Lebanon: A Massive Crisis

Prayer May 14, 2008

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 478 | Wed 14 May 2008

Since the 2003 fall of Baghdad, ascendant Iran has been forcefully
spreading its tentacles. Iran's Shi'ite dictators are moving to
replace the Sunni Arab dictators as the leaders of the Muslim world
and to replace the US as the dominating power in the Middle East.
One key element in this strategy involves waging a genocidal
war/jihad to eliminate Israel. Iranian influence and military power
now extends in a crescent from Tehran through Iraq and Syria into
Lebanon where Iran-sponsored Hezballah is re-arming, re-organising
and rebuilding right on Israel's northern border. Meanwhile, Sunni
but Iran-sponsored Hamas threatens Israel from Gaza in Israel's
south. Whilst the eradication of Israel is the ultimate goal, the
present flash-point is Lebanon, home to a vulnerable Christian
minority of over one million.

Lebanon is split between two diametrically opposing forces: a
ruling Sunni, Druse, Christian, pro-Western coalition (the March 14
Forces); and a pro-Syrian, Islamist, mostly Shi'ite, Hezballah-led
opposition. The Lebanese Army is similarly divided. The Christians
too have been split, with the pro-Syrian 'Free Patriotic Movement'
of Christian leader Michael Aoun backing Hezballah. Hezballah's
main allies however are the state's various Shi'ite and Palestinian
militias, along with Syria and Iran. The main ally of the pro-
Western government is the US. The government envisages Lebanon as a
modern, secular, liberal, democratic sanctuary on the
Mediterranean, while the opposition envisages Lebanon as an Islamic
citadel in the front-line of the jihad against Israel. The
government controls the north and west whilst Hezballah controls
the east and south.

Hezballah does not want to take control of Lebanon as it does not
want the burden of government. What Hezballah demands however is
total freedom to re-organise, rebuild and re-arm for war without
interference. On 6 May the government boldly banned Hezballah's
Iran-built independent telecommunications network. It also fired
Beirut airport's security chief, who is linked to Hezballah which
is accused of compromising airport security. Hezballah's response
was 'swift, furious, disproportionate and bloody' (Jonathon Spyer).
While the Lebanese Army watched on, Hezballah blockaded all the
roads to the airport and forced the pro-government media off the
air. It burned the offices of the pro-government newspaper and
seized control of western Beirut, laying siege to the homes of PM
Siniora and Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri. After demonstrating its
strength, Hezballah handed its gains over to the Lebanese Army
which is reportedly working to restore order.

So Lebanon teeters on the brink of a civil war: primarily a
sectarian war of Sunnis v Shi'ites; a war between US-backed, pro-
West, Sunni-dominated forces and Shi'ite Iran-backed barbaric
forces intent on genocide. If Lebanon does descend into war then it
will actually be a regional war (like Iraq) fought by proxies and
exploited by terrorists. The future of the Middle East is
increasingly precarious.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR --

* great spiritual wisdom, insight, faith and courage for all
Lebanon's Christian religious and civic leaders, fathers and
mothers; may the Holy Spirit empower them to be wise and
comforting shepherds to his people through these difficult
times.

* the Holy Spirit to keep God's people focused on him. May they
fear no evil (Psalm 23:4) knowing that God is in the midst of
those who hold him as holy. 'But the Lord of hosts, him you
shall honour as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your
dread. And he will become a sanctuary ('miqdas': a place where
God dwells) . . .' (Isaiah 8:13,14a ESV)

* the enemies of God to be defeated, so that the whole Middle East
may become known not as a region of conflict, but as a region of
peace where the God of the Bible is worshipped.

~~~~

SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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A MASSIVE CRISIS IN LEBANON

When Lebanon's US-backed government took bold steps against Iran-
backed Hezballah on 6 May, Hezballah responded with lethal force.
While the Lebanese Army watched on, Hezballah blockaded all the
roads to the airport, shut down all pro-government media and seized
control of western Beirut. Dozens have been killed in the fighting.
The whole Middle East is now facing a massive crisis as Lebanon
teeters on the brink of civil war. If that happens, it will really
be a regional war waged by proxies and exploited by terrorists on
Lebanese soil, and Lebanon's one million-strong Christian minority
would be caught in the middle. The security of Israel is also at
stake as Iran's goal is Israel's elimination -- a feat that would
secure its position as the leader of the Muslim world. Please pray
for Lebanon.

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RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.