Category: Antichrist

Turkey Threatens “Imminent” Large Scale Invasion Of Idlib To Halt Syrian-Russian Advance

by Tyler Durden

Wed, 02/19/2020 – 22:05

New threats related to Idlib this week could see the Russian and Turkish armies on a direct collision course. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday threatened a full-scale military invasion of the war torn province after the Syrian Army and its Russian ally refused to halt their ongoing offensive. 

“An operation in Idlib is imminent,” Erdogan told Turkish parliament of preparations for NATO’s second largest army. “We are counting down, we are making our final warnings”.

“Turkey has completed preparations for the implementation of its plan on Idlib, just like we did with previous operations. Frankly speaking, an operation in Idlib is only a matter of time,” Erdogan said.

He further emphasized that Turkey “is determined to pay any price to ensure security in both Idlib and Turkey.” The Syrian and Turkish armies have been engaged in sporadic fierce clashes for the past two weeks in Idlib, resulting in scores dead and wounded on each side, though specific numbers are disputed. Turkey has acknowledged at least 13 of its national troops killed.

“We will not leave Idlib to the [Syrian] regime, which does not understand our country’s determination, and to those encouraging it,” said Erdogan. Turkey has thus far sent limited deployments of troops and armored convoys into the northwest Syrian province to support and defend a dozen observation posts. 

The Kremlin was quick to respond to such a threat of major escalation, pointing out that any Turkish offensive against Syrian forces in Idlib would be the “worst case scenario”.

“If it will be an operation against terrorist forces in Idlib, that would certainly be within the spirit” of Russia’s agreements with Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said before adding: “But if it is about an operation against legitimate Syrian armed forces, that would certainly be the worst case scenario.”

Talks between Turkish and Russian officials earlier this week related to Idlib failed to reach any agreement. This after Erdogan and Trump held a phone call wherein both leaders agreed the Syrian-Russian offensive must be halted “immediately”. 

Mainstream media has also begun to again put Idlib coverage front and center as hundreds of thousands of civilians are said to be fleeing. Erdogan has long expressed fears that a million or more refugees could flood across the Turkish border, adding to the already some three million Turkey says it’s hosting. 

UN figures state that at least 700,000 people have been displaced in Idlib since fighting was renewed in early December. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10420

Turkey Deploys Hundreds Of Tanks, APCs And Commandos To Idlib; Attacks Syrian Army

by Tyler Durden

Mon, 02/10/2020 – 17:05

With the geopolitical situation now firmly on the backburner, we remind readers that the last time we checked into the flurry of recent events in Syria over the weekend, we found that the Syrian Army was making major gains inside Idlib in a military offensive condemned by Turkey and the United States, capturing the key town of Saraqib from al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Amid the military advance, in the latest embarrassment to the US State Department, the Syrian and Russian governments said they’ve recovered proof of US support for the anti-Assad al-Qaeda insurgent terrorists, publishing photographs of crates of weapons and supplies to state-run SANA.

In any case, the growing feud between Russia and Turkey over control of Syria last remaining rebel holdout in Idlib province escalated overnight, and as Bloomberg reports, Turkey sent hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers and commandos to the Syrian province of Idlib as preparations continue for a likely attempt to break the siege of some of its outposts by Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The massive buildup over the weekend included the deployment of howitzers, multiple-rocket launchers, ambulances and trucks loaded with munitions, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

Meanwhile, Turkey resumed talks with a Russian delegation in Ankara on Monday after failure to reach an agreement on Idlib on Saturday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin may meet if no deal can be reached

Turkey dramatically reinforced its forces across the border since Syrian troops killed five Turkish soldiers and a civilian in Idlib on Feb. 3 as they closed in on the country’s last major rebel holdout. 

“Five of our troops were killed and five others were injured in the shelling by the Syrian regime,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Monday, adding that “return fire was opened.”

It wasn’t the first shelling incident between Turkish and Syrian forces in Idlib. A week ago, six Turkish troops were killed by Syrian artillery fire in an incident that Russia said was a result of miscommunication. The casualties could have been avoided if Ankara properly notified Damascus that it was moving troops in a border area where Damascus was holding an anti-terrorist operation at the time, Moscow said.

Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported that in response to the alleged death of Turkish soldiers, 115 regime targets have been struck, 101 regime soldiers have been neutralized (i.e. killed), and 3 tanks and 2 mortars have been destroyed, as the conflict is rapidly devolving into an all out war between Syria and Turkey.

Turkey also called on Moscow to put pressure on Damascus to halt its offensive in Idlib. Meanwhile, Syria’s government has been using Russian air support to vanquish onetime al-Qaeda affiliates and Turkey-backed rebels in the province.

Erdogan last week threatened to use force to break the siege of military outposts in Idlib unless Syrian forces withdraw before the end of February. At least three of 12 Turkish outposts were confirmed to be cut off by Syrian forces in the area.

Feigning humanitarian concern, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Hurriuet newspaper that Turkey’s main goal was “to prevent a refugee exodus and humanitarian drama” adding that “we’re trying to reach a cease-fire and stop the bloodshed.” However, he then made it quickly clear that the fight over northern Syria is all about strategic positioning, noting that if the violation of the Sochi and Astana agreements, which were signed by Turkey, Russia and Iran to curtail fighting in northern Syria, “continued, then we have plans B and C,” Akar said. “We keep telling them not to force us” to implement those plans.

Ankara was expected to use its influence on anti-government militants to prevent fighting with Damascus troops in order to create the basis for a peaceful resolution. However, jihadist groups in Idlib continue hostile activities, with Russia saying there were several thousand attacks in the last two months alone, in which hundreds of Syrian troops and civilians died.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10396

On The Day That Qassem Soleimani Was Killed Ayatollah Khamenei Prayed To Imam Mahdi, The Islamic Antichrist, Who They Believe Is Almost Here

Who is Imam Mahdi and why was Khamenei congratulating him on the day of Soleimani’s death? In short, he is Islam’s messiah, the 12th of 12 Imams who are successors to Mohammed. Said to have been born in 879 CE, the Imam Mahdi is believed by Shi’a Muslims to still be alive, but hidden from mankind in “occultation” until a time of such upheaval on the earth that only his reappearance will rescue mankind and, in fact, usher in an age of global peace; Islamic peace, that is; a kind of peace in which all mankind is living in submission to the Allah of the Koran.

by Geoffrey Grider February 1, 2020

Why did Ayatollah Khamenei congratulate Imam Mahdi on the day of Soleimani’s death? Because the real Prince of Persia is undeterred. He is still coming, and Iran will do anything to pave his way.

If you’re a Bible believer, this story today from the Jerusalem Post is a fascinating one, absolutely saturated with prophetic meaning of what is soon to come in the days after the Church is removed in the Pretribulation Rapture. While we as born again believers in Jesus Christ look for our Blessed Hope of being caught up in the clouds as our apostle Paul teaches us, Iran is also waiting for their savior as well, someone known to Muslims as Imam Mahdi. He is known to you and I as Antichrist.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (KJB)

The Iranian Revolution that took place in 1979 was designed to prepare Iran and the Middle East for the appearance of Imam Mahdi, the Islamic Antichrist. Why is Iran in 2020 a nation in a constant state of war, upheaval and chaos? Because they are not looking to be a law-abiding member of the United Nations, they are waiting for Imam Mahdi to come and lead the world into an Islamic caliphate. Iran leaders live in constant anticipation the arrival of the Mahdi just as you and I live in constant anticipation of meeting Jesus in the clouds. And guess what? We are both about to receive the desires of our hearts.

Now you know why Pope Francis signed a peace covenant with Islam last year, why they are building the Chrislam One World Religion headquarters in Abu Dhabi, he is preparing the Catholic Church to receive not Jesus Christ, but Imam Mahdi. All the pieces fit perfectly together as prophecy continues to unfold in glorious, end times harmony. Please enjoy this timely and fascinating article from the Jerusalem Post. The article is also highly ironic because when Imam Mahdi does appear, the Jews for the first three and a half years of the time of Jacob’s trouble will think he is their Messiah and follow him. Pray for the Jewish people.

Are you ready for what comes next?

The fall of Qassem Soleimani and the Mahdi Doctrine

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: When he left Damascus for Baghdad late Thursday evening January 2, Qassem Soleimani was flying high. As the military leader, chief strategist and charismatic face of what he knew to be the world’s emerging and greatest empire, he had it all: prestige, power, presence.

Not only did he command that rising empire’s independent military force, he was nothing less than the voice of Allah to leaders in nations soon to be absorbed: Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; Yemen and the Sinai. Although no one ever said so in quite these terms, he was, in fact, a rising prince of Persia. And the arms at his disposal! In addition to an immeasurable arsenal of conventional weapons, there was a growing repository of guided missiles; a world-class brigade of ruthless cyber geeks; even submarines; and soon, very soon, nuclear warheads.

From the north and the south of the world’s most despicable usurper, if not so much to its east and to its west, Soleimani was slowly squeezing the Zionist entity, needling its psyche (and military focus) by jihadists within its pretentious boundaries, waiting for the perfect moment – when it was distracted – to strike at its heart from the north with a massive arsenal of at least 100,000 rockets. When the time came, rockets without sophisticated technology would draw the defensive shield of the Zionists’ interceptors. That shield would stop a lot of them, but not all. Not all.

Then, at just the right time, hi-tech guided missiles would be launched, programmed to hit key military sites and, best of all, high-density population centers. Maybe, just maybe, inshallah, one of those missiles would carry a nuclear warhead. As Zionists died in a mushroom cloud of agony, all hell would break out throughout the region, even the world. It would be a tragic upheaval but a necessary evil because then, as prophesied, the long awaited savior of the world would emerge from centuries of withdrawal. The Imam Mahdi would return, establishing a worldwide caliphate of perfect peace; Islamic peace, of course.

On the evening of the second day of what the West calls its New Year, Soleimani was fresh from meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, with one of his nation’s most important vassals, Hassan Nasrallah, the uncontested head of the pretentious “party of Allah,” Hezbollah. In that encounter, duly photographed, Soleimani had accepted, once again, the “General Secretary’s” obsequious hospitality. It was likely gratifying to the Islamic Republic’s major general of Tehran’s notably redundant Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC.

The flight from Damascus was only one hour and five minutes, but it had been delayed. The Middle East Eye reports that his flight landed at 12:32 a.m. Baghdad time. Anticipating a comfortable weekend inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, Soleimani was met by the head of the Iraqi paramilitary force, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, said to be “a longstanding ally and a close friend.”

Just over an hour later, less than two hours into the third day of January, Soleimani, Muhandis and their entourage left Baghdad International Airport in two vehicles, a Hyundai Starex minivan and a Toyota Avalon four-door sedan. As they reached the airport’s outer access road, both vehicles were almost evaporated by missiles fired by an American Reaper drone, a large remote controlled aircraft regarded by the US military as a “hunter killer.” Death was instantaneous for all inside both cars. Remains were so badly shredded, Soleimani’s death was confirmed by a still intact hand bearing his still intact silver ring embedded with a large oval carnelian stone.

To Western eyes, events in Iran in the aftermath of Soleimani’s execution tend to look like a low-budget circus with all its performances gone bad.

“Let’s put all of this together,” opines YouTube commentator David Wood. “On January 3, Major-General Soleimani was killed in a drone strike. On January 7, 56 Iranians were killed and more than 200 more were injured in a stampede at Soleimani’s funeral. On January 8, Iranian leaders responded to the killing of Soleimani with a missile attack on two Iraqi bases where US soldiers were housed, but… no one was killed. Also on January 8, the Iranian military shot down a Ukranian passenger plane as it took off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing 176 people. On January 11, after three days of denying it had shot down the plane … Iran admitted it had shot down the passenger plane.

“So, in response to the US government killing one man, Iranians killed, by a stampede and surface-to-air missile attack, 138 Iranians and 94 others – none of them Americans. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to think that Iranians might not be the best at war. [Mimicking Iranian leaders,] ‘Ah! They

[the US]

killed a general. Let’s start trampling each other to death in the streets and shooting down random planes.’

“I’m making fun of them,” says Wood, “because if the Iranian establishment is this incompetent, there’s hope for the protesters who want to overthrow the establishment. The days of the ayatollahs may be numbered.”

Iranian leaders as toothless buffoons is a gratifying narrative, but it is also wrong. If anything, the Islamic Republic is more dangerous than ever. As evidenced by Soleimani’s accomplishments in building a regional network of proxy terrorists, by the nation’s weapons-grade nuclear fuel technology, by hi-tech guided missile systems and a world-class cyber warfare unit, Iran retains all of these things, losing none of them with Soleimani’s death.

Wounded by Soleimani’s execution and US President Donald Trump’s economic sanctions, the threat Iran poses to the Middle East and the world is not lessened, it is magnified. Indeed, notes Israeli journalist and geopolitical analyst Jonathan Spyer, it “can be expected to do all in their power to preserve the regime by all possible means.”

Iran Is Waiting For Imam Mahdi, The Islamic Antichrist

Why? Three main reasons: the Mahdi and necessary upheaval; the Mahdi and Iran as the facilitator for his reappearance; the Mahdi and Tehran’s visceral hatred of Israel. On the day Soleimani was killed, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted, “We congratulate Imam Mahdi

[aj]

and Soleimani’s pure soul and condole the Iranian nation on this great martyrdom.”

Who is Imam Mahdi and why was Khamenei congratulating him on the day of Soleimani’s death?

In short, he is Islam’s messiah, the 12th of 12 Imams who are successors to Mohammed. Said to have been born in 879 CE, the Imam Mahdi is believed by Shi’a Muslims to still be alive, but hidden from mankind in “occultation” until a time of such upheaval on the earth that only his reappearance will rescue mankind and, in fact, usher in an age of global peace; Islamic peace, that is; a kind of peace in which all mankind is living in submission to the Allah of the Koran.

Crazy to Western ears, this messianic creed is the raison d’être for the Islamic Republic of Iran according to its founders and leaders. It is also the basis of Tehran’s foreign and military policies; and it is impossible to overemphasize the Iran regime’s visceral commitment to it. The Imam Mahdi is invoked in every public gathering, both civil and military; he is the singular inspiration for every policy, every tactic, every mission; indeed, he is nothing less than the regime’s reason for its existence and, as such, its singular and unwavering motivation for the future.
This reality does not bode well for those who see recent stumbles as indicative of an imminent fall of the mullahs in Tehran.

Khamenei’s official website is full of teachings about Imam Mahdi, including one that states the Supreme Leader’s conviction that his reappearance is very near. “Reappearance of Imam Mahdi [aj] is near, because minds are ready,” Khamenei writes. The “aj” in parenthesis is shorthand for, “May Allah hasten his appearance.”

“The mind of humankind is ready to understand, to learn, and to know, undoubtedly, that a lofty human will come to save them from the burden of oppression and tyranny,” Khamenei explains. “The Iranian nation, enjoys a great privilege today: the atmosphere of the country is an atmosphere of Imam Mahdi

[aj]

,” he continues, adding that “many of our great scholars have personally met with this beloved Imam of hearts of the admirers during his occultation; many have made a pledge to him in person; many have heard from him some heartwarming words; many have been caressed by him and many others have received his kindness, care, and love.”

How is this unwrapped in terms of Iran’s foreign and military policies today?

Global upheaval is a prerequisite for the Mahdi’s reappearance. This means that inasmuch as Iran stirs up a global hornet’s nest, it advances the Mahdi’s return, a return that is imminent. The regime’s primary agenda is to strategically provoke the world to chaos; this is how it wins. Chaos brings the Mahdi who brings global peace. Call it “The Mahdi Doctrine.”

The Iranian regime believes it has created an “atmosphere” that embodies the spirit of the Mahdi. Its religious, military and civil leaders have had personal encounters with him. In essence, then, today’s Iran is the womb from which the Mahdi will be reborn. Accordingly, the regime will go to any lengths to preserve itself. Accordingly, we should expect internal rebellion to be ruthlessly squashed. Protesters, especially organizers, will disappear. All external and internal opposition to the regime will be demonized.

Israel must be destroyed. Tehran’s unrelenting objective is resurrection of the ancient Persian empire in the form of an Islamic caliphate. The primary impediment to that objective is Israel, the “Zionist Entity,” the very embodiment of evil in the world today. Notably, Khamenei’s Twitter feed is full of vitriol about Israel.

“The Zionist regime is the epitome of evil,” he tweeted on Valentine’s Day in 2016. It is a “racist, usurping, lying, vicious, apartheid regime,” he added on February 5, 2019.
What then must be done? “Once people in the West realize their problems stem from Zionist domination over governments, great social movements will give birth to a new world,” he explained on 2 March 2015. Accordingly, the “barbaric, wolflike and infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime but to be annihilated.”

Translation: When the world finishes the job that Hitler started, the Mahdi will come, bringing heaven on earth; Islamic heaven, that is. Wounded by economic sanctions, embarrassed by internal protesters, Iran is more dangerous today than ever.

Why did Khamenei congratulate Imam Mahdi on the day of Soleimani’s death? Because the real Prince of Persia is undeterred. He is still coming, and Iran will do anything to pave his way.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10374

Roman Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò Says That Pope Francis Is Fulfilling The Revelation Prophecy Of The Coming Synagogue Of Satan

In his first testimony, Archbishop Viganò also stated that he informed Cardinal Sandri, along with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, about Theodore McCarrick’s decades-long abuse of priests and seminarians. Sandri was one of several high-ranking prelates who “knew in every detail the situation regarding Cardinal McCarrick,” he testified. Archbishop Viganò concludes: “ The faithful have a right to know these sordid intrigues of a corrupt court. In the Heart of the Church we seem to glimpse the approaching shadow of Satan’s synagogue (Rev 2:9).”

by Geoffrey Grider January 31, 2020

SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN: In a new testimony touching upon the election of the next Pope, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has alleged that the cardinal whom Pope Francis recently approved to preside over the next papal conclave was involved in covering up the misdeeds of infamous Legionary of Christ founder, Marciel Maciel.

I was a Roman Catholic for the first 29 years of my life, until the day I got saved and became a born again Christian, and I have spent the past tens years in this ministry of Now The End Begins to warn people about the lies and evil foundations of the counterfeit Christian Church. So it makes me happy when high-ranking and currently serving members of the Roman Catholic Church says things like what you will see in this article today that backs me up.

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Revelation 2:8,9 (KJB)

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has been warning people about Pope Francis for years now, makes a startling charge that the pope is a deceiver, a liar, and actively engaged in multiple cover-ups on a variety of levels. Vigano goes so far as to say that Pope Francis is turning the Roman Catholic Church into the synagogue of Satan, and guess what? He’s right. We have previously told you how Vigano exposed the ‘Gay Mafia‘ in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the ‘homosexual network‘ that exists there and that Pope Francis works to keep hidden.

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Matthew 24:15-18 (KJB)

Regular readers of NTEB are acutely aware that Pope Francis spent all of 2019 forming an alliance with Islam, signing a covenant with them, and began to put the framework in place for the coming One World Religion of Chrislam. The Bible tells us, in Revelation, that the One World Religion will have the Roman Catholic Church as it’s base, and that Antichrist will rule the world from there. In the middle of the time of Jacob’s trouble, Antichrist will move to take over Jerusalem and indeed sit on the throne of the rebuilt Jewish Temple. This triggers the Matthew 24 warning for the Jews to flee to Selah Petra, where God Himself will sustain them supernaturally for three and one half years.

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:3,4 (KJB)

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, we congratulate you on your keen sense of perception and discernment in noting that Pope Francis is in the process of creating the synagogue of Satan, and since you found your way into the book of Revelation, something you rarely see any Catholic do, let me offer you another verse from Revelation that will help you as well. In Revelation 17 and 18, the Bible is describing to us the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican superstructure. And in Revelation 18, quoted above, God gives a warning to all Catholics to flee from the Roman harlot while there is still time. So let me invite you in joining me as an ex-Catholic, and to walk in new life with Jesus Christ by becoming born again. The Roman Catholic Church is indeed the synagogue of Satan, and will become the synagogue of Satan in the time of Jacob’s trouble. Leave while you can.

Viganò Says Pope Francis Creating Synagogue Of Satan

FROM LIFE SITE NEWS: In a statement released on January 31 and titled “The faithful have the right to know”, Archbishop  Carlo Maria Viganò asserts that Pope Francis’s confirmation of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals is a “masterpiece of deception.”

On Saturday, January 25, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had confirmed the election of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 86, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 76, as Dean and Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals respectively. The announcement came one month after Cardinal Angelo Sodano, 92, resigned as Dean of the Sacred College.

Francis’s approval of these elections “has gone almost unnoticed and yet conceals a devious strategy,” Archbishop Viganò writes.

The former apostolic nuncio to the United States contends that the confirmation of Cardinal Re as Dean of the Sacred College is “a cover for that other more effective appointment — of Cardinal Sandri — which has been prepared ad hoc to pilot the next conclave secundum Franciscum, that is, according to an updated and augmented edition of the St. Gallen Mafia.”

Role Of The Dean And Vice-Dean 

The Dean of the College of Cardinals presides over the Sacred College. When a Pope dies (or in the case of Benedict XVI has resigned), the Dean is tasked with communicating to all the cardinals that the pontiff has passed and summoning them to Rome for a papal conclave.

The word “conclave” refers to the time in which the cardinals are locked inside the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope. Only those cardinals who are under the age of 80 are eligible to enter the conclave and vote. The Dean of the College presides over the conclave and also oversees what are called the pre-conclave “congregations,” at which cardinals discuss the logistics and planning for the conclave, and importantly, meet their brother cardinals and get to know their positions. All of the cardinals, even those who cannot vote in the actual election for reasons of age, are eligible to participate in the congregations. Such was the case with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013.

The Vice-Dean’s role is to act as a substitute when the Dean cannot exercise his office. At 86 years of age, Cardinal Re, as newly elected Dean, is not eligible to enter into or preside at the next conclave and will therefore cede this role to 76-year-old Cardinal Sandri.

Cardinal Re will still oversee the congregations, but Cardinal Sandri, as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, will exercise the most important role — to preside over the election of the next Pope. This is not a novelty. In 2013, after the resignation of Benedict XVI, for reasons of age, Cardinal Angelo Sodano ceded this role to then-Vice-Dean, Cardinal Re, who presided over the election of Pope Francis.

A Web Of Coverup?

In his new statement, Archbishop Viganò recalls his first testimony in August 2018, in order to reiterate that “the person chiefly responsible for covering up the misdeeds committed by Maciel was then-Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.”

“Unfortunately for him, Sandri also allowed himself to be involved by Sodano in this operation to cover up Maciel’s horrible misdeeds,” he adds.

Drawing on his first-hand experience as a member of the diplomatic corps and high-level official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, Archbishop Viganò testifies that through a series of “shady maneuvers,” Cardinal Sandri was transferred to Mexico, to replace Archbishop Justo Mullor, who “was removed from the Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico because he opposed the directives coming from the Secretariat of State to cover up the very serious accusations against Marcial Maciel.”

Archbishop Viganò writes: 

“To replace Archbishop Mullor in Mexico City, it was necessary to appoint a person of unfailing loyalty to Sodano. Sandri had already given proof of this as Assessor for the section of General Affairs in the Secretariat of State. Serving at the time as Nuncio in Venezuela for just a little over two years, he was transferred to Mexico.”

This new testimony echoes his first, in which he wrote:

“It is known that Sodano tried to cover up the Father Maciel scandal to the end. He even removed the Nuncio in Mexico City, Justo Mullor, who refused to be an accomplice in his scheme to cover Maciel, and in his place appointed Sandri, then-Nuncio to Venezuela, who was willing to collaborate in the cover-up.”

In his first testimony, Archbishop Viganò also stated that he informed Cardinal Sandri, along with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, about Theodore McCarrick’s decades-long abuse of priests and seminarians. Sandri was one of several high-ranking prelates who “knew in every detail the situation regarding Cardinal McCarrick,” he testified.

Cardinal Sandri’s links to the Legionaries of Christ and allegations that he kept quiet about Maciel’s misdeeds have been reported widely in both the Italian and English-speaking media, recently and in past years.

Archbishop Viganò notes his “long-standing friendship” with Cardinal Sandri that dates back 50 years to their shared time in the Pontifical Ecclesiastic Academy (a training academy for Vatican diplomats) and the Secretariat of State. He also affirms that his new testimony is inspired “solely” by the bond of that friendship and is offered “for the good of his soul, for the love of the Truth who is Christ Himself, and for the Church, His Bride, whom we served together.”

The former US nuncio also testifies that Pope Francis, having asked him about Sandri, knew about his character and the Mexico transfer, and “promoted

[him]

to Cardinal-Priest in May 2018 and a month later to Cardinal-Bishop, so that he might confirm him as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, a candidate prepared by Francis to preside at the next Conclave.”

Archbishop Viganò concludes: “The faithful have a right to know these sordid intrigues of a corrupt court. In the Heart of the Church we seem to glimpse the approaching shadow of Satan’s synagogue (Rev 2:9).”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10371

Turkey deploys 2,000 troops to Libya to Reestablish Muslim Caliphate with Jerusalem as Capital

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz January 21, 2020 , 2:01 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™)

A new military incursion into Libya is part of a long-awaited dream by Turkish President Erdogan to return the Ottoman Caliphate, a global Islamic rule that subjugated Jews and Christians for six centuries.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday that Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries have begun arriving in Libya. Approximately 2,400 troops are already in Tripoli while another 1,700 are currently undergoing training in Turkey. Activists informed the SOHR that Turkey intends to send a total of 6,000 troops to Libya. 

Turkey is backing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in its fight against the eastern-based Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar and backed by Russia. The GNA is supported by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The GNA also receives air support from the United Arab Emirates.

Until now, the role of the Turkish military has been limited to 35 military personnel involved solely in training and advisory roles. The new Syrian troops are mercenaries, hired from rebel groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Turkish government will pay each soldier a monthly stipend of $2,000, far more than the $50 they earned to fight back home in Syria. The Syrian troops are also fighting against the Kurds in Libya.

Turkish intervention is a manifestation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aspiration to establish himself as the leader of a global Islamic nation. The SOHR reported that a commander of the Turkish-backed Syrian troops en route to Libya announced as their battle cry, “We will present our souls for the Ottoman Caliphate.”

The Ottoman Caliphate, known in the West as the Ottoman or Turkish Empire, was founded in the 13th Century and eventually controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. This control lasted for several hundred years and only truly ended after WWI when the empire was partitioned by the Allied Powers and the 101st and final Caliph, Sultan Abdulmecid II, was deposed and expelled.

It should be noted that after his expulsion from Turkey, Sultan Abdulmecid II was in close correspondence with the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, the founder of Palestinian nationalism who later became a close friend of Adolf Hitler and an advocate of the Holocaust.

The Ottoman Empire was a Sunni Caliphate which exerted a hegemonic power of Muslim control over the non-Muslim populations, most notably a Christian/Catholic majority. In accordance with the Muslim dhimmi system, Christians were guaranteed limited freedoms, such as the right to worship. They were forbidden to carry weapons or ride on horseback, their houses could not overlook those of Muslims, in addition to various other legal limitations. Many Christians and Jews converted in order to secure full status in society.

Before his election, Turkish political analysts feared that candidate Erdogan’s rise to power was fueled by his aspirations and those of his supporters to return Turkey to its former glory at the head of the Muslim world. His term in office confirmed these fears. In the wake of a failed attempt at a coup by a faction in the army in 2016, Erdogan mobilized the military against the populace and jailed hundreds of dissidents. 

But Erdogan’s Caliphate aspirations extend beyond the borders of Turkey and target Israel and, most specifically, Jerusalem. At a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul last year, Erdogan called on all of the 57 Muslim member nations to join together against Israel to avenge the deaths of Palestinians killed while charging the southern border with Gaza.

In 2015, Erdogan gave a speech commemorating 562 years since the Turks captured Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) from European Christians in which he called for the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. 

“Conquest is Mecca, conquest is Saladin, it’s to hoist the Islamic flag over Jerusalem again; conquest is the heritage of Mehmed II and conquest means forcing Turkey back on its feet,” Erdogan said in the speech in Istanbul.

Erdogan’s support of the Palestinians was returned in kind. In a Muslim gathering on the Temple Mount earlier this month commemorating the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 CE,  Nidhal “Abu Ibrahim” Siam, a Palestinian preacher, addressed a crowd of approximately 7,000. 

As reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Siam told the crowd that three prophecies would soon be fulfilled: a rightly-guided caliphate will be established, that Jerusalem will be liberated and established as its capital and that Islam “will throw its neighbors to the ground” thereby achieving world domination.

The gathering was organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international, pan-Islamist political organization dedicated to establishing a global caliphate. Founded in Jerusalem in 1953, the organization is banned in many countries.

Erdogan has also been suspected of aiding Hamas, allowing the terrorist organization to operate out of Turkey. The terrorist group is also reportedly in contact with the Turkish intelligence agency.

The key to the Turkish incursion into Libya and the hidden motivation is actually quite straightforward. Two months ago, Turkey signed a maritime borders deal that gave Turkey a claim to parts of the eastern Mediterranean. In addition to its strategic military importance, the eastern Mediterranean has huge natural gas deposits. Turkey’s entrance into the eastern Mediterranean puts it into close proximity with Israel and its offshore natural gas facilities.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, noted that Erdogan’s interest in Libya is really quite simple.

“The whole thing is about natural gas,” Dr. Kedar said. “The agreement between Turkey and Libya bypassed Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. They related to the entire Mediterranean and the enormous natural gas deposits as if they belonged only to Libya and Turkey.”

“This could bring Israel into direct conflict with Turkey but since Israel is supplying vital gas to Europe, this also brings Turkey into conflict with Europe.”

“In order to make sure that the Libyan government stays and Turkey’s gas interests in the Mediterranean stay secure, Turkey is ramping up the hostilities in Libya in favor of the GNA.”

Dr. Kedar emphasized that Turkey’s interest in Libyan hostilities is, in essence, but not exclusively, financially motivated.

“But religion is big business,” he added. “Establishing a caliphate is certainly a big part of Erdogan’s agenda but to do that, he needs money and power. Taking over the gas in the Mediterranean will give him that.”

This aspect of the Libyan conflict concerning natural gas in the Mediterranean is of grave concern to international leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, all of whom gathered in Berlin on Sunday to discuss the issue. Also in attendance were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres along with senior representatives of the European Union, the African Union, and the Arab League.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10348

The Ottomans are back – what does that mean for Israel?

Tracing regional dynamics over the last century is vital to understanding the combustible situation today.

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN  

The Ottomans are back (photo credit: OMAR SANADIKI/REUTERS)

JANUARY 1, 2020 20:10

The Ottomans are back

In late November, Turkey set its sights on a new goal.

In Libya, a long-forgotten civil war was raging. The government in Tripoli, often called the Government of the National Accord, was losing ground to the Libyan National Army, led by a man named Khalifa Haftar, whose forces were based in eastern Libya.
Turkey supports Tripoli; Egypt supports Haftar. It is part of a much wider struggle that represents Turkey’s attempt to revive influence not seen since the end of the First World War. A century ago, the European powers thought that the Ottoman Empire could be easily chopped up and its territories given away.

Today Turkey is back, moving into areas like northern Iraq, northern Syria, Libya and even the Gulf and Somalia.

The Paris Peace Conference that ended in January 1920, 100 years ago, helped the stage for many of the issues still facing the Middle East. It is hard to remember now, but much of what we take for granted regarding the borders of the Middle East is in some ways arbitrary. They were decided on partly after World War I in a series of treaties, such as the Treaty of Sevres of 1920 and Treaty of Lausanne of 1923.

Why is Hatay province, once called Alexandretta, in Turkey, when it could have been in Syria? Why is Mosul in Iraq and not in Turkey, as Turkey once claimed it? Why do the Kurds lack a state? The recent tensions in the Middle East, the unresolved questions from Lebanon to Iraq, Libya, Turkey and Gaza, are all part of this.

LET US begin where Turkey now ends its recent ambitions – in Libya. Libya was once the setting for a quiet proxy war that reflects divisions in the Muslim world between the Muslim Brotherhood, which Turkey’s ruling party has roots in, and countries that oppose the Brotherhood.

Turkey’s ruler President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increasingly global ambitions. Embattled Libya could be a key to them, thought Turkish leaders around Erdogan. Turkey was already sending drones and armored vehicles to Tripoli. But they had not stemmed the tide. Haftar vowed in November to take Tripoli and rid the country of “terrorists” and “militias.” Turkey responded that the “warlord” Haftar would have to be stopped.

But Turkey wanted something in return for helping to stop him. It wanted rights to the Mediterranean between Turkey and Libya.

If you draw a line from Libya to Turkey, you run into Greek islands like Crete. But if you draw a line from eastern Libya, there is a passage between Cyprus and the Greek islands that narrowly links Turkey to Libya. It is here that Turkey made a bold chess move. In exchange for sending some fighters to bolster the Tripoli government, Turkey would get an exclusive economic zone that splits Cyprus from Greece by sea and gives Turkey rights to explore for natural gas. It also sinks the dreams of Greece and Cyprus to invite companies like ENI to explore for natural resources under the sea.

The play by Turkey has muscle behind it. Ankara has been sending its navy out to conduct drills around Cyprus, showing the flag and its power. Turkey has new sea-based missiles. It is buying new drilling ships. Cyprus thought it was ahead of the curve, signing deals with Egypt in 2003, Lebanon in 2007 and Israel in 2010. But Turkey has thrown down a gauntlet.

One should understand Turkey’s treatment of the Greeks and Cypriots historically. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 claiming to help protect members of the Turkish minority. Turkey has stayed ever since, recognizing Northern Cyprus as a country. No one else recognizes it, but Turkey says Northern Cyprus has widespread rights to explore for gas around Cyprus. Turkey has sent drones to Cyprus to show that it will police those waters it claims.

For Turkey, the Cyprus operation was a way to show it would not be removed from more islands in the Mediterranean – for instance, the Dodecanese Islands, near Rhodes, were taken by Italy during a war with the Ottoman Empire in 1912. Rhodes also was held by Italy, then by Germany during World War II, and finally became part of Greece in 1947. Turkey today says that these islands, even though they are part of Greece technically, cannot be used by Greece to determine its rights to the waters off the islands. Instead, the continental shelf that extends from Turkey gives Erdogan’s country rights to the sea.

TURKEY’S DECISION to revive its claims to the sea and send forces to Libya should be seen in light of a century of Turkey’s policies since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lost Libya to the Italians in 1912. Now, the Turks are back.

Turkey has flirted with various policies since the end of the Ottomans. For a few years in the 1920s, it looked like the country would be dismantled. However, Turkey pushed the Greeks out of modern-day Turkey and embarked on a campaign of Turkish nationalism and secularism that supplanted European rule in Istanbul and created the current borders. But Ankara was never entirely satisfied. It felt that its formerly powerful role had been reduced.

During the Cold War, Turkey was an ally of the US and also suffered its own internal troubles and coups. At the time, Turkey’s neighbors seemed to be advancing. Syria under Hafez Assad, father of the current embattled president, was trying to be an Arab socialist paradise. Borrowing heavily from secular nationalist traditions of European fascism blended with socialism and Arab nationalism, the Assadist regime was brutal to dissenters, but treated loyalists decently. It wanted to modernize and look like an eastern European state, with the Communist-style brutalist high-rises and lots of Soviet tanks and other assorted accoutrements. It left to fester the questions that arose after 1920. For instance, what about the Kurds in eastern Syria? The Assadist Ba’athist regime treated them like they didn’t exist, suppressing them and denying many citizenship.

The Assad regime also ignored large Arab tribes along the Euphrates. Those tribes sometimes looked to Saddam’s Iraq across the border for cultural relations with other tribes in Anbar province. Saddam Hussein, like the Assads, was a product of the Arab nationalist revolutionary era. All these regimes, from Assad to Saddam to Nasser’s Egypt, were products of a reaction against the colonial era of the British and French mandates. They had replaced the old system of kings and colonials and sheikhs. They wanted modernity.

In some way, they were reactions also against the Jewish nationalism of Zionism, which they hated, and also the secular Turkish nationalism of Ataturk. If there were to be Jewish and Turkish states, so there would be an Arab nationalist group of states as well.
Iraq never worked out the problems the British colonials had saddled it with. The British wanted to include Mosul in Iraq so there would be more Sunni Arabs to support the Hashemite king they had chosen. The king was from what is now Saudi Arabia and a brother of the king of Jordan at the time. But for Iraq, he became the first Iraqi.

That didn’t mean much to Kurds in the north, who also wanted freedom and independence. It is sometimes forgotten that a brief independent Kurdish state called the Republic of Mahabad had arisen in 1946 after World War II. Like the changeover in power of Rhodes, or the question of whether Hatay would be part of Turkey, this republic was a byproduct of unresolved questions from the 1920s.

Kurds wanted freedom and rights. Instead, they were forced to be part of states that didn’t recognize or want them. They were told to be Arab nationalists or Turkish nationalists, not Kurds. For the colonial powers, this didn’t matter. For the nationalist regimes, they were a headache. For the US and Soviets in the Cold War, they were tools to be used and discarded.

This system that arose in the 1920s and then in the 1960s revolved around questionable states like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Egypt was an ancient state, but Damascus had its own ambitions. At one point, the Arab Revolt had sought to hold Damascus as part of a greater Arab state. The British and French said no to that. Instead, the Kingdom of Jordan became a Bedouin kingdom. The kingdoms that were created in the 20th century may have seemed weak at the outset, but they had more staying power than the nationalist regimes. Instead, the regimes – from Gaddafi in Libya to Saddam in Iraq and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen – were overthrown. The Nassserist regime, too, fell apart in 2011 when the Arab Spring broke out. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia was also forced out. So too the Algerian regime.

Why did some of the monarchies survive and not others? The British helped shepherd to power the kingdom of Egypt of Farouk. King Idris of Libya appeared a more formidable ruler, but he was pushed from office in 1969 while away for medical treatment in Turkey. The Gulf monarchies, by contrast, and the Moroccan and Jordanian monarchies, have survived. Likely because their states are either more homogenous or because of their traditions of rule, they have had more success.

THE PAST 10 years have witnessed an extraordinary reversal, as most of the Arab countries have been torn apart from within. Where monarchies or Arab nationalism failed, a rising religious extremism preyed on weak states. But even this Islamist terrorist rise did not supplant the new states.

ISIS came and went. Even the Muslim Brotherhood, briefly rising in Gaza and even in Tripoli or other areas, and seeking election in Tunisia, Jordan and other places, has not been the success that some thought. Political Islam is not winning.

What has happened is that the historically powerful periphery states, Turkey and Iran, have risen to grab influence throughout the Middle East. These states, as the Ottoman Empire and Persian Empire, were weakened in 1920 and European powers supplanted their historic role. But now, with Europe looking more insular, these countries are rising again.

Turkey’s expedition to Libya is just one symbol of that new world order in the Middle East.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10307

The 2020s Is Going To Be A Decade Of Intense Preparation For The Next Global Conflict

By Ted on January 3, 2020 in Featured, General

My thoughts on the 2020s and how it will be a decade of immense preparation for the next global conflict:

TURKEY’S MILITARY PLANS FOR THE 2020S

August of 2017 Erdogan declared in a speech:

“Just like [Turkey’s vision for] 2023 and 2053, we’ve also determined 2071 [marking the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt] as a ‘horizon line’ … We are proud of our ancestors who walked with glory, honor and victory into the center of Europe after entering Anatolia from Malazgirt, with the red flag in one hand and the green sanjak in the other”

Kale Group, another Turkish defense company, is currently working with Rolls Royce to develop the TF-X, Turkey’s first independently made fighter jet. According to one report from Invest in Turkey:

“Rolls Royce, the British automotive and aviation giant, and Kale Group, one of Turkey’s prominent defense contractors, have announced the establishment of a joint venture.

Kale Group will own 51 percent and Rolls Royce 49 percent of the joint venture company, which will be known as the TAEC Aircraft Engine Industry Corporation. The agreement was signed on May 8, 2017, in Istanbul. TAEC will produce jet engines for both military and civilian purposes, with intellectual property rights to the engines remaining in Turkey.”

Kale Group announced that they are taking the lead on the TF-X National Fighter Jet project currently being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI). The TF-X will be Turkey’s first domestically designed and produced fighter jet and it is meant to replace the current fleet of F-16s in the early 2020s.”

In 2015, Erdogan, in a speech commemorating the Battle of Gallipoli — in which the Ottomans gained a major victory over the British in World War One — affirmed that “A nation without its own defense industry cannot fight the cause of liberation,” and he further added that by 2023 a Turkish made combat plane will “fly the Turkish skies”.

A Stratfor report from May of 2017 states that Turkey’s “goal is to achieve full self-sufficiency by 2023.”

TURKEY IS PLANNING ON HELPING TO REBUILD HUNGARY’S MILITARY

Peter E. Uhde talks about a military plan for Hungary that is set to be in full materialization by 2026:

“Zrínyi 2026” is the name of a ten-year defense and military development program. This includes a voluntary reserve system for territorial protection, ie homeland security.”

Hungary will be boosting its military capacity at a substantial level, and Turkey will be a major player in the upgrading of the Hungarian military. As we read in one report from Hungarian Spectrum:

“We know little about the conversation that took place between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Viktor Orbán during the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Budapest a few days ago, but in the joint press conference Orbán talked about improving the Hungarian armed forces with Turkish participation. He explained that because of the poor economic conditions he faced in 2010, he was forced to curtail military spending, but now the Hungarian army is on track for a major upgrade. He intends for Turkey to play a major role in this endeavor. He added that Hungary is planning to embark on developing a robust armament industry with Turkish help.”

Orban also stressed that Turkey is essential for controlling illegal immigration in Europe and for strengthening Hungary’s military. As we read in a report from Hungary Today:

“Hungarian security and Turkish stability are directly linked, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Budapest on Monday. “A stable Turkish government and a stable Turkey are a precondition for Hungary not to be endangered in any way due to overland migration,” Orbán said at a joint press conference after the talks.

THE BRITISH NAVY

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has unveiled an ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy which meets the challenge set by Sir John AParker last November and sets out plans for the first batch of Type 31e frigates. The first ships are set to be in service by 2023.

GERMANY WANTS THE 2020S TO BE A DECADE OF MILITARY TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

An August 2019 report from Europaische SIcherheit & Technik:

As the core of the land forces, and as carriers of country operations it is important for the army to translate these ambitious goals in a plausible ability nursery. The turnout for the nursery VJTF Brigade have already been – here we are in 2019 in the year of implementation.

Planning it is now mainly depends on the ability to ensure national and Alliance Defense Division 2027th This article explores the question of what the army (yet) required for an operational division by the year 2027th For example, combat, deployment and management support are no longer available to the necessary degree. At the same time the army has to keep pace with technological developments. The trend toward rapid innovation and shorter product life cycles and the use of digital technologies will intensify in the coming years. New skills, innovation and flexibility is the army can open up only with a comprehensive digital strategy.

The formation of a complete, operational Division, including Division troops by 2027 requires timely removal of existing capacity deficits and reconstruction of lost and developing new skills.

A 2018 report from the European Organization of Military Associations and Trade Unions:

The minister of defense presented her plan of action for the modernization of the German Armed Forces, which grants more money for new material and personnel. According to the plan the main problems, which should be tackled are the modernization of existing structures and the definition of new tasks for the German Armed Forces. The new plan meets the claims of the DBwV made in its program “Powerful Bundeswehr 2025”.…

Equipment problems of the Bundeswehr should be history: A capability profile describes the way to modernize the small-scale armed forces. …  This will be achieved in three intermediate steps: 2023, 2027, 2031.

The Union’s defense policy spokesman, Henning Otte, said: “The plans assume that by 2023 we will have to move towards an annual financial requirement of around 60 billion euros.”

The CDU / CSU parliamentary group, Johann David Wadephul, argues: “The Bundeswehr must become more modern and it must grow again – that requires the security situation, which has been deteriorating for a long time.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10297

Newspaper Associated with Erdogan: US is ‘Great Satan’ Occupying World with Bases

By David Sidman December 30, 2019 , 3:03 pm

And he shall be a wild ass of a man: his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren. Genesis 16:12 (The Israel Bible™)

A Dec. 26, 2019 article in the Turkish daily Yeni Akit, titled “There Is No Place Left That They Have Not Messed Up! The ‘Great Satan’ Is Occupying The World With Bases” read: “The U.S., which brings disasters to the places it sees with drunken shouts of ‘We are bringing humanity!’ and is turning the Middle East into a place of fire, has 800 military bases around the world.”

The article gives a list of the major U.S. military bases in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Yeni Akit is an avid supporter of the AKP and has close ties with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkish media have been discussing the U.S. bases in Turkey following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement in a Dec. 15, 2019 interview that “if it needs to be shut down, we will shut down Incirlik [Airbase]. If it needs to be shut down, we will shut down Kürecik [Radar Station]” (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7661 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: We Have the Authority to Shut Down U.S.-Run Airbase, Radar Station in Turkey; If Measures Such As Sanctions Are Taken Against Us, We Will Respond as Necessary, Dec. 15, 2019).

Following is the text of the Yeni Akit article:

‘There Are About 180,000 Military Personnel at These Bases, With 60,000 to 70,000 in the Middle East’

“In recent years, despite having bases covering regions including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, the U.S. has approximately 800 bases around the world, some of which are small radar stations, others are the size of cities. Maintaining these bases costs $200 billion. According to data from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. bases cost $749 billion in 2018.

“The U.S. bases include all U.S. military structures connected to the Department of Defense, from enemy observation points to naval supply points, from training bases to radar bases. There are about 180,000 military personnel at these bases, with 60,000 to 70,000 in the Middle East. These numbers become more important when it is understood that they are found primarily in 17 countries that have permanent bases, and approximately 70 countries in total.”

‘In the List of Countries With U.S. Bases, Turkey Comes Ninth With Nine Military Structures’

“It appears that the basic reason why the number of U.S. bases is so high is that the U.S. rarely abandons a base that it establishes in a country. The U.S.’s Ramstein base in Germany is an example of this. This base, which the U.S. established in 1949 after the Second World War, still serves the U.S. Air Force and, with 53,000 personnel, it is the U.S.’s largest base outside of its territory.

“Aside from Ramstein, the U.S. has 87 more bases in Germany. Germany is also the country, aside from the U.S., that has the most U.S. bases. After Germany comes Japan with 86, South Korea with 64, Italy with 29, and the United Kingdom with 16. In the list of countries with U.S. bases, Turkey comes ninth with nine military structures. Incirlik Airbase is the largest and most well-known military structure in Turkey. There are about 2,500 personnel and units belonging to the U.S. Air Force at the base, which was established in the 1950s after Turkey joined NATO.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10288

Erdogan says Turkey will increase military support to Libya if necessary

Tuvan Gumrukcu

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey will increase its military support to the internationally recognized government of Libya if necessary and will evaluate ground, air and marine options, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, after the two signed a military cooperation accord last month.

Turkey backs Fayez al-Serraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, which has been torn by factional conflict since 2011, and has already sent military supplies to the GNA despite a United Nations arms embargo, according to a report by U.N. experts seen by Reuters last month.

Turkey has also said it could deploy troops to Libya if the GNA makes such a request. The GNA has been fighting a months-long offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces based in the east of the country. Haftar’s forces have received support from Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking in the northern province of Kocaeli, Erdogan said Turkey had recently provided “very serious” support to the GNA, adding Libya was a country Turkey would support “with its life”.

“They are supporting an illegal warlord, who is the pawn of certain nations, instead of the U.N.-recognized government,” Erdogan said, in an apparent reference to Haftar and the countries which support him.

“If necessary, we will increase the military aspect of our support to Libya, and evaluate all our options, from the ground, air and sea,” he said.

Speaking before Erdogan, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey will stand by Libya’s government until peace, stability and security are established in the country.

MARITIME ACCORD

Last month, Turkey and the GNA signed an accord to boost military cooperation and a separate deal on maritime boundaries, which has enraged Greece. Ankara and Athens have been at odds over hydrocarbon resources off the coast of the divided island of Cyprus.

While Greece has said the accord violates international law, Turkey has rejected those accusations, saying it aims to protect its rights in the eastern Mediterranean. On Sunday, Erdogan said Turkey will “absolutely” not turn back from its agreements with Libya.

“Nobody should come to us with attempts to exclude us, trap us in our own shores or steal our economic interests,” Erdogan said. “We have no intention of starting conflicts with anyone for no reason, or robbing anyone of their rights,” he said.

“Those who oppose us have no sense of rights, law, justice, ethics or mercy,” Erdogan said, referring to Greece, Israel and Egypt, who have opposed the maritime accord.

In an interview with Greek daily To Vima on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the accord with Libya was in line with international law, adding Ankara may consider granting exploration licenses in areas determined by Turkey and Libya.

“It would be the exercise of our sovereign rights in our continental shelf in the region,” Cavusoglu said. “The exercise of our sovereign rights also and naturally includes our right to deploy research vessels in the area,” he was cited as saying.

In a first reaction from the United States on the agreement, a senior State Department official said the maritime accord was “unhelpful” and “provocative”.

Responding to those comments, Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Sunday the United States refused to understand Turkey’s legitimate security concerns.

“It is neither ‘provocative’ nor ‘unconstructive’ as some US officials are claiming,” Altun said on Twitter. “Those who dare criticize Turkey should take a look at years of provocative actions by Greece and other regional states. We will never accept a fait accompli over our maritime borders!” he added.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10279

Greece says huge gas pipeline deal with Israel, Cyprus to be signed January 2

Burgeoning alliance comes as Turkey attempts to lay claim to eastern Mediterranean energy reserves

By AFP 22 December 2019, 10:07 pm

ATHENS, Greece — The Greek government said Sunday that it will sign an agreement for a huge pipeline project with Cyprus and Israel next month that is designed to ship gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

The move comes amid tensions with Turkey over its own activities in the area and a contentious maritime deal with Libya, expanding Ankara’s claims over a large gas-rich area of the sea.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s office said the agreement for the EastMed pipeline would be signed in Athens on January 2 with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

The 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) pipeline will be able to transfer between nine and 12 billion cubic meters a year from offshore gas reserves between Israel and Cyprus to Greece, and then on to Italy and other southeastern European countries.

The discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has sparked a scramble for the energy riches and a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey, which has occupied the north of the Mediterranean island since 1974.

The drilling vessel Fatih, which was deployed by Turkey to search for gas and oil in waters considered part of the EU state’s exclusive economic zone, in the Mediterranean Sea, off Cyprus, June 24, 2019. (AFP)

Turkey already faces European Union sanctions over ships searching for oil and gas off Cyprus, whose internationally recognized government in Nicosia is not recognized by Ankara.

The EastMed project is expected to make Cyprus, Greece and Israel key links in Europe’s energy supply chain and aims to stymie Turkey’s effort to extend its control to the eastern Mediterranean.

“It is really important that the countries showed they can react quickly against Turkey’s provocative stance,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.

Greece responded angrily to the Turkey-Libya deal, expelling the Libyan ambassador and urging the UN to condemn it.

Part of the deal sets a maritime boundary between the two countries, which Greece says fails to take into account the island of Crete.

https://static.timesofisrael.com/www/uploads/2019/12/WhatsApp-Image-2019-12-02-at-12.58.57-1-e1575284643994-640x400.jpeg

The Leviathan natural gas platform off the shore of Israel. (Albatross)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that he envisaged joint energy exploration activities with Libya in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey already has ships searching for oil and gas off Cyprus, and says the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus — recognized only by Ankara — has the right to explore around the entire island.

“The EastMed pipeline agreement will go forward despite what Erdogan says,” Greek Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said Sunday.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10276