The Daily Brief: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 (Short form)
After months of speculation and delay, President Donald Trump has sided with the expert advice of his military and national security team on the way forward to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
In what was by far his best and most statesmanlike speech since taking office, Trump outlined a new approach Monday night to the ongoing war in Afghanistan: a laser-like focus on counterterrorism, jettisoning the quixotic nation-building rhetoric of the past, helping the Afghans defeat the Taliban insurgency (not doing it for them), lifting onerous restrictions placed by the Obama administration on the way the military conducts warfighting, and pressuring Pakistan and its support for certain elements of the Taliban. Crucially, Trump made clear that under his watch, progress in Afghanistan will be measured by conditions on the ground and not by a politically driven and artificial timeline-a major departure from President Barack Obama.
What Trump outlined in his speech tonight was a reasonable, realistic, and responsible strategy to ensure America achieves "an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made" in Afghanistan. (Read more)
- Father, we pray President Trump will continue to seek You first in all matters of war and peace. We pray Godly advice will flow through his counselors and military advisors.
- For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 24:6)
2. Trump: 'We Cannot Remain a Force for Peace in the World If We Are Not at Peace With Each Other' - CNS News
"Was with great people last night in Fort Myer, Virginia. The future of our country is strong!" President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, the day after he discussed his Afghanistan strategy in a prime-time speech. But before he laid out his strategy, the president delivered a message to "all Americans" about unification, healing and remaining one nation under God.
"The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other," the president said. (Read more)
- Father, belief in You is the glue that holds our nation together. We pray You would bless our nation with another Great Awakening and bring us together again as "One nation, under God, indivisible".
- He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)
3. Trump to Pakistan: 'No Partnership Can Survive a Country's Harboring of Militants and Terrorists Who Target US' - CNS News
President Trump put Pakistan on notice Monday, accusing America's often most troubling ally of giving "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror " and warning that it was time for it "to demonstrate its commitment to to civilization, order and peace. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," Trump said from Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Virginia, outlying his plan for a path ahead in the nation's longest war. He said Pakistan had much to gain by partnering with the U.S. in Afghanistan - and "much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists."
Trump acknowledged the Pakistani people's suffering at the hands of terrorists, but said that at the same time the country has "sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he continued. "But that will have to change - and that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It's time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace." (Read more)
- Father, we pray the nation of Pakistan will heed this demand to actively remove militants and terrorists from its borders. More than that, we pray for the people of Pakistan to experience Your light and love, delivering them from spiritual darkness.
- The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land. (Proverbs 10:30)
4. US Demands Millions Of Dollars From Companies Caught Laundering Money For North Korea - Daily Caller
The U.S. has accused two foreign companies of laundering money for the North Korean regime, according to a report from the Department of Justice. The U.S. filed complaints against China-based Dandong Chengtai Trading Co. Ltd. and Singapore-based Velmur Management Pte Ltd. for acting as financial facilitators for North Korea. Representing the largest seizure of North Korean funds by the Department of Justice, the U.S. is demanding $11 million from the two companies.
"These complaints show our determination to stop North Korean sanctioned banks and their foreign financial facilitators from aiding North Korea in illegally accessing the United States financial system to obtain goods and services in the global market place," U.S. attorney Channing D. Phillips, "According to the complaints, these front companies are supporting sanctioned North Korean entities, including North Korean military and North Korean weapons programs. Working with our law enforcement partners, we will vigorously enforce vital sanctions laws," he added. (Read more)
- Father, we pray pressure on these companies will help us reach our goal of de-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Give our investigators wisdom and insight to find other ways North Korea is avoiding sanctions.
- I will remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. (Hosea 2:18b)
5. Navy Does Not Rule Out Intentional Act in Latest Warship Collision - Washington Free Beacon
The Navy has not ruled out an intentional action behind the latest deadly collision between a Navy destroyer and a merchant ship, the chief of naval operations told reporters Monday. "That's is certainly something we are giving full consideration to but we have no indication that that's the case-yet," Adm. John Richardson, the CNO, said at the Pentagon. "But we're looking at every possibility, so we're not leaving anything to chance," he said.
Asked if that includes the possibility the electronic defenses on the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain were hacked in a cyber attack, Richardson said investigators will look into all possible causes. "We'll take a look at all of that, as we did with the Fitzgerald," the four-star admiral said, referring to another Navy warship collision with a merchant ship in June near Japan. The McCain collided with the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Alnic MC in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore late Sunday, injuring five sailors and leaving 10 sailors missing. (Read more)
- Father, we pray for professionalism and order within our Navy. Help the investigators reveal the true cause of this collision and we pray there will be no other incidents.
- Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. (Proverbs 2:11)
6. Over 160,000 Sign White House Petition Demanding Antifa Be Labeled a Terrorist Group - Christian Post
More than 160,000 people have signed a petition on the White House petition website calling for the federal government to officially designate the activist group Antifa as a terrorist organization. "AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States," reads the petition. "It is time for the Pentagon to be consistent in its actions - and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group - on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety."
If a petition on the site "We the People," which was created during the previous administration, gets at least 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the White House promises an official response. The Antifa petition was posted on Aug. 17 and has received approximately 162,000 signatures as of Monday morning. (Read more)
- Father, we pray public pressure will force the recognition that Antifa is actually a terrorist organization, using terrorist methods to forward their agenda.
- Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet. (Psalm 140:4)
7. Soros-Backed Activists Plan To Steal Trump's Show In Phoenix - Daily Caller
Leading anti-Trump activists backed by major Democratic donors including George Soros are mobilizing large numbers of protesters ahead of President Trump's rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, with the intention of stealing the spotlight from the president's event. Local leaders of Indivisible, one of many "resistance" protest groups formed as a direct response to Trump's election, are organizing thousands of protesters associated with a coalition of left-wing groups ahead of Tuesday's event. In addition to organizing mass protests outside the rally, Indivisible is encouraging protesters to register for tickets for the rally itself, increasing the likelihood that protesters will disrupt Trump's speech, as often happens at Trump's rallies.
Although originally founded by activists not backed by donors, Indivisible's website now states that the group "is a project of the Advocacy Fund," a progressive advocacy group that receives money from the Open Society Policy Center, an arm of Soros' Open Society Foundations. That revelation follows USA Today's reporting in May that leaders of Indivisible and Women's March met with Democracy Alliance, a Soros-led network of left-wing donors, to discuss funding options. (Read more)
- Father, we pray these left-wing activists will only succeed in showing the nation how ugly, violent and intolerant their movement really is.
- Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord; do not let their plans succeed. (Psalm 140:8)
8. Rooting Against America: Activists Plan To Make America's Leaders Lose 'International Legitimacy' - Daily Caller
Leading anti-Trump activists backed by major leftist donors are actively working with one task in mind: undermining the credibility of America's leaders and creating a "political crisis" that forces President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from office. Presentations from the group's training conferences this weekend reveal the activists plan to impede the "ability to govern" of "those in power" and make America's leaders "lose respect and legitimacy in the eyes of people here and internationally." The group emphasizes that costing America's leaders "international legitimacy" is key because it "is a very critical calculation for the rulers of this country."
Refuse Fascism is a far-left protest group that was launched in the aftermath of Trump's election with the stated purpose of driving Trump and Pence out of the White House. As reported by TheDC's Chuck Ross, the group is financially backed by a progressive nonprofit that in turn is well-funded by George Soros, a major labor union and several other large companies. Refuse Fascism has led mass demonstrations around the country and played a central role in organizing the violent Berkeley riots. For months, Refuse Fascism has been planning massive, nationwide demonstrations for November 4. According to the group's statements, the protests are part of their long-term strategy of creating a "political crisis" resulting in both Trump and Pence being forced from their elected offices. (RELATED: In Their Own Words: Anti-Trump 'Resistance' Leaders Say They Want To Make America 'Ungovernable')
- Father, this movement is literally treasonous! We pray for President Trump and Vice President Pence to be protected by Your power. Help them be strong and courageous as they face these enemies within.
- Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle.
9. PayPal Bans Conservative Sites After Soros-Funded Group Attacks Them - Daily Caller
PayPal banned Jihad Watch and the American Freedom Defense Initiative from receiving online donations using their platform because of the site's "activities" after being designated as "hate sites" by left-wing groups. Jihad Watch was reportedly banned from PayPal on Saturday after ProPublica - a George Soros funded investigative group - targeted the site and its director Robert Spencer (not to be confused with white nationalist Richard Spencer) in a hit piece that claimed the site was guilty of "extreme hostility toward Muslims."
The assault on Jihad Watch began on Friday when Spencer received an email that he described as a "threatening" from ProPublica journalist Lauren Kirchner. The email informed Spencer that she was including his site among a list of hate sites identified as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) - both widely considered to be left-leaning organizations. The purpose of the hit piece published by ProPublica was clear: put pressure on tech companies that offer their platforms to sites that it deems as "hate sites."(Read more)
- Father, we pray You would bring correction to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We pray Jihad Watch and AFDI's reputations and ability to take payments will be restored.
- Don't let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent. But I know the Lord will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor. (Psalm 140:11-12)
10. 24 million people impacted by monsoon flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh - AccuWeather
The worst flooding in more than a decade across parts of Nepal, India and Bangladesh has impacted at least 24 million people. More than 800 people have lost their lives across the three countries since the beginning of the monsoon season on June 1, according to The Guardian. The death toll and numbers of those impacted are rising as flood waters recede and reveal the full extent of the destruction. However, additional downpours will threaten more lives and property as the monsoon continues.
While conditions are currently slowly improving across Nepal, northeastern India and Bangladesh, scattered monsoon downpours are expected through midweek which could result in additional isolated flooding.
"However, the flood danger will once again heighten from Friday into Saturday across northern Myanmar and northeastern India as Hato arrives from southeastern China," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "While Hato will no longer be a typhoon but will still have plenty of moisture and capable of unleashing downpours that may trigger new or aggravate ongoing flooding," she said. It will not take much rainfall to ignite more flooding and mudslides in northeastern India. (Read more)
- Father, we pray for the peoples of Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and China to seek Your help as they cope with these devastating floods. We pray for their salvation, that each one would come to know You as Lord and Savior.
- The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. (Psalm 29:10)
11. Israeli Delegation Reportedly Fails to Secure US Guarantees on Syria - Breaking Israel News
Israeli government officials have expressed "grave concern" after a high-level defense delegation from the Jewish state met with U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., last week and failed to secure commitments regarding the situation in Syria and Lebanon. The delegation, headed by Mossad intelligence agency Director Yossi Cohen, reportedly met with U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, President Donald Trump's international negotiations representative Jason Greenblatt and others.
Israeli intelligence officials said they presented the U.S. officials with "sensitive, credible and highly disturbing intelligence information" detailing Iran's expanding military presence in Syria, including documents and photographs, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The U.S. officials, however, purportedly did not commit to preventing the spread of Iranian influence in Syria. Delegation members noted "a kind of embarrassment and lack of a clear position" among Trump administration officials regarding America's commitments in Syria and the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Russia's President Vladimir Putin Aug. 23 in the Russian resort town of Sochi to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East. The issue of Iran's military presence in Syria is reportedly high on the agenda for the upcoming meeting. (Read more)
- Abba, we thank You that Israeli intelligence officials have credible information ahead of any plans of the enemy. We ask that You would bring a stop to the furthering of Iranian military presence in Syria. We ask for Your mighty hand of protection over Israel and its borders. And, Father, we lift up our US officials that were told of this issue. We pray that You would convict their hearts and give them a boldness to stand in firm support of Israel. We ask that You keep their minds and hearts clear of the voice of the enemy. We ask these things in the name of Yeshua, amen.
- "Trust in Hashem with all your heart, And do not rely on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 (The Israel Bible)