North Korea and Iran Threat Updates

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

  1. Don_D

    Don_D ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

    I wonder why you think that these articles will help one to understand the situation there? To do this we need to know the history of these nations, their leaders, and their motivations. We aren't going to get this from articles such as this.

    The fourth estate is a rental. For sale to the highest bidder.

    The most interesting thing about that WSJ article IMO was this;

    "Moscow has even tried to open up informal diplomatic channels between the two countries, Mr. Kozhanov said. He added that Moscow recently sent Russian citizens with strong ties to Israel to Tehran, in effect carrying messages from Israel."

    Russian relatives of Israeli's in high places within the government perhaps.
  2. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Don, I meant that the second article (WSJ) may help you understand what was stated in the first article (BI) a little better, sorry for any confusion. I also couldn't understand your reason for stating that the BI article is "pure fear mongering and disinfo" or "total BS", can you please explain what you meant by this? It may help make your statements clearer. Thank you.
  3. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Good news...

    North Korea will join 'efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests'
    Reuters Staff May 15, 2018

    GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea will join international efforts to ban nuclear tests, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, told the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.
    FILE PHOTO - North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations Han Tae Song attends the Conference of Disarmament at the United Nations in
    Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

    North Korea, which is believed to have tested six nuclear weapons, has said it will dismantle its only known nuclear test site this month ahead of a meeting on June 12 between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.

    “Discontinuation of nuclear tests and follow up measures are an important process for global disarmament and DPRK will join international disarmament efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,” Han told the disarmament forum, using his country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    Han did not explicitly mention the Comprehensive nuclear Test-Ban Treaty aimed at introducing that total ban.

    North Korea is one of the so-called Annex 2 states that must ratify that treaty for it to come into force. The United States is another, though Washington has signed the treaty, which Pyongyang has not.

    “DPRK will further make peace efforts to achieve the development of inter-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of war on the Korean peninsula,” Han said.

    The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which works toward bringing the treaty into force, welcomed his remarks.

    “I am encouraged to see reports that the DPRK permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament declared his country’s intention to ‘join international efforts to ban nuclear tests’,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a statement.

    “We reiterate our offer for CTBTO to assist in any way in this endeavour.”

    Reporting by Tom Miles; Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna; Editing by Alison Williams and Raissa Kasolowsky
  4. Richard67

    Richard67 Powers

    Ahead of proposed summit, North Korea lobs barbs at national security adviser John Bolton

    North Korea has a message for U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of next month's summit: Don't listen to your new hard-line national security adviser, John Bolton.
    North Korea has a message for U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of next month's summit: Don't listen to your new hard-line national security adviser, John Bolton.

    After announcing early Wednesday that it was pulling out of high-level talks with Seoul because of a new round of U.S.-South Korean military exercises, the North took aim at Bolton and said it might have to reconsider whether to proceed with the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Unbecause it doubts how seriously Washington actually wants peaceful dialogue.

    The moves give the clearest indication yet of North Korea's mindset heading into the summit, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

    Though North Korea has been for the most part silent about its intentions for the meeting, the announcements underscore two of its biggest concerns — the future of the nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and claims coming out of Washington lately that sanctions and Trump's "maximum pressure" policy are what drove Kim to the negotiating table.

    But defanging Bolton, the most militant of Trump's advisers, is now also apparently a major priority.

    "We do not hide our feeling of repugnance toward him," North Korea said of Bolton in a statement attributed by state-run media to senior Foreign Ministry official Kim Kye Gwan.

    A hard-liner's hard-liner, Bolton was a key adviser to President George W. Bush when the U.S. tore up a nuclear agreement with North Korea in 2002. The North conducted its first nuclear test four years later. In August, Bolton defended the idea of a preventive military strike against the North, and last month suggested negotiations in 2004 that led to the shipping of nuclear components to the U.S. from Libya under Moammar Gadhafi would be a good model for North Korea as well.

    Not surprisingly, North Korea bristles at the mention of Libya.

    Gadhafi, who agreed to abandon his fledgling nuclear program, was later deposed after a 42-year reign and was killed in 2011 — the year Kim assumed power in North Korea — while his country spiraled into chaos.

    North Korea's statement Wednesday did not directly criticize Trump, or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has made two trips to the North to lay the groundwork for the summit. Instead, it stressed that North Korea welcomes Trump's position for ending the deep-rooted hostilities between their countries and concluded that if the Trump administration approaches the summit with a sincere desire to improve relations, the result will be positive.

    It warned, however, of a "ridiculous comedy" if Trump listens to Bolton and "quasi-patriots" who insist on "abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterward."

    "We have already stated our intention for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and made clear on several occasions that precondition for denuclearization is to put an end to anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmail of the United States," the statement said, using the abbreviation for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    "But now, the U.S. is miscalculating the magnanimity and broad-minded initiatives of the DPRK as signs of weakness and trying to embellish and advertise as if these are the product of its sanctions and pressure," it added.

    North Korea's dual moves Wednesday can be seen as an attempt by Kim to fortify his position.

    In an announcement issued hours before the anti-Bolton statement, North Korea said it was pulling out of talks in the Demilitarized Zone that were supposed to be held later Wednesday with senior South Korean officials because of the military maneuvers that began earlier this week.

    Annual military drills between Washington and Seoul have long been a major source of contention between the Koreas, but the current exercises, called "Max Thunder," are particularly sensitive from North Korea's perspective because they reportedly involve nuclear capable B-52 bombers and F-22 stealth fighters.

    The North fears the aircraft could be used to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear attack or a precision strike that would target Kim and his top lieutenants — the kind of thing Bolton advocated publicly before taking his current office.

    But Kim has already won one round of bargaining on the military front.

    At South Korean President Moon Jae-in's request, Washington agreed to delay the much larger "Foal Eagle/Key Resolve" drills in the spring because of the North-South diplomacy surrounding February's Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim told visiting South Korean officials in March that he understood the drills would take place but expressed hope that they would be modified once the situation on the Korean Peninsula had stabilized, according to South Korea's government.

    North Korea's announcement regarding the talks on Wednesday was in keeping with that position. And by playing the doves against the hawks in Seoul and Washington, it, too, might have been made with Bolton in mind.
  5. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    Erdogan takes advantage.....we'll see just how well they all can share in that region! Of course Israel's very existence seems to be the only thing that could possibly unite the historically warring factions.

    Turkey urges Islamic world to unite against Israel, calls summit

    Turkey has urged Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border.

    Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his ruling party in parliament that Ankara would call an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    "Islamic countries should without fail review their relations with Israel," Premier Yildirim said, adding, “The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre."

    Yildirim said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the body, called the OIC summit on Friday.

    Yildirim said that after the summit at 3:00 pm a giant rally would be held at the vast Yenikapi meeting area in Istanbul under the slogan of "Stop the Oppression" to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

    "This has nothing to do with party politics. This is to show solidarity, brotherhood and togetherness," he said.

    "The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre," Yildirim added.

  6. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    I just came across the following post from Emmett O'Regan which I believe is very well done and appears to follow along with some of my thoughts about 20th century genocides that I posted in the above posts #280 and #281 , maybe there is a connection to what is occurring in Syria in regards to the Christians who are being killed. Emmett also discusses the Biblical references to the Euphrates River and connects the Armenian genocide which occurred in the 20th century. I think that it is also interesting to note that Elder Paisios stated that a sign of a future great war is when the Euphrates River is dried up so that a large army could pass, Some people believe that the locusts mentioned in the Book of Revelation represent military drones in particular, Emmett believes that they represent military aircraft in general. In addition, there are many good comments about this article which can be read by clicking on the title of the article below and then on the comments link,

    Saturday, 31 March 2018
    The Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Genocides of the 20th Century by Emmett O'Regan

    Ezekiel's vision took place at the Chebar Canal, which runs into the River Euphrates. The main concentration
    camp of the Armenian Genocide was established at the confluence here in the modern Deir-ez-Zor district.

    As I argue at considerable length in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that Pope Leo XIII personally believed that his prophetic vision was concerned with the Millennium of Rev 20. Pope Leo XIII's vision, which he witnessed around the year 1886, was chiefly concerned with the imminent arrival of a period in which Satan would be granted greater power. A prophetic experience which proved only too real with the unfolding of the wars and genocides throughout the course of the 20th century.

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus refers to the binding of the "strong man" in the same context as His prophecy concerning the Sign of Jonah:

    Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house." (Matt 12:22-29)​

    Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
    (Matt 12:39-41)​

    So the appearance of the Sign of Jonah and the binding of the "strong man" (which took place during Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross and His descent into Hades on Holy Saturday), are very closely associated events.

    Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:31-33)
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    josephite likes this.
  7. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    continued from above...

    According to the amillenialist view elaborated by St. Augustine of Hippo, it was through the victory of the Cross that Satan was bound throughout the course of the "thousand years", or Millennium of Rev 20:

    And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. (Rev 20:1-3)​

    When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Rev 20:7-9)​

    St. Augustine of Hippo taught that Satan was bound by Christ in order to allow the spread of the Gospel to the ends of the earth, which had allowed Christianity to become the world's largest religion. However, he also expected the Devil to be unleashed upon the world once again at the end of the "thousand years", during which time Christianity would suffer serious repression leading to an age of apostasy. St. Augustine equated the "thousand years" of Rev 20 with the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers. A week of millennia which would last from the biblical date of creation right up to the end-time itself. The Early Church Fathers had calculated this period from the Greek text of the Bible to end around the year 500AD; but as I note in my book, this period can be accurately dated to around the turn of the 20th century, once we take into account St. Bede the Venerable's recalibration of the chronology of the Bible, which he did by using the original Hebrew text.

    In my previous blog post The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan, I have already detailed how the Sign of Jonah was an actual historical event which took place during the ministry of the prophet himself, which consisted of a total solar eclipse that appeared over the site of ancient Nineveh. Known as the Bur Sagale solar eclipse, this event is thought by some theologians to have occurred sometime in and around the prophet's entrance into Nineveh described in Jonah 3, and was pivotal in bringing about the repentance of the ancient Ninevites. It is of crucial significance then that the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power foreseen in the vision of Pope Leo XIII was similarly timed to coincide with a total solar eclipse which traversed the site of ancient Nineveh. This was at the start of the First World War, on 21st August, 1914 - the feast day of Our Lady of Knock. A Marian apparition that specifically announced the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals by the Lamb of Revelation, which sets the entire events of the eschaton into motion with the release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse described in Rev 5-6:

    Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

    Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

    “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
    You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

    (Rev 5:1-10)​

    I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

    When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

    When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
    (Rev 6:1-8)​

    The significance of the Four Living Creatures is key to understanding the meaning of the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals and the unleashing of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In order to unravel the mystery behind this portion of the Apocalypse, we must turn to the Book of Ezekiel. It is here that we find that the Four Living Creatures are closely associated with a very precise location centred on the River Euphrates, which was identified with the Chebar Canal:

    In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.

    As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf's foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning.

    Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. (Ezek 1:1-20)
    josephite likes this.
  8. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    continued from above...

    Many theologians have identified the Chebar Canal with the River Khabur in the Deir-ez-Zor district in modern Syria, which became the site of the largest concentration camp during the Armenian Genocide, which was perpetrated at the very start of the First World War in April 1915. Between 1915-1923, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated by the Turkish government, providing a future template which their close allies the Germans would use to implement the Jewish Holocaust. The key architects of the infrastructure used to exterminate the Jews during the Second World War had witnessed the Armenian Genocide first hand, and directly lifted the systematic slaughter devised by the Turks to annihilate a third of the world's total Jewish population.


    As I argue in my book, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are one and the same as the four angels bound at the River Euphrates, who are released at the opening of the seals of Revelation in order to kill a third of "the people":

    Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of [the people]. (Rev 9:13-15)​

    The Four Horsemen are released at an exact time which had been prepared for them, which I propose is one and the same as the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the Sabbath Millennium - which can be calculated from the text of the Hebrew Bible. We are told that the four angels that are released in order to kill a third of the people are bound at the River Euphrates, which we know was the location of Ezekiel's vision of the Four Living Creatures at the Chebar Canal. And it is the Four Living Creatures who summon the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at the opening of the first four seals of the Apocalypse.

    It is interesting to note that the River Euphrates had been dammed in the years just preceding the First World War, during the construction of the Hindiya Barrage between 1911-1913:

    The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. (Rev 9:13-14)​

    The drying up of the Euphrates is mentioned in the same context as the appearance of the apocalyptic locusts, which occurs at the opening of the Abyss by the angel given the key to Hades, which ties us back into the period of the unbinding of Satan described in Rev 20:

    And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. (Rev 9:1-3)

    Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev 20:1-3)​

    It is no coincidence that the Wright Brothers had began to develop the first aircraft within a year of Pope Leo XIII's consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899, which had paved the way for the world's first military airplane being developed in and around the same time as the Tunguska event of 1908 - which is the single most famous event of a star fallen to earth in recorded history. As I argue in my book, the invention of military aircraft is the most plausible explanation of the symbolism of the "apocalyptic locusts" which rise at the opening of the Abyss which takes place at the end of the Millennium of Rev 20.

    All of the above combined prophetic signs indicate that the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers did indeed coincide with the vision of Pope Leo XIII and the short time of Satan described in Rev 20. As we shall discuss in more depth in the next post, the fact that Armenia was the world's first Christian kingdom ties in with the prophetic symbolism of the Kingdom of God as the kerygma of Jesus' ministry. The proclamation of coming of the Kingdom and Christ's casting out of unclean spirits was the ultimate sign of the binding of Satan and the inauguration of the millennial reign of Christ through the victory achieved at the Cross at Calvary.

    But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. (Matt 12:29-30)​
    josephite likes this.
  9. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    etoa, I just saw this late last night, Hamas (and imho their ally Turkey/Erdogan) is a big cause of the unrest that occurred in Gaza recently,

    Hamas admits most killed in Gaza violence were its members May 16, 2018
    By Samuel Chamberlain | Fox News

    Media pity Hamas protesters, slam Israel
    The Federalist staff writer, Bre Payton, discusses the coverage of the Gaza protests.

    A senior Hamas official admitted Wednesday that dozens of rioters killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip were members of the militant group.

    The official, Salah Bardawil, told the private Palestinian news outlet Baladna TV that 50 of the protesters killed in Monday's violence were members, with the others being "from the people." He did not specify what roles the victims had in the organization, such as whether they were members of the group's armed wing.


    The admission came one day after Björn Stritzel, a reporter for the German tabloid BILD, tweeted so-called "martyrdom pictures" of Hamas militants killed in the violence.

    Israel's government said Bardawil had proven that its forces had acted appropriately in response to the mass attempt to cross the border with Gaza. Israel has repeatedly claimed that Hamas uses weekly border protests as cover to stage terror attacks.

    "It was clear to Israel and now it is clear to the whole world that there was no popular protest; this was an organized mob of terrorists organized by Hamas," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.


    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had tallied similar numbers to Hamas', and "won't let those who call for our destruction to breach our borders and to threaten our communities."

    In response to the uproar over his remarks, Bardawil later said in a statement that Israel was "legitimizing the killing of Palestinians just because they are Palestinians or just because they are Hamas, even if they were unarmed and defending their dignity and rights."


    On Tuesday, the Israeli Army released a video that appeared to show protesters detonating several explosions near the border. It also said its forces had killed a squad of Hamas gunmen who opened fire at troops.

    Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said 14 of those killed Monday were actively involved in carrying out attacks.

    Israel says it uses live fire only as a last resort. Snipers are supposed to aim at protesters' legs and can shoot only with approval from a commander.

    Despite the evidence, the images of of rifle-toting Israeli snipers facing off against seemingly unarmed protesters caused an uproar around the world.

    Countries have summoned and recalled ambassadors, the U.N. has issued condemnations and some have called for an investigation of Israel's actions. The Palestinians held a one-day general strike and called for three days of mourning for the victims.


    The U.S. was among the few countries that came to Israel's defense, backing its right to protect its border on the same day that it countered international disapproval of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as capital of their hoped-for state and vehemently oppose the U.S. move, recalled their ambassadors to four European countries that had supported it.

    On Wednesday, Guatemala followed the U.S. lead, festively opening its new Jerusalem mission with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales saying his country was bringing a message of "love, peace and fraternity" to Israel. Paraguay said it also will move its embassy to Jerusalem. Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras have said they are considering doing the same.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  10. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

  11. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Iranian Group Offers $100,000 to Blow Up New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

    Getty Images

    BY: Adam Kredo May 14, 2018 2:04 pm

    A hardline Iranian organization is reportedly offering a $100,000 reward to any person who bombs the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, according to a translation of Farsi language reports.

    A group known as the Iranian Justice Seeker Student Movement is reported to have disseminated posters calling for an attack on the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which has been opposed by Palestinian and Iranian officials as an affront to the holy city.

    "The Student Justice Movement will support anybody who destroy the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem," the poster states in Farsi, Arabic, and English, according to an independent translation of the propaganda poster provided to the Free Beacon.

    There will be a "$100,000 dollar prize for the person who destroys the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem," the poster states.


    The call for an attack on the new embassy is just the latest escalation by hostile Islamic states and leaders who have lashed out at the United States and President Donald Trump for making good on a campaign promise to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's declared capital city of Jerusalem.

    News of the bomb threat was first reported by the University Student News Network, a regional Farsi-language site that aggregates relevant news briefs.

    "The Student Movement for Justice declared, ‘Whoever bombs the embassy's building will receive a $100,000 award,'" the report states. "It is necessary to mention that the steps by Trump to transfer the US Embassy to Holy Qods [Jerusalem] has led to the anger and hatred of Muslims and liberators throughout the world.'"

    Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, told the Washington Free Beacon that terrorism of this nature is embedded in the Iranian regime's hardline stance.

    "Unfortunately, terrorism directed toward diplomats and embassies has become a central pillar of the Islamic Republic's culture," Rubin said. "Terrorism is lionized in Iranian schools. This bounty is more the rule than the exception. To blame Washington or Jerusalem is to blame the victim and give terrorists a veto over U.S. policy."

    Behnam Ben Taleblu, an research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, described the poster as repulsive and blamed the Iranian ruling regime for fostering such an attitude.

    "This is nothing short of an invitation to a heinous act of an international terror by a student group that looks up to the world's foremost state sponsor of terror—the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.
    Demonstration to support Palestinians held outside UN [in Geneva]
    Demonstrators call for end to Israeli occupation, independent investigation into Gaza killings

    World Bulletin / News Desk May 20, 2018

    Hundreds gathered on Saturday for a peaceful demonstration outside the United Nations office in Geneva in solidarity with Palestinians who suffered Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.

    The demonstration was organized by non-governmental organizations International Alliance for Human Rights and Development (IAHRD) and Association des Victimes de Torture en Tunisie (AVTT) and supported by more than 20 nonprofits including Cojep International in Switzerland.

    Please continue reading here .
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  12. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    White House Pushes Ahead With Mideast Peace Plan
    The prospect of Palestinian interest in the peace proposal appears dim
    By Matthew Lee May 19, 2018

    Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
    Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner delivers a speech during the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law of President Donald Trump who was given a high profile role as his chief Middle East advisor, referred to the ongoing protests in his remarks by saying, “those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

    The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing millions of dollars in funding for humanitarian and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Five U.S. officials and a congressional aide say the administration intends to release the peace plan in mid- to late-June, shortly after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, although they cautioned that the timing could slip depending on developments in the region. They say the plan's main authors — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump's special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — have already begun quietly briefing select allies and partners on elements of the proposal.

    Yet any Palestinian willingness to even consider the plan would require conditions to improve and anger to subside considerably in the coming weeks, an unlikely scenario as the Palestinians say evidence of one-sided Trump giveaways to Israel continues to pile up. U.S. allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf also have felt compelled to criticize the administration for its approach. Ostensibly, Trump would need buy-in from those same countries to build enough momentum for any peace plan to succeed.

    The administration has been resisting congressional demands to fully close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington because Greenblatt and Kushner want to keep that channel open in case the Palestinians are open to re-entering negotiations with Israel based on the plan. The office was ordered closed by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last November, but has been allowed to stay open for limited purposes under the administration's interpretation of the law requiring it to be shut down in the absence of peace talks.

    Protests grow at the Israeli-Gaza border over the weekend as Palestinians protest the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
    The U.S. broke tradition with other countries, which continue to keep their embassies in Tel Aviv. (Published Monday, May 14, 2018)

    The prospect of Palestinian interest in the peace proposal appears dim, however, particularly since Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas recalled the mission's chief earlier this week to protest Monday's opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The embassy move is said to have contributed to violent protests in Gaza that were met with deadly force from Israel. Nearly 60 Palestinians were killed Monday by Israeli forces, drawing condemnations and calls for restraint from Europe and elsewhere. The U.S. declined to join those calls and, while regretting the loss of life, opposed efforts at the U.N. to open an international investigation into the violence.

    Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the embassy move and the administration's unreserved defense of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies have alienated and angered the Palestinian leadership, which accuses the administration of abandoning its role as a neutral arbiter in the conflict. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said any deal needs to be between the Palestinians and Israel — not the United States.

    "I don't need Jason Greenblatt. I don't need Kushner," Erekat said. "It's our lives."
    That sense of betrayal may deepen significantly this summer as millions of dollars in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians appears likely to be cut and the funds re-allocated to other regions. That money has been on hold since last year and existing funding for some projects will start to run out in just months if it is not approved in the next two weeks. If that does not happen, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will have to notify aid recipients that continued U.S. funding is not forthcoming and those programs will begin to be shut down. Local staffers would be laid off and U.S. officials running the projects would be reassigned elsewhere.

    Of $251 million in U.S. aid planned for the Palestinians in 2018, only $50.5 million has been reported spent, according to the government's online tracker, The remaining more than $200 million is currently on hold, a figure that does not include an additional $65 million in frozen U.S. assistance to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon. The U.S. aid pays for programs on education, health, good governance and democracy promotion as well as disaster preparedness and security.

    For several months the White House has been sitting on State Department and USAID recommendations to spend at least some of the money, according to the officials. Three officials said there is no indication those recommendations will be acted upon any time soon despite appeals from lawmakers and even expressions of concern from Israel, which sees value in the assistance especially in the security sector. One official said there was "an overwhelming lack of urgency" about making a decision on the funding. The other two said there was no sign that the end-of-May timeframe would be met.

    With more than 40 people dead, Monday’s protest was the deadliest on the Gaza Strip since 2014.
    (Published Monday, May 14, 2018)

    "The administration is currently reviewing U.S. assistance to the Palestinians," USAID said in a statement to The Associated Press. "USAID is in discussions with all affected implementing partners on the status of the review, and is working closely with the interagency, as the administration concludes its review."

    At immediate risk are between five and 10 of the some 20 USAID projects in the West Bank and Gaza, along with proposed new initiatives, the officials said. Without a quick decision those will run out of money by the end of 2018, they said. Nearly all of the others will run out of money in early 2019 unless the U.S. funding is unblocked, they said.

    Josh Lederman contributed to this report.
  13. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    It's feels surreal at times...

    Trump Has 'Fulfilled Biblical Prophecy' Like King Cyrus: Judge Jeanine Pirro
    By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter | May 14, 2018 10:42 AM
    (Screenshot: YouTube) President Donald Trump receives prayer from evangelical pastors at the White House.

    President Donald Trump is like the Bible's King Cyrus and fulfilling prophecy in his move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Fox News host and former judge claims.

    "Donald Trump recognized history. He, like King Cyrus before him, fulfilled the biblical prophecy of the gods worshiped by Jews, Christians and, yes, Muslims, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state and that the Jewish people deserve a righteous, free and sovereign Israel," Judge Jeanine Pirro argued in an op-ed in Fox News published on Sunday.

    The former Westchester County Court judge and district attorney lauded Trump ahead of Monday's official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, a move which has sparked protests and condemnation throughout the Muslim world, but has been hailed by Israel and several religious leaders in America.

    Pirro further praised Trump for announcing last week that he would pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran, accusing the administration of former President Barack Obama of abandoning Israel for signing the deal.

    "Iran, the leading state sponsor of terror, exports dangerous missiles and supports terrorist proxies and militias like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban. The idea that it seeks a peaceful nuclear energy program is absurd to anyone with even half a brain," she argued.

    "And as Obama turned his back on the slaughter of Christians and ignored his own red line in the Syria sand, he allowed Russia through this vacuum to become a dominant regional player in the Middle East."
    She further wrote that Trump has now recognized the importance of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, noting that Jewish people "still speak the same language and practice the same religion, which is the foundation of our own Judeo-Christian nation."

    "Donald Trump sent Iranians who are the descendants of Persia a message to reflect on their own history, and that it was the king of Persia who, 1000 years before Mohammad was even born, said that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people's country," she continued.

    In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself likened Trump to Cyrus, who in the Bible is recognized as the Persian king who rescued the Jewish people from Babylonian captivity.

    "[O]thers talked about it," Netanyahu told Trump of America's Jerusalem recognition, "You did it. So I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel."

    Some American evangelicals, including Lance Wallnau, author of God's Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and the American Unraveling, have also frequently made the comparison between Trump and Cyrus.

    Wallnau has pointed out that that Trump is the 45th American president, while the prophecy about Cyrus delivering the Israelites from captivity appears in the 45th chapter of Isaiah.

    Others, such as Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show "The Line of Fire," criticized the biblical validity of the claim in an op-ed in The Christian Post in March 2016.

    He suggested at the time that a more apt comparison could be King Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian leader who was used by God as a vessel of divine judgment who sent the Jewish people into exile.

    "Two pagan kings, one raised up to bring judgment and the other raised up to bring restoration.

    "Is Donald Trump a Cyrus or a Nebuchadnezzar, if either? Let God be God, and only time will tell," Brown wrote.

    An End-of-Days Guide to the Embassy Move - Breaking Israel ...
    Breaking Israel News May 14, 2018
    The Embassy in Jerusalem is the Key to Trump’s Success. Rabbi Hillel Weiss is the spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, an initiative to reestablish the Biblically mandated court of 71 elders.
    The article can also be found here, An End-of-Days Guide to the Embassy Move - worldwidewings

    Hamas co-founder admits 'we are deceiving the public' about peaceful protests
    By TOI staff 17 May 2018

    Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar speaks to Al Jazeera on May 13, 2018. (Screen capture: MEMRI)

    Mahmoud al-Zahar says Gaza border demonstrations are 'peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies' ... A Hamas leader said in an interview that the terror group was “deceiving the public” when it spoke of “peaceful resistance” a day before 60 people were killed in violent protests on the Gaza border, according to a translation released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Wednesday.

    Speaking to Qatar’s Al Jazeera network on Sunday, Mahmoud al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas and a senior member of the terror group’s leadership, said that his group was using “clear terminological deception.”

    He was asked why Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, could not agree on a united platform since “Hamas is employing the same peaceful resistance that has been advocated by Fatah since day one and for many years.”

    “This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That’s clear,” he said. “So when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support.”

    Another Hamas official on Wednesday acknowledged that 50 of the 62 Palestinians reported killed during Gaza border riots on Monday and Tuesday were members of the Islamist terrorist group, bringing the total number of known members of terror groups among the fatalities up to 53.

    In reply Al-Zahar said, “This is a clear terminological deception.”

    Al-Zahar also boasted in the interview of Hamas’s weaponry and military capabilities.

    “When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation [Israel] in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014… When you have weapons that are being wielded by men who were able to prevent the strongest army in the region from entering the Gaza Strip for 51 days, and were able to capture or kill soldiers of that army – is this really ‘peaceful resistance’?” he asked.

    The Hamas leader also slammed Fatah for what he indicated he considered to be its genuine peaceful resistance, claiming this was not what the Palestinians wanted.

    “As for (Fatah’s) ‘peaceful resistance,’ it consists of rallies, demonstrations, protests, pleas and requests in order to improve the terms of the negotiations, or to enable talks with the Israeli enemy,” he said. “This deception does not fool the Palestinian public.”

    Palestinian demonstrators burn tires near the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, during protests
    over the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018
    (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

    Israel has blamed Hamas for the deadly Gaza violence, saying the terror group encouraged and led the protests, which included attacks on Israeli troops and attempts to breach the border fence. The IDF had said Sunday that Hamas planned to send armed terrorists through any breach in the fence to “massacre” Israelis.

    Last Thursday, Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar said he hoped to see a mass breach of the Israeli border during Monday’s protests timed to coincide with the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  14. BrianK

    BrianK Proud2bRC Staff Member

    Trump says U.S. military ready if North Korea's Kim acts foolishly

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, speaking on Thursday after canceling a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said the U.S. military stood ready if Kim were to take any “foolish” action.

    American forces are “ready if necessary,” Trump said at a White House bill signing event.
  15. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Trump welcomes 'productive' statement from North Korea, says Dems 'rooting against' talks
    By Brooke Singman | Fox News

    Analyzing Trump's history of tough talk on North Korea
    President Trump proved he is not messing around when it comes to his stance on North Korea; reaction on 'Hannity' to the decision to pull out of North Korea summit.

    President Trump kept the diplomacy door open with North Korea on Friday, welcoming the regime's latest “productive” statement and saying the two sides are still talking following the administration’s decision to cancel a planned summit with Kim Jong Un.

    Trump nixed the summit, which was slated for June 12 in Singapore, following threats from North Korea. But hours after the U.S. pulled out of the meeting, North Korea issued a statement suggesting the regime was open to talks.

    “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning.

    He also told reporters that “we’re talking to them now,” adding, “It could even be the 12th.”

    “They very much want to do it, we want to do it, we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “Everybody plays games.”

    A top North Korean official had issued a statement Thursday evening expressing the regime’s “willingness” to sit down for a summit with the U.S.

    “We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format,” North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said, according to Yonhap News outlet, which cited the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA.)

    The official also said that Trump’s move to call off the summit highlighted the tensions between the two countries, further emphasizing the need for a meeting. The official added that Kim had been preparing for the summit.

    “Despite all of this, the U.S.’ unilateral decision to scrap the talks causes us to reconsider whether all of the efforts and the path we have taken is really the right one or not,” the official said, according to Yonhap. “Our commitment to doing our best for the sake of peace and stability for the world and the Korean Peninsula remains unchanged, and we are open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the U.S.”

    But on Friday, with the door left open for potential U.S.-North Korea talks, Trump suggested it was the Democrats who were against “negotiations” with the rogue regime.

    “Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea. Just like they are coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured, or asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead. Dems have lost touch!” Trump tweeted Friday.

    Following Trump’s letter to Kim on Thursday suggesting to hold the meeting would have been “inappropriate,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted the president, suggesting Kim had “won.”

    Pelosi described the letter from Trump to Kim as a “Valentine.”

    “He’s the big winner and when he got this letter from the president saying ‘okay nevermind,’ he must be having a giggle fit, right now, in North Korea,” Pelosi said on Capitol Hill Thursday.

    Also on Friday, the president tweeted about the reported FBI informant who had communicated with members of his campaign in 2016.

    “The Democrats are now alluding to the concept that having an informant placed in an opposing party’s campaign is different than having a Spy, as illegal as that may be. But what about an ‘informant’ who is paid a fortune and who ‘sets up’ way earlier than the Russia Hoax?” Trump tweeted.

    Moments later he added: “Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!”

    After a high-level Justice Department briefing held Thursday on the Russia case, Democratic lawmakers maintained there was no evidence to support claims of a spy in the Trump campaign.

    Fox News' Liz Zwirz contributed to this report.
  16. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    The following news is related to Iran and may also relate to the USA's upcoming summit with Russia,

    Rebels in southern Syria reach deal to end violence
    After weeks of government and Russian bombardment, rebels agree to gradually withdraw and hand over their weapons.
    July 6, 2018 |
    About 60,000 Syrians have gathered at the border crossing with Jordan [Arwa Ibrahim/Al Jazeera]

    Fighters battling a fierce government-led offensive in southern Syria have reached an agreement with Russia, a major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to end violence in the area and surrender a key crossing point with Jordan, according to a rebel spokesman.

    Ibrahim Jabawi, spokesman for the rebels' joint operations room, was quoted as saying by news agencies that under Friday's agreement reached with Russian negotiators the fighters will begin to hand over some of their heavy weapons in return for a government pullout from several villages.

    Jabawi added that Russian military police will deploy along the border with Jordan, including the strategically important Naseeb border crossing, and that rebels opposed to the deal will be evacuated to rebel-held regions in northern Syria.

    There was no immediate comment from Assad's government and its Russian backers.

    Shortly afterwards, an Al Jazeera reporter on the ground saw a convoy of about 10 army trucks with Russian and Syrian flags entering the strategically important Nassib border crossing, held by the rebels for three years. Another seven trucks were waiting to enter.

    Taking over Nassib crossing would allow the Syrian army to drive further southwards through the area immediately east of Deraa city, where rebel territory narrows to a thin corridor along the Jordanian border. This would split the territory in two.

    Russia has been brokering talks for the surrender of rebel-held territory in southern Syria, in areas bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    According to rebels, Moscow had previously rejected their demands for a phased surrender of their heavy-duty arms and safe passage for rebels and civilians who did not want to live under government rule to opposition territory elsewhere.

    More than 320,000 people have fled the intense fighting and bombardment since the launch of the government-led push on June 19, according to the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR.

    About 60,000 have gathered at the Nassib-Jaber border crossing overlooking Jordan, while thousands more are at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan heights.

    'Big gain'

    Friday's agreement came a day after Jordan, which hosts more than 1.4 million Syrian refugees and has shut its northern border, said it had managed to convince the Syrian opposition and the Russians to meet again and reach an agreement for a cessation of hostilities.

    But the announcement only came after government forces advanced earlier on Friday along the frontier with Jordan towards the Nasib border crossing, sources on the ground said.

    [​IMG]In southern Syria, the US faces a Russia-Israel challenge by Joe Macaron

    Commenting on the negotiations, Jumana Ghunaimat, spokeswoman for the Jordanian government, told Al Jazeera: "The solution in Syria is political, not military. The war and more fighting won't stop the struggles of the Syrian people."

    Ghunaimat added: "We need to stop the war, and that is the main goal of negotiations which we are mediating."

    Haid Haid, a Syrian columnist and a consulting research fellow at Chatham House, called the gradual withdrawal of rebels and the handing over of the weapons a "big gain" for Assad's government.

    "It doesn't only allow it to extend its authority over a big chunk of rebel controlled areas, but it also allows it to control the main border with Jordan, which will restore some sort of relation with Jordan and allow the regime to generate financial revenues from the trade that will expected to go through that venue," he told Al Jazeera from Britain's capital, London.

    Haid added, however, that there was a still a lack of clarity about the exact details included in the agreement.

    "We need to wait until the conditions of that deal are out and clear, because some of the conditions are related to what will happen to rebel forces who stay in those areas - will they will be able to have some kind of control over their territories … or will the regime be able to take over full control over those areas and push them out of any local authority?

    "Another issue that is still not clear is what will happen to many of the rebel forces who decided stay there, because there is only a small part of them who will go to northern Syria, while the majority of them will stay there - will they automatically become regime forces, or will they have some sort of special status?"

    Al Jazeera's Arwa Ibrahim contributed to this report from Nassib crossing

    Fresh Syria regime strikes send thousands more fleeing towards closed Jordan and Israel borders
    Daily Telegraph | July 5, 2018
    Ibrahim Jabawi, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army group, said the Russians had insisted that the rebels hand over their weapons "immediately" but that they would only do so once the displaced begin returning to their homes and Iran-backed militias withdrew from the area.

    Hours into the bombing, Mr Jabawi was forced back to the negotiating table.


    More than 320,000 people have fled the area in recent weeks for the frontiers of the Israel-occupied Golan Heights and Jordan, according to the United Nations, which has warned of a humanitarian crisis.

    Both countries have refused to open their borders to refugees, although Amman has sent aid across to camps on the other side.

    Families have been forced to sleep outside under trees, with too few resources to go around.

    One woman, Umm Omar, said she was struggling to find even a tent for her children.

    “Most of the displaced are living in school buildings or sleeping out in the open,” she told the Telegraph. “Children are starting to get illness and skin conditions. There is no shelter of any kind.”

    The development came as it emerged Hizbollah militants were fighting in support of the regime near the Golan Heights, despite assurances made to Israel by their Russian allies.

    Israel had pressured Moscow before the offensive on Daraa started on June 19 to keep Iranian-backed forces, which included the Lebanese Hizbollah militia, away from its frontier.

    However, pro-Assad commanders have since confirmed that the Lebanese Shia fighters are not only taking part in the battle but are in some areas leading Syrian troops.

    "Hizbollah is a fundamental participant in planning and directing this battle," a commander in the regional alliance that backs Damascus told Reuters. "Everyone knows this - the Israeli enemy, friends, and even the Russians."

    They are thought to be fighting in Syrian army uniform so as not to draw attention.

    The presence of hostile forces on the ground risks Israeli escalation in one of the most sensitive campaigns yet of the Syrian war.

    "If there is a violation, and certainly in the southern Syrian region which is close to the citizens of the State of Israel, and a bringing of weaponry that should not be there, Israel will take action," Gilad Erdan, Israel's public security minister, said. "Unequivocally, yes."

    Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been heavily dependent on thousands of Hizbollah and Iran-backed troops, as well as Russian air power, to reclaim opposition-held parts of the country.

    For Assad, the latest campaign holds out the prospect of reopening a vital trade artery to Jordan, re-establishing his control over the Golan frontier, and crushing rebels once deemed a threat because of their proximity to Damascus.

    The US has also called for Iran-backed forces to leave Syria, which looks to be an unrealistic prospect given its growing influence in the country.

    John Bolton, White House national security adviser, said on Sunday that Donald Trump, the US president, would discuss Syria with Russia's Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki later this month.

    "There are possibilities for doing a larger negotiation on helping to get Iranian forces out of Syria and back into Iran, which would be a significant step forward," Mr Bolton said.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  17. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    China Is Still Involved in Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program
    By Kaya Forest and Sierra Rayne | July 3, 2018 |

    During the 1980s and 1990s, China created the Iranian nuclear weapons program through the sales of complete nuclear and missile facilities, along with dual-use and unfinished technologies. Yet, in 1997, Bill Clinton told the U.S. Congress that "China has provided clear and unequivocal assurances to the United States that it is not assisting and will not assist any non-nuclear weapon state, either directly or indirectly, in acquiring nuclear explosive devices or the material and components for such devices."

    The Clinton administration's foreign policy was a disaster, and Clinton's statement to Congress exemplifies how incompetent his administration was on a range of national security issues. In fact, Clinton's claim was so dangerous that it directly placed the West on a collision course with a nuclear-armed Iran (and North Korea), irreparably damaging non-proliferation efforts in the process. Even now, we still see those on both sides of the political spectrum denying China's ongoing role in Iran's nuclear program.

    Back in 2006, John Tkacik, a senior research fellow in China policy at the Heritage Foundation, authored a report that concluded the following:

    Despite over a decade of protests from Washington, China continues to export nuclear technology, chemical weapons precursors, and guided missiles to Iran. Indeed, China is one of Iran's top two weapons suppliers (with Russia). A report in 2004 by the U.S.-China Security and Review Commission stated that "Chinese entities continue to assist Iran with dual-use missile-related items, raw materials and chemical weapons-related production equipment and technology" and noted that the transfers took place after the Chinese government pledged in December 2003 to withhold missile technology [to] Iran. The Central Intelligence Agency reported in 2004 that "Chinese entities are continuing work on a zirconium production facility at Esfahan that will enable Iran to produce cladding for reactor fuel." Although Iran was a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and was required to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on its production of zirconium fuel cladding, Iran made no moves to do so, and China exerted no influence to the contrary.​

    By 2009, the story was the same. Media reports emerged that "Iran has dramatically stepped up covert attempts to buy nuclear equipment over the last six months, often by using Chinese companies as fronts." A Chinese company was being charged in a New York court "with knowingly selling missile and nuclear technology to Iran." And former U.N. IAEA nuclear inspector David Albright, then at the Institute for Science and International Security, was publicly calling on China to cease its involvement in Iran's nuclear program.

    Thus, here we are in 2009, more than 12 years after Clinton told Congress that China purportedly ended involvement with Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions, and open-source reports from across the political spectrum continue to claim that the nuclear pipeline from China to Iran flows onward.

    It didn't end there. As of mid-2011, Reuters obtained a confidential United Nations report that, once again, showed China's duplicitous game at work:

    North Korea and Iran appear to have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. sanctions ... The report said that the illicit technology transfers had "trans-shipment through a neighbouring third country." That country was China, several diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.​

    Another damning indictment against China came in late 2013, when three leading U.K. non-proliferation experts from academia and government published the following conclusions:

    China continues to be the key source of goods and technology for the prohibited nuclear and missile programs of Iran and North Korea, with some officials estimating that China is used as a transit route for up to 90 percent of goods destined for those programs. The alleged serial Chinese proliferator Li Fang Wei (aka Karl Lee) reportedly was able to earn more than $10 million from the sale of missile-related items to Iran after the United States indicted him in 2009 on more than 100 criminal counts of falsifying business records related to illicit trade with subsidiaries of an Iranian military agency[.] ...

    More recently, the involvement of large state-owned strategic and defense companies has subsided. Today, the primary source of goods for prohibited programs is China's private sector, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises that often act as distributors or middlemen in trade with western manufacturers.​

    Rather than transferring "complete missile systems and nuclear or missile production facilities" to Iran, in order to avoid U.S. condemnation, China now funnels either dual-use technology or materials at quantities below control-list thresholds that would trigger export licensing requirements. In this manner, the Chinese government attempts to set up a plausible deniability defense, although serious analysts acknowledge that the likelihood of this extensive activity occurring without the knowledge and approval of the central government is effectively zero.

    Historically, China used to employ Pakistan for nuclear technology transfer to Iran. Now that has shifted in large part to North Korea, but the ultimate source remains the same. As reported in 2014 by Gordon Chang, a noted expert on China:

    [The] National Council of Resistance of Iran [NCRI], the dissident group that in 2002 disclosed the heavy-water production facility at Arak and the underground uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz, charged in September 2005 that the Chinese trade in centrifuges continued into that year. That month, NCRI also accused China of secretly sending beryllium to Iran. This metal is used in neutron initiators to trigger nuclear weapons, and due to the surreptitious nature of the transfers, it is highly unlikely that Iran bought the material for civilian purposes. The allegation is consistent with other reports about Iran's covert attempts to source beryllium at that time. In July 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that the State Department had lodged formal protests with Beijing about Chinese companies, in violation of the first two Security Council resolutions on Iran, exporting to that country items that could help Tehran build nukes.​

    Other materials and technologies whose shipment violates international treaties and U.N. rules have been sent to Iran via Chinese state-owned enterprises, a fact that directly links the Chinese government to the transfers.

    This point was reinforced by Orde Kittrie in his Foreign Affairs article from mid-2015:

    [L]ittle attention has been paid to the longtime leading suppliers of Iran's nuclear program: ostensibly private brokers based in China. Foremost among them appear to be Karl Lee (also known as Li Fangwei) and Sihai Cheng, who, according to U.S. federal and state prosecutors, have shipped vast quantities of key nuclear materials to Iran. Even at the peak of international sanctions against Iran, China has reportedly made little to no effort to stop these or other such brokers.

    Although China claims otherwise, it seems likely that the Chinese government uses these so-called private brokers as proxies to assist Iran's nuclear program. In that way, Beijing can both benefit from the illicit transactions with Iran and appear an adherent of various nonproliferation agreements[.]​

    One hopes that the current administration – with respected geopolitical realists such as John Bolton and Fred Fleitz – will take concrete action to halt Iran's program and pressure China over its long-term support. A narrow window is available in which to take a strong foreign policy stance against China's nuclear proliferation efforts. Suitable sanctions must be placed against both countries, and the dangerous track that the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations collectively set us along – and in which the rest of the West was complicit – must be rolled back.
  18. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Israeli PM Netanyahu meets with Russian Pres. Putin tomorrow and
    Pres. Trump will meet with Putin on July 16th,

    Israel 'Not Ruling Out' Eventual Ties With Syria's Assad
    by Dan Williams | July 10, 2018 |

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel held out the prospect on Tuesday of eventual contacts with Syria under President Bashar al-Assad, in a nod to his regime-consolidating advances in a seven-year-old civil war that Israeli officials had initially predicted would topple him.

    Assad’s Russian-backed forces have advanced in southwest Syria and are on course to reach Quneitra, a rebel-held district abutting the Golan Heights frontier with Israel. That has raised Israeli concerns that he may try to deploy troops there in defiance of a 1974 U.N. demilitarisation accord on the Golan.

    Touring the Israeli-occupied Heights, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ramped up threats to use armed force should Damascus's forces encroach. "Any Syrian soldier who will be in the buffer zone risks his life," Lieberman told reporters.

    However, Lieberman appeared to signal acknowledgment that Assad would regain control of the Syrian side of the Golan.

    Asked by a reporter if he anticipated a time when the Quneitra crossing would be reopened under the U.N.-monitored armistice between Israel and Syria, and whether the two old enemies could establish "some kind of relationship", Lieberman said: "I reckon we are a long way from that, but we are not ruling out anything."

    His remarks could foreshadow a more open approach to Assad ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Syria talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday. [emphasis added]

    While formally neutral on the civil war, Israel has carried out scores of air strikes on suspected Iranian or Hezbollah deployments and arms transfers in Syria, seeing these as a greater threat than Assad and warning him not to abet them.

    Netanyahu cautioned both Iran and Syria after talks in Jerusalem on Tuesday with Russia's envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin.

    "At the meeting (with Putin), the prime minister will make clear that Israel will not tolerate military entrenchment by Iran or its proxies anywhere in Syria, and that Syria must abide meticulously by the 1974 separation agreement," an official Israeli statement said. [emphasis added]

    Editing by Jeffrey Heller and William Maclean


    Israel threatens 'harsh response' to any Syrian forces in demilitarized Golan
    Reuters Staff | July 9, 2018 |

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel threatened a “harsh response” on Monday to any attempt by Syrian forces advancing against southern rebel areas to deploy in a Golan Heights frontier zone that was demilitarized under a 44-year-old U.N. monitored truce between the neighboring foes.

    Syrian government forces backed by Russia have launched an offensive in the southern Deraa province and are widely expected to move on rebel-held Quneitra, which is within a part of the Syrian Golan covered by the armistice.

    Israel worries that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad could let its enemies Iran and Hezbollah move forces into the area, giving them a foothold near its border. Tehran and the Lebanese group both back Assad in the complex conflict.

    “For our part we will sanctify the 1974 disengagement agreement, and there too we will insist that every last letter be abided by, and any violation with meet a harsh response from the State of Israel,” Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his parliamentary faction in broadcast remarks. [emphasis added]

    Assad’s conduct in southern Syria is expected to come up in talks in Moscow on Wednesday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Russia, whose 2015 intervention in the Syrian civil war turned the tide in Assad’s favor, has largely turned a blind eye to repeated Israeli air strikes in Syria targeting suspected Iranian or Hezbollah emplacements and arms transfers. [emphasis added]

    But diplomats on both sides say Russia has made clear that it would oppose any Israeli action endangering Assad’s rule.

    On Sunday night, Syria said its air defense repelled an Israeli sorties against the T4 air base in Homs province, where seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel died in an April 9 attack that Damascus and Tehran also blamed on Israel.

    Israel, in keeping with its customary reticence on such operations, declined all comment.

    “Regarding yesterday - I read about it in the newspapers today and I have nothing to add,” Lieberman said on Monday.

    “Perhaps just one thing, that our policy has not changed. We will not allow Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and we will not allow Syrian soil to be turned into a vanguard against the State of Israel. Nothing has changed. There is nothing new.” [emphasis added]

    Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Heavens
    Don_D likes this.
  19. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Trump Warns Iran It ‘Will Suffer Consequences’ if It Threatens the U.S.
    President warns of consequences such as ‘few throughout history have ever suffered’

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday; state media reported he had threatened the U.S., saying ‘war with Iran is the mother of all wars.’ Photo: presidential office handout/epa-/EPA/Shutterstock
    By Jessica Donati | July 23, 2018 | | 462 COMMENTS

    WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump threatened Iran in a tweet late Sunday night, warning the country’s leader to be cautious in its approach to the U.S. or suffer consequences such as few in history have suffered.

    The tweet, written in capital letters except for the salutation, “To Iranian President Rouhani,” didn’t specify these consequences, and didn’t make clear whether the threat was directed at President Hassan Rouhani specifically or Iran as a whole.



    The tweet appeared to refer to comments by Mr. Rouhani, reported by the semiofficial state news agency, warning the Trump administration against continuing hard-line policies against Iran.

    “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Mr. Rouhani was reported saying.

    Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord in May, and the administration later issued 12 demands for a new deal. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned at the time that the U.S. would impose the “strongest sanctions in history” unless Iran agreed.

    Tehran swiftly rejected the terms, which include one requiring a wholesale change in its military posture in the Middle East, where it is backing groups of fighters in Iraq and Syria.

    Mr. Pompeo on Sunday called Iran’s religious leaders “hypocritical holy men” in a speech in California.

    The country “is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” he said, saying its leaders have taken vast amounts of wealth at the expense of the country’s people. “We are asking all nations who are sick and tired of the Islamic Republic’s destructive behavior to join our pressure campaign.”

    Mr. Pompeo has drawn parallels to the administration’s “maximum pressure” policy on North Korea, which has been subjected to sanctions intended to force it to give up its nuclear arsenal and ballistic missiles. In Iran’s case, U.S. measures would include pressure on countries to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil to zero, with very few exemptions, made case by case.

    Mr. Trump’s Sunday tweet was similar to a threat he made to North Korea in front of reporters last August—of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” A month later, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responded, “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

    The 2015 Iran nuclear accord negotiated between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers was a hallmark of the Obama administration. It codified a trade-off in which Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in return for sanctions relief.

    For months, the Trump administration was involved in talks with Britain, France and Germany about strengthening the deal, but the discussions faltered along the way.

    European countries earlier this month told Iran they are exploring activating accounts for the Iranian central bank with their national central banks in a bid to open a financial channel to keep the agreement alive.

    Iran’s economy is under severe strain, and hundreds of demonstrations have erupted across the country over rising prices, corruption and environmental damage. The value of the country’s currency is down by nearly half since January. Iranians are also increasingly frustrated with the country’s lack of political and social freedoms.

    The economic crisis has only grown more severe since the Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 deal: In the month following the May announcement, oil exports were down 16%.

    Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has called on European countries to introduce measures to ease the impact of the U.S. withdrawal from the deal before U.S. sanctions take effect. The first sanctions are set to be reimposed on Aug. 6, followed by measures targeting Iranian oil on Nov. 4.

    Protesters in Tehran last month; hundreds of demonstrations have erupted across the country over rising prices, corruption and environmental damage. Photo: str/EPA/Shutterstock

    Mr. Rouhani, who has sought to make Iran less isolated by forging diplomatic ties with the West, is now seeking to preserve his political future by reaching out to hard-liners who previously opposed his leadership.

    Earlier this month, he threatened to disrupt the flow of Middle Eastern oil through the Persian Gulf, a transit route for about a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade. The threat was immediately praised by the country’s military leaders, who have been at odds with Mr. Rouhani over his efforts to improve relations with the West.

    On Sunday, Mr. Rouhani again noted Iran’s strategic position on the major oil-trading route, although he stopped short of a fresh threat to cut off shipping, according to the remarks reported by the state news agency.

    Mr. Trump’s threat to Iran followed a turbulent week for the president. He faced bipartisan criticism over his handling of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and rattled currency and bond markets by attacking the Federal Reserve for signaling plans to gradually raise interest rates.
    HeavenlyHosts and Don_D like this.
  20. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    The following is from a German news source.

    Germany probes huge Iran cash transfer request

    German authorities have started investigating an Iranian government plan to fly out hundreds of millions of euros from Hamburg to Tehran. German lawmakers have accused the US of "improperly exerting pressure" on Berlin. 7/10/2018

    The €300 million ($350 million) in question is being held by the European-Iranian Trade Bank, which is majority-owned by Iranian state-owned banks, but registered in Hamburg with the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank.

    Iran wants to fly the money out as soon as possible to avoid the potential freezing of accounts as a result of reimposed US sanctions coming into effect in August*, reported Berlin-based Bild newspaper on Tuesday.

    If the operation goes ahead, it is likely to trigger a strong response from Washington. The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, told the newspaper that the government of US President Donald Trump was "very concerned" and called on Berlin "to intervene and stop the plan."

    The money would be passed on to Iranians lacking a valid credit card to use while traveling abroad and in need of cash, Bild reported. Under impending US sanctions**, Iranian banks will be excluded from the main credit card networks, including VISA and Mastercard, making it difficult for Iranians traveling outside the country.

    VIDEO: EU unites against Trump over US sanctions on Iran (18.05.2018)
    At a summit in Bulgaria, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said European companies hit by US sanctions against Iran would receive support under a so-called 'blocking statute' last used more than 20 years ago.

    Tough decision ahead

    A German Finance Ministry spokeswoman said it would be one of the largest cash transfers ever in German history.

    The probe is looking at whether the arrangement would be an infringement of existing sanctions, and that in order for authorities to intervene, there would have to be concrete evidence of illegal activity, according to the German Foreign Ministry.

    Read more: Germany reaffirms Iran nuclear but business worries abound
    A day after the US pulled out, Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed that Germany and other EU nations support the agreement. But can the European Union offer Iran enough guarantees to convince leaders to stay the course? (09.05.2018)​

    German lawmaker Bijan Djir-Sarai, an Iranian-German immigrant who serves as foreign policy speaker for business-friendly opposition Free Democrat Party, called on the government to do everything in its power to block the transfer if there is any evidence that the money could be used to finance terrorist activities.

    'Improperly exerting pressure'

    Omid Nouripour from the environmentalist Greens told DW that "the Iranians are trying to act before US sanctions come into effect — sanctions that we Europeans don't approve of as Iran has so far adhered to the nuclear deal."

    Rolf Mützenich from the center-left SPD criticized the US ambassador for his early comments on the planned money transfer.

    Read more: Iran nuclear deal: Germany's special role and plans
    The historical connections between Berlin and Tehran make Germany a strong supporter of the nuclear deal. Now Germany is set to help lead the response of the other signatories after Trump's decision to pull the US out. (08.05.2018)​

    "Ambassador Grenell is improperly exerting pressure on the German government again in demanding immediate steps to be taken," he told DW. "The ambassador should finally realize that German authorities will act in line with the laws in place."

    Germany is in a bind over the requested transfer because blocking the move could be politically precarious, as it could mean the collapse of the Iran nuclear deal, which the European Union still hopes to salvage.***

    hg/jd (Reuters, dpa)

    DW recommends
    **No clear benefit from Trump's reimposing sanctions on Iran
    Economists disagree about whether international sanctions truly influence domestic polices. But all signs indicate that the US is making a mistake by hitting Iran with another round of harsh economic penalties. (20.05.2018)
    *Iranians hope for Europe's support as US sanctions bite
    The EU has been leading the efforts to salvage the nuclear deal with Iran following the US withdrawal from the international agreement. But the threat of imminent US sanctions is already having an impact on Iranians. (06.07.2018)
    ***Iran says EU economic proposal to save nuclear deal not enough
    With US sanctions looming, European powers hoped to persuade Iran to remain in the 2015 agreement. The countries agreed to continue talks, although Iran's president has said European proposals aren't convincing enough. (06.07.2018)
    Iran nuclear deal — the timeline to Donald Trump's torpedo
    Donald Trump has pulled the US from the international nuclear accord with Iran without an apparent Plan B. Now the future of the deal without the United States and what comes next is uncertain. (18.05.2018)

    Audios and videos on the topic
    US calls on countries to stop importing Iranian oil (26.06.2018)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018

Share This Page