What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


The Stable Stall
Billy Bober

We all know how it begins, turned away from all the Inns
The greatest gift of all, sent to lay in a stable stall
I wonder how we came so far, from that bright and shining star
Announcing a pure love so bright, sent to us that Christmas night

The greatest story ever told, is not something to be sold
This perfect gift among the mangers, now tarnished by the money changers
Seems the One born without sin, is now a reason just to cash in
The One who came to heal our hearts, it's just a reason to fill our carts

So please consider this Christmas Day, why Jesus Christ came our way
The most precious gift of all, came lying in the stable stall
So please remember the reason why, that proclaiming star shone in the sky
And from this lowly humble start, came the gift to heal your heart.

Friday, December 23, 2011


"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen– for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Cor. 4:17, 18.

This morning as I was writing a message to a friend, I was noticing that we use the letters and number B4A, as short for Beauty for Ashes ( a community on Face Book) taken from the verses in Isaiah 61:3: " and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor".

As I was thinking that alphabetically A comes before B, a verse came to mind from I Corinthiens 15 that says: v. 46 "The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual". Suddenly, I saw more clearly the application of both verses about the resurrection in the light of the grand scheme of God. This is about the celebration of the grand finale when the Lord will display His glory and we will share in that glory. The A in the Ashes, the Natural has to precede the B of Beauty of the Spiritual.

V.42. "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man".

But the best thing is that we do not have to wait until the Lord comes back in order to rejoice, be glad and be clothed with the garment of praise.
■ We are already clothed with his righteousness, we have passed from death to life, we have died with Him, our sins nailed to the cross and we live in him, for him and through him. Rom 6:8-14

If today you feel like the ashes cover you with their grayness suffocating your life, keeping you from seeing your way out of the heaviness of grief, the suffering of carrying an albatross of guilt as a heavy yoke around your neck, let him take your burden for he cares for you:

■ He has already provided the way for you to let the wind of his Spirit blow away those ashes, II Corinthiens 1:3-5
■ He has provided the hope of standing firm, rooted and established in the grace in which we stand, Romans 5:1-5.
■ He has anointed us with his oil as priests who serve him with gladness in our hearts, I Peter 2:5, 9.
He has clothed us with his garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10-11,
■ His name is Emmanuel, God with us who “lives in a holy place, but also with him who is contrite in heart and lowly in spirit, I will guide him and restore comfort to him creating praise on the lips of the mourners…and I will heal them, Isaiah 57:15-19
■ His yoke is easy and his burden light, go to him and rest in him, accept and welcome his will for your life.
■ His word is true, his promises are sure and he never disappoints those who are hurting, empty, hungry for real food and drink and come to him with humble hearts seeking the comfort that they need.
All these and more are reasons to be grateful, thankful and praising him.

Personally Christmas time has always been the hardest season for me, I must confess and this year especially away from my family and American friends. I know that it so for a great number of other people who get depressed. What I am sharing with you has filled me with hope, a renewed sense of his wonderful presence and the scriptures that I quoted have comforted me. I hope that they will help you to turn your eyes away from the ashes of the past and enable you to contemplate the Beauty of His Holiness.
We thank you and praise Lord Jesus for your great love for us and reaching down to us to transform our lives and our heart that is yearning for you the desire of the nations.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Iran starts building a nuclear weapon: US and Israel tighten cooperation

Iran starts building a nuclear weapon: US and Israel tighten cooperation

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 22, 2011, 9:49 AM (GMT+02:00) Tags: US-Israel Iran nuclear

Barack Obama Ehud Barak Dennis Ross Leon Panetta US chief of staff Barack Obama and Ehud Barack in MarylandIran has embarked on "activities related to possible weaponization," said American sources Wednesday, Dec. 22, thereby accounting for the dramatic reversal of the Obama administration's wait-and-see attitude on attacking Iran. The change was articulated this week by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Debkafile's Washington sources report that the Islamic Republic crossed the red line President Barack Obama had set for the United States, i.e., when Tehran begins using the technologies and fissile materials (enriched uranium) it has amassed for assembling a bomb or missile warheads. This marks the moment that Iran goes nuclear and only a short time remains before it has an operational nuclear weapon.

Washington has always claimed that when the order to build a weapon was given in Tehran, the United States would know about it within a short time.
The US stealth drone RQ-170 was sent into Iranian airspace for the first time to find evidence to support this suspicion. On Dec. 4 the Iranians downed the unmanned reconnaissance craft by intelligence or cyber means not yet fully clarified. The US - and most probably Israel too - then turned to other intelligence resources to find out what Iran was up to. According to debkafile's military and intelligence sources, they found evidence that Iran has in fact begun putting together components of a nuclear bomb or warhead.

This discovery prompted the latest statements by Mr. Panetta and Gen. Dempsey.
The defense secretary put it into words when he said Tuesday, Dec.: “Despite the efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, the Iranians have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less.”
The next day, Gen. Dempsey said, “My biggest worry is they will miscalculate our resolve. Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict, and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world.”
Dennis Ross, until last month President Obama’s senior Middle East adviser, and key architect of White House policies on the Iranian nuclear program and understandings with Israel on this issue, said Israel has four causes for concern about uranium enrichment in the underground nuclear facility at Fordo near Qom and other developments:

1. Iran’s accumulation of low-enriched uranium, its decision to enrich to nearly 20 percent “when there is no justification for it.”
2. The "hardening" of Iranian nuclear sites, largely by moving facilities underground.
3. Other activities related to possible weaponization.
4. Israel suspects that Fordo is not Iran's only buried facility and that nuclear "weaponization" is ongoing surreptitiously at additional underground locations. “I would not isolate Qom and say this alone is the Israeli red line to spur a military response.”

Our military sources report that all these developments were covered in the short and epic conversation between President Barack Obama and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Gaylord Hotel in Maryland on Dec. 16. It ended with accord on the US and Israeli responses to the new situation arising in Iran.
The White House has since accepted the Israeli assessment of Iran's nuclear bomb time table and endorses the conviction that unless Iran retreats from its decision to build a nuclear bomb and steps back from the process it set in train this month, the only option remaining will be a military strike to disable its nuclear program.

Following the Maryland encounter, debkafile’s sources report a procession of prominent US officials visiting Israel to tighten coordination between the US and Israel on their next moves. Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third air Force, was one of those visitors. He came to organize the biggest joint military exercise ever held by the US and Israel, as part of the shared response to Iran's steps.
Tuesday, Dec. 20, saw the arrival of Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s right-hand, together with Robert Einhorn, a State Department special adviser on nonproliferation. The two came to tie up the diplomatic ends of the decisions reached by President Obama and Defense Minister Barak at their meeting in Washington.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Written and posted by Jean-Louis 

The cage door opens and closes slowly
Hesitating as in an off-beat ballet
The yellow bird contemplates her fate
To languish a prisoner inside
Or risk everything and escape

The stalking black cat plays dead
Waiting patiently to hear a movement
A flutter of wings indicating
The delicious horror of stumbling

Freedom is so close, prudence calls
To go unnoticed, blend with the walls
The feline dreams salivating with malice
Fright overwhelms the fettered prey
She trembles hoping for a rescue
Wishing for a miracle of deliverance

Suddenly the bird takes fresh heart
Remembering that she is blessed of her Creator
By more than the beauty of her plumage
She starts singing a song of praise
To her Protector rendering homage
And in a flight of notes reclaims her liberty

The enemy scampers off startled
By the powerful war cry
Shouted with invincible joy and faith
In the One who helps conquer fear.


Freedom is a Believer´s Birthright

Freedom is a Believer´s Birthright
There are schools that are cages and others that are wings.

Schools that are cages exist to cause birds to forget the art of flying.
Caged birds are birds under control. Put in a cage, their owner can take them wherever he pleases. Caged birds always have an owner. They stopped being birds because the essence of a bird is flying.
Schools that are wings don´t like caged birds. They love to see birds fly. Their reason for being is to give the birds the courage to fly. They cannot teach the bird to fly because flying is already inborn in the bird. Flying cannot be taught, it can only be encouraged.
Rubem Alves.

A school could also be understood as a school of thought. Bloggers´ Note.

School of thought. Definition from dictionary.com  noun
A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school [syn: doctrine].

Flying free on the wings of the wind
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with EVERYONE born of the Spirit.”
John 3: 8. 
 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed". John 8:31,36.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:1, 13, 24. 22.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nuclear knowhow, S300 are Iran's price for Russian, Chinese access to US drone

Nuclear knowhow, S300 are Iran's price for Russian, Chinese access to US drone

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 11, 2011, 6:37 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Iran nuclear RQ-170 drone Russia China Israeli FM Lieberman US Russian air defense S-300 missile.

Iran is driving a hard bargain for granting access to the US stealth drone RQ-170 it captured undamaged last week, as Russian and Chinese military intelligence teams arriving in Tehran for a look at the secret aircraft soon found. debkafile's Moscow sources disclose that the price set by Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Ali Jaafari includes advanced nuclear and missile technology, especially systems using solid fuel, the last word on centrifuges for enriching uranium and the S-300PMU-1 air defense system, which Moscow has consistently refused to sell Tehran.
This super-weapon is effective against stealth warplanes and cruise missiles and therefore capable of seriously impairing any large-scale US or Israeli air or missile attacks on Iran's nuclear sites.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent Russian-speaking Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Moscow on Dec. 7 to try and dissuade Prime Minister Vladimir Putin from letting Iran have the S-300 batteries as payment for access to the captured US drone.
Sources in Washington report that before sending Lieberman to Moscow, Netanyahu first checked with the White House at the highest levels.
Although he had his hands full with stormy demonstrations in Moscow protesting alleged election fraud, Putin received Lieberman at the Kremlin. But the interview was short. The Russian prime minister refused to discuss the episode with his Israeli guest or even confirm that Moscow was engaged in any deal with Tehran.
In answer to reporters' questions, Lieberman commented: "Russia's positions on the Middle East were not helpful."

American efforts to reach President Dmitry Medvedev and Putin on the drone deal through other channels were likewise rebuffed.
Debkafile's sources report that the Israeli prime minister's decision to sent Lieberman post-haste to Moscow to intercede with Putin followed intelligence tips which indicated to Washington and Jerusalem that the Russians may have played a major role in Iran's capture of the RQ-170 on Dec. 4. They are suspected of even supplying Iran with the electronic bag of tricks for downing the US stealth drone undamaged.
If that is so, it would mean Moscow is deeply involved in helping Iran repel the next and most critical stage of the cyber war that was to have been launched on the day the US UAV was brought down.
Our exclusive intelligence sources add that that the RQ-170 was the first US drone of this type to enter Iranian skies. Its mission was specific.

Iran's success in determining the moment of the unmanned vehicle's entry and its success in transferring command of the drone's movements from US to Iranian control systems is an exceptional intelligence and technological feat in terms of modern electronic warfare.
Western intelligence watchers keeping track of the Russian and Chinese teams in Tehran have not discovered where the negotiations stand at this time or whether the Iranians have taken on both teams at once or are bargaining with each separately to raise the bidding.

Saturday, Dec. 10, the Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander Gen. Hossein Salami, said Iran would not hand the captured drone back to the United States. He boasted: "The gap between us and the US or the Zionist regime and other developed countries is not so wide."
He sounded as though the bargaining with the two visiting teams was going well.

A Cup of Trembling - Jack Kelley

A Cup of Trembling
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, Who stretches out the Heavens Who lays the foundations of the Earth, and Who forms the spirit of man within him declares, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.
On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves” (Zech 12:1-3).
True, the ultimate fulfillment of this passage will come at the very end of the age, but a careful reading shows the progressive nature of the prophecy. First the surrounding nations will be sent reeling, with both Judah (West Bank) and Jerusalem besieged. Ultimately all the nations of the earth will be involved, and those who move against Jerusalem will wind up injuring themselves. And please don’t miss the way the Author identifies Himself: the One Who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth and forms man’s spirit within him. Not much doubt as to Who’s speaking, so we better pay attention.

When Will These Things Happen?
It’s safe to say that all the nations of the earth are troubled over Jerusalem today. They realize the ease with which the whole world could be drawn into a conflict in the Middle East. And almost all are already aligned against Jerusalem. Remember, the prophecy is initially focused on the surrounding peoples and indicates that Judah and Jerusalem will be besieged. The degree to which this part of the prophecy is already being fulfilled is frightening. Much of the land bordering Israel has become little more than an armed camp, filled with troops at the ready.
Hezbollah has been moving their rockets and missiles into position again with Lebanon’s full support, while steadily increasing their inventories of weaponry. Syria also has troops along Israel’s northern border as well as missiles set to fire upon Israeli cities. In the South Hamas and the PA are no less prepared. Recent reports confirm that large numbers of rockets and missiles from Libya have turned up in Gaza. Together, these next door neighbors claim that every city in Israel is now within missile range. In it’s headline report on Dec. 5, 2011 Debkafile assessed the likelihood of war in the Middle East, including an Israeli attack on Iran, to be very high between mid-December and mid-January. The US and Russia have both stationed powerful fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean against this possibility. There’s still time for diplomacy but for now no one believes a diplomatic solution will be forthcoming.

Psalm 83
As a result, this is beginning to look like a run-up to Psalm 83, a battle that’s never happened, but involves all of Israel’s next door neighbors in an effort to “destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Psalm 83:4). The Psalmist pleads with God to pursue Israel’s neighbors with His tempest and terrify them with His storm so they will perish in disgrace (Psalm 83:15-17). I believe his prayer will be answered because this outcome is necessary to set the stage for Ezekiel 38-39.

Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus
We should also consider what could be a related prophecy from Isaiah 17. It was partially fulfilled in 732 BC when the Assyrians conquered Damascus (Aram). But never did Damascus cease to be inhabited as the prophecy requires (Isaiah 17:1). In fact to this day Damascus is described as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, over 5000 years and counting. The fortified city in vs. 3 was Samaria, capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The Northern Kingdom consisted of the 10 tribes of Israel who rebelled in the religious upheaval that followed King Solomon’s death and was allied with Damascus against Assyria. Like Damascus it was defeated and its people carried off into captivity. Since Damascus was never destroyed and never ceased being inhabited, the world may have seen a partial fulfillment in history that points to a total fulfillment yet future to us.

Validating Prophecy
This is not unusual in Bible prophecy where the complete fulfillment of a passage may unfold over thousands of years. You receive an example of this in the mail every Christmas. It comes in the form of a Christmas card that says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). The passage goes on to explain that He will sit on David’s throne and reign in peace forever.
Only the first phrase of this passage has come to pass. The Child was born, the Son was given. The rest of the passage awaits His 2nd coming, but the fact that He was born confirms that the rest will take place as well. Partial fulfillment is the Lord’s way of validating End Times prophecies thousands of years in advance.

The Oracle against Damascus is a lot like the one against Babylon in Isaiah 13-14, where Babylon is also described as being so totally destroyed that it would never be inhabited again. For many years scholars believed this prophecy was fulfilled when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon about 535 BC. It took the Gulf War to show us that Saddam Hussein had spent billions re-building Babylon, and to realize that Babylon was never destroyed in the manner the Bible describes. It has in fact been occupied almost continuously since its construction 2700 years ago. The City of Babylon will play a major role in world events at the end of the age before its final and total destruction, foretold in Rev. 18.

Back To Damascus
Admittedly the Oracle against Damascus in Isaiah 17 is somewhat more obscure. Scholars who place fulfillment of this passage in our time rely on four things:

1. The phrase in vs. 1 “Damascus will no longer be a city”
2. The multiple use of the phrase “in that day” through out the passage (vs. 4, 7, 9) which often hints of the end times
3. Men will “Look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel,” see below,
4. The mention of many nations in vs.12-14 would seem to include more than just Assyria.
Regarding point 3 there was a temporary revival in the southern kingdom under King Hezekiah that spared Jerusalem from the Assyrians, but nowhere is a revival in the northern kingdom or among the Arameans (Damascus was the capital of Aram) or Assyrians mentioned in history. And yet in Isaiah 19:23-25 Assyria is mentioned with Egypt and Israel as being called “My people, My handiwork, and My inheritance” by God in the millennium. This reconciliation with God is still in the future.

Soon And Very Soon
The USA and Europe have been warning Israel that an attack on Iran would not only result in a wider war in the Middle East, but would also deliver a severe blow to an already reeling world economy. Because of this US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said that Israel has to come to terms with a Nuclear Iran, an Islamized Middle East, and reliance on the US for protection.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said sometimes making a risky decision carries a heavy price, but the price for not making it would be heavier. Reliable observers interpret this to mean when the time comes to attack Iran, whatever repercussions it could cause will not be considered in light of the threat to Israel’s continued existence. We’ll soon know whether that time has come.
You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah. 12-10-11

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I BELIEVE by Gordon Butler

Gordon Butler - I Believe (Full Song) from First Baptist on Vimeo.

In November of 2010, Gordon and Christi Butler were blessed with their first child after 12 years of marriage, a little girl named Ivi Grace. Early in 2011, Ivi Grace was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, plagiocephaly and torticollis. All of these conditions are related to the head and neck. The torticollis, which involves constant tilting of the head and a wry neck, has been treated with physical therapy since diagnosis. A special helmet was and will continue to be used to treat the plagiocephaly, commonly known as flat spots on the head. These two conditions themselves are minor in comparison to the craniosynostosis, which is a fusion of the bones of the skull. Left untreated, the condition causes disfigurement of the head as a child grows, and even worse, the risk of brain damage due to inadequate growth space. Since Ivi Grace was three months old, Gordon and Christi knew the day would come when her skull would have to be surgically taken apart and put back together. Through weeks of soul searching and asking questions with no immediate answers, Gordon began to have doubts about the strength of his own faith as his frustration came to the breaking point. “I was like, okay God, what now? Where are You in all this? Where is this awesome, mighty God that I lead so many people to worship each week? I just wanted to run out into the street and shout into the sky ‘Where are You?’ But somehow, this thing called faith, the power of Christ living inside of me, it causes me to believe. I mean, I really do, even with all this junk, I believe. I can’t help to believe that God will take care of my little girl and all the other details of our lives, in His way, in His time. I thank Him for that.” In a moment of God-breathed peace and clarity, Gordon wrote the song “I Believe” as a statement of faith for himself alone. Although he never intended for the song to become public, God had other plans. Through the encouragement of another pastor, Gordon told the story of his family’s journey and sang the song for his own congregation at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Since that time, many people have called, emailed and written, wanting to know where a copy of “I Believe” could be found because of the encouragement it offered in their own lives and trials. After a few months of non-stop requests, Gordon decided to record the song and release it publicly, with any proceeds from the recording going to offset Ivi Grace’s medical expenses. Ivi Grace’s surgery will be on December 7, 2011 in Charlotte, NC at Levine’s Children’s Hospital. Even after surgery, years of therapy and continued treatment are a certainty, but God’s strength is sufficient for every need in the Butler’s life, and in yours. Trust in Him, even if your faith is small and fragile. He is faithful, just believe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Last Christmas?

The Last Christmas?

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

Whether you’re following commentaries by prophecy scholars on the nearness of the rapture or predictions by financial experts on the nearness of the world’s economic downfall, the message is the same. This could very well be the last time we celebrate Christmas as we’ve come to know it.
And that’s a good thing. Because for most of the world, Christmas has become little more than an annual exercise in spending money we don’t have to buy things they don’t need for the people on our list, some of whom we don’t even like. Add to that the sad fact that millions of American families are doing this from homes they no longer own, adding to a debt load they can hardly carry now, and you can see the level to which the world has sunk. And the saddest fact of all is they aren’t doing this out of any gratitude for what the Lord has given them. They’re doing this because for a brief period of time they can pretend everything’s OK.

For believers it should be a different story, although most of us are totally unaware that the greatest event in Church history is looming on our horizon. The coming rapture should be energizing the body of Christ and causing a massive reorientation of our priorities and yet current polls indicate that over 90% of us are still focused on the secular world and the fading illusion of happiness it offers, rather than the incredible promises of the Bible.

Maybe that’s because what little we’ve been taught about the Lord’s promise to the Church is such a watered down version of the truth. Pastors and teachers have lowered our expectations of His promises to match our experience instead of teaching us that if our experience doesn’t match His promises then we’re doing something wrong. And because we don’t read our Bibles to learn what it says about Christian life here on Earth for ourselves, these promises simply have not come true for most. And as for His promises about our future with Him, well they’re hardly even mentioned anymore.

What Did You Get For Christmas?
With a little study we can conclude that the Lord was not born on December 25th, but more likely in the early fall. Therefore our celebration in December is more traditional than factual. But since it is the time we’ve chosen to celebrate, let’s take a moment to review what the birth of the Lord really means to us. This won’t be an exhaustive list but maybe it will help us remember what Christmas is really about. Think of it as as the gift He gave us for Christmas.

First and foremost, He came to take away our sins. Just for believing that, we’ve been promised that the penalty of eternal suffering we deserve to pay has been canceled (Colossians 2:13-14) and replaced by eternal blessing in the presence of God (John 3:16).
Because He suffered in our place, we’ve been made forever perfect in God’s sight (Hebrews 10:14) , a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) as righteous as He is (2 Cor. 5:21). The law of sin and death no longer has any claim on us (Romans 8:2).
That alone should make us jump for joy, but that’s not all He did. He came to take away our worries too. He promised that if we believe in Him, we’ll be adopted into the family of God (John 1:12-13) and made joint heirs with him in His inheritance (Galatians 4:4-7).

If we’ll just focus on seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness, which is now our eternal destiny, He’ll provide for all our needs in the here and now. We should never worry about what we’ll eat or drink or wear because He promised our needs will always be met (Matt. 6:31-33).But more than just meeting our survival needs, He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10). He promised to make everything work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and that nothing could ever separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39 and John 10:27-30).

Although He was rich He made Himself poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty we could become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). But He wasn’t speaking only of spiritual wealth. He promised that we could be made rich in every way so we could be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11) while we’re still here. The more generous we are toward others, the more generous He’ll be toward us (Luke 6:38).

He came to give us hope in times of trouble (John 16:33) and told us to not be so concerned about this life because it’s only temporary. It’s the next life that’s permanent and that’s the one we should always be thinking about (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
He promised to answer our prayers (John 14:13-14) forgive our sins (1 John 1:9) and heal our diseases (James 5:14-15).
He promised that if we stay connected to Him we’ll bear much fruit (John 15:7-8) and will perform miracles even greater than His. He said the only limitation on the things we could do in His name would be our faith in His promises (John 14:12).

But Wait, There’s More!
All these things are just for this life. But He also came to give us a future that’s beyond imagining (1 Cor 2:9).
He promised to rescue us from the time and place of the coming wrath (1 Thes. 1:10), to separate us both by time and distance from the hour of trial that’s coming upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10).
To accomplish this, He promised to meet us in the air (1 Thes. 4:16-17), to change us from mortal to immortal (1 Cor. 15:52-53) and take us to His Father’s house (John 14:2-3) where He’ll hide us from God’s judgment of Earth (Isaiah 26:20-21).

He promised to make us into a royal priesthood (1 peter 2:9), kings and priests who will rule and reign with Him (Rev. 5:10), and to create an entire planet made of gold and precious gems as our exclusive dwelling place. We’ll live with Him there as members of his royal family (Rev. 21:9-27).
We’ll be seated beside Him in the heavenly realms so that by what He’s done for us he can demonstrate the incomparable riches of His grace in ages yet to come (Ephesians 2:6-7). No other group of humanity ever has or ever will enjoy the blessings He’s lavished on the Church.

From the moment of His birth, these and many more promises began to come true for those who believe. It was such a momentous occasion that God dispatched a heavenly choir to announce His arrival on Earth. Hundreds of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled to confirm the validity of His promises. All this and more is ours to a greater degree of certainty than anything else in our life. It’s the the gift He gave us at Christmas. Selah 12-03-11

Monday, December 5, 2011

Israel and Syria brace for regional war between mid-Dec. 2011 and mid-Jan 2012

Israel and Syria brace for regional war between mid-Dec. 2011 and mid-Jan 2012

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 5, 2011, 2:41 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tags: Binyamin Netanyahu Bashar Assad Israel Syria US aircraft carriers Russian warships
Multiple Launch Rocket System in action

The actions and words of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Syrian ruler Bashar Assad in the last 72 hours indicate they are poised for a regional war, including an attack on Iran, for some time between December 2011 and January 2012.
In their different ways, both have posted road signs to the fast-approaching conflict as debkafile's Middle East sources disclose:

1. Saturday, Dec. 3, Syria staged a large-scale military exercise in the eastern town of Palmyra, which was interpreted by Western and Israeli pundits as notice to its neighbors, primarily Turkey and Israel, that the uprising against the Assad regime had not fractured its sophisticated missile capabilities.
Debkafile's military sources advise attaching more credibility to the official Damascus statement of Sunday, Dec. 4: "The Syrian army has staged a live-fire drill in the eastern part of the country under war-like circumstances with the aim of testing its missile weaponry in confronting any attack."
Videotapes of the exercise, briefly carried on the Internet early Monday before they were removed by an unseen hand, support this statement. They showed a four-stage exercise, in which missile fire was a minor feature. Its focus was on the massive firing of self-propelled 120mm cannon, brigade-strength practice of 600mm and 300mm multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), offensive movements of Syrian armored brigades backed by ground-to-ground missiles with short 150-200 kilometer ranges. They drilled tactics for repelling enemy reinforcements rushed to combat arenas.
All this added up to is an impressive Syrian demonstration of its ability to ward off an attack on Syrian soil by turning a defensive array into an offensive push for taking the battle over into the aggressor's territory, whether the Turkish or Israeli armies or a combined Arab League force backed by NATO.

2. Israel made its rejoinder to the Syrian war message 24 hours later.
Addressing a ceremony honoring the memory of for Israel's founding father David Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu recalled how 63 years ago, Ben-Gurion declared the foundation of the State of Israel in defiance of pressures from most of Western leaders and a majority of his own party. They warned him that he would trigger a combined Arab attack to destroy the fledgling state just three years after the end of World War II.
But fortunately for us, said the prime minister, Ben-Gurion stood up to the pressure and went through with his decision, otherwise Israel would not be here today.
"There are times," said Netanyahu, "when a decision may carry a heavy price, but the price for not deciding would be heavier."
"I want to believe," he said, "we will always have the courage and resolve for the right decisions to safeguard our future and security."
Although he did not mention Iran, it was not hard to infer that the prime minister was referring to a decision to exercise Israel's military option against Iran's nuclear program in the face of crushing pressure from Washington and insistent advice of certain Israeli security veterans.
Defense minister Ehud Barak, who was standing behind the prime minister's shoulder, was as tense as a coiled spring.

3. Six hours later, Netanyahu dropped a bombshell on the domestic political scene: He announced his Likud party would hold elections, including primaries, before January 31, 2012 - two years before schedule and a year before Israel's next general election. As head of one of the most stable and long-lived coalition governments ever to have ruled Israel, he is under no pressing domestic need of a demonstration of leadership at this time.

4. In the last two weeks, the Netanyahu government has been subjected to acerbic criticism on the part of one Obama administration official after another. They have presented Israel as having fallen into the hands of right-wing extremists who are engaged in a mad race to suppress the judiciary and diminish the civil rights of women and children – not to mention Palestinians.
Secretary of State of Hillary Clinton went to unimaginable lengths when she likened Israel to Iran because fringe ultraorthodox group's in a couple of suburbs in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak were fighting for gender segregation on public transport against the government and the courts.
She was clearly aiming to undermine the Netanyahu government's democratic credentials - and therefore his moral legitimacy - for going to war to halt Iran's attainment of a nuclear weapon.

5. The unusually powerful US and Russian naval buildups in the waters around Syria and Iran.
Washington sought in late November to give the impression that the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group was anchored off Marseilles, when it was spotted in the eastern Mediterranean opposite Syria.
Moscow then rushed to Syria's defense by airlifting 72 anti-ship Yakhont missiles (Western-coded SSN-26) to Damascus. These water-skimming weapons can hit naval targets at a distance of 300 kilometers.
After that the Bush, whose freedom to approach Syrian or Lebanese shores, had been curtailed by the new weapon reaching Syria, departed to an unknown destination, while the USS Carl Vinson strike group took up position opposite Iran.
Moscow is also playing hide and seek with its only air carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. It was announced that the vessel would set sail for the Mediterranean on Dec. 6. But on Nov. 25, it was sighted passing Malta and chugging past Cyprus four days later on its way to join the flotilla of three Russian guided missile destroyers already anchored off Syria.

Neither the United States nor Russia would have concentrated two powerful fleets in the proximity of Syria and Iran unless they were certain a military conflagration was imminent. While any of the prime movers, Washington, Moscow, Tehran, Israel or Bashar Assad, may at the last moment step back from the brink of a regional war, at the moment, there is no sign of this happening.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Israel, Iran, Syria and What’s Coming

Israel, Iran, Syria and What’s Coming

Stakelbeck on Terror.

In Part 1 of my analysis on the coming Middle East war, I wrote that the Obama administration believes—absurdly–that it can contain a nuclear-armed Iran and, therefore, will not strike the Iranian regime’s nuclear facilities. I added that, due to the apocalyptic ideology of Iran’s leadership, nothing—not sanctions, not sabotage, not cyber viruses like Stuxnet—will stop Iran from acquiring the Bomb, other than military action.
While Europe has shown a willingness to impose tougher sanctions than the U.S. (hence the storming of the British Embassy by Khomeinist fanatics on Tuesday) it similarly has no stomach for a military confrontation with Iran, particularly with the European Union on the precipice of economic disaster. So where does that leave us? In the same place we’ve been since December 2007, when a bogus National Intelligence Estimate ended any possibility that the Bush administration would use military force against Iran.
You guessed it. Israel must go it alone and attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Israel does not want to do it. Israel should not have to do it. But thanks to the feckless appeasement strategy of the West vis-a’-vis Iran’s mullahs, Israel must do it. There is simply no other way for Israel to deal with the prospect of a genocidal regime that publicly vows to destroy the Jewish state acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to Tel Aviv. To say that the ramifications of such a strike could be unpleasant is an understatement. But Israel has no other option. And judging by the recent IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program and various Israeli and Western intelligence estimates, it would appear that time is of the essence.

As I wrote in Part 1, 2012 will very likely by the Year of Reckoning for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Either the mad mullahs get their blood-stained hands on the world’s deadliest weapons, or Israel stops them. Period.

So what is coming? Here are some of my thoughts and observations.
1) If you still doubt that Israel will take action against Iran after everything I laid out in Part 1, then I encourage you to take a quick look at Israel’s recent history. An existential threat was gathering in 1967. Israel struck first, obliterating Egypt’s air force on the ground and effectively ending the Six Day War before it even started. In 1981, Saddam Hussein was developing a nuclear weapon and the Israeli Air Force promptly took out Iraq’s Osirak reactor in a daring raid. Ditto in 2007, when Israel bombed Syria’s secret nuclear reactor. Notice a pattern here? Israel has a history of preemptively striking against existential threats. One notable instance when Israel did allow threats to gather occurred with 1973′s Yom Kippur War. The results were high casualties and some hairy early moments before Israel recovered and mounted a ferocious counterattack, earning an astounding victory. Lesson learned. Or so you would think. You could certainly argue that Israel has once again allowed a major threat to gather, this time in southern Lebanon in the form of Hezbollah and its arsenal of some 50,000 rockets and missiles aimed at every inch of the Jewish state. More on that shortly.

2) So when will Israel strike? One school of thought says it will wait until after the 2012 U.S. election, hoping beyond hope that President Obama–who has been openly hostile to Israel in a manner unprecedented for an American president–does not get reelected. Israel would no doubt be thrilled to see a new U.S. leader who, unlike the passive, outreach-obsessed Obama (the “Container-in-Chief”), will take the lead on the Iran issue and form a NATO coalition to take out Iran’s nuke facilities upon taking office in January 2013.

But here’s the problem: Israel might not have a year-and-a-half or so to wait around and Obama, despite his current abysmal poll numbers, may yet win reelection. So if Israel believes Iran is on the brink of having nuclear weapons, as appears the case, the strike will come before the 2012 election. It bears repeating here that Israel absolutely does not want to hit Iran’s nuclear facilities. They would prefer that a U.S.-led coalition do it, because America is obviously the most capable militarily and stands in a better position to handle the ugly international blowback and screeching UN condemnation that would follow.
More importantly, lest we forget, Israel is only the Little Satan in the eyes of the Iranian regime. America is the Great Satan and ultimate prize. We are the Iranians’ ultimate target. There’s a reason, after all, that the Iranians are working on EMP technology, not to mention intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the shores of the United States.

Iran has been at war with America for 32 years, a fact successive U.S. administrations have refused to accept or acknowledge. And sorry, Ron Paul, but this is America’s fight as much as it is Israel’s. If you had any knowledge or intellectual curiosity about the Middle East and Islam or the Iranian regime’s ideology, you would realize that. Judging by your stubbornly clueless GOP debate performances concerning national security issues, I won’t hold my breath for a breakhrough any time soon.

3) How will it all go down? I’m not a military strategist, but an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would seem to require a coordinated bombing campaign with missiles from air and sea, with the possibility of special forces on the ground in a sabotage role. Perhaps Israel has a trump card up its sleeve as well. Eli Lake of Newsweek recently wrote a fascinating piece about the possibility of Israel conducting electronic warfare against Iran as part of a preemptive strike. Here’s a snippet:

For much of the last decade, as Iran methodically built its nuclear program, Israel has been assembling a multibillion-dollar array of high-tech weapons that would allow it to jam, blind, and deafen Tehran’s defenses in the case of a pre-emptive aerial strike.
A U.S. intelligence assessment this summer, described to The Daily Beast by current and former U.S. intelligence officials, concluded that any Israeli attack on hardened nuclear sites in Iran would go far beyond airstrikes from F-15 and F-16 fighter planes and likely include electronic warfare against Iran’s electric grid, Internet, cellphone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.
For example, Israel has developed a weapon capable of mimicking a maintenance cellphone signal that commands a cell network to “sleep,” effectively stopping transmissions, officials confirmed. The Israelis also have jammers capable of creating interference within Iran’s emergency frequencies for first responders.
In a 2007 attack on a suspected nuclear site at al-Kibar, the Syrian military got a taste of this warfare when Israeli planes “spoofed” the country’s air-defense radars, at first making it appear that no jets were in the sky and then in an instant making the radar believe the sky was filled with hundreds of planes.

Read Lake’s entire piece. Would the Israelis carry out an EMP attack, crippling the Iranian infrastructure and early warning systems prior to the bombing raid?
No matter what strategy the Israelis employ, you have to think that they’ll also target some important Revolutionary Guards and Iranian military sites, and of course, Iran’s missile capabilities (the latter tactic may have already begun). Anything to minimize the inevitable Iranian counter-strike. In that same vein, you would also think that Israel would seek to preemptively cripple Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria’s rocket and missile-launching capabilities. Does Israel have enough firepower–and manpower–to strike Iran and its proxies simultaneously? It sounds like a very tall order. But I expect them to at least try.

One thing that has to be concerning at this point is that the element of surprise that served Israel so well in ’81 with Iraq and ’07 with Syria has essentially been lost. For a decade now, Israeli leaders have warned that they will not allow Iran to go nuclear. Western leaders have done the same (although, unlike Israel, they apparently don’t really mean it). The chatter about a possible Israeli strike has gone into overdrive in the past few weeks, as have sabotage efforts against Iran’s missile and nuclear facilities. We’re likely approaching the end game here and everyone–whether Israeli, Iranian or American–seems to know it. Or maybe not, in Iran’s case.
I do not expect regime change to be among Israel’s goals, by the way, although Jerusalem would be glad to leave the Iranian regime weakened, embarrassed and ripe for an overthrow by the Iranian people.

4) How will Iran and its proxies respond? Some worst case scenarios:
–Missiles are fired at Israel from Iran. Hezbollah rains down missiles and rockets from southern Lebanon; Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad do the same from Gaza. The “Reign of Fire” of 150,000 rockets and missiles that the Iranian regime has threatened commences from all directions, including Syria.
–Tel Aviv is targeted. Israeli civilian casualties are significant.
–Some other things to watch for: Hezbollah has been talking about conducting a ground incursion into the Galilee region that would see them seek to conquer and occupy towns in northern Israel. Does Syria push troops into the Golan as well? And what about the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. the West Bank)? Do they rise up and attack local Jewish communities? How about the 1 million Israeli Arabs living in places like Nazareth and Uhm Al Fahm? Are they a potential Fifth Column in the event of a major war?
–More fallout: Does Iran activate Hezbollah and Qods Force terror cells in Europe, Latin America and the U.S to hit American and Jewish/Israeli targets? Does it cause havoc in the Strait of Hormuz, hampering the world oil supply, and target U.S. troops in Afghanistan (assuming this all goes down after the last U.S. soldier leaves Iraq)?
–The Obama administration’s instinct will be to condemn Israel’s unilateral action and stay in the background in order to appease the angry Muslim masses. But if America is attacked in the aftermath and pulled into the conflict, even in a limited role, the Obamis may find themselves in the unsavory position (for them) of standing with Israel, at least in the short term. Of course, Iran’s allies, Russia and China, might not only condemn, but even threaten Israel.
–Markets may go crazy, with oil and gas prices through the roof. Israel will be blamed by the world for all of the repercussions. The UN will threaten sanctions. Obama will distance himself from Israel publicly as much as he can. Europe will condemn Israel fiercely. And if Israel is forced to use nuclear weapons in any capacity in this conflict–including tactical nukes against Iran’s most hardened nuclear facilities–pressure will be intense for Israel to give up its nukes and make the Middle East a “nuclear free zone.”
–The Muslim world will be on fire—and that’s an understatement. We’ll see Islamo/leftist protests—many of them violent—at Israeli embassies and consulates here and across the world. We could see an upsurge in global anti-Semitism. Iran will be licking its wounds and looking for revenge. Egypt, Turkey and the other Islamist regimes will demagogue the conflict endlessly. Their populations will be in the streets demanding retaliation.

Now, remember, the preceding were my “sky is falling,” absolute worst-case scenarios. If I’m mulling over it all, you know that Israeli military and intelligence officials, a very shrewd bunch, have considered each of these scenarios over and over again for the past several years.They undoubtedly have contingency plans to deal with the blowback and prepare/protect Israel’s civilian population (see here and here, for instance).

Indeed, here are some best case scenarios for Israel:
–Iran’s nuclear weapons program is set back by at least five years in a brilliant and daring Israeli operation. The Iranian military’s response is weaker than expected, thanks to the aforementioned Israeli electronic warfare tactics. The mullahs are humiliated and more vulnerable to a democratic overthrow from within.
–Since Israel is already striking Iran, it figures it might as well go for broke and eliminate Tehran’s proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, once and for all as a threat. It demolishes both terror organizations and also hastens regime change in Syria, removing the Assad dynasty.
–Surrounding Islamist regimes like Turkey are intimidated by Israel’s overwhelming show of military might and less eager to saber rattle.

–To review: the Iranian regime is weakened and humiliated, its nuclear weapons program set back significantly; Hamas and Hezbollah are destroyed; the Assad regime is toppled; Turkey and the various emerging Muslim Brotherhood satellites in the Middle East and North Africa are intimidated. Casualties are lower than expected. If you’re Israel, that would have to be considered a good outcome and worth the trouble. Again, that is “best case.”
Here’s what former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said recently about the pros and cons of an Israeli strike against Iran:
“There is a big argument over whether to attack Iran or not,” Yatom said. “The argument is legitimate. Some say Israel will pay a high price, no matter who does the attacking.”
“As difficult a price it may be, and even if those predicting apocalyptic results are correct – and I don’t think they are – this is still not as bad as the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb,” he argued.
Israel can’t afford to find itself in the position of having “to wake up every morning and ask, ‘Will they go crazy and throw a bomb on us or not?’” Yatom said, adding that “the damage that an Iranian nuclear bomb can cause is so great.”
It was impossible to stake the nation’s security on predictions by those who claim a nuclear Iran can be deterred, and that the Iranian regime would not launch a nuclear attack, he said.
Yatom acknowledged that rocket attacks would likely ensue from Lebanon and Gaza following a strike, but added that Israel’s response would be “so painful and crushing that rockets will come to an end.”
“Civilian facilities and infrastructures in Lebanon and Gaza will be hit. Innocent civilians could be hurt. But the barrage of rockets will no longer be falling over our heads,” he added.
The world did not have much time left to act on Iran, the former Mossad head warned, adding that “there is an evaluation that they crossed the red line. They have the knowledge to make the bomb. All that is needed now is the decision to do it… The world has a year, probably less.”

5) Perhaps the ultimate wild card in all of this is, what does Syria do? As long as Bashar al-Assad is still in power (a very uncertain proposition at this point), I believe that Syria, an Iranian client state, does indeed get involved this time and fire rockets at Israel. Assad may see attacking the hated Zionist entity as a last gasp way to distract from his domestic troubles. If he hangs on to power–and remember, that’s a big “if“–I believe seeing Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran fire away at his mortal enemy would be irresistible to Assad. He would join in. And remember, Syria has the largest chemical weapons stockpile in the Middle East.
Of course, if Assad dared use WMD’s against Israeli population centers, Israel would react with overwhelming force. This is where I take off my “secular” analyst hat and don my Believer hat.
In the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 17, verse 1, the Hebrew prophet says the following:
The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

Ladies and gents, Damascus is the oldest inhabited city in the world. It has never been utterly destroyed, even by the Mongols. But the Bible is clear that a day is coming when Damascus will cease to exist. What could provoke such destruction? Could it be that the Assad regime will make a monumental miscalculation in regards to Israel and target Tel Aviv? What do you suppose Israel’s response would be in such a scenario? If you said “Damascus would be a ruinous heap,” you’d be in the ballpark. Perhaps Assad will not be the Syrian leader that provokes such wrath, and perhaps Israel will not be the one to administer it. But given all that we know, we have to at least consider the possibility.

Whatever the case, we will find out the answers to all of these questions very soon.
The bottom line, once again, is this: for Israel, the only thing worse than attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities is Iran acquiring the Bomb.
Fasten your seat belts for a very interesting 2012.

Part 1: Israel, Iran, Syria and What's Coming

Part 1: Israel, Iran, Syria and What's Coming
Erick Stakelbeck CBN News Terrorism Analyst

It's become pretty clear that 2012 will be the Year of Reckoning when it comes to Iran's nuclear weapons program. Simply put, there's a very good chance that we're going to wake up one day in '12 and discover that either Iran has successfully tested a nuclear bomb, or that the mullahs' nuke facilities have been preemptively attacked by Israel (unless Iran's proxies get things started by first striking Israel).
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's comments this weekend were just the latest evidence that Israel will not accept a genocidal Iranian regime equipped with the world's deadliest weapons (not to mention the ensuing nuclear arms race such a development would spark in the Middle East).
I've spoken with Israeli officials, both on and off the record, for the past six-plus years, and all agree that a nuclear Iran is a non-starter. So where does that leave us?
Despite yet another round of sanctions being put forth, it's painfully clear that economic pressure will not dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear weapons drive, particularly with Iran's allies, Russia and China, vowing to never get on board at the UN Security Council and with the Obama administration refusing to target Iran's Central Bank (France, for instance, is seeking much tougher sanctions than the feckless Obamis).
Besides, in the unlikely event that sanctions did begin to bite so badly that the Iranian regime feared for its survival, the mullahs would undoubtedly lash out and seek to divert attention by either starting a Middle East war (most likely through one or all of their proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad) or by carrying out terror attacks on Western and Jewish targets, similar to the DC Embassy plot that was broken up last month.

So let’s end the charade and face reality. Sanctions or no sanctions, any way you slice it, the outcome here is war. And the reason for that is the apocalyptic, expansionist ideology of the Iranian regime.
Contrary to conventional inside-the-Beltway thinking, the Iranian leadership does not consist of pragmatists and rational thinkers. Rather, it is a genocidal death cult that believes the so-called Arab Spring is a divine signal from Allah that the Islamic messiah, also known as the Twelfth Imam or Mahdi, is set to return to earth and lead the armies of Islam to victory over all non-Muslims in a cataclysmic final showdown (with Iran leading the charge).
The more chaos Iran helps to create, the more likely it is that the Mahdi will return to set things right, or so the thinking goes. Well, it doesn’t get much more chaotic than nuking the Zionist entity. By the way, the verdict is in and it's not even close. The big winners of the Arab Spring/Islamist Winter are Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. In a rout. The Obama administration must be very pleased indeed with the latter.
The Iranians might not use the Bomb right away. They may very well milk their nuclear power status for all it's worth to gain regional and international concessions and flex their muscle as the Middle East’s new hegemon. It might be three years. It might be five years. Or it might be two months.
Eventually, revolutionary Iran would fire a nuclear weapon at Tel Aviv, when the time was right, in their view. And then perhaps they’d use their burgeoning long-range missile program to deliver a nuclear payload to Europe. And then to the shores of the Great Satan, America (possibly using our own backyard as a launching pad). The Iranian regime’s ideology/eschatology demands it: there’s really no way around it.

Skeptics might counter by saying, "C'mon, Stakelbeck. If Iran dared use a nuclear weapon against Israel, the Israelis would turn Iran into a parking lot. So would the U.S." True. Yet, again, you're not dealing with a rational regime but a death cult that believes it's winning in its struggle against Israel and the West, that the wind is at its back and that Allah is firmly on its side.
This is a regime that sent thousands of young boys to clear minefields during the Iran/Iraq War, adorning their necks with plastic "Keys to Paradise" and promising them eternal rewards. Does anyone doubt that such a regime would think nothing of sacrificing 20, 30, 40 million Iranians for the greater good, in their view, of obliterating Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas, where some 70 percent of Israel's population lives?
In such a scenario, Israel as we know it would indeed cease to exist. Yet Iran and the Muslim world would survive, as former Iranian President Rafsanjani has noted. After all, Iran boasts a population of some 70 million. Israel's population, by contrast, is only 7 million (including 6 milllion Jews).

Eventually, the mullahs will be very disappointed to discover that Israel can never cease to exist and will in fact, thrive (although it will be awful hairy getting there). We know this because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob tells us so in the Bible. But more on that in Part 2 tomorrow.
In the meantime, know this: Iran is not developing nuclear weapons simply as a deterrent. It is developing them as the ultimate trump card in exporting Khomeini's Islamic revolution worldwide. American and European decision makers don't understand this. Israelis (at least many of them) do.
And Israel, the Little Satan, is first in Tehran's crosshairs: which means the Israelis don't have time to sit around and figure out whether Iran--led by Islamic zealots who pledge daily to wipe Israel from the face of the earth--is just bluffing for domestic consumption. Two-thousand years-plus of forced dispersions, expulsions, pogroms, persecutions and wholesale massacres will have that kind of effect on a people's mindset.

At the end of the day, the Iranian cult of martyrdom explains why military action is the only option in dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In their guts, Western leaders must know this— even though they have little to no understanding of the ideology that drives Iran’s decision making. Dialogue, sanctions, computer viruses like Stuxnet, sabotage and assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists are just some of the various tactics that the West and Israel have used to hamper Iran's nuclear program over the past few years.
Yet as the recent IAEA report made brutally clear , Iran continues to march merrily along on its way to the Bomb. As Iranian despot Mahmoud Ahmadenijad has said, Iran’s nuclear weapons program is like "a train with no brakes." And despite the serious rift that has reportedly developed between he and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ahmadenijad does not speak publicly without the Ayatollah's approval. Ahmadenijad is essentially the regime's public face and mouthpiece to the world. And he's made it abundantly clear that it's nukes or bust for his country.

The tragedy of it all is that in June 2009, as huge throngs of Iranians were taking to the streets to demand regime change, begging for some kind of U.S. support--in the very least, a strongly worded "Tear Down this Wall" type statement to galvanize them--the Obama administration sat on its hands and didn't want to be "seen as meddling."
The Iranian opposition was not only demoralized; it was furious at the administration's craven inaction. Thus, a golden opportunity slipped away to rid the world of the mad mullahs once and for all. The bitter reality is that the Iranian regime has since tightened its grip to the point that a repeat of June '09 seems highly unlikely--at least while President Obama remains in office.

So where does this all leave us? How is all of this saber-rattling going to shake out? What's coming down the pike in 2012? Here are some of my thoughts.
Other than a pre-emptive Iranian attack against America (not out of the question, by the way, via either an EMP strike or handing off nukes to terror groups) in which we would be forced to respond, I cannot see any scenario under which the Obama administration, or Europe for that matter, would hit Iran’s nuke facilities. It goes against every fiber of Obama’s being.
Leading from behind in a NATO misadventure in Libya (and empowering Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in the process) is one thing. Taking on Iran and igniting a Middle East war and probable terror retaliation on American soil in an election year is another. Obama has no stomach for that. Besides, in his heart of hearts, he still somehow wants to be the mullahs’ friend. It’s our fault that they hate us, after all.

To sum it up, this administration has made a conscious decision to “contain” a nuclear Iran. They know as well as anyone that sanctions will not work. So they are making a show of arming the Gulf states (the recent proposed sale of bunker busters to the UAE, for example) in order to dissuade Iran from striking first, and have hinted at simply providing a “nuclear umbrella” for Sunni Arab states in the region.
The Obamis are banking that Iran will be rational and not use the Bomb--that they will be scared off by the threat of massive US/Israeli/Sunni Arab retaliation. Unfortunately, as stated previously, the Iranians’ messianic/apocalyptic ideology argues otherwise. Which means a containment strategy is, ultimately, folly.
For Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other administration officials to publicly pressure Israel not to act and do everything but take America's military option off the table projects exactly the kind of weakness on which the Iranian regime thrives. Talk about showing your hand. What a shameful display of foreign policy incompetence.
The U.S., it should be noted, is indisputably the most equipped to completely dismantle Iran's nuclear weapons program. You've got to read this entire piece by Dr. James Lacey of the U.S. Marine Corps War College arguing for a U.S. strike against Iran. Here's a snippet:

It should be recognized that an American or Israeli strike at the Iranian nuclear program is not without risk. Iran could attack oil facilities in the region, launch a global terror campaign, close, at least temporarily, the Straits of Hormuz, and make life more difficult for our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, after weighing the risks, I believe the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran is incalculably worse.
Can America destroy Iran’s nuclear program? The answer is an unequivocal yes. This may come as a surprise, since we have so often heard the opposite. For instance, many commentators claim that Iran’s program is so distributed that we cannot take it out in a single strike. So what? First, even a distributed program will have a relatively small number of crucial nodes. If those are taken out, the entire Iranian program will grind to a halt. More importantly, why are we limited to a single strike?
Another common objection is that the most important facilities are buried so deep as to make them impervious to bombing. Even if this is true, which is unlikely, of what use is a facility without power and buried under a few hundred yards of rubble and loose earth?
The most commonly used excuse for non-action, however, is that an American military strike would only cause the Iranians to redouble their efforts. Really? In any case, is there some rule against our blowing up their “redoubled” program a year or two from now? Is there not a point where even the Iranians will tire of seeing hundred-billion-dollar investments repeatedly turned into rubbish?
Moreover, there is recent evidence that the United States would not have to go it alone on such a strike. Last week the Pentagon announced that it was sending 4,900 JDAM bombs to the United Arab Emirates. These precision bunker-busting bombs are ideally suited for striking at Iran’s nuclear facilities. The UAE has also recently taken delivery of 80 F-16 E/F Block 60 aircraft. These are the most advanced F-16s in the world and nearly a match for America’s new F-35s. Still, it would take 60 attacks by each of the UAE’s F-16s to use up 4,900 bombs. One assumes that many of these bombs can be easily transferred for use by American aircraft in the region.
If the United States does make the decision to attack Iran, such a strike must be overwhelming. If we targeted only Iranian nuclear facilities, we would leave ourselves open to the Iranian counterstrikes mentioned above. To limit the chances Iran will be able to do serious damage to the West, any U.S. assault must be aimed at Iran’s command-and-control centers, power stations, airbases, and missile sites, as well as the nation’s murderous leadership.
And this is the short list. In all likelihood, an attack on Iran would probably have to be a prolonged air assault over many days or weeks. If we, instead, leave the job of striking Iran to the Israelis alone, there is no doubt they could destroy the Iranian nuclear program, or at least set it back years. Israel, however, is incapable of launching the kind of sustained attack that could limit Iran’s ability to strike back.
The military option against Iran is fraught with danger, but doing nothing is more so. Last week’s IAEA report makes it clear that the decision cannot be postponed for much longer.

Yet the Obama administration will not strike. Which leaves the Israelis. They don't want to do it, They shouldn't have to do it. But because the West--led by America--has abdicated its responsibility, Israel simply has no choice. The aftermath is likely to be extremely ugly. There will be blowback.
But the bottom line--and it's been said many times but bears repeating--is this: the only thing worse than attacking Iran's nuclear facilities is allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Particularly if you are Israel, a nation in Iran's neighborhood that is firmly in the mullahs' crosshairs for annihilation. End of story.

For more on Israel's strategy, Syria's destiny and what the Bible says about all of this, check back here tomorrow for Part 2.
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