Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/Sep 10-14

Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective 

Prophetic Trends & Headline News

1. Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?

Islamic Rage: American Video or American Policies?

It was bad enough, two years ago, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates called fringe Florida pastor Terry Jones to ask him not to burn copies of the Koran, or last week, that chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey took his turn to call Jones to ask him to stop publicizing a YouTube video, The Innocence of Muslims. 

But then on Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told the world that the violent protests in Cairo and Ben¯ghazi and elsewhere were a ¯response not to United States policy, and not obviously the administration or the American people,¯ but were ¯in response to a video, a film we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.¯ 

Carney repeated the point for emphasis: ¯This is not a case of protests directed at the United States at large or at U.S. policy, but in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.¯

Carney¯s comments lie outside the range of plausible spin, even by Obama administration standards, and if his bosses believe them¯as we fear they do¯are simply delusional. But they are not without consequence. 

Nor are Gates¯s and Dempsey¯s phone calls. They all send the message to America¯s enemies that if you kill our diplomats and lay siege to the our embassies, the first move the American government will make is to denounce .  .  . Americans. 

Our leaders apparently believe that the way to protect Americans from extremists and terrorists abroad is to tell other Americans to shut up.

What¯s next? Where does it go from here? There are more than 300 million ways in which Americans expressing themselves might give offense to those who make it their business to be offended. 

Maybe it¯s some other film, maybe it¯s a book or even just a tossed-off phrase that our enemies might seize on to galvanize support for their causes. 

Is the White House going to put every American crank on speed-dial so it can tell them to shut up whenever a mob gathers outside a U.S. embassy or consulate?

It¯s worth noting that virtually every description in our media of the movie that is supposed to have touched off the protests was attended by various aesthetic qualifiers¯laughable, crude, amateurish¯as if the mobs and their organizers were motivated by considerations of artistic craft. 

Let¯s recall that similar murderous campaigns of terror were waged to protest Salman Rushdie¯s The Satanic Verses, at the direction of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. 

Would the editorial boards and newsrooms of our leading media debate the merits of White House officials warning prestige novelists to keep their mouths shut lest they anger extremists?

The Constitution was not written on behalf of poets and philosophers and film producers but to enshrine the rights of all citizens. Since 9/11 and our ensuing engagements in the Middle East, there have been appropriate occasions during which the American people have debated how the so-called clash of civilizations might be ameliorated. This is not one of those occasions.

To debate the right of an American to criticize religion does not indicate sophisticated sensitivity to the feelings of others but a willingness to turn tail and abandon our principles at the first sign of a fight. 

And to take seriously the notion that all those riots and attacks are about a video, not about American principles and power and policy, is silly.

What we have seen unfold in the Middle East over the last week is what distinguishes the region¯s societies from our own. The protests in Cairo and Benghazi were not really about the film, the preacher, or Muslim sensitivities. 

They were an exercise in raw power politics, partly aimed at intramural rivals in the Arab political sphere, but mainly against the United States.

If the reaction of U.S. officials in the face of such an assault is to ¯condemn .  .  . efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims¯ (the initial response of the U.S. embassy in Cairo) and to try to silence individual citizens, there is good reason for the terrorists to believe that, with more acts of terror, they will also change American policies. The unpleasant fact is that the Obama administration has encouraged our adversaries to keep at it.

President Obama believed that to maintain ¯credibility with the Arab states,¯ as he once told a group of Jewish leaders, he had to put some daylight between ourselves and Israel. 

His administration sought desperately to ¯engage¯ Iran and Syria, two state sponsors of terror that have been killing Americans for decades. The same Joint Chiefs chairman who told journalists in London that he doesn¯t want to be ¯complicit¯ in any Israeli strike on Iran¯s nuclear facilities now advises an American citizen to stop alienating Muslim mobs.

A president who began his tenure by going to Cairo to say he considered it his ¯responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear¯ should not be surprised that the U.S. embassy in Cairo tweets similar apologetics while it is under siege.

It would be nice to have an American administration that stood up for America, for its people and its principles. It would also make the world far less dangerous for Americans¯and for decent people of all faiths.

US And Israel In Open Feud Over Iran

Feuding between the US and Israel burst into the open when Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel¯s prime minister, sharply criticised recent US statements about Iran while the White House said President Barack Obama would not meet Mr Netanyahu in the US this month.

Mr Netanyahu made a stinging attack on Tuesday on Washington¯s refusal to establish a ¯red line¯ for Iran¯s nuclear programme ¯ a point beyond which US military action against Iran would be taken.

Responding to comments by Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, that the US would not set deadlines for negotiations with the Iranian government, the Israeli leader warned that Iran was getting closer and closer to getting a nuclear bomb.

¯The world tells Israel: ¯Wait. There¯s still time.¯ And I say: ¯Wait for what? Wait until when?¯ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don¯t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,¯ he said at a press conference.

Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu spoke for an hour on Tuesday night, in what appeared to be an effort to limit the damage from the public disagreements.

The increasingly open spat between the governments comes amid some indications that Mr Netanyahu is isolated at home on the issue of an Iran military strike, but with the Obama re-election campaign scrambling to fend off a strong Republican appeal this year to Jewish voters.

The White House said on Tuesday that Mr Obama would not meet Mr Netanyahu when he travels to the US this month for the UN General Assembly session because the two men would not be in New York on the same day. However, Israeli media reported on Tuesday evening that Mr Netanyahu had offered to travel to Washington for a meeting. This was denied by the White House.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, is an old friend of Mr Netanyahu and has consistently criticised Mr Obama for not taking a harder line with Tehran on its nuclear ambitions. The Republicans hope their candidate¯s position on Iran and support for the Israeli government could win him backing from Jewish voters in key states such as Florida and Ohio.

In addition to Mrs Clinton¯s comments, US defence secretary Leon Panetta pushed back against Israeli pressure to set ¯red lines¯ for military intervention, telling CBS television that the US would have at least a year to take action once Tehran had made a decision to build a nuclear weapon.

¯We know generally what they¯re up to, and so we keep a close track on them,¯ he said. ¯We think we will have the opportunity once we know that they¯ve made that decision to take the action necessary to stop Iran.¯

The core disagreement between the two governments has been rumbling for some time, with Israel paying close attention to Iran¯s ¯capability¯ to make a nuclear weapon while the US is more focused on efforts to build an actual weapon.

US And Israel In Open Feud Over Iran

Feuding between the US and Israel burst into the open when Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel¯s prime minister, sharply criticised recent US statements about Iran while the White House said President Barack Obama would not meet Mr Netanyahu in the US this month.

Mr Netanyahu made a stinging attack on Tuesday on Washington¯s refusal to establish a ¯red line¯ for Iran¯s nuclear programme ¯ a point beyond which US military action against Iran would be taken.

Responding to comments by Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, that the US would not set deadlines for negotiations with the Iranian government, the Israeli leader warned that Iran was getting closer and closer to getting a nuclear bomb.

¯The world tells Israel: ¯Wait. There¯s still time.¯ And I say: ¯Wait for what? Wait until when?¯ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don¯t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,¯ he said at a press conference.

Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu spoke for an hour on Tuesday night, in what appeared to be an effort to limit the damage from the public disagreements.

The increasingly open spat between the governments comes amid some indications that Mr Netanyahu is isolated at home on the issue of an Iran military strike, but with the Obama re-election campaign scrambling to fend off a strong Republican appeal this year to Jewish voters.

The White House said on Tuesday that Mr Obama would not meet Mr Netanyahu when he travels to the US this month for the UN General Assembly session because the two men would not be in New York on the same day. However, Israeli media reported on Tuesday evening that Mr Netanyahu had offered to travel to Washington for a meeting. This was denied by the White House.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, is an old friend of Mr Netanyahu and has consistently criticised Mr Obama for not taking a harder line with Tehran on its nuclear ambitions. The Republicans hope their candidate¯s position on Iran and support for the Israeli government could win him backing from Jewish voters in key states such as Florida and Ohio.

In addition to Mrs Clinton¯s comments, US defence secretary Leon Panetta pushed back against Israeli pressure to set ¯red lines¯ for military intervention, telling CBS television that the US would have at least a year to take action once Tehran had made a decision to build a nuclear weapon.

¯We know generally what they¯re up to, and so we keep a close track on them,¯ he said. ¯We think we will have the opportunity once we know that they¯ve made that decision to take the action necessary to stop Iran.¯

The core disagreement between the two governments has been rumbling for some time, with Israel paying close attention to Iran¯s ¯capability¯ to make a nuclear weapon while the US is more focused on efforts to build an actual weapon.

Doomsday Ready? More Americans Becoming 'Preppers'

When an unexpected summer storm knocked out power across the mid-Atlantic region in July, more than 4 million people went without power for up to two weeks.

Throughout the summer, a severe drought across much of the country also put a serious strain on the nation's infrastructure.

Couple that with the threat of a currency collapse, civil unrest, and other nightmare scenarios - stocking up for the unexpected is looking smarter all the time.

Now, a small but growing segment of society is asking the question, "What happens when the lights go out for more than just a few days?"

Many of these "preppers" think the recent record-setting blackout could be just a preview of things to come.

Keith Iton is a die hard prepper and has started a business to help others get ready as well. 

"The biggest problem we suffer here in North America is complacency," he claimed.

"People figure since nothing has happened in 'x' amount of years, nothing bad will ever happen," Iton continued. "So they get comfortable, and they get lazy and then unpreparedness comes in. Then you have other people who look at history."

From 'Crazy' to Common

Survivalists are sometimes seen as wild eyed, crazy people waiting for the 'zombie apocalypse.' But with the state of the economy in today's world, being prepared is more popular than ever.

Recently, some 2,000 people gathered in North Carolina for the the Carolina Readiness Seminar to discuss the risks and what can be done about them.

"It's very environmental, very green, takes us off of fossil fuels, and [is] very easy to do," prepper Joel Henderson said.

Henderson is co-owner of Green Gold Filters, one of the vendors at the recent convention. His patented filtration system is helping people accomplish something that America has been trying to do for years -- run a vehicle without foreign oil.

"If anybody has a diesel engine, truck, tractor, or generator, you can use used cooking oil as an alternative diesel fuel, or motor oil," Henderson explained.

"If you go to the restaurants, this is a local restaurant here in Nashville, an Indian restaurant, this is their used cooking oil they were throwing away," he continued. "We picked it up, ran it through our filter system, and now we have a nice alternative diesel fuel that I'll put right in my tank."

'Doomsday Preppers'

The prepper movement is being helped along by a new trend in television shows about the subject. The most popular is National Geographic's "Doomsday Preppers."

"'Doomsday Preppers' is the highest rated show right now ever on National Geographic," casting director Brooklyn Bagwell said.

"It's a show about your average American family, unique people who are prepping for any of life's uncertainties, whether that be economic collapse to solar flare in 2012. No matter what it is they're going to be prepared," he added.

One of the challenges for the show is that most preppers aren't eager to advertise their stockpiles of supplies, since if the bottom drops out, looting could be a real problem.

"We do understand it could be a risk, but we do respect privacy on the show. We don't have to say your first name or last name or where you're from," Bagwell said.

"We try to get in the lives of many diverse preppers, and have each prepper give a take away to our viewers so they can learn more about prepping," he said.

Prepare with God

Iton said the first step to being prepared, however, has nothing to do with canned food or bottled water.

"Your first step to preparedness, for me personally, is your relationship with Jesus Christ," he explained. "If you build a solid relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are more prepared than the average Joe."

"Then after that, if you can get a little food, water stored away, a little safe retreat, it'll all fall into place," Iton said. "You want to be able to feed yourself, feed your family, help a neighbor, help a friend."

A hundred years ago, having extra supplies in the house was considered completely normal. But that has changed. 

A recent survey found that 55 percent of Americans have less than three days supply of food in their homes. Many people have no emergency supplies, or even a first aid kit.

But with America's infrastructure becoming more fragile every day, preppers say it's a good idea to stock up, just in case.

40 Signs That We Have Seriously Messed Up The Next Generation Of Americans

What in the world have we done to our kids? If you spend much time with them, you quickly realize that the next generation of Americans is woefully unprepared to deal with the real world. 

They are overweight, lazy, undisciplined, disrespectful, disobedient to their parents, selfish, self-centered, and completely addicted to entertainment. And that is just for starters. We feed them insane amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup and then when they become overactive we pump them full of prescription drugs to calm them down. 

Instead of raising our children ourselves, we allow the government schools and the entertainment industry to do it. By the time they reach the age of 18, they have spent far more time with their teachers, their video games and the television than they have spent with us. 

Our young people are #1 in a lot of global categories, but almost all of them are bad. Young people in the United States are more obese than anyone else in the world, more sexually active than anyone else in the world and they become pregnant more often than anyone else in the world. 

Of course it probably doesn¯t help that we have the highest divorce rate in the world either. Our families are a complete and total mess and it is our kids that are paying the price. 

One top of everything else, we have accumulated a 16 trillion dollar debt which we will be handing down to the next generation. I am sure that they will appreciate that.

The following are 40 signs that we have seriously messed up the next generation of Americans¯.

1. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either ¯low income¯ or impoverished.

2. More than 25 percent of all U.S. children have a chronic health condition that affects their ability to learn. Perhaps we should not be feeling them so much junk food.

3. In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.

4. The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

5. One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that approximately four times as many boys are addicted to video games as girls are.

6. According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find the nation of Iraq on a map.

7. According to one survey, 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot find the state of New York on a blank map.

8. Only 26 percent of Oklahoma high school students know what the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are called.

9. Only 10 percent of Oklahoma high school students know how many justices sit on the Supreme Court.

10. At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

11. Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than children in Europe are.

12. The United States leads the world in eating disorder deaths.

13. The average American drinks more than 600 sodas every single year. That is by far the most in the world.

14. Back in 1962, only 13 percent of all Americans were obese. Right now, approximately 36 percent of all Americans are obese, and it is being projected that number will rise to 42 percent by 2030.

15. In America today, many families allow the television to raise their children. In fact, the United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.

16. There are more school shootings in America than anywhere else in the world.

17. The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin. This is ripping millions of families with children to shreds.

18. Without solid family units, more kids than ever are joining gangs. Today, there are approximately 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States. That number has risen by 40 percent just since 2009.

19. There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.

20. If you can believe it, an average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.

21. Sadly, the United States actually has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.

22. Approximately 20 percent of all child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8.

23. In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.

24. According to researchers, convicted rapists in the United States report that two-thirds of their victims were under 18, and among those cases 58% said that their victims were 12 years old or younger.

25. The percentage of children living in poverty has risen from 17 percent in 2007 to 22 percent today.

26. Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

27. It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

28. As I have written about previously, approximately 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States are on food stamps.

29. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

30. It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

31. It is estimated that child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.

32. Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

33. Law enforcement officials estimate that about 600,000 Americans and about 65,000 Canadians are trading dirty child pictures online.

34. The average high school boy spends two hours watching pornography every single week.

35. An astounding 30 percent of all Internet traffic now goes to pornography websites, and the U.S. producesmore pornography than any other nation has in the history of the world.

36. In the United States today, 47 percent of all high school students have had sex.

37. One out of every four teen girls in the United States now has an STD.

38. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate on the entire planet by a wide margin.

39. One survey found that one out of every five teen girls actually wants to be a teen mom.

40. We have borrowed 16 trillion dollars that we expect future generations to repay. We have consigned our children and our grandchildren to a lifetime of debt slavery and they don¯t even realize it yet. When they do realize what we have done to them they will probably curse us bitterly.

Will The US Election Give Us Insight Into God's Prophetic Clock?

King Nebuchadnezzar lived and reigned over Babylon when the city was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was Nebuchadnezzar that constructed the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar was a real guy who really lived. In 597 BC he captured Jerusalem and deposed King Jehoiakim. The Jews rebelled and in 587 Nebuchadnezzar destroyed both the city and the Temple and deported Judah¯s most prominent citizens to Babylon.

Uncounted thousands of Jews died in the siege, with the defenders eventually even resorting to cannibalism in their efforts to survive. The Temple of God was defiled. The Holy of Holies was desecrated and the Temple treasures looted.

Where was God when all this was happening? The Jews were His Chosen People; the Temple was His place on the Earth. Why didn't He interfere?

When the Ark was being transported aboard an oxcart, one of the oxen stumbled and an Israelite named Uzzah put out his hand to steady it. According to 2 Samuel 6:7, the moment Uzzah¯s hand touched the Ark he fell over dead.

So how could a Gentile king and his hordes manage to sack the Temple without having to worry about Divine retribution?

¯Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:¯ (Daniel 2:20-21)

¯Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.¯(Daniel 2:37-38)

Do you see it? Nebuchadnezzar was able to sack the Temple, touch the Temple treasures, defile the Holy of Holies and even steal from God, so to speak, because God appointed him.

God sets up kings. God removes kings. God made Nebuchadnezzar ruler over them, according to His purpose. The Prophet Daniel, a victim of Nebuchadnezzar¯s conquest, understood this principle well.

Nebuchadnezzar was king because God wanted him to be king and he would only stay king as long as God wanted him to.

God also appointed Cyrus the Persian, Alexander the Great, Caligula, Pilate, Kaiser Wilhelm, King Leopold II, Czar Nicholas, Emperor Hirohito, Kim il Sung, Mao Tze Tung, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot and every other murderous dictator in history.

Bible prophecy is the telling ¯ in advance ¯ of how these tyrants who had absolute power on earth, were mere pawns in the overall Big Picture of history.

God sets up kings and He brings down kings according to His will.

No tyrant, no matter how terrible, achieved his rank through his own effort. And while Satan is certainly capable of corrupting them, he is powerless to appoint them.

This is one of the harder sayings of Scripture, but it is nonetheless true. Every tyrant in history was either appointed by God or the Bible is not true.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, Nero was emperor of Rome. Ultimately, Paul was beheaded on Nero¯s orders. It is especially important to keep Nero in mind when reading Paul¯s admonition to the Romans as recorded in Romans 13:1-6.

¯Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. 

Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.¯

Let me repeat myself here: when Paul was speaking of the higher powers being ordained by God according to His purposes, Paul was speaking of Emperor Nero!

Nebuchadnezzar could lay siege to Jerusalem because God permitted it. Indeed, the Siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was part of the overall plan of God for the ages.

It was from Babylon that Daniel was given the outline of future history from the order to rebuild the Temple to the reign of the antichrist in the last days.

No detail was left to chance ¯ if we learn anything from Bible prophecy, we learn that every event is interconnected with the events that came before and those to come afterwards. Remove some of it and all of it collapses.

Now we come to the point of today¯s briefing. What does Barack Obama, American politics and the Election of 2012 have to do with Bible prophecy?

Let¯s look first at what we know as opposed to what we think. Barack Obama would not be president of the United States if God didn¯t want him there. We know that as a certainty.

So by observing Obama¯s agenda, if we are as far along the timeline as I believe we are, Obama¯s agenda should provide insights into God¯s agenda for the last days as articulated by Scripture.

As we¯ve discussed previously, right or wrong, America is perceived by the world as the world¯s most Christian nation. It is that perception that is relevant.

If I wanted to convey a message, I would use symbols that would make sense to those I was trying to reach. So if I wanted to convey a message to the Church about the collapse of Biblical Christianity at about the same time as the end of the Church Age, I would probably start this way:

¯This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come¯ ¯ and then I would describe the prevailing moral state of the world¯s most Christian nation.

I wouldn¯t describe the moral state of the whole world, since the moral state of the whole world, apart from Christ, has remained unchanged since Adam.

I¯d describe a primarily Christian people in what is recognized as a primarily Christian nation -- one whose moral state was in obvious and discernible deterioration from a less immoral state.

The president sets the moral agenda for the nation ¯ that¯s just the way it is. America under Reagan was more moral than under Clinton. It was more moral under Bush than under Obama.

That isn¯t to say the presidents were, but rather their agendas ¯ since their agenda reflects that of the people that elected them.

America elected Barack Obama in 2008. The moral agenda of the nation has since reflected Obama¯s morals. What are they?

Obama marks every Muslim holiday with a speech. When Obama mentioned Passover, he likened it to the uprisings in the Arab world.

It is hard to imagine showing more disrespect for Judaism than to link the Passover celebration with the political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And Obama remained absolutely silent during the most solemn feast day on the Christian calendar, (apart from hosting an Easter Egg hunt).

Obama¯s agenda has accelerated America¯s decline exponentially. When Obama took office, the IMF was warning that if America didn¯t get its financial house in order, it would lose its status as the world¯s most powerful economy by 2030.

The IMF recently issued a revised forecast saying that at the present rate, the Age of America will come to an end in 2016 ¯ the final year of an Obama second term.

Obama is president because God wanted Obama in the Oval Office at this exact moment in history.

Comparing Obama¯s agenda with the agenda of the antichrist --a global government, centralized global economy and a global religious system and a global religious system hostile to Christians and Jews ¯ American presidential politics takes on extreme relevance to Bible prophecy.

The antichrist is a politician who presides over a political system that has a form of godliness but denies the power thereof; gives lip service to the god of forces but who ultimately views himself as being above any god.

America is the country the rest of the world looks at as the world¯s most Christian country. So when the world¯s most Christian country elects a guy who claims to be Christian, gives lip service to Islam, despises the Jews and whose agenda guarantees America¯s fall within two terms, whether or not he gets a second term is useful to the interpretation of unfolding Bible prophecy.

Obama is the president of the United States right now because God put him there. If he gets a second term, is that relevant to Bible prophecy?

Iran Threatens To Bring War To U.S. Shores

The deputy chief commander of Iran¯s Revolutionary Guards warned this past week that any aggression against Iran will expand warfare onto the turf of its enemies.

¯Our nation is ready to rub the enemies¯ snout into dust and send thousands of coffins to their cities,¯ Gen. Hossein Salami told Fars News Agency.

¯Any aggression against Iran will expand the war into the borders of the enemies,¯ he warned. ¯They know our power, and we won¯t allow any aggression against our land.¯

The general cited two reasons for what he called the greatness of the Islamic regime: ¯One is that the supreme leader, who is the deputy of the Hidden Imam [the Shiites' 12th Imam], rules with power, knowledge, penetrating the hearts; the other is the martyrs who shed their blood for the greatness of the country.¯

In praising those martyrs, he said, ¯God states in the Quran that martyrs are alive and not to consider them as dead, as they had the art to exchange death to life and reach eternal life.¯

Salami likened the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to a sun shining on the Islamic world, and that despite all the international sanctions and threats, Iran is progressing on all fronts.

Fars News Agency also reported a stern warning by Gen. Hassan Firoozabadi, head of the Army¯s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Although he accused the U.S. and European nations of supporting al-Qaida and ¯terrorists¯ in Syria, he warned that America and the European countries should expect major attacks by al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in their homelands.

As reported earlier this year, terror cells have been placed on high alert to attack targets in the U.S. and Europe should Iran be attacked. Hundreds of terror cells have infiltrated America and, in collaboration with Hezbollah, are awaiting orders to strike American targets.

Thousands of cells have also been placed in Latin America.

¯The Quds Force has established a command and control center in both Bolivia and Venezuela,¯ a former Iranian official with knowledge of the regime¯s terror network recently revealed. ¯Though it has presence in Europe and other parts of the world, it has focused on Latin America. Thousands of such cells have been placed in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Venezuela.¯

A recent report from within Nicaragua indicated that Iran has established a training base in the northern part of that country, where operatives, including Hezbollah terrorists, are being readied for an attack on U.S. and Israeli interests should a war break out with Iran.

Hassan Abassi, a former Guard commander and a current strategist, has stated that many of the cells are of Latin American origin, including from Mexico, and that several hundred targets have been identified in the U.S. for a possible attack.

¯If America dares to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Iran, it should have no doubt that we will destabilize America,¯ Abassi said.

Another senior commander of the Islamic regime, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, recently warned America, ¯In the face of any attack, we will have a crushing response. In that case, we will not only act in the boundaries of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf; no place in America will be safe from our attacks.¯

Khamenei has also warned America that any conflict will expand beyond the region. That same warning was issued days ago by Hassan Nasrallah, the general secretary of the terrorist group Hezbollah.

The response by Iran in case of an attack on its nuclear facilities will be ¯very great,¯ Nazrallah said.

Thousands of Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary forces of the Basij are set to conduct exercises in the coming weeks within Iranian cities on the occasion of the week of holy defense, an annual event commemorating the Iran-Iraq war. 

According to a source within the Guards intelligence division who has defected to Europe, the exercise is a practice to use force against the Iranian population and to militarize and take control of major cities because the regime expects another uprising over deteriorating economic conditions and major resentment by the majority of Iranians against the Islamic regime.

2. Israel - God's Timepiece

Israeli Jewish Population Set To Pass 6 Million

The Jewish population in Israel numbers about 5,978,600 ¯ just 21,400 short of the symbolic six million mark, which it is expected to pass by the end of 2012.

According to census stats released for the Jewish New Year, the total population of Israel, not including illegal immigrants, stands at about 7,933,200 people. Of these, 1,636,600 are Arabs and 318,000 are listed under the category of "others." 

Jews make up 75.3% of the total population in Israel, not including illegal aliens.

The Jewish population has grown by about 70,000 since the end of 2011, when it stood at about 5,907,000.

The Jewish population's rate of growth in 2011 was 1.8%, similar to the rate in the last eight years. The rate was similar in the 80s, but higher in the 90s, because of the large scale immigration from the former Soviet Union.

The growth rate of the Arab population was 2.4% in 2011, down from 3.4% in the years 1996-2000.

Four percent of Israel's population live in Judea and Samaria ¯ up from 3% in 2000.

About half of Israel's Jews live in central Israel and Tel Aviv. About 40% of the Arabs live in northern Israel.

According to information released recently by Hebrew University demographics expert Professor Sergio Della Pergola, there are 13.75 million Jews in the world today, an increase of 88,300 from last Rosh Hashanah.

The Jews in Israel make up 43% of the total Jewish world population, while 39% of all Jews worldwide live in the United States (5.46 million), and 9.5% (1.43 million) reside in Europe.

Hizballah, Israel Close To Clash And Chemical Threat Is Back

The first US-Turkish backed steps for creating safe havens in Syria and possible strategic bombardment of the Syrian army have brought the Middle East close to two dangerous junctures: The Syrian army¯s use of chemical weapons, and an outbreak of hostilities between Hizballah and Israel, debkafile¯s military sources report. 

The creeping Western involvement in the Syrian conflict was not previously acknowledged and the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah rarely figured publicly as a fighting prop of the Assad regime.

That is until the dam burst Friday and Saturday, Sept 7-8.

The United States then admitted that US officials and intelligence agents were training and aiding Syrian rebels from positions on the Turkish border ¯ and therefore directly intervening in their operations.

This admission came on the heels of the debkafile disclosure of Sept. 6 that Turkish officers backed by US agents had taken command of two Syrian rebel brigades.

Britain and France came next to report they were sending aid directly to the Syrian opposition, a more cautious admission than the American reference to officials and agents, but clearly on the same track, which adds up to their direct intervention in Syria for the creation of safe havens.

French and British foreign ministers attending a European Union meeting in Cyprus called Friday night for sanctions against Hizballah, meaning that mounting Western pressure on Assad has been extended to his Lebanese ally.

But the big event thus portended is still to come.

It will now be up to the Syrian rebels, backed and steered by a US-led Arab-Western-European-Turkish coalition, to fight for the safe haven, purge it of forces and militias loyal to Assad and expand it for control of large tracts of territory in eastern and western Syria.

Despite fairly large-scale defections, the bulk of the Syrian army still maintains its allegiance to the Syrian ruler and doesn¯t appear ready to turn against him. 

The rebels therefore face a long, arduous and hazardous haul before they can secure a substantial safe haven ¯ unless it can be shortened by a step now under consideration in Washington, London, Paris, Ankara and at least two Arab capitals: aerial bombardment of the Syrian army¯s toughest backbone, the 9th Division commanded by the Syrian ruler¯s brother, Gen. Maher Assad. 

The same treatment could be meted out to smash Hizballah bases and strategic centers.

The thinking in some circles in Washington is that Russia¯s disengagement from its support of the Assad regime and cutoff of essential weapons, have opened the way to severing the military bonds tying Assad, Hizballah and Tehran together. As long as those bonds are viable, it will be that much harder to bring Assad to heel and subjugate his armed forces.

The revelation by British military sources Friday, Sept. 7 that 150 elite officers and troops of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had flown into Syria was intended as a warning to Tehran that the time had come to pull its hand out of the Syrian fire.

This rush of events may bring closer to reality the action feared most by Western powers, Israel, Turkey and Jordan that, as his enemies close in, Assad will bring out his chemical and bioogical weapons.

Consciousness of this approaching threat led Washington sources to disclose Friday that Syria¯s chemical arsenal was bigger and more widely scattered than suspected hitherto. It was also an admission that Washington was no longer fully apprised of the scale of this arsenal or its locations.

Last week, Israeli media were too preoccupied with the likelihood of war with Iran to notice that Israel and Hizxballah had moved up to the brink of a major clash. The war alert declared by Israel¯s armed forces in mid-week had only partly eased by Saturday.

'Hezbollah Aiming 60-70 Thousand Rockets At Israel'

Hezbollah has between 60 and 70 thousand rockets aimed at Israel, Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security chief Amos Gilad said Monday.

Speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's World Summit, Gilad said the Lebanese terrorist organization has stockpiled rockets of various types, and its arsenal is far more robust than the one it had prior to the Second Lebanon War. "The next war will be aimed against the home front," Gilad warned.

Gilad also blamed Hezbollah for a number of successful and unsuccessful terrorist attacks abroad.

Though admitting that the threat from Lebanon is growing, Gilad was largely optimistic about Israel's security situation, citing positive developments in Syria, Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

"In Syria, there is good news," Gilad said. "The Golan Heights remains the quietest region in the entire Middle East. Our deterrence capabilities are sufficiently, for the time being, keeping out warring parties in Syria." Gilad also warned that al-Qaida is starting to rear its head in Syria, with a view that the fall of Assad will allow it to open a new terror front against Israel.

Turning to Egypt, Gilad said that though there are many terrorist groups actively trying to strike Israel from the Sinai, recently-elected President Mohamad Morsy and his officials remain committed to peace.

Gilad called the situation in Gaza "relatively restrained," with Hamas generally holding other Palestinian terror groups back from striking Israel.

Gilad also stated that Israel is currently not facing a conventional military threat, a massive improvement over Israel's historical security situation.

Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, who lectured at the same conference, said that the Arab Spring is forcing populations across the Middle East to answer difficult questions about the congruence between Western and Islamic values.

"What happens when the majority does not want democracy?" Meridor asked rhetorically. "What happens when the majority does not believe a woman is equal to a man? What happens what it wants the Muslim Brotherhood?"

Meridor said the Middle East is experiencing a "battle between Western ideals of freedom and democracy versus traditional conservative and Islamic values."

Israeli EMP Attack Could Throw Iran 'Back to Stone Age'

Israel might attack Iran by using electromagnetic pulses (EMP) that could cripple the country by shutting down its electronics and sending the Islamic Republic ¯back to the Stone Age,¯ The London Sunday Times reported.

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.

The shock wave would knock out Iran¯s power grid and communications systems for transport and financial services, leading to economic collapse.

The ¯back to the Stone Age¯ tactic was first proposed in an Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) article in early August by Dr. Joe Tuzara, after another Arutz Sheva oped writer, attorney Mark Langfan described its power in an earlier article. 

A former clinical research-physician-general surgeon for Saudi Arabian, Philippine and American healthcare systems, he wrote, ¯The wild card is in Israel¯s hand - 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 with no blast or radiation effects on the ground.¯

He explained that one effect of the EMP attack would be that, ¯Iran¯s uranium enrichment centrifuges in Fordo, Natanz and widely scattered elsewhere, would freeze for decades.¯

The WorldNetDaily reported three weeks ago, ¯Israelis have not ruled out a Jericho III missile launch to detonate a single electromagnetic pulse warhead at high altitude over central Iran."

The Sunday Times report quoted Bill Gertz, editor of the Washington Free Beacon, said that the United States expressed concern about using a high-altitude nuclear bomb to set off the an EMP attack.

Amid constant reports of Israel¯s preparing to take direct action to stop or at least halt Iran¯s presumed race to manufacture a nuclear warhead aimed at Israel, Canada increased diplomatic pressure on Iran Friday by announcing it is closing its embassy in Tehran.

It called the Islamic regimen "the greatest threat to security and peace in the world." 

Foreign Minister John Baird said that "the Iranian regime refuses to fall in line with UN demands regarding Iran's nuclear program, and making repeated threats to Israel's existence."

'Next 50 Days Most Fateful Since Yom Kippur War'

Former MK Tzachi Hanegbi, considered a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tells Likud conference he believes a decision on Iran will be made within the next 50 days.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak studying a map with Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld on Thursday. |Photo credit: Alon Bason/Defense Ministry 

Former Likud and Kadima member Tzachi Hanegbi said this week that he believed the fate of Israel's conflict with Iran will be decided within the next 50 days. Hanegbi, who is considered a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, later told Israel Hayom the assessment was his own and not based on specific information disclosed to him.

"We are entering the most fateful 50 days Israel has faced since, perhaps, the similarly fateful days prior to the Yom Kippur War," Hanegbi said at a Likud conference this week, as quoted by the Makor Rishon newspaper.

Hanegbi, who in the past served as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as well as minister in the Prime Minister¯s Office in 2004 and Internal Security Minister in 2003, recently left the Kadima party and rejoined the Likud.

At the same conference, Hanegbi explained that any decision that will be made on whether or not to attack Iran would have to be "taken by someone with foresight, with historical vision, who comes from an ideological home. Today, when we talk about how we understand the dangers of the Iranian threat and understand that confrontation comes at a cost, it is because we want to spare our sons and grandsons from having to pay an intolerable price."

In an interview with Israel Hayom on Thursday, the former minister said that "the remarks I made were my interpretation of statements and analyses made by others in the media. They were not based on a conversation I had with the prime minister. Netanyahu does not consult with me on these issues and I am not, by definition of my position, privy to such information."

"I do have my own interpretation though, and I have no doubt that these are fateful days. Even a decision not to do anything [about Iran] is a fateful decision. I have no doubt that there will be a price to pay for any decision or indecision," Hanegbi said.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office said he had no comment on Hanegbi's assessment.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said differences remain with the United States over Iran's disputed nuclear program, despite efforts by Israel and the U.S. to come to an agreement on the issue.

Barak told a meeting of his Independence party that "the clocks are ticking at a different pace" for the U.S. and Israel, suggesting disagreements remain on the timeline for any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"Israel reserves the right to make its own sovereign decisions. The U.S. respects that," he said. At the event, Barak also called a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders a "post-Zionist outlook."

Earlier this week, Israeli officials said the U.S. and Israel were working closely in hopes of getting the countries' positions in sync, holding close discussions with American officials over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

Barak, who spoke hours after meeting the U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James A. Winnefeld, reiterated that Israel reserves the right to carry out a strike unilaterally. He added, however, that there was "no doubt" about Washington's "readiness to face the challenge on every level."

Israel believes time is running out to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, while the U.S. opposes any Israeli military action at the current time.

Israel and the U.S. both believe, however, that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the allegations, and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes like producing energy and medical isotopes.

Part of the dispute over timing is related to military capabilities. Israel's timeline for military action is shorter than that of the United States, which has far more powerful bunker-busting bombs at its disposal. Israel fears that the longer Iran is allowed to continue uninhibited with its nuclear program, the deeper underground the facilities will become, making them impenetrable to an Israeli attack. 

Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel's destruction, the country's development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state, and Tehran's support for Islamic terror groups hostile to Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

Reiterating Russia's opposition to a military strike on Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday "We want to warn those who are no strangers to military solutions that an attack will lead to great damage and will be catastrophic to the region's stability. 

It will also affect the security and economic welfare of the entire world. The act will have repercussions far beyond the Middle East."

Diplomacy: Iran For Dummies

When it comes to Iran, the mind increasingly reels. So much noise, so many contradictions, so little clarity. On the one hand, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, thinly disguised in a Haaretz interview last month as the ¯decision-maker,¯ says the sword hanging over Israel¯s neck today is sharper than the one that hung over the country prior to the Six Day War. 

On the other hand, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heavily intimated this week that if the US would just draw a clear line in the sand and say to the Iranians that if they cross that line the US would attack, then Israeli action in the near future could be avoided.

On the one hand, Yediot Aharonot reported this week that the US is passing non-aggression messages to Iran, telling them that Washington does not back an Israeli attack and that Tehran should subsequently not harm US targets in the region in case of such an offensive. 

On the other hand, on the exact same day, The New York Times reported that US President Barack Obama is considering a range of steps ¯short of war¯ in the hope of forestalling an Israeli attack and getting the Iranians to take the stalemated negotiations more seriously.

On the one hand, both US and Israeli senior officials talk about unprecedentedly close intelligence and security cooperation. Yet on the other hand, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is quoted as saying that the US will not be dragged into an Israeli-initiated war and that he did not want to be ¯complicit¯ in an Israeli attack.

So which hand is it? With so much contradictory talk and so little clarity, there is a need to try and answer some of the most basic questions.

Will Israel attack Iran, and if so when? 

That, of course is the granddaddy of all Iran-related questions, and one that only Netanyahu and Barak know the answer to. Everyone else is just guessing. And Barak and Netanyahu? Well, they are not saying, at least not directly.

Barak, in his cameo role as the ¯decision-maker¯ in the Haaretz piece, made some pretty clear statements arguing for an attack, but stopped short of saying it was inevitable. 

And Netanyahu, beyond saying Iran must be prevented from getting the bomb, and beyond making historical comparisons between now and the pre- Holocaust 1930s, never said Jerusalem will attack. In fact, this week he stepped back a bit and said that clear red lines from the US on the matter could forestall such a move.

So all that we have to fall back on is historical precedent. And what the historical precedent has shown is that when Israel feels its back is against the wall, when it genuinely feels that the sword is at its throat, it takes action ¯ even if the US is opposed.

This was true in 1948 when David Ben-Gurion declared statehood despite fierce opposition from the US State Department. This was true in 1967 when Levi Eshkol made the decision to preempt against Egypt even though president Lyndon Johnson made clear that if Israel went alone, it would be alone. 

And this was true in 2007 when Israel, according to foreign accounts, hit a nuclear installation in Syria despite US president George Bush telling prime minister Ehud Olmert that Washington preferred to deal with the issue peacefully through the IAEA and the UN.

In other words, as the ¯decision-maker¯ elegantly put it in his interview, ¯There are moments in the life of a nation in which the imperative to live is the imperative to act. So it was on the eve of the Six Day War. So it was in 1948. And it may be so now, too.¯

The key word here is ¯may.¯ History has shown that Israel acts when its back is against the wall. That it has not acted until now shows it is still not feeling that wall. That point may arrive, but we are not there yet. If we were, it is safe to assume Netanyahu would not be talking about the need for the US to set red lines because those red lines would already have been crossed.

And then there is the question of when. In recent weeks, the November 6 US election has been tossed out as some sort of magic date. Some argue that if Netanyahu wants to attack he will have to do so before then, because Obama ¯ out of concern about the pro- Israel vote in the US ¯ would be forced to back an Israeli action. 

If Obama were reelected and Israel were to go it alone after November 6, according to this reasoning, it would risk the full fury of the US president¯s wrath.

But just as strong a counter- argument could be made against an attack before the election, for fear that this would complicate matters for Obama and that he would later extract payment if he nonetheless went on to win the election.

November 6 is an artificial deadline ¯ a meaningless one. Again, if Israel feels its back is against the wall it will take action before or after the elections. The whole discussion generates a feeling of d¯j¯ vu. 

Back in the summer of 2008 there were all kinds of learned arguments as to why Bush would attack during the summer before the Republican convention, or just after the elections before the inauguration of the new president as a way of doing the job for his successor and taking the Iranian issue off the table. None of it happened.

Who in Israel would make the decision to attack? 

Netanyahu¯s dramatic adjournment of an Iran-centered security cabinet meeting this week brought into sharp focus the whole decision-making process on Iran and the question of who ¯ ultimately ¯ would make the decision.

In recent months, some have painted a picture of the fateful decision to attack Iran being made by Netanyahu and Barak alone with little consultation, and over the objections of the military and intelligence elites. There were even those who argued this week that the cancellation of the security cabinet discussion was just a ploy to denigrate that forum and move the entire decision-making process into Netanyahu¯s living room.

The truth is that the 14-member security cabinet is the body empowered by law with making such a decision. Not Netanyahu and Barak alone. Not his informal advisory group of ministers that in recent months has gone from a septet to an octet and now a nonet. Only the security cabinet. And if the security cabinet wants, it can ¯ as has been the case in the past ¯ take the matter to a formal vote in the cabinet.

Therefore, all the recent calculations about how Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter was coopted into the government and then into the octet in order to break a tie in that body regarding Iran are nonsense, since this is not the body that will decide. At least not now.

There are, as a result of the leaks, some who are calling for a smaller, more intimate forum than the large security cabinet to deal with this issue. But that would entail new legislation, which would take time. It¯s not going to happen from today to tomorrow.

Why is Iran stepping up its anti-Semitic and virulently anti-Israel rhetoric? 

In the run-up to last week¯s Non-Aligned Movement Summit, and during the summit, Iran¯s leaders let forth with virulent anti- Semitic and anti-Israel tirades. Because appearing as drool-dripping, wild-eyed anti-Semites seems counter-intuitive at a time when Iran wants to get the world to ease up on its sanctions, one must ask why they are doing this.

What is behind it? 

First, they are simply doing it because they believe it. When Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says that the Zionists are ¯blood-thirsty wolves¯ who represent a ¯danger for entire humanity,¯ he believes it.

When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls Israel a ¯black stain¯ that needs to be removed from human society, he means it.

What is astonishing is the degree to which so much attention is paid to every comment by anonymous Israeli officials about a possible attack on Iran, without equivalent attention being paid to these genocidal comments which explain why Israel is even contemplating such a move.

Secondly, these comments are an effort by the Iranians to do what they have been doing for years: to frame their nuclear program as an Israeli-Iranian issue.

While Israel¯s tactic since the early 2000s has been to get the world to see a nuclear Iran as a real threat and menace not only to Israel but to the whole world, the Iranians have pushed back with an effort to frame this in terms of a Muslim vs. Israel conflict. 

By consistently vilifying the Zionists, the Iranians are sidelining Muslim governments which ¯ although they may be petrified by the prospects of an Iranian bomb ¯ will take a lower profile on the issue if for no other reason than because Iran¯s virulent anti- Semitism and anti-Zionism resonates loudly on their own streets.

Why are Russia and China not being more cooperative on the issue? 

If Iran¯s anti-Semitic rants seem counterintuitive, so do Russia and China¯s less than cooperative attitudes. Neither country has an interest in seeing Iran go nuclear, especially Russia, which shares the Caspian Sea with Iran. If this is the case, then why the obstructionist behavior? 

Indeed, Russia¯s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, was quoted Thursday warning against an attack as being disastrous for the region and having far-reaching consequences beyond.

Russia and China¯s contrarian position on Iran is similar to why they continue to bolster Syria¯s Bashar Assad: fear of American dominance in the region.

The Chinese and the Russians ¯ especially the Russians ¯ fear that the collapse of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah would lead to complete American domination of the Mideast and its oil flow. America, in this view, already has close allies in the Persian Gulf, in Turkey, in Israel. The collapse of Iran and Syria could possibly send those states as well into the US camp, leaving Moscow and Beijing without any foothold in the strategically critical region.

Moscow is not enamored of Tehran, but this is the Middle East and, in this region¯s the-enemy-of my-enemy-is-my-friend logic, Iran and Syria keep the US at bay.

Is there a crisis in US-Israel relations over the issue? 

Were one to rely solely on the reporting of Yediot Aharonot, the answer to this question would be a resounding yes. The paper reported last Friday on a veritable yelling match between Netanyahu and the nearly unflappable US Ambassador Dan Shapiro over Iran, and on Sunday quoted Israeli officials as saying the ties between the countries were at their lowest point in years.

But reality is a bit more nuanced than screaming Yediot headlines. 

First of all, Yediot clearly has a dog in this fight. The paper has an unabashedly anti-Netanyahu position, and reports that place Netanyahu in a bad light are trumpeted prominently in its pages. 

In fact, an argument could be made that Yediot is nearly as anti-Netanyahu as the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel HaYom is pro-Netanyahu. And portraying an Israel-US relationship that is at rock bottom is a club to pound Netanyahu, because most Israelis realize how important that relationship is.

Secondly, and paradoxically, there are government officials who ¯ while opposed to Yediot¯s anti-Netanyahu line ¯ also have an interest in portraying the relationship as one in distress because they want to thump Obama.

For these people who do not want to see Obama reelected, placing the relationship in the worst possible light reflects poorly on Obama and could impact on Jewish and pro-Israel supporters in the US when they go to the polls in the key battleground states. In other words, there are those with an interest in depicting the relationship as one in crisis because they want Obama to lose the elections.

On the other side, of course, are those ¯ like Administration officials who leak reports such as an Obama interest now is setting new red lines on Iran to the New York Times ¯ who speak of an unprecedentedly good and close relationship in order to keep Jewish and pro-Israel supporters in key states from jumping Obama¯s ship. They want Obama to win the elections.

And the reality? 

The reality is that there are disagreements ¯ serious ones ¯ but no crisis. A crisis is when the intimacy and backing and cooperation ends. And that has not happened. Is there any guarantee that it won¯t? Of course not. But it has not happened yet. The use of the word ¯complicity¯ by one general ¯ as senior as he may be ¯ does not a crisis make. It shows, perhaps, the level of disagreement, but not a crisis.

And what is the disagreement about? Essentially, it is over the concept embodied by the word ¯capability.¯ Do you stop Iran before it has nuclear capability, or do you stop it only when it assembles a nuclear weapon? 

Or, in simpler terms, do you keep Iran from getting all the ingredients to be able to bake a nuclear pie whenever it gets hungry ¯ Israel¯s position ¯ or do you only stop them when they are actually taking that pie out of the oven? 

This is a serious ¯ not a trivial ¯ disagreement, but it is not unbridgeable. This week Netanyahu said that he would be satisfied as long as the US tells the Iranian chefs at what point in the pie-making process they will move in to ransack the kitchen.

Jerusalem awaits an answer.

3. A Revived Roman Empire?

Barroso Calls For EU ¯Federation¯

Europe must evolve to ¯a federation of nation states¯, Europe¯s top official has said, as he pleaded for deeper integration among the EU¯s 27 members and an overhaul of the bloc¯s treaties to end its ongoing economic turbulence.

The fiscal crisis had revealed the need for a leap forward in political integration to complement the closer co-operation member states had already begun to embrace to harmonise their economic and fiscal policies, Jos¯ Manuel Barroso said in his annual ¯state of the union¯ address.

¯I call for ... a democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and each citizen are better equipped to control their own destiny,¯ the European Commission president said.

¯In the age of globalisation pooled sovereignty means more power, not less.¯

In policy terms, the most substantial proposal Mr Barroso offered was a plan for unified banking supervision in the EU under the auspices of the European Central Bank.

The scheme, whose details were broadly known before the speech, aims to address one of the most toxic aspects of the euro crisis in which faltering banks have seen their obligations piled onto sovereign governments, in turn weakening public finances.

Mr Barroso¯s call for a new EU treaty was unexpected and could intensify political conflicts within the eurozone, where views on giving up control to Brussels are sharply divided and anti-EU populism is on the rise.

Dutch voters were on Wednesday expected to turn out in significant numbers for anti-bailout and eurosceptic parties on the far left and right ¯ the Socialist party led by former elementary school teacher Emile Roemer, and the Freedom party of anti-Islamic populist Geert Wilders.

Despite the political climate, the continued intractability of the eurozone crisis has led many who have in the past resisted federalism to change their views, acknowledging that monetary union must be accompanied by federal fiscal institutions such as a treasury and finance ministry in order to make the single currency function.

Mr Barroso himself has long been known as a sceptic of European federalism and won his current job eight years ago in part thanks to backing by Britain, which saw him as more pragmatic on integration issues than his rivals.

Mr Barroso on Wednesday promised to present a blueprint outlining his new vision this autumn. Among other things, the document is expected to set out a path for the establishment of some version of common eurozone bonds, according to an aide, and also to clarify further steps to police national budgets.

Wednesday night¯s Dutch elections are seen as a litmus test for eurozone attitudes toward further integration, with polls earlier in the campaign showing Mr Roemer¯s Socialists challenging incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte¯s Liberal party for the largest percentage of the vote.

While both the Socialists and Freedom parties were predicted to show significant gains in final pre-election polling, both have been overtaken by the pro-EU Labour party, headed by its new leader Diederik Samson, who was locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Mr Rutte last night after a series of strong debate performances.

Germany's New Dictator, Angela Merkel?

For two consecutive years, Forbes Magazine has elected Angela Merkel the most powerful woman on Earth. It might not be long before she becomes the most powerful person on Earth. 

That is what Gertrud H¯hler, a former advisor of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl fears. H¯hler has published a book to warn the Germans about Merkel, who, H¯hler says, wants to establish a dictatorship in Europe.

The 58-year old Angela Merkel began her political career in 1991 as a junior minister under Chancellor Kohl. After the German reunification of 1990, Helmut Kohl needed some ministers from the former East Germany, the so-called "German Democratic Republic" (GDR). Although Kohl made Merkel his Minister of Women and Youth, he did not seem to have a high opinion of her; he derisively called her, "das M¯dchen" ¯ "the girl."

Kohl's contempt for "the girl Angela" is shared by his former confidante, Gertrud H¯hler. The 71-year old H¯hler has just published a Merkel biography called "Die Patin: Wie Merkel Deutschland umbaut ¯ The Godmother: How Merkel Is Reconstructing Germany." Patin is also a derisive term. 

It is the female version of Pate, godfather. Francis Ford Coppola's movie "The Godfather" is called Der Pate in German. In H¯hler's view, Merkel is the real life version of what Marlon Brando was in the movie.

H¯hler considers Merkel to be a danger to democracy. She is said to be establishing a dictatorship. Not just in Germany, but in Europe. Merkel's aim, writes H¯hler, is to become the Chancellor of Europe. 

And her rule will not be democratic. "Merkel has left the path of democracy," says H¯hler. The Chancellor imposes her will on the Germans and the other Europeans, without caring about the rule of law, national constitutions or even earlier treaties which she signed herself.

H¯hler explains, however, that Merkel is not an ideological dictator. According to H¯hler, Merkel has no principles. All that matters for the Chancellor is power. H¯hler calls Merkel's governing method "das System M." 
The M stands for Macht, the German word for power. Merkel, the most powerful woman on earth, is a power-obsessed egomaniac, driven by just one thing: a desire for more power.

H¯hler says she wishes to protect the Germans from Merkel's autocratic regime, which would be Germany's third dictatorship in less than eighty years, after Nazism and East Germany's Communism. 

H¯hler describes how Merkel orchestrated the end of the political careers of all potential rivals within her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which also happens to be H¯hler's party.

H¯hler's fury at Merkel is excessive and some observers hint that it probably originates from H¯hler's frustration over her own political ambitions. These were thwarted twenty years ago when Kohl did not appoint H¯hler as a cabinet minister, but gave a junior position to Merkel, a woman who emerged in Germany with the collapse of the Communist GDR.

H¯hler is not the only critic of Merkel in the CDU. Two weeks ago, CDU business policy expert Josef Schlarmann sharply criticized "System M." Those who do not agree with Merkel are excluded from the party leadership, he said. Schlarmann, too, pointed out that Merkel has removed all potential challengers from the party, making it impossible for a successor to come forward as long as she leads the party.

H¯hler's book has caused a stir in Germany -- possibly due not only to squabbling within the CDU, but also to the unease among former West Germans about current German politics. 

Many West Germans seem to resent the fact that, twenty years after the reunification, they are being governed by former East Germans. The Chancellor, H¯hler says, is an "alien" to the political nature of the Federal Republic of Germany. She is a politician molded in the politics of "regimes that enforce political conformity."

Twenty years after the reunification, Germany has not only a Chancellor, but also a President, Joachim Gauck, who grew up in the East. President Gauck is a former East German pastor, and Merkel is the daughter of a former East German pastor. 

Shortly after her birth in 1954, her parents moved from West to East Germany, at a time when thousands of Germans were doing the opposite: fleeing the Communist East for the free West.

H¯hler's main thesis that a politician such as Merkel is not a politician in the liberal Western mold echoes the feelings of many Germans from the former West. Twenty years after the reunification, Germany is in many respects still two different countries. Of the 15,000 marriages which take place annually in Berlin, fewer than 1,000 are between someone from the former West Berlin and a partner from the former East.

In his memoirs, Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic, did not regret the fact that West Germany was separated from the East in 1945. 

In the 1920s, Adenauer had been a separatist who wanted his native Rhineland to secede from the Prussian heartland in the East. In Adenauer's view, the Rhineland had more in common with liberal Western states such as the Netherlands and Britain than with authoritarian Prussia.

Today, Adenauer's legacy is being undone. East Germany has annexed West Germany, and Prussia is about to conquer the rest of Europe. While the former West Germany was pro-Atlantic, the new Prussia goes her own way.

4. The Gog/Magog War

How Syria Might Unleash War Between Israel And Iran

The former head of Israel¯s Mossad intelligence agency is warning that Israel and Iran may be headed to war over Iran¯s increasing military aid to Syria.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Ephraim Halevy said Iran has extended its patronage to the embattled regime of President Bashar al-Assad, sending weapons and soldiers to help quash an 18-month-long revolt against Assad¯s regime.

Israel shares a 45-mile long border with Syria that has been quiet for decades. But Halevy said the presence of Iranian troops just across that border heightens tensions between the two countries¯tensions that are already elevated over Iran¯s nuclear program.

¯The Iranians are becoming ever more involved in Syria and it¯s reaching proportions beyond the imagination,¯ said Halevy, who headed Mossad from 1998 to 2002 and later served as director of Israel¯s National Security Council.

¯This brings Israel and Iran in danger of a direct military confrontation in Syria,¯ he said. ¯It¯s not to say that Israel seeks it, or Iran seeks it, but when you have such hatred spewed from Tehran towards Jerusalem, I don¯t trust the Iranian capability to control what¯s going on there.¯

The Syrian conflict, which has spiraled into a civil war with sectarian overtones, has already claimed the lives of more than 26,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Halevy would not specify what events in Syria could lead to war. But Israeli analysts have raised concerns about everything from a Syrian attack on Israel¯aimed at deflecting attention from Assad¯s brutal crackdown on protesters¯to the transfer of Syrian chemical weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Both scenarios take into account the possibility that Iranian troops or advisers in Syria might direct the events.

Iran has denied helping Assad. But American officials have also raised concerns about aid flowing from Iran to Syria, with three U.S. senators saying last week that Iraq was allowing its airspace to be used for the transfers.

¯The Iranians have been so explicit, so clear about their unyielding support for the murderous Assad regime,¯ State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said last week. ¯All of this destructive assistance should stop, whether it¯s materiel, whether it¯s direct training and assistance to help stage manage the repression.¯

Israel has fought three wars with Syria since 1948 and continues to occupy the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau it captured from Damascus in 1967. But the border between the two countries has remained calm since the separation of forces agreement that followed the 1973 war.

Syrian leaders have generally preferred to lash out at Israel through proxies like Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Halevy¯s remarks are especially worrying given that Israel is already contemplating a possible strike on Iran¯s uranium enrichment facilities, where much of the world believes the Islamic republic is developing nuclear weapons.

Iran describes its nuclear program as peaceful.

Halevy said the aid to Syria adds a possible trigger point for conflict. ¯The nuclear issue is compounded now,¯ he said.

The Obama administration has raised the pressure on Israel in recent weeks not to strike at Iran, arguing that increasingly harsh sanctions could still persuade the country to dismantle the program.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes the sanctions as ineffective and wants assurances from Obama that the U.S. will use military force if Iran continues enriching uranium.

¯The world tells Israel ¯wait, there¯s still time.¯ And I say, ¯Wait for what? Wait until when?¯¯ Netanyahu told reporters today. ¯Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don¯t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.¯

The Iran issue has further strained relations between Netanyahu and Obama. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Obama declined an Israeli request to meet Netanyahu at a U.N. conference in New York later this month.

'The Iranians are becoming ever more involved in Syria and it¯s reaching proportions beyond the imagination.'

Netanyahu says Iran is quickly moving its nuclear facilities deep underground and, in a matter of weeks or months, would no longer be vulnerable to an Israeli attack. 

But an Israeli source familiar with security assessments at the highest levels, said some top intelligence officials dispute Netanyahu¯s estimate, believing the window for an Israeli attack extends well into next year. The source, who did not want to be named discussing sensitive deliberations, said top intelligence officials have debated the issue at recent meetings.

Several key Israeli political and military figures¯including President Shimon Peres¯have spoken out against attacking Iran without American support. Most rank and file Israelis agree, according to opinion polls.

Among Americans, some 70 percent think Washington should not strike at Iran without approval of the U.N. Security Council, according to a poll published this week.

6. The Rise of Islam

Egyptian-Iranian Intelligence Meeting Prompts Fears Of A New Middle East Terror Axis 

U.S. intelligence agencies recently monitored a secret meeting between Egypt¯s intelligence chief and a senior Iranian spy that is raising new fears the Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo could begin covertly supporting global terrorism.

According to U.S. officials, the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, Maj. Gen. Murad Muwafi, met in early August with a senior official of Iran¯s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

Disclosure of the Egyptian-Iranian intelligence meeting comes as the Obama administration is planning to provide $1 billion in aid to bail out Egypt¯s new Islamist government. The administration is said to be seeking closer ties to the new regime in Cairo, following the ouster in February 2011 of long-time ally Hosni Mubarak.

Many members of the pro-democratic, anti-Muslim Brotherhood opposition in Egypt believe the Obama administration has made a covert pact to support the Morsi regime.

Meanwhile in Cairo, Islamic protesters on Tuesday stormed the U.S. Embassy and pulled down the American flag to protest what they said was a U.S. film production the protesters claimed insulted Islam.

U.S. intelligence gathering targeting Egypt has been stepped up over the past year as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist party, came to power in June. The group¯s credo includes the phrase, ¯Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.¯

Since the revolution that led to the ouster of the pro-U.S. regime of Hosni Mubarak, a large number of radical Islamists have been released from prison and have gone back to preaching anti-Western and anti-Israel jihad, or holy war.

The meeting between Muwafi and the Iranian, identified by officials only with his last name, Gerami, set off security concerns because the Iranian spy service is a key player in Tehran¯s international support for terrorism, as well as anti-U.S. and anti-Israel operations.

Within days of the meeting, however, Egypt¯s new President Mohamed Morsi replaced Muwafi in a political shakeup following a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 16 Egyptians in August.

It is not known if the meeting with Gerami was the cause of Muwafi¯s ouster, or if it was the result of the Sinai attack.

News reports in Egypt quoted Muwafi as saying his service had some advance intelligence warning of the Aug. 5 Sinai attack but failed to alert other military and security authorities.

Asked about the Egyptian-Iranian intelligence meeting, a U.S. official told the Free Beacon: ¯The Egyptians are still skeptical of Iranian motives. There¯s a lot of baggage to overcome with Tehran, so for now any efforts to expand outreach and build a new relationship are likely to be cautious and fairly limited.¯

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who specialized in Middle Eastern affairs, said it is difficult to gauge the significance of the Gerami-Muwafi meeting, and noted that liaisons between spy agencies are common.

¯Sometimes those meetings are significant,¯ said Gerecht. ¯Other times, not much at all.¯

¯If they are meeting it is probably different than in the past,¯ he said, noting that it is possible the Egyptians met with the Iranians under the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

¯I¯d guess they would be chatting about Syria and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,¯ said Gerecht, now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. ¯The U.S. would certainly be in that mix. A Muslim Brotherhood-guided service will be more open to Iranian contact than was the case under Mubarak. But Syria is and will remain a huge problem.¯

U.S. officials said Morsi¯s firing of several security officials following the Sinai attack was a clear sign the Muslim Brotherhood, which publicly advocates nonviolent jihad, is moving to take control of key power centers.

Muwafi was a key figure during the Mubarak regime and the intelligence service he headed remains one of the most powerful elements within the Egyptian government.

Muwafi is known to U.S. and western officials. He met Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Egypt last July.

Officials believe Muwafi¯s ouster is part of Muslim Brotherhood efforts to purge the government of pro-military elements.

The news outlet Ahram Online quoted Egyptian presidential office sources as saying Muwafi was fired as the culmination of disputes between Muwafi, the military, and Morsi over the handling of intelligence affairs.

The new Egyptian intelligence chief is Maj. Gen. Mohamed Raafat Shehata, Muwafi¯s deputy who was reportedly involved in the October 2011 prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas that resulted in the freeing of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Iran¯s foreign minister said Aug. 22 that Iran and Egypt were moving toward restoring diplomatic relations, which they severed more than 30 years ago. Ali Akbar Salehi told Egypt¯s state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that Tehran wants ties of ¯friendship and brotherhood¯ with Cairo.

Iran¯s MOIS and the paramilitary Islamic shock troops known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are considered the lynchpin of the Islamic regime in Tehran.

The MOIS has conducted aggressive intelligence operations, including assassinations, and is known to support terrorist groups in the Middle East, including al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. It is also backing the regime in Syria of Bashar al-Assad.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a Feb. 16 statement that the MOIS is ¯Iran¯s primary intelligence organization.¯

David S. Cohen, then-Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the February statement that ¯we are designating the MOIS for its support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, al Qaeda in Iraq, Hezbollah and HAMAS, again exposing the extent of Iran¯s sponsorship of terrorism as a matter of Iranian state policy.¯

The MOIS also was sanctioned for ¯abusing the basic human rights of Iranian citizens and exporting its vicious practices to support the Syrian regime¯s abhorrent crackdown on its own population,¯ he said.

For Hezbollah, the MOIS has provided money, material, and technological support, and also took part in multiple projects with Hezbollah in conducting computer attacks.

The Iranian spy agency also funds and supports the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and ¯has facilitated the movement of al Qaeda operatives in Iran and provided them with documents, identification cards, and passports.¯

¯MOIS also provided money and weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a terrorist group,¯ the Treasury Department said.

In Syria, the MOIS was linked to IRGC Qods Force support of ¯the Syrian regime¯s violent repression of dissent in Syria,¯ the statement said.

¯MOIS, like the IRGC-QF, and the Iranian [Law Enforcement Forces] LEF, has provided financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian [General Intelligence Directorate], whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to [Executive Order] 13572,¯ Treasury Department stated. ¯MOIS has provided substantial technical assistance to the Syrian GID for the purpose of assisting the Syrian regime in its violent crackdown on protesters.¯

The service was not the main source of the plot uncovered last year by Iran¯s government, through the IRGC Qods force, to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States. But U.S. officials said it is very likely that the MOIS was involved in, or at the very least informed about, the plot.

According to U.S. officials, ¯dozens¯ of pro-terrorist Islamist preachers have been released from prison, including former members of the terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

For example, an Egyptian military court set free six imprisoned members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), including Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of current al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Mohammed al-Zawahiri had been sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks.

Earlier, EIJ leader Sheikh Murjan Mustaff Salem, also known as Abd al-Hakim Hassan, was released.

Ahmad Ashush was also released from prison. Ashush fought in Afghanistan and was close to Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri.

Many of the radical Islamists have formed a new group called ¯the Salafi jihadist trend,¯ also known as Ansar al-Shariah in Egypt, which seeks to set up an Islamist state ruled by Shariah law.

The Salafists have criticized less radical Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood for taking part in the democratic process. The radicals want to use force to create a hardline Islamic regime without secular groups.

The radicals are active in the Sinai region of Egypt.

In February, the Treasury Department identified the MOIS as a key facilitator of terrorism and supporter of human rights abuses in Iran and Syria.

Post-Arab Spring "Moderate¯ Muslim Regimes Cornered By Radicals

The United States is positioning military forces so that it can respond to unrest in as many as 17 or 18 places in the Islamic world, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced late Friday. "We have to be prepared in the event that these demonstrations get out of control,¯ he said.

Those words dashed hopes in Washington that the anti-US Islamist rampage by now sweeping 21 countries over a video deriding Islam had passed their peak. 

In fact, by their sixth day Saturday, Sept. 15,the street protests against American embassies and other US symbols of influence were growing more violent and more organized, threatening not only American lives but tearing up President Barack Obama¯s entire outreach policy toward Arabs and Muslims.

In at least four Arab countries, anti-US protesters were no longer just throwing stones but using firearms. The most serious occurred in Egyptian Sinai, where scores of armed Salafist Bedouin linked to al Qaeda firing missiles, grenades, mortars and automatic weapons were able to break down two guard posts at the US-led Multinational Force near El Arish base in search of American victims. 

A battalion of Colombian troops fought the invaders off in fierce battle for hours, preventing them from reaching the hundreds of US officers, soldiers and air crews pinned down in fortified quarters.

In Cairo, Islamist demonstrators began firing rubber bullets at Egyptian security forces which have still not succeeded in breaking up the disturbances.

In Tripoli, Lebanon, protesters and the Lebanese army exchanged heavy gun fire. In Khartoum, Islamists shot their way into the US embassy and the American school before setting them ablaze.

In Tunis, the American ambassador almost suffered the same fate as his colleague, Chris Stevens and three consulate staffers who were murdered in Benghazi, Libya, last Tuesday, Sept. 11. The ambassador and several US diplomats were rescued from the burning embassy building by a special Tunisian counter-terror unit and taken to safety.

Friday, saw the first five fatalities as well the first violent Muslim demonstration in the Australian town of Sydney.

debkafile¯s counter-terror and intelligence sources draw seven conclusions from nearly a week of surging anti-American violence across the Middle East, South Asia and beyond:

1. The anti-Islamic video film was not the cause of the upheaval only a pretext.

2. The outbreaks were orchestrated by a number of radical Islamic organizations ranging from the ultraconservative Salafis to Al Qaeda terrorists. They took advantage of swelling anti-US sentiment in many Arab and Muslim countries to weaken local governments which maintain ties with the United States, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

3. It is not yet known how the mechanism coordinating operations among those Islamist extremist groups works, but it has already shown to be faster and more efficient than the American intelligence and counter-terror bodies keeping track of them. Day by day, Washington is caught unawares by fresh outbursts.

4. After firing up Arab and some Muslim streets, this radical coalition believes its component organizations are gathering enough leverage to start pushing out the ¯moderate¯ Muslim Brotherhood branches brought to power by the US-backed Arab Spring in order to take their place. The anti-US ferment will therefore not abate, as Washington hopes, until they achieve their goal.

5. The US has sent two platoons of 50 men each of specially trained Marines to protect its embassies in Libya and Yemen and may send a third to Sudan. Otherwise, the Obama administration dare not send in American troops to prop up the new Arab regimes; any visible US military intervention in those countries would only enhance the radicals¯ popularity and weaken the regimes they are fighting to remove.

6. The new Muslim Brotherhood rulers of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya face a tough strategic dilemma; Lean more heavily on American support to save their regimes, or bow to the Islamist extremists, turn their backs on America and give them a place in government.

7. Power-sharing with radicals has already begun in some Arab countries, spelling the reversal of Obama¯s policies and the goals of the ¯Arab Spring¯

Those policies aimed naively at the removal in the name of democracy of autocratic, secular Arab rulers to make way for ¯moderate¯ Muslim Brotherhood regimes elected by the people and ready to work with the United States. This ideal was violently reduced to ashes in the second week of September 2012.

It is hard not to recall another debacle of 33 years ago, when President Jimmy Carter helped overthrow the Shah of Persia only to bring implacable ayatollah rule to Tehran.

'Muslim Brotherhood Rising': Jihadists Coordinating Attacks?

Terrorism analyst and Act for America President Brigitte Gabriel says the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the U.S. Embassy in Egypt were coordinated, and more may be coming.

¯Jihadists are organizing together, and they¯re communicating with one another through the Internet,¯ she told WND today following the murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya.

Through their websites and networks, Gabriel said, ¯we are seeing the Muslim Brotherhood rising all across the Middle East,¯ where it has had an active presence for the past 30 years.

The Associated Press reported authorities are investigating the possibility the attack today was coordinated, and they warn that the next target for violent Muslims could be the U.S. embassy in Algeria.

The AP said various jihadist groups have engaged in online chatter about ongoing protests at U.S. embassies, and an intelligence report said Algerians plan to storm the U.S. Embassy today.

The statement cited a Facebook page for a German-speaking Muslim cleric based in Tripoli who is promoting violence online.

Further, WTOP-TV in Washington reported sources saying the attacks did not ¯appear to be a random mob scene, but rather an opportunity that militants seized.¯

The Islamic attackers used a rocket-propelled grenade, a weapon not traditionally carried by protesters, the report said.

In Cairo, mobs of angry protesters invaded the U.S. Embassy compound, and at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, attackers killed four Americans, including the ambassador.

The Cairo mob lowered U.S. flags and hoisted a black Islamic flag instead.

Reports said the crowds were angry about an anti-Muhammad film that was allegedly produced in the U.S.

However, Gabriel and former PLO operative Walid Shoebat said the protest was a pretext for an attack and the beginning of a wider political movement.

Shoebat told WND the notion that the film was the main reason for the attack is ¯rubbish.¯

¯There is nothing about that specific movie in their publicity,¯ he said. ¯It was about trying to suppress voices and freedom of speech.¯

He said a translated advertisement that ran on Sept. 10 asked people to rally at the U.S. Embassy. 

¯The Salafists Nour joined the Voice of Shikma, the Voice of Wisdom. Wisam Abdul Waris called for the whole thing. The idea was to create a revolution in front of the embassy,¯ Shoebat said.

Shoebat bases his analysis on a translation of the statement calling for the protest.

¯The Arabic sources show that this was in support of al-Qaida day, posting al-Qaida flags and some of the chanting was about reminding Americans that there are many al-Qaldas (i.e. Nour Party),¯ Shoebat said in the interview.

The statement is also posted on his website.

The film in question is a 2011 release called, ¯The Innocence of the Muslims,¯ made available on You Tube in early 2012. 

Shoebat emphasizes that the film is merely a pretext for pushing worldwide Shariah Law.

¯They want to ¯ create havoc so that they can enforce the idea to make it illegal to insult Islam and the prophet Muhammad any time,¯ Shoebat said.

Gabriel agrees that the joint attacks on the embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Libya are part of a wider agenda.

¯They used the movie as an excuse. Remember the Muslim Brotherhood has organized networks all over the Internet. Jihadists communicate with each other and basically they were looking for an excuse,¯ Gabriel said.

¯The embassy has been under threat from radicals as was reported by newspapers in Egypt,¯ Gabriel said. ¯Islamic Jihad has been expressing in letters to the embassy that they wanted to burn the embassy unless the U.S. releases all of the Islamic prisoners including the Blind Sheikh,¯ Gabriel said.

Gabriel noted that the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the ¯Blind Sheik¯ behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is also one of the demands of Egypt¯s new president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.

Morsi asked for the release of Rahman after he was elected in June. When the jihadists saw there was no response, they attacked the embassy, Gabriel explained.

An Egyptian citizen who lives in Cairo and who asked not to be named for security reasons agrees that the attack was not spontaneous.

¯It was orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and the MB youth and Salafists,¯ the Cairo resident told WND. ¯There were about 1,000 protesters during the height of the protest.¯

¯Planning for this attack has been going on for a while,¯ Shoebat added.

He said an attack on an embassy on Sept. 11 was more than a coincidence.

¯They chose 9/11 to basically insult America. ¯We are all al-Qaida,¯ is what was chanted. The object is to force the American government to create law to stop anyone who criticizes Islam,¯ Shoebat said.

¯They know that humiliating Americans works. That¯s why they chose 9/11 to carry out this attack,¯ Shoebat said.

Shoebat says the Cairo embassy statement was exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist protesters wanted.

The embassy statement read:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims ¯ as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. 

Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. 

Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Shoebat says the impact of the statement is that the United States just promoted further attacks.

An intelligence analyst and military historian who asked to remain anonymous says that the U.S. Embassy statement had to be approved by a higher authority.

¯For an embassy to release anything to the public, word has to come from high levels at the State Department, often after clearing it with the White House,¯ the analyst said.

Aidan Clay, Middle East analyst for the human rights group International Christian Concern, says that the situation is clear: The jihadists are gaining in power and influence.

¯There¯s no doubt that Islamists are becoming increasingly bolder throughout the Middle East. The rise of political Islam ¯ the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis in Egypt, the Ennahda party in Tunisia, Islamist opposition groups in Syria ¯ has been a main contributor,¯ Clay said.

¯It would seem that the only groups benefiting from the newly gained freedoms after the so-called ¯Arab Spring¯ have been radical Islamists who are now taking justice into their own hands,¯ he said.

¯What¯s more, these extremist mobs are often times protected by their own governments who either agree with their motives or cower to their growing influence,¯ Clay said.

Survey Shows 74 Percent Increase In U.S. Mosques In Past Decade

A survey conducted by a coalition of religious organizations shows that the number of mosques in the United States has grown by 74 percent in the past 11 years ¯ up from 1,209 in 2001 to 2,106 in 2011.

The statistics were released earlier this year by Faith Communities Today (FACT), which is affiliated with the Hartford Seminary¯s Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

The survey also reveals where those mosques exist, including the 10 states with the largest number of mosques ¯ New York (257), California (246), Texas (166), Florida (118), Illinois (109), New Jersey (109), Pennsylvania (99), Michigan (77), Georgia (69) and Virginia (62).

Vermont has the least number of mosques, with one located in that state.

The survey also shows that most mosques are located in metropolitan areas, with Greater New York City ranked No. 1 with 192 mosques. Southern California (120), Greater Chicago (90), Greater Philadelphia (63) and Greater Detroit (63) rounded out the top five metropolitan areas for mosque population.

The survey, released in January, was the first of two reports on American mosques released this year.

The first survey, ¯Basic Characteristics of the American Mosque, Attitudes of Mosque Leaders¯ includes data on the growth of mosques in the U.S. and attitudes of their leaders.

One finding of the survey was a decrease in the number of mosque leaders who thought American society is hostile to Islam ¯ from 54 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2011.

The survey also states that the ¯American mosque is a remarkably young institution,¯ with 76 percent of all mosques being established since 1980.

The second survey, ¯Activities, Administration and Vitality of the American Mosque¯ was released in May and focuses on ¯mosque activities, administration and vitality.¯

The survey consisted of a count of all mosques in America and included a telephone interview with a mosque leader (imam, president or board member) from a large sample of mosques. The mosque count was conducted from February to July 2010, and the mosque leader interviews were conducted from August 2010 to November 2011.

A total of 2,106 mosques were counted. From this list, a random sample of 727 mosques was selected, and 524 interviews were then completed, which means that the margin of error for the survey is within the range of plus or minus five percent.

7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies

Tracking School Children With RFID Tags?

Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates Radio Frequency Identification Device chips to monitor livestock, a Texas school district just begun implanting the devices on student identification cards to monitor pupils¯ movements on campus, and to track them as they come and go from school.

Tagging school children with RFID chips is uncommon, but not new. A federally funded preschool in Richmond, California, began embedding RFID chips in students¯ clothing in 2010. 

And an elementary school outside of Sacramento, California, scrubbed a plan in 2005 amid a parental uproar. And a Houston, Texas, school district began using the chips to monitor students on 13 campuses in 2004.

It was only a matter of time. Radio frequency identification devices are a daily part of the electronic age, and are fast becoming a part of passports, libraries and payment cards, and are widely expected to replace bar-code labels on consumer goods.

And it appears that the educational move to Big Brother-style monitoring is motivated mainly by money, despite privacy and health concerns.

Two schools at the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the RFID-chip-laden student-body cards when classes began last Monday. Like most state-financed schools, their budgets are tied to average daily attendance. 

If a student is not in his seat during morning roll call, the district doesn¯t receive daily funding for that pupil, because the school has no way of knowing for sure if the student is there.

But with the RFID tracking, students not at their desk but tracked on campus are counted as being in school that day, and the district receives its daily allotment for that student.

¯What we have found, they are there, they¯re in the building and not in their chairs. They are in the cafeteria, with counselors, in stairwells or a variety of places, some legitimately and some not,¯ district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said in a telephone interview. ¯If they are on campus, we can legally count them present.¯

The Spring Independent School District in Houston echoed the same theory when it announced results of its program in 2010. ¯RFID readers situated throughout each campus are used to identify where students are located in the building, which can be used to verify the student¯s attendance for ADA funding and course credit purposes,¯ the district said.

But privacy groups are wary.

¯We don¯t think kids in schools should be treated like cattle,¯ Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said in a telephone interview. 

¯We generally don¯t like it. My take on RFID is it¯s fine for products, but not so much for people. That¯s one of the places where the lines need to be drawn. ¯

But there appears to be dozens of companies who see no need to draw such a line and offer their RFID wares to monitor students in what is still a tiny but growing market. Among the biggest companies in the market: AT&T.

¯One day soon, home room teachers in your local middle and high schools may stop scanning rows of desks and making each student yell out ¯Here!¯ during a morning roll call. 

Instead, small cards, or tags, carried by each student will transmit a unique serial number via radio signal to an electronic reader near the school door,¯ AT&T says in its RFID-student advertising materials.

Gonzalez said there has been minimal parental and student opposition to the program at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School. The pilot project could expand to the Northside Independent School District¯s 110 other schools, he said.

As for privacy, the system only monitors a student¯s movements on campus. Once a student leaves campus, the chips no longer communicate with the district¯s sensors.

He said the chips, which are not encrypted and chronicle students only by a serial number, also assist school officials to pinpoint where kids are at any given time, which he says is good for safety reasons. 

¯With this RFID, we know exactly where the kid is within the school,¯ he said noting students are required to wear the ID on a lanyard at all times on campus.

The lack of encryption makes it not technically difficult to clone a card to impersonate a fellow student or to create a substitute card to play hooky, and makes the cards readable by anyone who wanted to install their own RFID reader, though all they would get is a serial number that¯s correlated with the student¯s ID number in a school database.

EPIC¯s Rotenberg was among about two dozen health and privacy advocates who signed an August position paper blasting the use of RFID chips in schools.

The paper, which included signatures from the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation and, among others, Big Brother Watch, said the RFID systems may have ¯potential¯ (.pdf) health risks, too.

¯RFID systems emit electromagnetic radiation, and there are lingering questions about whether human health might be affected in environments where the reading devices are pervasive,¯ the paper said. 

¯This concern and the dehumanizing effects of ubiquitous surveillance may place additional stress on students, parents, and teachers.¯

Gonzalez said John Jay High has 200 surveillance cameras and Anson Jones Middle School, about 90.

¯The kids,¯ he said, ¯are used to being monitored.¯

U.S. Army Seeks To Build Backpack Sized 'Kamikaze' Drones To Kill Insurgents From Six Miles Away 

The U.S. military is seeking contractors to build it miniature 'suicide drones' that can be flown into targets up to six miles away.

The little planes, which could look like the remote-controlled aircraft used in a more domestic setting, could be used for kamikaze-style attacks on vehicles or buildings - even individuals if necessary.

The Army wants the weapons, known as the 'Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System' (LMAMS) into war by 2016, and describe the weapon as a 'portable, covert weapon with strike capability against stationary or moving individuals, with a very low risk of collateral damage'.

The 'plane' will consist of a drone, warhead and launching device with a maximum weight of less than five pounds.

The aim is to fit the entire plane in a backpack, and be able to fly it two minutes after a target is agreed on. At that point, the plane must be able to fly for 15 to 30 minutes across up to six miles of territory.

According to Wired, size is not the main issue, as long as the craft is light enough for easy transport by foot.

Once deployed, the craft could be controlled by a human, or by GPS.

The proposal document says that: 'Once a target is selected by the operator in the terminal phase of an engagement no further operator input shall be required'.

One last requirements shows the need to reduce collateral damage: with the army stating the drone must have an 'extremely low probability' of killing someone 10 meters from the bomb's impact.

Drones have so far been used in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

Wired points out that the Army already has researchers looking at three different ways of miniaturising drones.

The first is to build tiny explosives, which can fit on already existing miniature spy drones.

The second is to take existing drones and scale down the technology, as happens in other industries such as the computing world.

Lastly, the army is looking at 'mashing-up' existing drone and missile technology, creating a hybrid which is effectively a guided missile.

Does The FBI¯s Looming Biometric Database Bring Big Brother Closer?

The FBI is readying its $1 billion Next Generation Identification program, a surveillance system that uses photographs and biometric data to help law enforcement entities nationwide identify possible "persons of interest." 

But the bureau has openly mulled cataloging photographs of innocent people taken from surveillance cameras and social networking sites, as well as biometric information gathered for non-criminal reasons, sending privacy advocates into a fury.

The FBI's Next Generation Identification system would use photographs and biometric data to help law enforcement entities nationwide identify possible persons of interests. 

It has some privacy advocates worrying law enforcement agents will be snooping on the entire U.S. populace, and leave the door open for a devastating data breach.Share This Story

NGI, as reported by the New Scientist, would use facial recognition software along with biometric tools such as voice recognition, iris scans and fingerprints to identify and track down suspected criminals. The database will be shared with law enforcement entities at state and federal levels across the country.

Privacy advocates fear the FBI will indiscriminately mash together biometric and photographic records into a searchable database, not taking the time to separate the wholly innocent from former convicts, the arrested-and-acquitted, and persons of interest. 

The controversy lies in the grey area surrounding information outside the bounds of arrest records or mug shots such as pictures from social networks, fingerprints from background checks for job applications, or even photographs taken of folks just walking down the street. 

All materials accumulated outside the bounds of regular police work could be bundled into a growing and pervasive information-collection operation on random civilians who are not suspected of committing any crimes, leaving the codified and catalogued personal information of millions open to a security breach.

The FBI has not publicly responded to the recent outcry. Its website does contain a boastful post laying out the potential benefits of NGI while also claiming to address privacy concerns.

"It doesn't threaten individual privacy. As required with any federal system, the FBI is doing Privacy Impact Assessments on what information will be collected, how it will be shared, how it will be accessed, and how the data will be securely stored ... all in an effort to protect privacy," the site states.

The FBI's Jerome Pender asserted in testimony before Congress in July 2011 that the database will include only mug shots from previous arrests provided by local, state and federal law enforcement around the country, and all matched photos will be considered only leads and not positive identifications leading to an arrest.

But NGI's privacy statement does not exclude civilian information from sources outside of law enforcement, attorney Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told the New Scientist. The digital rights advocacy group has been among NGI's loudest and largest decriers.

The FBI has stated in the past it will keep civilian information and criminal records nominally separated. Yet the information will be searchable simultaneously, essentially merging into one large database, according to EFF.

"Once you start plugging this into the FBI database, it becomes tantamount to a national photographic database," the American Civil Liberties Union's Jay Stanley told the New Scientist.

Why would the agency go through all the trouble of gathering millions of photos, scanning them, indexing them and storing them for later use?

The ability to identify a suspect at lightning speed has been every lawman's dream, a pursuit that began when Allan Pinkerton accidentally birthed the mug shot with his 19th century Wild West "Wanted" posters. 

And with facial recognition software used by NGI achieving a 92 percent accuracy level in some cases, a larger gathering of photographs creates a greater chance of a successful match.

A 2010 presentation by the FBI's Richard Vorder Bruegge showed a law enforcement agency looking to catalogue and use any photos it can get its hands on, regardless of their origin, including "public datasets." 

NGI's face-scanning technology would essentially match photos of a person of interest against a database the FBI estimates will grow to at least 12 million pictures. 

The facial recognition aspect works two ways: Agents can use face-matching software to pair surveillance camera stills taken from a crime scene against a growing database of mug shots. It can also scan against photos from other surveillance cameras and online in search of a suspect. 

If NGI's early stages are any indication of where it's heading, privacy advocates and ordinary citizens are right to fear it.

The NGI began pilot programs in 2011 with four participating states -- Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan and Oregon -- according to documents posted by the EFF.

The FBI's Next Generation Identification system would use photographs and biometric data to help law enforcement entities nationwide identify possible persons of interests. 

It has some privacy advocates worrying law enforcement agents will be snooping on the entire U.S. populace, and leave the door open for a devastating data breach.

A memo from Hawaii states the FBI wants to "conduct automated surveillance at lookout locations," suggesting the bureau would take photos in public areas, shove them into the database and include members of the crowd in searches for suspected criminals. Another agreement with Maryland has the state promising to just hand over all photos on record to the FBI in what it calls a "photo data dump." 

Other documents showcase the FBI's willingness to toss biometric records together into a giant pile -- regardless of their first intended use, according to documents obtained by EFF. For example, fingerprints taken at a precinct following an arrest would be thrown into a searchable database with prints taken for reasons outside of law enforcement, such as job applications.

The FBI is required to create a Privacy Impact Assessment for surveillance programs, though the one created for NGI predates the information-sharing schemes later established with participating pilot states. 

"It is impossible to tell exactly how the FBI plans to acquire and use facial recognition data now and in the future," Lynch wrote. "However, given the information in these new documents and the FBI's broad goals for face recognition data the time is right for laws that limit face recognition data collection."

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security already sit on what they claim are the "largest biometric database in the world," according to the agency's site. DHS's data spans more than 91 million fingerprint records, while the FBI's ASFIS database includes 66 million criminal records and 25 million civil records.

Some may deride the EFF and ACLU's concerns as conspiracy theorist nonsense. Don't break the law and you have nothing to worry about ... right?

While the EFF would argue that a fully monitored society is not truly free, it more practically points to a huge security flaw in the system. A uniformly codified database of biometric and photographic data makes the impact of a breach infinitely more devastating, EFF argues. 

Privacy advocates predicy that security technologies will evolve past the "combination/passcode/keycard" practices of old, headed toward biometric identification as the ultimate lock combination.

Should your thumbprint or iris scan become the universal key to your life, from your front door to the pharmacy checkout line to your ATM machine, one skilled hacker with a penchant for James Bond-esque antics can ruin countless lives, EFF argues. And NGI is the third in a fresh list of Big Brotherly activity on the part of the federal government.

Last month offered Wikileaks' revelation of TrapWire, a software that indiscriminately analyzes surveillance camera footage to try to identify terrorists planning attacks. 

The hacked and leaked corporate emails from intelligence company Stratfor went on to show more smoke than fire, as TrapWire constituted a failed DHS experiment run on 15 surveillance cameras in Washington, D.C., and Seattle that was ultimately scrapped.

Next came hacker collective AntiSec's dump of more than a million alleged Unique Device Identifier (UDID) numbers used in Apple devices, which the group claims it swiped from an FBI agent's laptop. 

It left many wondering why the federal agency wanted the information in the first place. (The FBI ever having it or being the source of the leak.)

Clearly the federal government, FBI and DHS et. al., have been doing their best to employ consumer technology and the private security measures for their own ends. But playing "Where's Waldo?" with the entire general populace strikes some as beyond justification.

Medicine In A Microchip: Implantable, Wireless Drug Delivery System

Earlier this summer, we saw the first ¯smart pill¯ from Proteus Digital Health receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance, a huge step in connecting drug delivery with mobile technologies. So what comes next?

It would be years before we see it on the market, but the next generation of smart medicine just may lie in an even smarter method of drug delivery ¯ a tiny chip that¯s implanted inside the body and programmed wirelessly to release doses of drugs at the right time ¯ being developed and tested by an MIT spinout.

Initially, MicroCHIPS sees its technology treating conditions that require consistent, long-term regimens of injected drugs. One of the most critical needs the technology addresses, according to President and CEO Robert Farra, is compliance. People generally don¯t enjoy getting injections, and when left to do it themselves, will find ways to avoid it. Plus, sometimes injectable medications need to be refrigerated, which isn¯t convenient for people on the go.

That¯s the case with the drug teriparatide, a parathyroid hormone marketed as Forteo by Eli Lilly & Co. that relies on daily injections to increase bone mass for treatment of osteoporosis.

Because it must be refrigerated and injected every day to be effective, and because osteoporosis is a ¯silent disease¯ that doesn¯t cause symptoms with missed doses, the drug has a poor compliance rate, Farra said. That made it a great candidate for the first application of MicroCHIPS¯ technology.

First developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima, the technology starts with a microchip that measures three-quarters of an inch by three-quarters of an inch. 

On that microchip are 200 microreservoirs, tiny dips that house concentrated dosages of drugs and are hermetically sealed using metallic bonds so the drug can¯t leak out and no moisture or air can get into the reservoirs. 

The chip is also designed with a path for an electrical current to pass through in order to melt the bonds when it¯s time for a dose of the drug to be released.

It¯s implanted under the skin, usually below the waistline or in the arm, in an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia, a small incision and a few sutures.

Using a small device about the size of a calculator that¯s hooked up to a computer and connects wirelessly to the chip, a physician can program the chip to release doses on a regular schedule, or to release a dose on demand. The chip can be reprogrammed at any time, as long as the patient is in the same room as the physician with the device.

When it¯s time for the drug to be released, a current is delivered to the chip to melt the bonds of one of the reservoirs (the sealing material resolidifies on the edges of the reservoir). The patient, meanwhile, doesn¯t feel a thing, Farra said.

In its first-in-human study published earlier this year in Science in Translation, the company demonstrated that its chip could dose reliably and achieve the same pharmacokinetic profile as an injection of the drug. According to Farra, patients interviewed after the trial commented that they couldn¯t feel the device and were willing to have another one implanted.

Currently there are two versions of the chip: the one that holds 200 doses and another that holds 400. For once-daily drugs, that means the chip would need to be replaced in the patient every 200 or 400 days. With other drugs that aren¯t dosed daily, it could last up to several months or even years.

Similar technologies for delivery of insulin, pain medication and likely other applications are being developed, but the added wireless capabilities of MicroCHIPS¯ system make it unique.

As you can imagine, making something durable and reliable enough to be stored in the body for months isn¯t something that happens quickly. The Waltham, Massachusetts company was formed in 1999 and has spent years developing and testing the chips under all imaginable conditions. ¯We pressurized them to determine at what point they rupture,¯ Farra said. (The answer is 600 PSI). 

¯We¯ve taken them in vacuum environments and applied temperature profiles, taken them through ultrasound diagnostics, electrocauterization, exposed them to X-rays. Patients can undergo other procedures with them. The only exception right now that we need to do additional work on is MRI imaging.¯

From the electronics standpoint, the technology operates on an open circuit, so if there¯s any failure in the hardware, it basically stops functioning, he added.

All of that developing and testing has required some serious capital, delivered over the years by investors including Polaris Venture Partners, Medtronic, Intersouth Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, InterWest Partners, Novartis Venture Fund, CSK Ventures, Saints Capital, Care Capital and Boston University.

And it¯s nowhere near over yet: It will take about two more years to complete the development of the 200- and 400-dose systems, and several more years to continue clinical trials. Since it¯s both a drug delivery system and a medical device, Farra said the company hasn¯t even yet fleshed out the FDA pathway it needs to take.

In the meantime, it¯s also working on a second-generation implant that¯s one-fifth the size of the device used in the clinical trial and has 10 times the doses. It¯s also looking for partners to continue developing its glucose sensor, which uses similar technology.

The technology, Farra said, has the potential to increase compliance and decrease healthcare costs. Although the price of the drug to be delivered by the implant is about the same as Forteo injections, according to The New York Times, it could potentially decrease long-term costs for patients who don¯t take their medicine and improve outcomes.

8. Christian Worldview/Issues

Egypt's Christians Face Mass Slaughter By Islamists

The Coptic Christian community in Egypt now is under threat of mass slaughter from Islamists under the pretense of revenge for a movie that depicts the Quranic figure Muhammad in a negative light, a senior Egyptian military official told WND.

The producers of the ¯Innocence of Muslims¯ movie reportedly are tied to the Coptic faith. Reports are claiming the movie sparked anti-U.S. attacks in Egypt and Libya, including the killing this week of the U.S. ambassador to Libya. However, some security officials believe the violence to be premeditated.

The Egyptian military official said today that Islamic groups are threatening to slaughter ¯the whole Christian Coptic community¯ in the city of Naja Hamadi, located about 60 miles from Cairo. Naja Hamadi contains a large Coptic community.

Two Egyptian immigrants from Southern California reportedly were forces behind the ¯Innocence of Muslims¯ movie. Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, the president of the Duarte-based charity Media for Christ, reportedly was a producer, while Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted felon, allowed his home to be used in the movie¯s shooting.

Due to the Coptic ties of the two men, police in Los Angeles reportedly stepped up patrols around Coptic Christian houses of worship in the city, according to the LA Times. Similarly, the police presence was reportedly heightened outside Coptic churches in New York City.

Copts in Egypt have reportedly been concerned about the prospects of persecution after the downfall of U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak resulted in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country¯s parliament, presidency and military.

While Copts were targeted by Islamists during Mubarak¯s regime, such persecution has increased exponentially since Mubarak¯s ouster.

Just weeks after Mubarak was booted, Muslim villagers in March 2011 reportedly set fire to a Coptic church while attacking Christians on the street.

Since last year, two other churches were set on fire in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo and in Edfu in the south of the country. Coptic Christian families were also reportedly evicted from their homes in Alexandria.

Some reports say more than 200,000 Copts already have fled their homes.

When Copts attempted to protest last October, security forces reportedly fired at the protesters, killing 24 and wounding more than 300 people.

The Coptic Church, a major Christian community in Egypt, is said to date back to the origins of Christianity. Christians were the majority in Egypt until several centuries after the Arab conquest of the seventh century. They now make up between 5 and 10 percent of the population.

Study: Most Churchgoers Do Not Read Bible on Daily Basis 

A recently released study by a Christian research organization shows that most churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis.

The findings of the Transformational Discipleship Assessment released by LifeWay Research noted that 19 percent of respondents report reading or studying the Bible outside of church "every day."

By contrast, 36 percent of respondents said that they either engage the Bible "once a week," "once a month," or "a few times a month." Eighteen percent reported rarely or never reading or studying the Bible outside of worship.

Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, told The Christian Post that he felt attributes from the modern American culture influenced the responses.

"Regular Bible engagement is both personal and requires discipline. Neither are popular in Western culture today," said McConnell. "Too many churchgoers want the benefits of salvation without investing in personally knowing Christ and the abundant life He offers."

For the study, LifeWay Research interviewed a demographically balanced online panel of American adults last year, Oct. 14-22. A total of 2,930 surveys were completed, with churchgoing respondents being defined as those who attend a Protestant church at least once a month.

"Bible engagement encompasses more than just Bible reading. It measures the extent to which individuals interact with the truth of Scripture and allow it to permeate their thinking and influence their actions," said McConnell.

"There is a widespread desire among churchgoers to please Jesus, but much less interested in daily wrestling with what pleases Jesus. Instead of Christ being preeminent in the lives of every churchgoer, He is often only the preamble to lives lived apart from biblical truth."

Other findings in the study included 90 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement "I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do" and 59 percent agreeing with the statement "Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths."

In an interview with Baptist Press, LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer explained the importance of scriptural study and reading.

"God's Word is truth, so it should come as no surprise that reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most impact on growth in this attribute of spiritual maturity," said Stetzer. "As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who are not reading the Bible regularly. You simply won't grow if you don't know God and spend time in God's Word."

While the study noted the small percentage of regular Bible engagement from respondents, it also pinpointed six actions that "positively impact" the level of Bible engagement a churchgoer partakes in.

These actions were confessing wrongdoings to God, believing in Jesus as the only way to Heaven, following God with an awareness that it "may be costly," praying about the spiritual statuses of acquaintances who are not Christian, reading a book on spiritual growth, and being mentored by a "more spiritually mature Christian."

New Survey Reveals More Than Half Of Pastors Are Discouraged

Not all the news about pastors is discouraging. Pastors feel privileged to be called to their places of ministry. They have a deep love for those they shepherd. Most of them could not conceive of doing anything else. But please hear me: Many pastors are hurting.

LifeWay Research conducted a national survey of Protestant pastors. Among the questions they asked were two related to the hurts I noted above.

The Discouragement Factor

One of the key symptoms of the pain experienced by pastors is discouragement. Over one-half (55%) of pastors are presently discouraged. I suspect that if we surveyed pastors over just a few months, we would find that almost all of them experience deep discouragement.

Some interesting facts we discovered in our study:

¯ There was no pattern of discouragement related to the geographical location of the church.

¯ There was no pattern of discouragement related to the size of the church.

¯ There was no pattern of discouragement related to the educational level of the pastor.

¯ There was a significant pattern of discouragement related to the age of the pastor. The younger the pastor, the more likely he was to be discouraged.

The Loneliness Factor

Most pastors experience intense loneliness at times. When we conducted our survey, over one-half again (coincidentally the same number, 55%, as noted above) said they were lonely. Again remember that this survey was for a specific point in time.

Which pastors experience the greatest amount of loneliness? Our study noted some discernible patterns:

¯ There was no pattern of loneliness related to the geographical location of the church.

¯ Younger pastors were more likely to be lonely than older pastors.

¯ The larger the church, the greater the likelihood that the pastor was experiencing loneliness.

¯ The greater the education level of the pastor, the more likely he is to be lonely.

Why the Pervasive Discouragement and Loneliness?

Why are so many pastors struggling today? In an earlier article I wrote on pastoral depression, I noted the following possible reasons:

¯ Spiritual warfare. The Enemy does not want God's servants to be effective in ministry. He will do whatever it takes to hurt ministers and their ministries.

¯ Unrealistic expectations. The expectations and demands upon a pastor are enormous. They are unrealistic. But if one person's expectations are not met, that person can quickly let the pastor know that he is a failure.

¯ Greater platforms for critics. In "the good old days," a critic was typically limited to telephone, mail, and in-person meetings to criticize a minister. Today the critics have the visible and pervasive platforms of email, blogs, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

¯ Failure to take time away from the church or place of ministry. Workaholism leads to burnout. Burnout leads to depression.

¯ Marriage and family problems. Too often the pastor neglects his family as he cares for the larger church family.

¯ Financial strains. Many pastors simply do not have sufficient income from the churches they serve. That financial stress can lead to depression. Some pastors do not know how to manage the money they do have, leading to further financial strain.

¯ The problem of comparison. Every pastor will always know of a church that is larger and more effective. Every pastor will always know of another pastor who seems more successful. The comparison game can be debilitating to some pastors.

This one thing I do know. Pastors need our prayers more than ever. They need our support and encouragement. I am committed to pray for my pastor every day, even if it's only for a minute or so. Will you do the same? Our pastors pour out their lives for us daily. What can you do to help our pastors?

9. Other Events To Watch

Why Is Putin Stockpiling Gold? - Russia Bulking Up Its Gold Reserve 

I can¯t imagine it means anything cheerful that Vladimir Putin, the Russian czar, is stockpiling gold as fast as he can get his hands on it.

According to the World Gold Council, Russia has more than doubled its gold reserves in the past five years. Putin has taken advantage of the financial crisis to build the world¯s fifth-biggest gold pile in a handful of years, and is buying about half a billion dollars¯ worth every month.

It emerged last month that financial gurus George Soros and John Paulson had also increased their bullion exposure, but it¯s Putin that¯s really caught my eye.

No one else in the world plays global power politics as ruthlessly as Russia¯s chilling strongman, the man who effectively stole a Super Bowl ring from Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, when they met in Russia some years ago.

Putin¯s moves may matter to your finances, because there are two ways to look at gold.

On the one hand, it¯s an investment that by most modern standards seems to make no sense. It generates no cash flow and serves no practical purpose. Warren Buffett has pointed out that we dig it out of one hole in the ground only to stick it in another, and anyone watching this from Mars would be very confused.

You can forget claims that it¯s ¯real¯ money. There¯s no such thing. Money is just an accounting device, a way of keeping track of how much each of us produces and consumes. Gold is a shiny and somewhat tacky looking metal that is malleable, durable and heavy. 

A recent research paper by Duke University¯s Campbell Harvey and co-author Claude Erb raised serious questions about most of the arguments in favor of gold as an investment.

But there¯s another way to look at gold: As the most liquid reserve in times of turmoil, or worse.

The big story of our era is not that the Spanish government is broke, nor is it that Paul Ryan apparently feels the need to embellish his running record. It¯s that the United States, which has dominated the world¯s economy for several lifetimes, is in relative decline.

As was first reported here in April of last year, according to International Monetary Fund calculations, the U.S. is on track to lose its status as the world¯s biggest economy¯when measured in real, purchasing-power terms¯to China by 2017.

We will soon be the first people in two hundred years to live in a world not dominated by either Pax Americana or Pax Britannica. This sort of changing of the guard has never been peaceful. The declines of the Spanish, French and British empires were all accompanied by conflict. The decline of British hegemony was a leading cause of the First and Second World Wars.

What will happen as the U.S. loses its pre-eminence?

Maybe this will turn out better than similar episodes in the past. Maybe the Chinese will embrace an open society and the rule of law. If you believe that, there is probably no reason to hold any gold.

On the other hand, we may be about to enter a much more turbulent and dangerous era of power politics and international competition.

Not long ago, world gold reserves were mainly in the hands of the U.S. and the Europeans, which accumulated their holdings during their centuries at the top. The U.S. has 75% of its currency reserves in gold. Many other first world powers have comparable proportions.

But that¯s beginning to change. According to the World Gold Council, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia are now in the top five. Western European countries have been selling gold. If the current financial crisis gets any worse, they may yet sell more.

Emerging markets have been buying. In most cases, gold remains a very small percentage of their total reserves. China, despite its recent buying, holds less than 2% of its currency reserves in gold.

But you have to wonder how long emerging countries will want to hold their reserves in any currency that is controlled by someone else. Vladimir Putin clearly doesn¯t want to. Gold now accounts for 9% of Russia¯s reserves, and that figure is rising.

Food Inflation, Food Shortages And Food Riots Coming Soon?

A devastating global food crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern times is coming. Crippling drought and bizarre weather patterns have damaged food production all over the world this summer, and the UN and the World Bank have both issued ominous warnings about the food inflation that is coming.

To those of us in the Western world, a rise in the price of food can be a major inconvenience, but in the developing world it can mean the difference between life and death. Just remember what happened back in 2008. When food prices hit record highs it led to food riots in 28 different countries.

Today, there are approximately 2 billion people that are malnourished around the globe. Even rumors of food shortages are enough to spark mass chaos in many areas of the planet. When people fear that they are not going to be able to feed their families they tend to get very desperate. That is why a recent CNN article declared that ¯2013 will be a year of serious global crisis¯.

The truth is that we are not just facing rumors of a global food crisis ¯ one is actually starting to unfold right in front of our eyes. The United States experienced the worst drought in more than 50 years this summer, and some experts are already declaring that the weather has been so dry for so long that tremendous damage has already been done to next year¯s crops. 

On the other side of the world, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have all seen their wheat crops devastated by the horrible drought this summer. Australia has also been dealing with drought, and in India monsoon rains were about 15 percent behind pace in mid-August. 

Global food production is going to be much less than expected this year, and global food demand continues to steadily rise. What that means is that food inflation, food shortages and food riots are coming, and it isn¯t going to be pretty.

The United States exports more food than anyone else in the world, and that is why the entire globe has been nervously watching the horrific drought in the United States this summer with deep concern.

It has been the worst drought in more than 50 years, and it has absolutely devastated corn crops all over the nation. According to Bill Witherell, the U.S. corn crop this year ¯is said to be on a par with that of 1988 crop, the worst in the past thirty years.¯

Sadly, this will be the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.

That has never happened before in the history of the United States.

And coming into this year we were already in bad shape. In fact, U.S. corn reserves were sitting ata 15-year low at the end of 2011.

So where will we be at the end of 2012?

The official estimates for corn yields put out by the U.S. government just keep dropping, but many fear that they aren¯t dropping quickly enough. There have been some reports on the ground from some areas of the country that have been very distressing. The following is from a recent Wall Street Journal article¯.

Meanwhile, scouts with the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour on Monday reported an average estimated corn yield in Ohio of 110.5 bushels per acre, down from the tour¯s estimate of 156.3 bushels a year ago. In South Dakota, tour scouts reported an average yield estimate of just 74.3 bushels per acre, down from 141.1 bushels a year ago.

Those are catastrophic numbers.

But farmers are not the only ones that have been impacted by the dry weather. A recent article by Chris Martenson summarized some of the other effects of this drought¯..

Even though the mainstream media seems to have lost some interest in the drought, we should keep it front and center in our minds, as it has already led to sharply higher grain prices, increased gasoline costs (via the pass-through of higher ethanol costs), impeded oil and gas drilling activity in some areas (due to a lack of water), caused the shutdown of a few operating electricity plants, temporarily reduced red meat prices (but will also make them climb sharply later) as cattle are dumped in response to feed- and pasture-management concerns, and blocked and/or reduced shipping on the Mississippi River. 

All this and there¯s also a strong chance that today¯s drought will negatively impact next year¯s Winter wheat harvest, unless a lot of rain starts falling soon.

Ranchers have had a particularly hard time during this drought. If you expect to pay about the same for meat this time next year as you are doing now you are going to be deeply disappointed. The following is from a recent Reuters article¯.

The worst drought to hit U.S. cropland in more than half a century could soon leave Americans reaching deeper into their pockets to fund a luxury that people in few other countries enjoy: affordable meat.

Drought-decimated fields have pushed grain prices sky high, and the rising feed costs have prompted some livestock producers to liquidate their herds. This is expected to shrink the long-term U.S. supply of meat and force up prices at the meat counter.

All over the western United States pastures have been destroyed and there is not enough hay. It would be hard to overstate the damage that this nightmarish drought is doing to our ranchers¯.

I spoke with Caldwell [of Indiana horse rescue] and a number of other horse-rescue organizations around the country by telephone this week. The relentlessly hot dry weather, amplified in many areas by wildfire, has been devastating to farmers, ranchers and other horse owners.

¯Everybody is using their winter hay now. The pastures are destroyed and they probably won¯t recover before winter,¯ said Caldwell. ¯The price of hay has doubled, and the availability is down by 75 percent.¯

Caldwell is somewhat sanguine about his own lot, but not optimistic about what lies ahead.

¯Today the problem is not nearly as bad as it¯s going to be,¯ he told me. ¯It¯s terribly bad today, but it is going to get a lot worse.¯

But of course as I mentioned earlier this is not just an American problem.

The truth is that the entire globe is facing a rapidly growing food crisis.

According to the UN, the global price of food rose 6 percent in the month of July alone.

According to the World Bank, global food prices actually rose 10 percent during July.

Either figure is really, really bad.

The other day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program issued a joint statement in which they stated the following¯.

¯We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months.¯

If the price of food at our supermarkets suddenly went up 20 percent that would really stretch our family budgets here in the United States, but we would survive.

On the other side of the globe, such a price change can mean the difference between life and death. The following is from the CNN article mentioned above¯.

But step outside the developed world, and the price of food suddenly becomes the single most important fact of human economic life. In poor countries, people typically spend half their incomes on food ¯ and by ¯food,¯ they mean first and foremost bread.

When grain prices spiked in 2007-2008, bread riots shook 30 countries across the developing world, from Haiti to Bangladesh, according to the Financial Times. A drought in Russia in 2010 forced suspension of Russian grain exports that year and set in motion the so-called Arab spring.

Already, 18 million people in Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal are dealing with very serious food shortages.

In Yemen, things are even worse¯.

Yemen has a catastrophic food crisis. Nearly half the population, 10 million people, does not have enough to eat. While 300,000 children are facing life threatening levels of malnutrition.

The United Nations says Yemen is already in the throes of a disaster.

¯The levels are truly terrible. Whatever we do thousands upon thousands of children will die this year from malnutrition,¯ Unicef¯s man in Yemen, Geert Cappelaere, said.

¯In some areas child malnutrition is at 30%, to put it in context, an emergency is 15%. It is double that already.¯

But this is just the beginning. These food shortages are going to spread and we will eventually see food riots that will absolutely dwarf the food riots of 2008.

Many scientists fear the worst. Some are even now warning that food shortages will become so severe that they will eventually force much of the globe on to a vegetarian diet¯.

Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world¯s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.

Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world¯s leading water scientists.

¯There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,¯ the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.

The days of very cheap meat are coming to an end. Meat will be increasingly viewed as a ¯luxury¯ around the globe from now on.

Sadly, there are some in the financial world that actually intend to make lots of money off of this crisis¯.

The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world¯s largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a ¯good¯ business opportunity.

With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought ¯Dust Bowl¯ days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin¯s government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN¯s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: ¯Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits.¯

Does that disturb you?

It should.

Driving up the price of food for starving people is not a good way to make money. Food is one of our most basic needs. When people are deprived of food they become very desperate.

Just look at what is already happening in Spain. The economic crisis in that country has just begun, and people are already looting supermarkets. You can see a video news report about Spanish activists looting 3 tons of food from local supermarkets right here.

Much of that food was donated to food banks, but in the future I am sure that the desperate ¯activists¯ will not be so generous when things get really tight.

In other areas of Spain, large numbers of people have been filmed digging through trash dumpstersfor food.

Could you ever see yourself doing that? Don¯t be so sure that hunger will never come to America. Right now, a record 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps, and anti-hunger organizations all around the country are reporting more of a need than ever before.

For now the federal government is able to feed the tens of millions of Americans that do not have enough money for food, but what happens when a day comes when the federal government stops doing that?

And what happens if the drought in the United States continues throughout the winter and into next summer and Dust Bowl conditions return to the United States?

In a previous article entitled ¯17 Signs That You Better Start Preparing For A Nightmarish Global Food Crisis¯, I detailed some more of the reasons why people need to start preparing for food inflation and food shortages.

In the past we could always go out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart and fill up our shopping carts with huge piles of very cheap food whenever we wanted to.

It will not always be that way.

Get prepared while you still can. 





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