Category: Islam

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.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5336

PA Arabs Fete ‘New Mahdi,” Establishment of Caliphate

Thousands of PA Arabs participated in a mass rally in Ramallah earlier this week calling for the establishment of the Muslim Caliphate – the worldwide Islamist government that will “bring the coming of the Mahdi.” the Muslim messiah.

The Caliphate is essentially a union of Muslim countries under the spiritual and political leadership of a single individual, the Caliph. It has been an Islamic concept since the days of Muhammad, when it was established by several of his disciples. The office of “official Caliph” has been disputed at times, with rival would-be Caliphs battling each other for the title.

The last official Caliph was Abdülmecid II, who lost the office in the aftermath of the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in World War I. The best-known Caliph in the West was Suleiman the Great, an early Ottoman sultan who, in the 16th  century, conquered most of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, even conquering parts of Europe, until he was stopped at “the Gates of Vienna.”

With many Muslim states politically and religiously divided, and dependent on the West for support, radical Islamists have been pushing for the reestablishment of the Caliphate – this time to be led by the all-powerful Mahdi, who will unite all Muslims and establish Islam as the dominant religion in the world, ruling for several years before the “Day of Judgment”. Although the identity of the Mahdi is a secret, many Islamists believe that he is alive now, and several individuals have claimed the title. Many Islamists were said to have believed that Osama Bin-Laden was the Mahdi, or his right-hand man, until he was killed several years ago by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Ramallah rally included many students from Bir-Zeit University, the PA’s most prestigious university located north of Jerusalem and a major recipient of economic funding from the EU and the United States. Marchers gathered at a large mosque in El Bireh, a suburb of Ramallah, and marched to Manara Square, a large gathering place in central Ramallah. Speakers at the rally urged believers to “have faith” in the future, to give up their Western ways, and to do more to fulfill the tenets of Islam.

The rally was sponsored by Ḥizb at-Taḥrir (Party of Liberation), which has its own Mahdi candidate – organization leader Ata Abu Rashta, born in Mandatory Palestine and a long-time resident of a refugee camp near Hevron. Speakers at the rally said that Abu Rashta, as Mahdi, would unify Muslims and establish Sharia law in countries around the world. In addition, the speakers called for unity among all Muslims in order to ensure “victory in Syria,” the “liberation of Palestine from the hated Jews,” and the “freeing of mankind from the chains of capitalism.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5280

The Demise of Middle East Borders

A common theme running through much of the leading commentary on the Syrian crisis is the idea that the principal borders of the modern Middle East, created by the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, are about to be fundamentally altered if not erased completely. In mid-March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a university speech in which he said that the political order in the Middle East created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement was coming to an end. He envisioned Turkey’s influence returning to those areas which were once under its sovereignty but were lost to the European colonial powers.

It seems that everyone is talking about the end of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. In mid-May, David Ignatius of The Washington Post warned the Russians that they would suffer most from “the dissolution of the Sykes-Picot boundaries in the Middle East.” At the same time, Elliot Abrams, who served as the deputy national security adviser under former U.S. President George W. Bush wrote about “the unraveling” of the Sykes-Picot agreement. Several weeks earlier, one of France’s leading commentators in the Middle East, Antoine Basbous, wrote in Le Figaro on April 21 that the “artificial boundaries” established by Sykes-Picot were about to receive their final blow from what he called “the Arab tsunami and its aftershocks.”

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this change should it transpire. In October 1916, during World War I, Sir Mark Sykes, representing Britain, and Charles Francois Georges-Picot, representing France, reached a secret understanding dividing the Asian territories of the Ottoman Empire into spheres of influence that would be dominated by both countries. When the League of Nations established mandates over the former Ottoman territories that the allies subsequently captured, the mandate for Syria and Lebanon went to France while the mandate for Iraq went to Britain. These mandatory regimes in the years that followed led to the empowerment of the Alawite minority over the Sunni majority in Syria and the establishment of the domination of the Sunni minority in Iraq over the Shiites.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement also separated what would become British mandatory Palestine, which had been known among its Arab residents prior to WWI as Surya al-Janubiyya (Southern Syria) from French mandatory Syria to its north. In 1916, Russia, still under the Czar, supported the Sykes-Picot agreement in exchange for its territorial demands being recognized by the British and the French in what became Turkey. Thus the borders of at least five Middle Eastern states would eventually be determined by the original Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Presently, the Middle Eastern border that most observers are focusing on is the 600 kilometer (370 mile) border separating Syria from Iraq. On the Syrian side, important newspapers, like the Financial Times, have been writing this week about the “disintegration of Syria.” Similarly, The New York Times asserted that the Syrian state is “breaking up.” It suggested that at least three different Syrias are now emerging: one loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, another loyal to the opposition, and a Kurdish Syria with ties to Northern Iraq and Kurdish groups in Turkey.

Particularly accelerating the demise of the Sykes-Picot borders are events on the Iraqi side of the border. Incidents during the last year point in the direction of the eventual breakup of the Iraqi state. This coming September, a new pipeline carrying Kurdish oil through Turkey, will link Iraqi Kurdistan to its Turkish market instead of to the rest of Iraq. This development is seen in the West as the first step toward the independence of Kurdistan. Indeed, the Kurds are cutting separate deals with international oil companies and circumventing the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. A spokesman for U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Security Council has stated on the record that the U.S. opposes oil exports from any part of Iraq “without the appropriate approval of the Iraqi federal government.” Washington opposes Kurdish economic initiatives that could lead to the dissolution of Iraq into at least three states: Kurdish, Shiite, and Sunni.

Kurdistan may be ready to become independent. What about the rest? The Shiite areas of Iraq south of Baghdad to the Kuwaiti border will be dominated one way or another by Iran. But what will happen to the Sunni sectors of Iraq, like the al-Anbar Province? In the last year, the Sunni Arab tribes in Iraq that span the Syrian-Iraqi border have joined the war against the Assad regime. Tribes like the Shammar, who migrated from the Arabian Peninsula to the Jazira plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the 17th century, have been regularly crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border back and forth for many years.

The prospect that their Sunni cousins in Syria will eventually defeat the Assad regime, or at least take over part of the Syrian state, has energized the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, who felt previously that the 2003 Iraq War had led to the defeat of their Sunni-dominated regime under Saddam Hussein and a victory for Iraq’s Shiite majority. Now, they sense they can take back their autonomy from Baghdad.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (serving between 2007 and 2009) wrote in The Washington Post on May 1 that al-Qaida-Iraq has re-established itself in areas in which it was defeated by U.S. and Iraqi forces over the last five years. It should come as no surprise that Crocker defines the leading jihadist force fighting Assad’s army, Jabhat al-Nusra, as a front group for al-Qaida in Iraq. In March, the executions of eleven Syrian soldiers in a public square in the town of al-Raqqa, inside northern Syria, were carried out under the flag of Iraqi al-Qaida. The old Sykes-Picot border was clearly meaningless for affiliates of al-Qaida. An Iraqi commentator noted that since 2011, there have been religious calls for erasing the old Iraqi-Syrian border and unifying the Sunni regions on both sides.

Should the fragmentation of Syria combine with the Balkanization of Iraq, what will the Middle East look like? The Sunni Arabs are the likely candidates to look for mergers with their neighbors. If they are politically dominated by the same branch of al-Qaida, then the emergence of a new Afghanistan in the heart of the Arab world might be the result. If more moderate forces among the Iraqi Sunnis emerge, then it should not be ruled out that they might consider some federal ties with their western Sunni neighbor, Jordan, which would give them an outlet to the Red Sea.

But however the political systems in Syria and Iraq evolve, it is clear that the map of the Middle East is likely to be very different from the map that the colonial powers fixed during World War I and which has endured for roughly 97 years since British and French officials first put it on paper. The only boundary in the Middle East that Western diplomats have become rigidly obsessed with, despite the far more profound changes that are occurring across the region, is not even formally an international border under international law, but only an armistice line from 1949 – what is inappropriately called the 1967 border. While a solution to this territorial dispute must be addressed, the final borders drawn between Israel and it’s neighbors will have to take into account the current dramatic strategic shifts.

MEGGIDOMAPNICE

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5270

Mosque in Maryland moves prophecy clock forward

The Muslim Brotherhood plan to revive the Caliphate and takeover the United States got a boost with the dedication of a $100 million Islamic center paid for by a country that figures prominently in end time prophecy. With the blessing of the White House, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, along with Maryland officials and MB representatives dedicated the five building mosque complex on 15 acres in Lanham beneath the Turkish and American flags flying at equal levels. The complex is a reminder of Biblical prophecies of the antichrist arising from lands currently in Turkey, and how America is firmly in the orbit of prophecy–as a satellite of the end time Beast government.

Evidence in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial indicated a Muslim Brotherhood plan to take over North America. The plan, written in 1991, calls for Islamists to colonize America with Islamic Centers, schools, elected officials and court cases. It seeks to establish a “Civilization-Jihadist Process.” It outlines how “work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house…” The MB was formed after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. Erdogan’s AKP political party and the MB have close ties. The Islamic center in Maryland funded by Turkey is in lock step with the MB plan for North America. So is the White House.

Istanbul Analytics reported in November 2012 that “Ankara and Washington are now walking in lockstep…The essence of the new relationship is one where Turkey is more empowered, and more crucial to the US because of its leverage.” The online report said that Turkish and US diplomats claim they cannot remember a time when the US and Turkey have been closer, citing that the man who occupies the Oval Office “called Turkey’s prime minister more than any other leader except Britain’s prime minister in 2011.” The policies of the US government in aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and, now, in allowing Turkey to build this colonization mosque near the nation’s capital all play into the prophetic end times.

This Administration’s ongoing support of the Muslim Brotherhood and all of its trimmings, and the close relationship of the occupant to Turkey’s prime minister is prophetically significant. The US has done more in the past ten years to support Islamic expansion than ever before. This has been exponentially accelerated in the past four years. There are numerous accounts in the Bible where the Lord identifies the antichrist as Assyrian (Isaiah 10, 14, 31, 52; Hosea 11; Micah 5 to name a few). For example, Isaiah 14:25 says, “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot.” Assyria is in part of modern day Turkey. Watch and pray.

First, there is this from the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News:

The groundbreaking ceremony for Istanbul’s controversial $3 billion third bridge over the Bosphorus was held yesterday, on the 560th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottomans. The ceremony was attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the name of the bridge has been announced as “Yavuz Sultan Selim,” one of the most prominent sultans in Ottoman history. “We thought a lot about which name should be given to the third bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, and we have decided on Yavuz Sultan Selim,” Gül said at the ceremony.

So they put a lot of thought into choosing the name of the bridge. And as such, they chose a Sultan who was known not only for greatly expanding the Ottoman Empire, but also for making it illegal to be a Christian within the empire. In other words, they chose an extremist, expansionist, Islamist Sultan. Certainly not the kind of individual you would wish to honor if you were seeking to build a positive and tolerant image abroad. The ceremony was concluded by prayerfully celebrating the conquest of Istanbul and memorializing the “martyrs” of that conquest:

The Turkish government has already worked on seven big projects worth $150 billion in Istanbul, which is known as the “city on the seven hills,” like Rome, [Turkish Transport Minister] Yıldırım said yesterday. In addition to these seven projects, such as the third bridge and the third airport, the prime minister announced new projects to be held… The ceremony ended with collective prayers both to commemorate martyrs and to celebrate the 560th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul.

And then there is this:

The government of Turkey is building a 15-acre, $100 million mega-mosque in Lanham, Maryland. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan visited the site on May 15 as part of his official visit to the U.S. The state of Maryland was officially represented at the event by its Secretary of State John McDonough. The event was also attended by the leaders of two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. The mega-mosque is called the Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center and, according to the Muslim Link, it “will likely become the largest and most striking examples of Islamic architecture in the western hemisphere” when it is finished in 2014. The Muslim Link explicitly says it is “a project of the government of Turkey.”

Someone still has certainly has a very strong sense of cultural confidence, but it certainly is not the US. Welcome to the age of Turkish ascendancy.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5261

Changing Before Our Eyes’: Israel Warns Of Potential ‘Surprise War’ With Surrounding Islamic Nations

Joel 3:11-12, “Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.”

The Jerusalem Post – “The threat of a conflict suddenly erupting between Israel and its enemies is very real, Israel Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel warned on Wednesday.

The advanced S-300 Russian air defense system is ‘on the way to Syria,’ he added.

The IDF chief of staff, Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz, echoed Eshel’s message. The chance of a multi-arena conflict breaking out are ‘substantial,’ he said.

Eshel, addressing a national security conference held by the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, said that ‘the Assad regime has invested much to achieve the best air defenses that it could buy,’ including the SA-17, SA-22, SA-24 and the S-300 platforms.

‘These systems are not only an operational threat.

They also lead to an increased sense of security that can lead states to do things they would not otherwise do. This is a totally different generation of weapons, which does not resemble anything in the past. But there’s no system that has no solution. The question is only the price,’ the air force commander said.

Syria is ‘changing before our eyes. If it collapses tomorrow, we could find its vast arsenal dispersed and pointed at us,’ he said.

The threat of a war erupting is ‘many times more relevant today. A surprise war could be born today in many forms. Lone incidents can escalate very quickly and obligate us to be prepared within hours to act to the edge of the spectrum… meaning using the full abilities of the Israel Air Force,’ Eshel said.

‘If during the Second Lebanon War [in 2006] we used only a small amount of these capabilities, in the next war we will have to give 100 percent so that our activities will be swift and very powerful,’ he warned.”

In a future war, the air force will pave a path for the ground forces by carrying out very heavy bombings that will make a ground offensive far easier and faster. The IAF must be the central component in ground maneuvers, and is spending a great deal of time preparing for this, he said.

Also on Wednesday, Gantz spoke to graduates of the IDF Command and Staff College, telling them that the military is at “a significant point on the axis of time, in light of the developing security threats and instability around us.”

The IDF is facing the substantial threat of a multi-arena conflict, he warned.

“We must work in a joined manner, coordinated, and with maximum efficiency to ensure our ability to win quickly in every confrontation, and to win every future war,” the chief of staff said.

Ground maneuvers remain “important and relevant” for the IDF’s ability to secure a victory, Gantz said, adding that “it’s clear that we must strengthen our ability for an offensive maneuver” that will be made up of components such as intelligence, firepower, logistics and teleprocessing.

These should ensure a flexible, swift, deadly ground maneuver, Gantz said.

On Tuesday, Gantz warned President Bashar Assad that he would “bear the consequences” if Syria escalated its attacks on the IDF on the Golan Heights.

The warning came hours after a Syrian army position opened fire on an IDF jeep, lightly damaging it. The IDF opened fire in response, destroying the Syrian position. Channel 2 said three Syrian soldiers were killed in the exchange.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Western governments are ready to increase support to Assad’s opponents if he rejects a political solution to Syria’s civil war.

Kerry said recent military gains by Assad’s forces were only temporary, and that if the Syrian leader believed the counteroffensives against the rebels would be decisive, “then he is miscalculating.”

Kerry was speaking in Amman before a meeting of the Friends of Syria group of nations – mainly Western and Arab opponents of Assad – trying to pave the way for a US-Russian proposed peace conference to end Syria’s twoyear conflict, in which more than 80,000 people have been killed.

The conference aims to build on last year’s international accord discussed in Geneva that set out plans for a transition of power in Syria but broke down over disagreements about Assad’s role.

“In the event that we can’t find that way forward, in the event that the Assad regime is unwilling to negotiate Geneva 1 in good faith, we will also talk about our continued support and growing support for the opposition, in order to permit them to continue to be able to fight for the freedom of their country,” Kerry told a news conference.

He said several thousand fighters from the Lebanese group Hezbollah were taking part in the Syrian conflict, with active Iranian support on the ground.

“Just last week, obviously, Hezbollah intervened very, very significantly,” Kerry said. “There are several thousands of Hezbollah militia forces on the ground in Syria who are contributing to this violence, and we condemn that.”

Also speaking at the Fisher Brothers Institute conference, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that despite recent gains against the Syrian rebels by Assad and Hezbollah forces, the regime was in decline.

Assad is “losing Syria,” Ya’alon insisted. “Even if he is projecting confidence recently, this has no link to reality.

“There is a sense that he is charging ahead because of the Russian support, but [the civil war] is not over. It could end suddenly or continue for years as a bloody civil war.

“There are those who are trying to bring weapons systems into the area that are liable to harm our aerial and naval supremacy,” Ya’alon added, “and this must be prevented in a responsible and considered manner.”

He played down the prospect of anyone on the Syrian side starting a war with Israel, “because they understand the heavy price they would pay.”

Ya’alon said the Iranian threat remained number one, adding that Iran has a [military] corps in Lebanon, a corps in Syria, a corps in South America and more… To us it’s clear that for Iran to get nuclear weapons is a nightmare for the world. This has appeared on the global agenda today, but the leadership there [in Iran] is still not convinced that there is determination to go all the way.”

The Iranians believe Israel requires America’s green light to attack, while Hezbollah is preparing itself to respond if Iran is attacked, Ya’alon said.

“This is occurring without a nuclear umbrella. We must understand what would happen if there was such an umbrella, and we’ll do everything to make sure this won’t happen.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5244

Russia & Turkey: Magog and Gog

Game-changing Russian missiles ‘already in Syria’ – Aaron Klein – http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/game-changing-russian-missiles-already-in-syria/?cat_orig=world

Obama aware, disappointed in support of regime

A Russian convoy of game-changing S300 missile batteries reached Syria last week, claimed Arab intelligence sources speaking to WND.

Israeli security sources said there is no information to support the Arab claim.

The information comes as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported Israel relayed a message to the Obama administration describing as imminent a Russian deal to sell the advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria.

The S300 missile batteries are able to intercept manned aircraft and guided missiles.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Texas the administration is aware of the reports and is disappointed in Russia’s continued support of the Syrian regime.

“We have consistently called on Russia to cut off the Assad regime’s supply of Russian weapons including air defense systems that are destabilizing to the region,” Carney said. “We have also long said that Russia could play a more constructive role in Syria.”

According to the Journal report, Syria has been making payments on a 2010 agreement with Russia to purchase four batteries for $900 million with delivery expected within three months.

The Journal reported the S300 package included six launchers and 144 operational missiles each with a range of up to 200 miles.

Russia staffs Mediterranean fleet – Turkey weighs payback for Syrian bombingshttp://www.debka.com/article/22965/Russia-staffs-Mediterranean-fleet-Turkey-weighs-payback-for-Syrian-bombings

Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Sunday, May 12, that the process is underway for creating a permanent staff to run Russian fleet operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet’s home port, Adm. Chirkov said a staff of 20 officers was already in place. And the Mediterranean deployment would comprise five to six warships and their service vessels as well possibly as nuclear submarines which, say our military sources, are armed with nuclear ballistic missiles.

debkafile’s military sources: The new permanent deployment is the next Russian step for safeguarding Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus and deterring military attacks on his Hezbollah allies and Iranian interests in their three-way bloc.

Moscow is also announcing loud and clear that Russia is finally restoring its military presence to the Middle East in 2013 after the last Soviet squadron exited the Mediterranean in 1992.

The Russian naval step came 24 hours after two car bombs reduced to rubble the center of the Turkish town of Reyhanli near the Syrian border, killing 46 people and injuring scores. Turkish ministers at the scene Sunday openly blamed Syrian military intelligence for the attack’s planning and execution.

This raised concerns in Moscow that Ankara was preparing to deliver a serious reprisal, possibly in the form of an aerial or missile assault, on Syrian military targets.

Russian tacticians reckoned that, after Israel’s two air strikes against Assad regime targets, the Tayyip Erdogan’s government could hardly avoid direct action without appearing to be failing in courage in the eyes of the Turkish public.

Some action is doubly pressing as Prime Minister Erdogan prepares to travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama on May 16 and present him with evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons in his war on Syrian rebels.

The Reyhanli bombings and Turkey’s potential retaliation sent a fresh wave of alarm across the Syrian neighborhood. Once again, Israeli Air Force warplanes thundered Sunday across South Lebanon and over Hezbollah strongholds in the eastern Beqaa Valley near the Syrian border.

Given all these circumstances, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chances are virtually nil of getting anywhere in his trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to persuade President Vladimir Putin to hold back advanced S-300 anti-air missiles from Syria. He can expect to find the Russian president driving full speed for arms deals – not just with Syria, but also with Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.

Putin clearly regards Obama’s decision to keep the US clear of military involvement in the Syrian conflict as an open gateway for a Russian military comeback to the Middle East after a 21-year absence, armed with a cornucopia of weapons for winning clients. For now, there is no stopping him, not even if Turkey or Israel were to embark themselves on military intervention.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5019

Tribulation Temple Talk

Just beneath the boiling surface of seething hostility there can be sensed a moving and shaking. Talk of the building of a Jewish temple atop the Temple Mount is beginning to escape into the back-channel atmospherics of the Mid-East misery. How can such not be the case? Every direction the student of Bible prophecy looks, stage setting for the final act of this quickly decaying age is already on the scene.

God’s land is being further divided (Joel 3:2), which portends God’s bringing all nations into the Valley of Jehoshaphat─to Armageddon. The Roadmap to peace is being dusted-off and reintroduced as the blueprint for peace and safety for not only Israel and its blood-vowed enemies, but for the whole world, as insulation against the initiation of World War III.

The European Union (EU) is in turmoil. It is turmoil, however, that seems to have a smelting effect, preparing the iron of the legs, feet and toes of Daniel’s interpretation for Nebuchadnezzar — into their end of the age configuration. Technological wizardry of every description has made possible the bringing together of all peoples of planet Earth into one world─the New World Order, so desired by the globalist powers that be.

The economic upheaval experienced by most every nation cries out for a master manipulator that will institute an electronic funds transfer system in order to bring stability and order to the financial distress and perplexity that bedevils presidents, potentates and dictators. Such a man can’t be too far into the shadows of emerging world togetherness.

On the forefront of religious change is the call for a melding of every form of pathways to Heaven. The pope and Islamist Imams seem to be forging a synthesis of sorts in discovering many ways to God, a thing unheard of until very recently. Protestant America in large part seems not oppose the feelers crawling toward their forms of Christianity. So-called Chrislam is appealing to them, and ecumenism beckons with allurement at many levels.

So, with all of this and much more going on, the talk of the building of a Jewish temple should surprise none of us. It is a key ingredient in the coming Tribulation mixture within God’s cup of wrath. The talk of late on the possibility of a Jewish temple in the making revolves around the words of a Turkish TV producer, who is a Muslim. Sinem Tezyapar, as reported in The Jewish Press on March 14, said, “There is a broad expanse of land around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The land there is quite convenient in that respect, and the temple can be placed just a little way from Qubbat As-Sakhrah, and a little ahead of Masjid el-Aqsa.”

This train of thought, of course, conforms to the long-held opinions of some within the universe of those who observe matters involving plans to build a Temple on Mount Moriah. Bible prophecy foretells, through the vision given John, God’s Hand on the Tribulation temple. “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:1-2).

The prophecy indicates, according to those with this view that:

1. During the Tribulation era there will definitely be a temple sitting where Solomon’s Temple sat. 2. There is more than enough room surrounding where the temple must reside for the Muslim shrines to sit.

There is a ton of chatter going on about all of this within the Bible prophecy community. Many voices within this blogosphere hold that those Muslims who seem to be letting it slip (that Israel’s Arab-Islamist enemies might be willing to talk about accommodation of a Jewish Temple) must never be trusted. It is all being done for some surreptitious evil known only to the Imams and to the master architect of their evil blueprint─Satan.

The very fact that there is talk coming from Israel’s enemies about the heretofore, unthinkable possibility of allowing a temple on Mount Moriah is significant, I think. A phony─and deadly─peace is at the center of Satan’s blueprint for usurping the throne of God on earth.

We can know this from Daniel’s account of the covenant Antichrist will confirm, assuring peace for seven years (Daniel 9:26-27). Also, Isaiah the prophet says so, (Isaiah 28:15, 18).

Satan intends to place his “messiah” right on the spot where the Holy of Holies sat, where the Ark of the Covenant resided within the Temple of Solomon’s day. So, I believe it is reasonable to look for the possibility of a rebuilt temple to become increasingly, front and center in news and blog-chatter as the age draws to a close.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5001

Furnish on Pew findings re: Islam

Does This Paint It Black, or Am I A Fool to Cry? Breaking Down the New Pew Study of Muslims
by Timothy R. Furnish, PhD
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Pew has released another massive installment of data from its research, 2008-2012, into Muslim attitudes, entitled “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society.” Over 38,000 Muslims in almost 40 countries were surveyed, thus constituting a survey both statistically sound and geographically expansive. Herewith is an analysis of that information and what seem to be its major ramifications.

The first section deals with shari`a, usually rendered simply as “Islamic law” but more accurately defined as “the rules of correct practice” which “cover every possible human contingency, social and individual, from birth to death” and based upon the Qur’an and hadiths (sayings and practices attributed to Muhammad) as interpreted by Islamic religious scholars (Marshal G.S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, Vol 1: The Classical Age of Islam, p. 74). Asked “should sharia [as Pew anglicizes it] be the law of the land,” 57% of Muslims across 38 countries answered “yes” — including, most problematically for the US: 99% of Afghans, 91% of Iraqis, 89% of Palestinians, 84% of Pakistanis and even 74% of Egyptians. Should sharia apply to non-Muslims as well as Muslims? Across 21 countries surveyed on this question, 40% answered affirmatively — with the highest positive response coming from Egypt (its 74% exceeding even Afghanistan’s 61%). And on the question whether sharia punishments — such as whippings and cutting off of thieves’ hands — should be enacted, the 20-country average was 52%, led by Pakistan (88%), Afghanistan (81%), the Palestinian Territories [PT] (76%) and Egypt (70-%). On the specific penalty of stoning for adultery, the 20-country average was 51% — with, again, Pakistan (89%), Afghanistan (85%), the PT (84%) and Egypt (71%) highest in approval. Finally, 38% of Muslims, across those same 20 nations, support the death penalty for those leaving Islam for another religion.

Huge majorities of Muslims across most of these surveyed nations say that “it’s good others can practice their faith” — but Pew’s imprecise terminology on this topic makes possible that this simply mean many Muslims are willing to grant non-Muslims the tolerated, but second-class, ancient status of the dhimmi. Majorities, too, in most countries say that “democracy is better than a powerful leader;” however, the latter was actually preferred by most surveyed in Russia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as by 42% of Iraqis, 40% of Palestinians and 36% of Egyptians. Most Afghans, Egyptians and Tunisians (and even 1/3 of Turks) believe that “Islamic political parties” are better than other ones, although 53% of Indonesians and 45% of Iraqis are also worried about “Muslim extremists.” (Curiously, 31% of Malaysians are, on the other hand, worried about “Christian extremists” — although evidence of such existing in that country is practically non-existent.) There is good news on the question of suicide bombing, however: across 20 countries, only 13.5% think it is ever justified — although the support is much higher in the PT (40%), Afghanistan (39%) and Egypt (29%).

In terms of morality, large majorities in most Muslim countries (especially outside Sub-Saharan Africa) think drinking alcohol is morally repugnant, notably in Malaysia (93%), Pakistan and Indonesia (both 91%). Most Muslims in most countries surveyed consider abortion wrong, as well as pre- and extra-marital sex and, almost needless to say, homosexuality. (Although one wishes Pew had asked about mu`tah, or “temporary marriage” — a practice originally Twelver Shi`i which has increasingly become used by Sunnis.) Yet, simultaneously — following Qur’anic rubrics — some 30% of Muslims in 21 countries support polygamy, including almost half of Palestinians, 46% of Iraqis and 41% of Egyptians. There is also significant support for honor killings in not just Afghanistan and Iraq but also Egypt and the PT. Over ¾ of Muslims across 23 countries says that “wives must always obey their husbands:” an average of 77%. And Pew notes that there is a statistically very significant correlation between sharia-support and believing women have few(er) rights.

Asked whether they believed they were “following Muhammad’s example,” 75% of Afghans and 55% of Iraqis answered affirmatively — although most Muslims were not nearly so confident. On the question “are Sunni-Shi`i tensions a problem,” 38% of Lebanese, 34% of Pakistanis, 23% of Iraqis and 20% of Afghans said “yes.”

It is no surprise that huge majorities of Muslims in most surveyed countries believe that Islam is the only path to salvation, nor that most also say “it’s a duty to convert others” to Islam. It is somewhat counterintuitive, however, that many Muslims say they “know little about Christianity” — even in places with large Christian minorities, such as Egypt. Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa are the most likely to agree that “Islam and Christianity have a lot in common,” and so are 42% of Palestianians, as well as some 1/3 of Lebanese and Egyptians. But only 10% of Pakistanis agree. Asked whether they ever engaged in “interfaith meetings,” many Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa said that they did (with Christians), and a majority of Thais said likewise (albeit with Buddhists). But only 8% of Palestinians, 5% of Iraqis, and 4% of Egyptians said they ever do so—despite substantial Christian populations in each of those areas.

Regarding the question “are religion and science in conflict,” most Muslims said “no” — with the exceptions of Lebanon, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Turkey where over 40% in each country (and, actually, a majority in Lebanon) said that they were at loggerheads. Most Muslims also say they have no problems with believing in Allah and evolution — the exceptions being the majority of Afghans and Indonesians. Regarding popular culture, clear majorities of Muslims in many countries say they like Western music, TV and movies—but, at the same time, similar majorities say that such things undermine morality (although Bollywood less so than Hollywood).

Observations:

1) The high degree of support for sharia is the red flag here. Contra media and adminstration (both Obama and Bush) assurances that most Muslims are “moderate,” empirical data now exists that clearly shows most Muslims, in point of fact, support not just sharia in general but its brutal punishments. Perhaps just as disturbing, almost four in ten Muslims are in favor of killing those who choose to follow another religion. And countries in which the US is heavily involved either diplomatically or militarily (or both) are the very ones where such sentiments run most high: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, the Palestinian Territories. So are the “extremists” these very Muslims who want to follow, literally, the Qur’an and hadiths? Messers Brennan, Holder and Obama have some explaining to do.

2) Afghanistan would appear to be a lost cause. Afghans are at the top of almost every list in support for not just sharia, suicide bombing, honor killing and — ironically (or perhaps not) — confidence that they are emulating Islam’s founder, as well as dislike for democracy. In light of this clear data, two points about Afghanistan become clear: tactically, ostensible American befuddlement as to the causes of “green on blue” attacks and the continuing popularity of the Taliban in Afghanistan appears as willful ignorance; strategically, the US decision to stay there after taking out the al-Qa`ida [AQ] staging, post-9/11, and attempt to modernize Afghanistan was a huge, neo-Wilsonian mistake. 2014 cannot come soon enough.

3) In some ways Islam in Southeastern Europe, and to a lesser extent in Central Asia, seems to be a more tolerant brand of the faith than the Middle Eastern variety. For example, the SE European and Central Asian Muslims are the least likely to support the death penalty for “apostasy,” and the most supportive of letting women decide for themselves whether to veil. And Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa are the most likely to know about Christianity, and to interact with Christians. On the other hand, African Muslims are among the most enamored of sharia, and Central Asian ones fond of letting qadis (Islamic judges) decide family and property disputes. So there does not seem to be a direct link between Westernization and moderation; in fact, the influence of Sufism — Islamic mysticism — in the regard needs to be correlated and studied (beyond what Pew did on the topic in last year’s analysis).

4) One bit of prognostication based on this data: Malaysia may be the next breeding ground of Islamic terrorism. It’s home to some 17 million Muslims (61% of its 28 million people), who hold a congeries of unsettling views: 86% want sharia the law of the land; 67% favor the death penalty for apostasy; 66% like sharia-compliant corporal punishments; 60% support stoning for adultery; and 18% think suicide bombing is justified. PACOM, SOCOM and the intelligence agencies need to ramp up hiring of Malay linguists and analysts.

5) Finally, some words for those — like FNC’s Megyn Kelly and Julie Roginsky (on the former’s show “American Live,” 4/30/13) — who pose a sociopolitical and moral equivalence between Muslim support for sharia and Evangelical Protestant Christian support for wives’ obedience to husbands: that’s a bit too much sympathy for the devil. Yes, Evangelical Christian pastors hold some pretty conservative views of the family, as per a 2011 Pew study of them; for example, 55% of them do agree that “a wife must always obey her husband” (compared to 77% of Muslims). And, ironically, many such Evangelicals agree in large measure with Muslims on issues such as the immorality of alcohol, abortion and homosexuality. However, one searches in vain for any Evangelical (or other) Christian support for whippings, stonings, amputation of thieves’ limbs, polygamy or suicide bombing.

Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, numbering some 1.6 billion humans (behind only Christianity’s 2.2 billion). There is, thus, enormous diversity of opinion on many issues of doctrine and practice, and essentializing Islam as either “peaceful” or “violent” is fraught with peril. Nonetheless, this latest Pew study provides empirical evidence that many — far too many — Muslims cling to a literalist, supremacist and indeed brutal view of their religion. Insha’allah, this will change eventually — but time is not necessarily on our side.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4983