General (Ret) John P. Abizaid, when asked about where the US stands in the boiling Middle East calderone, admits “Unfortunately, we have lost ground.” He cited the increase of “the ideological movement, the geographic dispersion of Islamic extremism, the number of terror attacks, the number of people swearing allegiance, and the ground they hold.”
What merit does that assessment have? General Abizaid was the longest serving commander of US Central Command, overseeing extensive operations in Grenada, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Haiti, Iraq, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia. His 34 years of service included a stint as the 66th Commandant of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In a recent interview at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Abizaid candidly answered questions and provided commentary on issues of national security and America’s standing in Middle East affairs. Here are snippets of his interview that merit concern:
- “Groups like the Islamic State have now taken on state-like forms and features that are unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. So on balance we are in a worse position strategically with regard to the growth of international terrorism, Islamic terrorism in particular, than we were after September 2001.”
- “I am very concerned about the growth of Sunni Islamic extremism in general. In particular, I’m concerned about the growth of the Islamic State, the continued existence of al-Qa`ida, and the growth of Islamic State offshoots and al-Qa`ida offshoots in various other places. We really need to pay attention to it.”
- “I think we’re making a mistake by not acknowledging that the post-World War I, European-imposed borders of the Middle East are falling apart. They’re falling apart because of religious extremism and sectarian conflict because these countries lack institutional and bureaucratic structures that can provide security for their people.”
- “Our enemies have endured because we don’t have our strategy right.”
- (Read the entire interview here.)
Coming from a highly-trained military strategist, those statements are indeed cause of great concern…all despite the fact that the Obama administration insists that ISIS and other jihadist groups are being contained.
I am reminded again just how crucial the 2016 election is. Our nation sorely lack leadership, and we absolutely must have a president who understands the importance of our alliance with Israel, and how best to join forces with our trusted ally in battling the eschatological war that is going on with radical Muslim nations and groups such as Iran and ISIS.
Apocalyptic Islam is driven by endtime eschatology that a Muslim messiah will soon arrive to set up a worldwide caliphate. Both ISIS and radical leaders in Iran believe a form of that eschatology, though they differ in the means and manner. The common belief for each, though, includes mass destruction and killing of “infidels” in preparation for the appearing of the Mahdi (Muslim messiah). Thus, it is important to understand that those regimes are driven by radical religious beliefs, making diplomacy impossible. After all, how does one negotiate with regimes who believe their calling by Allah is to destroy all nations and people groups who do not believe as they do? America walks a dangerous path in failing to understand the nature of evil.
However, Jesus said:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. ~John 14:1-3 (ESV)
Dear Christian friends, let’s pray! Beyond that, we must also understand each candidates’ position regarding standing with Israel. Frankly, there is no one on the Democratic side willing to be a true friend to Israel, and neither is the Republican frontrunner. Many states go to the polls on Super Tuesday (this coming Tuesday). Be wise, my friends…and vote your Christian values!
For more info, check out Who is Prepared to Stand with Israel?