Analysis of Rouhani’s UN speech. Plus, why did Iranian leader snub meeting with Obama? And Netanyahu warns U.S. not to fall into Iran’s “honey trap.”

US President Barack Obama, left, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Photo: AFP/REUTERS

US President Barack Obama, left, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Photo: AFP/REUTERS

>> Netanyahu’s official statement, responding to Rouhani’s speech

(Washington, D.C.) — It was an odd day at the United Nations. In some ways, it went as planned. In other ways, not so much.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered his first address before the General Assembly today, and it was just what we had expected. Rouhani sounded like a moderate, he vowed Iran was a peaceful country, he insisted Iran would never build nuclear weapons, he called for economic sanctions to be removed from his country, he seemed to hold out an olive branch to the United States, and he didn’t pray to Allah asking for the Twelfth Imam to come soon and set up an Islamic caliphate.

No big surprise. I had noted that the Iranian “charm offensive” was going to be kicked into high gear, and it was.

What was a surprise was that fact that in recent days the U.S. opened the door for Rouhani to meet briefly with President Obama, yet Rouhani snubbed Mr. Obama. The Iranian leader refused to attend the luncheon that the American leader was attending. This was the very place where the suggested ”encounter” between the presidents of the two countries — what would have been the first in decades — was supposed to have taken place. Yet Rouhani did decide to meet and shake hands with French President Francois Hollande.

Why did Rouhani stiff arm Obama in the midst of the “charm offensive”? Perhaps because Rouhani is not actually playing for American sympathy, but that of the rest of the world. Perhaps Rouhani is trying to isolate Obama and make his seem weak and foolish and irrelevant. After all, the Iranian leader made the American President and his political team at the White House and State Department — all tripping over themselves to embrace this new Iranian “moderate” — look ridiculous today. The Obama administration is practically begging Tehran to get cozy and cut a deal. Yet thus far, Rouhani does even want to shake Mr. Obama’s hand, or have his picture taken with the leader of the “Great Satan,” much less cut a real and trustworthy deal to get rid of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team are warning the White House not to fall into Iran’s “honey trap.”

But no one in the Obama entourage seems to be listening. They seem determined to pursue Iran, even if the centrifuges in Iran keep spinning, Iran keeps gaining enriched uranium, and keeps moving towards not just one nuclear weapon but a whole arsenal.  Indeed, one leading Israeli newspaper made the case that there were so many similarities between the Obama’s speech and Rouhani’s speech that there is likely much more back-channel contact between the two countries than previously reported.

More on all that in a moment.

First, let’s note that the media was full of glowing coverage of Rouhani, the man who presides over the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the entire world.

“In what may have been the most widely awaited speech at the United Nations, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, preached tolerance and understanding on Tuesday, decried as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and said nuclear weapons had no place in its future,” reported the New York Times. “Mr. Rouhani, whose speech followed President Obama’s by more than six hours, also acknowledged Mr. Obama’s outreach to Iran aimed at resolving more than three decades of estrangement and recrimination, and expressed hope that ‘we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences.’”

“But the Iranian leader also asserted that the ‘shortsighted interests of warmongering pressure groups’ in the United States had resulted in an inconsistent American message on the nuclear dispute and other issues,” noted the Times. “Mr. Rouhani restated Iran’s insistence that it would never pursue nuclear weapons in its uranium enrichment program, saying, ‘this will always be the position of Iran.’ But he offered no specific proposals to reach a compromise on the nuclear dispute, which has led to Iran’s severe economic isolation because of Western sanctions that have impaired its oil, banking and manufacturing base. The sanctions, he said, are ‘violent, pure and simple.’”

>> Full text of Hasan Rouhani’s speech at the UN

“The speech by Mr. Rouhani, a moderate cleric who is close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appeared partly aimed at his own domestic audience and was his most prominent opportunity to explain his views, following his election in June,” the Times stated, noting that Mr. Rouhani’s “ascent came after eight years of pugnacious saber-rattling by his hard-line predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who regularly railed against the United States and Israel, questioned the Holocaust and provoked annual walkouts by diplomats at his General Assembly speeches. There was no such mass walkout this time. ’We believe there are no violent solutions to world crises,’ Mr. Rouhani said. Mr. Rouhani’s visit to the United Nations has been widely anticipated for any signs of the moderation and pragmatism that he said his administration was bringing to Iran. But his speech still provoked skepticism and criticism.”

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s speech to the UN General Assembly Tuesday, calling it ‘cynical and full of hypocrisy,’” noted the Times of Israel. “He said he was vindicated in ordering the members of Israel’s UN delegation not to be in the hall when Rouhani spoke, since their presence ‘would have given legitimacy to a regime that does not accept that the Holocaust happened and publicly declares its desire to wipe Israel off the map.’ As Israel’s prime minister, he said, ‘I won’t allow the Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations charade by a regime that denies that Holocaust and calls for our destruction.’”

“Rouhani, said Netanyahu, ‘spoke about human rights at a time when Iranian forces are participating in the slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria. He condemned terrorism at a time when the Iranian regime carries out terrorism in dozens of countries worldwide,” the Times noted. “‘He spoke of a peaceful nuclear program at a time when the IAEA has established that the [Iranian] program has military characteristics, and when it’s plain to all that one of the world’s most oil-rich nations is not investing a fortune in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity.’ Netanyahu, who had earlier Tuesday urged the world not to be ‘fooled’ by Iran’s new moderate rhetoric, said that it was no coincidence that Rouhani’s speech featured ‘no realistic offer to halt Iran’s nuclear program and contained no commitment to uphold the [relevant] UN Security Council resolutions.’ This, the prime minister said, precisely reflected Iran’s plan: ‘To talk, and buy time, in order to advance Iran’s capacity to attain nuclear weapons.’ Rouhani was a past master of such tactics, said Netanyahu, recalling that the new president ‘has boasted about the way in which he misled the world a decade ago [as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator], when Iran was negotiating while simultaneously advancing its nuclear program.’ The international community, Netanyahu said, ‘must judge Iran by its actions, not its words.’”

That said, a front-page analysis by a leading Israeli newspaper suggested that Presidents Obama and Rouhani’s speeches were so choreographed as to strongly indicate significant back-channel discussions have been underway for quite some time between the U.S. and Iran.

“Take away the boasting and the bluster and what you have is this: U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rohani have presented a nearly-identical two-point plan aimed at resolving the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program,” notes Chemi Shalev, a reporter and analyst for Haaretz, a prominent and well-respected Israeli daily newspaper. “If you are a suspicious type, there is no way that you are going to ascribe this to coincidence. It is, in effect, a declaration of principles for any future accord on Tehran’s nuclear program.”

“The trade-off, which can be dubbed a ‘peace for rights’ formula, is almost certainly the result of hitherto unknown backdoor coordination between the two countries,” asserts Shalev. “It includes US recognition of an inherent Iranian “right” to nuclear energy in exchange for Iranian willingness to ‘prove’ that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes only. Obama actually said as much in his speech: ‘These statements made by our respective governments should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement.’ He then went on to keep the American side of the bargain by declaring: ‘We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful.’”

“Rohani was even more explicit,” Shalev notes, “speaking of ‘two inseparable parts of a political solution for the nuclear dossier of Iran.’ The transcript of his speech actually highlights the two elements of the equation and presents them in bullet form. The first part includes Rohani’s declaration of Iran’s peaceful intentions but also his offer, in the name of ‘national interests,’ to ‘remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.’ The second objective, he said, is ‘acceptance of and respect for the implementation of the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights.’ In order to achieve these two goals, Rohani added that Iran ‘is prepared to engage immediately in time bound and result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties will full transparency.’”

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Analysis: Netanyahu nearing decision on Iran strike. Ready to order attack last fall, but Obama pressured against. Two leaders to meet on September 30th at White House.

Netanyahu talking at the cabinet meeting Tuesday morning. (Photo by Emil Salman/Haaretz).

Netanyahu talking at the cabinet meeting Tuesday morning. (Photo by Emil Salman/Haaretz).

(Washington, D.C.) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is nearing a decision on an Iran strike. As he does so, he will soon come to the United States. The Israeli leader and his top national security team will meet with President Obama at the White House on September 30th. The premier will then address the U.N. General Assembly on October 1st.

Netanyahu’s expressed mission: To persuade the U.S. and Western powers to intensify — not ease up on – pressure on Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the fuel to build them.

The big question: Is Netanyahu’s real mission to prepare the world for war?

Admittedly, there has been talk of such a war numerous times in recent years. But few realize just how close Netanyahu was to ordering the attack.

Media reports indicate that Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak were ready to order a strike on Iran in 2010, but faced stiff opposition from the head of the Mossad and other top defense and intelligence officials, and thus backed off.

On August 2nd, 2012, readers of this blog will recall that I wrote this column: “COULD ISRAEL STRIKE IRAN IN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER? Ahmadinejad calls for ‘annihilation’ of Israel; Netanyahu warns U.S. time is running out to stop Iran.”

Just last month, a former senior Israeli official confirmed that Netanyahu was, in fact, extremely close to ordering an attack on Iran in the fall of 2012 — with the support of top Israeli defense and intel officials — but was pressured not to do so by President Obama.

Israel’s former National Security Advisor Giora Eiland “discussed the Israeli plan and Washington’s objections during a closed conference two weeks ago, saying that Netanyahu had originally intended to order a strike on Iran sometime between September and October of 2012, at the height of the US presidential campaign and around the same time as Netanyahu’s famous speech at the United Nations,” reports the Times of Israel. “The report claimed that Netanyahu was requested by the Obama administration to call off the attack, possibly so as not to interfere with the American electoral process. The former general was quoted as saying that although Israel is not controlled by the US, it does take American considerations into account with regard to issues of global significance. ‘On many subjects Israel can perform independently,’ Eiland was quoted as saying. ‘The construction in Jerusalem, the attack on Gaza as well as other regional issues — we don’t need to ask the Americans before we take action, even if they don’t like it. But, when an issue involves something of American interest, we cannot act against their will.’ However, ‘changing times’ could allow for an Israeli strike in the future, Eiland reportedly said, also noting that in light of Washington’s apparent lack of appetite for military action in Syria, the chances of an American strike in Iran were slim.”

In October 2012, then, Netanyahu famously declared before the U.N. General Assembly Iran would likely reach the “red line” between spring and summer 2013. He indicated if the world did not take decisive action, Israel would have to.

Since then, while the U.S. and Western powers have increased economic sanctions, the Iranians have not stopped enriching uranium. To the contrary, they have continued making nuclear weapons fuel, hardening their facilities, and moving steadily towards an arsenal of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

I believe, therefore, that Netanyahu and his team have been steadily preparing — once again — for war with Iran. In July of 2013, as you may recall, I wrote a blog headlined: “Has the end game begun? Privately, senior Israeli officials now warning Iran war could come in 2013. Netanyahu preparing public.”

Jerusalem’s concerns have since been affected by two developments:

  1. The emergence of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in early August, which seems to be lulling the Obama team into a false sense that Tehran is moderating and becoming more willing to cooperate.
  2. The use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime – and President Obama’s weak, dithering, vacillating approach towards the Syrian crisis — which has further worried the Israeli government, and caused them to believe that maybe they really have no choice but to act on their own.

“It is not exactly starting off as a happy New Year in Jerusalem,” I noted in a September 5th column for National Review Online. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet are mortified by what they are seeing unfold — not in Damascus, but in Washington. To be sure, Israeli leaders are concerned but not surprised by the horrific blood-letting that is underway between the evil Assad regime and the demonic forces of al-Qaeda and their radical Islamic partners. But the Israelis are stunned and dismayed by the vacillating, lurching, confused, and chaotic approach to decision-making of President Obama and his top advisers….[B]ehind the scenes, Netanyahu and his team have never felt more alone. If President Obama is so distrusted by the American people and her representatives in Congress that he cannot build solid support for limited military strikes against Syria’s chemical-weapons facilities, the Israelis are coming to the painful realization that there is no chance for the president to pull together support for preemptive military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.”

This is the back drop for Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to the U.S. to meet with top administration officials, and address the international community. And despite all the talk in recent weeks about Syria, Netanyahu is signaling in advance his focus remains Iran above all else.

“In a week and a half, I will go to the United Nations General Assembly, and before that I will meet with President Obama. I intend to focus on stopping Iranian nuclear program. Really stopping the nuclear program,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Tuesday, according to a report by the Times of Israel.

“The prime minister presented four criteria for doing so: ’1. Halting all uranium enrichment; 2. Removing all enriched uranium; 3. Closing [the Fordo enrichment facility at] Qom; and 4. Stopping the plutonium track,’” noted the Times. “Evidently responding to suggestions that the US might be willing to lift or reduce some sanctions on Iran in return for diplomatic progress, Netanyahu added: ‘Until it is genuinely stopped, the pressure on Iran must be stepped up, not eased or reduced.’ On Monday, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Iran was willing to close its uranium enrichment facility at Fordo in return for an easing of Western sanctions. Quoting an intelligence source, the magazine reported that Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, might consider closing down the heavily fortified Fordo facility, near the holy city of Qom, and allow international observers to supervise the destruction of the centrifuges, if the West were to lift the sanctions regime it has placed on Iran’s oil industry and central bank. Rouhani could make the offer later this month at the United Nations General Assembly, the report said.”

The Times also reported:

  • On Sunday, the prime minister met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem following the joint Russia-US deal announced Saturday regarding Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
  • In comments aimed at his hosts, Kerry said the deal, if successful, “will have set a marker for the standard of behavior with respect to Iran and with respect to North Korea and any rogue state, [or] group that tries to reach for these kind of weapons.”
  • Netanyahu thanked Kerry for his efforts to purge Syria of chemical weapons and linked the agreement with Syria to the ongoing campaign to curb Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
  • “We have been closely following – and support – your ongoing efforts to rid Syria of its chemical weapons,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “The Syrian regime must be stripped of all its chemical weapons, and that would make our entire region a lot safer.
  • “The world needs to ensure that radical regimes don’t have weapons of mass destruction because as we’ve learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction, they will use them. The determination the international community shows regarding Syria will have a direct impact on the Syrian regime’s patron, Iran. Iran must understand the consequences of its continual defiance of the international community, by its pursuit toward nuclear weapons… if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat.”

Will Netanyahu order an attack on Iran? This remains to be seen, but signs are pointing in that direction.

Yet again, we need to pray for peace, but be prepared for the possibility of another war in the epicenter.


>> Track the latest developments and analysis on Twitter — @JoelCRosenberg.

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

President calls for Congressional vote on military action in Syria. How should the US respond to Assad regime? Experts fall into four basic camps.

UScapitol-nightUPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — President Obama today announced that the U.S. should take military action against the Assad regime in Syria, and that he believes he has the Constitutional authority to move forward, but that he wants a Congressional discussion, debate and vote to authorize the use of force.

“Over the last several days, we have heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard – I absolutely agree,” said the President, addressing reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday afternoon.

Congress is expected to return to Washington from its summer recess on September 9th.

Thus, U.S. military force will be delayed at least until then. If Congress votes “no,” as the British parliament just did, would the President move forward anyway?

For now, the nation’s representatives in Washington will weigh in on this question: How should the U.S. and the free world respond to the deliberate and escalating use of lethal chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria?

Most political leaders, military experts ,and Middle East analysts seem to fall into four basic camps:

* Camp #1 says: Do nothing — Some say Syria was a hornet’s nest before Assad’s regime killed more than 1,400 civilians by nerve agents, including at least 426 children, and it will be hornet’s nest for years to come. They see the Assad regime as evil. They argue that over 100,000 people have already been killed, even without chemical weapons. They concede it’s all a tragedy, but they believe no vital national interests are at stake for the U.S. and they believe that nothing we can do to help at this point so we should not get involved. Proponents of “do nothing” include liberals, libertarians, and some conservatives — and, of course, the British parliament:

* Camp # 2 says we need all-out war to force regime change — Others are calling for the U.S. and Western allies to bring overwhelming military power to bear in Syria in order to bring down the evil Assad regime once and for all. They call for aggressive bombing and missile strikes, not for the purpose of punishing Assad, but to crush him and his government and remove them from power. To be clear, they advocated such a policy even before this latest deadly chemical weapons attack. Now they believe the case for regime change is even stronger. They believe the post-Assad government would be a more moderate, pro-Western regime. They are not worried that al Qaeda or other jihadists might come to power. Perhaps the most prominent advocate of this approach is Sen. John McCain, who said on MSNBC the other day, “If it [a U.S. strike in Syria] isn’t aimed at regime change, what is it aimed at?” Other prominent advocates of regime change are nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and WSJ columnist Bret Stephens, who wrote: “Should President Obama decide to order a military strike against Syria, his main order of business must be to kill Bashar Assad. Also, Bashar’s brother and principal henchman, Maher. Also, everyone else in the Assad family with a claim on political power. Also, all of the political symbols of the Assad family’s power, including all of their official or unofficial residences. The use of chemical weapons against one’s own citizens plumbs depths of barbarity matched in recent history only by Saddam Hussein. A civilized world cannot tolerate it. It must demonstrate that the penalty for it will be acutely personal and inescapably fatal.” Sen. Lindsay Graham doesn’t simply advocate regime change, but also U.S. ground forces in Syria.

* Camp #3 says we should use limited, pinprick missile strikes to “send a message” to the Assad regime – This is President Obama and French President Hollande’s policy. Consider recent news reports. “French and US presidents Francois Hollande and Barack Obama want to send the Syrian regime a ‘strong message’ to condemn the alleged use of chemical weapons, the presidency said Friday,” reported Agence France Presse. “‘Both heads of state agreed that the international community cannot tolerate the use of chemical weapons, that it should hold the Syrian regime accountable for it and send a strong message,’ a statement said.” That said, the message would be limited. The White House is considering a few hours — or, at most, a few days — of pinprick missile strikes, not aggressive, heavy airstrikes. “President Obama is considering military action against Syria that is intended to ‘deter and degrade’ President Bashar al-Assad’s government’s ability to launch chemical weapons, but is not aimed at ousting Mr. Assad from power or forcing him to the negotiating table, administration officials said Tuesday,” reported the New York Times. “A wide range of officials characterized the action under consideration as ‘limited,’ perhaps lasting no more than one or two days. The attacks, which are expected to involve scores of Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from American destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, would not be focused on chemical weapons storage sites, which would risk an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe and could open up the sites to raids by militants, officials said.” The White House has been crystal clear it absolutely does not support regime change in Syria. “The Obama administration and its allies wouldn’t be angling to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad in a military attack, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday,” reported Politico. “‘The options that we are considering are not about regime change,’ Carney told reporters at his daily briefing. ’That is not what we are contemplating here.’ Rather, any response would be about responding to Syria’s violation of international law in its use of chemical weapons. But, Carney said, ‘it is not our policy to respond to this transgression with regime change.’”

* Camp #4 says we should use aggressive military action to severely punish the Assad regime for using lethal chemical weapons, but don’t go all the way to regime change – Others say it is absolutely in the U.S. national interest to severely punish any rogue regime that uses weapons of mass destruction to purposefully kill innocent civilians, and to send a strong warning to any regime considering using WMD in the future. They do not believe the objective of the U.S. and Western allies should be regime change because they fear al Qaeda or other Radical jihadists could come to power as a result. But they reject  the Obama team’s concept of limited “pinprick” strikes as limp-wristed and a demonstration of Western vacillation and weakness. Thus, they call for a much more aggressive, robust air campaign, specifically to take out Assad’s military units that were responsible for chemical weapons attacks. They call for the destruction of the Syrian air force. And they recommend training and arming “vetted” rebels, those who are not jihadists and would be supportive of the West. On August 27th, some 66 prominent leaders — some liberals, some conservatives – released an open letter calling for airstrikes with “meaningful consequences.” These leaders included Sen. Joe Lieberman, Middle East expert Dr. Fouad Ajami, Governor Tim Pawlenty, and former White House strategist Karl Rove, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (who prefers regime change, but would settle for this) . They wrote: “The objectives should be not only to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons no longer threaten America, our allies in the region or the Syrian people, but also to deter or destroy the Assad regime’s airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian non-combatants.  At the same time, the United States should accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country.”

I am with Camp #4, with a few qualifications and clarifications.

  • We should not send U.S. ground forces into Syria.
  • We should not be trying to force regime change – I, too, am concerned that we could inadvertently bring al Qaeda or other Radical jihadists to power.
  • We should be very cautions about arming rebels — if we truly can find rebel forces who will fight the Assad regime AND fight al Qaeda and the jihadists, then I could be for helping them, but I’m worried about Western arms falling into the hands of Radicals.
  • All that said, I don’t believe in doing nothing — the West absolutely must punish a rogue regime that uses of weapons of mass destruction to kill innocent civilians with impunity, or we are sending a message to all rogues that it’s open season, and we should expect Radicals to use WMD more often, against more targets, and to kill more people.
  • We should only act in this case with Congressional authorization — the country is divided, but a healthy, open discussion and debate in Congress and a quick vote on a resolution authorizing force would be best.
  • When Libya engaged in terrorism in the mid-1980s, President Reagan didn’t overreach by launching a policy of regime change — rather, he launched a bombing campaign to severely punish Khaddafi. [For more on this, see “’86 Attack on Libya: A Template for U.S. Action Now”]
  • Former U.S. General Jack Keane makes a compelling case for decisively taking out Syria’s air force and air capabilities. “The most vulnerable military capability he has, Bret, is his air power,” Keane told Fox News’s Bret Baier. “There’s 20 air fields, only six of them are primary. He only has about 100 aircraft. We can take down those air fields, the aircraft on them. Also, the munitions, the fuel, the warehouses that the Iranians and Russians are using to resupply them, we can do all of that. That would be a significant degradation of his capability, and something he isn’t bargaining for. He is not expecting to lose his air power over the use of chemical weapons.”

Last point: While in principle I support “aggressive military action to severely punish the Assad regime for using lethal chemical weapons,” I am deeply concerned about the Obama administration’s ability to craft or implement such a policy. The administration has no clear, principled, compelling, much less effective policy in the Middle East. The White House can’t seem to pull together widespread bipartisan Congressional support, or international support, for any level of military action. It has made all kinds of conflicting, weak and vacillating statements. Meanwhile, it is leaking constantly about how little it plans to do in Syria.

The American people deserve much better. So do our allies in the region, Israel and Jordan, included.

More than ever I am praying for the Lord to give mercy  and wisdom to our leaders, and the leaders in Israel and the epicenter. I’m praying for mercy for the people of Syria, and for courage and boldness for the Christians in the region. The Lord is sovereign. He is holy and powerful. Ultimately, the Judge of the earth will do right. I am not counting on Washington for peace and justice in the Middle East. I’m counting on Christ.

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Dr. Doom Warns Of Major Market Crash This Fall: “20 Percent, Maybe More”

He made the crash call ahead of the 2008 crash, and predicted the market turn-around in 2009 to the exact day on which it happened.

Now Dr. Marc Faber of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report is warning of an imminent stock market meltdown yet again.

Based on analysis of current stock market prices and the overall value of stock market indexes like the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones, Faber warns that, while we are seeing near all-time highs, the valuations are nothing but conjecture.

Looking at the makeup of the major indexes, it’s clear that their high values have become dependent on a small number of companies. A peak into what’s happening behind the scenes,however, shows that scores of other companies are being crushed because of weak earnings and a poor forwarding looking economic outlook.

This, according to Dr. Doom, is remarkably similar to what we saw in the days and weeks leading up to the 1987 crash.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

[In 1987] we had a very powerful rally, but also earnings were no longer rising substantially and the market became very overbought and the final rally into August 25th occurred with a diminishing number of stock hitting 52 week highs. In other words, the new high list was contracting and we had several breaks in different stocks.

And if you look at the last two days, it’s remarkable.

We’re close to the all-time highs at 1,709 on the S&P [500] and yesterday and the day before there were 170 new 52-week lows.

That’s a very high figure.

[By the end of this year I see the market closing] lower than today.

Maybe 20%. Maybe more.

(Watch at CNBC)

For those invested in stock markets, it may be time to take a short break. Based on recent earnings, current economic sentiment, and continued degradation in national employment figures, there is a serious disconnect between what Wall Street wants you to think and what’s actually happening on Main Street.

This may not be the “collapse” that the U.S. government has been preparing for, but a stock market downturn of this magnitude could well wreak havoc all over the world, and for all we know could be the trigger for widespread calamity.

Just as we saw in 2008, when the selling starts, the panic follows. This means that investors will sell everything in sight first, and ask questions later. The effect, should markets slide, will be a price drop in just about every asset linked to paper trading markets, including gold, silver, commodities, tech, and retail. Even ammunition and firearms companies, which have seen huge demand in recent years, will likely take a hit.

Nothing will be spared when the herd goes into panic mode.

Stocks Crash

SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You