And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(Revelation 9:13-15)
The area of the nation now known of as Iraq, has gone by the names of Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Shinar, Ninevah and Sumer in ancient times. It has a rich history, and is considered by many to be the very cradle of civilization.
The modern nation of Iraq, is a recent concoction. The region was originally part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but the British established what we know of now as Iraq, in 1932 cobbling together Kurds from the north, Sunnis around Baghdad and a Shiite Majority in the south.
Originally it was a Kingdom, but the Ba’ath party took power in a coup de’tat in 1958, establishing the Republic of Iraq. There was another coup which last briefly, but the Ba’athists took power again, in 1963.
Saddam Hussein took power in 1978 and ruled Iraq for the rest of the century. Iraq and Iran fought a brutal eight year war from 1980 to 1988, over long held border disputes and fears in Iraq that the Shiite Revolution would spill over the border into Iraq. The war ended inconclusively , (the border remained the same) in spite of it’s staggering cost in blood, (Between the two nations, 1 million were slain, half of which were civilians) , a quarter of a million civilians left permanently disabled, and hundreds of billions in infrastructure damage to both countries.
Consider the numbing figures above, in light of the fact that at present Iraq’s population is 26 million people.Iran presently has a population of 80 million people.
In 1990 , Shortly after the cessation of those hostilities, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Hussein did so believing and insisting that the United States had given him a “green light” to do so, in order to rectify a long standing border dispute with Kuwait. This act of aggression brought about the massive UN coalition army which invaded Iraq in the first Gulf War. Iraq was driven out of Kuwait, Saddam’s armies surrendered in the thousands, as the US led coalition pressed forward to the Euphrates.
Thirty three thousand Iraqi fatalities later, not to mention the innumerable number of Iraqi wounded and maimed, the Gulf war abruptly ended. The western coalition forces ground to a halt, at the very banks of the Euphrates River,sanctions were imposed which crippled and destabilized Iraq, and no fly zones were established.
Saddam and the elite Republican guard remained intact enough to brutally suppress the inevitable Shiite insurrections in the south of Iraq and the Kurdish rebellions which arose in the wake of the instability which shook the nation. The world was sickened to learn that Saddam Hussein gassed some Kurdish villages, killing more than five thousand in one attack.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal, vicious dictator, but he wasn’t a radical Muslim. He didn’t target Christians, in fact many of his chief advisors were Iraqi Christians,(Chaldean Orthodox).
Shortly after the Islamic Terror attack on 9-11, George W Bush initiated the second Gulf War , partly as revenge for what was believed to be Iraqi complicity in the sneak attack, ad partly based on the belief of many that Saddam had hidden weapons of mass destruction and constituted an existential threat.
This war brought more death and destruction to Iraq, as this excerpt from Wikipedia shows us,
Various scientific surveys of Iraqi deaths resulting from the first four years of the Iraq War estimated between 150,000 and one million Iraqis died as a result of conflict during this time. A later study, published in 2011, estimated that approximately 460,000 people had died as a result of the conflict since the invasion including 132,000 from directly war-related violence. Counts of deaths collated by projects like the Iraq Body Count project found 174,000 Iraqis reported killed between 2003 and 2013, with between 112,000-123,000 of those killed being civilian noncombatants. Updated estimates from the Iraq Body Count Project report an estimated 173,766 – 194,058 civilian deaths from 2003-2017. For troops in the U.S.-led multinational coalition, the death toll is carefully tracked and updated daily, and the names and photographs of those killed in action as well as in accidents have been published widely. A total of 4,491 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014.(Casualities Iraq War)
We in our modern day have become almost numbed to the staggering degree of suffering which the people who inhabit Iraq have undergone just in recent memory. The Iraqis themselves have brought some of it on, for example by the disastrous war with Iran, the misguided invasion into Kuwait, the excesses of Saddam and his demented sons, the gulf war, the sanctions and the second gulf war, long occupation(20003-2011).
The destabilization of Iraq wrought by our hasty (US) withdrawal and the incursion into the land by the vicious Sunni terror militia, ISIS and the counter incursion by Shiites backed by Iran, equally homicidally vicious, have unleashed new waves of terror, murder and torture upon the Iraqis.
Millions have died, Millions more were maimed, wounded, and driven out of their homes.
Post Saddam, Muslim radicals, both Shiite and Sunni have gone back to systematic persecution of Christians in Iraq. Iraq once had a population of two million Chaldean Christians dating back to the New Testament era, but as of now, there are currently less than two hundred thousand living there.
Normally, the world would consider such a drastic reduction of a targeted population to be genocide, but these are Christians, so the world ignores them.
Something evil is writhing and chafing in Iraq, and if this is the damage already inflicted on the nation while the Spirit is bound, what damage will it inflict on the world when it is loosed?
And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(Revelation 9:15)