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Feb 15

Turkey’s Erdogan in the Shadows of the Ottoman Empire

February 1, 2018

Through his efforts to implement a police state and restore the Ottoman Empire, President Erdogan of Turkey has squandered his once-strong position as a regional leader, argues Alon Ben-Meir.

By Alon Ben-Meir

It is difficult to fathom why Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who embarked on the most impressive social, political, and economic reforms during his first ten years in office – turned around and systematically destroyed all that he had achieved. In doing so, he transformed the country into a police state where Islamic nationalism reigns supreme.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 20, 2016. declares a state of emergency for three months with the goal of eliminating his internal enemies. (Turkish government photo)

It is no secret that Erdogan is an ambitious man who aspires to become the leader of the Sunni Muslim world and dreams of restoring the “glory” of the Ottoman Empire. He is sparing no efforts to extend Turkey’s wings over countries that he can manipulate and exploit in the Middle East and the Caucasus. Even a cursory review of his actions at home and abroad unmistakably shows that there is a pattern to his madness to resurrect not only images but the influence of the vanished Ottoman Empire that died disgracefully in the wake of World War I.

The Ottoman Empire will always be remembered by its last infamous chapter—the genocide of the Armenian people. Thus, when Erdogan recounts the presumed splendor of the Ottoman era, it should have a chilling effect on any country with which Erdogan seeks active bilateral relations, because there are always sinister intentions behind his overtures.

To expand his regional influence, Erdogan has followed the footprint of the Ottomans by first taking extraordinary coercive measures to consolidate his absolute powers at home. Following the July 2016 failed military coup, he ruthlessly cracked down on his real and perceived political adversaries, including anyone suspected of having an affiliation with his arch enemy Fethullah Gülen, whom he accused of being behind the coup.

Erdogan took control over the civilian and government institutions by repeatedly extending the state emergency laws. Instead of continuing to promote freedoms and human rights to encourage creativity and competitiveness, he is choking the Turkish people’s natural resourcefulness and ability to excel.

With little or no opposition at home, Erdogan moved to promote his Ottoman penchant to establish military bases in Qatar and Somalia, and military ties with Tunisia. Now he is scheming to build another military installation on the strategically located Sudanese Island of Suakin. Erdogan intends to utilize the island as a military outpost, as it had been during the Ottoman era.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia believe that Erdogan’s military adventure will upset the regional balance of power, which is the recipe for instability and incessant violence. Thus, instead of alleviating the plight of the nearly 20 million Turks under the poverty line, Erdogan is spending billions on his foreign exploits. To seize on the chaotic conditions in Syria, Erdogan decided to undertake a military offensive to crush the Syrian Democratic Force (YPG), which he accuses of being supportive of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), against whom he has been fighting a war of insurgency for 34 years.

Although he asserts that his purpose is the elimination of all terrorist elements to protect his people, his real objective is to establish a permanent foot-hold in Syria, which was ruled by the Ottomans.  He also aims to maintain the support of his nationalistic constituency, demonstrate that he is independent and free to use his military as he sees fit, and most importantly, to prevent the Syrian Kurds from cementing their autonomous rule.

Hence, instead of solving the conflict with his own Kurdish community, which merely seeks to preserve their culture, he invades Syria under false pretenses to secure his other objectives which are consistent with his Ottoman vision.

In the Balkans, Turkey is systematically entrenching itself by increasing its commercial and cultural presence which is evocative of Ottoman rule. In Albania, Turkey is building the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline through the country to supply gas to Europe, and a Turkish consortium is looking to build the nation’s second airport.

He is also investing in Kosovo’s infrastructure, building its only international airport, and managing the country’s energy. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is assisting the Balkan and Caucasian countries in the fields of industry, agriculture, infrastructure, finance, healthcare, and education.

In addition, Erdogan is blatantly interfering in other neighboring countries – including Afghanistan, Albania, Georgia, and Kosovo – and exerting inordinate pressure on their governments to close all schools affiliated with the Gülen movement. To do this, he is threatening to use his economic and political levers against these countries unless they fire and replace the teachers with others who subscribe to his religious Islamist orientation.

Rather than investing in infrastructure, housing, education, and healthcare in the Southeast (Turkey’s poorest region), he is financing foreign projects aimed at influencing and preserving cultural heritage dating back to the Ottoman Empire, further solidifying Turkey’s regional outreach.

Although theoretically Turkey still seeks membership in the EU, the accession process is basically frozen, and Erdogan certainly prefers to leave it that way because he is not willing to reverse course and reinstate freedom of the press and human rights, conditions on which the EU insists before discussing accession in earnest.

Thus, instead of making Turkey a model of Islamic democracy that meets the principal requirements of the EU, he transformed Turkey into an authoritarian Islamic state that resembles the Ottoman governing style. Turkey’s role in NATO appears to be increasingly waning as Erdogan continues to gravitate toward Russia, which is considered the West’s staunchest adversary. Recently, he reached an agreement with Moscow to buy the S-400 Air Defense System, and to cooperate in building three nuclear plants – though for civilian purposes they could easily be converted to nuclear weapons production.

This development severely erodes Turkey’s reliability as a NATO member and as a Western ally, which renders inexplicable the West’s willingness to tolerate Erdogan’s growing adventurism and autocracy by pointing to Turkey’s geostrategic importance. Instead, punitive action should be considered to stop him from further destabilizing the region because of his ill-fated aspirations to resurrect the Ottoman Empire and satisfy his lust for ever more power.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9023

Feb 15

Iran Unveils Series Of Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles And Threatens To Strike Israel Over Syria Attack

Iranian military leaders bragged the ballistic missile “can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positions and can escape missile defense shields due to their radar-evading capability,” according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.

 

by Geoffrey Grider February 13, 2018

Iran unveiled a series of new homemade nuclear-capable ballistic missiles during military parades held over the weekend, a move that experts view as a bid to bolster the hardline ruling regime as dissidents continue efforts to stir protest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Iran, armed with an ever-increasing battery of missiles and a firm alliance with Russia, is doggedly pursuing a confrontation with Israel. The Iranian drone incursion that triggered a series of Syrian airstrikes over the weekend that resulted in the loss of an Israel f-16 is proof of that. The policies of the Obama administration allowed Iranian technology to advance to the point now where Israel has no choice but to prepare to attack. 

On the heels of an encounter between an Iranian drone and Israeli forces, Iranian leaders showcased their ballistic missile capabilities, which includes a nuclear-capable medium-range missile that appears to share similarities with North Korean technology, according to experts.

The nuclear-capable missile can strike Israel even when fired from Iranian territory, raising concerns about an impending conflict between Tehran and the Jewish state that could further inflame the region.

Iranian military leaders bragged the ballistic missile “can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positions and can escape missile defense shields due to their radar-evading capability,” according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.

The latest technology could further inflame tensions between Israel and Iran, which funds and controls terror organizations operating along Israel’s border. Concerns that this nuclear-capable technology could be shared by Iran with its terrorist proxies are fueling longstanding concerns among the Israelis that an attack is imminent.

As Iranian dissidents continue to protest over the country’s ailing economy, the ruling regime continues to invest millions of dollars it received as part of the landmark nuclear deal with the United States on its military technology, specifically ballistic missiles, which are subject to a ban under international statutes.

However, Iran has not only continued this work but also invested heavily in it since receiving the cash windfalls from the nuclear deal. Conservative estimates from open sources indicate the Iranian regime has spent at least $16 billion in recent years on its military buildup and rogue operations in Syria, as well as other countries.

“Thirty-nine years in, the Islamic Revolution has little to show for its decades in power other than growing the country’s asymmetric military capabilities in order to continue their export of the revolution,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Free Beacon. “The Islamic Republic has considerably grown the country’s missile and rocket arsenal, both through production and procurement.”

The two missiles featured over the weekend by Iran include the Ghadr, a medium-range ballistic missile that was modified and upgraded by the Islamic Republic

“The Ghadr can strike Israel when fired from Iranian territory, and in March 2016, was flight-tested while bearing genocidal slogans against the state of Israel,” according to Ben Taleblu, who has researched Iranian missile procurement.

Iranian military leaders also rolled out a rocket called the Fajr-5, which is becoming a new favorite of Iranian-backed terror proxy groups operating against Israel.

“The Fajr-5 is an Iranian rocket that has been proliferated to anti-Israel groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. It can travel up to 75 km, and is therefore a long-range artillery rocket. It uses solid fuel for propulsion,” Ben Taleblu explained. “Both the Qadr missile and Fajr rocket represents Iran’s commitment to developing stand-off weaponry that it uses for purposes of deterrence and coercion.”

The new weaponry could fuel ongoing efforts by Congress to crackdown on Iran’s continued proliferation of ballistic missile technology, a large part of which has been incubated by the North Korean regime, which continues to have a technology-sharing agreement with Tehran.

Iran already has the region’s largest arsenal of ballistic missiles and is seeking to continue building this technology.

The Trump administration has said that any effort to fix the nuclear deal with Iran must focus on constricting the regime’s access to ballistic missile technology.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9021

Feb 13

Prophecy watchers: Why are pope, Turk leader meeting over Jerusalem?

Debate rages over biblical ramifications of future alliances, world events

Published: 2 days ago

WASHINGTON – Two rock stars of biblical prophecy with divergent views of future world events sat down for a three-hour debate over whether Islam or the Vatican is going to rule the world leading to the cataclysmic war that results in the return of Jesus to straighten things out.

Then last week the pope welcomed to the Vatican an Islamic world leader attempting to re-establish the Caliphate – with himself in charge. Now they agree that the meeting of Pope Francis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could have world-shaking consequences – whoever is right.

Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said the future status of Jerusalem was high on the agenda and called for an end to racism, xenophobia, “Islamophobia” and discrimination.

The meeting has been hailed as promising “global peace.”

Taking notice of the unprecedented meeting in the Vatican between one of the world’s most powerful Islamic leaders and the head of the Catholic Church, two famous prophecy watchers – New York Times-bestselling author Joel Richardson and Bill Salus – believe the summit has “biblical significance” and potentially explosive political conseqences.

Notably, both the pope and Erdogan have been vehement critics of President Trump’s Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Now they are talking about forming a common agenda of peace, security and friendship.

While Richardson believes the biblical Antichrist will emerge from the Islamic world, Salus believes Rome is the future “Mystery Babylon” mentioned in the Bible.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2018/02/mystery_babylon_frnt_cvr_sample.jpg

But a friendly, three-hour debate between the pair has been captured on video – “The Identity of Mystery Babylon – Mecca or Rome?”

Representing nearly three-billion followers between them, these two dominant world religions are apparently uniting together against Trump’s controversial Jerusalem decision. Does this developing alliance between Turkey and the Vatican have potential biblical ramifications?

On that question, they agree it does.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9019

Feb 13

False Teacher Rob Bell Claims in New Documentary ‘The Heretic’: ‘Jesus Would Be Mortified Someone Started a Religion in His Name’

By Heather Clark on February 11, 2018

A new documentary called “The Heretic,” which centers on false teacher Rob Bell, is set to be released on March 1, and features a number of statements that are already raising concern, such as, “The Bible has caused so much damage” and “Jesus would be absolutely mortified that someone started a religion in His name.”

Bell explained in a Facebook post on Feb. 1 that he had been approached by filmmaker Andrew Morgan about creating a film surrounding his work and controversial views, which many decry as being apostate and heretical.

“A few years ago, the filmmaker Andrew Morgan approached Kristen and I about making a documentary film about my work. We have great respect for Andrew, so we said yes, and he began filming tours and RobCasts and events and interviews,” he outlined. “I can’t imagine just how much footage he captured. The result is a new film that he is preparing to release. It’s called ‘The Heretic.’”

Noting that Bell has “raised a lot of eyebrows” among Christians, the production features clips from both those opposed to Bell and those in favor of him, from Franklin Graham, who forthrightly called Bell a “heretic,” to Carlton Pearson, who praised the former “pastor” of Mars Hill in Michigan as being a “paradigm shifter.”

Pearson, a former pastor himself, lost his congregation nearly two decades ago after he came out with assertions that “Hell will not last for eternity.” While his views may not be exactly the same as Pearson’s, Bell’s bestselling book “Love Wins” claimed that the majority of Christian doctrine on Hell is “misguided and toxic.”

“Women’s rights, LGBT, minorities, love of our Muslim neighbors—if those aren’t all basics, we’re done,” Bell states in an interview featured in the documentary.

“The Bible has caused so much damage,” he also asserts. “In many ways, it’s often been an agent of dragging everything backwards.”

Bell additionally claims in “The Heretic” that Christianity is the opposite of everything that Jesus stood for, and alleges that Christ wouldn’t even have wanted religion to bear His name.

“[I]f you think about the religion that’s arisen in Jesus’ name, it is anti what Jesus was talking about,” he opines.

“What kept happening is when I kept going into the Jesus teachings, it took me beyond a religion to, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ And I actually think that Jesus would be absolutely mortified that somebody started a religion in His name.”

As of press time, the YouTube video of the trailer had generated over 42,000 views and Bell’s Facebook post had amassed 414,000 views. While some expressed excitement about the documentary and praised Bell as being “far ahead of evangelicals” spiritually, others reiterated that Bell is dangerously leading many astray with his teachings.

“Rob has no power to widen the path the Lord has made narrow,” one commenter wrote. “If you choose Hell, you literally will have to walk over Jesus’ body. If that happens, it is then you will see the error of your way and unbelief, but it will be too late. … The narrow gate by way of the narrow path that leads to life eternal but few will find. This is because they love their sin and do not accept sound doctrine, but instead heap upon themselves teachers who tickle their itching ears. For no man has the power to widen the path the Lord has made narrow.”

“Rob Bell tries so hard to make Christianity fit into a societal bubble, when he should be doing the opposite. It isn’t societal trends that determine what Christianity should be; it is God’s word. We shouldn’t be changing Christianity; Christianity should be changing us,” another stated. “Rob Bell gives pleasant answers, but runs away from the truth that so many need and desire. It’s truly sad, as I was a fan of his older material. Praying for you, Rob.”

2 Peter 2:1-3 warns, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4 also exhorts, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9017

Feb 13

The next Iranian-Israeli engagement in Syria is due in late April, early May

Feb 12, 2018 @ 15:09 Iran, Iraqi Shiite militia, Iraqi-Syrian border, Israeli Air Force, Lebanon, Russia, US special forces

It is then that Tehran will try to move a special Russian-backed Iraqi Shiite force from southern Iraq into Syria and so expand its anti-Israel war front.
Since the Israeli Air Force hit a dozen Syrian and Iranian military targets on Saturday, Feb. 10, certain Israeli leaders have been vying for the most belligerent anti-Iran speeches (“They will never forget their next lesson” – Transport Minister Yisrael Katz; “We won’t let Iran set up a forward command” OC IDF’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick”). However, the plans Iran has in store  for the next round may tax them with making good on their warnings, although one at least comes after the fact. Iran is already running three forward commands in Syria – one in Damascus, one at Abu Kamal in the east and a third outside Aleppo.
Iran’s next challenge to Israel is likely to be more extensive than a lone Iranian drone intrusion and may start far from Israel’s northern border. Russia and Iran are trying to run a two-way, cross-border military movement between Iraq and Syria, which US forces in Syria have so far frustrated.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the United States is in the process of establishing a new “Border Security Force” in Syria, which is composed mainly of Kurdish fighters.
Iran and Russia are meanwhile building and training an elite “rapid deployment force” based on Iraqi Shiites. One of its functions will be to expand the front against Israel in both Syria and Lebanon. It is expected that the coming crossing into Syria of the Iraqi Shiite force may be used to detach a section for service on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Last month, an Iraqi Shiite militia chief traveled to Lebanon to inspect Israeli positions on that border. .
The Iraqi group is composed of 5,000 Shiite fighters, who are undergoing special training course for combat in Syria. They were handpicked from two high-performance Iraqi Shiite militias: One is the Nujaba of Kaabil (Movement of the Part of God), which is the Iraqi version of the Lebanese Hizballah and is headed by Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi. It has four sub-units, the Ammar Ibn Yasir Brigade, the Liwa al-Hamad – Praise Brigade, the Liwa al-Imam al Hassan al-Mujtaba – Imam Hssan the Chosen, and the Golan Liberation Brigade. The other militia is the Abud al-Fadl al-Abbas Forces.

This big difference between this elite Iraqi force and the other Shiite militias Tehran deploys in Syria is that it will be equipped with an air force, according to DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources. Russian and Iranian air force officers are setting up an aviation unit called the Combat Helicopters Directorates, to consist of dozens of Russian Mil Mi-17 assault and freight choppers as well as Iranian Shaed 285 attack choppers.

The bulk of the new force is expected to be ready to start moving west in the course of April and cross over into southeast Syria in the regions of Abu Kamal and Deir ez-Zour by early May at the latest. So far, the American forces deployed in western Iraq and southeastern Syria, centering in Al Tanf, have used live air force and artillery fire to push the vanguard back from the Syrian border.

A US special operations contingent also frustrated a move in the opposite direction by Syrian and Hizballah forces trying to cross the Euphrates to the eastern bank across a floating bridge laid by the Russians. They were heading to link up with the incoming Iraqi militias.  (Read DEBKAfile’s exclusive report on Feb. 8). This major US operation that involved air force, artillery and commandos was somehow missed by the Israeli politicians and analysts who commented on how the US had abandoned the Syrian arena when they discussed the Israeli air offensive of last Saturday.

Despite every effort to block the Iraqi force from reaching Syria, it may find a small gap in the 1,000km long Iraqi-Syrian border and manage to slip through. Israel’s government and military leaders will then face a decision that is much harder than whether to destroy the command vehicle controlling an Iranian drone. Part of the difficulty will be that before actin, Israel will have to keep an eye on the state of relations between the US and Russia which are at a low ebb at this time and how this plays out on the ground.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9015

Feb 13

Turkey, Japan and Germany Will Unite And Produce Nuclear Weapons To Create A World Superpower Coalition And War Against The United States

By Ted on February 8, 2018 in Featured, General

 “The way of peace they have not known,

And there is no justice in their ways;

They have made themselves crooked paths;

Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” (Isaiah 59:8)

“America first” declares: ‘Let the world police itself,’ accelerating the restoration of militarist Japan, giving it the green light to become militarily independent. It is also enabling Muslim Turkey and Germany to become military giants (more on that later). With this exclusive report Shoebat.com provides here, this trinity of evil will be a formidable match to the US.

The days of Japan being known strictly as a pacifist nation are beginning to wane. Shinzo Abe’s government has reinterpreted the constitution to allow for “collective self defense,” which is just an elusive and incremental way to bring Japan closer and closer to the warpath, its militarism of olden days.

The former defense minister of Japan, Shigeru Ishiba, said in September of last year that Japan should pursue producing nuclear weapons, stating:  “Is it really right for us to say that we will seek the protection of US nuclear weapons but we don’t want them inside our country?” Ishiba questioned whether or not the US would really come to the defense of Japan in the event of a war between Japan and North Korea. “It’s important to know when the United States would ‘open’ the nuclear umbrella for us,” Ishiba said.  “If Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, possessed nuclear weapons, it would send a message that it’s fine for anyone in the world to have them”.

While there is constant yammer coming from the masses that Japan will not return to the warpath because it is somehow militarily inept, or overly dependent on the US, the reality is that Japan would not have difficulty in becoming a very dangerous force (the naive do not understand that Japan already has an efficient military force). In fact, the US government knows that Japan and Germany have the ability to make nuclear weapons, not in a matter of years, but  months. The US also knows very well that these countries will begin to show interest in producing nuclear weapons if they start to ‘lose trust’ in the United States. This issue was made known in a report addressed to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate in 2008, entitled: Chain Reaction: Avoiding a Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East, in which it says:

“In the cases of Germany and Japan, both countries can easily obtain nuclear weapons but have chosen not to because of their integration beneath a NATO (Germany) or an American (Japan) security umbrella. Today, all of these countries have the technical capacity to obtain nuclear weapons in a matter of months or a few short years. Yet, they chose not to because of their respective cost-benefit analyses. Pursuing nuclear weapons demands a large amount of finite money and other resources and could invite punishing international political pressure and economic sanctions. At the same time, little need exists to pursue such an undesirable policy because these countries do not view nuclear weapons as necessary for their national security. This belief derives primarily from the fact that these countries rest comfortably beneath a U.S. or U.S.-led security umbrella. If these countries ever begin to question the reliability of this security umbrella, they would almost certainly reassess past nuclear weapons decisions.”

This statement from the 2008 document proves that the United States knows that if Germany and Japan begin to show distrust for the United States to provide security, they will begin having interests in acquiring nuclear weapons. Trump, before he was even elected, was showing that he would not mind Japan having a nuclear arsenal, when he said:

“Would I rather have North Korea have [nuclear weapons] with Japan sitting there having them also? You may very well be better off if that’s the case. … If they’re attacked… we have to come totally to their defense. And that is a — that’s a real problem.”

Trump showed that he does not want the US to come to Japan’s defense. What did this do? It gave Japan more of a sign that they can further pursue military independence.

While Japan does not currently have nuclear weapons, it most certainly has the capacity to develop nuclear weapons, and the sophistication to deliver nuclear attacks. Unlike North Korea, Japan is a far more formidable force in East Asia. Japan has enough plutonium to create more than 5000 nuclear bombs. Japan’s capacity for nuclear technology is described by Mark Fitzpatrick:

“While the intentions behind Japan’s nuclear-hedging strategy are often kept hidden, the capabilities are clearly visible. Japan has the largest number of civilian nuclear facilities of any non-weapons state and the only one with complete fuel-cycle technologies, including both enrichment and reprocessing.”

Back in the 1980s the CIA was talking about inquiring to see how fast Japan would be able to obtain nuclear weapons. Shoebat.com poured into numerous CIA archives on Japan and its nuclear capacity. In a 1988 document found in the CIA archives, entitled: Query from Senator Murkowski (R., Alaska) about Japan’s capability to develop a nuclear weapon, it reads:

“During a recent briefing, Senator Murkowski diverted the discussion to Japan’s peaceful nuclear energy program and its acquisition of plutonium. He eventually asked if the Agency could provide a brief overview on the possibility of a nuclear program being undertaken in Japan. What additional capability would Japan need in order to use plutonium from its energy industry to fabricate a nuclear weapon?”

Where is North Korea ranked in comparison to Japan? Although Japan is currently ranked the seventh most powerful military in the world, with it being the third largest economy in the world, it has the potential to become much higher in the list of the most powerful militaries. In 1982, the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service produced a document entitled Japan Report, in which it presented the transcript of a panel discussion between leading Japanese officials on whether or not Japan must increase its military capacity, independently of the United States, since it could not rely on the Americans in case of a war.

The documents we discovered reveal that Japan has been showing interest in military independence for decades. In one part of the 1982 document, Masatsugu Ishibashi, the secretary general of the leftist Socialist party, said:

“The question has been raised as to whether the United States is certain to come to the rescue in the event Japan is attacked and invaded. I have no confidence at all on this point. I cannot entertain such easy-going expectations that the United States will hurry to Japan’s aid if it expects its own homeland to be devastated.”

 

Ishibashi goes on to say that if Japan did not honor its pacifist constitution, specifically Article 9 of the constitution (which prohibits any active role in war), then Japan, having the third largest Gross National Product (GNP) in the world, would become the third largest military on earth:

“If there were no Peace Constitution and if we did not have the power to insist that Article 9 be obeyed, Japan’s military strength would not be limited to seventh (some say eighth) place in the world. Since the GNP is third highest in the world, it can be said that the military power would be certain to be comparable, i.e., third largest in the world.”

This means that Japan has been preparing to turn its plowshares into swords. Ishibashi further on in his presentation says: “preparations are being made to alter the constitution, if possible, to officially recognize the right to collective defense.” This was said in 1982, and now in the second decade of the 21st century, this sentiment is stemming right from the top. Shinzo Abe and his government have been talking seriously about amending Article 9 of the Japanese constitution.

Snapshot of Japan Report document

In the panel debate, Ishibashi exhorts for Japan to increase its military spending from one percent of its GNP, to three percent:

Japan, being ranked third in its GNP, Turkey ranked second in NATO militarily, and Germany being the most powerful military and economy in Europe, are all striving to make their militaries even more powerful. Knowing past history, the three combined spells catastrophe.

Goro Takeda, a Japanese general who was in the panel, expressed a desire for Japan to be militarily independent, when he said: “it is the will of the people to defend Japan by themselves. Since those we are going to fight are our enemy, there is no one else except the Japanese, in actuality, to stand in the way of the invaders.” Takeda was talking about a war against the Soviet Union. While both Takeda and Ishibashi agreed that peace should be pursued, their words reflected an itching for military independence. The reality remains that talks of military independence has been in Japan for decades, and in the present zeitgeist of militarism and nationalism, this desire is getting closer to fruition.

JAPAN AND URENCO

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese government is currently going through negotiations to purchase Urenco, one of the largest producers of enriched plutonium in the world. The deal is expected to be worth several billions of dollars.

While the Japanese are stating that their reason behind this deal is to become more dependent on nuclear power as a source for electricity, this is just one of the motivations. Japan is interested in purchasing Urenco to prevent Russia or China from buying this company, in what looks to be a nuclear proliferation competition between these countries. According to one report: “The joint bid for Urenco is aimed at keeping Russia and China at bay. Both countries are said to be showing interest in acquiring the enriched uranium producer.”

China currently has thirty five nuclear reactors as of January 2017, while Russia has thirty. Japan almost combines both. It has fifty-three nuclear reactors. However, if you include the nuclear reactors that are being planned in Russia and China, Russia has fifty-five, and China eighty-two, surpassing Japan’s fifty-three nuclear reactors. Japan wants to counteract China’s and Russia’s nuclear production by purchasing a huge share of Urenco.

The Japanese plan to purchase a huge chunk of Urenco is part of American industrial interests. In March of 2017, Westinghouse, an American nuclear company under Toshiba, went bankrupt. The Trump administration, supposedly, was terrified that China would buy Westinghouse, and the US government was even determined to stop any Chinese purchase of the company (Toshiba eventually sold Westinghouse for $4.6 billion to the Canadian investment firm Brookfield Business Partners). Now with Japan expected to purchase a significant part of Urenco, the United States is pleased to see their Japanese ally gaining an advantage position in nuclear production against China and Russia.

And there is major American industrial backing to Japan’s nuclear aspirations. Daniel Poneman, president and CEO of Centrus Energy who served as U.S. deputy energy secretary under Obama, according to one report, “can act as a go-between to the current White House and help Japan maintain a solid relationship with the U.S.”

The government of Japan is currently holding talks with shareholders of the company. The owners of the company are the governments of the Netherlands and of Great Britain, and the German companies E.ON and RWE.

While Urenco has denied that these negotiations are taking place, one must ask why the world’s largest financial newspaper, Nikkei, would lie about such a thing? Why would such a reputable paper make up this entire story, with all of this detail? It looks like Urenco is denying that the negotiations are happening to cover up their plans.

The Japan Bank of International Cooperation, which is owned by the Japanese government, is expected to make an offer alongside the U.S. nuclear energy company, Centrus Energy (the same company that Poeman is a CEO of, showing private American industrial interest in this purchase).

The objective behind this is political, and has everything to do with Japan being the dominating superpower in Asia. The CEO of Japan Bank of International Cooperation is Tadashi Maeda, who is also a member of the major think-tank, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

In 2014, Maeda attended a panel discussion in Oslo, Norway, called the 11th IISS Global Strategic Review. In the conference Maeda made it clear — using what tickles American ears — that Japan’s nuclear interest were against Russia. A document published by IISS on the event recounted that, “Maeda noted that the gradual restarting of Japan’s nuclear power plants following the Fukushima nuclear accident would act against Russian supply prospects, as would the Japanese domestic energy-distribution monopoly, which has impeded pipeline construction in the past.”

ARMS PRODUCTION

Japan has just recently completed its XASM-3 supersonic anti-ship missile, and is planning on mass producing them by 2019. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper: “The introduction of the new missile is aimed at keeping the Chinese Navy — which has been taking high-handed action in the East China Sea and other places — in check”. The missile will be carried by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) F-2 multirole fighter jets, a Mitsubishi license-produced variant of Lockheed Martin’s F-16.

Japan is also planning on arming their F-35A stealth fighter jets with the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) by 2025. This new missile will be able to hit a target 500 kilometers (310 miles) away, with extreme precision.

The production of weapons like the XASM-3 is being conducted under the umbrella of the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA), which was just formed in July of 2015 in order to “bring together disparate parts of the Ministry of Defense working on defense R&D [research and development], procurement, and exports under one roof.”

Japan’s pursuit towards becoming a military industrial center has been going on for a very long time. In 1967, Prime Minister Eisako Sato set up “Three Principles on Arms Export and Their Related Policy Guidelines,” prohibiting any sort of exporting of arms to communist countries, countries involved in violent conflicts, or countries placed under arms embargoes by the United Nation. These rules became even more stringent in 1976, when Prime Minister Takeo Miki established a complete ban on exporting any arms regardless of where they were sent. These rules lasted for four decades, until the 1980s when Japan allowed for the one single exception that arms could be exported to the United States, of course, especially for cooperation on Ballistic Missile Defense.

This rule began to see a turning point in 2013, when Japan released its first ever National Security Strategy, which set out a promise to review the prohibition on exports. In April of 2014, Abe’s Cabinet did a revision on the rules, allowing for arms exports for the purpose of advancing Japan’s own security interests. All of these actions are incremental steps to an ultimate goal, and that is a militarily independent Japan. The creation of ATLA is part of this goal, working on creating efficiency in the production of military technology.  What is very interesting about ATLA is that, in the words of Crystal Pryor, “Parliamentary oversight is basically nonexistent, even though as an advanced democracy, Japanese people should demand that their elected officials be involved.”

In the Meiji era of Japan in the 19th century, the slogan was “rich nation/strong army” (Fokuku kyohei), and the foundation of this strategy was “increase industrial productivity” (shokusan kogyo). This policy was inspired by the German victories over France in the Franco-Prussian War. This mentality still has never left Japan, with the country still working to be militarily advanced.

TECHNONATIONALISM

Japan has a strategy of fusing technocratic aims and nationalist aims, which is defined as “technonationalism.” In the words of Richard Samuels:

“Japanese military and industrial strategies have been built on a fusion of industrial, technology, and national security policies. This fusion, dubbed technonationalism [italics mine], has persisted in both the prewar era, when Japan used military means to achieve its national objectives, and in the postwar period, when its policies were more completely commercial.” (See Michael J. Green, Arming Japan)

Of course it is obvious that Japan is not the only country that utilizes technonationalism. The United States and many other countries use this, and soon this will all erupt in a clash of nations, in war.

The technologies for warfare that the most powerful of nations are developing are beyond conventional imaginations when it comes to military conflicts. The weaponry that they are producing is nothing like what was seen in the Second World War, and has gone beyond general military technology. We are speaking of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) for the use of killing people in the battlefield. Now this is no longer beyond general military manufacturing and has become common in defense production. Arthur Herman speaks of “technologies and systems that until recently lay outside the conventional defense sector,” and analyst Toshifumi Kokubun, commentating on these words, writes:

Core components of this strategy include unmanned systems, robotics, miniaturization, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, among others. That list overlaps with many key sectors identified in various national-technology plans, which invariably include robotics, AI, and big data, along with nanotechnology, biotechnology, quantum computing and composite materials. The U.S. Defense Innovation Initiative, launched in 2014, aims to tap the energy and potential of actors ‘outside the Department of Defense’s traditional orbit.’ Foreign countries are among them. Japan, which has cutting-edge technologies in many of these fields, is a primary partner in this effort.

The United States Innovation Initiative is seeking after this technology outside of the watch of the Department of Defense. In other words, corporations can override the auspices of government. Japan is so advanced (unlike the “threat” of North Korea), that the United States is essentially going to learn from Japan’s military technological research.

After the Second World War, Japan, understandably, was made militarily dependent on the US. In the 1970s, Japan pushed to become a more militarily independent country through the collaboration between industries and government. This desire to further this policy is found in a 2014 report from Japan’s Ministry of Defense, in which it talks about how Japan’s Self-Defense Forces were made subordinate to the US after its defeat in the Second World War, but that it was determined to break out of this and develop military technology independently through its own government-industry cooperation. As the report says:

“Most of Japan’s defense production and technological base was lost at the end of WWII. The newly established JSDF (Japan Self-Defense Forces, established in 1954) was dependent on US deliveries and leases of defense equipment by the U.S., but Japan strived to strengthen its defense production and technological bases by license production and indigenous production, and research and development of major defense equipment, through government-industry cooperation based on the basic guideline for production and development of defense equipment (so-called kokusanka-hoshin (guideline for indigenous development/production) of 1970.”

Notice that the report affirms that Japan was determined to establish its own production of military technology independent of the United States. This is a reflection of what Japan currently wants to do: to break away from US control and bring back its own militarist country, with the aspirations of reviving its old empire. Lets not forget that Shinzo Abe himself said that he likens his military policies to the Meiji era of Japan, in which the country was unified, placed under emperor worship and would arise as the dominant nation in East Asia that would eventually crush the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), establishing itself as a force that impressed both the Western powers and the Ottoman Empire.

Going back to the 2014 document from Japan’s Ministry of Defense, it expresses Japans desire for “independence of security as well as having characteristics of industrial policy in the sense that production of defense equipment has a positive ripple effect on economic activity by private companies”. Notice the words, “independence of security,” denoting an agenda of being militarily free from the American security umbrella. Remember what the 2008 document addressed to the Committee on Foreign Relations warns: that if Japan and Germany begin to express distrust for the American security umbrella, they will acquire nuclear weapons. Well, its quite obvious that Japan wants, and has been wanting, to become militarily independent from the United States, and is, and has been, expressing distrust for the United States, which means that it will certainly pursue the production of nuclear weapons.

JAPAN, TURKEY AND FRANCE

What makes Japan even more interesting in this aspect of militarism is Shinzo Abe’s unusual amount of collaboration with Turkey. From 2006 to 2007, Abe served as Japan’s Prime Minister. Five years after this, in 2012, Shinzo Abe got voted in again to serve as Prime Minister. For those five years in between his two terms, Tokyo pretty much ignored Ankara. Shinzo Abe has been showing a distinguished interest in devising plans with Turkey. J. Berkshire Miller, writing in a 2014 report for the Diplomat, writes:

“Abe has put an unusual amount of effort into bolstering the relationship with Ankara through two separate trips to the country since taking office. Abe also welcomed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Japan this past January. The rapid expansion in Japan-Turkey ties is even more dramatic, given that Ankara was all but ignored by Tokyo in the five years between the Abe 1.0 and Abe 2.0 administrations. Indeed, the last Japanese Prime Minister to visit Turkey (before Abe) was former LDP leader Junichiro Koizumi.”

Turkey built an undersea tunnel that crosses the Bosphorus Strait, called the Eurasia Tunnel, which became operational in December of 2016. The project costed $4 billion dollars. One billion of that was given by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation, the very banking company that is, according to Nikkei Asian Review, putting a bid to have Japan purchase one of the world’s largest producers of enriched plutonium, Urenco. Abe visited Istanbul for the opening ceremony of the tunnel back in 2014, and declared in his speech:

“This project has been accomplished thanks to the cooperation of Japan’s high-technology and Turkey’s experienced labor power. The upcoming year is the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Japan. I hope this project will be the new symbol of the two countries’ friendship.”

An even bigger deal than the undersea tunnel is Japan’s agreement to build the Sinop nuclear power plant in Sinop, in northern Turkey. It is being projected that the first unit of the Sinop plant will be done by 2023, and the fourth unit will be in service by 2028. The project goes back to 2013, when Erdogan and Abe signed an outline US$22 billion deal for the construction of the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant in Turkey. The Sinop power plant will be built by Atmea, a joint venture between Orano, a major multinational company that specializes in nuclear technology, and that is owned by the French government, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

Turkish defense circles are very excited about this, as is reflected in the top English language magazine from the Turkish military industrial complex, Defense Turkey, which in its own words, is “a bilateral information platform to the Turkish military and defence officials, Turkish decision makers, procurement executives and Turkish defence industry members on the developments of international defence industries, capabilities and technologies.”

In one report published by Defense Turkey, entitled, Defence: Bilateral Franco-Turkish Relationship, it reads:

“For over 5 centuries, France and the Ottoman Empire – now Turkey – have maintained close diplomatic relations, with the exception of some difficult spells. …  The time is right to resume political discussions and strengthen economic relations between the two countries, particularly in the fields of armaments, energy and aeronautics. In 2013 the French Government owned Areva Company and its Japanese partner MHI, won a € 17 billion contract to supply four Atmea nuclear power plants.”

It is very interesting that this magazine connects the building of this nuclear power plant in Turkey by France and Japan, with the long history of military collaboration between France and the Ottoman Empire.

This is a dark reality that is hardly discussed. One very significant moment of this Franco-Turkish alliance was in the 16th century, when the French Valois kingdom made an alliance with the Ottoman Empire against the Habsburgs. In 1536, King Francis I made a coalition with Hayreddin Barbarossa, an Ottoman navy admiral, becoming the first European king to establish an alliance with the Ottoman Empire. The French and the Ottomans joined together to fight against the Italian navy of Genoa that was led by Andrea Doria. The Catholic Church got involved, trying to bring peace between the European countries, with Pope Paul III promoting reconciliation as a direct response against the French and Ottoman alliance.

 

This effort was to no avail. Together the French and the Ottomans attacked the Greek island of Corfu in 1537. In July of 1543, Barbarossa led a fleet of 110 ships, with the French ambassador on board, to partake in a French-Ottoman invasion of Nice (which was then under the control of the Duchy of Savoy). The invasion was, in the words of historian Mark Greengrass, “Christians fighting alongside Ottomans against Christians.”

French and Ottoman troops joining together to fight the Italian Catholics, is a fulfillment of Daniel’s warning:

For the ships of Chittim [Romans/Italians] shall come against him [Antichrist]: therefore he shall be grieved, and return [retreat], and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence [conspiracy]  with them that forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:30)

In September of 1543, the Ottomans requested from the French a port in France in which to make a base. The French fulfilled this request and gave the Turks the city of Toulon. All French inhabitants of the city, with the exception of heads of households, were made to leave. For eight  months, Toulon was an Ottoman military base. (See Greengrass, Christendom Destroyed, ch. 9, pp. 303-304)

Given this historical reality, what are the French up to collaborating with the Japanese to make a nuclear power plant in Turkey?

We cannot know everything as far as their motivation goes. But what we do know for certain is that it is being done for profit, just as the French in the past allied with the Ottomans for profit and power.

At the end of the day, the international military industrial complex is about making profit, even if it has to kill countless lives.

The whole earth is going nuclear. The chairman and CEO of the company that is making the Sonip nuclear power plant in Turkey, Atmea, is Stefan von Scheid, a member of the Presidential Council of the German Atomic Forum.

Another member of the Council is Winfried Petry, who was actually elected as vice-president of the Council in 2009. Petry was also the scientific director of the Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz). Upon being elected vice-president, Petry spoke of some very interesting things: he talked about how Germany is becoming a center for nuclear research:

“In my time as vice president I want to emphasize the high value of science and research in the nuclear field for a leading industrial nation as Germany. Despite the planned nuclear power phase-out in, Germany has to continuously take a leasing role in the nuclear research. Thus we have enough power to influence international standards and attract researchers from all over the world to Germany, which offers the necessary know-how”

Remember what the 2008 document said: if Japan or Germany express distrust for the United States security umbrella, they will begin to question old policies on nuclear weaponry, implying that they will pursue the possession of nuclear weapons. Talk of distrust towards the United States has already been happening in Germany. Remember what Merkel said in May of 2017:

“The times in which [Germany] could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days… We Europeans really have to take our destiny into our own hands.”

Distrust is a minor issue, in comparison to the ability to have power to revive the wounded beasts of the past.  Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the German parliament for the Protestant Christian Democrats — the same party of Angela Merkel — wrote an article for the Right-wing publication, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, stating that now is the time to contemplate “the altogether unthinkable for a German brain, the question of a nuclear deterrence capability, which could make up for doubts about American guarantees”.

With major German officials expressing distrust for the United States, and interest in creating nuclear weapons, and in the wake of the most prestigious scientific establishment in Germany, the Max Planck Institute, creating the nuclear fusion reactor, the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator; and with Japan also showing more military independence, and the fact that Japan, in April of 2013, refused to sign a joint-statement on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, presages what the future holds: nuclear war.

In East Asia, you have two polls of power — Japan and China — vying for domination of that area of the continent. Historically, these two countries have been wanting to be the biggest dog in the pound, fighting for the same bone of power. The Chinese statesmen, Yuan Shikai, wrote in the year 1913:

“In the hands of such a [strong] government China will soon become a World-Power, easily able to hold her territory against aggression … With her wealth of internal resources and her teeming millions, a Westernized China must sooner or later count as the controlling factor in industrial and military struggles of the world.”

In an old Japanese school song, popular in the first half of the twentieth century, we read:

“From Karafuto and the Kuriles in the north to Taiwan and Pescadores in the south, Korea and all Japan … the nation our taikun [commander] rules, and the fifty million countrymen over whom waves the flag of the rising sun.” (See Emmerson, 1913)

With two great powers struggling for the same region, the two are bound to clash inevitably. Japan warred against China in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), and again in the Second World War. Who is to say that such powers will not war with each other again?

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9013

Feb 12

Unprecedented Global “4th Turning” Unites The World Against Globalist Threat

Old-Thinker News | Feb. 6, 2018

By Daniel Taylor

Because of globalization and world-wide communication, 4th turning cycles around the globe appear to be synchronized and are in fact leading to a dramatic global crescendo.

A week after Donald Trump was elected, Old-Thinker News warned that the President was elected during a dangerous 4th turning historical cycle, while facing a presidency plagued by agitator George Soros.

All signs are pointing to the fact that America is in the midst of a 4th turning cycle.

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe document these historical patterns in their 1997 book The Fourth Turning.

A Fourth Turning (occurring approximately every 80 years) happens when national issues that have been boiling without resolution for years explode. “Subliminal fears… become urgent” heading into the Fourth Turning. During this revolutionary time, groups entrench themselves in the power structure to support it while others organize to resist it.

Famous Fourth Turnings of the past include: The Wars of the Roses (1459-1487), The American Revolution (1773-1794), The Civil War (1860-1865), and the Great Depression and World War II (1929-1946)

A Global 4th Turning

Because of globalization and world-wide communication, 4th turning cycles around the globe – including many different countries, cultures and governments – appear to be synchronized and are in fact leading to a dramatic global crescendo.

Previous 4th turning revolutions were directed at the leadership of individual nations. Deadly wars were fought and a new era began afterwards. While this remains true now, the revolution is against Globalists who represent a power structure that threatens all nations equally, at the same moment in history. It is this threat that binds like minded traditionalist and nationalist individuals across the globe. It is a truly unprecedented time period in human history.

Fortunately, this war has been an information war so far. We should be thankful that we have the ability to take down entire establishment structures using instant communication technology at our fingertips. Our ancestors had to take up arms and shed their own blood when tyranny had a chance to metastasize.

Andrey Afanasyev, a Russian journalist and media personality, appeared on the Alex Jones show recently. Afanasyev stated that we are “…in a state of global civil war. It means that technically all the world now… is a battlefield of ideas…” between globalists and nationalists.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9011

Feb 09

Turkey’s Erdogan: Jerusalem Is ‘My Top Priority’ in Meeting With Pope Francis

‘The Pope and myself are at one on Jerusalem,’ the Turkish president states as he calls for the whole world to ‘recognize the State of Palestine’

Haaretz

Feb 04, 2018 7:54 PM

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members in Ankara.Yasin Bulbul/AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has publicly expressed on numerous occasions his outrage over U.S. President Donald Trump’s momentous December 6 declaration acknowledging Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, amped up his rhetoric against Washington’s recent move in an interview released Sunday by Italian daily La Stampa.

Speaking about his upcoming visit to Italy and the Vatican, where he is slated to meet Pope Francis, the Turkish president stressed that first and foremost on his agenda was the issue of the contested city. “My top priority is Jerusalem,” he said.

“The pope and myself are at one on Jerusalem, no one can take unilateral steps on a city which is dear to billions of people,” Erdogan further stated. “We need to take joint actions to preserve the status quo,” he continued.

When asked why he deemed it so pressing to discuss the status of Jerusalem with the pope, Erdogan reiterated his message: “No nation in the world has the right to take unilateral steps on a city which is dear to billions of people, ignoring international laws.”

“That’s why the UN General Assembly voted to condemn the Trump declaration on Jerusalem last December,” he added. “Only a few countries supported the U.S. and Israel, and I was glad to see Italy voted against the U.S. decision, too,” he shared.

Erdogan extolled Pope Francis for taking immediate action following the U.S. president’s statement in December. “Following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which violated international law, he immediately spoke to the Pope. After [the] phone call Pope Francis swiftly conveyed the right message on Jerusalem to all of his Christian followers around the world, and I want to thank him for that.”

“The status of Jerusalem is a central issue for both Muslims and Christians, both the Pope and myself are committed to protecting the status quo,” Erdogan emphasized.

When asked what kind of steps he saw himself taking together with the pope to preserve the status quo in the city, Erdogan shared his long-term vision for Jerusalem “We should take measures to preserve the status quo, ensure holy places in Jerusalem remain open to the three religions, and protect the rights of the Palestinians. It is important that the Pope keeps advocating for this,” he continued.

The Turkish president highlighted his support for the Palestinian people, saying in his interview that he fully supported the Palestinian quest for statehood. “All countries around the world should recognize the State of Palestine,” he said. “I call on Italy to do it too,” he urged.

Asked what solution he envisions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Erdogan flatly stated: “The only solution is the two-state solution.”

The Turkish president spoke harshly before of Trump’s move on Jerusalem as well as on Israel’s conduct in the city and in the region at large. Shortly after Trump made his announcement in December, Erdogan bashed him as a “partner in bloodshed” and promised to continue his diplomatic efforts to reverse the American president’s “null” declaration.

Israeli forces are “terrorists,” he said at the time. “We won’t leave Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murdering country,” Erdogan blasted. Israel, he accused, has no values other than “occupation and plunder.”

Erdogan was among the first of world leaders to decry Trump’s declaration, but while he pledges to lead action against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians, Israel has retorted that his accusations are insignificant and inciteful, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charging that the Erdogan “has attacked Israel.”

Netanyahu slammed Erdogan for double standards, saying in response to his allegations: “I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9009

Feb 09

With high-tech warships, Navy readies to guard gas fields from Hezbollah, Hamas

Four new German-built Sa’ar 6 corvettes due to arrive starting late 2019. Until then, IDF planning to protect strategic maritime assets with existing ships, specialized Iron Dome

By Judah Ari Gross 5 February 2018, 6:44 pm

An Israeli Navy Sa’ar 5 corvette defends a natural gas extraction platform off Israel’s coast, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

An Israeli Navy Sa’ar 5 corvette defends two natural gas extraction platforms off Israel’s coast, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

An Israeli Navy officer and German engineer look over plans for a Sa’ar 6 corvette that is under construction for the Israeli Navy in Kiel, Germany, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

German workers look over plans for a Sa’ar 6 corvette that is being constructed for the Israeli Navy in Kiel, Germany, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Navy is charged with defending the country’s territorial waters, an area that is twice as large as the state itself and is becoming increasingly crowded with highly lucrative natural gas fields and shipping lanes, and it needs help.

For Israel’s enemies these naval sites are “preferred targets,” and both the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon and — to a lesser extent — Hamas in Gaza have the capabilities to threaten them, a senior Israeli Navy official said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The senior officer said the navy operates under the assumption that Hezbollah has access to the Russian-made Yakhont shore-to-sea guided missiles, though he would not say explicitly if Israeli intelligence indicates that that is indeed the case.

According to the official, Hamas is less able to acquire advanced weapons due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the Gaza Strip, but is nevertheless believed to have access to two varieties of shore-to-sea missiles: the Chinese C-802 and C-704.

Both terror groups are also believed to be developing naval capabilities, including autonomous submersibles, suicide drones and scuba-diving commando units, Israeli naval officials have said.

Some of those weapons have already been deployed against Israel in combat, by Hezbollah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War and by Hamas in the 2014 Gaza war. Hezbollah succeeded in severely damaging the navy’s INS Hanit with a shore-to-sea missile in the 2006 conflict, and Hamas made use of a naval commando unit in a daring — though ultimately ineffectual — coastal attack at Zikim Beach in 2014.

To counter those threats, as the country’s gas fields and shipping lanes grow more and more important, the military has been investing heavily in the navy, upgrading systems and better integrating it into the rest of the Israel Defense Forces.

In the coming years, additional assistance will come in the form of four state-of-the-art Sa’ar 6 corvettes currently being built by a firm in Kiel, Germany.

The 300-feet-long (90-meter) warships will be packed to the gills with highly sensitive detection equipment, offensive weapons and defensive missile interceptors.

“We’re making use of them down to the last centimeter,” the senior officer told reporters.

Their primary mission will be to guard the natural gas extraction platforms located off the country’s coast.

Since a significant field — Noa North — was first found off the coast of Ashkelon in 2000, Israel has been moving more toward natural gas, with the hope of not only achieving energy independence, but of becoming an energy exporter. That desire kicked into overdrive with the discovery of the Tamar gas field in 2009 and the Leviathan deposit in 2010, which are 200 and 400 times larger than Noa North, respectively.

The process has not been without its controversies both at home and abroad. Domestically, Israelis staged large-scale protests against the deal between the government and energy companies for rights to the sites, with activists and economists claiming that average citizens would not see the benefits from the natural resource.

Internationally, Israel has been at loggerheads with its northern neighbor Lebanon over an area off the coasts of both countries, known as Block 9, where gas is believed to be located and which each claims as its own.

Last Wednesday, Lebanon issued an offshore oil and gas exploration tender for the area, prompting a war of words with Israel, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman calling the move “very provocative.”

Israel currently gets 60 percent of its electricity from natural gas, and that figure is expected to increase to 75% by the end of the decade.

Tamar, located 130 kilometers (80 miles) off the coast of Haifa, has been active since 2013, while extraction from the nearby Leviathan has yet to begin.

In 2012, the Bloomberg BusinessWeek financial publication estimated that Israel’s natural gas reserves were worth approximately $240 billion.

That valuation, along with the country’s increasing dependence on the gas fields for electrical power, led the government to officially recognize the sites as strategic national assets in 2013.

That year, the government formally gave the navy the responsibility for defending the gas fields, prompting large amounts of funding to be diverted toward the project.

The Sa’ar 6 corvettes will be outfitted with both a modified version of the Iron Dome system, known as the Naval Iron Dome, as well as the Barak 8 missile interceptor.

The senior officer explained that the Naval Dome system will provide a response primarily to simpler ballistic attacks, while the Barak 8 system is meant to counter more advanced guided missiles.

“But the Sa’ar 6 isn’t just defensive; it is also able to attack from long-range. It is deadly and can stand up to the threats,” the officer said. “If I had to pick a side, I’d pick ours.”

However, it’s going to take a little while before they get to the port of Haifa, where they will be based. The first of the ships will be delivered in November 2019, followed by a second in June 2020, a third in September 2020 and the final one in February 2021.

The Sa’ar 6 isn’t just defensive, it is also able to attack from long-range. It is deadly and can stand up to the threats

Only once they arrive can the navy and local defense contractors get to work outfitting the ships with the latest and greatest in Israeli technology, the officer said. The process of bringing the Sa’ar 6 corvettes to operational status is expected to take several months.

Last November, the Israeli Navy outfitted an existing Sa’ar 5, which is older and smaller than the Sa’ar 6, with a Naval Dome battery that is meant to act as an interim security measure.

In addition to purchasing the four cutting-edge Sa’ar 6 corvettes, the Defense Ministry announced a NIS 1.5 billion ($420 million) deal last July to outfit the Israeli Navy with maritime systems to protect the country’s gas fields and shipping lanes, including missile defense batteries, electronic warfare, navigation systems, command and control centers and communication gear.

The senior officer said the navy was also improving its Haifa base in order to better accommodate the Sa’ar 6 corvettes, including the construction of a new floating dry dock.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9007

Feb 09

Russian Media Reports ‘Biblical Bombshell’ as Siberian River Turns to Crimson

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz February 1, 2018 , 5:42 pm

“Moshe and Aharon did just as Hashem commanded: he lifted up the rod and struck the water in the Nile in the sight of Pharaoh and his courtiers, and all the water in the Nile was turned into blood.” Exodus 7:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Siberian river turns blood red (Photo via YouTube)

The Molchanka river in Siberia turned into a blood-red estuary on Tuesday. The Russian news agency TASS described the sudden transformation as a “Biblical Bombshell,” comparing what happened  the Molchanka river to the first plague of Egypt in the Biblical story of Passover.

Moshe and Aharon did just as Hashem commanded: he lifted up the rod and struck the water in the Nile in the sight of Pharaoh and his courtiers, and all the water in the Nile was turned into blood Exodus 7:20

Notwithstanding the comparison made by TASS, local officials are still searching for a more natural explanation. Galina Yevseeva, the spokesperson for the Tyumen region, told TASS that experts in the regional department of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), the Russian agency responsible for environmental concerns, were investigating the cause of the shocking crimson color. Water samples were sent to the Center for Epidemiology in charge of public health where they are still conducting tests to check for toxic pollution.

“So far we have no assumptions what it could be,” Yevseeva said to TASS. “We have never dealt with this before so we are waiting for the results of the test.”

Instances of large bodies of water turning into a blood-red color have been reported to occur approximately several times a year and as a result of silt deposits caused by flooding, industrial pollutants and other earthly factors.

Contrary to the more mundane causes attributed to such phenomena today, Rabbinic commentaries explain what occurred in the Biblical story of Passover to be much more miraculous in nature. According to many, even the secluded water in the containers of the Egyptians turned to actual blood.

And the fish in the Nile died. The Nile stank so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile; and there was blood throughout the land of Egypt. Exodus 7:21

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the preeminent 11th century French Torah scholar known by the acronym “Rashi,” explained, “[the water turned to blood] even in the bath-houses and the bathtubs that were inside the houses.”

Such a miracle has yet to occur in today’s day and age.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9005