Monday, September 8, 2014

A Return To Gaza Violence? Christians In Lebanon Prepare For ISIS Invasion

Will The Gaza Truce Be Shorter Than The Gaza War? Hamas Said Rebuilding Tunnels And Restocking

Day by day, the prospect recedes of the Israel-Hamas Cairo negotiations actually taking place on schedule, one month after Aug. 26, the date the last Gaza ceasefire went into force.  And even if they do, it will only be a pointless formality achieving nothing. The discussions, actions, disclosures and statements filling the air at present all point to the violence resuming on the Jewish New Year festival later this month.
Clearly aware of the dates, Hamas’ Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh warned in a sermon Friday, Sept. 6, that rocket fire would start up against Israel on Sept. 25, the first day of the festival, unless the blockade of the Gaza Strip was lifted by then.

It now seems that the truce may be shorter-lived than the conflict itself, because it rested on misconceptions. Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi and Prime Minister Netanyahu designated Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to oversee and take charge of the slow strangling of Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip. That was one misconception. For one thing, Abbas never dances to any tune but his own, and, for another, Hamas’s popularity has soared at his expense – especially in his own domain, the West Bank, where a recent Palestinian poll showed 80 percent support for Hamas’s rocket war on Israel.
Knowing which way the wind was blowing, Abbas made it clear in his remarks Saturday that he had no intention of disarming Hamas, but would take charge of the Gaza Strip only if he was assured by Egypt as well as Hamas that the Palestinians would have one ruling body and  “one gun.”

This was Abbas’s way of telling Israel to forget about its demand to demilitarize Gaza, because he had accepted the Hamas formula for a unity government: The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority would rule the territory and Hamas would continue to be the sole military force, enjoying a status akin to the autonomous Hizballah militia in Lebanon.

But for now, the second week of September, Hamas and Israel are back to the mid-war situation of impermanent truces, with Hamas still calling the shots and even setting the date for resuming its rocket war on Israel.
Hence the comments by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Sunday, Sept. 7, that it was “unrealistic at this time” to demand Gaza’s demilitarization, although the issue “must stay on the table.”

Lebanese Christians are taking precautions as the Islamic State (ISIS) continues to terrorize Iraq and Syria. Men grabbed weapons and set out for the hills to prepare for an eventual attack by the terrorist group.

ISIS does not have a strong presence in Lebanon, but the terrorist group pops up around the country. They attacked Arsal in August. It is a border town with 40,000 residents, but is also a city for Syrians who fled their civil war. The United Nations said over 1.1 million people registered as refugees in Arsal. One man said shelling burned down one refugee camp. The Lebanese Army fought off the terrorists, but ISIS managed to escape with Lebanon weapons and vehicles.

This past week, two separate ISIS messages appeared on Christian churches in Tripoli. “The Islamic State will break the cross” was spray painted on the Mar Elias Church in Minieh. Another person spray painted “We came to slaughter you, you worshipers of the cross” on the March Elias Church in Mina.
ISIS destroyed Christian towns and expelled Christians in Syria and Iraq. Many of them escaped to Lebanon since the country has the most Christians in the Middle East. Muslims also reached out to help the Christians. Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni religious authority in Lebanon, provided food boxes for Christians at the Assyrian Diocese in Sadd al-Boushrieh. Archdeacon Yatroun Colliana and representatives from Dar al-Fatwa “presided over the distribution of aid” and “said the aid would continue as a signal of unity between Christians and Muslims, so long as the ‘tragedies’ facing Christians in Iraq and Syria continued.”
But it is not just Christians on ISIS’s radar. The terrorist group told Turkish news Agency Anadolu they beheaded a second Lebanese soldier. Medlej allegedly tried to escape the group. ISIS captured Medlej and Ali Sayyed during the clashes in Arsal. Lebanese officials believe ISIS has more than 27 Lebanese soldiers.

Islamic State fighters appear to be using captured US military issue arms and weapons supplied to moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia, according to a report published on Monday.

The study by the London-based small-arms research organisation Conflict Armament Research documented weapons seized by Kurdish forces from militants in Iraq and Syria over a 10-day period in July

The report said the jihadists disposed of “significant quantities” of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings “Property of US Govt.”

It also found that anti-tank rockets used by IS in Syria were “identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013.”

Islamic State is believed to have seized large quantities of weapons from Syrian military installations it has captured, as well as arms supplied by the United States to the Iraqi army after it swept through northern Iraq in recent weeks.

A respiratory virus is sending hundreds of children to hospitals in Missouri and possibly throughout the Midwest and beyond, officials say.

The unusually high number of hospitalizations reported now could be "just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases," said Mark Pallansch, a virologist and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Viral Diseases.

"We're in the middle of looking into this," he told CNN on Sunday. "We don't have all the answers yet."

Ten states have contacted the CDC for assistance in investigating clusters of enterovirus -- Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.

The unusual situation now is that there have been so many hospitalizations.

The virus has sent more than 30 children a day to a Kansas City, Missouri, hospital, where about 15% of the youngsters were placed in intensive care, officials said.

In a sign of a possible regional outbreak, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio are reporting cases with similar symptoms and are awaiting testing results, according to officials and CNN affiliates in those states.

Trapped since officials placed them in quarantine two weeks ago, the residents of Dolo Town are becoming increasingly resentful over their incarceration in Liberia's open "Ebola jail".

Around 17,000 increasingly hungry residents in the settlement, close to the international airport, are forced to queue for rations of rice while soldiers blockade them in at gunpoint.

The usually-packed streets are almost empty, as residents observe quarantine measures in a bid to halt a particularly severe outbreak of a virus which has killed 2,000 west Africans, half of them in Liberia.

Dolo Town, 75 kilometres (47 miles) east of Monrovia, was placed in lockdown on August 20 at the same time as West Point, a slum in the capital.
While the West Point lockdown caused riots, people have largely accepted the measures to contain them in Dolo Town. But their patience is wearing thin.
- 'We are in jail' -
"We have not been going to work. We will not be able to go until the quarantine is lifted. It is regrettable but what can we do? We want to be free. We are in jail," Firestone employee Mohamed Fofana told AFP.
"They don’t allow us to go anywhere. We are only allowed to go and stand at the (checkpoint) and family members from elsewhere can come there to bring us food and other things we need," says stallholder Kebeh Morris.
"We can see the trucks bringing the food but not everyone is getting it for now. Like us: we don’t even have a ticket yet so we don't know when we will get the food. Until then, we have to rely on our family members out there to bring us food."
By the beginning of August, 30 people had died in Dolo Town, and were dropping at the rate of at least three a day.
Soldiers have barricaded the entry road into the town and they patrol its periphery throughout the day. Troops can also be seen with their weapons walking the streets and supervising burials.

SIERRA LEONE says it will confine people to their homes in a nationwide three-day shutdown later this month aimed at containing the Ebola epidemic threatening west Africa.
Pedestrians and vehicles will be barred from the country’s streets, except on essential business, for 72 hours starting from September 19.

“This will be strictly adhered to without exception,” government spokesman Abdulai Bayratay told AFP by telephone as he announced the quarantine plan.
“We intend to ensure that the dreaded disease is checked.”
The worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has claimed 491 lives in Sierra Leone, one of three countries at the epicentre of the epidemic which has so far killed more than 2,000.
Authorities in Freetown will use the three-day window to search out patients who have not come forward for treatment centres.
“Health workers as well as health-related NGO personnel will make house-to-house checks on homes for likely Ebola sufferers that relatives have hidden,” he said.
Bayratay said several new ambulances and up to 30 military vehicles would be arriving to help enforce, and make use of, the shutdown, which could be repeated if necessary.
A 7,000-strong patrol force including health workers, civil society activists and community members is to be set up to organise the quarantine plan, said a statement from the presidency in Freetown.
“Their mission will be to monitor and track contacts, as well as to identify people with Ebola symptoms in order to prevent its transmission,” the statement said.
“The decision was made to mobilise the entire population from September 18 to prepare for the confinement.”
The Sierra Leone quarantine plan was announced after the World Health Organisation said on Friday that the death toll from Ebola since the start of the year had topped 2,000.

President Obama said Sunday that the U.S. military will begin aiding what has been a chaotic and ineffective response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, arguing that it represents a serious national security concern.
The move significantly ramps up the U.S. response and comes as the already strained military is likely to be called upon further to address militant threats in the Middle East. The decision to involve the military in providing equipment and other assistance for international health workers in Africa comes after mounting calls from some unlikely groups — most prominently the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders — demonstrating to the White House the urgency of the issue.
Last week, leading international health officials said the window for getting the epidemic under control is closing. Doctors Without Borders, one of the groups most active since the outbreak began months ago, faulted world leaders with failing to recognize the severity of the crisis sooner and said charities and West African governments alone do not have the capacity to stem the epidemic. The U.S. military, with its enormous logistical capacity and extensive air operations, could address gaps in the response quickly.


Sandra said...

Hi Scott,

What are your thoughts on this

Could be the covenant of peace????

Just thought is was an interest thought and development.


Scott said...

Very interesting development. Worth watching to see how it evolves. Could be the start of something for sure

Mrs.C said...

First, God Bless our Troops! We need to Pray greatly for their protection! Especially being under the command of the coward-in-chief!
I dont have a good feeling about this...back and forth...helping with a plague that their not sure about (airborne or not)...whew

Now, looks like things are about to get much larger in scope...the Arabs are uniting....

"Arab states join forces against ISIS, as Obama preps strategy"

Scott said...

Amen on the troops - and these "new" alignments of the nations is getting very very interesting imo....So much has changed in just a few months - it just goes to show how rapid things can and will happen in these days

Waterer said...

What do the new alignments look like prophetically?

The only thing that has been on my mind is the reason for God's judgments on Syria and Moab. For old hatred and cruelty. It has puzzled me because so many in those countries have suffered and not been the cause of what is wrong. In fact prior to the Syrian civil war Assad was preferred to Christians in Syria because he protected them. They had a lot of liberty.
But things have spun drastically out of focus. Isis is so hate filled and very cruel, that it makes me wonder what is ahead . Might they may be making the case for God's judgment in the Is 17 scenario??The same can be said for Lebanon.So many in Lebanon are suffering in this current war too.
I have always been focused on the European Union and revived Roman Empire.It seems weaker in these last years than say 5 years ago.What are you seeing in these alignments?

Scott said...

Thats a good question Waterer.

I actually think the centralized power of the EU is growing dramatically because of the weakening financial situation. Thats the key IMO - to the EU - centralized power. Note that none of the "new" leaders were elected. That should send chills down our spines.

I think ISIS will be key in Isaiah 17. Don't forget, when we take a look at the "inner circle" based on Psa 83 and Isaiah 17 - we are really looking at regions, perhaps not specific countries. For instance, the terrorists coming from the region of Syria and Iraq may ultimately invade Israel, without ever being launched "officially" from the countries of Syria and Iraq...Same with Lebanon. We could see invasion including the region of Lebanon, without the government ever being "officially" involved.

To me, this is a critical development. Now that Isis occupies much of Syria and Iraq, and probably soon Lebanon and Jordan - we could see the fighting in Israel's north w/o those "countries" even involved.

As I've said before - I believe it all starts in the North and even when Gaza was hot (soon to be again), its still all about what happens in the North of Israel. That looks more and more like ISIS at this point. But we know that northern Israel will be "desolate" at the time of Isaiah 17 and that would indicate warfare there, perhaps with chemical weapons involved.

We shall see

Waterer said...

Desolate at the time or made desolate by the war?

Your point about regions makes a lot of sense.
Isis reminds me of so many of the enemies that David fought. Men lying in wait to do evil.

Scott said...

Both - at the time by warfare...Good point re: David; I hadn't considered that