Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Post-war Syria destined to be sanctions-busting hub, the Russian-Iranian-Turkish summit decides

Sep 12, 2018 @ 12:09 Idlib, Israel, Russia-Iranian-Turkish summit, Syria sanctions-beating hub, Turkey, US

Shared mechanisms for beating US sanctions against Iran may be built into Syria’s massive post-war reconstruction program, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report. This plan was approved by Presidents Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Tayyip Erdogan at their Tehran summit on Sept. 7. It topped their agenda, in addition to coordination among Russian, Iranian and Syrian forces in their coming offensive for demolishing the last Syrian rebel stronghold in Idlib. The pause in launching ground operations in Idlib is accounted for by two major hurdles:

  1. Putin and Rouhani are keen to get started on building the new economic mechanisms. A full-scale war in Idlib would disrupt the process, especially if the Turkish president, who is against this offensive, gets in the way.
  2. Turkey continues to pour troops into Idlib for widening its foothold there. Neither the Russian nor the Iranian leader – least of all, Syria’s Bashar Assad – want to see their forces confronted by Turkish troops.

At their conference in Tehran, the three leaders forged an economic-strategic pact to create measures for fighting American sanctions. One measure approved was to contract all business deals among Russia, Iran and Turkey, including gas and oil, in local currencies instead of American dollars. The same rule would apply to banking transactions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov first raised this proposal when he remarked that Russia and Turkey could conduct their bilateral trading deals to their national currencies instead of the US dollar.

US and Israel paid special note to the trilateral decision reached in Tehran to convert the massive projects for Syria’s post-war recovery (after Iran had solidified its military foothold there) into a back-door hatch for escaping US sanctions against Iran. During the Obama presidency, Oman and Abu Dhabi served this purpose; under Donald Trump, it will pass to Damascus, with the added benefit of  protection from the deepening Russian-Iranian-Syrian military cooperation.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9379

VOSTOK 2018: Russia And China Hold Largest-Ever War Games That Has NATO Wondering What They’re Really Preparing For

The drills, which also include Mongolian soldiers, have been condemned by NATO as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict”. The military exercises come at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

 

by Geoffrey Grider September 11, 2018

Russia launched Tuesday what it called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force NATO condemned as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”

War games are part of the battle readiness plans that all industrialized nations need to have to maintain their peace and security. But the unprecedented and aggressive war games that kicked off this morning between Russia and China has NATO and the United States wondering exactly what the two nations are really preparing for. NATO is accusing Russia of preparing for ‘large scale conflict’ that would be of thier own making.

From a biblical perspective, this much mutual cooperation between two of the ‘heaviest hitter’ nations in the in scripture should absolutely be raising some red flags.

“Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:” Ezekiel 39:1 (KJV)

FROM YAHOO NEWS: President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the games after hosting an economic forum in Russia’s far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

The week-long war games dubbed “Vostok-2018″(East-2018) “have kicked off” in far eastern Russia, the defence ministry said. Taking part in the drills are around 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones.

Some 3,500 Chinese troops will take part in the games.

The defence ministry released video footage of military vehicles, planes, helicopters and ships getting into position for the initial stage of the drills. Putin praised Russia’s increasingly close ties with China as he met with Xi at the economic forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday.

“We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres,” the Russian leader said. Xi for his part said the two countries’ “friendship is getting stronger all the time.”

The drills, which also include Mongolian soldiers, have been condemned by NATO as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict”. The military exercises come at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

The Russian army has compared the show of force to the USSR’s 1981 war games that saw between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers take part in “Zapad-81” (West-81) — the largest military exercises of the Soviet era.

But Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said these exercises are even larger.

“Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles — and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible,” Shoigu said.

The exercises will be held across nine training ranges and three seas: the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Russian army is rolling out all of its latest additions for the event: Iskander missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, T-80 and T-90 tanks and its recent Su-34 and Su-35 fighter planes. At sea, the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles that have been used in Syria.

Wednesday will see games featuring anti-aircraft technology, while the main event will be on Thursday, the defence ministry told journalists covering the event in eastern Siberia and the Far East.

NATO said that Vostok-2018 “demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict”.

“It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time — a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,” the alliance’s spokesman Dylan White said late August.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed such concerns on Tuesday

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9377

Israel is building a massive wall along its northern border

Israel is building a massive wall along its northern border,

saying the barrier is needed to protect civilians from Hezbollah attacks, but the project has raised tensions with Lebanon, which fears the fence will encroach on its territory.

The IDF insists the entire barrier is being constructed in Israeli territory, and the UN peacekeeping force in the area agrees. But Hezbollah has never fully accepted the border, and a senior Israeli military official stressed the need for the wall, saying that while Israeli intelligence closely monitors the terror group, “we are prepared for the possibility that they will surprise us.”

Wall construction along Israel’s northern border (Photo: AFP)

The official spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines during a military-led tour of the border region provided for reporters.

Israel’s military conducted a large-scale combined arms drill in northern Israel this week simulating a future conflict with Hezbollah, with which it fought a monthlong war in 2006. Israelis fear there could be a renewal of hostilities as the civil war winds down in neighboring Syria, where the Iran-backed terror organization has been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces for the last seven years.

Hezbollah is believed to have an even larger and more sophisticated arsenal of rockets than in 2006, when it fought Israel’s  military to a stalemate in southern Lebanon. That war began with a deadly cross-border raid in which Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers and abducted two others, whose remains were returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange two years later.

Brig. Gen. Eran Ofir, the commander in charge of Israel’s border wall projects, said around seven miles of the 80-mile (130-kilometer) barrier has been built. The $450 million project is slated for completion in two years. Most of the barrier is a concrete wall topped by steel mesh, sensors and surveillance cameras. Steel fencing replaces the concrete wall in especially rugged areas.

Earthmovers and other large machinery rumbled alongside a completed section of the 30-foot (9-meter) high concrete wall earlier this week near the Mediterranean coast. Lebanese soldiers looked over the barrier from a guard post on the opposite side of the Blue Line, which was demarcated by the UN after Israeli forces withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. The two countries technically remain at war.

Last month, the Lebanese army complained to UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force, saying Israeli bulldozers working on the barrier were encroaching on the Lebanese side. A Lebanese security official at the time said that following the Lebanese request, the Israeli bulldozers stopped their work and pulled back 50 meters (160 feet).

The UN Security Council warned last month that violations of the ceasefire agreement between Lebanon and Israel could lead to fresh conflict, and Lebanon’s top security body earlier this year described the planned border wall as an “aggression” against its sovereignty.

 

“This wall, if it is built, will be considered an aggression against Lebanon,” it said in a statement. “The Higher Defense Council has given instructions to confront this aggression to prevent Israel from building this so-called wall barrier on Lebanese territory,” it added.

Maj. Tomer Gilad, Israel’s liaison officer with UNIFIL, said there are monthly meetings with the Lebanese military and UN officials to coordinate the barrier’s construction.

“Even for the past year before we started this construction, we’ve coordinated this activity with UNIFIL, and through UNIFIL with the Lebanese Armed Forces. We’ve alerted them of our intention to do so, to construct this defensive mechanism,” Gilad told reporters.

Thus far, construction has proceeded “very calmly with the participation on all sides to maintain the stability,” Gilad said. “We expect UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Force to maintain stability over here throughout this construction, because this construction is a stabilizing measure.”

UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said that since construction began in February 2018, everything has been built south of the Blue Line and away from sensitive areas.

Israel says the barrier’s purpose is to defend Israeli communities from Hezbollah, pointing to sporadic cross-border attacks on Israeli troops and civilians in recent years. The volatile border between the two countries has been relatively quiet since the 2006 war, with few major cross-border attacks or incidents.

In 2010, an Israeli army officer was killed and another was seriously wounded when Israeli troops came under fire by Lebanese army forces while trimming trees on the Israeli side of the border. Three Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed in Israeli retaliatory shelling. In 2013, an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese army sniper while driving along the border, and in 2015 Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli military convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven.

The Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the army has noticed a troubling rise in “very close cooperation between Lebanese Army Forces and Hezbollah” near the Israeli frontier in the past year. He says the military expects even more Hezbollah fighters to arrive in the area after the Syrian war ends.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9373

Iran launches anti-US-Israel front – from W. Iraq, with Tel Aviv in missile range, builds base facing Golan

Aug 31, 2018 @ 18:25 Iranian forces in W. Iraq, Russian armada, US-Russian-Israeli buildup

Russia, Iran, Syria and Hamas have launched six steps to counter the US-Israeli plan to hit Iranian military targets in Syria, which National Security Adviser John Bolton finalized in Jerusalem two weeks ago. That plan is to strike Iran’s Al Qods Brigades and allied Shiite militia forces in Syrian and western Iraq, as DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources were first to reveal. The US and Israel agreed to provide each other with reciprocal air and military cover for their operations in Syria. This accord was first implemented on Aug. 23, when unidentified warplanes bombed a pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite Khataib Hezballah convoy on the Syrian-Iraqi highway.

The Russian-backed Iranian-Syrian-Hamas alliance subsequently put together six counter-measures:

  1. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Damascus with a large military delegation to sign expanded military cooperation pacts with Syrian ruler Bashar Assad. Israeli and American officials who initially made light of this event were forced to take a second look.
  2. Iran was empowered by these accords to deepen its military grip on Syria, backed by the promise of Russian military and air cover modeled on the US-Israeli mutual commitment.
  3. Tehran and Damascus agreed to retaliate for every US or Israel attack on Iran’s Al-Qods or Shiite militia forces in Syria in the same coin, i.e. by targeting US military forces posted east of the Euphrates River along the Syrian-Iraqi border, or IDF forces inside the Golan enclave. Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani was put in charge of these operations.
  4. Our exclusive sources also reveal that the new military pacts signed by Iran and Syria provide explicitly for three large Iranian bases to go up in Syria as hubs for the various Iranian command posts dispersed across the country; one outside Aleppo; a second between Damascus and the Israeli Golan border and a third at a still undetermined location.
  5. In the wake of these pacts, the United States, Russia, Iran and Israel are all engaged in military buildups in the Middle East and around Syria of intervention forces for a potential escalation.
    The Americans have prepared major naval and air strength in the region capable of rapid responses, mainly with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
    The Russians are massing a sea armada opposite the Syrian coast. Fresh arrivals on Friday, Aug. 31, raised the number of warships to 24.
    Syrian air defense networks are on the highest war alert since early this week. The IDF’s presence in northern Israel has been beefed up and the troops placed on high alert.
  6. On Friday, Iran said it had supplied allied Iraqi Shiite militias with ground-to-ground missiles with ranges of between 200km and 700km. From Western Iraq, meaning Anbar, where Soleimani has concentrated a large force, these mssiles can reach Tel Aviv; and from southern Iraq, the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The senior US allies in the region are therefore under fresh Iranian missile threat from Iraq.
    DEBKAfile’s military sources note that these missiles have long been in the hands of the Iraqi Shiite militias under Tehran’s thumb, but Iran’s leaders decided it could do no harm to release the information to its enemies at this time.
    In former articles, our sources have pointed out that a US-Israeli showdown with Iran in Syria  would inevitably spill over into Iraq.
    Hamas joined the emerging fray on Thursday, when its leader noted that the Palestinian organization also had rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. He was pointing up the collaboration between Gaza’s Palestinian rulers and Tehran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9364

NATO Confirms Russian Naval Buildup Off Syria, Calls for Restraint

‘It is important that all actors in the region exercise restraint and refrain from worsening an already disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria,’ a NATO spokesman told Haaretz in a statement

Haaretz

Aug 29, 2018 9:56 AM

NATO confirmed a large scale Russian navy buildup in the Mediterranean Sea off Syria on Tuesday. “The Russian Navy has dispatched substantial naval forces to the Mediterranean, including several ships equipped with modern cruise missiles,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu confirmed to Haaretz in a statement.

Russian media on Tuesday called the deployment Moscow’s largest naval buildup since it entered the Syrian conflict in 2015. The reinforcement comes as Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is believed to be considering an assault on the last big rebel-held enclave, Idlib in the north.

Lungescu said, “Many NATO Allies border the Mediterranean, and our navies constantly operate there, so we monitor naval activity in the region, including that of Russia.”

“We will not speculate on the intention of the Russian fleet, but it is important that all actors in the region exercise restraint and refrain from worsening an already disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria,” added the spokesperson.

“NATO is not present in Syria, but we support the efforts of the United Nations to achieve a lasting political resolution to the conflict.”

Russia claimed on Monday that the U.S. is preparing for a possible strike on Syria. Major-General Igor Konashenkov was quoted by agencies as saying that the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer, had entered the Mediterranean on Aug. 25 armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting any target in Syria.

Russian intervention

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the Russian military was in talks with leaders of armed groups in Syria’s rebel-held Idlibprovince to reach a peace settlement, Russian news agency RIA reported.

Shoigu said the aim of the Idlib talks was to reach peaceful resolution similar to the settlements in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta and Deraa, RIA said.

The Russian Navy has dispatched the biggest task force to the Mediterranean Sea since the start of Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, Russian daily Izvestia reported.

* The task force includes 13 warships and two submarines

* Most of the ships carry ‘Kalibr’ cruise missiles

* Several more ships are reportedly on their way to join the task force

* Izvestia cites military experts as saying the fleet will be able to support the Syrian army’s campaign in rebel-held Idlib Province

* Russia intervened in the Syrian Civil War in 2015 backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9355

Are Turkey and the USA on a collision course? Not necessarily

Where are we headed? The Brunson crisis has gone on for several weeks – does Erdogan really think Trump will concede?

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, 27/08/18 13:08 | updated: 16:03

Modern Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (“Father of the Turks”) – in 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire during WWI (1917). He led Turkey into the modern age by abandoning Islam and using constitutional and governmental means to force a secular nationalist agenda on the country’s citizens. The secular state allowed many of the things prohibited by Islam, such as the sale of alcoholic beverages and their consumption in public, civil marriages, casinos and betting, while some of the things permitted by Islam became illegal, such as polygamy and child marriage.

As the years passed, the demographic makeup of the country changed, and the mostly liberal and secular urban public declined in number due to a lowered birth rate and high rate of emigration, while the rural public, more traditional and religiously observant, increased and gained strength due to its high birthrate and low level of emigration. This cultural change was reflected in the 1996 elections when Necmettin Erbakan, head of the Islamic Welfare Party, was elected prime minister and deposed in 1997, the following year.

Erbakan’s pupil, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, head of  the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was elected prime minister in March 2003 and served  for two terms until August 2014, when he was elected President – one whose authority is steadily expanding as time goes on. The renewal of an Islamist party regime in a state which had an 80 year tradition of a secular government caused consternation in the West among leaders, journalists, intellectuals and academics who feared a Turkish version of the 1979 Iranian revolution that brought Khomeni to power.  In order to calm them down, Erdogan decided to play both sides simultaneously – at least in public.

Playing both sides in the religious sphere

In order to  assuage the fears of those inside Turkey and outside of it who were concerned about his becoming president, Erdogan ran a clever election campaign which included holding a press conference during daylight hours in the month of the Ramadan fast where he enjoyed  a sandwich in full view of the assembled  photographers and media representatives. Audible sighs of relief were heard worldwide, with no one understanding that this did not prevent him from simultaneously being a Muslim Brotherhood Islamist – and in fact, some time later, Erdogan admitted that the sandwich was a publicity stunt meant to soothe Western nerves. Playing both sides…

In the military sphere

Tiurkey is a full-fledged member of NATO and an honorary member from its founding. The Incirlik Air Base in Turkey was the front line position of NATO forces against the USSR, and U2 and SR71 planes took off from the base to missions above the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies, without any of those countries being capable of intercepting the high flying planes.

When the Islamist Party took over the Turkish regime, Turkey’s relations with the West became complicated, starting with the Erdogan regime’s decision to stop NATO forces from invading Iraq from Turkish soil. This came as a great surprise to the US, causing a major change in the plans for the Second Gulf War.  Erdogan did not leave NATO, but did not cooperate with any of the organization’s military plans in any Islamic state: Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.  Simultaneously, a member and a non- participant. Playing both sides…

Relations with Middle Eastern states

Turkey is attempting to gain recognition as a regional power overseeing the area’s other countries on the basis of 1) its national pride 2) j400 years of historical consciousness as an Empire (1517-1917) and 3) political Islamic ideology which leads Erdogan to believe that he alone is fulfilling Allah’s will.

The Arab regimes have understood Erdogan’s motives since 2003 and he has them greatly concerned. Bashar Assad had an excellent relationship with him until 2011, with the need for visas waived for Turks visiting Syria and vice versa. This is unusual in Arab states, where a visa is always necessary to travel from one to another. Erdogan blew a fuse, however, when Assad the Alawite began butchering his Sunni Muslim citizens and particularly Muslim Brotherhood members, Erdogan’s ideological brothers. At that point, all the former agreements vanished into thin air, and in 2014, Erdogan even supported ISIS.

Erdogan has a dual relationship with Egypt as well: He wholeheartedly supported Morsi, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president from late June 2012 till early July 2013, and has an ongoing feud with al-Sisi who deposed Morsi. This is not about the relations between Turkey and Egypt, but is concentrated on the personal relationship between Erdogan and whoever rules Egypt. Everything is personal and revolves around the ideological preferences of one person – Erdogan.

Erdogan’s special love is reserved for Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan supports and helps them wholeheartedly in every way he can, although he is careful not to transfer funds to them so as not to go up against the US law that forbids transferring funds to Hamas as they are listed as a terrorist organization.

The most extreme incident was the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship filled with IHH terrorists that tried to sail through the blockade on Gaza in May 2010. On the one hand Erdogan has diplomatic relations with Israel and on the other, he supports those who call for its destruction. Playing both sides…

When it comes to Israel, Erdogan plays both sides in other ways. Turkish construction companies, headed by Yilmaz, build upscale office buildings in the center of Tel Aviv, Turkish factories manufacture clothes, food and electric appliances for Israeli companies. On the other hand, however, Erdogan sends tens of millions of dollars to support Islamic resistance to Israeli rule in East Jerusalem, an inseparable part of Israel’s capital, its faith and history.

Playing both sides in Europe and the US

Erdogan’s dream is to be accepted to the European Union so that he can reap economic benefits from joining one of the world’s strongest and largest economic bodies. Up until the economic crisis of 2008, Erdogan was insulted to the depths of his soul if some European leader said something against Turkey joining the EU, because he realized that Europe did not want to give him the opportunity to export millions of Muslims to Europe and speed up its Islamization.

On the other hand, when Greece was in dire economic straits and needed massive European economic aid, Erdogan was glad not to be an EU member. The last thing he wants to do is to help the Greek Christians he hates so much. He wants to be accepted to the EU, but not really….

Then came the migrant wave of 2015 that flooded Europe with over 1 million refugees, some of them Syrian but most of them Iraqi, Afghan or Pakistanis who, if they managed to survive crossing the Aegean Sea, landed in small, rickety boats on the Greek coast. Where did they sail from? Syria? Iraq?   Not at all. They embarked on the dangerous sea journey from Turkey, the country they fled to from their collapsing states. According to international law, the minute a refugee arrives in a functioning state, he may not be expelled from it and must be granted refuge within its borders. In other words, all the hundreds of thousands of refugees who reached Greece were sent on their way by Turkey, which is not in a state of war.

Do you get it? Erdogan, the celebrated Islamist, sent hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, the overwhelming majority of them Muslim, to drown (remember the little boy with the red shirt lying on the shore?) or to reach heretic European states.

Why didn’t the Europeans stop the Erdogan-created migrant wave before it hit their shores? Who knows.

Later on, they paid him a billion euro to stop the migration from Turkey to Europe. He took the money and continued sending migrants. Why? Because that is the way to turn Europe into a Muslim continent. Why did he want to do this? Because he is an Islamist.

Then US  President Barack Obama, said not a word against Erdogan and the wave of immigrants he created. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that Obama, like Erdogan, wanted Europe to become Islamic. The extensive reports in the media about the refugee wave helped Trump win the election, because he spoke of stopping the lesser wave of migrants that reached North America. Trump knew who was responsible for the wave of migrants, and it makes sense to infer that his opinion of Erdogan already began to be forged during that period.

The personal aspect of the issue cannot be ignored. Trump and Erdogan are both extremely sure of themselves and their ideas, two men whose style of leadership is at once personal, loud and emotional. They both love to speak straight to their supporters, rallying them to whatever cause they are espousing and radicalizing their opinions.  The chance that the two will have a head on collision  is  the same as the probability that two billy goats trying to cross a narrow bridge from opposing ends will bump into one another.

Trump’s opinion of Islamist leaders is well known. He has the same level of affection for Erdogan as he has for the Iranian mullahs, but instead of taking that into account, Erdogan has done everything he can to infuriate the US president. In Syria, Erdogan collaborates with the Russians, says nothing about the heavy bombing that shattered the US-supported anti-Assad forces, and battles the Syrian Kurds although he is aware that the US that armed them so they would fight ISIS.

Erdogan came out loudly and publicly against Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and once it was a fait accompli, called a conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) representing 57 Islamic states in order to condemn Trump’s action and work against it. What was he thinking? That Trump would send a recorded blessing to the conference?

That’s when the Pastor Brunson issue surfaced. Erdogan has had him incarcerated since 2016, at first in prison and now under house arrest, for allegedly taking part in the rebellion against the government. I do not know what really happened there, but it seems that Trump simply does not believe that a Christian leader, whose activities are totally religion-oriented, would take part in a military coup. Trump convinced Israel to release a woman suspected of transferring funds to Hamas, expecting the quid pro quo to be Brunson’s release, but that did not happen. What was Erdogan thinking?  That a leader whose voters are in a large part Evangelists would give up the efforts to release an Evangelist pastor?  Yet the Brunson crisis has gone on for several weeks – does Erdogan really think Trump will concede?

Trump took the economic steps he knows how to do without burning all his bridges, from sanctions against two ministers to a tax on metals. These are sanctions that can be stopped in a moment, but Erdogan has not given in and is ready to sacrifice his country’s economy on the altar of his inflated ego. The Turkish lira is in a state of collapse, the stock market has crashed, Qatar – another terror and Muslim Brotherhood sponsoring country – is offering aid, but Erdogan has not yet freed Bronsun.

Where are we headed? It looks as though there are behind the scenes contacts whose goal is to find a solution, but it is clear that Trump does not see Erdogan as a partner despite his formal NATO membership. He may even have given the USAF orders to prepare for the day Erdogan expels the US from Incirlik – yes, even that is being talked about by some voices in Turkey.

It is possible that some kind of solution will be found, one that allows both leaders to preserve their honor and images. It will not be easy, but from this important podium I would like to humbly suggest a solution to the two of them:  Bronsun has a weak heart, he is beginning to feel ill, his health is deteriorating and his llfe is endangered. Erdogan can arrange the “patient’s” medical transfer to Europe as a lifesaving goodwill gesture and after two days of tests in the US army hospital in Germany, Trump can remove the sanctions, welcome Bronsun and let Erdogan come out a winner as well. Playing both sides again – but so what?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9350

Russian Warships Heading for Syria

 

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 26, 2018 , 3:44 pm

“You are My war club, [My] weapons of battle; With you I clubbed nations, With you I destroyed kingdoms.” Jeremiah 51:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Russian warship preparing to sail (Photo by Shutterstock)

It was reported Turkey sighted three Russian warships passing through the Bosporus last Thursday en route to Syria.

Debka File, an Israeli military intelligence website, reported on Saturday that the armada, composed of the Krivak Class Pytlivy missile frigate, the Tapir class LST (tank landing ship) Orsk, and a landing craft, the Nikolai FilchenkoThe Filchenko is the largest landing craft in the Russian fleet capable of transporting 300 soldiers and either 20 tanks and trucks or 40 armored personnel carriers.

“Debka File’s military sources conclude that the two large Russian landing craft consigned from the Black Sea to Syria are almost certainly carrying Russian marines or special forces for attacking rebel groups in Idlib from the sea or the coast,” the site reported.

Idlib is one of the final holdouts for rebel troops fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Russia already has a significant military presence in Syria to support Assad. Debka reported that approximately 60-70,000 Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels with heavy weaponry and armored vehicles have reportedly answered a call by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization to begin an offensive to conquer Aleppo and Hama. The rebels are supported militarily and financially by Turkey. The conflict in Syria has set Russia and Turkey increasingly at odds.

The US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago and a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9347

Report: US-Russia Agree to Oust Iran From Syria

By JNS August 19, 2018 , 11:40 am

“The “Damascus” Pronouncement. Behold, Damascus shall cease to be a city; It shall become a heap of ruins.” Isaiah 17:1 (The Israel Bible™)

The United States and Russia have reportedly agreed in principle that Iranian forces should withdraw from Syria, which Israel and America have long advocated, but Russia believes that it will be a “difficult task” to get Iran out of the country, according to a senior U.S. official, as reported by Haaretz.

This development comes ahead of an upcoming visit to Geneva by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who will meet with senior Russian officials, focusing on issues related to Iran and Syria.

So far, Russia—an ally of Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad—has promised Israel to keep Iranian forces almost 53 miles away from the Israeli-Syrian border, a plan that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected.

Bolton’s upcoming meeting is considered a follow-up to last month’s meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, when the former said that the latter “is helping Israel.”

“This will bring peace to Golan Heights, and bring more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel, and also to provide security of the state of Israel,” said Putin, speaking through a translator, in Helsinki.

“President [Trump] paid special attention to the issue during today’s negotiations,” added Putin. “And I would like to confirm that Russia is interested in this development and will act accordingly.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani thanked Putin in Kazakhstan last week for the effort between the two nations to strengthen Syria’s government.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9333

Kremlin Backs Turkish Plan to Dump the Dollar and Trade in National Currencies

Erdogan announced Turkey was preparing to conduct trade through national currencies with China, Russia and Ukraine as ties with the U.S. continue to crumble

Reuters

Aug 13, 2018 2:11 PM

The Kremlin said on Monday that Russia favored bilateral trade with all countries in their national currencies, rather than the dollar, but that the idea needed detailed work before being implemented.

On Saturday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey was preparing to conduct trade through national currencies with China, Russia and Ukraine.

The Turkish lira sank to a fresh record low of 7.24 to the dollar in early Asia Pacific trade Monday, as investors continue to worry over the state of the economy and deteriorating ties with the United States amid a diplomatic row over a jailed American pastor.

Asked about Erdogan’s proposal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had been pushing for such an arrangement with all countries. He said the issue had been raised on more than one occasion during bilateral talks between Turkey and Russia.

Erdogan said on Monday he expected attacks on Turkey’s economy to continue but predicted the lira would return to “rational levels” soon, after the Turkish currency hit a record low of more than 7 to the U.S. dollar.

Erdogan, who has described the lira’s fall as the consequence of a plot rather than economic fundamentals, also said that spreading false news about the economy was treason and recent U.S. actions were a stab in the back against Ankara.

Germany has an interest in a stable Turkish economy and is monitoring the situation closely, a government spokesman said, when asked about the meltdown of the Turkish currency, which has lost more than 40 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.

A spokeswoman for the German finance ministry said there had been no crisis talks among members of the G20 industrialised countries on the situation.

Turkey’s lira has declined sharply this year, largely over worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates, and strains with the United States.

The spokeswoman said it was too early to comment on the exposure of German companies to the economic situation in Turkey, and declined to assess the latest developments there.

 

 

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Russian submarine threat largest since Cold War: top US Navy admiral

 

By Lucas Tomlinson | Fox News

Pentagon and NATO brass have issued fresh warnings about increased Russian naval activity in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, with the top U.S. Navy admiral saying this week Russian submarine operations are currently at levels not seen since the Cold War.

That’s one reason the Navy plans to stand up a new command later this month to deal with the return of an old foe.

Tuesday night provided the latest example of Russia’s new show of force. A British Type 45 guided-missile destroyer escorted two Russian warships through the English Channel.

The Royal Navy posted video of HMS Diamond alongside the Russian destroyer Severomorsk and cruisier Marshal Ustinov in the English Channel. Interactions like this have become so common, the Royal Navy has warships standing 24-hour alert in port.

The incident took place one day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his British counterpart, Gavin Williamson, at the Pentagon. It marked the second time the same British warship had responded to approaching Russian Navy warships, according to the warship’s commanding officer.

This week, the U.S. Navy’s highest ranking officer, Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told VOA Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic is “more than we’ve seen in 25 years.”

But a day later, Mattis downplayed the perceived threat from the Russian Navy.

“We always keep an eye on the submarines at sea and I prefer not to say any more than that,” Mattis told reporters on the Pentagon steps ahead of Williamson’s visit.

A recent Russian missile test provided another example of Russia’s resurgence at sea.

Two months before the Helsinki summit, a Russian ballistic missile submarine launched four long-range nuclear missiles in rapid succession from off the coast of Russia in the White Sea, each with a range of 6,000 miles – putting Washington, D.C. in range. U.S. spy satellites took note of the test, which marked the first time Russia had fired this many missiles at once from its newest class of ballistic missile submarine.

Observers said tensions are high right now between Moscow and Washington, despite the summit in Helsinki last month. On Wednesday, the U.S. said it would impose sanctions on Russia over a nerve agent attack.

“I think Russia is signaling to us that the Bear is back. We are likely to see more of this intimidating, threatening operations on the part of the Russian fleet,” said Peter Brookes, a senior fellow for national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation.  “This is an expression of President Putin’s foreign policy and it’s directed towards the United States.”

U.S. officials are concerned special Russian submarines can tap into undersea cables.

Days ahead of the landmark summit between Cold War foes, President Trump signaled a willingness to ease tensions despite his top intelligence officials accusing Russia of meddling in the 2016 election.

“Maybe we will get along with Russia,” the president said at a news conference on July 12. “I think we probably will be able to.”

A week after the Helsinki summit, Trump told CNBC if things didn’t work out, “I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had,” speaking about Russian President Vladimir Putin.  (AP, File)

A week after the Helsinki summit, Trump told CNBC if things didn’t work out, “I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had,” speaking about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Since Russian forces deployed to Syria three years ago, Russian submarines in the Mediterranean have at times launched missiles to help crush the rebellion battling the Assad regime.

The increased Russian threat is one of the reasons the U.S. Navy is bringing back the 2nd Fleet later this month in Norfolk, Va. to keep tabs on the Russians in the Atlantic.

It had been deactivated in 2011.

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