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Signs Point Toward 'Cataclysmic' War in Middle East

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2009 06:30 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Signs Point Toward 'Cataclysmic' War in Middle East
2. Christopher Buckley: Obama Will Self-Destruct
3. Obama and Netanyahu Headed for a Clash
4. John Murtha Airport: A $200 Million ‘White Elephant’
5. Al Jazeera Channel Coming to U.S. Cities
6. We Heard: Montel Williams, Iran, Randi Rhodes, Swine Flu


1. Signs Point Toward ‘Cataclysmic’ War in Middle East

A former top American intelligence official agrees with a Messianic pastor that major and possibly calamitous events will unfold in the Middle East in the coming year.

“I think within 12 months something is going to happen, one way or another,” said retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for Intelligence from 2003 to 2007.

His concerns are echoed by best-selling novelist Joel C. Rosenberg, whose works have uncannily foreshadowed real events including 9/11.

“I don’t know how much time we have. I believe a cataclysmic war is coming in the Middle East,” he said.

Messianic pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai ministries in Puyallup, Wash., garnered attention last year with his announcement of the discovery of a rare sequence of lunar and solar eclipses, a “tetrad,” all falling on key feast days on the Jewish calendar over a two-year period.

The last time that happened, the Jews recaptured Jerusalem, Biltz said. “The time before that [was] 1949, 1950, right after they became a nation. But both times it was tied around a major war.”

Additional signs this year and next portend more of the same, according to Biltz.

“The sun and the moon were God’s signals to us,” he said. “When they fall on his divine appointments, He’s trying to tell us that we need to look to him and hear what he’s saying.”

While Biltz and other messianic believers watch the heavens, “others are watching the headlines and getting the same message,” station KMPH in Fresno, Calif., reported.

Gen. Boykin told a station reporter at a conference in San Diego that he foresees “something” happening in the coming year and added: “I’m watching the Iranian nuclear program very carefully. No one really knows how long, I don’t even think the Iranian themselves know how long it will take them to have a deliverable nuclear weapon, but they’re moving there rapidly.”

Author Rosenberg, who was an adviser to then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1990s, foresees a cataclysm in the near future, and he has been remarkably prescient in his books.

For instance, his New York Times best-seller “The Last Jihad” describes the hijacking of a jet by radical Islamic terrorists who use it to launch a kamikaze attack on an American city. That leads to a war with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

“I wrote those chapters nine months before September 11, 2001,” Rosenberg told KMPH at the conference.

His book “The Last Days” begins with a U.S. diplomatic convoy driving into Gaza on a peacekeeping mission. The convoy is attacked by terrorists. Six days before the book went on sale in October 2003, an American diplomatic convoy driving into Gaza was attacked by terrorists.

The book also foreshadowed a civil war among Palestinians similar to the hostilities that later erupted between Hamas and Fatah.

Editor's Note:

2. Christopher Buckley: Obama Will Self-Destruct

Reeling Republicans should take heart in the likelihood that the Barack Obama administration's policies will "blow up in their faces," according to political journalist Christopher Buckley — who also offers a prescription for a GOP comeback.

Buckley resigned his job as a columnist for National Review, the publication founded by his father William F. Buckley, in the face of backlash from his October 2008 endorsement of Obama for president.

But Buckley, who said he grew up in the "GOP sandbox," laments recent Republican setbacks including the defection of Sen. Arlen Specter from the GOP and the apparent victory of Democrat Al Franken in the Minnesota Senate race, as well as Obama's high popularity ratings despite uncertainty about his economic policies.

"We adore Obama but deep down aren't sure about his policies," Buckley writes in The Daily Beast.

"One of the oldest rules in politics is: If your opponent is committing suicide, don't interfere. So were I in charge of the Republican Party, I would send out a coded text message saying: 'Remain calm. Shut up. This is going to blow up in their faces.'

"Much as I admire President Obama, I believe with something approaching certainty that his spending will bring this country to its knees."

Buckley, who was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H.W. Bush, maintains that a $3.6 trillion budget is not "sustainable," nor is a doubling of the national debt and inaction in regard to
$77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, including Social Security and Medicare.

The GOP, which has squandered its reputation as the party of fiscal responsibility, Buckley writes, could regain that standing if it "would content itself with that all-important goal, and not instead fight doomed skirmishes over gay marriage, stem-cell research, abortion and creationism, Ten Commandments in the courtroom, and other such issues that the country has by and large already decided upon."

Editor's Note:

3. Obama and Netanyahu Headed for a Clash

Sharp differences between President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are emerging over the “two-state solution” to the Palestinian problem.

“There is a clash of agendas and priorities between the right-wing Israeli government and the agenda Obama is trying to advance,” said Yoram Meital, head of Ben-Gurion University’s Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy.

He said the two nations are witnessing “the calm before the storm” as they head toward a meeting scheduled for May 18, the Jewish publication Forward reported.

During a recent visit to the Middle East, U.S. envoy George Mitchell voiced support for the two-state solution, which would establish an independent Palestinian state. Netanyahu opposes the plan.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman further complicated the issue when he declared in a speech that Israel is not bound by previous agreements to work toward an independent Palestine.

He also declared that the Saudi-backed Arab peace plan, which the Obama administration supports, is a “dangerous proposition, a recipe for the destruction of Israel.”

Israeli legislator Ophir Pines-Paz, a Netanyahu opponent, said that “in light of Lieberman’s remarks it is uncertain whether or not there is any point to the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama.”

But former Israeli peace negotiator Gidi Grinstein told Forward that the two leaders will eventually find grounds for agreement.

Grinstein, who now heads the Reut Institute think tank, said that with Hamas in control of Gaza and a weakened Palestinian Authority ruling the West Bank, Israel and the U.S. will both conclude that “putting the two-state solution through a moment of truth at such a moment may be dangerous.”

Editor's Note:

4. John Murtha Airport: A $200 Million ‘White Elephant’

Taxpayers have spent $200 million in federal funds over the past decade to support a little-used airport located in the congressional district of powerful Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha.

The John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport east of Pittsburgh serves just six commercial flights each weekday, all of them to or from Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C.

When a Washington Post reporter visited the airport recently, there were just four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staffers and supervisors.

Yet the airport has a new terminal with a restaurant, a $17.8 million reinforced concrete runway capable of handling large jets, a motorized baggage carousel, and an $8 million high-tech radar system befitting an international airport — which remains unmanned.

The airport was also among the first facilities in the nation to receive funding from this year’s stimulus package — $800,000 to repave a backup runway.

And each of the six daily flights to and from the airport is subsidized, costing taxpayers about $147 per passenger last year.

Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense called the airport a “white elephant” and “an exercise in spending more money than sense.”

Even a passenger using the airport questioned the spending.

“Doesn’t it seem kind of ridiculous to have a motorized carousel for the baggage claim when 15 people get off the airplane?” Johnstown native Bill Previte told The Post.

“It obvious: There’s not enough population to justify this place.”

Of the $200 million in federal funds spent on the airport in the past 10 years, Rep. Murtha — chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense — is credited with securing at least $150 million.

In 2007, the authority that runs the airport hired MTT Aviation Services, a subsidiary of a defense contractor run by a close friend of Murtha.

“Murtha, dubbed the King of Pork by critics, consistently directs more federal money to his district than any other congressman — $192 million in the 2008 budget,” The Post disclosed.

Press reports in March alleged that in recent years Murtha obtained millions in earmarks for Penn State University’s Electro-Optical Center, which then rerouted the money to clients of PMA Group, a military-oriented lobbying firm that has close ties with Murtha.

PMA’s offices were raided by the FBI in November, and The New York Times reported that investigators were looking for evidence that PMA made illegitimate campaign contributions to Murtha.

Editor's Note:

5. Al Jazeera Channel Coming to U.S. Cities

The Al Jazeera English news channel — an offshoot of the Arabic al-Jazeera network — will soon be available to TV viewers in many American cities.

Launched 2 1/2 years ago, the Al Jazeera English channel can be seen in more than 100 countries. But in the U.S. it has been carried only by two tiny cable systems in Vermont and Ohio and by a private cable hookup available in a few buildings in Washington, D.C.

But under an agreement with MHz Networks, a nonprofit educational broadcaster based in Falls Church, Va., the channel is now available throughout the Washington area and will be expanded to 20 other cities in the next few months, The Washington Post reports.

The channel is funded by the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Its parent entity, the al-Jazeera network, angered some officials in the George W. Bush administration with its alleged anti-American bias in reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The network has also been criticized for airing videos from Osama bin Laden.

Al Jazeera English has not drawn such criticism, and Will Stebbins, its Washington bureau chief, said distributing it to American viewers is “a positive development.”

According to The Post, 18 million U.S. households will ultimately be able to receive some or all of the channel’s programming.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT talk show host Montel Williams says if it were not for Barack Obama, he would have been the first black president.

Williams, who has a new radio show on Air America, said in an interview with The Hill newspaper that he “definitely will run for a political office in this country.”

Asked if he’d thought the U.S. would see a black president in his lifetime, Williams responded: “If it hadn’t happened before me, it would have been me.”

THAT an Israeli minister says a nuclear-armed Iran will be able to attack targets in the U.S.

“The entire world — not only the Middle East — will change should Iran acquire nuclear capabilities,” Yossi Peled, a member of the Likud Party, told a cultural forum in Israel.

He disclosed that a senior U.S. official told him recently that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, “the term superpower will become meaningless,” the Israeli Web site Ynetnews reported.

Peled also said that Israel will have to deal with the Iranian threat on its own if the international community fails to take action.

THAT liberal talk radio personality Randi Rhodes has signed on to do an afternoon show with the Premiere Radio Networks.

Rhodes is a strange fit with other talkers on the network, who include conservative hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

Rhodes joined the left-wing Air America in 2004, but departed in April 2008 after she called Hillary Clinton a "whore" at an event in San Francisco.

Her new show is broadcast from Rockville, Md., after Limbaugh signs off the air at 3 p.m. on weekdays.

THAT the Arab and Muslim media are using the swine flu epidemic to demonize Israel and its leaders, the Anti-Defamation League has charged.

The ADL accused large-circulation daily newspapers including Al Watan in Qatar and Al-Quds al-Arabi in Britain of "exploiting" the epidemic to provoke anti-Israel attitudes, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The ADL cited an Al Watan cartoon with the caption: "The World Health Organization is warning about a world-wide epidemic — the swine flu." The illustration showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a pig snout.

The ADL said picturing Israeli leaders with pig faces reflects "the disdain for the pig in Islamic culture."

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Signs Point Toward 'Cataclysmic' War in Middle East2. Christopher Buckley: Obama Will Self-Destruct3. Obama and Netanyahu Headed for a Clash4. John Murtha Airport: A $200 Million White Elephant 5. Al Jazeera Channel Coming to...
Monday, 11 May 2009 06:30 PM
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