Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Putin gets permission to use military in Ukraine; parliament wants to pull ambassador in DC

Published March 01, 2014

FoxNews.com

The Russian parliament unanimously voted Saturday to grant President Vladimir Putin permission to mobilize the country’s military in Ukraine and asked that the country’s ambassador in Washington be recalled after earlier statements by President Obama.

Putin says the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. But the request came a day after Obama warned Moscow that “there will be costs” if it intervenes militarily in Ukraine.

“I’m submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country,” Putin said before the vote.

Putin’s call came as pro-Russian demonstrations broke out in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east, where protesters raised Russian flags and beat up supporters of the new Ukrainian government.

Russia’s move sharply raised the stakes in the conflict following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president last week by a protest movement aimed at turning Ukraine toward the European Union and away from Russia. Ukraine has accused Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” — a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis, and raised fears that Moscow is moving to intervene on the strategic peninsula where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.

The move also appears to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea. His motion loosely refers to the “territory of Ukraine” rather than specifically to Crimea, raising the possibility that Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev.

In Crimea, the pro-Russian regional prime minister had earlier claimed control of the military and police there and asked Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two neighboring Slavic countries.

Sergei Aksenov, the head of the main pro-Russia party on the peninsula, said in a statement reported by local and Russian news agencies that he appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin “for assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness on the territory of the autonomous republic of Crimea.”

Aksenov declared that the armed forces, the police, the national security service and border guards will answer only to his orders. He said any commanders who don’t agree should leave their posts.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said unidentified gunmen sent by Kiev had attempted overnight to seize the Crimea region’s Interior Ministry offices and that people had been wounded in the “treacherous provocation,” Reuters reported.

Ukrainian border guard vessels were put on combat alert in the Crimea region on Saturday and were leaving port to prevent the capture of military bases and ships, Interfax news agency quoted the border guard service as saying, according to Reuters.

Russian troops moved into Crimea Friday, U.S. officials told Fox News, prompting Ukraine to accuse Russia of an “armed invasion.”

Ukraine’s defense minister said on Saturday Russia had “recently” brought 6,000 additional personnel into Ukraine and that the Ukrainian military were on high alert in the Crimea region, Reuters reported.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk opened a cabinet meeting by calling on Russia not to provoke discord in Crimea.

“We call on the government and authorities of Russia to recall their forces, and to return them to their stations,” Yatsenyuk was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “Russian partners, stop provoking civil and military resistance in Ukraine.”

At the White House, President Obama said the U.S. government is “deeply concerned” by reports of Russian “military movements” and warned any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would be “deeply destabilizing.”

U.S. officials told Fox News they see “evidence of air and maritime movement into and out of Crimea by Russian forces” although the Pentagon declined to officially “characterize” the movement.

Earlier Friday, Agence France Press quoted a top Ukranian official as saying Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have landed at a military air base near the regional capital of the restive Crimean peninsula.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian border service said eight Russian transport planes have landed in Crimea with unknown cargo.

Serhiy Astakhov told The Associated Press that the Il-76 planes arrived unexpectedly Friday and were given permission to land, one after the other, at Gvardeiskoye air base, north of the regional capital, Simferopol.

Astakhov said the people in the planes refused to identify themselves and waved off customs officials, saying they didn’t require their services.

Earlier in the day, Russian armored vehicles rumbled across Crimea and reports surfaced of troops being deployed at airports and a coast guard base – signs of a more heavy-handed approach to the crisis from Moscow.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6090

Russian military drill may be lead-in to Crimea occupation and Ukraine split

There is no way that President Vladimir Putin will relinquish Russian control of the Crimean peninsula and its military bases there – or more particularly the big Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. This military stronghold is the key to Russia’s Middle East policy. If it is imperiled, so too are Russia’s military posture in Syria and its strategic understandings with Iran.
This peril raised its head Wednesday, Feb. 26, when pro-Russian and pro-European protesters clashed violently in the Crimean town of Simferopol, the Peninsula’s financial and highway hub.

Most of the protesters against Moscow were members of the minority Tatar community, who had gathered from around the region to demand that Crimea accept Kiev rule.
The majority population is Russian speaking and fought the Tatar demonstrators. However,  rival historic claims to this strategic peninsula were in full flight, sparking red lights in Moscow to danger.

The Tatars ruled Crimea in the 18th century. If they manage to expel Russian influence from Simferopol and then the rest of the region, it would be the signal for dozens of the small peoples who make up the Russian Federation to go into separatist mode and raise the flags of mutiny. The Kremlin is therefore bound to nip the Tatar outbreak in the bud to save Russia.

And so, Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to stage an urgent four-day drill to test the combat readiness of Russian military forces in central and western Russia, starting with a high alert for the military and the deployment of some units to shooting ranges.
The exercise will involve Russia’s Baltic and Northern Fleets and its air force.
In a televised statement after a meeting of top military officials in Moscow, defense minister Gen. Shoigu said the forces “must be ready to bomb unfamiliar testing grounds” and be “ready for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation’s military security.”

A senior Russian lawmaker on Tuesday told pro-Russia activists in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula that Moscow will protect them if their lives are in danger.
The Russian president’s military move Wednesday signaled his readiness to send his army into Ukraine and divide the country, if Moscow’s national interests and the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine are at stake. Having broadcast that message, Putin will now wait to see if it picked up by Washington and Brussels for action to restrain the new authorities in Kiev.

But it is no longer certain how much control Western powers have over the former protesters of Kiev, who appear to have taken the bit between their teeth

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6085

Rouhani: Jerusalem Should be Liberated from Israel

Jerusalem should “be liberated from the yoke of Israel,” says Rouhani at meeting with the speaker of the PA parliament.

Elad Benari

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, on Wednesday said that Jerusalem should “be liberated from the yoke of Israel.”

The comments were made during a meeting in Tehran between Rouhani and the Speaker or the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliament, Salim Zanoun, and were reported by the semi-official Fars news agency.

During the meeting, according to Fars, Rouhani expressed the support of the Iranian government and nation “for the oppressed people of Palestine”, and called for the “liberation of the Holy Quds (Jerusalem) from the yoke of Israel.”

“One of the wishes of the Iranian nation is liberation of the Holy Quds,” the Iranian President was quoted as having said, adding that he hoped “the Palestinian nation and the entire Muslim world will find a serious solution to this occupation through unity and integrity”.

Zanoun, for his part, praised the Iranian nation as a great nation, and said, according to Fars, “I hope that during your presidency you will see a great development in the Muslim world, especially with regard to Palestine.”

Wednesday’s meeting marks the second time in recent weeks that Iranian officials have met PA officials. In January, Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of the Fatah movement, visited Tehran.

Rajoub vowed during the visit that Fatah “will not stop the resistance until the establishment of an independent Palestinian government” in eastern Jerusalem.

Rouhani, who has tried to woo the world with “an attack of smiles” and by claiming he is moderate, has made anti-Israel statements just like his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Last week, Rouhani warned that Iran would issue a harsh response against any attackers, including Israel.

The Iranian government also released a statement in which it called “to remove the cancerous tumor – Israel.”

Shortly after being elected last summer, Rouhani called Israel an “old wound” that “should be removed.”

Iranian media later claimed that Rouhani’s remarks were distorted.

Jordanian Sheikh: “Israel Belongs to the Jews”

Yossi Aloni : Feb 20, 2014 : Israel Today

Sheikh Ahmed Aladoan of Amman has caused a “storm in the Arab media” after slamming the use of the name “Palestine” and Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda.

(Jordan)—Sheikh Ahmed Aladoan of Amman, a member of Jordan’s well-known Adwan tribe, posted to Facebook this week that there is no such place as “Palestine,” and provided references from the Koran to back up his assertion. (Photo via Israel Today)

One of the Koranic verses provided states that Allah gave the Holy Land to the sons of Israel until the Day of Judgment (Surah Al-Ma’ida, verse 21), and the other (Surah Al-Shara’a, verse 59) says that the land was bequeathed to the Jews.

The sheikh turned to those who “distort the words of the Koran,” whom he labeled as liars, and questioned where they had even come up with the name “Palestine.” He insisted their claims to the Land of Israel were forfeit because “Allah is the protector of the Children of Israel.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the sheikh went on to turn the tables on the anti-Israel propaganda machine by accusing the Palestinians of killing children, the elderly and women, of using human shields, and of having not an ounce of mercy for even their own children.

The sheikh’s words caused a storm in the Arab media, and were picked up by the Israeli Embassy in Amman.

The Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi further explained the sheikh’s position, noting that he supports the notion that Jordan is Palestine, and insists that Arabs living both in Jordan and the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories would almost all love to be Israeli citizens.

The Adwan tribe issued a statement distancing itself from Sheikh Aladoan’s remarks. But the sheikh was not intimidated, and insisted he would continue to make his voice heard on these matters.

Last year, Sheikh Aladoan visited Israel and spent time with the chief rabbi of Tsfat (Safed), Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu. The sheikh informed Rabbi Eliyahu and his students that in the Koran, “there is no name ‘Palestine’ for this land, and therefore, the Arabs should not be fighting the Jews over control of this land.”

Click Here and scroll down to watch a video of their encounter. Most of the video is in Hebrew, but around the 2:00 mark, Sheikh Aladoan’s assistant translates his words in English.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6080

ISRAEL’S TAMAR GAS FIELD SIGN $500 MILLION GAS SUPPLY DEAL WITH JORDAN

Tamar partners sign 15-year deal with Jordanian companies; under agreement, Tamar to supply 66 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Reuters

Published: 02.19.14, 17:23 / Israel Business

The partners in the Tamar natural gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast have signed a deal to sell at least $500 million of gas over 15 years to two Jordanian companies in the first deal outside of Israel.

Under the agreement, Tamar will supply 66 billion cubic feet to Arab Potash and its unit, Jordan Bromine – a joint venture with US Albemarle – at their facilities near the Dead Sea, Noble Energy said on Wednesday.

Texas-based Noble owns 36 percent of the field. Israel’s Delek Group, through its units Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling, holds a 31.25 percent share. Isramco Negev has a 28.75 percent stake, and Dor Gas Exploration holds 4 percent.

Jordan is hungry for gas amid numerous attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai peninsula that has halted supplies from Egypt.

Tamar, discovered in 2009, is estimated to hold more than 280 billion cubic metres of gas. It began production last March and has already signed a number of lucrative deals in Israel.

The field came on line months after Egypt halted gas supplies to Israel.

After a lengthy and heated debate, the government last year decided to allow 40 percent of its natural gas reserves for export. It is using gas as an opportunity to improve relations with its neighbours including Jordan. It is also thought Israel could ultimately sell gas to Turkey, although ties between the two countries have been frosty over the last few years.

The nearby and much larger Leviathan field last month signed a 20-year, $1.2 billion deal to supply gas to planned a Palestinian power plant once Leviathan starts production in 2016 or 2017. Leviathan is estimated to hold some 540 billion cubic metres of gas, enough to supply Europe for a year.

Tamar and Leviathan were the two of the largest gas finds in the past decade and overnight turned Israel into a gas exporter.

Tamar’s sales to Jordan are expected to start in 2016 once minimal required infrastructure has been completed.

The selling price will be based on a floor of at least $6.50 per one thousand cubic feet of gas with upside linked to the price of Brent crude oil. Noble said it would also charge a fee for marketing and sales services and for the transfer of gas to Jordan. Gross revenue is expected at $500 million with actual sales dependent on final purchased quantities and oil prices at the time of sale, Noble said.

“This deal will pave the way for additional export projects which could enhance regional cooperation as well as provide additional supply to the domestic market and enhanced security of supply through development of additional reservoirs and infrastructure,” said Lawson Freeman, Noble’s Eastern Mediterranean vice president.

Completion of the deal is subject to various closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Noble said it was in a “number of additional negotiations to sell significant quantities of natural gas from both fields to multiple customers.”

Earlier this month, Australia’s Woodside Petroleum signed a deal to take a 25 percent in Leviathan for up to $2.55 billion.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6078

Israel’s Gas Field Wealth – Russia’s Hook In The Jaw?

February 14, 2014 | Tom Olago


Israel has had plenty of issues and enemies: Iran’s nuclear threats, the Palestinian crisis, the neighboring Syrian upheaval and growing regional instability. Now certain geological developments have begun allowing the Jewish state more than just military superiority in the Middle East: her economic prospects and political power are now on the rise, thanks to the vast fields of natural gas and oil discovered in the deep waters between Israel and Cyprus over the last five years.

Israel may be popping the champagne, but clearly her political foes and economic competitors are not. Chief among them may well be Russian President, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. These developments are expected to undermine Putin’s efforts to rebuild Russia’s influence in the Middle East, and weaken his current strong hand in Europe.

The New York Post’s Arthur Herman reports: “Those natural gas and oil fields, dubbed Tamar and Leviathan, promise Israel an unprecedented degree of energy independence and a lucrative export market to its Arab neighbors, including Egypt and Jordan. And they threaten to challenge Russian energy giant Gazprom’s dominance of the European gas market. 

That dominance has been one of the lynchpins of Putin’s power. Gazprom provided Europe almost one-quarter of its total natural gas needs last year, and that need is inevitably going to grow. Europeans know they pay Gazprom a significant premium for natural gas (more than 2¹/₂ times what Americans pay for gas), even as Gazprom produces cheaply in Russia’s Soviet-era fields. 

They also know Russia’s not afraid to use its gas exports as blackmail, as when Putin severed the supply lines to Ukraine in 2009.Greens won’t let Europeans extract their own natural-gas reserves through fracking, so countries of the European Union have been resigned to letting Putin hold a whiphand over their energy needs, and their economies.” 

Israel’s exports are most likely to be in the form of liquefied natural gas or LNG — which would be safer than using pipelines that terrorists can damage. This would be welcome news for the EU countries, which are then more likely to become better political and trade partners with Israel: all gained at Russia’s expense. The Daily Beast reports: “Within a few years, indeed, Israel hopes to be a major supplier of gas to Europe and also to its Arab neighbors Jordan and Egypt.” 

New York Post’s Arthur Herman separately elaborates: “That has Gazprom, which gets 40 percent of its revenues from Europe, worried — and Putin, too. The Russian company has made offers to “help” Israel develop the Leviathan field (the Israelis chief partner now is Houston-based Noble Energy). Early last year Gazprom negotiated a contract to liquefy some of the gas coming from the Tamar field. But many experts wonder how much the Russians really want to help Israel’s emergence as an energy competitor. 

Insiders agree the Tamar export deal is now all but dead, and an Australian challenger with major LNG expertise, Woodside Petroleum, has just agreed to take a 25 percent stake in Leviathan development. The Israeli government is still working out how much gas it wants to export, and what to reserve for home consumption. 

But for Gazprom the rebuff when the Israelis opted for Woodside is a harbinger of what’s to come: not just a lost contract on Leviathan, or even a challenge to its European market — but also a loss of influence in the Middle East. 

Exporting gas to Egypt, Jordan, and even the Palestinian Authority (Noble already has a contract with the Palestine Generating Power Co. to start in by 2017) will help smooth Israel’s relations with its neighbors — more bad news for a Russia that always prefers to fish in waters roiled by Middle East chaos, as the Russian warships now stationed off Syria should remind us. 

Israel’s new gas bonanza offers a huge opportunity for US interests, by helping to secure peace in the Middle East and undercutting Putin’s imperial pretensions in Europe and the East Mediterranean.”

So far Israel’s gain is Putin’s pain. It will be interesting to see how Russia proceeds based on Israel’s spate of blessings.

As for Israel’s Arab enemies, the stakes around territorial rights are now likely to be heightened. Christopher Dickey reports in his Daily Beast analysis of 6th February: “Are these Gas Fields Israel’s Next Warzone?” Christopher examines the likelihood of wars stemming from the desire to control economic dominance in the Middle East to start on yet another front: the Levant Basin Province in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Hence Israel, Turkey, Russia and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah are reported to be rushing to enhance and increase their naval defense and war capabilities in the Eastern Mediterranean. War chest budgets run to as high as a billion dollars for Turkey to acquire advanced assault ships. 

Although the entire area is generally volatile, the hottest flashpoint at the moment is between Lebanon and Israel, which remain, formally, in a state of war. This enhances the spectacle of dispute over lines of demarcation between their 200-nautical-mile “exclusive economic zones.” In addition, territorial claims overlaps by about 860 square kilometers (332 square miles) occur in a potentially rich portion of the Levant Basin. 

Observers however downplay the Hezbollah threat, mainly due to lack of adequate resources, and various political sensitivities that include current Iranian priorities. This scenario places the advantage squarely in Israel’s favor under these circumstances, as they can proceed to allow mining and exploration to continue under Israel military surveillance and protection.

According to The Daily Beast, the area in question was roughly defined in 2010 by the U.S. Geological Survey. It estimated that in this area there are some 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 billion barrels of oil—and possibly twice that much. The basin runs from near the Syrian port of Tartus (which is also where the Russians have their naval base), down the entire coast of Lebanon, Israel and Gaza, and out toward Cyprus.

That oil and gas could be found there was not entirely a surprise, however political wrangling in the Middle East primarily between Israel and the Palestinians, prompted the pullout of British Company BG Group in 2007 and in 2008, BG shut its office in Israel. 

Since then, the whole operation has been on ice. However joint exploration initiatives between Noble Energy out of Texas, Delek Group and other Israeli companies, resulted in major gas finds in 2009 and 2010. That included the huge Tamar field, which started producing in 2013, and the enormous Leviathan field, estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of gas. Gas findings are projected to meet Israel’s requirements for the next 150 years. 

The prophet Ezekiel wrote: “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Gog (Many scholars are divided between the identity of Gog as being Russia or Turkey), chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army …’” (Ezekiel 38:3-4)

“On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people (Israel) —all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” (Ezekiel 38:10-12)

The Bible prophesies that, one day, God will ‘put a hook’ in Magog’s jaw to draw it down into Israel, where it will plan to ‘plunder and loot’ an ‘unsuspecting people’. Are Israel’s newly discovered natural gas fields and possible future oil discoveries the ‘hook’ that draws this invading force into Israel? 

The idea of a hook almost suggests an action that gives it no choice. Would an Israeli attack on Iran force Russia to act and in the process look to take advantage of this vast resource wealth – one that will allow Gazprom to keep it’s dominant control over the natural gas market in Europe and beyond. Iran (Persia) is also listed in Ezekiel’s scenario as a major player – thus linking such events may not be so far fetched.

If this is the case, Russia and/or Turkey as well as Iran had better take warning in Ezekiel’s prophecy:

“This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 

The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. 

Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’” (Ezekiel 38:18-23)

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6076

Iranian Navy Commander Vows to Sink U.S. Warships

Posted by osnetdaily

Editor’s Note…

The Iranian revolutionary guards are obviously in highly aggressive mode these days. Just two days ago the news broke out that they’re openly making a mockery of America by sending warships to US maritime borders, and today this statement by the Iranian navy commander was uttered – while the USG is still AWOL, due to its desperate attempt to negotiate its way out of the nuclear crisis all the way to the end of Obama’s term.

On top of that, the Iranians claimed today to have tested new weapon systems, including Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle ballistics (although these claims have not been verified by western military analysts, and the Iranians are known to have made unfounded claims about indigenous weapon systems in the past). It seems like they’re trying to build up as much perceived power as they can towards the negotiations on the so called “final status agreement” on their nuclear program, assuming it will help them to gain the upper hand over the crumbling US-EU stance. 

If they already have the aforementioned missiles then they cannot be forbidden to acquire them by the west, while Saudi Arabia has not been prevented from progressing with Pakistan. It seems like Anglo-America encourages a nuclear stand-off in the ME in order to minimize the Russian penetration to the region, while Anglo-America itself undergoes an internal reset.

One good thing about these recent developments is that the Tehran regime is making life very difficult for its pathetic apologists in the west, many of whom claim to represent “alternative media” venues (be they Libertard or just plain Commie), who tried to portray the regime as an innocent little virgin all those years, claiming it’s just after “peaceful nuclear energy” and poses “no threat to anyone”…

***

Washington Free Beacon

top Iranian naval commander threatened to destroy U.S. warships and kill American soldiers just a day after Iranian vessels approached U.S. waters for the first time in history.

“The Americans can sense by all means how their warships will be sunk with 5,000 crews and forces in combat against Iran and how they should find its hulk in the depths of the sea,” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, was quoted as saying Sunday in the regional press.

Fadavi issued these threats just a day after Iranian war vessels were reported to have approached U.S. maritime borders.

“Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message,” Iranian Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars News Agency.

Iran dispatched the war fleet in “response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf,” where American ships are stationed to help keep international shipping lanes safe, according to the report.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also took aim at the United States on Sunday when he urged Air Force commanders to “know the enemy well.”

“The Iranian nation should pay attention to the recent [nuclear] negotiations and the rude remarks of the Americans so that everyone gets to know the enemy well,” Khamenei was quoted as saying in the state-run press.

“The Americans speak in their private meetings with our officials in one way, and they speak differently outside these meetings; this is hypocrisy and the bad and evil will of the enemy and the nation should observe all these cases precisely,” he said.

Iranian military leaders continued to threaten the United States – it’s principal nuclear negotiating partner – well into Sunday, when another top Iranian Navy commander claimed that the United States does not have the courage or ability to attack Iran.

“Were the enemy able to inflict damage on us, it would do so; [you must] rest assured that they can’t,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told fellow navy personnel during a ceremony celebrating “the 35th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution.”

As the United States and its international allies seek to ensure that Iran is complying with a recently inked nuclear accord aimed at rolling back portions of its contested program, Iranian military officials have become increasingly confrontational.

These officials say they are angered by Washington’s vow to keep the military option against Iran on the table.

A top IRGC commander recently stated that “the slightest military move by the U.S. will be reciprocated by Iran’s harshest response,” which would “recognize no boundary”.

It’s unclear exactly how Tehran’s threats are impacting ongoing talks between Iran and the West, which is working to ink a final nuclear deal with Iran in the next six months.

Iran’s defense minister continued to admonish Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration in remarks on Sunday, claiming that “U.S. officials cannot prevent [Iran] from continuing its nuclear fuel production.”

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan vowed to crush U.S. forces and said, “Iran will never allow the country’s nuclear fuel production cycle come to a halt,” according to a report in Fars.

A Pentagon spokesman did not immediately respond to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment on Iran’s war moves.

However, an anonymous defense official dismissed Iran’s approach towards U.S. waters and stated that they “are free to operate in international waters,” according to Israel Hayom.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6038

Three Scenarios of Unfolding Prophecy

I know that many of those who regularly read this blog have also read Hidden in Plain Sight By Mark Davidson. Mark blogs at Four Sign Posts. If you have read both Mark’s book and my latest book, Mideast Beast, then you are aware that we interpret Daniel 7 and 8 differently. In Mideast Beast, I interpret the four beasts of Daniel 7 as a reiteration of the four Kingdoms of Daniel 2. Mark interprets Daniel 7 to be speaking of four contemporaneous end-time nations. This approach, although a minority view, is also espoused by several other interpreters who I am aware of, such as G.H. Lang, Geoffrey R. King, David Pawson, Chris White, Charles Cooper, Hanoch Ben Keshet, Dr. Noah W. Hutchings, Dr. Henry M. Morris, and Irvin Baxter, Jr.

Concerning Daniel 8, in Mideast Beast, I interpret verses 3-22 as being fulfilled with the historical conflicts that took place between the Medo-Persian Empire (the ram) and the Alexandrian Greek Empire (the shaggy goat). But from verse 23 on, where it speaks of the “little horn”, I interpret this as ultimately fulfilled in Antichrist, of whom Antiochus IV Epiphanes was merely a historical shadow. Davidson understands all of Daniel 8 as speaking of future events and correlating to the 2nd and 3rd beasts of Daniel 7. He understands these to be Iran (the second beast) and Turkey (the third beast).

So, what do I think about Davidson’s scenario?

First let me say that I have over a hundred commentaries on the Book of Daniel and have worked through this book for some years now fairly extensively in my own private studies. The more I work through this profoundly important book, the more I realize how difficult certain some portions of it truly are. I am convinced that we must thus take a humble attitude as we seek to fully understand the revelations contained in this book. Let me also say that the world of end time prophecy is a world rife with opinions, pet-theories and often significant disagreements. While there are certainly some issues that I have very strong opinions concerning, there are several other issues that I am very open to reconsider. Daniel 7 and 8 are two such examples. So I am presently working through the possibility of a futurist interpretation of Daniel 7 and 8, and I do see some validity to this as the possible meaning of these chapters. But more than that, I am fascinated by the potential implications of this perspective. To be clear, I am not convinced, as this perspective is not without its own difficulties, but I am quite open to, and wrestling through this perspective. There are some aspects of Davidson’s interpretation that I do not agree with, such as his identification of the four seals / four horsemen of Revelation as correlating to the four beasts of Daniel 7. (After all, it would be impossible for any two prophecy teachers to fully agree with one another on everything!) Nevertheless, in light of the possible implications of these two chapters having future application, I want to describe three potential future scenarios for the region including Davidson’s rather fascinating theory (Scenario Three). To be clear, these are not the only possible scenarios, as we could certainly come up with several others. But based on my present understanding of prophecy, these three scenarios are the best candidates to see fulfillment in the days ahead. As always, God knows best.

Scenario One: Turkey continues to emerge as a regional leader, consolidating power over the northern swatch of the Middle East. Eventually a leader arises from this nation who will be revealed as the Antichrist. As a side note, many folks have asked me if I suspect or believe that Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey could be the Antichrist. For the most part, I try to avoid directly speculating on such matters as I am well aware that such speculation can be dangerous for many reasons. Nevertheless, let me say quite clearly that while Erdogan certainly has many qualities that one would expect to see in the Antichrist, I think it is unlikely that he is the man. My reason for this is the Scriptural requirement that the Antichrist emerge as a “little horn” (Daniel 7:8, 8:9, 11:23). The Scriptures seem to indicate that the Antichrist will initially appear as an obscure and little-known leader who will rise up in the midst of ten other contemporary leaders. He is said to first usurp or uproot three others and then gain the allegiance of all ten. In light of this, I do not think that Erdogan could be said to be the Antichrist, as he is perhaps one of the most prominent leaders not only in the Middle East, but also the whole world. In my opinion, because of the requirement that the Antichrist emerge as a leader of little influence or prominence, it is unlikely the Antichrist is an individual that is presently on anyone’s radar.

Scenario Two: The conflict in Syria continues to destabilize the region and eventually one of the breakaway segments of Syria and possibly segments of northern Iraq and Turkey produces a much lesser known leader who rises to become quite powerful, eventually being revealed as the Antichrist. This scenario is similar to scenario one, except rather than simply looking to Turkey, the leader arises from Syria or Iraq or some new breakaway portion of that part of the world, which may or may not include a portion of Turkey. In considering where the Scriptures point with regard to the coming of the Antichrist, there is a tension. On one hand, Ezekiel 38-39 clearly emphasizes Turkey as the region from which the Antichrist will emerge. The Antichrist is Gog, who is from Magog, and is the chief prince, or leader of Meshech and Tubal, which correlate with modern day Turkey. On the other hand, Daniel 8 and 11 place great emphasis on Antiochus Epiphanes as a type of the Antichrist. As such, it would seem to be from the region of the ancient Seleucid Kingdom (Which Antiochus ruled over) that the Antichrist will likely emerge. This would tend to point to south-eastern Turkey, northern Syria or northern Iraq. But it is somewhat difficult to determine how much weight we should place on a precise geographic correlation between the historical Seleucid Kingdom and the ultimate future fulfillment of these prophetic texts. This is further complicated by the fact that the Seleucid Empire took various shapes at different periods of its existence. So while I continue to lean toward seeing the Antichrist as coming from Turkey, (as I simply cannot see anyway to get around Ezekiel 38 and 39′s clear emphasis on that nation), in light of Daniel 8 and 11′s emphasis on the Seleucid Empire, I believe we would do well to remain open to any of these three nations as candidates from which the Antichrist could emerge.

Scenario Three: This scenario, as espoused by Davidson, which is based on a fully futurist interpretation of Daniel 7 and 8, would see Iran (the ram) as launching a regional offensive primarily into Iraq and Syria. After this offensive, we would see Turkey (the shaggy goat) respond with its own crushing military offensive. Iran would be defeated by Turkey, with the result being Turkish dominance of much of the northern Middle East. However, after crushing the Iranian offensive, the nation of Turkey would see its prominent leader die and for some unforeseen reason the new Greater Turkey would be broken up into four distinct segments. One of these segments, that which most closely correlates to the historical Seleucid Empire, likely including large segments of Syria and Iraq, would produce a little know leader who would eventually be revealed as the Antichrist.

The strength of this view, from my perspective, is that it could reconcile the tension that is felt between Ezekiel 38,39 and Daniel 8 & 11. One of its weaknesses is that it is an incredibly specific scenario. For this reason, while I think it is a view we should be aware of, consider, and watch for, I would not take a strong dogmatic stance on. The bottom line is that we see only through a glass darkly. The Scriptures tell us that our understanding of the future will be limited and obscured by our own limitations. I am convinced however, that when the time comes, the Lord will graciously allow his people to recognize the fulfillment of prophecy and understand the times. Our corporate understanding will continue to open up as the times draw closer. Now, to be clear, while I am encouraging a humble and open approach to prophecy, I am not suggesting that we should be equally open to every idea that is floating around out there. If we are to be honest, there are an abundant number of end time theories out there, and many are outright bizarre and not at all based on a careful and responsible interpretation of the Scriptures. But even among careful exegetes, there are various interpretations and options, and we will do well to be aware of and consider these various interpretations as we watch the present rolling waves and changing tides of the nations and eagerly watch for the coming of our King.

In a few weeks, Davidson is releasing a new version of his book, where he has significantly updated and expanded his previous work. I’ll make an update when it is released, but I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy and carefully consider his presentation.

Blessings,
Joel

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New Russian Submarines Are So Silent That the U.S. Navy Calls Them “Black Holes

 Did you know that Russia is building submarines that are so quiet that the U.S. military cannot detect them?  These “black hole” submarines can freely approach the coastlines of the United States without fear of being detected whenever they want.  In fact, a “nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles” sailed around in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks without being detected back in 2012.  And now Russia is launching a new class of subs that have “advanced stealth technology”.  The U.S. Navy openly acknowledges that they cannot track these subs when they are submerged.  That means that the Russians are able to sail right up to our coastlines and launch nukes whenever they want.  But instead of trying to find a way to counteract this potential threat, the Obama administration has been working very hard to dismantle the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal.  In the end, we could potentially pay a great price for this utter foolishness.

 A recent RT article discussed these new super silent “black hole” submarines.  To say that they are impressive would be a massive understatement…

 Russia has launched its new state-of-the-art Novorossiysk submarine, which set sail from a St Petersburg shipyard to become the first of six diesel-electric stealth subs delivered to the Russian Black Sea fleet in the next two years.

 The Novorossiysk belongs to the Varshavyanka-class (Project 636), which is characterized by advanced stealth technology, making it virtually undetectable when submerged.

 “Our potential opponents call it the ‘Black Hole’ due to the very low noise emission and visibility of the submarine,” Konstantin Tabachny, captain of the Novorossiysk, told Channel One TV. “To be undetectable is the main quality for a submarine. And this whole project really fits its purpose.”

 Of course Russia has been building “near silent” submarines for quite some time.  In fact, their nuclear submarines are already far quieter than anything the U.S. currently has…

 Russia recently launched its near silent nuclear submarine following several years of development.

 The Borey Class submarine, dubbed Vladimir Monomakh, has a next generation nuclear reactor, can dive deeper than 1,200 feet, and carries up to 20 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

 Each of these “Bulava” ICBM’s can carry ten detachable MIRV warheads, what they call “re-entry vehicles,” capable of delivering 150 kiloton yields per warhead

 And as I mentioned above, these submarines have the ability to approach the coastlines of the United States without the U.S. military ever even knowing that they were there.

 In addition, Russia has been working feverishly to upgrade other elements of their strategic arsenal as well.  For example, it was recently announced that Russia will soon begin work on a new strategic bomber…

  Russia will begin the full-scale R&D work on its future strategic bomber in 2014, a senior aircraft-manufacturing industry official said Thursday.

 The project, known as PAK-DA (an acronym meaning “future long-range aircraft”), has been in the works for several years but was given the formal go-ahead by the Russian leadership last year.

 The Russians are also working very hard to modernize their nuclear forces…

  Russia is developing several new missiles, including a weapon U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed as a covert intermediate-range nuclear missile called the RS-26 that is being developed and tested in apparent violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

 The Russian government has denied the RS-26 violates the INF treaty and claims it is a new ICBM, which some arms compliance experts say is a violation of the 2010 New START treaty.

 Sadly, most Americans have no idea that any of this is going on.

 Most Americans just assume that “the Cold War is over” and that Russia will never be a threat to us ever again.

 If only that was actually true.

 Today, Russia is stronger both economically and militarily than it has ever been before.

 And as you just read about, Russia is rapidly preparing for a potential future conflict with the United States.

 If the Cold War truly is over, then why does Russia have more spies inside the U.S. today than it did at any point during the Cold War?

 The American people need to wake up.

 As all of this has been going on, Barack Obama has been working relentlessly to dismantle the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles…

 Back in 1967, the U.S. military had more than 31,000 strategic nuclear warheads.

 Since that time, the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal has been reduced by about 95 percent.

 The START Treaty that Obama agreed to back in 2010 will limit both the United States and Russia to a maximum of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads.

 But that is not nearly enough of a reduction for Obama.

 Back in June, he declared that “after a comprehensive review” he has decided that the United States can reduce the number of our deployed nuclear warheads by another one-third…

 After a comprehensive review, I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third.  And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.

 That would leave us with around 1,000 warheads.

 And thanks to the various treaties that we have signed, Russia will know where most of those warheads are located.

 So this makes a scenario in which Russia and China collectively conduct a first strike against the United States much more conceivable.  If Russia or China knows exactly where our warheads are, it would be very easy to take most of them out in less than 10 minutes with a submarine-based first strike.

 The fact that Russia is building subs that are so quiet that the U.S. Navy cannot even detect them is a very, very big deal.

 It means that at any time the Russians could have their subs pop up right off of our coastlines and deliver an absolutely crippling first strike that would hit us before we would have any chance of responding.

 No, I do not believe that such a thing will happen this year, or next year or the year after that.

 But as relations between the United States and Russia continue to go downhill, the stage is being set for such a scenario to happen in the future.

 World War III is coming at some point, and the decisions that are being made right now are making it far more likely that the United States will be the loser of that conflict.

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‘Russia eyes Egypt’s ports in bid to boost military presence’ –

 

Cold-shouldered by Washington, Cairo could be just the thing Putin needs to secure more influence in the region, report says

 

Russia has been seeking to upgrade its military ties with Egypt in an effort to augment its limited access to the Mediterranean and bolster its navy’s presence in the region, the London Times reported Sunday.

 

According to the report, Moscow has been shopping for alternatives to the Tartus port in Syria, where it maintains a limited naval facility, due to fears that President Bashar Assad’s regime will eventually be toppled by rebel forces.

 

The Times of Israel could not independently confirm the report.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia would seek to maintain a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean, but experts say the base in Tartus can’t provide sufficient support for such a presence and is too small for large ships.

 

“Tartus is vulnerable and not good enough and the Egyptian ports are perfect for the Russian navy,” the Times quoted an unnamed Israeli defense source as saying.

 

An Egyptian diplomatic delegation was in Moscow over the weekend for meetings with Russian officials. According to the Times, the purpose of the trip was to lay the groundwork for a visit to Cairo by Putin.

 

Egypt, whose relationship with the US has been suffering in the wake of recent political turmoil in the country, has been on the lookout for a new military patron, and Russia’s need for a larger, more reliable port of call in the Middle East could present a confluence of interests for Cairo and Moscow.

 

On October 19, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that Egypt was looking to Russia to supply it with arms after the US froze much of its military aid in protest over the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.

 

Dissatisfied with Egypt’s progress toward reinstating a democratic government, the US announced earlier this month that it was freezing a sizable portion of the $1.5 billion it provides Egypt each year.

 

US officials said the aid being withheld included 10 Apache helicopters, at a cost of more than $500 million, M1A1 tank kits and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The US had already suspended the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets and canceled biennial US-Egyptian military exercises.

 

Israel has reportedly argued “directly and bluntly” with the Obama administration against cutting aid to Egypt, telling Washington it was making “a strategic error” in reducing financial assistance to Cairo.

 

A renewed alliance with Moscow – the Soviet Union was Cairo’s chief backer for much of the second half of the twentieth century – could also infuse Egypt’s ebbing economy with much-needed tourism and investments.

 

Another ally of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, said Saturday that it had boosted its aid pledges to Egypt’s military-backed government to a total of $4.9 billion.

 

The deal, signed for $1.9 billion in new loans, fuel supplies and other assistance, came during a visit to Abu Dhabi by Egyptian interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi.

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Israel and Saudi Arabia are coordinating policies to counter US détente with Iran

Associates of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday, Oct. 2, leaked word to the media that high-ranking Gulf emirate officials had recently visited Israel, signaling a further widening in the rift between Israel and President Barack Obama over his outreach to Tehran. These visits were in line with the ongoing exchanges Israel was holding with Saudi and Gulf representatives to align their actions for offsetting any potential American easing-up on Iran’s nuclear program.

debkafile reports that this is the first time Israel official sources have publicly aired diplomatic contacts of this kind in the region. They also reveal that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates have agreed to synchronize their lobbying efforts in the US Congress to vote down the Obama administration’s moves on Iran.

debkafile reported earlier Wednesday:

After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama at the White House Monday, Sept. 30, Secretary of State John Kerry carried a message requesting moderation in the speech he was to deliver next day to the United Nations.

On the other hand, at least two European diplomats, German and French, made the opposite request: they asked for a hard-hitting Israeli peroration for setting boundaries – not so much for Iran’s nuclear program as for attempt to slow down President Obama’s dash for détente with Tehran.
It is feared in European capitals that the US is running too fast and too far in his bid for reconciliation with the Islamic Republic, to the detriment by association of their own standing I the Persian Gulf.

They are moreover miffed by the way Washington used Europe as a tool in the long nuclear negotiations between the Six World Powers with Iran and is now dumping them in favor of direct dealings with Iranian leaders.
Netanyahu decided not to accede to either request. Instead he laid out his credo: Iran must discontinue nuclear development and dismantle its program or face up to the risk of a lone Israeli military attack.

The look on the face of US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, sitting at the US delegation’s table in the UN hall, showed he had realized that the prime minister’s words were not just addressed to Tehran; they were an unforeseen broadside against the Obama administration’s Iranian strategy.
The dissonance between Jerusalem and Washington on Iran and its nuclear aspirations, played down after the Obama-Netanyahu meeting at the White House, emerged at full blast in the UN speech. The consequences are likely to be reflected in American media, as they were at the low point in relations in 2010, when administration officials day by day planted negative assessments of Israel’s military inadequacies for damaging Iran’s nuclear facilities.

After the UN speech, the Israeli Home Defense Minister Gilead Erdan tried to pour oil on troubled waters by commenting that the prime minister’s speech had strengthened Obama’s hand against Tehran. However, Netanyahu had a different object. It was to paint Washington’s new partner in détente in the blackest colors, even though he knows there is no chance of swaying the US President from his pursuit of Tehran and the sanctions, which he believes to be the only effective deterrent for giving the Iranians pause, will soon start unraveling.

Binyamin Netanyahu now faces the uphill job of repairing his own credibility. For five years has had declared again and again that Israel’s military option is on track in certain circumstances, but has never lived up to the threat. He has followed a path of almost total military passivity.

President Obama knows that Israel’s military capacity is up to a solo operation against Iran. Tehran, however, though conscious of the IDF’s high military, technological and cyber warfare capabilities, is convinced that Israel like the United States has lost the appetite for a military initiative.

Netanyahu must now revive Israel’s deterrence and convince Iran that his challenge at the UN had ended an era of military passivity and should be taken seriously.

In the coming weeks, therefore, the Iranians will react with steps to upset US-Israeli relations, possibly by raising military tensions in the region directly or through their proxies. Until now Tehran operated from outside Washington and its inner councils. Now, smart Iranian diplomats will be sitting down with the US president close to his ear for friendly discussions on ways to further their rapprochement.

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