Category: America

America? We Are Being Warned That Sleeper Cells “Can Hit Targets On U.S. Soil At Anytime Without Warning”

January 3, 2020 by Michael Snyder

There has never been a greater threat of terror attacks on U.S. soil than there is right now.  In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian military chief Qassem Soleimani, top Iranian leaders are vowing revenge.  Many of the talking heads on television are speculating that Iran may hit American targets in the Middle East, but what they are forgetting is that Iranian-backed terror groups already have a substantial presence in North America.  In particular, Hezbollah has been involved in the North American drug trade for a very long time.  Over the years, the mainstream media gave Al-Qaeda and ISIS a lot of attention, but the truth is that Hezbollah is far better funded and far better armed than either of those groups ever were, and now the man at the top of the military food chain that gave Hezbollah their marching orders has been killed by the United States.  If Hezbollah sleeper cells are ever going to be unleashed in the United States, now is the time when it will happen. 

Of course U.S. officials clearly understand that there is a threat.  As Paul Joseph Watson has noted, authorities in New York and Los Angeles are both ramping up security…

The threat posed by Iran-backed Hezbollah sleeper cells embedded in major American cities has once again come to the fore following the killing of Iran’s Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani.

Following last night’s assassination of the Iranian military leader, authorities in both New York and Los Angeles announced that they were ramping up security in readiness for possible revenge attacks on U.S. soil.

This is because Iran is known to have placed Hezbollah terrorist sleeper cells throughout not just Europe but the United States too.

And one former CIA officer is warning that we need to be operating under the assumption that Hezbollah sleeper cells “can hit targets on U.S. soil at anytime without warning”

Former CIA operations officer, Sam Faddis, warned that Hezbollah sleeper cells were hiding in the U.S. and potentially had targets in its sights.

‘It is more than possible that Hezbollah has sleeper cells in the United States ready to strike,’ Faddis told DailyMail.com.

‘Based on what we know we must assume they do and that they can hit targets on U.S. soil at anytime without warning.’

Up until now, Iranian leaders such as Soleimani have always held back their proxies from committing terror attacks on U.S. soil because the Iranians knew that it would potentially spark a full-blown war with the United States.

But now that Soleimani is dead and war is virtually a certainty, there would appear to be no reason to hold back any longer.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rarely makes any sense at all, but for once I have to agree with him.  During a press conference on Friday, he told reporters that we are “in a de facto state of war”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said they would be protecting key locations from ‘any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against the U.S.’

‘We have to assume this action puts us in a de facto state of war,’ he told a press conference on Friday.

It comes amid fears that the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization, may have sleeper cells in the U.S. that are ready to retaliate.

And he is right.

In particular, the Iranians and their proxies are going to be looking for high value targets to strike, and there are certainly a lot of them in New York.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that something will happen there, but it is definitely a possibility.

And we do know that Hezbollah has previously “plotted to attack U.S. interests inside the country”

Last year, the criminal prosecution and conviction in New York of the Hezbollah operative Ali Kourani revealed that the terror outfit has already plotted to attack U.S. interests inside the country and is ready to activate if it considers the existence of either Hezbollah or Iran to be at stake.

Following the arrest of Kourani and another Hezbollah operative named Samer el-Debek, the U.S. intelligence community reversed its belief that Hezbollah was unlikely to attempt attacks within the U.S.

“It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook,” said National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen.

Unfortunately, a lot of Americans don’t understand the seriousness of what we are potentially facing.

Hezbollah is made up of the most radical Shiite terrorists on the entire planet.

These are the guys that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are afraid of.

Of all the terror groups in existence, Hezbollah is the most competent and the most frightening of them all.

In addition to terror attacks, it is being reported that the Trump administration is also deeply concerned about the possibility of cyberattacks.

The Iranians and their proxies are probably not as advanced in this area as Russia, China and North Korea are, but we do know that they have been building up a “cyber army”

Analysts believe Tehran has stepped up its capacity to attack key Western cyber infrastructure and has even built up a so-called “cyber army” that pledges allegiance to the Islamic Republic.

Loic Guezo, head of French information security group Clusif, said Iran’s cyber attacks above all sought to damage industrial targets such as dams or power stations.

“What is feared here is the impact on society — electricity cuts, poisoning, gas leaks, explosions, transport chaos and hospitals,” he told AFP.

So at some point your power may go out, and you may not even realize that the Iranians are behind it.

If and when the Iranians and their proxies start hitting us, it is going to cause a lot of panic.  America is totally unprepared for what is coming, and our enemies are going to take full advantage of that fact.

The Iranians and their proxies don’t fight clean and their don’t fight fair.

Getting into a fight with them won’t be pretty, and when it erupts a whole lot of people are likely to end up dead.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10304

Why Is Iran Flying A Blood Red Flag Over A Famous Mosque That Is Directly Associated With The Mahdi?

January 6, 2020 by Michael Snyder

For the first time ever, a blood red flag is being flown over the famous Jamkaran Mosque in the Iranian “holy city” of Qom.  If you have not see it yet, you can watch it being raised right here.  And as I will explain below, the fact that this mosque is directly associated with the Mahdi makes this symbolic gesture doubly significant.  The hoisting of this flag was broadcast on Iranian state television, and it was obviously intended to send a message to Shiites all over the globe.  So precisely what was that message?  Well, we are being told that according to Shiite tradition a red flag represents both “blood spilled unjustly” and a call for revenge…

Red flags in Shiite tradition symbolise both blood spilled unjustly and serve as a call to avenge a person who is slain.

It is the first time in history that the red flag has been hoisted on top of the Jamkaran mosque in the Iranian city and comes after warnings of harsh retaliation against the US.

Red flags have also been spotted flying at anti-U.S. demonstrations in Tehran over the past few days.

Clearly, the Iranians want blood.  They will never, ever forgive us for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, and their faith requires that he be avenged.

There is also a message inscribed on the blood red flag that is now flying above the Jamkaran Mosque, and apparently it is a reference to the death of the grandson of Muhammad

The flag, inscribed with the words “Those who want to avenge the blood of Hussein,” was hoisted above the mosque’s shrine for what local reports claimed was the first time in history, according to the Daily Mail.

The grandson of Muhammad, Hussein was decapitated in A.D. 680 during the Second Islamic Civil War, when Muslims were fighting over who was the proper successor to their prophet. The act was met with bloody retaliation from Muslims who considered Hussein’s death unjust and sought to avenge him.

Obviously the Iranians are viewing this as something much bigger than simply extracting sufficient revenge for the death of a deeply loved national leader.

Rather, they seem to be using this moment as a call to wage jihad against all of the enemies of Shia Islam.

And as I mentioned above, the fact that this flag was raised over this particular mosque is a very big deal.

The Jamarkaran Mosque is considered to be one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, and it is also associated with the future reappearance of the Mahdi.  In fact, as the flag was being hoisted there was a direct reference to the Mahdi

As the flag was raised in Qom, the mosque speakers called, ‘O Allah, hasten your custodian reappearance,’ a reference to the end-times reappearance of the Mahdi.

In Iran today, most of the national leaders believe that the 12th imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, was born in Iraq in 869 and never died.  Just before judgement day, the Mahdi is supposed to reappear along with Jesus during a time of war and chaos “to bring peace to the world and establish Islam as the ruling faith across the globe”.  It is also commonly believed that the Mahdi is coming very soon, and so that explains why so many top Iranians seem to relish the thought that war could be coming.  They need war to come first in order for the Mahdi to appear, and since the Mahdi is supposed to return during the coming apocalyptic war and establish Shia Islam as the faith of the entire planet, they aren’t exactly too concerned about the threats that President Trump is making.

It is so important to understand the mindset of these radical Shiites.

If they die as martyrs, they will be rewarded as such in the afterlife.

If they live through the coming holy war, they will get to see the coming of the Mahdi, and they will help to institute the global rule of Shia Islam.

So in either case, they believe that they can’t lose.

At this point, what they want is blood.  In fact, even the daughter of Qassem Soleimani is asking for vengeance.  Just check out what she just asked Iranian President Hassan Rouhani…

‘Who is going to avenge my father’s blood?’ One of the commander’s daughters asked.

In response, Rouhani promised her that ‘everyone will take revenge’ and assured her as she wept, ‘we will, we will avenge his blood, you don’t worry.’

There is no question that Iran is going to strike back.

And it won’t just be a one time deal.  They are going to hit us repeatedly, and they have already identified 35 potential targets

IRAN today pinpointed 35 “key US targets” for revenge after its top general was assassinated – with America expecting retaliation “within weeks”.

Hours later, rockets were fired near the US Embassy in Baghdad and at an airbase housing American troops, according to reports.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for the violence to begin.  In fact, the Green Zone in Baghdad has been targeted by rockets for two days in a row

At least three explosions were reported Sunday inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone — which houses the U.S. Embassy, Balad Air Base and Iraqi government buildings — in the second attack of its kind after the U.S.-led airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

A total of six Katyusha rockets — three inside the Green Zone and three in the nearby Jadriya area — hit Baghdad, according to a statement by Iraq’s military, as Reuters reported.

Of course President Trump is not going to put up with this, and he has warned the Iranians that he has identified 52 Iranian targets that could potentially be hit…

Showing no signs of seeking to ease tensions raised by the strike he ordered that killed Soleimani and Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad airport on Friday, Trump issued a threat to Iran on Twitter. The strike has raised the specter of wider conflict in the Middle East.

Iran, Trump wrote, “is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets” in revenge for Soleimani’s death. Trump said the United States has “targeted 52 Iranian sites” and that some were “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

Following that tweet, many on the left harshly criticized Trump for potentially targeting cultural sites, but Trump subsequently doubled down on that threat

“They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump told reporters.

“If they do anything there will be major retaliation.”

Does anyone see a way that war with Iran can be avoided at this point?

Because I certainly don’t.

The Trump administration and the Iranians will both keep escalating things until a full-blown cataclysmic war erupts in the Middle East, and it will be a war that will inevitably involve Israel as well.  This Middle East war will greatly accelerate the development of “the perfect storm” that I keep talking about, and none of our lives will ever be the same again.

Those that think that this is a crisis that will blow over in a few days or a few weeks are not being rational.

The Iranians will never, ever, ever forgive what Trump has done, and Soleimani’s successor is assuring everyone that we will soon “see the bodies of Americans all over the Middle East”

Esmail Ghaani, the successor to slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, threatened the US Friday following his appointment to head the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm.

“Be patient, and you will see the bodies of Americans all over the Middle East,” Ghaani said.

There is no stopping this now.

War is coming, and the death and destruction it will bring will shock the entire planet.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10300

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

By Ted on January 3, 2020 in Featured, General

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

TURKEY’S MILITARY PLANS FOR THE 2020S

August of 2017 Erdogan declared in a speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TURKEY IS PLANNING ON HELPING TO REBUILD HUNGARY’S MILITARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE BRITISH NAVY

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

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

An August 2019 report from Europaische SIcherheit & Technik:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran vows ‘harsh retaliation’ after US airstrike kills Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani

By Danielle Wallace | Fox News

Fox News contributor Dan Hoffman reacts.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani had words of praise for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani early Friday morning, hours after the top military general was killed in an airstrike in Iraq ordered by President Trump, and he promised to “take revenge for this heinous crime.”

Rouhani also said Iran would “raise the flag” of Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, “in defense of the country’s territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region.”

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday evening that Trump had ordered the attack that killed Soleimani and other military officials at Baghdad International Airport. Iran’s top “shadow commander” was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more, the State Department said.

The U.S. State Department issued a security alert Friday morning urging all U.S. citizens to “depart Iraq immediately” due to heightened tensions in the region.

“Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy,” the alert said. The agency also shared phone numbers people concerned about U.S. citizens and other loved ones in Iraq could call toll free for information.

The State Department said the airstrike “was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region… The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, who served as Soleimani’s deputy commander since 1997, will now take over the helm as head of the Quds Force, Reuters reported, citing Iranian state media.

Officials in New York City and Los Angeles announced they’re taking precautionary measures in anticipation of a possible retaliatory attack. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he’d spoken with top NYPD officials about immediate steps the department could take “to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come.” LAPD said it was monitoring the situation in Iran but affirmed there has been no credible threat to the city.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Tehran Friday to protest Soleimani’s killing, chanting “Death to America” and holding up posters bearing his image, AFP reported. Similar demonstrations were held in a number of other Iranian cities, it added, citing state media.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also tweeted a video that he claimed showed Iraqis taking to the streets to celebrate the death of Soleimani. It was not immediately clear where or when the footage in the tweet was recorded.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also warned “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S.

The Iranian foreign minister warned that the U.S. would bear all the consequences of the “foolish” military attack, claiming Soleimani’s assassination would only escalate tensions in the region given that he was “THE most effective force” fighting terrorism carried out by the Islamic State.

Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Islamic Republic of Iran, said on Twitter that “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”

Many Democrats admitted that no Americans would mourn Soleimani’s death but also raised concern that the escalation will put the U.S. on a crash course for a new conflict in the Mideast. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying that Trump ordered the airstrike “without the consultation of Congress.”

 “American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests,” her statement said. “But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.”

An adviser to Rouhani also quickly warned Trump of retaliation from Tehran.

“Trump through his gamble has dragged the U.S. into the most dangerous situation in the region,” Hessameddin Ashena wrote on the social media app Telegram. “Whoever put his foot beyond the red line should be ready to face its consequences.”

Soleimani is the military mastermind whom Pompeo had deemed equally as dangerous as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In October, Baghdadi killed himself during a U.S. raid on a compound in northwest Syria, seven months after the so-called ISIS “caliphate” crumbled as the terrorist group lost its final swath of Syrian territory in March.

The overnight attack occurred amid tensions with the U.S. after an Iran-backed militia attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was targeted Tuesday by angry mobs who were protesting recent U.S. airstrikes. The two-day siege outside of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad came to an end Wednesday afternoon after dozens of pro-Iran militiamen and their supporters withdrew from the compound.

Soleimani was the long-running leader of the elite intelligence wing called Quds Force – which itself has been a designated terror group since 2007, and is estimated to be 20,000 strong. Considered one of the most powerful men in Iran, he routinely was referred to as its “shadow commander” or “spymaster.”

In April 2019, the State Department announced Iran was responsible for killing 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War. Soleimani was the head of the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces carrying out those operations killing American troops. According to the State Department, 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.

As recently as 2015, a travel ban and United Nations Security Council resolutions had barred Soleimani from leaving Iran.

Friday’s Baghdad strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, a source told Fox News. In all, at least seven people were killed and at least three rockets were fired, officials told The Associated Press. An official with the Popular Mobilization Forces said its airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda, also died.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10294

After Joint War Games With Russia And China Conclude, Iran Tells The United States That Their Days Of Middle East Dominance Are Over

Rear Admiral in Iran Hossein Khanzadi told reporters Sunday that the four-day exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman—dubbed “Marine Security Belt”—was a signal to U.S. forces operating in the region. “Today, the era of American free action in the region is over,” Khanzadi said, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency. “They must leave the region gradually,” he added.

by Geoffrey Grider January 1, 2020

The commander of Iran’s navy has warned that the U.S. has no business in Middle Eastern waters after his forces held joint naval drills with Russia and China.

Iran is one of those nations that loves to brag about military capabilities they don’t actually possess, to convince themselves of how strong they are when the rest of the world knows it’s all a ruse. At least that’s how it’s always been since the Iranian Revolution took place in 1979. But just yesterday they concluded war games, Operation Marine Security Belt, with Russia and China who are very powerful nations, and who now seem to be in a partnership with Iran.

“And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.” Daniel 11:2 (KJV)

Iran has gone from being a laughable little nation whose bark is worse than their bite, to becoming a dark and mysterious wildcard that now may be functioning as bait to draw the United States into a large-scale international conflict. And there’s nothing funny about that.

Iran Warns U.S That Days Of Middle East Dominance Are Over

FROM NEWSWEEK: Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told reporters in Iran Sunday that the four-day exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman—dubbed “Marine Security Belt”—was a signal to U.S. forces operating in the region.

“Today, the era of American free action in the region is over,” Khanzadi said, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency. “They must leave the region gradually,” he added.

The rear admiral said U.S. forces are not needed to ensure security in the area, where American and Iranian forces have been facing off amid high tensions between Washington and Tehran over the collapsed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.

The joint drills coincided with an attack on American forces in Iraq, suspected to have been launched by an Iranian-backed militia. The rocket attack on an Iraqi military base on Friday killed one American civilian defense contractor and wounded four service members.

In response, the U.S. conducted airstrikes on Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria. Khanzadi said Sunday U.S. forces were not needed in the region.

“Regional countries themselves can ensure security together,” he said. “The presence of Americans only creates insecurity in the region,” he added, according to the state-backed Fars news agency.

The rear admiral suggested that Iran’s “friends” would be reassured by the exercises, while its adversaries should take the drills as a warning. He also said he hoped more regional nations would join future Iranian exercises. “We believe that maritime security definitely needs collective action,” Khanzadi explained.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10291

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following is the text of the Yeni Akit article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will It Be War? U.S. Airstrikes Hit Iranian-Backed Militias As The Pentagon Warns More Military Action May Be Coming

December 30, 2019 by Michael Snyder

A lot of people seem to have forgotten that we were literally on the brink of war with Iran earlier this year.  Back in June, President Trump cancelled a major U.S. bombing mission against Iran at the last minute, and things seemed to settle down quite a bit since that time.  But now tensions are rising once again.  On Sunday, U.S. airstrikes targeted Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria that U.S. officials believe have been behind recent rocket attacks against U.S. forces.  Of course those Iranian-backed forces never would have launched such attacks in the first place if they did not have permission from Tehran itself.  The Iranians love to hide behind proxies, and for now the U.S. is only conducting airstrikes against those proxies.  But at some point President Trump’s patience is likely to run out, and at that point we could start hitting Iran itself.  Over the past six months, the U.S. has sent 14,000 more troops to the Middle East, and it is being reported that “the Pentagon is considering deploying additional forces to the region”.  The drumbeats of war are starting to get louder again, and many believe that eventually one side is likely to push the other side a bit too far.

The attacks that we just witnessed were supposed to send a very strong message to Tehran.  According to the Daily Mail, five separate targets were hit, and at least 19 people were killed…

US air strikes left 19 people dead in Iraq and Syria on Sunday in retaliation against an Iranian-backed militia group blamed for a rocket attack two days earlier that killed an American contractor.

F-15 Strike Eagles hit five targets associated with Kataib Hezbollah, the Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia group, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

These airstrikes were launched to directly retaliate for the casualties that U.S. forces suffered from a rocket attack on one of their bases in Iraq on Friday

Officials with the U.S.-led mission to defeat ISIS said Friday that a U.S. civilian contractor was killed and several American troops were wounded in a rocket attack targeting an Iraqi base in Kirkuk.

The attack, which occurred Friday around 7:20 p.m. local time in Iraq, also wounded several Iraqi personnel, officials with Operation Inherent Resolve told Military Times in an emailed statement.

But of course that attack was just the latest in a series of rocket attacks that have targeted U.S. forces lately

U.S. officials believe Iranian-backed militias are behind a recent spate of rocket attacks that have targeted U.S. bases and interests in Iraq over the last couple months.

A U.S. official told Military Times that Iran-backed militias are now using more lethal and longer range 122 mm rockets in their attacks.

Friday’s attack on Kirkuk is at least the eleventh rocket attack targeting an outpost housing American forces in the last two months.

I am certainly not a fan of military conflict, but if I am sitting in the White House and someone keeps lobbing rockets at my troops I wouldn’t wait two months to hit them back.

So why did President Trump wait so long?

As I noted earlier, these Iranian-backed militias wouldn’t be doing anything without approval from Tehran.  If Trump really wants these rocket attacks to stop, Iranian leaders need to be sent a message that will be clear and unmistakable.

And it appears that U.S. officials may be starting to lean in that direction.  In fact, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told the press on Sunday that more military action “could be warranted”

Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared briefly in a club ballroom to comment on the airstrikes.

Esper termed the offensive “successful,” but said that Trump was informed that a further military response could be warranted.

Personally, I don’t know what the Iranians are thinking.

Perhaps they believe that if they use their proxies to make things uncomfortable enough for U.S. forces that Trump will eventually pull them out of the region.

But if that is what they are really thinking, they have badly miscalculated.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to get cozy with Russia and China.  In fact, the three nations are currently conducting “their first-ever joint naval drills”

This weekend, China, Iran, and Russia began their first-ever joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. The training exercises were announced by China’s defense ministry on Thursday, as all three nations continue to have strained relations with the United States and its allies.

The Russians have developed a very strong military presence in the Middle East in recent years, and Russia and China have both warned about what a war between the U.S. and Iran would mean for the entire region.

A major war in the Middle East would have very serious implications for the entire globe, and it would risk sparking a much wider conflict.

Right now our relations with Russia are already the worst that they have been since the end of the Cold War, and they just continue to deteriorate.

Most Americans don’t spend too much time thinking about a potential war with Russia, but over in Russia there is lots of talk about a possible military confrontation.  In fact, Russia’s top general recently warned that the western powers are preparing for a “large-scale military conflict”

Russia’s top general has warned a big war is coming in a chilling prediction amid ongoing tensions with NATO.

Valery Gerasimov, the chief Vladimir Putin’s general staff, has said he believes the West are preparing for a “large-scale military conflict”.

He was speaking at a senior briefing for the military – saying that the West has assigned “adversary status” to Russia.

Ultimately, one of the big reasons why Trump may have been so hesitant to be more aggressive with Iran is because he realizes that it could potentially spark World War 3.

Because once we go to war with Iran, the Iranians are going to start launching missiles directly at Israel, and Israel would undoubtedly strike back with overwhelming force.

Once the dominoes start falling, it could very easily set off a sequence of events that nobody is going to be able to control.

We definitely live at a time of wars and rumors of wars, and peace could be taken from the Earth very easily.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

But if the Iranians keep pushing their luck, it is only a matter of time before Trump gets fed up, and when he decides to hit them directly he is going to hit them exceedingly hard.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10282

Franklin Graham slams Christianity Today for invoking father’s name in call for Trump’s removal

By Caleb Parke | Fox News

The son of the late pastor Billy Graham said his father would have been “disappointed” by Christianity Today’s editorial calling for the removal of President Trump, which was widely celebrated by the left and crashed its website.

Evangelist Franklin Graham accused the Christian magazine of invoking his father’s name to represent “the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.”

The president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse responded in a lengthy Facebook post late Thursday to the editorial titled “Trump Should Be Removed From Office,” just a day after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against him.

“Christianity Today released an editorial stating that President Trump should be removed from office, and they invoked my father’s name (I suppose to try to bring legitimacy to their statements), so I feel it is important for me to respond,” Graham wrote. “Yes, my father Billy Graham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree with their opinion piece. In fact, he would be very disappointed.”

The pro-Trump evangelical revealed his father not only supported the president but also cast his last vote for him — a fact he has repeatedly declined to confirm before his post. Billy Graham, who died in 2018 at the age of 99, served as a spiritual adviser to decades of presidents from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama.

“My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation,” Graham said.

President Trump responded to the editorial Friday morning, tweeting the “far left magazine … knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion and your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”

“No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close. You’ll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won’t be reading ET again!” the president added.

Galli responded to Trump’s tweet on CNN saying he disagrees with the president “on about seven or eight different levels,” calling the magazine “centrist,” and revealing that he is stepping down as editor-in-chief soon.

He said fellow Christians need to speak out about “manifestly immoral” matters and said CT is not read by “far-right evangelicals.”

“Christianity Today, when the opportunity presented itself to speak the truth clearly and charitably, we did it,” Galli said. “We didn’t shirk our duty and we did what we were called to do.”

In his post, Graham points to Trump’s many accomplishments that evangelicals have celebrated from pro-life policies to championing religious freedom at home and abroad. “Christianity Today wants us to ignore that?”

“For Christianity Today to side with the Democrat Party in a totally partisan attack on the President of the United States is unfathomable,” Graham added, referencing Mark Galli, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, for failing to recognize that not a single Republican voted for impeachment.

In the editorial, Galli called Trump’s July 25 phone call to the Ukranian president “profoundly immoral” and he labeled the case against the president “unambiguous.”

Graham said the magazine, which rebukes evangelicals who back Trump and warned that their support “will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel,” is being used by the “left for their political agenda.”

“It’s obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism,” Graham concludes. “Is President Trump guilty of sin? Of course he is, as were all past presidents and as each one of us are, including myself. Therefore, let’s pray for the President as he continues to lead the affairs of our nation.”

Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser for the Trump 2020 campaign, slammed the magazine in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner as being run by “pious ‘Never Trumpers’ who feel morally justified…in a self-serving desire to be proven right…”

Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, called the editorial “CT unmasked” on Twitter: “Less than 20 percent of evangelicals supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 but now @CTmagazine has removed any doubt that they are part of the same 17 percent or so of liberal evangelicals who have preached social gospel for decades.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10269

U.S. Navy may soon have an indestructible ‘aircraft carrier’ right on China’s doorstep

By Jared Harris, The Western Journal
Published December 15, 2019 at 10:23am

China’s dreams of upsetting the United States as the dominant Pacific power could soon face a major stumbling block: an unsinkable “aircraft carrier” well within bombing range of the country’s coastline.

The new U.S. military advantage would come from the Japanese government’s acquisition of Mageshima, a small uninhabited island off the nation’s southern coast.

The announcement of the $146 million purchase was made Monday, according to The Japan Times.

A Japanese official confirmed the island would be developed for U.S. and Japanese military use.

As far back as 2014, the island has been in the eyes of Japanese and American defense officials as an excellent location for landing practice. Its strategic location also means that the airfield would be an integral part of disaster and emergency responses.

Less than 550 miles from the Chinese coast, this would put U.S. airpower uncomfortably close to the communist nation.

Mageshima (circled in red) sits less than 550 miles from the Chinese coast.

In the event of a war with China, this island would prove invaluable in any U.S. air campaign. Due to its proximity to China, it would doubtless be bristling with anti-aircraft guns and missile defense systems if any conflict were to happen.

Mageshima has several advantages over an aircraft carrier that make it a nightmare for the Chinese and a major boon to U.S. forces.

For one, there’s no maintenance needed to keep an island afloat. Apart from keeping equipment and structures functioning, there’s no manpower needed for Mageshima to remain above the waves.

This would free up manpower that could otherwise be spent on the island’s defenses or elsewhere.

Second, there’s no sinking an island.

Short of a direct hit from a nuclear weapon, there’s no amount of torpedoes, bullets or artillery shells that can put Mageshima under the Pacific waves.

This comes as China aggressively expands its own coastal defenses.

Construction of artificial islands along the communist nation’s coast are seen by many as a direct response to the disparity in naval power between China and its rival across the Pacific — the United States.

The islands will likely serve as air bases and missile launching sites.

Fears that these artificial islands would repel a U.S. response in the event of a Chinese campaign against Taiwan are well-founded. Anti-ship missiles based on the islands would shred aircraft carriers and other naval vessels.

Although the U.S. Navy would be able to eliminate many of the weapons, China can replace the missiles much faster than we can replace ships.

An unsinkable island of our own would allow the U.S. to respond with more options, and possibly give us the advantage we need to check Chinese aggression.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10266

Cascadia Fault Could Trigger Earthquakes on San Andreas with ‘No Separation in Time,’ Scientists Claim

By Hannah Osborne On 12/10/19 at 9:55 AM EST

The Cascadia and San Andreas Faults may be linked, with earthquakes on one triggering events in the other “with minimal or no separation in time,” scientists have said.

Chris Goldfinger and Joel Gutierrez, from Oregon State University, say their evidence showing a relationship between the two goes back almost 3,000 years.

The controversial findings, which have not yet been published, will be presented at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco on Friday.

The San Andreas Fault forms part of the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American Plate. It stretches about 750 miles along the east coast and has the potential to produce major earthquakes.

It is one of the most dangerous faults in the U.S. as it is lined by heavily populated areas, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

Because there has not been a large earthquake at San Andreas for over 100 years, experts are concerned it could be due one relatively soon.

Meanwhile, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from northern California to Canada, is known as a “megathrust” fault that can produce some of the biggest earthquakes in the world. In 1700 it produced an earthquake estimated to be between magnitude 8.7 and 9.2. According to the Canadian government, there have been 13 megathrust earthquakes at the subduction zone in the last 6,000 years. “Some have been as close together as 200 years and some have been as far apart as 800 years. The last one was 300 years ago,” it said.

In their research, Goldfinger and Gutierrez looked at the two adjacent faults and their histories by using stratigraphic evidence—looking at layers of rocks. From this, they were able to look back at when earthquakes took place at each fault over 2,800 years. Their findings show that on multiple occasions, an earthquake at Cascadia would be followed by one at the northern part of the San Andreas Fault. “In one instance, a separation of [about] 100 years is observed, but in all other cases, time separation between the pairs is not observed,” the research abstract said.

Goldfinger and Gutierrez say their research suggests earthquakes at Cascadia can trigger earthquakes at the northern end of San Andreas. According to Nature magazine, the researchers found that this happened at least eight times over 2,800 years. “This is mostly a circumstantial case,” Goldfinger told the magazine. “I don’t have a smoking gun.”

The idea the two tectonic zones are linked was first proposed by Goldfinger over 10 years ago. However, at the time the team did not have enough geological evidence to back it up. By looking at the stratigraphic data, they were able to show concurrent events.

Not everyone is convinced. Joan Gomberg, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told Nature that the data could be interpreted differently, with a far less “sensational” conclusion. Gomberg says the layers being analyzed do not show exactly when or where earthquakes took place. “All this uncertainty leaves multiple, equally plausible interpretations on the table,” the seismologist said.

John Vidale, a seismologist from the University of Southern California, told Northwest News Network that many of the details of the research are “still hazy.” However, he added: “It’s not so common to have linkage across two different kinds of faults, from a subduction zone onto a strike-slip fault. So this would be kind of new and interesting.”

Goldfinger told Nature that he was putting the case out there for the two zones being connected. Speaking to Northwest News Network, he said: “When you have two big faults that connect directly, there’s a pretty high probability they’re going to interact in some way. So one fault triggering another, or even becoming synchronized with the other for a period of time, is not a fantastical scenario. It is actually a fairly likely scenario. It just isn’t on the radar anywhere yet.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10253