Category: America

Erdogan May Buy Russian Fighter Jets After Trump Refused him F-35s

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 13, 2019 , 4:49 pm

Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet Ezekiel 38:5 (The Israel Bible™)

Turkey doubled-down on its controversial decision to acquire Russian S-400 air-defense systems by setting out to acquire Russian Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets. 

Last month, Turkey finalized a $2.5 billion deal with Russia and acquired the first S-400 systems. The purchase was in response to the U.S. delaying an acceptable alternative. Turkey is a member of the Northern Alliance Treaty Organization (NATO) and acquiring Russian weaponry is problematic, making their systems operationally incompatible with those of the other NATO nations.

The S-400 was specifically designed to shoot down advanced U.S. warplanes like the F-35.

It is touted to have a range of up to 150 miles (240 km) and the ability to intercept ballistic missiles from up to 38 miles away. 

The Turkish S-400’s are scheduled to be operational in September. The second batch of S-400’s is scheduled to arrive next year. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already announced that his country intends to take part in the upcoming S-500 program.

Last month the sale of the S-400 to Turkey was finalized and the U.S. announced that Turkey was being removed from the F-35 program. Turkey was slated to purchase 120 of the hyper-advanced F-35’s. Turkey has already technically received several F-35s, but they remain on U.S. soil, and their transfer has been blocked by Congress.

The acquisition of Russian hardware has raised doubts about the future of Turkey as a NATO member.

The White House at the time said, “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.”

After the U.S., Turkey has the second-largest land army of any NATO member and is considered a key member of the alliance.

Erdogan denied that acquisition of the S-400 was detrimental to his country’s NATO membership.

“There is no concrete evidence showing the S-400s will harm the F-35s or NATO, nobody should deceive each other. Many NATO member states have purchased from Russia. We don’t see this being turned into a crisis,” Erdogan was quoted as saying in Reuters.

Yeni Safak, a Turkish news daily, reported that the Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the Turkish Air Force Command, and other relevant authorities have been asked to investigate the possibility of purchasing the Russian SU-35 jets.

The conflict over military hardware underscores other disagreements between Turkey and the U.S.

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria allied with Kurdish militia in the effort to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey considers the Kurdish militia to be a terrorist and has been at war with them for decades.

Despite acquiring Russian military hardware, Turkey’s relationship with Russia is at least as rocky as its relationship with U.S. In 2015, Turkish F-16 combat aircraft shot down a Russian Su-24 during an airspace dispute close to the Turkish-Syrian border. In response, Russia imposed a number of economic sanctions on Turkey. Relations were normalized one year later.

Since that time, the two countries have sided together in political disputes with the U.S.

Ironically, the current S-400 situation is the mirror image of a crisis that emerged in 1997 when Cyprus, Turkey’s smaller and less militaristic neighbor, planned to install two Russian-made S-300 air-defense systems. Turkey overtly threatened either a pre-emptive strike to prevent the arrival of the missiles or an actual war on Cyprus as a response to the arrival of the missiles. Turkey obtained from Israel surface-to-surface missiles, which could be used in a military operation to destroy the S-300 when they would be installed on the island. The crisis effectively ended in 1998 with the decision of the Cypriot government to transfer the S-300s to Greece’s Hellenic Air Force in exchange for alternative weapons from Greece. The ultimate irony is that while the Greek S-300’s were used in joint Cypriot-Israel air exercises, giving the Israeli Air Force a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the Russian system

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9997

Years That End In “9” Tend To Be Times Of Great Upheaval

August 8, 2019 by Michael Snyder

Will 2019 continue the trend?  The other day I was talking with a close friend, and he pointed out to me that all throughout history years that end in 9 have tended to be times of great change and upheaval.  I was intrigued by what he shared with me, and so I went out and did some research, and I discovered that he was right on target.  In particular, over the last 100 years we have seen an unusual number of key historical events take place during years that end in 9, and that seems quite strange.  Could it be possible that the ending of one decade and the imminent start of a new one somehow triggers something inside of us psychologically?  I don’t know, but there does seem to be a pattern.  In this article I will summarize some of the things that I have discovered, and I will let you come to your own conclusions.

Let’s start with 1929.  As I repeatedly remind my readers, most large stock market crashes tend to happen during the fall, and on October 29th, 1929 there was a devastating stock market crash unlike anything that the United States had ever seen before.  That date is generally considered to be the start of the Great Depression, which to this day is the worst economic downturn the western world has ever experienced.  The Great Depression lasted for ten years, and that brings us to the next “9” on our list…

1939 was the year when World War II started.  It was the most catastrophic war that the world has ever seen, and it didn’t end until 1945.  It is estimated that somewhere between 70 million and 85 million people were killed, and the war shocked the planet so much that we haven’t seen a war like it since.

1949 was a year of great change, and it was really when the battle lines of the Cold War between the east and the west definitely solidified.  During this year, the Communist Party of China was able to take full control of mainland China, and the People’s Republic of China was formally established.  In addition, in 1949 the Soviet Union tested their first atomic bomb, it was the year of the Berlin blockade, and NATO was formed on April 4th, 1949.

1959 was the year when Fidel Castro came to power.  Thanks to the success of the Cuban revolution, Cuba became the first communist power in the western hemisphere, and this ultimately led to the Cuban missile crisis of 1963.

1969 was so tumultuous that a number of documentaries have been made about that single year, and author Rob Kirkpatrick wrote an entire book about it entitled “The Year Everything Changed”.  It was the year of the Moon landing, Woodstock and the Manson murders.  During this year Richard Nixon was sworn in as the president of the United States, 250,000 Americans marched on Washington to protest the Vietnam War, and the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded.

1979 was the year of the Iranian Revolution.  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in February, and the Iranian hostage crisis began in November.  If there had been no Iranian hostage crisis, it is possible that Ronald Reagan may have been defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1980.  1979 was also the year when Margaret Thatcher first became prime minister of the UK, and she served all the way until 1990.

1989 was another year of revolution.  In June of that year the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing were brutally crushed by the Chinese government.   On the other side of the world, 1989 was the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia which ultimately resulted in a peaceful division of that nation into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  George H.W. Bush was sworn in as the president of the United States during this year, and huge protests on both sides of the Berlin Wall ultimately resulted in the collapse of the East German government.

1999 was the year when Bill Clinton came very close to being removed from office.  On February 12th, the United States Senate narrowly acquitted Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.  1999 was also the year when the euro become the official currency of the European Union, and at the end of the year the Y2K scare was making headlines all over the globe.

2009 was definitely a year of “change”.  On January 20th, Barack Obama became the first African-American to become the president of the United States.  Meanwhile, the nation was greatly suffering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  It is estimated that 8.8 million jobs were lost during the “Great Recession”, and millions of Americans also lost their homes as a result of the subprime mortgage meltdown.  As 2009 was ending, the Economic Collapse Blog was launched.

So now here we are in another year that ends in 9.  So far in 2019, we have seen mass shootings, crop failures, dramatic escalations in our trade war with China, and a potential war with Iran is looming on the horizon.  Americans are angrier, more frustrated and more divided today than ever before in modern American history, and the mainstream media continues to stir the pot on a daily basis.

The stage is definitely set for things to explode during the second half of this year, and a lot of people that I have been talking to feel like things could really start breaking loose at any moment.

To a large degree, 2019 has already been a year of tremendous upheaval, but many believe that the worst is still yet to come.  So buckle up and hold on, because I think that things are about to get very bumpy.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9992

China Is Extremely Angry, And They Now Consider The United States To Be Enemy #1

August 2, 2019 by Michael Snyder

Have relations between the United States and China finally reached the point of no return?  At this moment, it would be difficult to overstate how angry the Chinese are with the United States.  Chinese officials are firmly blaming the United States for the enormous political protests that we have witnessed in Hong Kong in recent weeks, and on Thursday President Trump slapped another round of tariffs on Chinese imports.  Sadly, most Americans aren’t even paying much attention to these developments, but over in China everyone is talking about these things.  And of course the truth is that they aren’t just talking – the Chinese are absolutely seething with anger toward the U.S., and they aren’t afraid to express it.

Let me give you a perfect example of what I am talking about.  One of the most highly respected news anchors in China, Kang Hui, actually used an expletive when referring to the United States during a news broadcast earlier this week.  Normally I would never have such language in one of my articles, but this comment made headlines all over the globe, and I think that it is very important for all of us to understand what the Chinese are saying about us.  So since this is a news item of critical importance, I have decided not to censor this quote at all.  The following comes from the New York Times

“They stir up more troubles and crave the whole world to be in chaos, acting like a shit-stirring stick,” Mr. Kang said on the usually stolid 7 p.m. national news program on CCTV, China’s state broadcaster. The expletive quickly became one of the most-searched-for phrases on Chinese social media.

In a follow-up video on a CCTV social media account, Mr. Kang boasted about how he had taunted the United States.

“If a handful of Americans always stir up troubles, then we are sorry,” he intoned. “No more do we talk about certain issues. We will also target you. We will bash you till your faces are covered with mud. We will bash you till you are left speechless.”

Could you imagine Anderson Cooper saying something similar about China on CNN?

And actually Mr. Kang likely has far more viewers than Anderson Cooper does.

Most Americans spend very little time thinking about relations with China, but over in China they are absolutely furious with us right now, and the developing situation in Hong Kong is one of the biggest reasons for that anger.  Millions of people have flooded the streets of Hong Kong in recent weeks, and it appears that the Chinese have decided that enough is enough.  According to Bloomberg, U.S. officials are closely watching “a congregation of Chinese forces on Hong Kong’s border”…

The White House is monitoring what a senior administration official called a congregation of Chinese forces on Hong Kong’s border.

Weeks of unrest in the Chinese territory have begun to overwhelm Hong Kong’s police, who have found themselves in violent clashes with protesters. China warned Monday that the civil disorder had gone “far beyond” peaceful protest after police deployed tear gas over the weekend.

Could it be possible that Chinese forces could soon storm across the border?

And there have also been other signs that China is about to do something drastic

And also on Wednesday, Chen Daoxiang, the commander of China’s military garrison in Hong Kong — which holds around 6,000 troops — said his forces were “determined to protect national sovereignty, security, stability and the prosperity of Hong Kong.” His remarks came as China released a new propaganda video which include armed forces practicing shooting at protestors, after which he underscored his support for the city’s chief executive for “rigorously enforcing the law.”

Yes, Hong Kong is now technically part of China.  But according to the agreement that was signed when the British handed over Hong Kong, the city is supposed to be allowed to govern itself to a large degree until 2047

After taking over Hong Kong in a war in the 1800s, Britain returned it to China in 1997 with an important stipulation: The city would partly govern itself for 50 years before fully falling under Beijing’s control. So until 2047, the expectation was that the city and the mainland would operate under the principle known as “one country, two systems.”

So if China ends up sending troops into Hong Kong to end the political protests, the Trump administration will be extremely upset, and tensions between our two nations will go up several more notches.

A new development in the trade war is the other reason why the Chinese are so angry with us right now.

After President Trump hit China with new tariffs on Thursday, China’s ambassador to the United Nations warned that the Chinese are prepared to implement “necessary countermeasures”

China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said Beijing would take “necessary countermeasures” to protect its rights and bluntly described Trump’s move as “an irrational, irresponsible act.”

“China’s position is very clear that if U.S. wishes to talk, then we will talk, if they want to fight, then we will fight,” Zhang told reporters in New York, also signalling that trade tensions could hurt cooperation between the countries on dealing with North Korea.

In other words, the Chinese are not going to back down one bit, and they are going to hit us back hard.

And Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said similar things when she addressed reporters on Friday

“China will not accept any form of pressure, intimidation or deception,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference Friday.

China‘s Ministry of Commerce released a statement that said Beijing would impose countermeasures.

“The U.S. has to bear all the consequences,” the statement said. “China believes there will be no winners of this trade war and does not want to fight. But we are not afraid to fight and will fight if necessary.”

In the end, it is very true that there “will be no winners” in this trade war.  The Chinese know where our pain points are, and they will not be afraid to fight dirty.

A rapidly deteriorating relationship with China is a big part of the scenario that we have been anticipating.  As I discussed yesterday, it is exceedingly unlikely that there will be a trade deal between the United States and China before the 2020 presidential election.  And to be honest, it is far more likely that our conflict with China will escalate well beyond just a “trade war” in the months ahead.

The two largest economic superpowers on the entire planet are now locked in a monumental struggle for dominance, and it is going to result in a tremendous amount of economic pain for the entire planet.

Unfortunately, most Americans are completely and utterly clueless about what is going on, and so most of them are still convinced that everything is going to be just fine.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9978

These Horrific Mass Shootings Show Us That As America Grows Ever More Dark, Violent And Divided, It’s Becoming Apparent That We As A Nation Are Under God’s Judgment

America is under judgment, no rational person could conclude otherwise. I have combed through hundreds of articles in the NTEB Archive and have traced it back to 2012 where, in my opinion, I believe that God’s active judgment on the United States of America began. But first, let’s take a look over the past 60 years and see what led up to the events that started in 2012. 

by Geoffrey Grider August 4, 2019

America is under judgment, no rational person could possibly conclude otherwise.

Yesterday’s mass killings in Dayton, Ohio and  El Paso, Texas not to mention the killings that took place at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, were horrific on every possible level. But after people have had time to process not only these events but also the dozens of mass killings that have been happening over the past decade, I believe there is only one logical conclusion that can be arrived at. America has finally come under the judgment of God. For the past 50 years we have told God that He was not welcome in our classrooms, not welcome in our courtrooms, and not welcome in our government. It’s starting to look like, to me, that He has left us as a nation.

“But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.” Proverbs 1:25-27 (KJV)

Back when Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, I wrote multiple articles telling you why I was voting for him, and what the likely outcome of a Trump victory would be. You can read all those articles here. One article in particular was one where I warned that a Donald Trump victory, while beneficial for Israel, would bring about a time of ‘global shaking‘, and that is exactly what has been happening since Trump took office. But while Trump’s victory expanded God’s judgment on America, it did not begin with Trump.

America is under judgment, no rational person could conclude otherwise. I have combed through hundreds of articles in the NTEB Archive and have traced it back to 2012 where, in my opinion, I believe that God’s active judgment on the United States of America began.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9975

US pulls out of Reagan-era arms treaty, saying Russia ‘made no efforts’ to comply

By Lukas Mikelionis | Fox News

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin says the president made the right decision to pull out of the INF treaty because Russia was not complying.

A historic arms-control treaty signed three decades ago by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was scrapped after President Trump decided to withdraw Friday.

The move to scrap the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty comes amid the administration’s assessment that Russia was in “material breach of the treaty” and made no effort to “come back into compliance” with the agreement, a senior White House official said.

Russia was given a six-month period, in accordance with the treaty, as a “final opportunity to come back into compliance” with the agreement, but the government headed by President Vladimir Putin “has made no efforts to do that,” the official added.

The end of the treaty sparks of a new global arms race between the two countries, which possess the world’s largest nuclear arsenals.

The Trump administration stressed it was Russia’s fault the treaty came to an end, pointing out that Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Europe.

“Russia alone is to blame for this situation,” the senior official said. “We have taken every opportunity — dozens and dozens of opportunities across two administrations – to bring Russia back into compliance.”

“Russia alone is to blame for this situation. We have taken every opportunity — dozens and dozens of opportunities across two administrations – to bring Russia back into compliance.”

— A senior administration official

“It is clear that they are in material breach of the INF Treaty, which is, of course, not its only arms control violation. They are a serial violator of arms control agreements,” the official added, noting that “This violation, however, represents a direct security threat to the United States and our allies.”

The U.S. has long complained that the treaty was no longer fair and actually doesn’t stop the arms race as intended as Russia was openly violating it, while China, which is a non-signatory, is free develop weapons that would otherwise be prohibited.

The Trump administration said, for example, Russia has produced and fielded multiple battalions of the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile throughout Russia, which is a violation of the treaty. Some of the missiles have “the ability to strike critical European targets.”

“This violation, which has been underway for many years, is a critical threat to American and Allied security now. That is why this action has become unavoidable,” a senior official said.

Another White House official pointed out that Russia has been deceptive about its military buildup, particularly denying the development of a ground-launched cruise missile in 2014 that is now fielded and poses a security risk to Europe.

 “Throughout the process, they lied about the existence of the missiles at both the expert level and, finally when confronted with the evidence, came clean for this in the past several months,” the official said.

European powers came out to criticize Russia for not complying with the INF treaty amid the U.S. announcement of withdrawing from the agreement.

“We regret the fact that Russia has not done what was necessary to save the INF treaty,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

“Now we call all the more on Russia and the U.S. to preserve the New START treaty as a cornerstone of worldwide arms control,” he added. “Nuclear powers such as China must also face up to their responsibility on arms control — they have more weight in the world than at the time of the Cold War.”

“We regret the fact that Russia has not done what was necessary to save the INF treaty.”

— German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Both the U.S. and Russia will have to decide whether to extend or replace the larger New START treaty when it expires in early 2021, a treaty that imposed limits starting in 2018 on the number of U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.

Trump hasn’t committed to extending the treaty and even once calling it as “just another bad deal” concocted by the predecessor, the Obama administration.

The 1987 INF treaty was responsible for the elimination of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet Union nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. The treaty also banned land-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles).

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9971

Russia and China romance runs into friction in Central Asia

US strategists call for driving wedge between the traditional rivals

HIROYUKI AKITA, Nikkei commentator July 29, 2019 15:03 JST

TOKYO — China and Russia are cozying up ever closer as they find a common enemy in Washington.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia in early June, the two countries signed a joint statement pledging to deepen their ties, as well as around 30 economic agreements.

Xi’s Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has criticized the U.S. for leveling trade and technology sanctions against China and pledged to cooperate with it to resist U.S. pressure. The two countries are also pushing back against U.S. objectives regarding North Korea and Iran.

While analysts puzzle over whether the romance between China and Russia has peaked or will grow still more fervent, it seems clear they need each other more than ever.

Laboring under U.S. and European sanctions, Russia’s economic growth is forecast to slow to around 1% this year. That will encourage it to lean more heavily on China. For Xi, Russia is a useful tool in countering Washington’s increasingly hard-line policies against China.

But despite their growing closeness, China and Russia must deal with frictions.

Russia “is feeling a potential threat” from China, according to an expert on the Russian military. The difference in the two countries’ power continues to widen: China’s gross domestic product is roughly eight times larger than Russia’s and its population is 10 times larger. Russia is especially nervous about the possibility of Central Asia — much of which was once part of the Soviet Union and is seen by Russians as their backyard — falling under China’s sway.

That is already happening economically. In 2018, China became the largest trading partner of three former Soviet republics: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. According to official data released by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, China is the largest source of foreign direct investment in the two countries. China has also overtaken Russia as the fourth-largest investor in Kazakhstan.

Russia tolerates China’s economic advance in Central Asia because its stands to benefit from infrastructure improvements and regional development that the flood of Chinese investment will bring. Security, however, is another matter. Moscow will not want China encroaching on its turf.

In Uzbekistan, in mid-June, cabinet ministers, senior officials and experts from the U.S., Europe and neighboring countries gathered to discuss the regional situation. China’s activities loomed large during the meeting.

The strategic environment began shifting a few years ago as China began secretly deploying troops in Tajikistan, according to local experts. Although the Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied its troops are in the area, a person familiar with the matter said there are similar indication in Afghanistan.

China has, up to now, refrained from involving itself in regional security issues out of consideration for Russia. But its actions in Tajikistan, part of its effort to keep Islamist militants from entering the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, indicate a change in Beijing’s thinking.

In light of Tajikistan’s lax border controls, China may have sent troops to help it shore up security, one expert said. China is likely to have received a green light to do so from Moscow. But local diplomats said Russia is growing concerned about China’s military moves.

Russia’s largest military base outside its borders is in Tajikistan. The base is scheduled to remain until 2042, under a bilateral agreement. Given that it has around 8,000 troops at the base, it is unthinkable that the Russian and Chinese forces will both stay in the country without friction over the long term, according to one security strategist in Central Asia.

China’s objective is to play a larger security role in Central Asia as part of its counterterrorism strategy without irritating Russia. That is easier said than done. Russia also seems anxious about U.S. ambitions in the region.

Leaders of the five Central Asian countries had planned to hold their second summit meeting in March. But the conference was canceled due a sudden change in Kazakhstan’s president. So far, no new meeting has been scheduled. Whatever the official reason given for calling off the summit, a local diplomatic source said the real reason was that the participants were worried about provoking a backlash from Russia.

“Many in Russia still maintain an empire mentality. They consider the former Soviet Union to be their own sphere of influence,” said Dr. Farkhod Tolipov, a political scientist who heads Knowledge Caravan, an independent education and research institution in Tashkent. “Russia wrongly believes that if the Central Asia region integrates it will gradually lean toward the United States and eventually enter U.S. sphere,” he said.

If a rift develops between China and Russia, the implications for global politics would be significant. A weakening of the Sino-Russian axis would be favorable to the West and Japan. It would also help the international community increase pressure on North Korea.

At a public-private strategic dialogue between the U.S. and Europe in the Polish capital, Warsaw, in June, an idea was floated for how to drive a wedge between China and Russia to give the West an edge in its strategic competition with Beijing.

It may be impossible for Europe to reconcile with Putin, given Russia’s annexation of Crimea, according to military strategists in Washington. But they argue the U.S. should try to ease tensions with Moscow after Putin’s term of office ends in 2024 to encourage Russia to keep China at arm’s length.

China and Russia share a border of more than 4,000 km. And although they are unlikely to repeat their military clashes of 1969, it also seems unlikely that their current love affair will last forever, given their historical geopolitical rivalry.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9967

The ‘Arrow 3’ Hypersonic Missile Developed by Israel and US Successfully Tested in Alaska

By David Sidman July 28, 2019 , 11:53 am

Can two walk together Without having met? Amos 3:3 (The Israel Bible™)

The Arrow-3 (Hetz 3) air defense system, is an exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile that was funded, developed and produced by both Israel and the US, has passed a live interception test in Alaska, the Israeli Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The missile was designed to be a defense mechanism against the ballistic missiles in Iran and Syria’s stockpile.

Jointly manufactured by Boeing Co, the Arrow-3 is capable of taking down missiles in space, at an altitude that would safely and effectively eliminate any non-conventional warheads. It passed its initial full interception test over the Mediterranean sea in 2015 and was deployed in Israel in 2017.

During the tests, an American AN/TPY2 radar was used and successfully displayed operational connectedness between the Israeli and American systems.

“Over 10 years of development with challenges has brought us to this moment when the Arrow 3 weapons system is conducting a series of tests,” explained Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization told the Jpost.

“The fact that the test took place in Alaska, tens of thousands of kilometers from the State of Israel, shows the ability of the Arrow 3 system to successfully withstand any threat. This is a joint and unique activity of the governments of the United States and Israel, which emphasizes the close and strategic cooperation between the countries in the field of missile defense,” he said.

Admiral Jon Hill, head of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), noted that “this successful series of tests represents a significant milestone in the development of the Arrow weapon system. Our American MDA team and industry partners are committed to helping the State of Israel upgrade its national missile defense capabilities in order to protect itself and the American forces deployed in the region from the growing threats.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9960

War Drums: Europe Readies A Naval Task Force As Iran Threatens To “Secure” The Strait Of Hormuz

July 23, 2019 by Michael Snyder

It is funny – for decades we have never had any problems with commercial ships passing through the Persian Gulf, but all of a sudden it has become a major flashpoint.  As you will see below, the Iranians are now warning that they plan to “secure” the Strait of Hormuz, and meanwhile a plan for a European-led naval task force to confront the Iranians is rapidly coming together.  The seizure of a British tanker a few days ago really rattled British officials, and they are determined to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  Of course the more the Persian Gulf region becomes saturated with military assets, the more likely it is that a “mistake” will happen, and it sure won’t take much of a spark to start World War 3 at this point.

Today, close to 20 percent of all the oil produced in the entire world passes through the Strait of Hormuz, and that makes it an exceedingly important waterway.  U.S. and European officials continue to stress the importance of freedom of navigation through the area, and they appear to be losing patience with the Iranians.

But Iran does not intend to back down one bit.  On Tuesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that his country “will use its best efforts” to secure the Strait of Hormuz.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

“Iran will use its best efforts to secure the region, particularly the Strait of Hormuz, and will not allow any disturbance in shipping in this sensitive area,” Araqchi told French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, IRNA reported.

So what does that mean exactly?

Do the Iranians plan to keep grabbing oil tankers whenever it suits them?

The seizure of the Stena Impero pushed us dangerously close to war, and the British government is still hoping that negotiations will result in the release of that tanker.

However, the British also plan to flex their military muscles in order to keep such an incident from happening again, and they are calling for other European nations to join them

France, Italy and Denmark gave initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, proposed after Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker, three senior EU diplomats said on Tuesday.

The cautious backing at a meeting of EU envoys in Brussels contrasts sharply with the lukewarm response shown by European allies to a similar American call first voiced at NATO in late June, when countries feared they could make U.S.-Iranian tensions worse.

Could this be the very beginning of a “coalition of the willing”?

According to Reuters, this task force would likely include “aircraft too”, and that is definitely raising some eyebrows…

British foreign ministry and defense officials have also discussed a possible mission, which would likely involve not just ships but aircraft too, directly with their Italian, Spanish, French and German counterparts.

A senior German diplomat in Berlin said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was in close contact with his British and French counterparts, Hunt and Jean-Yves Le Drian, to “contribute to the security” of the Gulf including on maritime security.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is making headlines as well.  In an interview with CBS News, CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie claimed that U.S. forces may have actually shot down at least two Iranian drones last week…

The U.S. believes it may have brought down two Iranian drones last week, rather than just the one that has been reported, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told CBS News’ David Martin in an interview Tuesday aboard the USS Boxer, the ship that took action against the drones. Asked by Martin whether it was “only one drone,” McKenzie revealed that he believed the Boxer had engaged two drones “successfully” and perhaps even more.

“As always it was a complex tactical picture, we believe two drones. We believe two drones were successfully — there may have been more that we are not aware of — those are the two that we engaged successfully,” said McKenzie.

We should be very thankful that there is no more shooting for the moment, but that could change at any time.

And even if things stabilize in the short-term, the truth is that it is going to be exceedingly difficult to stop the countdown to war at this point.  The U.S. and Israel have both made it exceedingly clear that they will never allow the Iranians to develop their nuclear program past a certain level, and the Iranians have been racing to move their program forward ever since the U.S. left Obama’s nuclear agreement.

Unless there is some sort of crazy miracle and another nuclear agreement happens, it appears that war is on the horizon.

Also, I wanted to mention that we just witnessed a very alarming “incident” off the coast of South Korea on Tuesday…

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement claiming they had fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian A-50 command and control military aircraft early Tuesday morning after it had twice violated the country’s airspace, the first such incident between the countries.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9957

Patriot Missile Batteries Being Installed As Pentagon Reactivates Key Saudi Military Base Used To Stage All Previous Middle East Wars In The Gulf

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. military abandoned Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, but now they are back.  Hundreds of U.S. troops are already there working hard to get the base operational, and as you will see below, a tremendous amount of new construction is planned.  The base covers “well over a hundred square miles”, and so it has more than enough room to serve as a central hub for a new Middle East war. 

by Geoffrey Grider July 23, 2019

The U.S. military is following many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed during our previous wars in the Middle East, and that even includes setting up shop at a key military installation Prince Sultan Air Base deep in the heart of the Arabian peninsula.

In the Bible, the nation of Iran is called Persia, is mentioned 29 times and figures prominently in end times prophecy, and at the moment it seems that the United States is preparing for war with them on a fairly large scale. The Pentagon has reactivated the Prince Sultan Air Base, and is filling it right now with hundreds of troops and massive firepower. This is the same air base that the United States has previously used in every Middle East campaign. Add to that Britain announcing plans Monday to develop and deploy a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz, and you got the recipe for another Gulf War.

“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.” Daniel 10:1 (KJV)

At this point, it is fairly obvious that the United States and possibly the UK is about to launch strikes against Iran, with that possibly developing an all-out Gulf War. The US has sent far too many troops and too much equipment for this all to be sabre-rattling. Everything points to the US reestablishing a long-term military presence in the region, just as it did at the start of the Iraq war in 2003. The unknown factor is how much will Russia involve themselves with their ally Iran should hostilities break out, but I cannot imagine them sitting passively on the sidelines if it does.

The U.S. Is Staging Troops At A Key Saudi Military Base That It Used During All Of Our Previous Middle East Wars

FROM THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE: After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. military abandoned Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, but now they are back.  Hundreds of U.S. troops are already there working hard to get the base operational, and as you will see below, a tremendous amount of new construction is planned.  The base covers “well over a hundred square miles”, and so it has more than enough room to serve as a central hub for a new Middle East war.  Tensions with Iran have escalated dramatically over the past few weeks, but apparently somebody anticipated that the U.S. would need to use this base even before then, because according to NBC News U.S. troops were already arriving back in June…

In June the U.S. military began moving equipment and hundreds of troops back to a military base in Saudi Arabia that the U.S. deserted more than 15 years ago, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the deployment.

Over the coming weeks the deployment to Prince Sultan Air Base, intended to counter the threat from Iran, will grow to include fighter jets and Patriot long-range missile defense systems, the officials said. The Patriots have already arrived at the base and should be operational in mid-July, while the aircraft are expected to arrive in August.

And it turns out that the U.S. military has used this base during all of our previous wars in the Middle East.

For example, according to Air Force Magazine the U.S. military first occupied Prince Sultan Air Base for a few months during Operation Desert Storm…

The US Air Force first occupied the sprawling base in two frantic months from November 1990 to January 1991, then departed. Five years later, USAF and coalition forces moved back into the base. It quickly became a massive facility, home to a state-of-the-art air operations center and serving as the hub for air activity in the region.

Then later on, the base played a key role during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.  The following comes from the Military Times

Starting with the January 1991 air war against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait the previous summer, the U.S. flew a wide range of aircraft from Prince Sultan air base, originally known as al-Kharj. Supported by an all-American array of creature comforts like fast-food restaurants and swimming pools, U.S. forces there flew and maintained Air Force fighters and other warplanes.

The base also served as a launch pad for the December 1998 bombing of Iraq, code-named Operation Desert Fox, which targeted sites believed to be associated with Iraq’s nuclear and missile programs. In 2001, the base became home to the U.S. military’s main air control organization, known as the Combined Air Operations Center, which orchestrated the air war in Afghanistan until it was relocated in 2003 to al-Udeid air base in Qatar.

But U.S. activity at the base didn’t reach a crescendo until Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  Here is more from Air Force Magazine

Other delicate negotiations came down to the wire just before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “We’ve had very productive meetings regarding military cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the event of military action against Iraq,” State Department official Richard Boucher announced Feb. 26, 2003.

That day, newspapers reported that the Saudis granted formal permission for PSAB to be used in the war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom began March 19.

Once again, PSAB pulled its weight in the air campaign. Fuel was a metric showing just how far PSAB had come since 1996. Prince Sultan Air Base operated at maximum rates during major combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 19 to May 1, 2003. During that time, the 363rd Fuels Management Flight issued more than one million gallons per day. Officials had previously expanded the fuel storage capacity at Prince Sultan from two million to more than 15 million gallons.

So as you can see, every time the U.S. has decided to go to war in the Middle East, Prince Sultan Air Base has played a leading role. And now after all this time we have suddenly returned.

This time around, it appears that the U.S. is planning for a very long stay.  According to NBC News, existing roads and runways will be reinforced and expanded, and the U.S. military is even going to “build a medical facility”…

While Prince Sultan Air Base is an active facility, portions of the base will need an upgrade to accommodate the U.S. military, including reinforcing and expanding roads and runways, one U.S. official said. Base housing will also need updating, the official said, and the U.S. will build a medical facility. Many of the U.S. service members deployed there over the past few weeks are engineers preparing the base for the new mission.

Apparently whoever is in charge of making these sorts of decisions is not very optimistic about peace with Iran.

A tremendous amount of money and effort is required for a project like this, because it is basically the equivalent of putting up a small American city in the middle of nowhere.  The base covers “well over a hundred square miles”, and all the way back in 2002 Wolf Blitzer called it “a little sliver of America in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula”

“By the time the base complex was completed in 1999, it had cost the government of Saudi Arabia more than $1 billion and covered well over a hundred square miles,” found Air Force historian Daniel L. Haulman.

Food was also a priority. Baskin-Robbins ice cream set up shop as did other popular vendors such as Pizza Inn and Burger King. In time, the exchange provided a small haven of food, shopping, and diversion. “It’s a little sliver of America in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula,” enthused CNN’s war correspondent Wolf Blitzer, who visited the base in December 2002 as forces there prepared for intensifying action against Iraq.

I suppose that the Saudis want us to be as comfortable as possible if we are going to fight a war that will greatly benefit them.

After all, the Saudis and the Iranians have been engaged in a proxy war for many years, and so the Saudis would be absolutely thrilled to see the U.S. military bomb the living daylights out of them.

And Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs actually sounds quite eager for the action to start

“Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law,” Adel Aljubeir said in a Twitter post.

“Iran must realise its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable. The world community must take action to deter such behaviour,” he added.

But as I discussed in a previous article, if the American people truly understood what a war against Iran would be like, there would be millions of protesters in Washington D.C. right now trying to stop it from happening.  It would be a horrible, bloody, apocalyptic war that would set the entire Middle East ablaze, and it would set the stage for the sort of nightmare scenarios that I have been relentlessly warning about.

Unfortunately, so far only a very small portion of the U.S. population seems alarmed about any of this. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is rapidly preparing for war, and Prince Sultan Air Base is now buzzing with U.S. military activity for the very first time since the invasion of Iraq.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9953

UAE oil tanker missing in Strait of Hormuz after drifting into Iranian waters

By Lucia I. Suarez Sang | Fox News

What is the Strait of Hormuz, and why is it so important to the global oil market?

An oil tanker traveling through the tiny strip of water located in the mouth of the Persian Gulf stopped transmitting its location more than two days ago when it drifted into Iranian waters.

It is not clear what happened to the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker – which is based in the United Arab Emirates – on Saturday night as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz, but its apparent disappearance has raised concerns amid heightened tensions between Iran and several Western nations.

The Riah, a 190-foot oil tanker, typically made trips from Dubai and Sharjah on the UAE’s west coast before going through the strait and heading to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast.

However, something happened to the vessel after 11 p.m. on Saturday when it stopped transmitting its location with tracking data shows its last position pointing toward Iran.

Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the tanker hadn’t switched off its tracking in three months of trips around the UAE.

“That is a red flag,” Raja said.

Oil tankers have previously been targeted as the Persian Gulf region took center stage in a crisis over Iran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Recently, Iran has inched its uranium production and enrichment over the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal, trying to put more pressure on Europe to offer it better terms and allow it to sell its crude oil abroad.

However, those tensions also have seen the U.S. send thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets into the Mideast. Mysterious attacks on oil tankers and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone has added to the fears of an armed conflict breaking out.

Iranian officials have not said anything publicly about the ship, nor have officials in the UAE. The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which oversees Mideast waters, declined to immediately comment.

The ship’s registered owner, Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, told the AP it had sold the ship to another company called Mouj Al-Bahar. A man who answered a telephone number registered to the firm told the AP it didn’t own any ships.

Separately, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday his country will retaliate over the seizure of an Iranian supertanker carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil. The vessel was seized with the help of British Royal Marines earlier this month off Gibraltar.

Khamenei called the seizure of the ship “piracy” in a televised speech Tuesday.

“God willing, the Islamic Republic and its committed forces will not leave this evil without a response,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain will facilitate the release of the ship if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9943