World Watch Today

Arab World in Chaos

Steven LeBlanc

The instability in the Arab World is escalating.

Syria is in a full-fledged civil war having claimed the lives of over 105,000 people. And most worrisome for America and Israel is al Qaeda is resurgent in Syria.

Egypt is locked into a dangerous stalemate between Islamists and the military. No peaceable solution is in sight. Massive unemployment and debt are strangling the country, and there is no quick-fix solution on the horizon.

Iraq Iraqi security forces launched a major offensive against insurgents in the country’s northwestern and western regions on Sunday. Iraq is deteriorating, and little can be done to stop the violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims . Shia Muslims are the majority of the population.

Yemen is a very serious concern for the United States… Yemeni security forces remained on high alert amid fears of an imminent attack by al Qaeda in the capital, Sana’a, after the US and Britain withdrew all embassy staff and again urged their citizens to leave the country.

Libya is not so much a country anymore but a name on maps that is home to dozens of militias, tribes, and desert nomads, all seeking to assert power. Libya has not a unified voice, and is on the brink of its own civil war.

Jordan is in a much-weakened state; the Monarchy is constantly scrambling to maintain political power. The Muslim Brotherhood has a strong presence in the country. Jordan stands at the crossroads of the regions conflicts: Shia versus Sunni and Arab versus Israeli. It has a peace treaty with Israel.

Bahrain is an island nation close to Iran (geographically), but led by a Sunni monarchy that rules the majority Shia (Iran-friendly) citizenry. There is continued protests and unrest. If it were not for Saudi backing, Bahrain would experience a coup d’état encouraged by Iran.

The Sinai Peninsula (a desert that separates Egypt and Israel) has become a mini-Afghanistan. The Sinai Peninsula has been a haven for militants and terrorists for decades. A barren desert, the Sinai is very difficult to control.

Saudi Arabia is relatively stable but there are worries. Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a historic generational change of leadership; the Saudi leadership are in their 80’s. Who will lead this powerful nation in the next 3 to 5 years and beyond will be watched intensely.

The prophecy found in Genesis 16 continues to tell us not to expect peace anytime soon: “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. The Arab people are descendants of Ishmael—The Biblical story of Abraham and Ishmael gives us clarity as to why there is so much upset in the Middle East.

Israel-"A wound that must be removed"-Iran's new President

Steven LeBlanc

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, who has been touted as a “moderate reformer” will accept the Iranian presidency on Sunday. He has recently attacked Israel in a speech saying:

“In our region there’s been a wound for years (reference to Israel) on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Qods [Jerusalem],”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the comment imploring the world to “awaken from the illusion that has taken hold on some since the elections in Iran.”

“Rohani’s true face has been exposed sooner than expected. Even if his comments will quickly be denied – that’s what the man thinks and that’s the Iranian regime’s game plan,” asserted Netanyahu.

Israel is worried…There is talk out of Washington that the U.S. believes that Iran may now come to the negotiation table with serious intent (Israel believes this is naïve). The intelligence service Stratfor.com sums up current thinking:

“Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington will improve after Iran’s new president assumes office Aug. 4, ending months of speculation over whether Iran and Washington will find accommodation in their nuclear standoff. In fact, in recent weeks both sides have expressed interest in resuming bilateral nuclear talks”. This is the latest report from Stratfor—the respected Global Intelligence Company.

Stratfor goes on to assert that… “Tehran is devoting an unsustainable amount of resources to Syrian President Bashar al Assad in his fight against the Syrian rebellion. And while economic sanctions have not yet forced Iran to the negotiating table, Iranian leaders will likely choose to engage the United States voluntarily to forestall further economic decline. The inauguration of President-elect Hassan Rouhani provides an ideal opportunity for them to do so”. Read more: Stratfor.com

The nations of the world simply do not recognize that Israel is the “Apple of His eye”—God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). Woe to the nations that mistreat her—even though she has her sins and faults.

Zechariah 2:8-9: For thus said the LORD of hosts (after his glory sent me) regarding the nations that plundered you: Truly, one who touches you touches the apple of my eye. 9 See now, I am going to raise my hand against them, and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.

Israel's New "Tough" Ambassador to America

Steven LeBlanc

In the early part of July Israel officially announced that Ron Dermer, a longtime aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is to become Israel’s new Ambassador in Washington. Dermer, who is from Florida is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and of Oxford University, will replace Ambassador Michael Oren, who is due to end his term this fall.

Between 2001 and 2003, Dermer wrote over 120 columns for the Jerusalem Post. Most of the columns dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he was very much against a “Palestinian state”. Since then, Netanyahu and Dermer have publicly rejected Barack Obama’s 2011 proposal that negotiations be based upon the 1967 lines of nationhood– plus land swaps (land for peace). Dermer is considered a “hard liner”.

The Tribe of Judah, Genesis 49:8-9: is strengthening its diplomatic posture with the appointment of Dermer. This is going to be interesting!

Fitna (Schism) Sleeps--Is this the Future of the Arab World?

Steven LeBlanc

There is a saying in the Arab world: “Fitna sleeps; Allah’s curse upon him who wakens it”—This is a reference to the 1400 year old great fitna (schism) between Islam’s main religious branches (Sunnis & Shia), given to fighting and conflict. It certainly looks like the Sunnis/Shia divide has again awakened from its sleep. In Syria the Sunnis/Shia religious war shakes the whole of the Middle East.

In astounding speed decade-old dictatorships of Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia fell. Public spending increased in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE, all in hopes of appeasing the local populations so they too would not go the way of Egypt or Libya.

The Arab Spring is now over 2 years old but the Revolution of 2011 has not given the people what they want; an end to government corruption, jobs or hope that things will get better soon. Pessimism in the Middle East, and tempers are once again on the rise.

The Arab world is composed of about 355 million people living in 19 Arab states, ruled by a mix of Monarchies and nascent republics. The fear in the region is that Islamist parties in the various Arab states will look to democratic elections—using the process of elections to gain power, but once in power, will take control of the nation never again to allow true democracy to take root. This scheme is called: “One Man, One Vote, One Time”. The other fear is that after losing power in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood and other religious factions across the Middle East, will resort to street fights to gain power.

Continual conflict and disagreement is the way of many in the Arab world—it has been that way for centuries. Syria’s brawl has spread across its borders with over 2 million of its people fleeing into neighboring Iraq, Turkey and Jordan. Shia/Sunnis tensions buttress the divisions in the Arab world. Further unrest and bloodshed is a certainty. Israel watches the chaos and worries when the Arab anger and frustration will be directed their way.

The Arab people are known for their hospitality, yet their tribal personality so often leads to fighting and conflict…the prophecy of Genesis 16 continues its echo: “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. The Arab people are descendants of Ishmael—God’s description tells the story of the Middle East.

Important Developments in the Middle East

Steven LeBlanc

CBS Interview with Netanyahu on Iran:

There are important developments as of late… Below are some of the headlines I am following:

Netanyahu to Iran: We will attack if necessary (Israel Today):

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in an interview with American media on Sunday that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in the very near future if such action is deemed necessary. In an appearance on CBS News, Netanyahu lamented that in the US and the rest of the West there was not enough of a sense of urgency regarding Iran.

“Our clocks are ticking at a different pace. We’re closer than the United States. We’re more vulnerable. And therefore, we’ll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does,” said the Israel leader. And just in case Tehran thinks Israel won’t go it alone, “they’re sorely mistaken. I won’t wait until it’s too late,” Netanyahu vowed.

Netanyahu once again urged the West not to be fooled by the recent election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s new president, noting that despite possessing more tact, he has the same end goal as the nation’s fundamentalist clerical rulers. “He’s criticizing his predecessor (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) for being a wolf in wolf’s clothing. His strategy is be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Smile and build a bomb,” Netanyahu explained.

Muslim Brotherhood suspends Ramadan, Egypt inches toward war (Israel Today):

The leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Monday ruled that pious Muslims are permitted to break the fast of Ramadan in order to take part in the “jihad” to regain control of the country. Meanwhile, the Egyptian army, which quickly sided with millions of anti-Morsi protesters in deposing the president earlier this month, fought back by freezing the funds of 14 leading Islamist leaders on Sunday.

To the chagrin of a great many Egyptians, the United States and other Western powers appear to be still supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that a majority of Egyptians say the group won the last election via deceit and fraud. Over the weekend, both Germany and the US called on Egypt’s interim rulers to release Morsi, who is currently being held in a military barrack.

Taking a look at the bigger picture we are reminded that Egypt plays an important role in end-time events: Daniel 11:40 reads, “And at the time of the end [that is, just before Jesus Christ returns] shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” Prophecy and history establish that the “king of the north” is going to be a German-led European power—the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. This European power will confront nations in the Middle East and their leader–the king of the south.

Verses 42 and 43 tell us this European power will in the future– “stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt .…” Notice how the accent is on Egypt.

Clearly the situation in Egypt is not getting better.

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