On the weekend of the tenth yearly commemoration for 9/11, the night of Friday September 9, 2011 saw a mass attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Tens of thousands of violent demonstrators attacked the Embassy grounds, which were surrounded by Egyptian security forces. The demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and stoned police. Over 1,000 were wounded (including 300 police), and three demonstrators died (one of a heart attack).
- What is happening here?
- What does it signify?
- How can we pray?
The events of the attack
The attacks began close to 1900 hours, as a spillover from the Tahrir Square ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrations. By midnight rioters equipped with sledgehammers and battering rams knocked over 12 foot high concrete walls surrounding the Israel Embassy. That building houses the Israeli Embassy on its three upper floors.
At 2225 hours a handful of young Egyptian hotheads (nicknamed “Spidermen” on Israeli TV) scaled the outside building walls to the top floor. One of them ripped down the Israeli flag. Others hoisted the Egyptian flag.
By 0110 hours Saturday morning the mob had broken down the front lobby doors into the 19 storey building, spray-painting anti-Jewish graffiti as they climbed the stairwells. Reaching the 17th floor they attacked the Embassy doors with sledgehammers, forcing the six Israeli security guards back into the last secure area. The intruders threw consular documents out of the office windows, and the papers scattered on the cheering and yelling mobs below, who were screaming for Israel’s destruction.
The situation was only a short step away from total pandemonium, and the lynch mob was ready. Throughout the evening Israeli Shabak security men (all young men working for the Israeli equivalent of the FBI) were in constant touch with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and all the heads of intelligence and the IDF. As the mob battered down the second to last security door, the Israeli security guards asked that, if they were to die in the next few minutes, their parents and loved ones be informed in person and not by phone calls.
All is quiet on the Egyptian front
Throughout the evening, from 2200 hours and onward, the leader of Egypt’s Supreme Military Council (the provisional government) General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi refused to answer persistent phone calls at the highest level from Israel’s PM. He was described as “unavailable.” As the mob began breaking down the outer door, Tantawi was nowhere to be found. Only frenzied calls to US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at 0140 hours began to bring extreme pressure on Egypt’s top brass, who up to that time seemed to have no problem with seeing Israel’s Embassy overrun and its security detail lynched. President Obama officially called the Egyptian leadership at 0250 hours, insisting that they protect Israeli Embassy staff as well as honor international diplomatic norms.
By 0330 hours Egyptian commandos disguised as rioters had entered the building and were able to create a sterile area on the upper floors. By 0400 they were able to successfully identify themselves to the six Shabak guards. Then they disguised the Israelis in traditional Arab dress (galabiyas and keffiyehs), smuggled them down 17 floors, inserted them into waiting armored personnel carriers and tore off to Cairo’s International Airport.
At 0440 hours the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Itzhak Levanon along with 79 of his staff were evacuated by an IDF plane hastily ordered over to Cairo when the riots began. At 0745 hours a smaller IDF jet flew the six security personnel back to safety in Israel.
In this extremely tense standoff no Israeli loss of life occurred, but these events are hugely ominous portents of bad days ahead in the Middle East.
Arab Spring turns to Islamist winter
The so-called Arab Spring (which began in Tunisia and spread to Cairo in January) was spun by Western media into a false golden thread of liberty, equality and fraternity. But as far as Egypt goes, it has led to the opposite – mob rule, the suppression of the original liberal hi-tech student leadership, and the rise of Muslim Brotherhood (spiritual cousins of 9/11’s al Qaeda) and ultra-nationalist forces. Egypt’s economy is a shambles, tourism has ground to a halt, former President Mubarak is being wheeled in and out of a hanging court on a gurney, and the army is hesitant about disobeying volatile mob rule.
A threefold cord – broken
In the second half of the 20th century the United States’ Middle East strategic policies vis-à-vis the Islamic world once hinged upon three countries – Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. All three were ruled by anti-communist dictatorships – the first two military, the last one a corrupted and nepotistic Islamist kleptocracy.
In 1979 the Mid-East linchpin of America’s geopolitical strategic vision – Iran – was taken out in one fell swoop. The Shah of Iran fled Teheran, as street riots engulfed the capital (managed behind the scenes by Shi’ite Islamist revolutionaries). Shi’ite tyrant Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established a violent and cruel dictatorship which made the streets of Iran run with blood. Today Iran is building nuclear weapons in defiance of the world, and has blatantly declared that it will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
More recently the second linchpin of America’s Islamic strategic vision – Egypt – has begun to crumble. Street demonstrations between January 25 and February 11 2011 forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office, especially since the US President insisting on allowing the street riots to take their course. Though diplomats and world media then put a positive spin on the riots, they have led to frightening and anarchic developments in Egypt, with America’s former ally transmogriphying into an Islamized version of Frankenstein’s monster.
US arms companies once had burgeoning arms industries in the Shah’s Iran, with state-of-the-art factories producing American weapons in situ. With the advent of Khomeini those weapons fell into the hands of Shi’ite megalomaniacs. Today and in the same way, as Egypt collapses, its M-1 Abrams tank factory and many other American arms industries will fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, which openly targets Israel and Western interests throughout the Middle East.
The third linchpin, next in line, is Saudi Arabia. The destruction of Saudi Arabia’s corrupt leadership and the establishment of a revolutionary Islamist caliphate based out of Mecca has long been al Qaeda’s central dream.
Echoes of Teheran
According to international law (Article 22 of the 1961 UN Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – http://worldinbalance.net/intagreements/1961-vienna-diplomaticrelations.php), the invasion of a sovereign embassy is like unto the invasion of a sovereign country. It is a violation of international law and can be considered an act of war. “The premises of the (ed. diplomatic) mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission. . . The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity. . . The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.”
On November 4 1979 an armed Iranian mob (under the control of Khomeini’s forces) attacked and captured the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days until January 20, 1981. One of the leaders of this mob was a young man, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who later became President of Iran.
For 444 days the greatest superpower in the world was humiliated and toyed with by a brazen Islamist Iranian leadership. The humiliations of Operation Eagle Claw, the prolonged torture and murder of CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley and Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Higgins, Irangate – all of these were spinoffs from this Islamist takeover of the US Embassy, fueled by America’s ardent desire to rescue and return these captives.
In the Arab world, the humiliation of an enemy by such activities has great symbolic and motivational value (see The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, by David Pryce-Jones, 1989, HarperCollins). The humiliation of America in 1979 had special significance for the Islamic world then, as does the frenzied attack on Israel’s Embassy at this moment in time.
Islamic Last Days?
According to the Islamic calendar (which takes its starting point or hijri from July 16, 622 AD, when Muhammad escaped from Mecca), the Muslim’s 14th century came to a close in 1979. From a jihadi perspective, two apocalyptic events occurred that year – Iran’s Shi’ite Islamic Revolution (including the US Embassy takeover), and the short-lived but violent takeover of Saudi Arabia’s central mosque containing the Ka’ba (Masjid al-Haram) in November 1979 by mujahidin. “For Islamic revivalists, the writing was on the wall: the Hour of Judgment is nearly here, and jihad is now the order of the day” (see A Perspective on Islam, https://davidstent.org/words.htm#).
The rise of Islam’s star (or crescent moon) is the profound hope for Muslim faithful, and especially for jihadis. Any blow to Arab military dictatorships, to Western secular governments and of course to the Jewish state – all of these events encourage Islamist forces to press in to the task of world jihad.
On May 26, 2000 the Lebanese Shi’ite terror leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah declared, “Our beloved and our dear brothers in Palestine, I want to tell you that this Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons and the most powerful air force in the region, by Allah, it is weaker than a spider web … “ (www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=11&x_article=1158). This “spider’s web” perspective is further strengthened in Islamic eyes by the recent attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.
How could this spin out?
Recently a group of at least 20 Islamic terrorists crawled through tunnels from Gaza to Egyptian Sinai (see http://davidstent.com/words/, August 21, 2011). They trained there, and then traveled down to where Egypt and the Israeli city of Eilat touch. In that area, dressed in Egyptian army uniforms and shooting from beside Egyptian Army positions, they fired across the border at Israeli civilian buses and private cars, murdering 6 civilians and 2 soldiers. In the exchange of fire five or six Egyptian soldiers were also killed, some blown up by terrorist suicide bombers. Egyptian media refused to publish accurate information about this terror attack, and disseminated a blood libel against Israel, saying that IDF forces simply shot Egyptian soldiers in cold blood. This warlike propaganda has contributed to stirring up murder in the eyes of many Egyptians, who are already fed a steady stream of Nazi-like propaganda against the Jewish state.
Most Egyptians are unaware that their sovereign territory is being used to train, support and channel terrorists against Israel. The majority of Egyptians do not understand that a major terror attack against Israeli civilians was recently carried out from Egyptian soil. And because Egyptians have been cynically lied to by their government-controlled media and have been led to believe that Israel is guilty of bloodthirsty murder of innocent Egyptian soldiers, they have willingly embraced another very serious anti-Israeli sin – one more in a long list of offenses: Egyptian citizens have violated the sovereign diplomatic territory of Israel and have attempted to lynch Israeli security personnel.
Inasmuch as one of the main strategic American pillars for strategic cooperation between Arabs and Jews is the 1978 Camp David Accords (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_David_Accords), this recent Egyptian mob’s attack on Cairo’s Israeli Embassy is a trumpet-blast of warning for all who have ears to hear: the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt may be on life-support, but it truly is brain-dead.
Though anarchy is sweeping Egypt, and though Egyptians are presently fighting with each other for control of their own country (secular, jihadi, Muslim Brotherhood, ultra-nationalists, etc; see Isaiah 19:2) they all agree on one thing – hatred of Israel. The ‘Jewish state as scapegoat’ is a living and breathing dynamic again, as it was is Europe for millenia. It is now is an integral ingredient of the political struggle in Egypt, and has gone viral to anywhere else where the “Arab Spring” is budding.
- These days are not days of peace, neither is there a living peace process in the Middle East. These are days of riot, of anarchy and of war.
What do the Scriptures say?
The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 19:16-18) describes a future day when the entire population of Egypt will tremble and shudder with fear about the awesome judgments that the people of Judah will bring upon them. Isaiah also prophesies that at Israel’s border with Egypt, there will be five Egyptian towns who will have learned the Hebrew language and will recognize and worship the God who defends and protects the Jewish people. Zechariah 14:18-19 adds that Egypt at some point in the future will suffer divine punishment (the withholding of rain) because of a stubborn recalcitrance to embrace and honor Israel.
- These verses indicate that the spiritual issues surrounding Egypt’s hatred of Israel and rebellion against God are not small matters. These Egyptian heart attitudes have found a place in the prophetic scriptures. They are also a significant factor in last days’ events.
How can we pray?
- Pray for the rulers of Egypt – that God would give them a wise, understanding and obedient heart to the strategies and counsel of God Most High (Isaiah 19:12, 22).
- Pray for the people of Egypt – that they will cry out to the Lord, receive revelation from Him, and respond to Him with an obedient heart (Isaiah 19:20-21, 25).
- Pray for the leaders of Israel – that their God would grant them His heart, His strategies and discernment, His patience and wisdom in how to respond on all levels (Psalm 144:1) .
- Pray for the salvation and protection of the Jewish people (Psalm 86:14-17).
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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