After protests from 25 January, 2011, Egyptian President Mubarak resigned on  February 11th and handed power to the  army. On 2 June, 2012, Mubarak was sentenced to  life in prison and 28 days later on 30 June 2012,  Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood  was sworn in as President. His Government was  seen as focusing more on bringing Islamic purity and Sharia law to Egypt than in addressing its  fundamental economic problems.

Sunday, 30 June, 2013, marked the first anniversary  of the Morsi Regime but it proved to be  a fatal day for the administration of Mohammad  Morsi. Huge crowds of protesters took to the streets.  The number of people involved is estimated at 14  million. The Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in  Cairo was ransacked and torched. Morsi’s initial  defiance of the protesters proved fruitless. On the 4th of July, the Egyptian army deposed President  Morsi, suspended the Islamist Constitution and  swore in Constitutional Judge, Adly Mansour, as interim President.

Egypt is in a political crisis no doubt, but the  country of near 90 million people is in a social and  economic crisis as well. The American University of  Cairo estimates the jobless rate for the 15–29 age group  to be 60%. The country has financial reserves  estimated to cover only the next three months.  Bread is subsidised for the nation’s poor at 1 cent per loaf, and fuel too is heavily subsidised. Egypt  cannot afford these subsidies, but cannot afford not  to continue them either. Her population is increasing  at a rapid pace, but the country has nowhere near enough arable land to feed its people and few  resources to provide the wherewithal to import the  food it needs. The Morsi government, in fact, had  taken a huge gamble in slashing food imports and relying on a big domestic wheat crop this year of 9.5  million tonnes. But the US estimates that the outcome  is more likely to be about 8.7 million tonnes  while other forecasters estimate around 6–7 million  tonnes, a disastrous outcome if it proves true.

The Nile River provides almost all of Egypt’s  water and always has but the headwaters of the Nile  have their origins in the mountains of Ethiopia.  Back in 1929, Britain, the then Colonial power, and Egypt signed an agreement giving Egypt veto  powers over upstream diversion of the Nile for  irrigation, or hydro-electric works. Ethiopia, from  within whose borders 85% of the flow of the River  Nile originates, was not a party to this agreement  and repudiates it. Ethiopia has commenced works on a huge dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, on the Blue Nile. Substantial funding for the dam is being provided by the People’s Republic of China.

97% of the population of Egypt live along the  Nile or in the Nile Delta; a reduction in flow from  the Nile would be disastrous. A recent article in the Guardian newspaper declared: “For Ethiopia, the  dam promises abundant energy and an escape from  a seemingly permanent spot in the lowest rungs  of the world’s human development index, but for  Egypt, the consequences could be dire, a nationwide  water shortage in as little as two years that causes  crop failures, power cuts and instability resonating  far beyond even the tumult of the recent past.”

Egypt may be in no position to do anything  about Ethiopia’s plans. The military has been sabre rattling, suggesting an air attack on the dam. Better  to die fighting than to die of thirst is the view of  some. But it is doubtful that Egypt could carry  out a successful attack on a target so far from its  borders. Ethiopia has said it intends to use the dam for electricity generation both for itself and nearby  African countries. It has even offered to sell some  of the electricity generated to Egypt. But while the  vast dam is being filled, a process that could take  two to six years, water flow to Egypt will be reduced.

The prophet Ezekiel spoke of the desolation of  Egypt at the hands of the Babylonians in Ezekiel  29. Perhaps there is also some latter day application,  with the upstream dam on the Nile playing a part:  “And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because  he hath said, the river (Nile) is mine, and I have  made it. Behold, therefore I am against thee, and  against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt  utterly waste and desolate…” (Ezek 29:9–10).

Egypt is notably absent from the list of countries  allied to the northern confederacy of Ezekiel 38 and  Daniel tells us that at the time when “the king of the  north … shall enter into the glorious land (Israel)  … and the land of Egypt shall not escape” (Dan  11:40–42). Egypt currently has a treaty with Israel  that neither Morsi, nor the military have abrogated.  Her supplier of military equipment and financier is  the United States, together with the Saudis and the  Gulf States. It would seem that these connections  will stick, despite the current turmoil. Let us watch  the region carefully through the days ahead.

SCOTUS versus DOMA

America loves acronyms. SCOTUS (The Supreme  Court of the United States) has just rendered a decision  to set aside DOMA (The Defence of Marriage  Act). It has declared that all the provisions of federal  law providing benefits to married couples must now  be applied equally to homosexual “couples” who  have “married” in those states which have legalised  such “marriages”. Further, it confirmed the overthrow  of Proposition 8 for the State of California.  This was a California ballot proposition which  passed in 2008, which provided that “only marriage  between a man and a woman is valid or recognized  in California”. This Provision was struck down by  a homosexual judge, and last month his action was  ratified by the US Supreme Court. So the will of  the people apparently does not prevail.

California has gone a long way down the slippery  slope where evil is called good and good, evil. Some  public school districts celebrate Harvey Milk Day.  Harvey Milk, a so-called gay rights activist, was the  first openly homosexual person to achieve public office  in California. He was killed in 1979. Some allege he  was not only an activist but a predator. California law  mandates that as textbooks are updated “gay history”  must be included. In public schools, homosexuality  must be accepted as a lifestyle and behaviour as equally  valid to standard marital relationships between a man  and a woman. Every aspect of life must be opened up  and be as equally accessible to homosexual “couples” as  to normal male/female married couples. So adoption  of children by such must be accepted.

A program on ABC North Queensland in July,  2010, gave an idyllic portrait of “normal” family  life between two men and their adopted 5 year old  “son”. The program heading was: “Two dads are  better than one” but the appalling reality of the  life of that little boy, whose abuse by his “dads” and  others had been going on long before the deluded  reporter painted her happy picture of this “family”,  has now been fully exposed in all its horror. Both  men have received prison sentences in the US of  up to 40 years for abuse of this child which commenced  shortly after he was born and continued for  6 years around the world and involved members of  an international paedophile network.

Now it is true that by no means all homosexuals  are paedophiles, but this report highlights the  terrible dangers of a deluded western liberalism  under which “equality” now seems to mean, anything  goes. Paul declared: “Know ye not that the  unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators,  nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of  themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous,  nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall  inherit the kingdom of God” (1Cor 6:9–10). We  ought not to focus only on one category of sin, but  it remains true that not too many classes of sinners  deny that their behaviour is sin, demand that it be  publicly accepted as legitimate, and are successful  in receiving wide acceptance in our communities.

We will surely find that the impact of this  lifestyle will more and more be imposed upon us  in schools, in commerce, in our nursing homes,  indeed in every aspect of life and we will be seen as  bigoted and unreasonable in opposing its acceptance  into mainstream “ordinary” life, and will be treated  with hostility on this account. There is a growing  irritation and hostility in the Western media and  political circles against Christian belief and practice,  and we will be included in that hostility. Much of  “Christianity” has already run up the white flag. We  will find our tolerant society will tolerate anything  at all, except those that do not “go along” with their  “inclusive” ideals.

Israel, illegal immigrants, gas supplies etc

A number of countries including our own have  problems with illegal immigrants who just cross the  border and turn up. What to do? Israel of recent  times has had problems with thousands of Africans who transit Egypt, the Sinai desert and cross the  border into Israel. Apparently they have not sought  refuge in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria etc.  Funnily enough, they are headed for a country  that works, that can feed itself, that is free, that is  democratic and prosperous. Only one country in  the Middle East even comes close to meeting that  definition.

An article in Arutz Sheva noted: “While 9,570  citizens of various African countries entered Israel  illegally in the first half of 2012, only 34 did the  same in the first six months of 2013 – a decrease  of over 99%. Multiple developments have been  credited for the dramatic change. One is the new  security fence which covers the 230 kilometres of  border between Israel and Egypt. Another is a law  which went into effect in June 2012 under which  illegal entrants to Israel who do not have refugee  status are arrested.”

Israel is concerned about events on its borders  with Syria and Lebanon in particular, but is increasingly  prosperous and confident in its own strength.  When it has a problem, such as illegal immigrants,  it takes decisive action. It now has its energy needs  covered for decades from its new gas fields off the  Mediterranean coast. Prime Minister Netanyahu  has reserved at least 50% of production for Israel  itself. This has caused some dismay to potential operators,  who had done their sums based on a larger  export market. Australia’s Woodside now has said  it needs to reconsider its position on an investment  to secure a 30% stake in the venture. Woodside had  earmarked substantial export tonnages for shipment  to China, but must now rework all its projections  in the light of Netanyahu’s decision.

Israeli inventions, brain power and production  facilities are now central, perhaps even essential to  the world’s computer facilities. With its wealth, including  now petrochemicals and its “Silicon Valley”  profile, Israel is more and more fitting the profile  of a “spoil and a prey”.

Iran

Presidential elections in Iran have seen the election  of Hassan Rowhani as President and the departure  of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Already, in the endlessly  gullible West, he is being proclaimed as a  “moderate”. Rowhani was a member of the revolution;  he is a conservative and part of the Regime.  Policy will continue to be set by Khamenei and the  Revolutionary Guard. But the presence of a “moderate”  at the centre of power will disarm the West  and let Iran continue on its course. The centrifuges  will keep spinning to produce fissile material. Some  reports suggest Iran will have enough material for  1 nuclear bomb within a couple of months with  more to follow.

Western sanctions are costly and hurting Iran’s  economy, but the Regime is prepared to bear the  pain because of the huge leverage having nuclear  weapons will provide. The West does not understand  this level of focus as religious commitment is now a  mystery to Western leaders. Russia now refers contemptuously  to the US as Sodom and Gomorrah.  Putin considers Russia a Christian country, but not  the US. He mocks Obama for supporting the rebels  in Syria, who butcher and behead the Christians  who were protected by Assad. Putin let Obama’s  Secretary of State, John Kerry, cool his heels in the  corridor for three hours before deigning to meet  with him. Obama talks grandly about relinquishing  America’s nuclear weapons, while Russia forges  ahead with the modernisation of its military.

So in the Middle Eastern arena, Iran draws  closer and closer to having nuclear weapons, with  the clear intention of mounting them on ballistic  missiles. Internal conflict continues in Turkey,  Egypt is in turmoil, the Syrian civil war continues  creating havoc for her people, and a massive refugee  problem for the surrounding states such as Jordan.  American “policy” is treated with contempt by  Russia, and with a fearful trepidation by Israel. If  we wondered about the tepid response from the  Tarshish powers to the invasion of the Northern  confederation (Ezek 38:13), we have no grounds  to wonder any more. Obama was not proud of  America’s former status as “the world’s only superpower”,  he was plainly embarrassed and determined  to change that. And he has.

The sea and the waves are roaring; perilous  times have come. Blessed is he that watcheth and  keepeth his garments.