Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Iran launches anti-US-Israel front – from W. Iraq, with Tel Aviv in missile range, builds base facing Golan

Aug 31, 2018 @ 18:25 Iranian forces in W. Iraq, Russian armada, US-Russian-Israeli buildup

Russia, Iran, Syria and Hamas have launched six steps to counter the US-Israeli plan to hit Iranian military targets in Syria, which National Security Adviser John Bolton finalized in Jerusalem two weeks ago. That plan is to strike Iran’s Al Qods Brigades and allied Shiite militia forces in Syrian and western Iraq, as DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources were first to reveal. The US and Israel agreed to provide each other with reciprocal air and military cover for their operations in Syria. This accord was first implemented on Aug. 23, when unidentified warplanes bombed a pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite Khataib Hezballah convoy on the Syrian-Iraqi highway.

The Russian-backed Iranian-Syrian-Hamas alliance subsequently put together six counter-measures:

  1. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Damascus with a large military delegation to sign expanded military cooperation pacts with Syrian ruler Bashar Assad. Israeli and American officials who initially made light of this event were forced to take a second look.
  2. Iran was empowered by these accords to deepen its military grip on Syria, backed by the promise of Russian military and air cover modeled on the US-Israeli mutual commitment.
  3. Tehran and Damascus agreed to retaliate for every US or Israel attack on Iran’s Al-Qods or Shiite militia forces in Syria in the same coin, i.e. by targeting US military forces posted east of the Euphrates River along the Syrian-Iraqi border, or IDF forces inside the Golan enclave. Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani was put in charge of these operations.
  4. Our exclusive sources also reveal that the new military pacts signed by Iran and Syria provide explicitly for three large Iranian bases to go up in Syria as hubs for the various Iranian command posts dispersed across the country; one outside Aleppo; a second between Damascus and the Israeli Golan border and a third at a still undetermined location.
  5. In the wake of these pacts, the United States, Russia, Iran and Israel are all engaged in military buildups in the Middle East and around Syria of intervention forces for a potential escalation.
    The Americans have prepared major naval and air strength in the region capable of rapid responses, mainly with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
    The Russians are massing a sea armada opposite the Syrian coast. Fresh arrivals on Friday, Aug. 31, raised the number of warships to 24.
    Syrian air defense networks are on the highest war alert since early this week. The IDF’s presence in northern Israel has been beefed up and the troops placed on high alert.
  6. On Friday, Iran said it had supplied allied Iraqi Shiite militias with ground-to-ground missiles with ranges of between 200km and 700km. From Western Iraq, meaning Anbar, where Soleimani has concentrated a large force, these mssiles can reach Tel Aviv; and from southern Iraq, the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The senior US allies in the region are therefore under fresh Iranian missile threat from Iraq.
    DEBKAfile’s military sources note that these missiles have long been in the hands of the Iraqi Shiite militias under Tehran’s thumb, but Iran’s leaders decided it could do no harm to release the information to its enemies at this time.
    In former articles, our sources have pointed out that a US-Israeli showdown with Iran in Syria  would inevitably spill over into Iraq.
    Hamas joined the emerging fray on Thursday, when its leader noted that the Palestinian organization also had rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. He was pointing up the collaboration between Gaza’s Palestinian rulers and Tehran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9364

NATO Confirms Russian Naval Buildup Off Syria, Calls for Restraint

‘It is important that all actors in the region exercise restraint and refrain from worsening an already disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria,’ a NATO spokesman told Haaretz in a statement

Haaretz

Aug 29, 2018 9:56 AM

NATO confirmed a large scale Russian navy buildup in the Mediterranean Sea off Syria on Tuesday. “The Russian Navy has dispatched substantial naval forces to the Mediterranean, including several ships equipped with modern cruise missiles,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu confirmed to Haaretz in a statement.

Russian media on Tuesday called the deployment Moscow’s largest naval buildup since it entered the Syrian conflict in 2015. The reinforcement comes as Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is believed to be considering an assault on the last big rebel-held enclave, Idlib in the north.

Lungescu said, “Many NATO Allies border the Mediterranean, and our navies constantly operate there, so we monitor naval activity in the region, including that of Russia.”

“We will not speculate on the intention of the Russian fleet, but it is important that all actors in the region exercise restraint and refrain from worsening an already disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria,” added the spokesperson.

“NATO is not present in Syria, but we support the efforts of the United Nations to achieve a lasting political resolution to the conflict.”

Russia claimed on Monday that the U.S. is preparing for a possible strike on Syria. Major-General Igor Konashenkov was quoted by agencies as saying that the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer, had entered the Mediterranean on Aug. 25 armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting any target in Syria.

Russian intervention

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the Russian military was in talks with leaders of armed groups in Syria’s rebel-held Idlibprovince to reach a peace settlement, Russian news agency RIA reported.

Shoigu said the aim of the Idlib talks was to reach peaceful resolution similar to the settlements in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta and Deraa, RIA said.

The Russian Navy has dispatched the biggest task force to the Mediterranean Sea since the start of Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, Russian daily Izvestia reported.

* The task force includes 13 warships and two submarines

* Most of the ships carry ‘Kalibr’ cruise missiles

* Several more ships are reportedly on their way to join the task force

* Izvestia cites military experts as saying the fleet will be able to support the Syrian army’s campaign in rebel-held Idlib Province

* Russia intervened in the Syrian Civil War in 2015 backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9355

Are Turkey and the USA on a collision course? Not necessarily

Where are we headed? The Brunson crisis has gone on for several weeks – does Erdogan really think Trump will concede?

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, 27/08/18 13:08 | updated: 16:03

Modern Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (“Father of the Turks”) – in 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire during WWI (1917). He led Turkey into the modern age by abandoning Islam and using constitutional and governmental means to force a secular nationalist agenda on the country’s citizens. The secular state allowed many of the things prohibited by Islam, such as the sale of alcoholic beverages and their consumption in public, civil marriages, casinos and betting, while some of the things permitted by Islam became illegal, such as polygamy and child marriage.

As the years passed, the demographic makeup of the country changed, and the mostly liberal and secular urban public declined in number due to a lowered birth rate and high rate of emigration, while the rural public, more traditional and religiously observant, increased and gained strength due to its high birthrate and low level of emigration. This cultural change was reflected in the 1996 elections when Necmettin Erbakan, head of the Islamic Welfare Party, was elected prime minister and deposed in 1997, the following year.

Erbakan’s pupil, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, head of  the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was elected prime minister in March 2003 and served  for two terms until August 2014, when he was elected President – one whose authority is steadily expanding as time goes on. The renewal of an Islamist party regime in a state which had an 80 year tradition of a secular government caused consternation in the West among leaders, journalists, intellectuals and academics who feared a Turkish version of the 1979 Iranian revolution that brought Khomeni to power.  In order to calm them down, Erdogan decided to play both sides simultaneously – at least in public.

Playing both sides in the religious sphere

In order to  assuage the fears of those inside Turkey and outside of it who were concerned about his becoming president, Erdogan ran a clever election campaign which included holding a press conference during daylight hours in the month of the Ramadan fast where he enjoyed  a sandwich in full view of the assembled  photographers and media representatives. Audible sighs of relief were heard worldwide, with no one understanding that this did not prevent him from simultaneously being a Muslim Brotherhood Islamist – and in fact, some time later, Erdogan admitted that the sandwich was a publicity stunt meant to soothe Western nerves. Playing both sides…

In the military sphere

Tiurkey is a full-fledged member of NATO and an honorary member from its founding. The Incirlik Air Base in Turkey was the front line position of NATO forces against the USSR, and U2 and SR71 planes took off from the base to missions above the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies, without any of those countries being capable of intercepting the high flying planes.

When the Islamist Party took over the Turkish regime, Turkey’s relations with the West became complicated, starting with the Erdogan regime’s decision to stop NATO forces from invading Iraq from Turkish soil. This came as a great surprise to the US, causing a major change in the plans for the Second Gulf War.  Erdogan did not leave NATO, but did not cooperate with any of the organization’s military plans in any Islamic state: Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.  Simultaneously, a member and a non- participant. Playing both sides…

Relations with Middle Eastern states

Turkey is attempting to gain recognition as a regional power overseeing the area’s other countries on the basis of 1) its national pride 2) j400 years of historical consciousness as an Empire (1517-1917) and 3) political Islamic ideology which leads Erdogan to believe that he alone is fulfilling Allah’s will.

The Arab regimes have understood Erdogan’s motives since 2003 and he has them greatly concerned. Bashar Assad had an excellent relationship with him until 2011, with the need for visas waived for Turks visiting Syria and vice versa. This is unusual in Arab states, where a visa is always necessary to travel from one to another. Erdogan blew a fuse, however, when Assad the Alawite began butchering his Sunni Muslim citizens and particularly Muslim Brotherhood members, Erdogan’s ideological brothers. At that point, all the former agreements vanished into thin air, and in 2014, Erdogan even supported ISIS.

Erdogan has a dual relationship with Egypt as well: He wholeheartedly supported Morsi, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president from late June 2012 till early July 2013, and has an ongoing feud with al-Sisi who deposed Morsi. This is not about the relations between Turkey and Egypt, but is concentrated on the personal relationship between Erdogan and whoever rules Egypt. Everything is personal and revolves around the ideological preferences of one person – Erdogan.

Erdogan’s special love is reserved for Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan supports and helps them wholeheartedly in every way he can, although he is careful not to transfer funds to them so as not to go up against the US law that forbids transferring funds to Hamas as they are listed as a terrorist organization.

The most extreme incident was the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship filled with IHH terrorists that tried to sail through the blockade on Gaza in May 2010. On the one hand Erdogan has diplomatic relations with Israel and on the other, he supports those who call for its destruction. Playing both sides…

When it comes to Israel, Erdogan plays both sides in other ways. Turkish construction companies, headed by Yilmaz, build upscale office buildings in the center of Tel Aviv, Turkish factories manufacture clothes, food and electric appliances for Israeli companies. On the other hand, however, Erdogan sends tens of millions of dollars to support Islamic resistance to Israeli rule in East Jerusalem, an inseparable part of Israel’s capital, its faith and history.

Playing both sides in Europe and the US

Erdogan’s dream is to be accepted to the European Union so that he can reap economic benefits from joining one of the world’s strongest and largest economic bodies. Up until the economic crisis of 2008, Erdogan was insulted to the depths of his soul if some European leader said something against Turkey joining the EU, because he realized that Europe did not want to give him the opportunity to export millions of Muslims to Europe and speed up its Islamization.

On the other hand, when Greece was in dire economic straits and needed massive European economic aid, Erdogan was glad not to be an EU member. The last thing he wants to do is to help the Greek Christians he hates so much. He wants to be accepted to the EU, but not really….

Then came the migrant wave of 2015 that flooded Europe with over 1 million refugees, some of them Syrian but most of them Iraqi, Afghan or Pakistanis who, if they managed to survive crossing the Aegean Sea, landed in small, rickety boats on the Greek coast. Where did they sail from? Syria? Iraq?   Not at all. They embarked on the dangerous sea journey from Turkey, the country they fled to from their collapsing states. According to international law, the minute a refugee arrives in a functioning state, he may not be expelled from it and must be granted refuge within its borders. In other words, all the hundreds of thousands of refugees who reached Greece were sent on their way by Turkey, which is not in a state of war.

Do you get it? Erdogan, the celebrated Islamist, sent hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, the overwhelming majority of them Muslim, to drown (remember the little boy with the red shirt lying on the shore?) or to reach heretic European states.

Why didn’t the Europeans stop the Erdogan-created migrant wave before it hit their shores? Who knows.

Later on, they paid him a billion euro to stop the migration from Turkey to Europe. He took the money and continued sending migrants. Why? Because that is the way to turn Europe into a Muslim continent. Why did he want to do this? Because he is an Islamist.

Then US  President Barack Obama, said not a word against Erdogan and the wave of immigrants he created. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that Obama, like Erdogan, wanted Europe to become Islamic. The extensive reports in the media about the refugee wave helped Trump win the election, because he spoke of stopping the lesser wave of migrants that reached North America. Trump knew who was responsible for the wave of migrants, and it makes sense to infer that his opinion of Erdogan already began to be forged during that period.

The personal aspect of the issue cannot be ignored. Trump and Erdogan are both extremely sure of themselves and their ideas, two men whose style of leadership is at once personal, loud and emotional. They both love to speak straight to their supporters, rallying them to whatever cause they are espousing and radicalizing their opinions.  The chance that the two will have a head on collision  is  the same as the probability that two billy goats trying to cross a narrow bridge from opposing ends will bump into one another.

Trump’s opinion of Islamist leaders is well known. He has the same level of affection for Erdogan as he has for the Iranian mullahs, but instead of taking that into account, Erdogan has done everything he can to infuriate the US president. In Syria, Erdogan collaborates with the Russians, says nothing about the heavy bombing that shattered the US-supported anti-Assad forces, and battles the Syrian Kurds although he is aware that the US that armed them so they would fight ISIS.

Erdogan came out loudly and publicly against Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and once it was a fait accompli, called a conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) representing 57 Islamic states in order to condemn Trump’s action and work against it. What was he thinking? That Trump would send a recorded blessing to the conference?

That’s when the Pastor Brunson issue surfaced. Erdogan has had him incarcerated since 2016, at first in prison and now under house arrest, for allegedly taking part in the rebellion against the government. I do not know what really happened there, but it seems that Trump simply does not believe that a Christian leader, whose activities are totally religion-oriented, would take part in a military coup. Trump convinced Israel to release a woman suspected of transferring funds to Hamas, expecting the quid pro quo to be Brunson’s release, but that did not happen. What was Erdogan thinking?  That a leader whose voters are in a large part Evangelists would give up the efforts to release an Evangelist pastor?  Yet the Brunson crisis has gone on for several weeks – does Erdogan really think Trump will concede?

Trump took the economic steps he knows how to do without burning all his bridges, from sanctions against two ministers to a tax on metals. These are sanctions that can be stopped in a moment, but Erdogan has not given in and is ready to sacrifice his country’s economy on the altar of his inflated ego. The Turkish lira is in a state of collapse, the stock market has crashed, Qatar – another terror and Muslim Brotherhood sponsoring country – is offering aid, but Erdogan has not yet freed Bronsun.

Where are we headed? It looks as though there are behind the scenes contacts whose goal is to find a solution, but it is clear that Trump does not see Erdogan as a partner despite his formal NATO membership. He may even have given the USAF orders to prepare for the day Erdogan expels the US from Incirlik – yes, even that is being talked about by some voices in Turkey.

It is possible that some kind of solution will be found, one that allows both leaders to preserve their honor and images. It will not be easy, but from this important podium I would like to humbly suggest a solution to the two of them:  Bronsun has a weak heart, he is beginning to feel ill, his health is deteriorating and his llfe is endangered. Erdogan can arrange the “patient’s” medical transfer to Europe as a lifesaving goodwill gesture and after two days of tests in the US army hospital in Germany, Trump can remove the sanctions, welcome Bronsun and let Erdogan come out a winner as well. Playing both sides again – but so what?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9350

Russian Warships Heading for Syria

 

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 26, 2018 , 3:44 pm

“You are My war club, [My] weapons of battle; With you I clubbed nations, With you I destroyed kingdoms.” Jeremiah 51:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Russian warship preparing to sail (Photo by Shutterstock)

It was reported Turkey sighted three Russian warships passing through the Bosporus last Thursday en route to Syria.

Debka File, an Israeli military intelligence website, reported on Saturday that the armada, composed of the Krivak Class Pytlivy missile frigate, the Tapir class LST (tank landing ship) Orsk, and a landing craft, the Nikolai FilchenkoThe Filchenko is the largest landing craft in the Russian fleet capable of transporting 300 soldiers and either 20 tanks and trucks or 40 armored personnel carriers.

“Debka File’s military sources conclude that the two large Russian landing craft consigned from the Black Sea to Syria are almost certainly carrying Russian marines or special forces for attacking rebel groups in Idlib from the sea or the coast,” the site reported.

Idlib is one of the final holdouts for rebel troops fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Russia already has a significant military presence in Syria to support Assad. Debka reported that approximately 60-70,000 Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels with heavy weaponry and armored vehicles have reportedly answered a call by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization to begin an offensive to conquer Aleppo and Hama. The rebels are supported militarily and financially by Turkey. The conflict in Syria has set Russia and Turkey increasingly at odds.

The US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago and a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9347

Report: US-Russia Agree to Oust Iran From Syria

By JNS August 19, 2018 , 11:40 am

“The “Damascus” Pronouncement. Behold, Damascus shall cease to be a city; It shall become a heap of ruins.” Isaiah 17:1 (The Israel Bible™)

The United States and Russia have reportedly agreed in principle that Iranian forces should withdraw from Syria, which Israel and America have long advocated, but Russia believes that it will be a “difficult task” to get Iran out of the country, according to a senior U.S. official, as reported by Haaretz.

This development comes ahead of an upcoming visit to Geneva by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who will meet with senior Russian officials, focusing on issues related to Iran and Syria.

So far, Russia—an ally of Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad—has promised Israel to keep Iranian forces almost 53 miles away from the Israeli-Syrian border, a plan that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected.

Bolton’s upcoming meeting is considered a follow-up to last month’s meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, when the former said that the latter “is helping Israel.”

“This will bring peace to Golan Heights, and bring more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel, and also to provide security of the state of Israel,” said Putin, speaking through a translator, in Helsinki.

“President [Trump] paid special attention to the issue during today’s negotiations,” added Putin. “And I would like to confirm that Russia is interested in this development and will act accordingly.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani thanked Putin in Kazakhstan last week for the effort between the two nations to strengthen Syria’s government.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9333

Kremlin Backs Turkish Plan to Dump the Dollar and Trade in National Currencies

Erdogan announced Turkey was preparing to conduct trade through national currencies with China, Russia and Ukraine as ties with the U.S. continue to crumble

Reuters

Aug 13, 2018 2:11 PM

The Kremlin said on Monday that Russia favored bilateral trade with all countries in their national currencies, rather than the dollar, but that the idea needed detailed work before being implemented.

On Saturday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey was preparing to conduct trade through national currencies with China, Russia and Ukraine.

The Turkish lira sank to a fresh record low of 7.24 to the dollar in early Asia Pacific trade Monday, as investors continue to worry over the state of the economy and deteriorating ties with the United States amid a diplomatic row over a jailed American pastor.

Asked about Erdogan’s proposal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had been pushing for such an arrangement with all countries. He said the issue had been raised on more than one occasion during bilateral talks between Turkey and Russia.

Erdogan said on Monday he expected attacks on Turkey’s economy to continue but predicted the lira would return to “rational levels” soon, after the Turkish currency hit a record low of more than 7 to the U.S. dollar.

Erdogan, who has described the lira’s fall as the consequence of a plot rather than economic fundamentals, also said that spreading false news about the economy was treason and recent U.S. actions were a stab in the back against Ankara.

Germany has an interest in a stable Turkish economy and is monitoring the situation closely, a government spokesman said, when asked about the meltdown of the Turkish currency, which has lost more than 40 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.

A spokeswoman for the German finance ministry said there had been no crisis talks among members of the G20 industrialised countries on the situation.

Turkey’s lira has declined sharply this year, largely over worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates, and strains with the United States.

The spokeswoman said it was too early to comment on the exposure of German companies to the economic situation in Turkey, and declined to assess the latest developments there.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9324

Russian submarine threat largest since Cold War: top US Navy admiral

 

By Lucas Tomlinson | Fox News

Pentagon and NATO brass have issued fresh warnings about increased Russian naval activity in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, with the top U.S. Navy admiral saying this week Russian submarine operations are currently at levels not seen since the Cold War.

That’s one reason the Navy plans to stand up a new command later this month to deal with the return of an old foe.

Tuesday night provided the latest example of Russia’s new show of force. A British Type 45 guided-missile destroyer escorted two Russian warships through the English Channel.

The Royal Navy posted video of HMS Diamond alongside the Russian destroyer Severomorsk and cruisier Marshal Ustinov in the English Channel. Interactions like this have become so common, the Royal Navy has warships standing 24-hour alert in port.

The incident took place one day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his British counterpart, Gavin Williamson, at the Pentagon. It marked the second time the same British warship had responded to approaching Russian Navy warships, according to the warship’s commanding officer.

This week, the U.S. Navy’s highest ranking officer, Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told VOA Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic is “more than we’ve seen in 25 years.”

But a day later, Mattis downplayed the perceived threat from the Russian Navy.

“We always keep an eye on the submarines at sea and I prefer not to say any more than that,” Mattis told reporters on the Pentagon steps ahead of Williamson’s visit.

A recent Russian missile test provided another example of Russia’s resurgence at sea.

Two months before the Helsinki summit, a Russian ballistic missile submarine launched four long-range nuclear missiles in rapid succession from off the coast of Russia in the White Sea, each with a range of 6,000 miles – putting Washington, D.C. in range. U.S. spy satellites took note of the test, which marked the first time Russia had fired this many missiles at once from its newest class of ballistic missile submarine.

Observers said tensions are high right now between Moscow and Washington, despite the summit in Helsinki last month. On Wednesday, the U.S. said it would impose sanctions on Russia over a nerve agent attack.

“I think Russia is signaling to us that the Bear is back. We are likely to see more of this intimidating, threatening operations on the part of the Russian fleet,” said Peter Brookes, a senior fellow for national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation.  “This is an expression of President Putin’s foreign policy and it’s directed towards the United States.”

U.S. officials are concerned special Russian submarines can tap into undersea cables.

Days ahead of the landmark summit between Cold War foes, President Trump signaled a willingness to ease tensions despite his top intelligence officials accusing Russia of meddling in the 2016 election.

“Maybe we will get along with Russia,” the president said at a news conference on July 12. “I think we probably will be able to.”

A week after the Helsinki summit, Trump told CNBC if things didn’t work out, “I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had,” speaking about Russian President Vladimir Putin.  (AP, File)

A week after the Helsinki summit, Trump told CNBC if things didn’t work out, “I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had,” speaking about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Since Russian forces deployed to Syria three years ago, Russian submarines in the Mediterranean have at times launched missiles to help crush the rebellion battling the Assad regime.

The increased Russian threat is one of the reasons the U.S. Navy is bringing back the 2nd Fleet later this month in Norfolk, Va. to keep tabs on the Russians in the Atlantic.

It had been deactivated in 2011.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9311

US Reimposes Economic Sanctions on Iran

By JNS August 7, 2018 , 11:14 am

Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. Proverbs 25:26 (The Israel Bible™)

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday restoring key sanctions on Iran with the hope of levying “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran over its nuclear program and other destabilizing activity in the Middle East.

“As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime,” said Trump, “I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorism.”

The new sanctions on Iran prevent any transactions with the Islamic Republic involving dollar bank notes, gold, precious metals, alumni, steel, commercial passenger aircraft and coal, as well as ending imports into the United States of Iranian carpets and food. On Nov. 5, a second round of sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry are also set to go back into effect.

“We’re very hopeful that we can find a way to move forward, but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump on his decision to reimpose sanctions.

“This is an important moment for Israel, the U.S., the region and the entire world. It represents the determination to curb Iran’s aggression in the region and its ongoing intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons. I call upon the countries of Europe, which talk about stopping Iran, to join this measure. The time has come to stop talking and to take action, and that is exactly what the U.S. has done and what Europe should do.”

The renewed sanctions come as a result of Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal last May. Trump, who called the deal “horrible” and “one-sided,” is seeking to ratchet up pressure on the Iranian regime, which the president accuses of destabilizing the Middle East.

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

“Reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions through today’s actions further intensifies pressure on Tehran to change its conduct,” said the president.

At the same time, the renewed sanctions come amid growing protests in Iran over the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Protesters could be seen on the streets in the last few days in several major cities, including Tehran, Isfahan and Karaj.

In addition to the newly imposed sanctions, Iranians are concerned about the rapid drop in the country’s currency, the rial, which has lost nearly 80 percent of its value from a year ago.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9309

Netanyahu warns that Israel will stop any Iranian attempt to close Red Sea

After Yemeni rebel attack on Saudi tankers, PM tells graduates of naval commanders’ course a ‘determined international coalition’ would act against Tehran

By TOI staff 1 August 2018, 10:31 pm 4

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Wednesday that Israel, together with an “international coalition,” would not allow the Islamic Republic to close a key regional waterway.

Speaking to graduates of the Israel Navy’s elite captains’ course at its naval training base in Haifa, Netanyahu said, “At the beginning of the week we witnessed a serious clash with Iran’s proxies who tried to obstruct international movement in the straits at the entrance to the Red Sea.”

He added: “If Iran tries to block the Bab Al-Mandab Straits, I’m convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this.

“This coalition would include Israel,” he promised the 36 newly-minted naval commanders, “in all its branches.”

Netanyahu was referring to the attack last week by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels on two Saudi oil tankers in the straits, an attack that led to the temporary suspension of Saudi oil shipment through the area and a spike in global oil prices.

The Bab al-Mandab Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, is the southern entrance to the Red Sea. As such, it is a bottleneck for maritime traffic to Israel’s southern port of Eilat.

“The sea provides us with many opportunities. Above all it increases the small size of the State of Israel and allows us to deploy our vessels above and below the waves across a vast area. This gives the State of Israel considerable power,” he said.

Shortly after Netanyahu’s speech, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the graduates that the IDF, which faces security threats on the country’s northern and southern borders simultaneously, is capable of fighting a war on multiple fronts.

“Daring seafarers, our men of iron, ready at any moment for any mission,” he said in a tweet following the ceremony.

“You stand ready in the Red Sea, and in the north and in the south. You are ready for a campaign on all fronts at once, ready to deliver a powerful blow to the enemy.”

The Saudi tankers, operated by the Saudi shipping group Bahri, each with a two-million-barrel capacity, emerged mostly unscathed from the attack.

“One of the ships sustained minimal damage. No injuries nor oil spill have been reported,” the Saudi state oil giant Aramco said.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen’s civil war has repeatedly warned that the Iran-backed Houthi rebels are threatening vessels in the Red Sea — a key shipping route for world trade — through their control of the strategic Hodeida port.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9300

Iran’s Rial Nearing Collapse Ahead of Renewed Sanctions

By JNS July 31, 2018 , 5:33 pm

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7 (The Israel Bible™)

In just four months the value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has dropped by half—now it takes 102,000 rial to buy a dollar—Agence France-Presse reported on Monday. In March, the rial’s value had dropped to the point that it cost 50,000 rial to buy a dollar.

The latest reported drop of the rial comes ahead of expected sanctions to be imposed by the United States on Iran on Aug. 6.

The unofficial rate was confirmed by an anonymous trader to AFP.

The government set an official rate of 42,000 rials for a dollar in April and threatened to crack down on those trading currency on the black markets. But Iranians still wanted to buy dollars, either to preserve their wealth, or even as an investment, as the rial continued to fall.

Bloomberg reported that the continuing devaluation of the rial, already damaged by “from years of sanctions, mismanagement and corruption,” is nearing collapse.

The disparity between the official and actual rates of the rial has allowed importers to “profiteer” by importing goods at the official exchange rate and then selling them priced in rials at the higher unofficial rate.

In a statement released on Monday, Iran’s central bank blamed the economic uncertainty on “plots by the nation’s enemies to create unrest in the economy.”

Last week, the government replaced Valiollah Seif, the governor of the central bank, effectively blaming him for the nation’s economic straits.

Iran has been taking action against those taking advantage of the rial’s fall.

The police have been chasing black-market traders from their bases of operation. The government has also announced the arrests of 29 people for what it calls “disturbing” the nation’s economy and its “money and currency systems.”

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