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MA52  –   January 2012 YEAR OF FEAR?

 

 

 

2012   

A YEAR OF FEAR ?

AFTER 2011 — a year of horrific earthquakes, floods, fires, tornados, and other disasters; a year of economic turmoil in Europe, the US and other countries; a year of uprisings, revolutions and violent protests; a year of political and international tension — one would hope for a better year ahead. It couldn’t get much worse, could it?  Well it could! What about a world war?

2012 exhibited some beautiful fireworks around the globe, before taking up the carry-over dramas of the past year – the financial bankruptcies; Iran on the brink of nuclear weapons; US-IRAN confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz; the Syrian “Spring” war that could ignite the whole region; the Palestinian sparring with Israel; the Pakistan-American-Afghanistan impasse; Nations in uproar; Terrorism back on the beat; Occupiers back on the street; and Doomsday around the corner!

In the Mideast, the battle for the Temple Mount continues, and the Jews are blamed for all the troubles in the world. The news is filled with horrifying portents of an approaching war in Israel, and worse, a nuclear world war.

The battle for control of Syria is fierce and bloody – nearly 6,000 dead; and with the chances for democratic freedom about as remote as it is in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is in a leading position.

An oil war is imminent as EU countries prepare to impose an oil ban on Iran. Tehran promises to retaliate by blocking the Strait of Hormuz – to prevent oil containers plying the vital route – and thus to bring chaos to Western, and other nations.

An exercise in brinkmanship in the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and the US, has brought the world very close to the brink of an abyss. Iran is warning US military ships not to enter the Persian Gulf. The US dismisses Iran’s threats.  So we will watch and see if the US will attack Iran. If it doesn’t, Israel surely will – sooner or later!  But indications at present suggest the US and Israel may unite to strike the rogue regime.

The American pull-out from Iraq has left Iraq in a state of shambles. Now a new stage of conflict between Shias and Sunnis is developing. But Kurdistan is also a region to watch, not only in relation to the rest of Iraq, but also vis-a-vis Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Scripture indicates that the Kurds (the ancient Medes) will become a very significant force in the endtimes.  (Jeremiah 51:11, 27-28)

 

      The Eurozone is an expanding crisis. The euro is cracking, and the economic, political and social outlook for 2012 is profoundly negative.  The almost universal consensus, even among mainstream orthodox economists is pessimistic regarding the world economy.

Throughout the nations, persecution of Christians continues. Christians in North Nigeria have been severely attacked, threatened, and told to get out of the region. 

In Western nations, the God-given institutions of marriage and the family are being eroded and attacked; and Christians are increasingly portrayed as the cause of social unrest, the source of intolerance, and a main obstruction to a new world of peace and prosperity.

Apart from the threats of terrorism, wars, natural disasters and economic collapse, there is a fear gripping the world due to the ...

 

              “2012 DOOMSDAY SCENARIO”   

The creators of the movie, 2012,” which has been viewed by millions of people over the last two years, have capitalised on perceptions of the Mayan calendar, as well as a host of non-Biblical prophecies, and messages received by new age gurus, from “the Ascended Masters.”

The film features the explosion of the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super-volcano in the US. The earth’s surface begins to break up, and other disasters follow. Then there is a race for a few hundred select survivors to reach the snow-

bound mountains of Tibet to take their place on one of several “arks” that were built to withstand the tsunamis, and then sail into the new world.

The film and all the hype have created an expectation for the end of the current world order, and the emergence of a new age.  Signs in the universe, sun flares, planetary alignments, extra-terrestrials, and threatening rogue planets, as well as some Biblical prophecies have all been added to the mix to produce frightening doomsday predictions.  

Amateur soothsayers of every stripe are excited about the mystical potential of the year 2012. In decades past, as archaeologists began to decipher Mayan pictographs, they discovered the famous “long count” calendar. It features a 5,126-year cycle, which began in 3,114 BC. It is divided into 394-year periods called “Baktuns,” the 13th of which ends on December 21st of our year, 2012.

 

THE MAYAN CALENDAR  

Apparently, because the Mayans considered the number 13 to be sacred, the completion of this grand 13th cycle has been projected as the fulfilment of an era, and a climax of the age. However, archaeological experts who can read their ancient pagan hieroglyphs insist that the Mayans themselves, never prophesied that the end of this cycle would portend anything specific.

But even though they never predicted any event, the temptation to connect world events to the end of the 13th Baktun was too great to ignore. Enthusiastic “prophets” felt that this date marked something significant … perhaps the return of the Mayan’s serpent-god Kukulkan.

Some gurus, following 2,000 years of Messianic hope fostered by the Christian church, have stated that another Mayan god – Bolan Yokte – would return to save human-ity. Amazingly, some of them even link Christ with this strange Mayan god! They say that Bolan Yokte was the Mayan revelation of Jesus! Such blasphemies abound among “spiritualists.” To them, the end of the Mayan calendar constitutes the fulfilment of major prophecy.

“New Age” gurus claim to have knowledge about massive shifts in the Solar System that are about to take place. Earth, they say, is about to be bombarded with cataclysmic transformation, including changes to the Earth’s tilt, orbit, and continental plate tectonics. Some believe that only the intervention of “gods from outer space” can save us. In fact, their expectations are a confusing counterfeit of the Messianic teaching of the Holy Bible.

CAN WE EXPECT CATACLYISMS IN 2012 ?

There is no Biblical prophecy that indicates 2012 will be the year of the climax of the age. And we should not put any weight on the Dec 21, 2012 doomsday expectation.

But, if we are indeed close to the Biblical endtimes, as many of us believe we are, we can expect to see an increase of all types of disasters, wars and deteriorating social conditions. We know that the Day of Yahweh the LORD is drawing nearer every day.

Bible-believers shouldn’t be surprised at the way world events are pointing toward an extraordinary chain of events. Y’shua the Messiah, (Jesus), told His disciples that disasters would happen at the end of the age.

And after all, for decades, preachers have been saying that we’re living in the end times and that “Jesus is coming soon!” Given this proclamation, it would be strange if normal, calm conditions still prevailed. Y’shua told the disciples:

“There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon earth despair among nations, with perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men's hearts will faint from terror, being apprehensive of what is coming upon the world; for the very powers of the heavens will be shaken.”  (Luke 21:25, 26)

This prophecy will be fully fulfilled in the Great Tribulation. What we see at present is a precursor, a runner up - a foretaste of the Tribulation. And this year we can expect more horrific events like we saw in 2011, and quite likely, worse. But don’t forget the words of Y’shua our Master:

“When these things begin to take place, straighten yourselves and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)

We are drawing near to the end of the present age; but not to the end of the world!

Here’s a timely message on 2012, from the Prophetic Witness Movement, UK.  (Many thanks  PWMI).

 

 

 2012 — and the END OF OUR WORLD ?

Will you bother doing any Christmas shopping in 2012? For some people that would be a pointless exercise because they are expecting the world to end four days before Christmas - or, at best, come close to an end.   There are a number of factors for this belief, most notably …

 

THE MAYAN CALENDAR

According to an ancient civilization in South America called the Maya, the date 21 Dec., 2012 marks the end of an important cycle for planet Earth.  The Maya were, by some accounts, very skilful astronomers and mathematicians, who accurately predicted cycles of the planets and weather patterns.

Others believe that their predictions came via occult sources. A trip to the British Museum in London will certainly convince anyone who doubts that they were involved in the most disturbing forms of spirit worship. There stone engravings portray their audiences with these beings.

But however the Maya came by their information, their calendar of world history (known as the Long Count) has aroused speculation that it spells doom for our planet in 2012. Mixing this belief with a cocktail of other doomsday scenarios, have caused some sources to predict the worst possible outcome.

 

BUT WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

On the authority of the Bible we can say for sure that the world will not end on this day or immediately after it. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but let us give you just two of them which will suffice.

1.         There are at least 1007 years of history left to be fulfilled

             according to Bible Prophecy.

The Scriptures reveal that the Lord Jesus Christ will reign on the earth for 1000 years when He returns at His Second Coming. This period of time, often called 'The Millennium', is prophesied in Revelation 20 where verse four says:

 "And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

Obviously if that is to happen, the world cannot end in 2012.

'What about the other 7 years?' Well, those are the years of 'The Tribulation' - a period of terrible judgment which will come on the earth before Jesus Christ returns to establish His kingdom. Certainly some extremely bad things will happen in that time of Tribulation, as prophesied in the book of Revelation (some of which make the 2012 predictions look like a picnic!), but the world doesn't end then.

Rather, the world will still be here when the Lord Jesus returns at the end of those 7 years; when He comes back to reign for 1000 years.

So these 1007 years that are prophesied in the Bible totally undermine the notion that the world will end in 2012.

2.         The Lord Jesus has warned us against the setting of dates

The Lord Jesus warned His disciples about setting dates in prophetic matters. Although we are to be watchful and discerning of the times, He said:

"Heaven and earth will pass away... But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (Matthew 24:35-36).

This is an important Scripture as it tells us "no one knows" the date of these events - the coming of the Lord and the end of the age—not even the Maya! If their information did come from occult sources, as we suspect, then even those spirit beings do not have access to this un-revealed information, though they may claim they do. Jesus said, "not even the angels of heaven” know the actual time ... and that includes fallen angels and evil spirits!

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN?

Let us be clear, we are not saying that bad things won't happen in 2012. In fact, the Bible's teaching suggests that they probably will. Jesus spoke of the time leading up to His return as containing ...

“great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21:11)

Some of these things could very easily happen in the times around 2012. However, as we have already shown, this will not be the end of the world.

The biggest danger for 2012 (and beyond) is actually deception.  Some may well use the fearful days we are living in for their own corrupt ends. This could include both religious and political deception as the Bible warns of both in the last days. We need to come to a greater knowledge of truth from the Bible so we can both test and resist the deceptions. In the book called 'First John' (at the back end of the Bible), it says:

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world ...." (1 John 4:l)

Do you know the Scriptures well enough to do this? To test the things that are spoken? If not, let us urge you to get a reliable translation of the Bible and start studying it today.

We would also encourage you to attend a Bible-believing church where they teach it properly every week. Our own prophecy meetings will help you understand more about the end times, as will our monthly journal and website. To learn more about these resources you only have to contact the address at the end of this leaflet. We'll be happy to help.   Please visit: www.pwmi.org

 

THERE’S ANOTHER “END” TO PREPARE FOR !

Although the world will not end in 2012, our own personal world could end at any time. What do we mean?  Just this: every day people die. They pass from this life into eternity and their lives here on earth end. When that happens, the Bible tells us that they either go to heaven to be with the Lord Jesus, or they go to hell to face God's punishment for the things they have done.

To save us from going to hell the Lord Jesus came and died on the cross and then rose again. He took the punishment that we deserve so that we could be forgiven. His own words were these:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Again the Bible says, "whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Dear reader, if you do not know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, please seek the Lord with great urgency today. Don’t put off the matter of your salvation. Believe in the Lord Jesus; pray to Him, expressing your faith in Him, and asking for His salvation, forgiveness and the gift of everlasting life that He offers to you. Then you will be ready for the end of your life on earth, whenever it comes. The Lord Jesus will fulfil His word and save you. Please don't put off your response to the Saviour any longer.

 

PRAYER FOR SALVATION

Lord Jesus, I come before You today, just as I am, a sinner needing salvation. I have read this message, and I have come to understand that You came from Heaven to save sinners like me. 

Confessing my own unworthiness, Lord Jesus, I thank You for the great sacrifice You made, when You endured the cross, and paid the penalty of my sins.  I believe You are indeed the Messiah, the Saviour, and that You rose from the dead, ascended to Heaven, and are seated on the Throne of Eternity.

I believe in You, Master, and I trust You for salvation, for forgiveness and eternal life. I receive You as my Saviour and Master, and by Your grace and strength, I want to live for You from this day on. Thank You for your love and salvation. Make me like You, Master.

Thank You, O God, Heavenly Father, thank You so much for receiving me as Your child. Thank You.

In the Name of Your eternal Son, Jesus my Saviour, I pray.  Amen.



                                                                                               

MANY VERY OMINOUS SIGNS

THE ECONOMIC CRISIS WILL BE MORE DIFFICULT THAN 2011

                                                                                                                                                       

Do you believe that 2012 will be more difficult for the global economy than 2011 was?  Well, that is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes. The woman that has become the most important politician in Europe, recently declared that “2012 will no doubt be more difficult than 2011." 

The funny thing is that Merkel has generally been one of the most optimistic public figures in Europe throughout the financial crisis. But now, even she is openly admitting that 2012 is going to be a really, really bad year.

And another bad news quote from Angela Merkel:

“EUROZONE CRISIS WILL TAKE 'YEARS' TO SOLVE”

          DEC 2/11. The German Chancellor has dismissed talk that the EU summit will bring about a definitive solution to the eurozone crisis, saying it will take years to overcome the single currency's problems.

Assuming her now familiar role of dampener-in-chief of expectations, Merkel said, "There are no simple or quick solutions nor is there the alleged final shot that some talk about before each summit. That is not how I speak or think about the issue."

Getting on top of the sovereign debt crisis will "take years" said the chancellor, with the ultimate goal being a "fiscal union" whose members would be bound by enforceable laws on budget discipline which would contain an "effective instrument for crisis cases."

She said there is "no getting around" a change to the European treaties or establishing new treaties among eurozone members.   Well ... come January …

MERKEL, SARKOZY MEET TO DRAFT FISCAL RULES

JAN 9/12. The German Chancellor and French President plan to drive forward their agenda for stricter budget rules as they seek to craft a master plan for rescuing the euro over the next three months.

Merkel and Sarkozy have sponsored a plan to draw up new fiscal guidelines by March to resolve a crisis that began in Greece more than two years ago. As the contagion moves to the euro-area’s core, policy makers are struggling to persuade investors they can contain the risk and assure the single currency’s survival.

Now listen to the other lady on the Beat …

                                                CHRISTINE LAGARDE     

WARNS “GLOBAL ECONOMY THREATENED”    

DEC 25/11.  The head of the International Monetary Fund said the world economy was in danger and urged Europeans to speak with one voice on a debt crisis that has rattled the global financial system.

Christine Lagarde said the IMF's 4% growth forecast for the world economy in 2012 could be revised downward. "The world economy is in a dangerous situation," she told France's Journal du Dimanche. The debt crisis, which continues into 2012 after the European Union summit on December 9 only temporarily calmed markets, "is a crisis of confidence in public debt and in the solidity of the financial system."

The European leaders drafted a new treaty for deeper economic integration in the euro zone, but it is not certain that the accord will stem the debt crisis, which began in Greece in 2009, and now threatens France and even economic powerhouse Germany.

"The December 9 summit wasn't detailed enough on financial terms and was too complicated on fundamental principles. It would be useful for Europeans to speak with a single voice and announce a simple and detailed time-table," Lagarde said. "Investors are waiting for it. Grand principles don't impress. Part of the problem has been protectionism - 'everyone for themselves'.

Emerging countries, which had been growth engines for the world economy before the crisis, have also been affected, Lagarde said, citing China, Brazil and Russia. "These countries, which were the engines, will suffer from instability factors."   In January, Legarde said

 

“THE CRISIS WILL DRAG ON”

JAN 6/12. The euro will not "vanish" this year, but problems within the eurozone remain and will slow down the global economy, the IMF chief said as the common currency hit a new record low.

 

$6.3 TRILLION WIPED OFF MARKETS IN 2011

Almost $6,300,000,000,000 was erased from global stock markets last year as the eurozone financial crisis reverberated across the world in the latter half of 2011, calling into question the future of the world's largest currency bloc.                                                                                                                           - Financial Times

CONFIDENCE EBBS IN GREECE'S ABILITY TO  STAY IN EURO

JAN 9/12. Experts in Germany as well as the Czech Republic are losing faith that Greece will be able to stay in the euro despite its multi-billion euro bail-outs.

 

SPAIN MAY REQUEST EU & IMF LOANS

It has been reported that Spanish PM Mariano Rajoys government is considering applying for loans from the European Unions rescue fund and the International Monetary Fund to finance the restructuring of the countrys financial industry.

 

U.S. DEBT IS NOW EQUAL TO ECONOMY  

JAN 7/12. The soaring national debt has reached a symbolic tipping point: It's now as big as the entire United States economy.

The amount of money the federal government owes to its creditors, combined with IOUs to government retirement and other programs, now tops $15.23 trillion.

That's roughly equal to the value of all goods and services the US economy produces in one year: $15.17 trillion as of last September, the latest estimate. Private projections showed the economy would grow to about $15.3 trillion by Dec. a level the debt is likely to surpass this month.

The 100% ratio (debt to GDP) means that the entire debt is as big as everything thats produced in the country.  Long-term projections suggest the debt will continue to grow faster than the economy, which would have to expand by at least 6% a year to keep pace.

President Obama's 2012 budget shows the debt soaring past $26 trillion in just a decade from now.

SOME HARD FACTS ABOUT THE U S ECONOMY

# A staggering 48% of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

# One recent survey found that 77% of all US small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

# Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24% of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18%.

# For fiscal year 2011, the US federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.

# If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the US government, it would only cover the budget deficit for about 15 days.

# Amazingly, the US government has now accumulated a total debt of over $15 trillion. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just $10.6 trillion.

# If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the US national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

# The US national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

# During the three years of the Obama administration, the US government accumulated more debt than it did from the time when George Washington took office in 1789, to the time that Bill Clinton took office in 1993 -  thats 204 years.

 

AUSTRALIA’S NATIONAL DEBT 

According to the Australian debtclock.com.au, The Australian government debt is increasing by $1000 per second — $77 million a day, $2.3 billion a month, $27.6 billion a year, and it now stands at around $144 billion. By the end of this year it will be $170 billion, and by the end of the current government’s term next year, the debt should be around $200 billion.

 

 

   GLOBAL OUTLOOK PESSIMISTIC

The almost universal consensus, even among mainstream orthodox economists is pessimistic regarding the world economy.  Where is it all going? How bad is it?What are the possibilities?

RECESSION ?

DOUBLE DIP RECESSION ?

DEPRESSION ?

ECONOMIC COLLAPSE ?

Recession means hard times, severe unemployment. Double dip recession is a second recession after some recovery. It means even harder times.

Depression means desperate times, soup kitchens, bank crashes, mass suicides.

Economic collapse means anarchy, widespread crime, protests, rebellion, poverty, starvation, bartering or stealing for food, disease, corruption and dictatorship. 

Many nations have been experiencing recession over the last few years.  The fear now is of double dip recession in many economies. Violent protests are taking place in response to austerity measures being introduced by desperate regimes.

There is fear that the EURO currency, which has been adopted by 17 European countries, and is under pressure, could be further weakened and fail as a united currency. There is fear about the European Union breaking up, and there’s a call for revamping treaties, and imposing new tough federal fiscal measures to hold the Union together. There’s fear also about Germany’s dominant role in all of this. Behind it all there are the preparations for setting up the Antichrist’s Revived Roman Empire. 

And there is fear of economic collapse in certain nations that are entangled in hopeless indebtedness.  And there is fear of increasing Globalisation, and “Big Brother” exerting control over the people and the nations.

 

  A READER ASKS

Earlier this month I received a letter from an elderly sister in Asia who is worried about travelling in these disturbing times.  She wrote:

Q. I am planning to visit my family in England in April 2012. Do you think it is wise to go to Europe in view of the imminent financial crash? If there will be no money, then I guess there will be no travelling for anyone.

A.  Shalom (peace) to you in Y'shua. Sister, I don't think you should fear going to UK in April. Although there is a lot of turbulence and threats in Europe, I don't think there is a drastic economic collapse coming so soon. There may be currency turbulence and hyper-inflation in some places. And there are already, social upheavals in many nations, (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Africa, Sth America, Asia and even in UK), but I would not put off your trip. UK should be ok for some time, as it is still a strong nation and has its own currency.  

I think it would be wise for you to see your family now, because each month the uncertainties are increasing. And try to make sure that all your family members are saved — because time is fast running out!

A major war in the Middle East would be a real threat to the world economy, as it would lead to oil prices skyrocketing — and that can bring all types of  pressures affecting every type of business. It can lead to airlines and other businesses going bust, and the skyrocketing prices of goods due to transport costs.

The current Middle East situation looks very ominous —Iran-Syria-Lebanon-Turkey-Israel-US-Europe-Russia. The conflict could break out before you receive this Alert.  Or it can be kept simmering for months, or until World War 3.

A short but severe Arab-Israel war is expected before long. (See Psalm 83:1-8, and Zechariah 12:6-8). That would cause some disruptions in the Middle East and bring steep oil price increases.  It would have limited effects for the world — unless it engulfed much of the Middle East in the conflict.

The world nuclear war, I believe, will be early in the 7-year Tribulation — in the first year. That war will lead to the destruction of one quarter of the world.  I don’t expect to be here that horrific time as Y’shua has promised to keep His people from the Hour of Trial [Judgment] that’s coming on the whole world.  - Revelation 3:10-11. That’s the Rapture! The blessed expectation of the church, as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:

“For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who died with faith in the Messiah - shall rise first. Then we, the living believers who remain, will simultaneously be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air. And so we will be with the Master for ever.  Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”    AMEN!

Many poorer nations are already struggling to ward off depression-like conditions, and they manage to survive by IMF loans and grants.  But loans are usually given in exchange for collateral. The borrower has to surrender anything of value to the lender. This means the country gets into greater debt and bondage.  

The financial crisis will not destroy money. There will need to be some form of monetary exchange that is more convenient than bartering goods and services.

What the “insiders” are planning is a world currency - as part of the New World Order. And it has become clear that it is likely to be a digital radio-frequency system involving micro chips implanted into hands or foreheads. We see signs of this developing already, but it may not come into full operation until after the Rapture.

The new one-world money system will need to be in operation by the middle of the Tribulation when the Antichrist’s new world order begins.

The ultimate global economic collapse is described in Revelation 18, and it will be in the second half of the Tribulation. 

The prophecy in James 5 indicates that the church will see the beginning of the economic meltdown, for, after speaking of the corrosion of gold and silver (the money system) in the last days, the prophecy gives a very encouraging exhortation to believers:

       Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Master. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious 'fruit of the earth,' waiting patiently until the land receives the early and late rains. You too be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master is near.” (James 5:7-8)

So we are told to be patient until the coming of the Lord. How close the coming is, we do not know. But with the increase of the signs and indications that we are witnessing every day, the believer should be looking up! And we should be redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-17).  And be filled with constant expectation!


 

THE MIDDLE EAST 

 

PALESTINIANS > < ISRAELI  AFFAIRS

HAMAS TO JOIN PLO

DEC 22/11. Palestinian factions have taken a huge step towards reconciliation today. Hamas Supreme Leader Khaled Mashaal met with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and they agreed to join the executive board that oversees elections as part of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO has been the main body involved with peace talks with Israel over the last 20 years.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by both the US and Israel; it refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist, and has sworn to never negotiate a peace treaty with the Jewish State.

The PLO represents all Palestinians, not just those living in the disputed territories. PLO elections include those living in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and elsewhere.

In addition to the steps involving the PLO, the Palestinian

President Mahmoud Abbas has called for local elections to choose the Parliament in the territories. The last time elections were held, in 2006, Hamas swept in with a huge majority of legislators.

HAMAS-FATAH UNION MEANS “NO TALKS”

Israel’s PM Binyamin Netanyahu says that if Hamas joins the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) government, Israel will not be able to negotiate with the PA. Israel has said in the past that they will not negotiate with Hamas which is responsible for killing thousands of Israelis through suicide bombings and have launched thousands of rockets into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The prime minister said that if a PA state in Judea and Samaria is ever established, he is not prepared to let it turn into "what happened in Gaza and Lebanon."  In both Lebanon and Gaza, Israeli pull-outs in 2000 and 2005, respectively, created a vacuum that was filled by Islamist terrorist groups Hizb’ullah and Hamas.  – Arutz Sheva

Whether the major Palestinian parties can truly pull together, remains to be seen. Within two weeks of the above reconciliation, there were signs of it unravelling once more. (The unity government fell apart in 2007 when Hamas waged a coup in Gaza, and butchered their partners).

A day before the new Israel-Palestinian meeting in Amman, (Jan 3), Hamas called on their newly-made partners in the PLO and Palestinian Authority to boycott peace talks with Israel, saying such negotiations have not succeeded in the past, and are counter-productive.  But the call was ignored.

ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATORS MEET

JAN 4/12. Israeli and PA representatives met in Amman to resume the beginning of face-to-face negotiations after a 16-month prolonged gap in talks. Jordan’s King Abdullah hosted the meeting, having zealously worked to kick start the peace process which the "Quartet" has been actively promoting for months. The meeting ended with an agreement to continue informal talks.

"We do not want to raise our expectations at this stage, but we also do not want to underestimate the importance of the meeting, which has brought the Palestinians and Israelis face to face," said Jordanian FM Nasser Judeh.

The world was pleased to see that Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, and his Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat, were at least able to agree to keep meeting.

Neither side went to Amman with a desire to make concessions, though, and it's clear, Israel wants the Palestinians to enter the talks without preconditions, but the PA still wants the 1967 borders to be the basis of a two-state solution. In the meanwhile, Israel, desperate for homes for people, has continued construction in the settlements around Jerusalem, despite international calls for a building freeze.

Israel has also other serious issues including:

*          PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with terrorists in Turkey not long before the meeting in Amman. 

*          The PA is also still holding unity talks with Hamas which rejects Israel’s right to exist. Hamas is not interested in peace with Israel. A Hamas spokesman called the talks a "farce, comedy and a waste of time.” Hamas’ belligerence and its plan to sit in the united Palestinian leadership will effectively squash peace negotiations.

Both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, are supposed to offer their respective positions and proposals to the Quartet by January 26.  We'll soon see what happens next.

COMMON CONCERNS

When Hosni Mubarak fell in Egypt, Abbas and Israel both lost their Egyptian support. Now, both are turning to Jordan's King Abdullah II, who also has the friendship of the US.

There is one concern that Israel, the PA, and Jordan all share: the rise of political Islam - the Muslim Brotherhood, and Salafists - a result of the Arab Spring. "All three parties, Israel, the PA, and Jordan, are very much concerned with the rise of Islamism, and that is part of what the present meeting is about," said a political scientist at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem. 

 

HANIYEH MEETS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN CAIRO      

DEC 27/11. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, left Gaza in late Dec. on official business for the first time since 2007, in an effort to gain regional support for Gaza. He visited Egypt on the first leg of his Middle East tour that would include Sudan,  Tunisia, Turkey and Bahrain.

Haniyeh visited the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt where "Mohammed Badie, MB leader, said, "The Brotherhood centre has always embraced issues of liberation, foremost the Palestinian issue.”

Haniyeh explained, ''The Arab Spring has opened a wide horizon for us and we must take advantage to promote the interests of our people.'' Hamas then warned Israel about making Jerusalem its capital because such a move would “violate the Palestinian nation and its rights.”

HANIYEH IN TUNISIA

Speaking at a rally in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, Haniyeh urged Arab Spring revolutionaries to fight for an independent Palestine. AFP reported that Haniyeh received an ovation from a crowd of some 5,000 men, women and children, who gathered in a stadium waving PLO, Tunisian and Hamas flags.

Haniyeh was quoted as saying: “Israel no longer has allies in Egypt and in Tunisia, and we are saying to the Zionist enemies that times have changed and that the time of the Arab Spring, the time of the revolution, of dignity and of pride has arrived.”

He added, “We promise you that we will not cede a single part of Palestine; we will not cede Jerusalem. We will continue to fight and will not lay down our arms.”

Haniyeh also urged “the people of the revolution” to “fight the army of Al-Quds. To Tunisia we say: ‘It is us today who are going to build the new Middle East’.”

Then he insisted once more that Hamas “will not recognize Israel,” as the crowd chanted, “Death to Israel”, “The Tunisian revolution supports Palestine”, and “The army of Mohammed is back.”

The next leg of Haniyeh’s tour will be to Iran and Qatar.

HAMAS PREDICTS SWEEPING VICTORY

DEC 27/11. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar said that he expected the Islamic terror movement would "win a sweeping victory" in upcoming PA legislative elections scheduled for May.  He is confident Hamas will improve on their 2006 election victory, where they won 74 of an available 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Analysts say a sweeping victory for Hamas in the

elections would put the terrorist organisation firmly in control of PA enclaves in Judea and Samara as well as Gaza. Such a scenario, they say, could force Israel to take high-profile steps to dismantle the increasingly moribund Oslo Accords.

 

GEN BENNY GANTZ  

“ISRAEL WILL HAVE TO INVADE GAZA AGAIN”

 

DEC 28/11. Israeli army chief, Gen. Benny Gantz says there is no alternative to another major military ground operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. A new Israeli offensive against Gaza will be launched ''sooner or later'' and will be ''swift and painful,” he warned.

"From time to time, we face rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and we understand the continuing buildup from the Sinai region," said Gantz.

"I believe that the state of Israel cannot continue to live under the active threat of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation. The IDF knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.''

Gantz's remarks came just hours after Israeli aircraft struck two Palestinian terror cells that were en route to carry out attacks along Gaza's border fence. Gaza-based terror groups responded by firing rockets at communities in southern Israel.

Shaul Mofaz, head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, warned that a more substantial response to the mounting threat emanating from Gaza cannot be sidestepped much longer.

"Israel needs to respond differently to the violence coming from the Strip," said Mofaz. "Not to occupy Gaza, but to act in a way that would cause terrorist organizations to think twice before firing long-range missiles."

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired hundreds of mortars, rockets and missiles into Israel in 2011. And that has been considered a “quiet year.”

With the terrorist buildup in Sinai, Israel’s action in Gaza will not be long delayed.

 

                                                               BASHAR ASSAD   

SYRIA – A STATE IN CIVIL WAR  

In recent months, Syria's conflict has turned increasingly violent as hundreds of soldiers and officers defected from the Syrian army, and turned their weapons on the regime. Some are working actively from across the borders in Lebanon and Turkey. And many protesters have taken up arms to protect themselves.

Many Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan – nations that are alarmed by the prolonged conflict.

Syria agreed in December to an Arab League-brokered plan that calls for an end to the military crackdown. Since then, about 165 Arab League monitors have been in Syria, seeking to determine whether the regime is abiding by the plan to stop violence and to pull heavy weapons out of the cities. They have witnessed some of the atrocities, but are frustrated by the tricks of the regime, and are powerless to influence the tragic events. And the killings have continued. The death toll is now almost 6,000.

JAN 10/12. President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to respond to threats against him with an "iron hand," and refused to step down, insisting despite the 10-month-old uprising against him that he still has his people's support.

Most of the world has condemned Assad’s brutal regime, but Iran, Russia and Hizb’ullah remain as his chief supporters.

RUSSIA’S SUPPORT TO SYRIA

DEC. 16/11. Expanded Russian military and diplomatic support for the Assad regime was underscored by the deployment of advanced Moscow-supplied Yakhont (SSN-26) shore-to-sea missiles along Syria's Mediterranean shore to fend off a potential Western-Turkish invasion by sea.

Russia also has airlifted to Syria, 3 million face masks against chemical and biological weapons.  Furthermore, the Admiral Kutznetsov carrier and strike group has spent several days at Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus.

 

Bible Prophecy regarding Damascus

Most of my readers will know of this prophecy in Isaiah.  But I repeat it as it very relevant today, and also because many new readers may not be aware of this word …

“The oracle (divine word) concerning Damascus. Look! Damascus is about to be removed from being a city, and it will become a heap of ruins … The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and sovereignty from Damascus. (Isaiah 17:1, 3)

This prophecy has never been fulfilled. Syria’s capital, Damascus, is the world’s longest continuously inhabited city. Despite Russia’s support, Damascus’ destruction could occur at any time — before, or during, the Great Tribulation.

Many prophetic eyes are on Syria and Damascus today!

 

A report in The Australian, on Jan 13/12 announces …

US and Turkey 'ready to strike Mid-East'

Russia claimed last night that the US and Turkey were planning possible military strikes on Iran and Syria.

The prediction of a dramatic deterioration in the Middle East came as the US, EU and Japan prepared to cut oil imports from Iran.

The secretary of Russia's influential Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, predicted a US strike against Iran and possibly a Turkish strike against Syria.

"There is a real danger of a US military strike on Iran," Mr Patrushev said. "There is a likelihood of military escalation of the conflict, and Israel is pushing the Americans towards it."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/us-and-turkey-ready-to-strike-mid-east-says-russia/story-e6frg6so-1226242991357

 

 

 


                                             

WARNING OF “RIVERS OF BLOOD”

The last soldiers of the US withdrawal from Iraq, departed on December 18, 2011.

DEC 25/11. Iraq's Shi’ite PM, Nouri al-Maliki, renewed his objection to regions being formed on a "sectarian basis." He has warned that efforts to create an autonomous Sunni region within Iraq would divide the country and lead to "rivers of blood."

His comments came as a government crisis strained ties between Sunnis and Shias to the breaking point.

Al-Maliki's government has issued an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on what al-Hashemi says are trumped-up charges that he ran hit squads against government officials.

Since al-Maliki formed his government in Dec 2010, minority Sunnis have been complaining of being marginalized by the Shi’ite-led government, prompting some Sunni provinces - Salahuddin, Diyala and Anbar - to call for the creation of an autonomous area similar to the northern Kurdish region.

Al-Maliki’s comments comes a few days after a terrifying wave of Baghdad bombings killed 69 people and wounded nearly 200. The bombs tore through mostly Shi’ite neighbourhoods of the Iraqi capital, evoking fears the country could descend into a new round of sectarian violence. 

 


 

IRAQI ARMS DEAL STOKES FEARS OF CIVIL WAR

DEC 30/11. The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $US11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military, despite concerns that PM Nuri al-Maliki is consolidating his authority in a one-party Shi’ite-dominated state and abandoning the US-backed power-sharing government.

The military aid, including advanced fighter jets and battle tanks, is meant to help the Iraqi government protect its borders and rebuild a military that before the 1991 Persian Gulf War was one of the largest in the world.

But the sale of the weapons - some of which have already been delivered - are moving ahead even though Mr Maliki has failed to carry out an agreement that would have limited his ability to marginalise the Sunnis and turn the military into a sectarian force.

While the US is eager to beef up Iraq's military, at least in part as a hedge against Iranian influence, there are also fears that the move could backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shi’ite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington.

There is growing concern that Mr Maliki's apparent efforts to marginalise the country's Sunni minority could set off a civil war.

U S ARMS SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA

DEC 31/11. The US government has announced a deal with Saudi Arabia, agreeing to sell F-15 fighter jets valued at nearly $US30 billion to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The agreement, and the Obama government's parallel plan to press ahead with a nearly $US11 billion arms deal for Iraq, despite rising political tensions there, is evidence of its determination to project US military influence in the oil-rich Persian Gulf, which is shadowed by the threat from Iran.

The weapons package is remarkable, both for its size and technical sophistication. Under the terms of the $US29.4 billion agreement, Saudi Arabia will get 84 Boeing F-15SA jets and upgrades to 70 F-15s, with new munitions and spare parts. It will also get help with training, logistics and maintenance.

The new F-15s, which will be delivered in 2015, are among the most capable and versatile fighter jets in the world. They will come with the latest air-to-air missiles and precision-guided air-to-ground missiles, enabling them to strike ships and radar facilities day or night and in any weather.

Although Mr Shapiro and other officials said the planes were intended to help Saudi Arabia protect its sovereignty, military analysts said they would be effective against Iranian planes and ships anywhere in the Persian Gulf.

The planes are part of a 10-year, $US60 billion weapons package for the Saudis that Congress approved last year.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/us-arms-sale-to-saudis-sends-message-to-iran-20111230-1pfj3.html#ixzz1i46NlOzi

RUSSIA TESTS MISSILE PROJECT

NICKNAMED "SATAN"

DEC 21/11. The Russian government announced that it had successfully tested a short-range interceptor missile, nicknamed “Satan,” as part of its ongoing effort to develop a domestic missile defence system. The Russian Defence Ministry has even provided a video of the missile launch on its website. Russia also is working on the development of a 100-ton ballistic missile.

Russia’s opposition to American missile defence plans in Eastern Europe seems to be at the centre of these proceedings. “In connection with the plans of the US to develop the air defence system in Europe, in close vicinity to Russia’s borders, and because of the unwillingness of the US side to provide any guarantees, the Russian Federation continues to take measures to preserve parity in the field,” says Pravda.

The actions come a month after US-Russian weapons negotiations failed.                                                                                                                    - Russia’s RIA News Agency.

 

CHINESE  PRESIDENT URGES NAVY

TO PREPARE FOR COMBAT

DEC 6/11. President Hu Jintao has urged the Chinese navy to prepare for military combat, amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

The navy should "accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security," he said.

Addressing the powerful Central Military Commission, Hu said: "Our work must closely encircle the main theme of national defence and military building."

His comments, which were posted in a statement on a government website, come as the United States and Beijing's neighbours have expressed concerns over its naval ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea.

Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas reserves, while China claims it all. One-third of global seaborne trade passes through the region.  - AFP

“Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors!  Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up to attack! Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say “I am strong’.” (Joel 3:9-10)

 

IRAN THREATENS TO BLOCK OIL SHIPMENTS

DEC 29/11.  IRAN has threatened to block all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, (a vital artery for transporting about 20% of the world's oil supply), if the US imposes tougher economic sanctions on the regime.

The declaration by Iran's first vice-president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, came as President Obama prepared to sign legislation that, if fully implemented, could substantially reduce Iran's oil revenue, in a bid to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

The US administration has been laying the groundwork for cutting off Iran from global energy without raising the price of oil or alienating close allies. The new measures that are a part of a bill financing the military, and that would significantly increase US sanctions against Iran, was passed by the Senate, by a rare 100--0 vote

Apparently fearful of the expanded sanctions' possible impact on the already stressed economy of Iran, the world's third-largest energy exporter, Mr Rahimi said:

''If they impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,'' according to Iran's official news agency.

Merely uttering the threat appeared to be part of an Iranian effort to demonstrate its ability to cause a spike in oil prices, thus slowing the US economy, and to warn US trading partners that joining the new sanctions would come at a high cost.

These developments come just six weeks after the International Atomic Energy Agency published a report that for the first time laid out its evidence that Iran may be secretly working to design a nuclear warhead.

In the wake of the IAEA report, and a November attack on the British embassy in Tehran, the European Union is also contemplating sanctions, such as an embargo on Iranian oil.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/iranians-threaten-to-block-oil-shipments-20111228-1pcub.html#ixzz1hsFaxny8

 

OBAMA SIGNS NEW DEFENCE BILL, THAT CALLS

FOR TOUGH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ON IRAN

"The US Congress voted in favour, 100 to 0, in favour of a new defence bill that imposes tough US financial measures on Iran because of its secretive nuclear program. President Obama signed the bill into law on New Year's Eve. He then said, “We hope that the Europeans will take equivalent action by 30 January (the next regular meeting of the EU foreign ministers), in order to clearly demonstrate our determination." 

A prospective embargo by the EU, along with the financial sanctions of the US, form a concerted Western campaign to hold back Iran's nuclear program.

EU PREPARING TO IMPOSE OIL BAN ON IRAN

JAN 4/12. European governments have agreed in principle to ban imports of Iranian oil, EU diplomats say, dealing a blow to Tehran that crowns new Western sanctions just two months before an Iranian election.

France has in recent weeks continued to build support for the EU to join the US embargo. Its foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said there is no doubt that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons and that President Sarkozy wants to see

an oil ban as well as a freeze on Iran's central bank assets.

The EU has since 2010 already banned its companies from helping Iran to pump oil or gas, to provide insurance for Iranian firms or to sell weapons to the Islamic republic. It has also built up a blacklist of around 300 companies and people involved in the nuclear program and in human rights abuses.

For its part, Iran has threatened - if its oil exports are blocked  -  to shut  down the Strait of Hormuz  -  a 34-km-wide sea passage between Oman and Iran used by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to get their oil to world markets.

Iran confidently says, “Lost customers can be replaced.”    - euobserver.com

FIFTH FLEET SAYS IT WON'T ALLOW DISRUPTION

The US Fifth Fleet has said it would not allow any disruption of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. "Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated," the Bahrain-based fleet said.

16 million barrels a day of crude pass through the strait daily.

Analysts say that Iran could potentially cause havoc in the Strait of Hormuz, a strip of water separating Oman and Iran, which connects the biggest Gulf oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. At its narrowest point, the Strait is 21 miles (34 km) across.

But Iran’s navy would be no match for the firepower of the Fifth Fleet which consists of 20-plus ships supported by combat aircraft, with 15,000 people afloat and another 1,000 ashore.

A British Foreign Office spokesman called the Iranian threat "rhetoric," saying: "Iranian politicians regularly use this type of rhetoric to distract attention from the real issue, which is the nature of their nuclear program."

Tension has increased between Iran and the West after EU foreign ministers decided recently to tighten sanctions on the world's No. 5 crude exporter, but left open the idea of an embargo on Iranian oil.

Iran's international isolation over its defiant nuclear stance is hurting the country's oil-dependent economy, but Iranian officials have shown no sign of willingness to compromise.

Iran dismisses the impact of sanctions, saying trade and other measures imposed since the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed Shah have made the country stronger.

During a public speech in Iran's western province of Ilam, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad implied Tehran had no intention of changing course.

"We will not yield to pressure to abandon our rights ... The Iranian nation will not withdraw from its right (to nuclear technology) even one iota because of the pressures," said Ahmadinejad, whose firm nuclear stance has stoked many ordinary Iranians' sense of national dignity.

Some Iranian oil officials have admitted that foreign sanctions were hurting the key energy sector that was in desperate need of foreign investment.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if sanctions fail to rein in Iran's nuclear work.

An Iranian analyst said, "Iranian officials are showing their teeth to prevent a military strike." But he added that closing the Strait of Hormuz would harm Iran's economy, undermining the Iranian leadership ahead of a parliamentary election in March.

 

Iran cracks down on Internet as

parliamentary elections DRAWS near

As Iran nears its March 2 parliamentary elections, Tehran is adding new surveillance measures over its citizens’ Internet freedoms. In a recent briefing, the Department of State, said that the move will cut Iranian citizens off from the “global conversation.” The announcement comes as Iranian authorities work to develop a national intranet, which would effectively replace the World Wide Web for Iranians.

Iran “issued regulations giving Internet cafes 15 days to install security cameras and start collecting detailed personal information on customers and document users’ online footprints,” the Wall Street Journal reported, calling the crackdown Iran’s “most sweeping move” yet.

The rules also require users to furnish personally-identifying information in order to log on to the Internet at the cafes, including the user’s “name, father’s name, address, telephone and national identification numbers.”  What a police state!                                                                                                                                       -  http://dailycaller.com        

BRITAIN FLAGS MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAN

JAN 6/12. Britain also has warned Iran that any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane, would be ''illegal and unsuccessful'' and would be countered by military action if necessary.

The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond’s warning came as European countries took their boldest step so far in the increasingly tense standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, by agreeing in principle to impose an embargo on Iranian oil.

''Our joint naval presence in the Arabian Gulf is the key to keeping the Straits of Hormuz open for international trade,'' he said. ''Disruption to the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz would threaten regional and global economic growth. Any attempt by Iran to do this would be illegal and unsuccessful. The Royal Navy will continue to play a substantial role as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, both at the headquarters in Bahrain and through our mine counter-measure vessels which help maintain freedom of navigation in the Gulf.''

BUILD UP OF WARSHIPS OFF SYRIA, AS

 IRAN AND T HE WEST THREATEN EACH OTHER

JAN. 9/12. DEBKAfile Special Report. US, Russian French and British air and naval forces have headed to the Syrian and Iranian coasts on guard for fresh developments at the two Middle East flashpoints.

The Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov anchored earlier than planned at Syria's Tartus port on the Mediterranean, on Jan. 8, arriving together with the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and frigate Yaroslav Mudry. To counter this movement, France consigned an air defence destroyer Forbin to the waters off Tartus.

debkafile's military sources report a buildup in the last 48 hours of western naval forces opposite Iran in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, in readiness for Tehran to carry out its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the Royal Navy is sending its most advanced warship, the HMS Daring to the Sea of Oman. This is intended to send a message to Iran following its recent10-day exercise in the Gulf, and threats to close the Strait of Hormuz

According to the report, the HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer, has been equipped with new technology that will enable it to intercept any Iranian missile. It also reportedly possesses the world's most sophisticated naval radar.

The HMS Daring is due to arrive at the same time as the French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

Our sources report that on Jan 7, the giant drone, RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV, took off from the USS Stenning aircraft carrier for surveillance over the coasts of Iran.

The Stennis and its strike group are cruising in the Sea of Oman at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, after Tehran announced it would not be allowed to cross through.

This was the first time the US has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles over Iran since its RQ-170 stealth drone was shot down by Iran on Dec. 4. It was also the first time the huge drone was ordered to take off from an aircraft carrier for a Broad Aerial Maritime Surveillance Mission (BAMS).

US military sources reported on Jan. 9, that the Global Hawk's mission is "to monitor sea traffic off the Iranian coast and the Straits of Hormuz."  The US Navy was ordered to maintain a watch on this traffic, another first, after Iranian Navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said in a televised broadcast that the Strait of Hormuz was under full Iranian control and had been for years.

Also Sunday, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, warned in no uncertain terms that Iran has the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz “for a period of time.” He added in a CBS interview: “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that. … Yes, they can block it. We've described that as an intolerable act and it's not just intolerable for us, it's intolerable to the world. But we would take action and reopen the straits."

Appearing on the same program, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a quick, decisive and very tough American response to any Iranian attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz.

They both spoke a few hours after a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards said the supreme Iranian leadership had ruled that the Strait must be closed in the event of an oil embargo imposed on Iran by the European Union.

debkafile's military sources report the constant escalation of military tension around Iran and Syria in recent days was not just stemming from the rapid advances Iran is making toward production of a nuclear weapon, but from fears in the West and Israel that Tehran and Damascus are in step over their military plans for the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean sectors.

After the Admiral Kuznetsov docked in Tartus with much fanfare, the Syrian Navy commander Dawoud Rajha was received on the deck by a guard of honour of marines under a flyover of Russian Su-33 and Su-25 fighter-bombers.

This was taken as a signal of Moscow's willingness to back the Assad regime up against any Western military intervention as well as a gesture of support for co-op-eration between Syria and Iran in their operational plans.

On Jan 8, the Iranian media issued divergent statements about the situation at Iran's underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo, near Qom: In English, the site was described as going on stream soon, while the Farsi media reported it was already operational.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoun Abbasi Davani declared, furthermore, "… the Islamic Republic is capable of exporting services related to nuclear energy to other countries."

This statement showed that Tehran has no fear of raising the level of its threats to the West, up to the point of offering to hand out its nuclear technology to other countries in a gesture of uncontrolled proliferation.

U.S. WILL CONTINUE TO DEPLOY WARSHIPS IN

 PERSIAN GULF IN SPITE OF IRANIAN THREATS

JAN 3/12. The US says it will continue to deploy its warships in the Gulf, after Iran threatened to take action if the US Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf.

"These are regularly scheduled movements and in accordance with our long-standing commitments to the security and stability of the region and in support of ongoing operations," Commander Bill Speaks said. "The US Navy operates under international maritime conventions to maintain a constant state of high vigilance in order to ensure the continued, safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global commerce." 

Earlier today, Iran said it would take action if a US aircraft carrier which left the area because of Iranian naval exercises returns to the Gulf. The Iranian news agency IRNA quoted army chief Ataollah Salehi as saying that "Iran will not repeat its warning ... the enemy's carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf."

Iran also said it had no intention of closing the Strait of Hormuz but had carried out "mock" exercises on shutting the strategic waterway.   -  http://www.haaretz.com

IRAN STARTS NUCLEAR WORK IN MOUNTAIN BUNKER

JAN 9/12.  Iran has started refining uranium deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources say - a move likely to increase the dispute with Western powers over Tehran’s nuclear weapons capability.

They said uranium enrichment to a fissile purity of 20% had begun at the Fordow underground site near the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom, signaling Iran's defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb such activity.

Iran has said for months that it is preparing to move its highest-grade uranium refinement work to Fordow from its main enrichment plant at Natanz, and sharply boost capacity. Enriched uranium can have both civilian and military uses.

SAUDIS, GULF STATES ON WAR ALERT

The armies of Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf Co-operation Council states stood ready on Jan. 5, for Washington to stand up to Iranian threats and to send an aircraft carrier or several warships through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. Riyadh has been leaning hard on the Obama administration, not to let Tehran get away with its warning to react with "full force" if the USS Stennis aircraft carrier tried to re-enter the Gulf, and not to cave in to Iran's pretensions to control the traffic transiting the world's most important oil route.

Last night, the Iranian parliament began drafting a bill prohibiting foreign warships from entering the Gulf without Tehran's permission.

debkafile's Washington sources report that Saudi Arabia has warned the Obama administration that Iranian leaders mean what they say; their leaders are bent on provoking a military clash with the United States at a time and place of their own choosing, rather than leaving the initiative to Washington. To this end, Iranian officials are ratcheting up their belligerence day after day.

Notwithstanding their military inferiority, the Iranians believe they can snatch a measure of success from a military confrontation, just as the Lebanese Hizb'ullah did in the 2006 war against Israel. In any case, they expect any clash to be limited – at least at first. The two sides will begin by feeling for the opposite side's weaknesses while endeavouring to hold the line against a full-blown war.

America's failure to rise to Iran's challenge will confirm the conviction of the Iranian leaders that the US is a paper tiger and will encourage them to press their advantage for new gains.

The assessment of British military experts was that the question now is: Who will blink first? Will the US follow through on the Pentagon's assertion that the deployment of US military assets in the Persian Gulf will continue as it has for decades? Or will Iran act on its warnings and block those waters to the entry of American warships?

President Barack Obama can't afford to cave in to Iran,

especially while campaigning for re-election next Nov.  Tehran, for its part, has made too many threats to easily back down.

The entire region is now on tenterhooks waiting for the next move, with US, Iranian and Gulf armies on the highest war alert. American and Iranian war planners both accept that their advantage lies in surprising the enemy – without, however, catapulting the Persian Gulf into a full-dress war.

US Navy publications as of Wednesday, January 4 showed some sign of the times:

One was a series of photos of F-18 Super Hornet fighter-bombers standing on the runways of the USS Stennis aircraft carrier ready for take-off at any moment.

Another depicted for the first time ever, row upon row of huge bombs in the carrier's hold, to show the Iranians what they are taking on.

In the view of debkafile’s military sources, the fact that the US has deployed only one large aircraft carrier in the region does not signify any reluctance on Washington's part to preserve the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. There is no longer a need to rush more carriers to a flashpoint in these strategic waters.

The US maintains five huge air bases in the Gulf region – two, the Ali Al Salem and Ahmed Al Jaber bases, in Kuwait; the Al Dhafra base in the UAE; and the largest air bases outside the US – Al Adid in Qatar and the Thumrait in Oman.

The concentration of aircraft carriers at any given location is no longer treated as the marker of an imminent US military operation.      www.debka.com

 

DUBAI SHEIKH: “IF IRAN ATTACKS ISRAEL …”

DEC 6/11. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, but he will discover his own cities may disappear if he attacks Israel, the Emirate’s PM told CNN.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also serves as vice president of the Emirates, said he doubts that Iran would use a nuclear bomb or even build one.

"What can Iran do with a nuclear weapon?" he asked rhetorically. "For example, will they hit Israel? How many Palestinians will die? And you think if Iran hits Israel, their cities will be safe? They will be gone the next day."

The UAE, like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, are dead-set against Shi’ite Muslim Iran’s bold desire to head an Islamic empire, based on Sharia law, in every Muslim country.

The UAE probably would provide key bases and air space in the event of a Western or Israeli attack on Iran. It also is a prime target for Iran, which is separated from the UAE by only 34 kilometres of the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, several Gulf State islands are claimed by Iran.

However, al Maktoum spoke diplomatically.  "Iran is our neighbour," he said. "They are Muslim, and we lived next to each other for thousands and thousands of years. I don't believe that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon."           – Arutz Sheva

 

THOUSANDS OF U.S. TROOPS LAND IN ISRAEL.

JAN 6/12. www.debka.com also reports that thousands of US troops began descending on Israel this week. Senior US military sources told debkafile that many would be staying up to the end of the year as part of the US-IDF deployment in readiness for a military engagement with Iran and its possible escalation into a regional conflict. They will be joined by a US aircraft carrier. The warplanes on its decks will fly missions with Israeli AF jets. The 9,000 US servicemen gathering in Israel in the coming weeks are mostly airmen, missile interceptor teams, marines, seamen, technicians and intelligence officers.

The incoming American soldiers are officially categorized as participants in Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint US-Israeli war game ever held.

The manoeuvre was originally designated Juniper Stallion

2012. However, the altered name plus the comment heard from the exercise's commander, US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, during his visit two weeks ago, that the coming event is more a "deployment" than an "exercise," confirmed that Washington has expanded its mission. The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran's nuclear installations or any war emergency.

The joint US-Israeli drill will test multiple Israeli and US air defence systems against incoming missiles and rockets, according to the official communiqué. They will also practice intercepting missiles and rockets coming in from Syria, Lebanon and from the Gaza Strip.

Washington and Jerusalem are doing their utmost to present a perfectly synchronized military front against Iran: American officers are stationed at IDF command centres and Israeli officers posted at the US European Command-EUCOM.

LATE NEWS.  Amidst conflicting reports and reasons, the joint US-Israel exercise has been postponed or called off.

 

 SAUDI KING CALLS FOR    

  ARAB SUPER STATE

 

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia formally called for the formation of a Gulf Union on a backdrop of regional unrest and growing tensions with rival Iran.

"I ask today that we move from a phase of cooperation to a phase of union within a single entity," Abdullah said during his address at the opening session of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council conference in Riyadh. "You must realise that our security and stability are threatened and we need to live up to our responsibilities. Our summit opens in the shadow of challenges that require vigilance and a united stance," he added.

The GCC -- comprised of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates -- was formed in 1981 as a security alliance to counter post-revolution Iran.

While Abdullah did not speak directly of the nature such a union might take, the six-member GCC has been openly discussing transforming their alliance into a unified diplomatic and military confederation for months now. It has also been actively moving to expand its ranks.

The GCC opened integration negotiations with Jordan earlier this month, and is engaged in exploratory talks with Morocco. GCC officials revealed they were making the inclusion of Egypt - the region's most populous and militarily powerful Arab country - a priority.        - http://www.israelnationalnews.com

 

EGYPTIAN ELECTIONS   

BROTHERHOOD WINS BIG IN FINAL ROUND

JAN 8/12. Egypt's once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood won big in the third and final round of parliamentary elections last week. The MB has vowed to leave the issue of how to deal with the country's peace treaty with Israel to the people of Egypt, vowing to hold a referendum on the matter once a government is in place.

The MB’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won the high-

est number of votes, garnering at least 41% of the seats in the country's Lower House of parliament. The country's more extreme Salafi Islamist Nour Party took 20% of the seats. Together, Islamists of various parties won nearly two-thirds of the 498 seats in the new People's Assembly.

It is the People's Assembly that will choose the 100-strong body who will draft the nation's new Constitution.

The new Lower House of the parliament is scheduled to hold its first session January 23, two days before the first anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution, referred to in the country as the "25 January Revolution."

Elections for the Upper House of the parliament are scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, but presidential elections won't be held until June.

 

MB VOWS NOT TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL

The Egyptian party's deputy leader Dr. Rashad Bayoumi told the Arabic daily al-Hayat, that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize  or negotiate with Israel “under any circumstance,” but it will seek to cancel the peace treaty.

 

CONCLUSION

We have scanned a few of the world events that are causing men’s hearts to “be apprehensive and fearful because of what is coming on the world.” (Luke 21:26).

Many people, however, view these things briefly, and forget about them within minutes. Many are scarcely bothered or affected, unless a tragedy hits close to them.

But when we consider these current events, and add to them the multitude of disasters, violence, atrocities, the widespread unrest, the social and moral deterioration, and also the political, economic and religious corruption that confronts us on every side, we can be forgiven for asking,

 “How long, O Lord. How long?”

 

YES, I AM COMING QUICKLY.

 

AMEN. COME YSHUA, LORD JESUS.

Revelation 22:20

 

He who is coming, will come, and will not delay.

Hebrews 10:37

 

       MARANATHA.  SHALOM.  GOD BLESS YOU.   - DS

 

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