This newsletter is a break from the near daily prayer updates regarding the war between the IDF and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In this letter we consider some issues that most of the news media do not delve into. These matters concern the background to the conflict, as well as present directions for prayer and intercession.
Blowback – the backfiring of best-laid plans
Kings and presidents throughout history have discovered that occasionally their wisest strategies come up short. Assyria ruled the world until it snarled at the God of Israel and His people (Isaiah 10:1-19). King Hezekiah thought it was a wise idea to show the Babylonian delegation the splendor and riches of his kingdom, but Isaiah the prophet rebuked the king, telling him that Babylon would one day cause great damage to the Jewish people and their kingdom (Isaiah 39).
At the close of WWII the OSS (Office of Strategic Services – the precursor to the CIA) recruited Nazi Major-General Reinhard Gehlen to head up counter-intelligence work against the USSR. What the OSS did not know is that the Gehlen Organization was thoroughly penetrated by Soviet double agents, thus compromising Western spying efforts for years to come.
In 1983 the CIA funded and trained Islamist jihad fighters (see the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War”) in order to successfully sabotage Russia’s imperialistic conquest of Afghanistan. The blowback from this operation came through the very same Islamists that the CIA trained. These jihad terrorists used CIA tradecraft to successfully bomb the World Trade Center (1993), the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es-Salaam (1998), the USS Cole (2001), and of course the 9/11 attacks.
Today much of Western intelligence efforts are focused on degrading the ability and operations of these US-trained Islamist jihad fighters.
“The enemy of my enemy …”
There is a well-known Middle Eastern proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Sometimes this adage is not 100% accurate.
Hamas was birthed out of the womb of the Muslim Brotherhood, and specifically out of an Islamist welfare charity called Mujama, established in 1973 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Israeli security officials in charge of the Gaza Strip were concerned about how to weaken and destroy Yasser Arafat’s PLO terror gangs. They encouraged Sheikh Yassin’s welfare group, hoping that it might loosen the PLO terrorists’ grip on Palestinian society.
In the early 1980’s Yassin’s Mujama secretly began to stockpile weapons in preparation for jihad activities. By 1984 Sheikh Yassin was arrested by Israel for commanding jihad activities against Israel, but was released as part of a prisoner exchange in 1985. At the outbreak of the first Arab civilian revolt or intifada in December 1987, Yassin secretly gathered six other Gazan Islamists and founded Hamas.
They drew up a charter which declared loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood, to jihad, and to the Islamist vision of Israel’s subjugation and destruction. In 1989 Yassin was re-arrested for ordering the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers. In October 1997 he was released from jail through the efforts of Jordan’s King Hussein. Out of jail again, Yassin returned to spearheading Hamas terrorist operations until he was killed in a targeted Israeli helicopter attack in March 2004.
Hamas began as a secret and poisonous flower growing in a Gazan ‘garden plot’ – using the freedoms that Israel had allowed – whose goal remains the destruction of Israel. Operation Cast Lead is Israel’s attempt to weaken and crush this “blowback” terror movement.
To learn more about the origins, ideology and strategies of Hamas (and for all archived newsletters on the war) see www.davidstent.org, under “words”, newsletters February 2006, June 2007.
Hamas roots and Muslim Brotherhood fruits
Hamas’ older brother is The Muslim Brotherhood (hereafter MB), or Society of Muslim Brothers (Jama’at al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin), founded in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, a school teacher. From the MB perspective most Arab and Islamic states are evil and need to be overthrown. Only strict Islamist rule and the re-establishment of the Muslim Caliphate or khilafah is ultimately acceptable to the MB.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) had links with the Nazis, and Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler’s main contact in Jerusalem was Haj Amin al-Husseini.
MB assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud Fahmi al-Noqrashi Pasha in 1948, and attempted to overthrow Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954. That revolution failed, and many MB members were jailed in Egyptians concentration camps and severely tortured. Sayyad Qutb, a main MB theologian, was imprisoned, tortured and later executed in 1966. Qutb’s brother moved to Saudi Arabia and later became the mentor of Ayman al-Zawahiri (later Osama Bin Laden’s deputy).
Yasser Arafat joined the Egyptian MB in 1952. MB members in East Jerusalem established a shadow organization in 1953 called Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) which today is a worldwide terror organization.
In the late 1970’s MB members established Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al-Jihad al-Islami) led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Jamaat al-Islamiyya or al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) led by the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman is now serving a life sentence in Florence, Colorado for his role in directing the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, as well as for thwarted plans to bomb NY tunnels and bridges as well as FBI and UN headquarters. Both organizations’ primary goals are to overthrow the Egyptian Government, to replace it with an Islamic state, and to attack American and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was jailed in Egypt for his part in planning and carrying out President Anwar al-Sadat’s 1981 assassination. He was later released and went on to become Bin Laden’s deputy in al-Qa’ida. He was involved in planning and executing the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa and the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
➢ Pray that the God of Israel would confound and nullify the Islamist strategies and plans of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood (Psalm 83:9-18).
Egypt and Hamas
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt fears the MB, for an Islamist MB-led revolt is the main threat to his rule. For more background, read “A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam”, Mary Anne Weaver, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000). A victory for Hamas in Gaza would encourage anti-Mubarak forces in Egypt, while a defeat of Hamas would create Egyptian civil unrest as well. Mubarak’s strategy seems to be “to do as little as possible and hope for the best”.
As a result, he has turned a blind eye to Hamas’ tunnel-smuggling of rockets and weapons into Gaza, while delusionally protesting that the weapons are actually being run successfully by the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza!
He refuses to totally open Egypt’s borders with Gaza, since this would be a violation of signed peace agreements with Israel. Yet he allows Hamas officials to travel freely through Egypt and to plan attacks on Israel from sovereign Egyptian territory, and to smuggle weapons into Gaza for use against his peace partner Israel.
PM Mubarak has been hoping that Operation Cast Lead would severely downgrade Hamas’ strength and, indeed, he recently has had key leaders communicate this desire in off-the-record conversations with Israeli leaders.
Were Mubarak to decisively dry up Hamas’ smuggling activities, the rocket fire would cease. Operation Cast Lead would not have happened had Egypt reined in Hamas. One of the reasons that Israel has gone to war is to get the world to pressure Egypt into stopping Hamas’ smuggling operations.
➢ Pray for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, that he will have the courage, wisdom and backbone to turn off the Hamas weapons faucet which runs through sovereign Egyptian territory.
Jihad – God speaking to a secular West
In Romans 1 the Apostle Paul describes a socio-spiritual process of handing nations over to demonic influence and control, through His removing of restraints on major sins. Some of these sins include idolatry, materialism, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, greed, deceit, faithlessness, hatred of the God of the Bible, boastfulness, insolence and ruthlessness. These sins increase their manifestation in society incrementally. God’s divine judgment is a process, a route which descends quietly into darkness.
Europe and North America once adhered to the Hebrew Scriptures and to the New Testament, albeit in a faltering and halting fashion. Today, however, the intellectual forces of secularism have fashioned an atmosphere of political correctness, intolerance and scorn toward biblical truths. The West now views life, politics and strategic thinking through secular lenses, and in many ways it is opposed to a Judeo-Christian worldview and lifestyle.
In the Book of Judges 2:10-23 the God of Israel responded to His people’s cooling hearts by raising up plunderers – evil and cruel invaders. God raised up brutal marauders to attack Israel, hoping that these trials would cause His people to cry out and turn back to Him.
In a similar way, God has allowed jihadi Islam to arise and to threaten a secular West – a West which to a large extent scorns faith, God and the Bible. God is involved in a process of testing and judging the nations. Yet if we allow Him, these challenges could drive many Westerners to cry out and turn their hearts back to the God of Israel.
➢ Pray for the secular West to turn their hearts back to the God of Jacob and to embrace His heart for Israel.
➢ Pray also for the Jewish people in Israel and in the Diaspora, that through these shakings our hearts would be quickly moved to cry out and turn back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Yeshua the Messiah.
Israel – at the forefront
The Scriptures tell us that Israel is God’s billboard to the nations (Isaiah 11:12; 49:22; 62:10). God uses the Jewish people to reveal His ways, to reveal His heart, to shout out His message to all countries. Senator Hillary Clinton once called Israel “the canary in the mineshaft”. By that, she meant that Israel is an indicator – an air-raid siren, an advance warning alarm – to the world. What happens with Israel is a preview of coming attractions; these same challenges or trials or wars will soon be coming to the whole world.
The anti-Nazi Pastor Martin Niemöller put it this way, The Nazis “came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, for I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me”.
For decades Islamist and Arab terrorists have attacked the Jewish people and the State of Israel. These atrocities have for the most part been brushed under the carpet by the nations of the world. The United Nations even passed a resolution condemning Zionism (the Jewish people’s national liberation movement) as racism (General Assembly Resolution 3379, passed in 1975, revoked in 1991). At this moment Iran is openly pursuing nuclear weaponry in its self-confessed drive to wipe Israel off the map.
Over 10,000 Hamas rockets and mortars have rained down on Israel for the past 8 years, and for the world this has been merely business as usual.
Through all of this God is communicating a message to the world: what comes first to Israel (Islamist attacks) surely comes to the rest of the nations (9/11 etc). Hamas’ attempts to establish an Islamic state and to destroy Israel through rocket fire, indicates that unless the nations of the world get with the plan, they will see similar things happening in their neck of the woods.
Green tide rising
We are living in the days of the restoration of the Jewish people to Israel, their promised land. God’s restoration movement has been opposed by Satan in many ways – through Communism, Fascism and now through Islamist hatred and murder of the Jewish people. The flags and colors of these movements are red, black and green. Today the anti-Semitic charge is currently being led and catalyzed by those carrying green banners – the banners of Islamic jihad.
As Europeans and the Islamic world march in their tens of thousands against the Jewish state, it is time to “wake up and smell the coffee”. We are living in the days of Satan’s renewed and murderous onslaught against the Jewish people. These are the “days of the hunters” (Jeremiah 16:16-17).
➢ Pray for believers worldwide to wake up and recognize that the Jewish people are being strategically targeted by the enemy. Pray that believers worldwide will target the Jewish people in prayer, for blessing, protection and salvation.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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