“My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior – from violent people you save me.” 2 Sam. 22:3
SAUDI ARABIA INVITES ARAB STATES TO EMERGENCY SUMMITS: Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has invited Arab states and Gulf leaders to two emergency summits which will take place on 30 May 2019 in Mecca. The summits are intended to discuss “aggressions and their consequences” in the region. “The attack on ships in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates and the Iran-backed Houthi terrorists’ strike on two oil pumping station in the Kingdom have serious implications for regional and international peace and security and for the supply and stability of world oil markets,” stated the Saudi foreign ministry. The invitation comes after four commercial vessels were sabotaged off the coast of the UAE and Houthi militias [terrorists] used explosive-laden drones to attack two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia. Last week, an anonymous US official said that an initial assessment showed that “Iran or Iranian-backed proxies” had blown holes in four ships in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (J.Post)
SAUDI ARABIA AND GULF STATES AGREE TO DEPLOY US FORCES TO DETER IRAN: Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have agreed to a request for a renewed deployment of US forces to deter Iran. According to the report, the deployment of the forces comes as part of the cooperation agreement between Washington and the Arab states in the Gulf, and will take place both at sea and on land. A Saudi official told London-based media sources that “the agreement was aimed at deterring Iran from a military escalation, including attacking American targets.” The leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, met with leaders of Shi’ite militias [terrorist groups] in Baghdad and ordered them to “prepare for war by proxy,” the UK Guardian reported. Two intelligence sources told the newspaper that Soleimani had summoned the Iranian-backed terrorist militias about three weeks ago in light of the tension in the region. The move aroused concern in the US that there was a threat to American targets in the Middle East. The United States has increased its forces in the Middle East, including aircraft carriers, B52 bombers, and Patriot missiles, in response to intelligence information that the Iranian regime ordered its proxies to attack American forces in the region. (J.Post)
BAHRAIN WARNS CITIZENS TO ‘IMMEDIATELY’ LEAVE IRAN, IRAQ: Bahrain days ago, warned its citizens to leave Iran and Iraq “immediately” and to avoid traveling there in the near future. According to media sources, the country’s Foreign Ministry mentioned “unstable regional circumstances” as well as “dangerous developments and potential threats.” (INN)
US AIRLINES WARNED ABOUT RISK OF FLYING OVER PERSIAN GULF AMID TENSIONS WITH IRAN: US diplomats have warned that US air carriers and commercial operators flying over the Persian Gulf face a risk from being “misidentified” as tensions between US and Iran continue to escalate. The recent warning, relayed by officials in Kuwait and the UAE, came from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It said that all US air carriers and commercial operators flying over the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman should exercise caution due to “heightened military activities and increased political tension” in the region. This presents “an increasing inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations due to the potential for miscalculation or misidentification,” the FAA said. It also warned that aircraft flying over the region could experience inadvertent GPS interference and other communications jamming, which could occur “with little to no warning”.
The Persian Gulf is a major gateway in global air travel and the FAA said the warning applies to airspace “over water and above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.” The region is home to Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest intersections for international travel. Concerns about a possible conflict between the US and Iran have flared since the White House sent a warship and bombers to the region to counter Tehran’s reported plans to attack American forces or interests in the region. The rising tensions have also seen Washington order all non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq. Britain has also raised the threat level for UK forces and diplomats in Iraq because of what sources say is a heightened security risk from Iran and last week told British-Iranian dual nationals not to travel to Iran. (CBS)
TRUMP: I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT, BUT YOU CAN’T LET IRAN HAVE NUKES: US President Donald Trump vowed in an interview with Fox News on Sunday 19 May 2019 not to let Iran get nuclear weapons, though he reiterated his reluctance to go to war. While Trump continued opposing military intervention, he indicated Iranian nuclear development would constitute an urgent exception. “I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons – you just can’t let that happen,” he said. “I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly – by far most importantly,” he said. “I ended the Iran Nuclear Deal, and actually, I must tell you – I had no idea it was going to be as strong as it was. The country is devastated from the standpoint of the economy,” said Trump. The interview with Trump aired hours after he warned Iran on Twitter not to threaten his country. “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” (Arutz-7) “Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just.” Ps. 7:9
US SANCTIONS ARE LIMITING IRAN’S ABILITY TO FUND HEZBOLLAH: The latest wave of US sanctions has significantly curbed Iran’s ability to fund Hezbollah. The Lebanese terrorist group has traditionally been the best-funded Islamic Republic’s proxy, with its fighters and affiliates benefiting from salaries and social services paid for by Tehran. However, speaking to several Hezbollah officials, media sources revealed how the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after the US pulled out from the 2015 nuclear deal a year ago had had a deep impact on the funding. “There is no doubt these sanctions have had a negative impact,” a Hezbollah official told The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity. “But ultimately, sanctions are a component of war, and we are going to confront them in this context.” According to US Special Envoy Brian Hook, Iran used to send the Lebanese group up to $700 million a year, accounting for 70% of their revenue. It added that the Trump administration has stated that sanctions have decreased Iranian revenue by $10 billion since last November. However, the Hezbollah officials who spoke to American reporters said that the current financial predicaments are not affecting the group’s ability to fight against Israel. “We are still getting arms from Iran. We are still ready to confront Israel. (J.Post) “Scatter the peoples who delight in war.” Ps. 68:30
WHITE HOUSE BEGINS ROLL OUT OF PART OF MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN: The Trump administration is planning to release the economic component of its upcoming Middle East peace plan late next month, senior White House officials said Sunday 19 May 2019, adding that it would break up the release of the much-anticipated plan. The first half of the plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century” by President Trump, will be released at an international summit in Manama, Bahrain on 25 – 26 June 2019. The US is playing down the summit, however, and is calling the event a “workshop”. “This workshop is a pivotal opportunity to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement,” the White House stated. Only the economic component of the plan will be released at the international summit, the White House said, with the more sensitive political portions to be publicized at a later date. The workshop will focus heavily on economic development in the Gaza Strip, with an emphasis on four areas: infrastructure, industry, governance reforms, and investing in human capital. Some senior officials have hinted that the plan will not provide for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Last month, senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner emphasized that the new peace plan would be to try something “different” with regards to the two-state solution. (INN)
“BAHRAIN LEADING THE WAY IN ARAB GULF’S NEW TIES WITH ISRAEL”: Rabbi Marc Schneier, Special Advisor to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, hailed the Gulf Arab state’s hosting of the US rollout of the upcoming Middle East peace plan as a sign of the country’s role in reshaping Arab relations with Israel and the Jewish world. “I have always said that Bahrain would lead the charge in the Gulf on establishing relations with Israel because of their shared interests – the threat they face from Iran and the economic benefits to an alliance,” said Rabbi Schneier on Monday 20 May 2019. “As such, the White House announcement that it is going to hold an economic summit in Bahrain next month to promote the US peace plan makes complete sense. Since 2011, King Hamad has been at the forefront of major initiatives to bring the Gulf and Israel closer together and he’s earned this honor and distinction to be the Gulf leader and the Gulf state to host this historic conference.” (Arutz-7) Continue to pray for Israel’s relationships with the Arab states.
ISRAELI ECONOMY GREW AT 5.2% IN Q1 2019: There was a sharp rise in GDP growth in Israel in the first quarter of 2019, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. According to the first estimate, the economy grew 5.2% on an annualized basis in the first quarter. This compares with 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2.8% in the third quarter of 2018. Economic growth has reportedly been boosted by an exceptionally large rise in vehicle imports. Business output rose 5.8% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019, after rising 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2.5% in the third quarter of 2018. Imports of goods and services rose 6.7% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019. Exports of goods and services grew 4.9% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019. (Globes)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff