by Michael Snyder
As you read this article, Christians are being openly persecuted in more than 60 nations. Churches are being burned, believers are being hunted down and imprisoned, and violent mobs are beating and killing those that dare to say that Jesus is Lord. And thanks to ISIS, the persecution of Christians has risen to frightening new levels in 2015.
In recent months, our news sources have been filled with headlines about Christians that are being beheaded, crucified and buried alive by ISIS. According to U.S. Representative Frank Wolf, what is happening to Christians in the Middle East actually meets the United Nations definition of “genocide”.
So what is Barack Obama doing about all of this? Sadly, he is essentially doing next to nothing. He has been nearly silent as the acts of mass violence just keep piling up. This silence has outraged many on both the left and the right, and yet Obama just continues to keep quiet. What are we supposed to make of that?
Just consider an example from earlier this week. A group of angry Muslims threw twelve innocent Christian migrants into the Mediterranean Sea resulting in their deaths, but Obama apparently does not believe that it is important enough to talk about. The following is from an editorial that Kirsten Powers penned for USA Today…
If a Christian mob on a ship bound for Italy threw 12 Muslims to their death for praying to Allah, does anyone think the president would have been so disinterested? When three North Carolina Muslims were gunned down by a virulent atheist, Obama rightly spoke out against the horrifying killings. But he just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace.
When violence is perpetrated against a group of people that Obama is inclined to protect, he is all over it. But when it comes to the most persecuted faith on the planet, the best that Obama can do is mumble a few half-hearted words once in a while…
The president’s mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christians were at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.
And when it comes to the global persecution of Christians, the leadership of the White House matters.
As Erik Rush recently observed, the tone of this White House regarding minority Christians populations around the globe has been far different than we have seen from previous administrations…
While the diplomatic dynamics behind the following may be news to many, it is a fact that over many presidential administrations, nations with minority Christian populations (particularly in the Middle East) were always made aware that our foreign policy concerning them would be to some extent predicated on the treatment of Christians thereof.
All that changed when Barack Hussein Obama ascended to the presidency, and the testimony of Christians living in these nations bears this out. Even excluding such extreme examples as the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt (after which Christians were being crucified in the streets), the general deportment of Islamic governments in the region with regard to Christians changed from one of grudging tolerance to abject persecution. As we can readily observe now in the region, as well as in Islamic African nations, the violent persecution of Christians has practically become a new national pastime.
In other words, Obama’s silence on Christian persecution has been a signal that it is open season on Christians, and those that hate Christians around the world have responded appropriately.
Fortunately, we still have a few national leaders that are willing to stand up for Christians around the world. One of them, U.S. Representative Frank Wolf, says that what ISIS is doing to Christians in the Middle East meets the official United Nations definition of genocide…
“It is genocide. It meets the test of genocide,” Wolf said, citing accepted United Nations parameters for the practice.
In Wolf’s estimation, and that of many Americans of conscience, the Obama administration’s failure to weigh in on this atrocity in any manner whatsoever is an abject disgrace.
And let’s remember – this is not just happening in the Middle East, and it is not just Muslims that are doing this.
The persecution of Christians has become a truly global phenomenon, and sometimes the most brutal incidents are in places that we would not even think of.
For example, there was a brutal attack on Christians in India by Hindu extremists on April 8th…
Christians sustained broken bones and wounds when Hindu extremists on April 8 attacked an open-air gospel event in Telangana state, India, sources said.
Police initially refused to help church members after the mob of about 100 Hindu extremists seriously injured four Christians in the attack in Pebbair, Mahabubnagar District, they said. Area church leaders submitted a complaint citing inaction by police.
So what were those Christians doing wrong?
They were just holding a meeting.
And these Hindu extremists didn’t just attack men. According to one news report, they were even beating women and children…
Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal charged into the evangelistic meeting on the final day of the three-day event at about 9:30 p.m. Shouting “Jai Shri Ram [Praise Lord Ram],” the Hindu extremists led by local leaders of the RSS and Bajrang Dal attacked the Kristhu Suvartha Ujiva congregation, beating pastors, women, children and the aged while insulting their faith.
Sadly, this is nothing new for this part of India. Last year, there were 15 violent attacks against Christians in that exact area.
But Obama is going to be extremely reluctant to help any Bible-believing Christians, because he considers them to be his political enemies. And yes, most Bible-believing Christians in America voted against Barack Obama. But that is no excuse for how he has been acting.
And it is not just a matter of doing nothing. During the Obama administration, Bible-believing Christians are being purged out of the military and they are even being labeled as “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents. Obama’s animosity for Bible-believing Christians in America is glaringly apparent, and this is likely the root cause for his appalling lack of concern for persecuted Christians around the planet.
We like to point to atrocities throughout history and talk about how we would have done things differently if we had been there.
But we are watching a major atrocity unfold right in front of our eyes here in 2015, and our government is just standing by and letting it happen.
So exactly what does that say about the state of our nation and the state of our national leadership?
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Today, Israelis are celebrating our Independence Day. On the Western calendar, we remember May 14th, 1948. But on the Jewish calendar, today marks 67 years since the dramatic, prophetic rebirth of the Jewish State.
A few thoughts to mark the occasion:
Like many of you, we know Israel is a work in progress. This modern country isn’t one that openly and passionately embraces the God of Israel and His Messiah….yet. This isn’t a country where everyone loves God’s Word and reads it, studies it, and seeks to obey it….yet. This isn’t a country where everyone loves each other, and loves our neighbors, and loves our enemies the way the Lord taught us and modeled for us….yet.
But like many of you, we are so grateful that the God of Israel is a God who keeps His promises and is bringing the ancient prophecies to pass. He’s bringing the Jewish people back to this ancient Biblical homeland. He’s rebuilding the ancient ruins. He’s making the deserts bloom. And best of all He is breathing life — spiritual, eternal life — into people throughout this land and region. The Lord has an overwhelming love and amazing grace for all who live here, Jews and Arabs and others alike. And there is a growing remnant of Jewish and Arab followers of Yeshua (Jesus) who love Him are truly seeking to be a blessing to all the people in the epicenter.
Now, for those of you who are interested, some interesting history from 67 years ago this week…..
Today, many take the existence of the modern nation of Israel for granted. But it is actually a stunning miracle and the fulfillment of ancient Bible prophecies. Indeed, few Americans know how close the U.S. government came to refusing to support the establishment of the State of Israel in May of 1948.
Few realize that most of President Truman’s advisors were dead set against the Jewish state, despite the horrors of the Holocaust, and that even many American Jews didn’t support the re-creation of Israel. But God had His purposes. He had His plan. And He made sure His plan came to pass, and remarkably, the U.S. played an interesting role in those prophetic developments. It is a fascinating story, and one I shared in some detail in my non-fiction book in 2012, Implosion. Here are some excerpts you might find interesting on this Israeli Independence Day:
“The Significance of the Rebirth of Israel”
Over the past six decades, the United States has been Israel’s best friend and chief ally. That warm and strategic relationship began with President Harry Truman’s official and highly public decision to be the first world leader to recognize and support the newly declared State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Yet few Americans realize the tectonic struggle that took place at the highest levels of the U.S. government and almost prevented Truman from making or implementing that decision.
Until recently, despite decades of studying Jewish history, traveling to Israel, and working with various Israeli leaders, I had no idea just how close the Jewish state came to being denied early and critical recognition by the American government. Not long ago, however, an Israeli friend recommended that I read Counsel to the President, a book that takes readers inside the Oval Office and describes the political infighting against Israel in vivid detail. What I found absolutely fascinated me.
The book is the memoir of Clark Clifford, a highly respected Democrat who served as senior advisor for and special counsel to President Truman. Later, Clifford served as chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board for President John F. Kennedy, as secretary of defense under President Lyndon Johnson, and as an informal but highly trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter before retiring from government and later passing away in 1998 at the age of 91.
Clifford’s memoir explains his up-close-and-personal role in some of the most dramatic moments of American history in the post–World War II years, from advising Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, to helping Johnson seek an exit strategy from the Vietnam War, to counseling Carter during the darkest days of his presidency, to playing poker with Winston Churchill on a train bound for Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill was set to deliver his “Iron Curtain” speech.
Yet Clifford didn’t begin his 709-page tome with a description of any of these events. His first chapter, titled “Showdown in the Oval Office,” begins like this:
May 12, 1948—Of all the meetings I ever had with presidents, this one remains the most vivid. Not only did it pit me against a legendary war hero whom President Truman revered, but it did so over an issue of fundamental and enduring national security importance—Israel and the Mideast.
Clifford noted that Truman regarded then–secretary of state (and decorated Army general) George C. Marshall as “the greatest living American,” yet Truman and Marshall were on “a collision course” over Israel that “threatened to split and wreck the administration.” Simply put, “Marshall firmly opposed American recognition of the new Jewish state,” opposition that was “shared by almost every member of the brilliant and now-legendary group of men, later referred to as ‘the Wise Men,’ who were then in the process of creating a postwar foreign policy that would endure for more than forty years.” President Truman, in contrast, was a strong supporter of Israel, in large part because of his belief in the Bible….
Interestingly, Clifford noted that Ben-Gurion and his advisors had not yet decided on a name for the Jewish state. “The name ‘Israel’ was as yet unknown,” Clifford wrote, “and most of us assumed the new nation would be called ‘Judaea.’”…..
Also interesting is the fact that Truman’s support of the creation of the Jewish state was opposed by many American Jews, a fact unknown or forgotten by many friends of Israel.
“A significant number of Jewish Americans opposed Zionism,” Clifford wrote in his memoir. “Some feared that the effort to create a Jewish state was so controversial that the plan would fail. In 1942 a number of prominent Reform rabbis had founded the American Council for Judaism to oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. It grew into an organization of over fourteen thousand members, which collaborated closely with State Department officials.” Clifford also noted that Arthur H. Sulzberger, the Jewish publisher of the New York Times, and Eugene Meyer, the Jewish publisher of the Washington Post, “opposed Zionism” as well.
Nevertheless, Truman had spoken favorably of the creation of a Jewish national homeland since not. long after taking office. In 1947, for example, Truman had publicly made it the policy of the United States government to back passage of the United Nations Partition Plan, creating the legal framework for the rebirth of the State of Israel as well as an adjoining state for the Palestinian Arabs.
To succeed, the Partition Plan needed a two-thirds majority vote of the U.N. General Assembly. With just days to go before that historic vote on November 29, 1947, however, supporters of the plan were still three votes short. Some have suggested that President Truman personally called leaders of other nations to encourage them to support the American position. Others say he didn’t but that staff in his administration did; the record is not clear. Either way, most historians—including David McCullough, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his extraordinary biography Truman—acknowledge that Truman wanted the plan to pass and played a role behind the scenes.
In the end, Truman got his way. The Partition Plan dramatically passed at the last moment, thirty-three to thirteen, with ten abstentions….
Given Truman’s backing of the Partition Plan, it would seem in retrospect that his decision to formally support the new state of Israel was a fait accompli. But the political crisis inside the White House and State Department was real and festering for the next two days. Tensions mounted, and time was running out. Reporters were asking what the president would do on the issue, and the advisors closest to the president had no clue. President Truman kept his cards close to his vest. Clifford later wrote that he thought “the chances for salvaging the situation were very small—but not quite zero.”
By May 14, neither the secretary of state nor the secretary of defense nor any of the Cabinet or senior advisors knew which side the president would come down on. Then, a few hours before Ben-Gurion’s scheduled announcement, an aide to Secretary of State George Marshall called Clifford at the White House to say that Marshall still did not support the creation of Israel but would not oppose the president publicly if he declared in favor. This was a significant breakthrough. With less than an hour to go, the State Department aide called back to suggest again that Secretary Marshall hoped the president would delay making any decision for more internal discussions, presumably over the next few days.
“Only thirty minutes . . . before the announcement would be made in Tel Aviv,” Clifford recalled, “the American segment of the drama was now coming to a climax.” Clifford told the aide he would check with President Truman and get back to the secretary. He waited three minutes, then called the aide back, saying delay was out of the question. Finally, at six o’clock, the president formally announced his final decision to Clifford. The United States would recognize and support the State of Israel. Truman handed his statement to Clifford, who immediately took it to the president’s press secretary, Charlie Ross. At 6:11 p.m., Ross read the statement to the press, and thus to the world:
Statement by the president. This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine. . . . The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.
History had been made. Bible prophecy had just been fulfilled. After a long and painful labor, the State of Israel had miraculously been born in a day. “Who has heard such a thing?” the prophet Isaiah wrote more than seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth. “Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children” (Isaiah 66:8, NIV).
What’s more, the first world leader officially to recognize Israel’s legitimacy was a Christian who had been raised reading the Bible and believed it was true. Most of his senior advisors had vehemently opposed the creation of Israel. Much of the American Jewish community opposed it too. The Arab world would soon turn against the United States and move increasingly into the orbit of the Soviet Union. Yet Truman backed Israel anyway because he believed it was the right thing to do, the biblical thing to do.
“The fundamental basis of this nation’s ideals was given to Moses on Mount Sinai,” Truman once told an audience. “The fundamental basis of the Bill of Rights of our Constitution comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus, St. Matthew, Isaiah, and St. Paul. The Sermon on the Mount gives us a way of life, and maybe someday men will understand it as the real way of life. The basis of all great moral codes is ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
That is not to say that Truman made all his decisions based on Scripture. Truman was an intensely private man when it came to spiritual and religious matters, and he did not often discuss what he believed about the Bible and how he connected those beliefs to public policy. The 1940s were a different age. Presidents rarely discussed such matters with the public. Truman even felt reticent about discussing his beliefs with Billy Graham, as Graham described in his autobiography. However, it is not conjecture to say that Bible prophecy was a critical element in Truman’s decision-making process.
Clifford confirmed it in his memoir. “[Truman] was a student and believer in the Bible since his youth. From his reading of the Old Testament he felt the Jews derived a legitimate historical right to Palestine, and he sometimes cited such biblical lines as Deuteronomy 1:8, ‘Behold, I have given up the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord hath sworn unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’”
Happy birthday Israel!
by Michael Snyder
The Beauty And Power Of Calbuco Volcano Chile – Erupted Wednesday, April 22 First Time in 42 Years
Is the number of volcanic eruptions worldwide increasing? Yes. During the 20th century, there were a total of 3,542 volcanic eruptions globally. That works out to approximately 35 eruptions per year. That may sound like a lot, but according to Volcano Discovery there are 36 volcanoes erupting around the world right now.
In other words, the number of volcanoes erupting as you read this article is greater than the 20th century’s yearly average. And all of this is part of a larger trend. In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we had ever seen in a single year, and 2015 is already threatening to be another one for the record books.
All over the planet, volcanoes that have long been dormant are beginning to wake up, and this is greatly puzzling many scientists. Fortunately, most of the eruptions in recent years have been relatively small. But scientists tell us that if we do see a VEI 7 or a VEI 8 eruption today, the amount of energy that would be released would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a million nuclear bombs going off all at once, and such an eruption would completely literally transform our civilization almost overnight.
The last VEI 7 eruption that the world witnessed was in Indonesia in 1815.
According to the Express, that massive eruption resulted in a “year without summer” and created famine all over the globe…
The deadly eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia sparked what was known as the ‘Year Without Summer’ in 1815 as crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere – causing the worst famine for hundreds of years.
However, academics have warned that the chances of a similar disaster happening in the next 85 years, which could see the Earth flung back into a “pre-civilisation state”, was estimated to be as high as one in 10.
Due to dense population, an eruption which killed tens of thousands only two centuries ago would now be “cataclysmic” for today’s population, the authors warned.
“Large volcanic eruptions have the potential to impact climate, anthropogenic infrastructure and resource supplies on a global scale,” the panel of geologists, economists and climate scientists from the European Science Foundation have written in a new paper.
If you don’t think that such a thing could happen today, you should keep in mind that global food production is just barely keeping up with global food demand. In fact, in some years the world actually eats more food than it produces. Global food reserves are at perilously low levels, and so a “year without summer” would be absolutely cataclysmic.
And right now, some of the biggest volcanoes in the world are starting to wake up.
For example, consider what is happening at one of the most prominent volcanoes in Iceland…
Small earthquake swarms occurred at shallow depths during the past days near the volcano. The quakes were located approx. 6-10 km south of Hekla volcano and at shallow depths around 5 km. The largest quakes were two magnitude 2.6 events at 4 km depth on Thursday (9 April). It is impossible to say whether the earthquakes are linked to volcanic activity and thus might be precursors of a new eruption, but Hekla is probably the most likely candidate volcano for the next eruption to occur on Iceland.
One of the country’s most active, and the most frequently erupting volcano, Hekla has been believed to be “due” and have its magma chamber filled for several years now. Known for not giving much precursory signals (and only few earthquakes), an eruption would not be a surprise at all. Hekla volcano’s last eruption was 15 years ago.
In Japan, a swarm of earthquakes around Mount Zao has authorities extremely concerned…
Fears of fresh eruption of Mount Zao, a volcano that sits on the border of the Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures, rattled Japan after the country’s meteorological agency recorded 12 volcanic earthquakes on Tuesday. The seismic activity prompted warnings of a volcanic eruption, with the agency asking the public to stay safe from falling rocks in a 1.2 km radius of the volcano, The Japan Times reported.
And a massive volcano near the border between North Korea and China is showing signs of life. If Mount Paektu were to fully erupt, scientists tell us that the energy released could potentially be equivalent to “1,000,000 nuclear weapons all going off at the same time”…
More than 1,000 years ago Mount Paektu blew its top, sending tons of rock and magma spewing into the air and blanketing the much of the region in a thick layer of ash.
“It’s hard really to imagine the scale,” Oppenheimer said, “but you’re talking about something like 1,000,000 nuclear weapons all going off at the same time in terms of the energy involved.”
If an eruption of that magnitude were to happen today, it would truly be a global event.
For instance, consider the chaos that an eruption in Iceland in 1783 caused. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
In Iceland an estimated 20–25% of the population died in the famine and from fluorine poisoning after the fissure eruptions ceased.
Around 80% of sheep, 50% of cattle, and 50% of horses died because of dental and skeletal fluorosis from the 8 million tons of hydrogen fluoride that were released.
There is evidence that the Laki eruption also weakened African and Indian monsoon circulations, reducing precipitation over areas in Africa.
The resulting famine that afflicted Egypt in 1784 caused nearly one sixth of the country’s population to die out.
In Britain the summer of 1783 was known as the ‘sand summer’ because of the ash fallout and an estimated 25,000 people died due to breathing problems.
The truth is that volcanoes are far, far, far more of a threat to our climate than human activity is. All throughout history, volcanic eruptions have instantly changed the climate in a dramatic way. The following list was compiled by Wikipedia…
Most recently, the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano in the Philippines, cooled global temperatures for about 2–3 years.
In 1883, the explosion of Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards. Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide.
The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.
A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.
In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.
Are you starting to get the picture?
These kinds of events have happened many times before, and scientists tell us that they will happen again.
Here in the United States, people are closely watching the supervolcano that sits under Yellowstone national park. In recent years the ground in Yellowstone has been rising, and many observers are concerned that we are witnessing the lead up to a full-blown eruption.
If a full-blown eruption of Yellowstone were to occur, all of our lives would instantly change. The following are some facts about Yellowstone that I put together for a previous article…
#1 A full-scale eruption of Yellowstone could be up to 1,000 time more powerful than the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.
#2 A full-scale eruption of Yellowstone would spew volcanic ash 25 miles up into the air.
#3 The next eruption of Yellowstone seems to be getting closer with each passing year. Since 2004, some areas of Yellowstone National Park have risen by as much as 10 inches.
#4 There are approximately 3,000 earthquakes in the Yellowstone area every single year.
#5 In the event of a full-scale eruption of Yellowstone, virtually the entire northwest United States will be completely destroyed.
#6 A massive eruption of Yellowstone would mean that just about everything within a 100 mile radius of Yellowstone would be immediately killed.
#7 A full-scale eruption of Yellowstone could also potentially dump a layer of volcanic ash that is at least 10 feet deep up to 1,000 miles away.
#8 A full-scale eruption of Yellowstone would cover virtually the entire midwest United States with volcanic ash. Food production in America would be almost totally wiped out.
#9 The “volcanic winter” that a massive Yellowstone eruption would cause would radically cool the planet. Some scientists believe that global temperatures would decline by up to 20 degrees.
#10 America would never be the same again after a massive Yellowstone eruption. Some scientists believe that a full eruption by Yellowstone would render two-thirds of the United States completely uninhabitable.
#11 Scientists tell us that it is not a matter of “if” Yellowstone will erupt but rather “when” the next inevitable eruption will take place.
Are you beginning to understand why the rise of volcanic activity all over the planet is such a big deal?
Just a single VEI 7 or VEI 8 eruption could fundamentally alter the way that we all live our lives in a single moment.
Despite all of our knowledge and all of our technology, the forces of nature are still vastly more powerful than we are, and scientists assure us that someday the United States will be directly confronted with that reality.
TIMES OF ISRAEL
Israeli analysts expressed shock and amazement Friday night at US President Barack Obama’s stated openness to Iran’s demand for the immediate lifting of all economic sanctions, and his defense of Russia’s agreement to supply a sophisticated air defense system to Iran.
There was no immediate official Israeli response to the president’s comments, which were made after the start of Shabbat in Israel, when politicians generally do not work.
“Jaws dropped” around the studio, said the Channel 10 News diplomatic commentator Ben Caspit, as news broke of Obama’s declared empathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to supply Tehran with the S-300 missile defense system.
“Obama is something else,” Caspit added. “He’s decided to take America out of the wars…”
The station’s news anchor, Alon Ben David, chipped in, “He’s amazed that the Russians honored an agreement with him [for this long]? That’s what is astonishing.”
Responded Caspit, “This is the new America. We had better get used to it.”
Channel 10 also quoted unnamed senior Israeli diplomatic officials saying the prospect of Israel derailing the deal taking shape in US-led talks with Iran on its nuclear program was now zero. “The Iran issue is finished,” the officials were quoted saying.
In Washington earlier on Friday, Obama said he was surprised that Russia’s suspension of missile sales to Iran had “held this long.”
Obama noted that Putin had previously suspended the sale “at our request. I am frankly surprised that it held this long, given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has furiously protested the planned supply of the advanced systems, and phoned Putin this week to try to persuade him to reconsider, but was rebuffed. Israel fears the S-300s would complicate any military intervention as a last resort to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive. It also fears Iran could supply the missile defense systems to Syria or Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s air supremacy over Syria and Lebanon.
Obama on Friday also left open the door to “creative negotiations” in response to Iran’s demand that punishing sanctions be immediately lifted as part of a nuclear deal, even though the US has said the framework agreement reached in Lausanne earlier this month calls for the penalties to be removed over time.
Asked whether he would definitively rule out lifting sanctions at once as part of a final deal aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, Obama said he didn’t want to get ahead of negotiators in how to work through the potential sticking point. He said his main concern is making sure that if Iran violates an agreement, sanctions can quickly be reinstated — the so-called “snap back” provision.
“How sanctions are lessened, how we snap back sanctions if there’s a violation, there are a lot of different mechanisms and ways to do that,” Obama said. He said part of the job for Secretary of State John Kerry and the representatives of five other nations working to reach a final deal with Iran by June 30 “is to sometimes find formulas that get to our main concerns while allowing the other side to make a presentation to their body politic that is more acceptable.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani insisted last week that they would not sign a deal unless all sanctions are lifted right after an agreement is signed. Obama initially portrayed their comments as a reflection of internal political pressure, while pointing out that the framework agreement provides for sanctions to be phased out only once international monitors verify that Tehran is abiding by the limitations.
by KATEY HEARTH
Brutal persecution is putting Pakistan back in the headlines. At least two Pakistani Christians in Lahore were recently targeted by Muslims.
“If they identified themselves as Christians, they were attacked,” reports Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
Friday Fires On Friday, while on their way to the mosque, two Muslims stopped 14-year-old *Fodor in the streets and asked him what religion he followed.
When Fodor said he was a Christian, “They pursued him on their motorbikes; they threw kerosene on him and then lit him [on] fire,” Allen says.
“He was burned over 55 percent of his body.”
FMI supports national church planters and pastors as they carry the gospel to their countrymen. The ministry’s National Director for Pakistan, *Nehemiah, informed Allen of this attack shortly after it happened.
A few hours later, when Allen was passing the news along to FMI-supporters via email, Nehemiah called again: Another Christian boy had been set on fire.
“We were wondering if we were going to be seeing a spate of these [attacks] over the weekend,” recalls Allen. “So I quickly alerted Mission Network News and said, ‘Can you help us get the word out to be praying for God to protect these people, who are not denying His name?'”
A prayer request went up on MNN’s Facebook page, and prayer warriors responded.
“We are so grateful for the thousands of prayers that were offered, and over the weekend, those attacks have abated,” Allen reports.
That doesn’t mean Pakistani Christians aren’t safe, though.
Pakistani Persecution No connections have been made between last month’s Youhanabad attacks and the recent burnings. But, Allen says, the attacks DO point to a rising trend.
“There has been a swelling of anti-Christian sentiment in recent weeks, especially in Lahore,” he states.”As you watch in society and you see pamphlets endorsing terrorism, you see threats against Christian schools, you see bombings against the churches: it’s just growing there, absolutely.”
Pakistani Christians can’t turn to the government for help; They’re part of the problem. Over the weekend, Nehemiah updated Allen about one of the Christian men kidnapped by police following last month’s riots.
“He just died on Saturday due to the torture his body received in the days since his arrest,” shares Allen. “The beatings were severe enough that it caused him to die.”
Although the Youhanabad mastermind has been arrested and confessed that the riots were pre-planned, dozens of Christians are still being held captive.
We constantly hear the claim from Muslims living in the West that Islam is a religion of peace, and that these aren’t true Muslims who do such things. Even our political leaders parrot these lies in order to gain Muslim support for their political campaigns. Yet wherever Islam has spread in the world, we see these atrocities. We can research the life of their roll model – Mohammed – and see that he was a warmonger, who charged around Arabia, leaving a trail of rape, murder, beheadings and massacres wherever he went. Does his modus operandi sound familiar? Has any of these evils been perpetrated by followers of this ‘religion of peace’ in your country recently?
Israeli Officials: Iran Massively Ramping Up Arming Of Hezbollah In Preparation For Major Assault On Israel
by David Daoud
Senior Israeli officials warned on Monday evening that, over the last few weeks, Iran has considerably stepped up its operations to arm Hezbollah in order to prepare its terrorist proxy for a large-scale conflict with Israel.
According to the officials, cited by Israel’s Channel 2, new intelligence has revealed that Tehran has accelerated its proxy war with Israel on all fronts. Iranian delegations have been arriving in the Gaza Strip, and in recent months, the commander of Iran’s Basij paramilitary volunteer militia spoke of arming the residents of the West Bank to rise up against Israel. Iran has reportedly already begun arming members of Hamas in the West Bank.
Iran has also been attempting to establish a new front for Hezbollah with Israel on the Golan Heights, linking it to the existing one in southern Lebanon, according to the report.
Israeli officials have said that the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, now under discussion in talks between world powers and the Islamic Republic, will release billions of dollars that Tehran will use to finance the arming of its terrorist proxies.
The officials expressed their concerns on the heels of the announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to lift the ban on selling advanced anti-aircraft S-300 systems to Iran. The S-300 is said to be the best defense Iran could possess against Israel’s current arsenal of fighter jets, making the task of carrying out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations far more difficult, if the Israelis make the decision that a military strike is necessary.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, tried to calm concerns over the lift of the ban, saying that the S-300 system was designed exclusively for defensive purposes, “and is not intended in any way for offensive purposes, and therefore does not endanger any of the countries in the region, including Israel.”
by Heather Clark
A new website has been launched that shares the video testimonials of Jews in professional business who have all received Jesus as the Messiah.
Launched by Eitan Bar, a Messianic Jew himself, IMetMessiah.com is an evangelistic effort to speak to Jews curious about Jesus.
“As Jewish people, most of us grow up without considering whether or not Yeshua is the Messiah expected by our people for millennia,” he explains on the site. “Yet, something happened in our lives that changed each of us and caused us to rethink the usual Jewish views about Jesus.”
“We offer these stories to you and hope that your relationship with God will deepen through meeting our storytellers,” Bar says.
With over a dozen testimonials posted online and many more marked as forthcoming, IMetMessiah.com presents the testimonies of Mottel Baleson, now a messianic preacher in New Jersey, Michael Goldstone, the founder of Regency Lighting, Grant Berry, creator of Styli-Style Cosmetics, and others.
Berry said that as he moved to America from Israel and became successful in the beauty industry, he he still felt empty and depressed. However, a make-up artist that he began working with, named Maria, soon told him about Jesus. He then ventured on a spiritual journey as he opened up the New Testament and began reading.
Berry said that he tried to pray to God each night over a period of three weeks but felt like his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling.
“I was frustrated,” he recalled. “Here Maria was, this Christian girl that had a relationship with my God—the God of Abraham—and here I was, a Jew, trying to have a relationship with my God—the God of Abraham—and nothing. I was disconnected.”
Berry told her about his frustration with feeling that he was unable to reach God.
“I have been trying to tell you for six to eight months … You can’t have the Father without the Son,” Maria replied.
He immediately returned to his apartment where he cried out to God to show him if Jesus was really the Messiah. Berry said that he felt a rushing wind in his being and knew that God was speaking to Him. From that moment, he believed.
Baleston said that he had always heard about the outward things that one needed to do to be close to God, but never could make sense of it. He was also curious after his grandparents warned him to stay away from the New Testament as they asserted that it was filled with hatred against Jews.
“Growing up, we always understood that we had our Bible and the Gentiles had their Bible—the New Testament—and that they were two completely separate books,” Baleston said.
But as a college student, Baleston began to read the Scriptures one day while visiting the library and found the truth for himself.
“I thought it was going to be a handbook on how to persecute the Jews,” he recalled. “And yet, when I opened it, I read a story written by Jews about Jewish people.”
Baleston said that he opened up to the genealogy of Jesus, who was written as being the son of David, the son of Abraham. He was amazed as all three were Jews, and soon realized that the New Testament wasn’t against Jews at all as it was written by and about Jews.
“This is the One who was promised in our Bible [in] the 53rd chapter of Isaiah,” he exclaimed. “It is astonishing. If you were to just read that chapter … you would say, ‘Oh, this is some Christian Bible. This is Jesus.’ What you realize, though, is that it is in the middle of our Bible—our Jewish Bible!”
He soon told his father about his faith in Christ, and although he was skeptical, Baleston’s father opened the Scriptures and received Jesus as well.
Goldstone first heard about Jesus while hitch-hiking to Mexico with his best friend Ron. He had been experimenting with drugs and was dabbling in books about Eastern religions in an attempt to find God.
While making a stop in San Francisco on the way back home from trying to obtain mushrooms to start a drug business, he met a girl named Debra and began to pour his heart out about his search. Goldstone soon began to read the New Testament and learned about Jesus.
“Some of the things He said really disturbed me,” he recalled. “He said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father but through Me.’ I said, ‘How can this be?’”
Goldstone called out God that day and asked Him to show him the truth. As he did so, he believed that something happened in his heart. He told Ron, who said that he had been on the same journey and had received Jesus as the Messiah.
“Here we are that next day just embracing each other and crying, and sharing with each other how God met us, and how we both had asked Jesus to come into our life,” Goldstone recalled.
But the story didn’t end there. After he began attending church, a minister came to see him and began reading Isaiah 53 out loud.
“He said, ‘Brother Michael, where do you think this is?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. Matthew? Luke?” Goldstone said. “And he hands me the book and it said Isaiah. And I said, ‘You’re kidding. This is the Old Testament?’ It was so obvious to me that this was talking about Jesus.”
The minister proceeded to show him Scriptures throughout the Old Testament that were prophesies of the Messiah, and Goldstone came to faith in Jesus. Debra soon became a Christian as well, and his mother and father also came to Christ.
by Bill Gertz
China has deployed a new high-speed anti-ship cruise missile and is sharply expanding an armada of advanced guided-missile warships and submarines, according to a naval intelligence report made public Thursday.
The Office of Naval Intelligence, in its first unclassified assessment of the Chinese navy in six years, revealed deployment of the new YJ-18 supersonic anti-ship cruise missile on warships and submarines that analysts say poses a major threat to U.S. and allied vessels.
China’s current naval force of 300 surface ships, submarines, amphibious ships, and missile-armed patrol craft is rapidly expanding, the report says.
According to the report, China began building or launched more than 60 naval ships and vessels last year, and a similar number of warships are under construction or deployed for 2015.
“Major qualitative improvements are occurring within naval aviation and the submarine force, which are increasingly capable of striking targets hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland,” the report said, adding that despite some shortfalls, “it is emerging as a well equipped and competent force.”
The key focus of the Chinese navy is anti-surface ship warfare through deployment of large numbers of advanced destroyers, frigates, and submarines, supported by long-range range over the horizon radar.
The new YJ-18 cruise missile is deployed on the newest class of destroyer called the Luyang III, and on diesel attack submarines known as the Song/Yuan class, and nuclear-powered Shang-class attack submarines.
Andrew Erickson, a Naval War College professor, said the YJ-18 poses a significant threat.
“This supersonic missile could be extremely difficult for U.S. and allied ships to defend against,” Erickson said.
The YJ-18 reportedly has a maximum range of 111 miles at a speed of Mach .08 and a higher speed range of 24 miles. The new missile is more capable and has a longer range than the current anti-ship cruise missile arsenal.
Additionally, the report reveals that China’s coast guard now has more ships and vessels than the combined coast guard forces of countries in the region.
It was the first time the U.S. government has acknowledged China’s deployment of the supersonic missile, which appears based on the Russian SSN-27/Klub cruise missile.
The report also says deployment of DF-21D long-range anti-ship ballistic missiles will expand the attack range of the Chinese military “further into the Philippine and South China Seas.”
The report notes China is using its newly expanded naval power in maritime disputes throughout the region, including the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.
“Against this back drop of increasing military capability, China’s leaders appear increasingly willing to assert China’s maritime claims, even when such actions risk exacerbating tension with China’s neighbors,” the report said.
China has clashed with Vietnam, Philippines, and Japan over maritime claims to islands in the South China and East China Seas.
Further escalating tensions, the Chinese have reclaimed “hundreds of acres” of land last year as part of a buildup of naval and maritime law enforcement operations in the South China Sea’s Spratly islands.
“Together with cutting-edge Second Artillery Force [missile] developments and South China Sea island building, this raises a serious risk for the U.S. and its allies,” Erickson said.
“If China envelops a disputed feature such as Second Thomas Shoal in a ‘Cabbage Strategy’ with nonmilitary Chinese personnel facing foreign forces—backed by some of the world’s most potent ballistic and cruise missiles—how will America respond? Washington needs an answer soon, or it will risk major erosion of its interests and those of its allies.”
China’s submarine force also has expanded rapidly. Currently, China has deployed 59 diesel submarines and nine nuclear power submarines, and ONI estimates the numbers will increase to 63 and 11 respectively by 2020.
“China’s newest indigenous submarine-launched [anti-ship cruise missile], the YJ-18, extends a similar capability to the SONG, YUAN, and SHANG classes,” the report said. “Previously, China’s only indigenous sub-launched ASCM was the YJ-82, which has a much shorter range.”
The report also reveals that China has now deployed four Jin-class nuclear missile submarines that are expected to begin operational deployments this year.
Adm. William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, said earlier this week that China’s has three missile submarines in the water that are a “concern.”
The sea deployments of the submarines, armed with JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, “will mark China’s first credible at-sea second-strike nuclear capability,” the report said.
“The JIN-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) is poised to begin strategic patrols in the near future, for the first time, putting Chinese intercontinental range ballistic missiles to sea,” the report said.
“At the same time, with the commissioning of the Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Liaoning China has taken the first step as a carrier-capable navy.”
The report contradicts a key theme of U.S. intelligence analysts for the past 15 years, namely that China’s military was defensive and focused mainly on preparing for a conflict with Taiwan.
The new report says China’s naval buildup is for operations far beyond Chinese shores, including sea-lane security and other power projection.
“Over the long term, Beijing aspires to sustain naval missions far from China’s shores,” the ONI report said.
Among the naval operations showing the expanded reach were the Chinese navy’s combat training in the Philippine Sea, training missions in the Mediterranean, and increased intelligence ship deployments in the western Pacific. Last year, for the first time a Chinese submarine was deployed to Indian Ocean.
Rick Fisher, a Chinese military affairs expert, said the YJ-18 is also likely to be deployed in land-based and aircraft-launched versions.
“This is a quite informative but fair assessment of the current and near term prospects for China’s naval power,” Fisher said of the report, noting that ONI provides more details than congressionally mandated Pentagon reports on the Chinese military.
“Its identification of the Navy [Communist] Party Standing Committee is a significant contribution to our understanding of the PLA,” he said.
The committee is the Party organ that makes decisions for the navy and the report notes that China’s military is a “party army” not a traditional national defense force as other nations have.
“This is a crucial point,” Fisher said. “It means that 35 years of effort by successive U.S. administrations to engage the PLA has been to a major degree misdirected. There must now be a major push by all U.S. agencies charged with ‘engaging; China to focus on the Party.”
Other key disclosures in the report include:
– The NATO code name for China’s J-10 fighter, the “Firebird” – China’s navy will likely emerge as “one of China’s most prolific [unmanned aerial vehicle] users” – The Chinese navy has 50,000 mines – China will likely conduct warship deployment to the central and eastern Pacific in the next five years. – The PLA Navy made “sporadic” progress as integrated joint-war fighting capabilities – The report concludes that China’s naval build up of aircraft carriers, ballistic missile submarines, and potentially large-deck amphibious ships is altering how the PLA navy operates and “is viewed by the world.”
“Here, ONI is suggesting what to some non-government analysts is obvious: China is building its naval forces for eventual global power projection,” Fisher said.
“ONI is now suggesting, as others have already, that China could soon be projecting naval power in the same manner as the U.S. Navy,” he said. “The Washington policy community has not yet started to understand, much less respond to this level of strategic challenge.”
Iran is building an explosive fleet of so-called “suicide kamikaze drones” while also providing know-how on assembling these new weapons to its terrorist allies Hamas and Hezbollah, according to a new report commissioned by the US Army.
The report, which was cited by the American daily newspaper The Washington Times and published by the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, states that “no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”
“Whereas a decade ago Iran’s UAVs and drones were largely for show, a platform with little if any capability, the Iranian military today boasts widespread use of drones, employed not only by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), but also by the regular army, both regular and IRGC navy, and the regular and IRGC air forces.”
This development is significant for Israel because both Hamas and Hezbollah have sought to deploy drones which have penetrated Israeli airspace.
Thus far, they have not managed to cause damage, though drones outfitted with explosives could inflict casualties against soldiers and civilians.
“In a mid-February speech, regular army General Abdolrahim Moussavi outlined the army’s growing use of drones, with emphasis on suicide or kamikaze drones,” according to the US Army report. “While it is easy to dismiss the idea of a suicide drone as more symbolic than real in an age of cruise missiles and precise Predators, utilizing suicide drones is an asymmetric strategy which both allows Iran to compete on an uneven playing field and poses a risk by allowing operators to pick and choose targets of opportunity over a drone’s multi-hour flight duration.”