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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Parable

Joseph Herrin (08-31-2012)

Brush Pile Being Burned at RV Park

There is a parable that Christ gave that I have been sharing with a number of people recently. I will share the Scripture passage here with you.

Luke 13:6-9
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The sons and daughters of God are like unto the fig tree. Many have been abiding in Yahweh's vineyard for many years, but they have not been bringing forth fruit. They remain barren; barren of obedience, barren of the fruits of faith and righteousness. Yahweh has borne patiently with them, giving them time to begin obeying Him and to bring forth the fruit of righteousness, but now He is saying the time of judgment is at hand.

Yahshua is like the dresser of the vineyard. He says, “Let me give the tree one more year. I will break up the soil, and dung around it, and then if it does not produce fruit we will pluck it up and cast it into the fire.”

Is it not significant that in our society today we speak of unpleasant things that come into our lives as "dung?" (I am sure you can think of less polite expressions that are used today.) This is the manner in which Christ dungs around us: He will cause very unpleasant and noxious things to enter our lives. The intent of Christ is to stimulate His children to change their ways. He would induce them through such means to begin bearing the fruit they have lacked.

Last Monday I had three people sitting with me at my table in my bus and I shared with them this parable. As I finished, the owner of the RV park approached a large burn pile he had been building from landscape refuse. He poured gasoline around the edges of the pile, and stood off from a distance and lit it. On top of the pile was a small tree he had uprooted from some place on his property. We all watched the pile go up in flames. Randy Simmons, who was one of those visiting, said, "It is not by coincidence that this occurred right after you finished speaking about this parable."

The next day I had a man in his thirties come to stay with me. I met him some years back when I was employed by the Macon Rescue Mission. He is a professing Christian, but he has not been walking as a disciple of Christ. He has been engaging in illicit sexual relations, using drugs, smoking cigarettes, and living a sensual life. Symbolically, he is morbidly obese, which serves as a spiritual parable of his fleshliness.

I have stayed in contact with this young man for the past five years since he left the mission. He would call me periodically and share that he was under conviction for his sinful life, and wanted to get things right with God. I would speak to him words to exhort him to not delay in making changes, speaking to him of the fear of the Lord, and the fact that God will not bear with His children forever.

When this young man arrived to spend some time with me, he shared that he had recently had a dream. In the dream God said he was done with him. He understood this to mean that his time was up and Yahweh was not going to strive with him anymore. When he awoke from the dream this man was quite frightened. He wondered if God had given him over to judgment and there was no longer any hope for him.

I am confident that this is not the case, but even as the owner of the vineyard asked “Why does this tree even encumber the ground anymore. Pluck it up and cast it into the fire,” Christ is now interceding and saying, “Let me dung around it one more time.”

The Lord must really heap the manure on our lives at times to lead us to make radical and lasting changes to our lives. The man who came to stay with me has been reduced to poverty. He is in his thirties and living in a small trailer on land owned by his parents. He cannot work as a truck driver because he cannot provide a clean urine for the drug screens. He has been unwilling to give up marijuana, and the Lord has been very patient with him.

Today, a sister in Christ who attended some of my meetings when I was traveling the country, wrote to me. She had corresponded with me about a week or two ago. Her life has become very unpleasant as she also is reduced to poverty. She has been following the counsel of her own soul, and her life has been a shambles. She entered into some relationships with ungodly people, seeking fellowship with darkness. When her situation became desperate she turned to these godless ones, among whom are some living and promoting a homosexual lifestyle. She looked to them to deliver her, rather than seeking God. I spoke frankly with her, desiring to arouse in her the fear of God that she would take immediate steps to return to Yahweh’s path for her life.

This sister had been convicted of a number of specific things God would have her to do. She spelled them out in large capital letters in her last letter to me two weeks ago. Today I received a letter from her in which she said that after undergoing tests at a chiropractor’s office, she is afraid she has a very fast advancing cancer. She confessed that she had not done any of the things she had committed to do in obedience to God weeks back. She wrote today asking me to pray for her.

I shared with this sister that my prayers for her cancer would avail nothing as it was Yahweh with whom she had to deal. He was chastising her for her stubborn spirit and disobedience. Christ was dunging around her life in hopes that this might induce her to bear the fruit the Father had been seeking in her life. If He did not find it now, there was nothing left to do but to pluck her up and cast her into the fire. (The Scriptures indicate many Christians will share a place with the unbelievers in the Lake of Fire. See the writing God’s Plan of the Ages if you are unfamiliar with this topic.)


Randy Simmons recently shared with me regarding a man he has known for some time on the streets of Macon, Georgia. This man is a professing Christian. His family ministered for years as a gospel group. He sang and played the guitar in many churches. This man had backslidden. He was living a sensual life, giving little regard to the consequences.

Recently this man became depressed and took an entire bottle of anti-depressants. He collapsed on the streets of downtown Macon and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. The drugs had been absorbed into his system, so pumping his stomach would not help. The man lay in a coma for some time. The doctors did not know whether he would live or die. This man’s father came to visit him and wept for his son.

The man recovered from this drug overdose. He shared with Randy that God had appeared to him and told him that this was the last time. He said there would be no more grace and mercy if he returned to his life of sin again. He was clearly shaken by these words.

I believe we are now in an hour when Yahweh is speaking a similar message to many who have been called to walk as overcomers. He is saying, “I have been looking for fruit in your life for many years. I have not found any fruit unto maturity yet. Why do you even take up space on my Earth if you will not bear fruit for me?” For many, the period of Yahweh’s patience has come to an end. Now there remains only judgment.

John 15:2-6
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Hebrews 10:26-31
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

As I am writing this, the UPS driver has just delivered a package. When I went out to speak to her she asked me if I heard what happened to a certain man who works at the same company for whom my daughter works. She said the man was at work yesterday when he sat down to take a break. He had a heart attack and died. The man was 46 years old.

There are things that come quite suddenly upon individuals. This man did not get up in the morning thinking “I might have a heart attack and die today.” Neither did the sister in Christ consider that if she continued to resist the will of the Father that she could be diagnosed with a fast growing cancer in less than two weeks time.

In this age when the church teaches Christians to have no fear of God, when they are taught by example and doctrine that they can live any way they want as long as they maintain a confession of Christ, some are likely to object to the notion that God will judge His people with sickness and even death. Read the following words of the apostle Paul.

I Corinthians 11:30-32
For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

The church of Corinth contained many fleshly believers. Some were having sexual relations with prostitutes. Some were coming to the church love feasts and acting as gluttons, while some were getting drunk. There were many living unruly, self-focused lives.

Yahweh struck some with sickness, seeking to induce them to consider their ways and repent. Even then, many would not repent. How often unbelief enters in and a Christian begins to say, “I don’t think this sickness, this injury, this threat to my life, has anything to do with God or my behavior.” This is what happened in Corinth, and many who could have been healed died as a result of carnality and unbelief.

Recently someone forwarded to me the following prophetic word by Glynda Lomax.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
All Sin Comes With A Price
My Word is truth, though many refuse the truths it offers them. My Holy Word contains the power to set men free from their sins, the power to move any mountain, to clear any path.

My people often neglect to study My Word and learn of its truths and in times soon coming, this shall lead to their sudden destruction, for no man can stand before My Judgments.

Many are deceived into thinking sin no longer counts, that it no longer matters to Me, but it has always mattered. My Son died for sin because it mattered. He died to set men free from it, not to leave them free to do it more.

All sin comes with a price. There is no sin that does not bring a consequence into your life, though at first you may not see it. As the cup of your sins becomes full, that consequence must be meted out, for I am a Holy and Righteous Judge and I will have a holy and spotless bride for My Son.

For those who repent, the consequences will be less. For those who do not even try to stop sinning, they shall be very grave. But be not deceived, whatsoever a man sows, he shall also reap.

Sin is grievous in My eyes and should not be found among those sworn to serve Me. You are coming into a fierce and evil time and you cannot stand before your enemies without My power and My truth. Those who live sinful lives will not walk in My power and will not be able to stand.

If you turn now from your sins, you will have help in that time. If you do not turn from them, grave consequences await you, My children, which you shall not enjoy. For some of you, I shall expose your sins to others. Some of you shall reap through diseases, financial lack and loss of relationships.

Your choices now determine the ease of your path later. In My great mercy, I have warned you that you may turn from the destructive path in time, but you must want to turn from it.

Choose you this day whom you will serve.

Each time temptation calls, you are choosing. Be wise, My children, be vigilant. For the enemy of your souls seeks to devour you and all you have.

Will you let him?
[End Prophetic Word]

Brothers and sisters, I share this word in hope that some who have been resisting the voice of the Spirit will fear God and repent. The hour is late. Very dark days are close at hand. Only those who walk closely with the Father will be enabled to pass victoriously through these days.

Joseph Herrin

US CIA chief Petraeus arrives Monday to cool Israeli ire

President Barack Obama is sending CIA Director David Petraeus to Israel in a hurry Monday, Sept. 3, in an attempt to quench the flames of discord between Israel and his administration on the Iran issue. He will fly in from a visit to Ankara Sunday, where too he faces recriminations for US handling of the Syrian crisis.

Israel has a double grievance over Obama’s Iran policy: Not only does his administration spare Iran’s leaders any sense of military threat that might give them pause in their dash for a nuclear weapon, but US officials are actively preventing any Israel striking out in its own defense to dispel the dark shadow of a nuclear Iran.

Behind closed doors in Ankara Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul are preparing to vent their anger against the US administration for tying their hands against establishing safe havens in Syria for rebel operations against the Assad regime. The Turkish Air Force has been on standby for the last two months for this mission, along with the Saudi and UAE air forces. However, none are prepared to go forward without logistical backing from the US Air Force.

They blame Obama’s refusal to engage directly in the Syrian conflict for the escalating terrorist threats confronting Turkey from Assad’s open door to PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) bases in northern Syria and the Iraqi-Syrian-Turkish border triangle. Turkey is also stuck with a swelling influx of Syrian refugees piling an unmanageable burden on its economy. 

Israel does not expect anything useful to come out of the Petraeus visit – or even any alleviation of the bad feeling between Binyamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama. High-placed officials in Jerusalem were of the view that the CIA chief fits the US president’s bill at this time. His visit is a non-binding gesture of goodwill for Israel which does not require the White House or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey to backtrack or apologize for his derogatory remarks about the IDF's capacity for taking Iran on. Another advantage is that any words passing between the CIA chief and Israeli leaders may be classified.
His visit to Jerusalem will therefore not stem the ill will prevailing between Jerusalem and Washington.

All the same, Prime Minister Netanyahu chose his words carefully Sunday to avoid fingering the US directly when he urged the international community to get tougher against Iran, saying that without a "clear red line," Tehran will not halt its nuclear program. He was addressing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

"I believe that the truth must be said, the international community [not the US] is not drawing a clear red line for Iran, and Iran does not see international determination to stop its nuclear program," Netanyahu said.

"Until Iran sees this clear red line and this determination, it will not stop its advancement of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran must not have a nuclear weapon," he declared.


Mark Biltz Feast of Trumpets (this year set for Sept 16-18, 2012)

Obama will make Bibi pay after elections

Judgement is coming for the US

Israeli security officials say Pentagon's decision to reduce number of US troops it will send to joint drill with Israel not related to growing tensions with Israel; others claim Washington saying 'you will not drag us into Iran war'

Israeli security officials on Saturday tried to downplay the Pentagon's decision to significantly scale back its participation in a joint military exercise with Israel next month, but some government officials said the decision came as a response to the growing tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and the Obama administration.

"This is the Obama administration's response to the dinner party Netanyahu held in (Mitt) Romney's honor," a senior member of the political-security cabinet told Ynet, while another official said the Pentagon's decision "isn’t boosting deterrence and is not making the Iranians sweat.

Patriot battery during previous drill in 2009 (Photo: EPA)

"Regardless of the exercise, the relations between Israel and the US have soured," another minister said, while another added cynically that "our relationship has never been better.

"The US elections are in two months, and there is no doubt that President Barack Obama, if he is reelected, will make Netanyahu pay for his behavior," said the security cabinet member. "It will not pass quietly."

Other officials in Jerusalem said Washington is trying to send a message that Israel will not drag it into war, certainly not before the elections. The Americans were enraged by Israel's repeated threats to launch a solo military attack on Iran's nuclear sites, and top US General Martin Dempsey's recent statement that he does not "want to be complicit" if Israel chooses to attack was carefully worded.

Officials said that while Jerusalem has received the message, the Americans' conduct is leading Iran to believe that it is safe at least until the US elections.

"This is why the Iranians are issuing threatening statements against the US," one official argued. "Washington's hesitant policy is making the Iranians feel freer to move ahead with the nuclear program. This is not how you create deterrence to avoid a military operation."

The joint military drill is scheduled to begin in September and conclude in mid-November. "Israel has no idea why the Americans decided to reduce the number of troops it will send to the drill," a security official said. "The ties between the US and Israeli armies are strong, and we would have known if the reduction had something to do with any tensions between Jerusalem and Washington."

Another security official also rejected the notion that the Pentagon's decision to scale back its participation in the military exercise was meant as a message to Israel: "There are various reasons for decision, but they have nothing to do with the mounting tensions between Jerusalem and Washington. The drill will still be the largest these armies have ever conducted."

According to Time Magazine, the US slashed the number of American troops who were slated to take part in the drill by more than 60%. Instead of the approximately 5,000 troops originally assigned to "Austere Challenge 12," as the exercise is dubbed, the Pentagon will send only 1,500 servicemen and perhaps as few as 1,200.

The number and the potency of missile interception systems that were to be used in the maneuvers were also reduced. Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, the crews that can operate them will not. Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships, only one will be deployed – and even that is uncertain, Time said, citing officials in both the US and Israeli militaries.


Anchor dons hijab for 1st time on Egypt state TV

Concern raised that the move represents a further shift towards Islamism under the newly-empowered Muslim Brotherhood.PHOTO: EGYPTIAN TV SCREENSHOT

An anchorwoman wearing a hijab head covering appeared on Egyptian state television for the first time in its 50-year existence on Sunday, sparking fears the move represents a further shift towards Islamism under the newly-empowered Muslim Brotherhood.

Under deposed president Hosni Mubarak, women wearing Islamic head coverings were only permitted to work behind the camera; however, in January, an Egyptian court overturned the prohibition.

The newsreader in question, Fatma Nabil, who wore the headscarf of her own volition, made her appearance on a midday broadcast on Egypt's Channel 1; three other women wearing headscarves also are slated to begin working as anchors in the near future.

In the Muslim Brotherhood's daily newspaper, Freedom and Justice, Nabil welcomed the development, saying it was a sign that Egypt's revolution was successful.

In contrast, some analysts voiced concern that the move was an early sign that the Brotherhood was planning to impose Sharia law in Egypt.

Jerusalem Post


I have emailed you before about my family being called out of the

mainstream church by the Lord, and our terrible experiences while we were

going to church.

We are bold for the Lord Jesus and proclaim His name to all we meet. We

have recently met a family from Iran, who have been here less than a month.

We have had dinner with them and spent a good amount of time with them. We

have witnessed to them continually. It seems they have no clue what their

government is actually doing, and say they as well as most of the Iranian

people love America and the west.

Their older sister just came for a visit and left to go back to Iran today.

Her younger sister who visits us often came to tell us her sisters husband

told her something that has him very upset. I have not heard about this

anywhere and thought you might be interested.

The husband said that their government has just shut sown the whole country

for 2 weeks. Every business and every dwelling is ordered to close. Every

citizen ordered to stay in their home. If they go out they are stopped by

police and will have to show their id and or papers. Her husband said they

are being told it is because the Arab leaders are meeting with their

government for the next 2 weeks, and that's all they were told.

This does not sound good to me,and the Lord absolutely put a knowing in my

spirit something is absolutely going down soon over there. He also layed it

on my heart to tell you this info. What do you make of it? She said the

people are very angry about it, but fear being arrested if they do not



Steve Quayle.com

Iran says reactor at Bushehr nuclear plant has reached full capacity

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's sole operational nuclear power reactor has reached full capacity, a senior official said Saturday.

Iran's deputy nuclear chief, Mohammad Ahmadian, said the reactor at the Bushehr power plant was brought to its "full capacity of 1,000 megawatts" Friday evening. The reactor went into operation for the first time last year at minimum capacity.

The Islamic Republic built the nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian port city with Russian help. The facility is a cornerstone of Iran's drive to become a technological leader among Muslim nations, with efforts such as an ambitious space program and long-range missile development. Iran also runs smaller research reactors and is building another power reactor.

The United States and some of its allies believe the Bushehr plant is part of an Iranian attempt to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusation, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The Bushehr project dates back to 1974, when Iran's U.S.-backed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi contracted with the German company Siemens to build the reactor. The company withdrew from the project after the 1979 Islamic Revolution brought hard-line clerics to power.

In 1992, Iran signed a $1 billion deal with Russia to complete the project and work began in 1995. Since then, the project has been beset by problems linked to construction and supply glitches. Under the contract, Bushehr was originally scheduled to come on stream in July 1999 but it was repeatedly postponed over technical glitches and financial disputes.

The reactor finally went into operation last summer operating with minimum capacity to undergo tests before full operation.

Yahoo News

58 Percent Of The Jobs Being Created Are Low Paying Jobs

Are you good at flipping burgers , waiting tables or stocking shelves?  Are you proficient with a cash register?  Do you enjoy doing mindless work for very low pay?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are probably going to fit in very well in the new U.S. economy.  According to a report that has just been released by the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.  So exactly what is a low paying job?  Well, the National Employment Law Project defines it as a job with an hourly wage between $7.69 and $13.83.  But of course you can't pay a mortgage or support a family on $13.83 an hour.  Even if you got full-time hours the entire year, you would make less than $28,000 on an annual basis.  The federal poverty level for a family of five is $27,010.  So needless to say, most of these new jobs are not paying enough to support a middle class lifestyle.  This represents an economic failure on a fundamental level.  Our economy is producing very few good jobs that enable people to be able to raise families and live the American Dream.  The ranks of "the working poor" are exploding and the number of Americans that are dependent on the government is sitting at an all-time record.  Sadly, if current trends continue things are going to get a lot worse.

The numbers compiled by the National Employment Law Project are absolutely stunning.  Most of the jobs lost during the recent recession were mid-wage jobs, and most of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.  This represents a fundamental shift in our economy.  Just check out these figures....
-21 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were low wage jobs paying between $7.69 and $13.83 an hour.
-58 percent of the jobs created since the end of the recession have been low wage jobs paying between $7.69 and $13.83 an hour.
-60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs paying between $13.84 and $21.13 an hour.
-22 percent of the jobs created since the end of the recession have been mid-wage jobs paying between $13.84 and $21.13 an hour.
But even the high end of the mid-wage pay scale is not that great.
If you make $21.13 an hour and you work full-time hours for the entire year you will end up making about 42,000 for an entire year.
Yes, that can probably support a family of four in most areas of the country, but you really have to scrimp and save to do it.
And keep in mind that 80 percent of all the jobs being created now pay at that level or less.
Welcome to the new U.S. economy.
It really stinks for workers.
The truth is that there has been a fundamental cultural change in our economy. Workers are no longer valued.  They are viewed as expensive liabilities that should be disposed of as rapidly as possible once their usefulness has ended.
There is very little loyalty to workers these days, and most big corporations do not really care about the quality of the lives of their workers.  The number of companies offering health insurance to their workers continues to decline (and thanks to Obamacare that decline is accelerating even further), and the number of companies offering pension plans to their workers continues to decrease as well.
At this point, less than 25 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs, and that number continues to shrink.
Is this because the big corporations are not making enough money?
Not at all.
In fact, corporate profits have been setting all-time records in recent years....
Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of the economy are at an all-time low....
So why is this happening?
Well, I already talked about the fundamental cultural shift that is happening.  Companies simply do not care about their workers like they used to.  America is becoming a very cold place.
Another major factor is that millions upon millions of our good jobs have been shipped overseas thanks to the emerging one world economy.
In the old days, U.S. corporations were more or less forced to hire American workers and the wages earned from a typical manufacturing job could easily support a growing family.
That has entirely changed now.
The big corporations no longer need American workers to make stuff.  They can just close up shop and move their facilities to the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to very desperate workers.
And now there is greatly increased competition for the jobs that we still have in this country because so many of our jobs have disappeared.
If you don't like how your employer is treating you that is just too bad.  In most cases your employer would have absolutely no problem finding a replacement for you.  In fact, there are probably thousands of people in your community that are desperate for a job such as yours.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that the decline of the middle class in America is going to get a lot worse.
American families are rapidly getting poorer.  Real median household income has fallen another 4.8 percent since the last recession ended.
Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to go up and American family budgets are being stretched to the limit.
In a previous article, I noted that 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
Things have fundamentally changed.  The days of endless prosperity for the middle class are gone for good.  You are going to have to adjust.
At this point, 77 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.
If you are relying solely on a job for the financial survival of your family, then you are probably in a similar situation.
Do you know why they call it a "job"?
It is because you will mostly likely end up living "Just Over Broke" for most of your life.
A major shift in our economy is happening.
We are transitioning from an "employment economy" to an "ownership economy".
Most Americans that are currently working for others are not going to have a bright economic future.
That may sound harsh, but it is the truth.
Even if you are still one of the fortunate Americans that still has a good job, you need to start thinking about what you are going to do when you lose that job someday.
The system is failing, and if you have blind faith that it is always going to take care of you and provide a job for you then you are likely to be bitterly disappointed someday.

The next big investment opportunity

US will not back Israeli strike on nuclear facilities as long as Iran refrains from attacking American facilities in Persian Gulf

The United States has indirectly informed Iran, via two European nations, that it would not back an Israeli strike against the country's nuclear facilities, as long as Tehran refrains from attacking American interests in the Persian Gulf, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

According to the report, Washington used covert back-channels in Europe to clarify that the US does not intend to back Israel in a strike that may spark a regional conflict.

In return, Washington reportedly expects Iran to steer clear of strategic American assets in the Persian Gulf, such as military bases and aircraft carriers.

Israeli officials reported an unprecedented low in the two nations' defense ties, which stems from the Obama administration's desire to warn Israel against mounting an uncoordinated attack on Iran.

The New York Times reported Monday that US President Barack Obama is promoting a series of steps meant to curb an Israeli offensive against Iran, while forcing the Islamic Republic to take the nuclear negotiations more seriously.

Iranian drill in Strait of Hormuz (Photo: MCT)

One of the steps considered is "an official declaration by Obama about what might bring about American military action, as well as covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected," the report said.

Several of Obama's top advisors believe that Jerusalem is seeking an unequivocal American statement regarding a US strike on Iran – should it actively pursue a nuclear bomb.

Israel hopes such a statement is made during Obama's address before the UN General Assembly on September 25.

Others in the White House said Israel is trying to drag the US into an unnecessary conflict in the Gulf.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that "There is absolutely no daylight between the United States and Israel when it comes to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

Carney said that all options remain on the table for Iran. He said the "window for diplomacy remains open," adding that the diplomatic process remains the best way to deal with the Islamic Republic, though "that window will not remain open indefinitely."

Cyber war a go?

According to the New York Times, Washington has also sent Iran a back-channel deal suggesting they curb their nuclear ambitions, but Tehran rejected the deal, saying no agreement is possible sans lifting all West-imposed sanctions.

According to the report, the Obama administration is exploring the possibility of mounting a covert operation, as well as waging a "quiet" cyber war against Iran.

President Obama had previously rejected the notion, fearing such cyber assaults would wreak havoc on Iranian civilian life.

Later in September, the United States and more than 25 other nations will hold the largest-ever minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf, in what military officials say is a demonstration of unity and a defensive step to prevent Iran from attempting to block oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz.

In fact, the United States and Iran have each announced what amounted to dueling defensive exercises to be conducted this fall, each intended to dissuade the other from attack.


Russia to develop sea-based space-defense system

Russia is developing a sea-based missile- and space-defense system, which will be deployed in international waters. The system is expected to become an integral part of the Russian Navy.

The construction of the new sea-based missile-defense system has been entrusted to Almaz-Antey, the arms manufacturer that also produces the S-400 ‘Triumph’ missile defense system.

Anatoly Shlemov, the head of national defense orders for Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, told RIA Novosti that “this task has been definitely set for the [Russian] military-industrial complex.”

Almaz-Antey is not working alone on the planned system, Shelmov said, without specifying additional details about the top-secret project.

At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum earlier this year, President Roman Trotsenko of the United Shipbuilding Corporation announced that the USC would begin construction in 2016 of a series of six nuclear-powered destroyers armed with high-tech missile- and space- defense system.

Trotsenko called the warships “benchmarks of Russian space defense in the World Ocean,” but refused to comment further on the plans.

As it begins introducing the new S-400 system, Almaz-Antey is also finishing its S-500 ‘Prometheus’ system, which features space-defense capabilities. The S-500 is expected to be deployed in 2017, and will most likely arm the destroyers in project.

Previously, Almaz-Antey created the S-300 system for naval use, developing the S-300 Fort F and Fort FM for the Russian Navy.

S-400 system

The S-500 will supposedly able to engage targets in low earth orbit flying at speeds of up to 7 kilometer per second – the highest speed achievable by a ballistic missile at its highest trajectory in space.

The S-500’s capabilities are expected to exceed those of the US Aegis Combat System, but a point-by-point comparison is impossible until the S-500 is completed.

The backbone of the Aegis Combat System – the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) – is a closely guarded secret, though the Missile Defense Agency of the US Department of Defense once published information revealing that the SM-3 can intercept targets flying at a speed of 3.7 kilometers per second.

The latest versions of the S-300 can engage targets flying at speeds of up to 2.8 kilometer per second; the S-400 can intercept targets at 4.8 kilometer per second.

A warship equipped with Aegis Combat System has a 190-kilometer range, and can intercept targets in low earth orbit up to 180 kilometers and detect objects at distances of up to 320 kilometers.

The S-400 can hit air targets at distances of up to 400 kilometers, while detecting them from as far away as 600 kilometers.

The Aegis Combat System is currently used by the US, Australian, Japanese, Norwegian, South Korean and Spanish navies.


France warns of Syrian chemical weapons attack

PARIS (AP) — Western powers are preparing a tough response in case Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime deploys chemical or biological weapons in its civil war, France's foreign minister said Monday.

Syria's leadership has said the country, which is believed to have nerve agents as well as mustard gas and Scud missiles capable of delivering them, could use chemical or biological weapons if it were attacked from outside.

President Barack Obama has called it a "red line" for the U.S. if Assad's regime were to use such lethal weapons, and France has been ratcheting up its language on the issue.

If Syria uses such weapons, "our response ... would be massive and blistering," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on RMC radio Monday.

He said Western countries are monitoring the movement of the weapons in Syria to be ready to "step in" immediately.

Fabius said "we are discussing this notably with our American and English partners."

Fabius added that Russia and China are "of the same position," but did not elaborate. Fabius acknowledged frustration at their continuing support for Assad.

The foreign ministries of both China and Russia declined immediate comment on Monday.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Beijing has been consistent in its stance that it should be settled through negotiations and not by outside forces.

Moscow is Syria's chief ally, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the AP in a recent interview that Russia has the Syrian government's assurances that chemical weapons will not be used. Gatilov said Russia will "work toward the goal of preventing such things from happening."

China and Russia have repeatedly used their veto powers in the U.N. Security Council to block U.S.- and Arab-backed action that could have led to sanctions against Assad's regime.

Syria's opposition has urged outside military help against Assad's armed forces.

"I am going to be very clear, we are requesting military intervention in order to protect Syrian civilians who have been constantly murdered over the last year and a half," the head of the Syrian National Council, Abdelbaset Sieda, said in Madrid on Monday.

"The European Union should take the initiative and pressure Russia ... so we can lay down some protected areas for refugees," Sieda said after meeting Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo.

Margallo said Spain would continue to press for a united EU approach to Syria and urged Syrian opposition groups to overcome their divisions and join together against the Assad regime.

The new U.N. envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, acknowledged Monday that brokering an end to the civil war is a "very, very difficult task."

Yahoo News

Netanyahu urges international "red lines" to stop Iran

U.S. has urged Israel not to attack Iran but give diplomacy more time

* Netanyahu's remarks signal growing impatience

* Israel wants stronger language from Obama, says Iran pushing ahead

* Iranian general: Israeli officials would be targets if Israel attacked Iran

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Sunday to set a "clear red line" for Tehran's atomic programme that would convince Iran they were determined to prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms.

Netanyahu's remarks suggested a growing impatience with Israel's main ally, the United States, and other countries that have been pressing him to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work and hold off on any go-it-alone strike on Iran.

Recent heightened Israeli rhetoric has stoked speculation that Israel might attack Iran before the U.S. elections in November, believing that President Barack Obama would give it military help and not risk alienating pro-Israeli voters.

"I believe the truth must be stated: The international community is not placing a clear red line for Iran and Iran does not see international resolve to stop its nuclear programme," Netanyahu told his cabinet.

"Unless Iran sees this clear red line and this clear resolve it will not stop moving forward with its nuclear programme, and Iran must not have nuclear weapons," he said, repeating his view that sanctions so far have not curbed Tehran's atomic ambitions.

Although Netanyahu did not single out Obama in his criticism, Israeli officials have said they hope for stronger language from the president about possible U.S. military action.

Obama, who has had a frosty relationship with Netanyahu, has insisted he will not allow Iran to build atomic weapons and that all options are on the table.

Israel's popular YNet news website described the prime minister's latest comments as a stinging rebuke of Obama. In a U.S. election year, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has also sharply criticised Obama's handling of Iran as not being tough enough.

And in another sign of a rift with Washington, Israeli officials voiced disappointment over recent remarks by the United States's top general signalling reluctance to intervene on Israel's behalf if it attacked Iran.

Tehran says it is refining uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants so that it can export more of its oil and gas. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of a covert bid to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs.

Israel, believed to have the only atomic arsenal in the Middle East, views a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence.


General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, has suggested Washington would not be drawn into conflict with Iran should Israel attack.

"I don't want to be complicit if they choose to do it," Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted him on Friday as saying.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's environment minister, said on Israel Radio that Dempsey's remarks "were definitely not to our liking". Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said the general's choice of words "was not the best".

Israeli officials have said Israel has yet to decide on whether to attack Iran, amid divisions within its security cabinet and warnings by military and security chiefs that a strike would have only a limited effect.

Netanyahu has said he will speak out about what he termed the dangers Iran poses to the world in an address this month to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He is also expected to meet Obama during his visit, but no announcement has been made.

A senior Israeli official told Reuters last week Netanyahu would seek a firm pledge of U.S. military action if Iran did not back down on uranium enrichment. Such a promise could dissuade Israel from attacking Iran alone, Israeli officials have said.

A United Nations report said on Thursday Iran had more than doubled the number of centrifuges in its fortified bunker at Fordow since May, despite Western pressure and threat of Israeli attack. The new machines are not yet operating, the report said.

"The report confirms what I have been saying for a long time, international sanctions are a burden on Iran's economy but they are not in any way delaying the advancement of Iran's nuclear programme," Netanyahu told his cabinet.

"The Iranians are using the talks with the world powers to win time and to advance their nuclear programme," he said.

An Iranian general said that if Israel were to strike Iran, Israeli officials would be the target of retaliation, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

"In case of Israel's military attack against Iran, the officials of (Israel) will be among the first victims of such an attack," Mohammad Ali Assoudi, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, told Iran's English-language Press TV.

His broadcast remarks gave no details, but Press TV paraphrased him as saying Israel's policies had induced hatred of its officials among residents of the occupied territories.

Iran has undertaken large-scale military manoeuvres this summer and unveiled upgrades to weapons it says are defensive, including what it said was a more accurate short-range missile.