Assad, left, shown here with Iran’s Ahmadinejad, says he ‘represents Iran’s interests’ in his meetings with Russia.
By SHARON K. GILBERT
August 21, 2008
WHILE the US media hold their collective breath awaiting Vice Presidential revelations from Obama and McCain, a strategic meeting is taking place in the resort town of Sochi, Russia.
This bustling vacation spot lies nestled against the majestic Caucasus Mountains, and serves as an important Russian access point to the Black Sea. Ironically, Sochi was once called the Kingdom of Egrisi and formed the western rank of ancient Georgia. Ceded to Russia following the Crimean War, Sochi grew prominent as a resort town during the reign of Joseph Stalin, who built a second home, or dacha, there. Vladimir Putin continued in Stalin’s tradition, at least where Sochi is concerned, investing large sums to modernize the city. Olympics fans may find the name ‘Sochi’ ringing bells. The sprawling resort has been named host city for the 2014 Winter Games.
So, why would such a beautiful, harmless city be at the center of geopolitics? To answer this question, one need only take a look at recent activities there. Dmitry Medvedev has been holding court in Sochi, hosting numerous political leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, Angela Merkel, and now Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Rice traveled to Sochi, insisting that Russia sign a peace treaty with Georgia. Merkel arrived to chat ostensibly about Georgia when in reality the Nordic Stream pipeline was on her mind. So why Assad? You can bet he’s not there for a vacation.
According to DEBKAfile report dated today (Aug 21), Assad and Medvedev have sealed a deal to place Russian missiles in Syria as a counter to US missiles in Poland. Just prior to Assad’s arrival, a Russian flotilla reportedly left port in Murmansk, led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, bound for the Syrian port of Tartus. Assad’s talks with Medvedev (and presumably Putin as well) will include Iran, since Assad has said he represents Iran’s interests as well. DEBKAfile also reports that Jordan’s King Abdullah will be joining the party in Sochi later today.
Most Americans who follow geopolitics probably assume the Georgian conflict is over, since the vast media giants have moved on from intense coverage, but you can bet it has only just begun. Russia’s invasion of Georgia was a test of US and NATO intentions. So far, it’s Russia 1– NATO 0. In fact, Russia has announced its intentions to freeze all cooperation with NATO. Reprisals will likely follow, and there’s even a rumor floating around that the International Olympic Committee is considering sanctions against Russia by taking the 2014 Games away from Sochi.
Russia’s gambit is paying off in spades. Today’s Hurriyet reports that Kazakhstan is considering pulling out of the BTC pipeline and linking up to Russia instead. This would effectively crush the BTC’s expansion plans.
As the US places nuclear missiles in Poland (you surely don’t believe these are defensive, do you?), Russia counters with nukes in Syria. NATO protests by slapping Russia’s wrist, and Russia laughs, saying they don’t want to play anyway. In Daniel 7, the prophet has a vision of ‘beasts’, including this one:
“And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’
Is the Russian bear spreading its bloody jaws in anticipation of a juicy meal? While there are many interpretations of this passage in Daniel, I can’t help noting that the first beast (a lion with eagle’s wings) reminds me of the partnership of the US and UK. Since WWII, these two countries have dominated the world — but all that is changing. Is Russia next to bid for world domination? Following the bear is a leopard with four wings and four heads. Could this be a shortlived Islamic kingdom? The final terrifying beast in the vision is of the Antichrist’s kingdom. When reading Daniel’s vision, it’s easy to envision these as successive kingdoms, but what if they represent competing ones that are eventually absorbed into the final, beastly Antichrist dominion? Note this passage in Revelation 13:
The beast that I saw was like a leopard. Its feet were like bear’s feet, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave it his power, his throne, and complete authority.
Are we seeing a tripartite struggle among three primary kingdoms, each given authority by the true ruler of this world, Lucifer? It’s interesting if you count the heads — one on the bear, one on the lion, four on the leopard, and the final Daniel 7 beast has one head — totaling seven in all. Seven heads. Interesting.
Do you know Christ as Savior? If not, you still have time — you have today. As the old signs used to say “Get Right With God”. Ask Christ into your heart today, for it may be the last chance you get.