“You can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can’t make peace without Syria” – Henry Kissinger
The situation in Syria is threatening to reach a tipping point. The US and NATO have agreed to put Patriot Missile batteries in Turkey (a member of NATO) to defend against a Syrian attack. The Russian Black Sea Fleet has been deployed to the area as a counter-balance against the US presence. Now there are reports that Syrian dictator Bashir Assad has started moving his chemical weapons into position for a potential fight. (Say what you will about whether the current killing fields of Syria count as “genocide” – it sure as heck will if sarin gas gets unleashed.)
I suspect (and hope) there is still time for cooler heads to prevail, for Assad to go into exile and for some form of representative government to come into being in Syria. Launching chemical weapons would almost seem like a criminal choosing to shoot his hostage in a standoff with the police – it guarantees the end. Be that as it may, there have been many times in human history when we looked back to say “I really didn’t see it coming to that.”
I also suspect that any regime change will happen differently than last time. The “Arab Spring” revolt in Egypt was more peaceful than the standoff assault to topple Khaddafi in Libya (it wasn’t peaceful, just more peaceful … or less violent). I can only imagine that Libya will ultimately pale in comparison to Syria. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some sort of Balkanization in Syria, perhaps even with the Russians landing troops in Assad-controlled areas as “peace keepers” (not unlike Serbia). Now that would change the equation.
If it does turn into a broader war, I can only imagine that Iran and Syria will attempt to draw Israel into the conflict somehow.
In the midst of this there are quite a few Christians in Syria, believe it or not. They actually have something to fear from both “sides” in this conflict, facing the prospect of being stuck with the tyrant Assad or the potential religious zealotry of the insurrection (see Egypt for instance). We ought to pray for our brothers and sisters today. While we’re heading off to work or our otherwise normal “everyday” lives, they are running for their lives. Remember that today … and when something bad or trying happens to you today, remember that we have a great deal for which to be thankful.