Israel News Digest: October 2012
Lonnie C. Mings – www.cfijerusalem.org
“Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord”
Over the past few weeks Israel’s position in the Middle East has grown progressively more dangerous. In the north Hizbullah has sworn loyalty both to Syria and to Iran, and a stockpile of missiles is pointed toward Israel. Iranian officers and military equipment are now arriving in Syria on a daily basis, while the slaughter of Syrian citizens intensifies. On Israel’s western flank, Hamas has recently signed a pact with Iran promising to join Iran in any attack the Shiite state might launch on Israel. In the south, Egypt has moved tanks and other military equipment into the Sinai in order to counter the terrorists there, who menace Egypt almost as much as they menace Israel. But that puts Egypt in a position to join Israel’s other enemies in case war breaks out with Israel.
The latest source of concern is that the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be mobilizing to overthrow King Abdullah of Jordan. The Brotherhood has given King Abdullah II notice that he has until October to bow to their demand to transform the Hashemite Kingdom into a constitutional monarchy or face street pressure for his abdication. Sources report that Israeli and Saudi intelligence watchers are becoming increasingly concerned about the approaching climax of the conflict in Amman between Islamists and the king.
For Israel, an upheaval in Jordan means the final closing of the Islamist noose around its borders – with enemies on the north, west, south, and an unpredictable scenario with regard to the Palestinian population within. Saudi Arabia, already threatened by Iranian aggression, fears the oil kingdom may be next in line if its northern neighbor is crushed under the juggernaut of the “Arab Spring.” Saudi’s royal rulers are reported to have belatedly awakened to the peril and are said to be in a panic. They realize that their preoccupation with helping Syrian rebels overthrow Bashar Assad misdirected their attention from the enemies lurking on their own doorstep. Thousands of articles in the Arab press in the past year have predicted that after the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power in Damascus, Amman would be next in its sights followed by Riyadh (Debkafile, September 21).
What are King Abdullah’s options? The following have been proposed.
1. He could bow to the main Muslim Brotherhood’s demand by submitting to the kingdom’s transition to a constitutional monarchy and the transfer of executive power to a Brotherhood-led government by means of the electoral reforms for which the “Brothers” have been pushing for years. In Jordan, as in Egypt, the Brothers hope for a two-thirds majority in a free election.
2. He could stand up to the Brotherhood’s demands and order his security, intelligence, and military forces to crack down on the opposition. This course carries the risk of plunging Jordan into the carnage of civil war among the diverse segments of the population. The biggest dangers come from the Bedouin tribes, whose traditional allegiance to the Hashemite throne has weakened in recent years, and the Palestinians, who form 60 percent of the population.
3. He could seek to negotiate a compromise through various brokers. News sources report that several attempts at mediation have been ventured recently, but got nowhere because the Muslim Brotherhood sent its most radical leaders to the table and they left very little margin for compromise.
According to sources at the royal court, Abdullah will very soon meet with MB leaders for a personal appeal for calm after years of heated debate. Most observers believe that he has left it too late and by now the Muslim Brotherhood has the “bit between their teeth.”
Throughout Israel’s history, the tiny state has always been able to count on unequivocal American support. Now America has a president who considers Israel a “pest” and her cries for help just so much “noise.” It is tempting to write what many privately think of America’s leader, but we will have to leave him in God’s hands. God has other ways of defending Israel than relying on America’s present leaders.
An Iranian Takeover of Syria?
Iran’s arrogant leader has just delivered his last—yes, last—speech at the United Nations. If the Iranian system works like it is supposed to, he will finish his final term next summer. The rules prevent him from seeking another term. Before he leaves, though, it seems he is determined to wreak as much havoc as possible.
One of the main things, according to Debkafile, is that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has leapt into the Syrian battle arena, undertaking the task of transforming the Alawite Shabbiha militia into a new corps, retrained and reorganized on the model of the elite Al Quds Brigade. Al Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) is the IRGC’s clandestine arm of terrorist operations in Iran’s foreign arenas.
Military sources report that when the Shabbiha is given its new military shape, Bashar Assad will have at his disposal an extra 50-60,000 professional Alawite soldiers under arms – the nucleus of a Syrian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Sources also reveal that Tehran has promised Syrian weaponry to match that of the Al Quds arsenal. So, unless Assad is overthrown in the interim (a distinct possibility), the Syrian ruler, along with the Iranian government, will command the biggest special operations force in the Middle East.
For this project, a massive Iranian airlift of personnel and weapons is operating daily from IRGC air bases in Iran into Syria. Most of the planes land at Damascus military airfield; some in other parts of Syria. They are carrying large numbers of IRGC and Al Quds military officers and instructors, as well as enough arms to distribute to the Shabbiha combatants during their training and after they go out on field operations. Debkafile military sources disclose that by mid-week, the number of Iranian military personnel present in Syria had risen to 2,200.
In order to fly its personnel and equipment into Syria, Iran has to fly over Iraq. All US efforts, including personal intercession by President Barack Obama, have failed to dissuade Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from allowing the Iranians to take a short cut through Iraqi air space. Maliki has apparently refused to listen. This is another proof that American perceived weakness has “underwhelmed” the Iraqi leader.
Tehran’s willingness in these tense times to hazard the withdrawal of thousands of elite officers, commanders and weapons from combat duty in Iran attests to two conclusions reached by Iranian strategists: (1) They estimate that the United States and Israel have shelved plans for an imminent military strike on Iran’s nuclear program. And (2) if a surprise attack is nonetheless launched, thousands of Iranian troops will be on hand to menace Israel from the Syrian border without delay.
Exactly. And this is one of the things that makes Israel’s existential danger so real—perhaps more so than any other time in her history. Once or twice before it seemed (temporarily) that the tiny Jewish state might be doomed, but she always survived. Now once again the noose has tightened to the place where, with the loss of her erstwhile western benefactor, she has only one place to go—on her knees to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Will Israel Use the EMP Weapon?
There have been times when the invasion of Israel described in Ezekiel 38-39 seemed unlikely to this writer, inasmuch as it described conditions—especially relying on horses for transportation—that did not match those of the modern world. In fact, the film Left Behind describes an aerial invasion of Israel rather than a ground invasion. In that case, “horses” and “swords” (Ezekiel 38:4) are apparently taken figuratively.
A recent Israel Today article suggests, however, that if and when Israel attacks Iran, it may do so with the dreaded EMP (electromagnetic pulse) bomb. The EMP bomb is non-lethal to humans, but if it is detonated above the ground it sends out a strong pulse that disrupts all technological devices working on the ground. That means everything from cars to planes and computers would be put out of commission. If used on Iran, it would send the country “back to the stone age.” In such a case, Iran would have no (workable) planes, no tanks, no rockets, no sophisticated bombs, submarines—or any other kind of weaponry that depends on technology.
So logically speaking, if Iran wanted to invade Israel, she would have to do so with horses and primitive weapons. London’s Sunday Times recently reported that there is a distinct possibility that Israel is considering this method of stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
EMP causes non-lethal gamma energy to react with the magnetic field and produces a powerful electromagnetic shock wave that can destroy electronic devices, especially those used in Iran’s nuclear plants. Furthermore, the shock wave would knock out Iran’s power grid and communications systems for transport and financial services, leading to economic collapse.
A former physician, Dr. Joe Tuzara, who has worked in the Middle East, recently wrote, “The wild card is in Israel’s hands – with Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) inscribed on it. If Israel chooses one of its Jericho III missiles to detonate a single EMP warhead at high altitude over north central Iran, there will be no blast or radiation effects on the ground… [But] Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges in Fordo, Natanz and widely scattered elsewhere, would freeze for decades” (Israpundit.com September 9).
Netanyahu Draws Red Lines US Refused to Draw
I personally watched Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN on September 27. It was well done and drew applause several times, though from the camera angle it was impossible to see who was applauding. One can guess that it was not the Islamist gallery. After going into history, talking about Israel’s long presence in the land, and determination to never be uprooted again, Netanyahu talked about the Iranian nuclear problem. He noted that a nuclear weapon has several parts, including a detonator. He said it would not be wise to try to find the “detonator” and destroy it, because it can be produced rather quickly in a comparatively small space. Rather the focus should be on preventing the Iranians from amassing the amount of enriched uranium that they need for the bomb. Then he showed a diagram.
The diagram depicted something like an old fashioned round bomb (somewhat in the shape of a bulb with a neck at the top) with a fuse on it. It had three parts, clearly marked to show where the Iranians are now in their progress toward a nuclear weapon. The largest section of the picture represented the low-grade enrichment stage which was 70% of the task and was already completed. The second part represented the medium enrichment stage of 20%, in which the Iranians are still engaged. The final 10% represented the last stage just before the completion of a bomb, at which Iran would probably arrive by next summer.
He said the big question is, at what stage can we no longer stop the Iranian nuclear program? The red line, he declared, must be drawn before Iran gets to the final stage and is only weeks away from a nuclear bomb. In other words, the red line must be drawn before the end of the second stage.
He recounted times in history when drawing a red line actually prevented war, rather than causing it. Then he said, “I believe Iran will back down if faced with a clear red line.” This writer’s opinion is that, because Iran actually seeks the confusion of a nuclear war (because they think it would bring the Mahdi), the red line will not cause them to back down. But I would not presume to compare my logic and powers of reasoning with those of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Hopefully he is right.
In conclusion, he called on those present to “re-commit ourselves” to defend the traditional values cherished by people of faith around the world.
“Only if these decrees [with the moon and stars and sea] vanish from my sight, declares the Lord, will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me” (Jeremiah 31:35-36).