Category: Islam

Dec 12

Tracking Pakistan’s nukes to Saudi Arabia

 

Report says weapons may have been transferred as early as 2004

Pakistan may have transferred nuclear weapons to the chief bankroller of its development program, Saudi Arabia, as far back as 2004, according to a then-U.S. government official who received the revelation in a Pakistani intelligence briefing at the time, says a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Larry Werline, in a little-noticed report in Blackwater Tactical Weekly last June, said the transfer was revealed in a briefing that Pakistani Inter-Service Directorate, or ISI, officials gave him and other U.S. experts when relations between the United States and Pakistan were on a far better political and diplomatic footing.

Werline said that it was unusual that the intelligence service would oversee Pakistan’s nuclear program. Nonetheless, the high-ranking ISI briefers told of the increasing cooperation Pakistan was receiving at the time from China.

Chinese assistance included advanced production of lighter plutonium warheads for miniaturization to fit on Chinese missiles, based on technology, Werline said, that was stolen from U.S. and British work.

Essentially, the result of such work is weapons, with plutonium, that are lighter and have a higher explosive yield than weapons based on enriched uranium.

Sources have told WND/G2Bulletin that Saudi Arabia financed Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and that even now, given the increasing Islamist threat in Pakistan, Islamabad may have decided to store some of its nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia for safe keeping.

The ISI briefings took place in Pakistan in November 2004. The series of briefings over a three-day period were by ISI officials who at one time were senior Pakistani military officers.

Attending the briefings were scientists from the U.S. and Britain. One of the scientists, Werline said, was from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The briefings pointed out that ISI was in exclusive control of the country’s nuclear arsenal, and security forces were “recklessly moving nuclear warheads” around the country, Werline said.

Pakistan’s ISI is known for having created the Afghanistan Taliban and other Islamist militant jihadist groups, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, among others, to act as proxies for the Pakistani military to launch attacks against India, which is Pakistan’s arch-enemy even until this day.

The LeT was responsible for a series of attacks in Mumbai, India, on Nov. 28, 2008, that killed 164 people and wounded some 308.

The briefing also included details of a Pakistani nuclear scientist’s visit to Afghanistan to brief then-al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s when the Afghan government then was under the control of the Taliban.

The briefing to bin Laden “was orchestrated, planned and executed by Pakistan’s ISI,” Werline said.

iran missile

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4511

Nov 27

Russian expert warns of possibility of large-scale war in Middle East

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”

“The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entire Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added.

The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council.

The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The deployment of Patriots would also undermine the role of the UN Security Council, which, experts feel, would hardly authorize any proposal to impose a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft.

Plans for the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish-Syrian border are defensive in character, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a telephone talk with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier Moscow voiced its concern over the militarization of that region.

The above-mentioned telephone talk was held on the initiative of the NATO Secretary General. Moscow says that Rasmussen wanted to clarify the situation with the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish territory. Ankara filed a relevant request to NATO on November 21st. The information that appeared in the press more than once last month said that Turkey was making preparations for appealing to Brussels. Possibly, acting in this way Ankara wanted to indirectly put pressure on its NATO allies. As you know, till recently NATO was strongly against getting involved in a conflict between Turkey and Syria, a political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, says.

“They started asking NATO to interfere in the conflict, using the Alliance’s Clause No.5 – the defence of territories. Which means that they wanted to drag NATO into the conflict and thus, to ensure its military presence in the region. NATO said “No”. Then they resorted to Clause No. 4 – the provision of help”.

NATO said that it would consider Turkey’s request without any delay. And Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s request should be met without any delay. Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor in case of a military threat. The reason for such a large- scale militarization was firing missiles into the Syrian territory, which official Damascus called an accident. Any escalation of this conflict is inadmissible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 23rd. Moscow is well aware of Turkey’s concern as well as of NATO’s arguments but what is important in this case is the potential, not intentions – that is why any militarization on the Turkish-Syrian border may lead to an uncontrollable turn of events, the Russian minister said.

“Any accumulation of arms creates certain risks and urges all those who would like like to resort to the exterior factor of force to finally use it. We believe that this will not happen, and that all outside players will display maximum responsibility in assessing the on-going developments in the region’.

In the diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan Scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has a military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

“The Syrian-Turkish border has a sophisticated mountain relief. Under such conditions, combat aviation is a very effective method of fighting against the rebels. Thus, if Turkey deploys the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

Moscow’s fears may also be caused by something that is not directly linked with the crisis in Syria, a Turkish political analyst, Barysh Adybelli, says.

“Moscow believes that in case the Patriot Misslile Air-Defence Systems are deployed in Turkey, they can be used as one of the elements of the early warning system – that is, as one of the elements of the European missile defence system which the USA is ardently defending by now”.

Official Ankara reacted to Moscow’s statements on November 23rd. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Moscow’s reaction to a possible deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence systems erroneous, adding that Russia is trying to present Turkey’s domestic issue as its own problem. Fears remain though.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen assured Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that plans of the alliance to deploy Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey are of purely defensive.

Mr. Rasmussen and Mr. Lavrov had a phone conversation on Friday initiated by NATO chief.

A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the talks says that Mr. Lavrov expressed his concerns over NATO`s plans to place Patriot air missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border.

He mentioned Russia’s initiative to help Ankara and Damascus be able to discuss all differences directly amid the increasing military potential in the region in order to avoid incidents.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia’s reaction to the deployment of the Patriot air defense systems on the border with Syria, which Ankara requested from the NATO on Wednesday, was “erroneous”.

Answering the question about the Moscow’s reaction to Turkey’s request to NATO, the official representative of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation Alexander Lukashevich noted on Thursday that Russia considered the militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border to be an alarm signal. “I believe Russia’s statement to be very erroneous”, – the Turkish Prime Minister said in this regard to accompanying journalists on his return from Pakistan from the summit of the “Islamic group of eight”.

Russia has expressed its concern over the militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border, the VoR correspondent Polina Chernitsa has cited the Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich who commented on Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles on the Syrian border.

Moscow would like Turkey to contribute to the beginning of the inter-Syria dialogue rather than flex its military muscles, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“The militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is a dismal signal,” Lukashevich said, referring to Turkey’s recent request to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems to protect its border with Syria.

He urged Turkey to interact more with the Syrian opposition so as to help start the inter-Syria dialogue as soon as possible.

Turkey already hosted the complex twice. in 1991 and 2003 during the two Iraqi campaigns but never used it.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4451

Nov 03

UN Representative Calls For Establishing A ‘World Capital’–In Islamic Istanbul

The world needs a global capital and it should be the capital of Islamic Turkey, Istanbul, according to a UN special representative. Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, wrote a Nov. 1, 2012, opinion piece for the controversial al Jazeera English site calling for a “global capital” because of integration “by markets, by globally constituted battlefields, by changing geopolitical patterns.”

While Turkey is a longstanding U.S. ally and a member of NATO, its nearly 80 million population is 99.8 percent Muslim, according to the CIA Factbook. Its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had several run-ins with Israel over access to Gaza. In March, he urged Israel to “stop the brutal attack against Palestinians and stop the massacre and bloodshed.”

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey sent out an “emergency message” for U.S. citizens in September warning of “a planned anti-American march/protest” in Istanbul. The march was tied to protests against the YouTube video claimed by critics to be anti-Islamic. “The Department of State strongly recommends avoiding the march/protest location as well as any other large crowds that may gather in Istanbul to protest against the controversial video that has created other demonstrations throughout the world,” explained the warning.

Falk recommended what al Jazeera called a “modest proposal” that should move the world past “the persisting tendency is to view the hierarchy of global cities from a West-centric perspective: London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles placed in the first rank.” Along with his UN duties, he is the Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Falk said there were two sides on where to locate such a capital – hard and soft power dynamics. He defined hard power as a view “that history is principally made by those who prevail in warfare, and little else.”

His description of soft power included “culture, political vitality, religious identity and ethics shapes and forms what unfolds.” He listed “several factors” why to choose Istanbul. Those included the city as a tourist destination, it has “also become a secure and acceptable place to hold the most delicate diplomatic discussions,” it is convenient, and Turkey has “gained economic and political credibility at a time when so many important states have either been treading water so as to remain afloat.”

He credited Turkey for “achieving a stable interface between secular principles and religious freedom” and for “moving away from the ‘over-secularizsation.'” Falk said choosing Istanbul as a world capital would be good because Turkey could provide the “satisfactions of a post-Western world civilization.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4357

Oct 28

Turkey: An Aggressive Emerging Islamist Autocracy That May Soon Become ‘The Greatest Threat To Israel’

“Bernard Lewis, one of the world’s greatest experts on the Islamic world, told me a few years ago that the emerging younger Iranian generation and the alienated middle class would bring about regime change. However, he also predicted that Turkey would evolve into an aggressive Islamist dictatorship and could become the greatest threat to Israel.

Alas, his prediction about Turkey is being realized.

When, 12 years ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan assumed the reins of leadership in Turkey, many expressed concern that beneath the veneer of moderation and commitment to a fusion of moderate Islam and democracy, the real Erdogan was a fanatical Muslim whose objective was to transform Turkey into an authoritarian Islamic state. They were vindicated.

The military, which controlled the nation since Kemal Ataturk created a secular Turkish Republic in 1923, undoubtedly displayed autocratic tendencies in the course of its relentless determination to suppress Muslim extremism. Yet in terms of freedom of speech and democratic process, the situation today is significantly worse than before Erdogan.

Erdogan imprisoned thousands of Turkish citizens on spurious grounds without adequate trials; one in four former Turkish generals is currently languishing in prison; journalists, nonconforming academics and politicians have been summarily arrested; dissenting newspapers were closed down.

To some extent, leaders can be judged by their associates.

Erdogan proudly accepted a ‘human rights award’ from the late Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi and welcomed as his guest Omar Bashir, the genocidal leader of Sudan, a certified war criminal responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own citizens.

Erdogan denies that Hamas is a terrorist organization, referring to its adherents as heroic liberation fighters and treating visiting Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh virtually like a head of state. Last month he invited the other Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, to be his personal guest of honor at a state Iftar dinner to mark the end of Ramadan.

Erdogan also expanded Turkish diplomatic ties to the most radical Muslim terrorist regimes and organizations, including until recently the Syrians and the Iranian ayatollahs who he continues to insist are entitled to become a nuclear power. Now having parted ways with Assad, he has closely allied himself with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Clearly his objective is to emerge as the popular leader of a neo-Ottoman Sunni Muslim arc.

To promote this objective, he has consciously exploited popular hatred of Israel as a vehicle by which to gain widespread support from the Arab masses.

To this end, he has transformed Turkey’s former close alliance with Israel into one of aggressive confrontation and demonization, emerging as one of the leading Arab states directing hostility against the Jewish state.

The first public display of this behavior was his bitter and contrived confrontation of President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2009. Millions of television viewers saw him excoriating Peres over alleged Israeli war crimes and then dramatically storming out of the conference.

The deterioration in Turkish-Israel relations climaxed in 2010 when nine members of the IHH, a Turkish government-sanctioned jihadist terrorist group, were killed on board the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish boat in the Gaza ‘peace’ flotilla, after having attacked the IDF boarding party with metal bars, clubs and knives.

An independent Israeli commission of inquiry vindicated the IDF actions as self-defense. A separate UN commission ruled that while there may have been excessive violence, the Israeli action was entirely consistent with international law.

However, Erdogan exploited this incident to intensify the confrontation with Israel. He demanded that the Israeli government apologize, pay restitution to families and unconditionally lift the blockade on Gaza.

Seeking to ease tensions, the Israelis expressed regret at the loss of lives and, without accepting blame, sought to reach an accommodation including a rumored offer to pay $6 million to families of the victims.

But it soon became clear that Erdogan was seeking confrontation rather than compromise.

The Turkish government downgraded its diplomatic representation and intensified its global campaign to demonize Israel, seeking to have it barred from participating at all international gatherings.

Last month, on the second anniversary of the flotilla, the Turkish High Court issued indictments against Israeli military officers for their alleged involvement in the incident, pronouncing life sentences on the former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and other military leaders.

Campaigns against Israel were accompanied by intensification of anti-Semitic propaganda in the government- controlled media which included ghoulish television dramas (Valley of the Wolves) portraying Israelis as dealers in body parts, murderers of innocent children and other foul criminal activity. Not surprisingly, Turkish opinion polls reflect a 76 percent negative attitude towards Jews.

Erdogan has been especially viral in his denunciation of Israel’s targeted assassinations of terrorists. Yet when a number of Syrian shells errantly crossed his border, he had no hesitation in launching a brutal military attack, in stark contrast to Israel’s reluctance to maximize its deterrent capabilities in response to missiles continuously being launched against Israeli civilians from Gaza.

Nor does Erdogan display any scruples in employing the fiercest means to suppress protests or efforts by the Kurdish minority to achieve greater autonomy or independence.

One of the most disconcerting aspects of this confrontation is that despite his concerted campaign to delegitimize Israel, Erdogan has successfully forged a close alliance with President Barack Obama, who describes him as ‘an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues.’ Erdogan reciprocates, stating ‘from the moment Barack became president, we upgraded the status of our relations from a strategic partnership to a model partnership, on which he also placed a lot of importance.’

Indeed, following pressure from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Obama agreed to bar Israel – a NATO partner country and member of NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue – from participating in a NATO summit which took place in Chicago.

Turkey also demanded that NATO intelligence information be denied to Israel.

Likewise, Turkey succeeded in excluding Israel from a special meeting of the World Economic Forum. More outrageously, Obama caved in to Turkey’s demand that Israel – the Western country which has suffered more terrorism than any other – be barred from a global forum on counterterrorism.

Israel can do little to lessen the tension. Those who suggest that by prostrating and groveling towards Turkey Israel would overcome this enmity are naïve and misguided. In the context of an aggressive Islamist government such behavior conveys weakness and surrender and would only further embolden Erdogan into making even greater demands. If we cannot generate friendship it is far better that we command respect.

However, the Turks would hesitate to demonize and delegitimize us if they believed that they would be penalized. We could surely expect our principal ally, the United States, to stand firm and not kowtow to Turkish efforts to isolate or demean us.” Source – The Jerusalem Post.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4331

Oct 09

Building a Throne in the Middle East

 

The Turkish AK Party is on the verge of altering the balance of power in the Middle East. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan could soon be recognized as the most powerful man in the region.

Erdogan is campaigning to merge the offices of Turkey’s president and prime minister. Currently, the Turkish presidency is a ceremonial role with some judicial appointments, but the president also has the power to call for referenda, appoint the chief of the Turkish military and to mobilize the Turkish military. However, the chief of the general staff is the effective commander in chief, with the president only having a figurehead role. That could change.

The prime minister is the head of government, leader of Parliament and the driver of the legislative agenda. He also coordinates the foreign policy of the government but is limited by the powers of Parliament and the need to seek approval in advance for many initiatives. Erdogan has been open about his admiration of French and U.S.-style executive power.

The similarity between Erdogan and another regional strongman have not gone unnoticed. Islamism expert and Turkey observer Joel Richardson has noted the danger.

“No doubt, Turkey has found its Putin. One notable difference, however, is that Erdogan is loved both within and outside of his home country. While some have said that in Putin, a new czar has emerged, it’s actually much more accurate to say that in Erdogan, a new caliph has emerged. Even Khaled Meshaal, the exiled political leader of Hamas, recently stated, ‘Erdogan, you are not only a leader in Turkey now, you are a leader in the Muslim world as well.’”

Mr. Erdogan has pursued his goals relentlessly. When the AK Party did not win the two-thirds majority in Parliament necessary to unilaterally rewrite the Turkish constitution, it settled for a less ambitious amendment project and won a 2010 referendum, which enhanced the powers of the party but included minor reforms that pleased European Union observers. In 2007 the party pushed through the switch from a parliamentary vote for the presidency to a popular one and allowed presidents a second term.

Now, even without the merged powers of the prime minister’s office, the future presidents of Turkey will have increased influence through a personal mandate from the voters. Additionally, the 2007 changes forbid former presidents from seeking popular election, which – coincidentally, I’m sure – leaves Erdogan with a smaller pool of credible rivals but allows the prime minister to run without resigning from his office prior to the election. However, Erdogan must achieve his goals soon; he recently won his third term as head of the AK Party, which bans fourth terms for its leaders. Erdogan has announced that he will keep his word to leave the premiership in 2015. If, however, the presidency is reshaped in time for presidential elections in 2014, the prime minister may have a better job to go to anyway.

There is a fear that the Iranian regime and its terrorist network are in a position to seize hegemony in the Middle East. With its influence in Syria and Lebanon, it is believed that Iran is positioning itself to build a petro-terrorist empire. However, the Iranian clerics are not in a position to challenge Turkey. If they were to try, I believe that the tale of the tape is weighted in Turkey’s favor.

As a member of NATO the Turkish military has received American military technology and boasts a modern command-and-control structure. Additionally, the Turkish economy has grown by an average of over 5 percent for a decade, a record that is the envy of the United States and Western Europe. Turkey and Iran are nearly equal in population, with 79 million people in Turkey and 78 million in Iran. But the Turkish GDP is $770 billion while the poorer Iranians make do with $330 billion. Richardson has emphasized the scale of Turkish economic ambition, highlighting the fact that “Prime Minister Erdogan has recently announced plans to renovate a massive section of Istanbul as an international banking center that will compete with Dubai.”

Economics do not reveal the entirety of Iranian disadvantage, however. As always in Middle Eastern calculations, the religious element must be considered. While the populations are equal, the Turkish population is 75 percent ethnic Turkish, while only 53 to 61 percent of Iranians are Persian. Additionally, 20 percent of Iranians are members of various Turkic ethnic groups sharing cultural and linguistic ties with Turkey. Further, while 99 percent of Turkish citizens are Sunni, the Shia population of Iran is an 89 percent majority with a not-to-be-ignored 10 percent Sunni minority. The Sunni Arab states – with the significant exception of Shia-dominated Iraq – are more likely to accept Turkish leadership over Iranian Shia dominance.

Mr. Erdogan has a firm foundation on which to build Turkish hegemony. Could the Iranians accept Turkish power? Maybe. It is not impossible for them to experience a “revelation” that allows for Shia-Persian and Sunni-Turkish rapprochement. In any event the Iranians will recognize that if the Sunnis support Turkey, al-Qaida and other allied groups could match Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies in terrorist lethality. The AK Party and Prime Minister Erdogan’s time is coming.

Joel Richardson agrees: “There is no question that in the chess match for regional dominance, Turkey is about to place Iran in checkmate. While Iran’s economy is buckling under the pressure of sanctions, the Iranian regime is struggling to appear confident while fighting to avoid a free fall into hyper-inflation. Meanwhile, Turkey’s economy is roaring. The final straw that will break Iran’s back and set in motion the final shift toward Turkey’s ascendancy will be the fall of Basshar Assad’s Alawite regime that functions as an Iranian proxy. In the absence of an Iranian pawn in Syria, Erdogan will no doubt extend his Sunni paternal hand of assistance to the newly forming government. All of this together will guarantee Turkey’s dominance over the Middle East.”

Richardson’s appraisal of potential counterbalances to Turkey in the Arab counties is bleak: “After Iran falls under Turkey’s growing umbrella of power, only Egypt and Saudi Arabia will remain.” This outcome would render U.S. hegemony in the Middle East untenable. Neither would China or Russia be able to take America’s place without military intervention. In either case, if Turkey can stabilize its hegemony, it would be able to defeat any attempt at interventionism.

Turkey is unhindered in its rise. Europe and North America are largely blind to the danger. The Western diplomatic establishment – including the U.S. leadership – continues to see Turkey through the pre-2002 paradigm that existed before the AK Party took over. They view Turkey as a model for Muslim democracy. They should be reminded that Erdogan was jailed by Turkey’s secular authorities – and initially banned from taking office as prime minister – for inciting religious hatred with the words “the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers. …”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4265

Oct 05

Islamic-Christian Alliance in Israel

Islamic-Christian Alliance in Israel

By Gary Stearman on September 30, 2012

The following news item was recently published in Israel: Arutz Sheva, Aug. 27th – “The Temple Mount, the place where Avraham [Abraham] came to sacrifice his son to God, the site of the first and second Jewish Temples, where the Jewish people worshiped for hundreds of years and the focal point of every practicing Jew’s prayers, is under increasing assault from the Islamic-Christian Committee.

“This relatively new Palestinian institution has been able to win the support not only of the entire regional Christian leadership, but also of leading Christian personalities from abroad.

“The Islamic-Christian Commission has just warned that the Israeli authorities are working to impose ‘a false Jewish history’ in Jerusalem, ‘the occupied city,’especially ‘on the area known to Jews as the Temple Mount.’ The Committee warned of a new ‘Judaization.’ Such fabricated lies help the Palestinians to conquer a seat in the international agencies like Unesco and to excite the Muslims against the Jews.”

In this report, we see the sad truth that not all Christians understand the prophetic truth that Israel is destined to return to the Holy Land in the last days. Instead, they view the institutional church – not Israel – as the central element in God’s plan to renew the Earth. Some even envision transferring their ecclesiastical headquarters to Jerusalem when the time is right, to greet the Lord upon His return in the Second Coming.

In their thinking, the church has superseded Israel, and is destined to create the spiritual platform that will pave the way for the Lord’s return, as He brings the Kingdom of God to its final fruition upon Earth.

In their world view, termed “replacement theology,” modern Israel is a temporary accident that will soon be swept aside into the dustbin of history. They see it as a strange offshoot of the Jewish Holocaust of World War II, whose presence in the Middle East is an irritant and obstacle to peace. Prophecy has been improperly taught for centuries; any attempt to correct long-held positions will certainly be met with dramatic resistance.

In this arena, we encounter a real contradiction in the interpretation of Bible prophecy. In sharp contrast with this view, Dispensationalism was developed in the 19th century under the leadership of John Nelson Darby and his immediate support group. They restored the long-extinct Apostolic doctrine of imminency and placed national Israel at the center of prophetic fulfillment.As dispensationalists, we do not see the Church – the body of Christ – as usurping Israel’s central place in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Part of the problem is that Christians who follow denominational creeds are only rarely (if at all) involved in the study of Bible prophecy. Eschatology has been sidelined, and is considered nearly irrelevant. Besides that, it is generally thought to be so divisive in nature that it is approached with caution. For this reason, most seminaries now admonish their young graduates to steer clear of prophetic teaching, except in the most simplistic terms. In other words, be content with, “Jesus will return to Earth some day.” Christians who believe in the latter-day return of Israel to the Holy Land are continually amazed at the widespread failure to understand this basic Bible prophecy.

In fact, there is a long tradition of power politics behind the precautionary stance of today’s theologians. Religious empires have been built and are vigorously protected.

The Islamic-Christian Committee

The Committee mentioned earlier is comprised of theologians who represent the tip of the replacement theology iceberg. They are amillennialists, with an understanding of prophecy that goes back to Augustine, whose writings were a reaction to the allegorical biblical interpretations of earlier church fathers. He cut off their strange prophetic conjectures by denying that there would be a future Millennium.

Of course, national Israel found no place in his view. The Jews had been banished to the four corners of the world, and in his thinking, would never return.

And so, in the early 5th century, he envisioned a thousand-year Church Age. When that period passed, his timing was discredited. His followers in the Roman Church then spiritualized the remaining period, assigning it an indefinite duration. Once again, Israel found no place in this renewal of prophetic interpretation.

Though flawed, Augustine’s system of eschatology found practically universal acceptance in the medieval church. Centuries later, the Roman Church and the later Reformed churches continued to accept his theology as firm and correct tradition, which is still the case, today.

Today’s Islamic-Christian Committee is comprised of church leaders who follow Augustinian eschatology. Naturally, they see Jerusalem as he did: the City of God as capital of the Gentile world. The church institutions they represent are all steeped in this concept of Gentile authority.

One of them (left) is Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canturbury. He has been termed “Anglo-Catholic.” He recently said, “It is impossible to deny that Christians and Muslims have a common agenda here: both faiths have at their heart the living image of a community raised up by God’s call to reveal to the world what God’s purpose is for humanity.”

Fouad Twal, the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, serving in that capacity since 2008, recently took part in a meeting with Williams in London, England. There, he protested the fact that there are “more than 550,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalam and the West Bank.” He also spoke against “the demography of Jerusalem changing rapidly with the sacred space being threatened.” In other words, he detests the growing Jewish population there.

Another is the Vatican’s former archbishop in Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah. He has launched appeals in Europe and the United States, urging them to “stop the Hebraization of Jerusalem.”

The founder of the Committee, is Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, Atallah (Theodosius) Hanna. Since his appointment in 2001, quickly established himself as a vigorous political activist, publicly denouncing the “Israeli occupation” and the establishment of a “Palestinian identity.” Naturally, he is very popular among Arabs. Israeli authorities, however, have repeatedly arrested him on charges of “incitement.”

Hanna once said, “The suicide bombers who carry out their activities in the name of religion are national heroes and we’re proud of them.”

Supersessionism

There is a fundamental error in the theology that states it has replaced Israel, which it deems to be forever lost in sin.

Theologians sometimes refer to replacement theology as “supersessionism,” from the English word “supersede.” This church position states that the New Covenent replaces the Mosaic Covenant, which it refers to as the “Old Covenant.” On this basis, it believes that it has inherited the promises made to the biblical Israelites.

It is only natural, therefore, that modern church leaders would view Israel as a temporary obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

However, contemporary scholarship points out a fundamental error in their theology. They begin with the idea that Israel is forever lost in sin, never to be redeemed. However, the Apostle Paul speaks of national Israel as being at the center of God’s long-term plan for this world. Surely, anyone with the slightest experience in Scripture has read Paul’s explanation for the purpose of Israel’s rejection:

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness” (Rom. 11:11,12).

Here, he plainly states that the collapse of Israel’s rule in Israel was only temporary. It brought salvation to the Gentiles (through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection at the feast of Firstfruits). Then, he says that they will rise again to fullness. In order to throw out this Scriptural truth, one must nullify Paul as an Apostolic authority. He adds that Israel, like Christ, will rise from the dead:

“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:15).

But Paul’s pure and simple statement cannot be misinterpreted. It must be ignored. And so it has been, by those who believe that the church has superseded the promised Kingdom, composed of the twelve tribes of Israel.

According to those who follow it, supersessionism expresses itself in several ways. Augustine believed that the church superseded Israel in terms of a new form of management replacing the old. He saw this development as historical and practical.

Others say that supersessionism is structural. It is simply the natural development of God’s ages-long plan for the redemption of the Earth.

Still others see the church’s supersession as God’s punishment of the Jews, who continue to reject Jesus. In the second century, Justin Martyr wrote, “For the true spiritual Israel are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ.”

In the third century, Hippolytus is quoted as having said, “The Jews … have been darkened in the eyes of your [the Lord’s] soul with a darkness utter and everlasting.”

Among many others, Hippolytus, Origen and Martin Luther held the belief that the Old Testament prophecies once intended for the Jews were now to be interpreted as pertaining to Christians.

And as stated above, most contemporary mainline churches continue to hold various forms of this view, opening the way for emphatic rejection of Israel as legitimately back in the Land.

What’s wrong with this view? First, it is erroneous to believe that the New Covenant is a replacement for the Mosaic Covenant. Christians have not received redemption through the Law of Moses, but through the finished work of Christ.

And the inescapable fact is that the covenant of His priesthood goes back to Abraham, centuries before Moses received the covenant of Law at Mount Horeb.

The Priesthood of Melchizedek

The writer of Hebrews makes this clear, by recalling that Abraham, after his military defeat of the four Gentile Kings, paid a tithe to the priest called Melchizedek.

“Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” (Heb. 7:4-10).

Levi, the priest of the Mosaic law, is here shown to have an inferior priesthood to that of Melchizedek, by virtue of Abraham’s action toward Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews then goes on to point out that Christ’s spiritual heritage originates from him, rather than from Moses and Aaron:

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 7:11-17).

A Spiritual Priesthood

In his first epistle, Peter speaks of those who were not a people, but now through Christ and the mercy of God have become members of His family, having the ability to act as priests and co-regents:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (I Pet. 2:9,10).

Certainly, this does not imply that God must throw away one group (the Jews) in order to elevate the status of another (the Church).

Yet this is the motivation behind the theology of the Islamic-Christian Committee. It is driven by an ages-long vitriol, expressed in the language of loathing. The group also includes in its membership one Sheikh Tamimi, a high-ranking judge in the Palestinian Authority (PA). He once said, “Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these Zionist elements are the bloodletters who hang on the peoples, sucking their blood and consuming their resources.”

The leaders of this group have for a long time, worked hand-in-glove with the PLO, Yasser Arafat, and the PA’s current leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

The Arutz Sheva article concludes with this brief historical note: “23 December, 1995, is the date of the turning point for the Islamic-Christian alliance against the Jews in Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox patriarch of the holy land, Deodorus I, handed over the custody of Churches in Jerusalem to PLO leader Arafat. This was done in the presence of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek orthodox archbishops.

“The patriarch declared, ‘I am the heir of Sophronius and I am handing the keys (to Christian holy sites in Jerusalem) to the heir of Omar Ibn al-Khattab.’

“Omar, the caliph who claimed Jerusalem from Byzantine rule in 638, gave then Patriarch Sophronius custody of Churches and a pledge to safeguard them. The move was meant to put Christian holy places under the custody of Arafat, a Muslim, and strengthening the Arab-Islamic claim to Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”

The article ends with a question: “Will this new Islamic-Christian alliance be able to convince the European Union, the UN and the US to baptize Jerusalem, ‘Al Quds’”? This, the Islamic name for Jerusalem, means “the holy.” In context, it designates the Israeli capital as “the holy place.”

Certainly, it is that, with a history that dates back to Abraham, who paid tithes to the High Priest Melchizedek in this place, and later offered up Isaac here, on the holy mountain. It is the site of both Temples and the rule of King David. Its holiness was established before there ever was an Islam. And its prophetic destiny as God’s city is one of the most basic themes of the Bible. The Committee should know that changing the name of this eternal city will not change what has been written … and what will be fulfilled.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4230

Sep 26

What would happen if Christians took to the streets……..

Given what we have seen in the Muslim world recently supposedly over a video defaming Mohammed and Islam, would it be so out of the ordinary then if Christians rose up world wide and rioted and attacked over the following…..However, Christians do not behave that way they follow their Master! People we live in a world full of double standards!

Grand ayatollah: Jesus an illegitimate child

Muhammad’s existence creates ‘high place’ for ‘son of Miriam’

Published: 22 mins ago

by Reza Kahlili

Iran’s mullah-dominated regime, even as it was damning the recent video on the Prophet Muhammad as an insult to the sanctity of Islam, has unleashed a ferocious attack on Christianity.

Grand Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani, a prominent Shi’ite source of emulation and a Twelver, in condemning the insult to the Prophet, not only insulted Pope Benedict XVI but also Jesus and Miriam, stating that if it were not for the Quran, Jesus would not be worthy of God’s heavens.

Khorasani, in a long statement quoting several verses from the Quran published Friday in Hawzah News, the official site of the seminaries in Qom, Iran, claims the only reason Jesus is regarded as holy is due to the Quran and Muhammad.

“Hey, clueless pope who has chosen silence (on the Muhammad video), answer this: If there was no Quran, then as the Bible and the Torah have it, Jesus the son of Miriam is a bastard and a bastard will be forbidden from the heavens of God, and so the high place of Jesus is due to the existence of the Prophet Muhammad as the last prophet by God,” Khorasani said.

The grand ayatollah likened Muhammad to the sun that shines on humanity and cannot be diminished.

“The Prophet is the light of God and everlasting and that Allah, among all of His prophets, only compares himself to Muhammad and clearly calls him the last of His prophets with the most complete and righteous religion,” Khorasani said.

The Quran, the last book of God, removed the burden of “adultery” from Miriam and sanctified the birth of Jesus, Khorasani said. “The ignorant Christians burn the Quran and don’t understand that the result will be that Jesus becomes an illegitimate child.”

Khorasani had previously called the Bible wrong and unjust, a book that does not reflect the words of God but rather one that has been altered.

The U.N. General Assembly will again hear Muslim arguments this week over a proposed international law against blasphemy, this time spurred on by the Muhammad video. But such a law would also have to address Khorsani’s views.

See Khorasani’s statement below, or at this link.

A member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution in Iran, Hassan Rahim Pour Azghodi, a noted ideologist and theorist of the Islamic regime, in a similar attack against Christianity on Thursday said, “The most corrupt individuals in (Christian) communities are their religious leaders and priests; however, in Islamic societies the most pure are the clerics.”

Azghodi praised the Islamic Awakening (Arab Spring) in the region, crediting the Islamic Republic of Iran for its success, and said Islam is the only expanding religion and that even Christians are converting to it.

“The Christian society today is the most corrupt with its behavior, and the West has the filthiest culture in the world, where savagery and voluptuousness are the two clear distinctions of it,” the ideologist said.

Azghodi, in an earlier speech on the Islamic regime’s State TV, had called for an international jihad to destroy the West.

Iranian clerics have been concerned about the spread of Christianity in Iran as tens of thousands have converted to it. Most Iranians resent the clerics and Islam, which have suppressed them since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many have formed churches in their homes to spread the word of Christ, which Islamic officials call “the enemy’s efforts” to establish “house-churches.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not only ordered the burning of tens of thousands of confiscated Bibles, calling it an unholy book, but also ordered the Intelligence Ministry to clamp down on converts, according to a former Revolutionary Guards intelligence officer who has defected to a Scandinavian country.

“The Guards intelligence has assigned a unit in major cities across the country with the order to infiltrate (the Christian) groups, identifying pastors and the members, then make arrests, forcing them under torture to agree to appear on TV and confess to criminal activities in having connections to Israel and America,” the source said. “Lashing the bare feet of those arrested with cable wires is one method of torture used. Other tortures include spouses of the arrested converts (being) brought in and beaten in front of them, while others are kept in total darkness in dungeon-type cells for weeks with no human contact, so that they lose sense of time.”

International pressure forced the regime to recently release Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was jailed under a death sentence for three years on the charge of apostasy. Many more Iranian Christian converts remain jailed across Iran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4191

Sep 23

IRAN OFFICIAL: ‘BIG WAR’ MEANS MAHDI’S COMING

For the first time, Iran’s highest-ranking military official has tied the reappearance of the last Islamic messiah to the regime being prepared to go to a war based on ideology.

“With having the treasure of the Holy Defense, Valayat (Guardianship of the Jurist) and martyrs, we are ready for a big war,” Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, according to Mashregh news, which is run by the Revolutionary Guards.

“Of course this confrontation has always continued; however, since we are in the era of The Coming, this war will be a significant war.”

Shi’ites believe that at the end of time great wars will take place, and Imam Mahdi, the Shi’ites’ 12th imam, will reappear and kill all the infidels, raising the flag of Islam in all corners of the world.

Vahidi became the Revolutionary Guards intelligence officer after the 1979 Islamic revolution and later was promoted to chief commander of the Quds Forces. He is on the Interpol most-wanted list for the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Vahidi also played a major role in the 1996 Khobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

Speaking at a mosque in remembrance of the martyrs who died in service to Iran, Vahidi stated that, “The Islamic republic is going to create a new environment on the world stage, and without a doubt victory awaits those who continue the path of martyrs. … we can defeat the enemy at its home and our nation is ready for jihad. Martyrdom has taught us to avoid wrong paths and return to the right path. Martyrdom is the right path, it’s the path to God.”

Vahidi said Iran’s enemies would have taken action in Syria in the past couple of years if they had the capability. Iran is a much more formidable power than Syria, he said, and concluded that Tehran can easily wipe out the “Zionist regime” of Israel.

Several U.S. officials, including Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have called the officials of the Islamic regime “rational actors.”

Meanwhile, a Revolutionary Guards report quoting the head of the Guards’ public relations, Ramezan Sharif, revealed that Iran has military assets in several countries.

The presence of Quds Forces in Syria and Lebanon, Sharif said, is with the goal of supporting the Islamic nations and for the special situations that exist in those countries.

Sharif said Iranian presence is based on international laws and that, “Currently the Revolutionary Guards has presence in 15 countries, among them Syria and Lebanon, while the Iranian military also has presence in some other countries.”

As revealed recently, terrorist assets of the Islamic regime have been put on high alert for attacks on Israeli and U.S. interests. This extends from the Middle East to Africa, Latin America and the United States.

In a report Thursday in the Washington Times, Kevin L. Perkins, deputy director of the FBI, told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the agency considered Iran’s assets a “serious threat.”

“Quds Forces, Hezbollah and others have shown they both have the capability and the willingness to extend beyond that (Middle East) region of the world and likely here into the homeland itself,” he testified.

Guard commanders have openly stated that they have recruited assets from Latin America and even some from European countries to avoid suspicion by intelligence agencies and will target America should it get involved militarily against Iran.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4181

Sep 14

Muslims Gone Wild!

Marines arrive in Yemen after embassy attack, protests spread

Published September 14, 2012

U.S. Marines are on the ground in Yemen to deal with the aftermath of an attack on the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Sanaa, as the Obama administration warns of sustained protests outside diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa.

Pentagon spokesman George Little told Fox News the team is in Yemen as a “precautionary measure.”

The move comes amid reports that protesters jumped over U.S. Embassy walls in both Sudan and Tunisia. At least 3 people have been reported dead and another 28 have been wounded during the Tunisia attack, Reuters reports, citing state television. Reuters also reported that protesters set fire to trees and broke windows inside the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunis.

A senior U.S. official, without explaining the extent of the breach in the latter attack, told Fox News that Tunisian security forces “have responded effectively” so far to the incident.

“We’re keeping a close eye on events there, but for the moment, the Tunisians are doing precisely what they should do in the face of such events,” the official said.

One official also reportedly claimed that protesters in Sudan have been expelled. Witnesses said Sudanese police opened fire on those trying to climb the walls.

That is just a snapshot of the violent unrest playing out Friday, in the widest protests yet across the Muslim world.

The day of protests, which spread to around 20 countries, started small and mostly peacefully in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The most violent demonstrations took place in the Middle East. In many places, only a few hundred took to the streets, mostly ultraconservative Islamists — but the mood was often furious.

One protester was killed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in clashes with security forces, after a crowd of protesters set fire to a KFC and a Hardee’s restaurant. Protesters hurled stones and glass at police in a furious melee that left 25 people wounded, 18 of them police.

Security forces in Egypt and Yemen fired tear gas and clashed with protesters to keep them away from U.S. embassies. And Germany’s Foreign Minister says the country’s embassy in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum has been stormed by protesters and set partially on fire.

A senior State Department official said Friday that the administration has stood up a 24-hour “monitoring team to insure appropriate coordination.” The official said the team is working with missions around the world “to protect American citizens.”

The intense demonstrations, purportedly by people upset over an anti-Islam film, follow warnings by the State Department that the protests could spread across the region. The department, on its Twitter account, cautioned Thursday of sustained protests in Egypt, Oman and Jordan, among other places.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI also issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning that the violent outrage aimed at U.S. embassies could be spread to America by extremist groups.

In a statement to Fox News, a DHS official said that there is no specific, credible information at this time to indicate that the attacks have increased the threat of violent reaction in the U.S., but it will continue to identify potential threats and take appropriate measures.

Four Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday. A Marine unit was dispatched earlier in the week to Tripoli, to help fortify the U.S. Embassy there in the wake of the attack in the eastern part of the country.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4140

Sep 05

‘Remarkable’: Dreams And Visions Bringing More Middle East Muslims To Faith In Christ ‘Since The Birth Of Islam’

 

Psalm 70:4, “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!’”

CBN Host: “In both Egypt and Syria we’re seeing Christians deciding to leave, some of those who are leaving Syria were actually [Christian] refugees from Iraq. With all this trouble going on, are these Christians running out of safe havens?”

Chris Mitchell – “They are.  …[In] 2003 when the Iraq war started, and then the sectarian violence — the Muslim against Christian violence — thousands left. Some of them fled to Syria. Now those Christians in Syria, they really don’t know where to go. Some may be going to Jordan, which might be the last safe haven for Christians in the Middle East …”

CBN Host: “… Despite the turmoil we know that the Lord always finds a way to reach people. We hear about Muslims having dreams and visions of Christ. Share some of those stories.”

Chris Mitchell: “I think that’s one of the most remarkable things happening in the Middle East right now, and the missionaries that I’ve … talked to … say that more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ than any time since the birth of Islam 1400 years ago. Many of them are coming through dreams and visions, literally, people having dreams of a man in white who calls Himself Jesus and says ‘Follow Me’ for example. It’s happening in Iran. In fact Iran, some say, is the fastest growing church in the world today and that most of the people that are coming are influenced by a dream or a vision that tells them about Jesus, and then through that they may get a Bible, they may meet a Christian, and it’s sort of [the] initiation of their faith in Jesus Christ …”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4097