“The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.” 1 Sam. 2:10
ROOTS AND REFLECTIONS WITH BARRY SEGAL: Join Barry Segal in his biblically based travel program focusing on the reality of life in Israel. It's all about archeology, history, the Bible, culture, music, the language, interviews, the food and humor. (See one and you will want to see them all!) Pray with us that many people will have their eyes opened to God’s deep love for the people and the Land of Israel through these programs. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.
You can view VFI’s Roots and Reflection Program at the following networks and broadcast times: Daystar TV: Wednesday 9:00 AM ET (8:00 AM CT, 7:00 AM MT and 6:00 AM PT) also on Friday, 11 AM ET (10:00 AM CT, 9:00 AM MT, 8:00 PT). God TV Network:Monday 6:00 PM ET-GMT) also on Friday, 10:30AM ET (9:30 AM CT, 8:30 AM MT and 6:30AM PT. NRB TV: Thursday 8:30 AM ET, (7:30 AM CT, 6:30 AM MT, 5:30 AM PT).
ISRAEL ON HIGH ALERT AS TRUMP PULLS USA TROOPS, DIPLOMATS OUT OF SYRIA: Israel's defense establishment reacted with surprise and concern on Thur. 20 Dec. to USA President Donald Trump's announcement that ISIS had been defeated, and that American forces would therefore be leaving Syria. Recently-resigned Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the move had the potential to spark a major regional war. "The withdrawal of the USA from Syria significantly raises the chance of an all-out conflict in the north - both in Lebanon and Syria," he told Israel Radio. Liberman insisted that the Americans leaving the area would embolden the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies. That assessment was shared by many senior Israeli officials. While the USA has only around 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria, they have supervised the main crossing points between Syria and Iraq. With their departure, Liberman explained that "we're now talking about contiguous Shiite land between Iran, Iraq and Syria," which will almost certainly mean a strengthening of the Iranian military position in Syria and more advanced weapons reaching the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group. According to Israel's Channel 10 news, PM Benjamin Netanyahu tried to persuade Trump to change his mind, but to no avail. Channel 10 described the move as "a slap in the face" for Israel, and opposition leaders slammed Netanyahu for his failure to dissuade the Americans from making what many here see as a hasty and reckless decision. (Israel Today) Intercede for great wisdom and a willingness to listen to prudent counsel on the part of USA President Trump. Pray that he will not move forward with decisions that will create further instability in the region and leave Israel alone to battle with terrorist forces in the north, and Iran’s spreading presence there.
MATTIS RESIGNS AS PENTAGON CHIEF OVER SYRIA WITHDRAWAL: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned on Thur. 20 Dec. 2018 after clashing with President Donald Trump over the abrupt withdrawal of USA troops from Syria and after two years of deep disagreements over America's role in the world. Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump's administration, will leave by the end of Feb. 2019 after two tumultuous years struggling to soften and moderate the president's hard-line and sometimes sharply changing policies. He told Trump in a letter that he was leaving because "you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours." Mattis went to the White House with his resignation letter to meet with the president and spoke to Trump for about 45 minutes, according to a senior USA official. There was no confrontation between the two men, the official said. Syria likely was the last straw for Mattis. His departure was immediately lamented by foreign policy hands and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who viewed the retired Marine general as a sober voice of experience in the ear of a president who had never held political office or served in the military. Even Trump allies expressed fear over Mattis' decision to quit, believing him to be an important moderating force on the president. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that Gen. Mattis resignation letter "makes it abundantly clear that we are headed toward a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries." (Ynet)
ISRAEL TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST IRANIAN PROXIES AFTER USA STEPS OUT OF SYRIA: Israel moved quickly on Thur. 20 Dec. 2018 to fill the coming power vacuum after President Trump said USA troops were being withdrawn from Syria, vowing to ramp up its own military campaign against Iranian-backed proxy groups in the country - a clear sign that the war between Jerusalem and Tehran will carry on - with or without USA involvement. “We will continue to act very aggressively against Iran’s efforts to entrench in Syria,” Israeli PM Netanyahu said in a televised speech Thursday. “We do not intend to reduce our efforts.” The Prime Minister made the comments amid a backlash in the USA from lawmakers of both parties who say Trump is putting Israel, its strongest ally in the region, in grave danger of increased exposure to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and other terrorist groups allied with Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad. The ramifications for Israel are just one of aspect of the global fallout from Trump’s stunning declaration that he believes the war on the ISIS in Syria has been won and that it’s time for American forces to be removed. (Washington Times) Intercede for the Lord to strengthen and embolden Israel to defend itself against all regional threats. “He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” Num. 24:9
FRANCE: ISIS NOT DEFEATED, TROOPS TO REMAIN IN SYRIA: France will keep troops in northern Syria for now because ISIS terrorist have not been wiped out, contrary to the USA view. France is a leading member of the USA-led coalition fighting terrorists in Syria and Iraq and has around 1,000 troops including special forces based in the north of the country, deployed alongside local Kurdish and Arab forces. French diplomats have said President Trump's decision to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from the region had taken Paris by surprise. USA officials justified the decision by saying ISIS had been defeated. "It shows that we can have different priorities and that we must count on ourselves first," Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau told news sources. "For now, of course we are staying in Syria because the fight against ISIS is essential." France is especially sensitive to the ISIS threat after several major deadly attacks on its soil and officials believe the terrorist group continues to pose a threat. The foreign ministry said Paris and its coalition allies had started talks with Washington on the timeframe and conditions for the USA withdrawal. "The protection of the populations of northeastern Syria and the stability of this zone must be taken into account by the United States to avoid any new humanitarian drama and any return of the terrorists," it said. (Ynet)
ISIS TERRORISTS HAVE EXECUTED 700 SYRIAN PRISONERS IN TWO MONTHS: The executed were among 1,350 civilians and fighters that the jihadists had been holding in territory near the Iraqi border. ISIS has been pushed into a narrow corridor east of the Euphrates where one of their last strongholds, Hajin, was taken by USA-backed militia on 14 Dec.2018. A pocket of desert territory to the west still remains under jihadist control. At least 5,000 ISIS fighters are believed to remain holed up in the enclave, including many foreigners who will fight to the death. (Daily Mail)
TRUMP DECIDED ON SYRIA PULLOUT DURING PHONE CALL WITH ERDOGAN: USA President Trump made the shock decision to withdraw troops from Syria during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart who said Turkey could clear the remaining jihadists from the country. Trump’s move came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch an operation against a Kurdish militia that is fighting against ISIS with American military assistance. Erdogan and Trump spoke on the phone as the American President made his decision. During the conversation Trump told his national security adviser John Bolton to “start the work” to prepare withdrawing troops from Syria. A Turkish daily said that Trump’s order to Bolton came after he asked Erdogan if Turkey would “clean up the remaining Daesh (ISIS) elements if we withdrew from Syria.” Erdogan reportedly told Trump that Turkey had cleared ISIS during its first military operation in northern Syria between 2016 and 2017 and could do so again. Trump replied by telling him to go ahead and do it. (Times of Israel) Pray against regional responsibilities being put into the hands of national leaders who are dangerous - or potentially dangerous - to the security of Israel. In this case it is Turkey, which shares outstanding trade agreements with the Jewish state, but whose relationship with Israel is often toxic. Turkey is 99.8% Muslim with Islamic leaders eager for power. Under Erdogan, Turkey's relations with Israel has turned sharply negative.
THE KURDS ARE THE BIGGEST LOSERS IN USA WITHDRAWAL FROM SYRIA: The USA decision to withdraw from Syria means the USA will evacuate the base at al-Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi border, which acted as a deterrent to the entry of Shi'ite terrorist units into Syria. The USA will also evacuate its northern bases, which served as a base for strikes against ISIS, and it will also give up the idea of setting up observation posts along the border with Turkey which would protect the Kurds. This would leave the city of Manbij, now under Kurdish rule, open to a Turkish occupation, from where it could spread to other Kurdish enclaves east of the Euphrates. The Kurds will have to decide whether to wage a long and possibly hopeless war against Turkey, or to seek shelter with Moscow. (Ha'aretz)
USA NAVY MAY STOP DOCKING IN HAIFA AFTER CHINESE TAKE OVER PORT: The USA Navy has acknowledged that its longstanding operations in Israel’s Haifa port may change once a Chinese firm takes over the civilian port in 2021, prompting Israel’s national security cabinet to revisit the arrangement. Haifa, the nation’s largest port city, regularly hosts joint USA-Israeli naval drills and visits from American vessels. But a 2015 agreement between Israel’s Transportation Ministry and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) – a company in which the Chinese government has a majority stake – has raised intelligence and security concerns that are only now prompting an interagency review. That agreement granted SIPG control over the port for 25 years. The Chinese company has committed $2 billion to the project and, according to state-run media, plans to transform the port’s bay terminal into the largest harbor in the country. (J.Post) “Take heed, watch and pray….” Mk. 13:33
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The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff