Since the 1970s the United States has unwittingly become the advocate and even champion for the Four Signposts. God has used and is using U.S. Presidents’ bumbling policies to cause the Signposts to come about.
President Carter allowed the Persian ram to take its place at Susa with its first horn when he allowed the Shaw to be deposed. The second President Bush directly provided the force that lifted up the lion and changed its mind when he was told by God to send our forces into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. And now President Obama is doing several things to support the Signposts: the rise of Islamism in Egypt (for the Third), the blank check handed to Iran to develop its nukes (for the Second), trying to convince America that Islam is a religion of peace (for the Second and on), and his support for the ouster of Assad in Syria (for the Third).
About that last point, the Obama administration has always supported the moderate Syrian Sunni rebels who are trying to take out Assad (who is Shia Muslim). But it was a series of articles last week in the news that hit home again that Obama is working to get Assad out.
This Reuters article reports that the Obama administration has come to the conclusion that they cannot take out ISIS until Assad himself is removed. This makes sense from their point of view, since the Syrian rebels are their army of choice. The Syrian rebels, if better armed and trained and in control of the Syrian government, might have a more successful time of fighting and overcoming ISIS in Syria. As the article says, “the strategy with respect to Syria has not changed,” i.e. removing Assad using the rebels. What has changed is in the details where ISIS must now be added to the short list of opponents for the Syrian rebels to fight.
With the reassessment of how to handle Syria, this Al-Monitor article quotes Secretary of Defense Hagel as saying (with my commentary),
“‘Our strategy in Syria will demand time, patience, and perseverance to deliver results. We cannot accomplish our objectives in Syria all at once,’ he said. ‘The position of the United States remains: Assad has lost the legitimacy to govern. But there is no purely military solution to the conflict in Syria [MD – there is, it just involves our troops going in and there is opposition to that]. Alongside our efforts to isolate and sanction the Assad regime, our strategy is to strengthen the moderate opposition [MD – i.e., arm the Syrian rebels] to the point where they can, first, defend and control their local areas; next, go on the offense and take back areas that have been lost to ISIL [MD – ISIS]; and ultimately, as their capabilities and leverage develop, to create conditions for a political settlement in Syria [MD – i.e., take out Assad and the rebels rule Syria].”
Just as George W. Bush would not let go of Iraq and the idea of removing Saddam in light of military and strategic reasons (Saddam was holding back Iran) seemed pointless, so Obama will not let go of Syria and the removal of Assad in light of the fact that whatever happened in Syria has no impact on U.S. security and so seems pointless. But just as the U.S. dollar being dumped by Saddam was the main reason and hook to go into Iraq and cause the First Signpost, so now it is looking like ISIS and the humanitarian crisis it is bringing about is the hook for the U.S. to stay focused on Syria and so help bring about the Third Signpost. ISIS has already been shown to be a hook for Iran and Turkey, and it is looking like it is also a hook for the U.S.