We should all be watching the very serious situation in the Syrian civil war. It increasingly is trending in a direction which could trigger a much-wider Mideast war: a war which pits not Arabs vs. Jews, but rather Sunni Moslems against Shiite Moslems. NATO nations, including the USA are allied to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan (Sunni nations) while Russia, Iran and China are allied to the Shiite/Alawite regime of Syria. This makes the possibility of a wider war ominous.
The first link reports that Iraq is splitting into an ever-greater Sunni vs. Shiite divide as Sunni Iraqis are enlisting to fight with the Syrian Sunni rebels against Assad’s regime while Iraqi Shiites are signing up to fight for Assad’s regime, which is from an Alawite branch of Islam that is allied to the Shiites. This link also notes that at least 380,000 Syrian refugees are being housed in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, making for a very tense and explosive situation. Adding another spark to the dry kindling of a war possibility in this region are the regular artillery and mortar barrages which have been exchanged between Turkish and Syrian army forces. An earlier post noted the Turks had ordered a Syrian plane crossing Turkey from Moscow to Syria to land in Turkey and be searched there for military weaponry. I saw in media reports that Russia strongly protested this Turkish action while the Germans supported it.
So far, there has been no Israeli involvement in this war. There was one odd report that three Syrian tanks had crossed into the Israeli-controlled sector Golan Heights, but had apparently quickly left. They may have done so deliberately to see if any Israeli reaction was forthcoming or they could have simply made a wrong turn.
The second link reports that the Syrian Sunni side has been receiving shipments of high-tech, night-vision goggles and anti-aircraft missiles so some serious weaponry is being funneled to the Sunni rebels by their Sunni supporters in other nations. Sure to provoke more Sunni intervention on the side of the rebels is the Assad regime’s use of cluster bomb munitions to attack rebel fighters. Another dangerous wild card in the equation is the role of Al Queda militants fighting on the side of the Sunni rebels (a fact cited in both the first and third links).
Turkey had been edging toward closer Iranian ties before the Syrian civil war broke out, but Turkey has pulled back from those ties since the Sunni-Shiite civil war began in Syria. Turkey has made several very bellicose warnings to Syria about a possible Turkish invasion of Syria if Syrian forces continue to land artillery and mortar shells in Turkish territory. Since Iran is committed to supporting and supplying Assad’s regime, Iran is clearly positioned as Turkey’s enemy in the event such a war breaks out. Also, if Turkey gets into trouble and needs military support, NATO is pledged to render military support to Turkey even as Russia is pledged to support Syria’s regime.
This could get ugly. In Matthew 24:6, Jesus Christ prophesied that “wars and rumors of wars” will characterize the latter days of this age before his Second Coming. The Old and New Testaments both have prophecies about some specific wars in the latter days, but the vast majority of the wars and “rumors” of wars have no specific prophecy about them. The Syrian civil war is a “hot” war, but it has the potential of becoming a much wider conflagration. The Syrian civil war is, increasingly, a proxy war between the Sunni nations led by Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the Shiite bloc led by Iran. This is not going to be a walk-over by NATO as was experienced in Libya if NATO intervenes. Russia has drawn some lines in the sand that it will support Assad’s regime. An all-out war may yet occur, or there could even be a negotiated split of Syria into an Alawite/Shiite Western Syria headed by Assad which would keep the Russian naval base open on Syria’s Mediterranean seacoast and an Eastern Syria freed from Assad’s rule which would be Sunni and which would border the Sunni-dominated portion of Iraq and would be allied to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. Time will tell, but this is a dangerous situation that could lead to a wider war if the Syrian civil war continues to drag on and on.