The Bible tells it like it is, and Proverbs 19:1 says “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is perverse in his lips and is a fool.” Well, when it comes to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), there’s been a lot of lies and foolishness. ISIS, or IS for short, is an Islamic group that beheads unbelievers, crucifies people they don’t like, and they pretend to be homosexuals so they can lure gay men and stone them to death. Since ISIS is shockingly evil, they’ve become a convenient bogeyman. In fact, using ISIS as an excuse to do whatever you want in the Middle East is all the rage.
Consider Turkey. Within days of ISIS taking credit for a suicide bombing in Turkey back in July, the Turkish government allowed the United States to use its air bases to bomb ISIS. Indeed, they even promised to join the campaign. Yet, instead of focusing on ISIS, they’ve been bombing Kurds associated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
It’s no secret that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to change the country’s constitution to make himself a dictator. Unfortunately for him, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) won enough votes in the June election to deny his party a majority in parliament. Since a coalition government couldn’t be formed, Erdoğan called for snap elections in November. To weaken support for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, he’s decided to bomb Kurds to stir up nationalism and anti-Kurdish sentiment. The only problem is that the poll numbers haven’t changed much since the bombing began. It’s safe to say explosions at a recent peace rally, which killed nearly 100 people including Kurdish activists, probably won’t be good for Erdoğan’s poll numbers. While anti-government protests unfolded, the Turkish government is blaming everybody’s favorite whipping boy for the bombing: ISIS.
Meanwhile, a little further south, Russia is using ISIS as an excuse to support Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. While Russia bombs Syrian rebels, and occasionally drops bombs on ISIS, Iran “has sent thousands of troops into Syria” to help the cause of propping up Assad. On the other hand, the United States armed various rebel groups in Syria to defeat ISIS, and recently dropped 50 tons of ammunition to help their cause.
Of course, the United States supposedly spent months bombing ISIS in Syria, but Russia just “targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post” with air strikes. If the American government was serious about defeating ISIS, why did all of these ISIS installations still exist after months of bombing? After all, it’s been reported that “An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters as well as militants from other extremist groups have fled Syria” because of Russia’s efforts. Obviously, the United States was far more interested in getting rid of Assad than fighting ISIS.
Officially, everybody’s in Syria because of ISIS. In reality, ISIS isn’t why a US and EU-supported Sunni coalition is jostling with a Russian-led Shia alliance in the Middle East. It’s all about power, but whoever wins will only revel in it for a time. Ultimately, “The kingdoms of the world” will “become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Enjoy it while it lasts, gentlemen. The King is coming.