Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday In The News

Predictably, Syria is in the news again today:

U.S. Forces Move Closer To Syria As Options Weighed

US naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers military options for responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. The president emphasized that a quick intervention in the Syrian civil war was problematic, given the international considerations that should precede a military strike.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to discuss any specific force movements while saying that Obama had asked the Pentagon to prepare military options for Syria. US defense officials told The Associated Press that the Navy had sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.

US Navy ships are capable of a variety of military action, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, as they did against Libya in 2011 as part of an international action that led to the overthrow of the Libyan government.

“The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for contingencies, and that requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets, to be able to carry out different options — whatever options the president might choose,” Hagel told reporters traveling with him to Asia.
Hagel said the US is coordinating with the international community to determine “what exactly did happen” near Damascus earlier this week. According to reports, a chemical attack in a suburb of the capital killed at least 100 people. It would be the most heinous use of chemical weapons since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988.
According to CBS News, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey is expected to present President Obama with options for a Syria strike during a meeting at the White House Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported Saturday that a possible reason Syrian President Bashar Assad may have deployed chemical weapons earlier this week was because Syrian rebel units, also comprising “Israeli, Jordanian, and CIA commandos,” had been training for a week near Daraa in southern Syria and were approaching Damascus. There was no independent confirmation of the claim.

Syrian state television said troops found chemical agents in rebel tunnels in a Damascus suburb on Saturday and some soldiers were "suffocating", intensifying a dispute over blame for a reported nerve gas attack that killed hundreds this week.
The top UN disarmament official arrived in Damascus on Saturday to seek access for inspectors to the site of the attack and the United States was realigning naval forces in the region to give President Barack Obama the option for an armed strike on Syria.

In a clear attempt to strengthen the government's denials of responsibility for the suspected chemical assault, Syrian state television said soldiers came across chemical agents in rebel tunnels in the suburb of Jobar and some were overcome by fumes.
"Army heroes are entering the tunnels of the terrorists and saw chemical agents," it quoted a "news source" as saying. "In some cases, soldiers are suffocating while entering Jobar. Ambulances came to rescue the people suffocating in Jobar."
An army unit was preparing to storm the insurgent-held suburb, the television added.

"We have a range of options available, and we are going to act very deliberately so that we're making decisions consistent with our national interest as well as our assessment of what can advance our objectives in Syria," the White House official said.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced late Friday that US Navy warships in the Mediterranean would move closer to Israel's coast to close their ranges to Syria should Obama choose to order a military strike.

Existing naval power in the region under the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group is extensive. Representing over 80 armed craft, they give the president the option to fire Tomahawk missiles at Syrian targets without entering the country's air space.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is showing the world its true colors,” writes columnist Kirsten Powers. “The group that ‘renounced violence’ in an effort to gain political power is engaged in a full-scale campaign of terror against Egypt’s Christian minority. Brotherhood leaders have incited their followers to attack Christian homes, shops, schools and churches throughout the country. Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian scholar with the Hudson Institute, told me these attacks are the worst violence against the Coptic Church since the 14th century.”

Kirsten is absolutely right. She’s written an excellent column. I’m grateful she did. I encourage you to read the whole thing.  For the moment, here are some excerpts:
  • The news coming out of Egypt is staggering. USA Today reports that “forty churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged” in one week. According to the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches in Egypt, 160 Christian-owned buildings have also been attacked.
  • In one town, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like prisoners of war after burning their Franciscan school. The attackers tore a cross off the gate of the school and replaced it with an Islamist flag. The New York Times described hundreds of Islamists in one attack, “lashing out so ferociously that marble altars were left in broken heaps on the floor.” 
  • Two security guards working on a tour boat owned by Christians were burned alive. An orphanage was burned down. The Catholic Bishop of Luxor told the Vatican news agency Tuesday that he has been trapped in his home for 20 days by Islamist mobs chanting “Death to the Christians!” “People who reside in the villages of the area that have nothing because food supplies are running out and people are afraid to leave the house,” he said….
  • Even before the mass church burnings, 16 Egyptian human-rights organizations issued a statement saying they “strongly condemn rhetoric employed by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies which includes clear incitement to violence and religious hatred in order to achieve political gains …” On August 15th, nine Egyptian human-rights groups released a statement saying, “In December … Brotherhood leaders began fomenting anti-Christian sectarian incitement. The anti-Coptic incitement and threats continued unabated up to the demonstrations of June 30 and, with the removal of President Morsi … morphed into sectarian violence, which was sanctioned by … the continued anti-Coptic rhetoric heard from the group’s leaders on the stage … throughout the sit-in.”

At this critical moment, let us be faithful in praying for the Christians in Egypt — for courage, for wisdom, for safety, and for great boldness to proclaim the Good News amidst such dark and evil times.

Twice a month, Min Naing Oo visits emaciated patients at a Myanmar clinic, urging them through his face-mask to keep taking their medicine no matter how sick it makes them.
Otherwise they will die - and fuel the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis in a country that is already tallying an estimated 9,000 new infections of the hard-to-treat strain every year.

Experts from across the globe were gathering in Yangon this week for a two-day symposium aimed at finding ways to speed up diagnosis of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, improve patient care and take advantage of new shortened and less toxic treatments.

Tuberculosis is an age-old scourge and one of the world's most infectious killers affecting 12 million people, according to WHO. With 506 sufferers per 100,000 people, Myanmar's rate of regular TB is three times the global average.
The normal strain of TB is easy to treat with a simple and cheap drug regimen.
But when those medications are misused or mismanaged - often when patients skip pills - the bacteria can fight back and outsmart the drugs, creating resistance. The result is a new, much harder to treat multi-drug-resistant strain. Drugs used to treat it are 100 times more expensive, highly toxic and require a longer period of treatment.


Robin said...

I know popular thinking regarding the chemical weapons in Syria . . .is that they're being detonated by the Assad government, but I have a major problem with this.

1). Al Qaeda thugs took control of a chemical weapons plant in February 2012.

2). Obama promised US action if Syria used the chemical weapons. Why would the Assad want the US to become involved when it would mean a sure end to his reign/life?

3). Why would the Syrian government launch such an attack just days before UN inspectors were scheduled to arrive?

4). What of the story today that chemical weapons were found inside tunnels being used by the rebel forces?

Lets not forget that rebel forces are being lead by Al Qaeda. We must NEVER form ANY alliance with such evil thuggery.

Assad has absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose should the US or UN descend on Syria.

Before Arab Spring, Syria was largely at peace, save the skirmishes that arose occasionally by those stirring up masses for revolt. And while he was never Democratically elected, he was, to a large extent, easily controlled by the US government. There's much to be said about having US friendly leadership in the Middle East. Our concern should be for our nation's welfare first.

Scott said...

That all makes sense - and I tend to agree with the above, but in the long run, it won't matter who did it. If its a false flag, we'll use it to get more involved. if its a lie, we'll use it to get more involved. And if Assad really did this, we'll use that too. As said before perception = reality in this game, and the end result is all that really matters. The question now becomes - "what now?"

I can't imagine a world in which Russia/Iran will sit idly by as we become more and more involved.

This whole thing is about to get very very interesting

GG2013 said...

I can see it is becoming crystal clear that we can't serve two masters. Satan lives for the fullness of lies and deception every waking moment we have. There can not be any reasoning with evil. It defies any logic and will IMO become more distorted as each day goes on.

This is a very dangerous game all these evil forces have been playing with human life. It is surreal to think God knew all this from the outset and we must still watch this unfold but seeing what God says in truth through the distortions

2 Cor 6:14-17 (NIV) ... For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [Satan]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive.

Proudly we must drink of the cup of The Lord. The truth will set us free. We have the spirit and the mind of our Father so as visitors to this world, these things will not be as easily predictable as in days gone by. I believe these sick people who think they are in control are quite the contrary and it is going to be a matter of who balks first without any regard for human life.

We can pray and profess our words to see us through these very dark days and forces around us. Thank God for providing us with sound doctrine, especially in times like these.

Stay safe, pray hard!!

God Bless!!


Anonymous said...

""Personally, I don't believe the Church will be present to witness this scenario (Ezekiel 38-39)""

I have been reading your blog for about 2 years and usually agree with your insight. However the view on the rapture is unfortunate, prepare yourself spiritually for a long haul.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you.

Scott said...

Thats based entirely on my speculation YHVH. If we are here to see Gog-MaGog, It will present a witnessing opportunity of epic proportions. Again, that view is just my personal opinion - to be taken with a grain of salt :)