Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Iraqi Forces Break ISIS Siege But the Writing On The Wall Says “Persia is Moving In”

By Walid Shoebat

In Amerli, ISIS tasted a bitter defeat and the Iraqi military announced Sunday it had broken a siege of the town of Amerli by forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), hours after the United States launched an air campaign to assist Iraqi civilians there.

The U.S. airstrikes, though limited, had been a decisive factor in the breaking of the siege allowing Iraqi forces and militia to stage a coordinated assault on ISIS-held towns in the area. About 15,000 Shiite Turkmen residents of the town of Amerli had entrenched themselves to resist the march of ISIS forces across northern Iraq.

Whether the U.S. likes it or not, they are aiding and abetting Iran in order to defeat the ISIS.

Speaking live on state TV, General Moussawi said that breaking the siege was a “big achievement and an important victory” for all involved: the Iraqi army, elite troops, Kurdish fighters and Shia militias, he said.

About 15,000 Shia Turkmens were stranded in the farming community, about 170km north of Baghdad but instead of fleeing in the face of ISIS the Shia Turkmens stayed and fortified their positions.
Residents succeeded in fending off the initial attack in June, but Amerli has been surrounded by the ISIS since mid-July.

Shoebat.com brought scenes from Middle Eastern sources that show the jubilant forces led by Haj Al-A’meri after the defeat of ISIS:

Viewing the story from sources in English does not convey the sectarian nature of this battle.
Just by translating the statement (see 2:58) should open the eyes of westerners when Al-Ameri says:

“This solidarity that happened between the [Shiite] Jihadis is credited to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. By his fatwa, he unified the Mujahideen, he unified all of us. We fight each next to each other as a fortress.”

A “Jihadi” is a “Jihadi” is a “Jihadi” regardless of being Sunni or Shiite, sooner or later this Muslim Cain will kill his Christian or Jewish brother Abel.

Here is their anthem with scenes of their battles against ISIS:

So what are these saying?

Earthquake
We scream in the face of death
We are the Ali Brigades
Earthquake

Fasten close to my heart
The love of Ali as a shield

Principle #1 for westerners to understand the sectarian issue; Ali is the icon of the Shiites and Abu Bakr is the icon of the Sunnis and the Sufi Turks unite both. This is a sectarian affair that cannot and will not end until the Turks intervene.

For now, the Shiite Iraqi Sistani is the one calling the shots in Iraq. He is of almost mythological stature to millions of followers in Iraq and beyond, has seized his most active role in politics in a decade.

 

Sistani rules from the holy city of Najaf and has asserted his dominance over public affairs, demanding politicians choose a new government without delay and potentially hastening the end of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s eight-year tenure.

Sistani, an Iranian born Shia and is considered Iraq’s most respected leader. His fatwa, or religious ruling, is expected to galvanize a significant movement from within Iraq’s majority-Shia population. Al-Sistani is, after all, the most influential voice for Iraq’s estimated 20 million Shia faithful.

Despite his identification as a sectarian leader, the 84-year-old Sistani has been so far thought to be by westerners as a moderating influence in Iraqi politics.

Iran, Washington’s principal adversary in the region and a Shia power, has mobilized its elite Quds forces from its Revolutionary Guards. But Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, has reportedly assured al-Maliki that Iran will not invade.

But wisdom says that we should read the writing on the wall, the king of Babylon’s days are numbered and Iran will soon be moving in and another great enemy will arise against the U.S. and Israel.

Evidence to this is that WISDOM should dictate that no matter who removes terrorists and dictators, the U.S. policies will never work since from the era of Ronald Reagan to Obama, every time the U.S. tried to aid Muslims to defeat an enemy, it backfired. When the U.S. aided the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Russians during Reagan, it gave birth to the Taliban. Removing dictators has also proved disastrous under Obama. Today they want to aid the Kurds and tomorrow the Kurds will turn against the U.S. and Israel. Today we aid the Turks and the Turks will end up against us if it already hasn’t. The only solid method is to keep what the wisest of Sykes Picot have installed which was designed to keep the Islamists bound in the pit of hell. Anything else will unleash the pit of hell upon humanity. What the west has been doing in the last two decades is removing what has restrained this arising beast:

“And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8)

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6642

The Demonic Turkish Iranian Alliance Just Begun in the Land of Antichrist

Clearly this alliance will happen! Mecca will be destroyed! At a minimum this is part of Gog Magog!

 

TS

 

By Walid Shoebat (Shoebat Exclusive)

Reports from the Middle East covered what is probably considered one of the most important events for Turkey’s advancement into the Muslim world during the three days (July 17 to 19) which was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The impressive initiative was carried out by the religious affairs in Turkey, under the auspices and support of prominent Turkish government with a list of invitees for more than 100 of the top Muslim religious figures from around the world, representing about 35 Islamic states mainly carried out by Turkish participation in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu were the main speakers.

An important interview regarding these recent events in which even Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the most prominent Muslim scholar in the Sunni Muslim world made comments announcing Erdogan and Turkey as the center for the new rising Islamic Caliphate which can be read [here].

The star of the conference was Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. What is interesting is that the attending supporters who were commenting described Erdogan’s speech as “deserving to be called the speech of a Caliph”.

Erdogan is already being titled “Caliph” and it is no secret that this call came in light of the consequences taking place in Iraq, Syria and other countries after the Iraqi Caliphate has stretched over a large part of Iraqi territory.

This is the first conference called for by the Turkish officials at this level in terms of the nature of the invitees of Islamist figures from both Sunnis and Shiites. In fact and surprisingly, the Iranian delegation was the largest delegation to attend the conference, headed by Supreme Leader Advisor Sheikh Mohammad Ali Taskhiri. Another important note is the absence of Egyptian officials or Wahhabist figures.

Reporter Ali Al-Amin from Middle East Transparency described the event as “a craft design by the Turkish government. Careful care was made to prevent the breakup of the conference since the attendants were both Sunni and Shiite.”

The Iranian delegates were careful and remained silent on the Sunni-Shiite divide focusing solely on the support of Gaza and Palestine which was the main focus of the event billed as an attempt to reduce sectarian tensions and to focus on liberating Jerusalem.

Al-Amin chatted with several reporters and participants who said that there was something developing between Iran and Turkey.

The conference formed the initiative committee of seven figures where two were Shiites from Iraq and Iran, and the rest Sunnis in which the Commission adopted Istanbul as it base.

This event marks a new Turkish entry into the region. It may be ambitious and it is certain that Turkey, according to Turkish officials, according to the words of Erdogan himself, decided not to enter any party in the sectarian conflict but intends to use his Sufi brand of Islam to unite the entire Muslim world.

It is crucial to note that the Sufi brand of Islam is mystical, shamanistic and comprises one-fifth of the Muslim world and can transform educated men into zombies to generate even a fiercer warrior than what we see in the ISIS.

Far from Wahhabism, Sufism is the most dangerous, not only that because it teaches tremendous violence since it was the Sufis who are the muscle and sinew of the faith advancing it to become the world’s second-largest religion.

Sufis are not simply a sect of Islam, but rather heirs of an ancient mystical tradition within both the Sunni and Shia branches of the faith combining their inward quest with war and expansion worldwide while uniting the two sects of Shiite and Sunni brands of Islam. The event definitely advances an a Turkish-Iranian alliance.

Shoebat.com has previously showed what Sufism does with its Shamanistic practices:

The French did an excellent research in showing what seems to be pure demonic possession in which the demonic influence produces strange bark-like noises (start 2:00):

But this is not only done to infuse strange spirits into the souls of men, the Sufis are the most demonically possessed fighters. Sufism is what makes Chechen fighters fierce. Christians need to understand what process is used in mystic Islam to comprehend the biblical warnings of the type of warriors whom the system of Antichrist produces in which the demonic bark-like sounds are clearly heard even in group sessions:

Sufism is also the ecumenical force in which it is the best uniting factor between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Sunni Sufis adore Shiite icons and like Shiites are mystical and charismatic and even provides a link between Islam and shamanism.

In contemporary Muslim culture Sufism introduced the old practice of shamanism as it was combined with elements of Sufism in order to adapt to wider Islamic society. Shamanistic Sufi Islam thus expands deeply into Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans and shows how the Muslim shaman, like his Siberian counterpart, cultivates personal relations with spirits to supposedly help individuals through what they believe as healing and divination.

This ‘Islamized shamanism’, covering the geographic areas of modern-day Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan, northern Afghanistan, the Turkoman province of Iran and even the Uygur district of Xinjian province of China will play a major role in the end times and we predict that the Antichrist is likely to be Sufi.

Turkey is especially plagued with Sufi Islam and Edorgan was raised as a Sufi Muslim and Shamanism pervaded Turkish Sufism which naive western tourists are fascinated with when they watch Dervishes who spin and rotate as they get into a trance. Shia Islam in Iran follows metaphysical Sufism, and pre-Islamic shamanism. The figure of the shaman has always been a prominent motif within the Islamic world, particularly in relation to the mystical domain of Sufism.

This explains what Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel and John warned about how Lucifer dominates the region, stemming from Pergamum (Turkey).

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6603

Iran says ‘little chance’ of reaching nuclear deal with West by November

Iran’s foreign minister said he believed it was unlikely a final-status agreement would be reached with the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program within the time frame that has been allotted in the negotiations.

“The chances that we will come to final understandings within the four months remaining are low,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Zarif added that even if the parties come to a deal by the November deadline, they would still need more time to flesh out the fine print.

The foreign minister said the talks could lead to “quick results” if the P5+1 powers – the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany – display the necessary will. He said that in recent months, the discussions have proceeded carefully, although there has been progress.

In July, Iran and the six powers agreed to extend the talks after both sides were unable to reach an agreement. The main dispute centered on the question of the extent to which Iran would be permitted to enrich uranium.

The powers demanded the Islamic Republic reduce the number of centrifuges to a symbolic few, while the Iranians countered with a proposal to increase the number of centrifuges and to subject them under international inspection.

This past Wednesday, Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying that Washington has become increasingly hostile to Iran.

“There’s no point in engaging in direct negotiations with Washington,” he said.

The moderate camp, led by President Hassan Rouhani, believes Iran must reach an agreement immediately, particularly in order to boost the Iranian economy. The West has shown greater interest in investing in the Iranian economy, as evidenced by the 30 percent increase in oil exports.

“Cowards, go to hell,” Rouhani said of the conservatives in Iran, this during the same week in which Iran’s central bank received the final payment of funds that were frozen – $500 million, out of a total of $4.2b.

Another matter on the agenda that remains to be dealt with is regional dilemmas, particularly the emergence of the Islamic State. Military analysts believe that the organization is setting its sights on Iran.

“The real goal of Islamic State is to get to Iran,” wrote the Iraqi military analyst, Said Bazuka. “They misled the Iraqi military, making it think that it was on its way to Baghdad, but they turned toward Irbil since their real destination from the start has always been Khankin, near the eastern border with Iran. Islamic State’s real target is Iran, and the Mojahedin e-Khalq [an opposition group dedicated to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic] are waiting to join Islamic State once they enter Iran.”

In light of this analysis, the Iranians are becoming increasingly worried about the looming threat posed by Islamic State.

Meanwhile, UN nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano will visit Iran on Sunday in an apparent attempt to push for progress in a long-running investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Tehran.

Amano’s trip comes ahead of an August 25 deadline for Iran to provide some information relevant to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inquiry into what it calls the possible military dimensions of the country’s disputed nuclear program.

Iran dismisses Western accusations that it has been working to develop a capability to assemble atomic weapons.

The visit – announced by the IAEA in Vienna on Friday – will be Amano’s first to Iran this year and the third since 2012.

Western officials say Iranian clarifications of the IAEA’s concerns would also advance efforts by six world powers to negotiate an end to a decade-old standoff over Tehran’s atomic activities, suggesting some sanctions relief may depend on it.

With major gaps remaining over the permissible future scope of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, the talks between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Britain and Russia were extended to November 24 during mid-July talks.

Iran says it is enriching uranium to generate electricity, and not to accumulate fissile material for a potential atomic bomb, as the West suspects.

Tehran rejects such suspicions as based on false and fabricated information from its enemies but has promised, since pragmatist Rouhani became president in mid- 2013, to work with the Vienna-based UN agency to clear them up.

Under a phased cooperation pact hammered out late last year, an attempt to jump-start the long-stalled IAEA investigation, Iran agreed in May to implement five nuclear transparency measures by August 25, two of which directly dealt with the nuclear bomb inquiry.

However, so far there have been no public indications of any movement by Iran on the agreed steps.

A brief statement issued by the UN agency on Friday said, without elaborating: “The director general of the IAEA…

will visit Iran for meetings on August 17 with Iranian leaders and senior officials.

The visit is part of the efforts to advance dialogue and cooperation between the agency and Iran.”

Diplomatic sources told Reuters in late July that the IAEA – which is tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the world – was concerned about Iran’s lack of engagement with the investigation.

They said there was still time for Iran to meet its commitments, noting Tehran had occasionally waited until the last minute to make concessions in the past.

But the slow pace of cooperation may reinforce an impression in the West about continuing Iranian reluctance to give the IAEA the information and access to sites and people that it says it needs for its investigation.

“Unless Iran addresses the IAEA’s concerns…the chance is reduced of successfully negotiating a long-term nuclear agreement between the [six powers] and Iran,” the Institute for Science and International Security think-tank said this month.

After years of what the West saw as Iranian stonewalling, Iran as a first step in May gave the IAEA information it had requested about its reasons for developing exploding-bridgewire detonators.

These can be used to set off an atomic explosive device but Iran says they are for civilian use.

Tehran agreed to clarify two other issues by late August – concerning alleged work on explosives and computer studies related to calculating nuclear explosive yields.

They were among 12 specific areas listed in an IAEA report issued in 2011 with a trove of intelligence indicating a concerted weapons program that was halted in 2003 – when Iran came under increased international pressure. The intelligence also suggested some activities may later have resumed.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6597

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad Will Continue Until America is No More

Reza Kahlili

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, all but said on Sunday that negotiations over the country’s illicit nuclear program are over and that the Islamic Republic’s ideals include destroying America.

“Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason,” Khamenei told a meeting of members of parliament, according to the regime’s Fars News Agency.

Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”

“The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself,” he said.

“Today’s world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor, dignity and morality who are equipped with knowledge, wealth and power, and under the pretense of humanity easily commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world.”

In response to a question by a parliamentarian on how long this battle will continue, Khamenei said,“Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought. … This requires a difficult and lengthy struggle and need for great strides.”

Khamenei cited the scientific advancement of the country. “The accelerated scientific advancement of the last 12 years cannot stop under any circumstances,” he said, referring to the strides the regime has made toward becoming a nuclear power.

As reported on May 19 on The Daily Caller, Iran has put up new roadblocks to reaching a deal with the P5+1 world powers over its illicit nuclear program. The powers are the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.

Three days of negotiations in the fourth round of Geneva meetings ended recently without concrete results when the Iranian team presented the country’s new “red lines” — diminishing any hope by the Obama administration to claim victory in its approach to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, according to reports from Iran.

The Obama administration had hoped that with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif showing an eagerness to solve the nuclear issue and address the West’s concerns, there would be a possibility for a negotiated solution. An interim agreement penned last November in Geneva was touted as an “historic nuclear deal.”

Under that agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, limited its enrichment activity to the 5 percent level with a current stockpile of over 10 tons (enough for six nuclear bombs), converted much of its 20 percent enriched stock to harmless oxide, and agreed to allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspections were limited to only agreed-upon facilities.

The Iranian delegation last week presented new red lines that could not be crossed, including the expansion of the country’s research and development for its nuclear program, the need of the country to continue enrichment, and the fact that the country’s ballistic missile program — despite U.N. sanctions — is not up for negotiation.

At the same time, IAEA officials met again with their Iranian counterparts last week in Tehran to discuss information on the work on detonators and needed collaboration by the regime to clear outstanding issues on its nuclear program as part of seven transparency steps Iran had agreed to fulfill by May 15, which has yet to take place.

iran missile

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6394

STRATEGIST WARNS OF NEW RUSSIAN THREAT: “IT WOULD BE THE GREATEST BLACKOUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY”

Russia’s control of valuable domestic resources puts them in a unique strategic position against the United States.

 

by Mac Slavo | SHTFPlan.com| May 19, 2014

 

Amid tensions between the United States and Russia in recent months many international analysts have warned of consequences that may include everything from thermo-nuclear detonations to asymmetric warfare such as financial cyber attacks, weapons of mass destruction, or targeting of the national utility grid.

The Obama administration has already begun implementing sanctions against Russian politicians and business interests, but rather than leading to a compromise the controversial geo-political maneuvers may be further fueling the fire. According to Marin Katusa, Chief Resource Strategist at Casey Research, Russia’s control of valuable domestic resources puts them in a unique strategic position against the United States and gives them significant leverage should they choose to implement sanctions of their own.  The country is rich in oil and gas, an advantage they have used time and again in negotiations with Europe by simply threatening to shut down gas pipelines if their demands weren’t met. But something most people don’t realize is that the Russians also dominate the rare earth metals sector, namely the mining of uranium.

If Russia were to restrict the export of that uranium, explains Katusa, life as we know it in the United States could come to an abrupt halt.

If that happened America’s lights would go out. It would be the greatest blackout in American history…

The irony is John Kerry is going out there with Obama and talking about all these sanctions they’re going to put on the Russians. If the Russians wanted they could pull the rug out from under the American energy matrix and 20%, one out of every five homes in America, would be in blackout.

You have to remember the facts… You can talk about hope and dreams all you want, but the reality is that one in every five homes in America is powered by Russian fuel.

In the following must listen interview with Future Money Trends, Marin Katusa delves into the facts behind America’s dependence not just on foreign oil, but uranium and other resources, and explains the repercussions should Russia choose to literally “pull the plug” on the United States.
In 2013 America consumed just over 45 million pounds [of uranium] and in the U.S. last year they produced just under 4.4 million pounds. So, depending on which numbers you want to use and what the actual recoveries are, somewhere confidently less than 10% but more likely somewhere around 6% to 7% [of the uranium Americans use is mined in the United States].

The U.S. imports over 90% of what they consume and that is a strategic issue when you think about the fact that 20% of base-load power is based on nuclear energy and they depend on 90% from imports… Americans should be in shock with that. On of that, half comes from the former USSR, what I call the Soviet influence.

Ironically, what people do forget is that the Russians produced more uranium on American soil than all the American companies combined, so that’s alarming.

For years the Obama administration, as well as their predecessors, have surrendered America’s energy independence to foreign interests. Americans are already familiar with the economic effects of oil embargos such as the one that lead to the 1973 crisis that quadrupled oil prices. Most recently, as tensions in the middle east rose in 2008, the price of gas rose nearly 40% in a single year and threatened America’s domestic strategic oil reserves.

Since the end of the cold war we’ve experienced a relatively stable trade relationship with Russia up until a few months ago when Ukraine exploded in revolution. Now Americans face a new energy threat that could, should Russia choose to exercise this option, lead to rolling blackouts across the United States and cause electricity prices to sky rocket almost overnight.

It’s a threat that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar, but one that could have an immediate impact on Americans’ way of life if Vladimir Putin decides he’s had enough of the political showmanship.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6383

US accepts Shahab-3s in Iran’s missile arsenal, but not long-range ICBMs. Deep resentment in Jerusalem

Two high-ranking US visitors to Israel, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, publicly assured Israel this month that the Obama administration “would do what it must” to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Yet at the same time, the same administration informed Tehran that the demand to restrict Iran’s missile arsenal did not apply to the Shahab-3 ballistic missile, whose range of 2,100km covers any point in the Middle East, including Israel. This missile carries warheads weighing 760 kg, to 1.1 tons, which may also be nuclear.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon challenged both Rice and Hagel on this omission. It came to light from Washington’s demand, in its direct dialogue with Tehran outside the framework of the six-power talks in Vienna, to place restrictions on Iran’s arsenal of ICBMs whose 4,000 km range places Europe and the United States at risk.

The Obama administration said it was not demanding restrictions on the medium-range missiles capable “only” of striking Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. But the comprehensive nuclear accord when it is finally negotiated must apply restrictions on the Sajjil1, Safir, Simorg (satellite launcher), Ashura1 and  Ashura2 (other versions of the Sajjil class).
But this US “concession” did not placate Tehran. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei burst out on May 11: “They expect us to limit our missile program while they constantly threaten Iran with military action. So this is a stupid idiotic expectation.” He thereupon ordered missile plants to shift to mass production.
Hagel was not just queried in Israel on this point, but also by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council, when he attended their defense ministers’ meeting in Jeddah Wednesday, May 14. Saudi Crown Prince Salman was in the chair.

When Hagel assured those present that their countries had nothing to fear from the rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, he was asked to fully explain President Obama’s policy on Iran’s missile arsenal. He replied that the plan was to establish a common anti-missile defense network for the region.

In Jerusalem, the defense secretary assured Netanyahu and Ya’alon that the close US-Israeli collaboration in maintaining one of the most sophisticated anti-missile shields in the world was sufficient security against Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missiles.

A joint US-Israeli exercise against missile attack, Cobra Juniper, which takes place every two years, began Sunday, May 18, with the participation of 1,000 US servicemen.
However, neither Jerusalem nor the Gulf leaders accepted Washington’s explanations. Their disquiet was further exacerbated by the failure of latest round of nuclear negotiations with the six powers, which took place in Vienna Thursday, May 15, to bridge gaps between the sides and so prevented a start on the drafting of a final accord.

These widening gaps reflect the growing controversy over nuclear diplomacy in Tehran.

Saturday night, May 17, President Hassan Rouhani speaking to associates at a private meeting voiced his frustration with Khamenei: “That person thinks he knows everything and lays down policy without considering all the facts,” he complained.

Rouhani understands that tactical compromises will not bring about substantial relief from economic sanctions that at preying on his country. He is urging substantial concessions of Iran’s nuclear aspirations, enough to convince the world that his country is not after a nuclear weapon.

Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards have rejected this approach. They are not open to real concessions either on their nuclear program or missile arsenal. This intransigence shows no sign of softening under the Obama administration’s willingness for compromise at the expense of Iran’s potential targets.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6377

Exclusive: Iran pursues ballistic missile work, complicating nuclear talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Despite apparently reducing illicit purchases that breach U.N. sanctions, Iran is pursuing development of ballistic missiles, a confidential U.N. report says, posing an acute challenge to six powers negotiating with Tehran to rein in its nuclear program.

On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described as “stupid and idiotic” Western expectations for his country to curb its missile development. He decreed mass production of ballistic weapons, striking a defiant tone just before nuclear talks resumed on Wednesday in Vienna.

The high-stakes negotiations aim for a deal by a July 20 deadline to end a long stand-off that has raised the risk of a wider Middle East war.

Tehran’s often repeated view that missiles should not be part of the nuclear talks appears to enjoy the support of Russia, one of the six global powers.

But a senior U.S. official made clear this week that Tehran’s ballistic capabilities must be addressed in the negotiations since U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran “among many other things, do say that any missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon must be dealt with.”

A ban on developing missiles suited to carrying a nuclear warhead is included in a 2010 Security Council resolution, its fourth – and toughest – imposed on the Islamic Republic for defying council demands that it suspend uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities of potential use in bomb-making.

The new report by the U.N. Panel of Experts, seen by Reuters, said Iran’s overall attempts to illicitly procure materials for its banned nuclear and missile programs appear to have slowed down as it pursues negotiations with world powers that it hopes will bring an end to sanctions.

But the same report makes clear that, apart from holding off on test-firing one type of rocket, Iran shows no sign of putting the brakes on the expansion of its missile program.

“Iran is continuing development of its ballistic missile and space programs,” the experts said. “A new missile launch site 40 km (25 miles) from the city of Shahrud was identified in August 2013. A larger launch complex is assessed to be close to completion at the Imam Khomeini Space Center at Semnan for ballistic missiles and satellite launch vehicles.”

The report also cited what it described as the June 2013 opening of the Imam Sadeq Observation and Monitoring Center for monitoring space objects, including satellites.

The dispute over missiles has already surfaced behind closed doors in Vienna. On Wednesday, the first day of the latest round of the nuclear talks, the U.S. delegation made clear that it wanted to discuss both Iran’s ballistic missile program and possible military dimensions of its past nuclear research.

But in a sign of the wide divergence between the U.S. and Iranian positions, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif merely laughed and ignored the remarks, according to an Iranian official present. An American official declined to comment but referred to remarks from a senior U.S. official earlier this week, who said “every issue” must be resolved.

ARMS EXPERT: LEAVE MISSILES ASIDE

Diplomats close to the talks say Britain, France and Germany agree with the U.S. view. But Russia, which has engaged in missile-technology trade with Iran, appears to disagree. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Iranian media as saying that Tehran’s missile program was not on the agenda.

The Islamic Republic denies accusations that it is seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons. It insists that its missiles are part of its conventional armed forces and rules out including them on the agenda for the nuclear discussions.

Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, said that missiles should not become a deal-breaker.

“The best way to address Iran’s potential to exploit nuclear-capable missiles is to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is sufficiently limited and transparent,” he said.

“To seek Iran-specific limits on conventional weapons that Iran regards as vital to its self-defense would jeopardize the negotiations’ key objective.”

An Iranian official confirmed that the ballistic missile program would not be interrupted. “Iran purchases parts from various countries, including Russia and China and then assembles missiles in Iran,” he said.

“Some Gulf countries have been involved in the missile delivery to Iran. Iran has never stopped its missile program and has no intention to do so; it gives Iran an upper hand.”

The U.N. Panel of Experts, which monitors compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime against Iran, said in its 49-page report that monitoring Iranian missile work was not easy.

MISSILE WORK MORE HIDDEN THAN NUCLEAR ACTIVITY

“Analysis of Iran’s ballistic missile program remains a challenge. With the exception of several launches, periodic displays of hardware and one recent revelation of a new ballistic launch facility, the program is opaque and not subject to the same level of transparency that Iran’s nuclear activities are under IAEA safeguards.”

It said procurement for the missile program continues, with no apparent changes in the type of materials Iran seeks.

“Among the most important items Iran is reportedly seeking are metals as well as components for guidance systems and fuel,” the panel report said. “Similarities between Iran’s ballistic missiles and space programs can make it difficult for states to distinguish the end-uses of procured items.”

The experts said it was unclear why Iran appears not to have test-fired a Sejil, Iran’s longest-range, solid-fuelled ballistic missile, since 2011. This might be due to satisfaction with its performance, an inability to procure components or ingredients for solid fuel, or a shift to other missiles considered to be of higher priority, according to the report.

“Iran may also have decided to suspend further testing which could be interpreted as inconsistent with the spirit of the (six power) negotiations,” the experts assessed.

Nevertheless, the panel said that proof Iran is continuing to develop the Sejil came from a 2013 parade of their launchers.

On February 10, Iran test-fired the Barani, which the experts said the Iranian Defence Ministry had described as “a new generation of long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying multiple re-entry vehicle (MRV) payloads.” A MRV payload deploys multiple warheads in a pattern against a single target.

Iran had announced no other ballistic test, the panel said.

According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, Iran recently unveiled an indigenous copy of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 unmanned aerial vehicle as well as “other, potentially more significant, revelations” – including new versions of the Fateh-110 tactical ballistic missile known as the Hormuz-1 and Hormuz-2.

Military analysts say, however, that Iran has exaggerated its military achievements, including its missile capabilities.

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De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar

Michael Snyder Economic Collapse May 14, 2014

Is the petrodollar monopoly about to be shattered?  When U.S. politicians started slapping economic sanctions on Russia, they probably never even imagined that there might be serious consequences for the United States.

But now the Russian media is reporting that the Russian Ministry of Finance is getting ready to pull the trigger on a “de-dollarization” plan.  For decades, virtually all oil and natural gas around the world has been bought and sold for U.S. dollars.  As I will explain below, this has been a massive advantage for the U.S. economy.  In recent years, there have been rumblings by nations such as Russia and China about the need to change to a new system, but nobody has really had a big reason to upset the status quo.  However, that has now changed.  The struggle over Ukraine has caused Russia to completely reevaluate the financial relationship that it has with the United States.  If it starts trading a lot of oil and natural gas for currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will be a massive blow for the petrodollar, and it could end up dramatically changing the global economic landscape.

The fact that the Russian government has held a meeting to discuss “getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations” should be front page news on every mainstream news website in the United States.  That is how big this is.  But instead, we have heard nothing from the big mainstream news networks about this so far.  Instead, we have only heard about this from Russian news sources such as the Voice of Russia

Russian press reports that the country’s Ministry of Finance is ready to greenlight a plan to radically increase the role of the Russian ruble in export operations while reducing the share of dollar-denominated transactions. Governmental sources believe that the Russian banking sector is “ready to handle the increased number of ruble-denominated transactions”.

According to the Prime news agency, on April 24th the government organized a special meeting dedicated to finding a solution for getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations. Top level experts from the energy sector, banks and governmental agencies were summoned and a number of measures were proposed as a response for American sanctions against Russia.

The “de-dollarization meeting” was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov, proving that Moscow is very serious in its intention to stop using the dollar.

So will Russia go through with this?

After all, this wouldn’t just be a slap in the face.  This would essentially be like slamming an economic fist into our nose.

You see, Russia is not just a small player when it comes to trading oil and natural gas.  The truth is that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world.

If Russia starts asking for payment in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will essentially end the monopoly of the petrodollar.

In order to do this, Russia will need trading partners willing to go along.  In the article quoted above, the Voice of Russia listed Iran and China as two nations that would potentially be willing to make the switch…

Of course, the success of Moscow’s campaign to switch its trading to rubles or other regional currencies will depend on the willingness of its trading partners to get rid of the dollar. Sources cited by Politonline.ru mentioned two countries who would be willing to support Russia: Iran and China. Given that Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing on May 20, it can be speculated that the gas and oil contracts that are going to be signed between Russia and China will be denominated in rubles and yuan, not dollars.

And the reality of the matter is that China has seemed ready to move away from the U.S. dollar for quite some time.  In a previous article, I included a quote from a French news source that discussed how China’s official news agency has even called for a “new international reserve currency… to replace the dominant US dollar”…

For decades the US has benefited to the tune of trillions of dollars-worth of free credit from the greenback’s role as the default global reserve unit.

But as the global economy trembled before the prospect of a US default last month, only averted when Washington reached a deal to raise its debt ceiling, China’s official Xinhua news agency called for a “de-Americanised” world.

It also urged the creation of a “new international reserve currency… to replace the dominant US dollar”.

For much more on what China is thinking, please see my previous article entitled “9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar“.

So why is the petrodollar so important?

Well, it creates a tremendous amount of demand for the U.S. dollar all over the globe.  Since everyone has needed it to trade with one another, that has created an endless global appetite for the currency.  That has kept the value of the dollar artificially high, and it has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of super cheap products from other countries.  If other nations stopped using the dollar to trade with one another, the value of the dollar would plummet dramatically and we would have to pay much, much more for the trinkets that we buy at the dollar store and Wal-Mart.

In addition, since the U.S. dollar is essentially the de facto global currency, this has also increased demand for our debt.  Major exporting nations such as China and Saudi Arabia end up with giant piles of our dollars.  Instead of just letting them sit there and do nothing, those nations often reinvest their dollars into securities that can rapidly be changed back into dollars if needed.  One of the most popular ways to do this has been to invest those dollars in U.S. Treasuries.  This has driven down interest rates on U.S. debt over the years and has enabled the U.S. government to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars for next to nothing.

But if the rest of the world starts moving away from the U.S. dollar, all of this could change.

In order for our current standard of living to continue, it is absolutely imperative that everyone else around the globe continues to use our currency.

So if Russia really does pull the trigger on a “de-dollarization” strategy, that would be huge – especially if the rest of the planet started following their lead.

The U.S. economy is already teetering on the brink of another major downturn, and there are a whole host of indications that big trouble is on the horizon.  For much more on this, please see the article that I posted on Monday entitled “If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States“.

Just about the last thing that we need right now is for our petrodollar monopoly to be threatened.

It would be nice if things would calm down in Ukraine and the relationship between the United States and Russia could go back to normal.

Sadly, that does not appear likely any time soon.

In fact, the Ukrainian government has already admitted that “we are essentially at war“, and on Tuesday six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in a convoy attack in eastern Ukraine.

The regions in eastern Ukraine that have just declared independence have given the government in Kiev until Wednesday to pull their forces out of eastern Ukraine or else face war.

If a full blown civil war does erupt in Ukraine, it is going to take this crisis to a completely new level.

Unfortunately, most Americans are incredibly apathetic at this point and know very little about what is going on.

But in the end, this could have dramatic implications for all of us.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6369

Saudis parade nuclear missiles for the first time in defiance of US-Iranian nuclear accord

DEBKAfile Special Report April 29, 2014, 10:49 PM (IDT)

Saudi Arabia became the first Middle East nation to publicly exhibit its nuclear-capable missiles. The long-range, liquid propellant DF-3 ballistic missile (NATO designated CSS-2), purchased from China 27 years ago, was displayed for the first time at a Saudi military parade Tuesday, April 29, in the eastern military town of Hafar Al-Batin, at the junction of the Saudi-Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders.

The DF-3 has a range of 2,650 km and carries a payload of 2,150 kg. It is equipped with a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield.

Watched by a wide array of Saudi defense and military dignitaries, headed by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz, the parade marked the end of the large-scale “Abdullah’s Sword” military war game.

Conspicuous on the saluting stand was the Pakistani Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif alongside eminent visitors, including King Hamad of Bahrain and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report the event was deliberately loaded with highly-significant messages, the foremost of which was that the Middle East is in the throes of a nuclear arms race in the wake of the Iranian program.

1. The oil kingdom was saying loud and clear that it has obtained nuclear missiles and is ready to use them in the event of an armed conflict with Iran.

2.  The message for Washington was that Riyadh adheres to its adamant objections to the comprehensive accord for resolving the Iranian nuclear question which is racing toward its finale with the six world powers led by the US. The Saudis share Israel’s conviction that this pact – far from dismantling Iran’s nuclear capacity – will seal the Islamic Republic’s elevation to the status of pre-nuclear power. The result will be a Middle East war in which the Saudis will take part. 3.  The participation of the nuclear DF-3 missiles in the “Abdullah’s Sword” exercise signified Riyadh’s estimate that the coming conflict will see the use of nuclear weapons. 4.  By showing off their ageing Chinese missiles, the Saudis intimated that they had acquired the more advanced generation of this weapon, which they are keeping under wraps.  debkafile’s intelligence sources report that in recent visits to Beijing, high-ranking Saudi officials negotiated the purchase of Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), whose range is shorter, 1,700 km, but more precise and effective in view of its terminal radar guidance system. The West has no information about when the new Chinese missiles were delivered to Saudi Arabia. 5.  The presence of the top Pakistani soldier at the parade of military and nuclear hardware was meant as corroboration of Islamabad’s active role as the source of the Saudi nuclear arsenal. 6.   The Saudis no longer rely on the American nuclear umbrella. They are developing their own nuclear strike force with the help of China and Pakistan.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6346

Gog Update: 3 Articles to Show the Movement towards Ezekiel 38

What will Putin try to ‘devour’ next?

Ex-Reagan adviser smacks Obama response to ‘great danger’ posed by Russia

Published: 14 hours ago

Greg Corombos

Vladimir Putin wants all of Ukraine and the big question is whether he’ll be satisfied with that, according to Frank Gaffney, deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan.

Gaffney, who is now president of the Center for Security Policy, says Putin is probing to see just how far he can go and is getting virtually no resistance from the United States.

Tension in Ukraine are on the rise again, with increasing reports of pro-Russian militants seizing police stations and other government buildings in eastern Ukraine, a region known to be sympathetic to Moscow. Experts fear the Russians are stoking an artificial movement in that part of the country designed to trigger additional independence votes and eventual assimilation by Russia. Gaffney says Putin’s strategy goes far beyond a little regional nibbling.

“The question is does he really want more than the whole thing of Ukraine. The think the answer to that is probably yes. I think he will insist upon, at the very minimum, that all of Ukraine once again is subject to Russian dominion, as it was under the previous President Yanukovych. Whether his appetite extends beyond that to Trans-Dniester (Moldova) or to Latvia and Estonia or perhaps other former Soviet republics [that] have Russian populations is anybody’s guess,” said Gaffney.

“But I think that the heavy betting should be on he’s going to continue to go for as much as he can because he senses no real opposition from either the administration here in Washington or from the Europeans,” he said.

The Obama administration says the president will likely speak to Putin soon about the latest instigation of unrest in Ukraine.

“I can assure you that Russia’s further provocations and transgressions will come with a cost,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Gaffney says that kind of response will yield little to nothing.

“This isn’t the first time that that’s been said, by the president, by Secretary of State John Kerry, let alone by the White House press spokesman. I think it’s been completely discounted by Vladmir Putin because he knows our capacity to impose greater costs is considerably limited by both the condition of our own military, our economy, not least our leadership, and because we’ve failed to take any appreciable steps to date,” said Gaffney.

“The extent of our support for Ukraine to this point has been to provide meals ready to eat to a country ready to be eaten. This is hardly a disincentive to Vladimir Putin and I think he’s behaving accordingly,” said Gaffney.

The Obama administration is also responding to news that a Russian warplane recently buzzed an American Navy ship in the region, with Carney calling it ”provocative and unprofessional.”

“This is the kind of thing that can lead to conflagrations because one suddenly one finds that the response is mandatory and no longer elective. I’m worried that the president’s failure, as is so often the case, and this is what the lessons of history teach us, things get worse the longer you defer acting on them,” said Gaffney.

Gaffney further asserts that the brewing tension with the Russians is another facet of the larger battle for freedom in the world.

“I believe the war we’re in is best thought of as the war for the free world and whether the assaults against the free world by the Islamists or by the Chinese or by the Russians or by Hugo Chavez and his successors or anybody else, to think that it doesn’t matter to U.S. security when other parts of the free world or aspirants to being part of it are lopped off at the hands of thugs who have very bad intentions toward us as well is the worst sort of shortsightedness.

It shows an ignorance of the hard lessons of history that should cause all of us to realize that we are poorly led and it is exposing us to great dangers,” said Gaffney.

Russia Tests Multi-Warhead ICBM

Flight test comes amid heightened tensions over Ukraine

BY: Bill GertzFollow @BillGertz
April 14, 2014 5:54 pm

Russia’s military carried out a flight test of a new multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile on Monday amid growing tensions with the United States over the crisis in Ukraine.

The SS-27 Mod 2 road-mobile ICBM was launched around 2:40 a.m. EST from Russia’s Plesetsk launch facility, located about 500 miles north of Moscow.

“The main purpose of the launch is to validate the reliability of a batch of this class of missiles made at the Votkinsk Plant,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told state-run Interfax-AVN.

An unspecified number of simulated nuclear warheads landed at an impact range on the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, Yegorov said. The distance is around 3,500 miles.

The SS-27 Mod 2 is Russia’s newest ICBM and has been touted by Russian officials as designed specifically to defeat U.S. missile defenses.

Mark B. Schneider, a missile specialist with National Institute for Public Policy, said there is evidence indicating the Russians have violated the START arms treaty by developing the SS-27 Mod 2 with multiple warheads.

“The original missile that Russia called the Topol M Variant 2 and we call the SS-27 was a single warhead missile,” Schneider told the Free Beacon. “START prohibits increasing the declared number of warheads.”

The missile test launch followed an incident Saturday when a Russian Su-24 jet conducted a dozen low-altitude passes over a U.S. warship in the Black Sea. The Pentagon called the maneuver “provocative.”

“The aircraft did not respond to multiple queries and warnings from USS Donald Cook, and the event ended without incident after approximately 90 minutes,” Army Col. Steven Warren said.

“The Donald Cook is more than capable of defending itself against two Su-24s,” the colonel said.

Warren said the aircraft appeared to be authorized to make the low passes. “We’ve seen the Russians conduct themselves unprofessionally and in violation of international norms in Ukraine for several months, and these continued acts of provocation and unprofessionalism do nothing to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, which we called on the Russians to do,” he said.

The warship has been in the Black Sea in a show-of-strength deployment. It is currently making a port visit to Constanta, Romania.

The Russian ICBM, which Moscow calls the RS-24 Yars missile, will replace older Topol mobile ICBMs.

The United States currently has no comparable road-mobile ICBM. The mobility makes the missiles very difficult to detect and target.

The last flight test of the SS-27 Mod 2 was in December.

Russia currently has an estimated 80,000 troops deployed along with armored vehicles close to Ukraine’s eastern border.

A senior Obama administration official said last week that pro-Russian unrest, including the takeover of police stations in two eastern Ukrainian towns, appears to be the work of Russian agents seeking to foment unrest—something that could be used a pretext for a Russian military invasion.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia has asked the United States to explain the recent visit to Kiev by CIA Director John Brennan.

“We want to understand what our western colleagues are doing in reality, particularly we want to understand what do the reports about an urgent visit of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA, Mr. Brennan, to Kiev means,” Lavrov said, according to state-owned Moscow Rossiya 24 TV. “No clear explanations have yet been given to us.”

A Russian presidential spokesman said President Vladimir Putin has received requests for Russia to intervene in Ukraine, following reports of domestic unrest.

“The Russian president is watching the development in these regions with great concern,” Dmitri Peskov, the spokesman, told reporters.

“Many appeals—addressed personally to Putin, asking to help in this or that way and asking to interfere in this or that way have been received,” Peskov said, according to Interfax.

The Obama administration is considering a Russian request to upgrade electronic intelligence gathering sensors used on aircraft that would overfly the United States as part of the Open Skies Treaty, according to the Weekly Standard.

The debate on granting the Russian request prompted a letter from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) opposing the move.

“Given current world events, President Putin appears to be more than willing to disregard international norms of behavior in seeking geopolitical advantage. We should not now naively believe he will unilaterally adhere to the limitations of the Open Skies Treaty,” Rogers stated in a letter to President Obama sent Friday.

Senate Intelligence Committee members also are questioning whether the administration should permit the upgraded Russian spy flights.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Northern Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors foreign missile launches, had no immediate comment.

 

 

Apr 14, 12:53 PM EDT

 

APNewsBreak: Russian Jet passes near US warship

By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, U.S. military officials said Monday.

In the first public account of the incident, the officials said the Russian Fencer made 12 passes, and flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level.

The U.S. warship issued several radio queries and warnings using international emergency circuits, but the Russian aircraft did not respond.

“This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

The fighter appeared to be unarmed and never was in danger of coming in contact with the ship, said the officials. The passes, which occurred in the early evening there, ended without incident. A second Russian fighter jet flew at a higher altitude and was not a concern, said Warren.

A U.S. military official also said that a Russian Navy ship, a frigate, has been shadowing the U.S. warship, remaining within visual distance but not close enough to be unsafe. The official was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Warren said that he is not aware of any official communication or protests by the U.S. to the Russians about incident.

The USS Donald Cook has been conducting routine operations in international waters east of Romania. The ship, which carries helicopters, was deployed to the Black Sea on April 10, in the wake of the Russian military takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region and ongoing unrest there. U.S. military officials have said the deployment is part of an effort to reassure allies and partners in the region.

Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities. The gunmen are demanding more autonomy from the central government and closer ties with Russia.

The West has accused Moscow of fomenting the unrest. And European Union foreign ministers are meeting in Luxembourg Monday to consider additional sanctions against Russian officials because of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

The USS Donald Cook is now in port at Constanta, Romania.

Romanian President Traian Basescu visited the ship Monday and said a second U.S. Navy warship – a frigate from the Navy’s Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea – is also heading to the Black Sea.

“My visit to the ship is symbolic, which first of all shows our respect to our NATO allies’ reaction who have strengthened their presence in the Black Sea after Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” said Basescu, who is a former ship captain. He said the Russians “had created a circle of fire around the Black Sea.”

The U.S. frigate, which has not yet been identified, is expected to arrive in the Black Sea in the next two weeks. According to a U.S. military official, the frigate is likely to replace the USS Donald Cook, which is expected to return to the Mediterranean Sea.

ukraine

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