Russia, Iraq & Germany





In a previous message titled, "The Kurds & Saddam's Army" we showed how the Scriptures of Jeremiah 50 & 51, which prophecy of the final destruction of Iraq, cannot take place until a number of ancient named countries come against it from its' north. The Medes, which are the modern-day Kurds, were singled out in the message as one group of the peoples listed who have not participated in the war against Iraq as of yet.
We will now look at Jeremiah 51:27 where Ashchenaz and Minni are listed as two more of the northern countries that will take part in the final crushing defeat of Iraq and according to Jer. 50:10, will be satisfied with their share of the plunder they acquire.
Ashchenaz and Minni were located in the region now known as southern Russia and the former U.S.S.R.'s Armenia.
Although Russia continually supported Saddam Hussein and voted against the U.N. taking any action against Iraq, there had always been an underlying motive for its allegiance, oil.
Iraq owes Russia a tremendous amount of money, about 7.6 billion dollars worth, and Russia was confident it would be repaid as long as Saddam Hussein's regime remained in power and received income from oil sales, but more importantly, Russia received lucrative opportunities from Saddam Hussein concerning oil.
In the following articles we will see how oil was the main reason for Russia's past favoritism towards Iraq and how the issue of oil has brought about a changing tide of Russian opinion regarding Iraq; so much so that just as predicted by analysts, now supports the forced regime change and is reportedly ready to commit troops to some future military action.
Bible prophecy assures us that Russian troops will one day be going to war against Iraq with the greatest of severity in the not too distant future.
Quoting first from the Denver Post article of Oct. 24, ‘02 which headlined, "Russia's economy tied to fate of Iraqi oil" we read, "Russia has a lot at state in the debate over Iraq's future; its oil economy.
Russian oil companies have extensive interests in Iraq that reach back to Soviet times, when the two countries were allied.
Revenue from Russia's own oil production is crucial to the government's budget, making the country very sensitive to any sudden swings in world oil prices that might be touched off by military action.
As many as 300 Russian companies now do business with Iraq, under a U.N. program set up in 1996 permitting Baghdad, which is under a trade embargo, to sell some oil to pay for essential imports such as food and medicine. Russian companies control the rights to sell 40 percent of Iraq's oil on world markets.
But the real prizes are Iraq's oil fields, which are now producing at far below their potential.
Iraq's 's reserves are second in size only to Saudi Arabia's, and Iraq has offered Russian companies development rights to some of its richest fields.
About 10 Russian companies have development agreements with Iraq, not all of them formalized into contracts. Two, Lukoil and Tatneft, are mainly publicly traded; the Russian state controls many of the others, including Slavneft, Rosneft, and the Russian natural-gas monopoly, Gazprom.
Zarubezhneft, a smaller state-owned company operating in Iraq since the late 1960's that has acted as the coordinator of Russian oil business there, estimates that there are 70 billion barrels of oil, more than half of Iraq's total reserves, in the fields covered by the Russian companies' deals with Baghdad.
"It's huge, it's a colossal amount," said Nikolai Tokarev, general director of Zarubezhneft and a member of a Russian government commission on Iraq.
But very little oil is being produced now at the fields because of the embargo. Lukoil, Russia's largest oil company, has a majority stake in Iraq's giant West Qurna oil field, with an estimated 7 billion barrels of recoverable oil, but has yet to get any of it out of the ground.
The Russian companies are worried that if military action by the United States pries Iraq loose from Saddam Hussein's grip, it will also break their own hold on these potentially lucrative fields.
"If there is military action, the prospects for us in Iraq will be zero," Tokarev said in an interview. "Do Americans need us in Iraq? Of course not. Russian companies will lose the oil forever if the Americans come."
The Russian state also has direct financial interests in Iraq, in the form of about $7.6 billion in debts Iraq ran up with the Soviet Union that have not yet been repaid. Russia also has a huge stake in keeping the world oil market from being flooded by new production from Iraq that would drive prices down.
"Russia needs Iraq economically," said Aleksel Arbatov, deputy chairman of the defense committee in the Russian parliament. "Iraq acknowledges its debt to Russia; a new regime might not."
If the new regime - favorably inclined toward Americans - sells oil without limits, "our budget will collapse."
The Bush administration has argued that Russia stands to gain more from a government change in Baghdad than from its current business ties there, especially from the lifting of the economic sanctions that have hobbled business for 12 years. Still, American officials say they cannot give any guarantees.
"We've made it clear to them that we understand their economic interests," said a senior American official. "It does not mean we'll sign blank checks. The approach will be to offer them a level playing field."
That position seemed to suit President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who commented at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain in Moscow last week that he had not invited Blair to an "Oriental bazaar," implying he was not bargaining with Blair over Iraq."
Keep in mind Russia's expressed concern that a new Iraqi regime, favorably inclined toward American oil interests, could cause the Russian budget to collapse when considering why Russia is allowing America to shoulder the war efforts at present.
On Dec. 16, ‘02 a Denver Post article which headlined, "Russia slams Iraq for nixing oil deal" pinpointed the issues that began to turn Russia away from backing Saddam Hussein and started its consideration of the spoils that would come to those who conquered Iraq. The issues were money and of course oil.
We quote, "Russia angrily assailed Iraq on Sunday for its decision to cancel a major oil contract with a top Russian company - a surprise slap from an ally as Moscow pushes for a political settlement in the Iraq standoff with the United Nations.
Abbas Khalaf, Iraq's ambassador to Moscow, said earlier Sunday that the Iraqi government had severed the 1997 contract with Russia's largest oil company, Lukoil, because it had failed to start work at the West Qurna-2 field.
He shrugged off Lukoil's claim that the deal was hampered by U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
"Lukoil has made no investment whatsoever, it has just signed the contract and left," Khalaf said at a news conference, adding that other Russian companies had worked in Iraq despite the sanctions.
Moscow responded to the cancellation, first announced Thursday, with its harshest criticism of Baghdad to date.
"Such a move can only be interpreted as running contrary to the friendly character of Russian-Iraqi relations and the level of bilateral cooperation in different areas," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry strongly backed Lukoil, saying that "no Russian company can violate the sanctions regime." It said the problem cannot be solved by unilateral action and urged Baghdad to talk to Lukoil to resolve the dispute.
The ministry said Russia was particularly annoyed by the cancellation after its opposition to unilateral U.S. action in Iraq.
"It evokes bewilderment that the step was taken at the moment when Russia was trying to defuse tension around Iraq and striving to solve the Iraqi issue by peaceful political means together with other countries," the statement said.
Russia last month backed the U.N. Security Council's tough resolution demanding Iraq comply with weapons inspectors, but it warned the United States against using force without explicit U.N. approval.
Lukoil vice president Leonid Fedun described Iraq's decision to break the contract as "an attempt to somehow influence or even punish the Russian side for its, as Iraq sees it, failure to prevent the U.N. Security Council from voting on sending weapons inspectors to Iraq," the Interfax news agency reported.
Khalaf flatly rejected allegations that the decision had anything to do with politics. He said he was aware of reports that the company was talking to the United States in a bid to secure its interests in Iraq if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is ousted, but he refused to comment further.
President Bush has assured Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would be a major player in rebuilding a postwar Iraq - a promise intended to quell Moscow's fears that a new Iraqi government might renege on Baghdad's $7 billion Soviet-era debt to Moscow and snub Russian firms in favor of U.S. and other Western companies."
Just two days later the Denver Post reported in an article titled, "Iraq says Russian oil pact ended because firm, Hussein foes met" that Iraq drew a line in the sand with its old Russian ally, and just as prophesied has set Russia on having to think of another way to get hold of its riches.
According to God's Word the tide had to turn. Quoting we read, "Iraq said it canceled a large oil contract with a Russian oil company because executives from the company had met with the Iraqi opposition-in-exile.
Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, said in an interview with the National Post, the Canadian newspaper, that the contract with Lukoil, Russia's largest oil company, was canceled because it had discussed the fate of a major oil field with opponents of President Saddam Hussein.
"Lukoil went to Washington to get assurances that their contract will be implemented after the removal of the Iraqi regime," Aziz said in the interview. "This is outrageous of them because they signed a contract with us. Such conduct cannot be accepted."
It was the starkest statement yet by an Iraqi official about last week's canceling of the multibillion-dollar contract. It was also a shift in reasoning by Iraq, which until now had said the contract was rescinded because Lukoil had delayed development at the West Qurna oil field.
A Lukoil vice president, Leonid Fedun, said he was unaware of such meetings and reiterated that the company was unable to begin developing the field because of constraints imposed by U.N. economic sanctions .Fedun said Lukoil executives had met with American officials this fall, but said they had not discussed Iraq.
Iraq's abrupt cancellation of Lukoil's contract severed the single most important tie between the two countries at a time when the United States is threatening to go to war against Iraq over what it says is Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
Moscow has been Baghdad's strongest supporter, in part because of the oil contract, political analysts said, adding that the broken contract might lessen Russia's resistance to military action."
We now move on to what might erroneously be called post-war Iraq to a May 17, ‘04 Denver Post article which headlined, "U.S. Russia discuss future of Iraq." In this article we find that Russia now supports the Iraqi regime change. There is no mention of owed money or oil, but as we have shown these two items are at the heart of every decision Russia makes about Iraq. Russia will move on Iraq when the time is right, but for now its leaders wait anxiously as they play the political game of restrained involvement.
We quote, "The united States and Russia are now "on the same page" regarding the future of Iraq despite past disputes, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said after consultations on a new U.N. resolution guiding the transfer of limited authority to an Iraqi government this summer.
Rice met with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend to discuss the next stage in the Iraq occupation and solicit cooperation in fashioning a new Security Council resolution conferring legitimacy on an interim government after June 30. Although she proposed no specific language and won no public commitments, she pronounced herself satisfied with the talks.
"We and Russia are, so to speak, on the same page now about how we move forward," Rice said in an interview with the "Namedni" news program on Russia's NTV television..."No matter how we got into Iraq and disagreements we might have had in the past, everybody agrees that the most important thing now is to have a stable Iraq, to move forward with a resolution at the United Nations Security Council."
We were recently informed from a saint in Memphis that Russia intends to send 50,000 troops to Iraq. We do not have any documentation to support this report at this time, but have little reason to doubt Russian troops will one day be in Iraq according to Scripture.
In the meantime it remains to Russia's advantage to let the United States deal with the chaos in Iraq. While the United States depletes its own resources against elusive enemies and does not reap any of the anticipated benefits from the Iraqi oil fields due to sabotage, Russia sits back and waits as its own position for the future strengthens. Contrary to what many want to believe, Russia has not lost the ability to recoup its position as a recognized world super-power.
Two recent news items, read in light of Bible prophecy, illustrate this certainty. The underlying fact is that the war in Iraq is taking an ever increasing toll, so much so that an Aug, 18, ‘04 "Dallas Morning News" article which headlined, "Germans see U.S. pullout as retaliation" reported that "tens of thousands of U.S. troops will be withdrawn from [Germany]" and that, "as many as 70,000 of the 100,000 U.S. troops in Germany and Asia" will be redeployed in the future.
In our Rapture Watch message titled, "The Scythians Victories & Defeat" we shared how prophecy reveals that Russia is to share in a devastating victory over Iraq and that then within a matter of years be defeated itself as it makes the fatal mistake of attacking Israel.
What is significant to this message is that in Ezekiel 38:6 one of the countries listed to join in with the Russian invasion is Gomer. Gomer is modern-day Germany. The article about Germany that we quoted from emphasized the fact that Germany is expecting economic hard times with the loss of U.S. troops as billions of dollars in military contracts are moved elsewhere.
East Germany used to be Russia's responsibility until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly what started off as a glorious victory for democracy turned into an economic and political burden for West Germany. As much as west Germans influenced the reunited east, the east likewise, and in some ways more so, influenced the west.
Russia did not suffer as big of a setback as many would like to believe. Communist operatives gained a tremendous foothold in West Germany. Germany's siding with Russia against the U.S. over the Iraq issue is just one example while many Germans, according to the "Dallas Morning News" article, believe the U.S. redeployment out of Germany is in fact a retaliatory move for Germany's stand with Russia over Iraq.
The prophesied political climate of Germany continues to develop as Russian influence in the nations affairs becomes more pronounced. At the same time, additional pressure is being put upon the world oil market as production of 1.7 million barrels of Russian oil is threatened by the Russian governments efforts to collect $3.4 billion in back taxes from Russian oil-giant Yukos. This action could force the company into bankruptcy (Russia controversy, "Iraq fighting sends up price," Associated Press, Aug. 18, ‘04).
Meanwhile an Aug. 20, ‘04 Denver Post headline stated "Rising crude [oil] price threatens U.S. economy." Global, political and economic upheavals can be used by the innovative to bring about a welcome reshuffling of the geo-political deck.
We can rest assured by studying end time Bible prophecy that countries with expansionist views have their eyes set on the end game of "who will rule the world" and make no mistake that Russia, since ancient times, has expansionist desires. Historical writings confirm that these people of Ashchenaz were a terror to their neighbors and were called barbarians. Later they were called the Scythians, and according to Josephus were still identified as barbarians.
Colossians 3:11 speaks in tandem of Barbarians and Scythians while making it clear that all can be forgiven for their sins through the Risen Lord Jesus and that all who have been born-again and justified by His sacrifice upon the cross are one in Christ.
The prophesied curse of a country that opposes God as a whole is not an indictment against any individual born of that nation. All have the free choice to rise or fall before Christ by their own freewill. A simple move of faith on their part to trust in the Living Lord Jesus Christ for salvation will immediately and forever deliver them from God's wrath. They will at the very moment of their new birth by the Holy Spirit, inherit the righteousness of the Son of God, which was purchased by His own blood as a gift for all who will have faith in Him alone for salvation.
There is absolutely nothing else a person must or can do to receive forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.

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