First things first: Happy Hannukah. Lynn and the boys and I have been enjoying making homemade latkes and doughnuts, lighting the menorah.
Iran and Syria have been marking Hannukah differently. They’ve just signed an aggressive new defense pact. Iranian leaders have also been testing more accurate ballistic missiles and meeting with Hamas leaders, pledging to help these Palestinian Radicals destroy Israel. The Times of London reports on fresh evidence — a military memo written in Persian (though as of yet unauthenticated) — that Iran may be “testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.” Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told the Times: “The most shattering conclusion is that, if this was an effort that began in 2007, it could be a casus belli. If Iran is working on weapons, it means there is no diplomatic solution.”
The Israeli Defense Forces have been running war games in recent days, simulating attacks from Syria and Hezbollah, just in case.
Some good news: After months of dithering, Washington is finally beginning to move on real economic sanctions against Iran. The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed the Iran gasoline sanctions bill, 412 to 12. As Reuters notes, the bill would “impose sanctions on foreign companies that help supply gasoline to Iran, a move lawmakers hope will deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program.” and praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I hope you have been, too!
Let’s now pray the Senate and the President move quickly and decisively as well. After all, time is running out. Such sanctions are the right move, but let’s be honest: given how late in the game we are, they may not work. It might already be too late to stop Iran from getting the Bomb by anything short of a highly aggressive covert war (sabatoge of Iranian nuclear facilities, arrest or assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, etc) or a massive air attack, of the kind the Israelis are known to be contemplating.
- Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, co-authored the gasoline sanctions bill. In an oped in today’s Los Angeles Times, she writes:
- “The [Iranian] regime in Tehran knows only hardball, and nothing less than overwhelming and crippling sanctions could produce a reversal of its threatening programs and policies.
- “That is why the United States must be prepared to act alone, if necessary, and with every weapon in its political and economic arsenal. The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act is one such tool. This legislation, which I coauthored, has the support of more than 300 members of the House, and it is urgent that this bill reaches the president’s desk before the end of the year. It targets one of Iran’s major weaknesses — namely, its dependency on foreign gasoline….
- “By placing financial sanctions on U.S. and foreign companies providing these crucial resources, Iran’s economic lifeline would be severed and its already weak economy would crumble. But these sanctions must be coupled with action on all fronts.
- “The U.S. must also specifically reject Iran’s claim to an inalienable right to produce nuclear fuel. We must strengthen existing laws to prevent the transfer of prohibited materials and technology to Iran. Responsible nations should impose a ban on travel by senior Iranian regime officials and their families to Europe and the U.S. We should strengthen bilateral and multilateral efforts to shut down accounts of those doing business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or its affiliated entities; deny Tehran access to euros and U.S. dollars; and freeze the assets of those who violate U.N. sanctions on Iran.
- “Concurrently, we should offer our full support to the Iranian people and increase funding for Iran democracy programs. The weakness of recent actions has been daunting. The IAEA mustered only a weak censure of Iran; the U.N. Security Council has said that it was disappointed; the White House has maintained its wait-and-see approach; and the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act continues to languish because many remain true believers in the mirage of engagement. However, the threat is immediate, and the time to act has arrived.”
NOTE: Jewish extremists attacked a mosque in the West Bank earlier this week. It was a savage, evil act that was rightly condemned by Israeli PM Netanyahu. Please pray for those involved in the attacks, for their families and their friends that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would have mercy on them by moving them true and complete repentance and restitution.
GIVE: To help The Joshua Fund raise $1 million this month to stand up a new warehouse in Israel and provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid to the poor and needy in Israel and the epicenter, please click here
GO: Epicenter Conference in Manila, Philippines (details coming)