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This page focuses on news related to the buildup of tensions between Syria and Israel according to the prophesied future destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17. This is the longest continually inhabited city in history and has never been destroyed. I believe this event, in accordance with the Iran-Syria defense agreement, the hooks in the jaws that brings about the Magog invasion of Ezekiel 38,39.

I have begun to use a different site to share the Watchman Newsletter from December 2008 and on. Some stories will be archived there, but for the most part anything from November 2008 and before will remain here.

This page may take some time to load. For size reasons I have archived topics by year: |2007|2008|

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Iran, Syria tauten grip on Lebanon, Tehran woos Christian president DEBKAfile (November 22, 2008) - Tehran and Damascus are going all out to get their hooks into Lebanon’s Christian politicians and wean them away from their’ traditional ties with the West. President Michel Suleiman this week accepted an Iranian invitation to visit Tehran this month, while another Lebanese Christian leader, Hizballah’s ally Gen. Michel Aoun, arranged to visit Damascus.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that the Iranians are forging ahead with a campaign to bind the region’s Christian minorities to their Shiite wagon for challenging Sunni domination. Their first quarry is Lebanon’s powerful community. Arrangements were finalized Monday with the Iranian ambassador in Beirut Reza Shibani for president Suleiman to spend two days in Tehran on Nov. 24-25. Aoun will visit Damascus at the same time. Their country is meanwhile encircled by Syrian military forces, a factual pointer to Bashar Assad’s real intentions regarding peace.

Although these developments bode ill for Israel too, they were left out of the sweeping 2009 prognosis which the Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj. Amos Yadlin delivered in Tel Aviv Monday, Nov. 17. Neither did he look ahead to the likelihood that Iran would be able to assemble a nuclear weapon next year, notwithstanding more than a decade of international diplomacy and sanctions.

Senior Israeli intelligence circles commented that the evaluations heard from Yadlin Monday were less attuned to reality than to the estimated positions of the incoming US president Barack Obama’s Middle East team and Olmert-Livni policies. Like them, he omitted to address the agendas which Tehran and Damascus are actively pursuing. Tehran launched its pursuit of Christian minorities by inviting the Lebanese Maronite leader Aoun to Tehran on Oct. 13, through Hizballah’s good offices.

The gambit worked: The Lebanese leader returned home proclaiming Iran the strongest world power between the Persian Gulf and China and predicting that his trip would bear fruit in six months. In the first week of November, Tehran heaped full honors on the Lebanon’s ex-president, the pro-Syrian Christian Emil Lahoud, when he arrived with a 60-man retinue. Michel Sleiman can expect no less.

The assumption in Israeli ruling circles that Syria as peace partner will deliver a “Lebanese dowry” is therefore fallacious. Assad plans to squeeze whatever he can from Israel and the new US administration in the coin of territory and backing for his regime, while not giving up an iota of his schemes with Tehran. For now, no one is paying attention to the Syrian-Iranian jaws snapping shut on Lebanon.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Has the U.N. Found the Smoking Gun in the Syrian ‘Nuclear’ Incident? The Media Line (November 11, 2008) - There are widespread reports in the international media that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspectors found traces of weapons-grade uranium at a site in Syria, which Israel is believed to have destroyed in an air strike a year ago. The reports suggest the uranium was discovered in June, but the story has only just been leaked to the media. Confirmation is expected to come from the IAEA’s head Muhammad Al-Barade’i when the United Nations’ watchdog meets at the end of this month. Since the bombing, Syria has insisted the site was used for agricultural purposes, but media reports have persisted about North Korean involvement, as well as links to Iran’s nuclear program.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |

Russia: A Future Radical Muslim Superpower? Front Page Magazine (November 9, 2008) - Frontpage Interview's guest today is Ilshat Alsayef, one of the founding members of Muslims Against Sharia. He was born in of the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. A military officer for most of his adult life, Mr. Alsayef started his military career as a Second Lieutenant during the Soviet-Afghan war and retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel after the First Chechen War.

FP: Ilshat Alsayef, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Alsayef: Thank you very much for having me here.

FP: Tell us about the state of radicalization of Muslims in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics.

Alsayef: There were two waves of radicalization of the ex-Soviet Muslims. The first wave started after the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. After the fall of communism, former Soviet Asian republics, now independent countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) as well as autonomous regions of Russia (Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia), experienced a resurgence of religious freedom.

Not being able to freely practice their religion for a few generations, some of the local Muslims went overboard. Salafi groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and later al Qaeda, became popular among newly-minted religious zealots. While the conflicts in Asian countries were mostly religious vs. secular, the Chechen conflict also had the independence element.

The second wave of radicalization started at the turn of the century. Some people claim that it was a result of the American War on Terror, which many Muslims interpret as the American War on Islam, but in reality the reason is skyrocketing oil revenues of Wahhabi states.

Centuries-old local mosques are being replaced by modern, Wahhabi-built mosques. Old imams who survived the communists are being replaced by Wahhabi clerics. This is not only true for predominantly Muslim countries like Tajikistan, but also for autonomous regions inside of Russia like Bashkiria and Tatarstan, where most people consider themselves more Russian than Muslim. You can see similar developments in former Yugoslavia, where moderate imams with little financial backing are being replaced by radicals with virtually unlimited financing.

If current demographic trends hold, Muslims in Russia may become a majority by the mid-century. And if current radicalization trends hold, Russia may become a war theatre comparable to Chechnya or Lebanon, but on a much larger scale.

FP: Expand for us a bit please on the demographic trends in Russia. Muslims may be the majority in Russia by mid-century? What will this mean?

Alsayef: The native Russian population is on the decline. About a year ago, the government started to provide a special subsidy for a second child; 250,000 rubles, which is about two average yearly salaries. Attracted by the economic opportunities, there is a steady stream of Muslims from the former Soviet republics and predominantly Muslim parts of the Russian Caucasus. Those Muslims tend to have much larger families than native Russian Muslims. Small Muslim communities of Moscow and St. Petersburg that comprised less 1% of the population 20 years ago have increased more than ten-fold.

The new generation of Muslims is more religious. Unfortunately, since most of the mosques are either completely or partially funded by the Wahhabis, the new generation is also more radical. 20 years ago, Russian Muslims were completely assimilated, both culturally and linguistically. The new generation tends to create its own communities. Those "enclaves" are easier radicalized.

If the trends of isolation and radicalization continue along with current demographic trends and rising oil prices, it is quite possible that by mid-century Russia will become a radical Muslim superpower.

FP: How can the current radicalization trend be stopped? The key is to stop skyrocketing oil revenues for Wahhabi states, yes? But how?

Alsayef: I could never understand why America spends a quarter of a trillion dollars a year on Persian Gulf oil while not using its own oil resources. Especially when some of this money goes to finance radical Islam worldwide (including in America itself) and the American economy suffers from high fuels prices.

Luckily, Russia does not have oil dependency. The long-term solution to stop the flow of petro-dollars to the Wahhabis is to create a non-petroleum energy solution. It will probably not happen in our lifetime, but it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be worked on today. The short-term solution is to combat radical Islam inside every democratic country. One part is to enact legislation to criminalize the spread of radical Islam. It is not an easy task, especially in America where Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of the Constitution. However, some of the speech could be criminalized, i.e., a death threat to an individual. Advocating Sharia is a death threat to Democratic society. If you can protect an individual, you should be able to protect the society as a whole.

The other needed step is to empower moderate Muslims to combat Islamism in the public square. Unfortunately, neither the Russian nor the American government seems to distinguish between moderate Muslims and 'soft' Jihadis. In fact, Putin went so far as to condemn the publication of Prophet Mohammed cartoons.

While Russia is empowering Iran, America is empowering Saudi Arabia, which is even worse. On top of that, America is legitimizing 'soft' Jihadis and advance of Sharia by putting them in charge of government and academic programs and inviting them to major political events.

FP: Where exactly does Russia stand in the War on Terror? There is, for instance, much evidence that the Putin regime is in league with Islamists on many levels. (Click here to see Pavel Stroilov interview.)

Alsayef: I wouldn't call this evidence. When someone portrays that "FSB blew up four apartment blocks in Russia, and then were caught red-handed attempting to blow-up the fifth" as a fact, the rest of his "facts" must be taken with a grain of salt.

Did the FSB have the ability to blow up four buildings in Moscow? Absolutely. Would the FSB blow up those buildings? I find it highly improbable. Could the FSB get caught red-handed attempting to blow-up the fifth building? Absolutely not. Who would they get caught by? The cops? The cops can't touch them. By the FSB itself? Not bloody likely.

The "fact" that the FSB blew up those buildings is as much of a fact as the "fact" that the CIA blew up the Twin Towers. It is nothing more than a conspiracy theory, and Mr. Stroilov should know better than present it as a fact. The claim that "The Putin-Medvedev regime is doomed" shows that Mr. Stroilov seems to prefer wishful thinking to reality. Barring an act of God, Putin will rule Russia for a long time, no matter what title he comes up with, president, prime minister, or Tzar.

FP: Well, the connection between the FSB and the blow up of four buildings in Moscow appears to me to be pretty solid in terms of what I have studied, and the Twin Towers conspiracy theory analogy doesn’t match in anyway. But we’ll leave this for another forum. Pavel Stroilov is welcome to contribute to our pages on this issue if he wishes. Let’s get to Putin and the tie to Islamists.

Alsayef: In terms of the tie between Putin to the Islamists, first, and pretty much the only one, is Bushehr. Everybody knows that the Iranian nuclear program, euphemistically speaking, goes beyond energy. The Russians know that. The Americans know that. Even the IAEA knows that. What the Russians don't seem to understand, or maybe simply don't care about, is that an Iranian-made nuke could be detonated in Moscow just as easily as it could be detonated in Washington.

Since I'm not privy to the Russian-Iranian nuclear deal, I might not be aware of some safeguards. For example, the Russians might control the weaponized nuclear material production and would be able to match the bomb signature to the reactor. However it is unlikely for Iranians to use a nuclear weapon without plausible deniability, therefore it probably will be given to a third party. This third party most likely would be a radical Islamic group that might ignore the wishes of its masters and detonate the bomb anywhere.

Second is Syria. Syria is a Muslim country and it has a fascist regime, but it is secular. However, Syria-Iranian proxy Hizballah is an Islamist group and weapons sold to Syria have been known to turn up in Hizballah arsenal.

Third is Venezuela. Again, Venezuela's government is hardly Islamist, but Chavez offered Venezuelan passports to radical Muslims who want to go to the United States. As for al-Zawahiri, being the FSB secret agent, that's just another unsubstantiated and highly improbable rumor.

FP: Russia’s stance on the War on Terror?

Alsayef: If the terror is within Russian borders, Russia is very forcefully against it. The famous Putin's phrase about the terrorists is "budem mochit' v sortire" which roughly translates into "we'll whack them in the toilet." But if the terror is outside of Russia and it ties up American resources, then we have a different story. After all, Putin still sees America as Russia’s main rival; the fact that the feelings are not mutual, is somewhat of an insult to him. Russia doesn't mind that much. However, the biggest threat to Russia is not America, it is radicalizing Muslim population within its own borders as well as in Russia's former satellites. Putin is focusing on America while overlooking a growing Islamist threat at home. As the last decades show, radicalization of Muslims always translates into bloodshed, but Putin's government seems to think that it is immune.

FP: Ilshat Alsayef, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Alsayef: Thank you Jamie.
| Iran | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syria moves more tank-artillery forces south to Israel border Debkafile (November 5, 2008) - Lebanese sources and eye witnesses report Syrian tanks, artillery and commando units have taken up battle positions in four villages around Hasbaya opposite Mt. Hermon and northern Israel. According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, Syrian tanks and artillery units continued to move into their new positions Sunday and Monday, Nov. 2-3, so completing their deployment the full length of the Syrian-Lebanese border. Elements of the Syrian 10th, 12th and 14th Divisions and the 3rd Army - withdrawn last week from the 600-km long Syrian-Iraq border - are now poised opposite Israeli positions holding the disputed Shebaa Farms enclave on Mt. Hermon.

Military sources say that whereas opposite the northeastern Tripoli region, Syrian forces are strung out in small clusters of 2 to 3 tanks one or more kilometers apart, their tank units are massed tightly opposite Mt. Hermon and northern Israel. There are other differences: Heavy Syrian armor is positioned well back from the front-line infantry and commando troops in the north, whereas tanks, artillery and special forces are deployed right up to the border opposite South Lebanon and Israel.

Western and Lebanese military observers relate Syria’s military movements to Damascus’ threats, growing more strident Sunday, of “painful punishment” for the US Oct. 26 raid in northern Syria unless Washington apologizes, clarifies its action and pays compensation. These observers stress that Damascus has no real expectation of a US apology or clarification, because Syria knows as well as the US that the target was its own forward military base for terrorist strikes in Iraq. While insisting that an innocent farm was attacked and the 8 people killed were all civilians, the Syrians are taking advantage of the Bush administration’s silence to argue that Damascus has the same right as Washington to carry out cross-border attacks against “terrorist targets” i.e. in Lebanon and Israel. Damascus is winding the tensions up to a pitch where some military action against a US Middle East target or ally in Lebanon or Israel is becoming hard to avoid.

Senior IDF officers and some Western military sources are perplexed by the Israeli government’s failure to pursue deterrent action against the Syrian tanks poised in battle array on its border. Instead, the outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert is busy trying to reviving indirect talks with Syria before he quits, while defense minister Ehud Barak and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni appear unconcerned.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Syria reportedly boosts troop deployment near Lebanese border The Jerusalem Post (October 31, 2008) - Syria has boosted its troop deployment near the Lebanese border up to the Beka valley region, the Lebanese As-Safir newspaper said Friday. Some 3,000 heavily armed troops were reportedly deployed in the area. A Lebanese army official was quoted as saying that Syria was deploying its troops along the border with eastern Lebanon "like it did in September on the northern border." However, he said the increased troop presence was aimed at stopping smuggling and apprehending fugitives along the Syrian-Lebanese border.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Libya offers to host Russian military base Breitbart (October 31, 2008) - Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, who visits Moscow Friday for the first time since 1985, will offer to host a Russian naval base in his north African country, a Russian newspaper reported. "Libya is ready to host a Russian naval military base," the Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the preparations for Kadhafi's first visit here since the days of the Soviet Union.

The base could be located at the port of Benghazi, the source said. "The Russian military presence will be a guarantee of non-aggression against Libya from the United States, which is not in a hurry to embrace Kadhafi despite gestures of reconciliation," the newspaper said.

Kadhafi is scheduled to visit Russia from Friday to Sunday. Relations between Russia and Libya, a former pariah state that has pushed to get back into the international fold in recent years, showed signs of significant warming this year after a long chill. Earlier this month, a Russian warship docked in Tripoli as part of a global show of force that is to include joint naval exercises between Russia and Venezuela in the Caribbean in November.

In April, during a visit to Tripoli by then-president Vladimir Putin, Moscow agreed to cancel billions of dollars of Libyan Soviet-era debt in exchange for multi-billion-dollar contracts with Russian companies. During his visit, Russian gas giant Gazprom signed a cooperation agreement with Libya's national energy company while Russia's rail monopoly signed a 2.2-billion-euro contract to build a railway line in Libya. During the Cold War, Libya bought many of its weapons from Moscow.
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Iranian Nuke Scientist: Weekend Quake was a Nuclear Test Israel National News (October 30, 2008) - A weekend 5.0 Richter earthquake in Iran was actually a nuclear bomb test, says an Iranian nuclear scientist claiming to be working on the project. The report is an Israel Insider exclusive. This past Saturday night, southern Iran experienced what was reported as a significant earthquake - a seismic event measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was just north of the strategic Straits of Hormuz, which separates Iran from Abu Dhabi and Oman and which is the gateway to the Persian Gulf.

The report quotes an Iranian nuclear scientist who claims to be working in uranium enrichment for the project, and who said that the "quake" was actually an underground nuclear bomb test. Israel Insider adds that the test/quake was actually the second in a series. Nine days ago, a 4.8 Richter scale event occurred, with its epicenter only five kilometers away from the weekend tremor.

The Israel Insider source reports that two nuclear rockets are currently ready - and are intended for use against Israel in the coming months. If the report is correct, it would belie previous speculation that Iran would not begin nuclear testing until it had more nuclear-bomb production capability.

The geographical location of the test has several advantages. It is exposed to significant seismic activity, which could serve to mask nuclear tests; it is believed to be close to Iran's nuclear development facility; delivery and transport of material and personnel can be effected easily through the Hormuz Strait; and Iranian enemies would hesitate to bomb the area because that would threaten the flow of a substantial percentage of the world's oil.

Reuters reports Thursday morning that Iran has begun building a line of naval bases along its southern coast and up to the Straits of Hormuz.
| Iran | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Egyptian War Games Cause For Concern in Israel, Lawmaker Says CNS News (October 29, 2008) - Israel is upset over Egyptian military exercises in which the simulated “enemy” is Israel, and some are calling on the U.S. to reconsider its aid to Egypt because of it. Israel and Egypt – two U.S. regional allies – signed a U.S.-sponsored peace treaty in 1979 – Israel’s first with an Arab nation.

The Egyptian navy reportedly carried out the largest exercise in its history last week. Dubbed Victory 41, the military maneuvers marked the Egyptian sinking of the Israeli Naval vessel Eilat 41 years ago, in which 47 Israeli sailors were killed and 91 wounded. According to the daily Ha’aretz, Oct. 20 was set aside as a holiday marking the sinking of the Israeli vessel for the Egyptian naval forces. The paper also quoted the Egyptian Navy commander in chief Vice Admiral Mohad Mamish in an interview with the Arabic newspaper Al Ahram, saying that the Egyptian Naval vessels were outfitted with advanced missiles and the Navy had supply contracts with Germany, Russia and the U.S.

“Unfortunately now for more than 10 years most of the big [Egyptian] exercises are simulating war against Israel,” said Dr. Yuval Steinitz, member of the Israeli Knesset’s influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The first time was in 1996 when they imitated a war against “a little country that is bordering Egypt on the northeast,” Steinitz told on Wednesday. Looking on the map, it’s clear who they were simulating the war against, he said. The only new thing this time is that it has been leaked to the press, said Steinitz.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to apologize for comments made by a right-wing Knesset member, who noted that Mubarak has never come on a state visit to Israel. Olmert told Mubarak that Israel considered him to be “a strategic partner and a close friend.”

But there are signs of other strains in relations. The Hebrew daily Maariv reported on Tuesday that on a recent trip to Egypt, the director of the military/political and policy bureau of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, told Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi that Israel was concerned about Egypt carrying out of Egyptian army exercises "that are directed against an Israeli threat and that relate to it [Israel] as an enemy.” (A translation was provided by the Independent Media Review and Analysis.)

Israel also is concerned that it has become the central focus for Egyptian officers in building their forces and by the lack of “any relations of any kind” between the Israeli and Egyptian armies, Gilad was quoted as saying. According to the paper, Tantawi said relations between the armies could improve in the future in tandem with progress in regional peace. He also said that security challenges obligate Egypt to build an effective deterrent force.

Steinitz said the military exercises, combined with massive Egyptian force building plus indoctrination of the military against Israel, was “something to be concerned about.” He also said that despite the peace agreement between the two countries, Egypt is anti-Israel in most international bodies and is also educating the public “for hatred and not for peace.”

Earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that its analysts had found the Egyptian press to be “a leading propagator of anti-Semitic images” for many years and that that trend was now spreading to other newspapers in the region.

Egypt is considered one of America’s allies in the region and has been a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It is currently mediating reconciliation talks between the military Hamas group and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Read full story...

| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog | NewWorldOrder | America |

It seems to me that America has her hands pretty deep into the Middle East mess and that we've easily given away our money for peace. But I think we are just being taken for our money, and now that this is diminishing in global influence, someone has to step in. Actually Europe has been stepping into that role and indeed Javier Solana was one of the authors of the roadmap to peace according to him. But then money is being given from Europe as well in the name of peace and security while it seems that the "chaos" from which peace is supposed to arrive could be just around the corner.

According to Bible prophecy, Islam will be coming against Israel time and again in these end times and a certain alliance of them will gather their forces and attack Israel from the North at which time God will destroy those invaders in the mountains of Israel and protect His people for His namesake. Israel has a role in the end times as made clear in the study of Bible prophecy. Ultimately this is what the HIStory, Our Future Bible studies lay out, Israel's central place in the completion of God's plans to bring a remnant of His people Israel through the fire to accept Yeshua as the Messiah prompting His return in glory.

One of these foreshadows is the rebuilding of the temple, a feat that seems impossible now. I posit that God's intervention in such a manner on Israel's behalf would not only silence the radical Islamic nations for a time, but I think it would also embolden the nation of Israel and cause a fundamental spiritual shift that would not only bring many more Jews to the Holy Land, but also bring the nation together and united under the authority of scripture, which to them includes the rebuilding of the temple and the resumption of the daily sacrifice while excluding the first coming of the Messiah. They will therefore very much desire to have the temple and according to scripture, they rebuild it.

I believe this action would also bring Israel's enemies from all around the world to be more focused on her and united together, giving the appearance of global unity - but under whom?

As we see this and other collusions such as Syria-Russia and the Russian navy enlarging Syrian ports for her ships. (Syrian ports lie to the North of Israel) Or large Russian war games and Hezbollah takeovers of Lebanon, (see also) also just to the North of Israel. Could all these activities of military forces as described in Ezekiel 38,39 be buildup to a planned attack in the future that God will stop?

As US forces make an attack inside Syria while our economy is weakened and we are increasingly viewed as the "big Satan" and Israel the "little Satan," a view of weakness in Israel's primary "friend" and something to spark the tensions, like say a possible Iranian underground nuclear test, could all be leading to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 in a preemptive strike on Damascus. This could be the straw that brings the currently forming allies to utilize their prepared military forces in a sudden attack on Israel justified to the world in Israel's actions on Damascus. Would Turkey turn on Israel if the peace they were dealing with between Israel and Syria were seen as thrown away by an aggressive nation?

Perhaps I'm just imagining things. If not, time is short.

Mideast: Putting the 'Peace Puzzle' Together CBN News (October 28, 2008) - As U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama begin the last week of campaigning before next Tuesday's election, events shaping up in Israel, Syria and the Palestinian Authority will no doubt factor into the winning candidate's challenges in the White House.

Syrian officials continue to express their outrage over a U.S. military attack on Sunday, which killed eight people. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, who accused America of "terrorist aggression," said his country has a right to respond in kind against the U.S. "The Americans did it in the daylight," Moallem said during a visit to London Monday. "This means it is not a mistake. Therefore, we are treating the matter as a crime and a terrorist act," he said.

While Syria claims the raid targeted civilians at a building construction site near the border with Iraq, the U.S. said the helicopter attack targeted the home of Abu Ghadiyah, the known head of a terrorist network funneling gunmen, weapons and cash across the border to bolster the insurgency against the Iraqi government. According to U.S. intelligence sources, Abu Ghadiyah is one of four senior al-Qaeda officials in Iraq who makes his home in Syria. The successful raid will have a "debilitating impact" on the terror group's smuggling network, one U.S. official said. It was the first U.S. military attack on Syrian soil since 2003, when U.S. troops invaded Iraq, evidence that the Syrian border remains a battleground. "We're taking matters into our own hands," one U.S. government official said, alluding to Syria turning a blind eye to terrorist activity.

Al-Qaeda is not the only Islamic terrorist group with ties to Syria. For years, Syria has facilitated Iranian weapons transfers to Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorists across its border.

Syria's Ties with Hezbollah

On Sunday, Israeli Military Intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin briefed Cabinet ministers on Syria's ties with Hezbollah. "Assad currently trusts Hezbollah more than his own army," Yadlin said. "Hezbollah operatives are working from within Syria. The Syrians are loosing all restraints, Hezbollah access to almost all of their strategic capabilities," he said. "Currently, Assad is continuing to open up its warehouses to Hezbollah," Yadlin said, "turning into the arms granary" for the terror group.

According to Yadlin, Syria and Lebanon's recently renewed diplomatic ties are a cover up for a future takeover of the country. "Syria and Iran are buying the regime in Lebanon," he said. " are pouring substantial money into buying parliamentary representatives and into conducting dubious business deals," he said. "The Iranian offer to assist in the building of the Lebanese army is an and Hezbollah guise to take control of Lebanon," he said.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Meanwhile, despite Israeli President Shimon Peres' claim that Israel has never been closer to peace with its Arab neighbors, a look below the surface at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tells a different story. PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Egyptian efforts to reconcile Fatah and Hamas are bearing fruit.

Abbas plans to travel to Saudi Arabia soon to relay his most recent discussions with Egyptian President Hosni Murbarak. "We have agreed with our Egyptian brothers on a program for national reconciliation," Abbas said. "Our brothers in Egypt will later publish the details. I want to stress that all the PLO factions have accepted the Egyptian program, which we fully support," he said.

Abbas also expressed pleasure with Peres' public support for the Saudi peace initiative, which he called an Islamic proposal - rather than an Arab proposal - because it is endorsed by so many Islamic countries. The plan calls for Israel to retreat to pre-1967 borders in exchange for "normalization" with Arab League member nations.

Hamas was less enthusiastic with Abbas's announcement. "President Abbas must reach an agreement with Hamas, not with the Egyptians," Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel said. "Egypt is not a party to the conflict but a mediator. Abbas's confrontation is with Hamas. If he wants to end the conflict, he must reach an agreement with Hamas," he said.

"We don't believe that Abbas will have the courage to talk with Hamas because of Israeli and American pressure," Bardaweel said. "He is also surrounded by some advisors who won't even permit him to mention the name Hamas. That's why he's talking about agreement with Egypt and not Hamas," he said.

Meanwhile, Hamas said Israel's going to early elections shows that the peace process has failed. "Now the Israelis will use the elections as an excuse not to make any concessions to Mahmoud Abbas," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "They will claim they are too busy with the elections over the next few months." "This proves that Hamas was right when it said that the so-called peace process was a waste of time and that there's no point in negotiating with the occupation ," he said.

Despite claims by outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and others of like ilk, a closer look at Syrian, Palestinian and Arab League member nations shows that peace between Israel and her neighbors remains illusory. With Iran arming Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria to the hilt, genuine peace is far from reality on the ground.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

U.S. attacks inside Syria WorldNet Daily (October 26, 2008) - The U.S. Army today confirmed it carried out a raid inside a Syrian village near the Iraqi border, killing at least eight. Today's operation is the first in which American forces so openly attacked militants on Syrian soil, clearly broadening the scope of the U.S. military campaign in Iraq.

The U.S. has long accused Damascus of failing to stop insurgents from crossing from Syria into Iraq, where they purportedly attack coalition troops and return to safety zones inside Syria. An official Syrian spokesman confirmed earlier reports by the country's SANA state-run television, which reported U.S. helicopters were involved in an attack in Al-Sukkariya, some five miles from the Iraqi border.

Eyewitnesses told reporters they saw four helicopters hover overhead and then at least eight soldiers disembark, where they engaged a number of men at a civilian construction site. SANA reported: "Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 16:45 local time (13:45 GMT) on Sunday." It claimed "American soldiers" who had emerged from helicopters "attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths." "The helicopters then left Syrian territory towards Iraqi territory," reported SANA.

The reported incident took place near the Iraqi border city of Qaim, which the U.S. has labeled as a major crossing point for insurgents, weapons and money. A U.S. official confirmed the attack targeted what he said were elements of arobust foreign fighter logistics network operating in Syria and that due to Syrian inaction the U.S. was now "taking matters into our own hands."

There have been unconfirmed reports in the past of U.S. forces operating along the Syrian-Iraqi boarder and even entering hundreds of feet into Syria in pursuit of insurgents, but today's reported operation would be the largest yet.

Israeli security officials said the Jewish state was not involved in the operation. They said it was likely the U.S. attacked insurgent or al-Qaida elements that ran inside Syria. They said the operation, if confirmed, likely was to send a signal to Damascus that it is not immune from retaliation if it continues to allow insurgents to utilize the country.

Already Syria has summoned the U.S. and Iraqi envoys to Damascus to protest against what it called a U.S. military attack on its soil. According to Syrian sources speaking to WND, Syria conveyed a message to the U.S. claiming Syria does not support the insurgency and opposes any insurgent or al-Qaida elements operating on Syrian soil. Syria told the U.S. they were not upset America had attacked insurgents or al-Qaida elements, if indeed that was the target, but that their protest was against the U.S. operating on Syrian soil without prior permission.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog | America |

Russia blasts off back to the future Scotland on Sunday (October 26, 2008) - As they tracked Russian military maneuvers last week, the US government's Kremlin-watchers might have been forgiven for wondering if they were seeing recycled newsreels. A huge exercise, Stability 2008, spread tens of thousands of troops, thousands of vehicles and scores of combat aircraft across nearly all 11 time zones of Russian territory in the largest war game since the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was no specified enemy, but the Russian forces appeared to be enacting a nationwide effort to quell unrest along Russia's southern border – and to repulse a US-led attack by Nato forces, according to experts in Moscow and Washington.

In a grim finale, commanders launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles, the type that can carry multiple nuclear warheads. It was a clear signal of the drastic endgame the Kremlin might consider should its conventional forces not hold. One of the missiles flew more than 7,100 miles, allowing Russian officials to claim they had set a distance record.

If these images of Russian power projection appeared drawn from the dark decades of Dr Strangelove, the response from Washington was anything but. Defence secretary Robert Gates and admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, provided the same sanguine reply, echoed down through the ranks of government analysts who have spent years reading Russian military journals and scrutinising classified satellite photographs.

The Russian military fell to Third World standards from neglect and budget cuts in the turbulent years when Boris Yeltsin was president, they say. The new Kremlin leadership is working to create a force that can actually defend the nation's interests.

The military has embarked upon a programme to buy modern weapons, improve training and healthcare for troops, trim a bloated officer corps and create the first professional class of sergeant-level, small-unit leaders since the Second World War.

That is not to say that the US will stop judging Russian behaviour in light of what it considers a clumsy, ill-advised invasion of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Yet policymakers also say the Kremlin's efforts at military modernisation should not prevent co-operation on mutual concerns, including countering terrorism and halting nuclear proliferation.

Even a high-profile speech last month by President Dmitry Medvedev, ordering a military modernisation programme and the largest increases in defence spending since the death of the old USSR, was viewed in Washington as short on substance and designed more for a domestic political agenda. Medvedev declared that, by 2020, Russia would construct new types of warships and an unspecified air and space defence system. Military spending, he said, will leap 26% next year, bringing it to 1.3 trillion rubles (about £30bn), its highest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union – but still a fraction of US military spending.

American experts were unimpressed. "Russia is prone to make fairly grandiose announcements about its military," said a defence department official. "These programmes have long been in the works. They are not new plans."

Even so, analysts of Russian military affairs acknowledge that a military renaissance would allow the Moscow leadership to increase political pressure on former Soviet republics, as well as former Warsaw Pact allies that embraced Nato after the collapse of communism. "What the Russian leadership has discovered is proof of an old maxim: that a foreign policy without a credible military is no foreign policy," said Dale Herspring, a scholar on Russian military affairs at Kansas State University. Read full story...

| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog | America |

EU's Solana targets deal with Syria next year AFP (October 23, 2008) - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana held talks on Thursday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the Middle East peace process and regional issues, highlighting improved ties between them. Solana and Assad discussed bolstering links between Syria and the European Union and they agreed "to pursue consultations on regional and international issues," official news agency SANA said. "Syrian-European ties continue to make progress," Solana said, according to SANA. He voiced hope that both sides might next year sign an "association" agreement.

The EU has signed such a deal with other Mediterranean countries in a bid to pave the way for the creation of a free trade agreement in 2010. Solana said the EU "strongly supports" the Middle east peace process and is trying to play a constructive role," SANA reported. "The EU totally backs the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel," he said. Since May, Syria has been engaged in indirect peace talks with Israel under Turkish mediation. SANA quoted Assad as saying Europe's "role in the peace process is important and essential. "Peace guarantees security and stability to the people of the region and this reflects positively on Europe and the world."

Solana's visit to Damascus is his first since March 2007, when his trip signaled a resumption of EU contacts with Damascus frozen after the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. Anti-Syrian Lebanese figures blamed Syria for the murder but Damascus has repeatedly denied any involvement. In March 2007, Solana urged Syria, the former powerbroker in Lebanon, to help ease a protracted crisis in Lebanon. His return to Damascus comes after Syria and Lebanon formally established diplomatic ties on October 15, for the first time since independence 60 years ago. Speaking to reporters after his talks with Assad, the EU diplomat praised the "importance of developments which recently occurred in Lebanon," namely the setting up of diplomatic ties between Beirut and Damascus, SANA reported.
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana |

Security & Defense: 'We're in the midst of preparing the home front for war' The Jerusalem Post (October 16, 2008) - According to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, the country is in one of the most complicated and dangerous periods of its history. And though he does not believe that Israel can be "wiped off the map," in spite of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats, he is increasingly concerned about the current political instability here, which he blames for delays in projects he deems essential, such as the revamping of the Home Front.

This week, as Israel marked the 35th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War - reviewing lessons learned from it - Vilnai gave The Jerusalem Post a lengthy interview, during which he covered a wide range of topics, from Labor's coalition talks with Kadima, to how Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is a target, to the danger of holding public demonstrations calling for the release of Gilad Schalit.

The former deputy chief of General Staff and deputy commander of the elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, says that the IDF is at a most critical juncture. It is the only military in the world, he explains, that needs to be ready at any given moment to fight a guerrilla war in Lebanon, a terror war in the West Bank and a conventional war with Syria, and confront a possible existential threat from Iran.

Since taking up his post just over a year ago, Vilnai, 64, has been immersed in establishing the National Emergency Administration (NEA), which he founded to coordinate among all of the various emergency services, in the event of a missile onslaught. This is necessary, he says, because one of the problems encountered during the Second Lebanon War was that the cabinet had to meet several times to discuss how to get food to shelters in the North. But "the cabinet needs to run the war."

How do you view Israel's current strategic position in the Middle East?
There are existential threats today coming from farther away. The additional complication when dealing with Islamic radical terror is that the war is not just against terrorists, but against a population. In Gaza, you can hit Hamas, but it does not hurt Hamas, since the people there support Hamas. This is the same in Lebanon, where the civilian population supports Hizbullah. This makes the conflict much more complicated. As a result, what is needed is a combined military-diplomatic solution, as well as alliances with other countries.

Is there still a conventional threat?
It exists, and we need to prepare for it, so we can retain capabilities required for war with Syria, like on Yom Kippur exactly 35 years ago. We also need to retain the ability to fight Hizbullah and Iran over the horizon. Today, we need to know how to do different things [simultaneously], and this is difficult challenge. I can't remember such a complicated period in my 40 years in the defense establishment.

What poses the greatest threat?
The state of Israel. Establishing a new government is necessary for stability. The fact that the government changes every two years weakens us. A ministry that starts everything from scratch every two years cannot get anything done.

Are there ongoing processes in the Defense Ministry that will be harmed in the event that general elections are held now?
The change in regime harms and weakens us, and I believe it is of the utmost importance to continue with the same government today.

We are in the midst of preparing the home front for war and this is something that the government has spoken about for decades, but never dealt with or regulated properly. If we change the leadership of the Defense Ministry, I don't know what will happen. If we don't continue what we have been doing here for another two years, it will all go to waste.

What, for example?
The NEA and the annual home front exercises we started. I fear that if we aren't here, everything will go back to the way it was in the beginning. We need continuity.

What is the concept behind the NEA?
The responsibility for the home front has always been in the hands of the municipalities or the local and regional councils, but for years they shirked this responsibility. The concept behind the NEA is for the government offices and services to assist them. The IDF, Israel Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Magen David Adom, the Interior, Welfare and Health ministries will all work for the mayors and regional council heads to make sure that life continues, even during wartime.

The cabinet does not need to meet to discuss food distribution to bomb shelters. A mayor with the right assistance can do this on his or her own.

What will the next war look like?
The home front will be the main front of the war, whether it is missiles from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or Iran.

Can there really be peace with Syria?
We need to break the axis of evil. It can be broken militarily, but the talks with Syria are meant to do this as well. Syria needs to cut off its ties with Iran. This is our condition, and this is the most important element. But it is not something that will happen immediately.

We saw other Syrian intentions with the nuclear facility that the air force destroyed last September.
I don't know what type of facility you are taking about, but that is why I said we need both elements - military and diplomatic. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

A Syrian Takeover of Lebanon? Gather (October 2, 2008) - The Middle East Times reported October 2 that Syria has been moving military forces to its border with Lebanon for nearly a week now, raising the question of whether or not Syria intends to once again overtly exercise control over its neighbor. Syria has long exercised influence over Lebanon, and only reluctantly withdrew its forces under international pressure in the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria is suspected by many of being responsible for the Hariri assassination. As noted by the Times, Syrian President Bashar Assad said at the time of Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon that the move did not mean Syria was done exercising its influence. The Times says, and most observers and analysts agree, that Syria continues to station thousands of covert intelligence personnel within Lebanon.

Lebanon is a problem for the entire region. Hezbollah operates freely from Lebanon, and Israel routinely violates Lebanese territory and airspace in an attempt to keep Hezbollah in check. The summer 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel inflicted massive damage on Lebanon in a conflict that seemed to diminish some of the mystique surrounding Israeli military might in the region. A significant portion of the Lebanese Army is sympathetic to Hezbollah, and the Lebanese government is fragmented and, for all intents and purposes, dysfunctional. United Nations peacekeepers are present in southern Lebanon, and Iran exercises some influence as well.

Syria has been attempting in recent months to improve its standing in the region and in the eyes of the international community. Syria's alignment with Iran has been strained at times recently, and negotiations with Israel have not played very well with hard liners within the Syrian intelligence and military establishments. The key to much of Syria's power and wealth is its influence in Lebanon, as well as its degree of control over Lebanon, and it would not be far fetched to believe that Syria would move its military forces across the border.

If Syria did act, there would probably few repercussions, and any condemnations would be largely symbolic. Israel would not intervene, and probably could not if it wanted to. Politically, Israel is just too fragile at the moment. The United States is preoccupied with Afghanistan, Iraq, and a financial crisis at home, and the United Nations force in southern Lebanon is more for show than anything else. There is a window of opportunity right now for Syria to reestablish control over Lebanon. That window could close suddenly, and Syria may well be positioning itself to act before time runs out.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Swords and Shields: Russia shields Syria Space War (October 16, 2008) - Until Russia can revitalize its naval forces to a much larger degree, its deployments to the Mediterranean contribute more to symbolic and diplomatic activity than being a viable military counterweight to NATO in the region. Yet the Black Sea Fleet in the Med is a significant show of force and a diplomatic irritant and a potential threat to shipping in the Suez Canal and to America's ally Israel. The increased Russian naval presence in the region means that the Kremlin is seeking to cultivate Syria as a close regional ally, and is looking to secure additional bases for the Black Sea Fleet besides its current base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.
In addition, Russia would also be able to deploy electronic intelligence-gathering ships that could then improve its monitoring capabilities against NATO forces and Syria's ability to monitor NATO and Israeli transmissions, expanding the previous naval intelligence engagement during the Balkan wars. Finally, Russian naval forces could deter or disrupt Israeli naval or air assets deployed in wartime against Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Syria is pursuing new arms deals with Russia, including the purchase of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 M2, MiG-31, the latest Sukhoi Su-30 version -- Flanker, Tor-M1 air defense systems, AT-14 antitank missiles, upgrades for Syria's aging T-62, T-72 and T-80 Main Battle Tanks, SA-5 Gammon anti-aircraft missile systems, and upgrading Syria's existing S-125 Air Defense systems to the Pechora-2A.

Iran is also involved in supporting Damascus. In 2007 alone Iran reportedly financed Syrian purchases of Russian arms to the tune of $1 billion. Iran and Syria, which have had a mutual defense treaty since 2004, train and equip Hezbollah, the biggest terrorist organization in the Middle East. Russia is cultivating both states as allies and as customers for Russian arms. What is particularly disturbing is that the Russian layered air defenses, both short-range TOR and long-range S-300 anti-aircraft systems, are capable of providing the defensive envelope to the mysterious Syrian nuclear research activities, as well as to the significant chemical weapons arsenal deliverable by Damascus' short-range ballistic missiles, such as Syrian-produced SCUD-C and SCUD-D and, potentially, Russian-made Iskander-E -- NATO designation SS-X-26.

Damascus has also acquired Pantsir-C1 air defense systems, which represent the current state of the art in Russian military air defense technology, but no deal has yet been reached. According to sources in Moscow, Russia is likely to equip Syria's Tartus naval base with S-300PMU-2 Favorit ballistic missiles and a radar system more sophisticated than Syria's current capabilities.

During the Cold War era, the Soviet Union boasted a global naval power projection capability with yearly naval maneuvers in the Caribbean and the North Fleet naval brigade in Conakry, Guinea, and Luanda, Angola. The 8th Operational Squadron of the Pacific Fleet had supply bases in Aden and Socotra in Yemen and Dahlak in Eritrea, and in Berbera in Somalia. After the five-day Aug. 8-Aug. 12 war in the former Soviet republic of Georgia in the Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is planning to deploy in Abkhazia, at the ports of Ochamchira and Sukhumi. For Moscow today, Tartus is only the first step in the long road to a renewed global naval presence.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

From Syrian fishing port to naval power base: Russia moves into the Mediterranean Guardian UK (October 8, 2008) - Military foothold part of closer ties with Damascus. Move could deter Israel from attacks on Syria. During balmy evenings in the sleepy Syrian port of Tartous locals promenade along the seafront or suck on hookahs discussing the two great pillars of their society: business and family.

Politics, such as it is in the tightly controlled one-party state, rarely gets a mention, and certainly not in public. But few could fail to wonder about the foreign sailors dockside and the grey warship dominating a harbour that was once a trading hub of the Phoenician empire and is now the centre of a new projection of power, this time by Syria's old ally Russia.

Tartous is being dredged and renovated to provide a permanent facility for the Russian navy, giving Moscow a key military foothold in the Mediterranean at a time when Russia's invasion of Georgia has led to fears of a new cold war.

The bolstering of military ties between Russia and Syria has also worried Israel, whose prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was in Moscow yesterday seeking to persuade the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, to stop Russian arms sales to Syria and Iran. Mr Olmert later said he had received assurances that Russia would not allow Israel's security to be threatened, but offered no indication he won any concrete promises on Russian arms sales.

Igor Belyaev, Russia's charge d'affaires in Damascus, recently told reporters that his country would increase its presence in the Mediterranean and that "Russian vessels will be visiting Syria and other friendly ports more frequently".

That announcement followed a meeting between Medvedev and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, at the Black sea port of Sochi in the immediate aftermath of Russia's victory over Georgian forces and its recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - actions Assad supported.

Now, with Ukraine threatening to expel Russia's Black sea fleet from its base in Sebastopol, the only route for the Russian navy into the Mediterranean, military cooperation between Moscow and Damascus appears to have taken on a new zeal.

"Israel and the US supported Georgia against Russia, and Syria thus saw a chance to capitalise on Russian anger by advancing its long-standing relations with Moscow," said Taha Abdel Wahed, a Syrian expert on Russian affairs. "Syria has a very important geographical position for the Russians. Relations between Damascus and Moscow may not yet be strategic, but they are advancing rapidly."

Tartous was once a re-supplying point for the Soviet navy at a time when Moscow sold Syria billions of dollars worth of arms. "Tartous is of great geopolitical significance considering that it is the only such Russian facility abroad," a former Russian navy deputy commander, Igor Kasatonov, said, following a meeting on September 12 in Moscow between the naval leaders from Russia and Syria.

Syrian-Russian relations cooled after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But they have taken on a new dynamic since Assad succeeded his father in 2000. After a state visit to Russia in 2005, he persuaded Moscow to wipe three-quarters off a £7.6bn debt Syria owed, mainly from arms sales.

Since then the two countries have been in talks about upgrading Syria's missile defences with Russia's advanced Strelets system, provoking condemnation from Israel, whose fighter jets in September 2007 flew unchallenged into north-east Syria to bomb a suspected nuclear site.

Last month Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow would consider selling Damascus new weapons that "have a defensive character and that do not in any way interfere with the strategic balance in the region". Though no defence pact has been signed between the two, as it has between Syria and Iran, observers suggest the very presence of Russian warships in Tartous would bolster Damascus's military standing in the region. "Israel would think twice about attacking Syria again with Russian ships stationed in Tartous," said Abdel Wahed, an analyst.

A senior Israeli colonel has also accused Russia of passing intelligence about Israel to Syria and indirectly to Hizbullah. Describing electronic eavesdropping stations on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights believed to be operated by Russian technicians, Ram Dor, information security chief for the armed forces, told an Israeli newspaper: "My assessment is that their facilities cover most of the state of Israel's territory. The Syrians share the intelligence that they gather with Hizbullah, and the other way around."

During the 2006 July war Hizbullah fighters used advanced Russian tank-buster missiles to cripple at least 40 of Israel's Merkava tanks, a key tipping point in a war that Israel later admitted it lost. The Russian embassy in Damascus could not be reached for comment.

| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syria poised to invade Lebanon WorldNet Daily (September 24, 2008) - New concerns are being raised by the possibility that Syria may launch troops into Lebanon by using a pretext of concern over assaults on a Lebanese faction sympathetic to the Syrian leadership, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. Confirmed reports reveal that there are some 10,000 Syrian special forces troops massed on the northern border of Lebanon. A small Alawite faction near the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, has been in repeated gun fights with Sunni militants. The area's majority population is Sunni. The Alawites are of the same tribe as Syrian President Bashar Assad. Most of Syria's top security and military officials also are Alawite.

The concern is that Syria forcibly would annex the northern part of Lebanon to protect the Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam which is associated closely with the Syrian-supported Shiite Hezbollah. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah has been fighting the Sunnis in support of the Alawite minority in northern Lebanon. The Alawites in Lebanon became influential while Syrian troops occupied Lebanon until 2005. The Syrian troops left following the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The Syrian opposition, led by Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, places the blame of the father's assassination on the Syrian regime. The investigation to determine responsibility for Hariri's assassination still is under way. Saad Hariri heads the Sunni group that is fighting with the Alawites in Tripoli. In early September, Hariri, who heads the Sunni Future Movement in Lebanon, recently held talks with the head of the Alawite faction, Ali Eid. Eid is pro-Syrian while Hariri's Future Movement heads the anti-Syrian movement in Lebanon.

Tensions in Tripoli, however, have precluded any return to political stability in Lebanon despite efforts last May by Qatar to end a long power struggle between Hariri's anti-Syrian coalition and the pro-Syrian Hezbollah. The 10,000 Syrian special forces troops massed on the Syrian-Lebanese border are in positions on the northern Lebanese border in the hills overlooking the El-Kabir River, which forms the northern boundary of the two countries.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Ten Russian warships have docked at Syrian port DEBKAfile (September 19, 2008) - Israeli military and naval commanders were taken by surprise by Rear Adm. Andrei Baranov's disclosure that 10 Russian warships are already anchored at the Syrian port of Tartus, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Moscow and Damascus have worked fast to put in place the agreement reached in Moscow on Sept. 12 by Russian navy commander, Adm. Vladimir Wysotsky and Syrian naval commander Gen. Taleb al-Barri to provide the Russian fleet with a long-term base at Syrian ports. Israel was not aware that this many vessels were involved in the deal.

What most worries Israeli military leaders is an earlier announcement by Adm. Wysotsky that Russia’s Mediterranean assets would subjected to its Black Sea fleet command, thereby placing Russia’s warships near Israel’s shores at the service of Moscow’s contest against the US and NATO in the Caucasian. It is feared that Israel will be dragged into another cold war. Rear Adm. Baranov disclosed that the warships in Tartus had brought engineering crews to widen and dredge the harbor to accommodate additional, fleet vessels. The crews were also working on expanding Latakia, another Syrian port, possibly for aircraft carriers or guided missile cruisers. The Russians are making no secret of their intention of using their naval presence in Syrian ports as a deterrent to a possible Israeli air strike against Syria.
| Israel | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syrian Tripwire For WWIII Op Ed News - Lord Stirling (September 19, 2008) - Russian Rear Admiral Andrei Baranov has disclosed that 10 Russian warships are already anchored at the Syrian port of Tartus. Russian engineering crews are widening and dredging the port to accommodate additional Russian warships. The Russians are making clear their intentions of using the large Russian naval presence in Tartus as a deterrent to Israeli air strikes against Syria using the powerful anti-air missiles on-board the Russian naval warships. These missile systems can sweep the sky over most of Syria and knock down Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighters.

This changes the balance of power in the air over Syria. This also places a tripwire for World War III in place in the Middle East. Any attack on Iran will also involve a war with Syria and Lebanon. This will now involve Russian military forces in direct support of the Iranian/Syrian alliance. Russia is a major nuclear power with the power to destroy every American and NATO city. George Bush has just agreed to sell Israel 1,000 very advanced American bunker buster bombs for use in the coming war with Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Could these Russian warships assist in getting men and materiel from the North through Lebanon into the mountains of Israel? They certainly seem to be preparing for plenty of Russian ships to be there for something. What Lord Stirling calls WWIII, I believe will be cut short when God destroys the attackers in the mountains of Israel. This doesn't mean that elsewhere around the world there won't be issues. Remember that the second seal is men killing each other and the third is an apparent economic collapse. If you've just joined the newsletter, you can see where I think this is leading here and here. We could be seeing the unfolding of events that will lead to Israel rebuilding the temple and the coming abomination of desolation. Keep watching!

Bush Agrees to War on Iran Op Ed News - Lord Stirling (September 17, 2008) - The United States has agreed to sell to Israel 1,000 of the very advanced bunker buster GBU-39 bombs. This is a major development as the Bush Administration had denied previous recent Israeli requests for large numbers of this weapon system. The GBU-39 has a stand off range of 110 km and uses pop-out wings with extremely accurate fire and forget technology. It is capable of penetrating 90 cm of steel reinforced concrete. This indicates that the Israeli Government has succeeded in its request that America allow it to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The GBU-39s will be used extensively in attacks on Iranian targets, as well as on Syrian and Hezbollah high value targets in both Syria and Lebanon.

The Israeli political landscape is about to change. I have been expecting former Israeli Prime Minister, and super war hawk, Benyamin Netanyahu to make a well timed major move. Current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is about to resign due to his ongoing criminal troubles. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz are in a tight battle to win the vote on Wednesday as Kadima Party Chairman, with the right to attempt to form a new government. However, it appears that Bibi Netanyahu has put together a deal with Labor Party leader, former PM and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and the ultra-religious Shas Party to form a government with Bibi as Prime Minister in a few days time. Count on Bibi Netanyahu lighting a blowtorch in the dry kindling that is the Middle East.

There is a real technical question if the GBU-39 can destroy all of the key known or suspected Iranian nuclear sites, as well as key military sites in Lebanon and Syria. The hardest sites are very well protected. Some experts think that several dozen to a hundred plus GBU-39s targeted at the same spot can take out even the deepest/most harden site; others say that a micro or mini nuke will be required.

The Israeli and American war planners may be counting on all sides refraining from the use of WMD. Rather like Saddam held back his 29 WMD armed (chemical and anthrax) Scud-type guided missiles during the First Gulf War and like Hezbollah did during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. If this is the strategy it is one very, very, massive risk to all involved. Read full story...

| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

IDF intelligence: Syria strengthening ties with radical axis YNet News (September 15, 2008) - Head of Military Intelligence research division tells Knesset committee Damascus simultaneously boosting ties with West, radical countries. Adds: Hamas establishing bona fide country in Gaza. "Syria is moving forward along the path of peace and openness toward the West while simultaneously strengthening its ties to the radical axis," the head of the research division of Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.

Addressing the Iranian nuclear program, Baidatz said "the most optimistic scenario as far as the Iranians are concerned is that they will have obtained nuclear capabilities by 2010," but added that such a scenario was "not likely". According to the intelligence official, Iran is continuing to advance technologically while the international community is not showing any signs of trying to stall the Islamic Republic's progress.

'Weapons smuggling continues'

Baidatz told the MKs that Hamas is continuing to arm itself with Qassam rockets and is obtaining capabilities that may threaten Israel's home front. "Hamas is also improving its defense capabilities in case of an Israeli operation (in Gaza)," he said. "The Islamist group is turning Gaza into a bona fide state. Hamas is the clear and decisive ruler there."  According to Baidatz, the smuggling of weapons and goods into the Strip through the Rafah crossing continues despite the Egyptians' efforts to prevent it.

As for Israel's northern border, Baidatz said Hizbullah may attempt to shoot down any Israeli aircraft that enters Lebanese airspace, adding that the Shiite group's armament was also continuing "north and south of the Litani River". He said the transfer of arms to Hizbullah from Iran and Syria is continuing in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Syria 'boosts troops on border' BBC News (October 7, 2008) - Syria has reportedly moved more troops to its side of the eastern Lebanese border, weeks after boosting numbers along Lebanon's northern frontier. Reports said the troops had dug trenches and set up checkpoints in the northern Bekaa valley region. The Syrian authorities have not commented on the latest deployment. Damascus said earlier troop movements were aimed at combating smugglers. On Monday, the US warned Syria against a possible intervention in Lebanon.

Anti-Syrian Lebanese groups fear Damascus might use insecurity in northern Lebanon as a pretext for a military intervention. The Lebanese army says about 10,000 Syrian forces have been deployed on the border since 22 September when the first units moved in. Syria was the main power broker in Lebanon after the 1975-90 civil war but withdrew tens of thousands of troops from the country after popular pressure from opponents in Lebanon in 2005.

It says measures taken along the border are in line with agreements between Lebanon and Syria, which have been trying to normalise relations with support from France. In recent days, the US has established a bilateral military commission with Lebanon, aimed at building up the country's armed forces.
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syria-Russia naval cooperation grows YNet News (September 12, 2008) - Russia announced Friday it was renovating a Syrian port for use by the Russian fleet in what could signal an effort for a better foothold in the Mediterranean amid the rift with the United States over Georgia. Syria was Moscow's strongest Mideast ally during the Cold War. The alliance largely waned after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, though Russia has continued some weapons sales to Damascus. Syrian President Bashar Assad has increasingly reached out to Russia recently, including Seeking weapons and offering broader military cooperation. Friday's announcement was the first tangible sign of any new cooperation. The Itar-Tass news agency said Friday that a vessel from Russia's Black Sea fleet had begun restoring facilities at Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus for use by the Russian military. The two countries' naval chiefs also met in Moscow on Friday and discussed "further strengthening mutual trust and mutual understanding between the two states' fleets," A Russian naval official, Igor Dygalo, told Itar-Tass. The Tartus renovations could signal an intention to have a long-term Russian naval presence there. In late August, Russia's ambassador to Damascus, Igor Belyev, said that Russian ships already patrol the area, but "a new development is that the Russian presence in the Mediterranean will become permanent." Syrian media made no mention of the Russian announcement Friday, and Syrian officials could not be reached for comment. Russian military experts said Tartus would be a considerable boost for operations in the Mediterranean. "It is much more advantageous to have such a facility than to return ships patrolling the Mediterranean to their home bases," Former Black Sea Fleet commander Adm. Eduard Baltin said, according to the Russian Interfax-AVN service. The former first deputy commander the Russian Navy, Adm. Igor Kasatonov, said Tartus "is of great geopolitical significance considering that it is the only such Russian facility abroad."
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Nasrallah: No peace in Middle East as long as Israel exists Haaretz (September 11, 2008) - The Hezbollah leader went on to say that his Lebanon-based guerilla group is stronger than ever and is prepared for its next confrontation with Israel. "Any Israeli attack on Lebanon, Iran, Syria or Gaza will be met with a fierce response," Nasrallah said. He added that Hezbollah has grown logistically and militarily stronger, claiming that all of Lebanon has united against a common enemy - Israel. One subject Nasrallah did not broach in the interview is the assassination last February of the group's second-in-command, Imad Mughniyeh. Nasrallah did not discuss how or when his group would avenge the killing. Recent Israeli intelligence reports, however, have suggested that Hezbollah is planning to abduct Israelis abroad as revenge for Mughniyeh's assassination.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syria warns of 'catastrophic' effect of any Israeli strike on Iran (September 2, 2008) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned Tuesday that an attack by Israel on Iran would have catastrophic consequences for the entire world. "We think that Israel could try to launch attacks against Iran, even against Lebanon or Syria," he said in an interview with France 3 television. "Any attack by Israel or by anyone else will have catastrophic results not only on the region but on the whole world," he said. In recent months several Israeli politicians have talked of the possibility of a preemptive military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities to avoid any possibility of Tehran acquiring an atomic weapon. Iran has responded by threatening retaliatory strikes with its Shahab-3 missiles which have a nominal range of 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) -- enough to reach Israel.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Israeli-Syrian peace talks postponed The Jerusalem Post (September 1, 2008) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to visit Damascus on Wednesday, a trip Israel had an indirect role in making possible because of its indirect talks with Syria, at a time when - ironically - the Israel-Syria track seems frozen. Turkish sources said Monday that there was no new date scheduled for the fifth round of indirect talks in Turkey between Syrian and Israeli negotiating teams, a round that was originally scheduled for last week, then postponed until this week, and now tentatively set for next week. Turkish sources told The Jerusalem Post last week that it was likely that the talks would be postponed until after Sarkozy's two-day trip to Damascus. The Syrians have expressed interest in US and French co-sponsorship of the talks, something which Sarkozy would like to see. In a speech to French ambassadors last week, Sarkozy said it was because Syria knew that France had excellent relations with Israel and the US that "Damascus wanted France to shoulder this unprecedented responsibility in due time." He said this would be discussed during his visit. The US, meanwhile, has shown no interest in involvement. Sarkozy's visit will be the first by a French leader to Damascus since former president Jacques Chirac cut ties with Syria following the assassination in February 2005 of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, a close friend of Chirac. Diplomatic officials have said that Israel's decision to hold indirect talks with Syria gave a certain degree of "diplomatic cover" for Sarkozy to make overtures to Assad, with the argument being that if it was okay for Jerusalem to talk with the Syrians, then it was also okay for France. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also scheduled to visit Damascus this week, expected to visit there on Thursday, the day that Sarkozy leaves. This has led to speculation that Erdogan wants to ensure that Turkey maintains its central role in the Israel-Syria talks. Turkish sources, however, said that the hastily scheduled Erdogan visit was likely connected more to the Russian-Georgian crisis, than to the Israeli-Syrian track. Turkey's decision to allow US warships through the Bosporus Straits to the Black Sea was slammed by Russia, and Moscow's displeasure was translated into long delays for Turkish exporters at the Russian border. Turkey hit back Monday, subjecting Russian imports into Turkey to additional searches. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to arrive in Istanbul on Tuesday for a meeting that will focus on the rising tensions, and Erdogan's visit to Damascus - which is supporting Russia in its conflict with Georgia - is expected to focus on that issue. more...
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

U.N. Confirms: Hizbullah Importing Weapons From Syria Israel National News (August 30, 2008) - A United Nations task force assigned to report on weapons smuggling in Lebanon said Monday that Hizbullah has been bringing arms across the Syrian-Lebanese border. This confirms Israeli allegations that the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group has been steadily rearming with Syrian assistance and Lebanese collusion. Last month, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that "the number of missiles in the hands of Hizbullah has doubled, if not tripled, and that the range of the missiles has been extended. And this has been accomplished with the close assistance of the Syrians." In March, an anonymous source told the Associated Press that Hizbullah held new Iranian rockets capable of striking as far south as Dimona, Israel's nuclear facility in the Negev. According to the task force report, submitted to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, neither Lebanese nor Syrian officials have done anything to end weapons transfers to Hizbullah. The task force, which has seen no improvement in the situation since it started its work in 2007, noted that weapons flow easily across the Syrian-Lebanese frontier due to lax or non-existent inspections. Even the air and sea ports into Lebanon, the report says, have been used for weapons smuggling. Earlier this month, Lebanon's cabinet voted to allow Hizbullah to maintain its weapons arsenal. The government decision specifically approves Hizbullah activities aimed at Israel. In Violation of U.N. Resolutions Weapons transfers to the Hizbullah such as those cited in the task force report are in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War two years ago. However, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrols in southern Lebanon, far from the weapons transfer routes. Furthermore, UNIFIL has stated outright that it would not enforce Res. 1701 conditions calling for the disarming of Hizbullah. In March 2008, Hizbullah terrorists threatened and chased off UNIFIL forces after the armed international soldiers found a truck carrying illicit arms and ammunition. The incident was mentioned in a semi-yearly report submitted to the U.N. Security Council by Ban Ki-moon. In an earlier report to the U.N. Security Council, in February 2008, Ki-moon noted, "Hizbullah, by admission of its leaders on several occasions, has replenished its military capacity since the 2006 war with Israel. I therefore remain concerned that this border remains vulnerable to such [weapons transfers], which would represent serious violations of the resolution and constitute a significant threat to the stability and security of Lebanon."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Report: Israel threatened to target Syria if Hezbollah attacks, taken in light of other stories of Russia and Syria as well as Turkey and Syria... Keep watching

Will Turkey Abandon NATO? Wall Street Journal (August 29, 2008) - Will Turkey side with the United States, its NATO ally, and let more U.S. military ships into the Black Sea to assist Georgia? Or will it choose Russia? A Turkish refusal would seriously impair American efforts to support the beleaguered Caucasus republic. Ever since Turkey joined NATO in 1952, it has hoped to never have to make a choice between the alliance and its Russian neighbor to the North. Yet that is precisely the decision before Ankara. If Turkey does not allow the ships through, it will essentially be taking Russia's side. Whether in government or in the military, Turkish officials have for several years been expressing concern about U.S. intentions to "enter" the Black Sea. Even at the height of the Cold War, the Black Sea remained peaceful due to the fact that Turkey and Russia had clearly defined spheres of influence. But littoral countries Romania and Bulgaria have since joined NATO, and Ukraine and Georgia have drawn closer to the Euro-Atlantic alliance. Ankara has expressed nervousness about a potential Russian reaction. The Turkish mantra goes something like this: "the U.S. wants to expand NATO into the Black Sea -- and as in Iraq, this will create a mess in our neighborhood, leaving us to deal with the consequences once America eventually pulls out. After all, if Russia is agitated, it won't be the Americans that will have to deal with them." Nonetheless, Ankara sided with fellow NATO members in telling Georgia and Ukraine that they would be invited to join the alliance -- albeit without any time frame. But now that Russia has waged war in part over this decision, the Turks will have to pick sides. Deputy chief of the Russian general staff Anatoly Nogoivtsyn already warned Turkey that Russia will hold Turkey responsible if the U.S. ships do not leave the Black Sea. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Ankara on Monday to make clear that Russia means it. Russia is Turkey's largest trading partner, mostly because of Turkey's dependence on Russian gas. More important, the two countries share what some call the post-imperial stress syndrome: that is, an inability to see former provinces as fellow independent states, and ultimately a wish to recreate old agreements on spheres of influence. When Mr. Putin gave a speech in Munich last year challenging the U.S.-led world order, Turks cheered. The Turkish military even posted it on its Web site. President Abdullah Gül recently suggested that "a new world order should emerge." Turkey joined Russia at the height of its war on Georgia in suggesting a five-party "Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform." In other words, they want to keep the U.S. and the EU at arm's length. Both Russia and Turkey consider Georgia's American-educated president, Mikheil Saakashvili, to be crazy enough to unleash the next world war. In that view Turkey is not so far from the positions of France or Germany -- but even these two countries did not suggest that the Georgians sign up to a new regional arrangement co-chaired by Russia while the Kremlin's air force was bombing Georgian cities. Two other neighbors -- Azerbaijan and Armenia -- are watching the Turkish-Russian partnership with concern. Azeris remember how the Turks -- their ethnic and religious brethren -- left them to be annexed by the Soviets in the 1920s. Armenians already fear their giant neighbor, who they consider to have committed genocide against them. Neither wants to have to rely on Iran (once again) as a counterbalance to Russia. Oh, and of course, Iran had its own sphere-of-influence arrangements with the Soviets as well. Though Turkey and Iran are historic competitors, Turkey has broken with NATO countries recently by hosting President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on a working visit. As the rest of NATO was preoccupied with the Russian aggression in Georgia, Turkey legitimized the Iranian leader amidst chants in Istanbul of "death to Israel, death to America." A few days later, Turkey played host to Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide by the rest of NATO -- but not by Russia or Iran, or by the Muslim-majority countries who usually claim to care so much about Muslim lives. Where is Turkey headed? Turkish officials say they are using their trust-based relations with various sides to act as a mediator between various parties in the region: the U.S. and Iran; Israel and Syria; Pakistan and Afghanistan, etc. It may be so. But as more American ships steam toward the Black Sea, a time for choosing has arrived.
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

How would they react if Damascus were destroyed?

Russian Navy planning greater presence in Syria (August 28, 2008) - The Russian Navy will make more use of Syrian ports as part of increased military presence in the Mediterranean, a Russian diplomat said yesterday. The announcement comes as tensions rise between Moscow and the West over Russia's role in Georgia. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria backed Russia's recent offensive on Georgia in support of a separatist province during a visit to Russia last week. "Our navy presence in the Mediterranean will increase. Russian vessels will be visiting Syria and other friendly ports more frequently," Igor Belyaev, the Russian charge d'affaires, told reporters in the Syrian capital. "The visits are continuing," he added. Russia relies on Syria's Tartous port as a main stopping point in the Mediterranean, although ties between the two countries have cooled since the collapse of Communism, when Moscow supplied Syria with billions of dollars worth of arms. Internet news sites have reported that a Russian naval unit, including the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, docked at Tartous earlier this month. Belyaev would not be drawn on specifics, or whether new military agreements with Syria were reached during Assad's meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia today. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week Russia was prepared to sell Syria more arms as long as this does not disturb the "regional balance of power." Lavrov was referring to the position of Israel, which has a superior military and is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons. Syria, which is technically at war with the Jewish state, has embarked on a drive to upgrade its military in recent years.
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

And why might Israel feel threatened by Syria enough to take action against Damascus? This buildup of military in the North of Israel might also explain a quick retaliation too. Russia just showed her military might in Georgia just North of Turkey, what if Turkey joined in a retaliation with Iran, who has been openly expressing the desire to wipe Israel off the map? Keep watching.

Fear of new Mid East 'Cold War' as Syria strengthens military alliance with Russia Times Online (August 21, 2008) - Syria raised the prospect yesterday of having Russian missiles on its soil, sparking fears of a new Cold War in the Middle East. President Assad said as he arrived in Moscow to clinch a series of military agreements: “We are ready to co-operate with Russia in any project that can strengthen its security.” The Syrian leader told Russian newspapers: “I think Russia really has to think of the response it will make when it finds itself closed in a circle.” Mr Assad said that he would be discussing the deployment of Russian missiles on his territory. The Syrians are also interested in buying Russian weapons. In return Moscow is expected to propose a revival of its Cold War era naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, which would give the Russian Navy its first foothold in the Mediterranean for two decades. Damascus and Moscow were close allies during the Cold War but the Kremlin’s influence in the region waned after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yesterday’s rapprochement raised the possibility that Moscow intends to re-create a global anti-Western alliance with former Soviet bloc allies. Many in Israel fear that the Middle East could once again become a theatre for the two great powers to exert their spheres of influence, militarily and politically. And with Israel and the US providing military backing to Georgia, Russia appears set to respond in kind by supporting Syria. Already, Israeli observers worry that the chaos in the Caucasus may disrupt gas supplies to Europe and Turkey from the Caspian Sea region, creating a greater energy reliance on Iran and its vast reserves. The crisis could in turn allow Tehran to exploit splits in the international community and use Russia as a backer to advance its nuclear programme. Russia has wooed Syria in recent years, as it has tried to increase its influence in the Middle East and increase arms sales. Syria and Israel recently confirmed they had been holding indirect talks to reach a peace deal after decades of hostility. Part of Syria’s motivation was to break the international isolation it has suffered for its strategic alliance with Tehran. A closer alliance with a resurgent Russia could afford Mr Assad a way out of any binding commitment. Some Israeli analysts even fear that it could encourage Syria to try to take back the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in 1967, by force. The Georgia conflict sparked a mocking speech with Cold War rhetoric by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, over the performance of Israeli-trained Georgian troops. One of the Israeli military advisers there was reserve Brigadier-General Gal Hirsch, who commanded a division in Israel’s inconclusive war with Hezbollah in 2006, and who resigned his commission afterwards. “Gal Hirsch, who was defeated in Lebanon, went to Georgia and they too lost because of him,” the Shia leader taunted. “Relying on Israeli experts and weapons, Georgia learnt why the Israeli generals failed. “What happened in Georgia is a message to all those the Americans are seeking to entangle in dangerous adventures.”
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

What are the chances of this Syrian-Russian alliance and fear in Israel that the growing instability for their nation because of the energy crisis and threats against her could lead to a pre-emptive attack on Damascus? And what are the chances that Russia and Iran would retaliate? Considering Turkey's recent attempts to reconcile Syria and Israel, would they consider Israel's action against Damascus worth declaring war against her with Russia and Turkey as prophesied? Keep watching.

Russia sends aircraft carrier to Syria Barents Observer (August 20, 2008) - The Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” is ready to head from Murmansk towards the Mediterranean and the Syrian port of Tartus. The mission comes after Syrian President Bashar Assad said he is open for a Russian base in the area. The “Admiral Kuznetsov”, part of the Northern Fleet and Russia’s only aircraft carrier, will head a Navy mission to the area. The mission will also include the missile cruiser “Moskva” and several submarines, reports. President Assad in meetings in Moscow this week expressed support to Russia’s intervention in South Ossetia and Georgia. He also expressed interest in the establishment of Russian missile air defence facilities on his land. The “Admiral Kuznetsov” also last year headed a navy mission to the Mediterranean. Then, on the way from the Kola Peninsula and south, it stopped in the North Sea where it conducted a navy training exercise in the immediate vicinity of Norwegian offshore installations.
| Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Monitor: UN peacekeepers in Lebanon co-opted by Hizbullah World Tribune (August 20, 2008) - A consultant to the United Nations said its peace-keeping force in Lebanon has been effectively paralyzed. An independent monitoring group, registered as a consultant to the UN, said UNIFIL could not act without permission of Hizbullah and the Lebanese government it now controls. "They [UNIFIL] mustn't accept Hizbullah blackmailing," Toni Nissi, general coordinator of the Lebanese Committee for UN Security Council Resolution 1559 said. [On Aug. 19, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would lift any limitations on military operations should Lebanon turn into what he termed a Hizbullah state. Olmert said Israel had restrained itself during the 2006 war with Hizbullah to avoid damage to Lebanon.] In a briefing on Aug. 16, Nissi said UNIFIL has become a hostage of Hizbullah. He said the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has refused to grant permission to UN peace-keepers to halt Hizbullah weapons smuggling or deployment south of the Litani River, a key element of Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the Israeli-Hizbullah war in 2006. "1701 also calls for the implementation of [Security Council resolution] 1559, especially the disarmament of the militias, and calls for sealing the border between Lebanon and Syria and forbidding the entering of arms and weapons via the border, especially to Hizbullah," Nissi said. "So Hizbullah is violating 1701 big time, and not only by hiding its weapons in warehouses in the south. Also, we haven't seen any weapons coming out of the south after the war of 2006. So did Hizbullah throw its weapons used in the 2006 war into the sea?" The monitoring group, with representatives in Lebanon and other countries, disputed an assertion by UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano that Hizbullah was honoring resolution 1701. Graziano also said UNIFIL maintained excellent relations with the militia. "Is the UNIFIL mandate to coordinate with Hizbullah or to kick Hizbullah out south of the Litani?" Nissi responded. Former UNIFIL adviser Timor Goksel said the 13,500 international peace-keeping force has sought to avoid friction with Hizbullah. Goksel told a briefing in Beirut that Hizbullah has established a major presence in southern Lebanon. "I know they are careful not to challenge UNIFIL and there is practically no visible Hizbullah fighter to be seen," Goksel said. "As far as UNIFIL is concerned, this is compliance."
| Iran | Islam | Isaiah 17 | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |

Israeli missile defense system detects Syrian tests World Tribune (August 19, 2008) - Israeli officials said the Syrian military conducted tests of both ballistic missiles and tactical rockets in the spring and summer of 2008. "It was the kind of test that Iran conducted earlier this year and meant to show that Syria could fire missiles simultaneously from a range of batteries in the southern and central parts of the country," an official said. The Syrian tests were detected by Israel's Arrow-2 missile defense system. The Arrow's Green Pine early-warning radar was said to have a range of more than 800 kilometers, which covers most of Syria, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the Syrian tests included that of the Scud D ballistic missile, with a range of 700 kilometers and which can contain a chemical warhead. They said North Korea has helped Syria develop a two-stage Scud D meant to frustrate Israel's missile defense system. They said the launches appeared to test Syria's command and control network required to sustain a missile attack on Israel. Syria was also said to have fired the Soviet-origin SS-21 rocket during the exercise. The single-stage SS-21 has a range of more than 70 kilometers and was said to be capable of striking Israeli strategic facilities. Officials said Syria has about 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, including the Scud B and Scud C. They said Iran and North Korea have been helping Syria integrate a range of missile and rocket batteries into a nationwide network. Israel responded to the Syrian missile launches with a missile defense exercise in August. Officials acknowledged that neither Israel's Arrow-2 nor the U.S.-origin Patriot systems could intercept most of Syria's missiles and rockets. Israel's Channel 2 television disclosed the Syrian missile and rocket exercise on Aug. 18, the eve of a visit by President Bashar Assad to Russia. Assad was expected to discuss with his Russian hosts the prospect of purchasing the Iskander-E rocket, with a range of 280 kilometers.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Need I add anything concerning a pre-emptive attack on Damascus?

Report warns of global fallout from invasion of Georgia, faults U.S. intelligence World Tribune (August 19, 2008) - Russia's invasion of Georgia demonstrated Moscow's growing power and is making waves in the Middle East, a report by a leading U.S. analyst said. The report by the Institute for Contemporary Affairs asserted that Iran would be emboldened by Moscow's successful military campaign. "The long-term outcomes of the current Russian-Georgian war will be felt far and wide, from Afghanistan to Iran, and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean," the report, titled "The Russian-Georgian War: Implications for the Middle East," said. "The war is a mid-sized earthquake which indicates that the geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting, and nations in the Middle East, including Israel, need to take notice." Authored by Ariel Cohen, the report said Russia's strategic goals included increasing control of energy pipelines to Turkey. Cohen also warned Israel not to provoke Moscow or rely on U.S. support against Iran, Middle East Newsline reported. "U.S. expressions of support of the kind provided to Georgia — short of an explicit mutual defense pact — may or may not result in military assistance if/when Israel is under attack, especially when the attacker has an effective deterrent, such as nuclear arms deliverable against U.S. targets," the report said. "In the future, such an attacker could be Iran or an Arab country armed with atomic weapons. Israel can and should rely on its own deterrent — a massive survivable second-strike capability." The report criticized the U.S. intelligence community, which failed to detect Russian efforts to annex Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Cohen, who warned that Ukraine was Moscow's next target, said the Bush administration did not prepare the Georgian military for a Russian attack. "This is something to remember when looking at recent American intelligence assessments of the Iranian nuclear threat or the unsuccessful training of Palestinian Authority security forces against Hamas," Cohen said. Cohen said a pro-Russian regime in Georgia would result in Moscow's full control of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Erzurum natural gas pipeline, both of which reach Turkey. Israel has been receiving some of its oil from Ceyhan and has a "stake in the smooth flow of oil from the Caspian." The report said Russia financed and armed the Russian ethnic community in Georgia to foment unrest. Cohen compared this to Iran's use of proxies to attack Israel from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. "This use of small, ethnically-based proxies is similar to Iran's use of Hizbullah and Hamas to continuously attack Israel," the report said. "Tbilisi tried for years to deal with these militias by offering a negotiated solution, including full autonomy within Georgia." Cohen, a senior researcher at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, said Russia plans to extend its influence throughout the Middle East. He cited Russian Navy bases in the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartous and plans to establish a presence in Libya. "Clearly, with the renewal of East-West tensions as a result of Russia's moves against Georgia, it will be much more difficult to obtain Moscow's agreement to enhance sanctions and international pressures on Iran," the report said. "The struggle to diplomatically halt its [Iran's] nuclear program will become far more difficult."
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

This article really touches on several of the aspects of the sequence of events I believe will unfold according to Bible prophecy. The intelligence community failed to detect Russia's intentions/actions until they were unfolding and the "global community" didn't do anything but condemn the use of force, which sends a signal that Russia and others can get away with actions like this. Furthermore, Israel is told they would pretty much be on their own. Then it also says Israel should rely on its own deterrent, a massive second-strike capability. Is it too far-fetched to believe that Israel could make a pre-emptive strike given the very vocal intentions to run Israel into the sea?

Israelis: War With Hezbollah Inevitable Newsmax (August 18, 2008) - The Israeli army says Hezbollah has re-armed with 40,000 rockets — triple the number it had at the start of the Lebanon War two years ago. Therefore, many Israelis believe another war with Hezbollah is inevitable. "The war set the stage for a more comprehensive Middle East conflict," said Israeli analyst Michael Oren. "It set into motion a dynamic in the Arab world, where much of the Arab street believes that Hezbollah won that war, and there is tremendous expectation on Hezbollah to continue the struggle." Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets into Israel during the 34-day conflict. But a massive Israeli air and ground assault failed to deal a knockout blow to 5,000 Hezbollah guerrillas in South Lebanon, prompting an official Israeli inquiry to describe the government's and army's handling of the war as a failure. Oren says there were failures, but also achievements. "Israel wreaked tremendous havoc in Lebanon in 2006," Oren said. "We destroyed all of Hezbollah's infrastructure, much of its civilian headquarters, we killed about a quarter of their fighters, that is a prohibitive number of casualties for any modern fighting force, and yet perception is everything in the Middle East and the perception was, in the Arab world at least, that Israel was bested in that conflict." Under the U.N. ceasefire resolution that ended the war, about 13,000 international peacekeepers have deployed in South Lebanon. But Israel charges that they have failed to fulfill their mandate of preventing weapons smuggling to Hezbollah from Syria and Iran. With a bristling new arsenal of rockets, Oren believes a Hezbollah attack on Israel is just a matter of time. "Israel would then have to reply into Lebanon, possibly drawing in the Syrians and ultimately the Iranians," Oren said. And with the possible involvement of regional superpowers, the next war could be much worse than the last one.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Remember the news story regarding Israel's warning that they would hold Damascus responsible for Hezbollah's actions? Report: Israel threatened to target Syria if Hezbollah attacks

Lebanon, Syria open diplomatic relations The Jordanian Times (August 15, 2008) - Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman agreed on Wednesday to establish diplomatic relations between their countries at ambassadorial level, a Syrian official said. Damascus has been under pressure from the United States and other governments including France to treat its smaller neighbour more as a sovereign state by taking steps including opening a Beirut embassy and demarcating borders with Lebanon. "The two presidents... have instructed their foreign ministers to take the necessary steps in this regard, starting from today," Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser to President Assad said. Syria had dominated Lebanon until the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri triggered pressure for it to end a 29-year military presence in the country. Sleiman, who had been army chief before his election, was received at a hilltop palace overlooking Damascus. He was appointed head of Lebanon's military when Syria still controlled the country and describes his ties with Damascus as excellent. The two countries announced last month in Paris that they intended to open diplomatic relations for the first time since they gained independence in 1943. Wednesday's agreement formally set those ties on the highest level. It was Sleiman's first visit to Syria since his election in May as part of a Qatari-mediated deal that defused a bitter political conflict between an anti-Syrian majority coalition and an alliance of groups backed by Damascus. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem told Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper that Sleiman's visit was "a starting point and a true foundation for future relations". Syria's opponents in Lebanon, including Saudi-backed politician Saad Hariri, have accused Damascus of assassinating Rafiq Hariri and other anti-Syrian figures and fomenting instability since its withdrawal. Syria denies the allegations. more...
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

'Syria and Hizbullah gaining strength' The Jerusalem Post (August 12, 2008) - Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that "it is not a coincidence that the IDF is holding intensive drills in the Golan Heights," adding that UNSC Resolution 1701 was not accomplishing what it set out to do. "Hizbullah has gained significant strength in the last couple of years," said Barak during an IDF Armored Corps drill in the North. "We are closely following a possible violation [of the resolution] caused by the transfer of advanced weapons systems from Syria to Hizbullah. The necessary preparations have been made, and regarding all the rest - I always prefer not to talk, rather to take action when the time comes." Barak expressed optimism with regards to the IDF's capabilities. "The army is regaining its strength, and coming back to the right morals, carrying out the right exercises and it is our obligation as the government to ensure that the proper means are available to carry out such drills in a correct and intensive manner." Referring to a proposed budget cut to the Defense Ministry, Barak said: "We live in a country where security and defense consist not just of tanks and planes, but also of fostering excellence and caring for the population through education and social welfare." Nonetheless, Barak emphasized that "security and defense take precedence over quality of life and in a country such as ours, we do not have the luxury of cutting the defense budget." The defense minister also addressed the Gaza ceasefire and the strengthening of the group. "So far, the ceasefire has proved promising," he said. "There have been ten instances where rockets were launched in the past 6 weeks, compared to the hundreds of attacks that occurred in the past. Every week that passes with the ceasefire in place enables us to gain strength and to maximize the possibility or the probability of bringing about the right conditions for the release of [captured IDF soldier] Gilad Schalit. Barak added that "in the meantime, the government must care for the social and economic infrastructure as well as the preparation of the home front in the Gaza periphery and the surrounding areas. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Exclusive: Hizbollah 'stronger than before' and ready to strike Israel  Telegraph UK (August 2, 2008) - Hezbollah has significantly built up its military arsenal on the Israeli border and is ready to respond with force to any provocation, its senior commander has told the Telegraph. The political and military group's senior commander in southern Lebanon said in a rare interview that Hezbollah was far stronger now than when it fought the Israeli army in a conflict in 2006. Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, who leads Hezbollah's forces on Lebanon's border with Israel - the crucial battlefront of any future war, was speaking in the port city of Tyre. "The resistance is now stronger than before and this keeps the option of war awake. If we were weak, Israel would not hesitate to start another war," he said. "We are stronger than before and when Hezbollah is strong, our strength stops Israel from starting a new war... We don't seek war, but we must be ready." Hezbollah, whose missiles killed 43 Israeli civilians during the war of 2006, is considered a terrorist organisation by the US and Britain. Other sources say Hezbollah has trebled its arsenal in the last two years – from 10,000 missiles to about 30,000. These new weapons have longer ranges and heavier warheads. They include the Zelzal missile, which could strike as far south as Tel Aviv, and the C802 anti-shipping missile, capable of sinking Israeli warships. Any American strike on Iran, for example, could be the trigger for a Hezbollah attack on Israel. Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's overall leader, started the 2006 conflict with the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers whose corpses were recently returned to Israel. Mr Kaouk did not deny that Hezbollah was reliant on Iran for military hardware and support. "We are proud of our friendship with Iran and with Syria and every country which helps us to gain our rights," he said. His remarks will be examined closely in Washington as Iran presses ahead with its nuclear programme. Iran is currently weighing its response to the West’s latest offer of incentives to suspend the enrichment of uranium but has signaled that for now it is not about to change its stance. Asked where Hezbollah's weapons came from, Mr Kaouk said: "All parties in Lebanon are getting weapons. No one asks from where." Iran is Hezbollah's supplier and paymaster. Tehran's regime and Hezbollah are fellow Shias and their alliance is a crucial power factor in the Middle East. Iran delivers the missiles to southern Lebanon through Syria. Meanwhile, Hezbollah fighters travel to Iran for military training. If the US attacked Iran's nuclear facilities, Hezbollah could retaliate by firing its missiles into Israel. Hence Iran possesses a vital interest in building this arsenal. Asked how Hezbollah would respond to an attack on Iran, Mr Kaouk replied: "I doubt that Israel will attack Iran because they know the consequences." Mr Kaouk said the 2006 war, which claimed 1,100 Lebanese lives, had been a success. "Israel didn't achieve any of its goals. The known goal of Israel is 'death to Hezbollah'. Hezbollah is still here."
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

'Hizbullah received advanced launchers' The Jerusalem Post (August 10, 2008) - The senior aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad who was assassinated last weekend had been in charge of supplying Hizbullah with advanced anti-aircraft weaponry, the Sunday Times reported. According to the report, Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Suleiman had provided the guerrilla group with advanced Syrian SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles, Middle Eastern sources told the paper. Such missiles could potentially challenge the IAF reconnaissance flights which are currently conducted unhindered over Lebanon. Last week, Lebanon's new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement which could secure Hizbullah's existence as an armed organization and guarantee its right to "liberate or recover occupied lands." "The Cabinet unanimously approved the draft," Information Minister Tarek Mitri told reporters after the five-hour meeting at the presidential palace in a Beirut suburb last Monday. Government sources in Jerusalem said the decision would make the government in Beirut an accomplice to any Hizbullah aggression and give Israel the right to hold it responsible. During the Second Lebanon War, Israel came under international pressure not to harm Lebanon's infrastructure because it was Hizbullah, not the Lebanese government, that killed several IDF soldiers and kidnapped reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in the July 2006 cross border raid which sparked the conflict.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Not only does this kind of activity seem like something that Israel may react to with force, but also that could help preserve the forces coming from the North following Israel's response to continued arms buildup in clear continued preparation to fulfill the promised destruction of the state of Israel from her enemies. We know God's plans however and while Israel will be severely diminished in the future time of Jacob's trouble, there is a remnant that will come to see Yeshua as the Messiah they have been longing for.

Syria turned down IAEA inspection request, diplomats say Newsday (August 9, 2008) - Syria has blocked a new visit by International Atomic Energy Agency experts seeking to follow up on intelligence that Damascus built a secret nuclear program built with the help of North Korea, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday. The diplomats also said Washington was circulating a note among members of the IAEA board opposing a Syrian push for a seat on the 35-nation board. The board normally works by consensus and a seat held by Damascus could thus hamper any investigation into its alleged nuclear activities. Syria fears a massive atomic agency investigation similar to the probe Iran has been subjected to more than five years. "Syria's election to the board while under investigation for secretly ... building an undeclared nuclear reactor not suited for peaceful purposes would make a mockery" of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said the note, as read to the AP. Syria rejected the IAEA request for a visit late last month, the diplomats said. The visit would have been a follow up to an initial trip by IAEA inspectors in June. "The Syrians said that a visit at this time was inopportune," said a senior diplomat, who, like two others agreeing to discuss the issue, demanded anonymity because their information was confidential. That appeared to leave open the possibility of a later visit. But one of the other diplomats said members of the Syrian mission to the IAEA were spreading the word among other missions that further trips beyond the one in June were unlikely. If so, that could cripple international efforts to probe U.S. allegations that a site in a remote part of the Syrian desert, which Israel destroyed last year, was a near-finished plutonium-producing reactor built with North Korean help, and that Damascus continues to hide linked facilities. IAEA experts came back June 25 from a four-day visit, carrying environmental samples from the Al Kibar site hit by Israel in September. Those are now being evaluated. But the results might fall short of providing a conclusive results. A traditional method at suspected nuclear sites — taking swipes in the search for radioactive traces — was unlikely to have been of use at Al Kibar. That's because none had been introduced into the alleged reactor before it was struck by Israel, according to intelligence given to the agency by the U.S., Israel and a third country the diplomats declined to identify. more...
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

IDF MI chief: Hamas, Hizbullah May be Planning Imminent Attack The Jerusalem Post (July 20, 2008) - Head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin warned on Sunday of a possible terror attack by Hamas or Hizbullah in the near future along the Gaza Strip and Lebanon borders, respectively. Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Yadlin said Hizbullah still had many outstanding issues with Israel which could be used to justify such an attack, such as the Shaba Farms, the village of Ghajar, IAF flights over Lebanon and Imad Mughniyeh's assassination in February - for which the group has blamed Israel. Of Gaza, Yadlin said some organizations which have not signed on to the cease-fire are planning a major attack. However, Yadlin said Hamas was succeeding in enforcing the cease-fire on the Palestinian side but assessed that the fact that border crossings were not open "according to Hamas's expectations, constitutes a potential for eroding the cease-fire." While weapons smuggling continued, Egyptian activity in Sinai "diminishes the amount of arms smuggling, but quality weaponry still finds its way into the Gaza Strip." Yadlin also said that Israel's enemies were continuing to arm themselves. But he added those enemies were worried of the possibility of a "hot summer" and did not intend to initiate a war with Israel during US President George W. Bush's remaining time in office, or before they had armed themselves sufficiently.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Hizbullah moves into 'every town' The Jerusalem Post (July 17, 2008) - Hizbullah is bolstering its presence in south Lebanon villages with non-Shi'ite majorities by buying land and using it to build military positions and store missiles and launchers, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The decision to build infrastructure in non-Shi'ite villages - where Hizbullah has less support - is part of the group's post-war strategy under which it has mostly abandoned the "nature reserves," forested areas in southern Lebanon where it kept most of its Katyusha rocket launchers before the Second Lebanon War. Behind the change is the mandate given to UNIFIL by the United Nations after the war in 2006. According to the mandate, the peacekeeping force can patrol freely throughout southern Lebanon but cannot enter villages or cities without being accompanied by soldiers from the Lebanese Armed Forces, which regularly tips off Hizbullah ahead of the raids. News of the change in Hizbullah strategy came as Israel is trying to persuade the UN to strengthen UNIFIL's mandate to give it the right to patrol the villages freely. "Hizbullah is moving into every town that it can," a senior defense official told the Post. "This is in order to evade UNIFIL detection." On Thursday, Lebanese complained they were receiving recorded phone messages from Israel promising "harsh retaliation" for any future Hizbullah attack. The automated messages also warn against allowing Hizbullah to form "a state within a state" in the country. The phone messages end with the words: "The State of Israel." There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, though similar reports surfaced of Israeli phone campaigns during the 2006 war trying to persuade Lebanese not to support Hizbullah. Lebanon's official National News Agency said residents in the country's south and east, as well as in Beirut reporting receiving the calls. It said Telecommunications Minister Jibran Bassil contacted the United Nations to complain, calling it a "flagrant aggression against Lebanese sovereignty." Also Thursday, defense officials warned that with the prisoner swap completed, Hizbullah would no longer need to restrain itself and might decide to avenge the assassination of the group's operations chief, Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus last February. As a result, the IDF has slightly increased its level of alert along the border, based on the assessment that even if a retaliatory attack took place abroad the violence would spread to the Israeli-Lebanese border.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

We only get one strike The Jerusalem Post (July 16, 2008) - An Israeli attack on Iran seems inevitable. If it succeeds, it will return to Israel its deterrent power and send a clear message to the saber-rattling jihadists that they were too early in beginning the countdown for the disappearance of the Jewish state. If it fails, or fails to achieve the majority of its objectives, it could amount to an act of national suicide. Fanatical Muslims on every side will be encouraged by the failure and outcome of an Iranian retaliation which would cause heavy damage to the whole center of our country. Iran would unquestionably be joined by its proxies on our borders, Hizbullah and Syria on the north and Hamas on the south, the PLO jihad brigades under various names, and the Arabs of Israel. The latter have already shown their ability to block major traffic arteries and demonstrated that their loyalties rest with their Arab brethren, not with the Jewish state. The repeated declarations of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the aim of Iran is to wipe Israel off the world map should not be taken as the empty, fiery words of a fanatical Muslim dictator, but as a plan of action. True, Iran does not need a pretext, but an Israeli attack on any nuclear installation in Iran, or just an invasion of Iranian air space could be used as an excellent reason for mounting an all-out missile attack. Since the late ninth century, the Shi'ites have been expecting the emergence of the hidden imam-mahdi, armed with divine power and followed by thousands of martyrdom-seeking warriors. He is expected to conquer the world and establish Shi'ism as its supreme religion and system of rule. His appearance would involve terrible war and unusual bloodshed. Ahmadinejad, as mayor of Teheran, built a spectacular boulevard through which the mahdi would enter into the capital. There is no question that Ahmadinejad believes he has been chosen to be the herald of the mahdi. Shi'ite Islam differs from Sunni Islam regarding the identity of the mahdi. The Sunni mahdi is essentially an anonymous figure; the Shi'ite mahdi is a divinely inspired person with a real identity. However both Shi'ites and Sunnis share one particular detail about "the coming of the hour" and the dawning of messianic times: The Jews must all suffer a violent death, to the last one. Both Shi'ites and Sunnis quote the famous hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad: The last hour will not come unless the Muslims fight against the Jews, and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or the tree would say: "Muslim! Servant of Allah! Here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!" Not one Friday passes without this hadith being quoted in sermons from one side of the Islamic world to the other. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

If it weren't for my study of Bible prophecy, I would probably expect Israel to attack Iran. I could very well be wrong and nothing I say should be taken without personal study and prayer, but I'm continually brought back to Isaiah 17 and the destruction of Damascus apparently by the "children of Israel." This opinion piece brings home the possible reality of this a little more. I think Israel realizes the seriousness of their current situation and if they are going to make a show of force, it will be big. After the loss in Lebanon during the summer 2006 engagement, Israel can't afford to appear insincere about her existence. If the elections in Israel change leadership to someone like Netanyahu, we could see a government more willing to make their intentions to remain more clear. Could it lead to the destruction of Damascus? I can't say, but I'm watching and will keep sharing what I see with you so you can decide for yourself and share with those who have ears to hear.

Ahmadinejad: We'll sever enemies' hands The Jerusalem Post (July 13, 2008) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened on Sunday to "cut off the hands" of any would-be attackers of the Islamic Republic. "Before the enemies touch the trigger, the armed forces will cut off their hands," the state-run IRNA news agency quoted the leader as saying. Ahmadinejad said that missile tests conducted last week exhibited "only a small part" of Iran's defense capabilities, and that, if necessary, further capabilities would be revealed. Ahmadinejad's statement comes amid a report that US President George W. Bush has given Israel the "amber light" to carry out an attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts are unsuccessful in causing the Islamic Republic to back down and relinquish its nuclear program. According to a senior Pentagon official quoted by the British Sunday Times on Sunday morning, Bush has given Israel free rein to attack Iran's nuclear sites if sanctions fail in spite of opposition from US generals and regardless of the possible economic and political repercussions of such a strike. "Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you're ready," the official said, adding however, that Israel had been told that it could not count on the US to lend it military support. Contradicting recent reports to the contrary, he also said that the IAF would not be permitted to take off from American military bases in Iraq. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report. Ahmadinejad's aggressive statements contrasted strikingly with a report on Iranian state TV Sunday, which quoted him as saying that Iran would welcome the idea of setting up a US diplomatic office in Teheran. The report quoted the firebrand Iranian leader as saying he would consider an American request to set up an interests section in Iran. He said he "welcomes any move to expand ties." But Ahmadinejad said his government hasn't received any official request for such an office. Last month, US officials floated the idea but no formal requests were made. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog | America |

'We'll Take Land By Force if Talks Fail' The Jerusalem Post (July 12, 2008) - Should diplomacy fail to return "Israeli-occupied land" to Lebanon, the Lebanese army (LAF) will take it by force, Lebanese President Gen. Michel Sueleiman said on Sunday. Suleiman was speaking at a press conference after meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad on the sidelines of the Mediterranean conference in Paris. The Lebanese president stressed, however, that the military option was the last resort. Assad said Lebanon had an important role to play in the Middle East peace process and that any progress in future Israel-Lebanon negotiations would be made in coordination with Syria. Meanwhile, in what is being interpreted in Israel as a declaration of ownership, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has built a road and set up a military position in the Shaba Farms/ Mount Dov area for the first time since Israel's withdrawal from that part of Lebanon in 2000. Israeli defense officials confirmed the move, which was first reported in the Lebanese media, but would not comment on its significance.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

It seems the alliances are continuing together and the idea of Israel stealing land is uniting those alliances against Israel further. The attack on Israel that is prophesied to take place comes from the North parts and they are decimated in the mountains of Israel. Lebanon is immediately to the North and Syria also borders Israel to the North, both in agreement against Israel and if Israel is responsible for the destruction of Damascus, I'm sure they will allow armies to come through there to the North of Israel and the mountains there.

Ezekiel 39:2
And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

Also see map of mountains

Sarkozy: Syria and Lebanon will open embassies Associated Press (July 12, 2008) - France's president says Syria and Lebanon will open embassies in each other's countries. The nations have not had full-fledged embassies in each other's countries since Lebanon became independent in 1943 and Syria in 1945. Syrian President Bashar Assad said last month that establishing diplomatic ties with Lebanon would be possible if a national unity Cabinet was formed in Beirut. Such a government, including members of Syria's ally Hezbollah, was formed Friday after weeks of haggling. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is hosting a summit among leaders of 43 nations from Europe and the Mediterranean rim. Lebanon's new president said Saturday he wants to establish diplomatic ties with Syria and exchange ambassadors, calling for a major shift in long-hostile relations between the neighbors. Michel Suleiman spoke before talks in Paris with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad — and on the eve of a rare summit among leaders of 43 nations from Europe and the Mediterranean rim that France says could send a "wind of hope" through the region. "We want an exchange of ambassadors and diplomatic relations with Syria," Suleiman told reporters at the French presidential palace. He said he was "satisfied" with relations with Syria and that a visit there is "still on the agenda." The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 2005, when former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed. Syria's critics accuse Damascus of having a role in the slaying, a charge Syria denies. Suleiman would not comment on a hoped-for timeframe for new ties or embassies. The nations have not had full-fledged embassies in each other's countries since Lebanon became independent in 1943 and Syria in 1945. more...
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

In looking at recent history in light of Bible prophecy, this is interesting that at this time Syria and Lebanon are showing signs of political cooperation. As we saw, the Hezbollah uprising in Lebanon led to an increase in cooperation between governments. more here Then there's the threat by Israel regarding this puppet group of Iran. more here In case you've just joined the newsletter, my current theory in light of what I've studied from the Bible and seen in current events reported here is posted here.

Hezbollah movement triples number of rockets - report Russian News & Information Agency (July 9, 2008) - Israel's state-controlled radio claimed Wednesday that Islamic Hezbollah has increased its rocket arsenal threefold since the start of an armed conflict with Israel two years ago. Kol Israel radio made the claims citing Israel intelligence sources and said that Hezbollah now has 40,000 rockets capable of reaching Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a cabinet meeting Wednesday that the increase in weapons by Shiite Hezbollah was in violation of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war in 2006. The UN resolution called for the disarming of all militias and the prevention of gun-running and smuggling operations in Lebanon. Over the past few days, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has raised the issue with foreign ministers from France, Germany and Italy. According to Kol Israel, he indicated that Israel would not tolerate violations of peace agreements, which could damage "the fragile balance on the Israeli border."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Recall a previous news story, Report: Israel threatened to target Syria if Hezbollah attacks.

Hezbollah uprising exposed it as Iran's puppet in Lebanon Ya Libnan (June 9, 2008) - Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Shiite mullahs executing Khomeini's will to export the "Islamic revolution" remain on their self-assigned mission to slay the "Great Satan," the U.S. They were finding their campaign stumbling in all the pertinent places throughout the Sunni-dominated Mideast. This forced the Iranians to concentrate on multi-religious Lebanon in order to compensate for the major grounds lost lately in Iraq. The projection of Iranian power comes mainly in the form of Hezbollah. Hezbollah's most recent pretext to disrupt and dominate the nation was simple decisions of sovereignty by the Lebanese government on May7, including extending control over the Hezbollah communications network. Hezbollah refused. The group launched an armed revolt in Beirut, conquering districts, trashing government buildings, burning TV stations, and looting the city at will. But six days of violent confrontations between the well-armed and trained Hezbollah fighters and untrained individual Lebanese did not lead to the fall of the government or plunge the country in complete chaos as it was intended. Lebanese citizens improvised strategies to defend their neighborhoods. Hezbollah fighters lacked necessary logistical support in order to remain in the areas they invaded. So Hezbollah had to hand over the zones back to the Lebanese army. The Arabs, realizing the gravity of the Iranian assault, started an initiative culminating in a summit in Qatar. Ultimately, the factional and governmental representatives left with the Doha Accord. Pacification returned to the smoldering streets of Beirut. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Defense officials: UN Resolution 1701 on the verge of collapse The Jerusalem Post (July 9, 2008) - United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, passed to stop the Second Lebanon War, is on the verge of collapse as Syria continues to rearm Hizbullah, senior defense officials warned Tuesday night ahead of a scheduled security cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will convene the cabinet to discuss the rearmament of Hizbullah since the Second Lebanon War and to discuss ways to curb the flow of weapons from Syria to the guerrilla group. During the meeting, the ministers will be briefed by Military Intelligence on Hizbullah's rehabilitation and preparation for another round of violence with Israel. Defense officials said Israel's only course of action at present was to attempt to place pressure on diplomatic officials from European countries that contribute to UNIFIL. "Syria is rearming Hizbullah at a rapid pace and this is proof that 1701 has completely failed," one official said. The peacekeeping force's mandate will be up for renewal next month and Israel is looking to see if it will be possible to make changes that will give the force more freedom to prevent Hizbullah's rearmament.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Crossfire War - Israel Estimates Iran-Syria to Fire 250-300 Long Range Missiles News Blaze (July 3, 2008) - "How Many Missiles will be Fired from Iran-Syria-Lebanon Against Israel in the Next War?" was the subject of a lecture given by Major-General (res.) Eitan Ben Eliahu at the Israel Missile Defense Association (IMDA) ( a new link with Crossfire War. Haaretz reports General Eliahu headed the Israel Air Force (IAF) from 1996-2000 and in his lecture earlier this week he estimated Syria-Iran will launch 250-300 long range Shahab-Scud missiles at Israel in the next war. Eliahu estimated Hezbollah in Lebanon will be able to launch 5,000 short range missiles, an increase from the 4,200 they fired in 2006. Hezbollah does possess some longer range missiles which can hit Tel Aviv and no doubt they will be used as quickly as possible since the IAF will make destroying the longer range missiles their top priority whether they are fired from Lebanon-Syria-Iran. Eliahu expects the full scale fighting to last 20 days. [HAARETZ] In the course of his discussion General Eliahu mentioned Israel operates under a security doctrine that does allow for An Initiated War (preventive strike) as in 1967 which was so successful the war lasted only six days and Israel was able to take the strategic Golan Heights, a Syrian obsession ever since and Damascus' main motive for entering the war this year. He then said if an Initiated War is not possible then the doctrine provides for a Pre-Emptive Attack to disrupt the enemy's preparation. The IAF attack on the Syrian nuclear base last September was an example. Eliahu then mentioned if war does result then Israel Defense Forces (IDF) must conduct a holding operation during which they must achieve Aerial Superiority. He probably realizes if/when Israel does conduct a pre-emptive attack on Iran, for disruptive purposes, it would mean full scale war, beyond the serious flare ups of the past two years which did not yet lead to Israel's offensive into Gaza. Eliahu stated Israel should expect the next war to require action on one to three fronts and in order to achieve victory the IDF must crush the enemy on one of the fronts, which would be either Hezbollah in Lebanon or Syria. Since the ground area to cover is smaller in Lebanon Israel's offensive there should not take as long as in the case with Syria. Jerusalem may also prefer a quick victory against the hated Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah even if it means using nuclear weapons. Concerning Palestinian units in Gaza Eliahu recommends a war of containment which would include a ground offensive. Against Iran he recommended long range attacks should be continued. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Iran and Syria sign missile pact Gulf In The Media (June 2, 2008) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps has created an independent missile command to be integrated with a Syrian missile program, military sources said. The DEBKAfile news agency reported Sunday that the joint command was formalized in a treaty signed by the Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani in Tehran last week. Under the agreement, Syria's missile units would come under the new Iranian missile section and their operations would be fully coordinated with Tehran. Iranian officers are to be attached to Syrian units, while Syrian officers are posted to the Iranian command. Military sources told DEBKAfile that Iran's control of four hostile missile fronts would virtually neutralize the American and Israeli anti-missile defense systems in the region.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

'Unavoidable' attack on Iran looms, says Israeli minister Guardian UK (June 6, 2008) - An Israeli minister has said an attack on Iran's nuclear sites will be "unavoidable" if Tehran refuses to halt its alleged weapons programme. In the most explicit threat yet by a member of Ehud Olmert's government, Shaul Mofaz, a deputy prime minister, said the hardline Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "would disappear before Israel does". "If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," Mofaz, who is also Israel's transport minister, said in comments published today by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. "Attacking Iran in order to stop its nuclear plans will be unavoidable." Iranian-born Mofaz is a former army chief and defence minister. He is a member of Olmert's security cabinet and leads regular strategic coordination talks with the US state department. Iran denies trying to build nuclear weapons and has defied western pressure to abandon uranium enrichment. The leadership in Tehran has threatened that if attacked the country will retaliate against Israel - believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal - and American targets in the region. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map since becoming president. On Monday, he said Israel was "about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene". Olmert met the US president, George Bush, on Wednesday to discuss concerns over Iran. The Israeli prime minister, who is being pressured to resign over a corruption scandal, has said that Iran's nuclear threat "must be stopped by all possible means". Israeli planes bombed Syria in September, destroying what the US administration said was a partly built nuclear reactor using North Korean help. Syria denied having any such facility. UN inspectors announced this week that they would be visiting Syria to investigate the American claim.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog | America |

Interesting having just watched I Will Turn Thee Back: Turkey At A Crossroads by Avi Lipkin...

Defense sources: Syria arming Hezbollah, despite Israel talks Haaretz (June 4, 2008) - Syria is continuing to supply the Lebanon-based Hezbollah organization with large amounts of weapons, missiles and rockets even as it conducts indirect negotiations with Israel, defense officials in Jerusalem told Army Radio on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Monday in a series of interviews that resumed peace talks with Israel hinge on the current cabinet remaining in power in Jerusalem. In interviews he gave to newspaper editors in the United Arab Emirates, Assad said: "The success of the talks depend on the Israeli side and is tied to the Israeli government's ability and how stable it is." According to one report, Assad said direct talks would begin only next year, though Syria is not opposed in principle. "We explained our vision for peace, and we are waiting for the Israeli response. However, our previous attempt to negotiate with Israel was not encouraging, and what we are doing now is to verify that Israel is ready for peace," he said. Defense Minister Ehud Barak referred to the indirect talks with Syria while touring the northern border Tuesday. "With the Syrians, feelers are being put out to check whether there is a possibility of opening direct negotiations and discussing in that framework all of the topics about which we will have to make tough decisions and make concessions, but it cuts both ways. These will be tough decisions from Assad's perspective and also ours," Barak said. Referring to Syria's "intimate" cooperation with Hezbollah, including helping to arm it," Barak said "the supreme responsibility in our view falls on Hezbollah, on the one hand, and Syria and Iran, on the other."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

SYRIA: Israeli hopes for a Tehran-Damascus rift collapse Los Angeles Times (May 2008) - Iranian and Syrian officials poured a bucket of ice water this week on Israeli hopes for a rupture in the long-standing Tehran-Damascus relationship. Israeli officials had demanded Syria break ties with Iran in exchange for returning the occupied Golan Heights to Syria. Instead, Syria this week appeared to strengthen its ties with Iran, signing a defense cooperation pact in a showy Tehran photo-op on Tuesday. That same day, Syrian President Bashar Assad told a visiting delegation of British lawmakers that Damascus' relationship with Tehran was not up for negotiation. In reality, despite a lot of media attention, there was never really much chance of a peace deal between Syria and Israel or a break in ties between Damascus and Tehran. At least not anytime soon. Israeli and Syrian leaders admitted this month that the two countries were engaged in peace talks mediated by Turkey. Almost immediately, the Israeli foreign minister said Syria would have to cut ties with Iran, and its allies Hezbollah and Hamas, before Israel would consider making peace and handing back the Golan Heights. A Western diplomat in Damascus closely tracking the indirect Syria-Israel talks bluntly called any hopes of dangling the Golan Heights (a hilly plateau about the size of Los Angeles County) to drive a wedge between Damascus and Tehran "a non-starter." A more realistic strategy might be to try to persuade Syria to temper the behavior of Hamas and Hezbollah, which both fight Israel. "The Syrians won't want to lose Hezbollah, but can moderate Hezbollah," said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Syrians don't have control over Hamas and Hezbollah, but they have influence. Syria might have veto power." In any case, few insiders believed a breakthrough between Israel and Syria was imminent. The diplomat  said Assad doesn't anticipate any new deals before summer 2009, after President Bush is out of office. "Bashar has been clear that he didn't really want to negotiate. He's preparing everything for the next American administration. If the next American administration is ready to guarantee a deal, then they'll be ready." But Israel may also be part of the problem. A majority of Israelis are reluctant to give up the Golan Heights, which has become a 463-square-mile resort destination as well as a strategic buffer, even for a peace deal with Damascus. Over 41 years of occupation, they've grown to love the Golan Heights.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Turkey In Between: Syria-Israel & Georgia-Russia Poli Gazette (May 27, 2008) - Adding to its much coveted resume as “Europe’s bridge to the Middle East”, Turkey has now been officially recognized as the facilitator of talks between Israel and Syria. Whether or not the Israeli media agrees with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s motivations for publicizing the existence of talks, Turkey can at least shine in the warm spotlight of international recognition for a few weeks. While most Turkish diplomatic activity in the Arab Middle East other than with Iraq follows a mechanical approach, Turkey’s role as a mediator between Israel and Syria is uncharacteristically complex. There exists a very clear logic behind Turkey’s effort to mingle in the affairs of these two countries. Compared to its relationship with neighbor Iran, Turkey’s rapport with Syria is relatively underdeveloped. Perhaps the most significant reason for this is the incredible backwardness of Syria’s Baathist state-controlled economy, which is also responsible for the incredible backwardness of Syria’s regional foreign policy. Syria’s problematic approach last affected Turkey in a dramatic way in 1998. Syria gave refuge to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, much to the disgrace of Turkish public opinion that had designated Ocalan as a terrorist. Syria would ultimately harbor the Kurdish leader in Damascus until the threat of a Turkish invasion successfully forced his eviction. In comparison, Turkey’s rapport with Israel has proved quite dynamic. Successive Turkish governments and the Turkish military have pursued a symbiotic relationship with Israel despite the risk of alienating Turkey even further in the eyes of the Arab World. Both countries, similarly focused on linking themselves with the West, have cooperated through military exchanges and natural resource transfers. In addition, Turkey hopes to court the sympathy of the Israeli lobby in Washington as a means of counter-balancing the influence of the Armenian lobby on American foreign policy. While no observer could claim that Turkey’s efforts will actually make a significant difference in solving the issues that separate Israel and Syria, Turkey’s actions will help it acquire some additional credibility with pundits who influence EU opinion. This alone could be reason for Turkey to exert its diplomatic energy. The highly involved nature of Turkey’s interest in affairs south of its border stands in tremendous contrast with its attitudes concerning the tumultuous political situation to its north-east. Turkey has chosen a relatively silent course as Georgia struggles to deal with breakaway Abkhazia and omnipresent Russia. (On Monday, the UN announced that a Russian jet did indeed shoot down a Georgian unmanned surveillance drone patrolling over Abkhazia.) Other than its relations with Armenia, which are “very well” defined, Turkey’s diplomatic intentions in the greater Caucasus region and Central Asia have been unclear ever since the failure of its Pan-Turkism initiative in the 1990s. While Turkish construction companies and textile producers have been keen to acquire contracts and conduct foreign direct investment projects, Turkey’s main interest in the region has been its role as a conduit for Central Asian energy exports to Europe and beyond. Turkey’s energy interests in Central Asia have understandably run counter to those of Russia, which are monopolistic by nature. more…
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Iran's Ahmadinejad wants closer Syria defence ties Reuters (May 26, 2008) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Monday for closer defence ties with Syria, the official IRNA news agency reported, a few days after Israel urged Damascus to distance itself from Tehran. "So far Iran's and Syria's joint and mutual relations in various fields have been of utmost usefulness and defence relations must expand to the extent possible," he told visiting Syrian Defence Minister Hassan Turkmani. The IRNA report gave no further details on military cooperation between the two Middle East countries, which the United States accuses of sponsoring terrorism. Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar described Syria on Sunday as a strategic ally. Pieter Wezeman, a researcher on conventional arms transfers at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said Syria and Iran had military relations but their secretive nature made it difficult to say how substantial they were. He said Iran was believed to supply Syria mainly with ammunition but there were reports of other kinds of military cooperation. "It is extremely difficult to find any reliable information," Wezeman said by telephone from Stockholm. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Ahmadinejad sure Syria will press struggle against Israel AFP (May 26, 2008) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that he remains confident Iran's close ally Syria will keep up the struggle against Israel despite its announcement of renewed peace negotiations. "I am sure that the Syrian leadership will manage the situation with wisdom and will not abandon the front line until the complete removal of the Zionist threats," Ahmadinejad told visiting Syrian Defence Minister Hassan Turkmani. "So far the cooperation between Iran and Syria in different areas has been beneficial for both sides and our defence ties should be expanded as far as possible," the official IRNA news agency quoted the president as saying. Turkmani's visit is the first to Iran by a Syrian official since Syria and Israel announced last Wednesday that they had resumed indirect peace negotiations through Turkish mediators, ending an eight-year freeze. Turkmani held talks on Sunday with his Iranian counterpart Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, during which the Iranian side underlined the importance of "collective security". Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran would continue its longstanding policy of supporting "the oppressed Palestinian people." "Supporting the Palestinian people means supporting regional security, as the Palestinians are in the front line of the Zionists' aggression," he said. Iran does not recognise Israel and has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Ahmadinejad has drawn international condemnation by calling for the Jewish state to be wiped from the map. On Saturday, Syria rejected any preconditions to the new peace negotiations with Israel involving either breaking its three-decade alliance with Iran or ending its support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups. Israeli officials have in the past conditioned any peace deal with Syria on its agreement to end both. Iranian analysts saw in Turkmani's visit proof that the three-decade-old alliance between Tehran and Damascus remained intact despite the renewed peace negotiations. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

The September War WorldNet Daily (May 23, 2008) - According to a number of sources, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to bring his first reactor on line sometime in September 2008, which is just about in line with what the Israeli Mossad had estimated back in 2003 when the full extent of Iran's secret nuclear program became known. The Iranian announcement came on the heels of a surprise announcement by the government of Israel confirming it had entered into third-party peace talks with Syria's Bashar Assad. The surprising confirmation on Wednesday was the first acknowledged contact between the two parties in eight years, which will be mediated by Turkey. Equally surprising was a statement from the United States saying it had no objection to the talks. Previously, the U.S. had rejected any peace overtures toward Syria as long as it was sponsoring Hezbollah and Hamas. In fact, President Bush seemed to have been blindsided by the news. According to transcripts of an interview he granted to the Jerusalem Post, Bush responded to the news by stammering; "I expect an explanation, but I'm – he made a decision that he made – or no decisions have been made, except the idea of trying to get some dialogue moving, which is – and I know him well, and know that he is as concerned about Israeli security as any other person that's ever been the prime minister of Israel. And so I presume the decision is made." Despite the White House's official welcome of the news, privately, officials were furious. The New York Times quoted an "anonymous" (of course) "administration official" who called Israel's unilateral move "a slap in the face." While Damascus and Jerusalem talk peace, Iranian-backed Hezbollah consolidated the gains it made in fighting against government forces in the streets of Beirut and elsewhere. After six days of mediation between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, Hezbollah emerged a clear winner in a settlement agreement in which Hezbollah was granted veto rights over the government, affirming its stature as "the preponderant military actor and the super political power in Lebanon," according to political scientist Hilal Khashan of the American University of Beirut. Khashan told the AFP that "it was an excellent deal for the Hezbollah-led opposition and a major defeat for the U.S.-backed government." The deal was brokered by the Qatari government. The Arab League played a major part in securing the deal, with both Syria and Iran declaring their support for Hezbollah's victory. Under the arrangement, Parliament will elect as president the current head of the Lebanese Army, Gen. Michel Suleiman. Gen. Suleiman will then appoint a new government – one in which Hezbollah holds enough seats to veto any decisions it doesn't like – such as disarming Hezbollah. Meanwhile, Israeli military sources say that Iran is continuing to ship weapons and ammunition, via Hezbollah, to the Hamas-occupied Gaza Strip, including rockets, missiles and rocket launchers. According to the Mossad, these shipments have been stepped up in recent months, reaching a peak in March-April. Using fishing boats, Iran has successfully smuggled Iranian-made 120 mm mortars with a range of up to six miles. The Mossad says that the smuggling operation is overseen by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard using Syrian ports and Hezbollah operatives. Meanwhile, back in Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is fighting desperately to keep his job while he is under investigation by police on charges of obtaining money by fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and tax offenses, according to Haartez. And fears are rampant within Israeli circles that Olmert may be considering trading the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace deal he can trumpet to deflect attention away from his legal problems.

If one sits down and connects the dots, one ends up with a very different picture than the one being presented by the mainstream media suggesting the Syrian-Israeli talks are representative of a major breakthrough. It is worth remembering that it was the Persians who invented chess, and Ahmadinejad seems to be controlling all the pieces. In the first place, Ahmadinejad knows that Israel will attack its reactor the moment that they take it on line. He's been arming and training Hamas to serve as its proxy in the event of war, to harass the IDF on its flanks. To the north in Lebanon, Ahmadinejad has succeeded in rearming and re-equipping Hezbollah since the Lebanon War in 2006. The Mossad estimates Hezbollah is stronger now than it was before Israel invaded. Hezbollah has succeeded, for all intents and purposes, in taking over the Lebanese government. Hamas controls all of the Gaza Strip. Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority barely has a handle on the West Bank – and in any event, would turn on Israel the second the opportunity presented itself. Syria's insistence on the return of the Golan Heights as a precondition for peace is a Trojan Horse – particularly considering the timing. It was only last September that Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor that was only weeks from being operational. Syria has built one of the most formidable arsenals of missiles and rockets in the region, all of them aimed at Israel. From the Golan Heights, Syria would control much of northern Israel, as it did prior to losing the Golan to Israel in the Six Days War. Israel is therefore surrounded with Hezbollah and Syria to the north, Hamas on both flanks, with al-Qaida sympathizers flooding in through Egypt and Jordan. Everything is in place for war except the pretext to start things off. Starting up a nuclear reactor will do nicely.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Let's also not forget... Report: Israel threatened to target Syria if Hezbollah attacks

Syrian military delegation arrives in Moscow RIA Novosti (May 19, 2008) - A group of Syrian military officials arrived in Moscow on Monday to discuss prospects for bilateral military and technical cooperation, a Russian Air Force spokesman said. During the five-day visit, the delegation led by Syrian Air Force and Air Defense Commander Gen. Akhmad Al Ratyb will meet with Russian Defense Ministry and Air Force officials, visit several military units and defense industry plants, Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky said. Russia's Kommersant newspaper earlier wrote that Moscow and Damascus had agreed on deliveries of the latest Russian MiG-29SMT fighter. Syria also bought 36 Pantsir S1E air-defense systems from Russia, and hopes to receive Strelets short-range air defense systems, Iskander tactical missile systems, Yak-130 aircraft, and two Amur-1650 submarines. Israel and the U.S. are sensitive about Russian-Syrian military and technical cooperation, fearing not only a reinforcement of Syria's Armed Forces, but also the possibility that modern weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah fighters and Iran, in violation of the existing international embargo.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

'Iran to give Hamas more arms, funds' The Jerusalem Post (May 25, 2008) - Iran has promised Hamas new rockets and more funds, an expression of the Islamic Republic's displeasure with recent news of renewed Israeli-Syrian peace talks, the London-based newspaper, Asharq Alawsat reported on Sunday. According to the report, Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who held a press conference in Teheran with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Saturday, expressed his concern over statements issued simultaneously by Jerusalem, Damascus and Ankara last Wednesday in which a renewal of talks between Syria and Israel under Turkish mediation was declared. Mashaal reportedly told his Iranian hosts that despite commitments he was given by Damascus that peace with Israel would not come at the expense of Syria's ties with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, he was still aware of the fact that Syria would have to make some concessions. He emphasized that he understood that Syria could not sign a peace agreement with Israel, exchange ambassadors, end the state of war and make the Golan Heights demilitarized and at the same time continue to allow Iran to use its territory to transfer weapons to Hizbullah, train Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists and help in the financing of those groups. An Iranian source told the paper that in light of Mashaal's fears, Iranian regime officials promised the head of Hamas's political bureau that Iran would continue supporting Hamas financially, materially and morally, even if Syria would turn its back on the organization for the sake of an agreement with Israel. According to the source, the Iranians had even elaborated what that support would be: Newer, upgraded rockets and an increase in the budget allotted to Hamas to $150 million in the second half of 2008. A source in the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Mashaal was promised that Iran would supply every support his organization might need, be it weapons, finance, or military training. Iran's defense minister also expressed confidence on Sunday that negotiations would not hamper the strong alliance between Teheran and Damascus, the Iranian FARS news agency reported. Labeling Syria a strategic ally of Iran, Defense Minister Mustafa Mohammed Nejad called on "Islamic states to strengthen their relations in order to defend themselves against the dangers which threaten the region."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Olmert: We're facing a historic agreement with Syria The question is, will Syria go against their Islamic roots and diplomatic and defensive ties with Iran? Or could this be a ploy to take advantage of a perceived weakness in Israeli leadership looking for some kind of political progress? Could Israel discovering true intentions lead to the destruction of Damascus and that trigger the coalitions to defend Syria?

Iran tells Syria must regain control of Golan YNet News (May 24, 2008) - Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani arrived in Tehran on Saturday evening as part of Damascus' bid to reassure its Iranian ally after resuming peace negotiations with Israel. General Turkmani is scheduled to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mustafa Mohammad-Najjar, and additional key figures in Tehran. A possible meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not yet been confirmed. In a meeting he held earlier on Saturday with Hamas politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki publically addressed the renewed talks for the first time. "The Golan belongs to Syria and must be returned to its control. The Zionist regime must withdraw from the Golan, and we support Syrian efforts to repossess the Heights." The Syrian defense minister's visit to Tehran follow reports of Ahmadinejad's outrage over the contact between Israel and Syria. Sources close to the Iranian president told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily that Ahmadinejad has made his discontent over the clandestine negotiations well known. He described the talks as a "flagrant violation" of the mutual commitments between Syria and Iran. Meanwhile, Damascus as reiterated its rejection of Israel's demand that it sever ties with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas as a key condition of any peace agreement. During a joint press conference Mashaal held with Mottaki after their meeting, the exiled Hamas leader was careful not to criticize the negotiations. He did say however that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lacks the political might to make the moves necessary for peace with Syria. "There is great skepticism concerning (Israel's) seriousness to return the Golan," Mashaal said. "It's maneuvering and playing all the (negotiation) tracks – this is a well known game and besides, Olmert's weakness will not allow him to take this step." He was referring to the current ongoing investigation against Olmert, who has recently been suspected of receiving money unlawfully. Mashaal said he was sure the renewed talks would not come at the expense of the Palestinian track.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Related News: Syria refuses to sever ties with Iran

Israel: Russia may be selling Syria arms The Jerusalem Post (May 21, 2008) - Fearing that Damascus is acquiring advanced military platforms, Israel is closely following meetings being held in Moscow this week between a high-level Syrian military delegation and Russian Defense Ministry officials. Senior government officials in Jerusalem said they have been aware for several days of the Syrians' upcoming visit to the Russian capital but that it was not yet clear which military platforms Damascus was requesting. According to reports in the Russian media, the delegation, led by Syrian Air Force commander Gen. Akhmad al-Ratyb, will be in Moscow for five days and meet with Russian Defense Ministry and Air Force officials, as well as visit several military bases and units. According to the reports, the talks will focus on arms sales - including submarines, anti-aircraft missiles, the latest model MiG fighter jets and advanced surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. Israel is particularly concerned with a Syrian request for long-range S-300 surface-to-air missiles that could threaten IAF jets flying on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The S-300 is one of the best multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world and reportedly can track 100 targets simultaneously while engaging 12 at the same time. Syria recently received 36 Pantsir S1E air-defense systems from Russia. Iran is believed to have already procured several S-300 systems to protect its nuclear facilities. Israeli defense officials expressed grave concern over the possibility that Syria would obtain these new military platforms. Damascus, the officials said, had dramatically increased defense spending recently. In the past three years, Syria has spent more than $3 billion on weapons, up from less than $100 million in 2002. Officials said that Israel was working diplomatically with Moscow to prevent the sales, but that for the right amount of money, Russia would likely approve the sales in any case. Israel is also extremely concerned about a possible sale of the Iskander surface-to-surface missile system. The Iskander, Israeli weapons experts said Tuesday, was the heir to the Scud and was far superior to the ballistic missiles currently in Syria's arsenal. The Iskander is propelled by solid fuel and has a range of 300 kilometers, with accuracy of about 20 meters. "This would without a doubt be a major threat to Israel," one Israeli expert said. Lastly, Syria is also reportedly interested in buying two Amur-1650 submarines from Russia. The Amur 1650 is a diesel-electric operated vessel and reportedly can strike salvo missile blows at multiple targets simultaneously. Syria has a navy but does not have operational submarines. more...
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

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Report: Israel threatened to target Syria if Hezbollah attacks YNet News (May 1, 2008) - Israel recently conveyed a warning to Syria through a third party that it would hold Damascus accountable if Hezbollah launched attacks on the Jewish state, Israeli and European sources said on Friday. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the warning stemmed largely from Israeli concerns that Hezbollah would launch salvoes of cross-border rockets to coincide with any major Israeli offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The sources said the message was conveyed in February through at least one European intermediary following the assassination of a top Hezbollah commander and before this month's five-day Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. After the group's senior commander, Imad Mugniyah, was killed in a bombing in Damascus, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah threatened Israel with "open war." A European source familiar with the matter noted that the message conveyed to Damascus said Syria could be targeted by Israel even if Hezbollah's attack emanated from Lebanese soil. An Israeli source with knowledge of government affairs said: "The message was passed around late February, before the last round of fighting in Gaza." "It has become clear to us Syria has to understand there is a price for its use of proxy terrorism, especially as Damascus is itself a proxy - the long-arm of Iran," the source said. Another senior Israeli government official with knowledge of defence affairs declined comment on whether a message was sent to Damascus, but told Reuters: "This is sound strategy. Syria has significantly deepened its involvement with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon since the war." Asked about the risk of an Israeli attack on Syria in response to a Hezbollah attack, a British official said: "There is always a danger that a turn of events here could prompt something on the northern border, which would be a disaster."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Isaiah 17:1,2; 9
The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid... In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.

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Iran's Ambassador to Syria says Israel in worst ever condition Mathaba (May 13, 2008) - President's Advisor and IRI Ambassador in Syria said here Monday occupying regime of Holy Qods is currently in its worst ever condition, getting weaker with passage of each day, and moving towards extinction. According to IRNA correspondent in Syria, Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Ahmad Moussavi made the comment here on Monday night at the opening ceremony of a conference titled "Repatriation, A Sacred And Legitimate Right", sponsored by Damascus based Arab Writers Union. Moussavi added, "Israel has ever since its establishment been serving the colonialist, and later on neo-colonialist Western powers as a tool for strengthening their hegemony in this sensitive region." The Iranian diplomat added, "The US President assumes that the entire nations in this region are waiting for him to issue commands and obey them, but the Americans are today beginning to realize that not only that has been a simple minded assumption, but also the US and Israeli plots for the region are facing humiliating defeats in the region one after the other." Referring to the existence of numerous conflicts and difficulties within the Islamic and Arab worlds, he said, "Despite all those problems and challenges, the root cause of most of which is US and Israeli plots, the victory of Muslims in the long run is easy to predict." The Islamic Republic of Iran's ambassador to Syria emphasized that freedom and liberation cannot be achieved without tolerating the hardships of Jihad (sacred defensive war), resistance, and unity. He added, "In order to achieve independence, freedom, and competence in facing the ever increasing challenges in today's world, the world Muslims need to get acquainted with the culture of resistance, and to keep alight the light of hope for embracing final victory in their hearts." Hojjatoleslam Moussavi who was addressing the audience at the conference on the verge of the 60th wretched anniversary of Israel's illegitimate establishment meanwhile warned the Muslims to beware of the incessant cultural onslaught of the West. He added, "The main objective of this onslaught is annihilation of the Islamic and indigenous values of our nations, as well as braking the bonds of unity within the Islamic and Arab societies." The Zionists occupied the major part of Palestine's lands on May 15th, 1948 and in 1967 seized the entire territory of that oppressed nation. The Palestinians refer to the latter day, when they lost their lands, became homeless, and were broadly massacred by the Zionists as "Yaum ul-Nikba" (The Wretched Day), remembering it as the most catastrophic day in their history, but the illegitimate Zionist state celebrates the same day annually. Mousavi then referred to the occupation of Palestine initially by the British forces, and then handing it to the agents of the International Zionism, who facilitated for the three waves of the world Jews' migration to that holy land as the most perilous plot hatched n the West against the Islamic World. He emphasized, "Accusing the world Muslims of nurturing terrorists and of having terrorist tendencies today, is a stage in continuation of the same nasty plot." Mousavi said, "The late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini (P) considered defending the Palestinian nation, and their ideals a top priority of Iran's foreign policy. Iran's ambassador to Damascus added, "A couple of signs of remaining faithful to that policy is his announcement of the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan as the International Qods Day, closure f Israel's embassy in Tehran, and establishment of Palestine's Embassy in its place soon after the victory of the Islamic Revolution." The two-day conference is held in the presence of a large number of Iranian and Arab Alims and thinkers. Among the prominent Arab personalities at the conference there are the head of the Arab Writers Union, Hussain Jum'ah, Deputy Secretary General of Palestine's Islamic Jihad Movement, Amal, and head of Iran-Arab Friendship Committee, Adnan Abu-Nasser.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Israeli envoy to UN calls Carter 'a bigot' for meeting Meshal Haaretz (April 25, 2008) - Israel's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday called former President Jimmy Carter "a bigot" for meeting with the leader of the militant Hamas movement in Syria. Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, "went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands after shaking the hand of Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas," Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a luncheon briefing for reporters. The diplomat was questioned about problems facing his country during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters lasting more than an hour. The briefing was sponsored by The Israel Project, a Washington-based, media-oriented advocacy group. The ambassador's harsh words for Carter came days after the ex-president met with Meshal for seven hours in Damascus to negotiate a cease-fire with Gaza's Hamas rulers. Carter then called Meshal on Monday to try to get him to agree to a one-month truce without conditions, but the Hamas leader rejected the idea. The ambassador called last weekend's encounter "a very sad episode in American history." He said it was "a shame" to see Carter, who had done "good things" as a former president, "turn into what I believe to be a bigot." Reacting to the ambassador's comments, former Meretz chairman MK Yossi Beilin on Friday urged the state to recall Gillerman from his post. Telephone calls by The Associated Press to two Atlanta numbers for Carter were not immediately returned Thursday. During Carter's visit, Gillerman said, Hamas "was shelling our cities and maiming and injuring and wounding Israeli babies and Israeli children." The ambassador noted that Hamas is armed and trained by Iran, whose president once called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." "The real danger, the real problem is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the real threat is Iran," he said. ... Gillerman called Syria a "destabilizing influence" in the Middle East. "You see Syria's hosting, very hospitably and warmly, over 10 terror organizations in Damascus," the ambassador said, adding that the country also supports Hezbollah, an anti-Israeli Shiite group in Lebanon with close ties to Iran and Syria. "Basically, Syria and Iran, together with Hamas and Hezbollah, are the main axes of terror and evil in the world," the Israeli ambassador said. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

If Israeli intelligence warns of a serious threat from those 10 terror organizations in Damascus, and Syria's nuclear reactor ambitions are laid bare, more here and here, could this lead to Israel preemptively attacking Damascus as stated in Isaiah 17? Keep in mind that Israel's existence is at stake as far as the secular state is concerned. Many of their neighbors are vying for their destruction, will she react? Keep watching.

Concerns mount ahead of US briefing on IAF strike in Syria The Jerusalem Post (April 23, 2008) - US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Wednesday that the American public would "soon" learn the details of North Korea's nuclear involvement with Syria, despite fears in Jerusalem that such revelations could push Syria to attack Israel. Israel has registered its opposition to releasing details connected to the IAF's September 6 strike on what foreign media reports have said was likely a nuclear reactor being built in northeastern Syria with the help of North Korea. But members of Congress have been clamoring for briefings on what the administration knows about the incident and what it means for North Korean nuclear proliferation amid concerns over US concessions to the East Asian country in exchange for ending its nuclear program. Select congressional panels, including the Senate and House intelligence committees, are set to receive closed briefings Thursday on what the administration knows about North Korean-Syrian nuclear ties. Top defense officials expressed concern Wednesday that the details revealed in the congressional hearing would "embarrass" Syrian President Bashar Assad - who has refused to confirm reports on the nature of the site - and might create pressure from within his regime to respond militarily against Israel. "Syria thinks it owes us for what happened in September," a senior Israeli defense official said, adding that the congressional hearing could also force Assad to reject peace talks with Israel to show leadership in the face of growing internal criticism. Since the air strike, Israel has refused to publicly reveal details on the site, and the military censor has imposed tight restrictions on what details the Israeli press is allowed to publish. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that US intelligence officials would tell the US legislators that North Korea was helping Syria to build a plutonium-fueled reactor. Following the September 6 air strike, the Syrians razed the site. At a press briefing on Wednesday morning, Gates would not elaborate on the nature or timing of the revelations to be made public, beyond his statement that they would come "soon," and neither would spokesmen from the State Department and White House when asked later in the day about his comments. There has been speculation, however, that members of the media will be given information following the closed congressional briefings. The United States recently has stepped back from its push for a detailed declaration addressing the North's alleged secret uranium enrichment program and nuclear cooperation with Syria. Now, the United States says it wants the North to simply acknowledge the American concerns and then set up a system to verify that the country does not continue such activity. more...
| Islam | Isaiah 17
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A Mystery in the Middle East Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (April 8, 2008) - The Arab-Israeli region of the Middle East is filled with rumors of war. That is about as unusual as the rising of the sun, so normally it would not be worth mentioning. But like the proverbial broken clock that is right twice a day, such rumors occasionally will be true. In this case, we don’t know that they are true, and certainly it’s not the rumors that are driving us. But other things — minor and readily explicable individually — have drawn our attention to the possibility that something is happening. The first thing that drew our attention was a minor, routine matter. Back in February, the United States started purchasing oil for its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is a reserve of crude oil stored in underground salt domes. Back in February, it stood at 96.2 percent of capacity, which is pretty full as far as we are concerned. But the U.S. Department of Energy decided to increase its capacity. This move came in spite of record-high oil prices and the fact that the purchase would not help matters. It also came despite potential political fallout, since during times like these there is generally pressure to release reserves. Part of the step could have been the bureaucracy cranking away, and part of it could have been the feeling that the step didn’t make much difference. But part of it could have been based on real fears of a disruption in oil supplies. By itself, the move meant nothing. But it did cause us to become thoughtful. Also in February, someone assassinated Imad Mughniyah, a leader of Hezbollah, in a car bomb explosion in Syria. It was assumed the Israelis had killed him, although there were some suspicions the Syrians might have had him killed for their own arcane reasons. In any case, Hezbollah publicly claimed the Israelis killed Mughniyah, and therefore it was expected the militant Shiite group would take revenge. In the past, Hezbollah responded not by attacking Israel but by attacking Jewish targets elsewhere, as in the Buenos Aires attacks of 1992 and 1994. In March, the United States decided to dispatch the USS Cole, then under Sixth Fleet command, to Lebanese coastal waters. Washington later replaced it with two escorts from the Nassau (LHA-4) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), reportedly maintaining a minor naval presence in the area. (Most of the ESG, on a regularly scheduled deployment, is no more than a few days sail from the coast, as it remains in the Mediterranean Sea.) The reason given for the American naval presence was to serve as a warning to the Syrians not to involve themselves in Lebanese affairs. The exact mission of the naval presence off the Levantine coast — and the exact deterrent function it served — was not clear, but there they were. The Sixth Fleet has gone out of its way to park and maintain U.S. warships off the Lebanese coast. Hezbollah leaders being killed by the Israelis and the presence of American ships off the shores of Mediterranean countries are not news in and of themselves. These things happen. The killing of Mughniyah is notable only to point out that as much as Israel might have wanted him dead, the Israelis knew this fight would escalate. But anyone would have known this. So all we know is that whoever killed Mughniyah wanted to trigger a conflict. The U.S. naval presence off the Levantine coast is notable in that Washington, rather busy with matters elsewhere, found the bandwidth to get involved here as well. With the situation becoming tense, the Israelis announced in March that they would carry out an exercise in April called Turning Point 2. Once again, an Israeli military exercise is hardly interesting news. But the Syrians apparently got quite interested. After the announcement, the Syrians deployed three divisions — two armored, one mechanized — to the Lebanese-Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley, the western part of which is Hezbollah’s stronghold. The Syrians didn’t appear to be aggressive. Rather, they deployed these forces in a defensive posture, in a way walling off their part of the valley. The Syrians are well aware that in the event of a conventional war with Israel, they would experience a short but exciting life, as they say. They thus are hardly going to attack Israel. The deployment therefore seemed intended to keep the Israelis on the Lebanese side of the border — on the apparent assumption the Israelis were going into the Bekaa Valley. Despite Israeli and Syrian denials of the Syrian troop buildup along the border, Stratfor sources maintain that the buildup in fact happened. Normally, Israel would be jumping at the chance to trumpet Syrian aggression in response to these troop movements, but, instead, the Israelis downplayed the buildup. When the Israelis kicked off Turning Point 2, which we regard as a pretty interesting name, it turned out to be the largest exercise in Israeli history. It involved the entire country, and was designed to test civil defenses and the ability of the national command authority to continue to function in the event of an attack with unconventional weapons — chemical and nuclear, we would assume. This was a costly exercise. It also involved calling up reserves, some of them for the exercise, and, by some reports, others for deployment to the north against Syria. Israel does not call up reserves casually. Reserve call-ups are expensive and disrupt the civilian economy. These appear small, but in the environment of Turning Point 2, it would not be difficult to mobilize larger forces without being noticed. The Syrians already were deeply concerned by the Israeli exercise. Eventually, the Lebanese government got worried, too, and started to evacuate some civilians from the South. Hezbollah, which still hadn’t retaliated for the Mughniyah assassination, also claimed the Israelis were about to attack it, and reportedly went on alert and mobilized its forces. The Americans, who normally issue warnings and cautions to everyone, said nothing to try to calm the situation. They just sat offshore on their ships. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog | America |

Israeli intel projects a one-month war with Syria World Tribune (April 8, 2008) - Israel's intelligence community has concluded that the next war would involve missiles and Hizbullah, last at least a month and include Syria. The intelligence community has drafted a series of scenarios for Israel's emergency services to prepare for future war. The scenarios envisioned the next war as including massive missile and rocket salvos, some of them containing chemical weapons, on Israeli cities. "The scenarios are based on Arab military capability rather than intentions," an Israeli government source said. "The war in Lebanon was also seen as a taste of what a full-scale war would bring." Officials said Israel's military, police and emergency services have been on high alert for an attack by Hizbullah, Syria or Iran, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the current alert would last throughout April and did not rule out a continuation of high combat-readiness for the rest of 2008. Under the scenarios, hundreds of Israelis would be killed and thousands injured in missile strikes on Tel Aviv. The enemy missiles would target strategic facilities, including Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport. Syria was also expected to be a participant in the next war against Israel. The intelligence community envisioned Hizbullah, Iran and Syria coordinating strikes on northern and central Israel. The Hamas regime and the Palestinian Authority would also fire rockets from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In one scenario, Iran would also attack the Jewish state. The intelligence community did not expect Iran to fire nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, but said such an attack could stem from Syria. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syria on Alert 'Because Hizbullah Revenge Attack is Near' Israel National News (April 6, 2008) - Syria has raised the state of alert of its armed forces because it knows Hizbullah's revenge attack against Israel for the killing of Imad Mughniyeh is near, according to Israel's Channel 2 TV. Soon after Mughniyeh's death, Israel warned Syria that it would hold it responsible for any revenge attack launched by Hizbullah for the killing of Mughniyeh, its operations officer. Syria is due to release its official findings in the probe into Mughniyeh's death. He was killed in an explosion in Damascus in February. The paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which is published in London, reported that since Mughniyeh's death, Syria has arrested dozens of suspects, including "Palestinians and senior Syrian army officers." Sources in Damascus told the paper that the investigation established that foreigners were behind the murder of Mughniyeh. Syria has accused Israel of being behind the assassination. 'Assassination planned in Syria' Meanwhile, former Syrian vice president Abdel Khalim Khaddam is accusing Syria of killing Muyghniyeh. Interviewed by a Lebanese newspaper, Khaddam said that the head of Syrian intelligence was replaced because the investigation he conducted showed that those who planned the assassination came from within Syria. Khaddam was forced into exile and took up residence in Europe after he criticized the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hizbullah's Deputy Director Sheikh Naeem Kassem said Sunday that the Israeli Home Front exercise is a preparation for war and part of "Israel's aggressive character." Kassem said the exercise had three purposes: first, to boost the morale of the Israeli people, which has been low since the Second Lebanon War; second, to convince the Israelis that the army has overcome the failure and is ready and has drawn all the lessons from the war; and third, he explained, "it is part of the preparations for war, because Israel is always on a war footing." The Al-Arabiyah television network reported Sunday that the Lebanese military ordered residents of southern villages to move away from the border with Israel. According to the report, the Lebanese Army set up dirt roadblocks and inspection towers along the border with Israel to prevent Lebanese civilians from getting too close to the fence. Tension between Israel and Syria has been high recently, and there were reports that Defense Minister Ehud Barak cancelled his planned visit to Germany this week because of it. Defense Ministry advisor Amos Gilad denied this report and said that the Defense Minister changed his schedule because of a heavy workload. However, he also made what reporters saw as a hinted threat at Syria, following reports that Syrian forces were on a heightened state of alert. "Anyone who tries to strike Israel should keep in mind that Israel is the strongest country in the region and that its response will be hard and painful. We are always alert and ready," Harel warned. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

'Warning to Assad sparked tension' The Jerusalem Post (April 6, 2008) - Sources close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed a Channel 2 report Sunday that the reason for the tension with Syria was a message Israel sent Damascus warning that Bashar Assad's regime would be held responsible if Jews around the world were harmed in retaliation for the killing of Hizbullah arch-terrorist Imad Mugniyeh. Israel has not claimed credit for the killing, but Syria and Hizbullah hold Israel responsible for Mugniyeh's death. Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to take revenge against Jews abroad, and Syria drafted reserve soldiers last week as tensions escalated. In a move likely to further enhance the tension with Syria, Olmert reportedly approved an American request to allow congressional hearings to reveal details of the strike on an alleged Syrian nuclear installation that foreign sources have attributed to Israel. Officials in US President George W. Bush's administration asked to reveal the information in order to use it against North Korea. Olmert agreed to the request, despite opposition from Israeli intelligence officials. His advisers, Yoram Turbowitz and Shalom Turgeman, went to Washington last week to speak about the issue with US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and other top American officials. Olmert downplayed the tension with Syria at the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting and stressed that there was no connection between the current security situation with Syria and Monday's drill in the Home Front Command. "I want to emphasize that this is only a drill, with nothing hiding behind it," Olmert told the cabinet. "All the reports about heightened tension in the North are exaggerated. We have no secret plans. This drill is not part of anything else. It seems to me that the Syrians know this as well and they have no reason to analyze this drill differently. "I would like to make it unequivocally clear that this is a routine drill. The State of Israel is not intent on any violent confrontation in the North. On the contrary, we have said more than once that we have an interest in holding peace negotiations with Syria." more...
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

So what if Jews around the world are harmed and Israel follows through in holding Bashar Assad's regime responsible? Keep watching!

Exclusive: Barak calls off German trip next week as Damascus raises war alarm DEBKAfile (April 2, 2008) - Israel’s security cabinet convened Wednesday, April 2, to examine the homeland’s preparedness for war. It decided to redistribute the bio/chemical warfare masks a few months after they were called in. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose intelligence data indicating the possibility that Syria may transfer to Hizballah chemical or biological warheads known to have been developed for its war arsenal. A few hours earlier, the London-based al Quds al-Arabi quoted Damascus officials as claiming that Israel is preparing a big attack on Syria and Hizballah. Syria was said to have ordered a partial call-up of its military reserves. DEBKAfile reports that Damascus has placed its missile units on the alert after last week deploying two armored brigades on the Beirut-Damascus highway under the command of President Bashar Assad’s young brother Maher Assad, chief of the presidential guard. They were posted there to block the road in case Israeli armored columns attempted to reach Damascus through Lebanon. Our sources also note Syria plans to release the findings of its inquiry into the death of Hizballah leader Imad Mughniyeh in February. Sources close to Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak report he called off his trip to Germany next week because he expects Damascus to use those findings to put Hizballah on the spot where it can no longer duck exacting revenge for his death from Israel, which is held responsible for his death. IDF sources report Iran has sent Syria state of the art equipment for surveillance and eavesdropping on Israeli military command centers and bases. Israel’s home defense command scheduled April 6-10 a nationwide exercise to improve the home front’s readiness for emergencies. Warning sirens will be tested on April 8. Tuesday, Barak toured Israel’s northern border and reported “a great deal of activity on the other side.” He added: “…we are learning the lessons of the last war, Israel is the strongest country in the region and I would not advise anyone on the other side to test us.” In their briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday morning, IDF intelligence officers confirmed intense Hizballah activity, much of it in South Lebanon by operatives in civilian disguise. The officers referred to the Lebanese Shiite terror group’s rearmament with more powerful and longer-range rockets. On March 22, DEBKAfile first revealed that Hizballah had more than trebled its pre-war rocket arsenal. “Some of their 40,000 rockets of Syrian and Iranian manufacture can hit Israeli targets as far south as Beersheba, 350 km. away. Not only has Tel Aviv come within range, but Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza can between them now cover most of Israel up to its southernmost tip at Eilat. The possibility is now under consideration that these rockets may be armed with Syrian non-conventional warheads. Damascus has also shipped to Hizballah quantities of anti-air weapons, including shoulder-borne rockets and scores of Russian-made anti-aircraft ZSU-100 automatic 14.4 mm caliber cannon, which are most effective against low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Could a pre-emptive attack be a logical move considering Israel's vulnerability and self-preservation in light of chemical and/or biological warheads within range of its major cities? Could this escalation lead to Israel destroying Damascus because of some information of an imminent attack? These kinds of escalations have happened before and nothing came of them, but keep watching!

Report: Iranian, Syrian missiles to pound Israel in next war YNet News (March 24, 2008) - Hundreds of dead, thousands of injured, missile barrages on central Israel, full paralysis at Ben-Gurion Airport, constantly bombed roads, nationwide power outages that last for long hours, and whole regions' water supply being cut off – this is what the next war could look like. A secret report recently distributed among government ministries and local municipalities details various wartime scenarios. The report deals with very harsh possibilities, including some that are downright horrifying, formulated as part of the lessons drawn in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. Notably, the document does not aim to predict future developments with certainty, but rather, only aims to serve as a guideline for civilian war preparations. The above assessment is characterized as a "severe reasonable scenario" – that is, it is not the gravest scenario, but also not the most favorable. According to this scenario, the war will last for about a month and will include the participation of Syria (military operations on the Golan Heights front and the firing of many Scud missiles at the home front,) Lebanon (the firing of thousands of Hizbullah rockets at the Galilee and Haifa as well long-range missiles at central Israel,) and the Palestinian Authority (relatively limited conflict that would include short-range rockets fired from Gaza and the West Bank as well as terror attacks such as suicide bombings within Israel.) According to this scenario, Iran will also get involved in the war, but will only fire a limited number of missiles rather than non-conventional weapons. In addition to missile barrages, the scenario includes aerial strikes on military and strategic targets, attacks on infrastructure facilities, and attempted abductions of civilians and soldiers. Such hypothetical war, according to the assessment, will leave 100-230 civilians dead, and 1,900-3,200 Israelis wounded. However, should Israel be attacked with chemical weapons, the number of killed and wounded Israelis would skyrocket to 16,000. Under such circumstances, as a result of missile damage, chemical contamination, and the razing of homes the State would have to evacuate as many as 227,000 Israelis from their homes. According to the assessment, about 100,000 people would seek to leave the country should such scenario materialize.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

No Lebanon Breakthrough for Arabs BBC News (March 30, 2008) - An annual summit of the Arab League has ended in Syria's capital Damascus with a call for an end to the political crisis in Lebanon. But correspondents say there were no specific proposals to solve the crisis, which has seen Lebanon without a president since November. Only 11 heads of states from the 22-member organisation were present, as key pro-Western leaders stayed away. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan sent low-level delegations. They blame Syria for the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon - a charge denied by the government in Damascus. The Lebanese government boycotted the summit completely. In a final statement, the League called for a compromise candidate to be elected president, and a national unity cabinet formed, AFP news agency reported. But the BBC's Heba Saleh in Damascus says there were no breakthroughs. Opening the meeting, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied his country was meddling in Lebanon. He was responding to Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who had accused Syria of preventing the election of a consensus president in Beirut. Mr Assad said his country was willing to join "Arab or non-Arab efforts" to end Lebanon's political crisis "on condition that they are based on Lebanese national consensus". But our correspondent says it will take more than words to convince his critics, and Syria risks further isolation if there is no immediate resolution to the Lebanon crisis. In Riyadh, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, suggested Syria had not abided by the Arab consensus on Lebanon. "The problem is that what was decided unanimously in the Arab League, including by Syria, is not being carried out," he said. The foreign minister called for ''counter-measures". Syria had billed the summit as a golden opportunity for regional unity but there is little sign of this, BBC Middle East correspondent Katya Adler reports from Damascus. She says the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon are all staying at home because they view Syria as a trouble-maker, too close to Iran and a destructive force in Lebanon. Syria has accused them in the past of being subservient to the US and Foreign Minister Walid Moualem has blamed Washington for trying to "divide the Arab world". "They [the US] did their best to prevent the summit but they failed," Mr Moualem said on the eve of the summit.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

It's interesting to see the lines being drawn in alliances that God foretold in scripture come to pass. Syria is viewed as a troublemaker which may explain why Damascus is destroyed while a group of Muslim nations remains distant from them and are not mentioned in the list of Magog attackers. Lebanon is still teetering, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned once Damascus is destroyed to act as a staging ground for a Northern attack on Israel. Time will tell if these are the developing stages or not, as for me I'm going to keep watching.

Syria Deploys Three Military Divisions on the Border with Lebanon Naharet (March 23, 2008) - Syria has deployed three military divisions along the borders with Lebanon amidst mounting tension in the region, press reports said Sunday. The leading daily an-Nahar attributed the report to well informed sources, noting that the deployment backs a similar massing of fighters by pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the Bekaa valley, especially Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in the Qoussayah area. The development followed Hezbollah's open war declaration against Israel after the Feb. 12 assassination in Damascus of the party's Imad Mughniyeh by a bomb explosion. Hezbollah is sponsoring a major rally in south Beirut's suburb of Rweis on Monday to commemorate Mughniyeh, labeled commander of the "two victories" in reference to the Liberation of south Lebanon from Israeli occupation in May 2000 and the 34-day war against Israel in the summer of 2006. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has pledged that "thousands of Imad Mughniyehs would confront the Zionist enemy if it invades Lebanon." Israel has ordered its troops on alert to confront a possible attack by Hezbollah operatives when the party marks Mughniyeh's memorial rally on Monday, 40 days after his assassination.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

'Israel threatened Syria with strike if Hizbullah attacks' The Jerusalem Post (March 15, 2008) - Israel has secretly warned Syria that it may strike the country if Hizbullah attacks the Jewish state, Reuters reported on Friday. In early February Hizbullah threatened Israel with revenge following the assassination of the group's chief of operations, Imad Mughniyeh. Israel has denied involvement in his death. According to senior Israeli and European officials quoted by the news agency, later that month Israel secretly conveyed a message to Damascus through a third party that it would hold it accountable for any Hizbullah assault. "The message was passed around late February, before the last round of fighting in Gaza," an Israeli official said. "It has become clear to us [that] Syria has to understand there is a price for its use of proxy terrorism, especially as Damascus is itself a proxy - the long-arm of Iran." A European source said the message made it clear that Syria could be targeted, even if Hizbullah attacked from Lebanese soil. The sources said Israel was mainly concerned that the terror organization would barrage the north with rockets in the event of a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile an unnamed British official told the news agency that any flare-up in the north would be "a disaster." "The death of Mughniyeh [and] the threatened Hizbullah retaliation does leave a specter of a wider regional conflict," he said, adding that Israeli-Syrian peace talks under the circumstances were unlikely. "There's an interest on both sides but I think it's very difficult to move forward on it."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Israel in cross-hairs of summer war? World Net Daily (March 13, 2008) - Britain's Secret Intelligence Service says Iran's Revolutionary Guards are training hundreds of Hamas fighters to prepare for an all-out war this summer against Israel, according to Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. The Gaza-based organization's elite Izzedine al-Qassam Brigade will form the southern front of an attack against the Jewish state while Hezbollah will launch its simultaneous assault from southern Lebanon, according to MI6. Analysts with the organization believe the attack will come in the rundown of the Bush administration and closing months of the bitter Democratic campaign. "With the Bush White House virtually a spent force and both the Democrats and Republicans looking inward to their conventions, there is mounting evidence that Tehran will seize the opportunity to attack Israel through its surrogates, Hamas and Hezbollah," said a senior intelligence source in London. MI6 analysts have confirmed tortuous negotiations in which Egypt acted as an intermediary between Hamas and Israel are now increasingly fragile. Hamas, which is pledged to destroy Israel, is officially excluded by Israel from direct negotiations with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government. But with the mounting threat of a simultaneous attack on Israel from two fronts, several members of the Israeli security services have begun to urge Olmert to meet with Hamas leaders. However, hardliners like the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, and Yuval Diskin, the director-general of Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, are opposed to any negotiations. Dagan has told Olmert: "To talk to Hamas is a waste of time. Gaza is a noxious mixture of our oxidized hopes." And Diskin added last week: "While we would be talking, Hamas would be sending still more of its fighters to Iran to be trained." MI6 undercover agents in Tehran – operating out of a secret base on the country's border with Iraq – have established there are three training camps.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Israel to Hizbullah: Revenge Attack Could Mean War Israel National News (March 12, 2008) - Israel has recently warned Hizbullah that it will not hesitate to retaliate with war for a large scale attack on its citizens, Channel 10 – Nana news reported Wednesday. The Hizbullah attack is expected in revenge for the killing of its operations officer Imad Mughniyeh. Iranian TV vowed that Israel would face its "third destruction" on the 40th day after Mughniyeh's death, which will occur next Saturday. Israeli intelligence is picking up extensive "chatter" between Hizbullah and Iran but still has not located specific intentions to carry out a terror attack. Israeli military attachés worldwide have been instructed to change their routine movements and retired military persons were warned to exercise caution in their travels.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Could this threat of retaliation trigger an Israeli pre-emptive attack? I don't know, keep watching. There is also supposed to be a two-day Arab summit in Damascus starting March 29. There's currently some question as to whether Egypt or Saudi Arabia will be present there.

Syrian Defense Minister receives a Russian Military delegation Syrian Arab News Agency (March 11, 2008) - Defense Minister L.t. Gen. Hassan Turkmani has received Gen.-Col. Aleksandr Nikolaevich Zelin, deputy chief of the Russian Federation Air Forces and an accompanying delegation. Talks during the meeting Monday dealt with the latest developments in the region and means of enhancing cooperation between the two countries.
| Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Allies of Syria and Iran Ready to Confront Israel Naharet (March 10, 2008) - Political factions backed by Syria and Iran on Monday said they are prepared to confront any Israeli attack on Lebanon and declared support for the killing of eight students at a Jewish religious school in Jerusalem. The self-labeled Lebanese Parties issued a statement after their regular meeting at the offices in Sidon of Ousama Saad's Popular Nasserite Organization claiming the United States has dispatched naval vessels to the Mediterranean to "support the ruling majority." The statement said the groups are "fully prepared and perfectly ready to confront any Zionist aggression that leaders of the Zionist entity's criminal terror could launch." It praised as "heroic" the killing of Jewish religious students in Jerusalem, saying it was the "real and factual response to Fascist-Zionist practices carried out by the enemy's army in Gaza."
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Syria 'intensely' arming itself World Net Daily (March 9, 2008) - Syria is in the midst of "intensely" arming itself, placing into position rockets and missiles capable of striking the entire Jewish state, according to an assessment presented to the Knesset today by multiple Israeli security agencies. The announcement follows a WND exclusive report last month quoting security officials stating Syria, aided by Russia and Iran, has been furiously acquiring rockets and missiles, including projectiles capable of hitting any point in Israel. The officials listed anti-tank, anti-aircraft and ballistic missiles as some of the arms procured by Syria. Yesterday, Israel's Mossad and Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence chiefs presented an annual security report to the Knesset warning of Syria's armament program. The chiefs also warned of a possible flare-up at Israel's northern border with the Hezbollah terror group and said in their assessment Iran could cross the technological threshold enabling it to assemble a nuclear bomb by the end of next year. The assessment came after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last week negotiations between the Jewish state and Syria should be seriously considered it if would bring an end to Syrian-sponsored terrorism and Damascus' "involvement in the axis of evil." The negotiations would aim for some sort of Israeli evacuation from the Golan Heights strategic, mountainous territory looking down on Israeli and Syrian population centers twice used by Damascus to launch ground invasions into the Jewish state. Syria openly provides refuge to Palestinian terror leaders, including the chiefs of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and has been accused of shipping weapons to Hezbollah. Damascus is also accused of supporting the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq. more...
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Kuwaiti Paper: Mega-Attack on Israel in March Israel National News (February 26, 2008) - The Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan quoted "top Western sources" Monday saying that, "according to reliable intelligence information, Hizbullah has begun planning a large-scale attack on Israel in retaliation for its [alleged] assassination of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyah." According to the report, translated by MEMRI, the attack is being planned in coordination with Syria and Iran, and is to take place before the Arab summit next month. It was also reported that there would be a simultaneous terrorist escalation by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other PA groups in Gaza.
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Syria, Iran foresee large clash with Israel Haaretz (February 17, 2008) - Syrian and Iranian officials believe there will be a serious military confrontation with Israel in the near future, according to Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese daily affiliated with Hezbollah. Hezbollah's response to the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, the organization's operations chief, will force Israel to make a "difficult decision," the newspaper stated in an editorial. Hezbollah blames Israel for Mughniyah's assassination in Damascus last week. Ibrahim al-Amin, Al-Akhbar's editor, said in a televised interview that Hezbollah does not intend to accept Mughniyah's assassination quietly. Hezbollah's response "will force Israel to make a big decision," he said. However, he insisted that Hezbollah was not interested in a war with Israel. Meanwhile, the defense establishment is bracing for a response from Hezbollah. It is concerned the group may use an explosives-laden unmanned aerial vehicle to attack a civilian or military target in northern or central Israel. The Israel Air Force is on alert for this. To date, Hezbollah has dispatched five Iranian-made drones against Israel, three of them during the Second Lebanon War in August 2006. Two were shot down by the air force, and one crashed. The drones were loaded with dozens of kilograms of high-grade explosives and apparently had been intended to crash in the heavily populated Dan region. The IDF also has bolstered its forces along the northern border, anticipating Hezbollah may launch a massive rocket attack on the area. However, the army has no specific information about the group's intentions in this regard. Meanwhile, the Lebanese media announced that Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has appointed a successor to Mughniyah, but his identity has not been revealed. Israeli sources said Mughniyah's successor is one of three persons: Ibrahim Akil, who is in charge of southern Lebanon; Fuad Sukur, a senior militia figure; or Talal Hamiyah, who was Mughniyah's deputy. Meanwhile, the Lebanese media said none of these men are being considered. The Lebanese daily Al-Safir reported yesterday that Hezbollah has gone on high alert in southern Lebanon and evacuated all of its local headquarters, fearing Israeli air strikes. According to the report, the organization has mobilized 50,000 militiamen. Meanwhile, in Syria, the investigation into Mughniyah's assassination continues. "The investigation is being carried out with complete secrecy because of Mughniyah's sensitive location before the ambush," Al-Akhbar reported yesterday. Mughniyah had emerged from a meeting shortly before he was killed. He was killed near the offices of the chief of Syrian intelligence, Asif Shuwekat, who is President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law. Several Palestinians were arrested for suspected involvement in the killing, the newspaper reported.
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Isaiah 17:9, "In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation." Could Israel's big decision end up being a pre-emptive attack on the plotters in Damascus that results in its destruction? And given Syria's defense agreement with Iran, could we see Iran and friends (Russia, Turkey, Libya, etc.) come to Israel with "hooks in their jaws?" I don't believe the time is right just yet because Israel is not dwelling in safety as rockets continue to rain down. However, it is this very kind of building conflict that I believe will ultimately lead to Bible prophecy once again being fulfilled 100%. Keep watching!

'Syria and Iran anticipating serious military clash with Israel' Jerusalem Newswire (February 17, 2008) - Damascus and Tehran expect to soon be caught up in a military confrontation with Israel. According to a report in Al-Ahkbar, a Lebanese newspaper said to be affiliated with Hizb'allah, the Syrian and Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization does not intend to let last week's execution of top terrorist Amad Mugniyah be left unanswered. The concensus in the region is that Israel was behind the blowing up of Mugniyah's car, and Hizb'allah chief Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to make Israel pay in "open war." Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the cabinet in Jerusalem Sunday he has put the Israeli Air Force on alert for a possible Hizb'allah attack against Jewish communities in the north. Barak said Israel was prepared for the possibility that an explosives-laden pilotless drone could be sent to explode inside an Israeli community.
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Barkat: Secret agreement to divide Jerusalem reached YNet News (February 13, 2008) - Jerusalem municipal opposition leader accuses Prime Minister Olmert, Vice Premier Ramon of 'deceiving Israeli citizens'. Ramon aide: This is nonsense. Israeli and Palestinian representatives have reached an agreement to divide Jerusalem, the capital's municipal opposition leader Nir Barkat said Wednesday. "(Vice Premier) Haim Ramon and the prime minister are deceiving Israel's citizens," Barkat added after exchanging letters with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on the negotiations with the Palestinians. Barkat based his accusations on information from "senior sources" which he refused to reveal, claiming that Ramon and Palestinian tycoon Muhammad Rashid had agreed in secret talks on Jerusalem's division. "Livni refuses to reveal the fundamental information she has, according to which there is a secret channel which is not being led by the Foreign Ministry. Knowing this makes her an accomplice in this political deceit, which is really aimed at dividing Jerusalem behind Israeli citizens' backs," said Barkat. In his letter to Livni, Barkat wrote, "I was amazed to learn that a senior and official Palestinian source was quoted as saying that 'we can say that Israel is ready to pullout of all the Arab villages and neighborhoods in Jerusalem.'" He went on to demand that "the secret agreements" be revealed or that denied. "I would like to remind you that if this is true, it constitutes a complete deviation from Kadima's basic principles, a blatant violation of Basic Law: Jerusalem, a breach of the voter's trust and an undermining of the Knesset's sovereignty," he wrote. The foreign minister replied in a letter, "In Annapolis (peace conference) it was decided that Israel and the Palestinians would hold negotiations in which all the core issues would be discussed, with no exception," confirming that negotiations are being held on the Jerusalem issue, contrary to Prime Minister Ehud Olmer's remarks in Berlin that the Jerusalem issue would be postponed to the end of the process. Livni noted in her letter that "the negotiations are being conducted according to an agreement between the parties, which states that until everything is agreed upon there will be no agreement, and that the contents will not be made public." An official at Ramon's office said in response, "This is nonsense. These remarks are unfounded and nothing of this kind took place." Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said in response to Barkat's claims, "This is a groundless conspiracy theory. The prime minister and the Palestinian president meet face to face and do not need anyone's mediation. "The negotiations are being held in a responsible manner by the prime minister opposite the Palestinian Authority. There is no need for a secret channel, and therefore all attempts to invent secret chancels are doomed to fail." Barkat's remarks joined voices from the coalition by members of the Shas faction, who threatened to quit the government once negotiations on Jerusalem are launched. Last week, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai called on the government to cease the negotiations with the Palestinians following the terror attack in Dimona.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Dividing the Land |

While I don't know if these "secret talks" are real or not, I do believe the Bible says that Jerusalem will be divided. Indeed this push for peace in the Middle East is centered around creating a Palestinian state on current Israeli lands. There is a time when half the city will go into captivity and the other half will remain, the question is when it will happen. With the touchiness of this subject, I wouldn't be surprised if sneakiness is involved in bringing the peace in the hopes that once there is a Palestinian state and Israelis can live in peace that they will deem the loss of land worth the peace. Keep watching!

Bad News in Gaza? Look For Tehran World Jewish Congress Newsletter (February 6, 2008) -  Wherever you find bad news in Gaza or bad news in the West Bank, you will find Tehran and its proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups who receive their money and marching orders from the Iranian regime and do its bidding. Take the case of the fence in Gaza. In these last weeks, the fence and border between the divided city of Rafah and Gaza was blown up by Hamas, causing a refugee flood into the Sinai for, we were told, flour and toothpaste. In fact, the cause was a deliberate, preplanned provocation. This process started about one to 3 months ago as Hamas, under the electronic gaze of the Egyptians, utilized torches to cut the base supports of the fence and cause its collapse. Sick of incessant rocket attacks emanating from Gaza, Israel was considering re-entering and re-taking the Philadephi route to stop the weapons smuggling through the tunnels. Hamas then began undermining the fence to prepare explosions to kill the Israelis who might be coming into the area. When that did not happen, they hatched this plot of fabricated fuel shortages. The Egyptians knew about this for weeks since they had the surveillance pictures but did not share the information. It is interesting to note that Mubarak and Ahmadinejad had a conversation the day before the fence fell. Also interesting is the fact that this fall coincided with a conference in Damascus of Arab rejectionists of the Annapolis peace conference. Over 300 Palestinian terrorists leaders were convened by Iran and Syria in a gathering originally slated to take place during the Annapolis meeting but which was postponed when Syria decided to actually go to Annapolis. So it was held precisely at the time of the breaking down of the wall in Gaza. The tunnels were not constructed in such a way that could convey large-sized ordinance into Gaza. But now that the wall is destroyed, we hear of large anti-aircraft weapons, katyushas and other arms being transferred uninterrupted. Not transfers of fuel - that "shortage" was an excuse manufactured to justify the breach in the wall. Hamas will now be able to increase the striking range of its katyushas and its anti-aircraft weapons. There is a new chilling possibility of Hamas hitting Ashkelon. One wonders if Egypt fully anticipated what problems might be created to its own detriment. Many of those who flooded into Egypt are going to remain there. Now that there are terrorists in the Sinai with large amounts of explosives and other weapons that could not fit into a tunnel, cities in Egypt as well as in Israel may become targets. The policy of letting Israel bleed a little in order to appease the Muslim radicals could backfire. Allowing this to go on encourages Hamas to continue its violent provocations, so that Israel is again forced to be on the defensive. Another Hamastan may be born in the Sinai, which would provide them with a base from which to operate in Egypt and expand their influence. Iran's proxies would have an even greater leg up over Abbas. With the transfer of katyusha rockets into Gaza, what we now have is a baby Bek'aa, situated four miles from Ashkelon, like the baby Hezbollahstan in the north that was created with the same technology and money coming from Iran, through Hezbollah. This is a long-term change - the whole paradigm of the Middle East changes in the region because of what happened in Gaza. Now the question is what can Israel do about it? Frankly, its options are limited. One and a half million people in Gaza are miserably abused by their leadership, the Hamas leaders, who are committed to following the orders of Tehran's leaders who make apocalyptic promises to wipe Israel off the map. Now they have established at least the possibility of a firing platform about four miles from the electric grid in Ashkelon, within easy shot of the Jewish residents living there. The international community must take notice: Gaza-Hamastan is a serious threat to the comity of the region - engineered and financed by Tehran.
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

According to Bible prophecy, Isaiah 17, Damascus is destroyed and people leave the cities because of the children of Israel. We can see the divide amongst many of the Muslim nations along the very lines drawn out in the Bible. Iran and Syria have a clear relationship passing weapons through to Gaza and elsewhere while others make the appearance of wanting a dual-state solution more aligned with the West. I think the dividing of Israel is going to be viewed by the radical Muslims as a victory leading to the planning of a full-scale invasion prophesied in Ezekiel 38,39. I think Israel will catch wind of these plans resulting in the destruction of Damascus triggering the defense agreement that Syria and Iran have to bring the Magog invaders with hooks in their jaws to the mountains of Israel. These kind of stories just further lay out the alliances that lead me to the above conclusions having studied Bible prophecy.

In Response to an Israeli Attack, Iran Can, With Syria's Help, Wipe Out Half of Israel MEMRI  (January 23, 2008) - Following reports on Israel's January 17, 2008 test of the Jericho III missile, which has a range of 4,500 km, the Iranian website Tabnak, which is affiliated with Iranian Expediency Council secretary and former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Rezai, wrote that the missile's addition to Israel's arsenal does not change the balance of power between Israel and Iran. The website stated that in the event of a conflict with Israel, Iran would use its strategic alliance with Syria to fire missiles at Israel from Syrian territory.[1] It also hinted that, in addition to assistance from Syria, any attack by Israel would also bring retaliation by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. [2] Further, in an interview on Al-Jazeera TV, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the Israeli missile test, saying that "even before this missile test, the Zionist regime enjoyed this military technology, because of its support from several powers. But such measures will not improve its situation, and will not prevent its fall. The Zionist regime has lost the rationale on which its existence was based, and all nations identify it as criminal. Therefore, it will not achieve legitimacy for its existence through threats and sowing fear."[3] The following are the main points of the Tabnak article: [4]

  • "...The message to Iran from Israel's test of the new Jericho III missile is that this missile is, according to Israel, capable of travelling 4,500 km and striking any point in Iran. If these statements are true, then the Israelis have made several fundamental mistakes in sending [this] threatening message to Iran...:
  • "1. Iran's defense strategy towards any type of possible attack, by Israel or by the U.S., is based on [the assumption] that both are capable [of carrying out] a missile attack and an aerial attack on Iranian targets. Iran has never denied that Israel and the U.S. are capable [of carrying out] a missile or aerial attack on it.
  • "2. The fundamental assumption of Iran's strategy is that [even] if Israel did not have long-range missiles aimed at Iran, the U.S. would arm it with long-range strategic missiles as soon as it could.
  • "3. Any country determines, and deploys, its strategic missile launching system based on its geographical breadth. Accordingly, Israel automatically comes up against a difficult limitation: While Iran's area is 1,648,195 [square] km, the area of 'the regime that occupies Jerusalem' [i.e. Israel] is 26,323 [square] km, and if we subtract the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, [this area] shrinks to 20,150 [square km]. This means that [even] if Israel can fire 100 missiles a day at Iran, and hit 100 cities, Iran can [launch] thousands of missiles, and with them eradicate half of Israel. For this reason, the missile balance between the sides will end up in Iran's favor.
  • "4. In the event of an attack on Iran, if the Iran-Syria Joint Strategic Defense Agreement is implemented, Iran need not launch long-range missiles from its territory, [but rather] will be able to face Israel with a wave of missile attacks from [missiles with] a maximum range of 500 km, and with much higher explosive potential. At the same time, [even] if we leave out reciprocal attacks by the Islamic resistance in Lebanon [i.e. Hizbullah], Iran and Syria know very well that an attack on Iran will bring in its wake an attack on Syria, and that an attack on Syria will bring in its wake an attack on Iran - and that in both situations, the third target or the parallel [target] are the Islamic Resistance [organizations] in Lebanon and Palestine. If, prior [to such an attack], Iran employs joint defense measures, and arms itself with a missile defense system through cooperating with Syria, Israel will beyond a doubt receive a crushing response if it attacks Iran.
  • "5. [The placement of] Iran's missile sites is based on the doctrine of irregular warfare. Accordingly, neither Israel nor the U.S. can take out Iran's missile sites in a single surprise attack. For the same reason, Iran's strategic missile defense doctrine benefits from the advantage of [territorial] depth, particularly because Iran can use at least 400,000 square km of its territory as an effective area for aiming [its missiles] at Israel, since it has the benefit of mountainous topography, not a plain.
  • "6. In the past decade, Iran has focused on developing long-range missiles with a range of 3,000 km, in order to benefit from deterrent defense power in the face of any possible Israeli attack. [5] The Israelis know that because [Iran's missiles have attained] a range of 2,500 km, they are in Iran's range of fire, and [they also know that] the shorter the missile's range, the greater its explosive power. For this reason, Iran's missiles have a very great explosive power.

"Therefore, it can be explicitly said that Israel's recent missile test, on January 17, changes Iran's missile defense balance [against Israel] not one whit, and does not impinge on a single one of its defense doctrines... For this reason, this missile test does not create a new situation or [new] result, in any arena of possible confrontation between Iran and Israel...

"Thus [it appears that] the real idea behind this Israeli missile test is psychological warfare [in order to affect] public opinion in Israel, and not psychological warfare against Iran."
Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

U.S. Wary of Warming Syrian-Turkish Ties NPR (January 10, 2008) - One place President George Bush is not visiting on his tour of the Middle East is Syria. Relations are icy, with Washington and Damascus at odds over Lebanon, the Arab-Israel conflict, the Iraq war and Iran. But Syria is rapidly improving ties with a key U.S. ally in the region, Turkey. And that is a development that could have substantial repercussions, particularly for Washington. Syrians Have Much to Gain Syria's ambassador in Washington, Imad Moustapha, characterizes his country's ties with Turkey as a "honeymoon" and the "best possible relations between any two neighborly countries in the world." Such enthusiasm over ties with Turkey is a worry for the United States, says Omer Taspinar, a Turkish analyst at the U.S. War College. "I think the Syrians have a lot to gain. That's why it is in their interests to send a signal they are not isolated and they have Turkey on their side. "Syria is perceived as the underdog against the U.S. So, the more the U.S. says, 'Don't talk to Syria,' I think, the more it will become attractive for Turkish public opinion," Taspinar says. And that may be why Syrian President Bashar al-Assad got such a warm welcome on a recent trip to Turkey. With his attractive young wife, Assad toured the capital with Turkey's president and prime minister. The TV cameras were there as they opened a new Turkish shopping center. The coverage of smiling presidents and their wives surprised even Syrians, says George Sageur, a Syrian-American businessman. The response to the president and his wife — as the face of Syria — has been tremendous in Turkey, he says. They were "received very, very well indeed." Iraq War Marked Change in Syrian-Turkish Relations It's a marked improvement from tensions a decade ago. The two countries seemed on the verge of war after Turkey accused Syria of harboring a Kurdish rebel leader. But that was all before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Now, Turkey and Syria have shared concerns. Both have sizeable Kurdish populations. Both worry about the nationalist goals of the Kurds in neighboring Iraq. And both are wary of U.S. plans in the region, says Taspinar. "The real impetus for these visits is the Kurdish question — let's not miss the real picture here. I think Turks are very much disillusioned with this whole Iraq episode." Syria has benefited from that disillusionment. Because of expanded trade relations, Turkish language classes in Damascus are now popular for Syrian Arabic speakers. Syria's deputy prime minister was in Turkey last week to sign an agreement for a joint natural gas pipeline. "The relationship with Turkey has an economic aspect, but it is also very important for domestic legitimacy," says Josh Landis, an American academic who writes an influential blog on Syria. Landis says the new partnership with Turkey has helped Syria's president blunt a domestic problem: Many of Syria's majority Sunni Muslims do not like Assad's close relations with Shiite Iran. more...
Gog/Magog | Islam | Isaiah 17

Hamas averages 8.2 missiles a day in 2007, steps up Iran-Syrian-backed preparations for full-scale war DEBKAfile (January 1, 2008) - The annual report of Israel’s domestic intelligence service, ShinShin BetBet, paints a troubling picture of a Hamas-ruled government in Gaza expanding its efforts to build a war machine capable of taking on Israel in full-scale military combat, with active input from Iran and Syria. In the outgoing year, Hamas and its allies fired more than 1.300 Qassam missiles and 1,700 mortar shells from Gaza, subjecting Israeli communities in an expanding radius to a daily average of 8.2 projectiles. At the same time, the ShinShin BetBet and IDF were strikingly successful in their preventive campaign. They thwarted 29 major attacks inside Israel originating in Gaza, and the number of Israelis killed by terrorists declined from 50 in 2005 and 24 in 2006 to 13 in 2007. Nonetheless, the Palestinians mounted a total of 2,946 Palestinian terrorist attacks, 9 less than 2006, including a single suicide bombing in Eilat and another three that were intercepted in time. No let-up is expected next year. In 2007, Hamas smuggled into Gaza more than 80 tons of explosives for use in the fabrication of missiles and bombs, including roadside devices laid down against an Israeli military incursion. Al Qaeda and its Palestinian affiliates recently stepped up their participation in attacks, more conspicuously since Fatah al Islam set up operations in Gaza after being thrown out of its northern haven in Lebanon four months ago. Israeli officials said that Osama bin Laden’s threat to “liberate every inch of Palestine” is being taken seriously. The ShinShin BetBet reports that hundreds of Hamas operatives were smuggled through the Sinai tunnels out to Iran and Syria and back for special 2-6 month courses at facilities near Tehran and Damascus in commando combat and the manufacture and launching of missiles. Among them were officers and naval commandos. The ShinShin BetBet report notes that Hamas’ smuggling projects spread out from Gaza to the West Bank, where a new terror machine is taking shape. Local terrorist elements are being taught to manufacture and use Qassam missiles and high-trajectory weapons, thereby bringing Israel’s central coastal cities, including Tel Aviv, within range. Scores of West Bank Hamas activitists were also sent to Iran and Syria to study missile manufacture. During most of 2007, Iran’s Lebanese surrogate, Hizballah, funded the West Bank project at the rate of the equivalent of $10 million per month. The transfers slowed in recent months. The ShinShin BetBet reports that Hizballah is diverting more funds to building its own substantial new infrastructures in SouthSouth LebanonLebanon and north of the LitaniLitani RiverRiver.
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |