Monday, June 25, 2007

On Capitol Hill This Week, Vol. XIV, No. 18b

No. 18b



The chief U.S. envoy to the six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program says the process is "back on track" now that a long-running banking dispute has been resolved. But Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs Christopher Hill says the effort faces key challenges in the next few weeks, including whether Pyongyang will admit having a uranium-based weapons project. The financial dispute over $25 million in North Korean funds frozen at a Chinese bank in Macao stalled the nuclear talks for more than a year, and was settled only after a visit to Pyongyang by Assistant Secretary Hill last week.

Hill, just back from 10 days of diplomatic shuttling in Asia, told reporters here the next few weeks will be critical, and potentially problem-ridden, as participants in the six-party process look to an unprecedented ministerial-level meeting as early as the end of July. (Voice of America)

· Offer praise to the Lord for the tenacity of Mr. Hill. His diligent and patient efforts with the North Koreans seems to be paying off. Begin now to intercede for the ministerial- level meeting at the end of July. May God's will be done for the people of North Korea, and for the security of the nations that surround her. · " The hand of the diligent will rule . . ."(Proverbs 12:24a)


EU leaders have expressed measured approval of a draft treaty to reform EU systems agreed at a summit in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed a good compromise with Poland over planned changes to voting rights, which proved the key to the final agreement. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Europe was moving again, while British PM Tony Blair said the EU could now concentrate on issues of real concern. Following marathon discussions which were at times on the brink of failure, leaders from the 27- member bloc emerged smiling at dawn on Saturday to announce the results.

The treaty, to be finalised later this year, will come into force in mid-2009. The new treaty preserves much of the planned EU constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters during referendums in 2005. It will need to be ratified by each of the EU's member states. (BBC)

· Father God, we ask You to give the European Union a way to find it's way to Your leadership and plan for these countries.

· "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29: 11-13 NKJV)


Saddam Hussein's cousin, known as 'Chemical Ali', and two other regime officials were sentenced this past weekend to hang for slaughtering as many as 180,000 Kurdish men, women, and children with chemical weapons, artillery barrages, and mass executions two decades ago. Two other defendants were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the 1987-88 genocides. Saddam's cousin, Ali Hasan al- Majid, gained his nickname for ordering the use of mustard gas and nerve agents against the Kurds in response to their collaboration with the Iranians during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Witnesses testified that Iraqi government forces indiscriminately attacked women and children, burned crops, killed livestock, and rounded up civilians into detention camps in a campaign to exterminate the restive Kurdish minority. Al-Majid, once among the most powerful and feared men in Iraq, trembled in silence as Iraqi Judge al-Khalifa read the verdict against him and imposed five death sentences for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The Kurds are grateful that some measure of justice has been granted them. (Washington Times)

· Praise the Lord for justice for the Kurds, although their loved ones cannot live again. Like so many minority peoples, they have suffered immeasurably. However, most do not know the Lord but instead tend to be weak Moslems. Recently, some northern Iraqi Kurds have asked America to send Christian missionaries so that the concept of forgiveness can be taught and they can be healed of the bitterness of their persecution. Praise the Lord!

· "When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; but when they perish, the righteous increase." (Proverbs 28:28)


At least 30 suspected insurgents have been killed in two days of operations being conducted in Diyala province as part of a major thrust by U.S. and Iraqi forces to clear Al Qaeda operatives from the region. During this operation, 1,000 roadside bombs were also uncovered. The latest operation is targeting insurgents who have tried to establish Baqubah as their own capital with strictly Islamic rules imposed on residents. It is part of a broader attempt by U.S. troops to choke both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen operating in the areas ringing the capital, Baghdad. (LA Times, 6/20/07)

· Focus on Middle East Foreign Policy. Pray that the Lord grant wisdom, discernment, courage, protection, grace for diplomacy and direction to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Pace, UN Ambassador Khalilzad and all involved in foreign policy decisions.

· Offer thanksgiving for the increasing understanding of the traumas of war, the spiritual needs of soldiers, the strains upon their families, and of how to alleviate post- traumatic stress syndrome. Pray for all chaplains, counselors, pastors, local churches, ministries and federal and local agencies and staff working to meet the needs of deployed and returning members of the U.S. Military. (Source: Intercessors for America)


As Iran races ahead with an illicit uranium enrichment effort, nearly a dozen other Middle East nations are moving forward on their own civilian nuclear programs. In the latest development, a team of eight U.N. experts ended a weeklong trip in late May to Saudi Arabia to provide nuclear guidance to officials from six Persian Gulf countries. Diplomats and analysts view the Saudi trip as the latest sign that Iran's suspected weapons program has helped spark a chain reaction of nuclear interest among its Arab rivals, which some fear will lead to a scramble for atomic weapons in the world's most volatile region.

The International Atomic Energy Agency sent the team of nuclear experts to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, to advise the Gulf Cooperation Council on building nuclear energy plants. Together, the council members - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the seven sheikdoms of the United Arab Emirates - control nearly half the world's known oil reserves.

Other nations that have said they plan to construct civilian nuclear reactors or have sought technical assistance and advice from the IAEA, the Vienna- based United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, in the last year include Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen, as well as several North African nations. (LA Times)

· Rivalry and competition and oil wealth have created a basic recipe for dangerous nuclear disasters in the Middle East. Our hearts could be filled with fear if we did not know that God has everything under control. Ask the Lord to bring the nuclear plans of these nations to dust, for in many of these countries there is abject poverty. Many of their citizens and residents need help to improve their lives. Ask that monies directed to nuclear power be re-focussed on helping lives.

· "Cast thy burden upon the Lord; 'He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22)


U.S. Department of State Press Release - The United States and Israel support the creation of a Palestinian state that would live side by side in peace with Israel, President Bush says. Prime Minister Olmert pledged to initiate a new round of regular direct talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aimed at security issues and improving the delivery of essential services to the Palestinian people as a precursor to new progress toward the "two- state solution" long advocated by the Bush administration. "This is the ultimate goal, to create a Palestinian state," Olmert said. "We have to prepare the groundwork that will allow - - soon, I hope -- to be able to start serious negotiations about the creation of a Palestinian state." (U.S. Department of State, 6/19/07)

· June 24, 2002 will be the fifth anniversary of the President's address articulating America's position on Palestinian rights and obligations, terrorism, and peace. It was during that speech in the Rose Garden that Mr. Bush aligned American policy with the goal of a Palestinian state.

Pray that the Lord would frustrate, disrupt and turn away all attempts made by the Bush Administration or the U.S. State Department to advance plans to create a "Palestinian State" using land promised to the people of Israel, the inheritors of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

LET US STAND IN REPENTACE AND CRY OUT FOR MERCY as President Bush's position and declarations to further "divide up of the land" stands in stark opposition to the Word of God. Scripture shows severe dealings and judgment for nations who "divide up the land" of Israel. (Joel 3:2) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) and for it to remain Israel's undivided capital. (Source: Intercessors for America)


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] will attend a regional summit next week sponsored by Egypt at Sharm El-Sheikh. The aim of the summit is to strengthen Abbas's newly instated government and jumpstart peace talks between Israel and the PA. Jordan's King Abdullah II will also attend.

Returning from Washington, Olmert told reporters that the situation due to the Hamas takeover in Gaza has presented new opportunities that must be taken advantage of. At meetings with US President George W. Bush and administration officials, Olmert said Israel will act and support a two-state solution and intends to cooperate with Abbas's government.

Meanwhile, Israel facilitated the transfer of approximately 100 Palestinians seeking to flee Gaza, who were permitted to enter Egypt after undergoing strict security checks. The move was made in coordination with Egyptian officials. The Palestinians had been huddled at the Erez crossing for days, waiting for Israel to permit them in. (By Margot Dudkevitch,, June 21, 2007) [Reported by: Bridges for Peace]

· Praise God that Israel allowed so many to leave Gaza safely. Pray that Gaza will soon be free of the ultra-radical, violent Hamas terror group and that order will be restored in its streets.

· "The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. But they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners" (Psalm 34:16; Proverbs 1:18-19).


Christians can only continue living safely in the Gaza Strip if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza told WND [WorldNetDaily] in an exclusive interview. The militant leader said Christians in Gaza who engage in "missionary activity" will be "dealt with harshly."

The threats come two days after a church and a Christian school in Gaza were attacked following the seizure of power in the territory by the Hamas terror group. "I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza," said Sheikh Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.

Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of attacking a UN school in Gaza last month, after the school allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack. "The situation has now changed 180 degrees in Gaza," said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza yesterday. Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals. This missionary activity is endangering the entire Christian community in Gaza," he said. He claimed there was "no need" for the thousands of Christians in Gaza to maintain a large number of institutions in the territory.

About 2,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million. Abu Saqer said Hamas "must work to impose an Islamic rule or it will lose the authority it has and the will of the people." (WorldNetDaily) [Reported by: Bridges for Peace]

· Sharia (Islamic) law will not only affect Christians but all women in Gaza. Is this what they bargained for when they voted in Hamas? Pray for the Christian community as they will either have to flee this oppressive government or live under terrible persecution.

· "Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD, and that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name. Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of Your poor forever." (Psalm 74:18-19)


Police outnumbered the participants in the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade by more than two to one. For those who predicted 100,000 people on the streets of Jerusalem, it was a dismal flop. Nevertheless the organizers and their supporters claimed a great success as they were able to stage their public event despite strong opposition from many. About 2,000 people participated in a parade described as colorful more than confrontational. The parade did proceed but not as planned. Authorities reduced the parade route and canceled the evening activities. Twenty rioters were arrested for protesting against the parade, but the protests were a far cry from spikes in the street, a feature of objections last year.

Instead of uniting with the rest of Israel to fight against Islamic fundamentalism which would kill them all, the organizers issued pamphlets saying, "the purpose of the event is to protest against homophobia and incitement and promote the community's rights." The marchers would have no right to "come out of the closet" in Ramallah, for fear of their lives.

Some who resisted the parade sat on the ground and wept. A resident of Orthodox Mea Shearim was detained on Thursday. He had in his possession a home-made bomb which he planned to ignite on the route of the parade. Police said if ignited, the bomb would have caused casualties. (By Ron Ross, Bridges for Peace Audio, June 22, 2007, excerpt)

· Thank God that the parade was a pale shadow of what the organizers planned. Pray that the parade will be permanently banned in Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel. Pray also that homosexuals will pursue healing and not think that this lifestyle (a sin) is acceptable or a right.

· "For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles-when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries." (1 Peter 4:3)