Late last week, President Donald Trump lobbed some missiles at a Syrian airbase because Bashar al-Assad allegedly used chemical weapons. Although it’s highly unlikely Assad actually used chemical weapons, Trump’s crew hinted that who used the weapons didn’t really matter. For starters, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained that Russia was supposed to “act as the guarantor that these weapons would no longer be present in Syria.” He added “Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment from 2013. So either Russia has been complicit, or Russia has been simply incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of that agreement.” In other words, Tillerson argued that these strikes were intended to clean up Russia’s mess.
What’s the endgame here? Simply put, this is about gaining leverage over Russia and pressuring them into making Assad leave power. Let’s be real. It’s no coincidence that Trump met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II just days before he took military action in Syria. Arguably the most level-headed leaders in the Middle East, the two gentlemen probably told Trump that in order to have long-term stability in the region, Assad had to go once ISIS was defeated. Saudi Arabia and Israel, two of America’s strongest allies in the Middle East, would certainly agree. They view Assad as a threat because Iran supports him, and both countries want to counter Iranian influence in the region. All that said, Russia has made it clear that their support of Assad isn’t unconditional. This isn’t a surprise, because Russia is the real power in Syria and Assad is just a useful figurehead for the time being.
Speaking of Assad, Trump’s military strike was also intended to spur him to go after ISIS with more commitment. After all, much of the international community and many of his neighbors want him to step down after ISIS is defeated. Why would Assad want to hurry in removing ISIS? Apparently, Assad got the message, because he reacted to the strikes by remarking “This aggression has increased Syria’s resolve to hit those terrorist agents, to continue to crush them, and to raise the pace of action to that end wherever they are.”
Regardless, Trump is playing a very dangerous game here. Syria is a complete disaster and it would be wise to stay out of it completely. It’s not our fight. In fact, Trump agreed during his campaign, saying “We cannot be the policemen of the world. We cannot protect countries all over the world.” With regard to Syria specifically, Trump was vocally against getting involved. Yet, after listening to the Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis and Israelis, he determined the only way to have peace in the region was to defeat ISIS and then remove Assad through a political process. The problem is that peace in the Middle East isn’t Trump’s job, even if he knows all about the art of the deal.
To drum up support, Trump gave a quasi-humanitarian, pseudo-spiritual reason for this attack. Commenting about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad, Trump stated “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” To be honest, such pandering is really beneath Trump. It rings hollow, because why pick and choose? The government doesn’t care about the starving and dying children in Yemen, where our supposed ally Saudi Arabia is indiscriminately killing Yemenis. Besides, the United States isn’t God’s arm of justice in this world.
In any case, what are the prophetic ramifications of Trump’s foray into Syria? Well, the anti-Antichrist alliance of the end times is emerging. During the end times, the Antichrist will invade Israel (Daniel 11:31), he’ll have multiple battles with Egypt (Daniel 11:25, 42-43) and Jordan will resist him (Daniel 11:41). These countries are already beginning to come together. Finally, it’s likely that when Assad is removed, his replacement isn’t going to make Israel and many of their Arab neighbors happy. It could very well lead to the Daniel 11:22 War.