligence reports, on Monday of last week, 300 Syrian army soldiers defected in Damascus, 50 more in Rsatan, and dozens more in the suburbs of Damascus. At this point, the Syrian army cannot maintain control over all of the country, and the control that it has had is quickly diminishing.
Because the U.S. is worn down by recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, it chooses not to become involved—except to back sanctions against Syria. Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to support Syrian President Assad. On Saturday, the two nations vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution condemning the Syrian regime—a resolution that was supported by the U.S., France, and the U.K.
The fall of the Assad regime will adversely affect the Iranian regime. The Persian Gulf states realize this, so they are targeting a regime change in Syria. While their public statements portray their desire for democracy in Syria, their true goal is to shake the Iranian regime for the preparation of regime change there.
As syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in a column in the Washington Post this week, "the fall of [Assad] could be ominous for Iran." Furthermore, Krauthammer observes that Iran's "agent in Lebanon," Hizbullah, could fall next; for without the help it needs from Syria and Iran, it will likely go down.
Thus, as I have been predicting, the fall of Assad could begin a domino effect in the Middle East. When the Assad regime goes down, terrorist entities Hamas, Hizbullah, and even the Iranian regime will be adversely affected. So what could be the result of this domino effect? The way a number of events are aligning right now, it appears God may very well use the fall of Assad and the resulting domino effect to align for the fulfillment of end-times Bible prophecy. How?
The Bible predicts that the final seven years leading to the return of Christ (to the earth to establish God's kingdom) will begin with the confirmation of a seven-year treaty between Israel and ten leaders of other nations. For that to occur, the Middle East will need to change. Terrorist entities will need to fall to open the way for that treaty and for world leaders to proclaim, "Peace and security!" (cf. 1 Thess. 5:3). Thus, the evidence indicates that the removal of Assad's government may bring down Hizbullah; it will do significant damage to Hamas; and it will likely embolden the Iranian opposition movement, preparing for the deposing of the Ahmadinejad regime.
But when God does something, He oftentimes is accomplishing a number of things at the same time. In other words, the fall of Assad could also align other elements for end-times prophetic fulfillment.
For example, one question that looms large—if Assad's departure is important for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy—is how Russia's defense of Assad fits into the prophetic picture. After all, Russia is not being shy about stepping up to help Assad. The Russians are blocking any kind of foreign intervention into the country. Then there is also Russia's unwillingness to endorse a U.N. resolution against Assad.
Some have speculated this has to do with Russian pride. At least that is the assessment of independent military analyst Alexander Golts who believes that the Russian approach to the Syrian situation is borne out of "some kind of revenge." He ties it to the Russian perception of the misuse of power by NATO in Libya.
Others believe the issue is Russia's reputation of reliability among its allies. If Russia abandons Syria now, it would send a message to its allies that one cannot rely on the Kremlin.
Another factor is that Syria is one of Moscow's most important trading partners, with military contracts worth $4 billion. In addition, Russia's only military base located outside of the former Soviet Union is in Syria.
Perhaps there is truth to all of this. However, ultimately, the reason Russia is serving as the ally for Assad, in this time of deep trouble for the Syrian president, is because this is part of God's plan. One purpose God may have for this alliance is that when Syria, and then Iran, fall, Russia's role in the Middle East will essentially be eliminated. For the resulting regional change for the elimination of the terrorist entities and governments will have no place for those that allied with them. Since the Middle East is the focus of end-times Bible prophecy, this means Russia will be absent from God's prophetic picture. This provides perfect alignment with end-times prophecy.
Thus, we may very well be witnessing God's preparation for end-times Bible prophecy—on the very eve of prophetic fulfillment. These are, indeed, exciting days!
[John Claeys serves as Executive Director of John Claeys Ministries through writing, speaking, and radio ministries and is the author of Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock—What Does the Bible Say?, a riveting look of the events leading up to the return of Christ. See www.JohnClaeys.com for more information.]