Putin orders Russian military forces into combat in Syria, just miles from northern border of Israel. Russian forces working closely with Iran. Here’s the latest.

(photo credit: CNN)

(photo credit: CNN)

(Rochester, New York) — In the Kremlin’s biggest military operation in the Middle East since 1941, Russian air and ground forces are now engaged in combat in Syria. And they are now operating just miles from the northern mountains of Israel.

The Kremlin’s stated objective is to defeat ISIS and protect the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time Russian ally in the Middle East. But Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves have broader, more ominous implications.

  1. Putin is a Czar, an imperialist, consumed with “Mother Russia’s” need to expand it’s borders and influence — and he is now on the move to seize control of the dynamic in the epicenter.
  2. Putin specifically wants to replace the United States as the dominant military and political force in the Near East. It’s been firm, bipartisan U.S. foreign policy since World War II to keep the Russian military out of the Middle East. Yet President Obama is surrendering the region to the Kremlin with breathtaking speed and foolish recklessness.
  3. Putin is not alone in making these moves — he is working hand-in-glove with Iran’s government, which is also sending military forces into Syria.
  4. The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel wrote 2,500 years ago that in the “last days” of history, Russia and Iran will form a military alliance to attack Israel from the north. Bible scholars refer to this eschatological conflict, described in Ezekiel 38-39, as the “War of Gog & Magog.” Are these sudden and dramatic moves by Moscow and Tehran are simply coincidental, or have prophetic implications?

In the days ahead, I will examine the prophetic angle.

For now, let’s simply consider the magnitude of what Putin is doing.

“This is not only the Kremlin’s biggest military expedition outside the old Soviet Union since 1989, but the first Russian campaign in the Middle East since Moscow allied with Britain to invade Iran in 1941,” notes the UK Telegraph.

Putin is rapidly building two new Russian military bases in Syria, including a forward operating air base. He’s ordering Russian ground forces, tanks, heavy equipment into the Syrian theater. He’s ordered the Russian air force to launch bombing missions throughout Syria. He’s doing this in close coordination with the Iranian government and military. And today he signed orders to draft 150,000 more Russian men into the military.

As I wrote on September 16th, Putin is taking advantage of the geopolitical vacuum in the Middle East created by President Obama’s full-scale retreat from the region and appeasement of American enemies. And he’s not inching in — he’s going big and bold.

And the whole region is watching. Netanyahu was just in Moscow last week, holding an emergency meeting with Putin to discuss the dangers of this rapidly intensifying Russian-Iranian alliance.

Jordan, Egypt, the Saudis and the Gulf states are watching, too. They see America cutting them loose, and the Russian military surging into the region — not in advisory capacities as during the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars, but in full combat mode.

More news and analysis soon. But here are the latest headlines…..

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