Tag Archives: Mideast

MORE OBSERVATIONS

Hiroshima

It seems as if our ancestors did nothing right.

The latest example is the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima seventy years ago August 6th.

70,000 people were killed instantly while another 70, 000 died of severe burns within weeks.

The BBC World Service (radio) led with a longer than usual report from Hiroshima.  One of their veteran correspondents concluded his report by asking when the United States is going to apologize for what it did seven decades ago.

Particularly disturbing was that a group of university students from Princeton were in Hiroshima for the commemorations yesterday.   Those that were interviewed all thought the US should apologize. One even went so far as to say that the US, as the world’s leader, should set everybody an example by dismantling its nuclear weapons, then the others would follow!   Fortunately, he is too young to run for president!

If you had any doubts, it’s clear what young people are being taught in schools – the slant is always anti-American.   The US is always to blame.   Well, not just the US – we will come to that later.

For the record, the dropping of the bombs (a second one was dropped on Nagasaki three days later) ended World War II in the Pacific.   Before the atomic bombs there was no hint that the Japanese would surrender.   The US would have lost a further 100,000 men, an estimate of how many would die fighting their way to Japan through the jungles of the Philippines and other islands.   In addition, thousands of sailors would have died.   The USS Indianapolis was sunk just a few days before Hiroshima, with the loss of almost a thousand men.

A second benefit of the bomb is that, seventy years later, no country has used an atomic or nuclear device since.   What happened in Japan seventy years ago has made world leaders hesitate before starting something that would lead to massive retaliation on them.

This is likely to change as Mideast nations, starting with Iran, get the bomb.   India and Pakistan could also use theirs against each other.

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Which brings us to the other nation everybody likes to bash, including Generation Y.

At the time the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the British were still ruling India, which included Pakistan and Bangladesh.   After two centuries, they were about to withdraw from the sub-continent.   Now, there are increasing calls for reparations. The Oxford Union (Oxford is one of Britain’s two most famous universities) debated the issue last month and voted in favor of reparations. The Indian prime minister has added his own view, demanding the British pay up.

What is interesting here is that the leaders of India’s independence movement did not call for financial reparations – and they were in a much better position to know if reparations were called for.

But they were also aware that the British were responsible for laying a solid foundation throughout India – including one of the best railway systems in the world, a solid infrastructure, parliamentary government, the rule of law, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the English language, which India’s first prime minister described as “India’s window to the world” and a first-class military, which had served the British Empire well.   In addition, the British kept the peace on the North-West Frontier, where the Taliban, al-Qaeda and, now, ISIS, are active.

Those early leaders were content to build on these strengths.   They did not demand reparations, though they did ask for aid.   That aid is still coming from Britain and other western nations, even though India itself is quite wealthy.

The current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, should be thankful for British rule.   Without it, India’s democratic system would not exist and he would not be in power!

India has the potential to become the greatest economic power in the world.   The country is only diminished by calls for reparations, as if they can’t take care of themselves.   To use an analogy, all of Britain’s offspring have been independent adults for fifty plus years – isn’t it a little embarrassing to go back home and ask for money?

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Talking of the sub-continent, a fourth blogger has been murdered in Bangladesh for his comments on Islam.   The religion of peace clearly is not big enough to handle criticism!

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Little attention has been given to President Obama’s decision to alter the Oath of Allegiance, taking into account Islamic beliefs.

According to the Middle East Forum: “On July 21, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced some “modifications” to the Oath of Allegiance that immigrants must take before becoming naturalized. The original oath required incoming citizens to declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law. Now the USCIS says that “a candidate [to U.S. citizenship] may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection.”

Why is this “necessary”?

Because, although Islam allows Muslims to fight for a non-Muslim country, it does not allow believers to fight other believers.   In other words, American Muslims are not going to be helping in the fight against radical Islamic extremism. In effect, they will be helping the other side!

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What does it say about us when more attention is given to the hunting death of a lion in Zimbabwe than to the selling of baby body parts in restaurants?

Richard Weikart’s “From Darwin to Hitler”, shows the progression from the Theory of Evolution down to all the sins that plague the western world today.   Abortion, the murder of innocent children unable to defend themselves, is a sin before God.   We can dress it up as “a woman’s right to choose”, or a “female health issue”, but murder is murder and should be called such.

The prophet Isaiah put it well when he said that “The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it” (Isa 1:5b-6a).

We can’t think straight any more.

If King David were alive today, he would no doubt be languishing in a prison somewhere for killing lions in his earlier role as a shepherd! (I Samuel 17:34-36).

From now on, I shall refer to him as ‘David, the lion killer.”   It’s just another way of showing how ridiculous political correctness is.

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BW Reunion Group
Back row standing: Simone (Carol Johnson) Albert, Carol (Wooten) Boyer, Alan Boyer, Susan and Colin Lauchlan, Phil Shields, Mark and Donna (Pattemore) Rhodes, Steve and Denise (Branham) Acerra, Richard and Annette (Weatherley) Forkun. Sitting on chairs/couch: Anita Wickham-Becker, Melvin and Diane (Hoot) Rhodes, Patricia (Kingsmore) Hayward, Carole (Beeston) Shields, Suzy Blackwell, Carl Hayward. Sitting on floor: Leo and Jane (Patterson) Van Pelt, Lowell Blackwell.

On a more uplifting note, Diane and I spent last weekend with old (and I mean old) friends from Bricket Wood, the English campus of Ambassador College, that closed down in 1974.

Apart from a few spouses, everybody present attended BW in the early seventies.

Although we are all now in different churches or no church at all, it did not detract one bit from the spirit of unity, friendliness and love that we all felt.

All people who profess to follow Jesus Christ should remember what He said was the identifying sign of real Christians:  “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you love one another.” (John 13:35)

We hope to do this again sometime!  (No pressure, Tricia!)

PROXY WAR PITS SAUDIS AGAINST IRAN

Shia-Houthi rebels                                                 Shia-Houthi rebels

The Middle East continues to dominate the headlines.

A proxy war is taking place in strategically located Yemen, between Iran and Saudi Arabia, backed by the US.

The country’s Sunni president was overthrown in January by Shia Houthi rebels from the north.   Supported by Iran, they are moving south, establishing control over a wider area.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of ten Arab countries in an attempt to restore the Sunni led government to power.   The US backs Saudi Arabia, but, as usual, it’s more complicated than that. AQAP (Al Qaeda in Yemen) is also fighting the Houthis.   Even Islamic State, a long way from home, is involved.

It gets messier.

Last week, the 22-nation Arab League met in Sharm el-Sheikh.   In a final communiqué, the 22 nations pledged to form a unified military force to deal with regional security issues.   This primarily means Iran.

The Sunni-Shia conflict is widening and now pits all 22 Arab nations against Iran.

The war in Yemen could also get worse. Most non-Yemenis have flown out of the country, rescued in aircraft sent to the country by their home governments.

Yemen is very important to the Saudis, who neighbor them to the north.   Saudi Arabia is feeling increasingly encircled by Iranian proxies, to the south in Yemen, to the north in Iraq and Syria and also Hezbollah in Lebanon

There is a growing fear that the war could spill over into Saudi Arabia, which has a small Shi’ite population. It could also affect Oman, which has been an oasis of peace under its current leader, Sultan Qaboos.   Bahrain, too, which is the regional naval base for the US Fifth Fleet, could be seriously affected. It’s Sunni king walks a tightrope ruling over a majority Shi’ite population, estimated to be about two thirds of the total number of Bahraini citizens.

Iran has effectively declared war on Sunni Islam. The country is aiding the Iraqi majority Shi’ite government against ISIS.   The US has been helping bomb the rebels, thereby risking accusations of being an Iranian proxy.   But, further south, the US is supporting the Sunnis in Yemen against Iran.

No wonder everybody is confused.   And no wonder our domestic news channels tend to avoid getting into this.   To fully understand the situation, you need a degree in history, another in geography and a third in comparative religion!

Suffice it to say, it’s a real mess.

Interestingly, this week Senator Rand Paul has entered the US presidential campaign.   His isolationist message will inevitably appeal to voters anxious to get out of the Mideast and leave the Sunnis and Shi’ites to fight to the (very) bitter end.  (One opinion poll today shows him leading over Hillary Clinton.)

However, it’s not as simple as that.   The Bible shows us that, out of this quagmire, will come a regional leader who will attack Europe.   A revival of the Roman Empire (the King of the North) will then have to intervene in the region.  You can read about this in the last few verses of Daniel, chapter 11 (verses 40-44).

We can already see the Europeans waking up to the seriousness of the threats coming from the nearby Middle East.   A 25,000 strong rapid reaction force has been established to deal with further Russian aggression.   But it can also be used to deal with problems that arise in the Middle East that may threaten Europe.

The Middle East is not going to calm down.   The problems in the region are only likely to worsen in the future, as we near the time of Christ’s return.

WHAT IF THE PRESIDENT IS WRONG?

Obama Islam not the enemy

US President Barack Obama says the US is “not at war with Islam – we are at war with the people who have perverted Islam.”   (BBC website, February 18th)

The President continued to explain that socio-economic factors are behind extremist terrorism.   If more could be done to help young people in the Mideast find jobs, it would lessen the terror threat.   However, this conveniently overlooks the fact that major terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by affluent jihadists.   The idea that it’s all due to poverty and unemployment is a throwback to sixties liberalism.   Unfortunately, millions of people still think that way, endangering the rest of us.

This comes at a time when ISIS is wiping out Christians across the Middle East, determined to establish “Christian free zones.”

For an alternative view, let’s do something few politicians ever seem to do – look at history.

Muhammed died in 632 AD.   At the time of his death, the new religion he started was confined to the Arabian Peninsula.   By the end of the seventh century it had conquered the whole of North Africa and a great deal of the Middle East, including Jerusalem, Damascus and Antioch, pushing back the Byzantine and Persian empires.   Of course, it’s always possible that the young soldiers of Allah went far afield simply looking for jobs, but that’s not a conclusion you will find in the history books.

Once they had conquered North Africa, they crossed over into Europe, taking over the Iberian Peninsula and remaining there for a few hundred years, ruling what are now Spain and Portugal.   In 732 they reached the gates of Paris but were halted in their tracks by a military force led by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne.   If this decisive victory had not taken place, there would be no problem between the West and Islam today, as we would all be Muslims!

Move forward 350 years.   By the end of the eleventh century, the Turks were a serious threat to the Byzantine Empire.   In 1065, the Turks took control of Jerusalem and massacred 3,000 Christians. Prior to the Turkish invasion, the Saracens controlled the area.   They had allowed Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Land.   But the Turks made it impossible.   In 1095, Pope Urban II called on the countries of Catholic Europe to launch a Crusade against the Muslim Turks.   A series of crusades followed until 1291, when the Christians gave up on the idea of ruling the region.   It wasn’t until 1917 that a Christian power, Great Britain, would once again dominate the Middle East.

Islam continued its expansionist course, gradually taking more and more territory from what was left of the Eastern Roman Empire.   In 1453, its capital, Constantinople, fell to the Muslim Turks.   They have controlled it since.

Having conquered the Balkans, the Ottoman Turks twice reached the gates of Vienna at the very center of Europe.   Central European nations and the Catholic

Church defeated the Muslims, saving Europe from Islam.

This is not to say there has been peace between the West and Islam ever since.   During the period of global British domination, the British fought Islamic extremists in the Sudan in the 1880’s and 90’s, culminating in the battle of Omdurman in September, 1898.

For much of the twentieth century, Islam was kept at bay.  Until World War II, most Islamic territory was under European colonial rule.   By 1960 this had come to an end.   Iran, modern Persia, was the first country to see its government overthrown by radical Islam, in 1979.   From that date until the present, the West has been under constant threat from Islam, both Shia Islam (Iran) and Sunni Islam (al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram to name just three).

With such a long history of Islamic imperialism, how can the president claim that the religion has been perverted by violent extremists?   Islam has been a constant threat to the West since its birth in the early part of the seventh century.  If anything, the first part of the twentieth century was an aberration, a brief interlude during which Islam was not pushing against the West.

“The rise and expansion of Islam was one of the most significant and far-reaching events in modern history and its impact continues to reverberate in our own times.”  (“The spread of Islam from 632,” Collins Atlas of World History, 2003)

Echoing down the centuries, the following statement remains true today.  “This expansion owed much to the enthusiasm and religious conviction of the conquerors but it was also facilitated by the war-weariness of the empires of Persia and Byzantium.”  (“The Spread of Islam”)   Today’s zealots are equally motivated, while the nations of the West, after more than a decade of wars in Islamic lands, are war-weary and clearly in denial about the serious threat to western civilization.

When you look back at history, the threat is clear.   In fact, it’s a greater threat now than it’s ever been, simply because there are so many millions of Muslims in our midst already.   Which brings us back to our politicians.   President Obama is not the only western leader saying that Islam has been perverted by extremists. Following the attacks in Denmark last weekend, the Danish prime minister said much the same thing.   The British, German and French leaders have expressed similar sentiments.

Because there are so many Muslims living amongst us today, politicians dare not risk upsetting them.   They need their votes.   A significant number of constituencies in the United Kingdom, for example, have very large Muslim populations, which could determine the outcome of the election scheduled in May.

The threat should be clear to anyone.   Western nations are asleep. But sleep does not last forever.   Eventually, it will be time to wake up.

Islam has been pushing against the West for centuries.   In modern times, the push of radical Islam has been going on since the fall of the Shah in 1979, half a lifetime ago.   When will the “King of the North” arise to fight back?

DEATH OF JORDANIAN PILOT

 

Wheel of Fortune comic

The situation in the Middle East seems to get worse each day but you wouldn’t know that from watching the main American networks.

I felt for sure the news Tuesday night would have led with the death of the Jordanian pilot, horrifically burned alive.   His ordeal was filmed and posted on the terrorists’ website.   Beheadings and, now, burnings are meant to shock and instill fear in opponents.  Every pilot sent to bomb ISIS knows now what will happen if he gets shot down.  Even worse punishments may lie ahead.

The lack of attention to this news may reflect a fear of copy-cat murders, at home in the US and other western countries, as much as in the Mideast.   If that’s the case, the restraint is commendable.

But it may have more to do with the fact that networks are no longer sending journalists in to dangerous areas, where they could quite literally lose their heads.   Additionally, it’s election time.   Well, not exactly.   The election is still 21 months away, but it’s already the focus of a great deal of media attention.

Another factor is that the president himself seems to be trying to ignore the ugly reality of Islamic terrorism.   Or, rather, terrorism that’s not Islamic.  It was fascinating to watch the recent press conference given by the president and the British prime minister.  Mr. Cameron mentioned Islamic terrorism or Islamic extremism more than once, while the president could not bring himself to use the “I” word.

While the burning alive of the pilot seems to have failed to wake up the media in the United States, it’s turning into a game changer in the Middle East.   Jordanians, divided over support for the US led coalition against ISIS, are now rallying around their king, calling for vengeance.   The Egyptian Foreign Minister, interviewed on Sky News, said the incident has galvanized support across the region for the total defeat of ISIS.   The terror group threatens upheaval across the entire Middle East and overseas.