September 26/14

Bible Quotation for today/When You Ask God, You must believe and not doubt

James 01/01-08/Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 26 and 27/14

If there truly is to be peace on earth, let it begin with Islam/by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT/September 26 and 27/14

Will Islam Address Its Internal Crisis/by DR. LAINA FARHAT-HOLZMAN/September 27/14

What Rowhani really wants at the U.N./By: Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya/ September 27/14

Iran follows its agenda while the Arabs are distracted/By: Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor/September 27/14

Asala Nasri and the Banana Republic/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Alawsat/September 27/14

Erdoğan Fails to Conquer New York City/By: Daniel Pipes/National Review Online/September 27/14

Lebanese Related News published on September 26 and 27/14

Salam calls for shielding Lebanon from turmoil

Geagea: Army Could Coordinate with International Coalition to Free Captive Soldiers

Gemayel Rejects 'Necessary Legislation' Amid Vacuum, Calls on Candidates to Clear the Stage

Lebanon’s kidnappings are a tragedy for us all

Jumblatt calls for swap deal with ISIS and Nusra
Outstanding issues impede final wage hike deal

Machnouk: Refugee camps will be created

Militants set to unleash chaos in Lebanon: report
Outstanding issues impede final wage hike deal
Syria is forsaken

Jumblatt calls for swap deal with ISIS and Nusra Front

West fears militants are set to unleash chaos in Lebanon

Two Lebanese, Syrian Arrested in Jbeil on Suspicion of Terrorism

Army Receives New Shipment of U.S. Ammunition

Lebanese Journalist's Brother Kidnapped for Ransom

Report: Turkey Refuses Mediation in Case of Captive Soldiers

ISF Members Released after Short Abduction in Tripoli

EDL Asks for Relocation to Avoid 'Occupation

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 26 and 27/14

Islamic State tightens siege of Syria border town; more Europeans join US-led alliance

US-led strikes hit ISIS oil sites for second day

Hamas, Fatah clinch breakthrough Gaza deal

Saudi court sentences 3 to death on terror charges

Full text of Palestinian Authority President Abbas' address to the UN General Assembly in New York

Abbas denounces 'genocidal' Israel, urges UN to back timetable for Palestinian statehood

Liberman calls Abbas 'diplomatic terrorist busy with slandering Israel'

Report: Israel says nine Japanese nationals have joined Islamic State

U.S.: Strikes disrupt ISIS’ abilities in Syria

Salam calls for shielding Lebanon from turmoil
Hussein Dakroub| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam Friday praised the U.S.-led international coalition to fight terrorism, but urged friendly and brotherly states to insulate Lebanon from regional conflicts, implicitly rejecting any role for his country in the coalition.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Salam reaffirmed the government’s resolve to free at least 21 Lebanese soldiers and policemen still held hostage by ISIS and Nusra Front militants and protect the country in the face of growing security threats.
Before delivering his speech, Salam met in New York with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with whom he discussed developments in the Middle East and the situation in Lebanon, the National News Agency reported. The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
Kerry underscored to Salam “the United States’ firm commitment to Lebanon’s security and stability at a time when Lebanon is facing many challenges,” according to a senior State Department official.
“The two leaders also discussed their continued partnership, and Secretary Kerry reiterated U.S. support for Prime Minister Salam’s government and for the Lebanese people. The secretary also emphasized the importance that Lebanon have a new President in office very soon,” the senior official added. Kerry commended Salam for Lebanon’s own efforts to combat ISIS within its borders and noted U.S. expedited military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces to help cope with the ISIS threat.
Kerry praised Lebanon’s support for efforts to counter ISIS, including its participation at the Jeddah meeting earlier this month and its signing of the Jeddah communique that endorsed the creation of the U.S.-led coalition to fight terrorism.
Kerry also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to assisting with the humanitarian crisis in Syria, which has had drastic implications for Lebanon. To date, the United States has provided $500 million to Lebanon alone to help deal with the burden of refugees and the strains on host communities. Salam’s meeting with Kerry came ahead of the International Support Group for Lebanon, which was co-chaired late Friday by Salam and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The Lebanese prime minister also met shortly after midnight with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. On the sidelines of the General Assembly meetings, Bassil had talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallam, in the first high-level meeting between officials of the two countries in a long time since bilateral ties were strained over the war in Syria.
Referring to the anti-terror coalition, Salam said in his speech: “The attempts currently being made to mobilize international efforts to confront terrorist groups reflect the international community’s awareness of the gravity of what our region has been witnessing for years and the need to quickly put out the raging fire and prevent its spread.”
“While underlining the significance of regional and international cooperation to fight terrorism and welcoming the resolutions issued by the Security Council in this respect, the latest resolutions, 2170 and 2178, Lebanon calls on its brothers and friends in the world to safeguard it, insulate it from regional conflicts and provide it with and the elements of strength,” the premier added.
Salam’s speech came three days after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned Lebanon against joining the anti-terror coalition, arguing that America was not qualified to lead such a coalition because it is “the mother of terrorism.”
Referring to a wave of car bombings and suicide attacks that targeted the Lebanese Army and areas in Beirut’s southern suburbs and the Bekaa Valley where Hezbollah enjoys big support early this year and last year, Salam said: “ Lebanon was subjected to a savage terrorist assault by criminal and dark groups that carried out attacks on several Lebanese areas that resulted in the death of civilians and military, in addition to enormous material losses.”
Referring to ISIS and Nusra Front militants who briefly took over the northeastern town of Arsal last week and battled the Lebanese Army for five days, Salam said: “The terrorists last month were able to kidnap a number of the Army and security forces members and held them captive in order to exert pressure on the Lebanese state and blackmail it.”
“With the aim of escalating the pressure, these gangs have brutally killed three of the innocent captives,” he said. The prime minister added that the beheading of two soldiers by ISIS and the killing of a third by Nusra Front had obstructed the indirect negotiations to secure the release of the hostages.
“I would like to confirm here that our option is not to back off from our firm stance to free the soldiers, preserve the state’s prestige and protect its security and the sovereignty of its territory,” Salam said. He added that the Lebanese people, in their battle against terrorism, stood united with the armed forces, which are “the main cornerstone to protect national sovereignty and guarantee security and civil peace. “Our government is seeking to muster the necessary support for these forces in order to enable them to carry out their mission in the fullest manner,” Salam said. ISIS and Nusra militants kidnapped dozens of servicemen during their brief takeover of Arsal. They have released seven hostages but are still holding at least 21 soldiers and policemen. They have demanded the release of Islamist detainees in Roumieh Prison for the hostages. Salam urged the international community to help Lebanon cope with “nearly 1.5 Syrian refugees,” more than one-third of the country’s population before the crisis in the neighboring country. “This huge number of refugees constitutes a big pressure on the Lebanese infrastructure, which is already suffering from structural problems, putting strain on schools, the health sector and the labor market as well on the national economy,” he said.

Geagea: Army Could Coordinate with International Coalition to Free Captive Soldiers
Naharnet/Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea noted on Friday that the state is faced with two options regarding the release of the soldiers and policemen held captive by Islamist militants from Syria. He said via Twitter: “The army should attempt to free them by force, which requires complete coordination with the international coalition against the Islamic State group.” “All the government's current actions in the case of the captives will not yield any result,” he added. The second option, he tweeted, requires the government “to take a decision as soon as possible calling for Hizbullah to withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately.”The soldiers and policemen were abducted in August at the end of clashes with the Islamists in the northeastern border town of Arsal.
Three of them have since been executed, while efforts are underway to release the rest. The families of the captives have been staging protests throughout Lebanon to pressure the state to exert more efforts to free them. The Islamists have meanwhile reportedly been demanding the release of fellow Islamists in Roumieh prison in exchange for the Lebanese hostages. They have also been critical of Hizbullah's fighting in Syria alongside the country's ruling regime.

Gemayel Rejects 'Necessary Legislation' Amid Vacuum, Calls on Candidates to Clear the Stage
Naharnet/Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel on Friday rejected outright the approval of draft-laws under the slogan of “necessary legislation” at a time when Baabda Palace is vacant, saying the candidates running for the polls should step aside to facilitate the election of a president.“The most important legislation is the election of a president as soon as possible,” Gemayel said during a press conference he held at the Kataeb Party headquarters in Beirut's Saifi district. “Any discussion on legislation would legitimize the vacuum” at Baabda Palace, he said in reference to the agreement among certain parliamentary blocs, including Kataeb's ally the Lebanese Forces, on holding a parliamentary session to approve the controversial public sector wage scale. The Kataeb MPs are among several blocs boycotting legislative sessions under the excuse that the parliament cannot convene in the absence of a head of state. The blocs that “are able to guarantee a quorum for a certain draft-law are capable of doing the same for the election of a president,” Gemayel said.
He stressed that his party's MPs, who are part of the March 14 camp, won't attend any session other than the election of a president. “The only exception is (a session on) the consolidation of power,” he said in reference to a possible extension of parliament's mandate, which expires in November. Gemayel called on the presidential candidates who failed to be elected after May 25 to clear the stage for other figures. “Certain people who are holding onto their candidacies are harming the country,” he said, without naming them. Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 when Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended over the failure of the rival MPs to agree on a compromise candidate. “What are we still waiting for to put our interests aside and focus on the election of a president as soon as possible?” Gemayel asked. LF chief Samir Geagea is the March 14 alliance's main candidate while Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun is unofficially backed by the March 8 alliance. Aoun has not announced his candidacy, claiming he would do so only if there was consensus on him.

Machnouk: Refugee camps will be created
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Interior Ministry will set up camps to host scores of Syrian refugees despite a lack of consensus among Lebanon’s political factions, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk insisted Friday. Machnouk, who represents the Future Movement in the 24-member Cabinet, said political conflicts and bitter memories of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon had so far prevented the establishment of camps for the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, but that this had to change. “The Interior Ministry is going to build camps even if they were not approved by all,” Machnouk said while signing a memorandum of understanding with Marylise Lebranchu, the French minister for public services and decentralization. More than 1.2 million refugees have fled to Lebanon from Syria since the start of the crisis there in March 2011, according to the UNHCR. But unlike fellow refugee host countries Jordan and Turkey, Lebanon has not set up camps, partly due to objections from MP Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, which has warned that temporary camps could turn into permanent settlements similar to the Palestinian refugee camps. The presence of Syrian refugees, who now account for 25 percent of the Lebanon’s population, has thrown into sharp relief the country’s aging and feeble infrastructure. The European Commission Friday announced an additional donation of 212 million euros ($269 million) to support education and child protection programs in Syria and neighboring countries affected by the Syrian crisis. According to an EU official, Lebanon is slated to receive 44 million euros from this fund. The money would all go toward “Lebanese public structures,” according to the official, while public schools or national child welfare programs would also be eligible to receive additional funding.

Jumblatt calls for swap deal with ISIS and Nusra Front
Sep. 27, 2014/Hussein Dakroub| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called Friday on the government to stop dithering on the hostage crisis and endorse a swap deal with ISIS and Nusra Front militants holding at least 21 Lebanese soldiers and policemen captive.
The call was made by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour after meeting with a delegation from the families of the captured soldiers in Rashaya at Jumblatt’s request. “On behalf of MP Walid Jumblatt, we urge the government to make up its mind as a political authority and adopt the principle of a swap in order to protect civil peace and the lives of the [captured] soldiers,” Abu Faour, from Jumblatt’s bloc, told a news conference.  Jumblatt’s call came two days after Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk signaled that the government was not opposed to a prisoner exchange with ISIS and the Nusra Front in what appeared to be a departure from the government’s firm stance to reject any swap deal with the militants. Noting that the government did not have a unified vision on the hostage crisis, Abu Faour said the PSP proposed a swap deal in order to avert the worst, in a clear reference to threats by ISIS and Nusra Front to kill more of their captives unless their demands were met.“But certainly the government cannot negotiate under a knife’s edge,” he added.
ISIS and Nusra militants kidnapped dozens of servicemen during their brief takeover of the northeastern town of Arsal last month. The captors, who have released seven hostages, are still holding at least 21 soldiers and policemen. To date, they have beheaded two soldiers and shot another dead. The militants have threatened to kill more soldiers if their demands, which reportedly include the release of Islamist inmates held in Roumieh Prison,were not met.
Abu Faour also urged the judiciary to speed up trials of Islamists held for alleged involvement in the 2007 battle between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam in the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.
The families of the hostages have stepped up their protests in the past few days, blocking the Dahr al-Baidar highway that links Beirut with the Bekaa Valley, the Zahle-Tarshish highway in east Lebanon and the Qalamoun road in the north with burning tires to press for government action to secure the release of their loved ones. The Dahr al-Baidar road remained closed for the third consecutive day.
The Nusra Front sent messages recorded by the captive soldiers to their families Friday, with the hostages calling on the government to work to free them.
“I call on the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese state to work with conscience and empathize with our parents and mothers, and consider us their sons,” kidnapped Lance Cpl. Sleiman Dirani said in the recording sent to his family. “I call on them to see how our mothers and fathers are sleeping in the streets with no one feeling for them or showing any interest in the matter.” Others called on their families to keep protesting until the government secures their release. Meanwhile, Arsal’s residents withdrew from a protest in the town Friday after some Syrian refugees began shouting slogans supporting ISIS and Nusra in a demonstration intended to condemn the Lebanese Army’s crackdown in the area. Some 200 Syrian refugees gathered for the protest, with a few holding Islamist flags.
“Come in Abu Malek, we are going to Beirut,” shouted some of the protesters, referring to the Qalamoun emir of the Nusra Front. Cries of “The people want the Islamic State” were also heard. Local leaders called on Arsal’s residents to demonstrate in solidarity with Syrian refugees after they were allegedly subjected to harsh measures by the Army this week, but after the pro-jihadist sentiments started to crop up they urged Lebanese to instead stay away. The Army has been conducting a wide crackdown on Islamist militants in Arsal, detaining hundreds of men.
The detainees, some of whom were Lebanese, according to security sources, are suspected of having collaborated with jihadists during the five-day battle in Arsal with the Army last month. The Army Friday said in a statement that it arrested 18 individuals of various Arab nationalities in the Al-Balha neighborhood of Dikwaneh for lacking legal papers. It also said the military arrested a Syrian suspected of being involved in subversive acts and for possessing forged currency. The military detained 10 Syrians as well for involvement in a fist fight in Faqra. The Army announced Thursday that it had arrested 22 individuals for allegedly belonging to terrorist groups that fought the Army, but did not disclose the location of arrests. Lebanese troops briefly clashed with militants scattered in the rugged terrain on the outermost edge of Arsal Thursday morning, while soldiers raided suspected militant hideouts in a Syrian refugee camp in the Wadi Hmeid area of the town. Protesters, waving the flags of ISIS and Nusra , also marched in the northern city of Tripoli after Friday prayers, shouting extremist slogans and condemning the Army raids. The security situation in Arsal was discussed by 21 Lebanese and Syrian scholars who issued recommendations after their meeting in the town prohibiting the killing of captives.
“We agreed during the meeting that the killing of captives or captured soldiers runs contrary to Islamic Shariah,” Baalbek’s Mufti Sheikh Ayman Rifai told The Daily Star. He added that the preachers would contact the militants to ask them not to kill any of the captured soldiers. For his part, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea called on the government to use military force to free the hostages. Geagea said in a Twitter statement that there were two ways that would lead to the release of the captives, one being Hezbollah’s immediate withdrawal from Syria and the second a military operation to free them by force. – Additional reporting by Rakan al-Fakih

West fears militants are set to unleash chaos in Lebanon
Antoine Ghattas Saab| The Daily Star
Security reports from Western sources received by a senior Lebanese security official paint a gloomy picture of Lebanon’s immediate future. According to the documents, Lebanon could soon see a resurgence in suicide bombings and assassinations targeting politicians, security officials and religious figures, in an attempt to spark sectarian strife and undermine stability in the country.  Lebanon experienced a wave of suicide attacks last year and at the beginning of this year, mostly targeting areas across the country associated with Hezbollah.
The reports suggest that the terrorist groups expected to carry out these acts are based in the Bekaa Valley, where there are reportedly huge numbers of militants from ISIS, the Nusra Front and Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham.
They are believed to be living in areas stretching from the northeastern Lebanese border town of Arsal to the Syrian towns of Zabadani and Aasal al-Ward in Rural Damascus. The number of gunmen across the groups is estimated to be around 7,000, but they lack ammunition and are currently using poor-quality communication devices. The West is very concerned about these groups, and believes they are currently waiting for a pre-arranged zero hour to start carrying out attacks in Lebanon.
But an even bigger source of worry for Western countries these days is trained jihadists, including militants from ISIS, leaving Syria and returning home to the United States or Europe to carry out attacks there. Anyone who listened to the latest speech by U.S. President Barack Obama will have realized that Washington and its Western allies are determined to pursue such people wherever they go. According to one of the security reports, a committee of U.S. intelligence officers recently arrived in Beirut to follow up on activities of some fundamentalist groups that have been classified as “very dangerous.”  At the request of the U.S. State Department, the committee is conducting a detailed study of the level of participation in the Syrian war by fighters from America, Britain and France.
Members of this committee have reportedly held a series of secret meetings with the heads of Lebanon’s various security bodies. During the talks, security reports showed that the U.S. officials expressed their fear that foreign fighters taking part in Syria’s war would return to their countries of origin (via Lebanon) and carry out terrorist attacks there, similar to the acts committed by Arab fighters after they battled the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan alongside local jihadists in the 1980s. The U.S. also has strong information on some American nationals who were part of extremist groups in Syria but have now settled temporarily in parts of Lebanon – particularly in the north and in Arsal – and enjoy the protection of influential groups. European delegations often meet officers from Syria’s Foreign Intelligence and exchange information over foreign jihadists, other sources said. The delegations include members from the French, German and Danish intelligence. British intelligence forces have also reportedly tasked a group with following up on information related to fundamentalists who could come back to Britain.

Asala Nasri and the Banana Republic
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Alawsat
 Friday, 26 Sep, 2014

Because the Syrian government is angry with Syrian singer and celebrity Asala Nasri, Lebanese authorities have detained her, revoked her passport and prevented her from traveling. These actions, taken on behalf of the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and to the benefit of Iran, have become commonplace recently in Lebanon. An Iranian–Ahwazi opposition figure was previously kidnapped in Lebanon with his whereabouts still unknown, and Syrian opposition figures have also disappeared in Lebanon, while others have been handed over to Syrian authorities. These are not the only victims of the foreign exploitation of Lebanon’s weaknesses; residents of Lebanese towns along the borders with Syria have also suffered due to the Syrian army’s violations and attacks. When the Syrian regime’s capabilities were restricted, it tasked Hezbollah with attacking these towns on its behalf, just as it is doing in Arsal, and tightening the grip on Syrian refugees, who are now being killed in cold blood on the streets of Beirut.
“Lebanese authorities” and “Lebanese army” are empty expressions which can mean whatever various sub-groups within these two institutions want them to, or simply to act as a facade for some groups that run their own affairs or serve foreign agendas, especially those of the Iranian and Syrian regimes. Involving the Lebanese army in skirmishes orchestrated by Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in Arsal and turning it into a scapegoat proves there are attempts to turn Lebanon into a slaughterhouse for brutal forces who don’t respect international agreements and conventions.
The world has run out of patience with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar Al-Sham, which have all exploited the chaos in Syria. However, these are not the only groups which have kidnapped and slaughtered people and committed crimes against civilians. Historically speaking, Hezbollah established the school of violence in the region; its horrifying record against Arabs and foreigners dates back to the 1980s. A prominent example is Hezbollah’s abduction and murder of CIA officer William Francis Buckley in 1984 while he was en route to the American embassy in Beirut. This was followed by dozens of other crimes, such as the kidnapping of priests Lawrence Jenco, Nicolas Kaulitzer and Terry Waite, British citizen Geoffrey Nash, and British businessman Alec Collett. Hezbollah also targeted France with explosions and kidnapped French diplomat Marcel Carton and his bodyguard in Beirut, demanding a ransom. It also demanded a halt to the armament of Iraq and to dealings with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran. Isn’t this exactly what ISIS is doing and exactly why the world has decided to pursue it? Hezbollah’s violations have not stopped; it continues to kidnap opposition figures, kill intellectual politicians and intimidate media institutions. The difference between the Sunni ISIS and the Shi’ite ISIS—that is, Hezbollah—is that the former widely diffuses videos of its crimes. Syria wants Lebanon to remain a banana republic, without sovereignty of any kind, a hostage to its militias. It wants the presidential vacuum in Beirut to continue, and to keep using Lebanon’s army and its security institutions for its own ends. And as we have seen in the case of Asala, it is a mark of Syria’s deficiencies that it has to resort to using affiliated Lebanese institutions to detain artists and pursue media figures.


Syria is forsaken
The Daily Star/The current aerial campaign against jihadist positions across Syria – apparently the climax of a very confused U.S. foreign policy on the region over the last few years – is being both welcomed and criticized by a motley group of countries.
The Syrian regime has welcomed the airstrikes, and insists that yes, of course it was informed beforehand, something the U.S. has denied. But on the other hand, Damascus’ last remaining allies seem unimpressed with the U.S. show of strength. Russia – seemingly having forgotten its recent foray into Ukraine – has condemned intruding upon another country’s sovereignty, as has Iran. But do these countries really have Syria’s – or rather the Syrian peoples’ – best interests at heart? It appears not. Moscow seems more concerned with losing influence in the region, and Iran with the thought of losing an important ally. That Damascus is welcoming the airstrikes either points to a secret deal having been reached with the U.S. and partners, or else it is aware the campaign may help it survive longer than it might have otherwise. But the only thing that is clear is that neither those carrying out the attacks or those condemning them are primarily concerned with the rights and freedoms of the Syrian people. While the campaign may temporarily halt the advances of ISIS, without parallel work to address the roots of ISIS itself the military work is meaningless and will do little other than cause further destruction to an already decimated Syria, and exacerbate the proliferation of arms on the ground. And without a concerted effort to remove Assad from power at the same time, the ongoing bloodshed and terror across the country will continue unabated.

Lebanon’s kidnappings are a tragedy for us all
Friday, 26 September 2014 /Nayla Tueni /Al Arabiya
In the past two days, several people were kidnapped based on their official identification cards. Meanwhile, Lebanese military personnel are still being held hostage by Islamist militants, and some of them have been killed in the most hideous and brutal manner. It is as if we’ve learnt nothing from the past, from the civil war or from others’ wars on Lebanese territory, as Ghassan Tueni liked to call them. Perhaps it’s beneficial to participate in the protest which families of those kidnapped during the civil war hold every Thursday in front of the Grand Serail. It’s important to look into the eyes of mothers who’ve carried photos of their husbands and sons for like 30 years demanding to know what the fates of their beloved are. They are no longer waiting for those who were kidnapped to return, and are rather demanding to attain the investigations’ case files to uncover the truth.
This recent phase has marked the return of abductions between Sunnis and Shiites – i.e. between brothers - and we are once again exposing civil peace to danger. It seems there are no wise men in this country, or they have lost their role and influence and accepted leaving the arena to bandits and militiamen.
“Kidnapping military personnel remains the most evil act because it weakens morale and threatens security institutions”
As for the recent wave of tit-for-tat abductions, kidnapping the military personnel remains the most evil act because it weakens morale and threatens security institutions which are incapable of engaging in any humiliating negotiations because they could lead to further abductions by foreign groups or even domestic groups who can pressure the state. The army institution also cannot abandon its sons because they are the guarantee of its survival and continuity.
If the negotiation process to release the kidnapped soldiers is ongoing via secret channels, other precautionary measure to protect us all against being abducted must be taken by the country’s different parties and sects. It’s their responsibility to put an end to these violations before they worsen and get out of control. At that point, remorse will do us no good as we will have all been kidnapped.

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Obama’s U.N. “Let There Be Peace On Earth” Speech/If there truly is to be peace on earth, let it begin with Islam.
September 25, 2014 /Family Security
In his U.N. speech, as has been his wont since becoming President, Obama failed to definitively link Middle East violence to its root cause. He came ever so close to doing so, but then recalibrated his position. Throughout his speech, one could hear the refrain from the song "Let there be peace on earth..."
As the President himself reportedly wrote the speech, it deserves analyzing to better understand the mindset in "Obama's World."
He began with, "We come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope"-nice words until the last one. When he uttered the word "hope" six years ago, it excited listeners, motivating former "Hardball" cable TV political talk show host Chris Matthews to proclaim, "I felt this thrill going up my leg." Today when we hear Obama utter the word, we tend to cringe and wait for the shoe to drop.
He said, "Together, we have learned how to cure disease, and harness the power of the wind and sun."
ons for the betterment of man made by Muslims-a group representing almost twenty percent of the global population. Iran has exhibited some creative skills by inventing a "finger-amputating" device last year for punishing thieves. But as far as contributions to society, Israeli recipients of the Nobel Prize outnumber Muslims a hundred to one.
Obama continued, "The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness...And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe."
Right. But here he fails to mention the link to terrorism or violent extremism from which their brutality flows. It all flows from a single source-a holy book from which all Muslims take their teachings-the Koran. One needs to read it to believe it.
Obama, who has already incorrectly categorized Muslims as either "moderates" or "extremists," now clouds the issue by introducing the words "violent extremism." To clarify Obama's error, in 2007 then Turkish Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it."
That should not be taken by Westerners as good news since all Muslims take their teachings from the same source-the Koran.
But, by using the words "violent extremism" is Obama now suggesting his extremists be further categorized into those who are violent and those who are not?
Obama then said, " I'd like to focus on two defining questions at the root of many of our challenges- whether the nations here today will be able to renew the purpose of the UN's founding; and whether we will come together to reject the cancer of violent extremism."
Again, he refuses to be specific about the derivation of the violent extremism. Forms of extremism exist in every country of the world, therefore, to which is he referring?
Obama came close to identifying the root cause of extremism with his statement, "But as we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail such progress: and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world...But in this century, we have faced a more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists who have perverted one of the world's great religions."
This is it, listeners thought, Obama is going to tie these terrorist roots to Islam's teachings.
It was not to be. While declaring the U.S. is at war with al-Qaeda and its ilk, Obama declared we "never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace... So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations."
Wrong. Such a declaration is outrageous as Islam promotes perpetual war against all non-Muslims as mandated in the Koran.
Obama described ISIS and similar groups as "religiously motivated fanatics" but again failed to tie that fanaticism to a source-also referencing the spread of "sectarian conflicts...increasingly hard to contain," without naming from where the sectarian divide emanates.
Obama then requested "the world - especially Muslim communities - to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIL." While he still refrained from identifying Islam as the link, why would he emphasize "Muslim communities" if it did not exist? And, if it exists, how can he then claim Islam is peaceful?
Obama stated, "It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source: the corruption of young minds by violent ideology...That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate..."
His words flow but his actions do not. He violates this compact by funding the Palestinian Authority which teaches such violence to its children.
Never missing an opportunity to denigrate Christianity since he believes we are not a Christian nation, Obama added, "There is nothing new about wars within religions. Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict. Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery."
Here, the President suggests these two religions have alternated in fomenting hostilities among followers-as if both are equally guilty. He rewrites history with such a claim as internal Christian conflicts have been relatively short-lived when compared to 1400 years of continuous Muslim sectarian violence.
Obama ended his speech by reaching out to the youth of the Muslim world, stating, "You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder. Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it...positive change need not come at the expense of tradition and faith...nor will we shrink from the promise of this institution (the U.N.) and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights..."
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Education is not treasured by the Muslim world (an annual Chinese government report listing of the top 500 universities in the world fails to include a single Arab university), thus inhibiting innovation and the better life it could bring.
The "change" Obama promotes does need to come "at the expense of tradition and faith" which breeds intolerance for non-believers and rejects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as contrary to sharia-thus negating human rights for non-Muslims!
Obama may be singing the "Let There Be Peace on Earth" refrain, but no Muslim nation-based on a religion demanding an infidel-free world-is joining in the chorus.
If there truly is to be peace on earth, let it begin with Islam.
***Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking." He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

Will Islam Address Its Internal Crisis?
September 25, 2014
Family Security
Muslims have lived so long with governments they cannot trust that the rumor mill serves as their source of information. Conspiracy theories are the favorite explanations for all the horrors in the world. If you cannot blame Allah, you must find someone you can blame.
The latest conspiracy theory comes out of the Netherlands, where a Muslim woman, Yasmina Haifi, who works in the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, has given us the following: "The Islamic State isn't Islamic at all. Actually, it's a Jewish plot." []. She tweets that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an agent of Mossad and that the conspiracy was created to make Islam look bad. If I were Dutch, I would ask: Who hired this dim bulb?
Mossad does not have to make Islam look bad. The religion is in crisis, and the reasons for looking bad include decapitating captives and enslaving captive women and children. The "Islamic State (IS)" is just one more faction attracting bored and unemployable young men looking for adventure and being reassured that the violence they are expected to carry out is sanctified by the very origins of their religion.
The other two Westerm world religions have changed over time, evolving from primitive tribalism to religions that promote ethical behavior and rule of civil law (Judaism and Christianity). These religions have experienced reformations and transformations from their darker periods. Islam has not so benefited. It began the process of evolving during the first centuries of its existence with the emergence of many "schools" representing different interpretations of the religion. It started acquiring a legal structure and a way of incorporating methods and ideas from non-Muslims: Jews, Nestorian Christians, Persian Zoroastrians, and even Central Asian Buddhists. These contributors produced the brief "golden age" so boasted about by Muslims today.
Islam's linear evolution was shut down in the 13th century by Mongol invasions from the East and from savage Muslim invasions of Spain by Africa fanatics. Baghdad was burnt down and Spain's Islalmic golden age went dark. These events sent Islam into a five-century sleep in which their once dominant civilization became backwaters ripe for European colonization.
An unacknowleged benefit of European colonization of Muslim lands was an awakening. Some wanted to join the process of modernization that would once more free Muslim talent. Unfortunately, they chose instead the fascist model and now the tribal model. Resentment, revenge, savage violence, and that most hot-button issue of all, the emancipation of women, have created an Islamic monster that cannot ultimately survive.
The Dutch Muslim woman quoted above cannot bear to think her religion can be as terrible as ISIS practices it, yet ISIS is accurately reproducing the deeds of the Prophet Mohammad and his followers, santified, they say, by Allah. The Koran tells us that the Prophet urged followers to "smite the necks of unbelievers" and "cut off their fingertips" (supposedly to prevent their enemies from holding weapons, but unneccessary if they have already had their necks smitten).
The Prophet demonstrated and sanctified the methods of warfare that we are seeing today: deception (guerilla war) and giving the defeated the options of converting, paying a tax, or death. For those refusing his options, he sanctified killing all males and seizing all women and children as booty, using them as "the captors liked." He also expelled all non-Muslim tribes from Arabia, exactly what ISIS is doing now.
Boka Haram and ISIS are not only following those methods, but are demanding that all Muslims follow or face the consequences. Their momentary successes are giving not only the world, but the Muslim world, a chance to see what 7th century Islam looked like. Without a renaissance, this is all they will have.
The rest of the world will not wait. This is the start of a global war against what Islam has become. Good Muslims everywhere had better fight ISIS, Boka Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas. If they want their religion to survive, they will have to create a modern Islam that can do more than just destroy. It is crisis time. Contributing Editor Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of How Do You Know That? You may contact her at or

What Rowhani really wants at the U.N.
Friday, 26 September 2014
Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya
Iranian President Hassan Rowhani made his second appearance at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. During his first visit, he appealed to Western diplomacy, brought a smile, and made history by talking with U.S. President Barack Obama on the phone.
This time, it is unrealistic to expect another historic encounter, such as a handshake between the two. Although the White House said it is open to meeting with Rowhani, he is under much more domestic pressure from hardliners and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei this year than last.
Khamenei, who has the final say on foreign policy, has hardened his position on Iran’s nuclear enrichment. Hardliners have criticized Rowhani’s policies, and pushed for no concessions regarding Tehran’s nuclear program. However, sideline diplomacy and talks between Iranian and American officials will continue to be a positive development.
“The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is providing Tehran with a new, robust tool to advance its foreign policy objectives”
Majid Rafizadeh
The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is providing Tehran with a new, robust tool to advance its foreign policy objectives. For example, Rowhani met with British Prime Minister David Cameron regarding Iran’s cooperation in battling ISIS. Such high-level bilateral talks are the first since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and mark another historic diplomatic initiative between London and Tehran.
Rowhani was in a stronger position during his first appearance at the U.N. General Assembly. Having replaced his controversial predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who used to capture the spotlight with his incendiary language and rancor, Rowhani utilized a more diplomatic tone, and enjoyed domestic and foreign support to resolve tensions.
Domestic crackdown
This year, however, his U.N. appearance coincides with significant challenges to his domestic and international credibility, legitimacy and popularity. Domestically, Rowhani has not fulfilled his promises of more freedom of speech, press and assembly. Higher rates of human rights abuses have attracted the world’s attention. He has also shown less inclination to challenge the power of the hardliners and Iran’s judiciary.
Last year, Rowhani’s U.N. speech coincided with the release of several high-profile activists, lawyers and politicians from prison. This year, he appears at the General Assembly while opposition leaders - including Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard - are under house arrest.
Several Iranian-American and Iranian journalists - including Marzieh Rasouli and Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post Tehran correspondent - are still in prison. Last week, six Iranians were sentenced to up to six months in prison and 91 lashes for making a video dancing to the Pharrell Williams song “Happy.”
More recently, 50 women - including a 25-year-old British-Iranian citizen - were arrested for trying to watch the national volleyball team play against Italy in a qualifying match in Iran’s Azadi Stadium. Last week, 11 Iranians were arrested on charges of sending text messages that insulted the former supreme leader and founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini.
There has been a renewed media crackdown under Rowhani. The number of bloggers being arrested has risen, as have the numbers of executions and human rights violations. Rowhani has remained silent over the escalating domestic crackdown, hardliners’ power and the judiciary. This has significantly impacted his image at home and abroad, raising questions about his ability to bring about change.
Foreign policy
However, he appears to be making progress on foreign policy, so this was his focus at the General Assembly. He sought to remove political and economic sanctions against Iran by maintaining that it has the right to enrich uranium. As the Nov. 24 deadline for a final nuclear deal approaches, Rowhani and Obama appear eager to break the impasse.
One of the strategies that Rowhani’s administration has recently employed is utilizing its battle against ISIS to get nuclear concessions. Tehran knows that there are commonalities with Washington when it comes to fighting the group.
This issue has raised considerable concern among U.S. lawmakers who say the White House is softening its position toward Iran in return for its assistance against ISIS. As a result, Rowhani’s speech highlighted the rise and threat of the group.

Iran follows its agenda while the Arabs are distracted
Friday, 26 September 2014
Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor
To say our region is in imminent peril is an understatement. Threats are emerging from all directions in many different guises. Most derive from warped ideologies that mask a will to gain power and seek territorial domination. Today, the U.S., together with its Western and predominantly Sunni Arab allies, has finally woken-up to the danger posed by the misnamed “Islamic State” or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a danger I’ve been warning about for over a year, and has deployed its military resources to eradicate this lethally toxic group in northern Iraq and around the Syrian city of Raqqa where those killers are headquartered.
This intervention is long overdue. Unfortunately, it took the beading of Western hostages to grab the attention of the international community, which failed to be galvanized by the mass slaughter of Iraqi men, women and children. But while all eyes were on Israel’s devastation of Gaza and the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, Tehran, arguably a far greater menace to the security of the Middle East and the Gulf, seems to be quietly achieving its hegemonic goals, unimpeded and unnoticed.
“Now I would really like GCC leaderships to pay attention. The Iranian plot doesn’t end with Yemen”
If I had to prioritize the respective threat levels of ISIS and Iran on a scale of one-to-ten, the former would be way down the scale because an estimated 35,000 fighters cannot hope to beat back the combined might of a 50-member-strong international coalition. Granted, purifying the earth from this disease isn’t going to happen overnight and, sadly, many more innocents are destined to lose their lives in the process. Overall this evil parody of a Caliphate will be nothing more than a footnote in tomorrow’s history books. Halting the ambitions of Iran’s ayatollahs is a far greater challenge which is not being addressed. On the contrary, Iran has been afforded an aura of respectability by U.S. efforts at détente once differences over the Iranian nuclear program have been bridged. The fact that Iran is one of the biggest sponsors of terror hasn’t figured in the U.S. equation.
What are those ambitions? There is no need to speculate, the answer is known beyond a shadow of a doubt. Iran, I feel, is out to export its brand of Shiite ideology to as many regional states as possible, either directly or indirectly with the use of proxies, with the goal of replacing Sunni governments with Shiite regimes. I’ve been aware of this for decades and I’ve appealed over and over again to GCC member states and our Arab allies to clearly acknowledge this problem and do all in their power to ensure our grandchildren don’t end up speaking Farsi.
The message is clear. I can only hope they will hear the words coming right out of the horse’s mouth, spoken by Alireza Zakani, an Iranian lawmaker and confident of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In short, he exposed the mullahs’ box of tricks during a recent parliamentary speech. Iran is currently going through a stage during its “Great Jihad” that requires a particular strategy and a cautious approach, he said, according to my understanding, while boasting that three Arab capitals are now in Iran’s hands and affiliated to the Iranian Islamic Revolution, adding that the Yemeni capital Sanaa is well on its way to becoming the fourth with at least fourteen out of twenty Yemeni Provinces coming under Houthi control. He didn’t name those Arab capitals but I assume he’s referring to Damascus (Shiite Allawite regime), Beirut (under the sway of the Shiite militant organization Hezbollah) and Baghdad, whose constitution ensures the prime minister must be drawn from the Shiite community. And, yes, Yemen – a country considered the birthplace of the Arab nation – has fallen into the hands of Shiite Houthis, former separatists turned terrorists no longer content with striving for part of the cake, they now seek to consume all of it.
The situation in Yemen
Due to the hesitance of our governments to stand alongside the Yemeni government against these terrorist Iranian puppets, we’ve enabled their aspirations. Yemen’s President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been coerced by their violent seizure of much of the capital into signing a deal with the Shiite rebels resulting in Houthis being appointed as political advisors as well as other concessions. Hadi has described the deal as “historic.” I call it a disastrous error of judgment reluctantly agreed to by a man with his back up against the wall. A stroke of his pen has made him complicit in this crime. He has sold his country to Iran for the price of quiet but instead of honoring their pledge to withdraw from Sanaa, the Houthis are demanding even greater concessions.
It doesn’t surprise me that Houthis are celebrating their victory with firework displays and revenge attacks on their enemies. But what’s truly shocking is that the U.N. has blessed this agreement. Even more mind-blowing is that some Arab leaders have congratulated the Yemeni government on this step towards “reconciliation.” What are they thinking? Houthis due to their proximity, sheer numbers (approximately eight million) and their reputation for barbarity are more hazardous to the security of Gulf States than even Hezbollah. This entire scenario feels like a nightmare in which I’m running for my life chased by a hideous monster, while everyone around me is smiling and chatting even as the creature breathes fire scorching their hair.
No wonder Alireza Zakani is self-satisfied! Before the Islamic Revolution there were two main components to the U.S. axis in the region – Saudi Islam and Turkish secularism – he notes. Now, he says the political balance has altered to benefit Iran. Today, he apparently said, we are at the peak of our strength and able to impose our will and strategic interests throughout the region, before claiming that Iran was responsible for keeping the Assad regime in power and saving Baghdad from ISIS. In truth, Iran is destabilizing and divisive and through Hezbollah has paralyzed Lebanon. It still escapes my comprehension why the Western nations, including the U.S., have sought to brand only the group’s military wing “terrorist” when the political and military wings have a single leader.
Pay attention
And now I would really like GCC leaderships to pay attention. The Iranian plot doesn’t end with Yemen. Zakani, according to my understanding, said that the Yemeni revolution will not be confined to Yemen alone, adding that it will reach the territory of Saudi Arabia, given the long Yemeni-Saudi border. Two million organized armed men are in Yemen - and it won’t be long before its Saudi Arabia’s turn, he said, according to my understanding. And yet, I read that Riyadh and Tehran are experiencing a thaw in relations! We are indeed very vulnerable. GCC States from Saudi Arabia to Oman are surrounded on all sides by hostile Shiites under Tehran’s sway, whether Iranian, Iraqi or Houthis, but instead of acting to shore up our defense, we are patting Houthi terrorists on the back, turning a blind eye to Hezbollah’s crimes and hugging Iranian officials.
I can only cling to the hope that now some of our countries have been galvanized to act against ISIS, our armies and air forces will extend their operations to take back Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen before the Sunni Arab World is reduced to shadow in a darkening Persian night. We must hold our GCC flag high and show the plotters around us that we see through their game, which is one they will not be allowed to win.

Erdoğan Fails to Conquer New York City
By: Daniel Pipes/National Review Online
September 23, 2014
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appeared at an hour-long on-the-record event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York yesterday afternoon. The complete – if not entirely coherent – transcript of the English-language simultaneous translation can be found at "A Conversation With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan." I attended the meeting along with many other members (so many attended that an overflow room was needed) and I offer some responses and reflections about him:
The Council hosts its fair share of heads of state and government, all of whom arrive surrounded by bodyguards and aides, but Erdoğan had a far more massive entourage than any I'd ever seen; by my estimate, they numbered 35, nearly all of them young men in dark suits. Odder yet, they took up the first three rows, where they sat spellbound to their leader's every word, as though they had never heard a word of it before. Even before he spoke, then, the profusion of fluttering staffers conveyed an aura of grandiosity – as was no doubt their intended purpose.
Also, the Council rarely permits teleprompters but Erdoğan relied on one, although it's unclear why it was necessary, given that he spoke in Turkish and gave his standard attack-dog speech berating many of Turkey's neighbors and going after such current favorite targets as Fethullah Gülen, the Moody's and Fitch credit-rating agencies, and the New York Times.
Experiencing Erdoğan in person confirmed my sense of him as an ambitious and aggressive populist whose electoral successes have gone to his head and spell trouble both for his country and the world.
A protracted "I'm not an antisemite" defense was the only content specifically designed for a New York audience: "I am very sad to see that my country, myself, and my colleagues, sometimes, are labeled as being antisemitic." As he spoke about being labeled an antisemite, I admit to taking advantage of sitting directly in front of Erdoğan, just behind his three rows of dark-suited young men, vigorously nodding my head in assent, thinking all the while that I was glad to be in New York and not Istanbul.
Perhaps most amusing was the argument that all was well when the Ottoman Empire ruled and things fell apart after its demise in 1923. "The Ottoman State had a very successful administration system, and for centuries, these areas of crisis today had maintained their existence without problems. The Palestinian issue, the problems in Iraq and Syria, Crimea, Balkans, are all issues that came about after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire."
The question period, as usual, held special interest because it is the only part of the meeting that is unscripted. The moderator, Fareed Zakaria, pressed Erdoğan on the quid pro quo for the release by ISIS of the 49 Mosul hostages; Erdoğan all but explicitly admitted that his government had exchanged prisoners for the hostages. Peter Galbraith asked about the possibility of Turkish recognition of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, to which Erdoğan replied no, that he opposes any division of Iraq. On behalf of the International Press Institute and the Committee to Protect Journalists, Harold Evans of Reuters requested a meeting with Erdoğan to discuss the treatment of journalists in Turkey, to which Erdoğan gave his immediate assent. Margaret Warner of PBS asked about Turkish efforts to stop the flow of foreign jihadis going into Syria and Iraq, to which Erdoğan piously replied that the government is doing all it can, even professing to be insulted when Warner pressed him about Turkey's porous border with Syria.
I then asked my own question: "Your government as prime minister pursued a policy of 'zero problems with neighbors'. Now that that has failed, do you have a new policy towards the region?" My intent was to provoke the speaker by asserting the failure of this policy. Erdoğan replied that the "zero problems policy is still ongoing" and then insisted that the failures were those of the neighbors, rather than of Turkey, mentioning Iraq, Syria, and Egypt in this context. Especially noteworthy was the withering disdain he expressed for President Sisi of Egypt, to whom he referred as "a soldier in [Morsi's] cabinet [who] organized a coup."
Summing up, experiencing Erdoğan in person confirmed my sense of him as an ambitious and aggressive populist whose electoral successes have gone to his head and spell trouble both for his country and the world. (September 23, 2014)
Mr. Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum.

Question: "Is the Bible truly God's Word?"
Answer: Our answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance to our lives, but also it will ultimately have an eternal impact on us. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, then we should cherish it, study it, obey it, and fully trust it. If the Bible is the Word of God, then to dismiss it is to dismiss God Himself.
The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and illustration of His love for us. The term “revelation” simply means that God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. Although God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible was given progressively over approximately 1500 years, it has always contained everything man needs to know about God in order to have a right relationship with Him. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, religious practice, and morals.
The question we must ask ourselves is how can we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a good book? What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other religious books ever written? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? These types of questions must be seriously examined if we are to determine the validity of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God, divinely inspired, and totally sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. There can be no doubt that the Bible does claim to be the very Word of God. This is clearly seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy: “… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word. The internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.
Another of the internal evidences that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is the prophecies contained within its pages. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations including Israel, certain cities, and mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of One who would be the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. Unlike the prophecies found in other religious books or those by men such as Nostradamus, biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin. There is no other religious book with the extent or type of predictive prophecy that the Bible contains.
A third internal evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is its unique authority and power. While this evidence is more subjective than the first two, it is no less a powerful testimony of the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible’s authority is unlike any other book ever written. This authority and power are best seen in the way countless lives have been transformed by the supernatural power of God’s Word. Drug addicts have been cured by it, homosexuals set free by it, derelicts and deadbeats transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible does possess a dynamic and transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.
There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its truthfulness and accuracy are subject to verification like any other historical document. Through both archaeological evidences and other writings, the historical accounts of the Bible have been proven time and time again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is a great indication of its truthfulness when dealing with religious subjects and doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God.
Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the integrity of its human authors. As mentioned earlier, God used men from many walks of life to record His words. In studying the lives of these men, we find them to be honest and sincere. The fact that they were willing to die often excruciating deaths for what they believed testifies that these ordinary yet honest men truly believed God had spoken to them. The men who wrote the New Testament and many hundreds of other believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) knew the truth of their message because they had seen and spent time with Jesus Christ after He had risen from the dead. Seeing the risen Christ had a tremendous impact on them. They went from hiding in fear to being willing to die for the message God had revealed to them. Their lives and deaths testify to the fact that the Bible truly is God’s Word.
A final external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the indestructibility of the Bible. Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.
Throughout time, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts and teachings have had a positive influence on societies and cultures throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a book that has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years. No matter how its opponents try to attack, destroy, or discredit it, the Bible remains; its veracity and impact on lives is unmistakable. The accuracy which has been preserved despite every attempt to corrupt, attack, or destroy it is clear testimony to the fact that the Bible is truly God’s Word and is supernaturally protected by Him. It should not surprise us that, no matter how the Bible is attacked, it always comes out unchanged and unscathed. After all, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). After looking at the evidence, one can say without a doubt that, yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word.
Recommended Resources: Making Sense of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation by Geisler & Howe and Logos Bible Software.
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