Hezbollah leader Nasrallah: Israel will be ‘punished’ for al-Laqqis’ death.
Hassan al-Laqqis was “assassinated” at around midnight earlier this month in the southern Hadath district of the Lebanese capital. Gunmen fired shots as he was in his car in the parking lot of his residence. He died of his wounds soon after the attack.
Hezbollah said in a statement that Israel was responsible for the killing. “The killing of Hassan al-Laqqis is not a simple matter between us and the Israelis,” said Nasrallah.
“There are scores to settle between us and the Israelis; there are old accounts and new ones,” he said. “The murderers will be punished sooner or later,” Nasrallah promised, “His blood was not shed in vain. The punishment will take part when we decide. Those who killed will not be safe anywhere in the world. Vengeance is coming.” And, “If the Israelis think … that Hezbollah is busy and that Israel will not pay the price, I say to them today, ‘You are wrong’,” he said.
There has been speculation that a Sunni terrorist group killed al-Laqqis, but that is not what many observers of Lebanon and Hezbollah conclude.
Tony Badran, a columnist for the Beirut-based website NOW Lebanon and a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, expressed to the Jerusalem Post “that while both Sunni groups and Israel would benefit from the assassination, the available evidence at this point leads him to point the finger more in Israel’s direction”.
Although it cannot be ultimately proven—Israel, it appears, has been behind recent assassinations including:
• Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh who died in a car bomb explosion in Damascus in February 2008.
• Later in 2008, Syrian Army Gen. Mohamed Soleiman was killed by a sniper. Muhammad Suleiman was a high-ranking general in the Syrian Army, and from the mid-90s until his death was Bashar al-Assad’s key organizer for buying weapons and exporting arms to Hezbollah, to the development of what was the beginning of Syria’s nuclear facility.
• In January 2010 senior Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh was assassinated. Al-Mabhouh was drugged and suffocated in a luxury hotel room in Dubai, it became clear that several dozen Mossad agents had traveled to the United Arab Emirates using fake European passports, they entered the hotel then proceeded with the killing.
• In 2011 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed in a mysterious blast at a military base outside Tehran. The commander, Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, was a crucial figure in Iran’s efforts to build long-range missiles.
• Ahmad Jabari was killed at the outset of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Jabari, officially the second in command of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades was at the top of Israel’s most wanted list. It was Jabari who personally oversaw the kidnapping and captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.
Israel will continue to fight Iran and its proxies through the sword of assassination—Assassination of its enemies has been one of Israel’s most effective tools going way back to ancient times:
Judges 3:16-21 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man… Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly.
No doubt this pattern will continue in 2014.
Al Qaeda’s rise to power among Syrian rebels is a serious concern for both Israel and the United States.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal– a few months ago, the then second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell) stated that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States national security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons. Morrell also said– “I don’t remember a time when there have been so many national security issues on the front burner as there are today,”
Jessica Lewis, research director at the Institute for the Study of War, says the Syrian civil war helped resuscitate al Qaeda. “I see that conditions in Syria are the primary driver that gave al Qaeda the opportunity to become strong again both in terms of having mutual support areas in military terms, but also in terms of resources, also in terms of human resources,”
The head of al-Qaeda in Syria, a man know only as Abu Mohammed al-Golani, said “victory will come soon”—that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria—an Iranian pawn will be overthrown by Sunni rebels.
Golani, who comes from Syrian Golan, which borders Israel, is the leader of the new group, Jabhat Al-Nusra. “The Nusra Front does not seek to rule society on its own when we reach the stage of the liberation of Sham (Syria),” Abu Golani told Al Jazeera (popular TV station that broadcasts to the world—out of Qatar) in the pre-recorded interview. The Nursa front declares allegiance to al-Qaeda and deployed its methods, including suicide bombing to gain territory in the Syrian civil war.
In the interview Golani boldly makes an open appeal for support from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states (these are Sunni nations that fear Shia Iran).
He describes the group’s battles in the context of a Shia/Sunni religious war asserting that the war is against Shiite Iran and Iranian expansion – Saudi Arabia, fears Iranian influence over its own Shia minority, and is fervent to overthrow Iran’s ally President Bashar al-Assad. “If the Assad regime remained in power, which is in the interest of the superpowers and the Safavids, then the next target will be the Arabian Peninsula, now known as Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Jabhat Al-Nursa now controls one of Syria’s main oilfields—the al Omar oil field (Eastern Syria). Losing the al-Omar oil field would mean Assad’s forces would be almost completely reliant on imported oil, a great disadvantage in their fight against the rebels.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said “Now, nearly all of Syria’s usable oil reserves are in the hands of the Nusra Front and other Islamist units,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory. “The regime’s neck is now in Nusra’s hands.”
American policy toward the Syrian rebellion has proceeded erratically. Lack of direction from America regarding the Middle East has only encouraged more chaos in the region. America, viewed as a crippled giant by the Saudis, Israel and the Emirates, seems overwhelmed. These nations are disgusted at what they consider the blatant show of weakness by the American leadership.
I have repeatedly quoted this passage on our radio program, but it bears repeating—as the Syrian civil war is waged by mostly the modern day descendants of Ishmael—a brother against brother—cousin against cousin Civil war that has tragically taken the lives of over 120,000 people:
The way of Islam is one of hostility, anger and war…the prophecy of Genesis 16 continues to play out: “You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your misery, He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers”—verses 11-12.
Israel is angry, Saudi Arabia is furious! Both Israel and the Saudis believe they were betrayed by the President of the United States. Saudi Arabia allegedly informed Israel about the secret American-Iran negotiations. One Israeli lawmaker from Netanyahu’s party said that Israel’s leadership was “furious … we felt like we were being stabbed in the back.”
The stopgap accord between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain is seen as a first step towards resolving a decade-old quarrel that has moved Israel and Iran to the brink of war.
Israel’s popular prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, tongue-lashed the deal with Iran as “dangerous”—an “historic mistake”. He made his televised remarks in English purposely aiming his comments at ordinary Americans and their representatives in Congress. Netanyahu has lost all confidence in President Obama but is hoping Congress will support him in denouncing Washington’s agreement with Iran.
Now the international community waits to see if over the next months Israel will make a unilateral strike against Iran? Prophecy describes Judah of the end time as striking out against its enemies. This has been the pattern of the nation state of Israel ever since 1948. The question remains will Israel attack Iran sometime in 2014?
Genesis 49 details Jacob’s last words to his sons shortly before he died. Jacob, under God’s inspiration, describes the state of his descendants in the end time—each of the 12 sons of Israel is mentioned. Remember the context of the prophecy is in the end time—“I will tell you what befalls you in the last days”—Genesis 49:1
Of Judah, God said through Jacob: “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah . . .” (Genesis 49:8-9).
This prophecy details Judah’s “prey” and Judah having his “hand on the neck of his enemies” this describes so clearly the state of Israel (Judah) today. This is seen in the series of wars won by the Israelis against the Arab nations since 1948. Many in America and around the world have “praised” Judah for its finesse displayed in daring military actions and frequent assassinations of its enemy’s leaders. To name but a few astonishing military feats: there was the Israeli stunning victory over the Arab nations in the 6-Day War of 1967, its rescue of Jewish hostages in Entebbe, Uganda (July of 1976) and the surprise Israeli bombing of the Osirik nuclear plant in Iraq (June 1981).
America’s Creeping Weakness in the Middle East
America’s creeping weakness in the Middle East has caused a regional realignment in which Israel and France are replacing America as the protectors of the Sunni Arab states of the Persian Gulf. France has strong financial interests in the Persian Gulf; also keep in mind that France has 6 million Muslim citizens who attend mosques that are heavily supported by Saudi Arabia. France is not a friend of Iran. Iran has attacked French targets repeatedly over the past 30 years. Iran does not trust France. France built Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor while Saddam was at war with Iran.
Voicing his anger, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that it is time for Israel to seek out new allies. In his words, “The ties with the US are deteriorating. They have problems in North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, China, and their own financial and immigration troubles. Thus I ask — what is our place in the international arena? Israel must seek more allies with common interests.”
Saudi Arabia is increasingly angry with Washington over Syria—“a do nothing approach”. That anger has escalated to fury over Washington’s recent agreement with Iran—a long-time enemy of Saudi Arabia. You must remember that Iran is a Shiite nation, while Saudi Arabia is mostly populated by Sunnis. Sunni/Shiite tension in the Middle East often erupts into war such as we have seen in Iraq and what we are now seeing in Syria (essentially a Sunni/Shiite civil war). In 2011, two men were accused here in the United States of plotting to kill the Saudi Ambassador—an Iranian assassination plot.
Saudi Arabia believes that Iran will eventually wiggle free of sanctions and enter a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will create confusion and discord in Europe and America. If Iran appears to be on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, then the Saudis will move swiftly to acquire one of their own. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made this clear to the Wall Street Journal… of a potential Saudi “arrangement with Pakistan.” If this were to take place Egypt would seek out its own nuclear weapon most likely drawing closer to Russia. The last thing the Middle East needs is a nuclear arms race.
We continue to watch this developing story regarding Iran and Israel. Clearly America is a declining superpower—our will, determination, and pride is in retreat (see Leviticus 26:19).