January 17, 2011

 *Open season on Christians in the Middle East. Recently there have been major assaults on Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan. The Egyptian government’s anemic response to the Church bombing in Cairo has been tantamount to telling Muslim fanatics it’s “open season” on Christians in Egypt. Newsmax magazine says, “More attacks are inevitable unless the government and religious leaders crack down on the terrorists.”

An October article in the online Examiner is titled: “Baghdad Church bombing underscores Christian exodus from Middle East.” You can get this article at www.examiner.com, October 31.

I want to write more about this problem later. In the meantime, please be much in prayer not only for Israel but also for the besieged Christians throughout the Middle East.

*Who was behind Stuxnet? Though no one has as yet admitted to planting the Stuxnet computer worm in Iranian nuclear facilities, there is one important thing that has been brought to light. And that is that Israel tested the worm on its own centrifuges at Dimona, with the cooperation of the United States. Israel reportedly has centrifuges that are identical to the ones Iran uses at its nuclear site in Natanz. This made it easy to test the worm and find out exactly what it would do once it was planted in Iran’s computers.

A recent Times [of London] report explained how the Stuxnet worm operates. “First, it spun Iranian nuclear centrifuges out of control. It would also secretly record the daily routine at the nuclear plant and play back the recording of a regular day to operators at the plant. This way, it would seem that the facility was operating correctly, while the centrifuges were being destroyed.

“The Stuxnet virus enters computers through removable drives. It then spreads to other computers and any drives that may be plugged into them. The virus searches for computers using a Siemens software called “Step 7.”  After a controller is infected, Stuxnet hides itself. After a few days, the virus speeds and slows motors in such a way that could damage them. At the same time, it sends out the false signals described above.”

Though neither Israel nor the United States has admitted to deliberately infecting the Iranian computers with the worm, it appears that both the Bush and Obama administrations authorized its use in order to “put time on the clock,” as they expressed it. The idea was to set Iran’s program back a few years so that Israel and Western powers could decide on a long-term solution.

According to reports, the worm was reportedly only partially successful, delaying Iran’s progress but not destroying the nuclear sites.

*Volatile Middle East. Israel says that between Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas, there are now 60,000 missiles aimed at Israel. Some of these missiles are capable of hitting any part of Israel, clear down to Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba. If it were not for the Lord’s hand guarding Israel, I sincerely believe Israel would have been wiped out a long time ago. Is it Israel’s own nuclear weapons that prevent her enemies from launching what, in human terms, might be the final coup de grace? I don’t know, but if it is, perhaps the Lord is using this very human fear to keep Israel’s enemies in check.

As I write, a UN Special Tribunal is about to hand down indictments in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. As I understand it, a sealed envelope has already been handed to the chief prosecutor, Daniel Bellemere, who will then decide whether to go ahead with the indictments, or look for further evidence. Word is that both Hizbullah officials and Iran’s chief religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei are to be indicted. Hizbullah, anticipating that its officials would be indicted, has already pulled out of the Lebanese government of Saad Hariri, who was in the United States conferring with President Obama while his government was in the process of collapsing.

This whole situation has made Lebanon a tinderbox just waiting for a spark to touch it off. If the indictments go through, then both Iran and Hizbullah will have been caught red-handed.

In the Middle East, often if something can’t be blamed on Israel, it will be blamed on the United States. Hizbullah now claims that the U.S. was behind the indictments. A Jerusalem Post article says, “According to the Hizbullah-aligned television station Al-Manar, ‘Washington pushed the indictments in order to light the fuse that will blow up the bridges that were built in order to find a solution’ after the Lebanese government collapsed last week.” Their claim is a little anachronistic, as the UN Tribunal investigation has been going on for a long time, having started well before Hizbullah pulled out of the Lebanese government.

“But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.” Psalm 31:14, 15.