Ayatollah Khamenei Posters in Iraq Display Iran’s Influence

Ayatollah Khamenei Posters in Iraq Display Iran’s Influence

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Billboards in Iraq displaying the image of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei are depicting the extent of Iraq’s fall to Iran.

Iraqis, long familiar with former dictator Saddam Hussein’s cult of personality in his omnipresent posters and statues, which were removed or toppled after his demise, now see “pictures of the Persian dictator” taking over, as an Iraqi government worker observed. These posters, he noted, show that Iraq is turning into “a total Iranian stooge.” A Baghdad businessman lamented, “When I see these pictures, I feel I am in Tehran, not Baghdad.”

Associated Press noted that Iran’s influence in Iraq “picked up after Saddam Hussein’s fall from power in 2003, and, in many ways, accelerated since the U.S. military pulled out” in December 2011.

The posters were first erected in at least six Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad and in Shiite south Iraq back in August around the pro-Palestinian Quds (Jerusalem) Day observations. They are yet to be removed. A local government official in Baghdad speaking on condition of anonymity, said that municipal workers fear retribution from pro-Iranian militia like the Asaib Ahl al-Haq (Band of the People of Righteousness) if they remove them. Asaib Ahl al-Haq has boasted of distributing 20,000 posters of the Iranian cleric in Iraq.

Iran funds and arms at least two other militia in Iraq. It has enhanced business with Iraq to the tune of billions of dollars, skirting sanctions and embargoes in the process. Some parts of Iraq have absolutely no barriers with the Iranian rial currency and Farsi language. Daily pilgrimages to Iraqi holy Shiite sites by Iranians also show strengthening religious ties between the two countries.

According to the Associated Press, the posters may be a means to increase Iran’s religio-political influence in Iraq. Iran is lobbying for the replacement of Iraq’s 81-year old, Iranian born Shiite spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, with 64-year-old Iraqi-born Iranian Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. While Sistani favors an Islamic state in Iraq, he wants a clear separation of religion and politics. Shahroudi, on the other hand, is a member of Iran’s Guardian Council and would turn Iraq into a mirror image of the theocracy in Iran.

In a Trumpet Weekly issue of June 2003, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “Now that Iraq has been taken out of the picture [by coalition forces], Iran is even closer to becoming the reigning king of the Middle East. It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now [now withdrawn], but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq. At least, it will have a heavy influence over the Iraqi people.” News forecasts of an Iranian takeover of Iraq first appeared in Mr. Flurry’s December 1994 article titled “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” Back then, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made fewer headlines than did Saddam Hussein. Today, his posters in Iraq are making headlines.

Middle Eastern Patriarchs Appeal to EU

Middle Eastern Patriarchs Appeal to EU

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‘We call upon the European Union and all those willing to intervene, in order to put an end to this blatant injustice.’

The leaders of the Orthodox Church in the Middle East and Africa have appealed to the European Union to protect the lives and sacred sites of Christians across the region. In a letter dated September 18, they warned that “recent increasing influence of extreme fundamentalist elements in the region directly jeopardizes the lives of Christians in their ancient cradles.”

“We witness daily aggressions against Christian places of worship, killings of innocent people, violent acts and atrocities against Christian properties, as well as violations of the most elementary human rights of Christians,” they wrote. “Christians are thus forced towards expatriation. Thousands have already left their ancient cradles and have become refugees in various parts of the world, seeking more security.”

“We call upon the European Union and all those willing to intervene, in order to put an end to this blatant injustice,” they wrote. “More specifically, we call upon them to exercise their influence in order to protect all aspects of religious freedom and worship in the region. Moreover, we would appeal to them to preserve and save from desecration and pillage the places of worship and the Christian cultural monuments in this tumultuous land, e.g. in Syria and the occupied Cyprus.”

It was signed by Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros ii, Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius iv, Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos iii and Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus Chrysostomos ii.

The letter came just a few days after the pope visited Lebanon, where he met with Eastern Orthodox leaders. Ahead of the trip, Iraqi Archbishop Louis Sako called on Orthodox leaders to appeal directly to the pope for help.

Christians are under attack throughout the region. On September 24, a suicide bomber killed three and injured 46 at a Catholic cathedral in Nigeria. A few days earlier, Christians in Rafah and Al-Arish, near Egypt’s border with Israel, were told to leave, or die.

These kinds of incidents are so common that they often don’t make it into the news anymore.

One hundred years ago, one in five in the Middle East were Christian. Now it’s one in 20. Some estimate that by 2020, the number of Christians could have fallen from 12 million to 6 million.

No wonder they are appealing for help. But note: They haven’t addressed their plea to America, or simply to any willing to help. Instead they’ve appealed specifically to the European Union and the pope.

The cries for help are similar to the appeals that prompted that Catholic Church to launch the Crusades.

The Middle East’s Christians already see the EU as their best hope for a protector. Europe may wait to respond until a time that suits it. But watch for these attacks to rouse Europe to greater involvement in the Middle East.

Iran: Israel Has ‘No Roots’ in Middle Eastern History

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Tuesday that Israel has no place in the Middle East, and only a recent and insignificant history in the region.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, said, “What are they? What are these Zionists? Put the world map in front of you, put an atlas in front of you. Iran has been Iran for the last 7-10,000 years. They have been occupying those territories for the last 60, 70 years with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history.”

The Iranian president made the remarks at a news conference on the first full day of his visit to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly. Back in 2005, Ahmadinejad called Israel a “tumor” and repeated the words of former Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, saying the Jewish nation should be wiped off the map.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to Iran’s belligerence as one indication of a rapidly approaching clash of civilizations. In 2006, he explained that Ahmadinejad believes he was given his presidency in order to provoke a seismic clash that will hasten the return of Shia Islam’s messianic figure. Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel statements on Tuesday provide fresh evidence of Iran’s obstinate hatred for the Jewish nation. Despite a swelling pile of archeological evidence proving Jewish claims to Israel, Iran maintains relentless defiance on the matter. To understand where these sobering trends are leading, read “A Clash of Civilizations Is Imminent.”

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Siemens Accused of Sabotaging Iranian Nuclear Equipment

Siemens Accused of Sabotaging Iranian Nuclear Equipment

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Iran is accusing German engineering and electronics company Siemens of booby-trapping devices it has purchased for its nuclear program.

Iranian lawmaker and chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said on Saturday that intelligence and security officials detected and defused miniature explosives inside devices consigned for Iran’s nuclear program. The explosives were intended to detonate after being put to use and sabotage its nuclear program, “but the wisdom of our experts thwarted the enemy conspiracy,” Boroujerdi said. Iran has demanded Siemens be held accountable for its actions, but the German giant has flatly denied having “any business ties with Iran’s nuclear program” and that it “does not supply any technical equipment for it.”

Siemens is well known as a proxy for German intelligence. It designed and built Iran’s nuclear installation under a deal struck before the 1979 Islamic revolution. After the revolution, Siemens claims to have ceased dealing with Iran in its nuclear program, and a Russian company took over. However, Siemens equipment has been finding its way into Iran’s nuclear facilities nonetheless, some perhaps through second and third parties. Even the Stuxnet computer worm that affected Iran’s nuclear operations in 2010 was designed to infect Siemens’ computer systems, and Iran’s nuclear control systems are Siemens-designed.

In addition to these Siemens accusations, Iran has also made accusations of the iaea being infiltrated by “terrorists and saboteurs,” who share secrets with Iran’s enemies. It has also accused the United States, Israel and Britain of assassinating its nuclear scientists and researchers, all in an effort to stall Iran’s nuclear program. If Iran’s accusations are true, then these attacks are not stopping Iran. If false, then Iran could be “searching for a pretext in order to avoid control inspections by the iaea and to quickly build an atomic bomb,” as a German-Iranian expert told the Jerusalem Post.

To understand how Iran’s nuclear crisis will be solved, read “The Ostrich, the Warriors and the Whirlwind.”

Message of Peace for Sri Lanka From Herbert W. Armstrong

Message of Peace for Sri Lanka From Herbert W. Armstrong

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President J.R. Jayawardene, Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and the unofficial ambassador’s unforgettable anti-terrorism press conference

Billions of dollars, pounds and euros have been spent in vain to win this world’s war on terror. nato, the United Nations, the G-20 and other government conferences and summits have been convened for decades to address the subjects of human survival and the global proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Was it worth it? Have those efforts succeeded? Have we enhanced the prospects for global peace, happiness, joy and productivity as a result? The answer is a glaringly obvious no!

In 1985, the government of Sri Lanka invited unofficial ambassador for world peace Herbert W. Armstrong to visit the country. At the time of the visit, hundreds had been killed and wounded in factional conflicts, and the balmy breezes of peace in the tropical island nation had given way to the fracturing storms of violence. Then President J.R. Jayawardene wanted to speak with Mr. Armstrong in private meetings in his office, host a tour of the government’s expansion projects and have Mr. Armstrong speak as a special guest at a press conference addressing the country’s battle against separatist terrorist elements and the future prospects for peace.

Often world leaders would invite Mr. Armstrong to visit their country, attend private meetings in their office and later speak at an invitation-only dinner meeting of top political and business leaders. However, in Sri Lanka Mr. Armstrong also spoke directly to radio, tv and newspaper reporters and fielded their questions, objections and statements with unequivocal directness as to why the island nation could not attain peace.

Mr. Armstrong stated:

All our problems are caused by human nature, and human nature is essentially selfish. Now I can explain those things and say that it comes from self-interest, from a spirit of competition—always from a spirit of interest of oneself or one’s party, or one’s race, or one’s religion or whatever one is a member of. But we are living in a competitive world, a world that is based fundamentally on the philosophy of get.And so we still do not have peace, because people still do not know the way to peace. The way to peace is having concern for your fellow man. The way to peace is love. The way to peace is cooperation and helping one another and having a loving concern for the good of other people, and that gets into human nature.Now I cannot change human nature; I can talk about it and explain, and I can give the reason, but every one of you must make up your own mind what you’re going to do—I can’t make up your mind for you, and that’s the same for everybody else on Earth. I can’t make up the minds of other people. I can only make up my mind of what I want to do.But I can explain the truth and the cause of wars and the way to world peace. And it will not come until mankind comes to have love for his neighbor, and today man doesn’t love his neighbor. Nations don’t love other nations—they love their own nation. And so we have competition, and that leads often to war, and individuals come to what you’re having here right now—the kind of violence that is coming as terrorism. And terrorism comes in the same way as war, from the wrong attitude of mind.The wrong desire of just selfishness and opposition toward other people and wanting to use force of some kind to have your own way against other people. I don’t have a magic wand. I can’t just wave a magic wand and say the world has peace. I can’t bring it about that way. I have to look at the facts as they are and the facts are human nature.

Then followed a lively interchange between the reporters and Mr. Armstrong:

Reporter: But I feel that what you have just said is only philosophy and does not offer any solution to our problems. How will that produce peace now?Mr. Armstrong: It won’t produce peace now. I’m just telling you the facts of what will produce peace and I say to you that we human beings are not going to produce peace. I think that all religions at least know that there is a higher power. Many of them don’t know what that higher power is. They don’t have it defined because they don’t know. But there is a higher power, and that higher power is going to have to come and bring us peace. We’re not going to bring peace, but the great Creator God is going to have to intervene and bring us peace if He has to force it upon us. And that’s the way peace is finally going to come.Reporter: As for Sri Lanka, we have prayed to God to solve our infinite problem, but I don’t think even God can promote peace in this country.Mr. Armstrong: I say to you that God could intervene right now, but that is not His will to do that. I can tell you that He is not going to intervene right now. He’s going to let us learn some lessons. Human beings do not know that they should love their fellow man, and so we go about loving our own selves instead of our fellow man—and God is going to let us punish ourselves and bring about wars and kill so many people it will come to the place where we would destroy every man, woman and child on the face of the Earth. The weapons of mass destruction now exist. The United States has them, the Soviet Union has them, France has them, China has them, other nations are beginning to have nuclear weapons, and a nuclear war could erase all human life from this Earth.Conditions are going to come and men are going to go on fighting one another and men are going to go on—I can’t change their minds and no other man can change their minds, and men are going to have to learn that lesson. They are going to come to the place where they would destroy the last man, woman and child on Earth. Then the supreme God is going to intervene before that happens, and He is not going to intervene until that—until we learn our lesson. Humanity won’t learn. I can tell you the way to peace but you won’t believe me. You men right here won’t believe me! The world won’t believe me, and I can’t bring peace unless you would believe me, and you won’t. I’m speaking very plainly. I represent that higher power, and I know what He proposes, and I know what He is going to do. He won’t do it until we have punished ourselves to the place where we’re willing to submit to Him. The trouble is, neither side in this problem that you’re having right now is willing to submit to that higher power, and as long as you won’t you’re going to fight and have trouble. And we’re going to have to come to the place where we have to rely on Him to do it for us.

Mr. Armstrong then went on to visit with Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa in Colombo, where he explained the purpose of the Ambassador Foundation (replaced today by the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation). “I am sure you understand the Ambassador Foundation is not religious; it’s neither political or religious—it’s separate. It is supported by the church, but it is not religious in itself at all. And even the church is not proselytizing and seeking members. So we have nothing to gain—but perhaps we might have something to give.”

Prime Minister Premadasa responded, “And the more you give, you get.” Mr. Armstrong replied, “That’s right. Well, as has been said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

“That is so,” agreed the prime minister. “If you endeavor to gain, you won’t get anything.” Mr. Armstrong then summed up: “I think that’s the basis of the trouble in the world. The people in the world are all trying to gain and to get, and not share. But sharing and giving is by far better, and will lead to peace instead of troubles. If people had more concern for others than themselves and we weren’t competitive, and cooperative and helpful to one another we’d have peace.”

Mr. Premadasa agreed openly with Mr. Armstrong’s stated solutions to winning the war on terror and the way to peaceful coexistence for not only Sri Lankans but all citizens of the world. He showed his appreciation for Mr. Armstrong’s visit by stating: “We are very thankful to you taking time out and visiting our country to discuss matters with us and for the great service you are rendering to mankind.”

So many of the emperors, kings, queens, princes, presidents and prime ministers Mr. Armstrong met between 1945 and his death in 1986 appreciated the service he rendered to mankind and earnestly desired his work to continue.

The inspired solutions to the elimination of terror given freely by an ambassador for world peace go unheeded by mankind.

Today, 26 years following the death of Herbert Armstrong, our editor in chief Gerald Flurry continues that same “great service” being rendered to mankind through the work of the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, of which he is both founder and chairman. In his declaration as to the reasons for the existence of the foundation, Gerald Flurry states,

We are an international humanitarian organization, dedicated to serving the cultural and educational needs of people everywhere. The concept behind all of the foundation’s goals and activities is twofold: 1) that man is a unique being, possessing vast mental, physical and spiritual potentials—the development of which should be aided and encouraged, and 2) that it is the responsibility of all men to attend to and care for the needs of their fellow men, a precept professed by the vast majority of religions of the world—appropriately summed up in three biblical words: “Love thy neighbor.” Out of this understanding we seek to aid and support projects around the world without respect to race or religion.

In his article “Why We Cannot Win the War Against Terrorism,” Mr. Flurry wrote, “History teaches us some powerful lessons—if we are willing to learn. For example, history teaches us that we cannot win our war against terrorism. We can learn some essential lessons about our future through history. History is a wonderful teacher. So we’ll start there. Then we can move on to a far greater teacher of why we can’t conquer terrorism ….”

Even as Herbert Armstrong predicted, today the world is a far more dangerous place, with nuclear proliferation having expanded to at least 18 countries with Iran adding itself to that number. The bitter fruits of the rise of terrorism that have been produced since Mr. Armstrong’s death show us that mankind did not listen to his words of warning, just as he said they would not. Teetering on the brink of cosmocide, man still believes he can find a better way, a solution to save the world from itself.

Yet, as Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Flurry have declared, there is real hope ahead, through the prophesied, imminent, direct intervention of Almighty God in human affairs. Mr. Flurry wrote: “But even if we don’t change our evil ways, this is all leading directly to the return of Jesus Christ. That is the best possible news this world could ever hear! This evil world of terrorism and war is about to end forever. It will soon be replaced by a world full of prosperity and peace. Then all mankind will understand and be fulfilling their incredible human potential.”