MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.—Following through on a promise, President Bush yesterday elevated U.S. military ties with Pakistan, granting it benefits enjoyed by only a handful of countries outside the NATO alliance…” (AP)
Religious ban upheld in Moscow.
Moscow—Reflecting increased pressure on religious minorities in a country dominated by the Russian Orthodox Church, a Moscow court upheld a ban on activities by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the capital…” [All these headlines taken from a June 17 local newspaper. Articles like this are showing up all the time now.]
105 killed in bomb attacks; strikes appear coordinated. Masked men target Iraq police. BAGHDAD, Iraq—Fighting raged in five cities across Iraq yesterday as insurgents carried out apparently coordinated attacks that killed more than 105 people and wounded hundreds more.
Plums of smoke boiled up form the streets of Fallujah, Ramadi, Baqouba, Mosul and Baghdad as masked insurgents battled U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces in what several officials said could be the opening salvo in a violent push to derail the June 30 transfer of sovereignty…”(THE NEW YORK TIMES, 25 June 04)
Vital Background information:
The Origin of the Modern Violent Expansion of Islam
“In 1980 [only] two out of 64 [terrorist] groups [could be] categorized as largely religious in motivation--in 1995 almost half of the identified groups, 26 out of 56, were classified as religiously motivated--the majority of these espoused Islam as their guiding force” (Bruce Hoffman of the RAND Corporation).
Iranian and Afghan jihad Terrorism, year 1979: Two watershed events occurred on this year. 1. The Iranian Islamic revolution (where the Shah of Iran was overthrown and a fundamentalist Islamic government was installed in Iran). 2. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which sparked the anti-Soviet mujahedeen war. This war lasted for ten years, from 1979 to 1989. This Afghan war spawned the meteoric birth and expansion of battle-hardened, well-trained Islamic Arab militants. At first these militants were fighting to free their Islamic Afghan brothers from Soviet domination, and appeared to all outside observers as harmless, merely fighting to free their Muslim Afghan brothers from Soviet tyranny and domination. (The Afghan people are not Arab, although they are Muslim, Islamic.) Volunteers from all over the Arab Islamic world streamed into Afghanistan, supported by conservative countries like Saudi Arabia. In Yemen, the Riyadh-backed Islamic Front was established to provide financial, logistical and training support for Yemeni volunteers. A new group was making its presence known to the Soviets in Afghanistan--the “Arab Afghans.” With the fall of the Soviet Union starting to take place in 1989, coupled to the timely introduction of the Stinger missile being given to mujahedeen fighters by the U.S., the Soviets were driven out of Afghanistan by the mujahedeen, comprised now of a major new element, these “Arab Afghans”, under the “inspired” leadership of one Osama Bin Ladin.
Next event: A very militant form of Islamic government--one quite similar (but even more militant in its brutality) to the Islamic government in Iran—took over in Afghanistan, the Taliban. Osama Bin Ladin and his “Afghan Arabs” were instrumental in forcing this Taliban government on the disunited and often bickering tribes of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Now there existed a pool of well-trained, battle-hardened Islamic militants under the command of Osama Bin Ladin--more importantly--living under the full governmental and diplomatic protection of the new Taliban government of Afghanistan. These so-called Arab Afghans have and are currently using their experience all over the Muslim/Islamic world to support local insurgencies in North Africa, Kashmir, Chechnya, China, Bosnia and the Philippines.
Iran: The radical Islamic government of Iran sponsored and continues to sponsor the spread of radical Islam through terrorism, specifically through the Iranian backed and Syrian supported Hezbollah. It was the Hezbollah who pioneered the use of suicide bombers in the Middle East. The Hezbollah were directly linked to the 1983 bombing and deaths of 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, as well as multiple kidnappings of U.S. and Western civilians and government officials. The Hezbollah continues as one of the central sources of training and equipping of secular, Shia and Sunni movements against Israel. Up until very recently Iraq and Syria were heavily involved in support of terrorist groups. Since 1989 religious Islamic extremists have shown a willingness to strike targets outside the countries they wish to subjugate.
Key Radical Religious Groups
[descriptions taken directly from the U.S. State Department publication “Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2000”]
· Hezbollah: Radical Shia group formed in 1982 in Lebanon. Strongly anti-Western and anti-Israeli. Closely allied with, and often directed by, Iran but may have conducted operations that were not approved by Tehran. Known or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-U.S. terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 and the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in September 1984. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention of U.S. and other Western hostages in Lebanon. The group attacked the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and is a suspect in the 1994 bombing of the Israeli cultural center in Buenos Aires. Operates in the Bekaa Valley [guess where Israeli intelligence suspects a lot of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction are hidden--the Bekaa Valley!], the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon. Has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia. Receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria.
· Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ—Al-Jihad Group, Islamic Jihad): Egyptian group active since the late 1970s. The EIJ is apparently split into two factions: one led by Ayman al-Zawahiri—who currently is in Afghanistan and is a key leader in the Usama bin Laden (UBL) network--and Vanguards of Conquest (Talaa’ al-Fateh) led by Ahmad Husayn Agiza. Abbud al-Zumar, leader of the original Jihad, is imprisoned in Egypt and recently joined the group’s jailed spiritual leader, Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman, in a call for a “peaceful front.” The group’s traditional goal is the overthrow of the Eyptian Government and creation of an Islamic state. Given its involvement with UBL, EIJ is likely increasingly willing to target U.S. interests. The group has threatened to strike the U.S. for its jailing of Shaykh al-Rahman and the arrests of EIJ cadres in Albania, Azerbaijan, and the United Kingdom.
· Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ): The PIJ, emerging from radical Gazan Palestinians in the 1970s, is apparently a series of loosely affiliated factions rather than a cohesive group. The PIJ focus is the destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian Islamic state. Due to Washington’s support of Israel, the PIJ has threatened to strike American targets; the PIJ has not “specifically” conducted attacks against U.S. interests; Arab regimes deemed as un-Islamic are also threatened. The group has stated its willingness to hit American targets in Jordan. PIJ cadres reportedly receive funding from Tehran and logistical support from Syria.
· Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS): Emerging from the Muslim Brotherhood during the first Palestinian intifadah (1987), HAMAS has become the primary anti-Israeli religious opposition in the occupied territories. The group is mainly known for its use of suicide bombers and is loosely organized, with centers in Gaza and certain areas in the West Bank. HAMAS, while condemning American policies favoring Israel, has not targeted the U.S. directly.
· Islamic Gama’at, Egyptian al-Gaa’at al-Islamiyya, GI):
The IG, begun in the 1970s, is the largest of the Egyptian militant groups. Its core goal is the overthrow of the Cairo regime and creation of an Islamic state. [emphasis mine] The IG appears to be a more loosely organized entity than the EIJ, and maintains a globally present external wing. IG leadership signed Usama bin Ladin’s February 1998 anti-U.S. fatwa but has denied supporting UBL. Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman is al-Gama’at’s spiritual leader, and thus the U.S. has been threatened with attack. From 1993 until the cease-fire, al-Gama’a launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the attack in November 1997 at Luxor that killed 58 foreign tourists. Also claimed responsibility for the attempt in June 1995 to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Has a worldwide presence, including Sudan, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Austria, and Yemen. The Egyptian Government believes Iran, Bin Laden, and Afghan militant groups support the organization.
Key Groups in the New Phase of Militant Islamic Terrorism
[descriptions taken directly from the U.S. State Department publication “Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2000”]
*Al-Qaeda (The Base): Established by Usama Bin Ladin (UBL) circa 1990, Al Qaeda aims to coordinate a transnational mujahideen network; stated goal is to “reestablish the Muslim State” throughout the world via the overthrow of corrupt regimes in the Islamic world and the removal of foreign presence--primarily American and Israeli—from the Middle East. [emphasis mine] UBL has issued three anti-U.S. fatwas encouraging Muslims to take up arms against Washington’s “imperialism.” Al Qaeda provides financial, manpower, transportation, and training support to extremists worldwide. In February 1998 bin Ladin issued a statement under the banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders,” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens, civilian or military, and their allies. [emphasis mine] Allegedly orchestrated the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 7, 1998. Claims to have been involved in the 1993 killing of U.S. servicemen in Somalia [“Blackhawk Down”] and the December 1992 bombings against U.S. troops in Aden, Yemen. Al Qaeda serves as the core of a loose umbrella organization that includes members of many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, including factions of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), the Gama’at al-Islamiyya (IG), and the Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM). The group is a prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks as well as the U.S.S. Cole bombing.
*Armed Islamic Group (GIA): Having initiated terrorist activities in 1992 following the Algiers refusal to accept a democratically elected Islamist government, the GIA has conducted multiple mass killings of civilians and assassinations of Algerian leaders. While present in areas such as Yemen, the GIA reportedly does not target the U.S. directly. However, it is possible that GIA splinter movements or personnel may become involved in anti-U.S. action.
* Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (AAIA): The Aden-Abyan Islamic Army is allegedly affiliated to the Yemeni Islamic Jihad and has been implicated in acts of violence with the stated goal to “hoist the banner of jihad, and fight secularism in Yemen and the Arab countries.” Aden-Abyan Islamic Army leader Zein al-Abideen al-Mehdar was executed for participating in the December 1998 kidnapping of 16 Western tourists. Four of the hostages were killed and another 13 freed when Yemeni security forces attacked the place where the hostages were being held. In March 1999 the group warned the U.S. and British ambassadors in Yemen to leave immediately.
* Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM): Formerly part of the Harakat al-Ansar (HUA), the Pakistani-based HUM operates primarily in Kashmir. Longtime leader of the group, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, in mid-February stepped down; the popular Kashmir commander and second-in-command, Farooq Kashmiri, assumed the reigns. Khalil, who has been linked to Bin Ladin and signed his fatwa in Bebruary 1998 calling for attacks on U.S. and Western interests, assumed the position of HUM Secretary General. The HUM is linked to the militant group al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one was killed in August 1995 and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. The HUM trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
* Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed): The Pakistani-based Jaiash-e-Mohammed (JEM) has greatly expanded since Maulana Masood Azhar, a former ultra fundamentalist Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA) leader, formed the group in February 2000. The group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan. It is politically aligned with the radical, pro-Taliban, political party, Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam (JUI-F). The JEM maintains training camps in Afghanistan [written previous to the overthrow the Taliban and the installation of a free democratic Muslim government in Afghanistan] Most of the JEM’s cadre and material resources have been drawn from the militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) and the Harakat ul-Mujahedin (HUM). The JEM has close ties to Afghan Arabs and the Taliban. Usama Bin Ladin is suspected of giving funding to the JEM. Group by this name claimed responsibility for the USS Cole attack.
* Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous): The LT is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI)--a Sunni anti-U.S. missionary organization formed in 1989. One of the three largest and best trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India, it is not connected to a political party. The LT leader is MDI chief, Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Almost all LT cadres are foreigners--mostly Pakistanis from seminaries across the country and Afghan veterans of the Afghan wars. The LT trains its militants in mobile training camps across Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Fundamentalist Islam: fundamentalist Islam calls for a return to an ontological form of Islam that rejects modernity; groups such as Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad are representative of fundamentalist Islam.” [emphasis mine]
Since 1989 religious Islamic extremists have shown a willingness to strike outside the countries they wish to subjugate.
Now to put this into perspective with ongoing current events, shifts in global nuclear powers, and finally, Bible prophecy
This new phenomenon of Islamic terrorism has many Bible scholars scratching their heads, while others are thinking it all fits into the general end-time scenario. It is the “others” who are correct this time. Almost any day you can log onto Foxnews.com and read about serious conflict going on in the Middle East--U.S. Marines in a firefight in some Iraqi city, some Iraqi pipeline blown up, some terrorist attack killing innocent American or European civilians in Saudi Arabia (once considered a safe place to live and work), Iran harboring and developing nuclear weapons, Pakistan already possessing them (they’re an Islamic nation)--similar situation in North Korea--rumours of Saddam’s hidden weapons of mass destruction being hidden in the Bakaa Valley of Syria. And then you have the never-ending blood-letting of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict--which is very similar to the 600-year old conflict which has simmered in the Balkans where two religions, Muslims and Catholics have slaughtered each other for centuries on end, with brief intermissions along the way. What do all these conflicts have in common? One answer, they’re all over religion, they’re religious based conflicts. It’s not about oil or money. In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it’s a conflict between the people who believe in the Jewish-Christian God of the Bible and the people who believe in Islam’s god, Allah. It’s not just about terrorist’s. In most fundamentalist thinking Arab minds these terrorists are regarded as freedom fighters for Allah, and they’re fighting to install fundamental dictatorial Islamic governments across the Arab-Muslim world, which would include the nations ringing North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey (you’ve just read information taken from the State Department report on global terrorism, so you know this is true). The governments they want to see installed are like the fundamental Islamic government that’s in Iran, and what was the Talliban government in Afghanistan. To many Arab minds, the Al Qaida are freedom fighters. But why are they attacking the U.S. then? Why 9/11, the bombing of two U.S. Embassies in central Africa, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole? [Lest we forget, log onto: http://baal.guns-media.com/images/wtc/57.html] Simply this, the United States is closely allied with the one freedom-loving democracy in existence in the Middle East--Israel. Now the United States is trying to install a western type freedom-loving democracy in the nation of Iraq, as well as having done so in Afghanistan, two strongly Muslim countries of the Middle East. To the average American this is a war against terrorism, one where the terrorists of Al Qaida soundly delivered their Pearl Harbor attack against America, and we’ve merely responded in kind. But to the Islamic mind, this is far more, this is about advancing Islam. It’s also, if we look closer, a clash between two civilizations, the western Judeo-Christian democracies where freedom and individuality of the citizen are cherished, and Islamic civilization based on a religion that--in its expansionist mode--uses violence to spread itself and its influence. If you look carefully at what the major “export” of Iran is, it’s not oil. Over the past 20 years Iran has been exporting an extremist Islamic form of government, exported via violent acts of terrorism. Islamic terrorism has been spreading through the Sudan, and many other North African countries, exported by this more militant form of Islam coming from both Saudi Arabia and Iran. But it has been coming out of Iran for the past 20 years, slowly taking root as fundamentalist terror organizations infiltrate these nations in North Africa and the Muslim world. The Hezbollah is the major Iranian terrorist group, directly funded out of Iran, who operates against the nation of Israel. This form of Islam, supported by some very influential Saudi’s and spreading throughout Saudi Arabia at many levels, is causing somewhat of a quandary for the Saudi government, as this form of Islam seeks the overthrow of the Saudi kingdom itself. The ultimate goal of making Afghanistan and Iraq into free democracies is to put the activist Islamic government of Iran in a sort of headlock--isolating, and hopefully cutting off the source of this extremist form of Islam through terrorism. The United States has already freed Afghanistan from its version of extremist Islamic government, the Taliban, and installed a free Muslim based democracy in that nation. So Iran is somewhat panic stricken, seeing this two-sided democratic head-lock coming its way (while its citizens clamor for democracy from within Iran). Naturally, realizing this, the call for “all true Islamic freedom fighters” has gone out--with orders to report to Iraq and fight to the death for Allah and Islam. The fanatical Islamic government of Iran must be pretty desperate by now. It’s a “them or us” mentality with no room for compromise as far as they are concerned. Coupled to the Iranian fears, is the remnants of all those 20 thousand Afghan Arab freedom fighters, trained in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, who are being called into the fight by an Al-Qaeda leadership which is licking its wounds. Estimated number of Afghan Arab “freedom fighters” left, 18,000. What we are witnessing in the news today is Islam in its expansionist mode--with a very visionary President Bush trying desperately to shove this “Islamic Genie” back into the bottle and cork it. What happens if he (and we) doesn’t succeed? Answer: History repeats itself. Read on.
History as a window to the future, Europe vs. Islam: Has this scenario ever occurred before in history? And what was the result, if it has? The answer is, yes, it has. In the 1100’s AD, the Muslim world through violence had conquered and installed fundamental Islamic governments which spanned from North Africa on the Atlantic Ocean side all the way to Egypt, throughout the entire Middle East, and all the way to what is now Turkey, and had advanced through the Balkans (that’s why the Balkans are part Catholic, part Muslim or Islamic). The Saracens in Turkey were knocking on one of Europe’s back doors in the Balkans, and on Europe’s other back door attacking southern Spain from Morocco. These advances triggered a massive two-hundred year blood-letting called the Crusades, which then led to the Inquisitions of the Catholic church within Europe. Just north of the Balkans, Vlad the Impaler stopped the Saracens cold, in their tracks. Catholicism was enforced throughout Europe by the Inquisitions, at first in fear of the sweep of Muslim civilization, and then these Inquisitions degenerated into going after anyone who wasn’t a Catholic (Jews and Protestants, mainly). This was above all else a massive clash of the western so-called Christian and eastern Islamic civilizations. In both cases, fear of the other civilization drove the atrocities and warfare, designed originally to stop Islam at the borders of Europe. Now yet again fundamental Islam is threatening all the countries of North Africa, the Sudan, and Middle East. It is knocking on one of Europe’s back doors, through that massive train bombing of Al Qaida in Spain recently. And even with tightened security, more is to come. Guerilla war is inherently easier to wage than it is to counter. The United States, viewing this as a terrorist threat, may hold these movements at bay or even reverse hard-won gains made by the fundamental Islamic movement which is attempting to install its form of governments across North Africa and the Middle East, with it’s next target--Europe. And much focus is on the forthcoming re-election of President Bush, which is critical in the efforts of the free democracies of the world in forestalling the installation of Islamic dictatorships around the Mediterranean world. But at best, if re-elected, President Bush will only forestall Islamic intentions by another four years. (If the extremists were smart, which they aren’t, thank heaven--they’d bury their weapons in the sand and wait four years, lulling their “enemy” to sleep.) But what they are doing instead, is providing extremely strong pressure on the European governments to do something they’ve been dragging their feet on, bringing about complete and total European unity at the military-government level. For over sixty years now Bible scholars have been looking in vain for the re-emergence of some type of Holy Roman Empire style government that will supposedly unite “ten nations” within the confines of the old Roman Empire. Don’t think it could happen? Think again, nine such revivals have already occurred in Europe over the past 1400 years, from 554AD to 1945. But most people never connect the dots, history is such boring stuff, right? The Bible in Revelation chapters 13 & 17, and in Daniel 2 & 7 predicted the rise of all these revivals, and especially the rise of the one which has not yet occurred. Europe--since the end of World War II--has been attempting to unite, but sufficient incentive to fully unite has never been there. It would seem the “incentive” has to be the threat of their very existence, while the “protector” of the world’s free democracies looks politically inward. Historically you can see how Europe handled the last Islamic threat to its existence (1100-1300s AD). Europe has already achieved great strides toward unity without the Islamic threat, a common currency, a developing common military is also on the way (including a common German-designed U-boat force being constructed in the shipyards of three European nations http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/type_212/)--but as always their efforts at achieving unity have stalled just short of total unity. Why? Because achieving total unity amongst separate longstanding sovereign democratic nations is a very hard thing to achieve, especially when they do not share common language or heritage, which none of them do (except for Germany and Austria). Subsequently, all the past revivals of the “Holy Roman Empire” had to be achieved militarily, the two most recent being that of Napoleon and Hitler-Mussilini. (Little known fact, Mussilini was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1935 in a secret Vatican Concordat.)
What conclusion can we draw from the history of Islam’s 1st major expansion in the 1100’s? Conclusion—Islam’s 1st expansion made Europe & the Catholic church become extremely militant.
Second Major Threat to European Security--shifting and re-arming global military powers: This perceived threat is currently developing along the entire eastern border of Europe. Let’s take a look to see what is taking place in this arena.
1. Growing Chinese threat: From an online source (BHP railroad website, and other official Australian websites) I discovered that massive amounts of iron ore are constantly being shipped to Communist China from the Pilbara region of NW Australia. I did a little more online sleuthing and discovered that the Communist Chinese manufactured 181 million metric tons of high grade steel in the year 2002, just about double the output for the United States for that same year. I also discovered that the Communist Chinese currently manufacture 20 percent of the worlds commercial ships in modern state-of-the-art computerized shipyards--yards which are fully capable of switching over to the manufacture of naval vessels for the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN). Now I served in the US submarine service, so I’ve always kept a weather eye on submarine development. Considering that the submarine has provided the most deadly and hard to detect platform for launching nuclear ICBMs, watching international submarine development is key to seeing shifts and buildups in nuclear strike capabilities of belligerent nations and superpowers. So here’s what I discovered. The Chinese in 1987 commissioned a nuclear powered Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine (FBM), classified by NATO as a Xia Class FMB. This boat is equivalent to a modern Russian Delta III class FBM, which is pretty scary. China only has one of these subs, but has been using it as a test bed for developing and testing better and better submerged launched ICBMs. They have currently developed a three stage submerged launched missile (SLBM) fully capable of delivering multiple warheads per missile (MRVs) anywhere in the US (or Russia for that matter, which is more to the point). It is of the more stable solid propellant variety. Now the Chinese are working on manufacturing a new class of Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines to carry these missiles. So China has and continues to develop itself into a global nuclear superpower. Next question, has Russia shown any kind of military reaction to this growing Chinese threat on their Siberian border?
To see how far China has gone in their bid to become a nuclear superpower--armed with an expanding fleet of modern Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines armed with successfuly tested two or three stage solid fuel submerged-launched ICBM's--and a modern amphibious Army/Navy, click on http://www.gertzfile.com and read what Washington Times writer Bill Gertz has written about China. China has become a far more belligerant nation than Vladimir's Russia. And the Chinese are exhibiting an attitude of racial superiority not seen in the world since Nazi Germany and Tojo's Japan in the late 1930's.