Category Archive: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Dec 15

Iran: If US imposes war, Israel, Gulf states will be destroyed

Iranian defense minister says Mideast worried about conflict risks with Trump, amid president-elect’s vow to dismantle ‘disastrous’ nuclear deal

By Times of Israel staff and Agencies December 12, 2016, 3:45 am

The election of Donald Trump has led to unease in the Middle East over threats to peace in the region and any war would lead to the destruction of Israel and the Gulf states, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan warned Sunday.

His remarks came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that he would work with Trump to dismantle the nuclear agreement with Iran, signed last year over Israel’s fierce criticism of the pact.

Trump said during the campaign he would tear up the nuclear deal, calling it a “disastrous” and one of the worst agreements in history and has vowed to take a harder line with Tehran.

This has led to concern among the Iranians and in the wider region, Dehghan indicated.

“Even though a businessman, the assistants that … (Trump) has chosen may map a different path for him, and this has led to unease, particularly among Persian Gulf countries,” Dehghan said at a security conference in Tehran, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

“Considering Trump’s character and that he measures the cost of everything in dollars, it does not seem likely that he would take strong action against our country,” he said, but “enemies may want to impose a war on us based on false calculations and only taking into consideration their material capabilities.”

“Such a war would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime (Israel) … and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war,” Mehr quoted Dehghan as saying.

Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction and its leaders have called for it to be wiped off the map. Israel fears that Iran’s nuclear program is designed to threaten its existence.

“Among other consequences of the war,” Dehgan added, “would be the destruction of the city-states on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf, because they lack popular support,” in reference to small Western-allied Gulf states such as the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.

In a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, Netanyahu said it was not too late to undo the nuclear deal that was the landmark foreign policy achievement of President Barack Obama, noting that he would present Trump with five alternatives to the accord, without elaborating,

However, his pick for Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, is opposed to rescinding the accord

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8260

Dec 12

How a Trump-Putin alliance would change the world

By Evan Horowitz Globe Staff  December 05, 2016

When news of Donald Trump’s election reached Moscow, the Russian parliament broke into applause. Might there be an encore this week, when Trump is expected to name his secretary of state? Or will he find a chief diplomat with a more Russophobic bent?

It’s no secret that Trump was the Kremlin’s favored candidate. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly referred to Vladimir Putin as a strong and effective leader. He even went out of his way to shed doubt on US intelligence assessments that Russia was trying to manipulate the election via cyberespionage.

Maybe none of this matters. When President George W. Bush first met Putin, he famously said that he had “looked” into Putin’s eyes and seen his trustworthy soul. Obama, too, had high hopes of a reset with Russia. Both times, events triumphed over optimism.

But if Trump and Putin do forge a 21st-century detente, it would bind the United States to an authoritarian nation notorious for political repression, military opportunism, naked interference in the affairs of other states, and a dismal record on human rights — all of it grounded in a cult of Putin-personality.

What is more, such an alliance would reshuffle the global order. Among other things, we could see a widening of Russian influence, the restoration of President Bashar Assad of Syria, and rising concerns about hidden conflicts of interest between Trump and Russia.

Syria

The key thing to understand about Syria is that there isn’t just one war underway — more like two wars with at least four competing factions. The first is between Assad and various non-Islamic State rebels. The other is between the Islamic State and an alliance of forces led by the United States.

Russia says it’s fighting terrorism in Syria, but the country is really focused on the Assad-rebel side of this conflict — not the Islamic State. Russian air support is helping Assad recapture territory and defeat non-Islamic State rebels.

If the Trump administration does decide to join with Assad and Russia, the results could be extremely awkward, to say the least. It would put the US into, effectively, an alliance with Iran, which is already on Assad’s side. It would also anger European allies, who have long insisted that Assad must go, as the brutal bombing of his own people makes him unfit to lead Syria.

And how’s this for a scenario: By aligning with Russia, we might unwittingly set the stage for a confrontation between US-supported Assad troops and US-supported Kurdish forces — the same Kurdish forces who have led the ground fight against the Islamic State and who now control territory that the Assad regime might want to reclaim.

Ukraine

The current chill in US-Russia relations began after a popular uprising against a Putin-friendly president in Ukraine. Shaken by the events, Russia seized Crimea and stoked a low-level conflict between east and west Ukraine that persists today; the US responded with sanctions against Russian businesses and members of Putin’s inner circle.

Trump seems less concerned about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. He has talked openly about lifting sanctions — even accepting Russia’s annexation of Crimea. What’s more, his team worked behind the scenes at the Republican National Convention to scrub a provision of the party platform that called for arming Ukraine against Russian-backed rebels.

The big question, for Trump, is how far this laxity goes. If Russia can take Crimea, what other parts of the old Soviet sphere could it reclaim? Could it assume direct control of Georgia? Undermine democratic governments in Latvia or Estonia?

For 60 years, the surest check on Russian expansion into Eastern Europe has been NATO, but there, too, Trump has sent mixed signals, saying that countries who don’t pay shouldn’t get protection. And once NATO support becomes conditional, Russia can start testing the limits.

Kleptocracy

Corruption is already endemic in Russia. Not just the mild corruption of bribes and payoffs, but something more deeply ingrained, where business success hinges on political connections and politicians are groomed for loyalty rather than public service.

If you want to succeed in Russia, the best thing is to know Putin. And one concern about Trump is that he brings a similar mindset to American politics. Trump’s cabinet picks, for instance, have disproportionately gone to campaign loyalists, whether it’s Stephen Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Steven Mnuchin, or Michael Flynn (who has an odd Russia connection of his own, as a regular contributor to the Kremlin-controlled network RT).

When people know you value loyalty, they respond by making themselves loyal — and giving preferential treatment to other loyal followers. As a telling example, consider that two days after Trump’s election, the Ukrainian government ended its corruption investigation into Trump’s old campaign chairman Paul Manafort, suspected of receiving undisclosed money while working for Ukraine’s former ruler.

That bit of Trump-friendly dealing happened in public. But given Trump’s unusual stature as president-businessman, it’s possible similar things will happen in hidden pages of Trump’s tax returns — which are not set to be released anytime soon.

Sometimes, perhaps often, it will be hard to determine whether Trump’s dealings with Russia are motivated by public or private interests. And while we don’t know the extent of Trump’s business relations with Russian oligarchs, there are hints. Back in 2008, Trump’s son and business partner, Donald Jr., said Russians made up a disproportionate share of their assets, adding, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Putting it together

If Trump does forge a new alliance with Russia, it will be a policy of his own making. The military brass and the intelligence community are united in their skepticism of Russia. CIA chief John Brennan told the BBC Wednesday that Trump should be “wary of Russian promises.”

And who knows? Maybe experience will make Trump rethink his praise for Putin — say, if the Russian leader backtracks on a private pledge or balks at Trump’s “America first” approach to trade.

But Trump has proved time and again his willingness to take risks, buck consensus, and pursue unorthodox policies. If that means a new era of US-Russia cooperation, the fallout will stretch from Europe to the Middle East, empowering a brutal regime in Syria, potentially undermining the democratic government of Ukraine, and unsettling the balance of power in Eastern Europe.

And every time Trump does make a surprising concession to Russia, we might be left to wonder whether it involved some unknown conflict of interest crossing between the United States and Moscow.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8252

Nov 29

Retaliation to NATO: Nukes, S-400s sent to Kaliningrad

The chairman of Russia’s Duma defense committee says Moscow has deployed S-400 and nuclear armed missile systems to Kaliningrad in retaliation to NATO expansion.

  • Senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker: Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in Kaliningrad in response to NATO expansion East.
  • Russia previously said Iskanders deployments were part of routine drills.
  • Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council: “As response measures to such threats we will have… to deploy additional forces… This reinforcement includes deployment of S-400 and Iskander systems in Kaliningrad.”

(MOSCOW, RUSSIA) Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments, a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday.

Russia has previously said it periodically sends Iskanders to Kaliningrad, but until now it has said these were routine drills. Moscow has not linked the moves explicitly with what it says is a NATO military build-up on Russia’s western borders.

After the election as U.S. president of Donald Trump, who has said he wants closer ties with the Kremlin and has questioned the cost of protecting NATO allies, some analysts predict an emboldened Moscow could become more assertive in eastern Europe.

Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, said in remarks reported by RIA news agency that Russia was forced to react to the planned U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe.

“As response measures to such threats we will have… to deploy additional forces… This reinforcement includes deployment of S-400 and Iskander systems in Kaliningrad,” the agency quoted Ozerov as saying.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8237

Nov 16

Russian warship flotilla now off Syrian coast: military

Warplanes already taking off from carrier in Mediterranean as part of Moscow’s campaign to aid ally Bashar Assad

By Anna MALPAS November 12, 2016, 4:08 pm

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov passes within a few miles of Dover, in the southeast of England as a fleet of Russian warships sail through the North Sea, and the English Channel Friday October 21, 2016, on their way to the eastern Mediterranean Sea (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

MOSCOW (AFP) — A flotilla of Russian warships is now in the eastern Mediterranean off the Syrian coast after being sent to reinforce Russia’s military in the area, a naval commander said on state television.

The commander of Russia’s flagship Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, Sergei Artamonov, said via videolink that the ships are now in the “designated zone… in the eastern Mediterranean” and “are now jointly carrying out tasks, maneuvering to the west of the Syrian coast.”

The battle group has traveled to Syria from the North Sea through the English Channel in the biggest such naval deployment in recent years as part of Russia’s military intervention in Syria.

Russia has been flying a bombing campaign in Syria for the past year in support of President Bashar Assad and has deployed a naval contingent to back up its operation.

The naval task force has been monitored closely by NATO, whose chief Jens Stoltenberg voiced concern the ships would be used to support the Russian military operation in Syria and “increase human and civilian suffering.”

The ship’s commander was speaking to a presenter on Russia-1 television from inside the Defense Ministry for a news show that will air this evening in Moscow.

He confirmed that aircraft are already taking off from the ship’s deck to view the conflict zone.

“Flights are being carried out from the deck… they are working on coordination with the shore port,” he said.

“The flights have been going on practically every day for the last four days,” he added.

Russia’s Interfax news agency on Friday had cited a Russian military and diplomatic source as saying that Russian MiG and Sukhoi jets have been regularly flying into Syrian airspace from the Kuznetsov to “determine combat missions.”

The Russian television channel also spoke to the commander of the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered battle cruiser, which is part of the same flotilla.

Asked whether foreign aircraft were flying over the ships, the commander, Vladislav Malakhovsky, said “they are afraid to come closer than 50 kilometers away, realizing very well how powerful the nuclear cruiser is.”

Russia says it has ceased strikes on rebel-held east Aleppo since October 18 and has also held brief unilateral ceasefires on the ground it calls “humanitarian pauses.”

It has accused the United States-led coalition of failing to persuade rebels to cooperate to allow civilians to leave, as only a few have done so.

The Russian defence ministry on Saturday said that it will introduce further “humanitarian pauses” only on condition that the United Nations humanitarian mission guarantees it is ready and able to organize aid supplies and evacuations.

The UN has warned that east Aleppo is now down to its final food supplies and has urged Russia to extend future truces to allow supplies through.

Russia said Saturday it is ready to act “at any time” as long as the UN “officially confirms its readiness and ability to supply humanitarian aid to Aleppo and evacuate wounded and sick peaceful residents.”

It complained that previous assurances from the UN had turned out to be “just words.”

Vehicles carrying humanitarian aid that try to enter the designated humanitarian passages into the city have “every time” faced “shooting from the rebel fighters” and have been unable to drive through because of mined roads, the ministry said

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8218

Nov 01

War In Europe: Lithuania Prepares For Russian Invasion As NATO Sends Troops To Eastern European States

By Cristina Silva @cristymsilva On 10/29/16 AT 9:14 PM

More than two years after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, Lithuania is warning its citizens of a possible similar fate in the former Soviet Union republic. Lithuanian government officials have published tens of thousands of copies of a 75-page guide on how to survive a Russian invasion, BBC News reported Saturday.

The civil defense booklet stresses that Russia is capable of using military force against its neighbors to get its way and warns civilians to call a government hotline to report anyone suspected of being a spy. It also informs Lithuanians on how to spot Russian tanks and mines.

The manual states: “It is most important that the civilians are aware and have a will to resist – when these elements are strong, an aggressor has difficulties in creating an environment for military invasion.” The guide is the latest sign that Russia’s Baltic neighbors are worried that they could be next amid a two-year struggle between pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine and Kiev. Western leaders have accused Moscow of fueling the war, but the Kremlin has denied any direct involvement.

“Every Lithuanian citizen can become a target,” said Darius Jauniskis, head of the state security department.

Conflict between Lithuania and Russia, which share a small border, would have global consequences. Lithuania has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 2004. With growing tensions between Russia and the West in recent years, NATO has announced it will send troops and equipment to defend the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia in the biggest military build-up since the Cold War.

“NATO depends totally on American leadership and American willingness to come to the aid of allies unconditionally,” Richard Shirreff, NATO’s former deputy supreme allied commander Europe, one of the highest-ranking positions in the military alliance, recently told The Atlantic. 

Germany alone plans to send up to 600 troops and tanks to Lithuania next year. Germany also warned residents in an August advisory to stockpile food and water in case of a national emergency. For its part, Lithuania announced last year it would restart military conscription for men aged 19-26.

Russia has also taken precautions. Most recently, it held civil defense drills involving 40 million people to prepare for chemical and biological attacks. And in Moscow, officials reportedly have created a plan to shelter the city’s 12 million residents in case of catastrophe.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said relations between the West and Russia have reached extreme levels.

“I think the world has reached a dangerous point,” he told the RIA Novosti news agency in mid-October. “This needs to stop. We need to renew dialogue.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8200

Oct 28

Russian warships point their guns towards British soil in provocative display off the coast of Dover

  • 15:18, 21 Oct 2016
  • Updated 12:16, 22 Oct 2016
  • By Patrick Lion , Georgina Stubbs

Terrifying soldiers armed with automatic rifles and clad in bulletproof vests stared down fishermen and tourists desperate to catch a glimpse of the flotilla heading to Syria

The Russian flotilla, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov, passes the White Cliffs of Dover today

Machine guns at the ready, terrifying armed soldiers stare at Dover locals from on board a Russian military ship just off the British coast today.

As these extraordinary photographs show, the Russian personnel were clad in bullet-proof vests and helmets as the pointed their automatic weapons towards English soil.

The solders were patrolling the deck of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov as pilots sat ready in nearby fighter jets, in a provocative display of Russian military might being closely watched by the British Royal Navy.

Dover Marina wrote on its Facebook page: “Suffice to say, being overflown by jet aircraft at low altitude and watching HMS Duncan’s helicopter take off, it was a great morning.”

Some of the weaponry on one of the Russian ships as personnel keep watch today

Dover Marina.com

The military officers took up position while the ships moved down the English Channel at Dover

Dover Marina.com

The guards were stationed alongside SU-33 fighter jets on the carrier’s flight deck

Dover Marina.com

Vladimir Putin’s warships pass England at the White Cliffs of Dover

Dover Marina.com

HMS Duncan shadowed the Russian fleet through the channel today

“There aren’t really any words to describe it, so I won’t even bother. Instead, I will leave you to enjoy the images.”

The flotilla of Russian warships was sailing down the English Channel today as tensions between Britain and Vladimir Putin reached breaking point.

In overnight talks with EU leaders Theresa May blasted Putin for “undermining the West’s efforts” to provide a political settlement in Syria as the horrific scenes in Aleppo play out.

The international moves against Russia come as it’s understood that the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is on a course to sail through the North Sea and then the English Channel.

Dover Marina.com

A Russian helicopter on board the aircraft carrier

Dover Marina.com

Putin’s warships have appeared just as tensions rise between Russia and the West

At the same time, two other Russian corvettes, which are travelling north towards the UK from the direction of Portugal, are also set to be watched by the Navy.

Two Royal Navy destroyers have been sent to meet them with a Ministry of Defence spokesman confiming it planned to “man-mark them every step of the way”.

Warship HMS Duncan sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday to monitor the Kuznetsov task group, which is currently heading south from the Norwegian Sea towards the North Sea.

HMS Richmond has also escorted the group in the Norwegian Sea further north of the UK between Iceland and Norway.

And HMS Dragon is also due to sail to meet two Russian corvettes travelling north towards the UK from the direction of Portugal.

Warship HMS Duncan sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday to monitor the Kuznetsov task group, which is currently heading south from the Norwegian Sea towards the North Sea.

HMS Richmond has also escorted the group in the Norwegian Sea further north of the UK between Iceland and Norway.

And HMS Dragon is also due to sail to meet two Russian corvettes travelling north towards the UK from the direction of Portugal.

It is understood that shadowing ships is regular business for the Royal Navy, who have been supported by Royal Air Force surveillance aircraft on this occasion.

Navy ships will continue to escort the Russian task group and provide a visible presence south through the North Sea and English Channel as the Russian fleet sail through and carry out their flying operations, the MoD said.

The UK is working alongside NATO partners to monitor the warships passing the UK this week.

All the while tensions are ratcheting up as Theresa May told European leaders they must act to stop Russia’s appalling behaviour in Syria, amid fears some countries are dragging their feet.

Getty Images

A submarine, passing the Norwegian island of Andoya, is also part of the Russian fleet

The Prime Minister urged the EU to send a “robust united message” to Moscow over its bombing campaign supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

At a Brussels summit, Mrs May said the current assault on Aleppo was “particularly horrific” and Russia’s actions had “undermined the West’s efforts” to provide a political settlement.

EU leaders agreed last night that they needed to remain united in policies towards Moscow.

“Leaders emphasized all sorts of Russian hostilities from airspace violations to information campaigns, cyber attacks, interference into the political processes in the EU and beyond,” sai EU summit chair Donald Tusk.

“Given these examples, it is clear that Russia’s strategy is to weaken the EU,” he said.

Norwegian Navy

Shadowing ships such as the Russian fleet (pictured) is regular business for the Royal Navy

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov at a ship-repairing yard in Murmansk, Russia, last week ahead of the trip to the the Mediterranean

“Creating tensions with Russia is not our aim. We are simply reacting to steps taken by Russia. Of course the EU is always ready to engage in dialogue but we will not compromise our values or principles.

“That is why we agreed to stay the course and above all to keep the unity of the EU,” he said.

EU leaders also agreed to consider all available options if Russian military continued to commit atrocities in Syria alongside the Syrian army.

But the leaders stopped short of spelling out in their conclusions that these options included new sanctions against individuals and entities, as in the initial draft of the conclusions

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8188

Oct 28

Massive Cyberattack Hits America – Will Russia Take Down The Entire Internet If We Go To War?

By Michael Snyder, on October 21st, 2016

We just learned a very important lesson about how exceedingly vulnerable our Internet truly is. On Friday, three massive waves of cyberattacks took down some of the biggest websites on the entire Internet. Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, Etsy, Business Insider, Github, Spotify, the New York Times and the Boston Globe were among the prominent websites affected. Security experts tells us that with each passing month these kinds of attacks are becoming larger and more sophisticated. And most Americans don’t realize this, but nations such as Russia, China and North Korea have been feverishly developing extremely advanced cyberwarfare capabilities. So could a day come when one of our enemies takes down our Internet completely for an extended period of time?

According to CNBC, the primary target of the attacks on Friday was a hosting company known as Dyn, and these attacks came from “tens of millions” of IP addresses simultaneously…

Internet traffic company Dyn on Friday warned of another cyberattack after websites and services across the East Coast were shut down earlier in the day.

Dyn told CNBC Friday afternoon the attacks are “well planned and executed, coming from tens of millions IP addresses at same time.”

“We have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed (Domain Name System) infrastructure. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue,” Dyn said on its website at 11:52 a.m. ET.

Specifically, the types of attacks that we witnessed on Friday are known as “denial of service” attacks. If you are not familiar with denial of service attacks, the following is a pretty good explanation from Business Insider

It appears to have been caused by a large digital denial of service (DDoS) attack leveled at the servers of the domain name system (DNS) host Dyn. A DDoS attack typically overwhelms a server with data requests in order to prevent normal users from having their own queries answered. The DNS is a large database that, among other things, converts a simple domain name into a more complex IP address from which data can be retrieved. Taking down a DNS server means that a user’s browser can’t use it to resolve which IP address to fetch the files of a web page from.

These attacks were so big that the Department of Homeland Security is looking into them. It is being reported that North Korea has been ruled out as a suspect so far, but nothing has been said about Russia or China.

As I mentioned above, countries such as Russia, China and North Korea have been working very hard to develop extremely advanced cyberwarfare capabilities in recent years. In particular, Russia has been heavily investing in this area since at least 2007

Russia’s intelligence services decided years ago to make cyber warfare a national defense priority, said Dr. David Stupples, director of the Centre for Cyber Security Sciences at City University London. They have become increasingly proficient in cyber operations as a result.

From around 2007, Russia decided that information warfare was key to winning any world conflict, and that it was this area of capability and technology they decided would benefit from vastly increased military investment,” Stupples said. “What made this decision easier was that Russia was also home to the largest numbers of some of the world’s best hackers.”

For almost a decade, the Russians have been preparing to fight a cyberwar with the United States.

And at this point many analysts believe that they are far better equipped to fight a cyberwar then we are.

So it would seem to be incredibly foolish to provoke an enemy into a fight that we could not possibly win. Unfortunately, that is precisely what Barack Obama is doing. According to a stunning report from NBC News, the Obama administration is actually threatening Russia with “an unprecedented cyber covert action”…

The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging “clandestine” cyber operation designed to harass and “embarrass” the Kremlin leadership.

The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation.

I can’t even begin to describe how foolish this is.

Yes, without a doubt we could do some damage to the Russians. But the Russians believe that when they get hit by an enemy that they should hit back even harder.

Considering how important the Internet has become to the U.S. economy, do we really want to invite the Russians to attack it?

Talk about an event that could crash our economy almost overnight. This year alone “the Internet economy” will account for more than a trillion dollars. Without the Internet, vast numbers of businesses would not be able to function normally, and an extended outage would cause financial markets all over the planet to start crashing.

And many experts believe that it was the Russians that took down the Ukrainian power grid a while back. So do we really want to invite the Russians to attack our power grid?

Anyone out there that believes that our power grid is “secure” is dead wrong. We are exceedingly vulnerable, and the Russians know this.

Could you imagine the chaos that would happen if our power grid suddenly went down in the middle of the winter? An extended outage would potentially be life-threatening for millions of people that live in our coldest areas.

And what about our banks and financial systems? Do we really want to invite the Russians to shut those down?

It really is in our best interest to try to find a way to develop a better relationship with Russia. Unfortunately, we are about to elect a crazy woman as our next president that has a fierce vendetta against the Russians, and Russian politicians are very open about the fact that if Hillary Clinton is elected in November that the odds of World War 3 happening will go up dramatically.

You may wake up one day only to discover that a massive cyberattack has completely changed life in America overnight.

When that happens, you won’t be able to say that you weren’t warned in advance.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8186

Oct 24

Russian warships filmed off coast of Britain as Royal Navy shadows Syria-bound vessels through English Channel

21 October 2016 • 1:55pm

Russian warships have been pictured off the coast of Britain, en route to a suspected bolstering of the bombing campaign on the besieged Syrian city Aleppo.

Royal Navy vessels were closely monitoring the fleet as it passed through the English Channel at around 9am on Friday.

Admiral Kuznetsov, an aircraft carrier, and Peter the Great, a Kirov class battlecruiser, were among those filmed off Ramsgate, Kent, in footage posted online.

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov passes within a few miles of Dover Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

The Russian vessels were being shadowed by the Royal Navy as they headed towards the eastern Mediterranean via the Dover Strait.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said the Russian fleet will be marked “every inch of the way” as he claimed the deployment was aimed at testing British capabilities.

The Admiral Kuznetzov passes through the English Channel near Kent Credit: Jim Bennett for The Telegraph

Peter the Great, a Kirov class battlecruiser, filmed off the Kent coast on Friday morning Credit: BBC/PERISCOPE

Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday to “man-mark” the Kuznetsov group, and Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond escorted the group from the Norwegian Sea as it steamed south.

The Royal Navy’s monitoring of the Russian flotilla coincides with Trafalgar Day, the day when Britain triumphed in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21 1805.

 

On Friday morning, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “They are all in one line now. They have to be to effectively go through the traffic separation scheme, and they are progressing as expected.

“They haven’t slowed or sped up. They are going to be past Dover in the next few hours. When they are clear of the Dover traffic separation scheme, they will probably break back out in a formation scheme and be on their way.

“We still don’t know where that is and how they are going to get there, but everything so far has been exactly how we would have expected.”

A group of people gathered in Dover from the early hours to catch a glimpse of he flotilla, with some posting pictures on Twitter:

The Russian deployment comes as Theresa May condemned Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Syria, accusing Moscow of being behind “sickening atrocities” in support of Bashar Assad’s regime.

Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, have agreed a temporary humanitarian truce in Aleppo, but Mrs May urged European leaders to take a firm line against Moscow.

Arriving at her first Brussels summit as Prime Minister on Thursday, Mrs May called for a “robust and united European stance in the face of Russian aggression”.

Nato said the prospect of Russia’s only aircraft carrier heading to the region does not “inspire confidence” that Moscow is seeking a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said in September that the Admiral Kuznetsov-led Northern Fleet would be joining a taskforce in the Mediterranean.

According to the Russian news agency Tass, he told a defence board meeting that the plan was to bolster the Mediterranean fleet’s “combat capabilities”.

A statement from the fleet to the agency on October 15 said the group also consisted of the Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser, the Severomorsk anti-submarine ship, the Vice-Admiral Kulakov destroyer and other support vessels.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8184

Oct 17

Amid Syrian chaos, Iran’s game plan emerges: a path to the Mediterranean

Militias controlled by Tehran are poised to complete a land corridor that would give Iran huge power in the region

Martin Chulov

Saturday 8 October 2016 15.30 EDT Last modified on Sunday 9 October 2016 07.26 EDT

Not far from Mosul, a large military force is finalising plans for an advance that has been more than three decades in the making. The troops are Shia militiamen who have fought against the Islamic State, but they have not been given a direct role in the coming attack to free Iraq’s second city from its clutches.

Instead, while the Iraqi army attacks Mosul from the south, the militias will take up a blocking position to the west, stopping Isis forces from fleeing towards their last redoubt of Raqqa in Syria. Their absence is aimed at reassuring the Sunni Muslims of Mosul that the imminent recapture of the city is not a sectarian push against them. However, among Iraq’s Shia-dominated army the militia’s decision to remain aloof from the battle of Mosul is being seen as a rebuff.

Yet among the militias’ backers in Iran there is little concern. Since their inception, the Shia irregulars have made their name on the battlefields of Iraq, but they have always been central to Tehran’s ambitions elsewhere. By not helping to retake Mosul, the militias are free to drive one of its most coveted projects – securing an arc of influence across Iraq and Syria that would end at the Mediterranean Sea.

The strip of land to the west of Mosul in which the militias will operate is essential to that goal. After 12 years of conflict in Iraq and an even more savage conflict in Syria, Iran is now closer than ever to securing a land corridor that will anchor it in the region – and potentially transform the Islamic Republic’s presence on Arab lands. “They have been working extremely hard on this,” said a European official who has monitored Iran’s role in both wars for the past five years. “This is a matter of pride for them on one hand and pragmatism on the other. They will be able to move people and supplies between the Mediterranean and Tehran whenever they want, and they will do so along safe routes that are secured by their people, or their proxies.”

Interviews during the past four months with regional officials, influential Iraqis and residents of northern Syria have established that the land corridor has slowly taken shape since 2014. It is a complex route that weaves across Arab Iraq, through the Kurdish north, into Kurdish north-eastern Syria and through the battlefields north of Aleppo, where Iran and its allies are prevailing on the ground. It has been assembled under the noses of friend and foe, the latter of which has begun to sound the alarm in recent weeks. Turkey has been especially opposed, fearful of what such a development means for Iran’s relationship with the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ party), the restive Kurds in its midst, on whom much of the plan hinges.

The plan has been coordinated by senior government and security officials in Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus, all of whom defer to the head of the spearhead of Iran’s foreign policy, the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, headed by Major General Qassem Suleimani, who has run Iran’s wars in Syria and Iraq. It involves demographic shifts, which have already taken place in central Iraq and are under way in northern Syria. And it relies heavily on the support of a range of allies, who are not necessarily aware of the entirety of the project but have a developed vested interest in securing separate legs.

The corridor starts at the entry points that Iran has used to send supplies and manpower into Iraq over the past 12 years. They are the same routes that were used by the Quds force to run a guerrilla war against US forces when they occupied the country – a campaign fought by the same Iraqi militias that have since been immersed in the fight against Isis.

The groups, Asa’ib ahl al-Haq, Keta’ib Hezbollah and their offshoots, accounted for close to 25% of all US battlefield casualties, senior US officials have said. They have become even more influential since US forces left the country. And in one of modern warfare’s starkest ironies, in the two years since US troops have returned to Iraq to fight Isis they have at times fought under US air cover.

The route crosses through Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, around 60 miles north of Baghdad. A mixed Sunni/Shia area for hundreds of years, Diyala became one of the main sectarian flashpoint areas during Iraq’s civil war. Along roads that have been secured by militias, which are known locally as “popular mobilisation units”, it then moves northwest into areas that were occupied by Isis as recently as several months ago.

The town of Shirqat in Salaheddin province is one important area. It was taken by militias along with Iraqi forces on 22 September, delivering another blow to the terrorist group and an important boost to Iran’s ambitions.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8171

Oct 12

Russia Is Preparing For A Nuclear War With The United States

By Michael Snyder, on October 7th, 2016

In Russia there is talk that war with the United States is inevitable, and they are feverishly preparing to win such a war when it happens. Thanks to tensions over Ukraine, Syria and the price of oil, U.S. relations with Russia are the worst that they have been since at least the end of the Cold War. In fact, one false move could result in U.S. and Russian forces shooting at each other in Syria as you will see below. The Russians have worked incredibly hard to upgrade and modernize their military in recent years, but meanwhile the U.S. military is being transformed into a radically politically-correct social experiment by the Obama administration. Most Americans simply assume that we will never fight a war with Russia, and that if for some reason we did that we would win easily. Unfortunately, things have changed dramatically over the past decade, and the truth is that the Russians now have the upper hand.

Most Americans are accustomed to thinking that we have such an overwhelming strategic nuclear arsenal that nobody would ever dare mess with us. At one time that was true, but now it isn’t. In fact, the size of the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal has been reduced by more than 95 percent since the end of the Cold War, and now the Russians actually have more deployed nuclear warheads than we do. The following comes from the Daily Beast

While the U.S. military has been steadily cutting the number of nukes it loads on submarines and bombers and in missile silos, Russian forces have recently been adding more.

Seemingly more worrying for the United States, Russia’s 1,796 deployed warheads exceed—by a whopping 246 weapons—the cap of 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons that Moscow and Washington agreed to as part of the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

The United States, meanwhile, is already well below the New START cap. America’s missile submarines, nuclear-capable heavy bombers, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles are armed with just 1,367 warheads, the State Department says.

But it isn’t just the number of warheads that we need to be concerned about. The Russians have developed a brand new intercontinental ballistic missile known as “the Sarmat” that is far more advanced than anything the U.S. currently has deployed…

The Sarmat will weigh at least 100-tons and carry a 10-ton payload. That means the missile could carry as many as 15 independently targeted thermo-nuclear warheads. It has a range of at least 6,000 miles. Once it is operational, it will be the largest ICBM ever built.

Like other modern Russian ICBMs such as the Yars, Topol-M and the Bulava, the Sarmat is being designed specifically to overcome ballistic missile defenses using a combination of decoys, a host of countermeasures and sheer speed. It might also be equipped with maneuvering warheads—which would make it much more difficult to intercept.

We have no way to stop the Sarmat, so once it is launched we are defenseless against it.

And each missile carries 15 independently targeted warheads, and so that means that for each missile that goes up, 15 warheads come down. Every one of those warheads can be directed to a different city, and so one Sarmat missile could essentially destroy an area approximately the size of Texas.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military continues to use hopelessly outdated technology. 60 Minutes has shown that many of our nuclear silos are still using rotary phones and the kind of 8-inch floppy disks that you can hold in your hand and actually flop around. And the Obama administration plans to keep Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles that were originally deployed in the 1960s and 1970s in service until 2030.

Of even greater concern than the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile are the “black hole submarines” that Russia has developed. These stealth submarines are so quiet and so invisible that they can come right up to our coastlines without us even knowing that they are there.

So someday a fleet of Russian submarines may suddenly surface just off both coasts, launch a barrage of nuclear missiles at us, and we would only have moments to try to decide what to do before our cities, our nuclear forces and our leadership started getting hit by nukes.

And guess what? The Russians have now developed even newer submarines that are even quieter and stealthier than the subs that the U.S. Navy referred to as “black holes”

“The stealth capabilities of Russia’s new Lada-class diesel-electric submarines far exceed those of their predecessors, Admiraty Shipyard’s CEO Alexander Buzakov told the Russian press.

“According to Buzakov, the new vessels are even stealthier than Russian Kilo-class submarines, thought to be one of the quietest diesel-electric submarine classes in the world and dubbed “black holes” for their ability to “disappear” from sonars.

“The new submarines are able to maintain such a low profile thanks to a clever implementation of a next-generation anti-reflective acoustic coating and a new improved hydro-acoustic system, Buzakov said.

In a surprise attack scenario, the U.S. may be able to get some missiles off at the Russians, but the Russians also have the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems in the entire world. In fact, it is believed that the S-500 system will be able to intercept any of our missiles before they even get to Russia. The following info about the S-500 comes from military-today.com

The S-500 is not an upgrade of the S-400, but a new design. It uses a lot of new technology and is superior to the S-400. It was designed to intercept ballistic missiles. It is planned to have a range of 500-600 km and hit targets at altitudes as high as 40 km. Some sources claim that this system is capable of tracking 5-20 ballistic targets and intercepting up to 5-10 ballistic targets simultaneously. It can defeat ballistic missiles traveling at 5-7 kilometers per second. It has been reported that this air defense system can also target low orbital satellites. It is planned that the S-500 will shield Moscow and the regions around it. It will replace the current A-135 anti-ballistic missile system. The S-500 missiles will be used only against the most important targets, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, AWACS and jamming aircraft.

And you may have heard that the Russians have been deploying S-300 and S-400 missile systems to Syria. After hearing reports that the Obama administration may conduct direct strikes against Syrian military positions, the Russians responded by reminding the U.S. that the S-300 and S-400 systems will be used against any targets that attack areas controlled by the Syrian government. The following comes from RT

Russia’s Defense Ministry has cautioned the US-led coalition of carrying out airstrikes on Syrian army positions, adding in Syria there are numerous S-300 and S-400 air defense systems up and running.

Russia currently has S-400 and S-300 air-defense systems deployed to protect its troops stationed at the Tartus naval supply base and the Khmeimim airbase. The radius of the weapons reach may be “a surprise” to all unidentified flying objects, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov said.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, any airstrike or missile hitting targets in territory controlled by the Syrian government would put Russian personnel in danger.

And the official Russian embassy account on Twitter has issued an ominous warning as well…

All jokes aside, #Russia will take every defensive measure necessary to protect its personnel stationed in #Syria from terrorist threat.

So what would happen if U.S. military aircraft started getting shot down by the Russians in Syria?

I don’t know the answer to that question, and let’s hope that we don’t find out.

Another thing that has raised a lot of eyebrows is a massive “civil defense drill” in Russia that just concluded that involved 40 million people. Many believe that the primary purpose of this drill was to prepare the population for a nuclear war. The following comes from a major British news source

The huge four-day “civil defence” drill has set alarm bells ringing in Washington and London, with tensions already high over disagreements in Syria.

Following a breakdown in communication between the USA and Russia, the Kremlin has now organised the huge emergency practice drill – either as a show of force or something more sinister.

The drill will prepare Russian citizens for “large natural and man-made disasters”, according to the country’s Ministery for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disaster.

The ministry revealed 40 million civilians, 200,000 emergency rescuers and 50,000 units of equipment are involved in the war game, which is running from October 4 to October 7.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but there are hundreds and hundreds of nuclear bomb shelters in Moscow alone. If a nuclear war were to start, Russian citizens are going to have somewhere to go.

Meanwhile, here in the United States no provision has been made for the general population. When the missiles start falling the only thing that will be left for us to do will be to kiss ourselves goodbye.

It seems like our relationship with Russia gets worse with each passing week. This week, the Obama administration officially accused the Russians of hacking into the DNC and interfering in our elections

After months of speculation whether the US would officially accuse Russia of being responsible for various intrusions and hacks, primarily involving the Democratic party, moments ago we finally got the long-anticipated confirmation when the US named Russia as the actor behind the hacking attempts on political organizations and, more importantly, state election systems and accused Putin of carrying out a wide-ranging campaign to interfere with the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political officials.

In a statement, the US “intelligence community” said that it is “confident” that the Russian government “directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organisations”, the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence on Election Security said in a joint statement.

The US added that “these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process”.

Over in Russia, they are very upset with us as well.

The Russians believe that the U.S. was responsible for the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Ukraine, they believe that the U.S. helped start the civil war in Syria while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State (and this is true), and they believe that the U.S. pushed the price of oil way down in order to hurt the Russian economy.

And it isn’t just the Russian leadership that is very angry with the United States. According to Gallup, American leadership has a 1 percent approval rating in Russia at this point.

If you listen to Russian media, there is constant talk of war. The Russians consider the U.S. to be the great force for evil in the world, and they consider themselves to be the great force for good in the world. And there seems to be this overwhelming belief that an ultimate confrontation between good and evil is inevitable. Just consider the following excerpt from an article authored by leading Russian thinker Alexander Dugin entitled “Third World War Has Never Been So Close“…

The globalist US leadership obviously cannot rule the whole world and, what’s more, the threat posed by Trump puts their control over America itself into question. Now, while the puppet Barack Obama is still in office and the globalist candidate Hillary Clinton is falling apart in front of American voters’ very eyes, is the last chance to start a war. This would allow them to postpone elections or force Trump, if he were to win, to begin his presidency in catastrophic conditions. Thus, the US neoconservatives and globalists need war. And fast, before it’s too late. If Trump gets into the White House when there will be peace, then there will be no such war, at least for the foreseeable future. And this would spell the end of the omnipotence of the maniacal globalist elites.

Thus, everything at this point is very, very serious. NATO’s ideologues and the US globalists falling into the abyss need war right now – before the American elections. War against us. Not so much for victory, but for the process itself. This is the only way for them to prolong their dominance and divert the attention of Americans and the whole world from their endless series of failures and crimes. The globalists’ game has been revealed. Soon enough, they’ll have to step down from power and appear before court. Only war can save their situation.

But what about us? We don’t need war. Not now, now tomorrow, never. Never in history have we needed war. But we have constantly fought and, in fact, we have almost never lost. The cost entailed terrible losses and colossal efforts, but we won. And we will always win. If this were not so, then today we wouldn’t have such an enormous country free from foreign control.

Sadly, most ordinary Americans aren’t paying attention to any of this.

Most ordinary Americans still think that the Russians are “our friends” and that there is not even the slightest possibility that we could go to war with them.

Let us certainly hope that war with Russia does not happen any time soon, because there is a very good chance that we would not wind up on the winning side.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8165

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