Current Events

Hamas Reign of Terror

The Times of Israel reported on August 12:

“Israel may wish that Gaza’s dire situation would push residents of the Strip to rise up against their Hamas rulers, but more than a month into Operation Protective Edge, there are very few indications of that happening…

“Bassem Eid, a veteran Jerusalem-based human rights activist and political analyst, said that Gazans are reluctant to demonstrate for fear of Hamas… ‘Hamas has a physical presence in almost every house in Gaza and can listen to what’s being said. It’s a Stasi regime par excellence,’ he continued, referring to the East German secret police notorious for its eavesdropping capabilities…

“‘The population is much more scared of Hamas than it is of the Israeli soldiers,’ Eid said. Hamas, for its part, is more worried about the possible return of control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority than it is of an Israeli military incursion…

“Palestinian Authority media repeatedly gives credence to Eid’s reports of an atmosphere of terror in Gaza. Official Palestinian news agency WAFA has told of Fatah activists being placed under house arrest by Hamas from the early days of the Israeli operation. Fatah’s official Facebook page reported shots being fired at the legs of Fatah members, including the bodyguards of Fatah official Abdullah Ifranji…

“But Mkheimer Abusada, a political science professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, said that anti-Hamas demonstrations were unlikely to emerge in a society which largely regards Israel as the main cause of its suffering. ‘Even if there’s anger at Hamas, people are mostly angry at Israel,’ Abusada told The Times of Israel in a phone conversation from Gaza. ‘Hamas may bear responsibility for the war, but it’s Israel which is destroying homes and killing civilians.’ (Of almost 2,000 deaths reported by health officials in the Hamas-run Strip, Israel says 750-1,000 are Hamas and other gunmen.)…

“Hamas and other armed factions in Gaza have launched over 3,000 rockets and mortar shells into Israel during Operation Protective Edge, many of them from densely populated areas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has charged Hamas with using the civilian population in Gaza as ‘human shields’ — firing rockets and building tunnels from residential areas, providing Gazans with no protection, and sometimes even urging civilians to remain in fighting zones despite IDF warnings — while Hamas’s leadership has taken to hiding in underground tunnels. But Abusada indicated that Gazans viewed themselves as victims of Israel, not Hamas…”

There is a REASON why Hamas has been rightly classified as a terrorist organization. All the sugarcoating by analysts such as Professor Abusuda notwithstanding, it is surprising that people cannot see what is really going on. Of course, one looks for a scapegoat, and Israel has always been an easy target. This has been prophesied to occur, especially in these end times. 

There Will Be Miracles… If You Believe…

Jews News wrote on August 6:

“An Israeli commander claimed that hundreds of Israeli lives were saved recently when ‘the hand of God’ stopped a Hamas rocket:

“‘A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died. We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock.

“‘At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident. Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned…’

“One Hamas member was asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets better and actually hit an Israeli target. He responded: ‘We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.’ The first prime minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, said this once: ‘In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.’”

Israel’s Existence Has Nothing to Do with the Bible?

Yes News wrote on August 3:

“In a special interview with Die Tagespost last week, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, named by Pope Benedict to represent the Vatican in the Jewish State, declared that ‘Israel’s existence as such has nothing to do with the Bible.’ He then compared Christians’ condition in today’s Jerusalem with Jesus’ Passion: ‘We Christians never forget that even our Lord himself suffered and was mocked in Jerusalem.’…

“A few days ago, Patriarch Twal responded enthusiastically to the agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah. He also denounced ‘the Judaization of Jerusalem’ and attacked Israel for ‘trying to transform it into an only Hebrew-Jewish city, excluding the other faiths.’… Twal’s position on Israel and the Bible has been embraced at the highest levels in the Catholic Church. The Vatican synod in 2010 declared that Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land or a chosen people.”

Perhaps a review of both the Bible and historical evidence might be helpful to these so called scholars and theologians!

Israel’s Monetary Costs of the Gaza War

The Times of Israel wrote on August 12:

“… through last week, including both direct military expenses and indirect hits to the Israeli economy, the total cost of the four-week conflict is estimated at $2.5 billion to $3.6 billion… [For instance] Iron Dome intercepted 584 of [the Hamas’ rockets] — at $50,000 a piece. That comes to a total of $29 million, or about $1 million per day…

“Israeli planes have bombed Gaza approximately 4,900 times during the war — roughly 150 times a day… each of the Air Force’s 4,900 sorties cost $15,000, for a total of over $73 million…”

What a terrible waste of money, while millions of people starve for lack of food.

Little Progress at Cairo Truce Talks

JTA wrote on August 12:

“Negotiators at the Israel-Hamas truce talks in Cairo said they were still far from an agreement. Palestinian officials said Tuesday that the current three-day cease-fire between the sides will be the final one unless Israel and Hamas make progress toward a truce. The cease-fire, which began Monday, is the second three-day truce between the sides after a month of fighting…

“Hamas is demanding an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and the building of an airport and seaport, and Israel is demanding Gaza’s demilitarization…”

It was announced on August 14 that Hamas and Israel agreed to extend the truce for five days to continue negotiations in the Egyptian capital. However, there will be no lasting peace in the Middle East until Jesus Christ returns.

Waiting Too Long to Stop ISIS?

Breitbart wrote on August 8:

“Yazidis in Iraq are telling stories of mass murder and rape to their relatives abroad – including in Israel… [According to Der Spiegel Online, dated August 11, “Yazidis [is] an ancient, pre-Muslim religious community, with roots in Zoroastrianism, whose members worship seven angels, including a peacock angel, in addition to god.”]

“Obama announced action against the Islamic State as if that chamber of horrors sprang into existence last night, and he immediately leaped into action against it.  Nonsense.  He’s known this stuff was happening for weeks and months.  Contrary to his feeble excuses about learning everything at the same time we do, by watching the news, he gets presidential intelligence briefings.  The brutality shown by ISIS toward Christians has been a matter of record for a long time, and Obama said nothing.  No surprise the Islamists are even more brutal toward the Yazidis, who they consider ‘devil worshipers.’

“This was all as predictable as the sunrise, but Obama did nothing, said nothing, until global media lit up with pictures of those fifty thousand people stranded on the slopes of the mountain that looms above their ancestral homeland, dying of hunger and exposure…

“Foreign policy is all about timing.  Stopping ISIS when it was on the move into Mosul – with an almost laughably small initial invasion force that nevertheless caused Iraqi forces to break and run – would have been relatively simple…  Ejecting them from their conquered territory is impossible with only a few targeted bombing runs.  They’re mixed in with civilian targets now, and they won’t hesitate to take hostages.  They can threaten to blow up the Mosul dams.  They’re far stronger, better armed, and better financed than they were when they first came across the Syrian border…

“And no matter what happens next, there’s no way to bring back the people ISIS has already murdered, no way to undo the rape and pillage.  Obama treats foreign policy like he’s in college writing a thesis about something that happened a long time ago.  But the present is bad, and the future might be worse.  If ISIS uses its manpower and resources to launch terror strikes in the West – something they are very interested in doing – the same people trying to cover for Obama’s incompetence today will be asking why nobody stopped the Islamic State long ago, when it could have been done with relative ease…”

Sunnis and Turks Support ISIS

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 11:

“The IS advance would hardly be possible without support from Iraqi Sunnis.

“… the American air strikes on IS positions still won’t solve the fundamental conflicts in these two countries… the lack of strong governments in Iraq and Syria has allowed the IS to operate freely in large swaths of the region…  the Turks have sealed the border to Kurds attempting to flee. At the same time, Turkish officials are doing hardly anything to hinder jihadists who travel in and out of Turkish airports as they make their way into the region…”

ISIS Wants Conflict with USA

Newsmax wrote on August 10:

“ISIS has said it desires a direct conflict with the United States on American soil, and the current conflict may also be serving as a lure for new members… ISIS has stated it intends to form a caliphate, or Muslim religious state, and is known for its brutality, including beheadings, of non-Muslims and even non-Sunnis. It formerly was an al-Qaida affiliate, but broke from the group after al-Qaida criticized it for its tactics.

“Members of the Iraqi army laid down their arms and fled earlier this year as ISIS forces advanced. As a result, ISIS now possesses American weapons left for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki. It also has raided banks and taken over oil wells, adding to its power…

“Of ISIS’s estimated 10,000 members, up to half are thought to be from outside Iraq and Syria. And about 100 Americans are thought to have tried or succeeded in traveling to ISIS territory. That trouble[s] U.S. officials because they fear those Americans could return to launch terror attacks on the homeland.”

Iraq’s Political Turmoil –Shiites vs. Shiites

The New York Times wrote on August 11:

“Iraq’s president formally nominated a candidate on Monday to replace Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The step broke a months-long political deadlock, but it also seemed to take Iraq into uncharted territory, as Mr. Maliki gave no signal that he was willing to relinquish power.

“The Obama administration, which has been pushing Iraqi lawmakers to name a replacement for Mr. Maliki, added to the pressure on him by welcoming the nomination of the candidate, Haider al-Abadi, a member of Mr. Maliki’s own Shiite Islamist Dawa Party…

“The nomination of Mr. Abadi came hours after a dramatic late-night television appearance in which a defiant Mr. Maliki challenged the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, and threatened legal action for not choosing him as the nominee…

“The United States has been reluctant to help the Iraqi government militarily as long as it is led by Mr. Maliki, a Shiite Islamist who is seen by many as exacerbating sectarian and ethnic tensions, alienating some Sunnis and driving them to join the militants…”

The Washington Post wrote on August 11:

“Iraq’s president chose a veteran Shiite politician to lead the government on Monday, setting the stage for a vicious political showdown in a country already struggling to contain an extremist Islamist insurgency…

“In his eight years in power, Maliki has consolidated power in his hands, ruling in a dictatorial style that has chipped away at his support among fellow Shiites and Sunnis alike. He is widely blamed for the fostering [of] an environment that has allowed for Sunni extremists from the Islamic State to seize control of huge chunks of Iraqi territory…” 

BBC News reported on August 14 that due to worldwide pressure, Maliki stepped down. The article stated:  

“Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has stepped aside, ending political deadlock in Baghdad as the government struggles against insurgents. He resigned on state TV to make way for Haider al-Abadi, who was asked by Iraq’s president to form a government. Mr Maliki had been under intense pressure to make way for Mr Abadi, a deputy speaker of parliament…

“There had been fears that Mr Maliki might use the power base he built up through his control of the armed forces to stay in power. But, with his own party and the Shia clerical establishment, not to mention influential outside powers such as Iran and America and the entire international community backing Mr Abadi, the writing was clearly on the wall for MrMaliki’s hopes of clinging to power.”

 

USA Provides Weapons to Kurds

The Telegraph wrote on August 11:

“The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, but the aid has so far been limited to automatic rifles and ammunition.

“Previously, the US only sold arms to the government in Baghdad, some of which would then be transferred to the Kurdish forces in the north.”

Germany Might Send Weapons to Iraq

The Local wrote on August 12:

“Germany said on Tuesday it was ready to send non-lethal military aid such as armoured vehicles to help Iraq push back against the advance of Islamist insurgents… Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that, aside from humanitarian aid, Germany could possibly send equipment such as helmets, night-vision equipment, booby-trap detectors and medical supplies for Iraqi soldiers…

“Von der Leyen reiterated her government’s official position that Germany as a rule does not send arms into conflict zones but added that, if a ‘genocide’ loomed in Iraq, this question should be ‘debated intensively’ in Germany.

“Several German politicians across the party spectrum, including Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, have suggested the rule may have to be reviewed in light of the IS onslaught across vast areas of northern Iraq. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also signalled a willingness to pave the way for German weapons shipments to support Baghdad, citing the ‘existential threat’ posed by the IS…”

Sending weapons to volatile areas is never without great risk. But it is interesting that the German stance on the matter is apparently changing.

Back Into Iraq

The Huffington Post wrote on August 11:

“Obama has stated that the U.S. will not become the Iraqi government’s air force. Such an unequivocal declaration, though, presupposes that there is a functional substitute — and one that will be available in time to deal with military threats of the first order that could emerge literally any day. So, this is a typical Obama fudge. Barack Obama is a temporizer, a devotee of half-measures, ‘too clever by half’ as with his time-table limited mini-surge in Afghanistan in 2009.

“… He too often deceives himself that verbal declarations or pat phrases constitute a policy or program. Although the preferred course of action is far from clear, evasion of the tough issues and postponement of hard choices will lower the odds on coming up with wise decisions once they have to be taken…

“What are Obama’s time-frames? They seem to be confused… Certainly, there are no signs of a general strategy emerging in Washington.

“What role (explicit, tacit, or pantomime) for other outside powers, e.g. Iran, Turkey, Syria and Egypt?… On this question, too, we have no signs of the Obama administration’s overall thinking — much less the outlines of a strategy… This is a major liability and potentially highly dangerous…”

Regarding the President’s time frame, the Washington Post wrote on August 12: “Obama vacations as the world burns.”

Clinton vs. Obama

Newsmax wrote on August 10:

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has put the largest amount of space yet between herself and a rapidly more-unpopular President Barack Obama, calling his refusal to ‘build up a credible fighting force’ in Syria to battle the Assad regime a ‘failure’ that led to jihadists such as the Islamic State (ISIS) moving in… 

“Goldberg notes in his article that Clinton’s separation from Obama was only a matter of time, and as she comes closer to announcing her own candidacy, she was notably more blunt in her interview with him…”

Deutsche Welle added on August 11:

“Clinton… ‘is basically a believer in the use of military force for humanitarian purposes and is less sensitive than President Obama is…’ says David C. Unger, the long-time member of the New York Times Editorial Board…  As Obama’s previous secretary of state, Clinton had strongly argued for arming the Syrian opposition, but that argument lost out against a more cautious approach generally favored by Obama and others in the administration.”

 

Arming the Rebels?

The Daily Beast wrote on August 11:

“The argument that America should have done more in Syria, made for years by foreign policy leaders in both parties and several members of Obama’s senior national security team, was brought back to the fore this past weekend. Obama and Hillary Clinton gave dueling interviews in which they publicly split on whether the security and humanitarian catastrophe in Syria could have been avoided if the United States had played a larger role. Obama’s outburst on July 31, one week prior, reveals the criticism was already getting to him, even before the White House tried to deflect Clinton’s remarks as pre-presidential political posturing.

“Just before the congressional recess, President Obama invited over a dozen Senate and House leaders from both parties to the White House to talk about foreign policy. According to two lawmakers inside the meeting, Obama became visibly agitated when confronted by bipartisan criticism of the White House’s policy of slow-rolling moderate Syrian rebels’ repeated requests for arms to fight the Assad regime and ISIS.

“According to one of the lawmakers, Sen. Bob Corker asked the president a long question that included sharp criticisms of President Obama’s handling of a number of foreign policy issues—including Syria, ISIS, Russia, and Ukraine. Obama answered Corker at length… But days after the White House meeting, Corker wrote a blistering op-ed for The Washington Post criticizing Obama’s handling of foreign policy. ‘Today, after three years of bold rhetoric divorced from reality, 170,000 Syrians are dead, and we are not innocent bystanders. The president encouraged the opposition to swallow deadly risks, then left them mostly hanging,’ the senator wrote. ‘Extremist groups from Syria have surged into Iraq, seizing key territory and resources, and are threatening to completely undo the progress of years of U.S. sacrifice.’

“Top Democratic lawmakers agreed with Corker and Clinton that doing more to support the moderate rebels would have at least had a chance of averting or mitigating the current crisis, which has now spread to large parts of Iraq as ISIS expands its newly declared Caliphate…

“In a New York Times interview published Aug. 8, Obama said that the idea arming the rebels would have made a difference had ‘always been a fantasy.’ ‘This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards,’ Obama said…

“Not all lawmakers support arming the rebels; Sen. Rand Paul, for example, is on the record opposing the use of U.S. military resources to fight ISIS in Iraq or Syria. Also, Clinton and many lawmakers acknowledge that arming the rebels was risky and might not have worked. The weapons could’ve fallen into the extremists’ hands…”

Arming rebels is indeed a very dangerous endeavor. Now, the discussion has shifted to arming the Kurds and others in Iraq to defend against ISIS, as previous articles discuss. However, today’s “friends” can very quickly become tomorrow’s enemies. Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are prime examples.

The Lawless United States—Always at War Somewhere

The Huffington Post wrote on August 10:

“Ukraine. Gaza. Syria. Yemen. Pakistan. If it feels like the United States is always at war somewhere, that’s because it is. Not just Iraq and Afghanistan – the two wars we all know about. And, granted, we’re not only talking boots on the ground. It’s our money, our weapons and – more often in recent weeks – our Secretary of State, engaged in high-stakes diplomacy to uneven results… investigative journalist Kevin Gosztola put the U.S. war count at 74. These are mostly unannounced and undeclared wars against enemies that have different aspirations, strategies and ideologies…

“While the eyes of the American media and public might have shifted back to Iraq for now, just a week ago they were, momentarily, back on Afghanistan. In another example of how dangerous the country still is for our military, we heard about the killing of Major General Harold Greene, who was killed by an Afghan soldier in a green-on-blue gunfire exchange… Three in four Americans believe that history will judge the war in Afghanistan a failure…

“What we are leaving behind is in fact… ‘more war, and more terror.’ What we’re leaving behind in terms of our reputation is the idea of American lawlessness… Our lawlessness doesn’t just hurt us abroad. Lawlessness has encroached into the U.S.’s domestic affairs, with the NSA’s almost Orwellian reach into civic life…”

There is indeed a connection between fighting in war and engaging in lawlessness. Please read our free booklets, “Should YOU Fight in War?” and “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”

Wild West in Ferguson, Missouri

The Washington Post wrote on August 14:

“The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., has produced a rare and surprisingly unified response across the ideological spectrum, with Republicans and Democrats joining to decry the tactics of the city’s police force in the face of escalating protests… Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)… criticized what he called the growing militarization of local police forces…

“The images of police in riot gear, with armored vehicles and heavy weaponry, shooting a tear-gas canister at an Al Jazeera camera crew… have drawn alarming reactions from the left and the right.

“The rough treatment and detainment of two journalists, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, has added to the public outrage about the Ferguson Police Department’s handling of the protests over Brown’s killing.”

Erdogan Becomes Head of State in Turkey… Is This Bad for the World?

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 11:

“The Turkish presidential election is decided: [Outgoing] Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will become head of state [i.e., President]. It’s a bitter win, and not just for opponents of further Islamization…

“The outcome was fully democratic and therefore irrefutable. That’s one side of the coin. But on the other side is the fear that Turkey could now head further down the path of transformation into an Islamic republic – with increasing religious requirements for citizens in everyday life.

“With Erdogan’s victory, the secular reforms of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk fall further to pieces… Erdogan was chosen because he gave the Turkish people a whole new sense of self-esteem based on religious values…

“Surrounded by ongoing crises in places like Iraq and Syria, and the conflicts in Gaza/Israel and Ukraine/Russia, not to mention the recently renewed fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Erdogan must overcome fears that he will only add fuel to these fires. It’s something he has often done in the past. The EU – and especially Germany – will have to cope with an increasingly uncomfortable relationship with Erdogan…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 6:

“Erdogan, 60, has been in power for 11 years, and because he can no longer serve as prime minister after three terms in office, he has now [been elected as] president… [He] has become more and more authoritarian with each election win. He has had protests quelled and critics arrested, and has gradually implemented Islamic moral values…

“Istanbul law professor Bertan Tokuzlu believes that… [Erdogan] will transform Turkey into a one-man state, once and for all… Erdogan himself makes no secret of how he intends to govern in the future. In a television interview in late July, he announced his intention to introduce a presidential system, and he cited China and Russia as models…”

Turkey will continue to play a very controversial role in the near future. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.” 

 

“High Probability” for Russian Invasion in Eastern Ukraine

The New York Times wrote on August 11:

“The prospect of a Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine appeared to rise sharply on Monday, threatening to take to new lows what is already the sharpest East-West confrontation of the post-Cold War era.

“As the Kremlin announced it had sent a convoy of humanitarian aid to Ukraine under the auspices of the International Red Cross, the secretary-general of NATO said there was a ‘high probability’ of a Russian attack…

“With increasing urgency, Western governments have condemned in advance any Russian aid missions, which they fear could serve as a pretext for a military incursion to support hard-pressed pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian Army in the country’s southeast…

En Route Russian “Aid” Convoy Will Be Denied Access

Deutsche Welle reported on August 12:

“Just hours after Russia deployed 280 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson from Ukraine’s military said the convoy would be denied access at the border… pointing out that Russia’s army was managing the convoy and that its contents had not been verified by the ICRC [Red Cross].

“… The aid column is expected to complete its 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) journey from Moscow to eastern Ukraine within two to three days… French President Francois Hollande [said] that he had ‘grave concerns’ prompted by the ‘possibility of a unilateral Russian mission on Ukrainian soil.’…

“According to… NATO, roughly 45,000 Russian soldiers have been deployed to Russia’s southwest, close to the country’s border with Ukraine.”

The EUObserver added on August 12:

“The Red Cross says it has no agreement to govern what will happen when Russian ‘aid’ trucks arrive at Ukraine’s border…

“The UN estimates that some 168,000 people have fled from east Ukraine to Russia over the past three months of fighting, while another 117,000 people have become ‘internally displaced’… The Red Cross said on Monday: ‘The situation is critical – thousands of people are reported to be without access to water, electricity, and medical aid’.”

The Bible shows that ultimately, Russia and Ukraine will collaborate and become “friends,” at least temporarily. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy — From Now Until Forever”. See also our Q&A on the prophetic relationship between Russia, Ukraine and continental Europe. 

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