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On eve of Nov. 24 deadline for nuclear negotiations, Khamenei calls for “elimination” of Israel. Is war coming, or is there another way forward?

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm
On the eve of the conclusion of the nuclear negotiations, Iran's "Supreme Leader" is again calling for the "elimination" of Israel. Here are the nine points he is making.

On the eve of the conclusion of the nuclear negotiations, Iran’s “Supreme Leader” is again calling for the “elimination” of Israel. Here are the nine points he is making.

November 24th is the deadline.

By then, the international community’s negotiations with Iran over its illegal nuclear program are set to conclude.

But there are four big problems.

First, Iran is giving no evidence that it willing to make any significant concessions. It refuses to reduce its capabilities to enrich uranium to military/bomb grade, much less eliminate them all together.

Second, the U.S. and the Western powers look like they are ready to make major concessions. Indeed, even extending the negotiations (for a second time) will be a major gain for Iran.

Third, the Ayatollah Khamenei just issued a new call for the “elimination” of the State of Israel. He explained his approach and answering questions on Twitter. Yet most world leaders don’t seem bothered in the slightest or factor such maniacal thinking into their approach towards the rogue terrorist state of Iran.

Fourth, as more time goes by, Iran is actually increasing its uranium enrichment capacity, and moving closer to building the Bomb.

An exceeding dangerous moment is coming, largely due to the weakness of Western leaders, our own included.

Is war coming, or is there another way forward?

I don’t want to see the U.S. or Israel or any other country have to go to war to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

But we dare not allow the genocidal mullahs in Tehran to have the capacity to build nuclear weapons, much less the weapons themselves.

—————

IRAN’S DIPLOMATIC PATH TO THE BOMB:

Unless the U.S. showers concessions on Iran, no nuclear deal is likely by the Nov. 24 deadline. Then what?

By Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, published on Nov. 12, 2014

Let’s assume the Iranian nuclear talks in Vienna fail to conclude a final agreement by Nov. 24, the already extended deadline under the interim Joint Plan of Action signed in January. Iran’s clerical regime has refused to give much ground in key areas, and the Obama administration has, so far, been unwilling to meet Iranian demands. If the White House doesn’t end November with a cascade of concessions leading to a deal, there are four paths forward. None is appealing. Two might be effective—but the president is unlikely to choose either one.

The deadline is approaching with dwindling hope for a deal in part because Iran has already gotten so much that it wants. During the 2012 negotiations leading to the interim deal, the White House accommodated Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ’s red lines against reducing enrichment capacity and foreclosing an industrial-size program.

Iran thus got its wish to continue programs for uranium enrichment, long-range ballistic missiles and centrifuge development. Iran further refused to accept intrusive U.N. or other inspections, balked at dismantling the heavy-water reactor at Arak, and declined to discuss past weaponization research. It also won agreement that any restrictions on its nuclear program would be of limited duration. Tehran has treated the U.S. concessions to its demands as permanent—effectively making further diplomatic advances contingent on greater Western “flexibility.”

Washington keeps trying to tiptoe around Mr. Khamenei’s red lines. Take the recent American suggestion that Iran disconnect all “excess” centrifuges and cascade piping used in uranium enrichment at Iran’s Natanz facility—and retire around 14,000 first-generation machines into storage under United Nations safeguards. That plan is likely a nonstarter: Mr. Khamenei has adamantly opposed any reduction in enrichment capacity.

If there is no final deal this month, other scenarios arise.

First: The White House could give up on diplomacy and pre-emptively strike Iran’s nuclear sites. Although this option could seriously, even terminally, damage Tehran’s nuclear program, it is highly unlikely. Mr. Obama is too cautious to do something so aggressive. His entire political agenda and moral philosophy on American disengagement from the Muslim Middle East would collapse after a bombing raid.

Second: The administration could give up on the current talks and default back to sanctions, but again trying to undercut their seriousness, as the president attempted to do in 2011 and 2012. Congress imposed the most economically painful measures—targeting Iran’s oil exports, central bank and access to the Swift interbank system—over his objections. The president has always hoped that “rationality” would take hold in Tehran, that the regime would see the economic benefits that come with good behavior. The Islamic Republic has enjoyed an economic reprieve, thanks to Mr. Obama’s decision last year to de-escalate sanctions pressure by blocking new congressional action and giving billions of dollars in direct sanctions relief as part of the interim deal.

Third: New, even more biting sanctions could be enacted, causing Tehran considerable pain. Current energy markets, with a declining price for crude, offer ample room for Congress to threaten sanctions against any country’s central bank involved in buying Iran’s oil exports, or in giving Tehran access to oil revenues now being held overseas and available only for trade with Iran’s five main oil buyers—China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. But could the sanctions take effect fast enough?

We don’t know the Islamic Republic’s timeline for a bomb. The U.S. needs intelligence sources inside the upper reaches of Iran’s nuclear establishment to know how advanced the regime is with building triggering devices—and it is clear, from official discussions of past National Intelligence Estimates, that the Central Intelligence Agency hasn’t had such sources.

Through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspections, the U.S. has measured the regime’s advance in producing uranium and plutonium, which is technically the hardest and most expensive part of building weapons, and can calculate accordingly. Given these advances, new sanctions would have to hit like a tidal wave over the next year to bring greater Iranian flexibility and openness to renewed negotiations.

The wiser bet is that sanctions—though important in restoring the U.S.’s negotiating leverage—will fail without other forms of coercion. And Ayatollah Khamenei, if he isn’t otherwise deterred, may well respond to new, economy-crushing sanctions by accelerating the nuclear program, presenting Mr. Obama with the choice he most dreads: launch militarily strikes or accept Iran as a nuclear state.

Which brings us to option four: The White House could try to reinforce new sanctions with the credible show of military force to intimidate the Iranian regime. President Hasan Rouhani has rather pleadingly confessed in speeches and in his memoirs that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 scared the clerical regime and led him to advocate, as Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003-05, a tactical pause in the regime’s nuclear aspirations.

To achieve a more lasting impression now would require a significant military operation. Only one target would serve that purpose: Bashar Assad. Syria is Iran’s most helpful ally among Arab states. Taking Mr. Assad down would let Tehran know that America’s withdrawal from the Middle East and President Obama’s dreams of an entente with Iran are over.

Taking out Mr. Assad is unavoidable if Washington is serious about stopping the radicalization of Syria’s Sunni population and getting their help in defeating the radical Islamic State, also known as ISIS. And such an about-face by Washington would be shocking—perhaps paralyzing—in Tehran. Yet it is hard to imagine Mr. Obama taking such action.

Which means that Washington and its European allies will most likely angle for another extension of the talks. Ayatollah Khamenei may accept. The Iranian economy, despite the oil-price drop, has been noticeably improving since the interim deal was concluded in January—and the continuation of the talks poses no threat to further nuclear progress.

It is doubtful, though, that things will remain static. Ayatollah Khamenei has no intention of “freezing” Iran’s nuclear advance. The weapons program has developed massively on his watch, and in his eyes it is probably essential for the survival of the revolution. Another one of the program’s founding fathers, President Rouhani—in whom the Obama administration has put so much hope—almost certainly agrees that retreat is not an option.

For the White House, seeking another extension is probably appealing. The only question, then, is whether Mr. Khamenei will agree to it, and how many more billions in reduced leverage it will cost us. This fearful diplomacy will lead inevitably, as it did with North Korea, to the bomb.

Mr. Gerecht, a former CIA Iranian-targets officer, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Dubowitz is the foundation’s executive director and heads its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance.

As Radicals try to blow up Israel-Jordan relations & ignite “Third Intifada,” Netanyahu heads to Amman for emergency talks. Here’s the latest.

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2014 at 11:20 am
"His Majesty King Abdullah holds talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman on Thursday." (Photo courtesy of Royal Court/AFP/Jordan Times)

“His Majesty King Abdullah holds talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman on Thursday.” (Photo courtesy of Royal Court/AFP/Jordan Times)

(Central Israel) — Radical Islamists are trying hard to ignite a “Third Intifada,” engulf Jerusalem in violence, and blow up relations between Israel and Jordan, twenty years after the two countries courageously signed a peace treaty.

A close look at events here in recent weeks suggest that without much prayer for the peace of Jerusalem, wise leadership,  patient diplomacy, and the grace of God, the Radicals could very well succeed.

But they haven’t yet. With violence in and around Jerusalem spiking, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Amman on Thursday evening for emergency talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Secretary of State John Kerry. The goal: to find a way to de-escalate tensions — quickly and carefully.

The three leaders also held a conference call with Egyptian President al-Sisi.

Initial reports indicate the meetings went well. All four men know the most grave threats to the region are Iran and ISIS and that they need to work together to survive. None want to allow the Radicals divide them at this critical time. But each knows events could spin out of control.

  • Please keep praying for peace.
  • Pray for these leaders and their families, for wisdom and protection.
  • Pray also for the Lord to show Christians how best to serve these leaders and help them work for peace and security for everyone in the epicenter, Jews, Muslims and Christians.

In the meantime, here is a timeline of the latest developments:

October – Anti-Israeli riots and violence erupt on Temple Mount.

  • October 8th — “With the opening of the Temple Mount to visitors…dozens of masked Palestinians threw rocks and shot fireworks towards the police forces stationed in the Mughrabi Gate area, lightly injuring three officers,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
  • October 29th — Terrorists attempted to assassinate a Jewish activist well-known for wanting Israel to build a Third Temple.
  • October 30th – Israeli officials then briefly closed the Temple Mount to all visitors to reestablish order, while Fatah declared a “day of rage” in Jerusalem. “Police commander Edri also decided to restrict Friday Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount to men over the age of 50 and women of all ages,” reported Haaretz. “His decision was based on intelligence information that Palestinian youths intend to disturb the peace at the conclusion of the prayers.”
  • October and November  — Increased Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis, using knives and cars.

November 1st — “Netanyahu to MKs: Show restraint on Temple Mount issue.”

November 4th — Palestinian President Abbas says closure of Temple Mount “a declaration of war.”

November 5th – Israeli “Border Police officer was killed and at least 13 people were wounded in a terror attack” when an Arab used a car to attack pedestrians in Jerusalem.

November 5th — The government of Jordan suddenly recalled its Ambassador to Israel.

  • “Jordan has expressed growing alarm over Israeli actions in Jerusalem culminating in last week’s one-day closure of the sacred compound housing Al Aqsa mosque – a move that infuriated the Jordanian king, who is its official custodian,” reported Reuters. “Tensions over the compound, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest place in Judaism, have fueled daily clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem in recent weeks. Jordan’s government spokesman, Mohammad al-Momani, said Israeli security forces raided the compound’s main mosque on Wednesday, describing this as ‘a dangerous escalation.’”
  • Haaretz reported: “Jordan’s ambassador was not recalled on a whim. The move was coordinated with the United States, in talks held in Paris between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, and follows a long list of what Jordan says are Israeli efforts to Judaize all of Jerusalem and seize control of the holy sites on the Temple Mount. The formal explanation for Jordan’s move is derived from Israel’s obligation to consider Jordan’s preferred status with regard to the holy places, and coordinate any steps taken there with Amman.”

November 6th — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called King Abdullah II to reassure him that the status quo agreement with Jordan regarding the Temple Mount would not change. “Netanyahu undertook to ensure the maintenance of the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during a phone conversation with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Thursday,” reported Haaretz. “The phone call was initiated by Netanyahu. A statement published by the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu also undertook to preserve the special status of Jordan regarding the Temple Mount and the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, as specified in the peace agreement between the two countries. “Both leaders called for the immediate cessation of violent actions and incitement,’ Netanyahu’s bureau said. During the conversation, King Abdullah told Netanyahu that Jordan stands in absolute opposition to any action that infringes on the holiness of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, endangers it, or presents a change in the status quo. The Jordanian news agency Petra reported that Netanyahu promised Abdullah he would move to decrease the tensions in Jerusalem.”

November 9th — King Abdullah II canceled Jordan’s participation in a planned event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The King “ordered two of his ministers – the Minister of Water and the Minister of Energy – and some 40 other Jordanian officials not to attend the 20th anniversary ceremony which is scheduled to be held in the Jordan Valley between the two countries,” reported

November 9th — Jordan’s Prime Minister ruled out the notion of canceling or ending the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, but condemned Israeli actions that appear to be changing the status quo agreement regarding the Dome of the Rock and the Islamic religious sites there. “The ongoing tension over Jerusalem’s flashpoint al-Aqsa Mosque compound is inflicting a ‘stab wound’ on the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Sunday, though he said Amman would not cancel the 20-year agreement,” reported the Times of Israel. “Israel and Jordan are committed to peace and to respect the peace treaty, but this commitment is not just applicable to one side, it is a commitment by both,” Ensour told reporters in Amman. “Ensour said Israel’s actions at the site were the result of a ‘clear’ policy aimed at changing the decades-long status quo at the site, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews,” noted the Times. “‘The Jordanian government condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the events of recent weeks in Jerusalem, which are not the result of administrative errors or acts by a few extremists but rather a clear government plan to change the realities at the holy places,’ he continued. Months of unrest in and around the plaza have been triggered by Palestinian fears that Israel was preparing to change the status quo to allow Jews to pray there — a suggestion that has been repeatedly rejected by Israel.”

November 12th — The King met with Palestinian Authority leader Abbas and condemns Israel. “Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, after which the leader of the Hashemite Kingdom issued harsh criticism against the ‘utterly condemnable’ Israeli ‘provocations’ at the Temple Mount,” reported the Times of Israel, based on Jordanian news services. “‘The King reiterated that Israel’s repeated aggressions, provocative actions in Jerusalem, and targeting of the holy sites, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al Haram Sharif, were utterly condemnable, adding that the continuation of the settlement policy will undermine all efforts to revive the peace efforts,’ a statement published by the official Petra News Agency said.”

November 13th — Netanyahu met in Amman with King Abdullah and Secretary Kerry.

  • “His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday hosted a trilateral meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cool tempers arising as a result of Israeli policies in Jerusalem, which Amman has labelled as ‘provocative,’” reported Agence France Presse and the Jordan Times. “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi joined the Amman meeting over the phone. According to a Royal Court statement, the three sides also discussed ways to create a climate encouraging the revival of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Netanyahu, the statement said, ‘reasserted Israel’s commitment to keep the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites without change… and respect Jordan’s Hashemite leaders’ historical role as custodians of holy sites in Jerusalem.’ During the meeting, His Majesty emphasised Jordan’s stand on the situation in Jerusalem, reiterating a call on Tel Aviv to take practical steps to keep the situation there intact, especially at Al Aqsa Mosque and its vicinity. Earlier this month, Jordan recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv to protest Israeli practices in the holy city, particularly the repeated violations of the sanctity of Al Haram Al Sharif compound, which houses Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine to Muslims all over the world.”
  • “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not attend a meeting among Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II,” reported the Times of Israel. “Kerry said it was ‘not the right moment’ for Abbas and Netanyahu to meet. Kerry said Abbas told him would do ‘everything possible to prevent [further] violence.’ ‘We must create a climate where we can move forward in a positive and constructive way,’ Kerry said at a press conference with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh following the summit. ‘There is an urgent need to address these greatest tensions, and an imperative need to uphold the status quo at the Temple Mount,’ he said, adding that the sides must take ‘take affirmative steps to prevent violence and incitement.’….Kerry also praised the ‘enormously constructive role of Jordan in trying to resolve these challenges.’ He said Israel and Jordan, which has custodial rights at the Temple Mount, had also agreed to take steps to ‘de-escalate the situation’ in Jerusalem and to ‘restore confidence.’”

November 14th — Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan praised the King as a moderate leader in the region. “Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo lauded the Hashemite monarch King Abdullah II on Friday morning as a vital moderator in the region at a time when Israeli-Palestinian tensions were flaring,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “Israel recognizes the importance of King Abdullah as the custodian of Islam’s holy sites in Jerusalem,” Nevo told Army Radio. “We have never renounced this [position] – on the contrary, we try to clarify it and collaborate as much a possible….[Abdullah] is very significant in Jordan and to the world, because the king is very harshly criticized when there is tumult.”

———————————-

Southern Baptist president calls 46,000 churches to “extraordinary prayer” for Great Awakening. Issues must-read (and free) E-book, “Pleading With Southern Baptists.”

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Book-PleadingWithSouthernBaptistsBOOK-pleading-pageThere is something very exciting happening in the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) I want to bring to your attention.

You may recall that last June I wrote that Dr. Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, had just been elected to be President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and that he was making prayer for a Third Great Awakening a top priority inside one of the world’s largest evangelical Christian denominations.

True to his word, Pastor Floyd has been traveling to all over the country, preaching on the need for deep repentance and revival inside the SBC.

Now, he has just released a free 16-page e-book titled, Pleading With Southern Baptists And Beyond (to humbly come together before God in Clear Agreement and in Extraordinary Prayer for the Next Great Awakening and for the World to be Reached for Christ).

I just finished it and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to read, but it is so important. You can read more about it and download it for free by clicking here.

In short, it is a clarion call for Southern Baptists — and all Christians in the United States — to become deeply focused and committed to pleading with God for revival.

In addition to some wonderful history about revival in America, and some great quotes by past Christian leaders, Pastor Floyd gives some very practical counsel to those 46,000 churches under his care, including:

  • Pray for revival every Sunday morning. “Challenge your church to pause either at sunset on Saturday evening or sunrise on Sunday morning to pray for three minutes for the anointing of God’s power to come upon the worship services of their church,” Floyd writes. “Prayerfully, these 180 seconds of focused prayer will soon begin a true 180-degree change in our churches.”
  • Devote an entire month to preach God’s Word “on the subject of repentance, extraordinary prayer, revival, awakening, and reaching the world for Christ.” Between January and May of 2015, Floyd recommends that pastors pick a month and “extend passionate calls to your people about each of these topics individually and collectively. During this same period, we would ask those who lead staff teams and chapels of our Baptist entities, conventions, seminaries, and colleges to consider this same emphasis.”
  • Devote an entire Sunday between January and May just to pray for awakening and revival. He gives links to resources, including an article on “Leading Your Church In A Sunday Morning Prayer Meeting.”
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