Tag Archives: Egypt

The winds of war are blowing on Israel’s borders

Winds of war surround Israel

On Sunday, an Israeli fighter jet entered Syrian airspace and reportedly bombed a vehicle traveling from Damascus to Quneitra, a town situated in the Golan Heights near the border with Israel. One person was killed.

According to Al-Mayadeen, a Lebanese news media service, the attack killed Yasser Hussein Asayeed, a member of a militia group allied with the Syrian government. Sunday’s air strike was the second military incursion into Syrian territory in three days and is evidence of the mounting tension between Israel and its northern neighbor.

On Friday, Israeli jets entered Syria and carried out an attack on a convoy transporting weapons to Hezbollah. During the attack, Syria launched surface-to-air rockets at the Israeli jets. Israel responded by firing its Arrow interceptor missile at the rockets.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Israel’s Air Force struck two separate Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Strip. The strikes were in response to a Hamas rocket attack on Ashkelon earlier in the day. Another rocket attack from Gaza occurred on Thursday.

These attacks have many in Israel worried that war is imminent. “The winds of war are blowing on Israel’s borders,” wrote Alex Fishman earlier this week. He continued:

The Israeli strike in Syria, the Russian and Syrian responses, and the flare-up in Gaza are bringing Israel one step closer to a military collision. The relative calm along the borders in recent years, which has become a symbol of security stability and deterrence, is gradually wearing out.

The recent attacks are a sign of two important developments. First, as Fishman noted, Israel is establishing red lines with Russia, which in recent years has significantly improved its strategic position in the region.

The weekend events in the north indicate that Israel is striking in Syria not only to curb the Iranian arms convoys to Hezbollah, but also to demonstrate its presence in Syria and make it clear, especially to the Russians, that there will be no agreement in Syria without Israel’s input.

Second, some believe this level of aggression from Israel is a sure sign that it is concerned about the presence of Iran in Syria and Lebanon, and that Tehran via its proxies might even be close to launching an attack. There is evidence, as this article from the Jewish Press explained, that Iran’s strategic and military position in Syria and Lebanon has improved in recent weeks and months.

First, the Iran-sponsored Shia fighters in Syria, who 10 days ago announced the formation of a “Golan Liberation Brigade,” have done more than merely talk. Additional Iraqi Shia fighters have reportedly been deployed to Damascus (never a haunt of the Iran-sponsored force; they’ve been in Aleppo and Idlib Province) and have made public shows of military power there.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, “Hezbollah has reportedly made a separate threat to begin raining ‘long-range missiles’ down on Israel from the Qalamoun Mountains north of Damascus.” There are also signs that cooperation is increasing between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces. On February 12, Lebanese President Michael Aoun implied during a visit to Egypt that Lebanon needs Hezbollah and its weapons as a “complement” to Lebanon’s military. “The resistance’s [Hezbollah] arms are not contrary to the state project; otherwise we could have not tolerated it. It is an essential part of Lebanon’s defense,” he stated (emphasis added).

This statement would not have come as a surprise to Israel. Nevertheless, together with the other developments, it was a timely reminder that Lebanon, like Syria, is essentially a hostile state with little interest in protecting the Jewish state from Iran and its terrorist proxies.

It is impossible to know if Israel is about to go to war in Syria, Lebanon, or anywhere else. But in the larger sense, these events are troubling indicators of an approaching conflict of greater intensity.

Watch Jerusalem closely watches events in this part of the world because of the biblical prophecies describing how conflict here, especially in Jerusalem, will trigger a wider conflagration.

 

[From an article by Brad MacDonald for WATCH JERUSALEM]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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A few thoughts on Islam at the start of a new year…

“Our experience has been that Islam creates dark habitations of cultural cruelty and that Christianity brings the light for an abundant life to cultures. We want to do all we can to educate people about the advantages that faith in God’s Word will bring. We want people to have faith to see Christian culture established in societies that have been Islamic for the last eleven centuries or more.

“Why? It is because Christianity has positive effects on societies and paves the way for advancement in every meaningful aspect of life. There is a residual blessing effect with faith in Christ that lives on for centuries, whether or not citizens are active in church participation.

“Islam has no blessed residual effects. Once Islam thoroughly grips a nation, it has paralyzing effects. This smothers creativity in the arts, medicine, science, business, technology, education, and in harmonious human relationships.

“Wars and adverse economic or climatic conditions are not viable excuses. Countless other nations have gone through all these and more, and have picked up where they left off and continued to make advancements. Not so with Islamic stronghold nations. In many ways they have gone backward rather than forward. Were it not for the technological innovations, creativity, and medical advancements adopted from Christianized countries, the Muslim nations would still be sitting in the dust of 7th century Arab culture.

“Islam’s quenching powers have been easily verified comparing France, Germany, Italy, and Spain on the one hand with Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia on the other. The areas of specific comparison were in average household income, literacy rates, male life expectancy, and infant mortality rates per thousand live births. Here is what the comparison showed (using the 2013 World Almanac):  On average, household incomes were 230% higher in the Christian nations. The literacy rate was 15.5% higher. The men of Christian nations live 7.2 years longer. And infants born in the above Muslim nations have a mortality rate that is 750% higher than in the Christian nations. The superiority of life in these Christian nations was astonishing!”

 

A converted Muslim, now a Christian, has offered the following testimony:

“The first time I was arrested for questioning it was because of what I had written on a sign board saying “Jesus is Lord.” While being questioned my captors just started beating and kicking me, trying to inflict as much pain as they possibly could. I soon discovered that my own father had come to join the police in punishing me. I remained in my faith and was not scared of them. The more they beat me, the stronger my resolve became to grow in my faith. There are many other young people now working with me to help reach Muslims with the truth of the Bible.”

 

Another testimony: 

“Not long ago I was caught with 85 copies of the New Testament in my bag. The Iranian police handcuffed me and put me in their car headed directly to the horrible Evin Prison. [Located in Tehran, Iran.] I was frightened because I was on probation, having a long arrest record for Christian activities. I had already spent two years in prison. My name on the police records states ‘Employed by Jesus.’ I was more frightened now because of the evidence of 85 New Testaments.

“From the moment I was tossed into the police car I started praying. I was sure if I went to the prison again, I would never come out alive. I have lived with miracles and believe in them strongly. Sitting in the police car I only said to Jesus that I have done nothing but serve You. Help me. Please do not let me die.

“The word ‘die’ was hardly out of my mouth when the policeman told his driver to pull over so he could purchase something for him. Then I heard the voice of the Iranian policeman turning his face to me and saying, ‘You’re dumb, why are you carrying 85 Bibles in one bag?’ I could not believe what I was hearing. His voice had a different tone from the voices I had heard previously in prison cursing Christians. Then I looked in his eyes. There was something different in his eyes. He was putting the few Bibles he had taken out of my bag back into it. He said, ‘Okay, now quickly, get out of this car. Right now!’ I said, ‘Are you one of us?’ He said, ‘Yes, I believe in Him, too.’ I reached out to touch his hand and literally cried. I said, ‘What will you tell the driver?’ He only said, ‘Go, quickly!’ The next thing I knew, I was in the street running to get a taxi and get as far away as I could. I felt a longing to be somewhere to worship and to thank God for the miracle that had just happened. We are so thankful for the believers who are working in governmental positions and who can be a blessing when one is sorely needed.”

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Because of the constant oppression and persecution endured by Christians in Islamic countries, we cannot provide any more details about the source of the above report. We trust our readers will understand.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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US foreign policy is failing dramatically. Why?

WHEN AMERICA WAS ATTACKED ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, ITS REACTION WAS TO DECLARE WAR ON TERROR. For the next 13 years the US fought to defeat tyranny, destroy weapons of mass destruction, and promote democracy and Western ideals. It was hoped that American firepower would make the world a better place.

The opposite happened.

On the Iraq and Afghanistan battlefields alone, some 2.5 MILLION American military men and women put their lives on the line. Yet an Iraqi civil war and an indefatigable Taliban are destroying everything America built to date. In Somalia and Yemen, American drones rain fire on enemies below, yet America’s allies are on the run. In Egypt, US pressure helped topple a dictator ally and replace him with a democratically elected terrorist who hated the US. Another coup soon followed, along with a new dictator. In Libya, America bombed Muammar Qadhafi. In his wake came warring militias with terrorist links, a murdered US ambassador plus three staff, and an ongoing deadly civil war that has killed tens of thousands.

America has great political and military power, but in locations all over the globe our foreign policy is failing dramatically. Why? The truth is that God is no longer on our side. The Bible says very clearly, “I will break the pride of your power…and your strength shall be spent in vain.” (Leviticus 26: 19-20). America continues to tell God over and over again, in many different ways, that we do not need Him or want Him. We have a president who tells us he is quoting from the Bible but has no clue that his quoted passage does not appear anywhere in Scripture.  We have a Supreme Court which upholds abortion and same-sex marriage, and our churches think nothing of installing gay pastors in their pulpits.

The following examples show further the truth of the above Leviticus prophecy.

 

LIBYA

In 1967 Co. Muammar Qadhafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa. By the time he was assinated, Libya was Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest live expectancy and highest gross domestic product per capita on the entire continent. Fewer people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands. Libya was sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of Africa. Wealth was being generated; schools hospitals were running and were free. In 2011 the US led an air campaign supporting the “Arab Spring” and Qadhafi was ousted from leadership. The result was catastrophic. Oil production was cut in half to 810,000 barrels per day. Since 2011, 32,000 people have been killed. The nation is locked in war. It is a terrorist haven, and some 250 militias now control what once was the wealthiest country in Africa.

 

IRAQ

In 2003 Iraq was invaded by a US-led coalition to remove dictator Saddam Hussein, destroy weapons of mass destruction, and create a democracy. Eight years later, 7,888 US soldiers and contractors were dead, along with 190,000 Iraqi civilians. Total cost including reconstruction: $2.2 TRILLION.  Less than two years after America said “mission complete,” the US-built Iraqi army had virtually collapsed, the radical Islamic State had proclaimed itself to be in charge, Iraq was engulfed in a Sunnis vs. Shiites civil war, and over 24,000 more people were dead. Today, Iraq is essentially split into three warring regions: the area controlled by the Islamic State in the middle, a Kurdish autonomous region in the north, and a Shiite-controlled south. On November 7th, the US president was forced to send 1500 additional US troops back to Iraq to support the 1500 who had previously returned. Obviously, our exit from Iraq could be called nothing if not premature.

 

SOMALIA

Washington is trying to help the Somali government to (1) retake control of vast parts of its country lost to the Iran-sponsored terror group called Al-Shabaab, and (2) maintain a foothold on the strategic Gulf of Aden waterway. In October of 2013 Mr. Obama approved the sending of US military to act as advisers.  So far about 220 terrorist operatives have been killed by US drone strikes, while at least $700 million has been spent propping up the Somali National Army and training African Union forces to combat Al-Shabaab. So far, this terror group appears to be completely unfazed and undeterred.

 

EGYPT

In early 2011 America helped push long-standing ally Hosni Mubarak from the presidency. This ushered in an era of instability and violence. Three leaders later, GDP growth has been cut in half from 4 percent to less than 2 percent; unemployment has jumped from 9 percent to 12 percent; and external debt has climbed from $34.7 billion to $45.3 billion. At the same time vehicle thefts have quadrupled; homicides have tripled; and armed robberies have risen from 233 the year before Mubarak’s resignation, to 2807 in the year 2012. Politically this one-time US ally now views America with skepticism and suspicion.

 

YEMEN

In 2009 Obama approved a drone-bombing campaign to help the Yemeni government combat Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the north. America’s involvement turned the local citizenry against the ruling government. By 2011, the Yemeni army and US drones were also fighting Al Qaeda in the south. Today the country is deep in civil war, its capital city is controlled by the Houthi, and the US-backed government faces collapse.

 

AFGHANISTAN

After more than 13 years of war and the death of Osama bin Laden, America is bringing its troops home. The war cost $710 billion and the lives of 2349 American military. After spending $56 billion to equip the Afghan army, it is unclear whether that army will continue to fight the Taliban, or switch sides and join it. At the start of this war the Taliban consisted of approximately 2000 terrorist radicals; that number has now swelled to 60,000. The US has failed in other ways, too. We invested nearly $8 billion in trying to dismantle opium production, but the opium crop is at least twice as large as when we first entered the country. Because we acted as we did in Iraq and announced ahead of time our planned Afghan departure date, Afghan leaders now appear to be cutting deals with the Taliban in preparation for our impending exit.

 

[From a recent article in The Philadelphia Trumpet]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com

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Lincoln could teach Obama a lot about war…

Abraham Lincoln hated war as much as Barack Obama does. He saw so much more of it firsthand, lost friends in it and waged it on an immensely vaster scale than Obama has. And yet, almost exactly 150 years ago (Aug. 17, 1864, to be precise), he wrote this to the squat, stolid general besieging the town of Petersburg, south of Richmond: “I have seen your dispatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bull-dog gripe, and chew & choke, as much as possible.” And so Ulysses S. Grant persevered.

Therein lies the difference between Lincoln and Obama, which explains much of the wreckage that is U.S. foreign policy in Gaza and elsewhere today. Lincoln accepted war for what it is; Obama does not. The Gaza war is a humanitarian tragedy for Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire. It is also a barbaric conflict, as leaders of Hamas hide their fighters behind children while baiting their enemy to kill innocents. But first and foremost, it is a war, a mortal contest of wills between two governments and two societies.

By 1864, Lincoln, Grant and Grant’s no-less-grim lieutenants William Tecumseh Sherman and Philip Sheridan had concluded that their conflict had shifted to what historians call “the hard war.” They knew not only that they would have to destroy the armies of the Confederacy but also that they would have to break the will of the people of the South to wage war. That is precisely what they did — in the siege of Petersburg, the devastation of the Shenandoah Valley, the march through Georgia and North Carolina, a close blockade and cavalry raids deep into the South.

Lincoln understood how to fight a war...And the gentle, humane and often grief-stricken president pushed them hard to do it. When, earlier in August, Grant ordered Sheridan to drive the Confederates from the Shenandoah — which he burned out thoroughly as he went — Lincoln commented, “I repeat to you it will neither be done nor attempted unless you watch it every day, and hour, and force it.”

 The Israelis, having left Gaza only to be showered by rockets and harried by border raiders, have concluded that they are waging that kind of war. In a rare spirit of unity, they seem determined to break Hamas in Gaza. A more sensible U.S. administration would understand that and stand with our tough little ally, rather than attempt to stop its destruction of this Islamist partner of Iran and enemy not only of Israel but of Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well.

The problem is not the reported antipathy between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is that the Obama administration simply cannot accept that war is war. This explains, among other things, the debacle of our Libya policy, in which the administration studiously insisted that its bombing to help overthrow Moammar Gaddafi was not a war and left in its wake chaos that roils to the present day. It explains the administration’s declarations that drone strikes in Pakistan and the assassination of Osama bin Laden had brought al-Qaeda to the edge of strategic defeat — even as the ideology of the group and similar ones has metastasized and Islamist movements have extended their sway in the Middle East and Africa.

It explains our hand-wringing over the slaughter of some 200,000 people in Syria as if it were a massive Ebola outbreak, when what is going on is, in fact, a war pitting Iran and its allies in Syria and Lebanon against an increasingly Islamized foe. It explains the long, disgraceful appeasement of Vladimir Putin and the administration’s continuing reluctance to say, simply, that Russia is waging war against a sovereign neighbor.

The president famously said in 2011 that “the tide of war is receding” in Iraq and Afghanistan, when in fact all that was happening was that we were (temporarily, perhaps) withdrawing from our wars, which entered new and more violent phases among the people we were leaving behind.

The most curious thing about this president is that he was elected in the midst of three open wars — the struggle against al-Qaeda and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan — and several more covert conflicts, including Iran’s long and bloody effort to drive the United States from the Middle East, and yet he could not conceive of himself as a war president. He cannot give the speeches that explain these wars, that call for sacrifice, that bring his domestic opponents along to confront a foreign foe, that rally foreign friends and strike fear in the hearts of common enemies. And he appears to have little capacity for empathy with an ally whose population must seek shelter when sirens wail.

War is war. We may wish that it could be waged like an 18th-century duel, with exquisite protocols and rules, and scrupulously circumscribed uses of violence, but it stubbornly remains what it became in the 19th and 20th centuries: a ferocious struggle among nations. That does not mean discarding the constraints of decency and civilization, but it is a dark truth to be faced. Lincoln understood it; our president today does not.

[by Eliot A. Cohen, writing for The Washington Post]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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