Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Nov 13

Iranian Government Reveals It Plans To Utterly “Wipe Saudi Arabia Out Of Existence”

By Walid Shoebat on September 28, 2016 in Featured, General

While Obama failed to protect Saudi Arabia today with his Veto, now Iranian government reveals that it plans to “utterly wipe Saudi Arabia out of existence”. Also learn about the Iranian Sejjil, a prophecy by Iran to destroy Mecca hidden in the tip of its favorite missile it designated for Mecca. So lets start:

What circulates the Middle Eastern media has not yet been reported by western media. Special Adviser to the commander of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Hassan Firuz Abadi on Tuesday threatened to “erase Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabis from existence” if Riyadh committed “any stupid moves”.

The Iranian FARS news agency quoted Firuz Abadi as saying that:

“We’re not going to war against any Muslim country, but Saudi Arabia is an exception. If it commits any stupid move they’ll get a penalty, that is erasing Arabia and Wahhabism out of existence, and if the defense necessitated an attack, we will attack and if we attacked the enemy, it certainly will be a reply to whatever we consider an attack, but it will not be a pre-emptive attack”. (translated by Shoebat.com)

In other words, Iran is telling Saudi Arabia that they will attack even if unprovoked and that such an attack will not even have to be pre-emptive where Saudi Arabia must show real aggression towards Iran.

Abadi pointed out that “even the U.S. recently admitted, Iran has missile deterrent capabilities. World powers admits that Iran can accurately perform a missile attack.”

While Iranian forces are no match technologically for Riyadh’s lavishly equipped military, Iran’s air force is mostly comprised of obsolete airframes, Tehran can use what equipment and troops it does have in clever ways to offset that advantage.

Iran has a host of missiles at its disposal including the liquid-fueled Emad, which has a 1,000-mile range. It also has the Shahab family of ballistic missiles. The latest variant, the developmental Shabab-4, could have a range as great as 2,400 miles.

But the most capable Iranian missiles are the solid-fuel, two-stage road-mobile Sejjil series ballistic missiles—which are very difficult to hunt down. They also have very quick reaction times.

“The Sejjil 3 would reportedly have three stages, a maximum range of 4,000 km, and a launch weight of 38,000 kg,” according to the Claremont & George C. Marshall Institute’s Missile Threat project.

What most do not consider is the name of the missile “Sejjil” which tells the whole story since it stems from the Quran. No ‘expert’ is even linking its prophetic symbolism. Sejjil stems from the history just prior to Muhammad’s birth: Year of the Elephant (Āmu l-Fīl), 570 AD, where according to Islamic tradition, it was in this year that Muhammad was born. The year is the story of Sejjil, the fiery missiles from Allah and Ababeel, the heavenly birds that delivered them and Abraha Al-Ashram‘s elephants, the tanks of the day  destroyed by Allah’s Sejjil.

Sejjil is the name of Iran’s baby pet missile. Sejjil stems from when Abraha was a zealous Christian ruler of Yemen, which was subject to the Kingdom of Aksum of Ethiopia, marched upon the Kaaba with a large army, which included war elephants, intending to demolish the Kaaba. However, the Muslim legend by the Arabs has the story that the lead elephant, known as Mahmud, is said to have stopped at the boundary around Mecca, and refused to enter. It has been theorized by historians that an epidemic such as by smallpox could have caused such a failed invasion of Mecca.

Abraha’s army had complete war equipment, armour, and the elephants to knock down the Kaaba. Abraha was convinced that he will easily be able to destroy the Kaaba. But what happens next, according to Muslim legend in the Quran, was that Allah’s help arrived according to the Koran in Sura Al-Fil (The Elephant) where Allah sent “Birds of Ababeel to throw stones of Sejjil” on the elephants and the army, which led to their defeat and destruction.

The war was launched as a campaign to destroy Makkah in Arabia and end the pilgrim to the Kaaba and divert Arab worshippers instead towards Christian Yemen at the time, which had a large church built by Abraha.

This forced replacement of holy places is similar to what Iran wants to do proclaiming Karbala over Mecca. In essence, Iran’s naming this missile, Sejjil, is to succeed where Abraha failed to destroy the Kaaba, here now comes Iran’s Sejjil. It is a prophetic message from Iran to Arabia that your Kaaba will be no more and that they will fulfill where Abraha failed.

This Sejjil rock thrown by the Ababeel birds, became a symbol of Arabia’s pride. For example, one Saudi man on a hunting trip in the rugged mountains near the border with Yemen stumbled across a little dark stone, which according to him he instantly recognized as “Sejjil” mentioned in the Koran. A year later, he was offered $four million for the stone but he refused.

After all, this is what was sent by the Almighty Allah carried by the “Ababeel birds to throw Sejjil stones” (pebbles of hell) to destroy an army led by Yemen’s warlord Abraha just before the advent of Islam to knock down the Kaaba. While the story of Abraha’s campaign probably had some truth, the Sejjil part of it was simply an Islamic legend.

And today, Saudi Arabia is cornered, not just by Iran, but by the U.S. Just a few hours ago, in a stinging blow to President Barack Obama, the Senate voted Wednesday to override his veto of a bill to let 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the terrorist attacks. The U.S. has not forgotten Saudi Arabia’s men who knocked down their handsome Twin Towers. It’s the first time a chamber of Congress has had the votes to overrule Obama on a veto. Not even Saudi’s African slave, messenger of peace, was able to pull it off, Saudi Arabia’s money will not find a safe haven in the U.S. due to all the coming lawsuits.

War analysts presume that if a war ignites between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Saudi planes will have to make numerous sorties against Iranian targets. This will expose Arabia since the Iranians would launch as many missiles as possible, potentially eliminating much of the Saudi air force and rendering bases unusable. The Saudis would have to flee and the war is over with Iran’s victory.

While the current saber rattling between Iran and Saudi is still in the status of “rumors of wars,” the war scenario is no legend but is daily becoming a reality. Isaiah 21 clearly declares that Persia will destroy Arabia. God predicted it and it will come to pass where Iran will soon mount Mecca with the magnificent thrust force of an elephant and a Sejjil for a suppository.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8817

Nov 13

Saudi Arabia And Iran On The Brink Of War After Rebel Missile Attack From Yemen Hit Targets In Riyadh

On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the “right to respond” to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a “blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war”. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

by Geoffrey Grider November 6, 2017

Saudi Arabia and Iran traded fierce accusations over Yemen on Monday, with Riyadh saying a rebel missile attack “may amount to an act of war” and Tehran accusing its rival of war crimes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The tensions between the Saudi kingdom and the terror-state of Iran have gotten to the brink very quickly. Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen fired a SCUD missile well in the Saudi airspace and hit near their airport in Riyadh. What has the Saudi’s so upset is that this is the farthest-traveling missile they have ever fired, and the Saudis know they need to send a message. Because if they don’t, the next missile could very well be nuclear.

Tensions have been rising between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran, which are opposed in disputes and conflicts across the Middle East from Yemen and Syria to Qatar and Lebanon.

On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the “right to respond” to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a “blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war”. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

“Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighbouring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security,” Jubeir tweeted.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued dismissive tweets over the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response.

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for missile attack:

“KSA bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran,” he wrote. “KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilising behaviour & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences.”

Saudi forces on Saturday intercepted and destroyed the ballistic missile near Riyadh’s international airport after it was reportedly fired by Shiite Huthi rebels from Yemen. It was the first attempted missile strike by the rebels to reach Riyadh and threaten air traffic, underscoring the growing threat posed by the conflict on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

The coalition on Monday sealed off air, sea and land borders in Yemen, where it has been battling rebels in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognised government since 2015.

An Iranian foreign ministry statement quoted spokesman Bahram Ghassemi as saying the accusations by the coalition were “unjust, irresponsible, destructive and provocative”. Ghassemi said the missile was fired by the Huthis in response “to war crimes and several years of aggression by the Saudis”.

The missile attack, he said, was “an independent action in response to this aggression,” and Iran had nothing to do with it.

Repeated attempts to bring about a negotiated settlement to the conflict have failed, including a series of UN-backed peace talks. Saudi Arabia has blamed the Huthis for the failed efforts, and on Monday offered rewards totalling $440 million for information on 40 senior officials among the rebels.

Topping the list, with a $30-million reward for tips leading to his capture, was the group’s leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi. The Huthis, allied with Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the conflict, have captured the capital Sanaa, forcing Hadi’s government to operate from the southern city of Aden.

Analysts said it was unclear how far Saudi Arabia would be willing to go in the escalating confrontation.

The kingdom is in the midst of an unprecedented purge of its upper ranks, with dozens of senior figures arrested at the weekend, as 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates his hold on power.

Prince Mohammed, who is also defence minister, is seen as a key supporter of the intervention in Yemen.

Analyst Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute said it was unclear whether the Saudi leadership had “thought through an escalation of the scale they’re hinting at”. Compounding concerns of an escalation, she said, is that US President Donald Trump’s administration has also taken a hard line against Iran “and may not send a deterrent message to Saudi”.

The Saudi-Iran rivalry also played out this weekend in the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri, a protege of Riyadh who said he was stepping down because of the “grip” of Iran and its ally Hezbollah on the country.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah hit back on Sunday, saying Hariri’s resignation had been “imposed” by Saudi Arabia.

Iran rejected Hariri’s words as “baseless” and said his resignation was “designed to create tensions in Lebanon and in the region”. Hariri, who announced his resignation in Riyadh, on Monday met Saudi King Salman and “reviewed the situation in Lebanon”, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8815

Nov 06

NATO May Retaliate if Turkey Buys Russian Missiles

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system could create major problems for NATO, of which his country is a member.

October 30, 2017

Turkey has already agreed to purchase the S-400 surface-to-air missile system, but has not yet signed the contract with the Russian government to complete the transaction, however the head of NATO’s Military Committee is warning of “necessary consequences” if it follows through.

Gen. Petr Pavel said:

“The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision.”

Among those consequences could be excluding Turkey from the alliance’s integrated air-defense system, as well as other technical restrictions. The general said he felt it was “fair” for the member countries to have a full discussion of “concerns and potential difficulties.”

Turkey plays a vital role in the NATO development and sustainment of the F-35 Lightning II and the Joint Strike Fighter Program. Many experts have suggested the S-400 system could provide Russia with vital information about the fifth-generation stealth fighter that could impact the alliance’s future operations.

Pavel said his concerns with the potential purchase are “security” focused, saying that the S-400 system, even if it isn’t integrated with the NATO, it “creates challenges for allied assets potentially deployed onto the territory of that country.” The general said, in spite of the current flap over the missile issue, the alliance still considers Turkey to be a “valuable strategic ally.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8799

Nov 01

Key Kurdish-held border crossing falls to Iranian control, cuts US army land supply line to Syria

Oct 29, 2017 @ 23:03 Iran, Iraqi army, Iraqi-Syrian border crossing, IRGC, Kurds, US army

The Iraqi army and Shiite Hashd Shaabi Brigades militias under Iranian Revolutionary Guards command seized the strategically important northern Iraqi-Syrian border crossing of Faysh Khabur on Saturday, Oct. 28, forcing the Kurdish Peshmerga into another retreat after this month’s fall of oil-rich Kirkuk.

The joint Iraqi-Iranian operation was conducted surreptitiously, masked as an Iraqi military operation “to liberate al Qaim from ISIS” – with which Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi laid a red herring.

This operation, choreographed by Guards General Qassem Soleimani, wrapped up his scheme to round off Iran’s control of the northern sector of that border, in order to achieve four strategic objectives:

  1. To cut off the overland corridor between Iraqi Kurdistan and the three Syrian enclaves ruled by the YPG militia. The Syrian militia is now barred from coming to the aid of its Iraqi brothers, the peshmerga.
    2. To shut the only open door remaining to Kurdish residents wishing to travel outside Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iraqi government has cut all its air links by seizing the international airports of Irbil and Suliemeniyeh and threatening to shoot down any planes using them. The siege of semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdistan is therefore complete.
  2. Faysh Khabur was also the only land crossing the American army had the use of used for moving supplies to US forces stationed in northern Syria. The US army is now left only with air transit.
  3. Iran’s overland bridge to Syria via Iraq is now complete unimpeded by either the US or Israel.

Many people in the Middle East are asking again where were the US Trump administration and its pledges not to let Iran build a land bridge through Iraq to Syria. And where were Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and their tough rhetoric vowing not to allow Iran to deepen its military grip on Syria? While they made speeches and tweeted, Tehran with swift cunning ran off with high-value strategic and military assets.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8794

Oct 30

Prophecy Is Taking Shape As Iran Is Now Conquering Northern Iraq And Forming Its Shiite Crescent

By Shoebat Foundation on October 20, 2017 in Featured, General, Highlight

We have been saying it all along, that whenever ISIS is defeated in Iraq, Iran will move in. While the media says that “Iraqi forces took over Kirkuk this week”, reality is it was Iran and not Iraq that took Kirkuk. The military operation of today and yesterday was carried out under the banner of the Iraqi military, sure, but the ground forces were Iranian-backed Shiite militias which even included the aid from Al-Quds Force which was lead by Qassem Soleimani who bribed certain elements of U.S allied Kurdish factions to cut and run abandoning their positions. This opened the runway for the Iranian backed Shiites to take over Kirkuk.

The Kurds of Kirkuk (biblical Medes) read the writing on the wall that Babylon is now in the hands of the Persians and one hundred thousand Kurds fled Kirkuk. With the return of Kirkuk to Iran’s puppet, the balance of power appears to have shifted between the ethnic communities in the Kurdish-majority city to the delight of its Turkmen residents. We have always maintained that the issue is not Sunni versus Shiite, the Turkmen (ethnic Turks) allied to Turkey are Sunni and the Iraqi forces that took over Kirkuk are Shiites.

And besides Iran’s interests, Turkey has interest in Kirkuk’s Turkmen and Iran now has control over the richest oil spot in the region (40% of Iraq’s oil). Iran, the biblical bear, is eating its share of flesh to soon devour all three ribs that make up Iraq, the biblical lion, which had its wings plucked by the U.S after it ousted Saddam out of power.

Kurdistan (biblical Media) is defeated and has no power in the unfolding event since the bear (Medo-Persia) rises only on one side; Persia without Media. The latter is defeated and its hope to form a state is shattered.

Its always the case in warfare, the smaller dog, in this case the Kurds who defeated ISIS simply cleared the runway for the bigger dog: Iran to control northern Iraq, and Turkey to control northern Syria. Both will swallow much territory in the coming future and the U.S. can do very little for the Kurds. When it comes to nations there is no such thing as permanent allies.

And it should be to no surprise that Turkey, a Sunni rival to Iran came out to confirm its support for Iran’s backed Shiites to enter into Kirkuk. Kirkuk’s Turkmen (Sunnis) welcomed Iran’s militia. Last August, a spokesman for the Turkish presidency, Ibrahim Kalan, said of the city: “Yes, the Kurds and the Arabs, but the basic identity of Kirkuk is a Turkmen city.”

Turkey has a historic interest in Kirkuk since Ottoman times. Last month, a slogan by Turkish President Erdogan was written in the Ottoman script on the walls of Kirkuk: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘we may come suddenly one night’”. Erdogan promised that one day he will enter northern Iraq, suddenly and by surprise. It seems that Iran beat him to the punch or else they combined efforts to divide the region to form their two crescents: Shiite and Sunni, but this time united.

The U.S. concern and meddling in the Middle East should teach us a lesson: throw out one tyrant (Saddam) from Iraq and you will get ISIS; drive ISIS out of Iraq and you will get Iran; get rid of Iran and Turkey will move in; get rid of Turkey and the Middle East will finally be at rest. At least this is what happened when the Ottoman Empire was finally bruised. Will westerners learn from the lesson’s that Jesus gave: get rid of one demon and a host of other demons will enter. Never fight one evil. All evils must be equally fought.

It is all about regional interests. In fact, the U.S. knew about Iran’s intents. Haider al-Abadi stated “At a minimum, the U.S. knew that the attack was coming.”

Iran’s entering Kirkuk is for a reason. Years ago we stated:

The U.S. is gazing away from the encroaching Iranian forces taking up forward positions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where they are busy fashioning a Shiite Crescent that encircles Sunni Arab states as well as Israel … They key to advancing these agendas is ISIS. While we rejoice when we see ISIS lose battles, what many fail to see, is that ISIS is the chip used to make all the moves to bolster two tyrannies, Iran and Turkey.

We were correct because we try to study scriptures to correct our errors. Today ISIS is pretty much gone, Turkey (the biblical Leopard) is flexing its muscles and Iran (the bear) is already consuming.

Back in 2015 we predicted:

“the US will allow Iran to reach the status of a pre-nuclear power and regional hegemon, while Tehran, in return, will send “boots on the ground” to fight in Iraq, Syria and even Afghanistan, allowing “the bear to eat much flesh” (Daniel 7:5). Iran through Iraq, we have always maintained, will prove the linchpin in an area of Iranian influence among predominantly Shiite governments and organizations that stretched across Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. This zone has been variously described as an Iranian or Shiite “Arc of Influence” or the Shiite Crescent.”

These days prophecy is being fulfilled faster than ever. Kirkuk is strategic. Not only does it have vast oil resources, Iran’s takeover eliminates any possibility for an independent Kurdish state to emerge from the Kurdish Regional Government area in northern Iraq. We have been saying this for a while now since the “bear” (Medo-Persia) will arise on one side. This is Iran’s rise (Persia) without the Medes (the Kurds).

Iran had an edge over Turkey in Iraq for several reasons. Iran’s skilful use of Shia militias gives it an edge over Turkey’s direct military intervention, which is unwelcomed by the Iraqi government in Baghdad. Also, the Iraqi government officials (Shiites) have been very critical of the ‘illegal’ Turkish military presence in Northern Iraq so Turkey’s incursions will not gain Iraqi government support. For Iran, Iraq is strategically more important than any other Arab country since it shares more than 1400 km of its borders with Iraq. After Saddam’s fall, Iran played a significant role in shaping Iraq’s new political system and is why it is often described as an ‘Iranian puppet government’.

The next to be taken over is Sinjar city, close to the border with Syria and with that Iran can begin its long awaited program we spoke about: to form the Iranian Crescent.

These two crescents, the Iranian ‘Shiite-Crescent’ and the ‘Sunni Crescent’ led by Turkey will eventually form the pincer around Jerusalem.

Shiite Crescent

Indeed, it is Iran (not Iraq or Turkey) that is taking over the richest land (Kirkuk). Besides Iran’s Al-Quds Force, in Iraq the main military militia force is Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) that is backed by Iran. Besides Asaib Ahl alHaq, there are the Badr Brigades, formed in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War, and the younger and more secretive Kataib Hezbollah, which is regarded as a terrorist organization by the State Department. The three militias have been instrumental in battling ISIS, the rival Wahhabist Sunni sect. These militias are the three small Iraqi Shi’ite armies, all backed by Iran, which together have become the most powerful military force in Iraq since the collapse of the national army and are key to Iran’s power and influence inside neighboring Iraq.

While experts foresee a historical Ottoman-Persian rivalry in Mesopotamia we see it differently. What we see is a unity between the two since Turkey is Sufi and has kinship to Shiites sine the religious apparatus of Iran are Azeri Turks. Secondly, the neo-Ottoman Turks are warming its relations and increasing economic and energy ties with Iran and its other Muslim neighbors. Turkey’s economy is growing, and Iran is the only land corridor for Turkey to reach Asia and Iran’s needs are similar. With the Eurasian and E.U dealings Turkey will soon play a significant part to form an economic superpower with Germany and Northern Europe to lead the global economy. Germany and Turkey have been allies since 1871 when Germany was founded as a nation.

Turkey is treading very carefully not to be seen as, effectively, a Sunni power grouped with the Arab states’ agenda in Iraq or the Wahhabists agenda of Saudi Arabia. Prophetically speaking this will be the case since Persia and Turkey will unite against Jerusalem while Arabia (Sheba and Dedan) condemn this coalition and stand on the sidelines.

In conclusion, the Middle East is not that complex to understand. The problem is the oversimplification by westerners who want simplified answers. The problem with most people is that they always think that there is only one demon.  When the U.S. overthrew Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist government it resulted in the emergence of a Shia dominated government in Baghdad replacing it with an Iraqi Shiite government friendly to Tehran. Today no one can argue that this decision eliminated Iraqi Sunnis from the equation. These have been an existential threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran and had tipped the local balance of power significantly in Tehran’s favor. As a result of NATO’s supposed exorcizing one demon they simply brought in other demons like ISIS and now Iran and Turkey. So everyone said that we need to eliminate ISIS. We said this does not make a single bit of difference and in fact ridding the world from ISIS will be worse. We stated years ago that:

“once Iran cleans the ISIS mess in Iraq, we will all rejoice. Iran will be happy, the U.S. will be happy, while all we’ve done is chase out ISIS while Iran’s Shiite militias are already running amok in Iraq. All that, while Israel awaits the outcome, that when Sunni and Shiite want to put aside their differences in efforts to stabilize the region will begin by uniting both the Shiite and Sunni crescents, the two horns, the pincer if you will, by focusing and switching their energy towards Jerusalem … The West will be happy to get rid of ISIS out of Iraq, while Iran will be happy to camp in Iraq permanently.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8788

Oct 11

Analysis: What does historic Saudi-Russia meeting mean for Israel?

Analysis: What does historic Saudi-Russia meeting mean for Israel?
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
10/09/2017
Will Moscow heed Israel and Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iran in the region?

 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday wrapped up a four-day visit to Moscow where he met President Vladimir Putin.

It was the first visit by a ruling Saudi king to the Russian capital, a symbolically historic meeting that has wide-ranging implications for the Middle East.

With Iran influence at an all-time high in the region, the visit especially has major implications for Israel as Jerusalem tries to navigate the threats posed by Iran’s involvement in Syria and Lebanon.

Will Moscow heed Israel and Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iran in the region? Saudi Arabia’s opening to Russia comes in the context of the decade-long decline of US influence in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has been a pillar of US policy and alliances in the region for more than half a century, but under president Barack Obama, the Kingdom began to sense that US policy was drifting from its familiar tether.

At the G20 in January 2016, Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir said he wanted to “improve our relationship with Russia,” and called Russia a “great power.” Obama was snubbed by the Kingdom when he arrived on a visit in April 2016, met on the tarmac by the governor of Riyadh and not the king. According to various reports, Saudi Arabia and Russia have been discussing a major arms deal since 2015.

The visit by the Saudi king comes at a unique time in the Middle East. The post-Arab spring revolutions were meant to bring democracy but instead brought conflict to Libya and Syria. From Saudi Arabia’s point of view, they engendered chaos and extremism that threaten the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia intervened to stop the monarchy in Bahrain from being overthrown in 2011 and backed General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in Egypt in 2013. Initially, it supported the rebellion against Bashar Assad, endorsing the Geneva 1 communique and UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that envisioned elections and a transition from Assad’s rule.

Saudi Arabia welcomed Donald Trump’s election and hosted him in May for the Arab Islamic American Summit, attended by 50 Muslim countries; Trump criticized Iran at the summit.

Israel and Saudi Arabia share common interests in concerns about the Iranian threat to the region; Iranian involvement in Syria; and support for Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia, since the 1989 Taif Accords, has been a keen broker in Lebanese affairs only to watch Hezbollah slowly digest Lebanese politics.

Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has cemented close ties with Moscow through repeated personal meetings and phone calls.

Israel has stressed the importance of denying Iran permanent bases in Syria and its concerns about an Iranian presence near the Golan, particularly after a July cease-fire brokered by Russia, Jordan and the US.

It is “much more than just a symbolic visit,” says former Israel ambassador to Russia Zvi Magen, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.

“It’s not just a visit of the Saudi King, it’s a change of Russia’s image in the area,” he says, arguing that the Syrian context is important because Russia is the main backer of the Assad regime alongside Iran and Iran is an enemy of Saudi Arabia.

With Saudi Arabia the leader of the Sunni camp in the region, he says there is a “bitter competition” and Israel is involved on the side of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Russia has become stuck working alongside Iran in Syria, “but Russia is not interested only in Syria or only to be a friend of the Iranian player on this table. They want to be an important player in the region, together with the US.”

In this sense, he says Russia has “crossed a river” in welcoming the Saudi King and his massive 1,500 person entourage.

In the complex chessboard of Russia, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Magen says “Israel is not the main factor in this game, but is one of them.”

“We don’t know what will be the result of this visit, but generally speaking Israel is in a good position,” he says.

During the visit, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia had agreed to a memorandum of understanding on arms purchases. According to Al-Arabiya, this could include the S-400 air defense missile system.

Dr. Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, cautions that it could be a long time before this deal happens.

“It was an important visit symbolically and symbolism means a lot [in the Arab world] and to the Saudis,” he says, agreeing that in Syria both Israel and the Saudis want to reduce Iranian involvement.

To get the Russians to try and limit the Iranian footprint in Syria, he says Saudis “are willing to offer investments to Russia, such as an investment fund, and this is payment for what they are asking Russia to do in Syria.”

“Another thing that interests the Saudis in Syria is Saudi investment in rebuilding Syria and the Saudis could do that in the Sunni areas and strengthen the Sunni population,” says Guzansky.

This might be in exchange for Saudi Arabia ending backing for certain extremist rebel groups.

Saudi Arabia understands that the regime backed by Russia and Iran now have the upper hand.

“Assad will remain president for time being so [Saudi Arabia] tries to mitigate risk and lower the losses,” he says.

Another player in all this is the US. Trump is considering a new Iran policy, possibly abandoning the Iran deal or declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization. The US is trying to shore up Saudi Arabia as an ally, announcing that the kingdom was spending $15 billion on a THAAD missile defense system while the king was in Moscow.

“One needs to remember that the US and Saudis have strong relations and with Russia not replacing US instability in the Gulf, they [Saudi Arabia] are hedging their bets and have some accomplishments in Syria,” says Guzansky.

For Russia, the meeting illustrated the increased role Moscow plays in the Middle East as a power broker.

Saudi Arabia wants stability in the region after six years of chaos in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. To that end, it recognizes the dangers of extremist groups that feed off civil wars. This could lead to trade-offs in Syria as Assad remains in power and Saudi Arabia offers to accept Assad back into the Arab fold in exchange for Iranian influence being rolled back.

That would fit the Saudi goal of reducing Iranian influence in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.

Russia benefits by being seen as a wise backer of stability in the region. For Israel, this would be a welcome development as long as Jerusalem can be assured Moscow continues to weigh Israel’s concerns and Jerusalem is not left behind by Saudi overtures to Moscow.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8763

Oct 11

Iran: US bases at risk if sanctions pass

By Julia Manchester – 10/08/17 11:03 AM EDT 492

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is reportedly warning Washington against imposing sanctions on Tehran, saying U.S. military bases in the region would be at risk.

“As we’ve announced in the past, if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles,” Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday, according to an Iranian state media report cited by Reuters. 

Jafari also addressed the White House’s announcement on Friday that President Trump would respond to Iran’s support for “terrorism,” a reference to the influential Revolutionary Guard security force.

“If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world particularly in the Middle East,” he said.

The comments come as Trump prepares to announce his decision on the multilateral Iran nuclear deal.

The president is approaching an Oct. 15 deadline to certify whether Iran is abiding by the terms of the agreement, which imposes restrictions on its nuclear capabilities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump has lashed out at the deal in the past, referring to it as “the worst deal I’ve ever seen.”

Various reports last Thursday said Trump plans to decertify the deal, which would trigger a congressional review over whether to reimpose nuclear sanctions.

Some administration officials, however, have argued in favor of preserving the deal in an effort to neutralize tensions with Tehran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8761

Oct 09

Now Turkey is Getting Cozy With Iran

Turkey and Iran have been forced into a closer military relationship as a result of last week’s independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.

October 03, 2017

In the wake of last week’s independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran and Turkey announced they will start coordinating on military activities.

The Washington Times reported:

Iran and Turkey on Monday said they were stepping up military cooperation, including large-scale war games and counterterrorism operations, in the wake of Iraqi Kurdistan’s historic independence referendum vote.

Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Baqeri and Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar announced the plans during a press conference in Tehran. Gen. Akar is also expected to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his visit Monday, which comes days before Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travels to Tehrani.

“We held talks on the common threats [Iran and Turkey], and also on the referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region with an emphasis on the maintenance of Iraq’s integrity and rejection of the referendum,” Gen. Baqeri told reporters Monday in Tehran.

Turkey being a NATO member creates a very sticky situation for the U.S. in its efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. Iran still holds rallies in which the government openly calls for “Death to America,” and Turkey is bound by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to come to the defense of the U.S. should it be attacked.

In this case, however, both Iran and Turkey face their own domestic problems created by the Kurdistan votes. Both have relatively large minority populations of Kurds within their own borders.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8746

Sep 05

Netanyahu: Iran Building Missile Sites in Syria & Lebanon

August 28, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned UN Chief Antonio Guterres that Tehran’s military ambitions in Syria and Lebanon have gone too far.

(JERUSALEM) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Iran is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of using them against Israel.

At the start of a meeting in Jerusalem with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Netanyahu accused Iran of turning Syria into a “base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel.”

“It is also building sites to produce precision-guided missiles towards that end, in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the U.N. should not accept,” Netanyahu said.

Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest backer and has provided militia fighters to help him in Syria’s civil war.

There was no immediate comment from Iran.

Israel has pointed to Tehran’s steadily increasing influence in the region during the six-year-old Syrian conflict, whether via its own Revolutionary Guard forces or Shi’ite Muslim proxies, especially Hezbollah.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu, in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Israel was prepared to act unilaterally to prevent an expanded Iranian military presence in Syria.

Russia, also an Assad ally, is seen as holding the balance of power in achieving a deal on Syria’s future. Israel fears an eventual Assad victory could leave Iran with a permanent garrison in Syria, extending a threat posed from neighboring Lebanon by Hezbollah.

Netanyahu accused Iran of building the production sites two weeks after an Israeli television report showed satellite images it said were of a facility Tehran was constructing in northwest Syria to manufacture long-range rockets.

The Channel 2 News report said the images were of a site near the Mediterranean coastal town of Baniyas and were taken by an Israeli satellite.

In parallel to lobbying Moscow, Israel has been trying to persuade Washington that Iran and its guerrilla partners, not Islamic State, pose the greater common threat in the region.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8695

Aug 28

Netanyahu after Putin meeting: Iran wants the ‘Lebanonization’ of Syria

ByHerb Keinon

August 23, 2017 18:39

“We will not remain passive,” Netanyahu said, adding that he said this in “a clear and detailed manner” to the Russian president.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged from a three-hour discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday saying that Iran seeks the “Lebanonization” of Syria, something Israel cannot tolerate.

Netanyahu, who held a conference call with Israeli reporters after the meeting, said just as Iran took control of Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah, its aim is to do the same in Syria through tens of thousands of Shi’ite militiamen already in the country.

The prime minister, accompanied by Mossad head Yossi Cohen, the newly appointed head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Likud minister Ze’ev Elkin who served as his translator, flew to Sochi on the Black Sea for the meeting, returning to Israel shortly after it ended. This is Netanyahu’s fourth trip to Russia in the last 16 months, and his sixth meeting with Putin during this same time frame.

Netanyahu said the majority of his discussions with Putin focused on the situation in Syria. He said the reason he wanted to hold talks now with the Russian leader was because the situation inside Syria has changed very rapidly over the last few weeks.

Similar talks, he said, were held last week in Washington by a high-level security delegation headed by Cohen.

Netanyahu said that Islamic State will soon be defeated in Syria, something he characterized as a welcome development.

However, the problem this creates “is that Iran is going into areas where Islamic State evacuates.”

Netanyahu said Iran is not hiding its intention to create a land bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean, and transfer Iranian forces – air, sea and ground – to Syria to supplement the Shi’ite militia already there.

“The intention is to use this against Israel,” he said.

The prime minister said he made it clear to Putin that this development is very grave for Israel, as well as for others in the region.

“We will not remain passive,” he stressed, adding that he said this in “a clear and detailed manner” to the Russian president.

Netanyahu said he has made clear in the past that Jerusalem cannot agree to the establishment in Syria of Iranian airbases, military bases or a naval port on the Mediterranean, which will then be used against Israel.

He did not reveal how Putin responded, beyond saying that in previous meetings with the Russian president “such conversations served the security of Israel and Israeli interests and I also believe Russia’s interests as well. I think I can say the same thing based on today’s conversation.”

Netanyahu presented Putin with Israel’s understanding of the situation based on intelligence, and he said the Russian president also told him “a couple of things that I did not know.” However, he would not elaborate.

Netanyahu added that there is a notion in Russia, as well as elsewhere around the world, that when Israel sets redlines, it stands behind them. Israel wants to prevent a regional war, he said, adding that therefore it is important to warn beforehand “of things that could lead to a deterioration of the situation.”

Jerusalem is intensively lobbying both Moscow and Washington to ensure that once Syria’s civil war ends, all foreign forces will leave the country.

Russia’s Ambassador Alexander Shane said on Channel 1 on Tuesday evening that Russia agrees that “there should be no foreign forces in Syria, including the Iranian army. [But] at this stage, we must support the peace process, the current government and the struggle against terrorism.”

Netanyahu, sitting alongside Putin for a photo opp before the meeting, said: “We do not forget for one minute that Iran continues to threaten Israel’s destruction every day. It is arming terrorist organizations and is itself instigating terrorism; and it is developing intercontinental missiles with the goal of arming them with nuclear warheads.

For all these reasons, Israel continues to oppose Iran’s entrenchment in Syria. We will defend ourselves in any way against this threat and any threat.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8690