The Arab Spring and Its Effect on World Mission
The Middle East’s democratic revolution, often called the Arab Spring, began abruptly in late 2010. The movement started in Tunisia and resulted in the ousting of its long-standing president. The movement soon spread to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, and also to other Arab nations. As a result the presidents of Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen were removed from power, and Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, was brutally killed. The turmoil in Syria continues to rage on. According to the UN approximately 70,000 people have been killed in Syria over the past two years from the original uprising and the ongoing civil war1.
“Then why did an anti-autocratic democratization movement begin in Tunisia, which was the most democratic country in the Arab World, instead of in an extreme autocracy like Saudi Arabia? Because Tunisia was not the goal but only a stepping stone.”
The Arab Spring unfolded as an uprising against dictatorship but concluded with Islamic powers taking the place of the dictators. In order to understand the dynamic relationship between the crises in the Middle East and the democratic movement, you must first understand the international politics and ideologies that have traditionally ruled over the Arab world.
Since the 20th century, the Arab nations of the Middle East have been categorized into three different groups based on the ideologies of their national ruling powers. The first group had pro-Soviet, socialist tendencies, which included Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. The second group was made up of pro-American, Islamic Kingdom nations like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Jordan. The pro-Soviet, anti-American Arab nations quickly formed the League of Arab Nations and advocated an Arab alliance based on Pan-Arabism.
A third force also played a heavy role in this dynamic relationship. This group was anti-Soviet, anti-American, and anti-imperialist, and it campaigned for an Islamic fundamentalist movement. Members of this group included the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda. These political and violent Islamic powers were directly and indirectly in cooperation with Iran. After Iran’s Islamic Revolution in the late 1970s, the Khomeini advocated an anti-Soviet, anti-American, anti-imperialist political stance.
The anti-American, pro-Soviet nation, Egypt, changed its position to become pro-American in the late 1970s through the Camp David Accords and became an Arab nation who accepted the sovereignty of Israel as a nation. In return for their support, Egypt has received an enormous amount of military support from the U.S.
Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, countries that experienced uprisings calling for democratization, had pro-American regimes. In contrast, Libya, Syria, and Iraq had a history of being anti-American and pro-Soviet. Following the U.S. led attack beginning in 2003, Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, was executed by hanging in 2006. Libya, Syria, and Iraq have followed after pro-Soviet socialist values and kept a close relationship with North Korea. Former U.S. president George W. Bush labeled these anti-American nations as the “Axis of Evil” in early 2002 shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. From the American imperialist perspective, anti-American regimes are evil forces that disrupt and prevent world peace.
Throughout history the world has never established peace on its own. The same will be true in the future as well. How can a world full of sinners establish peace? Therefore, as unfortunate as it is, world peace means peace under an empire. World peace can only be achieved when an empire subdues all opposing powers. Only when an absolute power has complete control can world peace become a reality. Today, Pax Americana is world peace. Just like the Roman Empire who established Pax Romana, the long period of peace under Roman rule, most empires in history aimed to establish world peace through imperial control. That is why the president of the American empire labeled countries who oppose the peace of the empire, like Libya, Iran, and Iraq as the “Axis of Evil” and later Libya as part of the “Beyond the Axis of Evil.”
If we consider this perspective in the context of recent events, we can surmise why the trend of democratization occurred suddenly in the Middle East. The Arab Spring was not a result of Muslim Arabs demonstrating against tyranny, but it is a global project that is being planned and carried out by external scheming forces.
The same conclusion can be drawn from the fact that the initial protests for democratization began in Tunisia, which was the most democratic country in the Arab World. When people started flooding into the streets and calling the Tunisian president, Zine Ben Ali, a dictator, he was in confusion and fled to Europe soon after. His response showed that he was not fixated with his political position. Then why did an anti-autocratic and democratization movement begin in Tunisia, which was the most democratic country in the Arab World, instead of in an extreme autocracy like Saudi Arabia? Because Tunisia was not the goal but only a stepping stone. The actual target was Libya. After Tunisia, Egypt was the next to experience uprisings for democratization. Libya was besieged from both directions.
The purpose of the uprising and civil war in Libya was not to establish a democracy but to kill Colonel Gaddafi. Western powers openly supported the rebellion for that end. In Tunisia and Egypt, presidents Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak were removed from power, and the people continued to pursue democratization. In Libya, however, military intervention from the West was used from the beginning because the goal was not democratization but killing Gaddafi. As the civil war raged on, Gaddafi was captured and killed. It was similar to how Hussein was brutally executed in Iraq. There is no mercy for a leader in the “Axis of Evil” – only a cruel death.
Then why did the leader of Egypt have to be ousted despite having maintained a pro-American stance for a long time? President Hosni Mubarak was the absolute tyrant of Egypt for 30 years. The second president of Egypt, Gamal Nasser, was almost killed by the Muslim Brotherhood in an assassination attempt in the 1950s, and the third president, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated in the 1980s by Islamic fundamentalists. When Mubarak became president, he built and maintained Egypt’s governmental system with a firm goal to not be killed by Islamic forces. As a result of this, all military and political positions were given to people loyal to Mubarak over the course of 30 years. In that type of environment, an internal uprising and restructuring by external forces is impossible.
From the perspective of the global elites, it is better that an Islamic government takes over Egypt because a new Islamic government would not be able to solve Egypt’s chronic economic problems, and they would become vulnerable through continual internal power struggles. Although a new Islamic government would likely start off by boasting in its power and trying to justify its own identity in a very visible way, it would soon be humbled by the reality of the problems it faces. Removing Mubarak and weakening the military to a level that that allowed for adjustment was a necessary part of the elites’ plan.
The result of the Arab Spring was the Islamic political parties seizing power. Why did the scheming forces remove anti-Islamic leaders and allow Islamists to gain control? What is it that they really want?
After the removal of Gaddafi, the so-called democratization process spread to Syria as planned. The global elites have pursued the democratization of the Middle East since the George W. Bush Administration, and it is currently being carried out rapidly. They had been planning for Hussein and Gaddafi to be removed, Assad to be suppressed into obedience, and Iran to be restructured.
Ultimately, Syria will become docile and begin submitting to the world system, and Iran’s power will be restructured. While change in Syria will not be difficult, change in Iran will be very difficult.
If this is true, then for what purpose did the global elite carry out their plan for the democratization of the Middle East? For world peace? Yes. However, the peace they are trying to achieve is greater than the peace of an empire. The system of world peace that they will establish will be permanent, absolute and universal, and it will never be challenged by another empire in the future. This type of world peace will only be possible when the world system is operational, and a prerequisite to that is the peace of Jerusalem. In other words, the goal of the democratization movement of the Middle East is the peace of Jerusalem through what is happening in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran.
“The purpose of the global elites’ Middle East project is the establishment of the peace of Jerusalem”
The purpose of the global elites’ Middle East project is the establishment of the peace of Jerusalem, while their short-term plan is to subdue Iran who is developing nuclear weapons. For that reason the global elite targeted Libya and Syria who have been Iran’s closest allies.
The Arab Spring can be seen as a democratization movement because it started with uprisings against dictatorship. However, in the case of Libya, foreign military forces were involved in the fighting. Western powers supplied a large amount of weapons to the rebellion and sent airstrikes every day against Gaddafi’s regime. Western forces bombed the house where Gaddafi and his family were staying without hesitation. In addition, they set a no-fly zone over Libya, used airplanes to track regime forces, and launched indiscriminate missile attacks.
The most notable part of the military intervention in Libya is that the U.S. and Europe simultaneously took action. After World War II, there have been very few times when the U.S. and Europe simultaneously intervened in an armed conflict. The U.S. frequently acted unilaterally but requested participation from Europe. Europe, on the other hand, was usually hesitant and reluctant, but often ended up joining U.S.-led interventions as passive participants. However, the intervention in Libya was different. Europe was more actively involved in the intervention from the beginning. How was it possible that the U.S. and Europe acted at the same time? Is it not because of the power of the global elite?
There are two prerequisites for the project to establish the peace of Jerusalem. The first is that Israel’s neighboring Arab nations officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty and attempt to establish a peaceful regime. The second prerequisite is the resolution of the East Jerusalem issue. The former can be fulfilled if the issue with Iran’s nuclear weapons program is resolved. Iran will eventually submit. Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons is an unacceptable act to the global elites who pursue world peace. When the surrounding environment matures, all the Arab kingdoms including Saudi Arabia will announce their acceptance of Israel.
The monarchies of the Middle East have a fundamentally weak foundation so they cannot help but obey the global elites. There are many flaws in their foundation, but the most decisive one is the monarchical system is illegal according to Islamic theology. Muhammad never pursued a monarchy, and the same was true for all four Rashidun Caliphs who came after Muhammad. A monarchy means a hereditary ruling system, which is not acceptable according to Islamic theology or early Islamic traditions. This is why groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda tenaciously criticize Arab monarchies.
The East Jerusalem issue is not easy to resolve. In 1948, when the Jews began to return to Jerusalem in large numbers, they were distraught because the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic mosque, stood in the place of the Temple of Jerusalem. In order to uphold the Law and perform sacrifices, they must reconstruct the Holy Temple, but in order to do this, the Dome of the Rock must be removed. But if they try to remove the mosque, the armies of the 57 Islamic nations will flock to Jerusalem in opposition, making the removal an impossible task. The Grand Mosque of Mecca and the Dome of the Rock are absolute symbols of Islam. Based on the foundation of their religion, Muslims could never tolerate the removal of the Dome of the Rock from the Temple Mount.
Because the Jews have no temple, they instead weep every day at the last remaining part of the Temple, the Wailing Wall. For the past 60 years, the cries of devout Jews have not ceased at the Wailing Wall. The Jews were able to reconstruct their nation-state, but they have been unable to reconstruct the Temple. This is the core of the East Jerusalem issue. Israeli authorities have attempted to relocate the Arabs away from the Temple Mount, but ultimately, this has so far proved to be impossible. Who, then, can solve this issue? It seems impossible, but when the time comes, someone will suddenly come up with a solution. That person will declare the peace of Jerusalem. He will certainly be the Antichrist. This is how the system of world peace will be established.
The process of establishing the peace of Jerusalem is currently progressing very quickly. The democratization movement of the Middle East is removing dictators who oppose this system of peace. We must be aware that the same dictators who opposed the system of peace in the Middle East are also the ones who strongly opposed fundamentalist Islam. With the exception of Iran, the leaders of Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and Iraq did not want an Islamic system. While to foreign audiences they spoke of the unity of Muslim nations, they themselves did not like Islam. For example, under Gaddafi’s regime, it was rare to see young women wearing hijabs, and the same was true in Syria under Bashar al-Assad.
There are a number of situations that suggest Saddam Hussein really disliked Islam. His longtime second-in-command, Tariq Aziz, was a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church. When he visited Chicago in the 1980s, he gave $300,000 in offering to the church. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that Iraqi Christians were protected under the Hussein regime. Once Hussein was removed, many Christians fled Iraq and took refuge in Syria because Christians were also protected under the Assad Regime.
Mubarak, Hussein, Assad, and Gaddafi may have been denounced as dictators for their over-extended rule, but ultimately, they were denounced for subduing Islamic forces. If a country’s leader oppresses Islam when the majority of the people are Muslim, he will be called a dictator.
Islamic political parties have taken the place of dictators in the wake of the Arab Spring. Many say that Western forces hate Islam and they ask why the West would reconstruct the Middle East and allow Islam to have power. However, the truth is that the global elites actually hate Christianity even more. Look how Christianity was completely desolated in Europe and how it has been collapsing in the United States. In the midst of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States and Europe, how can we continue the naïve thinking that the United States and Europe are still the main parts of the Christian world? The countries with the highest Christian populations are China and India. China has about 120 million Christians, and India has 80 million Christians. Why is it that we cannot recognize that these are actually the Christian nations? It seems as though today’s Christians still live in the fantasy of unrealistic worldviews. The fact that many Christians are like this can be interpreted as a sign of the end times.
Nonetheless, God is making history. Although the anti-Christian project led by the evil elites is in progress, it cannot hinder or stop God’s holy project. In the past 20 years, Christianity has experienced tremendous revivals in the Middle East and Arab World. There are increasing numbers of young Arabs who are open and accepting of Christianity, and the number of Christians in the region is increasing greatly. It is unfortunate that we cannot talk about of them in detail.
Over the last 20 years, Iran has experienced revival, and the number of Iranian Christians has increased from 2,500 to 100,000. Some even say there are as many as 150,000 Christians in Iran today. Churches in Iran are growing exponentially, a result only made possible by the special intervention of God, who appears and speaks to the churches through visions and dreams, and through the sharing of the Gospel despite severe persecution.
Revival has also been happening in Israel. Many Russian Jews have immigrated to Israel over the past 20 years, and among them, many had met Jesus in Russia. When they arrived in Israel, they were unable to keep the gospel to themselves and began sharing Jesus with their kinsmen. Though public evangelism was once prohibited in Israel, through these Russian Jews it has become accepted. In addition, there is an increased number of Jews who are accepting Christ around the world. Israel and its surroundings have begun to change as a result of the world church’s prayer for the Israel and the Jews over the past 10 years.
Scholars around the world have described the Arab Spring as the event that has shaken the Arab World for the first time in 5,000 years. The Middle East has maintained a traditional tribal and patriarchal system based on strong authoritarianism. Popular uprisings were not even considered possible because the Arabs have never disobeyed the rules of their patriarchs and religious leaders. Yet we witnessed how the Arabs rose up and overthrew authoritarian dictators through the Arab Spring. At the moment, they are caught up in the euphoria of victory. However, the Arabs do not realize that this movement began and thrived because it was the project of the Western elites. They believe that it is something they have accomplished through their own power. The Arabs are not aware that the media, planned and controlled by the global elite, instigated their chaotic and restless movement.
The Arabs are caught up in euphoria nonetheless. The people who are caught up in this wind of democratization can drive out any other dictator for now, even if it is an Islamic dictatorship.
These are the end times. God’s redemptive history will be complete when this gospel of the kingdom is preached as a testimony to all people groups (Matthew 24:14). Right now, God’s history is heading into the last frontiers. Mission is God’s mission – Missio Dei. According to his eternal plan for you, God will accomplish his history through you. The amazing truth is that the almighty Creator God works together through the prayer and obedience of the saints and the church to accomplish the Great Commission and advance history.
1. Fantz, Ashley. “Syria Death Toll Probably at 70,000, U.N. Human Rights Official Says.”CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.
By Missionary Paul Choi