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The Syrian Civil War’s Global Political Shake-up

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The Syrian Civil War’s Global Political Shake-up

The international response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons is reshaping the world’s political landscape.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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In November 2012, The Real Truth published “Syria’s Crisis Set to Redefine the World,” which definitively stated that an increasingly irrelevant United States would cause a power vacuum to be filled by the voices and policies of Russia, Egypt, Europe and the Vatican.

We wrote at the time: “As the West”—meaning the U.S. and Western Europe—“continues its slow bow from the world stage, other nations will continue to rise in prominence. These events will accelerate.”

Accelerate they have! Now, it is better to say that this Middle East crisis has already redefined the world. After reports that Syria’s President Bashar Assad used toxic sarin gas on rebels, Washington’s plan for a limited military intervention was largely dead-on-arrival.

More than ever, America is a fading, war-weary superpower. The Syria crisis has become just another means by which growing power players are flexing their newfound political clout.

Russia

In 2012, The Real Truth noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in government-funded media outlet Russia Today that his nation was entering a “new era,” one in which it “behaves and will behave differently.” True to what he said, Mr. Putin stepped in and rallied support around his plan to diffuse the Syria situation using diplomacy.

Moscow talked Washington out of a military strike and instead required Mr. Assad to hand over his weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Putin then garnered international backing for a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that requires Syria to give up its chemical weapons. The Russian president has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

According to Reuters, “The agreement emerged from intense negotiations at the United Nations with Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chief ally. The aim was to craft a measure to require destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal in line with a U.S.-Russian deal reached [in early September] that averted American strikes on Assad’s forces in the midst of a bloody civil war.”

“Western powers on the Security Council backed away from many of their initial demands, diplomats say, in order to secure Russia’s approval.”

Now that the decision is back in the hands of the UN Security Council where Russia has veto power, Reuters reported that “the chances of U.S. military action appeared to recede even further.”

Egypt

The news from Egypt is the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi and the army solidifying power behind General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The move ended a governmental stalemate between the Muslim Brotherhood and the armed forces—meaning the nation should now be able to move forward on surer footing.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images
Meet and greet: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, extends his hand to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy during a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Sept. 5, 2013).

Cairo’s main goal seems to be removing Mr. Assad and adding another nation to its growing ranks of Arab Spring allies—no doubt hoping to reshape Syria as another Islamic democracy.

General Al-Sisi backed Moscow’s alternative to military intervention. In fact, even before the deal was struck, Egypt was working on building a stronger relationship with Russia while distancing itself from a sullied United States, according to McClatchyDC.

“Whether a proposed Russian deal to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons as an alternative to a U.S. missile strike actually works or not, Russia already has emerged as a winner among many Egyptians.

“For them, the deal is a reminder that there’s a former ally that can solve the region’s problems peacefully without the tarnish of a failed intervention in Iraq, failed Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, reviled alliances with fallen regimes or the perception that it has treated the region as its lapdog.”

Europe

In 2012, we pointed out that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that the EU must take a stronger role in the Middle East to ensure a democratic Syria emerges from the conflict. At the time, United Press International summarized part of his state of the EU address: “More than ever…a ‘new world order’ needs an active and engaged Europe. Human rights and European values are principles that extend beyond the borders of the European Union.”

Today, the EU has also favored a diplomatic approach over military intervention.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly on September 25, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy urged decisive action that could create momentum to stabilize the Middle East.

Mr. Van Rompuy stated, “We cannot let this spiral of criminal, sectarian violence [in Syria] pursue its dreadful course at the heart of the world’s most unstable region.”

President Van Rompuy continued, “The European Union welcomes the diplomatic opening created in order to control and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.”

“Eliminating Syria’s chemical arsenal is in itself a major step. Potentially it could also be important for the wider dynamics in the region. Clearly, the conflict wrecking Syria reflects many of the deep-seated tensions rippling throughout the Middle East. It is fed by these tensions, and fuels them as well. So a solution for Syria will need to take into account the wider picture.

“That is why any political opening matters deeply: a breakthrough on chemical weapons could start opening other doors. In the black wall of Syria’s doom, it will be a first crack.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On the march: Rebel fighters of the Yarmuk Brigade train on the outskirts of the southern Syrian city of Daraa (Sept. 29, 2013).

The European president continued by stating that full engagement of the international community using “all available diplomatic means” could trigger other opportunities for progress, including with Palestine, Israel and Iran.

Mr. Van Rompuy also said that Europeans understand what it takes to move from war within and among neighboring nations to a peaceful political union: “We in Europe, we know that reconciliation is the hardest thing. The countries on our continent only agreed to live peacefully together after many wars, and many civil wars, with huge numbers of victims—a price we never want others to have to pay. And we know reconciliation is even harder inside a country than between countries. No longer waging war is one thing, living again together quite another.”

The Vatican

Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has called for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict.

According to The Associated Press, the pope has “condemned the use of chemical weapons, but he called for a negotiated settlement of the civil war in Syria, and announced he would lead a worldwide day of fasting and prayer for peace…”

AP wrote: “Francis abandoned the traditional religious theme of the weekly papal appearance to crowds in St. Peter’s Square and instead spoke entirely, and with anguish, about Syria.”

“‘My heart is deeply wounded by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments’ on the horizon, Francis said, in an apparent reference to the U.S. and France considering a military strike to punish the Syrian regime for a chemical weapons attack.”

Later, at a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square attended by a crowd of 100,000, Francis urged world leaders to pull humanity out of a “spiral of sorrow and death,” Reuters reported.

The news agency quoted the pope: “This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace!”

Continuing Problem

Watch these four power players—Russia (along with China), Egypt, Europe and the Vatican—over the coming months and years. Their new positions will solidify as the global political landscape is completely remade.

The Real Truth has regularly written about these four world powers, and will continue to do so with clarity and authority seen nowhere else.

How can this publication be absolutely certain things will play out this way in coming years? The answer comes from our unique approach to analyzing global trends, using the Bible as a lens through which to view world events.

While many scoff at this idea—believing the Bible to be a pseudohistory book full of Jewish fairy tales—this could not be further from the truth! You can prove that the Bible is God’s Word and that the prophecies it contains outline soon-to-occur events. Read the booklet Bible Authority...Can It Be Proven? to learn more.


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