302. World Focuses on Strait of Hormuz

This issue looks at the postponement of the joint U.S.-Israeli Military exercises, the U.S. “Advice” to Israel and “warnings” to Iran, and more.
OUR ISRAELI CONNECTION

U.S., Israel Postpone Military Exercise amid Tension with Iran
World Now reports: The United States and Israel agreed to postpone a large joint military exercise from this spring to late in the year to avoid aggravating an already tense regional situation driven by conflicts with Iran, Israeli media reported Sunday. The drill, slated for May and named “Austere Challenge,” was announced in November by Andrew Shapiro, U.S. assistant secretary of State for politics-military affairs, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The exercise as originally planned would include more than 5,000 U.S. and Israeli forces and, among other things, simulate Israel’s ballistic missile defense. It would be the “largest and most significant joint exercise in the allies’ history,” Shapiro had said. The drill was announced shortly after American military officials reportedly expressed concern that Israel was preparing an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and would not warn them in advance. Although American and U.S. officials are in close contact on defense matters, especially regarding Iran’s disputed nuclear program, Jerusalem and Washington are at odds over how aggressively to approach with the issue.

News from the Jerusalem Prayer Team
Members of the Obama Administration, including the president himself, have issued a string of warnings to Israel in the past week not to launch a military strike to halt Iran’s nuclear program. They are insisting that Israel give sanctions more time to work. Analysts have noted the fear of the economic impact of war on the president’s reelection campaign as a powerful influence on Washington.

The U.S. issued by far its sternest warning yet to Iran through secret diplomatic channels that closing the Strait of Hormuz as Iran has threatened to do would be a “red line” event that would trigger a military response. A Navy spokesman said that while Iran might be able to close the strait “for a little while,” the U.S. has a contingency plan to re-open it. Though details have not been disclosed for obvious reasons, the re-stationing of a second aircraft carrier strike force in the Arabian Sea gives a number of military options which Iran could not hope to overcome.

An Iranian member of Parliament has gone public with a claim that President Obama sent Iran’s leaders a secret letter asking for direct talks between Washington and Tehran. Relations between the countries have been broken since the hostage crisis during the Iranian revolution in 1979. There are no formal diplomatic ties, and there have been no direct communications for decades. The White House is refusing comment on the authenticity of the story, neither confirming nor denying Iran’s claims. The question we must ask if this story is true is: What is President Obama planning to tell Iran’s leaders in the talks? What will he offer them? What promises will he make? Will he undercut Israel in an attempt to avoid a war?

IT’S NEWS TO ME

Mass Oil Release from Emergency Stockpiles Planned if Iran Closes Strait of Hormuz
The IEA (International Energy Agency) has prepared an emergency plan to respond to the threat from Iran to close the crucial Strait of Hormuz. Some 40% of the world’s oil flows through this narrow waterway, and a closure would have a devastating impact on gas prices and world economies. In response, the IEA has a contingency plan to release up to 14 million barrels from emergency reserves every day-more than 5 times the release that helped stave off chaos after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Former President Carter Meets with Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo
Canada free Press reports: The chairman of Egypt’s new Freedom and Justice Party-a/k/a the Muslim Brotherhood-met last week with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The stated purpose of the meeting was the ongoing Egyptian transition process and the recent elections. Carter congratulated FJP chairman Mohamed Morsi on the parliamentary election results achieved by the party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), noting there was international consensus to respect the results which reflect the Egyptian people’s choices, said a statement posted on the Muslim Brotherhood’s web site…

President Carter is known for his enthusiasm for Islamist groups that takeover Middle Eastern and North African nations. He’s also known to curry favor with Islamic radicals, neo-Marxists and other enemies of the U.S. and Israel. Read more.

“Either War with the Jews or War with Allah”
Jerusalem Prayer Team reports: I’ve [Mike Evans] seen stunning examples of hatred of the Jewish people before, but this is one of the worst I’ve ever read. These words come from a leading Egyptian cleric named Hazem Shuman:

“Oh nation of Muhammad, Allah says to you: If you fear war with the Jews, brace yourselves for war with Allah. It is either a war with the Jews or a war with Allah. Allah says that the entire nation could be replaced if it is not prepared to sacrifice its blood for the sake of Palestine. My message to all the Jews is that the battle is bound to come and you will be vanquished. Allah has promised that you will be vanquished and that we will prevail. Why, oh Messenger of Allah? Because these Jews are a cancer. These Jews are a catastrophe. There is not a catastrophe in the world that is not the handiwork of the Jews. These Jews are a cancer in the body of planet Earth, and if permitted, it will spread and infect the entire body. Getting rid of these Jews is a must.”

A Kuwaiti Prince Publicly Embraces Christ, Denounces Islam
Read this thought-provoking article from Godfather Politics.

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.
–Groucho Marx


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