Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Does A Series Of “Mystery Explosions” Inside Iran Mean That The Next Big Middle East War Is About To Begin?

July 7, 2020 by Michael Snyder

Over the past several weeks, a series of “mystery explosions” has happened at very strategically sensitive locations inside Iran, and it has become obvious that what we are witnessing is not just a bunch of random accidents.  For years, the Israeli government has pledged that the Iranians will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and several of the sites where the mystery explosions have taken place have direct connections to Iran’s nuclear program.  For example, there was a very large explosion at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility on July 2nd, and it is being reported that some officials believe that this explosion was caused by a “powerful bomb”.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

Israel was behind an explosion and fire at Iran’s Natanz nuclear complex caused by a “powerful bomb,” a Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the incident told The New York Times on Monday.

A member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed to the Times that an explosive was used in the incident as well. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Of course there have been several other “mystery explosions” as well, and there is speculation that “computer viruses similar to the Stuxnet virus” may have been involved in at least some of the blasts…

Five recent explosions in Iran may have been caused by computer viruses similar to the Stuxnet virus that disabled Iranian centrifuges in 2010.

Two of the blasts took place at power plants, one at a missile research, development and production site, one at a new uranium enrichment centrifuge center, and the last (if it can be considered part of the attacks) in downtown Tehran at a medical facility that could have been a cover for nuclear operations such as a hidden command center.

It has become clear that the Trump administration does not intend to take military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program, so the Israeli government has been forced into a position where it must make a very tough choice.  Either Israel must be willing to accept Iran as a nuclear power or Israel must do something to stop it from happening.

At this point, it has been confirmed that the “industrial shed” that was destroyed during the explosion at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility “was in fact a new site for assembling centrifuges”, and that would definitely be a logical target for the Israelis to hit. When asked about the “mystery explosions”, the following is what Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz had to say about them

When Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was asked if Israel had anything to do with “mysterious explosions,” he reportedly told Israel Radio: “Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”

“All those systems are complex, they have very high safety constraints and I’m not sure they always know how to maintain them,” he said, according to Reuters.

Obviously that is not a denial.

Meanwhile, it is also being reported that the Mossad has “thwarted a series of planned Iranian attacks on Israeli embassies”

Israeli spy agency Mossad claims it has recently thwarted a series of planned Iranian attacks on Israeli embassies around the world.

The intelligence bureau has halted ‘terrorist’ plans in Europe and elsewhere, according to a report by Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel 12 which said that Israel’s arch-enemy Iran was behind the plots.

The Iranians are becoming increasingly frustrated by the success of Israeli covert operations, and they want to find ways to strike back.  Embassies are typically easy targets, but thankfully the Mossad has apparently been one step ahead of all Iranian efforts to target embassies so far.

Needless to say, all of this is happening at a time when tensions in the entire region are rapidly coming to a boil.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps insisting that he is about to move forward with his plan to to annex portions of Judea and Samaria, and if that happens there will inevitably be a violent response by the Palestinians.

In fact, the Times of Israel is reporting that “Fatah and Hamas are in agreement that there should be a popular uprising if the controversial plan goes ahead”…

An adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned Saturday there was a possibility of a third intifada if the Israeli government goes ahead with its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that Nabil Shaath told the Arabic-language arm of the France 24 network that Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas are in agreement that there should be a popular uprising if the controversial plan goes ahead.

And the truth is that rocket fire has already started.  On Sunday, Israeli planes hit targets in the Gaza Strip after “a barrage of rocket fire into southern Israel”

Israeli aircraft struck targets in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday following a barrage of rocket fire into southern Israel. No casualties were reported on either side. In a statement, the Israeli military said attack helicopters and fighter jets struck “underground infrastructure” belonging to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist group.

Earlier Sunday, the army said three rockets were fired by Gaza terrorists toward Israel, setting off air-raid sirens. It said one of the rockets was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system; according to Channel 12 TV the other two landed in open areas. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire. A number of armed terrorist groups operate in Gaza.

The bottom line is that the Middle East has been on the precipice of a major war for years, and it certainly isn’t going to take much to push things over the edge.

If the Iranians do not stop their nuclear program, the Israelis are going to continue to hit them, and that will eventually spark a war.

And if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with his plan to annex portions of Judea and Samaria, that is almost certain to spark a war too.

We have reached such a critical moment, and it appears to be just a matter of time before a great conflict erupts.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10711

Five Mysterious Explosions Cripple Iran’s Nuclear Capability: Israel Responds

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz July 5, 2020 , 1:43 pm

Of David. Blessed is Hashem, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for warfare; Psalms 144:1

A series of explosions in Iran including several at problematic nuclear sites has left the regime giving conflicting answers to difficult questions. It also graphically illustrates that even the most secure Iranian facilities are open to foreign attacks.

On June 25, a huge explosion rocked Parchin military base about 20 miles southeast of the capital Tehran. Defense ministry spokesman Davoud Abdi told state TV the blast happened at a gas storage facility in a “public area” of Parchin rather than the military base

It was later revealed that the explosion was the result of a cyberattack, possibly carried out by Israel. 

In July 2015, there were claims based on satellite imagery that there was activity in the Parchin military complex associated with nuclear weapons. UN and international inspectors were denied access to the site and Iran denied the claims saying the satellite photos were fabricated. 

In 2014, the New York Times reported that a large explosion at the site was a case of sabotage by foreign intelligence agencies. In 2018, Israeli intelligence captured an archive in Tehran with proving the Parchin site was a key part of Iran’s ongoing nuclear weapons research and development program. This archive contained documentary evidence that in 2003 Iran was operating a nuclear weapons program, codenamed the AMAD Plan, which aimed to build five nuclear weapons and prepare an underground nuclear test site. Parchin was a key part of that program, used for a specialized, difficult to develop, neutron initiator to start the chain reaction in a nuclear explosion. Some of the equipment is believed to be held ready for later use, potentially when Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with the six world powers expires.

At about the same time as the explosion at the Parchin facility, a large explosion at the local power station left half of the city of Tehran without electricity. 

But that was not the end of Iran’s woes. Four days later, an explosion from a gas leak in the Sina Athar Medical Center in northern Tehran killed 19 people. Video posted online appeared to show more than one explosion.

On Thursday, a fire and explosion damaged a centrifuge production plant above Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility at around 2:00 AM local time. Initially, Iranian officials claimed the destruction was inconsequential, damaging an “industrial shed.” At the same time, the government claimed the “industrial shed” was the target of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the US.  An unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence official later told the NY Times that damage to the facility was caused by an explosive device placed inside the building.

Natanz nuclear facility is generally recognized as Iran’s central facility for uranium enrichment with over 19,000 gas centrifuges currently operational and nearly half of them being fed with uranium hexafluoride. Between 2007–2010 Natanz nuclear power plant was hit by a sophisticated cyberattack that was carried out by German, French, British, American, Dutch and Israeli intelligence organizations. The attack used a Stuxnet worm which hampered the operation of the plant’s centrifuges and caused damage to them over time.

Disaster hit Iran yet again on Saturday as an explosion ripped through the Zargan power plant in the Iranian city of Ahvaz. Iran’s IRNA news agency later reported that the blaze was ignited when a transformer exploded.

A few hours later on Saturday, IRNA said a chlorine gas leak at a Karun petrochemical center in the city of Mahshahr in southeast Iran. 70 workers.were reported hospitalized in the incident.

Some of the mystery behind the explosions was alleviated in an interview on Sunday with  Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz. When Israel Army Radio asked whether Israel had anything to do with the spate of explosions in Iran, Gantz answered enigmatically, “Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”

“All those systems are complex, they have very high safety constraints and I’m not sure they always know how to maintain them,” Gantz 

Three Iranian officials who spoke to Reuters said they thought cyber sabotage had been involved at Natanz, but offered no evidence. Two said Israel could have been behind it.

An article by Iran’s state news agency IRNA addressed what it called the possibility of sabotage by enemies such as Israel and the United States, although it stopped short of accusing either directly.

Cyberwarfare between Israel and Iran has been carried out for some time with terrifying implications. An unprecedented Iranian cyberattack targeted six facilities in Israel’s water infrastructure on April 24-25 nearly dumped lethal levels of chemicals into the Israeli civilian water system. Fortunately, the attack impacted some systems but did not cause any disruption in the water supply or waste management. The computer system was breached but the cyberattack was blocked before any damage could be done. 

Cyber attacks typically target databases or websites. But this attack was the first of its type, attempting to attack a civilian population.

Israel responded in kind, targeting Iran’s largest port, paralyzing the main economic ingress for several days.  All navigation systems of the ships were severely disrupted and everything had to be stopped to avoid collisions between incoming and outgoing vessels. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10701

Iran, Turkey could Unite to Wage War Against Israel warns Mid-East Experts

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 28, 2020 , 1:30 pm

“O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him.” Ezekiel 38:2)

The notion of a joint Iran-Turkey invasion of Israel is a realistic scenario according to several Middle East experts.

Seth Franzman

According to Jpost correspondent Seth Franzman‘s analysis, both Ankara and Tehran have been cooperating in various Middle East conflicts including their opposition to American involvement in Syria as well as battling Kurdish dissident groups. And the once rivals also now share a hatred of Israel combined with the support of Hamas which could translate into a united front in a potential war against Israel.

Franzman notes a high-level meeting between Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish officials where the former asked that Ankara help his country fight against sanctions. In exchange, Tehran would support Turkish efforts in Libya to secure offshore oil drilling rights.

Other coordinated incursions between the two Muslim countries include a joint strike against Kurdish rebel groups in Northern Iraq. The IRGC, who Washington considers to be a terrorist organization, is currently coordinating with Turkey to fight “terrorist” threats from the “Iraqi Kurdistan region” according to Iran’s Tasnim News.

But the joint Iran-Turkey efforts in Iraq could now be redirected towards Israel, warns Franzman. One example is how Turkey’s Religious Affairs Ministry has threatened to mobilize the Muslim community against Israel to protect Jerusalem against annexation. Similar sentiments have been heard from Tehran as Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, called for “armed resistance” (against Israel) on May 21.

Franzman also notes how Hamas is currently funded by Turkish-backed Qatar and the two maintain very close diplomatic ties.

Franzman, notes other commonalities between Turkey and Iran which include a shared antipathy towards Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both are allied with Qatar and Hamas. They both want a downgraded US role in Syria. Tehran has agreed that in exchange for support in opposing sanctions against them, the Islamic Republic would pressure Kurdish dissidents in Iran while coordinating with Turkey in Iraq.

Noting that both Turkey and Iran need another cause to rally popular support both at home and in the region, a bullseye on Jerusalem could be next.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University,  noted that Turkey and Iran were diametrically opposed due to their religious differences with Iran being strongly Shia and Turkey being strongly Sunni.

“Sometimes, Sunni and Shia cooperate against a common enemy,” Dr. Kedar said, noting that Iran, fanatically Shia, funds  Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, fanatically Sunni, against Israel, the small devil, and the US, the great devil.”

Dr. Kedar emphasized that Russia was a major player in this complicated game. 

“Russia is allied with Khalifa Haftar in Libya,” Dr. Kedar said. “This pits Turkey against Russia since Erdogan is working to depose him. Erdogan is also helping the rebels in Syria who are trying to depose Bashar al Assad, who Russia supports.”

“Erdogan has really put himself in a difficult position regarding Russia because he thinks he is stronger than Putin. For a similar reason, Erdogan has antagonized the US by buying Russian military hardware and making overtures to Putin, despite being a NATO member. Erdogan sees all the internal strife in the US and thinks this is the opportunity to thumb his nose at Trump and take advantage since Trump cannot deal with anything except what he has on his plate right now.”

“Turkey and Iran see themselves as a powerful unified front that can stand against any other country in the world right now, whether it is Russia, the US, Israel, or Saudi Arabia.”

Dr. Kedar noted that Libya plays a key role in this Iran-Turkey alliance.

“In one word; gas,” Dr. Kedar said. “Two months ago, there was an agreement between Turkey and Libya regarding the natural gas under the Mediterranean. The Turkish agreement attempts to obviate the agreements between Israel and Cyprus and Egypt which have already agreed on the division of the same gas reserve. This gas reserve is huge and the political implications are even bigger.”

“Keep in mind that the biggest players in the world’s natural gas market today are Iran, Qatar, and Russia. There are two separate and opposing coalitions with interests and agreements about the one gas reserve.”

“So even if Iran and Turkey don’t like each other, they share a common interest in the gas. But as soon as they are together on the common interest of the gas reserves, a global concern, this alliance can be used for other ‘smaller’ interests like Jerusalem and Israel.”

Dr. Efrat Aviv

Dr. Efrat Aviv, a senior lecturer in the Dept. of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar Ilan University and an expert on Turkey, suggested that it would be misleading to describe the relationship between Turkey and Iran as an alliance. 

She noted that the Ottoman Empire, the previous incarnation of Turkey, and the Persian Empire, the previous incarnation of Iran, were at war for over 300 years, finally laying down their arms in the 1820s. The conflict between these two huge countries who share a sliver of a border began under the rule of Ismail I who unified Iran as a Shia empire creating what might seem an irreconcilable conflict with the Sunni Ottomans to the west.

“These borders and differences still exist today,” Dr. Aviv said. “They always were and are still in conflict over the hegemony of the region and of the Islamic world. While Saudi Arabia is the leader of the Sunni world in its right, Turkey and Iran are both Muslim but are not Arab. They each have about 82 million people and large militaries. This puts them in direct conflict. This also sets them at odds with Israel; the only other non-Arab entity in the region.”

“Despite their differences and their history, the two countries have occasionally had good relations, depending on their vested interests at the time.”

“For economic and trade, Iran and Turkey can get along quite well,” Dr. Aviv said. “In Turkish culture, there are no ‘friends’. There are only common interests. This is especially true of foreign powers. They have an expression that there is no friend for a Turk other than another Turk. There are agreements, agendas, and goals but no real alliances. This allowed Turkey to stay out of World War II until the very end. This allows them to be a member of NATO but still buy Russian military hardware when it suits them.”

“Even after hundreds of years of war with Iran, they can agree to work with Iran against a common enemy.”

“What this means for the US, Israel, and other countries is that even if Turkey is not an enemy, even if they are working with you right now, if their interests suddenly demand, they can become an enemy overnight.”. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10685

Rumors Of Wars: China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Israel And Turkey All Move Toward War

June 16, 2020 by Michael Snyder

As if we didn’t have enough already going on in 2020, now we are facing the possibility that several regional wars may erupt.  China and India had both been pouring troops into a disputed border region, and now there has been an incident where they were actually killing each other.  On the Korean peninsula, North Korea just blew up “a joint liaison office” that it had used for talks with the South Korean government.  And in the Middle East, Turkey is warning of grave consequences if Israel goes ahead with a plan to annex portions of Judea and Samaria.  If a major regional war erupts at even one of these flashpoints, it will be another devastating blow for a global economy that is already imploding, and there is a very strong probability that the U.S. and other major western powers could be drawn into the conflict.

Right now, most Americans are focused on our internal problems, and so they are paying very little attention to the growing crisis on the border between China and India.

Both nations had sent substantial contingents of troops to an area of the border that has long been disputed, and a meeting that was supposed to defuse tensions actually resulted in soldiers killing one another

Chinese state media described the incident Monday night in the Galwan River valley where both countries have deployed troops in recent weeks as “the most serious clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers so far,” confirming casualties but offering no further details about them. Indian government sources speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Times of India that 20 Indian army personnel had died in the fighting.

American intelligence believes 35 Chinese troops died, including one senior officer, a source familiar with that assessment tells U.S. News. The incident took place during a meeting in the mountainous region between the two sides – both of which had agreed to disarm – to determine how the two militaries would safely withdraw their presences from the region.

This is the very first time in decades that Chinese and Indian troops have killed each other, and apparently very little shooting was involved

The meeting grew tense and resulted in a physical confrontation between the troops. According to the assessment, all of the casualties were from the use of batons and knives and from falls from the steep topography, the source says.

That sounds like a scene from an overly gory Hollywood war movie, but reportedly this actually happened.

Hopefully the leaders of the two nations will be able to cool tensions for a while, but the Chinese have a very long history of very bitter border disputes with their neighbors, and without a doubt China will continue to make attempts to exercise sovereignty over this area.

Meanwhile, tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen to a level that we haven’t seen in many, many years.  On Tuesday, North Korea actually blew up a building that had been used for negotiations with South Korea

North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office used for talks between itself and South Korea, the latest sign that ties between the two longtime adversaries are rapidly deteriorating.

North Korean state media reported that the four-story building, which is located in the town of Kaesong just north of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, was “completely destroyed by a “terrific explosion” at 2:50 p.m. local time.

That is certainly one way to make a statement.

And this comes just days after Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, had issued a very ominous warning

In a cryptic statement late Saturday, Kim Yo Jong vowed her country would “soon take a next action” against South Korea — a move she suggested would be carried out by the country’s military.

“By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our Party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” Kim said in the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

All of a sudden, North Korea’s approach to relations with South Korea has dramatically shifted, and that shift has coincided with Kim Yo Jong taking a much more prominent role in national affairs.

I believe that there is much more going on in North Korea than we are being told, and Kim Yo Jong appears to favor a much more militant approach than what we have become accustomed to in recent years.

Over in the Middle East, the Times of Israel is reporting that the IDF is gearing up for a “state of war” as Israel prepares to annex portions of Judea and Samaria…

Just over two weeks before a possible Israeli annexation of some as-yet unspecified portion of the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces is preparing for a wide range of scenarios for potential regional fallout — up to and including a large-scale wave of terror attacks — while still not being told exactly what the government has in mind.

The military is gearing up for possible massive unrest, Channel 12 reported Sunday evening, including what it is calling a potential “state of war” characterized by a Second Intifada-style onslaught of suicide bombing attacks.

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again made it clear that he does not intend to alter his plans, and that means that the process of annexation could start as soon as the beginning of July.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an entire article about how this could potentially spark a major war in the region, and Arab leaders continue to make it clear that there will be “consequences” if Israel goes through with this…

Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, and parts of Judea and Samaria, will “destroy all hopes” for lasting peace in the Middle East, Turkey’s top diplomat said on Wednesday.

“If the occupying power [Israel] crosses the red line, we [Muslim countries] must show that this will have consequences,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Executive Committee, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

We shall see what happens.

I think that Netanyahu is convinced that Donald Trump is probably going to lose in November, and so that means that he probably believes that he only has a window of a few months in which he could annex portions of Judea and Samaria with U.S. support.

It appears that Netanyahu is absolutely determined to move forward, and it also appears that Israel’s Arab neighbors are prepared to respond very forcefully.

In just a few weeks, missiles could start flying back and forth, and the entire Middle East could erupt in flames.

This is such a critical time, and let us pray for peace.

But without a doubt we are living during a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and it certainly isn’t going to take much to unleash a major conflict.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10662

Turkey in military action on three Mid-East fronts, now adds Yemen

 Jun 17, 2020 @ 13:09 ErdoganLbyaMuslim BrotherhoodQatarRussiaSyriaYemen

Turkey is boosting its military intervention in Mid-East conflicts to gain a hand in determining – and cashing in on – their outcome. Facing rising opposition at home, Turkey’s President Tayyip Edrogan is in the thick of foreign, influence-expanding adventures. Braced against Russia in Libya and Syria, he is now challenging the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen with Qatari funding.

For his Yemen bid to break up the coalition fighting the Houthi insurgency, Ankara is using a Yemen government defector, former transport minister Saleh al-Jabwani and his ally, the Muslim Brotherhood. Following the Turkish script, they are planning to conquer the embattled oil-rich southeastern province of Shawba, where the Brotherhood was roundly defeated. The recruitment center Jabwani set up in Ataq, the Shabwa capital, has till now attracted 600 fighters by the promise of a wage and smuggled weapons paid for by Qatar. They hope to peel off defectors from the coalition in other provinces too.

In Libya, the stakes are high – Erdogan is after two permanent south Mediterranean bases. There, he has directly deployed his own army, air force and navy (submarines, too, as of this week) along with Syrian mercenaries, to back the UN-recognized government (GNA) in Tripoli against its rival Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. The Turkish intervention, which is gaining ground, has placed Erdogan at odds with Russia’s Vladimir Putin who backs Haftar. Ankara is now in negotiation for the use of the Misurata naval base and the al-Waitya air base, which the GNA recently recaptured with Turkish military help.

Erdogan has already done pretty well out of his Libyan adventure. In November, he signed with the Tripoli government a maritime accord which ignored the territorial waters of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt and cuts through their economic zones and energy exploration sites. Turkey has also penciled in possible energy and construction deals with Tripoli once the fighting ends.

Concerns in Athens over the maritime accord and Ankara’s drive for a North African military presence were most likely raised in the talks Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held with his Israeli counterpart Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile called off a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu that was scheduled for Sunday. He said he would reschedule the meeting on condition that Turkey and the GNA halt military operations, and particularly refrain from attacking Sirte, Jufra and the oil crescent. This demand was initially rebuffed by Ankara.

Failing a Moscow-Ankara understanding, the Libyan war could see further escalation. In Syria too, they are fighting on opposing sides. Turkey has poured troops and weapons into the northern province of Idlib to halt the Syrian regime’s advance against jihadist rebels, while at the same time, conducting joint patrols with the Russians, which back the regime, on the M4 highway in the same province.

A permanent air and naval presence in Libya along with its military base in Qatar and strong leverage in Syria would substantially boost Turkey’s influence in the region to a level that seriously worries its neighbors and adversaries.

Erdogan was not too busy with his foreign escapades to hit back over an impressive Kurdish protest march launched this week at home against his repressive government. On Monday night, the Turkish air force went into action to strike Kurdish PKK strongholds in the mountains of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. The next day, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) led a two-track march from two ends of the country: Edirne in the northwest and Hakkari in the southeast. If they can overcome rubber bullets and mass detentions, the protesters plan to converge in Ankara on June 20. Istanbul’s governor has banned all demonstrations and protests for a two-week period on the pretext of the fight against coronavirus.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10655

Air Force sends F-35s to Middle East to possibly deter Iran

The Air Force is sending F-35s to the Middle East to escort ships, deter potential enemies, conduct reconnaissance and, of course, support ongoing combat operations in the U.S. military’s Central Command region.

Describing the deployment as the latest squadron to join the fight, Air Force officials said the operation marked the third time in approximately 12 months that F-35A Lightning IIs have been sent into combat.

“The 421st Fighter Squadron departed Hill AFB recently for Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, to support the United States Air Force Central Command mission in the region,” Air Force officials said.

As combat operations against the Islamic State and the Taliban have been decreasing or, in the case of the Islamic State, basically ended … the F-35s seem likely intended for training exercises, deterrence, force protection and ship escort. The Air Force report specifies the F-35s’ mission scope to include “defensive counter-air, maritime escort, deterrence and participation in multi-national exercises.”

F-35A Lightning II aircraft receive fuel from a KC-10 Extender from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., July 13, 2015, during a flight from England to the U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn Brown)

That being said, the F-35 fighter jet has previously attacked the Taliban during its combat debut and is, according to its proponents, well suited for close air support (CAS). The Air Force has long intended to use the F-35 for CAS missions and, in a special Pentagon evaluation, assessed the F-35s in relation to the revered and combat-tested A-10 Warthog.

Some may think of the F-35 as perhaps overkill when it comes to CAS, or potentially more vulnerable than an A-10 if it, in fact, is hit by ground fire. The A-10 is a tried and tested combat platform considered extremely valuable to the military services. However, many senior Air Force developers also value F-35 superiority when it comes to CAS missions, pointing to its sensors, targeting systems, 25-millimeter cannon and speed as attributes contributing to the F-35’s combat performance.

Long-range, computer-enabled F-35 sensors could help the aircraft to see and destroy enemy ground targets with precision from much higher altitudes and much farther ranges than an A-10 could; the speed of an F-35, when compared to an A-10, would potentially make it better able to maneuver, elude enemy fire and get into position for attack. Like the A-10’s 30-millimeter gun, the F-35 has its own 25-millimeter cannon mounted on its left-wing which could attack ground forces. Given its sensor configuration, with things like a 360-degree Distributed Aperture System with cameras, the F-35 brings a drone-like intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance component to air-ground war. This could help targeting, terrain analysis, and much-needed precision attacks as U.S. soldiers fight up close with maneuvering enemy ground forces.

An F-35 might be better positioned to respond quickly to enemy force movement; in the event that enemy air threats emerge in a firefight, an F-35 could address them in a way an A-10 could not, obviously. An F-35 would be much better positioned to locate enemy long-range fires points of combat significance and destroy hostile artillery, mortar or long-range-fires launching points. Finally, while the A-10 has a surprisingly wide envelope of weapons, an F-35 could travel with a wider range of air-ground attack weapons—armed with advanced targeting technology. However, despite the potential efficacy of the F-35 for CAS, many believe it makes more sense to use less-expensive, non-fifth generation aircraft for missions where there is U.S. air supremacy and no ground threat.

All this being said, the deterrence posture for the F-35 is likely now geared for combat prospects well beyond CAS, as counterinsurgency efforts diminish and, in some areas, disappear. Also, the current environments in which the United States has been engaged in combat have been in areas without any kind of credible air defense threat. So, the F-35 fighter jets can function as a deterrent against Iran and, if needed, destroy Iranian ballistic-missile launch sites, establish air supremacy and even take out nuclear weapons development facilities if necessary.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10646

Iran on Verge of Nuclear Weapons Breakout Iranian Academic Warns

By David Sidman June 11, 2020 , 2:18 pm

O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him Ezekiel 38:2 (The Israel Bible™)

In a recent article in the Gatestone Institute, top Iran expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh warns that the Islamic Republic is close to a nuclear weapons breakout.

Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American author and president of the International American Council on the Middle East, explains that the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA recently revealed that he Tehran is now leisurely violating all of the clauses of the nuclear deal that it never even signed.

He adds that the ruling mullahs have grown their stockpile of low-enriched uranium to to 1,571.6 kilograms (1.73 tons) as of May 20, 2020. Initially, it stood at 1,020.9 kilograms (1.1 tons). This is roughly eight times more than what the Islamic Republic was permitted to posses under the nuclear deal otherwise known as the (JCPOA). Iran was allowed to maintain a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds) according to the agreement while enriching uranium up to 3.67%. Iran is currently enriching uranium up to the purity of 4.5%. They also have more heavy water than is allowed under the nuclear agreement.

Making matters worse, the IAEA is still not allowed to inspect Iran’s sites. And since Obama said that military sites wouldn’t be inspected by the IAEA, Tehran has exploited this loophole to enrich uranium in locations such as the Parchin military base outside of Tehran, where according to Rafizadeh, allows them to “engage in nuclear activities without the risk of inspection.”

Rafizadeh laments that the IAEA’s report still does not provide the full picture with regards to the regime’s nuclear activities and adds that it is severely underestimating the purview of the Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran has even admitted that they have increased uranium enrichment to a higher degree than what’s being reported by the IAEA. Iran’s Atomic Energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced that the country has a satisfactory supply of 20% enriched uranium. “Right now we have enough 20% uranium,” he told ISNA, “but we can produce more as needed”. He also said that the Islamic Republic is carrying on with its uranium enrichment at a much higher level at the Fordow nuclear facility. Fordow is an underground uranium enrichment complex that is reportedly located on an IRGC base.

Rafizadeh admits that Israel’s 2018 seizure of documents from an Iranian nuclear facility reveals accurate information that the IAEA was wrong about according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Rafizadeh, a political scientist and board member of Harvard International Review concluded his report saying that the “ruling mullahs of Iran inch dangerously closer to a nuclear weapons breakout.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10643

‘It’s Time Gulf States Normalized ties with Israel,’ former Top Dubai Official says

By JNS June 7, 2020 , 1:45 pm

All who survive of all those nations that came up against Yerushalayim shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King lord of Hosts and to observe the festival of Sukkot. Zechariah 14:16 (The Israel Bible™)

Former Dubai Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim sparked controversy over the weekend when, in a series of tweets, he called on of Persian Gulf states and the rest of the Arab world to admit they want to establish open diplomatic relations with Israel, Channel 12 News reported on Saturday.

Tamim, currently deputy police chief, is known as the police officer who exposed the Mossad intelligence agency’s connection to the 2010 assassination of Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades co-founder Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the UAE capital.

He is also known as a harsh critic of the Palestinians and an avid supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In a series of tweets that according to the report went viral within minutes, Tamim wrote, “The truth is that it’s meaningless not to recognize Israel.

“Israel is a country built on science, knowledge, prosperity and strong relations with all developing countries. Who are the people who do not recognize Israel’s [international] status? Where do they think Jews come from? Hawaii?”

In another tweet, Tamim further urged the Arab world to formalize relations with Israel.

“As soon as the Gulf states normalize their relations with Israel, Qatar’s role as a proxy state for terrorist organizations, will be over,” he wrote, referring to Doha’s close ties to the terrorist group ruling the Gaza Strip.

“It is known that Qatar supports Hamas and still maintains a relationship with Israel. So what stops us from having a normal relationship with it [Israel]?”

The Jewish state, he continued, “wants long-term peace and security. I support that. All Arab countries, the UAE and the Saudi kingdom accept Israel. Want to make peace with Israel. When that happens, Qatar will no longer need its fighters in its territory. The war will end,” he said according to the report.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10636

Secret Deal Results in Saudi Arabia Challenging Turkey for Control of Temple Mount

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 1, 2020 , 2:50 pm

“All the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mixed peoples who live in the desert;” Jeremiah 25:24 (The Israel Bible™)

An article in the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom on Sunday reported on secret negotiations that have been held between Israel and Saudi Arabia since December that would result in including Saudi clerics in the Waqf council that oversees the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 

The Waqf has managed the Temple Mount since the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 1187, with the latest version instituted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan after its conquest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1948 war. Accordingly, the King of Jordan currently supplies all of the funding needed to operate the waqf, which is in effect the civil administration for the holy site. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is in charge of Islamic religious affairs at the site. The Palestinian Authority has parallel organizations claiming an interest in these same matters which Israel does not officially recognize. 

Israel Hayom cited top Saudi diplomats who remained anonymous as saying that senior diplomats and security officials from Israel, Saudi, and the United States were in dialogue concerning the implementation of President Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan. According to the report, Jordan objected to the proposal but in the wake of recent Turkish interference in East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the Jordanian government now supports having Saudi clerics as part of the Waqf council.

This seems to be a total reversal of the Jordanian Temple Mount policy. In February 2019,  the Jordanian government, which controls the Waqf, enlarged its council from 11 to 18 members last week including Palestinian clerics or the first time. At the time, the move triggered a wave of Muslim violence on the Temple Mount. It was reported at the time that the move was an attempt by the Hashemite Kingdom that rules Jordan to ally with the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to prevent the Saudis from replacing them as custodians of the Jerusalem holy sites considered important to Islam. Rather than create an alliance, the restructuring of the Waqf council to include Palestinian clerics led to greater conflict as the PA tried to put Abbas loyalists in place, a move the Hashemite rulers of Jordan strongly opposed. The PA loyalists were also closely allied with Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who funded their organizations to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. 

As Turkey’s influence over the Palestinian Waqf members increased, the Hashemite Kingdom let it be known to Israel and the US that they would be open to including Saudi Arabia in the custodianship of the Temple Mount as long as it is not to the detriment of their special status as custodians of the Jerusalem holy sites. The Jordanian government also required that the Saudi government will provide several million dollars to Islamic institutions in east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as a means of putting diplomatic pressure to remove the Turkish influence operating under the protection of the PA. 

Dr. Mordechai Kedar , a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, explained the complex background and interests. 

“You have to understand that the Sunni world today is sharply divided between pro-state organizations and movements which are by definition a rebellious, anti-establishment form of Islam,” Dr. Kedar explained to Breaking Israel News. “The pro-state Muslims are headed and funded by Saudi Arabia and the anti-establishment Muslims, which include the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezbollah, are headed ideologically by Erdogan and sponsored by Qatar. This is a giant struggle between two kinds of Islam: revolutionary Islam and state Islam.”

Unfortunately, Turkey is now a factor in internal Israeli politics.

“Turkey infiltrated Jerusalem in a very big way, pouring millions of dollars into recruiting Palestinians and setting up his form of Muslim institutions,” Dr. Kedar said. “This includes close ties between Erdogan and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement which was banned by the Israeli government in November 2015 due to close ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“The Palestinian Authority is, unfortunately, allying with Turkey for the money since they don’t want to lose power and relinquish power to Hamas,” Dr. Kedar noted. “Jordan is willing to ally with Saudi Arabia because of its economic difficulties.”

“Israel wants to ally with Saudi Arabia because it is a pro-establishment form of Islam. You can talk with them. They are reasonable. It does not go against the interests of Israel. Since Israel and Saudi Arabia have shared interests, it is preferable that they have a say in the custodianship of the Temple Mount and a stronger influence on the Palestinians.”

“It is important to have the status connected with holy sites but when faced with the existential threat posed by Turkey, Jordan will choose to ally with Saudi Arabia.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10625

The Big War Between Israel And Her Enemies Could Begin As Soon As July 1st

May 26, 2020 by Michael Snyder

The level of tension in the Middle East is sky high right now, and it is about to go even higher.  On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would move ahead with a plan to annex portions of the West Bank in the months ahead. The coalition agreement that he reached with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz allows him to submit annexation for a vote as early as July, and if Netanyahu is actually going to do this it will almost certainly happen before the U.S. election in November.  The Trump administration is prepared to support Israel’s annexation under certain conditions, but a Biden administration would be 100 percent opposed to such a move.  So Netanyahu realizes that this opportunity may never come again, and he is fully prepared to seize the moment.  But of course if Israel does annex large portions of the West Bank, that could easily spark a huge regional war.

Needless to say, the Palestinians and their allies will never, ever accept the annexation of any West Bank territory, but Netanyahu seems absolutely determined to move ahead with his plans.  The following comes from Time Magazine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday pledged to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in the coming months, vowing to move ahead with the explosive plan despite a growing chorus of condemnations by key allies.

The Palestinians, with wide international backing, seek the entire West Bank as the heartland of a future independent state. Annexing large chunks of this territory would all but destroy the faint remaining hopes of a two-state solution.

And Haaretz is reporting that Netanyahu specifically stated that “the target date for beginning annexation is July 1, and we don’t intend to change it”…

The Americans said recently that they’re prepared for annexation “within weeks.” Under the coalition agreement between Likud and Kahol Lavan, on July 1 – meaning in a month’s time – Netanyahu will be able to “bring the agreement reached with the United States on the issue of applying sovereignty to a debate in the security cabinet and the full cabinet, and for the approval of the cabinet and/or the Knesset.” On Monday, Netanyahu told a meeting of Likud’s Knesset faction, in response to an MK’s question, that “the target date for beginning annexation is July 1, and we don’t intend to change it.” He added that “this is an opportunity that can’t be missed.”

Wow.

It looks like this is really going to happen, and Israeli settlers in the areas that are going to be annexed will greatly celebrate once it happens.

But at the same time we will see a massive outpouring of fury from the Palestinians and their allies.

In the south, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not strong enough to invade Israel, but they will almost certainly start firing rockets toward Israel in retaliation.

In the north, Hezbollah has more than 150,000 missiles aimed at Israeli cities right now, and Hezbollah was on the brink of a new war with Israel even before talk of annexation became public.

In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has already voided all previous agreements with the United States and Israel because of this pending annexation, and he is warning that there will be grave consequences if it actually happens.

Needless to say, most of Israel’s Arab neighbors are vehemently opposed to any annexation as well, and Jordan’s King Abdullah has even warned of “a massive conflict” if Israel does not back down…

More than two weeks after Jordan’s King Abdullah issued what can only be described as the sternest warning to Israel if it goes ahead with its annexation plans, Jordanians and Israelis are still wondering how Amman will react if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does go ahead with his intention to annex parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley as early as July.

In his May 15 interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, the king warned of “a massive conflict” between Jordan and Israel “if Israel really annexed the West Bank in July.”

For such a long time the Middle East has seemingly been on the brink of war, and this could potentially be the trigger that finally pushes everyone over the edge.

Of course Netanyahu would never be pushing for annexation unless the Trump administration was willing to support it.

And it turns out that the Trump administration has made it abundantly clear that support for annexation will only be given if Netanyahu is prepared to fully accept Trump’s plan to permanently divide the land of Israel

According to the Trump plan itself and senior U.S. officials, including Pompeo, Israeli annexation is dependent on acceptance of the entire plan, especially its agreement to conduct direct negotiations with the Palestinians for at least four years. During this period, Israel is asked to freeze all construction and demolitions in the territory earmarked for the Palestinian state, as well as possibly in other areas. The plan also includes the establishment of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem neighborhoods and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

That certainly puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it?

As I have discussed previously, Trump’s plan would double the amount of territory currently under Palestinian control and would permanently divide the city of Jerusalem.

At this moment in history, the little nation of Israel has once again taken center stage, and what happens next is going to have staggering implications for all of us.

If a major war erupts in the Middle East and Donald Trump is still the president of the United States, it is quite likely that the U.S. would side with Israel in such a war.

But if Joe Biden wins in November, that would probably not be the case once he is in the White House.

In any event, it appears that war is coming.  Benjamin Netanyahu is a man of his word, and I believe that he is quite serious about beginning the annexation process on July 1st.

And there is no way in the world that the Palestinians and their allies will allow annexation to go unchallenged.

It does not look like either side is going to back down, and so that means that we are on a course toward military conflict.

And once war starts, it may not be so easy to stop.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10610