Category: Islam

Do You Know the History Behind the ‘Black Flags of Jihad’? The Blaze’s Buck Sexton Breaks It Down

Many are familiar with what some call “the black flags of jihad” flown by Islamic extremists from Jabhat al-Nusra to Al Qaeda.  The flags vary in appearance, but most share a similar theme: they typically have white writing on a black flag, and depict the shehada, or profession of faith that there is no god but god, and Muhammad is his messenger.

After such flags were seen flying in New York City during recent the Muslim Day Parade, Glenn Beck invited TheBlaze’s national security advisor Buck Sexton to explain the historic and symbolic significance of the flags.

“The black banner, also known as the ‘black flags of Khurasan,’ this is something that stretches back into the earliest days of Islam,” Sexton began.  “It references a ‘rising up,’ if you will, of a Muslim army from a region called Khurasan, and they will have black banners.”

Sexton pointed to the map below as the rough modern boundaries of Khurasan:

                       

(Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Sexton proceed to highlight two passages in the Hadith that are often cited as the inspiration for the flags.

The first is: “The black flags will come from the East, led by mighty men, with long hair and beards.  Their surnames are taken from the names of their home towns and their first names are from a ‘Kunya.’”

The second states: “Messenger of Allah said: If you see the Black Banners coming from Khurasan go to them immediately, even if you must crawl over ice, because indeed amongst them is the Caliph, Al Mahdi.”

Sexton said “Al Mahdi” is a reference to Islamic “end times” theology.

But are the black flags something that have been seen throughout history, Beck asked?  He noted that just because somebody has an American flag, that doesn’t necessarily mean they stand for the U.S. Constitution.  If a Muslim who speaks Arabic holds such a black flag, are they aware of the historical significance?

“It’s popping up more now because jihadists are on the march in a number of places,” Sexton responded.  “When the Umayyads were fighting, they were flying black flags, and that goes back to the earliest days of Islam.”

But the flags we’re seeing now, he added, are “contemporary black flags.”  Sexton proceeded to show pictures of the flags flying in Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and more.

“If that’s not scary enough with the end times…this is the one that actually hits the most home for me,” Sexton said, showing a picture of a man kneeling in front of a group of armed men, all in front of the black flag.   “This is the beginning of a beheading video.”

That’s what that flag stands for,” Sexton said unequivocally.  “It’s not a ‘resistance symbol.’”

And while no one is saying it’s illegal to wave such a flag, TheBlaze’s national security adviser said “we should at least be willing to call it what it is.”

“If this flag is being used as the backdrop for beheading videos, it’s not because the jihadists are confused,” he said.  “In fact, it’s because we refuse to accept who the enemy is.”

Sexton ended on a chilling note, saying that while you and I may not “buy in” to the verses, that doesn’t mean the extremists don’t.

“The people that are trying to take over countries like Egypt, and Syria, and Tunisia, and Libya, they absolutely buy into it. They know these Hadiths by heart,” he said.  “Some Sunni jurists will say, ‘Oh no, those aren’t good Hadiths.’  But guess what? Bin Laden — who signed his first declaration of war against the United States from Khurasan, Afghanistan — he knew that Hadith, and he knew about it enough to tell all of his followers.”

“They believe this,” Sexton concluded.  “They believe they are fulfilling prophecy.”

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SAUDI KING NEXT ON MIDEAST REBELS TARGET LIST

Aaron Klein

NEW YORK – An Iranian cell has been caught in Saudi Arabia attempting to provoke a Shiite rebellion against the Saudi kingdom, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The security officials said interrogation of the cell of seven Iranian agents caught in an eastern Saudi province revealed the existence of a second cell in Bahrain also attempting to destabilize the country by plotting a Shiite rebellion.

The security officials stated Saudi Arabia passed information to the Obama administration warning that the U.S. outreach to Iran has already emboldened Tehran to press ahead with a campaign to attempt to weaken moderate Arab regimes that are U.S. allies.

A Jordanian source, meanwhile, told WND that moderate Arab moderate countries are “very worried” over Obama’s diplomatic gestures to Iran. They fear any U.S. deal could expand Tehran’s future influence in the Middle East, including via proxies like Hezbollah.

Yesterday, it was reported that an exchange of letters between Obama and Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, may result in a possible meeting between the two leaders at a U.N. summit next week. Any such meeting would mark the first face-to-face encounter between a U.S. and Iranian head of state since Iran’s 1979 revolution.

The diplomatic outreach to Iran follows a U.S. deal with Iran’s ally, Syria, that would place the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons arsenal under international custodianship to avoid a U.S. military strike on Damascus.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5653

ARE TERRORISTS SETTING U.S. WILDFIRES?

Joe Kovacs

As the 2013 season of devastating wildfires continues to rage across the American West, the question of arson as a form of major terrorism is again being raised.

Already this year, 35,440 reported fires have burned a total of 3.9 million acres, with a quarter-million acres scorched the iconic Yosemite National Park.

Large blazes continue to burn in several states, with six alive in Idaho, five each in California and Montana, and one each in Alaska, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, says at this time last year, 45,278 fires had burned 7.9 million acres, and in 2011, there were 55,619 fires devastating 7.2 million acres.

In July 2012, William Scott, a former National Security Agency official and Aviation Week editor, told the American Center for Democracy that terrorists are using fire as a tactical weapon of war.

“Perhaps the most simple form of economic warfare is wild land arson,” Scott said in his “Fire Wars” presentation. “That’s just setting fires in U.S. forests [and] grasslands.”

“For any terrorists that are determined to inflict significant damage with very little investment or risk, fire is an extremely high-leverage weapon of mass effect.”

Scott explained that after U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, they “captured a treasure trove of material that provided some unprecedented insight into the al-Qaida plans. And one of those was a detailed campaign for starting fires throughout the [American] West.”

“U.S. officials have pretty much determined that some of the fires that burned in California [in 2011] were ignited by al-Qaida operatives,” Scott said.

An editorial in June by the Washington Examiner noted, “Those trying to downplay the threat of terrorism have dismissed such a possibility as paranoid. As Americans learned in 2001, and again as recently as 2012 in Benghazi and 2013 with the Boston Marathon bombing, terrorist threats are not something to take lightly.”

This year’s wildfire in Yosemite started Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest, but authorities believe it was not an act off terror. They say a hunter’s illegal fire swept out of control, torching 394 square miles of timber, meadows and sensitive wildlife habitat. The Associated Press reports it has cost more than $89 million to fight, and officials say it will cost tens of millions of dollars more to repair the environmental damage alone.

 

Yosemite National Park has been decimated by fire in the summer of 2013.

As WND reported in June, an expert on Islamic terrorism believes a wildfire that ravaged the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Colo., killing two people and destroying more than 500 homes, should be examined by terror investigators.

“One thing that my investigators have given me the authority to state is that they have all but ruled out natural causes as the cause of this fire,” said Sheriff Terry Maketa at the time. “I can’t really go any further on that, but I can say we are pretty confident it was not, for instance, a lightning strike.”

That single blaze in Colorado caused more than $85 million in damage, but that figure is expected to rise to possibly $120 million.

The causes for most forest fires are limited to electrical problems, out-of-control campfires or grills, accidents such as a car fire and sparks from chain saws or other back-country tools.

Those causes, to an expert investigator, are readily identifiable.

But authorities said they were focusing on a 28-foot square patch where they believe the fire started, examining some portions with a magnifying glass.

At the American Center for Democracy, noted terror funding expert Rachel Ehrenfeld suggested circumstances are a little suspicious.

Ehrenfeld, once targeted by a Saudi official with a foreign lawsuit over her work in the United States, was the reason the “Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitution Heritage Act” was adopted by Congress.

It put an end to lawsuits brought in foreign jurisdictions where speech protections do not exist or are not as robust as in the United States which were simply intended to censor or chill speech in the U.S.

“Bill Scott, who’s a senior fellow at ACD, warned about such a scenario last July, speaking at the ACD-EWI Economic Threats briefing on Capital Hill,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “An expert on aerial firefighting, he presented a sobering analysis of the devastating (2012) Waldo Canyon Fire [in Colorado], pointing out that the striking rise [in] Western U.S. wildfires may be caused by elements other than nature.

“He noted that in spring 2012, al-Qaida’s English-language online magazine, Inspire, published an article called ‘It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb,’ which featured instructions on how to build an incendiary bomb to light forests on fire.”

She explained that Russia’s security chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov, also has warned, “Al-Qaida was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe” as part of terrorism’s “strategy of a thousand cuts.”

“Since then, more fatwas advocating that ‘fire is a cheap, easy and effective tool for economic warfare’ have been issued,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “They’ve included detailed instructions for constructing remote-controlled ‘ember bombs, and how to set fires without leaving a trace.’”

Israel’s forests also have been targeted, she noted.

“While many of the fires that have scorched millions of acres and destroyed thousands of homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and other states have been identified as arson, none has been publicly attributed to criminal or terrorist groups, despite the presence of Mexican gangs and [a] large number of other illegals in our Western states,” she said.

Mother Jones reported Don Smurthwaite, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman, “downplayed” Ehrenfeld’s ideas, “but he didn’t dismiss the notion outright.”

“We don’t have any hard evidence that any wildfires in the U.S. were started by terrorists in recent years,” he told the publication. “But is it a possibility? Certainly.”

He noted the last confirmed weaponized wildfires were in World War II, when the Japanese sent incendiary balloons across the Pacific.

However, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported al-Qaida was advising would-be terrorists how best to burn America.

The terror group’s magazine included pictures, diagrams and explanations on how to start fires to obtain the most damage.

CBN analyst Erick Stakelbeck said the extreme detail provides reason for concern. The information, he said, is “all designed to cause the maximum amount of carnage and death.”

CBN noted that in the U.S., more houses are built in the countryside than in the cities and cited a Montana fire chief who said the prospect of a wildfire terrorist attack was not farfetched.

WND also reported websites run by jihadis made claims of arson in a number of California wildfires.

WND reported in 2004 that an Arabic-language jihadi website also posted a message purporting to be “al-Qaida’s plan of economic attack” on the U.S. that including proposals to turn the nation’s forests into raging infernos.

The National Terror Alert Response Center report said: “We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism; however, the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in California and Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call.”

Even in 2003, an FBI memo warned that national forests in the West could be the next target for terror by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

The memo, obtained by the Arizona Republic, warned law enforcement that a senior al-Qaida detainee told interrogators he planned to spark multiple, catastrophic wildfires simultaneously in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strike a blow to the U.S. economy.

WND also reported documents recovered from a remote area along the Pakistan border revealed that bin Laden wanted al-Qaida to launch a “global fireball” by lighting forest fires in Europe, the United States, Australia and South America.

The documents, uncovered during an operation led by the British intelligence service MI6, were described by experts in that agency as “the most worrying [plot] that the world is facing

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5636

Bad Moon Rising: Christians Are Being Slaughtered By Islamists All Over The World

Acts 14:22, “… continue in the faith … we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

By Archbishop Cranmer via AINA, “In April 1996, Pope John Paul II attacked the intransigence of ‘followers of other religions’ who were persecuting Christians. He didn’t specify Islam, but everyone know who he meant.

In his Easter message Urbi et Orbi, he said Christians in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe had ‘legitimate aspirations’ to jobs, housing, social justice and religious freedom which were ‘hindered’ by other faiths. The Times continued: ‘The Pope recently condemned Islamic persecution of Christians in Sudan and will travel to Tunisia next weekend to plead for Islamic tolerance and Islamic-Christian dialogue.’

Nothing has really changed in almost 20 years. Indeed, the situation for Christians in these regions has actually become an awful lot worse.

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, for example, Pope Tawadros II, has had to cancel many public events at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, fearing attacks from Brotherhood supporters who blame the Copts for the fall of Morsi. Indeed, the Copts in Egypt, who make up around 10 per cent of the population, have it an awful lot worse than gays in Russia. But there is no rolling coverage of their plight by the BBC: their persecution and murder is only mentioned in passing. No marches are staged in London; there is no damning comment by David Cameron or President Obama, and the world is largely silent as their churches are torched and congregations slaughtered.

Pope Tawadros was not the only religious leader who demanded change in Egypt, but his church is bearing the brunt. The Copts are increasingly fearful of meeting to worship: one of their number was recently kidnapped and beheaded in the Sinai.

And in Syria, Christians are being executed in their homes or subject to the judgments of sharia courts established to pass sentences upon those who violate precepts of Wahhabi Islam. As the Sunni ‘rebels’ struggle for ‘freedom’, the country’s 2.5 million Christians pray for the restoration of Alawite President Assad, their guardian and protector. Under him they had freedom to assemble, worship and speak. Indeed, Syria was for many the country of choice for Assyrian Christians fleeing the post-Saddam persecution. Their community is 2000 years old: today, they are verging on extinction.

But it is in Nigeria where the Islamist jihad rages most fiercely: according to a report on the Middle East Forum, 70 per cent of Christians killed around the world in 2012 were killed in the African nation. They list the most recent church Attacks: Egypt: According to El Watan News, three Christian brothers were shot dead at their home by automatic weapons a few weeks before two were set to have their weddings. The victims’ family was earlier accused of trying to build a church on land they owned because they purchased building material to build a house on that land. The rumors about the building of a church spread during the Friday sermon at the mosque, following which 2,000 Muslims stormed the land and tried to destroy the house, car and tractor, resulting in the murder of the three Christian brothers.

Indonesia: Authorities demolished a church building with a bulldozer in West Java, even as Muslim bystanders cheered and denounced Christians as ‘infidels.’ According to Pastor Leonard Nababan, the government is ‘criminalising our religion.’ The congregation had gathered around the church in an effort to save it; so did Muslims, shouting, ‘They’re infidels and they’ve built their church without permission,’ ‘Knock the church down now’ and ‘Allahu Akbar.’

Iraq: According to Fox News, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were more than 300 Christian churches. Today, a decade after the jihad was unleashed on Christians and their churches, only 57 Christian churches remain in the nation. And ‘The churches that remain are frequent targets of Islamic extremists, who have driven nearly a million Christians out of the land…’ An Iraqi-based human rights organization said that ‘The last 10 years have been the worst for Iraqi Christians because they bore witness to the biggest exodus and migration in the history of Iraq…. More than two-thirds [of Christians] have emigrated.’ One of the most dramatic cases of Christian persecution came in late October of 2010, when Al Qaeda members laid siege to Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Baghdad, killing 58 and wounding 78. According to an AP report ‘Iraq’s Catholic Christians flocked to churches to celebrate Easter Sunday [in March], praying, singing and rejoicing in the resurrection of Christ behind high blast walls and tight security cordons… [emphasis added].’

Libya: A Coptic Christian church located in Benghazi was attacked by armed Muslims. The jihadis severely beat and shaved the beard and mustache of Father Paul, the priest of the church, as a sign of humiliation. They also beat the deacon and nine attendees. Meanwhile, because Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government had done little regarding the systematic abuse of Egyptian citizens in Libya, including the murder of one under torture, Copts demonstrated in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo-prompting yet another attack on the Benghazi church, which was set on fire.

Pakistan: In response to one Christian man accused of blaspheming Islam’s prophet thousands of Muslims attacked the Christian Joseph Colony of Lahore, burning two churches, one Catholic, the other a Seventh Day Adventist, as often happens in Pakistan in the context of collectively punishing Christians.

Sudan: According to Morning Star News, Khartoum’s jihad continues to ‘rid the area of non-Arabs and Christianity’: the Evangelical Church in the Nuba was ‘reduced … to ashes’ after an aerial bombardment. Days later, another bombing campaign left two dead and twelve injured, in the Christian-majority region. ‘These bombardments are major sources of fear among the people in South Kordofan,’ said a church leader.

Turkey: The 5th century Studios Monastery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is set to go from being a branch of the Hagia Sophia-Christianity’s grandest cathedral, which was transformed into a mosque, after the Islamic conquest and is currently a museum-to being an active mosque. Many Turkish Muslims continue calling for the return of the Hagia Sophia itself to a mosque. Where is their Stephen Fry? Who will be their celebrity champion with millions of Twitter followers, to whom the mainstream media will fawn and David Cameron and Barack Obama instantly respond?” Source – AINA.

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Al Qaeda’s Chechen, Caucasian fighters win N. Syrian air base, execute captive troops

Russian-speaking Al Qaeda fighters from Chechnya and the Caucasian seized the key northern Syrian air base of Minakh 10 kilometers south of Aleppo, from the Syrian army Monday, Aug. 5, debkafile’s military sources reveal. This was the first important gain by Al Qaeda’s North Caucasian brigade, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, and its Chechen commander Abu Omar. They did not give the Syrian troops at the base a chance to flee. They caught and executed them by slashing their throats or beheading – in accordance with al Qaeda custom. This fate was also suffered by the Syrian air force’s chief operations officer in the north.

The assault was enabled by suicide bombings at the gate of the air base which enabled the foreign assailants to surge into the compound.

The fall of Minakh abruptly halted Syrian government air strikes against opposition-held regions in Aleppo province. Based there was a fleet of Syrian Air Force German-made MBB 223 Flamingo training craft and Russian-made Mi-8 assault helicopters. It also opened the way for Syrian rebel forces to advance on government outposts in President Bashar Assad’s Alawite heartland in the Jabal al-Akrad hills of Latakia province, and capture a number of villages.

Loyal Assad government troops have made major advances in Homs and Damascus and may be expected to wrest Minakh air base from rebel hands and return to their air strikes against the rebels. However, the appearance of al Qaeda fighters from Chechnya and the Caucasian on the Syrian battlefield is of prime significance in a wider context in a geographical region stretching from southern Russia to the Middle East and is also fraught with significance for the US war terrorism.

On July 30, a number of high-profile al Qaeda operatives in southern Russian urged their Emir Doky Umarov to pull their men back from Syria and refocus on Russian targets, specifically preparations for the Winter Olympics taking place at the Black Sea resort of Sochi next February.

The “huge flow” of jihadi volunteers heading for Syria, they said, would be better employed fighting the Russians.
debkafile’s intelligence and military sources note the ramifications of this “huge flow” – and not just for Russia’s position in the Syrian war, The timing of an al Qaeda victory in Syria is relevant to current US, Israeli, Lebanese and Jordanian efforts to beat  jihadist terrorism.

1. The US has been pouring all its security and intelligence resources into a global terror alert to forestall a major terror attack or attacks on US targets in Muslim countries and inside America  by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). Meanwhile, al Qaeda has opened a third front from Syria using North Caucasian and Chechen adherents.
Less than five months ago, on April 15, two terrorists of Chechen origin, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, blew up the Boston Marathon Race, killing three people and injuring dozens.  First, the pair murdered three young Jews by slashing their throats.

The Chechen branch of Al Qaeda is the most brutal wing of the movement and dedicated no less than the others to murdering Americans.
2.  Not far from Minakh base, the Syrian army and Hizballah are massing around the nearby city of Aleppo ready to drive the rebels out of their strongholds. This battle will bring Syrian and Hizballah Shiite troops in direct confrontation for the first time with Sunni jihadis from the Caucasian, a significant moment for the Sunni-Shiite contest building up in the Middle East and also for the future of Lebanon.

3.  The belligerent Russian-speaking jihadis will not be satisfied with pursuing jihad on Syrian soil. They will want to expand their operations up to and across Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan, challenging Israeli, Jordanian and US forces based in the Hashemite kingdom with a different and fearsome kind of war savagery from that .

 

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The Return Of The Kings Of The North And South

 All you need to do is read Genesis to understand why Islam is fighting itself. The Scripture tells us Ishmael was a wild man and would fight against his brothers. Please read this from Jack Kelley.

“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships” (Daniel 11:40)

Several times over the last few years I’ve made mention of my belief that two powerful and opposing forces of Biblical times were in the process of re-emerging to become part of the increasingly complex situation in the Middle East. These two adversaries are called the King of the North and the King of the South in Daniel 11 and recent events show they’ve both taken a giant step toward fulfilling their prophetic destiny.

My most recent study on this subject is not quite two years old and appears under the title “The Three Kings Of Daniel 11”. It’s named that way because in their end times appearance, the Kings of the North and South will not only oppose each other, they will both oppose the anti-Christ, who is called “the King who exalts himself” in Daniel 11:36.

Daniel 11:5-35 is a summary of the historical times of these two kings as they battled each other for control of what we now call the Middle East through several generations. They finally disappeared as the Romans were coming into prominence. It’s amazing to consider that Daniel wrote about all of them before any of them were born, squeezing over 100 historically documented prophecies into the first 35 verses of Daniel 11.

Daniel 11:36-45 are still future to us and require the re-emergence of these kings to be fulfilled. I believe in our current headlines we’re seeing signs that they’re preparing to rise and take their positions on the end times stage.

What Makes You Say That?

In my Mid East Update I reported that Saudi Arabia gave the Egyptian Army substantial assistance in its successful overthrow of the government. We now know that the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait were also involved. I mentioned that this concerns the US because of the possibility that these countries are banding together into a Sunni Muslim confederacy to oppose Iran. There’s a likelihood that they will support and even assist Israel in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. (The US is not opposed to a Sunni confederacy, but has been trying to build one around Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood in a revival of The Ottoman Empire. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have become too independent for American tastes.)

Now, several Middle Eastern news services are reporting that Iran is working to build a Shiite Muslim block to counter this move by the Sunnis. It appears that this block will consist of Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. This helps to explain why Iran is so heavily invested in Syria and Hezbollah. Iran has sent billions of dollars in advanced weaponry to both and has thousands of soldiers stationed in Syria as well.

And just this week the Syrian state news agency SANA reported that an agreement was signed in Tehran by the Iranian and Syrian central banks, granting Syria a credit line worth $3.6 billion for oil. Damascus will repay Tehran by providing the Iranians “investment opportunities of various kinds” in Syria. According to the mideast intelligence service DEBKAfile, Iran is moving step by step to control the Syrian economy and advance its scheme for drawing Syria, Iraq and eventually Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon into a Shiite economic bloc.

Some sources go even farther, claiming that Iran already controls Lebanon through its “wholly owned subsidiary” Hezbollah. And recently a senior Iranian cleric boldly stated, “Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us.”

A recent article in Commentary magazine confirmed that “Iran is not only arming and training President Bashar Assad’s forces, both regular and irregular, but it has also sent Hezbollah, Iranian-backed Iraqi militias, and units of its own Revolutionary Guards Corps to join his fight against the Sunni rebels. Add in the billions of dollars it has given Assad to prop up his regime, and it’s clear that if he survives, Syria will be another wholly-owned Iranian subsidiary.

“Whether Assad stays or goes is becoming irrelevant,” a diplomat in the region told Khaled Yacoub Oweis of Reuters. “The conflict is now bigger than him, and it will continue without him. Iran is calling the shots.”

And finally, the on-line magazine “Iran Focus” confirmed that Assad is not the issue. “Iran is primarily concerned with maintaining the Shiite crescent – which includes Shiites from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.”

History Repeating Itself

It can’t be a coincidence that these Shiite nations occupy the same territory formerly controlled by the King of the North, just as the Sunni Muslim block occupies territory formerly held by the King of the South.

While there are sub-groups on both sides, Sunnis make up about 80% of the world’s Muslim population with Shiites comprising the remaining 20%. Many people who aren’t familiar with Islam don’t realize that the relationship between the two groups has not always been friendly, even when they would appear to have common goals. For example, after the 2006 Lebanon war, when much of the Arab world was claiming victory, Osama bin Laden (Sunni) publically criticized Hezbollah (Shiite) for “jumping the gun” and attacking Israel before the time was right.

Current examples of sectarian strife can be seen in the fact that according to Gulf News, Hamas (Sunni) has lost the financial support of Iran (Shiite) for backing the rebels in Syria against the Assad government and has been told to switch sides if they want their aid restored.

Also, in the US there’s a fear that 10 years of “progress” in Iraq is being undone by Sunni/Shiite violence. Iraq has a Shiite majority being governed by a Sunni minority. The American advisors have never successfully addressed that issue and are now concerned that Iraq may soon erupt in civil war. Most observers see a not so subtle Iranian influence at work behind this.

The rivalry between these two sects of Islam goes back to the death of Mohammed when there was a battle over the right to succeed him and continues to this day. Most of their beliefs are identical but there are some differences. For example, they both believe in al Mahdi, but they don’t agree on who he will be or what he will do. Shiites believe he’s the 12th Imam, who will appear at a time of great crisis in the world to establish the Islamic Caliphate, or Kingdom, and enforce worldwide conversion to Islam. Sunnis believe he will revive the faith, but will not necessarily be connected with the end of the world.

What Does That Mean?

A growing number of observers believe this rivalry could easily escalate into an all-out Islamic war for control of the Middle East in a repeat of ancient history. Even though both sects have the capture of Jerusalem as their ultimate goal, each one wants to be the group that does it, and they’re apparently willing to fight each other for the privilege. The Bedouin saying, “I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers” comes to mind.

Of course, anyone familiar with the years of Catholic vs. Protestant strife in Northern Ireland knows that sectarian violence is not unique to Islam. But what would cause both Sunnis and Shiites to attack the anti-Christ as Daniel clearly prophesied (Daniel 11:40)? Especially if, as I believe, Islam will be the end times religion and alMahdi will likely turn out to be the anti-Christ?

We could understand their difference of opinion over who alMahdi will be to cause one or the other to oppose him, but what could cause both to do so?

I think the Bible gives us the answer.

“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thes. 2:4)

“The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:16)

Satan has always used used man’s need for a religion to help him achieve his goal of world dominance, but eventually he will have to make himself the only object of worship, unencumbered by any religious system. And just like the Jews were incited to murder when Jesus claimed to be God, so these Islamic kings will be outraged when the one they thought was the promised servant of Allah makes the claim that he actually is Allah.

In Islam there’s a saying, “Allah was not begotten nor does he beget.” When the anti-Christ proclaims himself to be God he will be committing blasphemy against both Allah and God. And when he and his 10 kings move to destroy Islam (Rev. 17:16), it’s easy to see how the kings of the North and South, with massive armies under their command, could forget their differences and unite against him.

Students of Biblical history will recognize in this a strategy frequently employed by God, that of turning his enemies against each other. You can find examples in Judges 7:22, 1 Sam 14:20, 2 Chron. 20:23, Ezek. 38:21, and Zech. 14:13.

Of course there’s a lot of ground to cover between where we are now and the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40. Thankfully, the Church won’t be here for most of the journey. My purpose is to alert us to the possibility that one more sign of the times could be in the early stages of fulfillment. Because every sign of the times we see strengthens our conviction that we’re living in the times of the signs. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5498

IRAN: ARMAGEDDON AT HAND, PREPARE FOR WAR

Iran is again asserting that Armageddon is at hand and that the Islamic regime’s followers, indeed all of Islam, must prepare for a monumental change in the world.

Officials of the Islamic regime last month held their annual conference on the Mahdism Doctrine to prepare for the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam, Mahdi.

Shiites, whose clerics rule Iran with an iron fist, believe that at the end of times, Mahdi, a 9th century prophet, will reappear with Jesus Christ at his side, kill all the infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all four corners of the world, establishing worldwide Islamic governance.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, said at the conference that, “I hope (Iran’s) Islamic Revolution is that of the righteous government before the coming,” according to Fars News Agency, the regime’s media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards.

“Righteous government” is a key to Mahdi’s return, the Shiites believe.

“It has been stated in the Islamic hadith that a wave of uprisings (such as the current upheavals in the Arab world) … takes place before the main uprising and that the righteous government (takes place) before the coming, which I hope (Iran’s) Islamic Revolution is that.”

The speaker said that metaphysics and modern technology have diminished human spiritualism, causing a sense of nervousness in which people have lost hope, and that this effect will reach its maximum before the coming.

“All mental crises are rooted in hopelessness and despair in life,” Larijani said, “and from a society point of view, this is because the big powers of the world are pushing for a culture that has no identity and with their power give their illicit desires a legal aspect. With the help of their media, they explain away the biggest corruption.”

Many regime officials participated in this year’s conference, including military commanders, and several guests spoke of the importance of the Shiite ideology on Mahdi’s coming and the need for jihad for the final battle. The Mahdaviat conference is convened annually to prepare for the coming.

A high Iranian politician said recently that he believes the Syrian revolution could be the catalyst for sparking a worldwide conflagration that will usher in an era of Muslim domination of the world.

 “One can smell from the crisis in Syria the coming … of the end of times and the coming of the last Islamic messiah,” said Ruhollah Hosseinian, a member of the Islamic regime’s parliament. Hosseinian has served as deputy of the Intelligence Ministry and a member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Revolution Document Center.

Based on hadiths by Muhammad and his descendants, the Syrian revolution is a start to the coming of Mahdi, Hosseinian said in a speech quoted by Fars News Agency.

Hadiths from Ali, the Shiites’ 1st Imam, also state that a sign of the coming will be the fall of the walls of Damascus.

Hosseinian told the audience that they should prepare themselves for war.

“The coming of his highness is assured … the prophet has promised that people from the east, which according to the hadith means Iran, take power and prepare for the government of Imam Mahdi.”

Despite the Islamic regime being under crippling U.N., U.S. and EU sanctions, it has refused to stop its illicit nuclear program. Over a decade of negotiations with talks as recent as April with the 5+1 world powers have failed. The West hopes that it could restart negotiations once Iran’s new president, Hassan Rowhani, takes office in August.

However, a former intelligence officer now defected to a Scandinavian country said the West must understand that even the election of Rowhani was by design by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, only to buy time so that the regime could reach its goal of becoming a nuclear-armed state. Some analysts believe that Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is to facilitate the coming.

Any new negotiations must be prompt and serious, making the Islamic regime understand that there will be no wasting time, said the source, adding that the world’s balance relies on how the West handles the regime’s nuclear ambitions.

Iranian media said Rowhani would nominate Mohammad Forouzandeh, a former chief of staff of the Revolutionary Guard and a former defense minister, to head Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5487

Photos suggest Saudis targeting Iran, Israel with ballistic missiles

According to the report, images analyzed by experts at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review have revealed an undisclosed surface-to-surface missile base deep in the Saudi desert, with capabilities for hitting both countries.

The British daily said analysts who examined the photos spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia’s arsenal of lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload, the experts said.

The report said the base believed to have been built within the last five years, gives an insight into Saudi strategic thinking at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.

The newspaper mentioned that while Saudi Arabia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, it has long maintained discreet back channel communications as part of attempts to promote stability in the region.

“The two countries also have a mutual enemy in Iran, though, which has long seen Saudi Arabia as a rival power in the Gulf. Experts fear that if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would seek to follow suit,” the report said.

According to The Telegraph, analysts at IHS Jane’s believe that the kingdom is currently in the process of upgrading its missiles, although even the DF3, which dates back to the 1980s, is itself potentially big enough to carry a nuclear device.

The report said the missile base, which is at al-Watah, around 125 miles south-west of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, was discovered during a project by IHS Jane’s to update their assessment of Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities.

The missiles are stored in an underground silo built into a rocky hillside. To the north of the facility are two circle-shaped launch pads, both with compass-style markings showing the precise direction that the launchers should fire in, according to the report.

The Telegraph noted that the Chinese-made missiles, which date back to the 1980s, are not remotely-guided and therefore have to be positioned in the direction of their target before firing.

One appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth (bearing) of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations,” said the IHS Jane’s article cited in the report.

Robert Munks, deputy editor of IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, was quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “Our assessment suggests that this base is either partly or fully operational, with the launch pads pointing in the directions of Israel and Iran respectively. We cannot be certain that the missiles are pointed specifically at Tel Aviv and Tehran themselves, but if they were to be launched, you would expect them to be targeting major cities.

“We do not want to make too many inferences about the Saudi strategy, but clearly Saudi Arabia does not enjoy good relations with either Iran or Israel,” he said.

David Butter, an associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, the London-based foreign affairs think-tank, said there was “little surprise” that the Saudis had the missiles in place.

“It would seem that they are looking towards some sort of deterrent capability, which is an obvious thing for them to be doing, given that Iran too is developing its own ballistic missiles,” he said.

He added, though, that the Saudis would know that the site would come to the attention of foreign intelligence agencies, and that the missile pad pointed in the direction of Israel could be partly just for “for show.”

“It would give the Iranians the impression that they were not being exclusively targeted, and would also allow the Saudis to suggest to the rest of the Arab world that they still consider Israel a threat,” he said.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5438

MOVE OVER JESUS: NEW ‘SAVIOR OF HUMANITY’

At this turbulent time in history when many people are looking for answers to their problems, a brand-new TV campaign calling the Islamic prophet Muhammad the “savior of humanity” is about to saturate the airwaves of Australia.

“Tens of thousands” of dollars have reportedly been raised by the Muslim community to fund a series of 30-second commercials to begin airing on the country’s biggest networks starting July 9.

The ads are produced by My Peace, an Australian group looking to build bridges between the Muslim community and other citizens of the land Down Under.

The prime-time spots will air over the course of several months, and feature famous historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and George Bernard Shaw praising the virtues of Muhammad.

“This is a response to misinformation. Not many (Australians) are aware of who the prophet is and why we regard him so highly and so emotionally,” My Peace founder Diaa Mohamed told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

“The commercials will be animated with voiceovers and will have quotes on the screen.

“Muhammad is the most influential man in history and the commercials will show what scholars and historians have said about him.”

Gandhi said the prophet “holds undisputed sway over the hearts of millions” and Shaw called him the “savior of humanity.”

My Peace is even selling tickets for those interested in attending the public premiere of the commercials.

This isn’t the first time the group has aired television ads to promote Islam.

Last year, it launched a campaign titled, “I’m Muslim and proud,” featuring a collage of photos of and audio quotes from individual Muslim “sponsors,” with comments including:

  • “I believe in Muhammad.”
  • “He was a prophet of God … like Noah, Moses and Jesus.”
  • “The same God as Jews and Christians.”
  • “The prophet Muhammad shunned racism … and mixed with everyone on equal terms.”
  • “The prophet Muhammad believed in the future builds on mutual respect.”

At the time, Diaa Mohamed said, “We hope this campaign enables the wider community to see us in a new light, to see that our values are closely matched and though our beliefs are different it doesn’t make us incompatible with the Australian way of life. We hope to energize the Muslim community with positive images so they see themselves as proud members of Australian society.”

“It’s the voice of the silent majority,” he claimed.

In the past five years, the number of Muslims in Australia has rocketed, soaring 40 percent to 476,291.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5424

Saudi King issues decree changing days of weekend in kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s King   Abdullah issued a decree changing the country’s weekend from Thursday and   Friday, to Friday and Saturday, aligning itself with other Gulf countries and   Israel.

The change went into effect last week and allows for an extra day of trading   with world markets.

Some religious clerics criticized the change calling it an “imitation of   Jews” and Westernization, according to a report by the Saudi news channel Al   Arabiya on Saturday.

Sheikh Saleh Fawzan, a senior cleric in the Kingdom, said the change would   “invoke Allah’s wrath” because it was an imitation from Christians and Jews.   Fawzan’s supporters launched a campaign on Twitter against the change.

However, another senior cleric and a member of Saudi Arabia’s highest   religious committees, Sheikh Abdullah bin Solayman al-Menee, stated that the   change did not contradict Islamic law, according to the report.

Now all Gulf Cooperation Council countries share five working days, a move   that may lead to an economic boon.

Fadi Al Said, senior fund manager at ING Investment Management in Dubai, told   Bloomberg News that this was a step towards opening up the countries stock   market to foreign investors.

“Investors can read between the lines and see this as another step towards   opening up the market,” he said. “It’s not official, but this is one of the   things Saudi needed to do to open the markets for foreign investors.”

 

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