Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Russia moves to push forward conference to eliminate WMDs in Mideast. Is this a Kremlin ploy to shift focus from Iranian nuclear program to Israel?

 

(Washington, D.C.) — Even as Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with President Obama in Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin is suddenly signaling a major new international move that could shift the focus off of Iran’s nuclear threat and place enormous international focus and pressure on the State of Israel to disclose and dismantle its own strategic weapons.

“Russia wants to revive plans for a conference on ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction now that Syria has pledged to abandon its chemical arms, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments published on Monday,” Reuters reported on Monday.

“Such a move could put Moscow at odds with Washington which announced the conference would be delayed last year,” notes Reusters. “Analysts said it feared the event would be used to criticize its ally Israel, believed to be the region’s only nuclear-armed state.”

“Russia has been pushing to extend its influence in the Middle East. It initiated a UN deal to get Syria to abandon its chemical arms after Washington threatened military strikes to punish Damascus for a sarin gas attack on rebel areas,” notes Reuters.

“We will seek to have this conference take place,” Lavrov said.

This is a striking development, coming as it does on the heels of the Russian gambit that prevented a U.S. military intervention in Syria and ostensibly a deal with Bashar al-Assad to disclose and destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

It’s also a scenario ripped from the pages of The Ezekiel Option.In the novel, the Russian President calls for an international coalition to force Israel to disclose and dismantle her WMDs, or face an invasion not unlike the invasion of Iraq in 2003. [See excerpts from the novel below.] 

Is this what we are about to see play out in real life? A similar international effort was set into motion in May 2010, but then ran aground. At the time, however, Russia was not in the lead. Other countries were. Now, the Kremlin seems to be ready to lead the initiative.

Israel is already increasingly isolated from the international community. The “charm offensive” by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been dazzlingly successful in shifting the debate and putting Israel on the defensive. The likelihood of an Israeli first strike on Iran appears to have receded significantly if President Obama is eager to engage in diplomacy with Tehran and pressures Israel to hold off on an attack.

And as amazing as it is to say it, the events of this week could theoretically set into motion the fulfillment of the End Times Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39 — i.e, the “War of Gog and Magog” — if the leader of Russia begins to emerge as the leader of the anti-Israel coalition and requires Israel to comply with the treaty or face an international military coalition prepared to force her to comply.

Meanwhile, “Vladimir Putin has accepted an Iranian invitation to visit the country and meet with newly elected President Hasan Rouhani, a spokesman for the Russian president confirmed,” reports the Times of Israel. “Putin has been invited to Iran, and he will certainly take advantage of this kind invitation,” the Interfax news agency quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. “The dates of the visit will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.”

This will be the second time Putin has traveled to Iran. The first was a two day trip on October 16-17, 2007

Developing…..

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5703

Are We on the Verge of Iran’s Invasion of the Mideast, and will the U.S. Trigger It?

By Mark Davidson on September 21, 2013 • ( 4 )

In a recent post I mentioned how events in Egypt right now are basically just noise.  Both Egypt and Turkey will be pulled into their rolls in the Third Signpost, forming their confederacy, with internal pressures of steering their governments into Islamism.  What happens between now and then is the result of the ebb and flow between Islamist and Secularist forces in those nations.  These nations are not to be involved as the main players in a major event – yet.

Syria on the other hand may be quite different.  Though Syria will eventually join Egypt and Turkey in the Sunni Confederacy, I say “may be quite different” because right now Syria is a potential powder keg that could be the trigger of the next big event, the Second Signpost, the invasion by Iran.  Syria is one of the nations allied with Iran.  Iranian leadership looks upon its alliance with Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (via Hezbollah) as something near and dear to them, to be defended.  The reason is that in those countries there are Shia militant groups keeping those countries in orbit about Iran, Shia Islam dominates otherwise Sunni regions, and those countries form a land bridge to the border of Israel.

On September 4, Iranian president Rouhani stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is charged with a very important responsibility [in seeing] a stable and secure Syria….”  On the same day, Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani said, “Some criticize why we support Syria so much; [one] must respond to them that we do not pay attention to enemy propaganda because Syria has been the front line of Resistance and this reality is undeniable. We have a duty to support Muslims because they are under pressure and oppression.”  They view both Israel and the Syrian rebels as the oppressors.

If there be any doubt that this whole strategic scenario of having this land bridge to Israel is important to Iran, they named one of the five branches of their IRGC after Jerusalem (al-Quds in Arabic) itself, the “Quds” Force.

There have been some developments to indicate that if the U.S. attacks Syria, Iran will retaliate which of course would widen the war.  And once a war begins to widen, who knows what kind of war it ends up being.  This war could even result in the start of the Second Signpost.

We can see clues that this is indeed the case if the U.S. strikes Syria.  It was reported in the Wall Street Journal that the “U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria.”  The message came from Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani who gave an order to potentially strike a range of targets with the American embassy in Iraq being the most visible.

It was also reported in WorldNetDaily, “Should the U.S. launch a Mideast attack, the Islamist Hezbollah has threatened, its ‘23,000 … martyrdom-seeking forces’ are prepared to fight back by attacking Saudi Arabia and western oil interests in the region.”  In addition, “Sheikh Wathiq al-Battat, the secretary-general of the Shi’ite Hezbollah in Iraq, has warned that his Jaysh al-Mukhtar army will target oil installations and ports in predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia if the U.S. attacks Syria or, by implication, should there be an attack on Iran.”

Both of these reports, one concerning Iraq and the other Saudi Arabia are reminders that Iran has varying degrees of control on various regions and countries within the Middle East.  It does control Iraq and Lebanon.  It has great influence in eastern Saudi Arabia due to the Shia population living there.

There are also signs of something going on behind the scenes in Iran, as hinted at in a report by one AEI analyst who watches Iran.  He noted Gen. Suleimani’s lack of presence and “…dearth of coverage of one the Islamic Republic’s most powerful and revered security officials discussing critical and timely events is highly unusual.”  The analyst then speculated Suleimani may simply be tending to his responsibilities as commander of the Quds Force during this critical time.  I found the article’s next statement interesting, “Why is something seemingly so trivial important?  Because it is the only real aberration in Iran’s official response during the Syria crisis.”  So what would otherwise be a “normal” crisis is different because strangely Suleimani is busy?  It is being reported that this is not normal behavior – that something may be different this time.

At the same time, IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, speaking at a conference where neither his boss Gen. Suleimani the head of the Quds Force, nor Gen. Jafari the head of the entire IRGC attended, was reported as stating, “We are on the verge of a strategic turning point for this region’s future, and in a sense, for the world of Islam.”  What might that statement mean?

To the person who does not know the Signposts this statement could be taken as just one more instance of Iranian rhetoric and is ignored.  However, to those who know the Second Signpost and the event it holds which is the imminent invasion by Iran of the Middle East, Salami’s statement might sound rather ominous.  The Second Signpost is the major paradigm shift in the region and in Islam that is to occur next, which is exactly what Salami was talking about.  So is Salami giving us a hint that we are on the verge of the Second Signpost?  Are we on the verge of what amounts to the major paradigm shift in the Middle East and in Islam, as Salami states?  The question we must ask is, are we really on “the verge”?

In conclusion, Brig. Gen. Salami’s statement about a strategic turning point being “on the verge”, and of Iranian leadership’s threats to Saudi Arabia and the American embassy in Iraq, are all a response to the U.S. threat of an attack on Syria.  Will America trigger the Second Signpost by attacking Syria.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5666

Exclusive: High Level Source Confirms Secret US Nuclear Warhead Transfer

Anthony Gucciardi & Alex Jones
Infowars.com
September 3, 2013

A high level source inside the military has now confirmed to us that Dyess Air Force base is actively moving nuclear warheads to the East Coast of the United States in a secret transfer that has no paper trail.

According to the high level military source, who has a strong record of continually being proven correct in deep military activity, the Dyess Air Force Commander authorized unknown parties to transfer the nuclear warheads to an unknown location that has been reported to be South Carolina, where the warheads will then be picked up and potentially utilized.

This is of particular interest not only due to the fact that the Syrian situation has escalated to the point of a very realistic hot war scenario, but due to the fact that Dyess has repeatedly denied the existence of nuclear warheads inside the base.

The brief report from the top level military source, which was written in a rush to get the information out, reads:

“Dyess is beginning to move out nuclear war heads today. I got a tap from DERMO earlier. He said it was the first time they have been even acknowledged since being put there in the 80′s. No signature was required for transfer… There was no directive. He said that Dyess Commander was on site to give authority to release. No one knew where they were going really, but the truck driver said to take them to South Carolina and another pick up will take them from there.”

The fact that this transfer was not signed for and there were no papers is key. It shows how the military is now secretly operating with the transfer of nuclear weapons, and what’s more, we know that DERMO (a military base in Florida) is a hotbed of special operations. Why is DERMO operating the nuclear warheads out of Dyess Air Force base with no paper trail? This shows that this is a highly secretive, black ops style move here that the military does not want on record.

The fact is that they don’t move all of these assets unless they plan on using them. Nuclear warheads are not simply moved to the East Coast for no reason, and the bottom line is that these missiles are likely being used for something even much greater than Syria.

Top Level Military Officer ‘Extremely Alarmed’

This leak inside the military industrial complex comes after prior sources have also revealed to us that B-1′s and B-2 bombers were ordered to head out of their respective bases (B-1B’s leaving Dyess specifically) across the nation and they haven’t come back. All of this is happening amid the growing Syrian crisis that has developed amid the ignition of a WW3-level wrestling match between the United States and Russia.  Now, based on the transfer to South Carolina that is not on record and was not signed for, we may be looking at a pattern that reveals an extremely hot war scenario.

And here’s what’s essential to understand: There’s no question that the Syrian issue is huge, and it’s very possible that the US military is now under orders by Obama to prepare a strike, but the reality is that the much greater issue here is what’s going on with the US and Russia. What we’re seeing here is a proxy war turned hot with Syria, and we’ve been covering this for months now. Even the mainstream media has reported in the past how the evolution of war in Syria has turned into a hot proxy war against Russia via the Syrian rebels and Assad’s troops.

We now even have the Russian media openly discussing the hot war by the United States against Russia and how this will essentially lead to World War 3.  But the fact of the matter is that we’re already progressively moving towards World War 3 . Obama and United States officials are already talking about boots on the ground in Syria and taking down the Russian-backed Assad regime. They are already moving forward following the blatantly staged chemical attacks that were absolutely carried out by the Obama-funded Syrian rebels in order to initiate a war scenario.

Why do you think Obama has been aiding in the training, funding, and supplying of the bloodthirsty Syrian rebels since 2011 through secret orders admitted by Reuters? The entire angle here is not to help the civilians of Syria, who the Obama-backed rebels already are beheading and murdering to cheering crowds. No, this has always been a buildup to a World War 3 scenario between Russia and the United States. And now, with the absolute insanity of Obama and the military industrial complex pushing these wars, it’s here.

World War 3 Is Starting

I have spoken to my connections in the Russian media and they are all confirming that World War 3 is the hottest topic right now amid the populace, and the fact of the matter is that all of the top level military officials over there are looking at this Syrian incident as the catalyst — as the spark. There’s a reason that Russia has begun amassing 160,000 troops and heavy military equipment following an Israeli strike on Russian missiles in Syria. There’s a reason that the troops were called along with naval ships and bombers to attain ‘immediate combat readiness’ along the border. We reported on this months ago while the media was too busy focusing on the Trayvon Martin case to talk about the ignition of World War 3.

What we’re looking at right now is the beginning of World War 3 unless we manage to stop it. The elite are crazy enough and drunk enough with power to launch anything if it means advancing their vast lust for power and control. Thankfully, we now have a public that is much more awake to what’s going on and able to put a speed bump in the overall war plan as admitted by Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski last week, but it will take a lot of awakening to stop Obama from launching these attacks that have been in the works for years.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5604

Will Isaiah 17 Soon Be Fulfilled – By Daymond Duck

 

On January 29, 2013, Israel launched the first of several recent attacks inside Syria. Several reports said Israel destroyed a Syrian military convoy that was transporting sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles. Other reports said Israel destroyed a Syrian factory that produced and stored biological and chemical weapons. Some sources said several Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops were killed. Iran was livid and said Israel would regret it.

On May 5, 2013, Israel launched a second attack inside Syria. Bombs were dropped on a series of targets housing high-tech Russian missiles. One report said at least 300 elite Syrian soldiers were killed and hundreds were wounded and hospitalized. Syria’s Foreign Minister quickly called this second attack a “Declaration of War.”

On May14, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Russia for an emergency meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss these two attacks and the Russian sale of two kinds of sophisticated missiles to Syria: The S-300 anti-aircraft missile and the Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile. Mr. Netanyahu opposed the sale of these missiles and warned Mr. Putin that Israel would destroy them if they were shipped. Mr. Putin warned Mr. Netanyahu that Israel is headed for a war with Syria and it would be a war that could drag in Russia (drag in Russia made me think of God’s hook mentioned in Ezekiel 38:4). Mr. Netanyahu returned to Israel believing this quickly arranged very important emergency meeting had failed. He was also burdened with a bad feeling about what might happen in the very near future if Russia continued to ship these missiles and Israel continued to destroy them. Russia’s Foreign Minister said the missiles have been sold to Syria and they will be delivered.

The very next day, on May 15, 2013, a Palestinian group known for its strong support of Syrian President Assad fired several mortars out of Syria into Israel. Mr. Netanyahu quickly reacted with a strong warning to Mr. Assad: If Mr. Assad’s proxies continued to attack Israel, Israel would remove Mr. Assad from power.

On July 5, 2013, Israel launched a third attack inside Syria. Several great explosions destroyed everything at a very large weapons depot near Syria’s main seaport. There were contradictory reports about what happened and who did it, but some said Russia had carried through on its promise to deliver the controversial missiles and Israel had carried through on its warning to destroy them. All doubt was erased about the contradictory reports when several CIA officials, with the seeming approval of President Obama, said it was Israel.

Vladimir Putin was furious. He ordered a surprise drill, the largest since the fall of the Soviet Union, to begin on July 13, 2013 to test Russia’s readiness for war. He urged his troops to enter a state of full combat readiness. This was seen as a clear warning to Israel to stop attacking the missiles he keeps sending to Syria.

On July 27, 2013, Israel launched a fourth attack, but this time it was in Lebanon and Syria. One unconfirmed report said Israel destroyed a convoy transporting weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Another unconfirmed report said Israel bombed a Syrian army post.

On August 1, 2013, CIA officials with President Obama’s approval confirmed that Israel was behind the July 27, 2013 attack. But they said that Syria had moved some of the missiles and all of them didn’t get destroyed. These same CIA officials said we can expect Israel to carry out more attacks on Syria to finish the job in the future. They added that as long as Russia keeps sending controversial missiles to Syria we can expect Israel to keep attacking them. By deliberately disclosing Israeli military secrets against the wishes of Israel, President Obama is increasing the likelihood of war between Israel and Syria.

Why would he deliberately release information that could start a war between Israel and Syria that could drag in Russia? I don’t know, but he might be trying to weaken Israel (which he has threatened to do), help the rebels in Syria (which he has said he will do), and embarrass Putin (who looks the “bored kid in the back of the classroom”) that he clearly doesn’t like.

With all of this going on it is difficult to imagine that someone won’t make a mistake and trigger a war between Israel and Syria in the near future (or that Russia, Iran and others won’t quickly get involved). The Bible says it will happen in that day (at the end of the age). Are you ready? The way these explosive events are lining up with Bible prophecy is too real to ignore.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5533

Syria naval base blast points to Israeli raid

BEIRUT, July 9 (Reuters) – Foreign forces destroyed advanced Russian anti-ship missiles in Syria last week, rebels said on Tuesday – a disclosure that appeared to point to an Israeli raid.

Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, said a pre-dawn strike on Friday hit a Syrian navy barracks at Safira, near the port of Latakia. He said that the rebel forces’ intelligence network had identified newly supplied Yakhont missiles being stored there.

“It was not the FSA that targeted this,” Saadeddine told Reuters. “It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels.

“This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean,” he said.

Rebels described huge blasts – the ferocity of which, they said, was beyond the firepower available to them but consistent with that of a modern military like Israel’s.

Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement. The Syrian government has not commented on the incident, beyond a state television report noting a “series of explosions” at the site.

According to regional intelligence sources, the Israelis previously struck in Syria at least three times this year to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry from President Bashar al-Assad’s army to Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.

Such weaponry, Israeli officials have made clear, would include the long-range Yakhonts, which could help Hezbollah repel Israel’s navy and endanger its offshore gas rigs. In May, Israel and its U.S. ally complained about Moscow sending the missiles to Syria. Israel said they would likely end up with Hezbollah. The Lebanese group has said it does not need them.

Asked about the Latakia blasts, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters: “We have set red lines in regards to our own interests, and we keep them. There is an attack here, an explosion there, various versions – in any event, in the Middle East it is usually we who are blamed for most.”

A former senior Israeli security official, who declined to be named, told Reuters that the area of Latakia in question was known to have been used to store Yakhont missiles.

Technically at war with Syria, Israel spent decades in a stable standoff with Damascus while the Assad family ruled unchallenged. It has been reluctant to intervene openly in the two-year-old, Islamist-dominated insurgency rocking Syria.

But previous air strikes near Damascus, on Jan. 30, May 3 and May 5, made little attempt to conceal Israel’s involvement. (Reporting by Mariam Karouny, Khaled Oweis and Dan Williams; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5442

Iran secretly building in Port Sudan military supply base for Syria, Hizballah

A logistics base for handling tanks, missile systems, self-propelled artillery and other heavy weaponry bound for Syria and Hizballah is secretly under construction in a section of Port Sudan which Omar al Bashir has leased to Tehran, debkafile reports exclusively from its military sources.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards engineers in civilian dress are overseeing the hundreds of Sudanese workmen laboring flat out to build Iran’s second Red Sea base after Assab in southern Eritrea.
As a safeguard against an Israeli strike, the new Iranian facility abuts directly on Port Sudan’s oil exporting installations, through which South Sudan, Israel’s ally, exports its oil, the new republic’s only source of revenue which also pays for its purchases of Israeli arms.

To give the military port a civilian aspect and suggest that Iranian warships no longer visit the port, Tehran has switched to commercial cargo vessels and oil tankers for delivering weapons for its Syrian and Hizballah allies through Port Sudan.

Still, Western intelligence sources watching the work are certain that the new Iranian facility is a military port in every sense of the word. It is similar to the Russian naval base built at the Syrian port of Tartus, except for being twice as large and capable of accommodating Iran’s largest war ships as well as submarines. Tehran is taking advantage of the strong military and intelligence ties it has developed with Sudan’s ruler Bashir for streamlining the weapons supply route to its embattled allies.
The Iranian section of the port has a fence with watchtowers and will soon acquire air defense systems. It is guarded by Revolutionary Guards sentries wearing civilian clothes and Sudanese soldiers.
The new facility will enable Iran to transfer larger shipments of heavier weapons than the air corridor used until now to drop military equipment for the Syrian and Hizballah armies. The light and medium hardware will continue to be delivered by air, but the sea route for the heavy stuff will be cut in half by the large weapons depot the Iranians are building at the Sudanese Red Sea port.
This will make it possible to ship items to their destination from the Red Sea through Suez and on to the Mediterranean to meet needs arising urgently from war crises in Syria or potential conflicts with Israel.
Neither the US, Egypt or Israel has so far interfered with Iranian arms freighters navigating the Suez Canal on their way to Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah.

The Israeli Air Force has in the past struck four weapons convoys or targets in the Port Sudan area – two each in 2009 and in 2012.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5324

Russia? What is going on?

Two articles attached below. Is Gog of Ezekiel 38 & 39 making it’s move?

 

Cold War? Russia seeks to replace U.S.

Pressures Egypt to cancel weapons deals with America

Published: 17 hours ago

Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV  Russia has been exerting pressure on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to cancel weapons deals with the U.S. and instead sign with Moscow at cheaper prices, according to an informed Egyptian security official.

The official said Russia is also attempting to exert its influence at the expense of the U.S. throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Western Asia, including in Turkey.

Currently, Russia is urging Egypt to sign a deal for the creation of a 155-mm guided shell for U.S.-provided M-109 howitzers, which are being used on tanks sold to the Egyptian army by the U.S.

Moscow officials told Egyptian leaders that Russia is interested in replacing the U.S. as the Middle Eastern country’s main weapons dealer, the Egyptian official said.

Similar messages were sent to Turkey, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia and other countries, the official said.

“Russia is trying to more heavily infiltrate the Middle East and other countries to check against the United States,” said the official.

Already in Turkey, Russia offered the joint development of a surface-to-air missile based on the advanced Russian S-300V Antey-2500 system in addition to the sale of other missile and artillery systems at better prices than those offered by the U.S. President Obama has worked to cultivate a close relationship with Turkey.

Currently, Russia is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Syria is facing an insurgency led by rebels who are reportedly being armed with Turkish and Arab money.

The Obama administration is reportedly leading in the weapons coordination efforts to the rebels while Russia has been supplying vast quantities of arms to Assad.

The U.S. arming efforts is considered controversial since the rebels fighting in Syria consist in large part of jihadists, including al-Qaida organizations.

 

 

Russia: Our missile sale to Assad will deter ‘hotheads’ from intervening

Israeli minister says Ben Gurion Airport would be in range of S-300s, can’t fathom why Moscow aiding brutal Assad regime; defense minister says Israel ‘will know what to do’ if weapons reach Damascus

By Raphael Ahren and AP May 28, 2013, 5:41 pm

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Tuesday Moscow would deliver advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, as planned, in order to deter unnamed “hotheads” from turning the civil war there into an international conflict.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov made the comments two weeks after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Russia to implore President Vladimir Putin to cancel the sale, and reportedly that it risk pushing the region towards war. Delivery of the weapons “is likely to draw us into a response, and could send the region deteriorating into war,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. Putin reportedly responded by warning Netanyahu that any further Israeli airstrikes in Syria could have the same result.

“We consider these supplies a stabilizing factor,” Ryabkov said, “and believe such steps will deter some hotheads from considering scenarios that would turn the conflict international with the involvement of outside forces.”

Earlier Tuesday, one top Israeli minister condemned Russia’s declared intention to deliver the advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, and another senior minister said Israel would “know what to do” if the weapons were delivered.

Using unusually harsh language, Minister of Intelligence, International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told reporters the Russian decision to press on with the deal was an “odd” and unjustifiable move, which he said was “totally wrong” on moral and strategic grounds.

Speaking at conference organized by The Israel Project, Steinitz confirmed reports that Moscow still intended to sell the advanced S-300 missile defense system to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite Israel’s best efforts to dissuade Putin.

“We’re very concerned. We don’t understand — we think this behavior of supplying such arms to Damascus, to Assad, in this crucial time of terrible civil war, we think that this is totally wrong,” he said.

Steinitz rebutted the claim that the S-300 missiles are purely defensive, saying that, for Israel, they are also “offensive.”

 “Why? Because with range of up to 200 or 300 kilometers, you can attack all places, also the Ben Gurion Airport.” Jerusalem also worries about the missiles falling into the hands of Hezbollah or Iran, he said.

“It’s odd, because clearly supplying such kind of advanced weapons to Assad, in the middle of this brutal civil war, while he is slaughtering his own people… on a daily basis, this is some kind of encouragement, a kind of support to this brutal regime, that is totally wrong, also from a moral point of view.” Steinitz said. “One cannot understand and one cannot justify such a behavior.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also spoke against the planned transfer of the advanced weapons to Damascus. “The missiles are a threat,” he said, adding that at the moment the deal was moving at a slow pace. He said he knew for a fact that the missile systems had not yet been delivered, and “let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But if it does, we’ll know what to do.”

Earlier this month, Netanyahu and officials including Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin flew to Russia to dissuade Putin from going ahead with the deal.

Ryabkov wouldn’t say whether Russia has shipped any of the long-range S-300 air defense missile systems, but added that Moscow isn’t going to abandon the deal despite strong Western and Israeli criticism.

Ryabkov’s statement came a day after the European Union’s decision to lift an arms embargo to the Syrian opposition.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5253

What Would Happen if Israel Nuked Iran

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

In those first minutes, they’ll be stunned. Eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare, nerve endings numbed. They’ll just stand there. Soon, you’ll notice that they are holding their arms out at a 45-degree angle. Your eyes will be drawn to their hands and you’ll think you mind is playing tricks. But it won’t be. Their fingers will start to resemble stalactites, seeming to melt toward the ground. And it won’t be long until the screaming begins. Shrieking. Moaning. Tens of thousands of victims at once. They’ll be standing amid a sea of shattered concrete and glass, a wasteland punctuated by the shells of buildings, orphaned walls, stairways leading nowhere.

This could be Tehran, or what’s left of it, just after an Israeli nuclear strike.

Iranian cities—owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities—are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, “Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region.

Its scenarios are staggering. An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people—86% of the population—and leave close to 800,000 wounded. A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated 5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a nuclear detonation.

Estimates of the civilian toll in other Iranian cities are even more horrendous. A nuclear assault on the city of Arak, the site of a heavy water plant central to Iran’s nuclear program, would potentially kill 93% of its 424,000 residents. Three 100-kiloton nuclear weapons hitting the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas would slaughter an estimated 94% of its 468,000 citizens, leaving just 1% of the population uninjured. A multi-weapon strike on Kermanshah, a Kurdish city with a population of 752,000, would result in an almost unfathomable 99.9% casualty rate.

Cham Dallas, the director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia and lead author of the study, says that the projections are the most catastrophic he’s seen in more than 30 years analyzing weapons of mass destruction and their potential effects. “The fatality rates are the highest of any nuke simulation I’ve ever done,” he told me by phone from the nuclear disaster zone in Fukushima, Japan, where he was doing research. “It’s the perfect storm for high fatality rates.”

Israel has never confirmed or denied possessing nuclear weapons, but is widely known to have up to several hundred nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Iran has no nuclear weapons and its leaders claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes only. Published reports suggest that American intelligence agencies and Israel’s intelligence service are in agreement: Iran suspended its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.

Dallas and his colleagues nonetheless ran simulations for potential Iranian nuclear strikes on the Israeli cities of Beer Sheva, Haifa, and Tel Aviv using much smaller 15-kiloton weapons, similar in strength to those dropped by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Their analyses suggest that, in Beer Shiva, half of the population of 209,000 would be killed and one-sixth injured. Haifa would see similar casualty ratios, including 40,000 trauma victims. A strike on Tel Aviv with two 15-kiloton weapons would potentially slaughter 17% of the population—nearly 230,000 people. Close to 150,000 residents would likely be injured.

These forecasts, like those for Iranian cities, are difficult even for experts to assess. “Obviously, accurate predictions of casualty and fatality estimates are next to impossible to obtain,” says Dr. Glen Reeves, a longtime consultant on the medical effects of radiation for the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who was not involved in the research. “I think their estimates are probably high but not impossibly so.”

According to Paul Carroll of the Ploughshares Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation that advocates for nuclear disarmament, “the results would be catastrophic” if major Iranian cities were attacked with modern nuclear weapons. “I don’t see 75% [fatality rates as] being out of the question,” says Carroll, after factoring in the longer-term effects of radiation sickness, burns, and a devastated medical infrastructure.

According to Dallas and his colleagues, the marked disparity between estimated fatalities in Israel and Iran can be explained by a number of factors. As a start, Israel is presumed to have extremely powerful nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery capabilities including long-range Jericho missiles, land-based cruise missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and advanced aircraft with precision targeting technology.

The nature of Iranian cities also makes them exceptionally vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to the Conflict & Health study. Tehran, for instance, is home to 50% of Iran’s industry, 30% of its public sector workers, and 50 colleges and universities. As a result, 12 million people live in or near the capital, most of them clustered in its core. Like most Iranian cities, Tehran has little urban sprawl, meaning residents tend to live and work in areas that would be subject to maximum devastation and would suffer high percentages of fatalities due to trauma as well as thermal burns caused by the flash of heat from an explosion.

Iran’s topography, specifically mountains around cities, would obstruct the dissipation of the blast and heat from a nuclear explosion, intensifying the effects. Climatic conditions, especially high concentrations of airborne dust, would likely exacerbate thermal and radiation casualties as well as wound infections.

In addition to killing more than 5.5 million people, a strike on Tehran involving five 250-kiloton weapons—each of them 16 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—would result in an estimated 803,000 third-degree burn victims, with close to 300,000 others suffering second degree burns, and 750,000 to 880,000 people severely exposed to radiation. “Those people with thermal burns over most of their bodies we can’t help,” says Dallas. “Most of these people are not going to survive… there is no saving them. They’ll be in intense agony.” As you move out further from the site of the blast, he says, “it actually gets worse. As the damage decreases, the pain increases, because you’re not numb.”

In a best case scenario, there would be 1,000 critically injured victims for every surviving doctor but “it will probably be worse,” according to Dallas. Whatever remains of Tehran’s healthcare system will be inundated with an estimated 1.5 million trauma sufferers. In a feat of understatement, the researchers report that survivors “presenting with combined injuries including either thermal burns or radiation poisoning are unlikely to have favorable outcomes.”

Iranian government officials did not respond to a request for information about how Tehran would cope in the event of a nuclear attack. When asked if the US military could provide humanitarian aid to Iran after such a strike, a spokesman for Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, was circumspect. “US Central Command plans for a wide range of contingencies to be prepared to provide options to the Secretary of Defense and the President,” he told this reporter. But Frederick Burkle, a senior fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Harvard University’s School of Public Health, as well as a coauthor of the just-published article, is emphatic that the US military could not cope with the scale of the problem. “I must also say that no country or international body is prepared to offer the assistance that would be needed,” he told me.

Dallas and his team spent five years working on their study. Their predictions were generated using a declassified version of a software package developed for the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, as well as other complementary software applications. According to Glen Reeves, the software used fails to account for many of the vagaries and irregularities of an urban environment. These, he says, would mitigate some of the harmful effects. Examples would be buildings or cars providing protection from flash burns. He notes, however, that built-up areas can also exacerbate the number of deaths and injuries. Blast effects far weaker than what would be necessary to injure the lungs can, for instance, topple a house. “Your office building can collapse… before your eardrums pop!” notes Reeves.

The new study provides the only available scientific predictions to date about what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean. Dallas, who was previously the director of the Center for Mass Destruction Defense at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is quick to point out that the study received no US government funding or oversight. “No one wanted this research to happen,” he adds.

Rattling Sabers and Nuclear Denial

Frederick Burkle points out that, today, discussions about nuclear weapons in the Middle East almost exclusively center on whether or not Iran will produce an atomic bomb instead of “focusing on ensuring that there are options for them to embrace an alternate sense of security.” He warns that the repercussions may be grave. “The longer this goes on the more we empower that singular thinking both within Iran and Israel.”

Even if Iran were someday to build several small nuclear weapons, their utility would be limited. After all, analysts note that Israel would be capable of launching a post-attack response which would simply devastate Iran. Right now, Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. Yet a preemptive Israeli nuclear strike against Iran also seems an unlikely prospect to most experts.

“Currently, there is little chance of a true nuclear war between the two nations,” according to Paul Carroll of the Ploughshares Fund. Israel, he points out, would be unlikely to use nuclear weapons unless its very survival were at stake. “However, Israel’s rhetoric about red lines and the threat of a nuclear Iran are something we need to worry about,” he told me recently by email. “A military strike to defeat Iran’s nuclear capacity would A) not work B) ensure that Iran WOULD then pursue a bomb (something they have not clearly decided to do yet) and C) risk a regional war.”

Cham Dallas sees the threat in even starker terms. “The Iranians and the Israelis are both committed to conflict,” he told me. He isn’t alone in voicing concern. “What will we do if Israel threatens Tehran with nuclear obliteration?… A nuclear battle in the Middle East, one-sided or not, would be the most destabilizing military event since Pearl Harbor,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter Tim Weiner in a recent op-ed for Bloomberg News. “Our military commanders know a thousand ways in which a war could start between Israel and Iran… No one has ever fought a nuclear war, however. No one knows how to end one.”

The Middle East is hardly the only site of potential nuclear catastrophe. Today, according to the Ploughshares Fund, there are an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons in the world. Russia reportedly has the most with 8,500; North Korea, the fewest with less than 10. Donald Cook, the administrator for defense programs at the US National Nuclear Security Administration, recently confirmed that the United States possesses around 4,700 nuclear warheads. Other nuclear powers include rivals India and Pakistan, which stood on the brink of nuclear war in 2002. (Just this year, Indian government officials warned residents of Kashmir, the divided territory claimed by both nations, to prepare for a possible nuclear war.) Recently, India and nuclear-armed neighbor China, which went to war with each other in the 1960s, again found themselves on the verge of a crisis due to a border dispute in a remote area of the Himalayas.

In a world awash in nuclear weapons, saber-rattling, brinkmanship, erratic behavior, miscalculations, technological errors, or errors in judgment could lead to a nuclear detonation and suffering on an almost unimaginable scale, perhaps nowhere more so than in Iran. “Not only would the immediate impacts be devastating, but the lingering effects and our ability to deal with them would be far more difficult than a 9/11 or earthquake/tsunami event,” notes Paul Carroll. Radiation could turn areas of a country into no-go zones; healthcare infrastructure would be crippled or totally destroyed; and depending on climatic conditions and the prevailing winds, whole regions might have their agriculture poisoned. “One large bomb could do this, let alone a handful, say, in a South Asian conflict,” he told me.

“I do believe that the longer we have these weapons and the more there are, the greater the chances that we will experience either an intentional attack (state-based or terrorist) or an accident,” Carroll wrote in his email. “In many ways, we’ve been lucky since 1945. There have been some very close calls. But our luck won’t hold forever.”

Cham Dallas says there is an urgent need to grapple with the prospect of nuclear attacks, not later, but now. “There are going to be other big public health issues in the twenty-first century, but in the first third, this is it. It’s a freight train coming down the tracks,” he told me. “People don’t want to face this. They’re in denial.”

iran

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5028

Russia & Turkey: Magog and Gog

Game-changing Russian missiles ‘already in Syria’ – Aaron Klein – http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/game-changing-russian-missiles-already-in-syria/?cat_orig=world

Obama aware, disappointed in support of regime

A Russian convoy of game-changing S300 missile batteries reached Syria last week, claimed Arab intelligence sources speaking to WND.

Israeli security sources said there is no information to support the Arab claim.

The information comes as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported Israel relayed a message to the Obama administration describing as imminent a Russian deal to sell the advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria.

The S300 missile batteries are able to intercept manned aircraft and guided missiles.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Texas the administration is aware of the reports and is disappointed in Russia’s continued support of the Syrian regime.

“We have consistently called on Russia to cut off the Assad regime’s supply of Russian weapons including air defense systems that are destabilizing to the region,” Carney said. “We have also long said that Russia could play a more constructive role in Syria.”

According to the Journal report, Syria has been making payments on a 2010 agreement with Russia to purchase four batteries for $900 million with delivery expected within three months.

The Journal reported the S300 package included six launchers and 144 operational missiles each with a range of up to 200 miles.

Russia staffs Mediterranean fleet – Turkey weighs payback for Syrian bombingshttp://www.debka.com/article/22965/Russia-staffs-Mediterranean-fleet-Turkey-weighs-payback-for-Syrian-bombings

Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Sunday, May 12, that the process is underway for creating a permanent staff to run Russian fleet operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet’s home port, Adm. Chirkov said a staff of 20 officers was already in place. And the Mediterranean deployment would comprise five to six warships and their service vessels as well possibly as nuclear submarines which, say our military sources, are armed with nuclear ballistic missiles.

debkafile’s military sources: The new permanent deployment is the next Russian step for safeguarding Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus and deterring military attacks on his Hezbollah allies and Iranian interests in their three-way bloc.

Moscow is also announcing loud and clear that Russia is finally restoring its military presence to the Middle East in 2013 after the last Soviet squadron exited the Mediterranean in 1992.

The Russian naval step came 24 hours after two car bombs reduced to rubble the center of the Turkish town of Reyhanli near the Syrian border, killing 46 people and injuring scores. Turkish ministers at the scene Sunday openly blamed Syrian military intelligence for the attack’s planning and execution.

This raised concerns in Moscow that Ankara was preparing to deliver a serious reprisal, possibly in the form of an aerial or missile assault, on Syrian military targets.

Russian tacticians reckoned that, after Israel’s two air strikes against Assad regime targets, the Tayyip Erdogan’s government could hardly avoid direct action without appearing to be failing in courage in the eyes of the Turkish public.

Some action is doubly pressing as Prime Minister Erdogan prepares to travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama on May 16 and present him with evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons in his war on Syrian rebels.

The Reyhanli bombings and Turkey’s potential retaliation sent a fresh wave of alarm across the Syrian neighborhood. Once again, Israeli Air Force warplanes thundered Sunday across South Lebanon and over Hezbollah strongholds in the eastern Beqaa Valley near the Syrian border.

Given all these circumstances, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chances are virtually nil of getting anywhere in his trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to persuade President Vladimir Putin to hold back advanced S-300 anti-air missiles from Syria. He can expect to find the Russian president driving full speed for arms deals – not just with Syria, but also with Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.

Putin clearly regards Obama’s decision to keep the US clear of military involvement in the Syrian conflict as an open gateway for a Russian military comeback to the Middle East after a 21-year absence, armed with a cornucopia of weapons for winning clients. For now, there is no stopping him, not even if Turkey or Israel were to embark themselves on military intervention.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5019

KAHLILI: Teetering on the brink

Iran is teetering on the brink of political chaos in the wake of last week’s news that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested, questioned and warned to shut up by the heads of the Islamic regime’s security forces before being released seven hours later.

With a candidacy-filing deadline at hand for those who would succeed Mr. Ahmadinejad in next month’s presidential election, according to the regime’s media outlet Baztab, the president warned that if his handpicked candidate — close confidant and adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei — were not allowed on the ballot, he would release a tape that proved his 2009 re-election was a fraud, engineered by the regime’s supreme leader. After publishing that news, the Baztab website was immediately taken down by security forces and its editor arrested.

The report of the arrest came from a source in the regime’s intelligence apparatus but was denied by the regime itself. However, Mr. Ahmadinejad a week earlier said he had been warned that if he released information embarrassing to the regime, he would be taught a lesson. He said he won’t back down and that he has files that, if revealed, would implicate certain officials.

As I reported recently from a Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit source, Mr. Ahmadinejad taped a phone conversation between himself and Vahid Haghanian, the head of the office of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The two discussed fraud in which Mr. Haghanian said election officials added millions of votes to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s tally to declare him the winner. While the two argued about the fraud, Mr. Haghanian told Mr. Ahmadinejad what Ayatollah Khamenei, the real power in Iran, expected of him.

The man who lost the official vote to Mr. Ahmadinejad in 2009, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been under house arrest since February 2011. Millions of Iranians took to the streets after that election, calling Mr. Ahmadinejad’s reported 62 percent tally of voters a fraud and demanding a free election. Thousands were arrested, with many tortured and executed.

The Obama administration, which was engaged in back-channel negotiations with Iran at the time over its illicit nuclear program, stayed out of the debate on fraudulent elections, claiming any support would jeopardize the protesters, thereby missing a great opportunity as millions of Iranians chanted “death to the dictator.”

Information leaked from the regime’s intelligence service months later indicated that had the protests continued for several more weeks, the regime would have fallen. Though the Islamic leaders promised to collaborate with President Obama once the masses were suppressed, Iran announced that not only was the offer by world powers no longer acceptable, but it had reached a milestone by enriching uranium to the 20 percent level, which is well on the way toward use for nuclear weapons.

While Mr. Ahmadinejad was under arrest April 29, he was warned not to talk about matters detrimental to the Islamic regime, apparently a reference to his threat to release the damning tape.

As this was unfolding, the source said, hundreds of other Revolutionary Guard members questioned the president’s associates on the existence of documents that could harm the regime. They were probably searching for the tape.

Now there is a standoff between Mr. Ahmadinejad, the apparent fraudulently elected head of state, and Ayatollah Khamenei, the de facto head of state. Will Mr. Ahmadinejad release the tape and thereby bring international scorn to a regime already suffering international sanctions because of its nuclear program? Such a scenario would heap embarrassment on the dictatorial regime as the presidential elections near.

The Obama administration, though failing to reach an agreement on the regime’s nuclear program, has again mistakenly placed its hopes in back-channel talks with Ali Akbar Velayati, who is the ayatollah’s handpicked candidate to succeed Mr. Ahmadinejad.

As I reported last October, Mr. Velayati secretly met in Doha, Qatar, with a three-person delegation of the Obama administration. According to the source, one American is trusted by the Iranians, having met with Mr. Velayati more than 10 times over the past several years. Other U.S. and Iranian officials also participated in several of those meetings, which took place from 2009 to 2012 in Turkey, Georgia and Thailand to discuss Iran’s nuclear program as well as regional issues.

WikiLeaks recently revealed U.S. diplomatic cables that indicate that, as early as 2007, a close associate of the supreme leader communicated with the U.S. Embassy in Dubai to suggest that the U.S. government support the 2009 candidacy of Mr. Velayati, who ultimately did not run for the presidency. The Bush administration showed no interest.

Mr. Velayati, who is wanted by Argentina in the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, has been the subject of intense negotiations between Iran and Argentina to clear him of that charge as he prepared to run for the presidency. The source said the Obama administration has helped with this approach even though Israeli officials are furious over the possibility of such a decision by the Argentines.

The Obama administration should know by now that its failed negotiating approach has only bought time for Iran to develop its nuclear weapons program. If North Korea is any lesson, the world will not be able to sustain peace and stability if similar threats of a nuclear exchange rise in the Persian Gulf, where more than 20 percent of the world’s energy passes.

The best option is to dramatically increase pressure on the regime to widen the existing crack and support the aspirations of the Iranian people, who want nothing more than freedom and democracy.

iran

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5011