Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Massive Israel drills launched to simulate major war offensive by Iran and proxies

 

Oct 31, 2021 @ 11:32 chemical warfarecyberwarevacuationsIsrael drill for Iran-backed Hizballah warprecision rockets

Israeli’s military and civilian authorities launched a large-scale war drill on Sunday, Oct. 31 to prepare for a pro-Iranian precision rocket blitz from Lebanon targeting civilians and infrastructure. The drill ending on Thursday covers multiple threats requiring evacuations of complete frontline communities, dispersing local Arab disturbances in mixed cities, cyber war and disruptions of basic amenities – or even chemical warfare.

The Air Force is meanwhile practicing operations for hitting 3,000 Hizballah targets across Lebanon in a single day in response to direct Iranian or Iran-supported missile attacks by Hizballah and imported Iraqi-Shiite militias. Estimates cite a potential 4,000 rockets a day, some of them ballistic and outfitted with high precision kits.  Intelligence sources report that the 30,000-strong Iraqi Kata’ib Hezbollah has been assigned to send troops in Lebanon and they are in advanced training.

The missile strike Israeli conducted on Saturday morning on Al-Dimas, a key point west of Damascus on the Syrian-Lebanon highway, was a typical pre-emptive measure to disrupt the passage of an Iran-Syrian arms convoy and Iraqi Shiite troops across the border into Lebanon.

On Wednesday, sirens will be heard to test a new alert system of 15 seconds instead of 30-second rocket warnings in sensitive northern districts. Hizballah is expected to launch its offensive with a drive to capture a number of Israeli locations along the Lebanese border. Since millions of civilians lack shelters able to withstand intensive rocket attacks, the drill will also focus on large-scale evacuations of entire communities within a 5-km radius from the Lebanese border to provisional centers away from the front for the duration of the crisis.

The IDF is therefore practicing rapid evacuations to save lives and prevent prisoners and hostages from falling into enemy hands. This will be a complex operation in more ways than one with hundreds of vehicles moving fast under fire. The drill will draw on lessons from the May Operation Guardian of the Walls against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. A plan then to evacuate civilian communities in the line of fire failed to take off since the public bus service is largely manned by Israeli Arab drivers who refused to take the wheel at the time.

Drawing on another lesson from the Gaza operation, the police are an active partner in the war drill, making ready to quell a repeat of the local disturbances staged by Arab protesters in mixed towns and their possible resort to live arms fire. The police have set up a helicopter squadron for moving forces at speed between trouble spots.

No official estimates have ever been released on the potential for casualties in this scenario being simulated this week, but hundreds of dead are not being ruled out. The hospitals co-opted to the drill will be on standby for a large influx of civilian and military casualties.

The drill led by the IDF Home Front Command and National Emergency Authority is also preparing for outages of power and water and breakdowns of food supplies as a result of rocket hits or cyberattacks disrupting traffic and hacking their systems. They are not ruling out the danger of chemical warfare like that practiced by Iran’s ally, Bashar Assad against the Syrian population which rose up against his rule. Mention has been made of a Hizballah plan to disarm Israeli civilians and troops by spreading  a form of tranquillizer across large areas.

Launching the drill on Sunday, Home Front Command Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Itzik Bar said: “This exercise is also a great opportunity for all government ministries to understand the implications, starting with disruptions in the energy sector – we are talking about 24-hour power outages across the country, 72 hours in localized communities – and other such aspects in terms of continuous functioning.”

According to Bar, some of the issues of concern are “the precision-guided munitions and the effect that they will have on our ability to function…The second is the rate of fire and Hizballah’s ability to conduct truly massive rocket barrages at specific geographic areas — I’ll use the phrase ‘demolishing the front line’ — directed fire aimed at the communities near the border.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11784

Israel’s $1.5bn shopping list for a potential offensive on Iran’s nuclear program

 Oct 21, 2021 @ 9:23 extra armamentsPotential IDF raid on Iran

Israel is said to have earmarked some 5 billion shekels ($1.5bn) towards the IDF’s price tag for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Military sources report that this sum would be spent on the acquisition of different types of aircraft, intelligence gathering, drones and dedicated armaments for enabling attacks on Iran’s fortified underground facilities.

IN other words, Israel is short at present of a full set of tools for going past a limited operation and conducting a comprehensive offensive for disabling Iran’s nuclear weapons program, say DEBKAfile’s military sources.

This shortfall is prominent in five main areas:

  1. Assuming that a single raid would not finish the job, to conduct multiple waves, the Israeli Air Force would require to supplement its current force with dozens of additional F-35 and F-15 aircraft. This would also call for the recruitment of more flight crews.
  2. Once the Israeli offensive is launched, Tehran may be counted on to activate allies from four fronts closer to Israel’s borders: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. To forestall this potential proxy assault, the IAF has reorganized its assets by moving F-16 short range aircraft to the Ramat David base in the north. However, these aircraft are also in short supply and would have to be substantially augmented.
  3. An urgent request has been put in for the advanced Boeing-built KC-46 tankers (see photo) to refuel aircraft in flight across the 2,000km distance to Iran and back to base. The Re’em Boeing 707 in-flight fuel craft used hitherto are 60 years old and not up to the new task.
    Interim landings in Saudi Arabia or a US Gulf airbase would solve the refueling problem. But this option has to be counted out in light of the contacts the Saudis and Emiratis are developing with Iran. Washington has indeed promised Israel eight advanced in-flight refueling tankers, but it will take years before they are available.
  4. Israel is also asking for American MOAB GBU-43 bunker busters, that were designed specifically for targeting Iran’s fortified underground nuclear sites and tested once in the Afghanistan war. Israel has a small number of bunker busters. According to Western military observers, they were used against the Hamas’ underground “Metro” network last May in a mission dubbed “Lightning Bolt.” This was to have been a rehearsal for raids on Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. It turned out, however, that the Hamas bunker system had to be bombed multiple times to be effective and even then, sections of the Metro remained.
  5. In a war situation, Israel’s satellite coverage could not be stretched to cover Iran’s vastness (1.650 sq.km) and the additional areas commanded by its four main allies. American satellites would be called on for backup. Consent would have to be authorized by President Joe Biden as US commander on chief.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11770

On Top Of Everything Else, Could We Potentially See 2 Major Wars Start Before The End Of The Year?

October 3, 2021 by Michael Snyder

Historically, the start of most wars has not been a surprise.  Usually, there is a very clear build up before hostilities begin, and we are seeing the same pattern today.  For example, by now it should be exceedingly clear to everyone that Israel and Iran will be going to war.  Both sides have been talking about the coming conflict for years, and everyone knows who has been causing the “mystery explosions” inside Iran and everyone knows who has been attacking Israeli commercial ships.  A “shadow war” has already been going on for quite some time, and at some point missiles will start flying back and forth between the two countries.  Likewise, by now it should be exceedingly clear that China very much wants to invade Taiwan.  “Reunification” is a top national priority for the CCP, and as you will see below, we are being warned that Xi Jinping has apparently decided that Taiwan is “not a problem that will be passed down to the next generation”.

From a U.S. perspective, the goal is to delay these conflicts for as long as possible.  But China just keeps getting more and more aggressive with Taiwan.  In fact, the Chinese military sent 77 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Friday and Saturday

Taiwan has reported a record number of incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) for the second day in a row, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday night.

The self-governing island said a total of 39 Chinese military aircraft entered the ADIZ on Saturday, one more than the 38 planes it spotted on Friday.

This shocking provocation led one British news source to boldly declare that China and Taiwan “are on the brink of war”, and that isn’t too far from the truth.

In response, the head of Taiwan’s government had some very tough words for the Chinese…

“China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace,” said Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang on Saturday.

And he also referred to the fact that Taiwan is depending on the United States to protect it from China…

“The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” he added. “We will continue to stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values and deepen our ties with democratic Taiwan.”

When China finally invades Taiwan, the U.S. and China will instantly be in a state of war, and everyone understands this.

At one time the Chinese had hoped to peacefully “reunify” with Taiwan like they did with Hong Kong, but that is out of the picture now.

CCP leaders have realized that they are going to have to take Taiwan by force, and so they are looking for an opportunity.

With feeble Joe Biden in the White House and with the American people deeply tired of wars, this may be the best chance that the CCP is going to get, and they certainly realize this.

So could they pull the trigger on an invasion in the months ahead?

Let’s hope not, because such a conflict would throw the entire globe into a state of chaos.

But the clock is ticking, because as I noted above, we are being told that Xi Jinping has determined that Taiwan “is not a problem that will be passed down to the next generation”

However, President Xi Jinping in China has previously expressed his aims to annex the island by suggesting there is “no room for any form of Taiwan independence.”

Dr Nick Bisley, from La Trobe University in Australia said: “Xi Jinping has made a very public and very clear signal that says Taiwan is not a problem that will be passed down to the next generation.”

Meanwhile, the game of nuclear chicken that Iran and Israel are playing is rapidly approaching a moment of truth.

Just like his predecessor, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has promised to never allow the Iranians to develop their own nuclear weapons, and everyone agrees that day is now closer than ever.  The following comes from an Israeli news source

In his speech to the UN General Assembly last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett declared that “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning… We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

With quite dramatic candor, meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi publicly declared (in January) that the IDF was preparing fresh “operational plans” for a potent military strike; (in August) that Iran’s nuclear progress has prompted the IDF “to speed up its operational plans,” with a fresh budget to do so; and (in September) that the IDF has “greatly accelerated” preparations for action against Iran’s nuclear program.

Needless to say, a full-blown war between Israel and Iran would also throw the entire globe into a state of chaos, and it is coming.

In fact, a top Iranian official just said that “war with Israel has already started”

“The war with Israel has already started,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told Maariv. “Israel has carried out attacks that were intended to destroy our nuclear program for peaceful purposes. It murdered nuclear scientists and harmed the Iranian people. Iran is accused of terrorism, but there is no good or bad terrorist. The whole crisis in the region is Israel’s fault.”

If either of the wars that I have discussed in this article were to fully erupt before the end of this calendar year, economic activity all over the planet would be greatly affected and it would make global supply chain problems far, far worse than they are now.

In addition, global financial markets would almost certainly go totally haywire.

Much more importantly, in either case the U.S. would find itself involved in a new war.

If China invades Taiwan, the U.S. military would instantly be forced into action, and if Iran and Israel go to war the U.S. would definitely not stay on the sidelines.

Needless to say, most Americans are not even thinking about war right now.  But war is coming, and it won’t be too long before it is here.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11737

BIDEN SEEMINGLY LEAVES SAUDI ARABIA DEFENSELESS AGAINST IRAN

BY ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ | SEP 13, 2021 | MIDDLE EAST

all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mixed peoples who live in the desert; Jeremiah 25:24 (The Israel BibleTM)

The Biden administration ordered the military to remove its most advanced missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia. The eight defensive Patriot Missile batteries were positioned in the Prince Sultan Air Base, approximately 70 miles southeast of Riyadh. The base also hosts one advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense unit (THAAD) that can destroy ballistic missiles at a higher altitude than Patriots.

WITHDRAWAL

This withdrawal comes in the face of intensified missile and drone attacks carried out by the Iranian proxy Houthi rebels in Yemen. Just two weeks ago, two drone attacks hit the Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, wounding eight people and damaged a commercial jetliner.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged “the redeployment of certain air defense assets” after receiving questions from the Associated Press. He said the US maintained a “broad and deep” commitment to its Mideast allies.

“The Defense Department continues to maintain tens of thousands of forces and a robust force posture in the Middle East representing some of our most advanced air power and maritime capabilities, in support of U.S. national interests and our regional partnerships,” Kirby said.

Despite this statement, an upcoming visit by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Saudi Arabia was just canceled.

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, was critical of the move.

“I think we need to be reassured about American commitment,” the prince told CNBC in an interview aired this week. “That looks like, for example, not withdrawing Patriot missiles from Saudi Arabia at a time when Saudi Arabia is the victim of missile attacks and drone attacks — not just from Yemen, but from Iran.”

HOUTHI AIR ATTACKS

Saudi Arabia is constantly targeted by Houthi air attacks and in  2019, a drone attack targeting an oil facility halted half of the country’s oil production. Though the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, it is believed that it was carried out by Iran. At the orders of President Trump, the US deployed two Patriot Missile batteries to Saudi Arabia in response to the attack.  

The civil war in Yemen began in 2014. The war has killed some 130,000 people and generated the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

PULLING BACK FROM SAUDI ARABIA, COZYING UP TO IRAN

In February, one month after entering office, Biden ended support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations against the Houthis. Biden claimed at the time that he would prioritize diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

“This war has to end,” Biden said. “And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.”

The Biden administration had previously placed a temporary freeze on billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as saying that it would review the transfer of advanced military hardware, including air-ground munitions. 

The move is of grave concern to US allies in the region coming in the wake of the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan. It should be noted that the groundwork for the US military withdrawing from Afghanistan was laid several months in advance when the US stopped providing air support to the Afghan army and withdrew the contractors who serviced the Afghan air force. 

The Biden administration is currently engaged in the sixth round of talks with Iran in Vienna intended to jump-start the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. Biden was vice president when the hugely divisive Obama-brokered deal was signed in 2015.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11683

USS Ronald Reagan on scene after fatal attack on ocean tanker, Iranian drone thought to be culprit

By Jack Davis, The Western Journal
Published August 1, 2021 at 10:15am


After a deadly attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman, the USS Ronald Reagan is now involved.

In the wee hours of Friday morning, the tanker, MT Mercer Street, was hit by what officials believe was a drone, according to The Times of Israel.

The attack killed two crew members – one British and one Romanian

Israeli officials blamed Iran for the attack. In recent months, Iran and Israel have each had their ships fired upon and blamed the other for the attacks.

Although past assaults have damaged shipping, this is the first attack in which crewmen aboard the vessels have been reported killed.

U.S. Navy has boarded MT Mercer Street. It’s telling that USS Ronald Reagan, which is escorting the ship now, was dispatched to help U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan. Another lesson why withdrawing from Middle East to pivot to Asia remains a pipe dream. https://t.co/aJR9tIGsIF

— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) July 30, 2021

The ship has an Israeli connection because it is operated by Zodiac Maritime, owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer. The Liberian-flagged vessel has a Japanese owner, Zodiac Maritime said.

The Ronald Reagan is now escorting the ship, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“U.S. Navy explosives experts are aboard to ensure there is no additional danger to the crew, and are prepared to support an investigation into the attack,” Central Command said.

“Initial indications clearly point to a UAV-style [drone] attack.”

BREAKING: Israeli and American sources have told Channel 13 and Walla, respectively, that Iran used a suicide drone to strike the M/T Mercer Street.https://t.co/yPCXieygyc

— Michael Starr (@Starrlord89) July 30, 2021

Senior political figures: Israel will soon respond to the attack on the Mercer Street ship by Iranian suicide drones, the response will be military on Iranian targets. At the same time, Israel launched an international campaign demanding that Iran be punished for its attack” https://t.co/K1NBmZLCA3

— ELINT News (@ELINTNews) July 31, 2021

According to a U.S. Navy statement, the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher is also escorting the Mercer Street.

An unnamed U.S. official confirmed the attack blew a hole in the top of the tanker’s bridge, The Associated Press reported.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted late Friday that he talked to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab about the “need to respond severely” to the attack and Iranian terrorism.

“Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that affects the whole world,” Lapid wrote. “We can never remain silent in the face of Iranian terrorism, which also harms freedom of navigation.”

Iranian TV discussed unnamed sources who said the attack was in response to a suspected Israeli attack on the Dabaa airport in Syria, Reuters reported. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said the ship was in the Indian Ocean when it was attacked.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11607

As Americans Party, Our Enemies On The Other Side Of The Globe Are Preparing For Military Confrontation

July 1, 2021 by Michael Snyder

Here in the middle of 2021, Americans are generally feeling pretty good about things.  The COVID pandemic appears to be subsiding, our sports stadiums are full of fans again, the stock market has been soaring, and all over the country people are in the mood to party.  In fact, July 4th celebrations across the nation are likely to be quite boisterous this year.  But in China the mood is quite different, and the same thing is true in Russia.  In both cases, politicians are talking tough about the United States, and in both cases the military is being prepared for a potential future conflict.  Right now, our relations with China are the worst that they have been in decades, and our relations with Russia have never been this bad in our entire history.  But the vast majority of Americans are completely and utterly clueless about all of this, because most Americans couldn’t care less about what happens on the other side of the globe.

This week, China commemorated the 100th anniversary of the CCP, and Xi Jinping used that as an opportunity to warn that any nation that tries to bully China “will have their heads bashed bloody”

“Only socialism can save China, and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China,” he said.

“We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China.

“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

So exactly who do you think that Xi Jinping was referring to when he made that statement?

Do you think that it was Denmark?

Perhaps Iceland?

No, of course he was referring to the United States.

During his speech, he also spoke very forcefully about reunification with Taiwan

Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward “Taiwan independence,” and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Most Americans have absolutely no idea how serious this situation is.

In Taiwan, there is a big push to formally declare independence, and the Biden administration has been greatly angering the Chinese government by supporting the right of the Taiwanese people to determine their own future.

If Taiwan formally declares independence, China will invade.

And if China invades, the U.S. military will intervene.

If a military conflict between the U.S. and China suddenly erupted, it would probably not “go nuclear” initially.  But China has been feverishly preparing for a scenario in which nuclear weapons will be used…

China is potentially expanding its missile silos following satellite image analysis – indicating the country is also seeking to increase its nuclear weapon stockpile. At least 119 potential silos were identified in the desert in Gansu Province spread over 700-square-miles to increase their nuclear arsenal which is estimated to be made up of between 250 to 315 nuclear weapons. It comes as President Xi Jinping issued a warning to ‘bullying’ foreign nations telling them to stay out of China’s business during a speech earlier this week.

In addition to construction at that site, the Chinese are building new silos in other locations as well

“If the silos under construction at other sites across China are added to the count, the total comes to about 145 silos under construction,” Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, part of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said in a summary of his findings provided to The Washington Post. “We believe China is expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a U.S. first strike in sufficient numbers to defeat U.S. missile defenses.”

Instead of focusing on making their military “more diverse”, the Chinese are actually working very hard to prepare for the next war, and the dramatic shift that we have been witnessing has stunned U.S. officials

The discovery follows recent warnings by Pentagon officials about rapid advances in China’s nuclear capability. Adm. Charles Richard, who commands U.S. nuclear forces, said at a congressional hearing in April that a “breathtaking expansion” was underway in China, including an expanding arsenal of ICBMs and new mobile missile launchers that can be easily hidden from satellites. In addition, the Chinese navy has introduced new nuclear-weapons-capable submarines to its growing fleet.

Meanwhile, the Russians continue to talk tough as well.

For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin just warned that there would be an “asymmetrical” response if certain boundaries were crossed by western powers…

“No matter what sanctions are imposed on Russia, no matter what the scaremongering, Russia is developing and in some respects our country has surpassed the European countries and even the US,” he said.

While Putin said the nation would not be taking steps that would be harmful to themselves, he said if boundaries were crossed, they would find “asymmetrical ways” to respond.

And we don’t have to use too much energy to imagine what such an “asymmetrical” response would look like, because the Russians just put on quite a show for us 35 miles off the coast of Hawaii

Russia’s defense ministry has announced it sunk an aircraft carrier just 35 miles off the coast of Hawaii in a huge war games exercise that has alarmed the US.

At least 20 Russian warships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the exercises – the biggest since the Cold War.

As the U.S. military focuses on “social change”, the Russians have been rapidly developing a whole host of incredibly advanced new weapons systems.  Here are just a few examples

3M22 Tsirkon, also known as Zircon, is a winged, hypersonic cruise missile. With an operational range of at least 1,000 km and a maximum speed of up to Mach 9, Tsirkon can pose a credible threat against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) carrier strike groups (CSGs). Sarmat is a 200+ ton, liquid-fueled ICBM that supports a payload of up to 15 MIRV warheads; according to Putin, the weapon is virtually non-interceptable and boasts “practically unlimited range.” The S-500 “Prometheus” is the successor to Russia’s flagship S-400 “Triumf” missile defense system, offering across-the-board improvements in target acquisition, operational range, and tracking, as well as the functionality to engage hypersonic cruise missiles and targets flying at speeds of over 5 Mach.

During the Cold War, U.S. strategic forces had a clear edge over the Russians, but now the balance of power has shifted dramatically.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but in many areas the Russians completely outclass us now.

But at least nobody can grill hot dogs better than we do.

So enjoy this bubble of peace and prosperity while you still can, because our leaders are definitely not preparing for what is going to happen once this bubble of peace and prosperity finally ends.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11557

Massive exercise in Black Sea with US comes after Russia warning

Russia has warned the US and UK not to “tempt fate” in the Black Sea – only one place where there are naval tensions.

 

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN   

JUNE 27, 2021 11:46

On June 21, the US Sixth Fleet announced it would participate in the Sea Breeze exercise that will take place from June 28 to July 10. Washington says that “this year’s iteration has the largest number of participating nations in the exercise’s history, with 32 countries from six continents providing 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations and dive teams scheduled to participate.” 

This is important because it comes days after a UK warship and Russia appeared to clash off the coast of Crimea. Ukraine claims Crimea, but Russia annexed the area in 2014. There have been other tensions between Russia and Ukraine and Russia and the US, increasingly at sea in recent years. Ukraine is fighting a war against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia has warned the UK against what it sees as provocations.  

This means that this year’s exercise, as large as it is, has more ramifications for the region. The US says that “Ukraine and the US are co-hosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 32 countries in total: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.”

Of interest here is that Israel is participating alongside its new peace partners such as the UAE. In addition, Turkey is participating, despite its tensions with the Jewish state. It is not the first time Israel has participated: the country also took part in 2012.

Another angle that is interesting is the number of ships and the fact that the drill will concentrate on complex operations such as “amphibious warfare, land maneuver warfare, diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, special operations integration, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue operations.” 

NAVAL JOINT drills are increasingly important. Israel hosted Noble Dina, a naval drill, back in March. France and Cyprus joined Israel and Greece for the first time. Egypt and Greece have been working more closely together in recent years and the UAE has begun to play a greater role in the Eastern Mediterranean via close work with Greece. Israel and the UAE also participated in the Greek-led Iniochos drill in April. Israel, Italy, the UK and the US also trained with F-35s in Italy earlier this month in a drill called Falcon Strike. 

According to Reuters, Russia has warned the US and UK not to “tempt fate” in the Black Sea. The Black Sea is only one place where there are naval tensions. Last year, Turkey threatened Greece repeatedly and the countries came close to possible conflict. The US has expressed support for Greece and Cyprus. However, maritime issues matter because Jerusalem, Athens and Nicosia want to construct an East Med pipeline and are part of a gas forum with Egypt. In addition, Israel received two new Sa’ar 6 advanced corvette warships in the past year. This is important for Israel’s naval footprint and for the wider region. 

Last week, British and American F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters flew anti-ISIS strike missions from the UK Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), according to USNI (United States Naval Institute) news. It was “a first for the U.K. in a decade, defense officials confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday.” According to the report, the F-35s from the Royal Air Force were from the 617th Squadron – “The Dambusters” – and they flew anti-ISIS operations.

“The involvement of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her air wing in this campaign also sends a wider message,” Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, said in a statement. “It demonstrates the speed and agility with which a UK-led Carrier Strike Group can inject fifth-generation combat power into any operation, anywhere in the world, thereby offering the British government, and our allies, true military and political choice.”

The Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group left the UK on May 22 and is in the Mediterranean Sea, eventually heading to the Indo-Pacific region. “The [ship] escorts from the Royal Navy include Type 45 destroyers HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring, and an unspecified Astute-class nuclear attack boat. The group also includes Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805) and U.S. Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68),” USNI reports.

It was HMS Defender that ran into tensions with Russia last week. Russian jets and ships have shadowed the British ship. Moscow is now doing drills in the Mediterranean, saying that it does not rule out a “tough response” to the UK. This sets the stage for a week or more of tensions. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11550

IRAN: DRONE ATTACK HITS NUCLEAR CENTRIFUGES, DAMAGE REPORTED

BY JNS | JUN 24, 2021 | IDF

When you take the field against your enemies, and see horses and chariots—forces larger than yours—have no fear of them, for Hashem your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt, is with you. Deuteronomy 20:1 (The Israel BibleTM)

The target of an attack in Karaj city reported by Iranian media on Wednesday was a factory producing aluminum blades for uranium enrichment centrifuges, according to Israel’s Channel 13.

Contrary to the Iranian reports, which said that the “sabotage attempt” near Tehran had been thwarted and resulted in no casualties or damage, Channel 13 claimed that the factory did suffer damage, setting back Iran’s nuclear program.

The facility, known as the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company, or TESA, is one of the main manufacturing centers for the centrifuges used at the nuclear facilities in Fordow and Natanz, according to The New York Times, which cited an anonymous senior intelligence official. According to the Times, the attack was carried out by means of a small quadcopter drone apparently launched from a location not far from the site.

The report further claimed that the TESA site was on a list of targets presented to then-U.S. President Donald Trump in 2020 by Israel, along with the Natanz enrichment facility itself and chief Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Israel pressures parents to vaccinate kids

The Natanz site suffered a massive explosion in July of that year, and Fakhrizadeh was killed on the outskirts of Tehran three months later. Iran has accused Israel of responsibility for both incidents. Another explosion tore through the Natanz nuclear facility on April 11, setting Iran’s nuclear program by some two months.

Iran has not yet accused any party of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, saying only that the incident remains under investigation. Iran’s aviation agency announced on Wednesday that a new law will require all civilian drones to be registered with the government within six months, the Times reported.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11541

Russian fleet moves in on Hawaii, practices sinking aircraft carrier, F-22 stealth fighters on standby

By Taylor Penley, The Western Journal
Published June 22, 2021 at 8:30pm

U.S. President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin captured headlines around the world last week.

Both leaders characterized the exchange as “generally positive” — many saw it differently — and Biden explained the face-to-face encounter was necessary in a time of mounting tensions between Russia and the United States, according to CNN.

But what’s taking place between the American Navy and a Russian fleet off the coast of Hawaii now is less than cordial.

According to the U.K. Daily Mail, “Russian warships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets” are practicing maneuvers to sink aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

According to the report, Russia’s defense ministry confirmed its fleet successfully completed the practice maneuver and sank an aircraft carrier — only 35 nautical miles off the coast of Hawaii.

The Daily Mail’s report characterizes the war games exercise as “the biggest since the Cold War.”

Russia claims its fleet is stationed 300 miles off the coast of Hawaii, but unconfirmed satellite images from June 19 tell a story that places the Russians at the much-closer 35-nautical mile distance (about 40 standard miles), the Daily Mail reported.

The U.S. has responded by sending F-22 fighter jets to the scene twice within the last month, The U.S. Sun reported Tuesday.

Since Russian bombers never entered the Hawaii Air Defense Identification Zone — an area that typically grants the country in subject more time to respond to unknown or potentially hostile aircraft — they were never intercepted by either group of fighters, the Daily Mail reported.

As alarming as the scenario sounds on its own, imagining what this could mean for the future of U.S.-Russia relations is much worse.

Russia’s defense ministry has released videos of the maneuvers.

The development has put the Pentagon on its toes, anticipating any potentially hostile move that could come next.

Last week, Navy Carrier Strike Group 1, led by the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, arrived in Hawaii, according to UPI.

But to get to the root of the problem, to understand why Russia insists on parading its military prowess won’t be so easily done.

Since this development immediately follows the Putin-Biden exchange that occurred in Geneva last week, we can speculate that perhaps their discussion didn’t go as smoothly as the Biden White House would like to pretend.

Perhaps Vladimir Putin is a showman or a charlatan. Or perhaps, while the U.S. is under Biden’s leadership, Russia and the rest of the world view the country as a paper tiger and a depleted world power.

If our nation’s leaders aren’t prepared to tackle Russian aggression head-on, we might be mismatched in a second Cold War to come.

We all can agree that the only thing capable of keeping the world from the clutches of another Cold War is an exemplary leader.

We can only pray we elect one soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11538

Newsweek: Turkey Is Seeking “Soft Power” In Afghanistan

by Shoebat on June 22, 2021 in FeaturedGeneral

An article recently published on Newsweek points out that Turkey has been seeking “soft power” in Afghanistan, especially now by asserting itself as the force of security in the country to fill up the vacuum soon to be left by the US:

The relationship between Afghanistan and the Ottoman Empire and later Turkey is rooted in history, with adequate relations during the 20th century.

Following the fall of the Taliban government, Turkey, as the most prominent Muslim-majority member of NATO, considered its national interests and sent its troops to Afghanistan in 2001. Ankara also sought to expand its influence in the country, taking into account various political, economic, security and cultural considerations.

Two elements of Afghanistan’s society—the Sunni religious majority and the Turkish-speaking minority (Uzbeks and Turkmen) are of importance to Turkey. Turkey has always paid attention to the Turkish-speaking minority in Afghanistan, supporting them, especially when it came to former Vice President of Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum.

Establishing Afghan-Turkish schools, expanding the number of Turkish scholarships, staff training, cultural consulting, growing the presence of the Younes Amre Foundation, broadcasting Turkish shows and movies and teaching the Turkish language all play an important role in increasing Turkey’s soft power, especially in Afghanistan’s Turkish speaking regions.

It really is quite obvious as to why Turkey wants in on Afghanistan. America is leaving Afghanistan and will be completely withdrawn after September 11th. Turkey wants to fill that power vacuum. Just look at what Turkey has done in Syria, Iraq,  Libya and the South Caucasus and you will see Turkey growing as a global power.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11529