What are threats the next President will face? Here’s one: A Czar rising in Russia.

Putin-Rouhani-PoliticoAs we continue our look at major threats the next American President will face, we must take a hard look at Vladimir Putin.

In addition to invading Georgia and Ukraine in recent years, Putin has continued to rebuild Russia’s military and expand Russia’s military and diplomatic influence in the Middle East. Specially, Putin has:

  • aggressively forged a military alliance with Iran
  • sold state-of-the-art weapons systems to Iran
  • sent Russian troops into Syria to fight alongside Iran to prop up the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad
  • expanded Russia’s arms and nuclear sales to countries throughout the Middle East
  • eagerly moved to fill the vacuum created by President Obama’s retreat from the Mideast.

The trend lines are as clear as they are dangerous. At his core, Putin is a Czar. He wants to dramatically expand the imperial reach of Mother Russia. He is testing and probing Western defenses and resolve to see when and where he can expand next. If he remains unchecked by the U.S. and NATO, Putin will make even more dangerous military incursions in the near future — possibly into Europe, but also in the Middle East.

I commend to your attention a recent article in Politico by Dennis Ross, a former senior advisor to President Obama who has becoming increasingly critical of the President. The article is titled, “Why Middle Eastern Leaders Are Talking to Putin, Not Obama: Russia is less dominant militarily but more willing to act, and that has changed the dynamics in the region.”

That said, to best understand how serious a threat Putin will be in the future, one must look at what he has said in the past. In 2014, I wrote a column for National Review on this subject. Let me cite here some of my findings.

  • In 2000, three Russian journalists — Nataliya Gevorkyan, Natalya Timakova, and Andrei Kolesnikov — published First Person, which may prove to be one of the most important books ever written about Putin. It is useful not because the journalists offered their own ­insights or analysis into Putin, but because they simply let Putin speak for himself. They interviewed the Russian leader six separate times, each time for about four hours. The book is merely a transcript, and when it comes to understanding Putin’s ambitions and approach, it is a gold mine of intelligence.
  • Putin on his mission in life: “My historical mission,” he insisted, is to stop “the collapse of the USSR” (p. 139). To do this, he vowed to “consolidate the armed forces, the Interior Ministry, and the FSB [the successor to the KGB, the secret police of the Soviet Union]” (p. 140). “If I can help save Russia from collapse, then I’ll have something to be proud of” (p. 204).
  • Putin on his style: “Everyone says I’m harsh, even brutal,” Putin acknowledged, without ever disputing such observations. “A dog senses when somebody is afraid of it, and bites,” he observed. “The same applies [to dealing with one’s enemies]. If you become jittery, they will think they are stronger. Only one thing works in such circumstances—to go on the offensive. You must hit first, and hit so hard that your opponent will not rise to his feet” (p. 168).
  • Putin on the czars: “From the very beginning, Russia was created as a super-centralized state. That’s practically laid down in its genetic code, its traditions, and the mentality of its people,” said Putin, adding, “In certain periods of time . . . in a certain place . . . under certain conditions . . . monarchy has played and continues to this day to play a positive role. . . . The monarch doesn’t have to worry about whether or not he will be elected, or about petty political interests, or about how to influence the electorate. He can think about the destiny of the people and not become distracted with trivialities” (p. 186).
  • Putin on his choice of history’s most interesting political leader: “Napoleon Bonaparte” (p. 194). On his rise from spy to president: “In the Kremlin, I have a different position. Nobody controls me here. I control everybody else” (p. 131).
  • Putin on his critics: “To hell with them” (p. 140).
In 2014, I engaged McLaughlin & Associates, a nationally-respected polling firm, to ask a series of questions of 1,000 likely U.S. voters. Among the questions we asked: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “In light of Russia’s invasion of southern Ukraine, and Russia selling arms and nuclear technology to Iran, and Russia selling arms to the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, I have come to believe that Vladimir Putin and the government of Russia pose a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and our ally, Israel”?
We found a remarkable 72 percent of Americans said they agreed with such a statement. Only 19 percent disagreed.

Since 2014, the U.S. has retreated even more aggressively from the Middle East, and Putin has even more aggressively moved to fill the vacuum. Make no mistake: the Russian Bear is hungry, and unless he is stopped, he will devour again.

——————-

Other Recent Articles In This Series

—————————–

———————-—-

39 reasons a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a catastrophe for America.

Hillary-2

It is now increasingly clear that Hillary Clinton will win the Democrat nomination for President. In my view, her election will be a disaster for the American family, American workers, Americans serving in the military, and for American national security.

As commanded in the Scriptures, I will pray for her, as for all leaders. But I cannot vote for her. Here are 39 specific reasons — specific things she has said, positions she has taken, lies she has told, and values she has espoused, all that I disagree with. (True, there are so many more reasons why she would be a disastrous president, but I think this list will suffice for now.)

Readers of this blog will remember that earlier this year, during the GOP primaries, I wrote two columns about Mr. Trump. The first was titled, “32 reasons a Trump presidency would be a catastrophe for America.” The second was titled, “Seven more reasons a Trump presidency would be a catastrophe. Trump must be stopped.” That second column was dated March 1st. Two and a half months later, it does not appear now that Trump will be stopped. He seems on track to win the Republican nomination and to square off against Hillary in the Fall campaign.

Where does that leave the American people at this point? I honestly don’t know, but I confess I am grieving.

In 2012, I wrote a non-fiction book called, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?  Four years later, it feels to me like the American ship of state is hurtling towards an iceberg, and both people vying to be captain want us to accelerate rather than turn before it’s too late.

I was born in the United States. I was raised in the United States. I remain a loyal American citizen, even though I now live with my family in Israel — regularly shuttling back and forth — and have dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, as allowed by U.S. law. I love America more than I can possibly explain. My family found freedom and safety and opportunity there. We found a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ there. We learned the Word of God there, and made some of our dearest friends on the planet there. So what is unfolding in the country of my birth is as heart-breaking to me as it is surreal.

But while so much of the road ahead is foggy for me, a few things remain clear: I must trust in the sovereignty of God, come what may. I must continue to pray regularly and faithfully for a sweeping spiritual revival in the American Church, and for a Great Awakening among the broader American public. I must pray more earnestly than ever that followers of Christ across America, myself included, will preach the Gospel — and preach the “whole counsel of God” — in the power of the Holy Spirit, and faithfully make disciples, and engage with their fellow Americans with love and gentleness and respect.

Darkness is falling. The forces of freedom are in retreat. But God is good and God is great and I’m grateful that I can rest in His love and mercy. I hope you can, too.


 

  1. For years, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton adamantly argued that Iran’s government had absolutely no right to enrich uranium — until she flip-flopped and supported a deal that gave Iran the full legal right to enrich uranium, and eventually enrich as much as they want. “I’ve always been in the camp that held that they did not have a right to enrichment,” she told The Atlantic magazine. “Contrary to their claim, there is no such thing as a right to enrich. This is absolutely unfounded. There is no such right.”
  2. Now, Hillary says she is “very proud” of the Iran nuclear deal that gives Iran that full legal right to enrich uranium. [NOTE: For more on why the Iran nuclear deal is so dangerous, please click here.]
  3. Now, Hillary takes credit for making the deal happen. “I spent 18 months putting together the sanctions against Iran so that we could force them to the negotiating table,” she said on November 6, 2015.
  4. “Hillary Clinton Opened Door to Key U.S. Shift Toward Iran Nuclear Deal — At State Department, the Democratic front-runner and an aide softened their stance against letting Tehran enrich uranium.” — Wall Street Journal headline, September 8, 2015.
  5. “Hillary Clinton makes forceful case for Iran nuclear deal” — London Guardian headline, September 9, 2015
  6. “Clinton backs Obama’s ISIS strategy in Democratic debate” — Reuters headline, December 20, 2015.
  7. As a senior member of the administration, Hillary supported President Obama’s enormous ,dramatic, dangerous cuts to U.S. military spending. The national security portion of the federal budget has plunged from over 20% to under 16%, and from 4.6% of GDP to only 3.3% during the Obama years. The Army has cut its ranks by 40,000 troops. The Navy has cut the number of ships from 600 ships during the Reagan administration to only 272 ships today. This is almost as low as back in 1916 when we only had 245 active ships. While U.S. Navy ships are far more advanced today than back in 1916, of course, having so few jeopardizes America’s ability to defend the homeland and her allies and project power in crisis spots around the world.
  8. Hillary led the Obama administration’s failed “reset” policy with Russian President Vladimir Putin — yet she says she might try it again. During a presidential debate, NBC’s Lester Holt asked,Secretary Clinton, you famously handed Russia’s foreign minister a reset button in 2009. Since then, Russia has annexed Crimea, fomented a war with Ukraine, provided weapons that downed an airliner, and launched operations, as we’ve just discussed, to support Assad in Syria. As president, would you hand Vladimir Putin a reset button?” Clinton refused to rule trying the disastrous approach a second time, saying, “Well, it would depend upon what I got for it,” Clinton said.
  9. Hillary called the Obama administration’s Libya policy her “greatest moment” as Secretary of State, even though President Obama himself calls it his “worst mistake.”
  10. Hillary open says she supports requiring Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines — even though President George W. Bush gave a written promise to Israel in 2004 that the U.S. would support “defensible borders” for Israel and would never force Israel all the way back to the indefensible 1967 borders; even though the 1967 borders didn’t establish peace but led to war; even though the Washington Post called this a “major shift” of U.S. foreign policy; even though this would mean forcing Israel to divide her capital of Jerusalem and forcing Israel to give away the Jewish and Christian Quarters of Jerusalem; even though this would mean forcing Israel to give away the Golan Heights to the murderous Assad regime, even as Syria is imploding and ISIS and other extremist groups are on the offensive; even though the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is serving in the 11th year of his four year term and refuses to call new elections; etc.
  11. Hillary was Secretary of State during the “worst crisis” in U.S.-Israel relations “in 35 years” a crisis she helped generate by actively trying to create “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel at the direction of President Obama, even as the Middle East was being set on fire in one Arab capital after another.
  12. Hillary is openly proud of the fact that as Secretary of State she was the “designated yeller” at Israel’s Prime Minister, trying to force him to take positions that the Israeli government felt would put their people in danger (such as engage in negotiations to give Iran the right to enrich uranium; such as forcing Israel back to indefensible borders and dividing Jerusalem; such as forcing Israel to stop building homes for Jewish residents in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem).
  13. Hillary emerged during the 2016 Democratic primaries as the chief supporter and defender of President Obama’s domestic, economic and foreign policies — “Hillary Clinton Clings to Obama’s Legacy in Democratic Debate,” noted a Time magazine headline.
  14. President Barack Obama has endorsed Hillary because he sees her as fully committed to implementing his third term in office — “Barack Obama tells Democrats it’s ‘time to unite behind Hillary Clinton,'” noted a March 2016 headline.
  15. Hillary — just in this campaign cycle alone — has proposed increasing taxes on the American people by $1 trillion
  16. Hillary — just in this campaign cycle alone — has proposed $1.1 trillion in increased federal spending.
  17. Hillary fully supports Obamacare, and absolutely refuses to repeal it — “Not on my watch,” she says.
  18. Hillary not only fully supports the federal government’s takeover of the private health care industry, she insists it was her idea — “It was called HillaryCare before it was called ObamaCare,” she told voters in Iowa.
  19. “Hillary Clinton: I Would Not Appoint Someone to the Supreme Court Who Didn’t Support Abortion” — Life News headline, March 29, 2016.
  20. Hillary said she is glad her husband vetoed the ban on partial birth abortion.
  21. Hillary fully supports homosexual marriage now, even though she was steadfast against it for a decade until she flip-flopped in 2013.
  22. Hillary has proposed “a sweeping gun control” plan in defiance of the Second Amendment — a striking flip-flop from her previous positions.
  23. “Secretary Clinton changes her position on (gun issues) every election year, it seems, having one position in 2000 and then campaigning against President Obama and saying we don’t need federal standards,” said Maryland Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley, during the December 19, 2015 debate.
  24. “We didn’t lose a single person” in Libya, Hillary actually said during a nationally televised debate during the 2016 campaign. Yet this is patently untrue. As Politico noted, “her comments ignore the 2012 attacks at the U.S. mission and CIA outpost in Benghazi, which killed four people including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.”
  25. “Hillary Clinton’s big Benghazi lie” — London Telegraph headline, October 24, 2015
  26. “‘She Lies!’: Mom of Benghazi Victim Blasts Hillary for Not Telling the Truth” — Fox News headline, October 22, 2015
  27. Hillary as Secretary of State fully supported President Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, but then she flip-flopped as a 2016 presidential candidate becoming totally opposed to it.
  28. “45 times Secretary Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes” — CNN headline.
  29. Hillary once called the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal she now opposes “the gold standard” of all U.S. trade deals — “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field,” she said as Secretary of State on November 15, 2012.
  30. “This is a classic political decision that you can flip-flop if you flop over to the popular side of an issue,” said David Alexrod, a Democratic strategist who advised President Obama’s bids for the White House, on CNN [regarding Hillary’s flip flops on supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal; see below]. “The great risk, though — her great liability in this race so far — has been this sense that she’s been inauthentic. This lurch on this issue opens her up for another charge of inauthenticity.”
  31. Hillary in February 2016 vowed to dramatically expand amnesty for illegal immigrants. “I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for you and for your families across our country,” Hillary said. “I will fight to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put Dreamers, including those with us today, at risk of deportation. And if Congress continues to refuse to act, as president I would do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people, like many parents of Dreamers, and others, with deep ties and contributions to our communities, who deserve a chance to stay, and I will fight for them.”
  32. “Hillary Clinton vows to expand Obama amnesty to more illegals” — Washington Times headline, May 5, 2015.
  33. “I remember landing under sniper fire,” Hillary told reporters during the 2008 presidential campaign, speaking of a visit to Bosnia in 1996. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” But as the London Telegraph reported, it never actually happened. “News footage of the event however showed her claims to have been wide of the mark, and reporters who accompanied her stated that there was no sniper fire. Her account was ridiculed by ABC News as ‘like a scene from Saving Private Ryan.'”
  34. “Video shows tarmac welcome, no snipers” — PolitiFact headline, noting, “Yes, Clinton later acknowledged that she was mistaken, but it’s hard to understand how she could err on something so significant as whether she did or didn’t dodge sniper bullets. Quite simply, this kind of hyperbole deserves our harshest assessment. We rule Pants on Fire.”
  35. “For more than a decade, one piece of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s informal biography has been that she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest. The story was even recounted in Bill Clinton’s autobiography” — except that it’s completely not true, the New York Times reported. “Sir Edmund became famous only after climbing Everest in 1953. Mrs. Clinton, as it happens, was born in 1947.”
  36. “Hillary Clinton’s absurd claim that she’s the only candidate being attacked by Wall Street” — PolitiFact headline, noting that Hillary said on the 2016 campaign trail, “I’m the only candidate in the Democratic primary, or actually on either side, who Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers are actually running ads against.” PolitiFact responds: “Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers are running ads against Clinton. But to say she’s the only one being attacked by people associated with the financial sector is preposterous. The financial sector has contributed to both sides of the aisles, including to Clinton’s own campaign. Groups backed by Wall Street have run attack ads against virtually every candidate. Clinton’s claim rates Pants on Fire!”
  37. “Clinton exaggerates Republicans’ plans to ‘privatize’ Social Security” — PolitiFact headline. In April 2016, Hillary said on the campaign trail that the Republicans “still want to privatize (Social Security). In fact, their whole idea is to turn over the Social Security trust fund to Wall Street.” PolitiFact responds, “Clinton’s statement takes a longstanding Democratic exaggeration about the scope of GOP overhaul proposals and makes it even further off-base by implying that payroll tax revenues would flow directly to Wall Street without any input from beneficiaries. We rate the statement Mostly False.”
  38. “I have now put out all of my emails,” Hillary said on Meet the Press in April 2016. But that’s not accurate. PolitiFact states: “In reality, only about half of the emails sent or received by Clinton on her private email server have been released.”
  39. “Every politician flip-flops,” notes a Politico columnist. “But Clinton flip-flops so frequently that course changes have become her signature move.”

[This column is based on my personal beliefs and opinions. I share them in my personal capacity as an American citizen and an author. They do not reflect the views of The Joshua Fund, which is a non-profit organization and takes no political or legislative positions.]

What are threats the next American President will face? Here’s one: The rise of a dictator in Turkey.

Erdogan

As I noted on this blog on Tuesday, whoever emerges as the next American President will inherit enormous challenges in the Middle East.

The Iran and ISIS threats are certainly chief among them. But there are more.

Keep your eyes on Turkey, for example — it’s rapidly emerging as anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel Islamist dictatorship.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the predominately Muslim Turkey emerged as a moderate, peaceful, even friendly democracy. Indeed, as I wrote about in my 2009 non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution, in many ways Turkey emerged in the mid- to late-20th century as a model for the “Reformers,” those Muslims eager to show the world they were not violent extremists but eager to build a modern, safe country characterized by economic growth and even pluralism.

Turkey was welcomed into NATO. It became a faithfully ally of the U.S. and the West against the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union. It became a beautiful tourist destination for millions of Europeans, and even tens of thousands of Israelis.

But all that began changing when Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged as Turkey’s President in August of 2014, after serving 13 years as the Turkish Prime Minister.

Erdogan (pronounced “Air-do-wan”) is no Reformer. He’s an Islamic Radical. Driven perhaps by visions of restoring Turkey to the power and glory of the Ottoman Empire at its peak, Erdogan is aggressively fashioning himself into a brutal dictator. He’s cracking down on Internet freedom. He’s seizing churches. He’s seizing media outlets that speak out against him. He’s using the crisis in Syria not to go after ISIS — as he claims — but to bomb the Kurds who are at war with ISIS.

Did you know that almost 2,000 people have been prosecuted in Turkey since Erdogan came to power in 2014 for “insulting” the emerging dictator?

What’s more, after drawing Turkey close to Russia and Iran, he has now run afoul of Russia’s own rising Czar, Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin leader is apparently furious at Ergdogan for meddling in Syria, a key Russian client state.

Last August, President Putin reportedly told Turkey’s Ambassador to Moscow to “tell your dictator President he can go to hell” and “I shall make Syria to nothing but a ‘Big Stalingrad.” This, as the Russians have made a military alliance with neighboring Armenia and are reportedly building up military forces near Turkey.

Consider, too, the following headlines:

At some point, I hope to update Inside The Revolution to indicate the dangerous track Turkey is on under Erdogan. But for now, it’s important that the next President of the United States — and Congress — understand that path the dictator is on and be prepared to deal with him from a position of wisdom and strength.

————————–

——————-

Five big things to celebrate on Israel’s 68th modern birthday.

israel

UPDATED: As the modern State of Israel turns 68 years old, the citizens and residents of this tiny country find themselves facing serious threats. But amidst all the sobering headlines, there is much good news, too.

Here are five big things I’m celebrating — I hope you will, too.

First, the very fact that the State of Israel exists today, and is celebrating her 68th modern birthday, is evidence of the dramatic fulfillment of ancient Biblical prophecies, and a powerful testimony that the Bible is the very Word of God. 

  • Many ancient Biblical prophecies — notably Ezekiel 36, 37, 38 & 39 — indicated that Israel would be reborn as a geopolitical nation state in the “last days” of history, that Jews would return en masse to the holy land, and that the Jewish people, with God’s help, would rebuild the “ancient ruins.”
  • For much of the past 1,900, many people around the world — including, unfortunately, many Church fathers — did not believe these prophecies would literally come to pass. Yet they have come to pass, and are continuing to do so.
  • This is both exciting and encouraging because it shows that God is faithful to His promises and merciful to His people, even when His people are not all seeking after Him, reading His Word, and/or obeying Him.
  • True, there are many Jews today who don’t believe in the prophecies, or their fulfillment. But according to a fascinating new Pew Forum study, 61% of Israeli Jews believe that God literally promised the Land to the Jewish people in the Scriptures, while only 40% Americans Jews believe Israel in the “Promised Land.” (see page 106 of the topline results.)

Second, despite innumerable threats by Israel’s neighbors to annihilate the Jewish State — and despite so many wars, intifadas, terrorism, boycotts and other attacks aimed at bringing such threats to pass — Israel is alive and growing.

Third, despite innumerable efforts to isolate Israel from the rest of the world, Israel now has diplomatic and growing economic relations with 161 countries, including behemoths like China and India, and even increasingly close working relations with a number of Sunni Arab countries

Fourth, the majority of Israelis believe that God exists, and are growing increasingly curious about reading the Bible. Consider the following:

  • 77% of Israeli Jews say they believe God exists, compared to 72% of Americans Jews, according to the 2016 Pew Forum study (see page 104).
  • 50% of Israeli Jews are absolutely certain about the existence of God, compared to 34% of American Jews. (see page 105 of the Pew study)
  • A 2015 survey found that “a majority of Israeli Jews, while identifying as ‘secular’ or ‘traditional,’ are nevertheless interested in gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Bible,” reported Israel Today. “Conducted by the Motagim Institute on behalf of the religious website Maimonides Daily, the poll revealed that 54 percent of Israeli Jews feel they only have a ‘basic grasp’ of their national faith, and that 57 percent would commit at least five minute a day to reading the Bible.”

Fifth, there is new and compelling evidence that many Israelis believe faith in Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah is not a contradiction to being Jewish, and many are exploring what faith in Jesus really means. Consider, too, the following data:

  • According to the sweeping 2015 Pew Forum study of Israeli religious attitudes, a stunning 18% of all Israeli Jews say that a Jew can believe that Jesus is the Messiah and still be Jewish. (see page 48 of the Pew study)
  • Remarkably, 19% of “Haredi” Israelis — very religious Orthodox Jews — say a Jew can believe that Jesus is the Messiah and still be Jewish. (see page 48 of the Pew study)
  • Fully 22% of “Hiloni” (or secular) Israelis say a Jew can believe Jesus is the Messiah and still be Jewish. (see page 48 of the Pew study)
  • While these numbers are lower than in the U.S. (fully 34% of American Jews say you can believe Jesus is the Messiah and remain Jewish, according to a previous Pew survey), they are still dramatic given the utter taboo “Messianic Judaism” has been — and remains — in Israel over the past 20 centuries.
  • What’s more, Israelis are growing increasingly curious about who Yeshua is, what He taught, and what it means to follow Him.
  • The Hebrew language evangelistic videos produced by the Israeli-based ministry One For Israel — run by Israelis for Israelis — were seen by more than 1.2 million Hebrew speaking Israelis just since early 2015. This is according to the latest numbers I received from the ministry’s director.
  • This means that of approximately 9 million Hebrew speakers on the planet, more than 1 in 9 have now chosen to watch one or more videos about the teachings of Yeshua just since the beginning of 2015.
  • There are now some 15,000 Jewish followers of Yeshua in Israel, up from just a few dozen in 1948.
  • In addition, there are several thousand Evangelical Arab followers of Jesus Christ, as well.
  • What’s more, there are growing ties of unity and fellowship between Jewish and Arab followers of Yeshua. There is a long way to go. There remains tension and distrust within both communities. But now that I’m living here, I can see some significant signs of progress. That’s a subject for another day. But this too is a reason to rejoice — and let us pray this unity grows and deepens.

Yes, sadly, darkness is falling in this region. But there is much good news and much to be encouraged by. Please pray for Israel and her neighbors. Pray for the Church here and throughout the region. And pray for the Lord to show you how you can be involved in blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. Thanks, and God bless you.

————————–

——————-

UPDATED: What are threats the next American President could face? Here’s one: The potential destabilization of our Sunni Arab allies, like Jordan, at the hands of ISIS & other extremists.

Jordan-King-flyingchopper

UPDATE: There has been some confusion in recent days about The Daily Caller article published earlier this week. Given how important these issues are to those of us in the region, to those in the U.S. government and the American people, let me be crystal clear.

  1. The primary danger I see to the future stability of the Hashemite Kingdom is not an internal danger, it’s an external danger. That is, the threat does not come from the citizens of Jordan. To the contrary, they overwhelmingly love their king, are grateful for his leadership and for the freedom and stability and opportunity they have in sharp contrast to many of their neighbors. Indeed, most believe Jordan is going in the right direction. Lynn and I saw this first hand, and public polling supports this.
  2. Rather, the primary threat to the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom right now comes from the Islamic State, which is on a genocidal killing spree in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has publicly threatened to overthrow King Abdullah II, seize Jordan as part of their caliphate, and fly their black flags over Amman.
  3. What makes the ISIS threat particularly worrisome to me is that there are now more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees living inside Jordan, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Are there ISIS radical sleeper cells hidden among them? We know there are. Jordan’s security services are taking down one ISIS or related cell a week — most publicly in an 11 hour recent gun battle in Irbid.
  4. Now, I have no doubt that most of these refugees are sincerely grateful to be housed in and cared for in Jordan. Indeed, King Abdullah II is to be highly commended for welcoming these refugees. He’s operating in the tradition of his father and great-grandfather who previously welcomed Palestinian refugees.Moreover, the King and the Jordanian people are showing beautiful Arab hospitality to people fleeing from the horrific civil war, brutal acts of terror by Al Nusra and other terror factions, and the murderous regimes of Assad and the Islamic State. Jordan is providing housing, food, water, clothing, medical care and education. I saw this first hand at the Zaatari Refugee Camp, and I was deeply impressed.
  5. Still, the challenge is that between 20% and 30% of the Jordanian population are not loyal, faithful Jordanians. Even if the vast majority of Syrian refugees, for example, are peaceful, grateful people, what if even 1% of the 1.3 million Syrians are members of the Islamic State, or al Qaeda or other terror groups? That would be 13,000 people. What if many others are not members of ISIS, but are loyal to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or sympathetic to his desire for a regional (and later global) caliphate? Do they have access to arms? Could they spark a violent uprising among some faction of their fellow refugees? I hope not. I pray not. But when you look at the fires burning in Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen, clearly there is cause for concern. As the King told the BBC in February, the influx of refugees has brought Jordan to the “boiling point.”
  6. This is what I mean when I say King Abdullah is sitting on a volcano — not that he governs Jordanian citizens who want to overthrow him, not at all, but that he now presides over so many people that he and his government do not know, some of whom may have dangerous designs. Some volcanos, of course, are dead or inert. Others blow when an earthquake occurs. Again, in a region shaking from tectonic geopolitical change, the threats to Jordan — and to all countries in the region — are real.
  7. The good news, in my view, is that Jordan’s King is uniquely qualified to handle this moment. He and his team have provided impressive stability year after year. Jordanians appreciate this. Israelis do, too. So do many Americans.
  8. That said, the King needs more help — he needs military equipment (including more Blackhawk helicopters) from the U.S., and he needs (and deserves) far more financial assistance from the Gulf states and European countries.
  9. The Jordanians are our friends and allies — let’s stand with them and help prevent worst case scenarios from ever taking place.

ORIGINAL STORY: Whoever emerges as the next American President will inherit a disaster in the Middle East.

Based on their track records, I have very little confidence that either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump are truly ready, willing or able to confront the forces of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam, neutralize the Iran nuclear threat, or the destroy the forces of the Islamic State.

What’s more, I have very little confidence that Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump are truly committed to rebuilding the severely strained U.S.-Israeli alliance, or effectively strengthening America’s relationship with our Sunni Arab allies including Jordan, Egypt, the Saudis or the Gulf emirates.

To the contrary, I believe there is a significant risk that the U.S. alliance with each of these countries will further deteriorate over the next four years.

In the course of recent months, I’ve explained why Mr. Trump would be a catastrophe as the next President. (See here, and here.) Soon, I will lay out a detailed explanation of why Mrs. Clinton would also be catastrophic for the country, as well..

Each day this week, however, I want to lay out some of the major challenges the next President  will have to face in the Middle East, regardless of who wins.

Let’s start with Jordan. No Sunni  Arab country has been a more faithful ally to the U.S. or the Western alliance. But there is a real and growing dangers.

Today, The Daily Caller published an interview with me about the possibility of ISIS toppling King Abdullah II and the people and territory of Jordan falling into the hands of forces driven by Radical or Apocalyptic Islam. I pray such scenarios never come to pass. But it’s vital that the American people, Members of Congress, and especially the next President of the United States consider the risks and develop policies to effectively stand with and strengthen Jordan in these dark times.

Here are excerpts from the story….

Middle East Expert Warns Refugee Crisis Could Topple Jordanian King

By Alex Pfeiffer, The Daily Caller, May 10, 2016

Middle East expert and New York Times bestselling author Joel Rosenberg told The Daily Caller Monday that Jordan could see the downfall of its king and royal family due to increased pressure from ISIS and a refugee crisis.

Rosenberg has just returned to his home in Israel after spending five days with King Abdullah II touring the country. Jordan is regarded as one of the key Sunni allies for America in the Middle East.

“Jordan’s king is sitting on a volcano, nearly surrounded by a raging forest fire, bracing for a massive earthquake,” Rosenberg wrote in a recent op-ed.

North of Jordan is Syria, and to the east is Iraq. Jordan has accepted more 1.3 million refugees from Syria….

“[ISIS would] love to capture Amman and seize Jordan as part of the caliphate,” Rosenberg told TheDC.

He added that Jordanian security services are rounding up one ISIS or ISIS-related cell per week. The threat from refugees that Jordan faces is not only from the refugees themselves but from an uprising of disgruntled citizens.

As of December 2015, refugees constitute a third of Jordan’s population. “There’s the danger that people are going to get angry and that there’s some tipping point that people decide they’re not going to take it anymore and have Cairo style, Tripoli style protests that could become violent,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg….has written 11 novels about Middle Eastern terrorism, and five non-fiction books.

The author was fairly adamant that the U.S should provide Jordan more help. Currently the U.S gives Jordan a $1 billion in aid, but Rosenberg doesn’t think it’s enough.

“I think he’s not getting enough help and I think it’s incredibly dangerous what’s happening and it could lead to great danger, and even the demise of the Hashemites,” the author told TheDC.

————————–

——————-

 

Podcast: A conversation about writing novels, the power of story, the civil war inside Islam & the urgency of the Gospel

DTS-TheTable

(Central Israel) — On my recent book tour across the United States for  The Third Target and The First Hostage, one of the most intellectually stimulating and spiritually encouraging events I had the opportunity to speak at was a forum hosted by Dallas Theological Seminary.

The forum was moderated by my friend, Dr. Darrell Bock, a New Testament scholar and professor, and one of the world’s leading experts on the Gospel According to Luke and the Book of Acts.

Among other roles, Darrell is the Executive Director of DTS’s Center for Cultural Engagement. As such, he’s a big believer that Christ-followers need to engage the society in a positive, winsome manner, even in matters where we disagree, not constantly — or angrily — confronting the culture. Whether it’s how to deal with vast differences in moral issues like marriage and abortion, or sensitive religious matters like Islam and Judaism, or a host of other potentially “radioactive” subjects, Bock wants Evangelicals to take a different approach to cultural engagement — not compromising, of course, but certainly the truth but speaking the truth in love. The question is, “How?”

Thus, he runs an intriguing podcast called, “The Table.”

“We call the podcasts The Table because we see them as conversations where listeners are invited to the table to hear the topic treated by experts, hopefully asking questions they would ask if they were present,” Bock told Christianity Today last year. “We have studiously avoided the attempt to have prearranged questions and answers. Those interviewed know they are coming to participate in a conversation and are having to respond as they would if they were sitting discussing these issues over lunch. That tone of conversation in the midst of life is important to our entire philosophy.”

He invited me because as a novelist, I’m trying to use stories to engage the culture, to raise important questions that might not otherwise be raised, but to do so in an unconventional way.

In our fun, wide-ranging discussion, which lasted for about an hour, Darrell asked me about why I left the world of political consulting to write political thrillers, why I write so much about Radical and Apocalyptic Islam and Biblical prophecy, what The Joshua Fund is and how it’s connected to what I do, what it’s like to minister in the Middle East, and how my faith in Jesus Christ informs my personal and professional life, especially coming from a Jewish heritage.

I loved the entire conversation — and the thoughtful questions he and the students and other guests asked — and hope you’ll take time to listen to it, and even share it with others.

You can watch the video or listen to the audio by clicking here.

————————–

——————-

Never Again, Never Forget: On Holocaust Remembrance Day, here are four true heroes to remember. Who will be the heroes of our time, standing against evil & genocide?

auschwitz-joelontracks

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. — Santayana

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here in Israel, the sirens will sound at precisely 10am. Every car, truck, bus and taxi cab will pull to a stop. Every worker will lay down his tools. Every classroom will fall silent. Every Jewish Israeli, regardless of what he or she is doing, will stand at attention, listen to the wail of the sirens, and remember those who were ruthless sent to the gas chamber, simply because they were Jews.

How will you remember the Holocaust today? How will you teach your children about the most horrific attempt to exterminate a single people group in the history of mankind?

Remember:

  • To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil, is to risk being blindsided by it.
  • Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.

I encourage you to make time today to remember the six million Jews — including 1.5 million children — were systematically murdered by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Read the stories below. Share them on social media. Visit a Holocaust Museum. Watch Schindler’s List or one of the other great films about what happened. Read Elie Wiesel’s Night. Better yet, find a survivor — or the son or daughter of a survivor — and ask them to share their story with you and your family.

Let us honor their memories, and pledge ourselves never to forget them. In so doing, let us pledge to never allow such evil to happen again.

This is not just a time for Jews to remember, or the world to remember the Jews. This is a day for all of mankind to take a decisive stand against evil and against genocide in our time. This is especially critical in the face of the continuing Iranian nuclear threat and the apocalyptic regime in Tehran’s repeated vows to annihilate the U.S. and the State of Israel. It is also critical in the light of the genocidal rampage against Muslims, Christians and Yazidis that the apocalyptic leaders of the Islamic State are engaged.

My hope and prayer this year is that in addition to remembering those who died in the “Shoah” (the Holocaust), we will also remember those who lived — especially four extraordinary heroes who actually escaped from Auschwitz in the spring of 1944 not only to save their own lives but to tell the world the truth about what the Nazis were doing.

I first learned about these men and their extraordinary courage and selflessness upon visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland in 2011. Their stories intrigued me. Indeed, they inspired me to write the novel, The Auschwitz Escape.

Their names are:

  • Rudolf Vrba
  • Alfred Wetzler
  • Arnost Rosin
  • Czeslaw Mordowicz

In 2014, I wrote a column specifically sketching out their dramatic saga, based on the research I did for the book, including meeting with some of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars at Yad Vashem here in Israel. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the whole column, and then share it with others.

They are worth remembering. They are worth emulating. Indeed, as darkness falls once again in the epicenter and around the world, may their tribe increase.

————————–

——————-

How did my visit with Jordan’s King Abdullah come about & what did I learn about this Sunni Arab ally? My interview with Fox News.

FOXNEWS-Joel-April2016-2

(Jerusalem, Israel) — On Sunday, I was interviewed on the Fox News Channel to discuss President Obama’s latest trip to the Middle East, my recent visit to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah, the op-ed I wrote for the Jerusalem Post about that trip, and The First Hostage.

You can watch the video of the interview by clicking here. Also, here is a transcript of the conversation I had with Fox anchor Shannon Bream:

SHANNON BREAM: Germany is the last stop on President Obama’s three-country tour. He began the week, of course, with a bit of a tense trip to Saudi Arabia, as that region faces numerous critical challenges.

Tucked in the midst of all the trouble is Jordan, where King Abdullah II is not only managing the influx of more than a million refugees, but also waging a constant battle against the threats from ISIS. There are growing questions about why the U.S. and — in that region — more Arab nations aren’t stepping up to do more to help the man who has been viewed as our most faithful Sunni Arab ally.

Joel Rosenberg, best-selling author…met days ago with King Abdullah and came away with some key insights and joins us now live from Jerusalem. Welcome to you, Joel.

ROSENBERG: Great to be with you, Shannon. Shalom from Jerusalem.

BREAM: And listen, let me ask you — you had an unbelievable amount of access, a special invitation from King Abdullah. Tell us a little bit about what you saw, and what kind of viewpoint it gives you now, on exactly what Jordan and that region is facing.

ROSENBERG: It was fascinating. King Abdullah in January was given a copy of my recent novel, The First Hostage, which is about ISIS — the Islamic State — trying to capture chemical weapons in Syria and launch an attack against the United States, Israel and Jordan, and even try to topple King Abdullah. A friend of his, an advisor to him, gave him the book, and he read it in just a few days. And rather than banning me from the kingdom, invited my wife and I on a five day visit. It was fascinating.

Look, King Abdullah is our most faithful Sunni Arab ally, and yet he faces enormous challenges. All of us in this region face the threat of ISIS, but Jordan, you know — ISIS’s roots run deep in Jordan. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who invented ISIS — then called Al Qaeda in Iraq — was from Jordan. So the king faces a huge challenge, but I think he is up for it. I spent time with him, having lunch with him, having dinner with him, meeting with many of his top generals. He’s a Special Forces guy. He was the head of Special Forces in Jordan before he took the throne. But he needs more American, Arab and international help.

BREAM: Yeah, and we have such a delicate score of relationships across that region, as you know. You know about the visit to Saudi Arabia this week, the tensions that are there. We also have word this week that the U.S. has spent more than $8 million purchasing heavy water nuclear materials from Iran, and some people see a link there between the meetings with Saudi Arabia, the pressure regarding Iran, and now this new purchase at a time when a lot of people here still aren’t sold on the overall nuke deal that we just made with them.

ROSENBERG: Yes, what is surprising almost every Sunni Arab leader in the region — and certainly Israel, as well — is why is the President of the United States tipping away from our historic allies — Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, and again obviously Israel, as our most faithful ally in the entire region — and tipping all this effort to help Iran? And not taking decisive measures to destroy ISIS once and for all? ISIS and a nuclear Iran pose existential threats to every leader, and every person, in this region, as well as to the United States. And yet the President keeps tipping — when push comes to shove, he’s going with Iran these days. This is a huge mistake. It bothers me. It bothers many in this region.

BREAM: Well, Joel, we thank you so much for giving us some insights. You’ve written an op-ed that gives even more about that amazing trip you had with the King. And you know how I feel about The First Hostage. I can understand why after reading it he would have invited you. It is a great read. People will be entertained, as they always are with your books, but they will learn a lot about what we’re really facing, as well. Joel, thank you for joining us live from Jerusalem.

ROSENBERG: Thank you.

[NOTE: During the interview, Fox News I identified me several times as a “former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” While it’s true that I worked as an aide to him in 2000, that was more than 15 years ago. I want viewers to be clear that I don’t claim to speak for Mr. Netanyahu in any way. My views are wholly my own.]

————————–

——————-

 

 

 

Lessons on Leadership: Moses, Passover and the Call of God. (Thoughts on Exodus 3 & 4.)

Moses-Pharoah

MountNebo

In late March, as readers of this blog know, Lynn and I had the joy of visiting the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the invitation of King Abdullah II. On our second day, we went up to Mount Nebo. This was Lynn’s first trip to Jordan, so what a special thing to do. But this was my seventh, and yet I had never gone up to the mountain where the Lord took Moses to show him the Promised Land.

Wow! What a view. It was a beautiful, clear, crisp Spring day. Lynn and I could see the entire range of the Jordan River Valley. We could see Jericho, and Bethlehem, and — in the distance — the Judean Hills, the eastern sides of the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus, and the lights of the holy city of Jerusalem.

In the weeks that followed, I found myself thinking a great deal about Moses — about the tremendous miracles the Lord accomplished through him, to be sure; about his great courage before Pharoah, the evil tyrant of the Middle East at that time; and about the powerful prophecies that Moses both proclaimed as God directed him, and those that he fulfilled, as well. At the same time, I also found myself reflecting on the sadness Moses must have felt at not being allowed by God to enter the Promised Land with his people, the nation of Israel. This was Moses’ own fault. He had been unable to control his anger, and there were consequences, even for such a great Biblical leader.

Fortunately, of course, Moses eventually made it to Israel. In Matthew 17, we read the remarkable account of Moses standing on the Mount of Transfiguration, talking with the Lord Jesus Christ and the prophet Elijah. Amazing. Talk about an exciting first visit to the Holy Land!

That said, I also found myself meditating a great deal on the man Moses was when the Lord first called him to this important mission to set His people free. I began studying Exodus chapters three and four day after day, trying to understand God’s call on Moses’ life, and why Moses resisted it so intensely.

Last Friday night, Lynn and the boys and I gathered with dear Israeli friends and celebrated our second Passover here in the Land of Israel since moving to the Land in August 2014. Yet again, like every year, we spent an evening thinking about what God did to rescue and save His people. The following morning, I preached at a congregation not far from Tel Aviv. The message the Lord put on my heart came from Exodus three and four. Here are my sermon notes. Hope you find them helpful and take some time to answer the questions below. God bless you, and Happy Passover from Israel!

WHEN GOD CALLED MOSES: Lessons on Leadership from Exodus 3:1-22 and 4:1-17

Today, we think of Moses as a great hero of the faith, and the Passover story as his most dramatic accomplishment. That’s true. But let’s step back and see the man God called into His service.

To begin, please read Exodus 3:1-22 and 4:1-17 in full.

Then, let’s look at a series of excuses Moses made, telling the Lord why he couldn’t possibly respond to God’s divine call.

1.) Moses asked God, “Who Am I?”

Exodus 3:11 – “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”

Translation:

  • I am nothing.
  • I am no one special.
  • I have failed many times.
  • I’m not the right one to do this.

So, how did God answer Moses? Read here.

2.) Then Moses asked God, “What Shall I Say?”

Exodus 3:13 – “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

Translation:

  • I don’t know what to say.
  • I don’t know God well enough to speak for Him.
  • I’m not the right one to do this.

So, how did God answer Moses? Read here.

3.) Then Moses asked God, “What if they won’t believe me?”

Exodus 4:1 – “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say?”

Translation:

  • No one is going to listen to me.
  • No one is going to believe me.
  • I’m not the right one to do this.

So, how did God answer Moses? Read here.

4.) Then Moses told God, “I’m not eloquent.”

Exodus 4:10 – “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

Translation:

  • I’m not a good public speaker.
  • I’m slow to form my words. (Note: it is widely believed that Moses stuttered.)
  • I get “tongue-tied.”
  • I’m not the right one to do this.

So, how did God answer Moses?

5.) Finally, Moses essentially told God, “No.”

Exodus 4:13 – “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.”

Translation:

  • I’ve heard everything you’ve told me, but it doesn’t persuade me.
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • I don’t know how to say it.
  • I can’t do this,
  • I won’t do this.
  • I’m not the right person.
  • Find someone else.

How did God respond? Read here.

In Exodus 4:14, we read: “Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses…”

Still, the Lord showed tremendous grace and mercy to Moses. He provided Aaron, the older brother of Moses (by three years), to assist Moses in this vital mission. And despite Moses’ lack of faith — his sinful obsession with his own flaws and faults rather than trusting in the Lord’s love and power and greatness — the Lord redeemed him and used him in spite of himself to save the nation of Israel and bring them out of terror and tyranny and into freedom.

God’s Grace

Have you ever stopped to consider that all of Moses’ excuses were essentially true? He didn’t really know the Lord well. He didn’t know what to say? Pharoah didn’t listen to him or believe him. And after forty years on the backside of the desert, tending sheep, thinking about his worst failure — murdering an Egyptian and having to flee for his life — perhaps it’s no wonder Moses was not eloquent, and perhaps even someone who stuttered.

But have you also ever stopped to consider that maybe all of Moses’ weaknesses and failures were precisely why the Lord chose him to be His servant and His spokesman? By choosing a weak and sinful and desperately self-conscious person, the Lord showed Himself great and powerful, loving and wise. This way the Lord — not Moses — could receive all the praise and glory and honor, because it wasn’t possible for Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt on his own. He wasn’t capable. And he knew it.

What does the Bible say about the man that Moses eventually became?

  1. “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3)
  2. “Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land, and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)
  3. Moses was included in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews chapter 11.

Questions For Us Today

I was deeply moved by these passages. They contain some tremendous lessons on leadership for all of us.

  1. What is God calling you to say?
  2. Where is God calling you to go?
  3. What excuses are you giving to the Lord?
  4. What promises has the Lord made in His Word to those who love Him and want to obey Him?

The Bible is clear: the Lord is calling you to serve Him and take His Word — the special message of the Scriptures — to people who need rescue and salvation, freedom and redemption. He is calling you and I to “go and make disciples of all nations” and to be His “witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth.” Will we be faithful to this high calling? Or will we give God a list of excuses why we’re the wrong people for the job?

May you study Moses carefully, and learn from the lessons he learned the hard way.

————————–

——————-

Meeting Jordan’s Warrior King. (In March, Lynn and I were invited to Jordan to meet King Abdullah II. Here’s a report on our trip and the threat ISIS poses to Jordan & the West.)

COLUMN-MeetingJordansWarriorKing

Last month, Lynn and I were blessed with the tremendous honor of spending several days in Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II. Our visit included tours of various military bases and the Zaatari refugee camp, briefings from senior military officials, and an up-close look at how His Majesty is dealing with the Syrian civil war, a tidal wave of refugees, and the growing threat of the Islamic State. We were deeply grateful for the opportunity and came away even more impressed with the king’s leadership than when we arrived. But we also saw how urgently Jordan needs more help from the West and the Arab world — before it’s too late.

This morning, The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed I wrote on my observations from the visit. Here it is in full. Please feel free to share it with others, and please keep the king, his family, and the people of Jordan in your regular, faithful prayers. Thanks.Jordan-HMK-militaryuniform

MEETING WITH JORDAN’S WARRIOR KING

A first-hand look at how the West’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally is confronting Islamic State.

By Joel C. Rosenberg, The Jerusalem Post, April 18, 2016

It isn’t often a novelist with dual US-Israeli citizenship has the opportunity to meet a Sunni Arab monarch, but last month I had the honor of spending time with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. It was absolutely fascinating to spend time with a moderate Muslim leader so deeply committed to defeating Islamic State (ISIS) and the forces of violent jihad.

The king invited my wife and me on a five-day visit to the Hashemite Kingdom after reading my latest political thriller, The First Hostage. The novel focuses on a plot by ISIS leaders to launch catastrophic chemical weapons attacks against the US, Israel and Jordan, target the king and seize Jordan to become part of its caliphate.

Upon arriving in Amman, my wife and I had a private luncheon with Abdullah at the National Crisis Center, a high-tech war room reminiscent of Jack Bauer’s fictional Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) headquarters in the TV series 24. From there, the king invited us to join him at a live-fire military exercise of Jordanian air and ground forces near Zarqa.

The trip included visits to several Jordanian military bases – including one just a few miles from the Syrian border, and the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center – and briefings from various generals and military officials. It also included a tour of the Zaatari Refugee Camp, home of some 80,000 Syrians who have fled from the Assad regime, ISIS and a seemingly never-ending civil war. One of the most special elements of the trip was a two-and-a-half-hour private dinner with the king and several friends at Beit al-Urdon, his personal palace.

After getting a first-hand look at the king and his national security team, I came away with three observations.

First, Jordan’s king is sitting on a volcano, nearly surrounded by a raging forest fire, bracing for a massive earthquake.

To his north, Syria is imploding. To his east, Iraq has been massively destabilized.

Some 1.3 million refugees have poured into Jordan from Syria alone, and more are coming every day, putting enormous pressure on Jordan’s struggling economy.

ISIS leaders have publicly vowed to invade Jordan, “slaughter” the king, whom they denounce as an “ally of the Crusaders,” and raise their black flags over Amman. So far, some 3,000 Jordanians have joined ISIS, including the son of a Jordanian member of Parliament.

“This is a message to the tyrant of Jordan,” the young man declared in a video he released just before going on a suicide bombing mission in Iraq. “Know, O Abdullah, son of Hussein, that you are an apostate….

Even if you manage to escape our punishment, you will not manage to escape Allah’s punishment.”

A poll released in 2015 found that 74 percent of Americans fear a major ISIS attack inside the US, and 73% fear a major ISIS attack in Israel. But nearly two-in-three Americans (65%) also fear ISIS “will try to overthrow the King of Jordan – an important, moderate Arab ally of the United States – and use Jordan as a base camp to launch terrorist attacks against America and Israel.”

I pray such scenarios never come to pass. But the threat is real and growing.

Second, King Abdullah was born for this moment.

As a 43rd-generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, the 54-year-old monarch has real credibility with his people when it comes to countering the radical and apocalyptic theological narratives espoused by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders. His majesty not only strenuously opposes the ISIS claim that Muslims are required to engage in violent jihad – and even genocide – to re-establish the caliphate and bring about the End of Days, he is also one of the Islamic world’s leading reformers, working with clerics and scholars throughout Jordan and the region to define and advance a moderate, tolerant, peaceful vision of Islam.

What’s more, as a career soldier trained at the best British military schools, and a natural leader who rose through the ranks to become the commander of Jordan’s Special Operations forces prior to ascending to the throne, the king is uniquely qualified to protect his people from the ISIS threat. He regularly meets with – and occasionally even trains with – his special forces commanders and units, and is directly involved in operations against extremists in Jordan and in the tactical leadership of Jordan’s efforts against ISIS in Syria.

At his direction, Jordanian commandos, General Intelligence Directorate operatives and elite police units are taking down an ISIS or related cell inside Jordan every week. As a result of excellent intelligence and security work, Jordan hasn’t had a major terrorist attack inside its borders since 2005, certainly nothing like the recent jihadist attacks in Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, San Bernardino and elsewhere. This is directly attributable to the king’s impressive leadership at home, as well as his close working relationship with Israeli, Egyptian, Saudi and Gulf security and intelligence forces.

Third, the king is ready, willing and able to be even more actively engaged in the fight against ISIS, and to continue caring for so many Muslim and Christian refugees, but he needs more US and international assistance to do this effectively.

One example: Jordan currently has eight Blackhawk military helicopters, which it recently received from the US in early March, and for which it is very grateful. However, to conduct effective missions against ISIS jihadists in Iraq and Syria, Jordanian forces need at least 12 Blackhawks. Another eight Blackhawks have been promised by the US, but they aren’t expected to be delivered until the end of 2017. Why? Shouldn’t Washington immediately provide its most faithful Sunni Arab ally with as many military helicopters as it needs to wage war on ISIS? At the same time, while the international community has pledged billions in financial aid to help Jordan shoulder the enormous refugee burden, it is not delivering on its promises.

In 2014, only 28% of the promised aid was delivered. In 2015, the number was only 35%.

In this regard the US is doing far better than others. In 2012, the US gave Jordan $460 million in foreign aid.

This year, Congress and the Obama administration will provide $1 billion in aid. But why isn’t President Obama pressing other countries to do more? Neither the Europeans nor wealthy Arab nations want millions of Syrian refugees living in their countries.

Nor can they afford to see a moderate country like Jordan destabilized. They need to step up, now.

I was already intrigued with Jordan’s warrior king before I met him. That’s why I made him a central character in both of my recent novels about ISIS. But spending personal time with him and his generals, and seeing the extraordinary lengths to which the king is going to defeat the forces of Islamic extremism, deeply impressed me.

King Abdullah II is, without question, the West’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally. But as he engages in a hot war against a genocidal enemy he needs far more help from the US and the international community – and he needs it now. Let’s give him what he needs, before it’s too late.

The author is a New York Times best-selling author. He has written two novels about the threat of Islamic State, The Third Target (published in January 2015) and The First Hostage (published in December 2016). He can be reached at www.joelrosenberg.com.

————————–

——————-

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45,316 other followers