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North Korea and Iran Threat Updates

Discussion in 'The Signs of the Times' started by Carol55, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. lynnfiat

    lynnfiat Fiat Voluntas Tua

    Also, concerning a third world war - July 12, 1982 in Medjugorje, Our Lady said, "The third world war will not take place."
    Patty and Carol55 like this.
  2. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    I think Natan may have stated that "they" will be fighting amongst themselves and then "they" all turn on Israel. I am not certain though, I will be looking for confirmation on this.

    If this turns into the "something" that Natan spoke about and what Bruno was told about, then I think it is possible the sides may already be determined. IOW, the sides depicted in the following graphic which comes from an article which I posted above.


    I am not certain what is going on with Qatar but some people like Steve Bannon think that they supported the extremists and terrorists. Maybe they want to be neutral because they realize that there will be a lot of casualties on either side of this if something blows up there.

    The following interview with Steve Bannon was linked on the previous article that I posted, https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1066421/steve-bannon-turkey-more-dangerous-iran . It is interesting that Bannon discusses how Turkey is more dangerous than Iran and I remember Saint Paisos' prophecies related to Turkey and a big war in which he stated that, "no one will return a winner".

    The following article from American Thinker points out the severity of the current situation, http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/11/modernizers_launch_a_coup_within_the_house_of_saud.html .

    Modernizers launch a coup within the House of Saud
    By Thomas Lifson November 5, 2017

    A coup is taking place within the House of Saud, in which a modernizing monarch is grabbing power and taking out rivals. Forces now under command of the ruler just arrested 11 princes among dozens of others and is
    launching financial investigations that could lead to serious punishment. In Saudi Arabia, they behead people (at least 157 times in 2015) and amputate a limb off of thieves. It is widely believed that baksheesh is not unknown in Saudi Arabian business circles, and an “anti-corruption committee” was recently formed. In other words, the tools are in place to take out any opposition among the powerful, within or outside the royal family.

    Bloomberg reports:

    Prince Miteb, son of the late King Abdullah, was removed from his post as head of the powerful National Guards.

    That’s the first thing you do in coup: grab control of the forces on the ground.

    Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was picked up at his desert camp, the senior official said. Authorities did not disclose the evidence that prompted the arrests.

    Prince Alwaleed bin Talal presides over a vast
    financial empire (estimated $35 billion in 2015):

    Alwaleed is the largest individual shareholder of Citigroup, the second-largest voting shareholder in 21st Century Fox and owns a number of hotels. TIME even called him "Arabian Warren Buffet".


    The second thing you do is take out any potential bankroller of rivals.

    It all began a month after the historic visit of President Trump, when 81-year-old King Salman displaced the previous crown prince, who was his nephew, as tradition of succession required, and installed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as effectively the monarch.


    MBS, as the Crown Prince is known, is the leader who is launching what modernizers hope will be a Saudi Version of the Meiji Restoration
    [ii] in Japan, transforming the political economy and culture out of necessity – in order to survive in the modern world system. The Saudis have practiced religious and cultural isolationism, while their oil allowed the country to avoid the necessity of building an economy that could supply anything else that the rest of the world would be willing to pay for.

    The power grab was necessary, because Saudi Arabia has to modernize, and it won’t be pleasant for lots of people, in and out of the royal family. Thanks to fracking and associated technologies, prices are never going to return to $100 a barrel. The regime itself is at stake because the population is growing and the young have few prospects of employment. The House of Saud almost fell in 1979, when the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by Shiite insurgents (The Saudi Shiite minority is concentrated in the oil producing region near Iran) declaring their prophet to be the Mahdi. The entire religious legitimacy of the family is that they are custodians of the holy places of Islam, and yet they had to bring in Pakistanis to retake the holy of holies, the Kaaba.

    They understand that in order to stay in power, they have to deliver change.

    When President Trump visited Riyadh in May, the discussions must have included a mutual understanding of the changes the Regime has in mind. The US delegation included veteran Saudi-hand Secretary of State Tillerson and economic visionary Wilbur Ross of the Department of Commerce. These are precisely the people a monarch would want to talk to about restructuring his regime to cope with a reality that has changed. A big part of the modernization is entering closer relations with Israel, a natural mutual ally in resisting Iranian Shiites. Purportedly clandestine cooperation is widely in to be underway already.

    Of the people arrested, Alwaleed bin Tala is the most intriguing for Americans thanks to his Twitter sparring with candidate Trump during the election, and for a startling connection unearthed by
    Jack Cashill more than five years ago in World New Daily.

    In late March 2008, on a local New York City show called “Inside City Hall,” the venerable African-American entrepreneur and politico, Percy Sutton, told host Dominic Carter how he was asked to help smooth Barack Obama’s admission into Harvard Law School 20 years earlier.

    The octogenarian Sutton calmly and lucidly explained that he had been “introduced to [Obama] by a friend.” The friend’s name was Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, and the introduction had taken place about 20 years prior.

    Sutton described al-Mansour as “the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men.” The billionaire in question was Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

    Deep currents are being stirred.

    Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

    1. This spread power around in the family, allowing for the growth of factionalism within the clan. Now that there is a direct and clear lineage, power can be grabbed at the very top and the rest of the clan brought into line.
    2. I studied, wrote and taught the Meiji Restoration and realize the many differences in the specifics of the two countries’ situations. No exact parallel is implied.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  3. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member


    Saudi Arabia says Lebanon declares war against it
    BEIRUT (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Lebanon had declared war against it because of what it described as aggression against the Kingdom by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah.

    People walk next to a poster depicting Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, along a street in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
    Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan, in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia”.

    Sabhan said this message had been delivered to the Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri, who declared his resignation as the country’s prime minister on Saturday in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia.

    Hezbollah acts of “aggression” on the Kingdom “were considered acts of a declaration of war against Saudi Arabia by Lebanon and by the Lebanese Party of the Devil”, he added.

    A poster depicting Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, hangs along a street in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. The Arabic on the poster reads, "With you forever". REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
    Hariri cited an assassination plot against him in the statement announcing his resignation, and launched a scathing attack against Iran and Hezbollah for sowing strife in the Arab world.

    The crisis has pitched Lebanon back into the forefront of a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has also played out in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen.

    There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government.

    Earlier on Monday, President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, appealed for national unity following Hariri’s resignation which toppled a coalition government that included Hezbollah and plunged Lebanon into political crisis.

    Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, another political ally of Hezbollah, said in a televised statement after meeting Aoun it was too early to talk about forming a new government.

    Reporting by Ellen Francis, Tom Perry and Lisa Barrington in Beirut, Ali Abdelaty in Cairo; Editing by Peter Graff
  4. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member


    Blaming Iran, Saudi says Huthi strike may be 'act of war'
    Alison Tahmizian Meuse and Mohamed Hasni
    November 6, 2017
    Dubai (AFP) - Saudi Arabia and Iran traded fierce accusations over Yemen on Monday, with Riyadh saying a rebel missile attack "may amount to an act of war" and Tehran accusing its rival of war crimes.

    Tensions have been rising between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran, which are opposed in disputes and conflicts across the Middle East from Yemen and Syria to Qatar and Lebanon.

    On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the "right to respond" to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a "blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war".

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

    "Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighbouring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security," Jubeir tweeted.

    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued dismissive tweets over the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response.

    "KSA bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran," he wrote.

    "KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilising behaviour & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences."

    Saudi forces on Saturday intercepted and destroyed the ballistic missile near Riyadh's international airport after it was reportedly fired by Shiite Huthi rebels from Yemen.

    It was the first attempted missile strike by the rebels to reach Riyadh and threaten air traffic, underscoring the growing threat posed by the conflict on Saudi Arabia's southern border.

    The coalition on Monday sealed off air, sea and land borders in Yemen, where it has been battling rebels in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's internationally recognised government since 2015.

    An Iranian foreign ministry statement quoted spokesman Bahram Ghassemi as saying the accusations by the coalition were "unjust, irresponsible, destructive and provocative".

    Ghassemi said the missile was fired by the Huthis in response "to war crimes and several years of aggression by the Saudis".

    The missile attack, he said, was "an independent action in response to this aggression," and Iran had nothing to do with it.

    - Rewards for rebel leaders -

    Critics have accused the coalition of not doing enough to prevent civilian deaths in its air war in Yemen, where more than 8,650 people have been killed since the intervention began.

    Repeated attempts to bring about a negotiated settlement to the conflict have failed, including a series of UN-backed peace talks.

    Saudi Arabia has blamed the Huthis for the failed efforts, and on Monday offered rewards totalling $440 million for information on 40 senior officials among the rebels.

    Topping the list, with a $30-million reward for tips leading to his capture, was the group's leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi.

    The Huthis, allied with Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the conflict, have captured the capital Sanaa, forcing Hadi's government to operate from the southern city of Aden.

    - Rivalry over Lebanon -

    Analysts said it was unclear how far Saudi Arabia would be willing to go in the escalating confrontation.

    The kingdom is in the midst of an unprecedented purge of its upper ranks, with dozens of senior figures arrested at the weekend, as 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates his hold on power.

    Prince Mohammed, who is also defence minister, is seen as a key supporter of the intervention in Yemen.

    Analyst Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute said it was unclear whether the Saudi leadership had "thought through an escalation of the scale they're hinting at".

    Compounding concerns of an escalation, she said, is that US President Donald Trump's administration has also taken a hard line against Iran "and may not send a deterrent message to Saudi".

    The Saudi-Iran rivalry also played out this weekend in the resignation of Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri, a protege of Riyadh who said he was stepping down because of the "grip" of Iran and its ally Hezbollah on the country.

    Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah hit back on Sunday, saying Hariri's resignation had been "imposed" by Saudi Arabia.

    Iran rejected Hariri's words as "baseless" and said his resignation was "designed to create tensions in Lebanon and in the region".

    Hariri, who announced his resignation in Riyadh, on Monday met Saudi King Salman and "reviewed the situation in Lebanon", the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

    Related:" data-reactid="97" style="max-width: 100%;">Related:

    For more news videos visit Yahoo View.
  5. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Bannon: ‘The Middle East Is on a Knife Edge in the Last 48 to 72 Hours’
    by John Hayward6 Nov 20170

    Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon analyzed the dramatic weekend events in Saudi Arabia on Monday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily on the SiriusXM Patriot Channel.
    Bannon said a driving force behind the transformation of Saudi Arabia and other major events in the Middle East is the recognition by many regional powers that “President Trump and the United States of America have had enough of it and are just not going to tolerate anymore this financing, the exporting of radical Islamic terror into Western Europe and the United States.”

    He recalled Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s giving a landmark speech several years ago about “how Islam had to reform itself internally to Islam, just like Christianity went through a huge reformation.”

    “In fact, I think the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation was a couple of weeks ago,” he remarked. “Christianity had gone through things like the Thirty Years War and the Reformation, et cetera, to reform itself. By the way, I’m a Catholic, so I’m not saying everything in the Reformation was great.”

    “My point is, these religions go through internal reformations: Gen. Sisi in Egypt, Mohammed bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates, MBS, the new Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia. These guys have been at the forefront of trying to modernize and reform Islam internally, with Muslims doing their reformation,” said Bannon.

    “One the things that you’ve seen at the summit President Trump had in the spring is that the United States is not prepared to tolerate any more people in the Middle East financing the exporting of radical Islamic terrorism into Western Europe in the United States. I think you’re seeing some of the leaders over there take active control of this,” he proposed.

    “This was the whole thing I said at the Hudson Institute, that the Qatar situation is, I believe today – even with everything going on in the Northwest Pacific – the most important national security and foreign policy situation the United States has,” Bannon argued. “You can tell now with what’s happening with the Kurds and what’s happening in Turkey and Lebanon with the prime minister stepping down, thinking he could be assassinated. The Middle East, I’m telling you right now, is on a knife’s edge, in the last 48 or 72 hours.”

    “And I’ve got to tell you, for all the elites out in the world, the Party of Davos guys are sitting there today gobsmacked, absolutely shocked,” he said. “The largest financier in the Arab world, the Muslim world, is Prince Alwaleed. He’s got stakes in just about every high-tech company. He’s a huge partner of Rupert Murdoch. When he came to the United States back in the early nineties, he was actually a client of my firm as he got into Hollywood; he got into media. He owns a huge stake in Citicorp, he saved Citicorp from going bankrupt.”

    “People are stunned today that he was put under house arrest, put under arrest yesterday in Saudi Arabia, in this situation of what they called corruption, money laundering, et cetera. People are thinking this is directly tied to the financing of the Muslim Brotherhood, this whole thing about cleaning up Saudi Arabia to take care of this. You’re going to see a lot of changes. This thing is far, far from over. You’re at the top of the first inning. You’re probably at the first batter,” Bannon said.

    “Look at what’s happening in Iraq now. Look at what’s happening with this expansionist Persia, Erdogan; John Bolton just said it. Erdogan is going to announce an Ottoman caliphate on the 100th anniversary of Ataturk. I’ve said it from day one: Erdogan is one of the most dangerous guys on the world stage. He believes in his heart that he’s a man of history. Those guys can be dangerous. We’ve got a mess in the Middle East, and President Trump, I think, has done a tremendous job of representing the vital national security interests of the United States over there,” he declared.

    Bannon said that at President Trump’s summit meeting with dozens of Arab nations in Saudi Arabia, “modernization and reformation” were a big part of the agenda.

    “MBS, the young Crown Prince, put this thing called Vision 2030 out there, which was to revitalize and change the economy. His point was, the oil is not going to be here forever. We have to do something to get ourselves off of oil. We have to make ourselves more productive. We have to become more engaged in technology, et cetera. Along those lines, he started to do some pretty fundamental things along with women’s rights, women’s empowerment in the modernization over there,” he recalled.

    “I tell people, you’re not going to wave a wand or snap your fingers. It’s not going to happen immediately. But you’re seeing, I think, pretty big fundamental changes take place,” he said, noting the enthusiastic support President Trump expressed for those changes in his weekend phone call from Japan to Saudi King Salman.

    Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.
  6. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    The following provides some more background...

    At Neocon Think Tank, Steve Bannon Bashes Qatar and Praises Saudi Arabia
    Avi Asher-SchapiroAlex Emmons October 25 2017, 5:06 p.m.
    Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
    Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon made a rare public appearance Monday at the Hudson Institute, a neoconservative Washington think tank. Bannon, who recently returned to his position as chair of the far-right website Breitbart, defended President Donald Trump’s Middle East policies, arguing the administration’s engagement with the Muslim world has been successful.

    “What’s been accomplished in a very short period of time to me is amazing,” said Bannon.

    Bannon was especially proud of Trump’s summit in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh last May, where the president joined Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman in placing their hands on a white glowing orb to commemorate the opening of a new counterterror center. Bannon said the meeting sparked “tectonic plate shifts” throughout the Middle East. “I don’t think he’s got the credit for the summit,” Bannon said of Trump. “It was important for the Muslim world. It was important for the Arab world. It was important to show that the United States is fully engaged.”

    Bannon pointed out that in the weeks after the summit, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates escalated their feud with Qatar. The conference served as a staging ground for a major offensive in the public relations campaign against Qatar, part of a long-simmering feud between the tiny Gulf Sheikdom and other U.S. allies on the Arabian Peninsula. And Bannon, who has financial ties to the UAE, was wading in.

    “The single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar,” Bannon said. “Qatar finally had to be called to account for the continual funding for the Muslim Brotherhood, continual funding for Hamas.”

    The former top White House adviser also pointed to the change in the Saudi monarchy’s line of succession to appoint Mohammed Bin Salman, the king’s hawkish son, as an heir. The change sparked a crackdown in Saudi Arabia, with the government rounding up and detaining prominent clerics, regime critics, activists, and a journalist, according to the New York Times. Bannon appeared to approve of the crackdown.

    “If you look at Saudi Arabia, they’ve had a pretty big fundamental change since the summit,” he said. “The deputy crown prince is now the crown prince. I think it was two weeks ago or three weeks ago, there were 1,000 clerics rounded up or put under house arrest or whatever. I realize that the opposition party in the New York Times refer to most of them as ‘liberal scholars.’”

    The fact Bannon was speaking at all was unusual. He joined a roster of other notable speakers, including former Obama administration Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former CIA Director David Petraeus, and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a leading Iran hawk on Capitol Hill.

    Panetta had argued in the past that Bannon’s policies actually fuel recruitment for Islamic extremists. He said that Trump’s travel ban, which Bannon was an architect of, “fed ISIS a major argument that I think will help them in recruiting and that increases the chances of a potential attack in this country.” He also said it was “wrong” for Bannon to have been appointed to the National Security Council. Panetta was booked through his speaking agency for an undisclosed fee and told McClatchy he wasn’t aware that Bannon would be there.

    All the marquee speakers hit similar notes on Qatar. “Qatar, frankly, has a mixed record,” said Panetta. “We know they’ve provided support, financial support, for the Muslim Brotherhood, for Hamas, for elements of Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. And the problem is, they can’t have it both ways.”

    In June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar and imposed a punishing blockade, accusing the country of supporting groups, like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. There is truth to the accusation, but Saudi Arabia also funds extremist groups, and experts have suggested that the move to punish Qatar may be more about the country’s decision to maintain ties with Iran, its funding for the Islamist populists of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the other Persian Gulf states’ dissatisfaction with Al Jazeera, the Qatari state-run news channel.

    The Trump administration initially responded to the feud by sending mixed messages. While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Persian Gulf states to end the blockade, Trump praised it, tweeting, “Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”
  7. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    continued from above...

    Bannon made clear which side he took. Saudi Arabia and the UAE had a “well-thought-out plan,” he said, and the measures those countries took reflected their commitment at the Riyadh summit to cut off funding for terror groups. “I’m not a foreign policy expert by far, but I took a very hard line on that,” he said. “It’s well within the rights of people we agreed with at that summit — there was going to be an effort for a 100 percent cutoff of radical Islamic terrorism.”

    The showdown has been a cash cow for American lobbying and PR firms that are lining up on both sides to sway American policymakers and the public, including Bannon. Just hours before the conference Monday, McClatchy reported that a PR firm with close ties to Bannon, SCL Social Limited, was paid over $300,000 by the UAE to post negative ads about Qatar on social media. That’s on top of millions paid to a constellation of PR firms and lobbyists that push the UAE and Saudi lines in D.C.

    Qatar also has its own army of lobbyists, even paying former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s firm $2.5 million for just three months of work.

    Asked by former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, the event’s moderator and a Hudson official, about his ties to SCL Social Limited, Bannon said he had “nothing to do” with the company. Upon entering the White House, however, Bannon had disclosed that he had between $1 million and $5 million stake in a company called Cambridge Analytica, which shares the same leadership and ownership as SCL Social Limited.

    At the conference, Panetta and Petraeus both condemned Qatar for its behavior and offered only light condemnation of other Persian Gulf states for supporting extremism. If there was any confusion about the main target of the event, a copy of an ominously titled documentary, “Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance,” could be found at every seat. The documentary also featured a speaker from the Middle East Institute, which recently accepted a $20 million donation from the UAE.

    Asked about the appropriateness of interviewing Bannon — whose Breitbart News strategized with some neo-Nazi figures — on the topic of extremism, Haqqani said, “Mine was not a fawning, supportive interview.” He added, “The man has an opinion, we should hear it.”

    Despite the one-sided subject matter at the conference, Hudson Institute public affairs head David Tell denied the think tank takes any UAE or other Persian Gulf money. “Hudson has not ever accepted financial contributions from the UAE government or anyone connected thereto — and would not as a matter of formal institutional policy,” Stewart said.

    The Hudson Institute did not clarify whether it coordinated with foreign governments in a non-financial manner. The UAE has been active in Washington’s think tank world, offering funding and coordinating with others that serve its agenda. McClatchy reported that some of the funding for the Monday event was provided by Elliott Broidy, a prominent Trump fundraiser.

    The lone dissenter from the anti-Qatar consensus was Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who appeared on a panel of congressional leaders. He criticized Saudi Arabia in front of his notably uncomfortable colleagues, Reps. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas. He called Wahhabism, the state-backed conservative Islamic movement in Saudi Arabia, “the greatest exporter” of extremist ideology, a message that seemed at odds with the conference’s top-line themes.
  8. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    Causing their own apocalypse now....and seems to attest to some of the warnings to be prayed for within the Luz de Maria messages ...... from July 7, 2017:

    Pray My children, pray for North Korea, its people will suffer the effect of its own nuclear creations.


    North Korea's nuclear test site is 'a wasteland with deformed babies'

    North Korea’s underground nuclear test site has turned the surrounding area to wasteland and caused defects among newborn babies, defectors have reported.

    About 80 per cent of trees that are planted die at Punggye-ri and underground wells have also run dry, according to 21 defectors who used to live in Kilju county, the location of the site.

    “I heard from a relative in Kilju that deformed babies were born in hospitals there,” one defector claimed, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper. He added that locals were worried about radioactive contamination.

    “I spoke on the phone with family members I left behind there and they told me that all of the underground wells dried up after the sixth nuclear test,” said another, referring to the regime’s most recent test in September.

    Defectors, including one person who claimed to have lived through two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, testified that local people were not warned in advance.

    “Only family members of soldiers were evacuated to underground shafts. Ordinary people were completely unaware of the tests,” said the defector, who fled North Korea in 2010.

    According to another source who has visited Kilju since the sixth nuclear test, residents have been banned from making hospital appointments in the capital, Pyongyang.

    Officials also appear to be intent on keeping a lid on accounts from Kilju county, with anyone caught boarding trains with samples of soil, water or leaves reportedly being arrested and sent to prison camps.

    Meanwhile, 38 North, a North Korea monitoring site operated out of Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, reported at the weekend that commercial satellite imagery of Punggye-ri had shown significant movements near the West Portal, a yet unused tunnel complex.

    It was, however, difficult to determine the exact purpose of the movement of equipment such as mining cards and netting, the report concluded.

  9. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Angels

    a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia would be a pretext for Israel to attack Iran, as it has always wished?
  10. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    Or do you mean for Iran to attack Israel as it has always wished? In addition, they are not fans of the USA either. I do think that Pandora's box has officially been opened.

    In relation to the last North Korea post, I believe that many people seeking power, money and/or fame will sacrifice almost anything to achieve their end goal.

    Iran Displays Missile During Anniversary of Embassy Takeover
    Iran displays surface-to-surface missile as part of events marking anniversary of 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis.
    BY NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Nov. 4, 2017
    Iranian demonstrators attend an annual gathering in front of the former U.S. Embassy marking the anniversary of its 1979 takeover, while a surface-to-surface missile is displayed by the Revolutionary Guard, at rear, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Iran on Saturday displayed a surface-to-surface missile as part of events marking the anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis amid uncertainty about its nuclear deal with world powers. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) The Associated Press

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Saturday displayed a surface-to-surface missile as part of events marking the anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis amid uncertainty about its nuclear deal with world powers.

    Thousands gathered at the former U.S. embassy in downtown Tehran where a missile, believed to be a 2,000-kilometer (1,243-mile)-range solid-fuel Sejjil, was on display. It was the first time Iran displayed a missile during the annual gathering.

    Later in the day, the semi-official Tasnim news agency, which has ties to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said the missile was a Qadr-F that has the same range.

    Hundreds of Iranian militant students stormed the U.S. Embassy following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. They took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after Washington refused to hand over the shah, who was in the U.S.

    A crowd chanted "Down with the U.S." and "Death to Israel" during the anniversary celebration. State TV said similar celebrations were being held in other Iranian cities and towns. They also burned flags of both the U.S. and Israel as well as an effigy of President Donald Trump.

    President Trump refused to re-certify the 2015 landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in October and the U.S. has imposed more sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program.

    The U.S. Congress must now make a decision regarding the 2015 nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

    Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the country's Supreme National Security Council, addressed the crowd, saying Iran will make any sanctions imposed by the U.S. "ineffective" even as the U.S. targets Iran's economic, nuclear and defensive power.

    Shamkhani, alluding to Trump's threats against North Korea, said even U.S. allies know that Trump "has no power to realize his bluffs, against Iran, too." He called the U.S. the "eternal enemy" of Iran.

    The former embassy in Tehran is now a cultural center while standing as a symbol of a U.S. defeat for many Iranians. Many Iranians call it the "den of spies."

    The U.S. cut its diplomatic relations with Iran following the embassy takeover and has had no diplomatic relations since.

    Copyright 2017 The
    Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    Luan Ribeiro likes this.
  11. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Angels

    I believe that a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia could cause a global economic crisis due to the rise in the price of oil, the black knight of the apocalypse
  12. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    Trump to urge all nations to isolate North Korea's 'brutal regime' in South Korea speech
    November 7, 2017
    SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will urge all countries to join forces to isolate “the brutal regime of North Korea” on Wednesday, saying the world cannot tolerate “the menace of a rogue regime” that threatens it with nuclear devastation.
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the South Korean National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    “Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for ALL civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us. AND DO NOT TRY US.,” according to excerpts of a speech Trump is set to deliver to South Korea’s parliament.

    “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated,” according to the excerpts. “All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea - to deny it any form of support, supply, or acceptance.”

    Reporting by Steve Holland and Christine Kim; Writing by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Paul Tait

    In a sharp shift, Trump calls for North Korea to 'make a deal'
    Brian Bennett November 7, 2017

    President Trump didn’t threaten to unleash “fire and fury” or to “totally destroy” North Korea. He didn’t needle Kim Jong Un by calling him “little rocket man.”

    Instead, at a news conference in South Korea’s capital Tuesday within range of North Korean artillery, Trump spoke in unusually measured tones and called on North Korea’s ruler to “come to the table and make a deal” to give up its growing nuclear weapons arsenal.

    Trump delivered threats as well, calmly listing the firepower the U.S. currently has pointed at the Korean Peninsula, including three carrier strike groups and a nearby nuclear submarine — as well as “many things happening that we hope, we hope — in fact, I'll go a step further, we hope to God we never have to use.”

    “I do see certain movement, yes,” Trump said at the joint news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “But let's see what happens.”

    He offered no specifics, noting that his administration likes "to play our cards a little bit close to the vest."

    Trump’s call for a deal came five weeks after he publicly dismissed the possibility of diplomacy with North Korea, saying on Twitter that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”

    The shift from incendiary rhetoric to talk of negotiations came after a long afternoon of talks and a walk through the woods with Moon. The South Korean leader, who was elected promising to make overtures to North Korea, agreed to push forward with plans to purchase more U.S. reconnaissance equipment and larger missile batteries.

    Trump went further, touting South Korea’s promise to buy “billions” of dollars’ worth of U.S.-made military equipment as an example of how he was narrowing the trade deficit with Seoul and creating American jobs, although the White House did not provide any figures.

    Moon was elected in a landslide in May after campaigning on promises to reach out to North Korea. He has shown a willingness to take a harder line in recent months following a series of ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang, including two that indicated it has developed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

    Like Trump, Moon called for “maximum pressure” on Kim to convince him to abandon his nuclear weapons program. He said the U.S. and South Korea are “willing to offer North Korea a bright future” in return.

    Trump is on the third day of an 11-day swing through five countries in Asia.

    Earlier in the day, Trump ate lunch with South Korean and American troops on Camp Humphreys, the hub for nearly 30,000 U.S. military troops on the peninsula, before he headed to Seoul for talks with Moon.

    On streets near the South Korean presidential mansion, called the Blue House for the color of its traditional tiled roof, protesters held signs reading “No Trump” and “No war.”

    Other onlookers waved U.S. and South Korean flags. Hundreds of Seoul police officers stood at major intersections in rows several officers deep to stop marchers from getting too close to the compound.

    Inside the Blue House, Moon was effusive in his compliments, congratulating Trump on the upcoming anniversary of his election victory, the strong U.S. economy and record-high stock market.

    “You are already making great progress on making America great again,” he said.

    He also praised Trump for putting North Korea “at the top” of his list of security concerns.

    Moon must walk a fine line during Trump’s two-day state visit to one of America’s closest allies. In September, Trump publicly criticized Moon’s policy, saying his “talk of appeasement” with the North was doomed to fail.

    Opinion polls show South Korean voters overwhelmingly approve of Moon’s performance in office so far, but are wary of Trump and worried he will start a war.

    In the spring of 2015, about 88% of South Koreans in a Pew Research Center survey said they trusted the American president to “do the right thing regarding world affairs.” Two years later, that share has fallen to 17%, according to the center’s global attitudes poll.

    Moon was elected in a landslide in May after campaigning on promises to reach out to North Korea. He has shown a willingness to take a harder line in recent months following a series of ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang, including two that indicated it has developed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

    He faces domestic political pressure to tamp down Trump’s unpredictable and bellicose pronouncements, which have set many South Koreans on edge.

    Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the U.S. or its allies had to defend itself from an attack, delivered in front of the United Nations General Assembly in September, rattled some politicians in Seoul, who fear Trump is pushing for a military attack on North Korea’s nuclear program and has ruled out diplomatic options.

    South Korea’s top diplomat reflected that unease Monday, calling for a peaceful solution during an interview in Seoul with NBC News’ Lester Holt.

    "Another war on the Korean Peninsula must not happen," South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said. "A resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue must be pursued in a peaceful, diplomatic manner."
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
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  13. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    I think it is odd, to say the least, that the former Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, is unaccounted for since June.

    From the following Breibart article dated 6/21/2017, "Nayef was considered one of the most pro-American of the Saudi royal family. He received counterterrorism training from the FBI and Scotland Yard in the eighties, maintained good relations with U.S. officials, and was instrumental as both an operational leader and spokesman in the Saudi war against al-Qaeda after 9/11.

    His commitment to fighting the terrorist group did not waver after a 2009 suicide bomb attack against him. The CIA was sufficiently impressed with his work to give him a counterterrorism medal in February, personally awarded by CIA Director Mike Pompeo."

    Bin Salman and the end of Saudi's consensus rule
    Analysts and ex-US intelligence operatives warn of regional instability in wake of crown prince's power consolidation.
    by Ali Younes & Shafik Mandhai November 7, 2017
    Mohammed bin Salman has pledged a raft of economic and social reforms in Saudi Arabia [File: Reuters]
    Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is risking political and regional instability by dismantling a decades-old system of consensus rule, analysts, including ex-top US intelligence officers, have told Al Jazeera.

    Since replacing his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef in June as first in line to succeed King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the 32-year-old has embarked on a campaign to consolidate power, taking on rivals within the Saudi royal family and religious activists.

    In September, Saudi police arrested dozens of religious figures, including Islamic preachers Salman al-Awdah and Awad al-Qarni, who remain behind bars.

    However, the heir to the throne's most ambitious move came late on Saturday when he fired senior ministers and had dozens of the country's richest men detained, ostensibly on the grounds of combatting corruption.

    They included his cousin and one of the world's richest men, Alwaleed bin Talal; at least 11 other princes; four ministers; and several more ex-ministers.

    Waleed al-Ibrahim, chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), one of the region's largest media companies, and construction magnate, Bakr Binladin of the Saudi Binladin group, were also detained.

    Confusion also surrounds the whereabouts of Mohammed bin Salman's predecessor as crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, who has not been seen publicly since June and is rumoured to be under house arrest.

    'One-man regime'

    The targeting of Saudi Arabia's long-standing elite represents a shift from family rule to a more authoritarian style of governance based around one man, according to Durham University academic Christopher Davidson.

    "Going after such 'big fish' is intended by MBS and his allies in Abu Dhabi as a signal of MBS' newly-established sultanistic powers," he said, using the widely-used acronym for Mohammed bin Salman and referring to his close ties to the leaders of the United Arab Emirates.

    "By going after the richest, whether fellow princes or media moguls and construction magnates, MBS is demonstrating that nobody is outside his control, as he is now at the top of a more authoritarian, 'one-man regime', with the old consensus-based, dynastic monarchy of the past century having effectively collapsed at some point earlier this year."

    Analysts said this week's purge by Mohammed bin Salman could potentially alienate members of the wider Al Saud family at a time when the country struggles to balance its finances amid sustained low oil prices.

    Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, shared some of Davidson's assessment, describing the mass arrests as "unprecedented".

    "Royal family politics are traditionally consensual with great emphasis on preserving decorum and honour, even for failed ministers," he said, predicting that the breaking of the traditional Saudi consensus-based model of rule would lead to disorder within the country.

    "There will be much discontent behind the scenes in the family, and the Kingdom is headed for instability."

    'Perfect storm'

    The breakdown of consensus rule could have wider implications both at home and abroad, particularly in terms of the Saudi relationship with its regional rival, Iran, according to former US intelligence operatives.

    Since Mohammed bin Salman's elevation to defence minister and deputy crown prince in 2015, and later to crown prince, Riyadh has taken on a more aggressive foreign policy stance towards Tehran.

    In March 2015, Saudi Arabia went to war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, believed to be backed by Iran. In early 2016, it announced the severing of diplomatic ties with Iran.

    Amid rising regional tensions, Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday accused Iran of what could be "considered an act of war", blaming Tehran for supplying the Houthi group with a missile that was fired towards Riyadh but was intercepted by Saudi air defence forces.

    Iran has rejected the Saudi accusation as "malicious, irresponsible, destructive and provocative".

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  14. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    continued from above http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/bin-salman-saudi-consensus-rule-171107052615928.html ...

    Domestically, the crown prince has promised a raft of social and economic reforms, including a partial public share offering in Aramco, the state-owned oil company, and the end to a ban on women driving in the kingdom.

    He also launched Vision 2030, a reform plan seeking to reduce the reliance of Saudi Arabia's economy on oil and instead develop the country's tourism, health and education sectors.

    Robert Richer, former associate deputy director of operations of the CIA, told Al Jazeera the events of the past week marked a significant break with the traditional methods of decision making in the country.

    While praising the crown prince's plan for modernisation, Richer, who was stationed in a number of Middle Eastern countries, said Mohammed bin Salman's rise could contribute to an increased possibility of war with Iran, which he called "worrisome".

    Having consolidated power, and without moderating influences around him to temper Saudi foreign policy, the young prince could look to settle old scores with Iran once and for all, he argued.

    "This is the perfect storm for [Mohammed] bin Salman, where you have Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel, which view Iran as the greatest threat in the region," said Richer.

    US President Donald Trump, who praised Mohammed bin Salman and his father in the wake of the recent wave of detentions, has repeatedly accused Iran of "supporting terrorism and exporting violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East".

    'World needs stable Saudi Arabia'

    Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have existed for decades, dating back to the 1979 Iranian revolution, which turned the former into an Islamic republic.

    Saudi Arabia and other Arab states have accused the Iranians of wanting to overthrow their governments and export the revolution since.

    Former CIA officer Bob Baer credited the Saudi royal family's consensus-based approach to rule for preventing a war with Iran up until now, warning Mohammed bin Salman's purge made the country's future stability less certain.

    "The Al Saud [ruling family of Saudi Arabia] have survived all these years, thanks to a remarkable and unbreakable consensus among their ranks and has avoided war with Iran," said Baer.

    "No one wants to see a war in the region especially given that Iran is not a small country, is an economic power, has its own clear identity and has the support of its population," he added.

    "The world needs a stable and predictable Saudi Arabia."

    more on Politics

    The above article didn't mention how this effects relations with Turkey but the Briebart article from June states the following and explains why Steve Bannon stated that he is more concerned about Turkey than Iran recently,

    "The Saudis will probably let Iran’s criticism roll off their backs, but Turkey is more problematic. The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fairly close to Nayef but still working on building a relationship with Salman. It is not going terribly well, as Salman has refused every Turkish invitation to visit Ankara since he was named deputy crown prince.

    Erdogan has expressed support for Qatar, putting it at odds with one of Salman’s major policy initiatives, and he disagrees with Salman’s dim view of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Middle East Eye cites Turkey-watchers who foresee a potentially serious conflict between Erdogan and Salman over Turkey’s least favorite Middle Eastern faction, the Kurds. Either as a power play, or because he sincerely favors their cause, Salman may support the Kurds in Syria – which would inflame Turkish fears of the Kurds carving out chunks of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to form an independent state. Turkish media is reportedly speculating that Salman will threaten to put Saudi Arabia’s chips on the Kurds unless Erdogan backs away from supporting Qatar."


    PS- I am just "reporting" the news that I find. I can't figure out what is truly going on as much as the next gal can. Maybe this will all simmer down, maybe not. Although, I do find it interesting that Saint Paisios stated that a major war begins with Turkey. With that said, the following is also occurring:
    Campaign to free Palestinian leader launched in Turkey http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/...n-leader-launched-turkey-171106060709207.html
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
    BrianK likes this.
  15. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    I forgot to post the following a few days ago,

    Erdogan calls on Russia, US to pull troops out of Syria
    Turkish president's comments come after Putin and Trump said there was 'no military solution' to Syria's war. 13 Nov 2017
    The meeting between Erdogan and Putin in Sochi is their fourth this year [Pavel Golovkin/Reuters]
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested Russia and the United States should pull their troops out of war-torn Syria after their leaders - Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump - said there was "no military solution" to the country's long-running conflict.

    "I am having trouble understanding these comments," Erdogan was quoted by reporters as saying on Monday, before he flew out to Russia's coastal city of Sochi for talks with Putin.

    "If a military solution [in Syria] is out of the question, then those who say this [Russia and the US] should pull their troops out ... and steps for a political solution should be taken," he said.

    Erdogan's comments came two days after the Kremlin released a statement, issued on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam, in which Putin and Trump agreed there was no military solution to the conflict in Syria.

    They also called on all parties to take part in the Geneva process - diplomatic efforts to end Syria's conflict under the auspices of the United Nations.

    Russia has been a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the US has been supporting the Syrian YPG Kurdish forces on the ground.

    In his reported comments, Erdogan said neither Russia nor the US would be pulling out of Syria soon.

    "The United States said it would completely leave Iraq, but it didn't. The world is not stupid, some realities are being told differently and practised differently," he said.

    WATCH: Analysis - Americans, Europeans 'think Erdogan is rash and brash' (4:07)

    Commenting on Erdogan's reaction to the Turkish president's remarks, Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said: "The question probably on Erdogan's mind is 'why am I not the one sponsoring the talks in Geneva?'

    "The whole idea of this superpower logic, when it comes to Syria, we all know that Iran and Turkey are playing a far greater role and Turkey is not on the same wave as the US [in Syria]," added Bishara.

    Sochi talks
    Turkey, Russia and Iran have been brokering Syria talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana - a separate process than the one in Geneva.

    Just like Moscow, Tehran is a major military backer of al-Assad, whereas Turkey supports certain rebel groups seeking to overthrow him.

    The Syrian conflict and bilateral trade were expected to be high on the agenda during the Putin-Erdogan meeting in Sochi, the fourth this year.

    Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from the Black Sea city, said Erdogan's visit was aimed at mending Turkey's "battered" relationship with Russia, something that has taken years to repair.

    "They're still trying to rebuild a relationship that's taken a battering in recent times," he said.

    INSIDE STORY: Can Turkey and Russia become allies? (24:59)

    "It started when the Turks shot down a Russian plane over southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, two years ago. Following that, the Russians put in place a whole host of restrictions, a restriction of citizen movement, embargoes etc - they're trying to repair that.

    "The relationship is now nearly back to how it was before the turmoil started."

    Erdogan, however, still has concerns over Putin and Trump's comments and is also concerned by what's unfolding in Idlib province, our correspondent said.

    "Idlib is one of the most complicated battle spaces in Syria. The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army is squashed in together with much more hardline elements, groups linked to al-Qaeda and the group formerly known as the Nusra Front.

    "The Turks are trying to split these elements apart but the area is still under bombardment from regime forces, and the Turks aren't happy about that.

    "The Turks are also concerned about their perennial problem - the Kurds," Challands said.

    Turkish troops pushed into Syria in August of last year in an effort to push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group away from its border and to stop the advance of Kurdish fighters.

    "Russia has a fairly open dialogue with the YPG which Turkey considers a terrorist group, and Erdogan has raised concerns about that here in Sochi," Challands added.

    Related Articles:

    Not far from Turkey a 5.7 earthquake yesterday and a 3.x today...

    Over 130 houses damaged by 2 quakes in Azerbaijan
    16 November 2017 09:27
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  16. CrewDog

    CrewDog Archangels

    Something has got to give and it's anyone's guess what will be "The Spark" that causes the powder keg called Earth to blow. This situation would be as good a guess as any.
    As Greenfield point out, Obama may have left the Oval Office but left in place are many (most?) of his disastrous foreign/domestic policies! ... and hundreds (thousands?) of his holdover disciples in DC, Congress and throughout the Alphabet Fed Bureaucracy! All doing their best to obstruct, libel and distract Trump and those who support him. It ain't gonna end well ..... Worldwide! :(

    THE NEXT BIG MIDDLE EASTERN WAR - Saudi Arabia vs. Iran.


    AED likes this.
  17. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers


    Thank you for posting that article, it confirms a lot of my thoughts and sheds some additional light on the situation in the Middle East . I wonder if the author is familiar with prophecy, he has stated a very similar situation to what Natan appears to have seen in his NDE.

    I think in one of my posts on this thread I said I was looking for the following confirmation which I found here, http://dreamingofmoshiach.blogspot.sg/2015/10/chilling-testimony-redemption.html .

    Here is the portion which confirms that Natan stated that the Gog/Magog War will not involve Israel at first,

    "The following are some of the things he said regarding the near redemption (he explained he saw it on a gigantic movie screen in heaven):
    • The beginning of Gog U'Magog began three days before the Rosh HaShana, September 11, 2015 or lunar calender 27 Elul 5775.
    • One of these days, there will be a security breach that will cause riots to erupt leading to severe civil unrest. This will burst into a war and will be all over the news internationally. Everyone will know and understand it. **
    • Israel will not yet be involved. ..."

    I think that the following link may help discern on Natan's NDE, https://singaporechristian.com/2016...sion-of-the-end-times-and-of-obama-being-gog/. I am not certain where Natan's vision came from but I think it is very possible that at least a portion of what he was shown will come true - this is my opinion. I have also wondered if we have been trained by the movies and possibly misinterpretations of scripture that the apocalypse is immediately before the second coming but when you read older Catholic Prophecies it does not appear that is the case.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  18. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    Why Saudi-Israeli normalisation could be dangerous
    Apart from being disastrous for Palestine, normalising relations with Israel could get Saudi Arabia in real trouble. by Ibrahim Fraihat 19 Nov 2017

    US President Donald Trump has called a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement he is pursuing 'the ultimate deal' [File: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst]

    What is behind the covert Israeli-Saudi relations?
    Syria opposition in Riyadh aims to form united front

    Driven by succession plans and a strategy to confront Iran's influence in the Arab region, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has engaged in several taboo-breaking steps. These include the arrest of dozens of princes and ministers and a process of normalising relations, at least partially, with Israel.

    But taking concrete measures to end the Arab boycott of Israel, without reaching a just solution to the Palestinian issue first, will be detrimental to both Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

    On Thursday, the Israeli army's chief-of-staff, Gadi Eizenkot, gave the first-ever interview to a Saudi news outlet, saying that Israel is ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia on Iran. Also for the first time, Israel co-sponsored with Saudi Arabia a resolution against Syria in the UN Human Rights Council last week. Furthermore, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara extended a warm invitation to Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, to visit Israel for what he said were his friendly comments about the country.

    To "legitimise" steps taken to normalise relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia summoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to Riyadh last week, to convince him to accept a peace plan put forward by US President Donald Trump's special adviser, Jared Kushner. Saudi-Israeli collaboration is an integral part of that plan. According to the New York Times, the proposal could include, among other normalisation measures, "overflights by Israeli passenger planes, visas for business people, and telecommunication links" with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE.

    Abbas' cooperation is essential for Saudi-Israeli normalisation to proceed; without it, the Saudi move would be seen as a betrayal to the Arab and Muslim position on Palestine. Although not much has been revealed about what really happened during Abbas' visit to Riyadh, some reports talk about the Saudi leadership pressuring Abbas to accept whatever plan Kushner puts forward, or to resign.

    Abbas is in an unenviable position, as pressure on him is likely to increase when Kushner's plan is released in the not-so-distant future. He needs Saudi and US financial support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to continue to function.

    Is Saudi Arabia becoming a danger to the region?

    However, the Kushner deal will not do even minimum justice to the Palestinian national project. While the deal offers strategic gains to Israel, such as ending a Saudi Arab boycott, it offers only tactical gains for the Palestinians, such as financial assistance, prisoners' release, and a silent, partial freeze of settlement activities outside the large settlement blocs.

    The Kushner deal will practically fragment the Saudi-sponsored 2002 Arab Peace Plan that offered Israel full normalisation in return for full withdrawal from Arab lands occupied in 1967. By pressuring Abbas to accept the deal, the Saudi leadership is undermining its own initiative, accepting to partially normalise relations with Israel in exchange for an alliance against Iran.

    Moreover, the Saudi normalisation plan is likely to further complicate internal Palestinian reconciliation. Aiming to end Iranian influence in Gaza, Saudi Arabia's close ally, Egypt, brokered - or as some view it, dictated - Palestinian reconciliation that resulted in Hamas surrendering power to the Palestinian Authority.

    To pressure Abbas further, Saudi Arabia reportedly summoned his bitter enemy, Mohammed Dahlan, to Riyadh at the same time he was there. The purpose of the move was supposedly to have the two discuss Fatah's internal "reconciliation". In other words, Saudi Arabia brought Dahlan into the scene in case the PA president rejects the Kushner deal. In what could be interpreted as a sign of resistance to the Saudi pressure, some commentators in the West Bank and Gaza observed that upon his return to Ramallah, Abbas started cracking down on Dahlan's supporters.

    Just a few days later, another blow was dealt to the PA. On Sunday, the US administration announced that the license of the PLO office in Washington will not be renewed - this could not be a mere coincidence. In fact, it might be another strong sign that Abbas continues to resist Saudi-US pressure. In line with this argument, Mohammad Shtayyeh, Fatah Central Committee member and one of the candidates to succeed Abbas, told me, "Reconciliation will not be a railway for a regional political project at the expense of the Palestinian cause."

    Trump's foreign policy: Follow the money

    Saudi's demands have put the Palestinian president is a very difficult position, as his people would overwhelmingly reject the stipulations of the Kushner deal. This situation is reminiscent of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat's, dilemma at Camp David in 2000, when he faced US pressure to accept Ehud Barak's plan offering partial Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Immediately after the Camp David Accords, Arafat was sidelined and, two years later, died mysteriously. To what extent Abbas will be able to resist US-Saudi pressure and hang on to his presidency is yet to be seen.

    What is clear, however, is that Saudi Arabia will proceed with its normalisation efforts with Israel, with or without Abbas. The way MBS is managing succession at home and escalation with Iran abroad suggests that he is up for making radical decisions.

    But his move on Israel might not work as well as some of his other bold policies have. In fact, he might end up shooting himself in the foot. Pushing through with the Kushner deal would mean acting against the consensus of Arab and Muslim countries, which reject normalisation with Israel without a fair and just solution to the Palestinian cause.

    Saudi Arabia might receive support from countries like the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan, but not from the rest of the 57 Muslim-majority member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Kuwait, for example, is already holding anti-normalisation activities at home.

    If MBS proceeds with the plan, he risks Saudi Arabia's leading position in the Islamic world being delegitimised. His father, King Salman, the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, will appear to be conceding on the third holiest site for Muslims - al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. If he normalises relations with Israel, MBS will be giving Tehran the strongest hand to play against Riyadh, in Iran's efforts to delegitimise Saudi Arabia in the Muslim world.

    Related: http://www.unsealed.org/2017/11/trump-administration-close-to-unveiling.html
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  19. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    It sounds like it was worse than originally was reported, it's so sad.

    Report: N. Korea’s Last Nuclear Test Caused Quake That Killed Dozens
    November 26, 2017 0:34 AM
    • VOA News
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to a hydrogen bomb test, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Sept. 10, 2017.

    An artificial earthquake caused by a North Korean nuclear test in September reportedly caused buildings to collapse and killed scores of people, including schoolchildren, South Korean media reported this week.

    On Sept. 3, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, successfully detonating a hydrogen bomb — one that could fit onto an intercontinental missile (ICBM).

    The blast produced two shallow earthquakes in the Punggye-ri region, where North Korea's nuclear test facility is located, U.S. and Chinese government seismologists reported at the time. Authorities in Japan, South Korea and numerous nongovernment experts in the United States confirmed that the earthquakes were likely the result of a nuclear test.

    FILE - North Koreans watch a news report showing North Korea's nuclear test in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 3, 2017. (Kyodo/via Reuters)

    Nearby village badly damaged

    An unnamed source, who recently visited a village about 8 kilometers from Punggye-ri, described the damage to the South and North Development (SAND), a research institute that works with defectors from the North, according to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

    The source said houses and a school collapsed in the village of Sindong-ri and that dozens of people were killed and injured, the paper reported.

    "September 3 was a Sunday, but some 150 students were waiting in their classrooms to do some work," the source said, according to Chosun Ilbo. "Casualties occurred when half of the school building crumbled."

    After the detonation in September, the first earthquake was a 6.3-magnitude tremor that was consistent with the detonation of a 1-megaton hydrogen bomb, according to experts. Five minutes later, the same seismologists detected a magnitude-4.6 earthquake, which indicated the likely collapse of a tunnel in which the nuclear device was placed.

    In October, Japanese television channel Asahi TV reported the collapse of an underground tunnel at the Punggye-ri nuclear facility, saying it likely caused the death of about 200 people.

    Harvest delays repairs

    In the village affected by the earthquakes, the source told SAND that the damage to buildings had yet to be repaired because farmers were busy with the harvest.

    "Farmers couldn't even think of repairing the damage because they're busy harvesting crops even though three months have passed since their houses were destroyed," the source said, as reported by Chosun Ilbo. "Displaced farmers are staying in temporary shelters or living with neighbors whose houses sustained less damage."

    The Washington Post reported in October that experts feared Mount Mantap, the 2,195-meter-high peak under which the tests are conducted, was suffering from "tired mountain syndrome," and could collapse, releasing radiation from the nuclear explosions.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has prioritized developing a nuclear-tipped ICBM that could hit mainland U.S. Before the Sept. 3 nuclear test, Pyongyang had conducted 21 missile launches this year, including two ICBM tests in July.

    The rogue nation last launched a missile Sept. 15, from the Sunan district in Pyongyang. It flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the sea.

    North Korea conducted its first nuclear test Oct. 9, 2006.

    Brian Padden in Seoul contributed to this report.

    Here is another article reporting almost the same information, http://www.newsweek.com/north-korea...y-have-killed-children-school-collapse-721759

    This article discusses more drills which will be conducted by the USA and South Korea in the beginning of December on the Korean peninsula,
    The following is from this article, "Six F-22 Raptor and four F-35A Lightning American stealth jets will reportedly join regional ally South Korea in the largest flying exercise on the Korean peninsula next month, amid heightened tensions surrounding N. Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs."

    The following article refers to these drills as regular, idk, https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN1DN28L
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  20. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    I am posting the following here because of Iran being involved and I think that some members will find it to be interesting,


    Russia Is Roaring Back to the Middle East While America Is Asleep
    The Kremlin is methodically creating a geopolitical challenge to the interests of the United States and its allies.

    Ariel Cohen November 23, 2017

    Russia is back in the Middle East. The Kremlin is methodically creating a systematic geopolitical challenge to the interests of the United States and its allies. Moscow’s behavior is driven by a quest for prestige and influence, and a search for markets of its arms and other goods—a classic great power pattern.

    Oil is in the center of this quest, but it is not only issue. As oil prices are above $55/barrel and Saudi Arabia, the oil market maker, is facing its gravest political crisis since the 1920s when the monarchy was first established, Moscow’s production-limiting cooperation with Tehran and Riyadh puts Russia in the spotlight in the region. However, the Kremlin’s renewed activity in the Middle East is geopolitical, and goes beyond business. As in Soviet times, Moscow seeks to control governments, re-establish military bases, open maritime routes and expand exports. These great power ambitions suggest a broader shift in the regional balance, revealing a return to the nineteenth century strategic competition and raising serious questions about the future of American power.

    Russia has defined itself as an ever-expanding empire since time immemorial. During its eight-hundred-year history, the state shrunk only three times: in the early seventeenth century during the “Time of Troubles,” which led to the Polish occupation of Moscow; after the Bolshevik coup of 1917; and lastly, with the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.

    Following the collapse of the USSR, Russia abandoned most of its military deployments in the Middle East, though it maintained some weapons sales clients. Being an empire was just too expensive. Syria—with its naval “supply and repair” base in Tartus and the air base in Khmeimim—was the only country Moscow clung to.

    With the rise in oil prices after the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, and especially after Moscow’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine and the Crimea (oil prices dropped later that year), Russia embarked on a methodical rebalancing in the Middle East. The aim is to challenge the United States and its partners.

    Some analysts believe that Syria may be a bargaining chip for Ukraine and the U.S.-imposed sanctions. However, the diminishing American regional presence in the Mideast, and Russia’s willingness to fill the void, suggest broader ambitions.

    Russian Middle East aspirations include several aspects important to its national security and global strategy:

    - A bridgehead against jihadism. Radical Islam has proven to be attractive to some 2,500 Russian citizens, who have fought in Syria and Iraq, as well as to hundreds more from the former USSR who chose to join ISIS. Their “homecoming” is a real threat. Moscow is the second largest city in Europe in terms of its Muslim population, after Istanbul.

    - A theater of strategic competition with the United States. The ruling elite—Putin and his entourage, the military and security services leadership, and Russian TV—are defined by the defeat in the Cold War. All are obsessed with America’s alleged attempts to undermine or even dismember Mother Russia.

    - Oil price influence. It is in Russia’s interest to increase its influence on oil prices, especially as the resource is vital to Russia’s economy. This influence can come through cartel-like agreements or by fanning the flames of conflicts—such as in the case of Saudi Arabia versus Iran. Nothing explodes oil prices more than the specter of war or a blockade in the Strait of Hormuz.

    - A market for weapons. The conflict in Syria showcased the Russian military-industrial complex’s capabilities, from Kalibr medium range cruise missiles to SU-35 fighter jets and S-400 missile defense systems. These are on sale to the highest bidder because, as a Moscow saying goes, “weapons sales make good allies.”

    - Russia’s resolve to support its allies. The Syrian war demonstrated Moscow’s resolve to stick with allies despite deteriorating circumstances. They do business with the likes of Saddam or Assad, whereas Washington remains picky and conditional.

    Regional Power Vacuum

    The Obama administration believed that the best interest of the United States was withdrawing from “Bush’s wars.” Obama’s reaction to the Syrian crisis suggests that the Iran nuclear deal, and staying out of military conflicts, was more important than preventing the largest humanitarian catastrophe since World War II. The Trump administration’s first year has not presented coherent policies, either.

    America’s response to Russian challenges in the Middle East hints at a regional power vacuum. The Europeans cannot fill it, and China is at least a decade away from being able. Therefore, by default and by intention, Russia is stepping in.

    The United States is Always to Blame

    Russia has woven a damning narrative of U.S. regional involvement in the Middle East, Europe, and the former Soviet Union, going back to Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Some Russian “experts,” with 20/20 hindsight, depict the Soviets as anti-jihadi; whereas the United States supported the mujahedeen, including the radicals.

    Like conservative Arab leaders and the Israelis, Russia saw the United States under Obama as abandoning allies and opening the door to the Muslim Brotherhood, which breeds chaos in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and beyond. Moreover, the Russians ignored the systemic failure of the sclerotic, corrupt and brutal autocratic quasi-socialist regimes in Cairo, Baghdad, Tripoli, and Damascus, obsessing about real or imagined U.S. influence there.

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