It is no secret that, at best, Russia and the United States are "competing" with one another. On the surface, the issues are Syria, oil, nuclear weapons, and superpower leadership in the Middle East. Who is winning? This Israeli perspective suggests an unlikely answer.
According to one assessment by Israeli intelligence, Russian President Vladamir Putin and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan are scrambling to take advantage of the power vacuum left in the Middle East by US President Barack Obama. As Moscow soldifies it superpower presence there, it is already carving up a portion of Syria for shared control with Ankara.
Surprisingly, the open powder keg in Syria has not yet exploded into a regional or global war. But it still could. Unfortunately, another trigger for such a conflict is developing to Israel's southeast. Via Yemini rebels, Iran is making moves to block the chokepoint of international shipping off the southern coast of Yemen. Missiles have been fired at US vessels. This morning the US fired back.
Islamic State, or ISIS, like Iran, is driven by a visceral conviction that end times are imminent. According to Islamic prophecies, those times include the return of Jesus who will "break the cross" and herald the Muslim Mahdi as the world's true messiah.