I can't link this as it was sent to us in an email. But for those who doubt the biblical end-time scenarios, please read the following and then read Isaiah 17, Amos 1:3-5 and Zechariah 9:1-5, 13-14 and chapter 11:1-3: The Sunday Times September 03, 2006 Israel plans for war with Iran and Syria Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv, and Sarah Baxter, New York THREATENED by a potentially nuclear-armed Tehran, Israel is preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to Israeli political and military sources. The conflict with Hezbollah has led to a strategic rethink in Israel. A key conclusion is that too much attention has been paid to Palestinian militants in Gaza and the West Bank instead of the two biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the region, who pose a far greater danger to Israel's existence, defence insiders say. "The challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli defence agenda, higher than the Palestinian one," said an Israeli defence source. Shortly before the war in Lebanon Major-General Eliezer Shkedi, the commander of the air force, was placed in charge of the "Iranian front", a new position in the Israeli Defence Forces. His job will be to command any future strikes on Iran and Syria. The Israeli defence establishment believes that Iran's pursuit of a nuclear programme means war is likely to become unavoidable. "In the past we prepared for a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities," said one insider, "but Iran's growing confidence after the war in Lebanon means we have to prepare for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an important player." A new infantry brigade has been formed named Kfir (lion cub), which will be the largest in the Israeli army. "It is a partial solution for the challenge of the Syrian commando brigades, which are considered better than Hezbollah's," a military source said. There has been grave concern in Israel over a military pact signed in Tehran on June 15 between Iran and Syria, which the Iranian defence minister described as a "mutual front against Israeli threats". Israel has not had to fight against more than one army since 1973. During the war in Lebanon, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, the Iranian founder of Hezbollah, warned: "If the Americans attack Iran, Iran will attack Tel Aviv with missiles." According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, both Iran and Syria have ballistic missiles that can cover most of Israel, including Tel Aviv. An emergency budget has now been assigned to building modern shelters. "The ineptness of the Israeli Defence Forces against Hezbollah has raised the Iranians' confidence," said a leading defence analyst. In Washington, the military hawks believe that an airstrike against Iranian nuclear bunkers remains a more straightforward, if risky, operation than chasing Hezbollah fighters and their mobile rocket launchers in Lebanon. "Fixed targets are hopelessly vulnerable to precision bombing, and with stealth bombers even a robust air defence system doesn't make much difference," said Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative. The option of an eventual attack remains on the table after President George Bush warned on Friday that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. While the American State Department favours engaging with President Bashar Assad of Syria in the hope of detaching him from the Iranian alliance, hawks believe Israel missed a golden opportunity to strike at Syria during the Hezbollah conflict. "If they had acted against Syria during this last kerfuffle, the war might have ended more quickly and better," Perle added. "Syrian military installations are sitting ducks and the Syrian air force could have been destroyed on the ground in a couple of days." Assad set off alarm bells in Israel when he said during the war in Lebanon: "If we do not obtain the occupied Golan Heights by peaceful means, the resistance option is there." During the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Syrian army briefly captured the Israeli strategic post on top of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights. Some Israeli analysts believe Syria will try again to take this post, which overlooks the Syrian capital, Damascus. As a result of the change in the defence priorities, the budget for the Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza is to be reduced. The Israelis are integrating three elite brigades that performed well during the Lebanon war under one headquarters, so they can work together on deep cross-border operations in Iran and Syria. Advocates of political engagement believe a war with Syria could unleash Islamic fundamentalist terror in what has hitherto been a stable dictatorship. Some voices in the Pentagon are not impressed by that argument. "If Syria spirals into chaos, at least they'll be taking on each other rather than heading for Jerusalem," said one insider. 'Hezbollah is arming Gaza for a new war on Israel', says Israel's spy chief By Michael Hirst and Clancy Chassay (Filed: 03/09/2006) Israel's spy chief has given a warning that Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are garnering increasing numbers of weapons and tactical expertise from Hezbollah fighters since the war in southern Lebanon erupted earlier this summer. Yuval Diskin, the director of Shin Bet, Israel's equivalent of MI5, said Egypt's Sinai Peninsula was being used as a terrorist base and fast becoming a haven for arms smugglers preparing to shift their wares into the Gaza Strip. He added that within Gaza terrorists were building rocket hideouts, a bunker network and an anti-tank missile arsenal as they prepared for an escalated confrontation with Israel. "If we don't move to counter this smuggling, it will continue and create a situation in Gaza similar to the one in southern Lebanon," he said at a private meeting with Israeli MPs last week. He told members of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee that Hamas had set out to emulate Hezbollah's tactics in Lebanon, building tunnels and bunkers to help to smuggle weapons and militants across the border from Egypt, since Israel withdrew from Gaza last year. The border is now controlled by the Palestinians and Egypt, with the help of European monitors. According to accounts of the meeting by MPs who were present, Mr Diskin painted a bleak picture of the growing arsenal of weapons being assembled in Gaza, with Hezbollah's help, for use against Israel. In addition to Katyusha rockets with a 10-mile range, dozens of anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, 15 tons of explosives, 15,000 guns and four million rounds of ammunition had been smuggled across the Egyptian border through a network of around 20 tunnels, Mr Diskin said. The only weapons that could not be smuggled in this manner, he added, were tanks and aircraft. The Shin Bet director's appearance at a behind-closed-doors meeting with MPs last week was his first as spokesman for a new intelligence advisory body, which encompasses Israel's military intelligence department and its overseas spying agency, Mossad, as well as Shin Bet. Gaza has come under sustained, and, at times, intense, military pressure from Israel since Palestinian militants snatched an Israeli soldier in late June. More than 270 air strikes, numerous ground raids and days of incessant artillery fire have caused damage of almost £20 million, according to UN estimates. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and several hundred more wounded in the strikes. Electricity and water supplies are dangerously low, while the cancellation of subsidies from the European Union and the United States, in addition to payments from Israel to the Palestinian Authority, have brought the economy to its knees. Any business activity that has continued has been hampered by the growing number of Israeli checkpoints, barriers and controls. All this has forced 80 per cent of Gazans into poverty - earning less than £1 a day. Even as the international community pledged almost £300 million in aid to the Palestinians at a donors' conference in Stockholm on Friday, Israeli military sources remain convinced that the Palestinian threat to Israel is as a great as Hezbollah's was in Lebanon, and is fast becoming more acute. They suspect Hezbollah has taken a tactical decision to scale down its operations in southern Lebanon, focussing instead on new anti-Israel fronts in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. Mr Diskin added that law and order was in rapid decline throughout Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in the West Bank, where Hezbollah was becoming a greater threat than even Fatah and Hamas. The connection between the two organisations has been strong since 1992, when 400 Hamas members were exiled from Israel to Lebanon where they were significantly influenced, both politically and militarily, by Hezbollah. A number of those Hamas leaders are still based in Lebanon. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph earlier this summer, Galeb Abu Zeinab, a senior Hezbollah politburo member, said of his party's relationship with Hamas: "The co-operation with Hamas is the best kind of co-operation. We always consult with each other and share experiences. Hezbollah tries to support Hamas is any way it can." Alistair Crooke, a retired MI6 officer who spent several years during the early 1990s trying to engage Hamas and Hezbollah in dialogue with the EU, agreed with this appraisal. "Hamas and Hezbollah are going to concert their policy towards the Palestinians in close co-operation with each other," he said. Israeli military analysts believe that the number of weapons being delivered to the Gaza Strip has doubled since the war ended.