President Obama's recent charm offensive in Israel apparently had two aims: 1) lull Israel into forfeiting timely military action against Iranian nukes in the hope that Obama will stop them, and 2) convince Israelis that now is the time to revisit the land-for-peace formula. For years, the conventional wisdom – among Israel's peace camp and its proponents abroad (Obama included) – has been that if Israel just relinquishes enough territory to its enemies, peace will arrive. But on most of Israel's borders, history has revealed the naïve folly behind an idea that could just as aptly be called "land-for-war."
Consider Syria. From 1948 to 1967, the Syrians regularly fired artillery shells from their dominant positions on the Golan Heights down at Israeli border communities and Fatah used the territory to launch terrorist raids into Israel, until Israel captured it in 1967. But since the US-brokered talks between Israel and Syria began in 1999, peaceniks have posited that a full withdrawal by Israel from the strategic plateau in exchange for peace with Syria involved a risk worth taking. Their rationale was that – in an era dominated more by aerial threats (jets and missiles) than terrestrial ones (soldiers and tanks) – the territory was no longer vital to Israeli security and could be traded for a double boon: peace with Syria and elimination of Iran's greatest strategic ally.
Current events reveal the deeply flawed assumptions underpinning the land-for-peace-with-Syria paradigm. No Israeli territorial concession is needed for Iran to lose its only Arab ally; the Syrian civil war will ultimately accomplish that. Basher Assad's regime will eventually fall because the daily slaughter of one's own people (with over 70,000 dead) is unsustainable when each atrocity can be instantly uploaded to the Internet. Whoever replaces Assad will be no friend to those who armed, funded, and prolonged his massacres: Iran and Russia. Iran and its proxy Hezbollah have also been substantially involved in fighting the rebels on the ground, and thus will be distanced from post-war Syria far more than any Israeli-Syrian peace could have separated Iran and Syria. more >>
A U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief describes "Evangelical Christianity" and "Catholicism" as examples of "religious extremism," according to the Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, who shared a copy of the documents with The Christian Post.
"The number of hate groups, extremists and anti‐govt organizations in the U.S. has continued to grow over the past three years, according to reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They increased to 1,018 in 2011, up from 1,002 in 2010 and 602 in 2000," reads the first page of the slide presentation labeled "Extremism & Extremist Organizations."
Listed alongside "extremist" groups and organizations like the Klu Klux Klan and al-Qaida, the U.S. Army slideshow has "Evangelical Christianity" as the first bullet, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and farther down on the slide, Catholicism. more >>
As North Korea's official news agency ramped up its rhetoric and declared on Thursday the possibility of war breaking out "today or tomorrow" with the West, Christians living in the oppressive communist country have verified that preparations for war are being made around the clock, and are asking fellow believers worldwide to pray.
"The military army, navy, air force troops, strategic rocket troops, the red guards and the red youth guards are already in combat mode. Urgent meetings are being held everywhere, regardless if it is day or night. At those meetings, officials make decisions on what needs to happen in case war breaks out and everyone, including women, needs to be combat ready," a local church leader has said of the situation, according to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said in a message to the people, according to Open Doors' sources, that "If war breaks out because of the actions of the U.S. and puppet South Korean's unpardonable behavior, they will end up with a disgraceful downfall, and our people will greet a brilliant new day of reunification. The day has come to show off the power of 'Military First' and our great nation to the whole world." more >>
NEW YORK -- The UN General Assembly passed a historic Arms Trade Treaty on Tuesday in New York, aimed at regulating the $70bn conventional arms trade business, the illegal trade of which has been blamed for millions of deaths and affected lives in developing regions.
"We owe it to those millions - often the most vulnerable in society - whose lives have been overshadowed by the irresponsible and illicit international trade in arms," said Peter Woolcott Australia's ambassador to the UN.
The U.N. member-states voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement, with 154 votes for the regulations, three opposed, and 23 abstentions, BBC reported. Syria, Iran and North Korea were the three nations that tried to block the treaty, while Russia and China, two of the world's biggest exporters, abstained. more >>
The Russian military has introduced a high-tech air-dropped church along with a unit of priests trained in parachuting and vehicle assembly to serve the army and navy's Orthodox Christian soldiers in the field. The European country claims its airborne-friendly and ready-to-assemble house of worship is the first the world has ever seen, although similar structures have long been in existence.
RIA Novisit, Russian's official news and information agency, shared photos over the weekend on its Facebook page of paratroopers holding exercises near Ryazan, about 124 miles from Moscow. The news agency noted that among the "ordinary paratroopers" were paratrooper priests and their "mobile cathedral."
The paratrooper chaplains are among a preliminary group of about a dozen Russian Orthodox Church priests assigned to the country's Baltic Fleet in an effort to restore full-service chaplaincy to the country's armed forces, according to RIA Novisit. Russia is reportedly planning to assign 400 military chaplains to army and naval units. more >>
As Pope Francis delivered an Easter Sunday message of peace, the U.S. sent out fighter jets to the Korean peninsula for military drills amid rising tensions and the danger of war.
"Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow," Pope Francis stated, speaking in Italian. He was speaking in his first Easter Sunday address since being appointed leader of the Roman Catholic Church, greeting over 250,000 people from the central balcony at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.