As the US election enters the home stretch, politicians and pundits in Israel are anticipating how the day after will look if either President Donald Trump, or Joe Biden is elected president.
In an interview with channel 13 News, Minister of Settlement Affairs Tzahi Hanegbi said that if President Biden were to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, it could ultimately precipitate an Israeli-Iranian war because “we will be forced to take action.”
Hanegbi, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and considered to be a close confidant of the prime minister, previously served as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister of Regional Cooperation. He is also considered to be a security expert.
Hangebi may be referring to Biden’s commitment to restart the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that his administration brokered when he was vice president under Barack Obama. This means that the economic sanctions imposed by President Trump could be thawed out under his leadership. That can translate into Tehran exporting over 2 million barrels of crude oil a day.
Netanyahu for his part addressed congress against the wishes of Obama to warn about the Nuclear deal with the Islamic republic which he called a “historic mistake.”
The sanctions imposed by Trump have managed to cripple the Iranian economy sending its currency, the rial, to 304,300 on the dollar. Many experts believe that it was precisely these sanctions that have prevented Iran from following through on their threats to wipe Israel off the map – a war that currently cannot afford.
But if the sanctions are indeed lifted under a potential Biden administration, that can all change. This could leave Israel no choice but to wage war on Tehran.
Charges global body ‘complicit’ in Islamic regime’s ‘malign behavior’
By WND Staff Published October 31, 2020 at 11:45am
The United Nations is ignoring Iran’s establishment of sleeper terrorist cells in the United States and other countries, a Middle East expert charges.
“By turning a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s terror activities in foreign countries and by refusing to open investigations or even condemn the mullahs, the United Nations is complicit in Iran’s malign behavior across the globe,” said Majid Rafizadeh, a business strategist and adviser, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review and president of the International American Council on the Middle East.
Former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright said in the report there “unquestionably” are sleeper cells run by Iran in the U.S. and across Latin America.
But the U.N. hasn’t been addressing the clear threat, Rafizadeh said.
“Perhaps it is time for the U.S. to ‘pay for what it wants’ from the U.N., rather than automatically handing it billions, more than a fifth if its budget, every year — and to make sure America gets what it pays for?”
He explained that the objective of the Iranian regime’s terror cells is to “create fear in other nations through terrorism, subvert foreign governments and ultimately impose on the world an Islamist and Shariah system.”
As recently as last month, Saudi Arabia broke up an Iranian-trained cell, arrested 10 suspects and seized weapons and explosives, he noted.
“These included ‘electrical components used in the making of explosives such as capacitors, transformers and resistors, gunpowder, chemicals, Kalashnikov rifles, guns, sniper rifle, live ammunition, machine guns, blades, military clothes, and wireless communication devices.'”
Also, Bahrain’s Ministry of the Interior revealed last month that it foiled a terrorist attack earlier this year by a group backed by the IRGC. The group, called the Qassem Soleimani Brigade, had apparently planned to attack several security and public structures in Bahrain.
And Albanian authorities said they prevented an attack by an “active cell” through informants inside criminal organizations working on behalf of Iran.
Iran also has established terror cells in Africa “to attack Western targets,” he said.
“In 2018, the Iranian regime tried to orchestrate a terrorist operation in Europe: French officials foiled a planned bomb attack in Paris against a large ‘Free Iran’ convention held by people opposing the regime, and attended by many high-level speakers, including former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, as well as your humble correspondent.”
A normalization announcement between Israel and Saudi Arabia is close and there could be major developments following the US presidential elections depending on who wins, Mossad director Yossi Cohen has said in closed conversations, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning, N12 reported that Cohen had said privately to those around him that the Saudis were waiting until after the US election, but that they could potentially announce normalization as a “gift” to the winner.
The implication from the N12 report was that such an announcement could even come almost immediately after the election.
However, the Post has learned that the N12 report either misunderstood or did not fully flesh out what Cohen had said.
What Cohen actually said to those around him was that if US President Donald Trump wins reelection, there could be an almost immediate announcement.
Yet, if as the polls suggest, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the election, though the Saudis would still want a normalization deal with Israel, there would not necessarily be a clear timeline.
Cohen had emphasized that the Saudis did not want to give a gift to Trump and then get nothing for it upon a Biden administration taking over the reins.
Rather, Cohen understands that a Biden administration may want to link normalization with the Saudis to progress with negotiations with the Palestinians – the opposite tactic of the Trump administration which is trying to pressure the Palestinians to show flexibility in negotiations with Israel by moving ahead with normalization deals without them.
Further, Cohen would have acknowledged that the post-election situation in the US, especially if Biden is elected, would be far more uncertain regarding international relations in general, and that his estimate was based on knowing what the Saudis want and are ready for.
The normalization deal will also reportedly involve an arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia, which could serve to cushion the move, Cohen said.
Normalized ties are something many in Israel and Saudi Arabia look forward to, with a recent poll by Zogby Research Services finding that nearly 80% of Saudis are in favor of working towards normalizing ties with Israel within the next five years.
This was reflective of another poll published by Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, which saw Saudi Arabia as the country with which most Israelis would like to next establish normalized ties.
In addition, it was also reported by N12 citing Israeli sources that US-mediated normalization talks between the Jewish state and Oman are close to achieving a breakthrough. In fact, these sources believe Oman is the most likely country to next normalize ties, though some believe Muscat will also take a more cautious approach and not sign anything until the election is over.
These announcements follow the ongoing wave of full relations being established between Israel and countries in the Arab world, with Sudan recently announcing a move towards normalization.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday there is no need for a Russia-China military alliance now, but noted it could be forged in the future.
Putin’s statement signaled deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing amid growing tensions in their relations with the United States. The Russian leader also made a strong call for extending the last remaining arms control pact between Moscow and Washington.
Asked during a video conference with international foreign policy experts Thursday whether a military union between Moscow and Beijing was possible, Putin replied that “we don’t need it, but, theoretically, it’s quite possible to imagine it.”
Russia and China have hailed their “strategic partnership,” but so far rejected any talk about the possibility of their forming a military alliance.
Putin pointed to the war games that the armed forces of China and Russia held as a signal of the countries’ burgeoning military cooperation.
Putin also noted that Russia has shared sensitive military technologies that helped significantly boost China’s military potential, but didn’t mention any specifics, saying the information was sensitive.
“Without any doubt, our cooperation with China is bolstering the defense capability of China’s army,” he said, adding that the future could see even closer military ties between the two countries.
“The time will show how it will develop,” the Russian president said, adding that “we won’t exclude it.”
Russia has sought to develop stronger ties with China as its relations with the West sank to post-Cold War lows over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other rifts.
Putin on Thursday emphasized the importance of extending the New START treaty that expires in February, Russia’s last arms control pact with the United States.
Earlier this week, the United States and Russia signaled their readiness to accept compromises to salvage the New START treaty just two weeks ahead of the U.S. presidential election in which President Donald Trump faces a strong challenge from former Vice President Joe Biden, whose campaign has accused Trump of being soft on Russia.
New START was signed in 2010 by then-U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The pact limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.
Russia had offered to extend the pact without any conditions, while the Trump administration initially insisted that it could only be renewed if China agreed to join. China has refused to consider the idea. The U.S. recently modified its stance and proposed a one-year extension of the treaty, but said it must be coupled with the imposition of a broader cap on nuclear warheads.
The Kremlin initially resisted Washington’s demand, but its position shifted this week with the Russian Foreign Ministry stating that Moscow can accept a freeze on warheads if the U.S. agrees to put forward no additional demands.
Putin didn’t address the issue of the freeze on warheads, but he emphasized the importance of salvaging New START.
“The question is whether to keep the existing treaty as it is, begin a detailed discussion and try to reach a compromise in a year or lose that treaty altogether, leaving ourselves, Russia and the United States, along with the rest of the world, without any agreement restricting an arms race,” he said. “I believe the second option is much worse.”
At the same time, he added that Russia “wasn’t clinging to the treaty” and will ensure its security without it. He pointed at Russia’s perceived edge in hypersonic weapons and indicated a readiness to include them in a future pact.
“If our partners decide that they don’t need it, well, so be it, we can’t stop them,” he said. “Russia’
Despite indications earlier this week that Russia and the U.S. were inching closer to a deal on New START, the top Russian negotiator said that “dramatic” differences still remain and strongly warned Washington against making new demands.
Sergei Ryabkov cautioned the U.S. against pressing its demand for more intrusive control verification measures like those that existed in the 1990s and aren’t envisaged by the New START. The diplomat argued that new control mechanisms could be discussed as part of a future deal, saying firmly that Russia will not accept the demand that amounts to “legitimate espionage.”
“If it doesn’t suit the U.S. for some reason, then there will be no deal,” Ryabkov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Following the end on the 18th of October of the 13-year United Nations’ embargo on Iran buying or selling weapons, the roll-out of the military component of the 25-year deal between China and Iran will begin in November, as exclusively revealed by Oil Price.com. After a series of meetings in China on the 9th and 10th of October between Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif, and his China counterpart, Wang Yi, this military component may now also feature the deployment in Iran of North Korean weaponry and technology, in exchange for oil, according to sources very close to the Iranian government spoken to by OilPrice.com last week. Most notably this would include Hwasong-12 mobile ballistic missiles, with a range of 4,500 kilometres, and the development of liquid propellant rocket engines suitable for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or satellite launch vehicles (SLVs). This will all be part of a broader triangular relationship co-ordinated by Beijing and further facilitated by the imminent launch of a new digitised currency system by China.
This sort of co-ordination – between North Korea and Iran and also between North Korea, Iran, and China – is nothing new, although its resumption at such a scale and in such products is. According to a number of defence industry sources – and recorded in various ‘Jane’s Intelligence Reviews’ (JIR) – over the first five-year period from the onset of Iran’s ballistic missile program in 1987, Iran bought up to 300 Scud B missiles from North Korea. Pyongyang, though, did not just sell Iran weapons but it was also instrumental in helping Iran to build-out the infrastructure for what has become an extremely high-level ballistic missile program, beginning with the creation in Iran of a Scud B missile plant that became operational by the end of 1988. According to JIR and other defence sources, this early-stage co-operation in this area between North Korea and Iran also included Iranian personnel travelling to North Korea for training in the operation and manufacture of these missiles and the stationing of North Korean personnel in Iran during the build-out of missile plants. This model of knowledge and skills transference, of course, has been a key part of the 25-year deal between Iran and China since it was formally agreed back in 2016, including the training of up to 130 young, fast-tracked officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) every year at various military institutions across mainland China. The simple idea of paying North Korea in oil is also far from new, having been a key method by which Iran helped to fund the development of North Korea’s more powerful Nodong series of missiles as early as the 1990s, according to Kenneth Katzman, Middle Eastern affairs specialist at the Congressional Research Service, in Washington. According to sources close to Iran’s Petroleum Ministry spoken to by OilPrice.com last week, oil shipments are the number one suggestion from North Korea to any country that has oil and wants weapons as a means of payment for any weaponry that Pyonyang has available.
The Hwasong-12, first revealed internationally in a military parade on 14 April 2017 celebrating the birthday anniversary of North Korea’s founding President, Kim Il-sung, is being made available to Iran in such a way and, from Tehran’s perspective, fits neatly into the delicate military strategy in which it is currently involved. This is founded on the fact that decades of various sanctions have left the Islamic Republic with a severely constrained ability to defend itself against attacks from hostile aircraft or missiles with its own air force, which leaves a massive standing army as the primary deterrent for land invasion and its own missile defence systems as the primary deterrent for aerial attacks. On the other hand, though, the Islamic Republic is aware that any major long-range missile attack on any foreign power allied with the U.S. will end in absolute disaster for it. As former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said: “The threat of committing suicide is a poor deterrent to being murdered.”
Consequently, Iran has consistently stated since 2017 – by order of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei – that it will limit itself to developing ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 2,000 kilometres. Clearly, the Hwasong-12 has a range of double this but, crucially from Iran’s political impact modelling undertaken over recent months, this is unlikely to make the existing relationship with the U.S. worse. “The U.S. wanted more specific prohibitions on ballistic missiles in a new JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] to be drawn up at the beginning of 2018 but that did not happen, so it withdrew,” said one of the Iran sources. “Iran believes that the next U.S. President, be it Trump or Biden, will want to do a deal to get some form of JCPOA back on track, so from that perspective being able to offer the withdrawal of the Hwasong-12s would be a useful negotiating tool,” he said. “At the same time, though, there is the threat that the Hwasong-12 IRBM [intermediate range ballistic missile] could be upgraded through the addition of an 80-ton thrust engine to either the Hwasong-14 [two-stage, 10,000 km range] or the Hwasong-15 [two rocket engines cluster in first stage, 13,000 km range] ICBMs,” he added.
This ‘upgrade’ would be regarded by the U.S. as a serious proposition, as there have been signals over the years that Iran might already have been working on such a higher-powered rocket booster configuration. According to a New York Times report from December 2011, the previous month had seen the destruction of a supposed development site in Iran for long-range solid-propellant missiles. “This was the first public indication that Iran was working on such systems, which would need much more energetic – and thus, explosive – propellants than used in Iran’s current Fateh-110-based solid-propellant short range ballistic missiles and Sejil medium range ballistic missiles, and press reports in May 2018 indicate that the program has continued at a new location where ICBM-class solid rocket motor production facilities and evidence of ground testing of ICBM-class motors have been detected in open source imagery,” said Robert Einhorn, senior fellow in the foreign policy program at Brookings Institution in Washington. He added that various sources since 2013 suggest Iran has been receiving cooperation from North Korea in the development of a large, liquid-propellant rocket engine suitable for ICBMs or SLVs and that a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions notice from January 2016 refers to Iranian work on a North Korean ‘80-ton rocket booster.’
China, for its part, has been warned by the U.S. in the past for failing to adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime in supplying missile equipment and technology to various countries, which is why it has frequently used North Korea as an agent to do so, allowing itself to plead ignorance of any illegal activity. It is obvious, however, that there are many benefits for China in seeking to expedite the movement of such missile technology from North Korea to Iran as part of the 25-year deal’s military component. First, as Iran is paying North Korea in oil it takes some pressure off China in its obligations to its neighbour. Second, it cements China’s clear position to the U.S. as having influence over not just one but two nuclear and near-nuclear states. Third, it further binds Iran (and the rest of the Shia crescent of power, especially Iraq) into China’s geopolitically game-changing ‘One Belt, One Road’ project. Fourth, it creates a counterpoint of influence and power in the Middle East akin to the U.S.-Israel axis. And fifth, it will shift more of the U.S.’s attention on the Persian Gulf and away from the Asia-Pacific region that China regards as its backyard of power.
All of this is set to be facilitated further by the imminent roll-out of China’s digital currency electronic payments system (DC/EP), on which the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been working since at least 2014. The DC/EP will operate on a two-tiered system, with the digital currency itself, like cash, being a direct claim on the central bank denominated in renminbi (RMB), Rory Green, Asia analyst for TS Lombard, in London, told OilPrice.com last week. The PBoC will exchange CBDC with chosen banks and financial intermediaries, which, in turn, will make the funds available to users via existing electronic banking platforms, and clients will be able to convert RMB to CBDC (at a rate of 1:1) via their digital wallets. “The digital RMB could certainly help the integration of Iranian financial companies into the Chinese banking system and avoiding the US$/Swift monopoly,” highlighted Green. “China could set up an entity completely unconnected to its traditional banking system to receive all the payments via digital RMB, with the payments then sent on via digital RMB,” he added. “This would be similar to the function currently performed by the Bank of Kunlun, and some of the North Korea trading houses but with fewer of the downside risks for other banks/companies in China to associate with the processing entity,” he concluded.
For the past several months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has busily dispelled any residual doubts about his hostility toward the U.S. and its allies in NATO and the Middle East. He has accomplished this in multiple ways. Erdogan purchased Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system and, in a swipe at the U.S. and NATO, announced his intention to test the system next week.
He threatens and seeks to subvert Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. He has destroyed his nation’s longstanding strategic alliance with Israel.
He has cast his lot with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world, and with Iran against his Arab enemies. Indeed, Erdogan has effectively appointed himself the head of the Muslim Brotherhood. An associate of his recently published a map of a new Ottoman Empire, or “Greater Turkey”—with Erdogan as sultan. It included vast territories spanning from northern Greece to the east Aegean islands, half of Bulgaria, Cyprus, most of Armenia and large swaths of Georgia, Iraq and Syria. Erdogan is fighting on behalf of Sunni jihadists in Syria and in Libya.
On the positive side, Erdogan’s fights in Syria and Libya place Turkey in confrontation with Russia, which is siding with the opposite side in both wars. Erdogan started a new fight with Russia over the past couple of months, which now threatens to transform into a major war. Erdogan is fighting with Azerbaijan against Russia’s client Armenia for control over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area that both Armenia and Azerbaijan claim.
How is the U.S. supposed to deal with Erdogan, the head of NATO member Turkey—a strategically placed ally, traversing two continents, that Washington has long viewed as indispensable?
The Pentagon rejects calls to walk away from Turkey. And a brief look at the map makes clear the generals’ reluctance. Perched on Russia’s backyard, Turkey’s massive landmass provides U.S. forces with easy access to key theaters in Asia, the Middle East and Russia.
To uphold the alliance, the U.S. has consistently bowed its head in the face of Turkish aggression against its allies and partners. In 2019, the U.S. agreed to ditch the Kurdish forces in Syria, despite their central role in assisting U.S. efforts to destroy ISIS’s caliphate, in order to avoid a direct confrontation between U.S. and Turkish forces. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just visited Greece and told its leaders to stand down against Turkey and seek a diplomatic solution to Turkey’s aggression.
Owing to Turkey’s strategic importance, the U.S. has turned a blind eye to its sponsorship of Hamas. The U.S. has not called Turkey to account in a serious way for its willingness to permit ISIS to use Turkey as its logistics and mobilization base, or economic hub, during the years that the murderous jihadist group controlled large portions of Syria and Iraq.
During Barack Obama‘s presidency, kowtowing to Erdogan was of a piece with Obama’s foreign policy vision. Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, sought to restructure the U.S. alliance system in the Middle East away from Israel and the U.S.’s traditional Sunni Arab allies and toward Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Given its radical thrust, it made sense when Obama told an interviewer in 2012 that he spoke with Erdogan more than any other foreign leader.
The Obama administration was sympathetically inclined toward the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It pushed for the overthrow of U.S. ally and long-serving Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2012, and supported the Muslim Brotherhood regime that took power in 2013. Like Erdogan, the Obama-Biden administration was livid when, following mass protests throughout the country and the drying up of Egypt’s financial reserves that brought the country of 90 million to the brink of starvation, the Egyptian military ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power and installed Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president.
Throughout their second term, Obama and Biden did nothing to stop Erdogan’s efforts to destabilize and subvert Sisi’s government and return the Muslim Brotherhood to power. Today, some 20,000 members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood are living in Turkey, which has become their center of operations just as the nation serves as the operational center of Hamas.
The Obama-Biden administration also did not seriously object to Erdogan’s efforts on behalf of Iran when he transformed Turkey into a major economic hub for Iranian sanctions busting. Obama’s decision to appease Tehran through the nuclear deal that gave Iran an open road to a nuclear arsenal and enriched the mullocracy by abrogating the UN economic sanctions against it made him, by consequence, supportive of Turkey’s outreach and support for the Iranian regime.
The Obama-Biden desire to appease Iran precluded their administration from taking effective action against Syrian President, and Iranian and Russian client, Bashar Assad. Obama’s unwillingness to confront Iran empowered Russia to deploy forces to Syria for the first time since 1982. Obama’s supine policy in Syria also played a role in Erdogan’s decision to begin negotiations regarding the purchase of Russia’s S-400 system, which drove a stake into the NATO alliance. Biden has pledged to reinstate Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East and worldwide if he is elected next month.
On the surface, Trump’s policies toward Turkey don’t appear that different from Obama’s. He has not challenged Turkey’s membership in NATO. He has bowed to Turkey’s demands in Syria. Although he did block the delivery of F-35s to Turkey, he has refused to-date to sanction Turkey for its aggressive behavior toward Greece and Turkey. He hasn’t removed U.S. forces and nuclear warheads from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. And he continues to refer to Erdogan as a leader he respects.
But in practice, Trump’s policy is very different from the Obama-Biden policies. Trump is not an ideologue except insofar as “America First” can be considered an ideological position. His commitment to advancing U.S. interests has compelled Trump to set aside traditional policies if they do not conform to realities on the ground. Traditionally, for instance, it has been considered impossible to forge peace between Israel and the Arab states so long as the Palestinian conflict with Israel remains unresolved. Trump saw, however, that Israel and several Gulf Arab states and Egypt were maintaining intense, friendly ties and realized that the traditional perceptions of the Middle East were wrong.
From the time of Ronald Reagan, the prevailing wisdom in Washington was that the U.S. had to cut a deal with the ayatollahs in Iran. Trump realized that no one had succeeded because the Iranian regime seeks to destroy the U.S.—not make peace with it. The Iranians even refused to sign their nuclear deal with Obama, lest they be perceived as making peace with “the Great Satan.”
The consistent themes of Trump’s foreign policies in the Middle East and throughout the world are that he has insisted on judging leaders by their deeds, and not their words; judging policies by their success in making the U.S. and its allies better off, and not by the support they receive from the foreign policy establishment; and basing U.S. partnerships with foreign states on the presence of shared interests, rather than relying on formal alliance structures to advance American interests and goals.All of these aspects of Trump’s foreign policies are vital for developing and maintaining a successful U.S. policy toward Erdogan’s Turkey, as Erdogan exposes himself as a foe interested in pitting all sides against one another to enable his efforts to construct a new Ottoman Empire. Many commentators advocate expelling Turkey from NATO. But it isn’t clear that a head-on confrontation with Erdogan would neutralize him. It could well empower him by helping him to rally the Turkish public behind him at a time when Turkey’s economy stands on the brink of collapse.
Given Erdogan’s multipronged aggression, the first goal of a realistic policy would be to diminish his power by severely weakening Turkey economically. This may mean imposing economic sanctions on Turkey for its aggression against Greece and Cyprus. Or it may mean simply giving Turkey a gentle push over the economic cliff.
Without raising the issue of removing Turkey from NATO, the U.S. can simply not sell Turkey advanced platforms while demonstrating its support for Greece and Cyprus, as well as Israel and its Arab partners. True, China is already seeking to supplant the U.S. in sponsoring the Turkish economy and selling Turkey arms—but by keeping Turkey in NATO, the U.S. still has more leverage over Turkey than China.
A passive-aggressive policy for diminishing Erdogan’s power and the threat he can mount is right up Trump’s alley. Trump doesn’t often directly attack his opponents. He embraced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un even as he imposed the harshest economic sanctions ever on North Korea and redesignated it a state sponsor of terrorism. He has acted similarly with Putin and with Erdogan himself.
Erdogan’s belief that he can rebuild the Ottoman Empire while attacking EU and NATO members, the U.S., its key allies in the Middle East as well as Russia, owes to his narcissism that Obama and Biden did so much to feed.
With Erdogan now openly threatening multiple U.S. allies, it is increasingly apparent that the largest and fastest rising threat to stability and peace in the Middle East is Turkey—and the victor in next month’s U.S. presidential election will have no lead time to deal with it.
Trump’s reality-based foreign policy, his preference for indirect confrontations and empowerment of U.S. partners to defend themselves from aggression, rather than dictating their actions or fighting their battles for them, give the president the flexibility to diminish Erdogan’s maneuver room, his economic independence and his popularity at home—while also empowering U.S. allies directly affected by the strongman’s aggression to stand up to him effectively, with or without direct U.S. involvement.
Turkey’s claim to ownership and an Islamic proprietary interest in the city defies thousands of years of accepted wisdom that confirms some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. These include the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. That did not stop Erdogan during his lengthy speech to the Turkish parliament lamenting the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinians and reaffirming his embrace of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, and is deemed a terrorist group by Israel, the E.U. and the U.S.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the world Jerusalem “belongs” to Turkey, harking back to the Ottoman Empire’s control over the city for hundreds of years up until it was ejected in 1917.
The word Jerusalem occurs 811 times in 764 verses in your King James bibles, and when we read those 811 instances of the word Jerusalem we come to an immediate and overwhelming conclusion. The conclusion is that 1). Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, that 2). Jerusalem is where God has placed His own Name, and 3). that God has given it to the Jews forever.
“Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” 2 Chronicles 6:5,6 (KJB)
As we have always told you, Israel is the timeclock of bible prophecy in general, and Jerusalem is the jewel in the clock in particular. Jerusalem is why there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because both sides claim Jerusalem, the “city of David” for thousands of years. Solve the Jerusalem problem, and you will have peace in the Middle East, but it will be the false peace of Antichrist. God will allow Satan 7 short years to take it, with the outcome being decided in Revelation 19 and the Battle of Armageddon. Someone should go tell Erdogan who wins.
Ottoman Empire Redux: Turkey’s Erdogan Tells the World ‘Jerusalem Is Ours’
FROM BREITBART NEWS: Erdogan made his public claim Thursday as he addressed Turkish lawmakers during a major policy speech in Ankara. He said:
IN THIS CITY THAT WE HAD TO LEAVE IN TEARS DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR, IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO COME ACROSS TRACES OF THE OTTOMAN RESISTANCE. SO JERUSALEM IS OUR CITY, A CITY FROM US. OUR FIRST QIBLA [DIRECTION OF PRAYER IN ISLAM] AL-AQSA AND THE DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM ARE THE SYMBOLIC MOSQUES OF OUR FAITH. IN ADDITION, THIS CITY IS HOME TO THE HOLY PLACES OF CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM.
As the Times of Israel reported, the Ottoman Empire ruled Jerusalem from 1516 to 1917. Modern Turkey, its successor state, has long claimed a connection to the holy city, regularly condemning Israel for alleged attemtps to “Judaize” it and the U.S. administration’s December 2017 recognition of it as Israel’s capital.
Turkey’s claim to ownership and an Islamic proprietary interest in the city defies thousands of years of accepted wisdom that confirms some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
These include the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. That did not stop Erdogan during his lengthy speech to the Turkish parliament lamenting the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinians and reaffirming his embrace of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, and is deemed a terrorist group by Israel, the E.U. and the U.S.
“ANOTHER CRISIS THAT OUR COUNTRY AND OUR NATION CAREFULLY FOLLOW IS THE OPPRESSION OF ISRAEL AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS AND THE INDIFFERENT PRACTICES THAT DISREGARD THE PRIVACY OF JERUSALEM,” HE SAID TOWARD THE END OF HIS ADDRESS. THE ISSUE OF JERUSALEM IS NOT AN ORDINARY GEOPOLITICAL PROBLEM FOR US. FIRST OF ALL, THE CURRENT PHYSICAL APPEARANCE OF THE OLD CITY, WHICH IS THE HEART OF JERUSALEM, WAS BUILT BY SULEIMAN THE MAGNIFICENT, WITH ITS WALLS, BAZAAR, AND MANY BUILDINGS. OUR ANCESTORS SHOWED THEIR RESPECT FOR CENTURIES BY KEEPING THIS CITY IN HIGH ESTEEM.”
The Palestinian people have been living in the holy city “for thousands of years,” but they were occupied and had their rights violated, the Turkish leader further alleged, as the Times reported.
ONE PLANE SHOT DOWN LEADS TO OLD CONFLICT REKINDLED
On Tuesday, Armenia claimed that neighboring Azerbaijan shot down one of its warplanes, killing the pilot, over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region of the border. Azerbaijan denied the claim. According to Armenia, a SU-25 from its air force was shot down in Armenian airspace by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet that took off from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has repeatedly claimed that its air force does not have F-16 fighter jets however, Turkey, a NATO member, does have the US-made fighter jet.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry countered by claiming that Armenian forces shelled the Dashkesan region in Azerbaijan. Armenian officials confirmed the claim, saying that their shelling was in response to Azerbaijani forces firing on an Armenian military unit in the town of Vardenis, setting a bus on fire and killing one civilian.
Turkish military advisers were reportedly on the ground alongside Azerbaijani fighters who were using Turkish military equipment and aircraft. Armenia also accused Turkey of transporting thousands of Syrian mercenaries to support the Azerbaijani military.
Azerbaijan responded by accusing Russia of sending large numbers of weapons to Armenia.
It was reported that 84 Armenian servicemen have been killed so far. Azerbaijan says 10 civilians have died on its side but has yet to give details on military casualties. This current outbreak is considered the worst in recent years.
The region is mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians and has been fighting for decades to secede Azerbaijan. Though based on longstanding territorial disputes, the current outbreak of violence is considered to be a proxy-conflict between Russia, supporting Armenia, and Turkey, supporting Azerbaijan.
Russia has a defense pact with Armenia and a military base in Armenia but has been calling for calm.
LOCAL CONFLICT WITH REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS: CHINA IS “GREAT ENEMY”
Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, emphasized that this local conflict had regional implications.
“There doesn’t seem to be a direct influence on Israel other than the bigger picture power struggles,” Rabbi Spiro told Israel365 News. “But these are substantial. Putin wants to reestablish the Russian Empire and Erdogan wants to reestablish the Ottoman Turkish sultanate.These guys have been duking it out precisely in these region for centuries. There is certainly a religious element in the conflict but the major issue has been the Bosporous and Russian access from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.”
“Under President Obama, due to his isolationaism, Russia got this Mediterranean access by establishing a naval base in Latakia, Syria. This is huge for them.” “Erdogan is looking to expand his influence as a leader in the Sunni world and establish his reputation as the defender of Sunni Islam. He can do this by supporting Azerbajain in their conflict against a Christian country.”
The two countries are both bordered on the south by Iran which has remained conspicuously silent in the recent flare-up.
“Iran will stay out of this because as Shiites, they have no interest in defending Sunnis. The only Sunni Iran supports is Hamas and that is because of the common Zionist enemy.”
“Putin has no interest in expanding this conflict. Russia is not really a superpower anymore. They lost a lot of territory and economically it is a mess. Russia is a sick old man company. The Soviet Union had an agenda to push to actively export its socialist ideology. Putin does not have an agenda. He wants to cement the control over the territory around him and building up a buffer zone against the West.”
“China has taken on the role of the ‘great enemy’ with an agenda posing the greatest threat to the Western World but, unlike the Soviet Union, they do not want to take over the world militarily. They are dominating through information and technology which is a much deeper level of control. Right now, Russia has national interests but China has international interests. Radical Islam, in particular Iran, also has an international ideology. But Iran’s economy is a mess. China is a serious threat.”
Rabbi Spiro stated that when discussing global politics on this level, it is absolutely relevant to refer to prophetic principles such as Gog and Magog. “I don’t attempt to apply specific identities to countries today,” Rabbo Spiro said. “The descriptions in Zechariah of chariots and horses is clearly not meant to be literal or relevant for the 21st Century.”
“I look at Gog and Magog as a global holistic phenomenon. The prophets describe a time when Israel is trying to reestablish itself as a country, which is what we see today. Gog and Magog are the nations of the world line up to try to prevent that. That is certainly the UN General Assembly. Not every country but the countries that stood up to defend Israel are few and far between.”
“It is always a mistake to try to apply the title of Gog and Magog to one country. It is a deeper ideological struggle. Just as the US is a deeper struggle that is greater than the single country. Gog and Magog is the ultimate ideological struggle. Different countries and different people fulfilled these roles throughout history. People can choose a side according to which ideology they identify with, which is what is happening in the world today. People are being forced to choose a side.”
SMALL SPARK SETTING OFF GOG-MAGOG WAR
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of days author, noted that this conflict is to the north of Israel, placing it in the general direction the Gog and Magog conflict is prophesied to break out. Rabbi Winston preceeded his explanation of the situation with the disclaimer that he was not a prophet and, as such, had no definitive idea of what the future holds.
“But what is clear is that the War of Gog and Magog, despite being a major conflict, could be set off by a smaller ‘spark’ of a conflict, something localized that grows bigger. This conflict between Armenia and Azerbajain has threads that connect to the world at large. Russia is involved as is the conflict between Christianity and Islam.”
“From the divine providence persepective, this could be `is a small fire that could cause a larger destabilization. These smaller conflicts are happening with more frequency which raises the concern that they could be building up until one small conflict that doesn’t seem serious will tip it all over, resulting in Gog and Magog.”
BACKGROUND OF ARMENIA-AZERBAJAIN CONFLICT
Azerbaijan and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations and have frequently clashed. They are separated by different ethnicities and religions with Armenia being 95% Christian whereas Azerbaijan is 91% Muslim.
When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Armenia and Azerbaijan which had been Soviet republics became independent nations. war broke out over the Nagorno-Karabakh region killing about 30,000 people and displacing an estimated one million. Karabakh is a region within Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces. A ceasefire was signed in 1994 but despite the ceasefire, hundreds of soldiers from both sides have been killed in clashes.
Iran lecturer at the IDC Meir Javedanfar told i24 News in a recent interview that whether or not Iran gets a nuke and ignites a nuclear war in the region “depends.” He added that “it’s one thing to have enough law enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. But then iran needs to go another step further to bring in and by enriching the uranium to higher levels to 20, and then from 20 to 90 which is what you need for nuclear weapon.
“We’re still not there yet and that would be a very drastic decision by the Iranians to make. On the one hand, the Iranians feel that they need to have some leverage in their dealings with the United States. President Trump walked out of the Iran nuclear deal. He imposed very tough sanctions against the Iranian regime. Iran cannot impose sanctions against America because its economy is nowhere as near. So they need leverage.”
Javedanfar added that “they’re holding on to this enriched uranium. They’re enriching uranium in quantities that are close to enough for making a weapon. But again, to come back to my original point, it’s not clear that they’re gonna go back to the enrichment level required to make a weapon. So we need to see basically see what happens from now on. If Joe Biden is elected what would be the plan with Iran? Whether he returns to the Iran nuclear deal whether they can reach an understanding or if Trump is reelected, then what would that mean for Iran? Would that mean that Iran would actually enrich you further levels it all depends on what happens in November 20th in the United States.
Turkey’s president declares ‘no power’ can stand in his way
By WND Staff Published September 12, 2020 at 1:44pm
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan long has declared his intention to restore the Ottoman Empire.
Time magazine notes Erdogan has been tightening “his grip on social media freedom” and even is considering pulling Turkey out of what “is known, now farcically, as the 2011 Istanbul Convention, a treaty of the Council of Europe that commits countries to protecting women from domestic violence.”
There is truth in Erdogan’s well-known attempts to “resurrect” the Ottoman Empire “or to style himself a sultan,” Time said.
Erdogan has declared there is “no power” that can stand in his way.
“We will not hesitate to sacrifice martyrs in this fight – are the people of Greece, France, certain North African and Gulf countries prepared to make such sacrifices?”
Erdogan’s remarks came in a recent speech in Ankara.
The Turkish leader said his country is not a society with an army, but a “nation that is an army within itself.”
He warned his nation’s “enemies” that he will “not hesitate to sacrifice martyrs.”
He charged Greece, France, North Africa and the Gulf countries have “greedy and incompetent leaders,” claiming that Turkey never colonized; it was “a civilization” that conquered.
“When we combine our technological superiority, our fully developed human resources, and our spiritual power … with Allah’s permission, there is no power that can stand in the way of this country,” he said.
He told his enemies, “Bring it on.”
“Everyone who would stand against us on land, at sea, and in the air has seen Turkey’s legitimacy and its determination in protecting its rights, interests, and capabilities based on international law. Be sure that those who have not seen it will face this reality in the field, at the diplomatic table, and in international platforms. We do not run away from a fight. We will not hesitate to sacrifice martyrs and wounded people in this fight. For our independence and our future, we will not hold back from roaring all together as 83 million people, and running over the dams that get in our way, like a flood.”
He said the people of North Africa and the Gulf region “are eyeing Turkey’s democracy, constitutional state, and regional interests – do they realize that this process will turn around and harm them?
“Throughout its history, Turkey has never been an aggressive country. The Turkish nation is one of the rare peoples that does not have the stain of colonialism in its past. Certainly, our civilization is one of conquest, but our understanding of conquest is not based on taking control of underground and aboveground riches along with land. On the contrary, our understanding of conquest is first the conquest of hearts.
“Throughout the world, and particularly in Europe, we are in a period in which xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Turkishness, and discrimination are on the rise. Despite this, the fact that Turkey is being brought to the forefront of every negative subject is not a vulnerability of our nation. Rather, it is a sign of the fascism and animosity in the back of their minds.”
Time reported Erdogan is modeling himself after the Ottoman Empire’s ninth sultan, Selim I, who saw “during his lifetime that the Ottoman Empire grew from a strong regional power to a gargantuan global empire.”
The article said: “We should be wary of Erdogan’s embrace of Selim’s exclusionary vision of Turkish political power. It represents a historical example of strongman politics that led to regional wars, the attempted annihilation of religious minorities, and the monopolization of global economic resources. In addition to his attempts to monopolize natural gas reserves around Turkey, today this takes the form of Erdogan’s foreign military ventures in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. At home, he has gone after Turkey’s Shiite community, Kurds, intellectuals, Christians, journalists, women, and leftists. Erdogan cultivates his own Sunni religiosity to position Islam at the center of Turkey’s domestic agenda, with the church conversions the most potent recent symbols of this. Erdogan’s represents a political logic of zero-sum competition that pits Turkey against Saudi Arabia and Iran for control of the region and over claims of global Islamic leadership.
Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near".
Watchman for Christ