As war clouds gather in the Gulf, Arab, Israeli & Christian media provide extensive coverage of Evangelical Delegation to Saudi Arabia. CBN News granted exclusive, historic access to the Kingdom. Here’s the latest. #Pray

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UPDATED: After speaking with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), President Trump says US forces in the Gulf are “locked and loaded,” strongly suggesting he may order retaliatory military strikes against Iran, possibly within the week.

All eyes are once again on the Middle East, yet the US media has largely ignored a group of American faith leaders who met with MBS and have direct knowledge of how he views Iran and the state of the US-Saudi alliance.

Here’s a roundup of the media coverage of our meetings in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — including our two-hour meeting with the Crown Prince — which occurred just days before the horrific attacks by 12 cruise missiles and 20 drones on Saudi oil facilities that have brought the region, once again, to the brink of war.

With the notable exception of the Associated Press, the trip received rather little original coverage in the U.S. However, the story was front-page news in the Arab world. Israeli and Christian media also covered it extensively.

Particularly historic was that the Christian Broadcasting Network was granted exclusive and extensive access not only to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time ever. Correspondent Chris Mitchell was able to cover a wide range of stories —including the missiles attacks — in addition to our Delegation’s activities. Last year, when we made our first trip into the Kingdom, CBN News was denied permission to join us.

In the days ahead, I’ll provide more inside reporting and analysis from the Kingdom — my own and from others on our team — but I thought this roundup might be the best place to start. (To read our initial press release, please click here.)

In the meantime, please pray faithfully for the President, his national security team, the Crown Prince and other regional leaders to know how best to respond to the latest acts of war by Iran. No one but the mullahs in Tehran  want a war, but it may come anyway.

(For regular updates and breaking news, please follow me on Twitter.)

CHRISTIAN MEDIA COVERAGE

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INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE

ISRAELI COVERAGE

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ARAB REGIONAL COVERAGE

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Is President Trump preparing to strike Iran? Senior Senator calls for retaliation after missiles or drones severely damage Saudi oil facility. Pompeo blames Iran. Trump calls MBS. I’ve just met with MBS. Here’s the latest.

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UPDATED: (Amman, Jordan) — Having just been in Saudi Arabia discussing the gravity of the Iran threat with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and other senior Saudi officials and military commanders, I would say MBS is fiercely determined to work closely with the US and his allies in the region to counter the Mullahs in Tehran.

Then I arrived in Amman as a new crisis erupted between Iran and the Saudi Kingdom.

Vital American-Saudi ARAMCO oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were severely damaged on Saturday by upwards of 12 cruise missiles and 20 drones, and the U.S. is pointing the finger of blame directly at Iran. This will surely stiffen MBS’ resolve to show steel towards Tehran. Will it do the same in Washington?

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US Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally and a sharp critic of MBS, says it may be time to bomb Iranian oil facilities to send an unmistakable message.

“It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment,” Graham tweeted.

“Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham added.

Earlier this summer, US Senator Tom Cotton, also a close Trump confidante, said Iranian attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf — and Iran shooting down a US intelligence drone operating in international airspace over the Gulf — warranted American military retaliation.

Keep a close eye on statements in coming days by Senators Graham and Cotton, along with Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — each of whom are highly influential with President Trump and among their Senate colleagues — for clues as to where the White House, State and the Pentagon are trending.

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Until now, President Trump has not felt military action was needed. Rather, Trump has employed aggressive sanctions against Iran, and the offer of direct talks of Tehran is willing to abandon its regional aggression and nuclear ambitions.

Two big questions:

1. Will these attacks by Iran on a key ally mark a turning point for American Senators who have been furious with MBS? Will they remind Congress that while there are serious matters that need to resolved between Washington and Riyadh, they need to keep their eye on the ball of the seriousness of the Iran threat and why we need to work closely with the Saudis and our other regional allies to neutralize Iran?

2. Will President Trump decide it is time to strike Iran now that Tehran’s attacks in the region are becoming more brazen, rather than engage in direct talks?

I pray it doesn’t come to war, but as I wrote earlier this summer, it seems as if Iran is actively angling for a war.

Raging fires from the drone strikes required ARAMCO to shut down half of their refining operations this weekend, though they are expected to come back online soon. “The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about 5.7 million barrels a day, the kingdom’s national oil company said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Houthi rebels in Yemen that have been in a long and bloody war with a Saudi-led coalition quickly claimed responsibility.

However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [Iran’s president and foreign minister] Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” said Pompeo.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

President Trump immediately called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to assure him of American solidarity. Most Arab states — including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait — immediately condemned the attacks and vowed to stand with the Saudis.

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Evangelical Delegation meets with Saudi Crown Prince on eve of 9/11 anniversary. Here’s why.

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The following is a press release our Evangelical Delegation issued on Tuesday, September 10:

(Jedda, Saudi Arabia) — On the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, a delegation of American evangelicals led by Joel C. Rosenberg made their second visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within a year. The group discussed the Kingdom’s sweeping reforms and encouraging battles against terrorism and violent extremism. The group also discussed the Vision 2030 plan, matters of religious freedom, human rights, Iran, Israel and the peace process.

The visit was organized by the kingdom’s new Ambassador to the United States, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, as well as her immediate predecessor, HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The Delegation met with a wide range of senior officials, and also visited the ancient Nabatean city of Al-Ula and the $500 billion region of Saudi’s future, NEOM, both likely to draw an enormous flow of tourists once the Kingdom begins issuing tourist visas by the end of this year and as development accelerates on both projects.

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The group issued the following joint statement about the visit:

“We are grateful for the hospitality of our hosts, His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. As in all of our interactions with the Kingdom and religious leaders of this nation, our focus has principally been the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“While it may surprise some that we would choose the week of ‪September 11‬ to visit the Kingdom, we actually feel there is no more appropriate time to focus on where the Kingdom must go, can go, and where we believe it is going. In fact, our visit here on this profoundly important week is in defiance of those that aim to derail reform in the Kingdom through an embrace of hate and fear rather than courage and moderation.

“We are also grateful to have deepening relationships in the Kingdom where trust is invaluable and where change is a topic of daily conversation.  This increasing trust has afforded us the opportunity to talk openly, if sometimes privately, about what we believe must change in the Kingdom even as we celebrate the Kingdom’s progress in so many other areas.  That is particularly evidenced by the diversification of its economy, tourism, the groundbreaking work of the recent Charter of Mecca and the introduction of various forms of openness and modernization, especially as it relates to the rights of women. Our meetings were unhurried and our discussions were substantive.

“Frankly, we’re delighted at the scope of the developments even as we look with expectation for more change.  We are also patient friends with realistic expectations that it will take time to reform what took years to create.”

Joel C. Rosenberg, head of the Delegation, added:

“We were encouraged to see that two U.S. Senators visited the Kingdom this week and met with the Crown Prince. But we were stunned to learn that these were the only two Senators who have come to visit all year. Saudi Arabia is one of America’s most important strategic allies in the war against Radical Islamist terrorism and in countering the rising Iranian threat. Yes, there are significant challenges in the US-Saudi relationship. But we urge more Senators to come here, see the sweeping and positive reforms that the Crown Prince is making, and ask him candid questions directly rather than sniping at him from Washington.”

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BACD18D4-D605-4B9A-B557-53B09C0B4367Evangelical Delegation to Saudi Arabia: September 8-12, 2019

Confirmed Participants

(note: each person came in an individual capacity; organizations listed for identification purposes only)

1.    Mr. Joel C. Rosenberg — Host of the Delegation. New York Times best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Middle East with nearly five million copies in print. Chairman and Co-Founder of The Joshua Fund, a non-profit educational and humanitarian relief organization that assists and encourages Christians in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Married to Lynn. Four sons. Dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. Lives in Jerusalem. Full bio: http://www.joelrosenberg.com/about-joel/

2.    Mrs. Lynn A. Rosenberg — Wife of Joel C. Rosenberg. Vice President of November Communications, Inc. Co-Founder of The Joshua Fund. Dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. Lives in Jerusalem.

3.    Rev. Johnnie Moore — Co-chairman of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council. Serves as a Commissioner with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. Member of the Board of the World Evangelical Alliance. Full bio: http://www.uscirf.gov/about-uscirf/johnnie-moore-commissioner

4.    Mr. A. Larry Ross — Founder and CEO of one of the nation’s most respected Evangelical public relations firms. Media advisor to numerous influential Evangelical Christian pastors and ministry leaders in the U.S. Served for decades as the spokesman for Dr. Billy Graham, the most famous American Evangelical Christian of the 20th century. Full bio: http://alarryross.com/a-larry-ross-2/

5.    Ambassador John Kenneth Blackwell — Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council. Bestselling author of three books. Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of Advisors, of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Served as mayor of Cincinnati, Treasurer and Secretary of State for Ohio, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. https://www.frc.org/ken-blackwell

6.    Mr. Wayne Pederson — Member of the Board of Directors of the National Religious Broadcasters. Member of the Board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Former President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters. Former President of Reach Beyond, an international Christian radio ministry. Member of the Board of Directors of The Joshua Fund. Full bio: http://nrb.org/news-room/press_center/media-awards/wayne-pederson-receives-2018-nrb-william-ward-ayer-award-distinguished-service/

7.    Mr. Michael Little — Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of the National Religious Broadcasters. Chairman of the Board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Former President and CEO of The Christian Broadcasting Network. Full bio: http://nrb.org/about/leadership/executive-committee/

8.    Pastor Skip Heitzig — Senior pastor of Calvary Albuquerque, one of the largest Evangelical churches in the U.S. with over 15,000 people attending. Serves on the board of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian humanitarian relief organization founded and run by Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the late Dr. Billy Graham. Full bio: https://www.calvaryabq.org/churchinfo_skipsbio.asp

9.    Mrs. Lenya Heitzig — Wife of Skip Heitzig, pastor of Calvary Albuquerque with a congregation of 15,000 members. Co-host of Skip’s radio program, The Connection, heard on over 400 stations nationally and on the internet worldwide. Author and speaker whose passion for women, God’s Word, and worship https://lenyaheitzig.com/about/

Saudi Delegation Schedule

Monday, September 9

  • 8am — Breakfast with Delegation
  • 10:30am to 11:30am — Delegation meeting by ourselves
  • 11:30am — Motorcade to Ministry of Defense
  • 2:00pm — Lunch with H.E. Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa and H.E. Mohammed Al-Jaber, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Yemen
  • 5:00pm — Motorcade back to hotel
  • 5:30pm — Break
  • 6:30pm — Motorcade to Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • 9:30pm — Motorcade back to hotel
  • 10:00pm — Dinner

Tuesday, September 10

  • 2:00pm to 4:00pm — Meeting with HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman, Vice Defense Minister; H.E. Adel al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; H.E. Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League; HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Ambassador to the United States

Wednesday, September 11

  • More meetings with Saudi officials (for security sake, I will not share more details until later.)

(Photo credits: Saudi Royal Court; personal photos)

BREAKING: Firefight erupts on Israel-Lebanon border. Hezbollah terror leader vows war with Israel is “inevitable.” Here are 7 things you should know.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — A fire-fight opened up today on Israel’s northern border.

The Iranian-backed terror group known as Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at a clearly-marked ambulance on an Israeli army base.

No one was hurt, thank God, but Israel retaliated with some 100 bombs and missiles at Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, Israeli media reported.

The attack comes amidst rising concerns that Hezbollah is preparing for a much larger war with Israel, possibly soon.

1. In January, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to “invade the Galilee,” The group has been building terror tunnels along the Lebanon border, some of which Israel still may not have found. They also have an estimated 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel.

2. In July, Nasrallah repeated the threat, saying, We are prepared to invade the Galilee.”

3. In late August, Israel struck military sites in Syria and foiled an imminent Iranian drone attack. This infuriated Iran and raised the prospect of Tehran ordering Nasrallah to retaliate against Israel.

4. Just last week, Nasrallah said war with Israel is “inevitable” and boasted that Hezbollah “has enough accurate missiles needed for any confrontation, small or big.” 

5. Israeli military forces in the North have been on high alert in recent days. “In light of the terror group’s threats, the Israeli military has been on high alert over the past week, restricting soldiers’ movements in vulnerable areas, canceling weekend leave for troops in the IDF Northern Command and reportedly sending artillery and other heavy equipment to the Lebanese border,” reported the Times of Israel.

6. Several days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — facing national elections on September 17 — gave a secret military briefing to his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, on the rising tensions in the north. This was so unusual that Israel’s largest daily newspaper ran a story headlined, “IS ISRAEL ON THE VERGE OF AN ALL-OUT WAR?”

7. Today, Netanyahu warned that “Israel is prepared for all scenarios with Hezbollah.”

Please pray that tensions will be quickly defused and all these rumors of war won’t become self-fulfilled prophecies. And please follow me on Twitter for the latest developments and more breaking news.

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

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Today marks five years since our family made Aliyah & moved to Israel as dual US-Israeli citizens — and I could not be more grateful. A few reflections & some photos.

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Five years ago, the Lord led us to make Aliyah, becoming dual US-Israeli citizens. What an adventure of faith and challenge it has been.

Packing up our belongings in Northern Virginia and preparing to move to Israel on August 14, 2014, was very exciting, yet honestly we also felt a bit sad leaving the USA. But Lynn’s Mom graciously came with us for three weeks to help us settle in.

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We landed in Israel on August 15th and immediately moved into a small apartment in Netanya, just north of Tel Aviv, two blocks from the Mediterranean Sea.

We had no idea of all the trials and hardships ahead. For starters, we landed in the middle of a full-blown war in which terrorists in Gaza were firing more than 4,000 rockets and mortars at innocent Israeli civilians that month. Some of our American friends thought we were crazy for going. Some days we wondered that ourselves.

Five years later, we now live in Jerusalem. We have bought an apartment there. Two of our sons serve in the Israeli army. All of our sons speak Hebrew better than Lynn and me (and Lynn’s Hebrew is definitely better than mine!) Slowly, slowly, we are putting down roots.

For all the many challenges, I can truly say I am deeply grateful that the Lord has given us the courage to obey His calling. I’m so grateful for Lynn’s family and mine who came to visit us in Israel and encourage us — indeed, for the many, many friends and pastors and Evangelical leaders who came and visited us in those early weeks and months, even during the heat of the Gaza war.

I’m grateful, too, for all the lessons that the God of Israel has been teaching us from the Bible and though daily life, and for all the dear and precious friends we have made — both Jews and Arabs, both believers in Jesus and not-yet-believers.

May the King of Israel — the King of the Universe, the King of Glory — have His way with us and teach us the joy of knowing Him, serving Him, clinging to Him, and bearing fruit in His name, come what may!

Jeremiah 32:37-41 — “Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”

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Photo Descriptions:

• Our family with Lynn’s brother and his family on the Golan Heights.

• Two photos of our family on the United flight from Newark to Tel Aviv on August 14, 2014.

•  Two of our sons and me packing to move to Israel.

•  Our family and Lynn’s Mom having our first dinner in our new apartment upon moving to Israel.

• My parents and my nephew visiting us in Caesarea.

• Our youngest son and me at the beach in Netanya upon arriving in Israel.

• The apartment building where we first lived in Netanya.

• The sign that greeted us when we landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

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Friends of Saudi Arabia will both encourage their reforms & respectfully speak the truth. My latest column for The Jerusalem Post.

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(Denver, Colorado) — The Jerusalem Post has just published a new column that I’ve written for them. It is drawn from a blog I wrote last week on recent reforms in Saudi Arabia, but expanded and a bit more detailed.

To read the full column, please click here.

Here are a few excerpts:

• Cutting the Saudis loose – or insisting MBS step down – is not the way forward. We live in an imperfect world. We have to make imperfect choices and work with imperfect allies. But we always can and should urge our friends and allies to do better.

• The White House and US State Department should, therefore, continue publicly standing side-by-side with the Saudis while privately but clearly telling the king and crown prince the truth…..

• Justice must be done in the Khashoggi affair….

• Innocent Saudis who have been unfairly and unnecessarily imprisoned should be released promptly….

• Reforms to dramatically improve social, economic and religious freedom for all Saudis should be accelerated, consistent with Vision 2030 objectives….

• Riyadh would also be wise to take specific, tangible steps towards peace with Israel, consistent with their own national interests.

• Allowing Israeli airlines to fly to and over the kingdom would be a good next step.

• Inviting Israeli journalists to Riyadh to interview senior Saudi officials would also be useful.

• Indeed, inviting a delegation of Jewish leaders from both the US and Israel to meet with Saudi royals would be a very encouraging move, just as they invited me last year to bring the first-ever delegation of Evangelical leaders to meet with MBS and other senior officials.

• Given the growing Iran threat, and the importance of fighting terrorism and making regional peace, the US-Saudi alliance must be strengthened. This will be immensely easier to accomplish if Americans see Riyadh making far more progress on the reform front….

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BREAKING: 18-year old Israeli Jewish student stabbed to death by terrorist. Massive manhunt for killer underway. Here’s the latest. Please pray.

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Yesterday, Lynn and I spent an hour meeting with Oded Revivi, the Mayor of the Israeli city of Efrat, located next to Bethlehem, and two of his advisors.

Afterwards, we spent about 90 minutes with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin — the Chief Rabbi of Efrat and one of the community’s founders — and David Nekrutman, the executive director of the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding. (The city is mentioned in the Book of Micah chapter 5 as “Bethlehem Ephratah.”)

We were deeply grateful to Mayor, Rabbi and the others for their hospitality and outreach to Evangelicals.

33016642-83AE-4182-A56F-3F017A9BFD2BJust a few hours after Lynn and I left Efrat, however, a terrible tragedy happened right near Efrat, in an area known as Gush Etzion.

“The body of a yeshiva student who had been stabbed to death was discovered outside a settlement in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, prompting a massive manhunt for the killer,” reported the Times of Israel.

“The victim, who was later identified Dvir Sore….was studying at the Machanayim religious seminary in (a nearby) settlement, and had joined the military while continuing his studies, in a program known in Hebrew as hesder. Though formally a soldier, he was unarmed and not in uniform at the time of the attack, nor had he undergone military training.” He will be buried at 8pm tonight, Israel time.

I ask Christians all over the world to pray for the family and friends of this young man and for all the people of Efrat and the neighboring communities — that the Lord would comfort all who are grieving. “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble,” we are promised in Psalm 9:9.

Please also pray for peace between Jewish and Arab villages south of Jerusalem and throughout the Land, and wisdom for Israeli and Palestinian leaders. This is just the kind of incident that could rapidly escalate into worsening violence in the heat of summer and as we head into national elections in Israel in September 17. Please share this with others and encourage them to pray, as well. Thank you.

The Saudis announce important new reforms to empower women — not enough, but noteworthy. Here’s the latest.

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Important news out of Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom last week announced a series of sweeping reforms aimed at empowering women.

It’s not nearly enough, but these are noteworthy and important moves after a toxic and painful year in Saudi Arabia.

Some thoughts.

In 2017 and 2018, at the direction of His Majesty King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, (MBS), the Saudis embarked on a series of high-profile and quite positive social and economic reforms that richly captured global attention and praise.

Unfortunately, the effect of these reforms was seriously marred by the Kingdom’s crackdown on dissent and political activity.

Then, all reform in the Kingdom came to a screeching halt after the heinous and unconscionable murder of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018. The Royal Palace became consumed by the international firestorm over the murder and could focus on little else.

MBS has denied ordering the murder. Still, 11 Saudi officials were arrested, indicted and charged in Riyadh with murdering Khashoggi. Five Saudi officials currently face the death penalty. The U.S. also rightly imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials for their alleged involvement in the horrific plot.

Many questions remain over who ordered the murder and why. The Kingdom’s reputation in Washington and many world capitals has taken a catastrophic hit. And many commentators have openly speculated that MBS might be removed from the line of succession and his Vision 2030 blueprint for reform might be scrapped altogether.

That said, last week provided significant evidence that MBS still has his father’s confidence and that the Vision 2030 reforms are once again moving forward.

The following are excerpts from a message sent to me by a senior Saudi source:

“You may have seen the reports about the Kingdom’s decision to remove the obstacles on women’s mobility. I wanted to make sure that you saw (the details)….This decision affirms the Kingdom’s commitment to its vision in realizing the full potential of Saudi women, and their full integration into our society. This is driven by our leadership’s belief that the empowerment of women is a central pillar of Vision 2030, that we cannot move forward if half of the population does not enjoy equal rights before the law, and that our development goals are unattainable without gender equality.”

“This decision, significant as it may be, is only one part of the long line of decisions that demonstrate our leadership’s commitment to the empowerment of women under Vision 2030 and improving the quality of life for all people in the country,” the source added. “These reforms so far have included sweeping reforms to empower Saudi women, (such as)….”

‏• Independence. At age 22, women (and men) are free to work and travel without approval of a guardian.

• Equality. Women are guaranteed equal protection and equal pay in the workplace.

• Status. Women can finally be considered “head of the household” according to the law.

• Empowerment. Women can now fully and independently manage legal and business affairs.

Reuters provided more details on the extent of the reforms:

  • “Saudi Arabia has allowed adult women to travel without permission and granted them more control over family matters, further eroding a heavily criticized male guardianship system at a time of heightened scrutiny over its human rights record.
  • “A series of royal decrees published by the official gazette on Friday stipulated that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.
  • “The amendments to regulations also grant women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors….
  • “Riyadh has long endured international censure over the status of women, who rights groups say are often treated as second-class citizens under rules requiring them to get the consent of a male guardian for important decisions throughout their entire lives, regardless of age. Muna AbuSulayman, a prominent Saudi influencer and a former talk show host, took to Twitter along with thousands of Saudi women to celebrate what many described as a new era. ‘A generation growing up completely free and equal to their brothers,’ she said, referring to the freedom to travel…..”

I have been deeply grieved by the events of the past year in Riyadh. We may live in an imperfect world and have to make imperfect choices, but we must always urge our friends and allies to do better.

Justice must be done in the Khashoggi affair.

Innocent Saudis who have been unfairly and unnecessarily imprisoned should be released promptly. Why undermine smart reforms with repressive moves impossible to explain to the very governments, CEOs and investors needed to help the Kingdom advance?

Reforms to dramatically improve social, economic and religious freedom for all Saudis should be accelerated, consistent with Vision 2030 objectives. True reform is the only way forward.

And given the growing Iran threat, and the importance of fighting terrorism and making regional peace, the U.S.-Saudi alliance should be strengthened. This will be easier to accomplish if Washington sees Riyadh making much more progress on the reform front in the last half of 2019.

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

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Next week, I’ll speak in Denver on the growing Iran threat, “The Persian Gamble” & the future of Israel and the Arab world. Please register and join us.

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On Thursday evening, August 15th, I’ll be speaking in the Denver area on the rising prospect of a war with Iran, and my thriller, The Persian Gamble.

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry that my parents — Len and Mary Rosenberg — started some two decades ago. They provide architectural services for Evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show the love of Jesus.

Before I speak, my folks will share about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry. Then I will discuss the latest developments in Iran, Israel and the broader Middle East, and answer your questions — always my favorite part of the evening. I’ll be signing copies of my most recent novel, as well.

The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:00pm to 9:15pm. Doors will open at 6:15pm. Suggested minimum contribution is $30 per person and goes to support Ministry Architecture. This amount is 100% tax deductible. Registration  for the event is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com.

Please register today by clicking here — I hope to see you there!

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“Something extraordinary is happening in the Middle East.” Here’s the Fox News interview on my State Department speech on religious freedom & some signs of progress in our region.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Bad news in the Middle East — from war and terrorism to religious persecution and genocide — nearly always receives extensive media coverage in the Western press.

Good news from the region? Not so much.

That said, Lauren Green of Fox News just interviewed me about my address to last week’s State Department conference in which I discussed the extraordinary and encouraging — but woefully underreported — signs of progress in the Middle East, and about the five Evangelical Delegations we’ve led to meet with Sunni Arab leaders.

Let’s pray it’s the beginning of more coverage of both the good news as well as the bad in our part of the world — and I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the interview. 

FOX-Joel-SpiritedDebate

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

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