"But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies." ( II Kings 17:39)
On Capitol Hill This Week; Vol. XV, No. 4b
1. KOSOVO: U.S. DIPLOMATS, RELATIVES TOLD TO EXIT COUNTRY
The State Department yesterday ordered all nonessential U.S. diplomatic personnel and relatives to leave Serbia and placed embassies around the Balkans on high security alert following the sacking Thursday of the American Embassy in Belgrade. U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Cameron Munter recommended the "ordered departure" of a large number of the nearly 100 Americans who work at the embassy because "we are not sufficiently confident that they are safe here," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
U.S. officials were still seething over the attack, carried out by protesters enraged by Washington's recognition earlier this week of the independence declaration by the breakaway Serb province of Kosovo, while top Serb leaders desperately tried to contain the fallout from the break-in. "We don't believe that this is the face that Serbia wants to present to the world, and we quite frankly don't believe that this is the face of Serbia," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel, who called the attackers "hooligans and thugs."
But even as Serbian leaders tried to restrain passions over Kosovo, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Washington and key European capitals should have expected the fierce reaction to Kosovo's independence declaration. Mr. Putin, who has strongly backed Belgrade's claims to Kosovo, called the split a "terrible precedent" that will come back to haunt the West.
In Kosovo itself, for the fifth day angry ethnic Serbs again attacked United Nations police guarding a key bridge dividing Serb and Albanian communities in the flash point northern city of Mitrovica. (Fox News)
· Speak peace and calm over the situation in Kosovo. Declare that Mr. Putin's words are null and void. (Does Russia have a hidden agenda here?) Ask the Lord to reveal all the reasons behind this violence, and pray for the safe departure of the Americans living in Serbia.
· "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you." (John 14:27)
2. SADR DECLARES NEW IRAQ CEASEFIRE
Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered the renewal of the ceasefire his powerful militia has been observing for the past six months. He had announced in August that his Mehdi Army would not attack rival armed groups or American forces in Iraq. This was widely credited with reducing sectarian tensions and contributing to the recent overall drop in violence.
BBC Baghdad correspondent Jim Muir says the government and US military will clearly be relieved by the move. US military officials have publicly recognised this contribution of the ceasefire as helping to stabilise parts of Iraq. In a statement the US military said the truce extension would allow security forces to focus on combating al-Qaeda.
Other key developments that have helped reduce the violence have been the surge of US troops in and around Baghdad, and the emergence of US-backed Sunni militia who have taken on al-Qaeda in Iraq in western areas of the country. (BBC)
· Lord, we first thank you for this. Thank you that the troops can focus on taking out al-Qaeda and bringing some sense of peace to the region. We pray though that even though there is another ceasefire set for 6 months, this is not just more time to plan and recruit. We pray that there would be an end to this violence and all the tribes living in Iraq would learn to live in peace and unity with one another.
· "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)
3. TURKISH TROOPS ENTER NORTH IRAQ
Turkish ground forces have rolled across the border into northern Iraq to target Kurdish rebels said to be sheltering there. Thousands of soldiers are thought to be involved in the operation which, the army says, began on Thursday evening after an air and artillery bombardment. Turkey promised its force would "return home in the shortest time possible after its goals have been achieved."
The US military says it believes the operation is "of limited duration." But a US official quoted by Reuters news agency appeared to express concern about the scale of the Turkish operation. It was "not the greatest news" and marked "a whole new level", Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said in Brussels.
While supporting Turkey's right to fight "terrorism", the EU has asked Turkey to "refrain from taking any disproportionate military action.". The Americans are strong allies of Turkey but are also anxious not to see any action which might destabilise Iraq, BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs says. The Kurdish government in the north has been a particularly valuable partner for the US, he adds. (BBC)
· Father, our prayer is that there would be a "no tolerance" policy for all types of terror, but at the same time we pray that there wouldn't be a rush to violence on the part of those that are are attempting to reign in the rebels. We pray that in no way will this compromise the work that has already been done by those fighting in Iraq, and that it will in fact be a sweep up of those rebels that remain.
· . . .and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn. (Ezekiel 20:38)
4. ISRAEL ISSUES HIJACK ALERT TO ALL AIRLINES
Israel has recently issued an instruction to all airlines flying into the country to tighten security measures in order to minimize the risk of a terrorist attack on flights to Israel. The instruction came following growing concerns that Hizbullah may try to launch a retaliatory attack against Israel, which the group believes is responsible for the killing of its military leader Imad Mugniyah.
Danny Shenar, head of security at the Transportation Ministry, has ordered all foreign and local airlines landing in Israel to require from passengers to remain seated half-an-hour before landing, when flights approach a distance of 180 miles from the country's shores. Furthermore, airlines have also been asked to instruct their pilots to seal the cockpit 30 minutes before landing, so as not to allow terrorists to take control of the plane. (YnetNews.com )
· Father, in this hour wisdom and alertness is needed. Thank you that Israel is thinking ahead, and intends to thwart evil intentions before tragedy, instead of waiting until later.
· "Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us." (Isaiah 8:10)
5. BAN KI-MOON SLAMS IRAN PRESIDENT OVER "MICROBE" REMARK
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, met on February 20 with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's labeling of Israel as "a dirty microbe." Ki-moon called Ahmadinejad's words "intolerable and inexcusable" and vowed he would address the controversial remarks.
During the meeting, which lasted over an hour, the Israeli envoy demanded that the United Nations [UN] officially denounce Ahmadinejad's statement. "The secretary-general was appalled by the Iranians' remarks, even before hearing Ahmadinejad's most recent statement," Gillerman told Ynet after the meeting. On Monday, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, referred to Israel as "cancerous bacteria". In a letter of consolation to Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah in the wake of arch-terrorist's Imad Mugniyah's assassination, Jafari said he believed Israel would soon "vanish."
Gillerman said he had also discussed with Ki-moon the issue of Hizbullah's rearmament in south Lebanon and kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The envoy said he demanded that UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] forces, stationed in Lebanon, act vigorously to prevent violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War.
The two also discussed the current situation in the Gaza Strip. Gillerman described the unbearable day- to-day lives of Sderot residents, while the UN secretary general voiced his concern over a possible humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Israeli ambassador told Ki-moon intentional terror attacks on children and infants should not be compared to the Israeli efforts to block the rocket attacks emanating from Gaza.
(By Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynetnews.com, February 20, 2008. Reported by Bridges for Peace)
· Pray the angry rhetoric and incitement by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not spark more brutal violence by Islamic terrorists. Pray his ambitions for increased terrorist activity will be thwarted and exposed in the Middle East and around the world.
· "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him." (Isaiah 59:19b)
6. ARAB MK ATTENDS MOCK TRIBUNAL ON ISRAELI "WAR CRIMES"
Israeli Arab MK Said Nafa (Balad) plans to attend a conference in Belguim on Friday that styles itself as "an international jury of conscience," that will stage a mock international tribunal against Israel for committing "war crimes." Nafa told The Jerusalem Post that he was invited to attend the gathering as an observer, and besides addressing such issues as the IDF's use of cluster bombs in the Second Lebanon War, he also planned to ask the mock court - complete with prosecutors, witnesses and judges - to deliberate over the October 2000 riots in the Galilee in which 12 Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian were killed. "The tribunal has no legal authority," Nafa said, but its "ruling" will be "declarative and aimed at influencing public opinion in the world." Israel's position would also be represented, Nafa said, but, "I don't know by whom." Nafa claimed both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch would attend the event, but neither group has confirmed its participation. (Jerusalem Newswire)
· Stand up, intercessors, on behalf of Israel! What arrogance of the Arabs to accuse Israel of "war crimes," when Islamic terrorist groups act violently against Israel every day. Pray against this mock tribunal, and any influence it may have on world opinion. Where are the tribunals against the real criminals?
· "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law." (Isaiah 42:1, 3)
7. REPORT: ISRAEL OPPOSED U.S. EMBASSY MOVE TO JERUSALEM
Former Israeli Consul General to the US Yoram Ettinger revealed at the Jerusalem Conference Wednesday that Israel prevented a move that would have relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem. "The US Senate was ready to do away with the waiver that allows the president to defer the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem," Ettinger said during a round- table discussion at the Jerusalem Conference. "There were over 80 senators - enough to override any [presidential] veto." It was the Israeli government, Ettinger said, who intervened on behalf of leaving the Embassy in Tel Aviv. "The problem is that both houses of Congress have been firmer on Jerusalem than any Israeli government since 1993."
Ettinger did not elaborate which Israeli government it was that told Congress to stand down.
Currently, all the nations with which Israel has diplomatic relations refuse to recognize Israel's Basic Law designating Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State. (IsraelNN.com)
· What an unexpected turn of events: Israel opposed the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem! Ask the Lord to move upon the hearts of the leaders of the Israeli government to allow this move to now take place. We don't need to know their motives; we just need to make the move. Praise the Lord for the U.S. Congress.
· "If I forget thee, Oh Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill." (Psalm 137:5)
8. SECRET TALKS REFORM UN SECURITY COUNCIL This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . . How blessed I am to know that You are my Rock, and my fortress. You are the One who equips me to do Your work. Thank You that you equip the called - not call the equipped. Today, help me to realize that You have provided for my every need.- one step at a time. (Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has begun secret talks with other world leaders on far-reaching reform of the United Nations Security Council as part of a drive to create a "new world order" and "global society". Brown is drawing up plans to expand the number of permanent members in a move that will provoke fears in his country that the veto enjoyed by Britain could be diluted eventually. The United States, France, Russia and China also have a veto but the number of members could be doubled to include India, Germany, Japan, Brazil and one or two African nations.
Brown has discussed a shake-up of a structure created in 1945 to reflect the world's new challenges and power bases during his four-day trip to China and India. British sources revealed "intense discussions" on UN reform were under way and Brown raised it whenever he met another world leader. He will also unveil a proposal for the UN to spend £100 million ($257 million) a year on setting up a "rapid reaction force" to stop "failed states" sliding back into chaos after a peace deal has been reached.
"There is limited value in military action to end fighting if law and order does not follow," he will say. "So we must do more to ensure rapid reconstruction on the ground once conflicts are over and combine traditional humanitarian aid and peace-keeping with stabilisation, recovery and development." (New Zealand Herald)
· If Prime Minister Brown's ideas for reforming the United Nations are so good, why do these discussions need to be secret? Is this more of the plan for the New World Order, with a larger U.N. army? Pray for discernment on the part of Americans, British and other delegates to catch any unstated loopholes in this reform.
· "Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling." (Psalm 2:10,11)
LORD, MY ROCK (Adoni Tsuree)
Praise be to the LORD, my Rock, who trains my hands for war. (Psalm 144::1)
This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .
How blessed I am to know that You are my Rock, and my fortress. You are the One who equips me to do Your work. Thank You that you equip the called - not call the equipped. Today, help me to realize that You have provided for my every need.- one step at a time.
(Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)