Category: America

Senate Armed Services Committee: Continued Security Assistance to Israel, Block F-35 Jets to Turkey

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 24, 2019 , 10:31 am

“Kings of the earth take their stand, and regents intrigue together against Hashem and against His anointed?” Psalms 2:2 (The Israel Bible™)

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee approved a $750 billion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday that includes the continuation of American assistance to Israel for missile-defense programs and at the same time blocks the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey.

The closed-door vote was 25-2.

The Pentagon blueprint for the upcoming year allocates $500 million towards missile-defense systems in Israel such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow 3.

Like last year’s final version, the Senate version of the 2020 NDAA also temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. This comes amid tensions between Washington and Ankara with the latter seeking to purchase a Russian defense system.

“The bill sends a clear message to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan who insists that he can acquire both the S-400 air-defense system and the F-35 jets,” Aykan Erdemir, who served in the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015, and now serves as a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS.

“It is also a reminder that acquiring the Russian hardware would cost Ankara not only the F-35 jets, but also the lucrative business partnership, which is expected to provide revenues to the tune of $12 billion to Turkish firms in the F-35 supply chain,” he continued.

In the long term, said Erdemir, “the optimists would see this bill as a move to deter Erdoğan from making a costly mistake that would hurt not only Turkey’s security, diplomacy and economy, but also the transatlantic alliance. The Turkish president’s worrying track record in foreign and security policy, however, demonstrates that he is prone to settle for lose-lose options, and this might again end up being another one of those ill-advised steps.”

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdish Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, has been working on the F-35 issue that includes advising lawmakers against selling the U.S. defense product to Ankara.

“This shouldn’t surprise anyone following the Turkish purchase of the Russian defense systems,” Abdulkader told JNS. “The U.S. warned Turkey time and time again to cancel the purchase and abide by its NATO obligations. Turkey is choosing to play hardball.”

“Congress is finally realizing Turkey’s inconsistency as an ally and as a NATO partner. The move by the Senate Armed Services Committee is a positive one, it only shows that the U.S. will no longer play by Turkey’s terms, that Erdoğan can no longer stall the process and that a red line has been drawn,” he continued. “The next step is for [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump to follow through on the Senate’s actions and see Turkey for what it is: an unreliable ally.”

The NDAA will need an appropriations bill to fund it.

The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee is expected to release their version of the NDAA in the coming weeks.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9848

The Pentagon Asks Trump To Send Thousands Of U.S. Troops To The Middle East As Tensions With Iran Continue To Rise

May 22, 2019 by Michael Snyder The more steps that we take toward a war with Iran, the more likely it becomes that somebody will do something really stupid that will actually trigger one.  By cutting off Iran’s oil exports, we are threatening to completely wreck their economy, and at this point they feel backed into a corner.  And the Iranians have already watched the U.S. invade two countries that they share a border with (Afghanistan and Iraq), and so it is understandable that they are a bit paranoid that it could happen to them too.  President Trump keeps saying that he doesn’t want a war with Iran, but the Iranians do not believe a single word any U.S. politician says.  Instead, they watch what we actually do very, very closely, and the fact that the Pentagon wants to deploy thousands of new troops to the Middle East is definitely going to freak them out.  The following comes from Fox News

The Pentagon is slated to request several thousand more U.S. troops be deployed to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News on Wednesday.

No decision has been made, and it was not clear if the White House would give its blessing. The deployment could also include Patriot missile batteries and naval ships.

The more military assets that we send to the Middle East, the more anxiety Iranian leaders are going to feel, and the more likely it will become that the Iranians will decide that they must make a move before it is too late.

For the Iranians, their best chance to win a conflict against the United States would be to try to eliminate U.S. ground assets before they even get into Iran.  Iranian leadership is absolutely insane, but under normal circumstances they would not have a reason to conduct such a strike.  But if they see U.S. forces massing on their borders, they will definitely be evaluating their options.

So sending thousands of new U.S. troops to the region is not a good idea, and hopefully President Trump will realize this.

And what makes all of this even more disturbing is the fact that the Jerusalem Post is reporting that “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have agreed to a request for a renewed deployment of US forces”…

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have agreed to a request for a renewed deployment of US forces to deter Iran, the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the deployment comes as part of the cooperation agreement between Washington and the Arab Gulf states, and will take place both at sea and on land. A Saudi source told the newspaper that “the agreement was aimed at deterring Iran from a military escalation, including attacking American targets… and not with the aim of entering into a war with it.”

It is hard to believe that this is actually happening.

Look, the truth is that if Iran tried anything funny we already have the ability to bomb them back to the stone age in very short order.

We don’t need thousands of troops in the region in order to do that.

But if we wanted to invade Iran, overthrow the regime and set up a new government, we would need an enormous number of troops.

In fact, the former head of the Royal Navy has stated that that U.S. would likely need “at least one million troops” in order to accomplish that goal…

Admiral Lord West – the former First Sea Lord of the Royal navy – gave a dire assessment of the potential conflict as tempers flare in the Middle East.

He told Daily Star Online the US would need at least one million troops to successfully pacify Iran, and a half-baked attack could throw the region further into chaos.

The 50-year Royal Navy veteran warned “idiots” in both the US and Iran are dangerously hyping tensions.

So are you ready to send your sons and daughters off to the Middle East to fight a war against Iran?

If not, then you should make your voice be heard while there is still time.

Another indication that things are heating up is the fact that the U.S. State Department has ordered all non-essential personnel to leave Iraq immediately

The U.S. military put its forces in Iraq on high alert, and the State Department ordered all nonemergency employees Wednesday to leave the country immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran. Some U.S. allies have expressed skepticism about the Trump administration’s claims that Iran poses a growing threat.

Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman at the U.S. military’s Central Command, said in a statement that there were “possibly imminent threats to U.S. forces in Iraq” as he sought to clarify contradictory remarks by a British commander Tuesday.

That is the kind of move that you make if you believe that a military conflict is imminent.

On the other side, Iran’s president has just decided to seek “expanded, wartime executive powers”

Iran’s president has told a group of clerics that he is seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to better deal with an “economic war” triggered by the Trump administration’s pullout from the nuclear deal and escalating U.S. sanctions.

The state IRNA news agency reported late Monday that President Hassan Rouhani cited the 1980s war with Iraq, when a wartime supreme council was able to bypass other branches to make decisions regarding the economy and the war.

We desperately need someone to cool things down, and instead Trump is surrounded by war hawks like National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and it is being reported that Trump is becoming quite frustrated with them

Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking, said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations Trump had regarding national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed,” the official said. “There was a scramble for Bolton and Pompeo and others to get on the same page.”

Hopefully Trump can find a peaceful way out of this mess, because a war with Iran would be the kind of war that nobody wins.

Sadly, a lot of Americans believe that a war with Iran is inevitable.  In fact, one recent survey discovered that 51 percent of all Americans believe that the U.S. and Iran will go to war “within the next few years”…

The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year’s poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.

Let us pray for peace, but without a doubt we live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and many believe that it is just a matter of time before peace is taken from the Earth.

But at this point, it is hard to imagine how anyone can possibly believe that a war with Iran would be a positive thing for the United States.

We have already witnessed the nightmares that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became, and a war with Iran would be many magnitudes worse.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9844

Geologist: A Yellowstone Eruption “Would Destroy Most Of America”

by Tyler Durden

Tue, 05/21/2019 – 20:05

A geologist has said that if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, it would destroy most of the United States, all but wiping the country off of the map. Dr. Jerzy Zaba is importantly not predicting that the volcano is going to erupt soon, but simply stating that it does have the power to destroy humanity and life as we know it.

According to Tech WP, Dr. Zaba says that Yellowstone, if it erupted in a similar manner as it did 640,000 years ago, it would destroy much of the United States. Dr. Zaba, who is a geologist at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, said the mass explosion is completely unavoidable although it’s impossible to say when that explosion will occur. In addition to the annihilation of the United States, the geologist also says about 5 billion other people will starve to death in the volcanoes aftermath: a volcanic winter.

It is forecasted that if there was an explosion similar to the one from 640,000. for years, it would destroy most of the United States. Discarded materials would cover everything with a meter layer within a radius of 500 km. And due to the emission of a huge amount of dust, gases or sulfur oxide to the atmosphere, there would be a temporary cooling of the climate. Sulfur oxide would create a thin veil of sulfuric acid around the planet reflecting sunlight. [This] would persist for many years. It is estimated that due to climate change about five billion people would starve to death. The scenario of such an explosion can be seen in the documentary film “Superwulkan – disaster scenario”. This is, of course, a catastrophic film, but a lot of scientific truth in it. –Dr. Jerzy Zaba, via Tech WP

An eruption at Yellowstone would cause the Earth’s temperature to plummet as the sulfuric acid would reflect the sunlight, making growing food difficult across the globe.

As more talk is made by geologists that suggest that the supervolcanoes are “waking up” around the world, the fears will simultaneously spike. That doesn’t mean an eruption will happen anytime soon, only that Earth will experience another supervolcano eruption in the future.

Recently, there was even talk that the Laacher See volcano 650 kilometers from the Polish border has “come to life“. When that volcano last erupted nearly 13 thousand years ago, the population living in its vicinity died out. Europe also then suffered from several colder years of “volcanic winter”.

Experts still say there is no reason to fear a supervolcano eruption just yet, but understanding the devastation that we will all face sooner or later is important in the advancement of science and human survival.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9841

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

May 21, 2019 by Michael Snyder

It looks like global food production could be well below expectations in 2019, and that could spell big trouble in the months ahead.  In recent weeks, I have written extensively about the problems that we have been experiencing here in the United States.  As many as a million calves were lost to the flooding that hit the state of Nebraska in March, farmers have planted less than half of the corn that is normally in the ground by this time of the year, and a lot of the crops that have been planted in the middle of the country are really struggling due to extremely wet soil.  But it isn’t just the United States that is facing a very troubling year.  Earlier today, one of my readers sent me an article entitled “Global food crisis ahead as extreme weather events devastate crops and fields around the world” which I would encourage everyone to read.  In that article, we are told that after the worst drought in 116 years Australia has actually been forced to import wheat.  And according to the Guardian, this is the first time in 12 years that this has happened…

Australia is planning to import wheat for the first time in 12 years after drought across the eastern states saw grain production fall 20% last year.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources confirmed this week it had issued a bulk import permit to allow wheat to be brought in from Canada to be processed for the domestic market.

Normally, Australia exports a tremendous amount of wheat.

In fact, they were the fifth largest exporter of wheat in the entire world last year.

But now they are having to bring wheat in from Canada, and that is a very ominous sign.

The article on Strange Sounds also detailed crop failures in Italy, France, Mexico and Argentina.  I will not reproduce all of that information here.

But one major crop failure that was missed in that article is the massive rice crop failure in the Philippines

More than P350 million worth of damage on rice crops due to drought was recorded by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA)-Capiz.

Per damage assessment report as of May 10, OPA information officer Florie May Castro said the damage on rice crops already reached P358,452,650 in the entire province of Capiz due to the dry spell.

All over the world, crops are being devastated by floods, drought and colder than expected temperatures, and many are desperately hoping for a return to normalcy for global weather patterns.

Things are particularly bad in North Korea.  At this point, hardly any rain at all has fallen so far in 2019…

The rainfall is the lowest amount since 1982. Thus far in May, North Korea has seen 0.02 inches of rain. However, Pyongyang City, Nampho City, Kangwon Province and North and South Hwanghae provinces have seen no rainfall.

According to KCNA, if precipitation for the rest of May does not exceed 50% of the average annual precipitation, North Korea’s January to May rainfall totals will be about 3 inches, the lowest amount ever recorded for that time period.

With so little rain, farmers have had an exceedingly difficult time growing anything at all, and at this point the nation is facing an enormous food deficit

Adding to the struggles is a widespread food shortage. The United Nations reported earlier this month that North Korea has a food deficit of 1.36 million metric tons. The 2018-2019 food crop production is an estimated 4.9 million metric tons, the lowest since the 2008-2009 season.

On top of everything else, let us not forget that African Swine Fever is absolutely devastating the global pig population.

According to the Hill, it is being projected that 200 million hogs could die from the disease in China alone…

Pork prices are expected rise as African swine fever decimates Chinese pigs, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

McDonald’s, Burger King, Jimmy Dean and Dunkin’ all reportedly expect sausage and bacon prices to rise this year as China has to import pigs to make up for the 200 million hogs that are expected to die from the disease.

To put that in perspective, that is more pigs than the entire U.S. pork industry produces in an entire year.  For much more on this ongoing crisis, please see my previous article entitled ‘“An Estimated 150-200 Million Pigs” Have Been Hit By A Global Plague Of Biblical Proportions’.

Here in the United States, endless rain and unprecedented flooding have been the biggest problems.  The previous 12 months have been the wettest in all of U.S. history, and the middle of the country just got hammered by yet another series of severe storms

Heavy rain, high winds and hail has swept across the central states, bringing devastation to the region during a brutally wet spring period, leaving 22 million people braced for more flash flooding.

Four million residents were under a flash flood ’emergency warning’ on Tuesday morning, including in Oklahoma, where as much as five feet of water entered homes in Hominy, to the northeast of the state.

Some 22 tornadoes have been reported so far across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Missouri, while rescue crews in boats pulled at least 50 people from flood waters as heavy downpours inundated roads and homes, said Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency.

Our planet is changing, and global weather patterns are going to keep shifting.  The “new normal” is going to look a whole lot different from the “old normal”, and we all need to get prepared for a very uncertain future.

Even during the good years, the world has really struggled to feed everyone.

Now that we are facing catastrophic crop failures all over the planet, what will we do?

Many believe that a global food crisis is looming, and without a doubt U.S. consumers will soon be paying much higher prices when they visit the grocery store.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9837

What Is Causing Extremely Bizarre Weather Patterns To Hammer The Middle Of The U.S. Over And Over Again?

May 19, 2019 by Michael Snyder

The middle of the country has never seen anything quite like this.  As 2019 began, the central portion of the nation was relentlessly hammered by bitter cold and massive snow storms, and many were hoping for better things once spring arrived.  But then in March the flooding began, and it hasn’t stopped since.  In fact, this is already the longest we have seen flooding along the Mississippi River since 1927, and there is no end in sight.  By the time it is all said and done, all of the old records will probably be completely shattered.  Meanwhile, powerful storms continue to pound the heartland every few days.  Over the weekend, huge storms struck the middle of the country on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and more are expected on Monday.  So what is causing such extremely bizarre weather to happen?  Is there a reason why weather patterns have shifted so dramatically, or is all of this just a really, really strange coincidence?

Nobody can possibly claim that what we are witnessing is “normal”.  According to the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the last year has been the “wettest 12-month period in recorded history” for the lower 48 states…

The continental United States just recorded its wettest 12-month period in recorded history, while also moving one step closer to being drought-free, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Needless to say, all of this wet weather has caused a tremendous amount of flooding, and at this point this is the longest-lasting Mississippi River flood since 1927

Mississippi River flooding has been ongoing for three months or longer in some locations, making it the longest-lasting flood there since the Great Flood of 1927, the worst flood in modern history on the lower Mississippi River.

Take Vicksburg, Mississippi, for example.

The Mississippi River went above flood stage there on Feb. 17, and has remained in flood ever since. The National Weather Service said this is the longest continuous stretch above flood stage since 1927 at Vicksburg.

And since there is no end in sight for the flooding, all of the old records may end up being broken by a very wide margin.

Very weird weather is happening out west too.  In fact, several feet of snow just fell in the mountains of California

Parts of California still resemble a scene out of winter, with a series of storms bringing several feet of snow to mountain areas, ahead of a “significant” severe weather threat across the nation’s midsection.

The National Weather Service said that a series of Pacific storms are bringing heavy rain, mountain snow, and gusty winds across the West. A winter storm warning was issued Wednesday night that will run through Friday morning for the southern Sierra Nevada.

In every year there are moments of bad weather.  But that isn’t what we are talking about.  In 2019, it is as if we are being hit with a sledgehammer day after day after day.

Of course this has been absolutely disastrous for agricultural production.  At this point, U.S. farmers have planted less than half the corn that they were expected to plant by now.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Total Catastrophe For U.S. Corn Production: Only 30% Of U.S. Corn Fields Have Been Planted – 5 Year Average Is 66%”.

We like to think that we are not vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather thanks to all of our advanced technology, but that is not true at all.

And over the weekend, things got even worse.

Starting on Friday and Saturday, a string of immensely powerful storms devastated communities all over the Midwest

A plethora of tornado reports began rolling in Friday in Nebraska and Kansas. On Saturday, almost a dozen were reported in Texas and Oklahoma. In Texas, the National Weather Service Abilene/San Angelo concluded that an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 135 mph damage homes in San Angelo.

Dru Lewis was hunkered down with his family as the storm battered his home.

“There was a suction … from under the door, I could feel it,” he said. “Then all the windows just exploded. It was just chaos from there until the storm died down.”

Then on Sunday, more huge storms produced literally dozens of tornadoes across the region…

Severe thunderstorms continued to rumble across parts of the U.S. Sunday, damaging buildings in Louisiana after spawning more than three dozen reports of tornadoes across five states.

Several homes and businesses were damaged and power lines and trees were down throughout Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, after severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes moved through the area early Sunday morning. The town of Ville Platte, about 76 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, was especially hard hit.

Unfortunately, there is still more to come.  In fact, an entirely new weather system will hit the middle of the country on Monday

On Monday, a new system will develop off the High Plains and slide east into the Southern Plains. The dry line will interact with an increasingly moist and unstable air mass that will develop across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Unfortunately, that means very favorable conditions for violent severe weather in parts of this region.

We are being told that the storms on Monday could affect nearly 50 million people.

For a long time I have been warning that global weather patterns are dramatically changing, but at first a lot of people wanted to argue that it wasn’t true.

Well, these days the number of people that want to claim that I am wrong has gone way down.

Of course throughout all of human history weather patterns have always been changing, and so change isn’t something that is new.

But the changes that we are witnessing in our time appear to be taking an apocalyptic turn, and nobody is exactly sure what is going to happen next…

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9828

Turkish Lira Tumbles After Trump Terminates Preferential Trade Agreement In Retaliation For S-400 Order

by Tyler Durden

Thu, 05/16/2019 – 21:13

For months, the Trump administration had been warning, at first, then outright threatening Turkey against following through with an agreement struck last year to purchase the advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system, and despite several “fake news” reports that Erdogan had canceled the deal with Moscow, Turkey ultimately said it would go ahead and receive the Russian missiles, demonstrative flipping off its NATO allies.

But if Erdogan was hoping that Trump would be all bark and no bite when it comes to retaliating against this painfully obvious snub of its “western” allies, well he had another thing coming.

Late on Thursday, the Turkish lira suddenly tumbled when Washington made it clear that this aggression will not stand, and the White House said it had terminated a preferential trade agreement with Turkey, finding the country no longer needed help as a developing country. However, the US did halve tariffs on Turkish steel from 50% to 25%.

Stating that Turkey received the preferential treatment in 1975 under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which allows products to enter the US duty-free, US President Donald Trump said in the proclamation, “I have determined that, based on its level of economic development, it is appropriate to terminate Turkey’s designation as a beneficiary developing country effective May 17, 2019.”

“Consistent with my determination that it is appropriate to terminate the designation of Turkey as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP, effective May 17, 2019, I have determined to remove it from the list of developing country WTO Members exempt from application of the safeguard measures on CSPV products and large residential washers,” the proclamation said.

Mitigating the move, the White House also said that it will “remove the higher tariff on steel imports from Turkey” and instead impose a 25 percent ad valorem tariff on the imports from Turkey, “commensurate with the tariff imposed on such articles imported from most countries.”

White House explained that the change is due to imports of steel articles from Turkey falling by 48% in 2018, “with the result that the domestic industry’s capacity utilization has improved at this point to approximately the target level recommended” in Commerce Sec.’s report.

In March, US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer noted the administration’s intention to remove Turkey from the list of nations benefiting from the GSP.

The announcement comes at a very painful time for Turkey, which has been gripped in a stagflationary recession since March 2019, which has sent the Lira plunging, while the country’s inflation has soared. Predictably, with traders already on edge, and looking at how the US could retaliate for Erdogan’s unwillingness to budge on the Russian S-400 order,  the Turkish lira tumbled as much as 1%, as the USDTRY spiked from 6.058 to 6.10 before recouping some losses.

Earlier today, Moody’s warned that if the Turkish government didn’t put forward “a credible broad-based plan to address the structural issues” and avoid a downgrade, “and in the near-term dampen the market volatility pressure on the lira,” it would result in a downgrading of the country’s sovereign credit rating.

According to Moody’s, the Turkish government’s interest payments rose over 30% in nominal terms in 2018 and almost 50% in the first three months of 2019. The credit rating agency said it expects interest payments to reach 8.2% of government revenue this year, up from a mere 5.9% in 2017, “eroding” the government’s fiscal strength.

But the bigger risk facing Turkey is that the amount of foreign denominated debt repayments for the balance of 2019 exceed the nation’s entire stock of FX reserves, excluding gold.

Which means that within a few months, Erdogan may be forced to make the same choice as Venezuela: liquidate the nation’s gold ,or hyperinflate. The third option, admit defeat and beg for an IMF bailout will never happen as long as “executive president” Erdogan is in charge.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9825

US official: Iranian missiles spotted on boats in Gulf

Washington reveals key concern behind military buildup, citing worries over Iranian ‘intent’ in strategic shipping area

By AFP 16 May 2019, 9:47 pm 0

WASHINGTON — A US official said Thursday that Iranian missiles loaded on small boats in the Persian Gulf were among the “threats” that have triggered a beefed-up military deployment in the region.

“The missiles on civilian boats are a concern,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

The person was confirming reports in The New York Times saying that Washington reacted to aerial photos from US intelligence agencies showing traditional boats carrying Iranian missiles in the Gulf, one of the world’s most strategic waterways.

The fully-assembled missiles were loaded on the boats by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which the US has designated a “foreign terrorist organization,” the newspaper reported.

 “What the military and the intelligence are concerned about is the intent,” the US official told AFP.

The Trump administration has been ramping up pressure on Tehran for the past 10 days, reinforcing its military presence in the Gulf region to ward off what it warned were Iranian threats to US assets and allies there, without providing any evidence of the danger.

The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, did not deny the shipment of the missiles in an interview with National Public Radio.

“We have to prepare ourselves,” he said. “I am not in a position to talk about military preparedness in Iran. But what I can tell you is that all these allegations are part of fake allegations which are being directed against Iran to prepare something like a conflict or something like a war.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9822

Missouri passes “one of the strongest” abortion bills yet in U.S.

May 16, 2019 / 7:34 AM / CBS/AP

Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law. The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday.

It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.

Republican Senate handler Sen. Andrew Koenig described it on Thursday as “one of the strongest” abortion bills yet passed in the U.S.

As CBS News’ Kate Smith has reported, Missouri already has some of the most restrictive abortion access laws in the country. Missourians seeking an abortion are subject to a 72-hour waiting period and only one abortion clinic exist in the state.

Missouri joins a movement of GOP-dominated state legislatures emboldened by the possibility that a more conservative Supreme Court could overturn its landmark ruling legalizing the procedure. Its senators voted only hours after Alabama’s governor signed the most stringent abortion ban in the nation on Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

Outnumbered Missouri Senate Democrats launched into an attack on the bill before Republican supporters had a chance to bring it up for debate on the Senate floor.

“So much of this bill is just shaming women into some kind of complacency that says we are vessels of pregnancy rather than understanding that women’s lives all hold different stories,” St. Louis-area Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said.

Missouri is among a growing number of states where abortion opponents are working with renewed enthusiasm following President Donald Trump’s appointment of more conservative high court justices. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Similar restrictions in North Dakota and Iowa have been struck down in court.

Supporters say the Alabama bill is intentionally designed to conflict with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally in hopes of sparking a court case that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights.

Missouri’s bill also includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies. But unlike Alabama’s, it would kick in only if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

If courts don’t allow Missouri’s proposed eight-week ban to take effect, it includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits ranging from 14 to 20 weeks. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion up until viability, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

“This is not a piece of legislation that is designed for a challenge,” Missouri’s Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr said. “This is the type of legislation that is designed to withstand a challenge and to actually save lives in our state.”

Republicans and Democrats worked for hours to reach a compromise on the bill, which included an expansion of tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers, and waters down other provisions.

The approved version of the wide-ranging bill bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a “prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome.” It also requires that both parents be notified for a minor to get an abortion, but a change was made after hours of late-night negotiations to remove the requirement when a parent lacks legal or physical custody. Current law requires written consent from only one parent.

Still, some lawmakers on both sides of the debate walked away unhappy.

Democrat Schrupp said even after changes, it’s “an extreme and egregious piece of legislation that puts women’s health at risk.”

“It is outrageous that it has no exemptions for victims of human trafficking, rape or incest,” she said.

Republican Sen. Bob Onder said negotiators went too far to compromise, leaving the bill “a shadow of what it once was.”

“This should be entitled not the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,'” Onder told colleagues on the Senate floor, “but the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, sort of kind of only after the minority party and the strongest Planned Parenthood lawyers in the country were done with the bill.'”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9819

US Orders All Non-Essential Staff Out Of Iraq As Iran Vows To Defeat The ‘American-Zionist Alliance’, Says We Are On Cusp Of ‘Full-Scale Confrontation’ With The Enemy

The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday: “We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy,” the Fars news agency reported. The official’s comments come amid spiraling U.S.-Iranian tensions and the arrival of a major U.S. aircraft carrier group to the region, and on the heels of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Moscow. The Kremlin said Pompeo’s visit failed to allay its concerns over the ongoing crisis.

by Geoffrey Grider May 15, 2019

Iran will defeat the American and Israeli alliance, Iran’s Minister of Defense Amir Hatami said on Wednesday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. “We will defeat the American-Zionist front,” he said.

What started out as potentially mere sabre rattling has morphed into a legitimate brewing confrontation between Iran and the United States. With the arrival today of the USS Abraham Lincoln to the Gulf of Oman, things have just ‘gotten real’ for all the major players in the Gulf region. Even Russia weighed in to defend their allies Syria and Iran.

“The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked. Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion. Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up: Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.” Psalm 129:4-7 (KJV)

Bolstered by recent deals and armament supplies from Russia and China (well hello there, prophet Ezekiel!), Iran and Syria  have been itching for a fight with Israel. Iran has been waging a proxy war with the Jews through a group called the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for quite some time now. But it’s safe to assume the Iranians were not counting on President Trump sending such a large contingent. The Daily Mail UK even ran a story earlier saying that Trump was considering also sending 120,000 ground troops which was immediately denied by Washington. But one thing is for sure, an enormous American military armada has arrived, how will the Iranians now respond?

Iran Vows to Defeat ‘American-Zionist Alliance’ as Putin Warns Against U.S. Pressure

FROM HAARETZ: The official’s comments come amid spiraling U.S.-Iranian tensions and the arrival of a major U.S. aircraft carrier group to the region, and on the heels of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Moscow. The Kremlin said Pompeo’s visit failed to allay its concerns over the ongoing crisis.

Pompeo made surprise visit to Baghdad this month after U.S. intelligence showed Iran-backed Shi’ite militias positioning rockets near bases housing U.S. forces, according to two Iraqi security sources.

He told Iraq’s top brass to keep the militias, which are expanding their power in Iraq and now form part of its security apparatus, in check, the sources said. If not, the U.S. would respond with force.

As tensions between Washington and Tehran increase, Iraq finds itself caught between neighbouring Iran, whose regional influence has grown in recent years, and the United States. “The message from the Americans was clear. They wanted guarantees that Iraq would stop those groups threatening U.S. interests,” a senior Iraqi military source with knowledge of Pompeo’s trip said.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Moscow is concerned over mounting tensions and defended Iran’s actions as a legitimate response to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.

The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday: “We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy,” the Fars news agency reported.

Major General Hossein Salami, named head of the force last month, added: “This moment in history, because the enemy has stepped into the field of confrontation with us with all the possible capacity, is the most decisive moment of the Islamic revolution.”

The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and its supporting group of ships arrived Wednesday at the Gulf of Oman, ahead of a planned passage through the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has given European countries a 60-day deadline to negotiate a new nuclear deal Tehran or it would start enriching uranium to higher levels than outlined in the current agreement.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9816

And So It Begins: Iran Blamed For Attack On Saudi Oil Tankers – Pentagon Plan Would Send “120,000 Troops To The Middle East”

May 13, 2019 by Michael Snyder

As if on cue, a mysterious attack on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz has brought us to the brink of an apocalyptic war in the Middle East.  On Sunday, four commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf, including two Saudi oil tankers, were seriously damaged in deeply disturbing “sabotage attacks” that immediately sent shockwaves across the entire Middle East.  Nobody took responsibility for the attacks, and at first nobody was being blamed, but now an “initial U.S. assessment” is pointing a finger at Iran.  The following comes from the Wall Street Journal

An initial U.S. assessment indicated Iran likely was behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. official said, a finding that, if confirmed, would further inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The assessment, while not conclusive, was the first suggestion by any nation that Iran was responsible for the attack and comes after a series of U.S. warnings against aggression by Iran or its allies and proxies against military or commercial vessels in the region.

And an article in the Daily Mail had some more specific details about the U.S. assessment…

An American military team’s initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives Sunday to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. official said Monday.

The official said each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team’s early belief is that the holes were caused by explosive charges.

So here we go.

If President Trump can be convinced that Iran was behind the attack, he will probably want to “send them a message”.

And if Iran strikes back militarily, events may begin to spiral out of control very rapidly.

On Monday, before we knew the outcome of the U.S. assessment, Trump directly threatened the Iranians

President Donald Trump threatened Iran with a “bad problem” Monday following news that Saudi Arabian oil tankers were sabotaged near the Persian Gulf.

“It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens, I can tell you that,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office. “They’re not going to be happy.”

Asked to clarify what he meant by a “bad problem,” Trump responded: “You can figure it out yourself. They know what I mean by it.”

It seems so crazy to think that we could soon be at war with Iran, but events seem to be rapidly pushing us in that direction.

Even before the attacks on the oil tankers, U.S. officials had already come up with a plan to possibly send “up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East”.  The following comes from Axios

At the direction of national security adviser John Bolton, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan last week presented top White House national security officials with a plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran “attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons,” the New York Times reports.

Details: The plan was reportedly presented during a meeting about the Trump administration’s broader Iran policy, attended — among others — by Bolton, CIA director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

The New York Times pointed out that a similar number of troops were used when the U.S. invaded Iraq.

But Iran is not Iraq.  The Iranians have a military force that is vastly superior to what the Iraqis had at that time, and Iran has also developed weapons that possess immense destructive power.

From a strategic standpoint, the worst thing that the U.S. could do would be to stage 120,000 troops in just a handful of locations directly across the Persian Gulf from Iran.  Rather than just sit there and wait to be invaded, the Iranians would likely strike the bases where our troops are being staged.  With the weapons that the Iranians now possess, the losses would be absolutely catastrophic.

Let us hope that nothing like that ever happens.

If the U.S. just sends air and naval assets into the region, the Iranians will probably not act rashly.  But if the U.S. actually decided to deploy 120,000 troops, the Iranians would definitely consider it an existential threat, and they would use everything at their disposal to survive.

Iran has been planning for this conflict for many years, and the U.S. should not rush into such a war without seriously considering the consequences.

Surprisingly, even the British are urging caution

‘We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side,’ Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned.

‘Most of all, we need to make sure we don’t end up putting Iran back on the path to renuclearization. Because if Iran becomes a nuclear power, its neighbors are likely to want to become nuclear powers. This is already the most unstable region in the world, and this would be a massive step in the wrong direction.’

We are truly living in apocalyptic times, and it isn’t going to take much to take peace from the Earth.

One more thing – if the U.S. goes to war with Iran, the Iranians have already promised to hit Israel extremely hard in response.

And if Iranian missiles start flying at Israel, the Israelis will hit back even harder.

Both sides possess weapons of absolutely immense power, and so we could be talking about death and destruction on an apocalyptic scale.

Nobody should want to see such a war, because that would be the kind of war that nobody wins.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9813