Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Changes: Middle East & North Africa

Thank you for your partnership with Cathy and me as we advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ across the world through His servants. From day one of this New Year we have been on the run. On a recent trip through the South Eastern United States (3000 miles in seven days) I met with twenty six churches, twelve individuals and shared with several hundred interested in missions. Last night I just returned from another trip through Texas connecting to people and churches focused on the Middle East/North Africa... read on.

UPDATE - NORTH AFRICA MIDDLE EAST: You can’t turn on the news without hearing about the protests across North Africa and other Middle East nations. These events remind me of what took place in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the years following. Yes, there are differences but as a collogue remarked, “regime change, even if for the better, is traumatic.” So we need to praying for God's grace and will to be done, especially that good leaders will step into the power vacuum, not merely those desiring power and personal gain.

As I mentioned I just stepped in the door from a trip through Texas where I met with a church helping them develop a coaching process for people interested in relocating overseas. We discussed their deploying three young women who have stepped on a plane today headed for Libya.

As you know this entire region seems to be on fire today. Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and last month I gave you an update on Sudan. Here is where the referendum ended up on Sudan… (Thank you Stan Smith for your information)

The residents of South Sudan have voted almost unanimously in favor of secession. President Omar Bashir has said that he would react to the new country’s creation by modifying Sudan’s constitution so that Sharia is the only law of the land and Arabic the only language. With this rejection of these Sharia additions Southern Sudan will succeed from the north… civil war now becomes a reality.

Faith McDonnell, the Director of Religious Liberty Programs and Church Alliance for a New Sudan at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, told FrontPage that South Sudan will be a pro-Western secular democracy with religious freedom.

“South Sudan’s independence means that a people who fought against jihad and forced Islamization/Arabization have won. They have rolled back the plan to impose Sharia, they have refused to be dhimmis, at great coast,” McDonnell said.

Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorists should also be expected to attack South Sudan as its independence is seen as a theft of Muslim land by the West. It is not inconceivable that the Bashir regime will ally with these terrorists as it has done so in the past to undermine South Sudan and please al-Turabi and the like. In fact, an intelligence report from 2006 claimed that about 15 members of Al-Qaeda were training the regime-sponsored Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

Bashir’s Sudan will also become even closer to Iran, which is eager to extend its reach into East Africa. The Iranian regime opposed the referendum and said it would help Sudan ensure its territorial integrity. Bashir can count on Iran to help him undermine South Sudan as it stands in the way of the Islamic Revolution.

The Iranians have grown closer to Eritrea and an expanded presence in Sudan would allow Iran to threaten the Red Sea shipping lanes and the Arabian Peninsula from the west side. Egypt could also be pressured from the south. In April 2009, the Mubarak regime arrested about 50 Hezbollah operatives planning to attack an Israeli site in the country. The interrogations revealed that they planned to send other members to Sudan for training in suicide bombing and other terrorist tactics.

Sudan is also sponsoring Hamas. In January 2009, the regime admitted that a truck convoy that was bombed by the Israelis was transporting Iranian arms to Hamas. The Revolutionary Guards had been managing the supply line from Port Sudan. An opposition newspaper has reported that the Revolutionary Guards is running a factory in Khartoum that is making weapons for Hamas, the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, and unidentified militants in Somalia. The deputy-editor of the newspaper was arrested after the story broke.

The Bashir regime may also be trying to build nuclear weapons or at least assist Iran in doing so. Since at least 1998, it has been known that an Iranian-owned company in Khartoum was acquiring nuclear technology. It is no coincidence that Ayatollah Khamenei was in Sudan when he stated in 2006 that Iran would share nuclear technology with Islamic countries. Khartoum has since officially told the IAEA that it is beginning a nuclear energy program and would build its first reactor by 2020. Agents of the regime have reportedly tried to make contact with the remnants of the A.Q. Khan network over the past year. This is made all the more dangerous by Bashir’s decision to make Sudan a state based solely on Sharia law.

The new country of South Sudan offers the West an opportunity to have an ally to counter Iran’s bloc in East Africa. It will come under attack from a Bashir regime that must not allow it to succeed and terrorists that see its creation as part of a Zionist plot against Islam. The largely Christian and African state of South Sudan will need the West’s help in defending itself against the Islamists, but how far the U.S. is willing to go to provide it remains to be seen.

Let us pray!

This is your investment. This is your joy.

Mark Szymanski



Please consider joining our financial support team. You can send contributions to: United World Mission, PO Box 602002, Charlotte NC 28260-2002 and write ACCT# 11013 in the memo line. Further info about on-line giving and other programs see UWM. We are in need of another $1850 per month in regular support to continue our work in the many nations where we are building national workers. THANKS!

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