Russia Increasing Peace Role In The Mideast
by Tom Olago
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently taken a position publicly known to be uncharacteristic of him – open and direct criticism of Israel’s handling of the Palestinian cause. Although it’s true that Russia typically and routinely votes against Israel at the United Nations, Putin himself is hardly known to express vocal resentment towards Israel in public. This development is therefore being seen by diplomatic sources and analysts as an indication that Russia henceforth intends to more actively advance and promote Palestinian issues at the United Nations. The end result should naturally result in a strengthening of Russia’s hand or “active presence” in the Middle East peace process effort.
This analysis, based on the wider Arab-Israeli conflict was carried in a recent edition of the Jerusalem Post. The article further reported that, in a recent speech in Moscow, the Russian president was quoted stating that: “The humiliation and the oppression that the Palestinian people are going through are a source of danger and destabilization, and every step must be taken to eliminate the humiliation and oppression”. Putin reportedly also spoke out against settlement construction and said that the settlement enterprise constitutes “a cause increasing tension in the Middle East.”
These positions are thought to be uncharacteristic of Putin in at least two ways. Firstly, Putin’s comments align to US President Barack Obama’s stated position on Israeli settlement projects – which in itself is unusual in the sense that Putin rarely supports US diplomatic approaches – in public. Secondly, Putin has so far been thought to support Israel and has even forged good diplomatic and economic ties with the Jewish nation.
Some recent cases in point evidencing the mutual working relationship between the two nations were that Israel refrained from protesting the widely condemned annexation of Crimea that started in March of 2014, much to the chagrin of the US. It is also known additionally that Russia has a keen interest in the vast gas and oil reserves recently discovered in Israel, and has been discussing proposals of mutual benefit with Israel.
Putin’s comments were undoubtedly welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose initiative to win a UN Security Council vote (for its resolution to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank on a timetable)has been buoyed. The intended goal is to finally facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state. Israel, on the other hand has predictably not been encouraged by these developments. Adding cause to their concerns is the apparent growing comradeship between Russia and Iran, as reportedly evidenced during talks on Tehran’s nuclear program with the P5+1 group of world powers.
What isn’t so clear is what exactly has prompted the further hardlining of positions by Russia towards Israel. A hint may be found in Putin’s resolve, which is clear in the choice of the words “…and every step must be taken to eliminate the humiliation and oppression (of the Palestinians)”, not to mention his virtually unprecedented reference to Israeli settlements as “a cause increasing tension in the Middle East.” His words “every step must be taken” certainly do not suggest an aversion to military action as a potential step.
What is the significance of all this? Could it be that Russia is positioning herself to spearhead a military invasion of Israel, under the convenient and popular guise of protecting the Palestinian cause and helping to enforce a Middle East peace agreement? Could the real reason for such a Russia-led attack be instead an attempt to forcefully “plunder and loot” Israel’s vast and much valued gas and oil reserves, not to mention gaining control of a highly strategic geographical location for military and expansionist purposes?
From a Bible prophecy perspective, we know that in these last days, there will be a Russia-led alliance that will wage war against Israel. We also know that God will actually provoke such a war by putting “hooks” in the “jaws” of “Gog” – widely believed by Bible prophecy scholars to represent present-day Russia (Ezekiel 38:3-4, 10-12). Iran (Persia) is also mentioned in Ezekiel’s scenario as a key partner in the anti-Israeli military alliance. Reading today’s news and current affairs, it’s easy to see how the cozy relationship between Moscow and Tehran would facilitate such developments.
“On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people (Israel) —all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” (Ezekiel 38:10-12).
The reference to “rich in livestock and goods” suggests the lure of financial/economic gain or a “great spoil” (see also Ezekiel 38:13). This may partially represent a dominant control over vast natural and mineral reserves. Such a catch would grant tremendous economic advantage for Russia – such as in the natural gas market in Europe and beyond, already well exemplified by the control and reach of Russian gas giant Gazprom.
The outcome of this war will be that God will directly intervene and cause the anti-Israel alliance to fight each other. In addition, God will enforce their crushing defeat using the elements of nature and direct interventions to destroy that alliance: “…And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’” (Ezekiel 38:18-23).