This was the headline of a March 19, 2007 blog post by independent journalist Michael Totten, in which he described the progressive changes he'd found in Erbil, Kurdistan in his most recent visit as compared to a previous visit he'd made just fourteen months previous.
Michael's post highlighted the sense of security and lack of violence he found on the one hand, and the economic prosperity and growing infrastructure on the other.
Of his latest visit Michael wrote, "I felt none of the fear and apprehension I experienced the first time I came here. Instead I saw considerable signs of progress... Massive new construction projects are literally everywhere. Most of those that had started when I arrived for the first time are finished, and ambitious new projects are well underway."
Michael touched on the reasons for change in his blog post: "Iraqi Kurdistan is de-facto independent already. The three northernmost provinces exist as a liberal-democratic state-within-a-state with their own parliament, their own laws, their own immigration policies, and their own military, border guards, and police. That much was already known. The region now, though, is even closer to formal sovereignty and actual independence than it recently was."
And of course, Kurdistan is home to the Iraqi Kurds, the present-day manifestation of the people of the land of ancient Media, the Medes. And of these people Jeremiah wrote, "The LORD has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes... Consecrate (these) nations..., the kingdoms of Ararat [Turkish Kurds], Minni [Iranian Kurds] and Ashkenaz [Iraqi Kurds]... Consecrate (these) nations... the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their prefects, and (all the) land of their dominion..." (51:11, 27-26)
For what purpose does the LORD arouse and consecrate the Kurds? "His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it... To make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitants" (Jeremiah 51:11,29).
Invasion, occupation, execution, burning, abandonment, military defeat, plundering, flood and drought -- nine judgments on Babylon are described in Jeremiah 50-51. We are through the first three, awaiting the fourth and fifth. The sixth is being prepared for by the strengthening of nations of the Medes, the modern-day Kurds, and by the preparation of a flashpoint source of future conflict between them and the Chaldeans, the modern-day Iraqis, the "treasures" of Iraq, the Kirkuk oil fields.
Are the Iraqis willing to fight over control of these treasures? A Reuters blog post of August 12, 2008 would indicate so: "'Kirkuk will never be part of Kurdistan, even if the blood comes up to our knees!' (an Arab Iraqi) lawmaker hissed as he passed a group of reporters outside (the Iraqi)parliament."
It seems the LORD is willing and ready to give them exactly what they ask for.
Up next: the burning. Then the abandonment (our troops come home! Work quickly, Lord!). Then the decisive defeat by the Kurds and the plunder of Babylon's treasures.
Interesting times we live in.