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Archive for the ‘Perplexity’ Category

2 Thessalonians 2:7:

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

from Pulpit & Pen:

What We Know

Today, a mad gunman burst into the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed (at least) 26 people and shot approximately 20 more. Average attendance for the church is in the fifties, meaning that almost everyone was shot. The youngest victim was reportedly two and the oldest is in their 70s. The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter was murdered. The gunman was Devin Kelley, a 26 year-old with a dishonorable discharge from the military. Reportedly, he was a registered Democrat, former VBS instructor, and by some reporting, involved with Antifa (no one knows at this point how valid the reporting has been in its earliest of stages). Also, Kelley had posted a photograph of his AR-15 rifle on Facebook in late October. It is unknown what his connection is with the church, but it is not believed he had one. One Citizen grabbed his rifle when seeing the shooting, and took up pursuit with another Citizen who stopped and let him in his vehicle. They pursued Kelley until he ran off the road, and they kept point until police arrived. It is unclear if Kelley was shot by the Citizen or by his own hand.

What Else We Know, and What We Expect

We know that this little town near San Antonio is reeling in agony. For them, this tragedy is Apocalyptic in scale. An entire church was wiped off the face of the Earth, entire families were decimated, an entire community for the rest of time will be remembered as the place where it happened. No doubt, this little hamlet of civilization has been flooded with news agencies from around the world, agents with the FBI and ATF, ambulance-chasing opportunists of the worst varieties, and well-meaning helping hands (who often get in the way).

Whenever schools resume, they will need an army of people trained in crisis therapy. Life will not get back to “normal” in this town for a long, long time – if ever. Likewise, we can expect for liberals to call for gun control (in fact, they already have started) and conspiracy theorists will find reasons to explain that this is a “false flag” designed to confiscate firearms. If Kelley is indeed an activist with Antifa or a registered Democrat, conservatives will claim this is the fruit of an increasingly anti-Christian culture. If Kelley was on psychotropic prescription drugs, it will be used as further evidence that we are medicating people into sociopaths. Anti-military activists will claim that the army is creating killers. If Kelley was a conservative, liberals will seek to draw him to some kind of militia movement and perpetuate the stereotype of dangerous white men. All of those conversations will be had in coming days.

It will be easy to get sucked into the political volleying back and forth between conservatives and Marxist fascists who want to disarm America. It will be easy to make that the substance of our concern. We can expect political opportunists to take as much advantage of this situation as ambulance-chasing lawyers at a horrific crash scene.

What We Should Do

Clearly, the first thing we must do is pray for the survivors and loved ones of the deceased at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Our petitions should be made to the God of mercy without ceasing in coming days (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We mustn’t just drop a short, drive-by prayer – a “God be with them” – a prayerette in passing, but repeatedly throughout the day drop our heads and pray for those who are left behind this tragedy, who must slowly but surely pick up the pieces to their shattered lives and figure out how to move forward with their loved ones buried in the ground.

We should pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26), because in a time like this, words fail us. Certainly words are failing those in Sutherland Springs this evening. Sometimes there is little to say, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when our spiritual brokenness exceeds our mental ability to convey those thoughts into words. We should also give supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving to the city, county and state officials who have to clean up the mess (1 Timothy 2:1-4), distribute justice, dispense mercy, and provide law and order in the midst of tragedy. Likewise, we should force our flesh to cry out in prayer for the wicked, which would include the shooter (if he weren’t already gone to his own place) and those capitalizing on the tragedy for their own political agenda, being instructed in Scripture to even pray for our enemies (Luke 6:27-28). Finally, concerning prayer, we should mourn with those who mourn and enter ourselves into a time of grief and grieve with and alongside Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Secondly, we should preach the Gospel. We are told to preach the Gospel in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). This means that the Gospel had better be on our lips in the midst of turmoil, trouble, and suffering. If anyone thinks that it is not a proper time to preach Gospel and repentance, they should be reminded of Luke 13, when Jesus was interrupted by the news heralds proclaiming that there had been a massacre in the temple (sound familiar?) and Jesus responded in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no! Unless you repent, ye likewise will perish.”

People are especially receptive to the Gospel in times of terrible travesty. We are not Gospel opportunists because this would imply we only share the Gospel when times are bad. In fact, we simply share Gospel in all seasons, which include seasons of suffering. This world is a broken mess and life is short and full of sorrow (Job 14:1). There is no better time to discuss these matters than when examples of their truthfulness are still fresh in our minds.

Third, we should take note. While tragedy creates emotionality, emotionality clouds wise judgment. While liberals cry out that it is now time to discuss gun control, we know that policy decisions are best made when people are thinking rationally, and not thinking emotionally. Without being rash, we should nonetheless take note of the lessons here, and make future use of them when we have fully thought out their implications. For example, we should take note that this was a small church, with probably few enemies in the world. This was not a megachurch that might attract throngs of people with perverse political agendas or mental disorders. And yet, a madman decided to approach this small church and wage war against it, ambushing it on a bright Sunday morning. What this means is that any church, at any time, can be attacked, for any reason.

Likewise, we should take note that a lot of people were murdered in a very short period of time. Reaction time, for those of us who steward churches, is very limited. We are simply not afforded time in such an active shooter scenario. Our churches must be prepared to protect the flock against imminent threats, guard and lock doors, and fire back at a moment’s notice (for a Biblical defense of self-defense, read this post, “Why Some People Need A Good Killing“). There are fewer ideas with less Biblical warrant and less historic support among orthodox churches than the absurd notion of pacificism, which has largely been relegated to sub-Christian cults. Christians have always been people who fired back in order to protect the innocent, and we must be prepared to do so.

What We Should Definitely Not Do

We should not be armchair quarterbacks when it comes to church security. We do not know if anyone in the congregation was armed (or if its armed members had a chance to return fire before being sucker-punched with semi-automatic gunfire through the wall). We do not know if that church had a security plan in place. And frankly, you and I (probably) do not know what it is like to use a firearm in a crisis situation, and we do not want to pretend that it is as easy as we’ve made it out to be in the movies. The fact is, a madman with a gun can kill a lot of people before he is stopped, even in a community with lots of Citizens carrying their own self-defense firearms – especially when he attacks without warning.

We should also not forget that at the very center of this mess are approximately 50 victims, some of whom are alive and some of whom are dead. People are important, and the people of this community are hurting. Remember that when you are tempted to use the facts surrounding this tragedy to bludgeon the political enemy. That club is covered with blood, so be conscientious about how (or if) you swing it.

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And if anyone wonders why things like this: “26 killed in church attack in Texas’ deadliest mass shooting” are occurring you only need to read this article. We have lost an entire generation and what we have seen in Texas this week is only the beginning!

(The Texas Church shooter was a former Christian who turned to Atheism)

from Berean Research:

The following blog post is a response to Kari Paul’s “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” (here).  In his piece, John Paul Ferguson specifically addresses the move away from traditional religion to an interest in paganism on college campuses. According to Ferguson “a number of universities around the country have officially recognized Pagan or Wicca student groups, usually housed under their respective religious student activities departments.” There is little doubt that the increased interest in pagan spirituality can be traced to people’s obsession with the environment.

To shed light on what Wiccans believe, Ferguson quotes author Catherine Edwards Sanders who says that those who practice witchcraft (Wicca) have “monistic and pantheistic beliefs that all living things are of equal value. … Humans have no special placenor are they made in God’s image. … Wiccans believe that they possess divine power within themselves and that they are gods and goddesses. …Consciousness can and should be altered through rite and ritual.” (emphasis added)

John Paul Ferguson’s piece is over at The College Fix. He writes:

As millennials continue to leave traditional Christian religions, interest in Wiccan and pagan practices have seen increased interest in recent years, a trend also spotted among young people and on college campuses.

Pagan or Wiccan student groups are present on a number of college campuses — both secular and religious — across the nation. The growing normalization of such practices, albeit still a minority, corresponds with the decline in Christian believers, some observers note.

A recent report in Market Watch headlined “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” argues as much, for example.

“Whether it be spell-casting, tarot, astrology, meditation and trance, or herbalism, these traditions offer tangible ways for people to enact change in their lives,” Melissa Jayne, owner of the Brooklyn-based “metaphysical boutique,” which has seen a big increase in 20-something customers in recent years, told Market Watch.

“For a generation that grew up in a world of big industry, environmental destruction, large and oppressive governments, and toxic social structures, all of which seem too big to change, this can be incredibly attractive,” she said.

The article goes on to cite several businesses that have successfully latched on to this trend, from online purveyors of tarot cards to popular astrology apps.

The article also cites recent Pew Research Center data that found 25 percent of Americans now identify with no religion, as opposed to 2011’s 18 percent. Underscoring that, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” UPI reports.

With that, it may be no surprise to see interest in paganism is also alive and well on campus. Continue reading

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“In broad terms, the teaming up of large countries indicates that a regional anti-terrorism entity or even a military block independent from the US might emerge at some point in future.”

Everyone should keep their eyes on what is occurring in the Middle East. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been the main Sunni Islam Arab nations facing off against the Russia and Iran axis, whose aim is to become the dominant power in the Middle East.

Under Obama, the U.S. has pulled back and left a western power vacuum in the Middle East, which Russia has been more than willing to step in and fill! First with Iran, then Turkey went to their side, and now Egypt is falling in line. this leaves only Saudi Arabia as the sole large powerful Sunni Islamic Arab state to oppose Shiite Islamic Iran. And Saudi Arabia will fall!

Many thought that by electing Trump, that he would halt this power drift to Russia. But he will not. He has already stated that he may be willing to give Russia a free hand in the Middle East for concessions from Russia to back off in Eastern Europe! This would only solidify Russia’s role as the new power in the Middle East.

The thing to remember: No matter what man does, God’s Eschatological plan moves forward!

from Zero Hedge:

Finally, Egypt has taken a clear stance on Syria. This is an event of great importance to drastically change the situation. Speaking on the Portuguese TV network RTP on November 22, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly affirmed his support for the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In response to the question of whether Egypt will send troops to Syria or not he stated: «Our priority is to support our Army in issues such as controlling some parts of Libya and dealing with extremist forces for establishing peace, including in Syria and Iraq».

President al-Sisi restored diplomatic relations with Syria after coming to power in 2013.

Last month, Egypt backed a Russian-backed motion calling for a ceasefire in Syria. Egypt had known the support for the Russian measure would put it at odds with the West and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh responded by suspending oil shipments to the country but the Egyptian government does not give in under pressure. For instance, it has defied the US and Saudi Arabia by refusing to get involved in the Yemen’s conflict.

Citing «well-informed Arab sources», Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir reported that 18 Egyptian pilots arrived at Hamah military airbase in Syria on November 12. The servicemen are part of a special helicopter squadron. A source «close to the Syria file» told the newspaper that a large deployment of Egyptian troops will arrive in Syria in late January to take part in military operations «not limited to air support at Hama airbase»

Last month, Syrian security services chief Ali Mamlouk met with Egyptian officials in his first public foreign visit in five years to discuss Egypt publicly backing the Syrian government. According to Middle East Observer, the first group of 4 high-ranking Egyptian officers from the Egyptian General Staff entered Syria a month ago and was deployed in the Syrian army’s base in Damascus. The military officials visited the armoured division stationed near Daraa and an airbase in Sweida province.

Also last month, Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk visited Cairo to meet Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. The two sides agreed to coordinate political positions and strengthen cooperation in «the fight against terror» according to Syria’s Sana news agency.

Egypt’s open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. In the West, the war in Syria has been widely believed to be a conflict between Sunni and Shia forces – the 1400 old Islam schism. Now the largest Arab Sunni state has taken the side of the Syria’s government to become a coalition ally with Russia. The sectarian interpretation of the conflict is not valid anymore.

The conflict is about fighting terrorists. As the Egyptian president noted he believes that the national army the Syrian government forces are best positioned to combat extremists and restore stability in the war-torn nation.

Recently, Russia and Egypt have intensified their bilateral ties in many areas, including defense cooperation. Joint military exercises were held in Egypt in October. Both countries see eye-to-eye on Libya and many other issues.

There is another event to demonstrate the strengthening of the Russia-supported coalition joined by Egypt. According to Iranian Fars News Agency, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated on November 26 that Tehran could allow Russia to use Nojeh airbase near Hamadan for Moscow’s aerial operation against terrorists in Syria. Also, Mr. Dehghan told reporters that purchase of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets is on the agenda.

The same day, Victor Ozerov, the Russian upper house of parliament’s defense committee chair, said Russia could use Iran’s Hamadan airbase in case the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier moves away from Syria. On August 16, Russian bombers used Iran’s Nojeh to launch attacks on terrorist positions in Syria.

On November 26, Syrian armed forces and allies managed to seize control of Hanano, key district in the northwestern city of Aleppo, which has been a flash point over the past few months. After Aleppo is retaken, the Russia-supported coalition in Syria will control vast swathes of land in the country. With the government of Bashar Assad firmly in power, the post-war settlement no longer seems to be a pipe dream and the US-led coalition will hardly be the one to call the shots.

Russia’s military effort in Syria has become an operation of a much broader scope than it was back in September 2015, when the first Russian aircraft flew its first sortie. The operation has marked Russia’s spectacular return to the Middle East as a major player. New actors, like China, Egypt and others, get involved. Interaction between the coalition members gets closer as illustrated by Russia and Iran.

Egypt’s decision to support the Syria’s government provides a good opportunity to influence the events in the region in a positive way.

In broad terms, the teaming up of large countries indicates that a regional anti-terrorism entity or even a military block independent from the US might emerge at some point in future.

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The worst mistake that I see Christians doing is publicly endorsing Trump and encouraging other Christians to not only vote for him but to publicly support him! And the reasons that many Christians give for this is out of a sense of fear of what is coming on America, and they separate out Christian living from actively supporting Trump!

from The Resurgent:

You really have to read this to believe it. It is by a preacher’s wife who is so courageous she writes anonymously. I notice a lot of Christians who vote for Trump have such courage in their convictions that they are anonymous.

One point I see a lot of Christians make about supporting Trump that I find to be unbelievably shallow is this one:

I would first ask you to remember that we are NOT electing Trump to a sacred or ecclesiastical office. We are electing him to a political office. If this was a question of placing Trump in charge of my church or Christian organization, you would have to hogtie and hold me down in order to get me to vote for him. I am not arguing for Trump’s morality here.

We see it here too.

“Is Donald Trump able to lead anyone’s congregation? Absolutely not,” said Pastor Mark Burns, a South Carolina-based minister who delivered a prayer at last month’s Republican convention. “Is Donald Trump the Bible-totin’, scripture-quotin’ Christian? To me, that’s irrelevant. We’re not voting for the next pastor of the United States, we’re voting for the next president … [Trump] himself knows that he has not been the churchgoing choirboy, and he admits to his former lifestyle.”

Now read Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Compare what Paul wrote to what Wayne Grudem writes about Trump.

He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.

Paul specifically tells us that if someone holds himself out as a Christian, but “is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler” we are to disassociate from such a person until that person repents. Trump has said repeatedly he has never had a need to repent.

So the rationalization that this pastor’s wife makes along with people like Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns and others is that we’re talking about the Presidency, not the church.

But Christians are Christians seven days a week inside and outside the church. These Christians are arguing that we should put our American citizenship ahead of our citizenship in the kingdom, or that we can bifurcate them and firewall ourselves between being American and being Christian. Frankly, we find ourselves in moral collapse as a country because a lot of well meaning Christians have behaved like a Christian on Sunday and then a non-Christian for the other six days.

For a Christian to say, “I know this guy is a really terrible person, but he’s not running for church office,” is a cop out to license immorality.

If Trump is really God’s chosen candidate, God can put Trump in office without Christians advocating for him. There is not an instance in the Bible where God, his prophets, or Christ Jesus himself encourages the faithful to support an immoral person to advance the kingdom. No one was encouraged to hold open the gates of Jerusalem for Nebuchadnezzar. No one was encouraged to cheer on Judas to accomplish God’s redemptive plan. And no one was encouraged to cheer on Herod as he slaughtered the children. In all ways, these people accomplished God’s will, but God did not ask his people to support them.

What this pastor’s wife, Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns, and others are asking us to do is be a little less holy and principled to “make America great again.” We make America great again by being better Christians, not telling Christians to get off their high horse and support someone who is “egotistical, bombastic, and brash [who] lacks nuance in his statements…sometimes blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon [and who] insults people [and who] can be vindictive when people attack him [and who] has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters [and who] has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages.”

Just read the conclusion of this pastor’s wife:

If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, don’t tell me you were being self sacrificial and that you did it “for your country.” Because you didn’t. You did it for yourself.

I am not arguing that Trump is a great man.

I am not even arguing that Trump is a good man.

I am arguing that in the words of Christ Himself, God can use an individual that is “not one of us” to further His purposes and protect His people.

So she is not arguing that Trump is great or good, but that God can use Trump. So let God do it. God never asked his people to support the evil and wicked even when God used them to accomplish his purpose.

And I’m not doing this “for [my] country.” I’m doing this because my God tells me that I should not associate with any unrepentant person who claims to be a Christian but is guilty of Trump’s sins. And God is not just talking about on Sunday, but everyday.

This pastor’s wife and the others want to be a Christian on Sunday and an American every other day. I’m a Christian first. So I cannot vote for what I think is immoral. If God wants Trump in office, God is big enough to do it without me. He does not need you or me or the church to be an instrument to prop up an immoral man.

How then can we witness in faith and truth telling others we supported an unrepentant adulterer who swindled the old and single mothers out of money because he wasn’t running for preacher, justPresident of the United States of America?

This pastor’s wife has a shallow faith and is worshiping the idol America.

Let God’s will be done. But don’t collaborate in immorality thinking you’re helping God. You aren’t.

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1 Kings 19:18:

“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

from The Daily Mail:

Religion and faith is having less of an influence on people’s lives, especially the young, according to new research.

The US study claims that millennials – recent teenagers – are the least religious generation of the last six decades and possibly in the nation’s history.

It said recent adolescents are less likely to say that religion is important in their lives and spend less time praying or meditating – and future generations are likely be even less religious.

Researchers led by psychology professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University analysed data from 11.2 million respondents from four nationally representative surveys of US adolescents aged 13 to 18 taken between 1966 and 2014.

They found that millennials, also known as Generation Y, are less likely to belong to a religious group, or say that faith plays an important role in their daily lives.

‘Unlike previous studies, ours is able to show that millennials’ lower religious involvement is due to cultural change, not to millennials being young and unsettled,’ said Professor Twenge, who is also the author of Generation Me.

‘Millennial adolescents are less religious than Boomers and GenX’ers were at the same age.

‘We also looked at younger ages than the previous studies. More of today’s adolescents are abandoning religion before they reach adulthood, with an increasing number not raised with religion at all.’

The researchers said the study may be the largest ever conducted on changes in Americans’ religious involvement.

Compared to the late 1970s, twice as many 12 graders (17 to 18 year olds) and college students never go to religious services, according to the study, published in the Plos One journal.

And 75 per cent more of this age group said religion is ‘not important at all’ in their lives, than in the 70s.

Compared to the early 1980s, twice as many high school seniors and three times as many college students in the 2010s answered ‘none’ when asked their religion.

And 20 per cent fewer college students described themselves as ‘above average’ in spirituality compared with the 1990s, suggesting that religion has not been replaced with spirituality.

‘These trends are part of a larger cultural context, a context that is often missing in polls about religion,’ Professor Twenge said.

‘One context is rising individualism in US culture. Individualism puts the self-first, which doesn’t always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires.

‘As Americans become more individualistic, it makes sense that fewer would commit to religion.’

Similarly, in 2013, psychologist Dr Nigel Barber said religious people in many developed countries will be a minority by 2041.

A study into the beliefs of people in 137 countries, which forms the basis for his book, found atheism increases in more developed places as people become increasingly materially rich.

The book, called ‘Why atheism will replace religion,’ proposes that people do not have to rely on supernatural influences when material possessions are catering to their needs.

Religion declines not only because people are becoming richer, but also due to the increasing quality of life, decline of serious diseases, better education and welfare states, the author said.

He believes there is less demand for religion in societies such as Japan and Sweden where normal people are relatively comfortable and consequently the majority of the populations are already secular.

However, a survey released in April claims two thirds of people across the world consider themselves to be religious and the number is expected to grow.

The Win/Gallup International Association study claims people under the age of 34 around the world are actually more religious than older generations.

Another study by the Pew Research Centre, released two years ago, showed the percentage of atheists across the globe is expected to fall across the same time frame, while Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070.

It predicted Islam will become America’s second largest religion by 2050 and the number of Christians in the US will decline from three quarters of the population in 2010 to two thirds in 2050.

At the same time, those who do not affiliate with any religion, including atheists and agnostics, will make up a ‘declining share of the world’s population’ – even if their numbers are increasing in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

A map created by Razzmazz shows the status of the world’s faiths in 35 years’ time, and how the percentage of those that consider themselves ‘religiously unaffiliated’ is expected to increase in the West.

By 2050 in Europe, Muslims will make up one in ten of the overall population. The region’s Christian population will shrink from 553 million to 454 million, according to projections.

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from Truth Revolt:

A Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that President Obama, angered at Israeli plans to strike Iran nuclear facilities in 2014, threatened to shoot down Israeli planes before they could reach their targets.

The paper, Al Jarida, cites only anonymous sources and just a handful of other publications have followed the story. But according to israelnationalnews.com, the Arabic newspaper quoted “well-placed” sources as saying Benjamin Netanyahu and two top aides “had decided to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.”

“The Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back,” the website said.

The Al Jarida story says that an Israeli minister with “good ties” to the Obama administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, who passed the word to Obama. The president then threatened to shoot down any planes in order to stop the Israeli attack.

The Ma’an News, a Palestinian news agency, did pick up the Al Jarida story, translating the piece. Their article says: “Netanyahu had to abort the operation and since then relations between Israel and the United States have been declining, according to the sources quoted in the report.”

Several websites were dubious about the Al Jarida. JewishPress.com wrote that “the report seems unbelievable, but the newspaper has an interesting track record.”

Al-Jarida is considered to be a relatively liberal publication whose editor Mohammed al-Sager previously won the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists ‘for courageous reporting on political and human rights issues in the face of government threats of censorship and prosecution.’

He also is a former Kuwaiti parliament member and chairman of the legislature.

And that website concludes by saying the veracity of the story may not be the most important facet. “The report may be fantasy, but the fact that Al Jarida dared to report it says a lot about perceptions of the relationship between Netanyahu and Obama.”

The story was starting to pick up pace on Sunday, with Netanyahu already on his way to Washington, D.C., to deliver a much anticipated speech to Congress.

“I’m going on a crucial and historic mission,” Netanyahu said before his departure from Ben-Gurtion Airport, accompanied by his wife, according to YnetNews.com.

“I feel I am the representative of all Israel, even those who disagree with me. I feel a deep concern for the fate of Israel. I will do everything to guarantee our future.”

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from Debka:

Saudi Arabia became the first Middle East nation to publicly exhibit its nuclear-capable missiles. The long-range, liquid propellant DF-3 ballistic missile (NATO designated CSS-2), purchased from China 27 years ago, was displayed for the first time at a Saudi military parade Tuesday, April 29, in the eastern military town of Hafar Al-Batin, at the junction of the Saudi-Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders.

The DF-3 has a range of 2,650 km and carries a payload of 2,150 kg. It is equipped with a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield.

Watched by a wide array of Saudi defense and military dignitaries, headed by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz, the parade marked the end of the large-scale “Abdullah’s Sword” military war game.

Conspicuous on the saluting stand was the Pakistani Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif alongside eminent visitors, including King Hamad of Bahrain and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report the event was deliberately loaded with highly-significant messages, the foremost of which was that the Middle East is in the throes of a nuclear arms race in the wake of the Iranian program.

1. The oil kingdom was saying loud and clear that it has obtained nuclear missiles and is ready to use them in the event of an armed conflict with Iran.

2.  The message for Washington was that Riyadh adheres to its adamant objections to the comprehensive accord for resolving the Iranian nuclear question which is racing toward its finale with the six world powers led by the US. The Saudis share Israel’s conviction that this pact – far from dismantling Iran’s nuclear capacity – will seal the Islamic Republic’s elevation to the status of pre-nuclear power. The result will be a Middle East war in which the Saudis will take part.

3.  The participation of the nuclear DF-3 missiles in the “Abdullah’s Sword” exercise signified Riyadh’s estimate that the coming conflict will see the use of nuclear weapons.

4.  By showing off their ageing Chinese missiles, the Saudis intimated that they had acquired the more advanced generation of this weapon, which they are keeping under wraps.  DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that in recent visits to Beijing, high-ranking Saudi officials negotiated the purchase of Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), whose range is shorter, 1,700 km, but more precise and effective in view of its terminal radar guidance system. The West has no information about when the new Chinese missiles were delivered to Saudi Arabia.

5.  The presence of the top Pakistani soldier at the parade of military and nuclear hardware was meant as corroboration of Islamabad’s active role as the source of the Saudi nuclear arsenal.

6.   The Saudis no longer rely on the American nuclear umbrella. They are developing their own nuclear strike force with the help of China and Pakistan.

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