Iran Begins Naval Drills In Strait Of Hormuz
Iran's navy has started a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route that passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
The exercises, dubbed "Velayat 90", could bring Iranian ships into proximity with United States Navy vessels in the area. "Velayat" is a Persian word for "supremacy" and it is currently used as a title of deference for the Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Strait of Hormuz is of strategic significance as the passageway for about a third of the world's oil tanker traffic. Beyond it lie vast bodies of water, including the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
The US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is also active in the area, as are warships of several other countries that patrol for pirates there.
Iran Says It Warns Off Foreign Helicopter Near Naval Maneuvers
Iran's Navy ordered a helicopter from an unspecified foreign country to leave to leave the area of maneuvers it is conducting in the Persian Gulf, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported Monday.
"The helicopter ignored the first two warnings but left the area after the third and severe warning," Fars quoted Rear Adm. Seyed Mahmoud Musavi, the deputy commander of operations for Iran's Navy, as saying.
"Hormuz Naval Drill, Message To West"
“The [Iranian] Navy's military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman indicate the power and dominance of Iran's Navy in regional waters,” member of the Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Zohreh Elahian said Monday.
The lawmaker stated that military drills also aim to increase Iran's deterrence power and prove its regional dominance.
“The exercises send an important message to the whole world, especially the colonialist powers…and also show the power of [Iran's] armed forces, particularly [the country's] Navy,” she noted.
Preparing To Attack Iran With Nuclear Weapons: "No Option Can Be Taken Off The Table"
"Hanukkah Miracle" Nixes Likely Terror Attack
An observant IDF soldier may have prevented a major terrorist attack in a large Israeli city, in what soldiers and commanders called a “Hanukkah miracle.” An Arab terrorist who may have been on his way to the town of Har Bracha in central Samaria, was nabbed Tuesday morning when an IDF soldier arrested him, finding two large pipe bombs on his person.
Report: Israeli Troops Roamed Freely In Sudan
Speculation as to an alleged Israeli strike in Sudan dominated Sudanese press reports in the past week. The Al-Rakoba newspaper claimed that two Israeli Apache helicopters landed in an island off the Sudan coast where a radar station is located. According to the report, IDF soldiers roamed the island freely and the helicopters managed to return safely without being intercepted by the Sudanese Armed Forces.
Burning Books In Cairo
Any number of political analysts have tried to write off the electoral gains by Islamist parties in Egypt, insisting that once in power, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist al-Nour Party will take a pragmatic approach to governing.
It is the same nonsense that was spouted as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, when the Ayatollah Khomeini made his triumphant return to Iran, when Yasser Arafat's PLO terrorist organization was elevated to the status of a national government, and when Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative election.
On December 17, an Egyptian mob - presumably of the type that has been voting for the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nour - demonstrated that they have no intention of "modernizing" or adopting Western-style pragmatism when they torched the Institute of Egypt in Cairo.
Among the casualties of the Islamist assault were some 192,000 rare books and manuscripts.
The Institute of Egypt was established by Napoleon Bonaparte when he invaded Egypt in the late 18th century. For centuries the Institute of Egypt housed priceless chronicles of the nation's history, as well as the findings of hundreds of top scholars and scientists.
The Institute of Egypt symbolized Egypt's connection to the West, and for many its establishment was the start of the "modern era" in Egypt. And that is why it had to go. Because Egypt's Islamists have no intention of modernizing, not on Western terms, at any rate. Like the Ayatollahs in Iran and Hamas in Gaza, their ultimate goal is to return Egypt to a medieval form of life where a strict interpretation of Sharia Law governs the actions of all.
The first to suffer will be Egypt's Christians. They are suffering already.
Which leads to the next category in the news:
Report: Iranian Authorities Detain Children During Raid On Church's Christmas Celebrations
There‘s no shortage of stories surrounding Iran’s continually-horrendous human rights record. Following the Christmas holiday, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a U.K.-based nonprofit, is making some startling charges. According to the group, Iranian authorities raided a church that was celebrating Christmas last week and detained everyone in the building — including kids who were in Sunday school.
CSW claims that officials in Ahwaz, a southern town in Iran, raided the church — an affiliate of Assemblies of God — and placed all congregants into two buses. The majority of those celebrating at the house of worship were purportedly interrogated, threatened and then eventually released, but the church’s senior pastor (a man known only as “Farhad”) apparently remains in detention. His wife and some church leaders, too, were said to be held still by Iranian officials.
This case is highly reminiscent of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s ongoing legal drama, which the Blaze has highlighted frequently over the past few months. While the reasons for Nadarkhani’s detainment continue to evolve, a decision regarding his fate could come at any moment. Currently, he faces the death penalty for apostasy (although the government has claimed his situation comes as a result of a number of other alleged crimes).
Religious freedom clearly isn‘t at the forefront of Iranian authorities’ concerns.
Radical Islamic Attack In Nigeria Spawns Fears Of More Anti-Christian Violence
Yesterday’s tragic terror attack in Nigeria has many wondering if more violence — particularly acts against Christian believers — may be on the way.
In the chaos after the Christmas terror attack on a Catholic church, one mortally wounded man cradled his wounded stomach and begged a priest for religious atonement. “Father, pray for me. I will not survive,” he said.
At least 35 people died at St. Theresa Catholic Church and dozens were wounded as radical Muslim militants launched coordinated attacks across Africa’s most populous nation within hours of one another. Four more people were killed in other violence blamed on the group known as Boko Haram.
It was the second year in a row that the extremists seeking to install Islamic Shariah law across the country of 160 million have staged Christmas attacks. Last year, a series of bombings on Christmas Eve killed 32 people in Nigeria.
Video: Islamists Bomb Nigerian Churches On Christmas Day - At Least 25 Dead
Witnesses say at least 25 dead bodies removed from St. Theresa Church outside the Nigerian capital Abuja. There were four other attacks reported.
France 24 reported, via Free Republic: An explosion ripped through a Catholic church during Christmas Mass near Nigeria’s capital Sunday, killing at least 25 people, officials said. A radical Muslim sect claimed the attack and another bombing near a church in the restive city of Jos, as explosions also struck the nation’s northeast.
Mark Steyn: War On Christmas Indicative Of The "Western World At Twilight"
Mark Steyn essentially says yes — or, at the very least, that political correctness is part and parcel of the problems we face as a nation. The words we use reflect the attitudes we have, and those attitudes, in turn, are both the outgrowth and the molder of our reality. According to Steyn, objections to Christmas expressions indicate that the West, in some ways, exists in contradiction to itself. The Daily Caller reports:
Steyn went on to note that there is no crusade to generalize other religious holidays and that the West’s budding hatred of itself and its values was at the “heart” of the matter.
“There’s something very odd by the way, as I said about this stilted artificial avoidance of Christmas,” he said.
“We would[n't] have, you know, a day off on December 25 if it wasn’t Christmas. But somehow it has to be a generalized holiday. Nobody does this with Ramadan, for example. I notice when you look at the big Ramadan festivities at the White House that every president conducts now — nobody bothers to pretend that is a kind of general celebration. Nobody says ‘happy holiday’ instead of Ramadan. And I think there’s something sort of slightly — it’s not a small thing in that sense. It gets to the heart of the most disturbing feature of Western world at twilight, which is this kind of institutional self-loathing that’s at the heart of it.”
We need to remember to include our persecuted brothers and sisters in our daily prayers.