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

by Tyler Durden

Thu, 05/16/2019 – 21:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US official: Iranian missiles spotted on boats in Gulf

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

By AFP 16 May 2019, 9:47 pm 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Geoffrey Grider May 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 13, 2019 by Michael Snyder

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here we go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us hope that nothing like that ever happens.

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

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

Surprisingly, even the British are urging caution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRISLAM UPDATE: Pope Francis Wishes A Very Happy Ramadan To ‘Our Muslim Brothers And Sisters’ As The Vatican Embrace Of Islam Grows Deeper

The Vatican has sent a special message to all the world’s Muslims, wishing them “a peaceful and fruitful celebration of Ramadan.” “We Muslims and Christians are called to open ourselves to others, knowing and recognizing them as brothers and sisters,” the text states. “In this way, we can tear down walls raised out of fear and ignorance and seek together to build bridges of friendship that are fundamental for the good of all humanity.”

by Geoffrey Grider May 13, 2019

The endearing use of the phrase “brothers and sisters” invokes a vision of harmony and peace together. This is not the case between Muslims and Christians globally. This is Chrislam.

If I call someone who is not my biological sibling my ‘brother or sister’ what exactly am I saying? Well, with the use of that term, I am acknowledging that that person and myself share an overwhelming and fundamental agreement about the major issues in life. The bible tells us that two people cannot ‘walk together’ through life unless there be in agreement with each other, as we see in the bible verse below.  And when we read the entire chapter from which that verse is taken, we see that verse is used as a rebuke, which is exactly how I am using it here.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV)

Pope Francis continues his full court press of wooing the Muslims and Islam into the folds of the Roman Catholic tent as he builds the One World Religion that Revelation 13, 17 and 18 tells us the Roman pontiff will do. As we have long said, just as Rome used the armies of Spain to enforce the demonic Spanish Inquisition for nearly 300 years, so will Rome now seek to use the armies of Islamic jihad to promote the Roman Catholic harlot at the point of a sword. You may not know much bible, you may not believe in bible prophecy, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are watching it come to life before your very eyes. The pope is effectively using false teachers like Rick Warren to advance his cause.

Pope Francis is not merely a ‘defender of Islam’, he is a promoter of Islam and by extension Sharia Law. He has been working on this partnership and it soon will be completed, when it is, look out. Rome will once again have an army, and at that point they will quit pretending to be a lamb, and go right back to being the ‘roaring lion’ who only comes to seek, kill and destroy. Pope Francis and his Roman religion is creating Chrislam, the merger of counterfeit Christianity and Islam, and he is doing it with impunity. He knows that ‘now is his hour’ and that the ‘power of darkness’ will continue to propel him forward. That’s how he can look on Muslims who practice Sharia Law and preach hatred of the Jews and Israel as ‘brothers and sisters’ because he is one of them.

Vatican issues a happy Ramadan to all “Muslim brothers and sisters”

FROM JIHAD WATCH: Too many Christians live under the worst conditions in Islamic countries, as they endure violent persecution daily under the Sharia. The Pope of Islam is living a lie and promoting the same. Ongoing, he has abandoned persecuted Christians, and also persecuted other minority groups including minority Muslim groups and other victims of jihad. He has also turned a blind eye to Islamic supremacist assaults and jihad attacks in Western countries as a result of open door immigration.

His pursuit of dialogue has never included the demand that Islamic leaders and adherents accept religious freedoms, and the equality of other faiths and human beings regardless of gender and personal identity. The Pope does not promote a two way street in his so-called advancement of “dialogue”.  His expectation is that Christians must embrace “dialogue”, “diversity” and “tolerance” of everyone—including jihadists– but he has no such message and expectation of Muslims.

The Pope has also declared Rome to be a “city of bridges, never walls!,” and further stated that  “Jesus demands” we take in Muslim migrants. Meanwhile, he lives in a walled city within Rome, surrounded by security, and he is not taking in any migrants himself. 

ConverselyCardinal Robert Sarah  — prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments — compared “the modern influx of Muslim migrants to the invasions of barbarian tribes that ultimately brought down the Roman Empire in a.d. 475.” Sarah also warned that “it is a false exegesis [interpretation of scriptural text] to use the Word of God to promote migration. God never wanted these rifts.”

For the Pope’s trip to Morocco, Vatican media promotions abandoned the traditional papal insignia and replaced it with the cross and the crescent; and the crescent did not appear “alongside the cross, as if a companion to it. Rather, the Islamic symbol encircles the Christian one” symbolizing a kind of submission to Islam.  In Islamic law, Muslim lives are explicitly worth more than those of non-Muslims. The Shafi’i Sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller dictates: “The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim.” (o4.9) Sikhs rank even lower, as they are not People of the Book.  The Pope addresses none of this.

Pope Francis has accurately been hailed  the “defender of Islam”. As Robert Spencer rightly notes:

Pope Francis is not only disastrously wrongheaded about an obvious fact that is reinforced by every day’s headlines; he is also deceiving and misleading his people about a matter of utmost importance, and keeping them ignorant and complacent about a growing and advancing threat. source

“Vatican Pope Francis Wishes Happy Ramadan to ‘Muslim Brothers and Sisters’

The Vatican has sent a special message to all the world’s Muslims, wishing them “a peaceful and fruitful celebration of Ramadan.” The month of Ramadan, which began this year on May 5, is “a month for strengthening the spiritual bonds we share in Muslim-Christian friendship,” reads the message from the Vatican’s office of interreligious dialogue bearing the title “Christians and Muslims: Promoting Universal Fraternity.”

“We Muslims and Christians are called to open ourselves to others, knowing and recognizing them as brothers and sisters,” the text states. “In this way, we can tear down walls raised out of fear and ignorance and seek together to build bridges of friendship that are fundamental for the good of all humanity.”

“We thus cultivate in our families and in our political, civil and religious institutions, a new way of life where violence is rejected, and the human person respected,” reads the message, which bears the signature of Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Our religions invite us to “remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence; to re-establish wisdom, justice and love,” the text says, citing a joint declaration signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmed a-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi this past February.

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH: THE END TIMES ‘UNIVERSAL PEACE DOCUMENT’ POPE FRANCIS SIGNED WITH ISLAMIC LEADER MAKES NO REFERENCE OF ANY KIND TO JESUS CHRIST OR THE BIBLE

That same declaration brought down heavy criticism on the pope particularly due to the assertion that the plurality and diversity of religions “are willed by God in His wisdom,” just as God wills a plurality of colors, sexes, races, and languages.

A number of Catholic theologians raised objections to the statement, insisting that it seemed to suggest that either God actively wills error, or that all religions are equally valid paths to God. The existence of a variety of colors, races, and languages in humanity is very different from a variety of contradictory claims about God’s identity and way of acting, they said.

In early April, Francis walked back the earlier statement, clarifying that in reality God only permits the existence of many religions without actively willing it. The Vatican’s Ramadan message steers clear of such theological swampland.

“We are encouraged, therefore, to continue advancing the culture of dialogue as a means of cooperation and as a method of growing in knowledge of one another,” the message says.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9810

Two Saudi Oil Tankers Attacked Raising Tensions Between US and Iran

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 13, 2019 , 3:35 pm

49 Yehoshafat constructed Tarshish ships to sail to Ophir for gold. But he did not sail because the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber.” I Kings 22:49 (The Israel Bible™)

Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers were targeted by “sabotage attacks” adding more heat to the regional tensions.

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, announced to the state-run media on Monday morning that two of his nation’s oil tankers were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The site of the attacks is less than 100 miles from the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping channel. The tankers sustained “significant damage.”

He said: “Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.”

The UAE on Sunday said an alleged sabotage attack targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects. It is believed that one of the vessels was Norwegian.

Reuters reported INTERTANKO, an association of independent tanker owners and operators, saying that it had seen pictures of “at least two ships have holes in their sides due to the impact of a weapon,” and that “trading and shipping sources identified the Saudi vessels as Bahri-owned very large crude carrier (VLCC) tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah.”

The Saudi Foreign Ministry published a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Monday, saying, “this criminal act poses a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime traffic, which reflects negatively on regional and international peace and security.”

Though it is still unknown who was responsible for the attack, the timing raises suspicions that indicate that Iran may be involved. Last week, the U.S. Maritime Administration issued a warning to commercial shipping companies that from the beginning of May there had been, “an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf.”

The White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, indicating heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The statement from the Saudi government on the alleged “sabotage attacks” off the United Arab Emirates port at Fujairah came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the port in Fujairah.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt warned that such incidents could spark a larger conflict.

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” Hunt said about the incident.

Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani,  the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, agreed with that assessment. “Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger,” Al Zayani said in a statement.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9807

On The Brink Of An Apocalyptic War With Iran, And Most Americans Don’t Seem To Care

May 7, 2019 by Michael Snyder

This is the closest that the U.S. has been to a war with Iran in decades, and yet most Americans are either clueless or they don’t seem to believe that it could actually happen.  And I certainly don’t think that President Trump wants a war, but he is surrounded by war hawks that have been pushing an extremely aggressive “get tough” policy with Iran.  The Trump administration just canceled the waivers that were allowing other nations to continue purchasing Iranian oil, and the goal of that move is to reduce Iranian exports to zero.  But oil exports are 40 percent of the Iranian economy, and the Iranians understand that this move could absolutely cripple their economy.  The Iranians have threatened to close the straight of Hormuz in retaliation, and that would almost certainly provoke a U.S. military response.  In addition, it is being reported that on Wednesday the Iranians will announce that they are taking steps to restart their nuclear program… 

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to announce small steps to resume his country’s nuclear program. According to the New York Times, that will include conducting research on centrifuges that can make nuclear fuel, and curbing nuclear inspections from observers.

Of course the truth is that the Iranians never fully abandoned their nuclear program in the first place, but that is supposed to be a big secret.

In any event, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have now reached frightening levels.

On Sunday, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln and four B-52 bombers are being sent to the Middle East as a message to Iran

Four B-52 Stratofortress bombers are being sent to the Mideast to support the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in moves aimed at countering threats from Iran, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.

The B-52s, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, are deploying to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a hub for U.S. air operations in the region, CBS News reported.

Apparently there was some intelligence which indicated that Iran was planning a possible attack on U.S. forces in the region, and Bolton said that these deployments would make it very clear that any assault would be “met with unrelenting force”

The deployments would “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States’ interests, or on those of our allies, will be met with unrelenting force,” he said in a statement. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

In response, the Iranians accused the U.S. of engaging in a form of “psychological warfare”.

In addition to everything else, CNN is reporting that it appears that the Iranians have been “moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf”, and this has deeply alarmed U.S. officials…

Intelligence showing that Iran is likely moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf was one of the critical reasons the US decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region, according to several US officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

The concerns over the movement of the missiles was one of multiple threads of intelligence from various sources that led the US to believe Iran had a capability and intention to launch strikes against US targets.

If both sides rattle their sabers for a while but nothing ever comes of it, we will be fine.

But if someone goes a little bit too far and the missiles start flying, we could be soon engaged in a conflict that could literally spark World War 3.

While they are certainly no match for the U.S., the truth is that the Iranian military is quite strong, and they possess weapons of immense destructive power.  And in the event of a military conflict with the U.S., the Iranians have already said that they will hit Israel too.

And if Israel gets hit, they will certainly strike back at Iran extremely hard.

The Iranians absolutely hate both the United States and Israel, and recent moves by the Trump administration have pushed the Iranians into a corner.  The following comes from Pat Buchanan

Did President Donald Trump approve of this? For he appears to be going along. He has pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions. Last week, he canceled waivers he had given eight nations to let them continue buying Iranian oil.

Purpose: Reduce Iran’s oil exports, 40% of GDP, to zero, to deepen an economic crisis that is already expected to cut Iran’s GDP this year by 6%.

Trump has also designated Iran a terrorist state and the Republican Guard a terrorist organization, the first time we have done that with the armed forces of a foreign nation. We don’t even do that with North Korea.

A cornered animal is extremely dangerous, and at this point the Iranians may feel as if the only option they have left is to lash out.

As a first step, they could potentially close the Strait of Hormuz, and that would instantly create a global oil crisis.  Here is more from Buchanan

Iran has also warned that if we choke off its oil exports that exit the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait could be closed to other nations. As 30% of the world’s oil shipments transit the Strait, closing it could cause a global crash.

In 1973, when President Nixon rescued Israel in the Yom Kippur War, the OPEC Arabs imposed an oil embargo. Gas prices spiked so high Nixon considered taking a train to Florida for Christmas vacation.

Of course a potential war with Iran is not even on the radar for most Americans these days.  Most of us are preoccupied with other things, but if the missiles start flying this will instantly become the top news story on the entire planet.

Wars never start in a vacuum.  In every major war throughout history, there has always been a series of steps that has ultimately resulted in the outbreak of war.

Without a doubt, the U.S. and Iran are moving toward war.  That doesn’t mean that one will happen, and we better hope that it doesn’t, because it would have all sorts of apocalyptic consequences.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any “cooler heads” among Iranian leadership, and Trump has surrounded himself with war hawks like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

In the end, Trump himself will make the final call on any conflict with Iran, and let us hope that he makes the right one.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9803

Giants roamed the Earth as shown by enormous skeletons discovered around the world

By Strange Sounds

Mar 26, 2018

Researcher Graham Hancock coined the phrase, ‘we’re like a species with amnesia,’ and it’s true. Despite the fact that it seems the story of human history is well uncovered, every single year there are new discoveries made that challenge what we once held to be true. In some cases, there are discoveries which are concealed from the general public for various reasons. There also seems to be amazing discoveries that are completely ignored by mainstream media as most of these discoveries would shake the foundations of human history… Like GIANTS

Giants roamed the Earth in Ancient Times.

Out of all the information that’s out there regarding intelligent ancient civilizations, and more, even if just one of these stories are true, it would completely change what we thought we knew about human history and the history of our planet. I believe the story of our past might be different from what seems to be the only two available options, creationism and evolution. There may be a myriad of other factors involved.

These discoveries would also shake the foundations of many people’s belief systems. The human race has been kept from so much information, and forced into a specific worldview that’s designed to benefit the ‘1 percent.’ In today’s day and age, it’s always best to keep an open mind, especially when new information is constantly emerging (for those who are curious enough to actually look) which challenges the old.

Giants? Did giants once roam the Earth?

It’s been in the literature and lore of multiple cultures throughout human history, from the Maya, the global indigenous populations, the Bible and more since what we perceive as the beginning of time. For example, the Bible tells us that when the Gods were on Earth, they were giants. “This, when you bring up in conversation, normally brings up, you know, laughter and people giggling and thinking your joking, and yet, the Bible is full of references of giants in our history.

Tellinger is referring to the Nephilim, as referenced in Numbers 13:33 of the Bible: “We saw the Nephilim there (the defendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.Again, it’s not just the bible, it’s lore from cultures that pre-dated religion as well as the indigenous.

There are several examples of physical evidence which exists to support the idea that giants once roamed the Earth. For example, stored in the vaults of the medical school at WITS University, Johannesburg, there is part of an upper leg bone with a hip-joint that would have stood approximately 12 feet tall. It’s been there since the early 1960’s, and was found by miners in Northern Namibia. It is one of the most precious and rare specimens available today that clearly indicate the existence of giants in Southern Africa more than 40,000 years ago:

Apparently, in 1883 the Smithsonian, a United States government/military led organization at the time, sent a team of archaeologists to South Charleston Mound. According to the official report, the team discovered a number of giant skeletons ranging from 7 to 9 feet tall. Some of them had a “compressed or flat-head type” which would resemble similar skeletal characteristics to those found in Egypt and South America.

Whether or not this is ‘fake news’ is highly debatable, as there is a lot of evidence to suggest it’s not. The list goes on and on, and what’s interesting is an article published in the New York Times in 1902 that also deals with the subject.

The article goes on to describe two stones with “curious inscriptions” and underneath were the bones of a body that “could not have been less than 12 feet in length.” According to the NY Times article, “the men who opened the grave say that the forearm was 4 feet long and that in a well-preserved jaw the lower teeth ranged from the size of a hickory nut to that of the largest walnut in size. Apparently the chest of the body had a circumference of 7 feet.

The bodies were first discovered by Luciana Quintana, it was on his ranch these specific bodies were found, according to the article, “Quintana, who has uncovered many other burial places, expresses the opinion that perhaps thousands of skeletons of a race of giants long extinct will be found. This supposition is based on the traditions handed down from the early Spanish invasion that have detailed knowledge of the existence of a race of giants that inhabited the plains of what now is Eastern New Mexico. Indian legends and carvings also in the same section indicate the existence of such a race.

Here’s another New York Times article about skeletons that were discovered in 1885.

Going back further still, in 1774 settlers found what they called “The Giant Town,” which housed several gigantic skeletons, one being an eight foot tall male.

“In addition to the human skeletons found in NY State, there is also the famous case of ‘The Cardiff Giant,’ a white alabaster-like statue of an 11-foot man who showed an exposed penis and hieroglyphic inscriptions. This statue caused a worldwide sensation and was exhibited in New York City to thousands of paying customers before it was declared a fake by the NY newspapers, despite the fact that scholars from Harvard and elsewhere insisted that the statue was genuine.” – Richard Dewhurst

And you cannot discuss about GIANTS without looking at the amazing work of STEVE QUAYLE and his very well-researched and deeply informative Documentary Film Series: True Legends – Episode 3: Holocaust of Giants, showing indiscutable proofs of Giants roaming Earth in Ancient Times.

What we have today, in large part, is dogma, instead of actual fact. With all of the discoveries being made, and all the discoveries that have been made which mainstream media completely ignores, we are clearly not being told something about the true origins of humanity. The idea that a powerful group of people protecting their interests by suppressing information in multiple fields is unsettling.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9800

Iran’s Intelligence Minister Admits Christianity is Spreading in ‘Parts’ of His Country

05-05-2019

Steve Warren

Iran’s intelligence minister has admitted publicly for the first time that Christianity is spreading throughout Iran.

Iranwire.com reports Mahmoud Alavi, the Islamic Republic’s intelligence minister, was giving a speech in front of several Shia Muslim clerics when he announced “Christianity is spreading in “parts” of Iran.”  

In an apparent attempt to make light of the people are converting, Alavi said: “These converts are ordinary people whose jobs are selling sandwiches or similar things.”

The intelligence minister also told the clerics to quit bickering among themselves. 

“We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting,” said Alavi told the assembled group. “Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace. We told them that Islam is the religion of brotherhood and peace. They responded by saying that: ‘All the time we see Muslim clerics and those who preach from the pulpit talk against each other. If Islam is the religion of cordiality, then before anything else, there must be cordiality and peace among the clerics themselves.”

“It is not the job of the intelligence community to find the roots of these conversions from Islam. But it’s happening right before our eyes,” he added.

Iran is known for its mounting persecution of Christians.  The Islamic Republic is listed as number 9 among the world’s top persecutors of Christians, according to Open Doors USA. Christians in Iran are forbidden from sharing their faith with non-Christians. Consequently, church services in Persian (Iran’s national language) are not allowed. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9795