NINEVEH, MOSUL, ISIL & the ILLUM. : the rest of the story. This post will provide additional information above what you will hear in mainstream media concerning the area of Iraq which has become the center of attention today for William Van Duyn, President Obama, & the World’s leaders. Today, William Van Duyn will have a private meeting with Pres. Obama at the White House to discuss how the U.S. will respond to the situation in the Mosul area.
TURKEY THREATENED. Mosul is located about 100 miles south of Turkey in northern Iraq. Recently, a group of 800 fighters of ISIL chased 30,000 unmotivated Iraqi troops out of the city. Half a million people fled the city when ISIL captured it. Recent events, incl. the presence of ISIL fighters near the Turkish border has caused Turkey to call an emergency NATO meeting. The ISIL fighters attacked the Turkish consulate bldg. in Mosul and took 49 of the Turkish consulate staff hostage, incl. Gen. Yilmaz Ozturk, who has been an advisor to the Turkish P.M. Erdogan. Mr. Van Duyn has flown into Wash. D.C. to coordinate the response to this crisis.
MOSUL, the successor of NINEVEH. Nineveh has been around since the earliest of history. It’s mentioned back in GEN 10:11 & 2 KG 19:36. It was the religious HQ for Ishtar worship. “Nina” was another form of “Ishtar”. Around 862 B.C., Jonah, as a prophet, is sent to Nineveh & they surprise him by repenting & saving their city. Later in 700 B.C., Sennarcherib made Nineveh into a magnificent city, & it became the Assyrian empire’s capital & the world’s largest city for a while. It sat on an important east-west highway. It was during this time period that Nahum, another prophet tells of its utter destruction, “Woe to the bloody city.” NAH 3:1. About a century later, Nahum’s prophecies come true, when Anti-Assyrian forces destroy the city in 612 B.C. They destroy it so completely, that when the famous 10,000 Greek mercenaries march by in 400 B.C. (their march to freedom was 401 to 399 B.C.) on their way to the Black Sea, no one even remembers Nineveh!! It is not discovered until a French explorer in 1842 begins to poke around the ruins. He was followed in 1847, by a Brit who in 1849 found the Library of Ashurbanipal with its 22,000 cuneiform tablets & palace buildings. Nineveh had lain in ruins for many years, completely forgotten, and when people rebuilt a city in the area, it was to the west of the buried ruins & was named Mosul. The history of Nineveh & its ruins provide an important spiritual lesson.
SPIRITUAL LESSON. Christ used Nineveh’s repentance in 862 B.C. as a lesson, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, & shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here.” (MT 12:41, also LK 11:32). Middle Eastern church denominations commemorate Jonah’s 3 days in the whale’s belly with the 3 day Fast of Nineveh. By the way, over time, as a researcher, I have inadvertently bumped into half a dozen true reports of people swallowed by whales, who were released from their bellies later & lived. Unfortunately, I did not record the references. Earlier this week, I discussed the swallowing of Jonah’s story with an ex-Christian who has given up on the Bible as a resource because it seems to have too many unbelievable stories.
NOW THE AREA IS IMPORTANT AGAIN. ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant) is a Sunni rebel group which has seized areas of Iraq & Syria with the goal of creating a new Islamic caliphate (religious head). They have bulldozed a berm marking the Syrian-Iraqi border as they plan to unify their Syrian & Iraqi territories into one new Islamic nation. A few yrs. back, al-Qaeda disowned the group. They were fighting in Syria as one of the factions in that complex civil war. Then recently, they turned their attention to Iraq and in Jan., ‘14 took Fallujah & Ramadi. In June they took Tikrit & Mosul. They have seized money worth hundreds of millions from the banks they have captured, so they do not lack for finances. In the confusion, the Kurdish army Peshmerga seized Kirkuk, Iraq, which is both oil rich & called the Kurdish “Jerusalem”. (Peshmerga means “those who face death”.) The Kurds have for the moment aligned themselves with the weak Maliki govt. in Baghdad against ISIL. The Kurds had recently (this last wk.) announced the sale of 1 million barrels of Kurdish oil that will be sold via Turkey’s Ceyhan port. In order for the Kurds & Turks to pull this off, ISIL will have to be contained. At the moment the Turkish border is threatened by ISIL fighters.
COMPLEX FACTIONS ARE ROOTED IN THE PAST. The complex factions in this area are derived from the fact that there are different clans, tribes, & religious denominations of Moslems in the area. There are also different Christian minorities, although many Christians have left. On top of this are the artificial boundaries imposed by the colonial powers, who arbitrarily created the borders of Syria, Lebanon & Iraq without paying attention to the ethnic nations that lived there. That is why the Kurds, a group w/ a national identity were not given a nation years ago. Iraq is an artificial construct & almost an impossible construct to rule, unless like Saddam Hussein, you rule through brute terror. Iran, which is Shia, is against ISIL. Saudi Arabia, which has to maintain its stability, is also against ISIL, because it is a destabilizer in the region. Assad’s govt. which has basically left ISIL alone, is beginning to turn against it. Hezbollah, which is against ISIL, is too weak to challenge it. Maliki’s govt. does not have widespread support in Iraq; its weakness has forced it to seek help from everyone. So far the U.S. has sent him small shipments of weapons & helped w/ training, neither of which are going to significantly rectify the anemia of the Iraqi military…which like South Vietnam’s after 1973…is weak because the people themselves don’t want to die for it. It doesn’t mean they support ISIL, it simply means they are not able to support Maliki.
THE ILLUM. PLAN OF ACTION. William Van Duyn’s view of the situation is as follows…. The U.S. needs to focus on solving its financial difficulties, and the ISIL crisis does not threaten America. Therefore, the U.S. should not get directly involved in a costly war like the recent Bush invasion-occupation of Iraq & Afghanistan. He will be instructing Obama to stay out of the conflict directly. The U.S. will have to back off & simply provide military aid & training to groups that appear to help the situation. His aide wrote me, “If the U.S. is not directly threatened, then there will be no war! Just because America has a hammer, it doesn’t mean that every problem is a nail. America has to focus on its own problems.”
MOSLEMS AGAINST MOSLEMS. It looks like the various factions of Moslems are going to have to resolve their own hates by themselves. As to how this non-involvement by U.S. forces will work in the long run is anybody’s guess. Turkey is still going to feel threatened, & the Kurds are going to have to get involved if they continue to want to sell their oil via Turkey. At this pt. they need to, because the Iraqi govt. has not given approval to the Kurds to sell it. The U.S. of course, as well as other countries, are not going to reduce their influence & involvement to zero. And the area will continue to be a complex mix of shifting alliances & death. The positive for America is that Mr. Van Duyn is totally against America wasting its scarce finances in the factional fighting in the area.