Israel Prayer Teams
PO Box 111302
Carrollton, Texas 75006




December 5, 2006
Israel News on Israel Prayer .com
Special Backgrounder Issue
IRAQ, LEBANON & the Palestinians

I S R A E L - N E W S briefs & news L A U N C H
News Titles are hyperlinked to the full article at the original news source

What do civil wars in Middle East nations mean?
What would the fall of Islam look like?

Last Week Jordan’s King Hussein warned of the potential
for "civil wars" erupting in 3 Middle East nations—
IRAQ, LEBANON & the Palestinians
But what is the real common denominator?

Islamic Shia vs. Islamic Sunni
(Contrary to popular misconception, the violence is NOT about Israel!
Israel would be impacted but Israel is NOT the cause of conflict.)

Let's put the axe to the ROOT in prayer:

Palestinian 95% Sunni
Egypt 90% Sunni
Jordan 2% Shia 92% Sunni
Saudi Arabia 5% Shia 95% Sunni
Morocco 99% Sunni
Algeria 99% Sunni
Tunisia 98% Sunni
Libya 97% Sunni
Sudan 70% Sunni

Syria 13% Shia 74% Sunni
Kuwait 25% Shia 60% Sunni
Qutar 14% Shia 86% Sunni
UAE 16% Shia 80% Sunni
Oman 2% Shia 21% Sunni
Yemen 36% Shia 63% Sunni
Turkey 15% Shia 85% Sunni
Afghanistan 19% Shia 80% Sunni
Pakistan 20% Shia 77% Sunni
Lebanon 35% Shia 22% Sunni
Iraq 63% Shia 34% Sunni
Iran 90% Shia 9% Sunni
Bahrain 70% Shia 30% Sunni
Azerbaijan 67% Shia 29% Sunni

All figures are from CIA World Factbook 2004; as quoted by
Interactive Map: Sunni and Shia: The Worlds of Islam

Important Backgrounders

Red Lines and Deadlines
Interactive Map: Sunni and Shia: The Worlds of Islam


This is an easy to understand, concise explanation of the differences between the Sunni and Shia factions of Islam and how the precarious balance of powers in Middle East nations revolve around that ancient schism. Plus the interactive map illustrates why Shia encroachment into Sunni nations is impacting the current shaky Middle East.

Middle East Protests Against Israeli Actions

Stratfor World Terrorism Report July 21, 2006

Iran wants to fuel this kind of public unrest to demonstrate that it and its allies -- Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas -- are resisting U.S. and Israeli moves against the Arab-Muslim world, and that most of the Arab regimes -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others -- are not only unwilling but also unable to act.

by Martin Peretz The New Republic Only at TNR Online | Post date 03.09.06 BACKGROUNDER

The fact is that there is a hatred greater in the Middle East than the Muslim hatred of the Jews. It is the Sunni hatred of the Shia, and vice versa. The ferocity now once again unleashed in Iraq, a ferocity echoing the historic brutality of sectarian conflict in Mesopotamia, is neither the beginning nor the end of it. It expresses itself in Lebanon and Syria, and is right now only barely repressed in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

[Also the facts about how Arafat’s deportation from Jordan in the mid-1970’s tilted Arab demography in Lebanon and created a launch-pad in Lebanon--a legitimizing cover tactic--whereby the PLO began the guerrilla campaign against Israel.]

The Palestinians

A historic moment for peacemaking
Both Israel and Hamas sent important signals last week of a conditional willingness to coexist

By Rami G. Khouri The Chicago Sun Times December 3, 2006

It would be easy for both sides to write off the offers that Olmert and Meshaal made as propaganda exercises. It also would be a great shame, because beneath their conditional and tentative public offers to live in peace are some crucial political realities that must be seized and built upon before they evaporate: Israelis and Palestinians are nearing exhaustion in their existential battle for the land of Palestine/Israel, and both recognize that their prevailing military strategies will not achieve their long-term goals.

Rice meets PM, looks to Israel to help boost Abbas
By Akiva Eldar Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Agencies

According to Army Radio, Rice urged the prime minister to strengthen the Gaza cease-fire, and expressed her appreciation for the Israeli restraint in the wake of violations of the truce on the part of Palestinian militants.

Iraq in the Balance

What Civil War Looks Like. Slide Rules
By Larry Diamond The New Republic 3-6-06 BACKGROUNDER

This is not a time for the United States to throw in the towel in Iraq. The consequences of all-out civil war–which would now surely follow a precipitous U.S. withdrawal–would be too disastrous for everyone except the extremists. It is still possible to find or reconstruct some political common ground. It is still conceivable that the Shia politicians who are now set (in one combination or another) to rule Iraq for the indefinite future can be persuaded to make concessions on the big issues, by the logic that less is more in circumstances when seeking to win everything means civil war. There is still time for far-reaching mediation to avert the slide. But the hour is growing late.

Deal With the Sunnis
by Larry Diamond The New Republic Post date 11.20.06 | Issue date 11.27.06

We need a plan to stabilize Iraq politically before we exit…. a key feature should be to split up the Sunni Arab insurgency. … divided between secular (nationalist, Baathist) and religious elements and--within the latter--between Islamists focused on Iraq and hardcore utopian revolutionaries (Salafists like Al Qaeda) who see a U.S. defeat in Iraq as the first step in a global jihadist war.

…. If it seems that Syria and Iran, and all the internal troublemakers, have the upper hand in Iraq, ponder this: The chaos in Iraq that was good for them in the past now risks spilling over borders and threatening, rather than insulating, the neighboring regimes. Iran--a multinational state that is barely half Persian--must worry about the implications for its own stability of Iraq disintegrating into ethnic pieces. Syria faces a formidable threat from its own Islamic radicals. So do the other Arab neighbors. Thus, there remains scope for a deal, because each of the major players faces serious risks if Iraq disintegrates.

Lebanon A Test of Will

Unrest in Lebanon / Red-hot Beirut
By Zvi Bar’el Haaretz 12-3-06

The longer the demonstrations and the closure of Beirut's business center persists, the greater the chance public opinion will turn against the opposition (Shia). But if the demonstrations and strike end before the goal is reached, they will be considered a failure and will make it difficult for the opposition to press its demands.

'Hizbullah protest is attempted coup'
By Jacey Herman Jerusalem Post correspondent Dec. 3, 2006 BEIRUT

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and members of his anti-Syrian coalition government are holed up inside, afraid for their lives, but vowing that that they will not give in. "This is an attempted coup," said Druse MP Walid Jumblatt, a senior coalition member. "But we will remain strong. We are facing a weird situation. There is a legitimate government and an illegitimate government that wants to topple it."

by Annia Ciezadlo The New Republic Post date 03.02.06 | Issue date 03.13.06 BACKGROUNDER

In the dahiyeh, Beirut's Shia suburbs, Iraq is as close as the nearest mosque ….So the "war of the mosques," as one newspaper dubbed the conflict…is getting blockbuster ratings in dahiyeh living rooms….With the Shia ascendant in Iraq, Lebanon's Sunni minority fears that the more numerous Shia here will overpower it.

Militias' Intent
BEIRUT DISPATCH by Annia Ciezadlo The New Republic Post date 12.01.06 | Issue date 12.11.06

Lebanon is locked in a battle over its political future, and it's clear which faction has the upper hand and which is demoralized. On one side is a powerful alliance of Shia and Christians, including the Shia militia Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran. On the other is the fragile government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora--representing Sunnis, Christians, and Druze--backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Emboldened by this summer's war with Israel, Hezbollah is demanding a bigger share of Lebanon's Cabinet posts, which would effectively hand it control of the government. Disheartened by rumors out of Washington that the Baker Commission will recommend détente with Damascus to fix Iraq and by Hezbollah's swelling postwar prestige, anti-Syrian partisans like Asfour are divided, defensive, and terrified of being sold out by their protector--the United States.

Former IDF intelligence chief: War is more likely if Siniora quits
By Akiva Eldar Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service 12-3-06

“…former chief of Israel Defense Forces Army Intelligence Corps, Major General (res.) Aharon Ze'evi Farkash….told Army Radio Sunday that Israel should not intervene in the political crisis in Beirut. "It is Europe's responsibility to prevent radical elements from overtaking [Lebanon], elements that try to turn it into an Iranian outpost," he said.

Israel: Hizbullah coup could oust UNIFIL
By Yaakov Katz Jerusalem Post Nov. 30, 2006

Israeli defense officials expressed extreme concern Thursday over Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's call for a massive protest Friday to bring down the Lebanese government, warning that UNIFIL might be expelled from Lebanon if Prime Minister Fuad Saniora were forced to leave office.

Nasrallah-Siniora showdown / Who will blink first in Lebanon?
By Zvi Bar’el Haaretz Dec 2, 2006

“…it seems that Nasrallah will not pass up a show of force, something he has been planning for weeks and which was postponed following the assassination of Pierre Gemayel. The government of Lebanon is preparing for such an eventuality, with roads in the outskirts of Beirut being closed by the army in an effort to prevent Hezbollah supporters from the countryside entering the city and moving toward the main squares.

Siniora: Lebanese democracy is in danger
Associated Press Yediot Aharonot 11-30-06

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says Lebanese democracy in danger after Hizbullah's call for people to 'take to streets' against gov't. Siniora to Lebanese people: Now is time to stand by your gov't

Neighborhood Watch

A Perfect Failure
The Iraq Study Group
has reached a consensus.

by Robert Kagan & William Kristol The Weekly Standard 12/11/2006, Volume 012, Issue 13

In the frenzied final week of the Iraq Study Group's deliberations, co-chairmen James Baker and Lee Hamilton took time out to pose for a photo spread for a fashion magazine, Men's Vogue. This might seem a dubious decision given the gravity of the moment and their self-appointed roles as the nation's saviors. The "wise men" who counseled Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam and the members of the Kissinger Commission who tried to reshape Ronald Reagan's Central American policies did not sit for Annie Leibovitz in the middle of their endeavors. Nor did they hire a mega-public relations firm to sell their recommendations (supposedly intended for the president) to the public at large, as Baker and Hamilton have done.

Al-Qaeda threatens to kill Jordan's King Abdullah
Yediot Aharonot 12-1-06

A statement posted on the group's website read: "We say to Abdullah, who is deserving of death: Be patient. Soon you will know the same fate as your great-grandfather, the traitor."

Saudis working to curb Iranian influence
By Associated Press Jerusalem Post Dec. 3, 2006 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

Worried by Iran's deepening involvement in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia has been working quietly to curtail the Shi'ite nation's influence and prevent the marginalization of Sunni Muslims in the region's hotspots. … Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the region, has been putting its economic and diplomatic weight behind groups in direct confrontation with factions backed by Iran in every major conflict zone in the region, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Report: PM to meet high-ranking Saudis soon in new peace bid
By Haaretz Service 12-3-06

"According to senior Israeli sources, Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, will soon meet high-ranking Saudi officials to explore the formation of a group of moderate Arab countries to negotiate with Tel Aviv over the future of the Middle East," the Times reported Sunday, in a dispatch from Tel Aviv.

Rumsfeld Memo on Iraq Proposed ‘Major’ Change
By Michael R. Gordon and David S. Cloud New York Times Published: December 3, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 — Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that acknowledged that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction. “In my view it is time for a major adjustment,” wrote Mr. Rumsfeld, “Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.”

These collections of news stories
are not just for the sake of information, opinion or commentary
but rather are meant to help Christians and Messianic Jews pray more effectively

for the things that God has declared He is going to do.

You might say, "What does all this have to do with Israel? I just want to pray for Israel!"
Think of it this way, Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom
was going to be preached in every nation of the world--including the nations
surrounding and hostile to Israel that are now held in the grip of Islam.

If the gospel is going to be given the freedom to be preached in Israel's neighborhood,
then the militant fanaticism of Islam has to be broken.

How did the Berlin Wall come down?
God was quietly undermining the hold of Communism throughout the U.S.S.R.
and behind the Iron Curtain. Suddenly the Wall came down, just as the walls of Jericho,
but Western nations had to stand in opposition until God visibly brought down
the Communism that kept the gospel locked out of those nations.
The Fall of Islam will be similar.

There is a relationship to the commitment of Western nations to stand
for liberty and freedom, and the fall of both secular and religious "isms"
that have closed the doors of their nations against the gospel.
God is bringing those down walls that stand against the sure promises of
the Word being fulfilled--such as the word that says, "men from every tribe and tongue and
people and nation" will be "purchased for God with Your Blood."

There is yet to come great harvest of souls by the Blood of Jesus in every nation
--just as there already has begun in the nations of the former Soviet Union
and behind the Iron Curtain. The wall of Islam will see a similar breakdown
that will open the Middle East to the gospel of the kingdom of God.
The civil wars and conflict currently broiling in the region
do not spell Israel's demise, but Islam's demise!

It is as Francis Frangipane recently said,
“In all the predictions about Israel, one major prophetic reality seems
almost always to be ignored:
the gospel of the kingdom still
must be proclaimed as a witness to all nations, 'and then the end shall come.'

In other words, God's focus is still on reaching the nations,
even the Muslim world (and also the Hindu and Buddhist worlds).

We still have a job to do in that arena, as none of the nations in the
Middle East have known a true and significant outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Until that happens -- and until the fullness of the gentiles comes in --
these other events concerning Israel
and the end sit upon a stage yet to be revealed.

We may have wars in the Middle East, and while our prayers for Israel
remain steadfast, our eyes should still be looking for the harvest.”

“The men of Issachar…had understanding of the times,
with knowledge of what Israel should do ….”

God gives us a great blessing in that we don't have to have all the facts in order
to pray, but that does not negate praying with understanding
as the men of Issachar did.
Yes! We pray in the Spirit, but we also pray with understanding.
This launch to relevant weekly news stories significant to Israel
will help you gain greater effectiveness in praying for Israel.

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We seek to digest the facts, spit out as much rhetoric, bias and prejudice
as possible, then position ourselves before God to pray as He leads.
This will produce effective Issachar prayer warriors for Israel..
–Donna Diorio

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Donna Diorio, Israel Prayer Ministry
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