World Watch Today

Middle East Dictators

Steven LeBlanc

President Sisi of Egypt with John Kerry of the U.S.


In a recent article written by Robert Kaplan of Stratfor Intelligence service (, Mr. Kaplan expresses truths about the reality of the Middle East. The article can be read in full at:

I have underlined certain comments that I thought were particularly telling. Democracy is not the answer to the barbarity and bloodshed in the Middle East! Christ alone will bring peace to the region—when He returns to this earth.

Always remember: First of all, God has the ability to exercise total power and total control over nations and individuals. “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the balance; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing…. It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless” (Isaiah 40:15, 22–23).

The prophet Daniel described how Nebuchadnezzar, king of one of the most remarkable empires of all time, became insane and was driven out of office “in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (Daniel 4:17). God determines who will govern in the various nations, placing in office, sometimes, the basest of men.


The Hard Hand of the Middle East

By Robert D. Kaplan

Reality can be harsh. In order for the United States to weaken and eventually defeat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, it could use help from both the Iranian regime and that of President Bashar al Assad in Syria. In the Middle East, it takes illiberal forces to defeat an even more illiberal force. The mullahs’ Iran and al Assad’s Syria sadly represent the material at hand, with which the United States must somehow work or tolerate, however surreptitiously, however much it will deny it at the same time. Ah, you might say, What about the moderate, liberal opposition in Syria? Answer: Such forces are more viable on paper than on the battlefield.

The truth is understood but cannot always be admitted, either by officials or by journalists — the truth being that order is preferable to disorder, meaning dictatorship is preferable to chaos, even if dictatorship itself has often been the root cause of such chaos.

The Islamic State is the fruit of chaos. It arose in a vacuum of authority. That vacuum was created by both the weakening of an absolutist (albeit secular-trending) regime in Syria and the inability of a stable, power-sharing system to take hold in Iraq following America’s dismantling of Saddam Hussein’s own repressive rule. And the worse the chaos, the more extreme will be the reaction. Thus, from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq that together have killed many hundreds of thousands of people and have featured a plethora of armed groups, the Islamic State has emerged in all its horrifying barbarity.

This harsh moral and political reality extends beyond Syria and Iraq to the larger Levant and the Middle East. Egypt is now, once again, governed by an illiberal, Pharaonic regime, worse arguably than that of the deposed military dictator Hosni Mubarak. It has killed many demonstrators in the streets. It features a budding personality cult around its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Yet it is a friend of Western and Israeli interests, whereas the democratically-elected government it illegally deposed, that of the Muslim Brotherhood, was demonstrably not a friend of the West or Israel. That’s right, Western interests can sometimes — often, actually — be better served by autocracies than by democracies: that’s if the autocracy in question happens to be more liberal and secular in its values than the democracy in question. It is the regime’s philosophical values that are crucial — more so than the manner of how it came to power.

As the situation now stands, if there is going to be a less violent relationship between Israel and Gaza it is more likely to occur through the auspices of the al-Sisi regime in Cairo than through the Obama administration in Washington. It might not even be an exaggeration to say that the Israeli government, for the moment at least, trusts al-Sisi more than it trusts U.S. President Barack Obama. Though Obama might like to think of himself as a realist, the fact is that a President Richard Nixon or a President George H. W. Bush — and their secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and James Baker III — would have openly acknowledged their friendship with the current Egyptian regime, while Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, cannot quite bring themselves to do it.

Oman is a great friend of the United States. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said has quietly provided temporary basing support and logistics for American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and has been among the United States’ most avid diplomatic allies in the region. He rules in a liberal fashion. But he is an absolute dictator.

Morocco, like Oman, has always been among America’s most dependable friends in the Middle East. King Mohamed VI has been moving in the direction of a constitutional monarchy. But Morocco remains stable and dependable precisely because power ultimately rests with the monarch; thorough democracy could undo the country.

But isn’t it autocracy, too, that has led to such chaos? Yes, but that does not necessarily mean that democracy is viable in the current circumstances. To say that there is no other choice but democracy is to assume there is an immediate solution to every problem, whereas there may not be.

The Israelis know all of this. Therefore, nothing of what I say is shocking or even surprising to them. Indeed, over the decades they have embraced Arab autocrats through back channels. The Israelis have actually feared popular upheavals in the Arab world, aware that Arab autocrats are more likely to be less anti-Western and less anti-Israel than the man in the street. The fight for sheer physical survival is clarifying and dissipates illusions.

America's Impotence

Steven LeBlanc


As the United States becomes weaker other nations will seek to fill the leadership vacuum we leave behind. Dangerous miscalculations and aggressive behavior by our enemies will increase—the world will become even more unstable– more CRAZY.

Absent American leadership— aggressive nations such as Russia, China, Iran and ISIS in the Middle East, will seek to press their agendas. President, Obama’s foreign policy is viewed, at best, as being shallow and naïve—That is how our allies Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine view this administration.

Mr Obama’s bold talk and timid response to a variety of international crisis has encouraged–Saudi Arabia, for instance of, “speaking openly of building nuclear weapons. South Korea and Japan nurse similar ideas.

Our enemies look at how the President has responded to the conflicts that have occurred in Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel versus Hamas, Ukraine, skirmishes in the South China sea—and they see an administration that that favors withdrawal, isolationism and shallow oratory over decisive action.

The Economist Magazine, which is usually supportive of the president, wrote this:
First, he has broken the cardinal rule of superpower deterrence: you must keep your word. In Syria he drew a red line — he would punish Bashar Assad if he used chemical weapons. The Syrian dictator did, and Mr. Obama did nothing. In response to Russia’s aggression, he threatened fierce sanctions, only to unveil underwhelming ones. … the cumulative message is weakness.”

In Iraq, the al Qaeda off-shoot ISIS is 45 miles away from Baghdad–
ISIS is now threatening the country of Lebanon.

President Obama told us weeks ago that he is studying the ISIS situation. We have heard little since, and that is typical of Washington these days. The president studies, discusses, analyzes … then initiates a token gesture. Again, this shows America’s weakness.

The Saudi Royal family is said to be enraged at the President’s gullible approach to the Middle East.

Iran brought in weapons, deployed Hezbollah, and is now bringing in Afghans to fight in Syria—America continues to do very little. The Shiite forces of Iran/Syria are winning the war against the Sunni rebels primarily because America has chosen to remain passive—this is the conclusion of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey (all Sunni nations).

U.S. gains in Iraq and Afghanistan have mostly evaporated; the President has refused to give Ukraine the weapons it has been pleading for. And Israel believes every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since President Obama took office, has only strengthened Iran and Muslim radical terrorist groups.

American confidence and decisiveness is clearly broken.

God warned ancient Israel, “I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:19). He was warning ancient Israel and future generations of the consequences of national sin, of turning away from God. He also said, “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies” (Deuteronomy 28:25). The cold truth is God is not blessing our nation when it comes to international conflicts. Our sins are too great! And God is angry. Compounding our problems is the fact that the President has not kept his word with American allies—and they are angry at the President.

The lesson here is that God expects people and nations to keep their pledges and commitments. Washington has failed repeatedly to honor its word, and its implied obligations with its friends [allies]—our allies are disgusted.

Take note of Numbers 30:2: “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word (this applies for international agreements as well). He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

When the United States doesn’t stand by its allies —tyrants notice.

Jean-Claude Juncker...a dangerous European

Steven LeBlanc

07 27 2014

Jean-Claude Juncker delivered a speech to the European Parliament recently. Its content was clear and alarming.  Juncker wants to see a more integrated European Union—a union that is more centralized and less tolerant of individual national sovereignty. His vision for the EU includes:

Integration (unifying) of capital markets
The euro currency as the unifying force across Europe
300bn euros extra spending and a commitment to the ‘social market’
Tax harmonization (especially on corporate tax rates)
Energy centralization of the energy supply
A financial transaction tax
No new member states for 5 years
Freedom of movement

A more “integrated” Europe is more vulnerable to the control of a future dictator…

We watch Europe closely because the Bible tells us that in the future a European –centered “beast” power is the final resurrection of the Roman Empire, one of the four great gentile empires of Daniels’ vision (Daniel 7)—it will be the final manifestation of the empire that fights Christ as His return (Revelation 17:12-14).

This European-centered “beast” power, as the Bible defines it, is the final resurrection of the Roman Empire, one of the four great gentile empires of Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7) that have largely dominated civilization through the centuries—and will again rise just before Christ’s return.

Revelation 17 gives us more details about this coming superpower: “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour [a prophetic reference to a short time] as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb [Jesus], and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings . . .” (verses 12-14).

The Palestinian Problem...Why Israel needs to govern

Steven LeBlanc


This past week Tablet Magazine published an article by David Goldman titled “Between the Settlers and the Unsettlers, the One-State Solution Is on Our Doorstep,” in which he argues that Israel will have to apply its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria because the Palestinians are incapable of governing themselves. It reminds us once again that the descendants of Ishmael are highly independent, and given to fighting one another and others —And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him—Genesis 16:12.

It is a perceptive article because it recognizes a 2 state solution is a fantasy that would not last—the Palestinians refuse to govern themselves. Below is the excerpt from the article which can be read in full at:

I have added the underlines to emphasize certain valuable insights:

As a non-Israeli, I do not wish to recommend a particular course of action to Israel’s government. But the notion that the Palestinians could stay clear of the riptide that has engulfed their neighbors was fanciful to begin with and has now been trampled by events. Over the past two decades, since the Oslo agreements were signed, the Palestine Authority shown little ability to govern anything. After Egypt’s military government suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, it turned viciously against the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, Hamas, and blockaded Gaza. If the PA were capable of ruling the West Bank, it would have allied with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to further isolate Hamas: Instead the PA formed a national unity government with Hamas. Events have shown that the PA cannot rule without Hamas, and it cannot rule with Hamas; it can neither support nor suppress terrorism on the West Bank. The inability of the Palestine Authority to govern, the inability of Hamas to distance itself from its patron in Tehran, and the collapse of the surrounding states eventually will require Israel to assume control over the West Bank. This time the Israelis will stay.

Israel can’t rely on the PA to conduct counterterrorism operations against Hamas, its coalition partner. Israel’s border with the Hashemite Kingdom in the Jordan Valley, meanwhile, has become a strategic pivot. ISIS is now operating in strength at the common border of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and occupied Iraqi-Syrian border towns close to the common frontier with Jordan. Jordan’s own security requires a strong IDF presence on its western border.

When Israel absorbs Judea and Samaria—and it is a when, not an if—the chancelleries of the West will wag their fingers, and the Gulf States will breathe a sigh of relief.

Israeli authority will replace the feckless regime of the Palestine Authority in order to maintain public order and ensure that the electricity works, and the roads are secure, and that bands of jihadist marauders or Shiite terrorists do not massacre entire villages; this action will elicit the reflex condemnation from bored and dispirited Western diplomats. The realization of the Zionist dream will then be consummated not with a bang, but a whimper; the bangs will be much louder elsewhere.

Is Al-Baghdadi the New Islamic Savior?

Steven LeBlanc

And he will be a wild donkey of a man, His [Ishmael] hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him—Genesis 16:12.

In an audio recording released at the beginning of Ramadan, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant declared its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”. The word caliph means “successor”—that is, a successor of Muhammad, who founded the Islamic religion. The word caliphate means “dominion of a caliph” and refers to a theocratic state that united all Muslims under one leader.

Baghdadi represents to many Sunni Muslims, the latest Islamic savior, greater in achievements than even Osama bin Laden. The stunning success of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in establishing a Caliphate, “Islamic state”, across northern Iraq and northeastern Syria in the last weeks represents a significant change in Middle East realpolitik. It is important to note that ISIS announced that it is now to be called the “Islamic State”. According to one of its spokesman, the new caliphate stretches from Iraq’s Diyala province to Syria’s Aleppo. Bin Laden never controlled large amounts of territory such as Baghdadi now controls—and the Islamic state is growing in size every week.

Not all Sunnis support the new found celebrity of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Many believe he is too violent, including the leadership of Al-Qaeda. Once an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, ISIS (now the Islamic State) is attempting to seduce Al-Qaeda warriors to its vision of an Islamic empire. Many Islamic leaders believe IS is too strict regarding Sharia and too oppressive. Also, IS (Islamic State) is known for its ruthless tactics, which include publicly crucifying enemies and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations of Sharia law.

Navi Pillay, a senior United Nations human rights official, expressed “extreme alarm” over what she expressed as summary executions, rape, beheadings, reprisal killings and shelling of civilians. It has been reported that ISIS crucified eight men in the town of Deir Hafar, in the east of Aleppo province, where their bodies remained in public view for three days.

But to many fanatics Baghdadi is the new caliph. Extremists from Europe, North America, and Eurasia are making their way to the Middle East to join Baghdadi’s cause. Also, it is important to note that ISIS has become the world’s wealthiest terrorist organization. Iraqi officials estimate that the group now has about $2 billion in its war chest. Those who have supported ISIS in the past include individuals in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Gulf Cooperation council. American intelligence recently learned that ISIS secured massive cashflows from the oilfields of eastern Syria, which it had commandeered in late 2012, and some of which it had sold back to the Syrian regime. They also looted the city of Mosul’s biggest bank absconding with nearly $450 million dollars. Word is they take good care of their fighters and their widows.

Sunni Shiite civil war

Iraq came under the influence of a Shia-majority government after the US-led invasion deposed Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in 2003. Since then withdrawal of US troops in 2011, Sunni/Shiite tensions have boiled over, resulting in Sunni insurgents, such as ISIS, increasingly waging war against the central Shiite led Iraqi government.

Gulf leaders often justify their support of ISIS and other extremist Sunni groups by recalling what they see as a failed America policy in Syria– a loss of credibility after President Obama retreated on his pledge to strike Syria’s leader Bashar Hafez al-Assad, after the regime used chemical weapons. Our Sunni Allies in the Middle East—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt do not trust the President to protect their interests (stopping the Shiite –Iranian move– to control the Middle East). Remember, that today, the Shiites are the dominant force in Iran and the biggest single religious community in Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain. So, in absence of America’s leadership in the Middle East, Sunni governments feel compelled to arm and financially support proxies such as ISIS—who will fight and kill Shiites.

The Sunni/Shiite civil war continues to intensify. Iraq and Syria are broken nations that will most likely fragment into various religious and ethnic states. The immediate goal of the Islamic State is to take control of Shiite dominated Baghdad, then move on to seize power in creating an Islamic state straddling Iraq and Al Sham, an Arabic label that has, over time, come to mean an area in the Middle East encompassing Iraq and Syria but also Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon.

The reality is that ISIS (now called the Islamic state)– is fighting against what many view as an Iranian-backed, Shia-led government of Iraq. Any intervention on behalf of the Iraqi government by the United States or Europe will be seen – by many segments of the Sunni population of Iraq and the region – as America backing of Shia over Sunni.

Saudi troops placed on high alert

It is believed that many leaders in the Arab world quietly supported ISIS, but that picture is quickly changing. Baghdadi has become too powerful and too popular, too fast; he is now seen as a threat to the Saudi Royal family and the monarchy in Jordan. So concerned is the Saudi Royal family that it has deployed 30,000 troops to its 500 mile border with Iraq following an alleged withdrawal of Iraqi border guards because of the ongoing battles against Al-Baghdadi forces to the north.

Saudi intelligence has discovered that IS militants have been heading towards the Saudi border with the aim of seizing the strategic border crossing of Ar Ar. A Saudi Arabian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN that security forces had been placed on the highest level of alert. “Saudi Arabia shares a long border with Iraq and the government is aware that ISIS is very close to Iraq’s border with Jordan, and is also aware ISIS has been very public about its intention to attempt to attack Saudi Arabia,” the official said.

A collateral concern in the region is, as the civil war in Iraq spreads, relief agencies are being overwhelmed. According to United Nations figures, the total number of displaced Iraqis inside the country could be approaching one million, in neighboring Syria, there are three million refugees who have fled across Syria’s borders. Relief agencies cannot keep up with the massive human need.

King of the South versus King of the North

As we watch the civil wars raging in Syria and Iraq it is good to keep in mind various prophecies found in the book of Daniel. Much of Daniel 11 describes the back-and-forth warring and subterfuge between the Seleucid Empire based in Syria—the king of the North—and the Ptolemaic Empire of Egypt—the king of the South. Notice, during the time of their conflict, these nations were north and south of Jerusalem, Israel was caught in between these warring nations.

History then reveals that the Roman Empire swallowed up Syria and became the kingdom of the North in 64 B.C. Thereafter History tells us that the kingdoms of the North and South continued to fight each other over the centuries, dominated by an ongoing struggle between Christian (Catholic) Europe and the Muslim Middle East. For example in 732 A.D. Islamic hordes advanced into what is modern France but then were defeated by the Christian armies led by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne. This victory blunted Islamic ambitions of taking control of all of Europe.

The 11th through 13th centuries saw the Crusades, launched by Catholic Europe in the north to regain the Holy Land from the Muslim powers of the south. Then in the early sixteenth century, the armies of the Ottoman Empire (Islamic) overran Hungary, sacking Budapest. In 1529 at Vienna, the armies of the Holy Roman Empire successfully defended Europe and prevented Muslims from sweeping through Europe. Another Ottoman (Islamic) attack in 1683 was defeated, again at Vienna. Since then no Arab army has advanced into Europe. The north-south struggle then broke out again when Napoleon attempted to militarily seize Egypt, Palestine and Syria from the Turks—he failed. During World War II, the north-south struggle flared up yet again, when Axis forces tried to take over the whole of North Africa and the Middle East—they eventually failed.

We will see another conflict in the future—Europe and the Arab world are bound to cross swords again. An end time prophecy found in Daniel 11(verse 40-42), describes a King of the South who will provoke a King of the North. The prophet Daniel described the rise this southern Islamic power that will push (fight) against this European (northern) power. Notice: “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He [the king of the North] shall also enter the Glorious Land [or the Holy Land], and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. The provocation of this King of the South motivates the soon coming European dictator to move troops into the Middle East—war will ensue.

Some of the key nations comprising the empire of the future “king of the South” are the nations of Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia! These are all Arab (and primarily Sunni) nations, which are located primarily south of Jerusalem, they are prophesied to enter into a confederacy with their Arab brothers, as is also indicated in Psalm 83.

Many Sunnis look to Baghdadi as the new Islamic caliph who will establish a permanent caliphate in the Middle East. We know from prophecy that this King of the South—will emerge on the world stage. Is this King of the South Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? No, I do not think he is the King of the South. But it is interesting to see his quick rise to celebrity status in the Arab world. The future Islamic King of the South will be enormously popular among many in the Arab world. We watch closely the personalities of the Middle East to see whom this man may be.

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