Several recent news stories suggest covert actions — presumably by Israel, the U.S. and possibly other Western intelligence agencies — may, in fact, be slowing down Iran’s nuclear weapons development program. One unconfirmed report indicates that Israeli officials are privately indicating that they will now wait until at least summer 2011 before reassessing the need for possible military strikes. Details below.
Meanwhile, please keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem, according to Psalm 122:6. I believe we serve a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God. My Joshua Fund colleagues and I will continue to do everything we can to prepare for the possibility of war (including building a network of humanitarian relief centers in Israel and a network of prayer and financial supporters in the U.S., Canada, and around the world). But we remain hopeful that as followers of Jesus Christ around the world are mobilized to pray, that perhaps the Lord will stave off a new war in the Middle East for a longer time to come. Please join us in praying and preparing for what is ahead.
BBC: Iran nuclear scientist ‘killed in bomb attack’ — “An Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed and another wounded in two separate but similar attacks, according to Iranian media reports. The scientists were targeted in Tehran by attackers who attached bombs to each of their cars, reports said….”
AP Exclusive: Troubles stop Iran nuke enrichment — “Iran’s nuclear program has suffered a recent setback, with major technical problems forcing the temporary shutdown of thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, diplomats told The Associated Press on Monday. The diplomats said they had no specifics on the nature of the problem that in recent months led Iranian experts to briefly power down the machines they use for enrichment — a nuclear technology that has both civilian and military uses. But suspicions focused on the Stuxnet worm, the computer virus thought to be aimed at Iran’s nuclear program, which experts last week identified as being calibrated to destroy centrifuges by sending them spinning out of control….”
Politico: Israel backs off Iran – for now — “In mid-2011, you will see a debate about whether the sanctions are working,” said one former senior Israeli military official, who noted with some satisfaction that the Iranians had suffered “technical disappointments.”
At the same time, new reports indicate that several Arab states are deeply concerned that Iran may get nuclear weapons, and have been privately urging U.S. leaders in recent years to launch military strikes rather than let Tehran get the Bomb.
WikiLeaks: Mideast nations urged strike on Iran — “Secret U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal distress among Mideast nations over Iran with some leaders urging the U.S. to take whatever steps necessary to halt its nuclear program….”
“Anti-Semitism in Europe is as toxic and dangerous today as it was in the 1930s. Israel and the Jewish people face enormous, existential threats from Radical Islam and Replacement Theology. The world is increasingly turning against Israel and the Jews. And Europeans have a choice to make — will you bless Israel by defending her against a range of real and serious threats, or will you curse her by doing little or nothing?”
This was the challenge posed by Joel C. Rosenberg, President of The Joshua Fund, and Dave Olsson, TJF’s Director of Communications, when they traveled to Brussels last week. Joel was invited by the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) to participate in their “The Legitimacy of Israel” conference at the European Union Parliament building. The conference was by invitation-only, with participants made up of pro-Israel supporters, key multipliers, representatives from some of the largest churches across Europe, and various pastors and ministry leaders from Hungary, Sweden, Britain, Finland, the U.K., Italy, France, Switzerland, and Nigeria.
Please pray for peace between North and South Korea after the North launched more than 200 artillery shells at a South Korean island, killing two South Korean marines and raising fears of a full blown war. Such a war on the Korean peninsula could be horrific, and could turn nuclear. Latest headlines from Asia:
Meanwhile, intriguing developments in Iran. The parliament is moving to impeach President Ahmadinejad, but has been stopped — at least temporarily — by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. At the same time, there is new evidence that Iran’s nuclear program has been slowed further by computer viruses and possible other sabotage efforts. Latest headlines from Iran:
Washington Post: Iran’s nuclear program reportedly struggling — “Iran’s nuclear program has experienced serious problems, including unexplained fluctuations in the performance of the thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, leading to a rare but temporary shutdown, international inspectors are expected to reveal Tuesday.”
Israel’s outgoing military intelligence chief, Major General Amos Yadlin, made three remarkable statements in testimony to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, reports Haaretz:
ISRAEL IS MORE SECURE THAN EVER BEFORE — “The recent security calm is unprecedented,” Yadlin told the parliamentary committee. Despite emerging and serious threats from Iran and her Radical Islamic allies, for the moment Israel is enjoying a period of remarkable calm in light of the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, almost no terrorism emanating out of the West Bank, relative calm in Gaza in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, relatively calm borders for the last four years with Lebanon and Syria, and a regime change in Iraq that led to a nascent but improving democracy. “Israel’s deterrence is very strong but the lull [in regional violence] shouldn’t mislead anyone, the opposite is true. Our enemies are strengthening and arming,” Yadlin added. Does this period qualify as Jews living “securely” in the land of Israel prior to the rise of a Russian-Iranian led coalition that will launch the “War of Gog and Magog” again Israel in the “last days,” as foretold in Ezekiel 38-39? For the moment, it is, in my view, too early to draw a conclusion one way or the other, but it is certainly worth careful consideration.
IRAN IS ALREADY ABLE TO PRODUCE ITS FIRST NUCLEAR BOMB — Not that Iran has, but it could, apparently. “Yadlin also told the MKs [Members of Knesset] that Iran has sufficient enriched uranium to manufacture a single nuclear device and may soon have enough for making another bomb,” reported Haaretz. Also, “Iran is busy setting up two new nuclear installations, according to…Yadlin….[who added] that MI has indications that work has began on the installations, but did not comment on the sources.” Haaretz reported that “Yadlin, who will be replaced by Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi after concluding his five-year term, also spoke of Iran as the greatest threat facing Israel, not only in the nuclear respect. ‘Iran is sending its long arms to aid anyone who is working against Israel,’ Yadlin said.” Such assessements are undoubtedly weighing on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s mind as he considers the possible need for an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran.
RUSSIA IS ACTIVELY HELPING ISRAEL’S ENEMIES BUILD UP THEIR MILITARY CAPABILITIES — “The next military confrontation will not be between Israel and another country, but between Israel and two or three different fronts at the same time,” Yadlin said. “It will not be similar to anything we have grown accustomed to during the Second Lebanon War or Operation Cast Lead,” he warned. “Yadlin also said that Syria has undertaken an intensive procurement program of advanced military hardware from Russia, and that nearly everything that comes off the manufacturing line is being delivered to the Syrians. ‘The systems in question are advanced, mostly mobile, and are capable of hitting air force aircraft. The effective, deadly missiles will make it more difficult for the air force to have freedom of operations,’ he said. Syrian’s acquisition of anti-aircraft weapons will substantially hinder the ability of Israel Air Force to gain command of the air over Syria in time of war. ‘In the past we estimated that within 48-72 hours we would command the sky over Syria. Currently the assessment is that it will take more time and we will have more losses,’ Yadlin said.” Consider, too, this headline from the Russian Information Agency: Russian weapons shifting balance of forces in Middle East – Israel’s MI chief. And this one: “Russia, Iran to step up civil nuclear cooperation.” Separately, a new report from the region indicate that “Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri confirmed Tuesday that Russia has agreed to supply the Lebanese army with advanced weapons. The new weaponry will include 31 tanks, 130 mm caliber cannon shells, six attack helicopters and various munitions.” Again, to be clear, none of this is conclusive proof that we will see the “War of Gog and Magog” play out in our lifetime. But the trend lines in the epicenter continue to be remarkably consistent with the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
In a few hours, a Joshua Fund colleague and I are heading to Brussels where I have been invited to speak at a conference at the European Union Parliament on ways to counter the delegitimization of Israel. Other invited speakers include Members of the EU Parliament, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Israeli officials, Tony Blair (by video), and Tomas Sandell, founder of the European Coalition For Israel, and organizer of the conference. We’ll also be addressing a conference of key pastors from all over Europe. I’d be grateful for your prayers that I would give a solid, Biblical defense for Israel and the Jewish people. Lord willing, I’ll send you an update from Brussels.
This weekend, I delivered a series of 5 messages at a wonderful church in Albuquerque, New Mexico on “Critical Issues Facing The People Of The Epicenter.” Topics included, “Are The Jews The Chosen People?”; “Were The Jews Given The Promised Land?”; “Why Does The World Hate Israel And The Jewish People?”; “Does God Love Israel’s Neighbors?”; and “How Can The Church Bless Israel and Her Neighbors?” Pastor Skip Heitzig invited me to give the series. He and I hosted the first Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem in 2008. He will be one of the honored speakers at the 2011 Epicenter Conference as we develop these important themes in more depth and call the Church worldwide to stand strong against Radical Islam and against Replacement Theology. Please check back to this weblog, as later this week I hope to have links to the audio and video for those messages so you can consider them for yourselves. Also, please prayerfully consider coming to Israel for the conference and The Joshua Fund tour of the Holy Land.
One of the most adept analysts of current events regarding Israel and the Middle East from a biblical perspective is Joel C. Rosenberg, a New York Times best-selling author of novels based on prophetic scenarios
By Robert D. Onley, Jerusalem Post Christian Edition, November 15, 2010
Students of Bible prophecy know that in “the last days” the eyes of the world will be drawn to Israel. After Israel’s confrontation with the Turkish “humanitarian aid” flotilla on May 31, we saw how quickly the international community turned against Israel for its actions.
One of the most adept analysts of current events regarding Israel and the Middle East from a biblical perspective is Joel C. Rosenberg, a New York Times best-selling author of novels based on prophetic scenarios. Besides his writings, he hosts an annual teaching conference under the name “Epicenter” – taken from the title of his recent non-fiction book. Rosenberg has also launched The Joshua Fund, a non-profit Christian ministry that donates toward humanitarian needs in Israel. In addition, he formerly served as an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In late June, we interviewed Rosenberg at his latest Epicenter Conference, as over 1,500 Christians gathered in Philadelphia to hear the latest on Israel’s place in world affairs. Here are excerpts…
Christian Edition: With the Islamic Republic of Iran moving closer to obtaining nuclear weapons every day, the probability of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on its nuclear facilities is very high. However, if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, “all bets are off” as to what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might do. Your next novel is called The Twelfth Imam, referring to the [Shi’ite] “Islamic Messiah.” Iran’s president is on record as being committed to hastening the return of the Twelfth Imam. What are the implications with respect to Israel?
Joel C. Rosenberg: Ahmadinejad is a devout Shia Muslim, a true believer in every sense of the term. Religion for him is not some sort of political force; he believes that the end of the world is at hand. He believes that the Islamic Messiah is returning “imminently,” and that the way to hasten the coming of this Twelfth Imam is to annihilate Israel, which he calls the “Little Satan,” and the United States, which he calls the “Great Satan.”
How might Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic beliefs affect negotiations with Iran?
Well, if you ask Ahmadinejad what he wants, and don’t study who he is, you’re going to come to erroneous conclusions. What he wants is his Islamic Messiah to come, and what he believes is that what he has to do is destroy Judeo-Christian civilization. Period.
Once you understand that, then you know negotiations will be fruitless. He wants to bring about the end of humanity as we know it, and if he gets nuclear weapons, he will use them.
As negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have progressed, the Iranian leadership has repeatedly flip-flopped on uranium enrichment, raising serious concerns about Iran’s true intentions. Some commentators have linked Iran’s deceptiveness to the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, which permits and even commands Muslims to deceive “infidels” in the service of a ‘holy cause’ such as jihad. Is taqiyya affecting dialogue with Iran?
Taqiyya is absolutely affecting the dynamic of dialogue with Iran. Ignorance of taqiyya is part of an almost willful lack of understanding by the American, European and other officials, which means they just don’t understand how Ahmadinejad’s brand of Islam affects such things as negotiations.
President [Barack] Obama has been engaging in sporadic dialogue with Ahmadinejad for over 18 months while the Iranian government flip-flops. Is the US administration even aware of the taqiyya doctrine?
Aware? Yes. They’re all bright people. Paying attention to taqiyya? No. Clearly, the West is buying the notion that Iran wants to engage, and that the West just hasn’t found the key, so they’re flipping through our key rings thinking: “Which one will open the door?” All the evidence tells us the Iranians don’t want to negotiate.
The question is: Why bother? When somebody tells you, “I’m cheating at cards, that’s my doctrine. I cheat, now let’s play poker,” you probably should be thinking: “Maybe I shouldn’t be playing poker with you. Maybe I should take all your cards away, along with that gun in your pocket, and the cannon I know you’re building in the back room.”
Why are we playing poker with people who tell us in their own documents that they cheat?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he’s prepared to protect Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat. How do you believe Netanyahu perceives Ahmadinejad’s threats and posturing?
Netanyahu believes that Ahmadinejad and his superior, Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei, both mean what they say. He continues to be bewildered, to put it mildly, that nobody else sees this. He is coming to the conclusion that nobody is going to see Iran the way that he does, and this is leading him to a very lonely place. He’s going to have to make a decision soon; not within years, but probably within months. He has to decide to launch a preemptive war against Iran. Look at the ferocity of international reactions when Israel defended its own borders by boarding the Turkish “aid” ship in May. Now think about what the world’s reaction will be if Israel sends hundreds of planes to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The world will go crazy, and Netanyahu is aware of this. He’s got to make decisions. We need to be praying for him, for wisdom, for courage, that Netanyahu will be like one of the son’s of Issachar described in the Old Testament – a man who understands the times and knows what Israel should do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
Do you believe Netanyahu is really willing to undertake unilateral pre-emptive air strikes and perhaps covert action as well against Iran?
That’s a tough question. I think that if anyone in the history of modern Israel would take preemptive action against Iran, it would be Benjamin Netanyahu. That doesn’t tell us for certain that he will. It also doesn’t tell us whether God is going to intervene for Israel. For example, God could cause Khamenei and/or Ahmadinejad to retire, to be fired, to be deposed or to die. Then there’s the option of a regime change. The questions in Iran are: Are the people who will replace them worse? Just as bad? A little bit better? Or significantly better? We don’t know yet. One thing that Netanyahu hopes is that the facts on the ground in Iran change in ways that he cannot do himself. First, Netanyahu has to assess whether there’s still a possibility for regime change. Second, can covert operations delay or stop Iran from getting the Bomb? I don’t think they can ultimately stop it, but they have slowed things down. Third, does he have the ability to make the most difficult decision in the history of the modern state of Israel?
You are actively involved in humanitarian work in Israel through The Joshua Fund, which provided supplies to poor Israelis and Palestinians during the Gaza War in 2009. What is the greatest challenge facing The Joshua Fund?
The biggest challenge is the enormous need in Israel, as well as among the Palestinians, one out of four of whom live under the poverty line. But this goes back to the theme of the Epicenter Conference, which is to build a global movement of Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. What does that really mean? It means this shouldn’t be a North American-only effort… It needs to be worldwide… The point is: What is God doing? God loves the people of [Israel]. They are the focal point of human history, and increasingly the focal point of our times.
President Barack Obama unfairly criticized Israel yesterday while visiting Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. While visiting mosques and meeting Muslim leaders and giving speeches about building better relations with Muslims, the President gratuitously chose to criticize the Jewish State for daring to announce the building of some 1,300 new apartments in Jerusalem to deal with the city’s population growth. The President said such moves were an impediment to the peace process with the Palestinians.
“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” said President Obama. “I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough…Each of these incremental steps can end up breaking trust.”
Unhelpful? Breaking trust? You’ve got to be kidding me. Netanyahu imposed a 10 month moratorium on new building in Jerusalem and the West Bank as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians to encourage them to begin direct peace negotiations. Yet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas squandered nine of those months by refusing to enter such talks. Then Abbas engaged for a few weeks, but refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, refused to agree to the Palestinians having a demilitarized state, and now has broken off direct talks and refuses to reengage with Netanyahu, even though Israel is offering to allow the creation of a Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, currently visiting the U.S., immediately responded to President Obama’s criticism: “Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.”He is absolutely correct. Israel has every right to build homes for Jews, Muslims and Christians in her capital. The “unhelpful” intransigence is on the Palestinian side. If Abbas wants a state, he should negotiate for one directly and in good faith, not wait for President Obama to force Israel to accept Abbas’ demands.
Moreover, the critical question facing the U.S., Israel, and the world right now should not be stopping the building of apartments in Jerusalem but stopping the building of nuclear weapons in Iran. Yet the Obama administration is not taking decisive action to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, and refuses to put a credible military threat against Iran on the table.
Contrast President Obama’s deeply unfriendy approach towards Israel with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s consistently courageous pro-Israel approach.
Harper was the first world leader to order his UN delegation to walk out of a speech at the UN General Assembly by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad several years ago.
Harper was the first world leader to announce Canada would not be sending a delegation to the UN’s “Durban II” conference which was supposed to be about opposing racism but turned into a vicious anti-Israel forum whose keynote speaker was Ahmadinejad, a man who has denied the Holocaust and has repeatedly called for the “annihilation” of the Jewish State.
When the Gaza flotilla crisis unfolded, Harper stood strongly with Israel’s right to defend herself from terrorist and left-wing activist attacks, whereas the White House equivocated.
In contrast to President Obama, Prime Minister Harper has built a warm and increasingly close professional relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Harper has strongly urged the world to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program before it is too late.
Harper has been so pro-Israel that Canada recently lost a bid to be on the UN Security Council because anti-Israel countries coalesced against Canada and prevented her from attaining such a globally influential position.
This week, Prime Minister Harper delivered a major address saying he and the people of Canada will continue to stand with Israel and defend the Jewish people no matter what the cost.
“As long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost,” Harper told a conference on anti-Semitism. “Not just because it is the right thing to do but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us.”
“We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is,” Harper said. According to a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Harper noted that Israel, like any country, may be subjected to fair criticism, he said. But Harper said Canada must oppose what he called the “three Ds — demonization, double standards and delegitimization.”
“‘And like any free country Israel subjects itself to such criticism, healthy, necessary, democratic debate. But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.'”
Please lift Harper and his family, advisors, and his country up to the Lord. Please ask the Lord to bless them, to continue giving them courage and boldness. Please ask the Lord, as well, what we as evangelical Christians can do to properly thank and bless the Prime Minister for the courage of his convictions.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s tone on Iran is changing. For much of the year, he has been fully supportive of economic sanctions and diplomacy vis-a-vis Tehran. But on this week’s visit ton the U.S., the PM is now asking American officials to put a credible military threat on the table. Netanyahu is, I believe, beginning to lay the groundwork for a possible Israeli preemptive strike, if the U.S. and the West can’t stop Iran any other way.
Yesterday, I did an interview with NewsMax.com. Here are some excerpts:
“President Barack Obama isn’t doing enough to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands, and Israel may have to launch a military strike as a result, says author Joel Rosenberg, former political consultant to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” reports NewsMax.com. “Rosenberg, a New York Times best-selling author, recently published The Twelfth Imam, a novel. ‘It’s not simply dangerous that Iran’s leaders have publicly called for the annihilation of Israel and the U.S. and that Iran is rapidly pursuing nuclear weapons,’ he tells Newsmax.TV.
“’The problem in Iran is that the regime has an end-of-time theology. It believes we are living in the end of days. It expects the Islamic messiah, Twelfth Imam, to come at any moment.’ Furthermore, the regime believes that annihilating Israel — ‘the little Satan’ — and the United States — ‘the big Satan’ — is the way to hasten the Twelfth Imam’s arrival. ‘This is what’s so dangerous: nuclear weapons soon in the hands of people who believe it’s their God-given mission to end Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it,’ Rosenberg says. ‘We’re rapidly approaching the point where this could become all too real.’
“Netanyahu has said that American economic sanctions against Iran aren’t working and that the United States must put a credible military threat on the table, Rosenberg notes. But he doesn’t think Netanyahu is convinced that the Obama administration will take decisive action. ‘I think the prime minister is laying the groundwork for sometime next year that if the world and U.S. don’t take decisive action, Israel may have to take action itself. I pray for peace but think we have to be prepared for war…..'”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip was originally supposed to be three days. It was extended to five days. He stopped first in New Orleans to speak to a conference of American Jewish leaders, and to meet with Vice President Biden. He’s now spending several days in New York meeting with UN Secretary General Ki Ban Moon, Secretary of State Clinton, and others. The administration’s focus: the peace process with the Palestinians. But Netanyahu is making news by warning military strikes against Iran may be necessary.
“The greatest danger facing Israel and the world is the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran. Iran threatens to annihilate Israel, it denies the Holocaust, it sponsors terror in South America and Afghanistan and Iraq,” Netanyahu said Monday. “This is what Iran is doing without nuclear weapons, imagine what it would do with them. Imagine the devastation its terror proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas and others, would wreak under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.”
“Netanyahu said the U.S. and other nations must convince Iran it risks facing a military strike in order to prevent the Iranian government from developing nuclear weapons,” reports Business Week. “‘The simple paradox is this,’ Netanyahu said in a speech yesterday to Jewish activists in New Orleans. ‘If the international community, led by the U.S., wants to stop Iran without resorting to military action, it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action.'”
“Former U.S. President George W. Bush has revealed that he considered ordering the US military to strike a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Israel’s request in 2007, however in the end he opted against it,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “In his memoir, Decision Points, which is due to be released on Tuesday, Bush says he received an intelligence report about a ‘suspicious, well-hidden facility in the eastern desert of Syria,’ and then telephoned then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss what action to take….Bush says a bombing mission was considered ‘but bombing a sovereign country with no warning or announced justification would create severe blowback.’ In the book the former US president says he discussed all the different options with his national security team and a covert raid was suggested. However Bush explains that it was considered too much of a risk to slip a team in and out of Syria undetected. Bush writes in the memoirs that he told Olmert, ‘I cannot justify an attack on a sovereign nation unless my intelligence agencies stand up and say it’s a weapons program.’ According to the book Olmert expressed his disappointment at Bush’s decision to recommend a strategy of using diplomacy backed up by the threat of force to deal with Syria over the facility. ‘Your strategy is very disturbing to me,’ Olmert told Bush, the book suggests….”
No American President in U.S. history was as determined to stop radical Islamic and Arab nationalist leaders from acquiring weapons of mass destruction than George W. Bush. So for him to balk at a preemptive military strike on the Syrian nuclear reactor is telling. People ask me all the time, “Is the U.S. likely to launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities?” The answer is no. And this is further evidence. If President Bush wouldn’t hit Syria, it is highly unlikely President Obama will hit Iran.
Which leads us right back to the question I’m asking in The Twelfth Imam….what if the world waits too long to take decisive action and Iran does, in fact, acquire nuclear weapons?