|Preparing for war: Israel’s Home Front Command teaches forth grade students in Jerusalem how to use a gas mask in case of an unconventional missle attack.
The Old Shell Game
An old English game of chance is called ‘the shell game’. The barker has a table in front of him with three shells (anything from matchboxes to coconut shells) and a little ball. He puts a ball under one of the shells, moves the shells quickly around, and then stops and asks the audience where the ball is. For a cash bet, a player can make one guess and lift one shell. The hustler makes his profit by misleading his customer into focusing on the wrong shell.
A good military strategist also fools his enemy by getting him to concentrate on something other than the most important target. In World War II the Allies developed Operation Jael, later called Operation Bodyguard, to distract Hitler from discovering the real timing and invasion point for D-Day. One sub-plot (in which Ian Fleming of James Bond fame was involved) was called Operation Mincemeat. A suitable corpse, dressed up to impersonate a British Intelligence officer, was dumped on the Spanish coast with counterfeit and misleading war plans in a trench coat pocket. They made sure that the body was discovered by Nazi Abwehr intelligence, and this strategic deception significantly distracted Hitler’s military focus prior to D-Day (see ‘The Man Who Never Was: World War Two’s Boldest Counter-Intelligence Operation’ by Ewen Montagu and www.militaryhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa010201a.htm).
It seems that a similar strategy is being used by evil spiritual forces today as the world focuses on the upcoming war with Iraq. Valid concerns (the needs to pray for one’s nation, for the coming battles, for protection against mega-terrorism, for revival and salvation to come to peoples shaken by war) are filling the horizon and attracting valid attention, while a satanic ‘stealth stratagem’ is sneaking through unawares. And what is this ‘stealth’ plot? World leaders are being catalyzed into dividing up the land of Israel. The Bible clearly says that any nation which attempts to shrink Israel’s borders will surely face divine judgment. The potential upshot of this scheme has more divine fallout than a nuclear suitcase bomb!
For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land. Joel 3:1-3 NAS (See also Zech. 14:1-3, Gen 12:3)
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that at this very moment the major world powers are already pressing for precisely this division of the land of Israel. On July 16 2002 the US Secretary of State Colin Powell met with representatives from the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia. The so-called "Quartet" was formed and issued a statement in New York City, part of which is quoted below.
"The Quartet remains committed to implementing the vision of two states, Israel and…Palestine . . . The Quartet calls upon Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable Palestinian state . . . The Quartet reaffirms that… the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 must end . . ."
Preparing to "divide the spoil": The "Quartet" meets to divide up Israel. (L to R)United States Sec. of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, U.N. Sec. General Kofi Annan, European High Representative Javier Solana and Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, July 16, 2002, at first of several meetings to create a new map. On September 17, 2002 the Quartet met again in New York and issued a further statement, part of which is quoted below.
"The Quartet is working closely…on a concrete, three-phase implementation roadmap that could achieve a final settlement within three years… to be monitored and assessed by the Quartet . . . The plan will contain in its initial phase (2002-first half of 2003)… Israeli withdrawals . . . In the plan's second phase (2003), our efforts should focus on the option of creating a Palestinian state with provisional borders . . . In its final phase (2004-5)…consistent with the vision expressed by President Bush, this means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through…Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognized borders."
Israel prepares her people for war
As we enter the month of February, a massive troop deployment similar to what happened prior to the 1991 Gulf War is taking place. By now the US has well over 100,000 ground troops in the Gulf region, including the 82nd Airborne and the Air Cavalry Division, as well as four aircraft carriers with 348 aircraft. Each carrier will be able to hit 700 targets a day by cruise missile, compared to a maximum of 162 per day during the 1991 Gulf War. (www.cdi.org/terrorism/forcesinthemideast5.cfm )
The British Royal Navy is planning it largest amphibious landing operation since the Falkland War, with combined forces at least 40,000 strong. The Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade has already been vaccinated against anthrax and smallpox, and has been undergoing intensive training against biological and chemical attack. They are expected to be combat ready by the end of January.
At this moment U.S. warships equipped with the Aegis radar system are patrolling the eastern Mediterranean, monitoring potential Scud missile launches from Iraq towards Israel. It is also reported that Israeli air force officers are working with their Jordanian counterparts to monitor and interdict low-flying Iraqi planes heading towards Israel. On December 21 2002 over 1,000 US soldiers landed in Israel along with upgraded Patriot anti-missile batteries in preparation for Operation Jennifer Cobra that began in January. The purpose of this joint exercise is to successfully integrate two different anti-missile systems (the Arrow and the Patriot) as part of final preparations for a possible Iraqi attack. The US forces will probably remain in Israel after the conclusion of the operation, awaiting developments in Iraq.
Two British reports from October 2002 (Sunday Times Oct 29 and Foreign Report) indicate that Israel Defense Forces special operations team Unit 262 (Sayeret Matkal), composed of two teams of 24 commandos, has been inserted into western Iraq to detect Scud bases for upcoming elimination. This exact scenario also occurred in late January 1991, when Israeli special forces from three different Sayeret units were inserted into western Iraq in order to track down and destroy Scud launchers - an extended mission which met with a fair degree of success. (www.isayeret.com/operations/desert.htm)
For the past four months Israel has been preparing her military and civilian population for an upcoming war. Elementary and high school students have undergone basic chemical warfare training. Israel’s Health Ministry has already inoculated between 15,000 and 20,000 medical and rescue workers (including police and firefighters) against smallpox, and has enough immunizations to vaccinate the entire population within days. Over 7,500 vibrating beepers for the deaf are being distributed throughout Israel in case of missile attack, which will allow them to receive silent instructions from the Home Front Command. The Director-General of the Defense Ministry Amos Yaron has recently stated that iodine pills (protecting against thyroid cancer caused by nuclear fallout) will probably be added in the near future to citizens’ protection kits. The majority of citizens have already renewed their gas masks at distribution points in shopping centers throughout the country.
As of January 15, Operation Red Hail (a state of high military alert) has kicked in here in Israel. This code name first surfaced in 1998 to describe a national military alert strategy in response to a renewed Iraqi WMD threat. Preparations probably involve round-the-clock immediate air force response readiness, as well as armed forces on trigger alert.
It bears remembering that in 1991 Israel was attacked 39 times by Iraqi Scud missiles armed with conventional warheads. Its current preparations are a pretty accurate litmus test of whether or not it feels that war is likely. All the information given above indicates that the US, Britain and Israel are taking war preparations very seriously.
World attention focuses on UN inspectors playing cat and mouse games with Saddam Hussein’s scientists regarding secret biochemical and nuclear labs. US, British and Israeli forces are gearing up for battle, as well as for Scud hunts and anti-missile defenses. But could it be that Saddam has also been planning for such contingencies? Could he be shrewder than is publicly acknowledged? What if Saddam and his closest aides have managed to keep their weapons of mass destruction (WMD) preparations really hidden, and have used the time to prepare counter-responses to the US-led coming attack? What if that vengeful counter-response happened to be cheap, low tech terrorism (chemical, biological or even suitcase nuclear weapons) detonated by pre-positioned sleeper cells or lone terrorists?
Saddam’s Track Record
A brief documentation of Saddam Hussein’s track record on the following subjects follows:
* Iraq’s stockpiling and use of chemical weapons against civilians (one of 40 examples is Halabja, Iraq where 5,000-7,000 Kurds were murdered by Saddam on March 16, 1988, with at least 10,000 injured).
* Iraqi intelligence involvement in four terrorist attacks against the USA - the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City; the 1995 bombing of the U.S. training mission for Saudi troops in Riyadh; the 1996 attack against the U.S. base in al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen; and the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
* Clear evidence that senior Iraqi intelligence met with Mohammad Atta, the 9/11 ringleader, in April 2001 in Prague. This was Atta’s last trip out of America before 9/11.
* Saddam Hussein’s attempt to assassinate former US President George Bush on April 14, 1993. The Iraqi assassins Ra'ad al-Asadi and Wali al-Ghazali were captured in Kuwait City and interrogated by the FBI. They confessed to having been recruited by Iraqi intelligence in Basra, Iraq, who provided them with the explosive device four days before Bush arrived in Kuwait. (from the US government fact sheet: "The Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency have concluded that Iraq planned, equipped, and ran the terrorist operation that threatened the life of President Bush in Kuwait City in April. Further, it is the firm judgment of our intelligence community, from all sources of evidence available to it, that this assassination plot was directed and pursued by the Iraqi Intelligence Service".
Saddam Hussein has shown murderous cruelty, cunning and deception, brinkmanship, and an active ability to take revenge. He has repeatedly managed to use strategic deception and terror against his enemies, with particular fury against Israel and America.
There may also be a personal factor in this coming conflict. President George W. Bush might have a score to settle with the man who attempted to murder his father.
President Bush’s access to top intelligence allows him to get a comprehensive and deep understanding of what really has gone on behind the scene, and a clear read of Saddam’s exact responsibilities on many levels. Much of this information will never be publicly divulged, because to do so would involve ‘burning’ precious intelligence sources.
Pray for President Bush to have God’s mind, wisdom and discernment as he weighs all possible options. As the sign on President Truman’s desk said so simply, "The buck stops here!"
HOW TO PRAY
It is incumbent then, on all of God’s people to include Israel in their prayers at this time. As you pray for your own nation’s leaders, pray that revelation and wisdom will be given them regarding God’s fierce zeal for His people, His land and its God-given borders (Jer.30:16-17, 23-24; Joel 3:14-16; Gen.15:18-21). Pray that your own leaders’ hands will not recklessly grasp the reigns of this spiritual Trojan horse (Zech.2:8-9, 13). Pray also that Israel’s leaders will not grow weary under constant international pressure, or cave in to manipulation and political witchcraft on these same points (e.g. Isa. 31:1).Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Pray for wisdom and God’s discernment to be abundantly poured out on Israel’s prime minister and his counselors. Pray for the preservation of much life and for people’s hearts to be opened to the goods news of Messiah Yeshua’s atonement, kingdom and soon coming!Yes, most of all, pray that God will bring revival once again to Israel and save His people, revealing Messiah Yeshua to them (Psa.28:9; Zech.12:10).
Avner and his wife Rachel, together with their four sons, live in Beersheva, Israel. With their teaching and music ministry, they are involved in worship and intercession, fostering the prophetic and creative arts, and working with youth. FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES, www.davidstent.org