Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

On The Brink Of An Apocalyptic War With Iran, And Most Americans Don’t Seem To Care

May 7, 2019 by Michael Snyder

This is the closest that the U.S. has been to a war with Iran in decades, and yet most Americans are either clueless or they don’t seem to believe that it could actually happen.  And I certainly don’t think that President Trump wants a war, but he is surrounded by war hawks that have been pushing an extremely aggressive “get tough” policy with Iran.  The Trump administration just canceled the waivers that were allowing other nations to continue purchasing Iranian oil, and the goal of that move is to reduce Iranian exports to zero.  But oil exports are 40 percent of the Iranian economy, and the Iranians understand that this move could absolutely cripple their economy.  The Iranians have threatened to close the straight of Hormuz in retaliation, and that would almost certainly provoke a U.S. military response.  In addition, it is being reported that on Wednesday the Iranians will announce that they are taking steps to restart their nuclear program… 

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to announce small steps to resume his country’s nuclear program. According to the New York Times, that will include conducting research on centrifuges that can make nuclear fuel, and curbing nuclear inspections from observers.

Of course the truth is that the Iranians never fully abandoned their nuclear program in the first place, but that is supposed to be a big secret.

In any event, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have now reached frightening levels.

On Sunday, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln and four B-52 bombers are being sent to the Middle East as a message to Iran

Four B-52 Stratofortress bombers are being sent to the Mideast to support the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in moves aimed at countering threats from Iran, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.

The B-52s, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, are deploying to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a hub for U.S. air operations in the region, CBS News reported.

Apparently there was some intelligence which indicated that Iran was planning a possible attack on U.S. forces in the region, and Bolton said that these deployments would make it very clear that any assault would be “met with unrelenting force”

The deployments would “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States’ interests, or on those of our allies, will be met with unrelenting force,” he said in a statement. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

In response, the Iranians accused the U.S. of engaging in a form of “psychological warfare”.

In addition to everything else, CNN is reporting that it appears that the Iranians have been “moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf”, and this has deeply alarmed U.S. officials…

Intelligence showing that Iran is likely moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf was one of the critical reasons the US decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region, according to several US officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

The concerns over the movement of the missiles was one of multiple threads of intelligence from various sources that led the US to believe Iran had a capability and intention to launch strikes against US targets.

If both sides rattle their sabers for a while but nothing ever comes of it, we will be fine.

But if someone goes a little bit too far and the missiles start flying, we could be soon engaged in a conflict that could literally spark World War 3.

While they are certainly no match for the U.S., the truth is that the Iranian military is quite strong, and they possess weapons of immense destructive power.  And in the event of a military conflict with the U.S., the Iranians have already said that they will hit Israel too.

And if Israel gets hit, they will certainly strike back at Iran extremely hard.

The Iranians absolutely hate both the United States and Israel, and recent moves by the Trump administration have pushed the Iranians into a corner.  The following comes from Pat Buchanan

Did President Donald Trump approve of this? For he appears to be going along. He has pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions. Last week, he canceled waivers he had given eight nations to let them continue buying Iranian oil.

Purpose: Reduce Iran’s oil exports, 40% of GDP, to zero, to deepen an economic crisis that is already expected to cut Iran’s GDP this year by 6%.

Trump has also designated Iran a terrorist state and the Republican Guard a terrorist organization, the first time we have done that with the armed forces of a foreign nation. We don’t even do that with North Korea.

A cornered animal is extremely dangerous, and at this point the Iranians may feel as if the only option they have left is to lash out.

As a first step, they could potentially close the Strait of Hormuz, and that would instantly create a global oil crisis.  Here is more from Buchanan

Iran has also warned that if we choke off its oil exports that exit the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait could be closed to other nations. As 30% of the world’s oil shipments transit the Strait, closing it could cause a global crash.

In 1973, when President Nixon rescued Israel in the Yom Kippur War, the OPEC Arabs imposed an oil embargo. Gas prices spiked so high Nixon considered taking a train to Florida for Christmas vacation.

Of course a potential war with Iran is not even on the radar for most Americans these days.  Most of us are preoccupied with other things, but if the missiles start flying this will instantly become the top news story on the entire planet.

Wars never start in a vacuum.  In every major war throughout history, there has always been a series of steps that has ultimately resulted in the outbreak of war.

Without a doubt, the U.S. and Iran are moving toward war.  That doesn’t mean that one will happen, and we better hope that it doesn’t, because it would have all sorts of apocalyptic consequences.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any “cooler heads” among Iranian leadership, and Trump has surrounded himself with war hawks like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

In the end, Trump himself will make the final call on any conflict with Iran, and let us hope that he makes the right one.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9803

United States Deploys USS Abraham Lincoln With Bomber Strike Force To Middle East After Hearing Iran Planned Attack On US Forces In Region

Late Sunday night, the White House made a surprise announcement that the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force were being deployed to the Middle East in response to unspecified “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.” A statement from National Security Adviser John Bolton said the military deployments were intended “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

by Geoffrey Grider May 5, 2019

The United States is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East on short notice in response to clear indications that Iran and Iranian proxies were planning an attack on U.S. forces in the region, said a U.S. official.

Well this was quite the surprise tonight. As a very shaky ceasefire is called between Israel and Hamas, the United States makes the stunning announcement that we are sending over the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber attack squad to the Middle East after threats from Iran.

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps, and this is only a guess, but maybe Netanyahu is planning an all-out assault on Haza in Gaza, not a ceasefire, and President Trump is sending over some pretty substantial backup just in case? Because the timing of sending the Lincoln over is suspicious to say the least. But that’s my guess, let’s see what the next few hours bring.

Aircraft carrier sent to Middle East after indications Iran planned attack on US forces

FROM ABC NEWS: Late Sunday night, the White House made a surprise announcement that the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force were being deployed to the Middle East in response to unspecified “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”

A statement from National Security Adviser John Bolton said the military deployments were intended “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” the statement continued.

A U.S. official told ABC News that the U.S. military deployments were in response to “clear indications” that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing for a possible attack on U.S. forces in the region either on land or at sea.

The official said that the decision to send the forces to the Middle East was made Sunday. “The movement of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to the region was expedited and it was ordered there effective immediately,” said the official.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9789

Iran Threatens to Shutter Straits of Hormuz Shipping Route

By JNS April 29, 2019 , 11:23 am

Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. Zechariah 14:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Strait of Hormuz region political map. (Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock.com)

Iran’s armed forces chief of staff threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route, in response to U.S. sanctions on the regime, which he labeled as “hostility,” reported the semi-official ISNA news agency.

“We are not after closing the Strait of Hormuz, but if the hostility of enemies increase, we will be able to do so,” Mohammad Bagheri told the outlet. “Also, if our oil does not go through the strait, other countries’ oil will certainly not cross the strait, too,” he added.

The strait lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman as the sole maritime passage from the former to the open ocean.

Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah expressed alarm over Bagheri’s remarks.

“We are looking at these threats with concern, and hoping as always to distance our region from this tension,” he said, reported the Kuwait News Agency.

The Iranian statement was in response to the United States announcing last week that it will not extend waivers to countries over importing Iranian oil as part of its goal to exert maximum pressure on Tehran.

Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India were among the countries that received exemptions for importing Iranian petroleum after U.S. sanctions, including those on Iranian oil, that were lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but reimposed last November.

The other recipients—Greece, Italy and Taiwan—have already ended imports of Iranian oil.

The waivers expire on May 2.

“The administration’s decision not to renew oil waivers for any current importer of Iranian oil can be interpreted as a measure of its commitment to its own maximum pressure policy,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “And if the admonition is seeking to not only bring Iran back to the negotiating table but also punish and impede its malign regional activities, then oil, which is the lifeblood of the regime, will have to be targeted in this sort of aggressive fashion.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9777

USS Abraham Lincoln deploys opposite Syria, US envoy to Russia aboard

Apr 25, 2019 @ 10:10 Diane Shalem Iranian threats, Putin-Kim summit, Ukraine, USSS Abraham Lincoln opp Syria

Accompanied by 10 warships, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier on Wednesday, April 24, deployed opposite the Syrian coast in a dramatic show of strength against Russia and Iran. The effect was underlined by the revelation from US Navy sources of the presence on the carrier’s command bridge of none other than US ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman. His message needed no commentary: “When you have 200,000 tons of diplomacy cruising the Mediterranean, this is forward-operating diplomacy – nothing else need be said.”

There is no precedent even in the Cold War years between America and Soviet Russia of a US ambassador being planted on a front line against Russian and Iranian forces in the Middle East. The US Navy communique reported that Ambassador Huntsman was inspecting the operations of “9.000 crew and Marines and the 130 warplanes on the decks of the Lincoln and other vessels of the strike group.”

DEBKAfile’s military sources: This show of US military-backed diplomatic muscle was timed for Thursday, April 25, when President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader were about to sit down for their first summit in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, This meeting was seen in Washington as Putin’s challenge of the nuclear negotiation channel set up by President Donald Trump with the North Korean dictator.

The Lincoln’s deployment facing the Syrian coast was also the Trump administration’s answer to the three top Iranians, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who Wednesday threatened America with harsh retribution for the sanctions that were blocking its oil exports.  

Added to this, on Wednesday, Moscow advised Ukrainian separatists supported by Russia in their battle against the central government in Kiev that the red tape would be cleared from the path of any of those fighters who sought Russian citizenship. This was seen in Washington as a half-step towards Russia’s annexation of another part of Ukraine after Crimea. The State Department issued this statement: “Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and national integrity.”

On \Tuesday, April 23, DEBKAfile was first to break the news of the arrival in the Mediterranean of two US carriers and their strike groups – the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis, and reported that they are operating with the US Sixth Fleet in conjunction with allied navies.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9772

Lebanon’s minister threatens to strike Ben-Gurion Airport in future war


By ANNA AHRONHEIM
04/25/2019  

The disputes over the border have elevated tensions between the two enemy countries
Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab has warned that the Lebanese military would strike Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport if Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport were struck in a future conflict.

“If ‘Israel’ bombards our airport, we will bombard its airport; if it strikes our oil facilities, we will strike its oil facilities,” he was quoted as saying by Hezbollah’s al-Manar news site.

Saab made the comments while touring south Lebanon. During his tour, he met with Lebanon’s Army Chief Gen. Joseph Aoun in Tyre, who briefed him on the situation in the southern region, especially in villages bordering Israel Saab and Aoun later visited UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, where they were received by its general commander Maj.-Gen. Stefano Del Col.

Disagreement over Israel’s ongoing construction of the border wall and Lebanon’s plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in disputed maritime waters have elevated tensions between the two countries, which officially remain at war.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for disarmament of Hezbollah; withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon; deployment of the Lebanese army; and an enlarged UN force in southern Lebanon.

But Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon has led senior officials in Israel’s defense establishment to warn that Lebanon’s army has lost its independence and has become an integral part of Hezbollah’s network.

The IDF says that cooperation between the LAF and Hezbollah has increased in the past year, and has warned that the next war will see Israel target not only military infrastructure but civilian infrastructure used by Hezbollah.

On Tuesday, Lebanon’s Speaker of the House Nabih Berri said that his country is prepared to demarcate its maritime border with Israel under the supervision of the United Nations, with the same mechanism used for the Blue Line.

“We are ready to draw Lebanon’s maritime borders and those of the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] using the same procedure that was used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations,” Berri was quoted by Lebanon’s National News Agency as saying.

The UN-demarcated Blue Line currently separates Lebanon and Israel’s territory along more than 200 points. Thirteen of the points are disputed by the Lebanese government.

According to the report, Del Col told Berri that the mechanism used to draw the Blue Line could also be used to resolve the maritime border issue and enhance stability.

The two countries have an unresolved maritime border dispute over a triangular area of sea comprising around 860 sq.km., which extends along several blocks of exploratory offshore drilling that Lebanon put up for tender two years ago.

Beirut claims that Blocks 8 and 9 in the disputed maritime waters are in Lebanon’s EEZ and parts of Block 9 run through waters that Israel claims as its own EEZ.

Recently discovered oil and gas reserves off the shores of Lebanon and Israel are predicted to generate up to $600 billion over the next few decades. In December 2017, Beirut signed contracts with three international companies to explore oil and gas in two of the blocks.

Lebanon and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas in October 2013.

Israel also views its offshore oil and gas reserves as highly valuable, both economically and strategically. Jerusalem has made agreements with Cairo to sell it surplus gas, and agreed earlier this year to partake in an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which includes seven members: Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian Authority.

In November, Israel reportedly signed an ambitious project to build a 2,000 km. underwater gas pipeline – from Israel to Cyprus, Crete, mainland Greece and Italy – to supply natural gas. The construction of the pipeline is expected to take five years and cost some $8b.
Due to the pipeline, Greece and Cyprus were reported by al-Hayat to have offered their help in mediating the demarcation of the maritime border with Lebanon.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9766

Report: IAF Used New Supersonic Missile to Beat S-300 Russian Anti-Aircraft System in Attack in Syria

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz April 18, 2019 , 2:52 pm

“Pay them according to their deeds, their malicious acts; according to their handiwork pay them, give them their deserts.” Psalms 28:4 (The Israel Bible™)

It was reported on Monday that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) used the new supersonic Rampage stand-off air-to-surface missiles in an airstrike that hit Iranian military targets inside Syria last Saturday.

According to Syria’s SANA news agency, Israeli jets fired the missiles from Lebanese airspace at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. The airstrike targeted a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in a Syrian base in the country’s Masyaf region. Satellite images released by Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat Intl. (ISI) showed the complete destruction of the factory.

As the twitter post stated, the factory was under the protection of an advanced Russian S-300 missile defense system. Satellite images released by ISI have showed three out of the four systems erected in Masyaf, with one launcher covered by a camouflage net.

The Rampage, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Israel Military Industry Systems (IMI),  is 4.7 meters long missile and weighs 570 kilograms. It is guided by a GPS system, making it an all-weather day/night long-range air-to-ground assault missile. It carries a warhead designed for optimal penetration capabilities, allowing for the destruction of targets inside bunkers. Its rocket engine and advanced navigation suit allow for precision targeting at a range of hundreds of kilometers. The missile features an ability to control and monitor the extent of its shrapnel, which will make its strike surgical, accurate and with minimum collateral damage despite the fact the missile spends a lot of time in the air from the minute it is launched until it strikes its target. It supersonic capability makes the Rampage difficult to intercept.

The missile is designed to be launched from a fighter jet 150 km away from the target, meaning it will not be detected by the enemy’s detection and interception systems.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9742

Saudi Nuclear Reactor Nears Completion Without Kingdom Signing Non-proliferation Agreement, Report Says

U.S. senators from both parties want further details about recent approvals for companies to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia Haaretz and Reuters

Apr 04, 2019 12:50 PM Saudi Arabia has almost finished building its first nuclear reactor, according to Bloomberg’s assessment of the first satellite images of the  facility, which were published on Google Earth.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that satellite photos show a containment vessel for atomic fuel at the reactor site in Riyadh. The report notes the “ advancement is alarming to arms-control experts because Saudi Arabia has yet to sign up to the international framework of rules other nuclear powers follow to ensure that civilian atomic programs aren’t used to build weapons.”

U.S. senators from both parties on Tuesday asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry for details about recent approvals for companies to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia, with the lawmakers expressing concern about possible development of atomic weapons.

Saudi Arabia has engaged in “many deeply troubling actions and statements that have provoked alarm in Congress,” Senators Bob Menendez, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, told Perry in a letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

The senators said Congress was beginning to reevaluate the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and they believe Washington should not be providing nuclear technology or information to Saudi Arabia now.

The Trump administration has been quietly negotiating a deal that would potentially help Saudi Arabia build two reactors.

Last week news reports revealed that since November 2017, Perry has authorized so-called Part 810 approvals allowing U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclearinformation with the kingdom. The approvals were kept from the public and from Congress.

The senators asked Perry to provide them by April 10 with the names of the companies that got the 810 approvals, what was in the authorizations, and why the companies asked that the approvals be kept secret.

While 810 agreements are routine, the Obama administration made them available for the public to read at Energy Department headquarters. Lawmakers say the department is legally required to inform Congress about the approvals.

Perry approved the seven recent authorizations as the administration has tried to hash out nonproliferation standards with Saudi Arabia. Such a pact, known as a 123 agreement, would have to be agreed before U.S. companies can share physical exports of materials and equipment to build reactors.

The kingdom has resisted standards on reprocessing spent fuel and enriching uranium, two potential paths to making nuclear weapons.

The United States has been competing with South Korea, France, Russia and China on a potential deal to help build reactors in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is expected to announce the winner this year.

Lawmakers from both parties have been concerned about Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaigns in Yemen, which is on the brink of famine, and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, last October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Concern in Congress grew last year after the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclearbomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Perry has said the 810 approvals were kept from the public for corporate proprietary reasons.

He has also said that if Saudi Arabia relies on China or Russia for building nuclear reactors those two countries don’t give a “tinker’s damn” about non-proliferation.

Many non-proliferation experts dispute the notion that a deal with China or Russia would be riskier. These people say the United States has many other levers it can pull to influence nuclear behavior.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9714

Satellite Images Show Likely Iranian Military Installation in Syria

By JNS March 14, 2019 , 2:43 pm

“I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. Zechariah 10:6 (The Israel Bible™)

A military installation near the Lebanese-Syrian border may be producing precision surface-to-surface missiles, likely with Iranian backing, according to an intelligence report. (Credit: ImageSat International.)

A military installation near the Lebanese-Syrian border is being utilized to produce precision surface-to-surface missiles, likely with Iranian backing, according to an intelligence report published on Wednesday by ImageSat International.

The firm mentioned that neither warheads nor missile engines are being manufactured at the compound in the northwestern Syrian city of Safita, which is almost five miles from the border with Lebanon.

The factory, which is being built in the town of Safita, east of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast, is in an area controlled by the Syrian regime and in the vicinity of Russian SAM (surface-to-air missile) deployment.

“The construction patterns, the compound location and the activity signs at the compound and its region, increase the probability that this is a missile manufacturing site,” (ISI) said, adding that “if this site is indeed related to SSM manufacturing it is possible that the two hangers include production line and the third is for manufacture or assembly.”

The firm added that there has been increased vehicular activity to the compound in recent months, in addition to a new water tower constructed there.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9689

Damascus To Become A “Ruinous Heap”?: Syria Threatens To Attack The Golan Heights And Israel Prepares For War

The winds of war are blowing once again, and it isn’t going to take much to spark a major conflict in the Middle East.  This week is the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in Syria, and after the nightmare that the people of Syria have been through, you would think that the Assad regime would be eager for peace.  But instead, Assad appears to be ready to go for broke.  If Syria can spark a Middle East war that results in the complete destruction of Israel, Assad would be remembered as a hero in the Islamic world forever.  Instead of a legacy of civil war and crushing poverty, Assad’s legacy would be one of wartime leader that brought total victory over Syria’s most hated enemy.  But of course such a conflict would be a huge risk, because if it went badly the city of Damascus would be completely flattened and the nation of Syria as we know it today would be entirely destroyed.  And considering how overwhelmingly powerful the Israeli military is, it would seem to be a very foolish risk to take.  Unfortunately, Assad does not appear to be thinking rationally.  On Thursday, Syria officially threatened “to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights”.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

Syria vowed to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights, World Israel News reported on Thursday.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad submitted an official warning to the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Kristin Lund, in what seemed to be an attempt to prevent official US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.

Of course Israel is never going to leave the Golan Heights.  We all know how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels, and on Monday his main opposition in the upcoming election expressed similar sentiments

Blue and White party politicians Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon visited the Golan Heights on Monday and vowed never to give it up.

“We will increase the numbers of residents in the Golan, sending a resounding message to all – we will never relinquish the Golan Heights,” Gantz said.

Let us hope that Syria is bluffing, because if Syria attacks the Golan Heights it will start a war.

And it is a war that Syria could not possibly hope to win on their own.  But Assad doesn’t plan to take on Israel by himself.

Over the last several months, Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian forces inside Syria.  The Iranians have been fighting on Assad’s side in the Syrian civil war, and the Israelis are afraid that when everything is all said and done that the nation of Syria will end up being totally dominated by Iran.  The following comes from Haaretz

For Iran, its domination of Syria is key to achieving its long-standing dream of a “Shiite crescent,” extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to the Mediterranean and of establishing a permanent ground, air and naval presence on Israel’s border. Iran’s ability to do so has been impeded to date only by the small and dwindling U.S. force in eastern Syria and hundreds of Israeli airstrikes that have, so far, successfully thwarted Iran’s efforts.

Although Israel has become a powerful and essentially secure state, capable of demonstrating restraint in the face of the many challenges it faces, this would constitute a dire and unacceptable change in the balance of power, one that Israel cannot tolerate and must prevent – even at the expense of war.

The Iranians have stated that they are no longer going to tolerate Israeli airstrikes, and their military leadership is fully ready to go to war.  If war does erupt between Israel and Syria, it seems very unlikely that Iran would stay out of it.

And without a doubt, Iranian targets would be among the first to get hit in a war between Israel and Syria, and the Netanyahu administration has been very clear that Israel is preparing for a war with Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu startled Iranians and even the White House on Wednesday with a strident call for Israeli-Arab action against the government in Tehran that was translated by his office as urging “war with Iran.”

Although Israeli officials tried to soften the reference by altering the English translation, the provocative comment was likely to further the perception that Israel, its Gulf Arab neighbors and the United States are interested in using military action to topple the government of Iran. It comes at a particularly delicate moment, as the Trump administration uses a U.S.-organized summit in Warsaw and this week’s 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution to try to rally the world against the government in Tehran.

Such a war would be incredibly bloody, and the moment that missiles began to fall on Tel Aviv the Israelis would not hesitate to use nukes on Damascus and Tehran.

Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Meanwhile, the situation in Venezuela continues to unravel as well.  Sunday was the fourth day for the nationwide blackout, and Nicolas Maduro is blaming the failure of the power grid on a U.S. cyberattack

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro – who is facing a challenge to his rule by the leader of the opposition-led congress, Juan Guaido – has blamed the blackout on an act of “sabotage” by the United States at the Guri hydroelectric dam, but experts say it is the outcome of years of underinvestment.

“The national electrical system has been subject to multiple cyberattacks,” Maduro wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “However, we are making huge efforts to restore stable and definitive supply in the coming hours.”

Hopefully the U.S. was not behind the cyberattack, because a cyberattack is an act of war.

And since nobody has asked the U.S. Congress for permission to go to war, such an attack would be in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, relations with North Korea are rapidly deteriorating as well.  In fact, Kim Jong-Un appears to be preparing to provoke the U.S. by launching a missile

Following President Donald Trump’s stalemate talks with Kim Jong-Un, it appears North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or rocket some time soon.

Earlier this week North Korea sparked outrage after satellite images revealed the nation was ‘rapidly rebuilding’ its Sohae Launch Facility, a long-range missile launch site.

New images reveal activity may have also resumed at a second site near Pyongyang, known as Sanumdong, where intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets are assembled.

We truly do live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and this could very easily be a year of war for the United States.

Unfortunately, our military is not in very good shape right now.  In fact, in RAND’s recent “simulated World War III scenarios” the U.S. just kept on losing

In simulated World War III scenarios, the U.S. continues to lose against Russia and China, two top war planners warned last week. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said Thursday.

RAND’s wargames show how US Armed Forces – colored blue on wargame maps – experience the most substantial losses in one scenario after another and still can’t thwart Russia or China – which predictably is red – from accomplishing their objectives: annihilating Western forces.

“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” he warned.

Over the past decade, the U.S. military has been dramatically transformed, and not for the better.

But even if our military was in the condition that it should be, we should still not desire war, because in this day and age weapons of mass destruction have made full-blown war between major powers absolutely unthinkable.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9680

Top US general in Europe: Don’t give Turkey F-35 if they buy Russian system

By: Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould   22 hours ago

The sale of the F-35 to Turkey could be halted should the country buy a Russian air defense system. (Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — The top uniformed officer in NATO and the head of American forces in Europe said Tuesday that if Turkey goes through with its decision to buy a Russian air defense system, he would recommend the Pentagon refuse to give Ankara its planned purchase of the F-35 joint strike fighter.

Testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said it would be his “best military advice” that sales to Turkey of the F-35 be cut, should that nation buy the S-400 air defense system.

“If they accept the S-400 to establish it in Turkey, there is first the issue that it’s not interoperable with NATO systems, nor is it interoperable inside of our integrated missile defense system. The second has to do with the F-35. It presents a problem to all of our aircraft, but specifically the F-35, I believe,” Scaparrotti said.

“My best military advice would be that we don’t then follow through with the F-35 — flying it or working with an ally that is working with Russian systems, particularly air defense systems, with one of our most advanced technological capabilities,” he added.

The comments came in an exchange with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who has sponsored legislative language to to explore Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program.

Concerns about Turkey’s decision to procure the S-400 are nothing new. Officials in the U.S. and Europe believe Russia could gain a dangerous amount of information on the fifth-generation fighter should the systems be linked.

But Scaparrotti’s statement is particularly notable, as he also serves as supreme allied commander of NATO. His comments come weeks after the Munich Security Conference, where U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey that “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

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Turkey plans to buy 100 joint strike fighters over the course of the program, and its first F-35 pilots have already begun training alongside U.S. pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Turkish companies play a key industrial role in the program as one of the producers of the center fuselage and the maker of the cockpit display.

As a result of the planned S-400 procurement, the Pentagon launched a large study into whether it would be possible to remove Turkey from the F-35 industrial base.

Asked about the industrial base, the general said: “For them I would underscore this is a huge decision for Turkey. I have talked to them, as all of our leadership has.” He added that there is a team on the ground today talking with the Turks about the issue.

“I would hope they would reconsider this decision on the S-400, one system, but potentially forfeit many of the other systems and one of the most important systems we provide them,” he said.

One such system besides the F-35 that could be impacted should Russia buy the S-400 is the Patriot missile defense system, which Turkey was recently cleared to buy.

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