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Showing posts from July, 2014

TURKEY: Why Visit?

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Global mass tourism is one of the big growth industries of our day, generating billions of dollars of revenue and providing employment for 100,000s of people worldwide. Hungry for foreign currency and job opportunities, many countries are doing whatever they can to lure the tourists to their shores. 
In the Middle East, the opportunities are available but less universal than elsewhere in the world. Top tourist destinations include Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey. If peace reigned, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq could be added to the list.
Turkey is becoming a rising star in the region, in geo-politics, economy, military, and tourism. But why should a (Christian) tourist from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, or elsewhere, consider Turkey as a holiday destination?
First, Turkey is truly one of the unique countries of the world. It sits in the middle of Europe and Asia, indeed, it straddles both continents and is considered a land bridge. The fabled city of Constantino…

MH17 - The Bigger Picture

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It was a gut-wrenching sense of deja vu. Who could have believed it - Malaysian Airlines encountered its second airplane tragedy in only four months. Both incidents were not just your average airline crashes - they were extraordinary. First was MH 370, scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It simply disappeared off the radar and into the history books. To this day, we don’t know what happened to it, though the best guess is that it ran out of fuel and crashed in the Indian Ocean, the opposite direction to Beijing. The presumed death toll was 227 passengers and 12 crew. MH 370 looks set to be the greatest airplane mystery of all-time.
Now its MH 17, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which crashed in Eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, only 40 kilometers from the Russian border. Unlike MH 370, we know much more but that doesn’t make it any less tragic. There were 283 passengers and 15 Malaysian crew members. The dead included 20 family groups, 80 children, and some …

The Battle for Jerusalem Part 02

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Nearly two months ago, I commenced a blog series called The Battle for Jerusalem. As it turned out, events in Iraq, Gaza, the caliphate, MH 17, all pushed Jerusalem onto the backburner - temporarily. Make no mistake about it - Jerusalem is and will continue to be the single-most important foreign policy issue, bar none.
In summary, for over ninety years, since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the international question has been ‘Who will own Jerusalem?’ This is known as the ‘Jerusalem Question.’ There have been 5 dozens proposals over the years but one or more of the many parties who have a stake in the Jerusalem Question have said ‘No.’ These interested parties include Israel, Palestine, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Vatican, the European Union, the United Nations, Russia, and the Orthodox Church. With so many stakeholders, 4,000 years of history, and different theologies, no wonder the question of Jerusalem is so difficult to solve.
The Battle for …

The Latest Between Israel & Hamas

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Hamas, the Palestinian militant organisation that runs the Gaza Strip, has sent over 450 rockets into mostly southern Israel, though the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have been targeted. Israel has been bombing select targets in the Gaza Strip. Ramadan crowds at the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem cheered when they heard that Hamas was sending rockets into Israel. Even one rocket went as far as Hadera, 100 kilometers north of Tel Aviv. This is the furthest any rocket has gone from the Gaza Strip.
The fact that Hamas rockets are grossly inaccurate, often times causing little or no casualties, while others are intercepted by Israel’s famed iron-dome defense system, still does not take away from the fact that this is a major escalation in the conflict between the Jewish State and Hamas-run Gaza. Furthermore, it has the potential to ignite a third Palestinian intifada or ‘uprising’ (the first was from 1987-1993; the second from 2000-2005). In a region that is already teetering on the edge of instabi…

What Does the Future Hold for Iraq?

How long can a militant terrorist group like ISIS, with only a small numbers (e.g. 10,000)   and nothing close to a well-organised military hold on to the vast area of land it currently occupies. All it would take is a strong, well-armed, and united army to confront them and they, too, will become history. Recent events in the Central African Republic, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Mali, and Afghanistan show that violent jihadist groups can gain power temporarily but eventually will be swept away by a stronger national force. In recent years, the closest a militant group ever came to running their own entity were the highly disciplined and ruthlessly efficient Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka: they controlled territory, had their own military, and even the trappings of government with a postal system and law school. Once there was unity in the government and military of Sri Lanka, the Tigers were finally defeated.
What will happen to the nation-state of Iraq? Unless there is decisive action taken by…

Bye Bye Iraq? Hello Caliphate?

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(NOTE: I originally started to write a series of blogs on the ‘Battle for Jerusalem.’ In essence, the ultimate battle is a fulfillment of Psalm 2 and Zechariah 14, but the current one starts out in the spiritual realm. As it is, there is also a very low-level physical conflict at the moment, but as always, we are commanded to ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem’ (Psalm 122:6). Events in Iraq have caused me to put aside the Jerusalem series for the moment. This series will be continued soon).
On July 2nd, we had a long flight from Kuala Lumpur to London via Dubai. On the Emirates flight out of Dubai, I started to view the ‘Flight Path’ facility on my individual monitor. To my surprise, I saw that we were flying over Iraq! At first, it was Baghdad. No, I did not see much, and certainly no evidence of conflict. To add to my surprise, the plane deliberately flew over the second largest city of Iraq called Mosul, which was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) just days before…