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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Western missionary writes the latest on Lebanon

Urgent!! Pray for Lebanon and Peace in the Middle East!



EG, a friend ,writes
Dear Friends,

I have a number of stories and updates that are in progress, so please keep an eye out as will likely be sending a number of emails in a short period of time as I am able to catch up and get my communication and stories completed.

I am writing this email first because it is urgent that you all understand what is happening right now in Lebanon and that you join us in prayer for the peace of this country.

This is politics according to EG. I am no Middle East expert, so I do hope I don’t oversimplify the situation, but I will do my best to summarize as I understand.

When I arrived back in the country just a couple of weeks ago, the attitude in the country felt different. The conflict in Syria is winding down rapidly. The Shia government of Assad are firmly the victors. Sunni ISIS is on the run, and the other Sunni rebel groups that might as well have been ISIS (Free Syrian Army, Al Nusra) have been defeated. All these groups were backed by the Saudis, Qatar, Gulf states and some even the west (USA). You can ask the people here in Lebanon, who have escaped ISIS and rebel-held areas, where those serving in ISIS were from and they will tell you that the fighters were largely from Saudi Arabia.

I won’t go into too much detail here about the dangerous ideology bred in Saudi Arabia, but if you research, you will realize it is no wonder that they recognized that ISIS was closely aligned with their politics and belief system and believed it was their duty to join the cause. Saudi Arabia human rights are some of the worst in the world, yet you don’t hear much about it because they so closely control what is presented in the media. You cannot just travel to this country. It is closed off to tourism and they closely vet and control work visas. Therefore, there are few outsiders that see the reality of life in this country.

The Christians from Syria have been telling me how much better things are now. These are people that I know that can travel freely between Syria and Lebanon. Assad has always looked out for the Christian community. It was the Sunni groups that were oppressing, killing and persecuting the Christians. And it generally has been that way throughout history. There is a reason that Sunnis make up 90% of the Muslim world and Shias are only 10%. Shias are the minority and the Sunnis are always on a mission to stamp them out.

I felt a level of unease at how firmly Assad seemed in control in Syria because I felt that Saudi Arabia would not stand for Iran (also Shia) essentially winning in Syria. And with Hezbollah’s grip on Lebanon & Iran trade and collaboration with Qatar (despite the pressure from the other Gulf states), the Shia minority seem to be gaining in power.

Here in Lebanon, the Shia factions in the government have worked hard to keep radical Islamic extremists from taking over. Lebanon has remained remarkably at peace and free of acts of terror of the last few years. I can assure you that it isn’t because they aren’t trying to get into the country or blow things up, it is just the intelligence and security here are that good.

I didn't think it would be long before something happened with Saudi Arabia. I just didn't know how quick that "something" would be.

Saudi Arabia human rights are some of the worst in the world, yet you don’t hear much about it because they so closely control what is presented in the media.

Last Saturday, Saudi Arabia decided to call up the Lebanese Prime Minister to Riyadh where he was forced to read a text prepared for him announcing his resignation. Then the pre-taped video was shown on a government-controlled TV channel. Prior to this, he had all his personal communication devices confiscated and all his Lebanese contingent were sent home. He is essentially being detained and even held hostage in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has declared their country at war with Lebanon and called all their citizens back from this country.

This is not a Sunni/Shia he says/she says. Prime Minister Hariri’s political party also feels that he is being inappropriately detained and have called for his immediate return to the country. His personal contingent here is very worried. I have a friend who is a journalist who helped break this story and so I have it straight from the horse's mouth.

What are the Saudi’s trying to do? They are trying to start a war to regain Sunni territory in the Middle East. They are trying to start a war with Hezbollah, Iran & Israel or else a civil conflict within Lebanon. It is advantageous for the Saudis if Israel decides now is a good time to disarm Hezbollah, which arguably is better armed than the Lebanese forces, thanks to Iran’s money.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Shias are not the ones that persecute and stamp out minority populations in the Middle East such as the Christians and the Yazidis. This is a Sunni thing. The Shias didn’t slaughter Christians in the Lebanese civil war, it was the Sunnis.
Yes, the Shias arch nemesis is Israel, but both tiny populations (related to the Sunni majority) picking fights with each other and having to arm themselves to protect themselves from the other actually helps them from getting wiped out and completely dominated by the Sunni majority.

People are on edge here in Lebanon and this story has the drama, twists, and turns of a crazy novel. This story seems too crazy for real life! I cannot believe I am here to witness it firsthand!

One thing to keep in mind is that the Shias are not the ones that persecute and stamp out minority populations in the Middle East such as the Christians and the Yazidis. This is a Sunni thing.

No one wants war. Everyone in Lebanon has worked so hard for peace despite the political and religious differences. No one wants the economy to collapse because of the interference of outside forces. We desperately need the international community to get involved in supporting Lebanon. The people in the West need to realize things aren’t always as they seem and our “friends” aren’t always our friends. We need to stop making decisions based on money and make decisions based on what is right. That means stopping always siding with the Saudi government on everything, quite frankly.

I truly believe that your prayers can make a difference in preventing this to escalate into a war. Your prayers for peace, prayers for wisdom for the leaders will make all the difference in de-escalating this insane situation.

Thank you all for your prayers and support! Keep the prayers going up and share and get others engaged in what is going on here as well.

Blessings,
EG
full name witheld because of sensitivity

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