Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Concerned with Closer Turkish-Russian Ties, Trump Blocks F-35 Sale

By JNS February 20, 2019 , 11:11 pm

For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Amos 5:12 (The Israel Bible™)

U.S. President Donald Trump signed appropriations legislation late last week that blocks the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

The transfer of these fighter planes to Ankara will not proceed until the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Defense provide an update to Congress related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile-defense system from Russia.

The Pentagon, reporting to Congress in late November, noted that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 missile systems from Moscow could enable Turkey’s potential ejection from the F-35 program, in addition to purchasing other weapons such as Lockheed’s F-16 fighter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook helicopter.

“We will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday in a warning to Ankara. “We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed on Monday the purchase and said that there would be no undoing of the decision.

“Having the S-400 from Russia is an outcome of this pursuit,” Erdoğan declared to supporters Monday. “Now [Washington], you tell us to give up purchasing the S-400 [but] … don’t provide us joint production and financial support.”

Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish parliament member and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that the Trump administration’s attempts persuade Turkey away from the Russians have largely failed.

“Washington’s attempt to use positive incentives to encourage Ankara to choose Patriot air defense system over the Russian S-400 system has failed to deliver results,” he said.

“The language in the spending bill signed by Trump will likely trigger U.S. sanctions against Turkey and block the transfer of F-35s, as Washington’s policy moves from positive incentives to negative incentives,” he continued.

“At this point, Erdoğan seems to be strongly committed to his deepening partnership with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and is unlikely to be swayed by Washington’s positive or negative incentives,” added Erdemir. “Erdoğan has been pivoting Turkey away from the transatlantic alliance and its values, putting U.S.-Turkish relations on a crash course, and 2019 might therefore mark the lowest point in bilateral relations.”

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, said: “I don’t think this is anything new coming from the administration or Congress. The plan was always to have Turkey cancel the S-400 missile purchase from Russia.”

“Obviously, Erdoğan is looking for further gains despite his harsh stance. But ultimately, Turkey knows they will not receive the F-35 fighter jets if they go through with the Russian purchase,” he continued. “It’s also important to note that this is not just America’s position but other NATO allies as well, Turkey is [endangering] the security bloc.”

Last August, Trump signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which included barring Turkey from acquiring the F-35 from the U.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9637

Netanyahu Again Confirms Syria Strike, Contrary to Position of Top Brass

Defense officials seek to restore the policy of ambiguity regarding Israeli strikes, but Netanyahu has all but ended it Noa Landau and Yaniv Kubovich

Feb 13, 2019 9:41 AM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday evening that Israel struck Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. The confirmation runs contrary to the position of the Israeli defense establishment, as senior defense officials refrained from addressing the incident on the Syrian Golan Heights.

“We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region,” Netanyahu said as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.

Syrian state media reported on Monday that Israeli tank shells hit a demolished hospital and an observation post in Syria’s southern Quneitra province near the border with Israel.

Senior defense officials say the decision not to respond to the reports on the strike stemmed from the desire to renew the policy of ambiguity of recent years. The fact that the targets were Hezbollah position on the Golan is what prompted the officials to demand the defense establishment remain mum on the reports coming in from Syria. 

Israel’s policy of ambiguity regarding its Syria strikes has been all-but-lifted recently by Netanyahu and former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

As Haaretz’s Amos Harel wrote, it began with Eisenkot’s proud assertion to the New York Times of attacks on thousands of targets in the north during his tenure. Last month, Netanyahu took public responsibility for attacking Iranian weapons stores in Syria.

“Iran is issuing threats against us. On the fortieth anniversary of their revolution, they threatened to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa. I said that they won’t succeed and if they try it will be the last anniversary they celebrate,” Netanyahu added.

“We are constantly operating according to our assessments and needs to prevent Iran and its satellites from forming bases near our northern border or in our area at all,” Netanyahu said at a naval base in Haifa earlier Tuesday, adding: “We do whatever is necessary.”

Monday’s attack apparently targeted Hezbollah forces, with the goal of driving them away from the Israeli border.

“We are operating through a lot of different means and elements against their attempts to arm up on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. We also halt their attempts to entrench themselves in Syria,” the prime minister said of Israeli actions to fend off Iranian threats in the region.

Netanyahu also noted that Israel’s relations with countries in the Middle East “are very good. With all of them except for Syria.”

“Descriptions according to which we are disconnected

[from countries around us]

are the opposite of the reality. Relations are tightening. Not everything is out in the open but some of it is,” he added.

Addressing the conference in Warsaw that he will participate in and that the Palestinians have chosen to shun, the prime minister said he “doesn’t think the deal of the century [or Trump’s peace plan] will be at the center of discussions.”

Challenge along the border

Israeli intelligence officials said that Iran and Hezbollah haven’t given up their desire to open a new front against Israel in the Golan. All the intelligence agencies’ scenarios predict that Lebanon-based Shi’ite organization will try to challenge Israel along the Syrian border, and that Iran will attempt to exploit these efforts.

Israel proudly announced last year that it had reached understandings with Russia and the United States under which.

Monday’s incident casts doubt on the promises Israel said it received from Russia and the U.S., which stipulated that Iran and its proxies would be kept at least 80 kilometers from the Syrian-Israeli border, as the apparent targets were forward outposts of Hezbollah in the Golan, just a few kilometers from the Israeli border.

And while Israel has made significant efforts to enforce the agreement itself, it doesn’t seem to be succeeding.

The defense establishment thinks that today, Iran has very few officers and advisers in Syria, and Hezbollah has also significantly reduced its forces there. Nevertheless, both Iranian and Hezbollah personnel remain in the country.

Iran’s main activity in Syria now is trying to entrench its Syrian militias and locate them near the Golan. Hezbollah is also trying to bolster its control over the triangle where Israel, Syria, and Jordan meet in the southern Golan.

All this is happening as the Syrian army has regained control of most of the country, including the Golan Heights. The fact that Iranian and Hezbollah forces are stationed among or alongside Syrian soldiers in the Golan worries Israel.

In December,  the IDF spotted several armed men crossing the fence into the buffer zone between Syria and Israel. Israeli soldiers fired at the men, but they fled and returned to Syria unharmed.

After the incident, senior IDF officers said they were displeased with this outcome, as the armed men should have been killed.

Last month, an Iranian missile was fired at Mount Hermon following an airstrike near the Damascus airport that was attributed to Israel. That missile, an Iranian model that came from an Iranian factory, was also launched from much closer to the border than the 80 kilometers Israel was promised.

These events show that Iran hasn’t abandoned its desire to entrench itself much closer to the Israeli border than Israel would like.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9620

This Nuclear Arithmetic May Decide The Future Of The World: Russia Could Annihilate America In 30 Minutes

DC ‘elite’ are largely asleep to the fact of Russian nuclear superiority and its terrible implications 

By Dr Peter Vincent Pry – All News Pipeline


“Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking … until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong — these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history,” Winston Churchill wrote in 1935.

Far more important than last week’s State of the Union address, any TV report or newspaper headline, is a little-noticed report by Dr. Mark Schneider: “Does Russia have a 2-1 advantage in deployed strategic nuclear weapons?

Schneider, a former Defense Department official and top-notch nuclear strategist, convincingly shows that Russia has “over 3,300” strategic nuclear weapons, exceeding a 2-to-1 advantage over 1,550 U.S. weapons allowed by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

Does it matter that Russia finally has achieved its Cold War ambition — overwhelming superiority in the longest-range, most destructive weapons that could annihilate America in 30 minutes?

For those who think not, a history lesson.

Prior to World War II, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan cheated on arms limitation treaties, assisted by “useful idiots” in Western democracies who helped to cover up or make excuses for Axis cheating. Only Winston Churchill during his wilderness years, some Tory backbenchers, and dissident military experts foresaw the gathering storm that would become World War II.

When the storm broke in 1939-1941, even Churchill was astonished by the magnitude of Axis military superiority that conquered Western Europe and the Asian Pacific with lightning speed.

For decades, the United States repeated these mistakes with nuclear arms control treaties. Russian cheating has been covered up, regarded as less important than “the arms control process” and as militarily inconsequential.

For years, Russia violated the U.S. Presidential Nuclear Initiative on tactical nuclear weapons, not reciprocating U.S. dismantlement of short-range battlefield warheads. Now Moscow has an at least 10-to-1 advantage in those.

Moreover, since Moscow would strike first against the few hundred obsolete U.S. tactical nuclear bombs bunkered in Germany and Turkey, these U.S. weapons are not survivable.

For years, Russia violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, their cheating covered up by an Obama administration eager to sign New START.

Since the INF Treaty was first and foundational to the arms control process of nuclear weapon reductions, Moscow’s violations should have shaken Washington’s faith in all treaties with Russia — including New START.

Wisely, President Trump is withdrawing from the INF Treaty. Unwisely, Washington’s unshakeable faith in arms control continues.

Arms controllers should read former Ambassador Henry Cooper’s expose, “New Arms Control Sheriff!” The State Department won’t let you read about Russian cheating in “A Quarter Century Of Soviet Compliance Practices Under Arms Control Commitments: 1958-1983.” All but a summary is still classified.

So Russia cheated to gain superiority in short-range tactical weapons and cheated to gain monopoly in intermediate-range weapons for nuclear war in Europe and Asia.

Now, evidently, Russian cheating has gained superiority in the most important category — long-range strategic weapons for nuclear war against the United States.

The anti-nuclear crowd doesn’t think the nuclear balance matters. Yet, Russia obviously does think so. That is why it has cheated to gain superiority in tactical, intermediate and strategic nuclear weapons.

For years, Moscow has convinced itself, and told us, that nuclear superiority matters and it can win a nuclear war. That’s why Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, last March 1 on world television, threatened the U.S. with his new nuclear super-weapons: “Listen to us now.”

We have helped Russia to gain nuclear superiority, and not only by ignoring its cheating. One big fallacy of arms control pretends that equal numbers of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons constitute “parity” or equality of destructive capability. In fact, “parity” has always disadvantaged the United States. Huge disparity exists between U.S. and Russian counterforce targets. U.S. nuclear bases, missile silos and “C3I” (command, control, communications and intelligence) targets number fewer than 500; Russian nuclear targets are at least several thousand, including hundreds of deep-underground command posts for 300,000 political-military elites that cannot be destroyed by any existing U.S. weapon.

While Russia can easily destroy all U.S. targets, the United States cannot even cover the entire Russian target-set, even if striking first with an undegraded force.

Huge disparity also exists between U.S. and Russian countervalue targets because U.S. population and industry are more concentrated. “Assured Destruction” of 25 percent of Russia’s population and 75 percent of its industry requires 400 equivalent megatons (EMTs), whereas Russia needs only 100 EMTs for Assured Destruction against the United States.

After a Russian first strike, the United States would lack enough survivable weapons to inflict Assured Destruction, but, to quote Churchill again, Russia has enough weapons to “make the (U.S.) rubble bounce.”

Russia cheated on the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, deploying nationwide defenses against U.S. retaliatory strikes, while the United States has no equivalent anti-missile capability.

With 3,300 strategic weapons, Russia can make a disarming first strike against not only the United States — hitting every target 2-to-1 — but also Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea and still strike the world’s other 189 nations with nine nuclear weapons each.

Washington still sleeps. But someday, perhaps soon, this nuclear arithmetic may decide the fate of the world.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9615

Turkey Receives Russian Help To Build Massive Nuclear Plant That Will Be Operational By 2023

By Andrew Bieszad on February 4, 2019 in Featured, General

Turkey has for a long time wanted to become a nuclear power. This goal is about to be realized, as decades of lobbying and laboring have come to fruition with the construction of a nuclear plant on the Black Sea coastline backed with Russian help that will be operational in 2023, the 100-year anniversary of the modern Turkish republic:

Turkey’s elusive quest for harnessing nuclear energy dates back to times which most of us perceive only through the black-and-white footage of 1950s and stories of our parents and grandparents. Launched by President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program, it took off steadily as by 1956 Turkey already boasted a reactor research facility not far away from Istanbul, on the shores of lake Küçükçekmece. By the 1970s the Turkish authorities have pinpointed the most suitable site for the construction of a nuclear plant – they have chosen Akkuyu on the Anatolian coast, making use of its proximity to the sea, low population density and at the same time closeness to big demand hubs, as well as its low seismic activity.

What the Turkish planners envisaged some 50 years ago is progressively being realized with the Rosatom-led Akkuyu project. In many ways, the Akkuyu project is a novelty – it is Rosatom’s first project constructed at a build-own-operate (BOO) parity and its first-ever real endeavor in the Levant. Yet when the Chernobyl-entailed mass hysteria slowly started to fade in the late 1990s, Russia was nowhere to be seen in the list of interested parties – at that time it seemed that either Westinghouse of Framatome (the predecessor of Areva) would get it. However, by the time the Turkish government issued a tender for the construction of Akkuyu, only Rosatom filed an official bid to build four 1200MW pressurized water reactors, supported by a commitment to dispose of all the plant’s used nuclear fuel.

From there on, things took a swift turn – an intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2010, the legislative basis for the construction was erected (as Turkey had previously no comprehensive set of laws for nuclear energy), a limited construction resolution was issued in 2016 to be followed two years later by the official start of construction works. The plan is to commission the nuclear plant in 2023 when the Turkish Republic celebrates its centenary. Interestingly, the nuclear project went forward despite significant turbulences in the Russo-Turkish relations, such as the 2015 shooting down of a Russian fighter jet over (allegedly) Syrian territory. Tariff negotiations were successful, too – the sides fixed the electricity tariff at 0.1235 USD/KWh for the first 15 years of operation with the option to increase it to 0.1533 USD/KWh should there be any payback issues.

Roughly around the same time as Ankara committed to the Akkuyu Nuclear Plant, it had also kick-started the quest to build another nuclear plant, this time on the Black Sea coast of the country, in Sinop. Somewhat differently to Akkuyu, the government went for a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme with Sinop, signing a contract with Atmea, the Franco-Japanese consortium comprising Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Areva, in 2013. It was estimated that construction works on the four Generation III pressurized water reactors would start in 2017, costing approximately 18 billion USD. According to a preliminary agreement, Atmea would own 51 percent of the Sinop nuclear plant, Turkish state utilities company EUAS would take 49 percent and Engie would operate it. On paper, everything seemed fine, yet ended in an all-around fiasco.

The root cause of its cancellation, officially announced in December 2018, was cost inflation. The 18 billion USD cost estimate spiraled up to 44 billion USD due to the necessity to implement stricter post-Fukushima safety standards – despite regular insistences by Ankara to keep the cost level at its initial level. The deal breakoff led to a nightmarish result for Japanese nuclear companies – after the retraction of a nuclear project in Taiwan (2014) and Vietnam (2016), followed by the calling off of Sinop and Anglesey in Wales (this January), Japan has currently no active nuclear plant construction abroad, pretty much leaving the global nuclear market to the Russians and Chinese.

What is the difference between the two projects that made Akkuyu feasible and has rendered Sinop unattainable? Most importantly, in case of the former, the entirety of financial risks arising from any appreciation of the project lies entirely on Rosatom, a state company whose former CEO is now First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Administration. Even an appreciation of 5-6 billion USD (initially Akkuyu was estimated to cost 15.8 billion USD, its current price tag hovers around 22 billion USD) is tolerable under such circumstances. Not only did Sinop depend on the cooperation of the French and Japanese, it also presupposed Turkish financial involvement in the project. Secondly, whilst Akkuyu remained quite high on the agenda of Turkey-Russia political summits, Sinop did not receive the same kind of political backing.

A good example of why political backing matters is the ownership structure of Akkuyu. Similarly as with Sinop, it was by no means easy finding Turkish counterparts for the project. It was expected that Turkey would be represented by a consortium consisting of three private companies, mostly known for their dealings in the construction business – Cengiz Holding, Kolin Insaat and Kalyon Insaat. Yet when all three companies quit the project in February 2018 (i.e. 2 months before the start of construction), Akkuyu did not ground to a halt. Instead, negotiations were initiated between the Turkish state-owned electric power holding EUAS to buy into the project, potentially even aiming for a 49 percent stake. It would be quite incredible if this was not the result of a political agreement in the background.

The Sinop nuclear plant setback did not stop Turkey from dreaming big. Akkuyu would supply “only” 10 percent of the nation’s energy demand, indicating more is needed to rid Turkey of its environment-polluting coal dependence. Last year President Erdo?an announced Turkey would build a third nuclear plant – the location is rumoured to be the Thrace region northwest of Istanbul, close to the Bulgarian border. Even though there is still no clarity on who would lead the project, however, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez hinted that Ankara would cooperate with China on the project.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9606

US air bombardment of Iranian sites on Syrian-Iraqi border – reprisal for Iran’s bid to attack US base in Iraq

Feb 4, 2019 @ 8:42 Iranian al Qods HQ in E. Syria, Iranian missile strike foiled, US air strike on Iranian targets, US in Iraq

“Multiple Iranian military sites” were struck by US warplanes early Monday, Feb. 3, , near Abu Kamal in Deir ez-Zour on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Reporting this, Syrian military spokesmen claimed that Syrian artillery positions were also hit and sustained casualties.
DEBKAfile’s military sources revealed on Saturday, Feb. 2, that three Iranian missiles were posted ready to strike the big US Ain Al Assad air base in Anbar, the Iraqi province bordering on Syria, when they were discovered in time by Iraqi security forces. They were to be launched by one of the pro-Iranian Iraqi militias. This incident graphically demonstrated Tehran’s ruthless resolve to drive US forces not just out of Syria but from Iraq as well. For the Trump administration, this foiled attempt crossed a red line.

The USAF struck during a CBS TV interview with President Donald Trump, in which he referred to the same Ain Al Assad base when he stressed the importance of maintaining US forces in Iraq. “All I want to do is to be able to watch,” he said. “We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq, It is perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East.” Rather than pulling it up, he said, “We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.”

Posted at Ain Al Assad is a US intelligence station.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that the US air raid over Iranian targets was prompted additionally by a video film released on Sunday, Feb. 3 by Tasnim, mouthpiece of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). It depicted what was described as a US army patrol near the northern Iraqi town of Nineveh being “forced to return to their base” by “pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) fighters.

Our sources identify the “multiple Iranian sites” attacked by US aircraft as the headquarters of the IRGC’s Al Qods Brigades, which are visited regularly by their commander Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Located there too are command centers of the PMU and another pro-Iranian Iraqi militia, Kata’ib Hezballah, which collaborates with the Lebanese Hizballah in southern Syria.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9603

Russia: A Friend of Israel or Prophetic Enemy From the North?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz January 30, 2019 , 2:12 pm

“And you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty army.” Ezekiel 38:15 (The Israel Bible™)

In the wake of Israeli airstrikes targeting Iranian military sites in Syria, Russia released what seemed to be conflicting statements; decrying “arbitrary Israeli airstrikes” on one hand while at the same time claiming they were deeply concerned about “ensuring a very strong security of the State of Israel.” With a major military presence in Syria, it is essential to understand Russia’s intentions for the region.

Russia’s role takes on apocalyptic implications when considering verses that identify the pre-Messiah War of Gog and Magog which, according to the prophet Ezekiel, will be a war against Israel fought by a multi-nation coalition led by a nation from the north.

Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said Hashem: Surely, on that day, when My people Yisrael are living secure, you will take note, and you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty army. Ezekiel 38: 14-15

This was emphasized in a teaching from the 18th century Rabbinic sage known as the Vilna Gaon who singled out Russian aggression as a precursor to the Messiah.

“When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard,” the Vilna Gaon told his followers just before his death in 1797. “And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”

It should be noted that in 2014, Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Russia was also named as playing a major role in events leading up to the Messiah by the late Rabbi Haim Shvili, a Jewish mystic born in the early 1900s. He made some predictions about the messianic era recorded in his book, Heshbonot Hageula (Reckonings of Redemption), which he wrote in 1935. Although obscure and largely unknown, the predictions in the text were shockingly accurate, stating specific dates and names he described a final terrifying vision of Gog and Magog as a war waged against Israel by a Russian-led coalition. He based this on a verse in Ezekiel.

O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. Ezekiel 38:2

In this verse, the Hebrew word for ‘chief’ is רֹאשׁ (Rosh), which Rabbi Shvili claims hints at ‘Russia.’

As an astute student of history, Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, sees Russia’s intentions as more pragmatic than Messianic. Rabbi Spiro prefaced his statement with a quote from Winston Churchill.

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” Churchill is credited with saying.

Rabbi Spiro noted that there was good reason to see Russian President Vladimir Putin as having good intentions when it came to relations with Israel.

“Putin has very good personal relations with Jews from his childhood,” Rabbi Spiro noted. “In addition, Netanyahu has worked very hard to cultivate a positive relationship with Putin. Until recently, the Israeli Defense Minister was Avigdor Liberman, a Russian ex-patriot.”

But Rabbi Spiro added the disclaimer contained in the second half of Churchill’s statement.

“Perhaps there is a key,” Churchill famously said. “That key is Russian national interest.”

Rabbi Spiro cited a rule in politics attributed to many political figures throughout history.

“There are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies,” he quoted. “Only permanent interests.”

“During the Cold War, Russia went into a decline and he [Putin] wants to reassert his country as a major player in the world.  Rabbi Spiro said. “Russia has always wanted a presence in the region. It took decades during the Cold War for the U.S. to get control of the Middle East.  Eight years of Obama’s administration allowed Putin to reassert Russia into the Middle East.”

Spiro applied this rule of Russian practicality to its alliance with Syria and Iran as well.

“The alliance with Iran and Syria is not ideological,” Rabbi Spiro said. “It is practical.”

The rabbi emphasized that Russia was most likely being candid when they claimed to have Israel’s security interests at heart.

“I don’t think Putin sees any reason to antagonize Israel,” he said. “A direct confrontation with Israel would make Putin’s job of reasserting Russia into the region just that much trickier. Russia does have our security interests at heart but only inasmuch as it serves their interests.”

Though Spiro said that Russia’s interests are clear, the complicated situation on Israel’s northern border makes it tricky for them to achieve these interests.

“The entire thing is surreal,” Rabbi Spiro maintained. “Russia put their army in Syria, covering Assad’s forces, while at the same time they are allowing Israel to come in and bomb stuff. It is a very delicate balance. Putin is doing a dance with everyone in the region: Syria, Turkey, Iran, and yes, even Israel.”

Spiro recognized the prophetic aspect of events on Israel’s northern border but understands it in a moderate manner.

“The north is a generic term for any country coming from outside the region,” he argued, “though it is interesting to note that Moscow in due north of Jerusalem. But at the same time, Russia is not Israel’s nemesis. During the Cold War, Russia supported the Arab countries only because Israel was America’s proxy.”

Additionally, Spiro expressed a more general understanding of how Gog and Magog may play out.

“The War of Gog and Magog doesn’t necessarily have to be a military confrontation,” he explained. “I understand the imagery includes chariots and that would imply a physical war but it could also be a war of ideologies. In that case, the multi-national war of Gog and Magog could be fought in the United Nations General Assembly, much like what we are seeing now.”

On the ideological battlefield, Spiro sees Biblical conflicts being expressed in modern terms.

“It is remarkable that the powers of Esav (Esau, i.e. the West and Europe) put aside their differences with Ishmael (i.e. the Arab nations) to unite against Israel,” Rabbi Spiro said. “On one hand, Jewish sources describe  a pre-messiah scenario of Gog and Magog as a world alliance against Israel like we see in the UN.”

“On the other hand, we have descriptions of Esav and Yishmael fighting each other,” Rabbi Spiro said. “In fact, these two scenarios aren’t necessarily contradictory. The reality is that they are both currently happening simultaneously. Radical Islam is going after Europe’s weak underbelly,, the post-Christian Esav. They don’t like each other but they put their differences aside to attack us. They feel more threatened by us.”

“That is why we see these strange alliances of a Euro-leftist gay activist walking hand-in-hand on campus with a radical Muslim,” Rabbi Spiro noted.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author and end-of-days expert, emphasized Russia’s claims to caring for Israel’s security should be treated with caution.

“Russia only has their own interests at heart,” he told Breaking Israel News, agreeing with Rabbi Spiro. But he noted a Biblical reference as a guide:

“In the Midrash, Esav is compared to an animal that has one of the signs of being kosher but not the other; like cloven hooves, but not the other, such as chewing its cud,” Winston said. “You might say that this is better than a totally non-kosher animal, that maybe it is half kosher. But the Midrash says this is even worse. The animal can be deceitful, hold out is hooves and try to convince the Jew that they are kosher.”

Rabbi Winston applied this analogy to Russia.

“Russia is trying to create the external appearance that they are our friends, that they have our back and care about our security,” he claimed “The worst tactic of Esav is when they act like our friend. When Esav wanted to accompany Israel he was only waiting until Jacob lowered his guard so he could stab him in the back.”

“But Esav is enticing Israel, trying to make us sin with the negative trappings of technology that lead to improper behavior, or act like they are our allies so we can lower our guard in the Golan. In the end of days, Hashem is more angry at Esav than Ishmael. Ishmael comes at us directly with violence. Esav, on the other hand, is deceitful and lures us in, either to sin or to get us to lower our guard. This is precisely what Russia is doing.”

“The moment that someone uses this Esav tactic, like what Russia is doing here, when they tell you they have your back, that’s when you need to turn around and defend yourself,” Rabbi Winston concluded.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9597

World War 3 Alert: Iranian Forces Fire Rockets Into Israel, And The IDF Responds With “Waves Of Guided Missiles

Israel and Iran are edging dangerously close to a state of all-out war.  On Sunday night, Israeli forces rained missiles down on Iranian forces based in the Damascus area “for nearly an hour”.  According to the IDF, this was a response to “dozens” of missiles that were fired by Iranian forces in Syria toward targets in Israel earlier that day.  The Israelis were able to intercept the Iranian missiles, but if any of them had gotten through they could have caused a tremendous amount of damage.  Some of the missiles that Israel fired at the Iranians were reportedly intercepted, but quite a few of them did hit their intended targets. If the violence continues to escalate, we could potentially soon be talking about an all-out war between Israel and Iran in which both sides use their weapons of mass destruction.

The missile strikes against Iranian targets in Damascus made headlines all over the globe.  According to Syrian state media, there were “consecutive waves of guided missiles”

Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an “intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles”, but that Syrian air defenses destroyed most of the “hostile targets”.

Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky for nearly an hour.

The Syrians are boasting that they were able to destroy quite a few of the Israeli missiles, but independent observers confirm that quite a few Iranian targets were destroyed.

In the past, the Israelis have not always publicly acknowledged their attacks in Syria, but on Sunday night they released an immediate statement

“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory,” Israel’s military said in a statement.

“We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”

You can see some footage of the missile strikes right here.  Among the targets were “weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport”

Targets striked by the IDF, which number at around 10 according to its statement, include weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport and in other locations, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian training camp in Syria’s south.

Now that the Iranians have been hit so hard, will they respond by striking back at Israel?

If both sides continue to escalate the violence, eventually a “point of no return” will be reached, and then all hell will break loose.

Prior to the IDF missile attacks on Iranian targets, rockets were fired toward the Golan Heights from inside Syria, and Israel blamed those attacks on the Iranians

The Israeli military said earlier on Sunday that missiles fired toward the northern Golan Heights were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. It added in a statement on Monday that an Iranian force fired these missiles, but said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for any activity in its territory.

It seems extremely unlikely that this conflict will be resolved any time soon.  The Iranians are certainly not going to leave Syria, and they are definitely going to continue to funnel arms and resources to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon.

And the Israelis have clearly stated that they are going to resist any Iranian attempts to strengthen Hezbollah or to establish a permanent military presence inside Syria.  In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t have been any clearer when he said this to reporters

“We have a permanent policy, to strike at the Iranian entrenchment in Syria and hurt whoever tries to hurt us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

If a full-blown war erupts in the days ahead, Israel will almost certainly find itself fighting Iran, Syria and Hezbollah simultaneously.  Of course Hezbollah is essentially an Iranian proxy, and at this point they have between 130,000 and 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel.  When war finally comes, it will be extremely bloody and extremely destructive.

Tonight, we are closer to such a war than ever.  The Iranians and the Israelis absolutely hate one another, and now they are firing missiles at one another.

It isn’t going to take much to push the two sides over the edge, and if that happens we are just a hop, a skip and a jump away from the start of World War 3.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9581

Israel Unleashes An ‘Armageddon-Like’ Assault On Iranian And Hezbollah Targets In Damascus With Largest Air Strike In Recent Memory

The Israeli military said early Monday it was carrying out strikes against Iran’s Qud’s Forces, in a rare statement on its military activities in Syria. “The Israeli missiles managed to destroy weapons depots and military posts of the Iranians and the Lebanese Hezbollah in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport and the area of Al-Kiswah and Jamraya,” the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said.

by Geoffrey Grider January 20, 2019

Massive Israeli airstrikes on Syria destroyed weapons stores and military positions belonging to Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, a war monitor said Monday.

On Monday, Israel began a massive campaign of air strikes on Iranian and Lebanese military targets located in Damascus in Syria. The word Damascus appears exactly 60 times in  your King James Bible, and is heavily associated with fulfillment of end times Bible prophecy, most of it still yet future.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1 (KJV)

So it comes to no surprise to me at all that Damascus continues to be in the exact epicenter of the action in the Middle East as Iran continues to slither closer and closer to their dream of invading Israel by overrunning their border with Syria at the Golan Heights border.

Israeli strikes said to destroy Iranian, Hezbollah sites near Damascus

FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: The Israeli military said early Monday it was carrying out strikes against Iran’s Qud’s Forces, in a rare statement on its military activities in Syria. “The Israeli missiles managed to destroy weapons depots and military posts of the Iranians and the Lebanese Hezbollah in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport and the area of Al-Kiswah and Jamraya,” the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said.

The monitor said there had been casualties and extensive damage, without providing details. A news site in the southern Syrian city of Suweida reported that eight soldiers had been brought to a local hospital with injuries sustained during the Israeli strikes, including two who died.

There was no immediate confirmation of casualties from Damascus. Syria’s state-run media described the attack as “heavy” and said Israel had launched “consecutive waves of guided missiles.” However, it claimed the majority of the missiles were shot down.

“Our air defenses responded effectively to an Israeli air attack targeting the southern region and prevented it from achieving any of its objectives,”SANA quoted a military source saying.

The airstrike was the second attack on the airport and al-Kiswah in as many days, after a rare daytime attack attributed to Israel on Sunday morning. Both locations have been attacked by Israel in the past and are thought to house Iranian or Hezbollah assets.

“Warehouses containing weapons for Syrian regime ally Hezbollah and Iranian fighters are located in that area,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, said Sunday.

Israel has accused Iran of seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten Israeli security and attempting to transfer advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

Last year, the Israeli military said bases near al-Kiswah were used by pro-Iranian militias. An Iranian weapons depot at the airport was targeted in an airstrike a week and a half ago, Israel said. Jamraya, which has also allegedly been attacked by Israel in the ast, is thought to house a military facility and scientific research center.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9578

First test for IDF’s Kochavi: 10,000 pro-Iran troops massing to cross into Syria from Iraq

Jan 17, 2019 @ 15:37 Aviv Kochavi, Iraq, PMU, Qassem Soleimani, Syria

This would be the largest pro-Iranian military increment into Syria since the Hizballah intervention of 2014 – and Tehran’s rejoinder to Israel’s warnings.

The 10,000 troops massed on the Iraqi border belong to the large Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) aka the Hashd Al-Shaabi militia, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. They have been ordered to stand there by Iran’s Middle East commander, Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Their commander is one of his deputies, Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi of Iranian descent. This Iraqi force awaits a green light to cross into northern Syria from President Bashar Assad.

It is intended to be Tehran’s response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “advice” to Iran to “hurry up and get out of Syria” ahead of the IDF’s action. Soleimani has responded by “hurrying up” to top up Iran’s forces in Syria, before Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has had three days to settle into his new job as IDF’s Chief of Staff.

Our sources note that permission for this large force to cross the border and link up with the Syrian government’s army would present Gen. Kochavi with his first major test. Tehran is anxious to find out whether Israel – or the US – means to actively halt this major troop buildup by bombing it from the air. If the PMU fighters are not stopped as soon as they set foot on Syrian soil, the Iranians will have won this round and feel able to safely augment the PMU force of 10,000 fighters by pouring thousands more into Syria

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9572

Turkey-Qatar pact can be ‘misused for military missions’ in the Gulf

Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishTuesday, 8 January 2019

Turkey’s military agreement with Qatar is full of loopholes and vague terms that appear to have been deliberately inserted, according to a report by the Nordic Monitor, a Sweden-based monitoring site.

The report by Abdullah Bozkurt, reveals that the bilateral agreement would allow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to use Turkish air, land and naval assets to promote his own ideological and personal interests in the Gulf and beyond by using the hard power of the NATO military alliance’s second largest army.

“If not checked, the agreement carries huge risks of escalation of Turkey’s involvement in potential conflicts that may have nothing to do with protecting or promoting Turkey’s national interests. This further confirms the view that the vagueness in the agreement provisions were deliberate and systematic to allow Erdogan to use them as he sees fit,” writes Bozkurt.  

Combat missions 

The agreement goes beyond mere training and joint exercises and also incorporates “operations,” which may very well suggest combat missions for Turkish troops.

According to the report in the Nordic Monitor, “The agreement was rushed through the cumbersome and slow-moving process in the Turkish Parliament in 2017 when Turkey wanted to send a message to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states that had picked a fight with Qatar, Erdogan’s sweetheart Islamist ally.”

Article 4 of the “Implementation Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the State of Qatar on Deployment of Turkish Forces into Territory of Qatar,” which was signed on April 28, 2016 in Doha, includes the undefined phrase “any other missions” for the deployment of Turkish troops. This means Erdoğan can also bypass the Turkish Parliament for authorization of overseas missions, using the vague definition to fit his whims and would not need to obtain the advance approval from Parliament that is required for the deployment of Turkish troops abroad according to the Turkish Constitution.

The full text of this provision in the agreement reads as follows: “The main mission of the unit is to support enhancement of defense capabilities of Qatar through joint/combined exercises and training, and subject to approval by both parties, execute training/exercises with other nations’ armed forces and contribute to the counter-terrorism and international peace support operations and any other missions mutually agreed upon by written consent of both parties.”

Ambiguity in the agreement

Another ambiguity in the agreement, which was incorporated into Turkish law on June 9, 2017, is that it does not say how long Turkish troops will remain in Qatar. Article 1 of the agreement on the scope and the purpose of the agreement say that the deal regulates “the long term, as well as temporary, presence and activities of Turkish Armed Forces.”

What “the long term” prospect is and who defines the duration of the commitment for Turkish troops and on what criteria are not specified in the agreement. Article 17 specifies the duration of the agreement to be 10 years with automatic renewals for an additional term of five years for each extension. Whether that term applies to the presence of troops remains an open question.

The agreement does not specify force level or the number of troops. Article 2 states that Turkey will send air, land and naval assets to Qatar without setting any number or level of the forces. Although section two of this article states that “the deployment of the forces shall be in accordance with the plan to be accepted by the Parties,” the following section says Turkey will make a determination on “the duration of the mission of personnel to be assigned.”

Furthermore, Turkey’s military agreement with Qatar does not foresee a third-party dispute settlement mechanism, either. Article 16 of the agreement says disputes “shall be resolved by negotiation between the Parties, without referring to the jurisdiction of any third party, establishment, or national or international tribunal.”

This implementation agreement is actually a follow-up of the “framework” military cooperation agreement that was signed by the two countries on December 19, 2014, and entered into force on June 15, 2015. In contrast to the framework deal, the implementation agreement gives detailed clues as to what Turkey and Qatar hope to accomplish in the Gulf.

Turkey considers ties with Qatar to be strategic, and Turkey’s Erdogan and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in 2014 set up a High-Level Strategic Council (HLSC), an intergovernmental mechanism that brings together most ministers at summits led by the heads of state and government.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9549