Dueling Countdowns?


Kanye West, Taylor Swift

We are currently enjoying a blissful break from real crisis.

How can you tell?

Check the headlines.

When the dominant stories of the day  involve the censure of a scene stealing congressman at a presidential address and/or the antics of a scene stealing entertainer at some self congratulatory awards show, you know that all is well with the world.

At least for the moment.

But it does appear that we may be on the edge of a radical change.

No matter how distracted we might be by the scandalous and dramatic, the truly dangerous patiently waits for its entrance cue on the world stage.

In fact, there are two potentially catastrophic events that are currently in full countdown mode.

Item #1 –

ANALYSIS / Clock ticking for Iran as Israel appears ready for strike

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This month will mark a critical juncture in Iran’s race for nuclear capability. The timetable is getting ever shorter: Most Western intelligence services share the assessment that over the course of 2010, Iran will accumulate sufficient fissionable material to produce two or three nuclear bombs. If the Iranians succeed in dispersing this material among a large number of secret sites, it will reduce the likelihood that the project can be stopped.

So, the moment of truth will arrive at some point between the end of 2009 and the middle of 2010: Should Iran be attacked? American experts agree that this would involve an Israeli strike. It is very unlikely that Obama will be the one dispatching American planes to Natanz.

Iran is likely to respond to an Israeli attack by opening fronts nearby, via Hezbollah from Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Three years after the Second Lebanon War and at the end of a broad process of learning lessons from that conflict, the IDF is quite confident of its ability to deal with Hezbollah. At the same time, it’s clear that Israel will be subjected to extensive rocket attacks that can be expected to cover most of the country.

It is clear that there is little personal chemistry between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This would mean that Israel could not count on US military support during such a situation.

Israel will then be tasked with not only taking out a large portion of Iran’s nuclear assets, but also damaging their naval and air forces so as to prevent a closing of the Straights of Hormuz.

A tall order? You bet.

The possibility of Iran activating sleeper cells to carry out 9-11 style attacks on the US and Europe?

Likely.

Which brings us to countdown item #2-

Terror Probe Spurs Raid by Police in New York

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Authorities executed search warrants and seized evidence early Monday at locations in the Queens borough of New York City as part of a terrorism investigation, according to a senior official familiar with the case.

This person said some counterterrorism officials were concerned that the individual at the center of the investigation may have had access to, or an interest in acquiring, materials that could be used for a chemical, biological or radiological device. One aspect of the probe involves whether the person had some contact or connections with suspicious individuals overseas, the official said.

This story would be sobering enough, if not for the following facts:

The “person of interest” at the center of the investigation got away.

The “person of interest” has been identified as an Afgan known as “Najibullah” who has claimed to have trained with Al Qaeda.

The “person of interest” has been under FBI surveillance in Colorado as part of a potential terrorist cell with high ambitions –

“The FBI is seriously spooked about these guys planning another 9/11,” a former senior counterterrorism official told the News. “This is not some … FBI informant-driven case. This is the real thing.”…

And apparently, the investigation was blown by some heavy handed tactics on the part of authorities in New York.

Federal agents working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force asked their NYPD counterparts to discreetly gather intel on a former Queens resident believed to have terrorist ties and bomb-making know-how.

Rather than slyly contact their list of sources and informants the NYPD canvassed the suspect’s old Flushing neighborhood and flashed around his picture.

Eventually the imam of the Masjid Hazrat Abu Bakr Islamic Center learned of the investigation and contacted the man’s family to let them know that he was subject of a law enforcement inquiry.

The suspect, identified only as “Najibullah,” then flew home to Denver.

The feds “are mad about it,” the source said.

It is clear that one hallmark of Al Qaeda is their love for anniversaries. It was eight years between the first World Trade Center bombing and the attacks of 9-11.

It has now been eight years since 9-11.

The clock is ticking.

Whether it is a case of domestic terrorism locally, or the ignition of a war globally it is clear that inevitable times of crisis are looming on the horizon.

So what do we do about it?

It has been said that the surest way to forfeit personal peace is to try to control things that are out of our hands.

Last time I checked, Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t calling me for advice on dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.

Homeland Security hasn’t been e-mailing me for suggestions on dealing with sleeper cells either.

We have no control over these events.

But we do have control over how we choose to live our lives in light of these events.

We can take reports of national and international peril and use them as a call to prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

We can take the increasing sense of anxiety evident in our society as an opportunity to share with people the good news that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (II Timothy 4:1-2)

We can use uncertain times as a springboard to a closer and more personal experience of God’s love in our own lives.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:1-4)

I have been asked both on the radio and on personal conversations, “What would you do if you knew the world was going to end tomorrow?”

I think the best answer is, “I would walk hand in hand with the Lord today.”

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