February 18, 2012: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
2) The prospects for war with Syria and Iran

Low-level talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Jordan ended on January 26 without any agreement to hold future direct talks. As a result, Abbas had a meeting with the Arab League to decide what to do next. They decided on the following:

1) Solicit for an international peace conference aimed at reaching a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

2) Letters will be sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and world leaders to determine the basis and the terms for the resumption of negotiations.

Within a week, the Palestinian leadership will send its messages to Israel asking it to recognize the two- state solution, halt its settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and release the Palestinian prisoners. “The Israeli government will have three weeks to respond to our messages before we take alternative steps,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian negotiator. If Israel fails to agree to the Palestinians terms then the PA will attempt to again seek recognition of a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital at the United Nations.

Fatah who controls the West Bank and Hamas who controls the Gaza signed a reconciliation agreement last week. As part of the agreement, Abbas is to head an interim unity government that replaces rival administrations in the West Bank and Gaza and leads the Palestinians to general elections. However, Abbas said that elections would be called off if Israel did not allow the vote to take place in east Jerusalem. “We can not hold elections without east Jerusalem,” Abbas stressed. Meanwhile, the deal never explained how Abbas would take charge again in the Gaza. As a result, some Hamas leaders in the Gaza don’t support the agreement. A Hamas bloc said the deal is illegal because Abbas cannot serve as both president and prime minister. In any event, Fatah official Nabil Shaath said the new interim Palestinian Authority government to be headed by Mahmoud Abbas “need not recognize Israel. It is the PLO, not the PA, that recognizes Israel.” Shaath claimed the PA “is committed to agreements signed and the ongoing process between the parties,” adding that the Quartet “must recognize Palestinians in Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state.” In addition, Mahmood Abbas also stated that the PA will not recognize that Israel as a Jewish state.

Because of the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas made last week, Netanyahu said that “Abbas has turned his back on peace” and “instead of entering into negotiations that will lead to an end to the conflict, Abu Mazen [Abbas] prefers to join up with the Hamas terrorist organization, the same Hamas that is hugging Iran.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Palestinian peace plan gets Arabs’ OK
2) Netanyahu: Abbas has turned his back on peace
3) Abbas: We Won’t Recognize Israel as a Jewish State
4) Shaath: PA Unity Government ‘Need Not Recognize Israel’
5) Palestinian unity deal faces big hurdle
6) Abbas: If Israel rejects our terms, we’ll head back to UN
7) Palestinians to Give Israel 3 Weeks to Respond to Peace Talks Messages

President Barack Obama’s outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood began three years ago in his famous June 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood are Sunni Muslims. Ten members of the Brotherhood were invited to listen to the address, and they heard a passage crafted especially for them: “America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.”  By courting them in 2009, the United States helped legitimize their political aspirations; by refusing to come to Mubarak’s rescue during the Tahrir Square protests a year ago, the U.S. all but guaranteed that the Brotherhood would emerge as a dominant political force in a new Egypt. The Brotherhood has now risen to power with its “Freedom and Justice Party” who won nearly 50 percent of the seats in Egypt’s post-revolutionary parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood is driving the opposition movement in Syria. In effect, the US and Europe are leading the effort to support the majority Sunni Muslims in Syria against the minority Shiite Muslims from which Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect of Islam is associated.

Rulers in Saudi Arabia through discussions with Iraqi Sunnis have persuaded al Qaeda leaders to fight against Assad in Syria.  The Arab League who consist of mostly Sunni Muslims asked the United Nations Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for Syria and urged Arab states to sever all diplomatic contact with President Bashar Assad’s government. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the plans for a joint peacekeeping force must be discussed “urgently”.  In a statement, Mr Hague said: “We will discuss urgently with the Arab League and our international partners the proposals for a joint Arab League / UN peacekeeping force. He said the UK would play a “very active part” in the new Group of Friends of Syria, which has been established to increase political and financial support to opposition leaders in Syria. The group will meet on February 24. Meanwhile, Russia is supporting Syria.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “In order to deploy a peacekeeping mission, you need the agreement of the receiving side. In other words, you need to agree something resembling a ceasefire. But the problem is that the armed groups that are fighting the Syrian regime do not answer to anyone and are not controlled by anyone.”  Russian military “advisors” are “omnipresent” in Syria. Russian advisors are also laboring to reorganize the Baath Party and arrange talks with members of the Syrian resistance.  They are making their own contacts with Arab and Islamic organizations, seeking to dilute the solidarity of the West with Arab leaders on the Syrian problem.  In a phone discussion with Nicolas Sarkozy this week, Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev warned France not to use a coalition of the willing to take unilateral action in Syria.  France – not the United States – was the Perm-5 nation that inaugurated the “friends of the Syrian people” effort immediately after the Russian and Chinese vetoes in the UN on 4 February.  Russia’s vice-minister of defense, Anatoly Antonov, was quoted as saying on Russian television that Russian military personnel are deployed in various sites around Syria.

Western intelligence sources report that Bashar Assad’s loyal military and security forces had by and large managed to subdue the rebellion against the regime. They are now purging the last pockets of resistance, especially in Syria’s third largest city, Homs.  Bashar Assad has drafted a referendum on a draft constitution that is scheduled to be held on Feb. 26 that limits the presidency to two seven-year terms and allows for multiple parties. The new draft also establishes a multiple-party system, revoking a clause put in place by previous President of Syria Hafez Assad which said that his ruling Baath Party was “leader of state and society”. “The political system of the state will be based on a principle of political plurality and democracy will be practised through the ballot box,” the draft says, according to Syria TV. It also says parties cannot be based on religion, profession or regional interests. This would exclude the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Syrian opposition figures immediately spurned the offer and the United States dismissed it as “laughable.”

A war with Syria where Damascus is destroyed (Isaiah 17)  is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Obama wagers heavily on the Muslim Brotherhood
2) Saudis prompt Al Qaeda-Iraq move to Syria: Assad’s ouster top priority
3) Arab League wants UN peacekeepers in Syria
4) Russia says Syria ceasefire needed before peacekeeping mission
5) Syria, Russia: It all looks different from out there
6) Assad wins out against opposition as Russia and Iran strengthen ties
7) Assad sets date for referendum on new Syria constitution
8) US balks as Assad proposes referendum, elections

In order to show Iran’s achievements in its nuclear program, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled nuclear fuel rods, new generation of centrifuges and a number of radioactive medicines. Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereidoon Abbasi, said  that the move will, to a great degree, speed up the country’s uranium enrichment activities and is a strong response to the Western hostilities. President Ahmadinejad said  two years ago, Iran told western countries that if Iran is not provided with the fuel rods for its research reactor, the country will produce its own, the western countries did not believe that, now, the Iranian nation proved that they can.  The United States has downplayed Iran’s claims of advances in its nuclear program, saying Iran is feeling the pressure of international sanctions and wants to distract from its growing diplomatic isolation. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland dismissed the announcements as “hype.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Iran’s announcement of new nuclear achievements was exaggerated. Barak said those announcements were meant to create an impression that any action taken by world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program would be too late. “They are definitely making progress, but in order to deter anyone dealing with them, or perhaps even to make this seem superfluous, they are priding themselves on achievements that do not yet exist,” Barak said.  Furthermore, Barak said that Iran’s nuclear arms program has not yet reached the point of no return. When Israel believers that Iran is nearing the point of no return, it has threatened to take military action against it.

The US weekly news magazine, Newsweek, reports that the US doesn’t want Israel to start a war with Iran in the near future.  Israel’s Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo’s made a trip to the US recently and according to a US official privy to matter, “to take the pulse of the Obama Administration and determine what the consequences would be if Israel bombed Iranian nuclear sites over American objections.” Israel, the report said, has essentially ceased sharing a “significant amount of information” with the US regarding its military preparations for a possible strike.  Ronen Bergman,  an Israeli intelligence and national security analyst for Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth says that he expects Israel to strike Iran within the next 9 months.

A top Russian military general, Nikolai Makarov, said that he thinks that the US will make a decision by summer whether to attack Iran. U.S. military sources tell WND that the Pentagon has begun preparations for “a number of operational plans and counter-operations,” with a Feb. 22 due date for submitting the plans. There also is a request for identifying U.S. forces “by 1 March with a ‘through’ date of October.” The military sources indicated that U.S. forces will be augmented by an Aegis warship, presumably one of the two in the U.S. carrier task forces scheduled to be in the Persian Gulf. The Aegis combat system on U.S. Navy ships is used to track and guide weapons to destroy intended targets and to act as a protective shield to counter ballistic missile threats.

Lt.- Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee despite international pressure on Iran, the regime is “not close” to giving up its quest for nuclear capabilities. “Iran today has the technical, scientific and industrial capability to eventually produce nuclear weapons,” he said.  “While international pressure on Iran has increased, including through sanctions, we assess that Tehran is not close to agreeing to abandon its nuclear program. However,” Burgess said, “The agency assesses Iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict.”  Meanwhile, the British Guardian newspaper reports that key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so. The president has made clear in public, and in private to Israel, that he is determined to give sufficient time for recent measures, such as the financial blockade and the looming European oil embargo, to bite deeper into Iran’s already battered economy before retreating from its principal strategy to pressure Tehran. But there is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the state department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested. The White House has said repeatedly that all options are on the table, including the use of force to stop Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, but that for now the emphasis is firmly on diplomacy and sanctions. Congressman Dennis Kucinich said that he fears sanctions are less about changing Tehran’s policy than laying the ground for military action. He warned that “the latest drum beat of additional sanctions and war against Iran sounds too much like the lead-up to the Iraq war”.

Finally, the Tehran Times reported that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vision of economic war with the west. “Recall that Saddam [Hussein] announced Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil purchases in November 2000 and the US-Anglo invasion occurred in March 2003,” the Times continued. “Similarly, Iran opened its oil bourse in 2008, so it is a credit to Iranian negotiating ability that the ‘crisis’ has not come to a head long before now.” Iran has the third-largest oil reserves in the world and pricing oil in currencies other than dollars is a provocative move aimed at the United States.

A US war with Iran is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Iran announces some nuclear “achievements”, defies western sanction threats
2) US Dismisses Iranian Nuclear Advancement Claims as ‘Hype
3) Barak: Iran nuclear moves meant to fend off attack
4) US gets Barak to backtrack and deny Iran has reached nuclear point of no-return
5) ‘US doesn’t want Israel to start a war with Iran – yet’
6) Top Russian General Expects Imminent “Decision” on Iran from West
7) US Military told to Prepare for Iran OPS
8.) Israel will strike Iran: Bergman
9)  US: Iran ‘not close’ to abandoning nuclear program
10) US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely
11) Obama’s Dangerous Game With Iran
12) Iran presses ahead with dollar attack

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

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