Posts tagged Middle East
“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” Barack Hussein Obama
The Week: Like many Coptic Christians in Egypt, Ayman Nabil Labib had a tattoo of the cross on his wrist. And like 17-year-old men everywhere, he could be assertive about his identity. But in 2011, after Egypt’s revolution, that kind of assertiveness could mean trouble.
Ayman’s Arabic-language teacher told him to cover his tattoo in class. Instead of complying, the young man defiantly pulled out the cross that hung around his neck, making it visible. His teacher flew into a rage and began choking him, goading the young man’s Muslim classmates by saying, “What are you going to do with him?”
Ayman’s classmates then beat him to death. False statements were given to police, and two boys were taken into custody only after Ayman’s terror-stricken family spoke out.
Ayman’s suffering is not an isolated case in Egypt or the region.
The Arab Spring, and to a lesser extent the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, were touted as the catalysts for a major historic shift in the region. From Egypt to Syria to Iraq, the Middle East’s dictatorships would be succeeded by liberal, democratic regimes. Years later, however, there is very little liberality or democracy to show. Indeed, what these upheavals have bequeathed to history is a baleful, and barely noticed legacy: The near-annihilation of the world’s most ancient communities of Christians.
The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East, as well as the silence with which it has been met in the West, are the subject of journalist Ed West’s Kindle Single “The Silence of Our Friends.” The booklet is a brisk and chilling litany of horrors: Discriminatory laws, mass graves, unofficial pogroms, and exile. The persecuted are not just Coptic and Nestorian Christians who have relatively few co-communicants in the West, but Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants as well.
Throughout the Middle East the pattern is the same. Christians are murdered in mob violence or by militant groups. Their churches are bombed, their shops destroyed, and their homes looted. Laws are passed making them second-class citizens, and the majority of them eventually leave.
In Egypt, a rumor that a Muslim girl was dating a Christian boy led to the burning of multiple churches, and the imposition of a curfew on a local Christian population. Illiterate children were held in police custody for urinating in a trash heap, because an imam claimed that pages quoting the Koran were in the pile and had been desecrated. Again, the persecution resulted in Christian families leaving their homes behind.
In Syria, the situation is even worse. In June 2013, a cluster of Christian villages was totally destroyed. Friar Pierbattista Pizzaballa reported that “of the 4,000 inhabitants of the village of Ghassanieh… no more than 10 people remain.”
Two Syrian bishops have been kidnapped by rebel groups. Militants expelled 90 percent of the Christians in the city of Homs. Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch says that out of a population of 1.75 million, 450,000 Syrian Christians have simply fled their homes in fear.
In Iraq, the story is the same but more dramatic. According to West, between 2004 and 2011 the population of Chaldo-Assyrian Christians fell from over a million to as few as 150,000. In 2006, Isoh Majeed, who advocated the creation of a safe haven for Christians around Nineveh, was murdered in his home. The number of churches in Iraq has declined to just 57, from 300 before the invasion. The decline of Iraq’s Christian population since the first Gulf War is roughly 90 percent, with most of the drop occurring since the 2003 invasion.
The U.S. and the U.K. bear some responsibility in this catastrophe, since they oversaw the creation of Iraq’s postwar government and did little to protect minority faiths.
West’s book touches on the clueless and callous behavior of Western governments in these episodes. U.S. reconstruction aid to Iraq is distributed according to Iraqi laws that discriminate against Christian Iraqis. The U.S. pours billions of foreign aid into Egypt, and yet the Christians in that country are not allowed to build churches (or even so much as repair toilets in them) withoutexplicit permission from the head of state, almost never granted. Last September, the U.S and Britain attempted to make their support of Syrian rebel groups explicit and overt, but at the same time some of these militias were executing a pogrom against Christians.
A Christian shopkeeper in Ma’loula summed it up in a quote to the BBC: “Tell the EU and the Americans that we sent you Saint Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us.”
In an email to The Week, Ed West says there are things America and its allies can and should do to aid persecuted Christians:
Western countries should make clear that our friendship, cooperation, aid, and help depends on: 1) Religious freedom, which includes the right to change or leave religions; 2) A secular law that treats all people the same. That was not the case in Mubarak’s Egypt, which the U.S. helped to prop up with $500 million a year. That is not the case in Iraq, which under U.S. control instigated sharia into its constitution. That shouldn’t be acceptable. In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup, a country where death for apostasy is still on the statute books. Why aren’t we all boycotting it?
The last request does put the plight of Middle Eastern Christians in global context. Western activists and media have focused considerable outrage at Russia’s laws against “homosexual propaganda” in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It would only seem fitting that Westerners would also protest (or at the very least notice) laws that punish people with death for converting to Christianity.
And yet the Western world is largely ignorant of or untroubled by programmatic violence against Christians. Ed West, citing the French philosopher Regis Debray, distils the problem thusly: “The victims are ‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, and ‘too foreign’ to excite the Right.”
Church leaders outside the Middle East are afraid to speak out, partly because they fear precipitating more violence. (Seven churches were fire-bombed in Iraq after Pope Benedict XVI quoted an ancient criticism of Islam in an academic speech in Germany.) Oddly, unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. are the only powers acting in the Middle East that do not take any special interest in the safety of those with whom they have a historical religious affinity.
These are the lands in which Jesus’ apostles and their disciples made some of the first Christian converts. In an interview, West pointed out that these communities “were Christian when our ancestors were worshipping trees and stones.” Now they are in danger of imminent extinction.
In 2013, Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, said the following at his installation homily, “Still the shadow of fear, anxiety, and death is hanging over our people.” He warned: “If emigration continues, God forbid, there will be no more Christians in the Middle East. It will be no more than a distant memory.” West’s book is a sobering reminder that Western policy has helped shape this grim fate for Middle Eastern Christians — and Western silence allows it to continue. source – The Week
Will the phrase “Guns of August” one day refer not only to the prelude to World War I in 1914 but also to the prelude to a Middle East war in 2013?
“The direction of events in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran should keep us awake at night. History is taking a dangerous turn,” he writes. “The region certainly cannot sustain two wars — Syria’s bloody insurgency and a near-civil war in Egypt — without wrecking established peace treaties and the normal mechanisms for defusing conflict.”
I sat down with Boyes in our London newsroom. He acknowledged that the conflicts coursing through a half-dozen Middle Eastern countries did not come from a single source, nor did they stem from a single reason.
But he feared the problems were becoming intractable and were spreading across state borders: “the new Sunni assertiveness, the rise of the jihad, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood not only in Egypt but in every Arab society.”
And Boyes warned that, as in August 1914, the world was not paying enough attention.
“In August 1914 there was a lot of grouse shooting going on. In August 2013, politicians prefer to read doorstopper biographies in Tuscany and Cornwall. Yet the spreading Middle East crisis, its multiple flashpoints, is every bit as ominous as the prelude to war in 1914.”
The news certainly seems to get worse by the day. The West is now directly blaming the Assad regime for using chemical weapons against its own people in Syria. The drumbeat toward a military strike in Syria grows louder by the hour.
The U.K. is “making contingency plans,” according to the prime minister’s spokesman.
“The use of chemical weapons in the 21st century, on a large scale like this, cannot go unaddressed, cannot be ignored,” warned the French president.
And as the United States’ top diplomat put it: “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Western officials warn that the decision of whether to attack Syria will be made this week.
The Guns of August, indeed. source – Yahoo News
In politics there are no accidents or coincidences
If you think that the recent power grab of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi is happening in a vacuum or by mere happenstance, you are greatly fooling yourself. The move by Morsi to make himself Egypt’s new Pharaoh is exactly what the plan has been all along since Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood started the Arab Spring.
Haven’t you wondered why Obama, so vocal during the Gaza-Israeli conflict, is now as quiet as a Mosque Mouse? Not one word has he spoken against Morsi’s coup. And he won’t until he is sure how it will all wind up.
We ask you to consider the following:
- Back in the very beginning of the Ara Spring, Obama sided with the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Obama put the muscle in place to assasinate Muammar Gaddhafi.
- Obama did nothing to stop the Arab Spring as it spread across the Middle East.
- Obama aided the Brotherhood in Yemen with airstirkes.
- Obama convinces G8 to give Muslim Brotherhood $8 billion for Arab Spring.
- The liberal media aided Obama by whole-heartedly embracing the Arab Spring.
- After taking over Egypt, Obama then publicly declared the US-Muslim Brotherhood partnership.
The aboved-cited articles are barely even the tip of the iceberg showing Obama’s blood-stained hands in his partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. Do a category search on our site and see all the evidence, it’s quite overwhelming.
From the very beginning, NTEB has shown you the ever-evolving partnership between Obama and the US with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. All this was done for one reason and one reason only, and that answer is found here in the Holy Scriptures:
The Coming Psalm 83 War Against Israel
“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” Psalm 83: 2-8
Lets take a look at who the Muslim nations are that are referenced in Psalm 83:
- The Tabernacles of Edom: South Jordan and Palestine.
- The Ishmaelites: Saudi Arabia
- Moab: Palestinians and Central Jordan
- Hagarenes: Egyptians
- Gebal: Hezbollah and North Lebanon
- Ammon: Palestinians and North Jordan
- Amalek: Sinai
- The Philistines: Hamas of Gaza
- Inhabitants of Tyre: Hezbollah and Southern Lebanon
- Assur: Syrian and Northern Iraq
Interesting note: Contrary to popular belief, the word Selah in the bible at the end of verse 6 does not indicate a “timely pause” or ask the reader to “meditate on what they read”. Instead, it refers to the red rock city of Selah Petra where the Jews will flee during the time of Jacob’s trouble.
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7
One by one, we have watched over the last year and a half most of these nations coming together under the mantle of the Arab Spring, and we believe that in short order the remaining nations will as well. This partnership is unique in both world and Muslim history, but is well-known to students of bible prophecy. The Psalm 83 Confederacy is alive and well.
Keep in mind that none of this would have been possible had it not been for Barack Hussein Obama supporting the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood with American taxpayer dollars, influence and military might. and everywhere he has travelled he has beat the drum for other major nations to kick in money and support as well.
You might say it’s the world’s largest non-secret conspiracy theory
Now that he has won a second term as US president, Obama’s naked ambitions will become more and more obvious and all consuming. He has been placed in office by God primarily to judge American for her rebellion and wickedness, and to create the Psalm 83 confederacy.
Can it be stopped? No, it cannot. Ultimately, God’s Sovereignty will decide the exact day and hour of when the attack outlined in Psalm 83 will happen. And no amount of planning and scheming by man will stop or even delay its progress.
Its exciting to be alive in the time of the end spoke of in the bible, just make sure you have this squared away before events really heat up.
The threat from the South comes alive
Two major Israeli newspapers are reporting that rockets fired from Egypt have hit Israel.
“Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula launched rockets into Israel Friday night,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “The rockets fell near an Israeli village on the southern border, causing some damage, but no injuries.”
The Israeli daily Haaretz reports, ”Rockets fired from direction of Egypt toward Eshkol Regional Council.”
It appears no damage was reported in connection with the rocket fire from Egypt. Earlier today, the Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians there.
This new front comes a day after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv and on the same day Israel’s capital Jerusalem was the target of rocket fire. Those attacks were courtesy of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“After Tel Aviv metropolitan area, capital under fire too: An air raid siren was sounded in Jerusalem and surrounding communities early Friday evening. After residents reported hearing blast sounds, security forces confirmed that one rocket had landed in the Gush Etzion area near a Palestinian village,” Ynet reports.
“There were no reports of injuries or damage. This was the first air raid siren sounded in the area since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. Air raid sirens were sounded in southern communities throughout the day and a barrage of missiles hit the area.” source – Weekly Standard
Will Obama Appease The Muslims?
In a move that could escalate tensions around the Arab world, the leader of the Hezbollah militant group called for protests against the movie and said the U.S. must be held accountable for the film.
In a televised speech, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah pushed for the creation of an international law that would ban insults of Islam and other religions, citing similar laws that exist to prevent anti-Semitism.
His outrage stems from the anti-Islam film produced by a mysterious convict based in California, that has since sparked protests outside American embassies in the Middle East and across the globe.
The protests were set off by a low-budget, crudely produced film called ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which portrays Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.
‘Those who should be held accountable, punished, prosecuted and boycotted are those directly responsible for this film and those who stand behind them and those who support and protect them, primarily the United States of America,’ Mr Nasrallah said.
He called for protests on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, urging protesters to call on their leaders to express their anger too.
‘We should not only express our anger at an American embassy here or there.
We should tell our rulers in the Arab and Muslim world that it is “your responsibility in the first place” and since you officially represent the governments and states of the Muslim world you should impose on the United States, Europe and the whole world that our prophet, our Quran and our holy places and honor of our Prophet be respected,’ he said.
In Pakistan, police fired tear gas and water cannons at the protesters in Karachi after they broke through the barricade and reached the outer wall of the U.S. Consulate.
The protesters threw stones and bricks, prompting the police to beat back the crowd with their batons.
The police and private security guards outside the consulate also fired in the air to disperse the crowd.
One protester was killed during the clash, said Ali Ahmar, spokesman for the Shiite Muslim group that organized the rally. source – Daily Mail UK
From Yemen to Egypt and Iraq to Indonesia, rising anger provoked by an anti-Islam film has seen protestors storm U.S. embassies in Muslim countries around the world.
Chanting ‘death to America’, hundreds of protestors marched on the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital today, where they burned the American flag, used stones to smash windows, and set fire to cars, before breaking through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound in eastern Sana’a.
The attack followed Tuesday night’s storming of the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya – where the U.S. ambassador and three other staff were killed.
Security has been ramped up at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, and at least one cemetery for American veterans, while President Obama called the leaders of Libya and Egypt to continue helping him to ensure the safety of diplomatic personnel.
One of those killed in Benghazi alongside U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was 42-year-old Glen Doherty, a family friend told CBS Boston today. There were protests in Tunisia, Sudan and Morocco overnight, and the demonstrations have reached Cairo and Baghdad.
Today riot police in Indonesia were standing guard outside the U.S. Ambassador’s Jakarta residence in anticipation of further action. Once inside the compound in Sana’a, Yemeni protestors brought down the U.S. flag, burned it and replaced it with a black banner bearing Islam’s declaration of faith – ‘There is no God but Allah.’
Before storming the grounds, demonstrators removed the embassy’s sign on the outer wall, set tyres ablaze and pelted the compound with rocks.
Yemeni security forces who rushed to the scene fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators and were eventually able to drive them out of the compound. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was inside the embassy at the time of the attack.
Some protestors held aloft banners declaring ‘Allah is Greatest’. Tyres blazed outside the compound and protesters scaled the walls.
‘We can see a fire inside the compound and security forces are firing in the air. The demonstrators are fleeing and then charging back,’ one witness said.
It was similar to an attack on the US Embassy in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Tuesday night.
Witnesses said there were some injuries on both sides but gave no exact figures.
Yemen, a key U.S. ally, is home of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is viewed by Washington as the most dangerous branch of the militant network established by Osama bin Laden.
Yemen is fighting an al Qaeda-backed insurrection largely in the south of the country. Its embassy in Washington did not report any casualties. source – Daily Mail
Security experts have discovered a new data-stealing virus dubbed “Flame” they say has lurked inside thousands of computers across the Middle East for as long as five years as part of a sophisticated cyber warfare campaign.
It is the most complex piece of malicious softwarediscovered to date, said Kaspersky Lab security senior researcher Roel Schouwenberg, whose company discovered the virus. The results of the Lab’s work were made available on Monday.
Schouwenberg said he did not know who built Flame.
If the Lab’s analysis is correct, Flame could be the third major cyber weapon uncovered after the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010, and its data-stealing cousin Duqu, named after the Star Wars villain.
The discovery by one of the world’s largest makers of anti-virus software will likely fuel speculation that nations have already secretly deployed other cyber weapons.
“If Flame went on undiscovered for five years, the only logical conclusion is that there are other operations ongoing that we don’t know about,” Schouwenberg said in an interview.
The Moscow-based company is controlled by Russian malware researcher Eugene Kaspersky, and gained notoriety in cyber weapons research after solving several mysteries surrounding Stuxnet and Duqu.
Researchers at Kaspersky said they were only starting to understand how Flame works because it is so complex. The full significance will not be known until other cyber security firms obtain samples of Flame.
The Lab’s research shows the largest number of infected machines are in Iran, followed by the Israel/Palestine region, then Sudan and Syria.
The virus contains about 20 times as much code as Stuxnet, which attacked an Iranian uranium enrichment facility, causing centrifuges to fail. It has about 100 times as much code as a typical virus designed to steal financial information, Schouwenberg said.
Flame can gather data files, remotely change settings on computers, turn on PC microphones to record conversations, take screen shots and log instant messaging chats.
He said there was evidence to suggest the code was commissioned by the same nation or nations that were behind Stuxnet and Duqu, which were built on a common platform.
Both Flame and Stuxnet appear to infect machines by exploiting the same flaw in the Windows operating system and employ a similar way of spreading.
That means the teams that built Stuxnet and Duqu might have had access to the same technology as the team that built Flame, he said. Schouwenberg said he believed the attack was highly targeted, aimed mainly at businesses and academic institutions. He estimated that no more than 5,000 personal computers around the world have been infected, including a handful in North America.
Kaspersky Lab discovered Flame while investigating reports that a virus dubbed Wiper was attacking computers in Iran.
The International Telecommunications Union, a U.N. agency that promotes research and cooperation on telecommunications technology, asked Kaspersky Lab to investigate those reports.
Schouwenberg said that his team discovered Flame, but failed to turn up anything that resembled Wiper. source – MSNBC