North Korea and Iran Threat Updates

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

  1. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    ‘We Need Bread and Butter’; Iranians Under Pressure in Flailing Economy
    Tehran moves to contain economic crisis that is slashing buying power even before new U.S. sanctions
    Iranians say they are worried about being able to pay rent or buy food. Above, people walked in a bazaar in Tehran on Tuesday. Photo: abedin taherkenareh/EPA/Shutterstock
    By Sune Engel Rasmussen in Beirut and Aresu Eqbali in Tehran | July 25, 2018 |

    Iranian leaders are pushing to contain a deepening economic crisis that is slashing the buying power of Iranians and pressuring Tehran’s ruling elite even before the bite of looming U.S. sanctions.

    President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday replaced the head of the country’s central bank, who had come under harsh criticism for failing to stem a steep drop in Iran’s currency. Ninety members of parliament signed a petition this week to impeach the economy minister, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.

    The moves came in the wake of hundreds of protests in recent months over rising prices, corruption and environmental damage, and as the Trump administration prepares to impose sanctions that will target Iranian purchases of U.S. dollars.

    Iranians say they are worried about being able to pay rent or buy food. Inflation is running at 12% and the price of imported items such as medicine is up markedly. Iran’s oil exports have dropped 8% in the past two months, and youth unemployment stands at around 30%.

    “One item that I used to sell three units per day is now sold three per week,” said Ali, a shopkeeper who declined to give his last name and said the government should take care of low-income families. “There are people who have eaten no meat in weeks.”

    The economic situation is a more pressing concern for some Iranians than the sharp words between their leaders and President Trump. “We need bread and butter,” said Mostafa Bayat, a 30-year-old Tehran resident. “I am not worried about a war. I don’t have anything to lose.”

    Iran has a nearly 40-year history of withstanding economic and political isolation, dating back to the 1979 revolution. While public discontent is common, protests rarely aim to topple the regime.

    But the flailing economy has exacerbated a political crisis for Mr. Rouhani, a moderate who has gradually fallen into step with the country’s hard-liners in the face of mounting domestic and foreign pressure, asking Iranians to unite in defiance of the U.S.

    Mr. Rouhani’s replacement of Valiollah Seif, the central bank chief, is an indication of how dire the situation is. Mr. Seif, who had a few weeks left of his five-year term, was central to the government’s drive to root out unlicensed financial institutions, many of which are run by religious and military bodies.

    President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday replaced the head of the country’s central bank, Valiollah Seif, seen above in 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg News

    That drive triggered a backlash, with some of the targeted institutions flooding the Iranian currency market to discredit the government, exacerbating the devaluation of the rial, said Bijan Khajehpour, managing partner of Atieh International, a Vienna-based consulting firm specialized in building cooperation with Iran.

    The unofficial value of the Iranian rial has roughly halved since the start of the year, to 95,000 to the dollar. Trade in the official rate, unavailable to most Iranians, is a major source of corruption.

    The government has taken other recent steps to crack down on sources of discontent. Five officials from the Ministry of Industry were arrested on charges of corruption and abuse of funds to import thousands of luxury cars, local media reported on Wednesday.

    BMI Research, a sister company of Fitch Ratings, predicts 1.8% economic growth in 2018, down from the 4.3% growth it projected before Mr. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama-era deal that imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief.

    U.S. sanctions will target Iranian purchases of U.S. dollars, among other things, and on Nov. 4, sanctions on Iranian oil and foreign financial institutions dealing with Iran’s central bank will come into effect.

    The sprawling bazaar in Tajrish, in northern Tehran, remains busy with shoppers browsing colorfully pickled fruits and Chinese knockoff clothing. Yet, sales are down significantly, say shopkeepers, some of whom recall the impact of earlier U.S. sanctions from 2011 to 2015.

    “The first round of sanctions was difficult, too, but people had a stronger economic ground to walk on,” said Mehdi Aliari, whose shop sells electrical devices. “But today, we are economically exhausted.”

    Mojgan Mostashari, a 45-year-old homemaker, seemed to find some hope in Mr. Trump’s latest Twitter salvo, which was addressed to Mr. Rouhani by name.

    “I think Mr. Trump is provoking Iran to open a dialogue. They are practically talking to each other now. Mr. Trump wants to negotiate with Iran and this is his style,” Ms. Mostashari said.

    The Trump administration says it is applying as much economic pressure on Iran as possible to force changes in its military posture in the region and end its support for groups the U.S. considers terrorists.

    Iran has turned to the European Union, which remains supportive of the nuclear deal. Iran says it will continue curbing its nuclear activities as long as Europe helps it export oil and repatriate funds.

    But most European commercial banks won’t open Iranian accounts to avoid their access to dollars being cut by U.S. authorities, and the U.S. has declined to give European companies exemptions from sanctions.

    The best opportunity for Iran now is to attract smaller and medium-sized European companies, which don’t rely on business with the U.S., said Mr. Khajehpour.

    “But the big question is, will Europe be able to offer the protection these companies need, especially in terms of transactions?” Mr. Khajehpour said.
  2. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Saudi Arabia Halts Red Sea Oil Shipments After Houthi Attacks
    Move marks another escalation in the war between an Arab military coalition and Houthi rebels for control of Yemen

    A satellite view of the Bab el-Mandeb strait. On Wednesday Saudi Arabia temporarily halted all oil shipments going through this important Red Sea waterway. Photo: USGS/NASA Landsat/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty Images
    By Summer Said | July 25, 2018 |

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments going through an important Red Sea waterway, accusing Iran-allied rebels of attacking two crude tankers on Wednesday.

    Stopping crude shipments through the Bab el-Mandeb strait—which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden—marks another escalation in the war between an Arab military coalition and Houthi rebels for control of Yemen. Saudi Arabia is attempting to ramp up oil exports amid an effort to keep the world well-supplied with oil as the U.S. squeezes Riyadh’s rival, Iran, with new sanctions that could reduce its oil exports.

    Saudi Arabia said the Houthis attacked two very large crude carriers operated by Saudi National Shipping Corp. in the Red Sea on Wednesday. One of the ships sustained minimal damage. No injuries nor oil spill have been reported, according to an emailed statement from the kingdom.

    Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said all oil exports through the southern Red Sea would be halted “until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab el-Mandeb is safe.”

    The Saudi-led Arab coalition is locked in a battle for control of Hodeidah, an important port in Yemen where most humanitarian aid reaches the country’s people but, according to the Saudis, also serves as a conduit for arms from Iran. Tehran has denied backing the Houthis.

    Naval forces affiliated with the Houthis said they targeted Saudi military vessels, not oil tankers.

    Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih, seen at a June OPEC meeting, said all oil exports through the southern Red Sea would be halted ‘until the situation becomes clearer.’ Photo: Ronald Zak/Associated Press

    “The side that threatens the international security and peace and endangers the security of the Red Sea is Saudi-American-led aggression” said a statement from the Houthi-linked forces.

    Yemeni rebels are increasingly targeting Saudi Arabian oil facilities, threatening the kingdom’s economic engine and adding another layer of geopolitical tension that is helping push oil prices to their highest levels since 2014.

    The barrage of attacks has edged the three-year conflict with the Houthis uncomfortably close to the core of the Saudi economy, crystallizing the risks to the region’s oil industry. By striking a blow to Saudi wealth, the Houthis hope to inflict disproportionate damage on an enemy that is stronger militarily but hasn’t been able to dislodge the rebels.

    Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition at war since 2015 with the Houthis, which they see as proxies of their regional rival, Iran. The Houthis have controlled the capital, San’a, since ousting a Saudi-supported government, and ongoing skirmishes along the two countries’ porous border have kept the coalition engaged in the conflict.

    — Mohammed Alkibsi contributed to this article in San’a, Yemen.
  3. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Coordinated Islamic State Attacks in Syria Kill Dozens
    As its territorial control shrinks, the militant group has increasingly staged suicide attacks to show its ability to strike
    A suicide bomber struck a vegetable market in Sweida, in southwest Syria. Photo: AMMAR SAFARJALANI/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS
    By Nazih Osseiran | July 25, 2018 |

    BEIRUT—A series of Islamic State attacks in southwest Syria killed and injured scores on Wednesday, a show of deadly force in an area where the government is pressing an offensive against an affiliate of the extremist group.

    A suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a vegetable market in the provincial capital of Sweida as vendors arrived in the early morning, state media said. It said three other suicide bombing attempts were foiled, but an outside monitoring group said they hit their targets, including at two busy traffic junctions.

    The attacks coincided with Islamic State assaults on government-held positions in nearby villages. The fighting between government troops and the militants continued into the afternoon, according to state media

    As its territorial control shrinks, Islamic State has increasingly resorted to suicide attacks to show that it is still able to strike anywhere—especially in regime-controlled areas.

    The violence marks the group’s deadliest assault on the area in recent months, but the exact toll wasn’t clear. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 156 died as a result of the coordinated attacks, including 62 civilians and 94 pro-government fighters. It added that 38 Islamic State fighters also died in the clashes.

    State media, quoting local officials, said more than 50 people were killed and scores more injured, but the government often plays down attacks in areas it controls.

    Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, said they killed more than 100 and wounded dozens.

    The Syrian government didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and it wasn’t clear why there was a discrepancy in the reported suicide attacks.

    Separate offensives by the Russia-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad and U.S.-backed militia have routed the Islamic State in most parts of Syria.

    After retaking a large part of southern Syria from the opposition in recent weeks, the regime has now stepped up its military campaign to seize a last pocket near Sweida, home mostly to the country’s minority Druse religious sect, that is held by an Islamic State affiliate, the Khaled bin Waleed army.

    The Khaled bin Waleed army holds territory in an area known as the Yarmouk Basin, which borders on the Golan Heights in Syria.

    On Tuesday, Israel’s military said it shot down a Syrian jet fighter that entered its airspace over the occupied Golan Heights.

    A Syrian military official said the warplane was in Syrian airspace, Syrian state media reported, and was carrying out strikes on the Islamic State-affiliated group.

    —Raja Abdulrahim contributed to this article.
  4. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Israel Shoots Down Syrian Jet Fighter
    The downing comes in a fraught border region where Assad’s forces are battling Islamic State affiliate

    Israelis watch smoke rising as a result of Russian air strikes on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Monday. Photo: ATEF SAFADI/REX/SHUTTERS/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
    By Felicia Schwartz in Tel Aviv and Raja Abdulrahim in Beirut | July 24, 2018 |

    Israel shot down a Syrian jet fighter that entered its airspace, its military said, potentially raising tensions in a fraught border region where President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed forces are battling to retake a pocket of southwest Syria.

    The plane, which Israel’s military said it believes was either a Sukhoi 22 or Sukhoi 24, crossed a little more than a mile into Israeli airspace over the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday before it was shot down, Israeli officials said. Across the border in Syria, heavy clashes continue between the Syrian government and a group affiliated with Islamic State.

    It wasn’t clear if its warplane mistakenly entered Israeli airspace. A Syrian military official said the warplane was in Syrian airspace, Syrian state media reported. The official accused Israel of supporting armed terrorist groups by attacking one of the warplanes carrying out airstrikes on the Islamic State-affiliated group.

    The group known as the Khaled bin Waleed army holds territory in an area known as the Yarmouk Basin, which borders on the Golan Heights in Syria.

    Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the military was confident the plane belonged to Syria. He said Israel was still assessing what the plane’s mission was.

    The fate of the jet’s pilot is unclear, he said, adding that the plane appeared to have crashed in the southern Syria Golan Heights. He couldn’t explain how the plane entered Israel but landed on the Syria side.

    The Israeli military said it has observed increased internal fighting in Syria since early Tuesday, including more activity by the Syrian Air Force.

    “We are following what is being done in the Syrian Golan Heights, and are determined to enforce the [1974] separation-of-forces agreement,” said Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, a spokesman for the Israeli military. He was referring to an agreement signed between Israel and Syria creating a demilitarized zone between the two sides.

    “We are not involved in the fighting in Syria, but we are ready and prepared for developments,” he said.

    The event sparked concern among diplomats who worry about further escalation.

    “These hostilities demonstrate a disturbing trajectory of increasingly frequent and dangerous confrontations,” Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’ special coordinator for Middle East Peace, told the Security Council.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Syria of a “gross violation” of the 1974 agreement between the two countries and said Israeli forces acted appropriately in response.

    “I have reiterated and made clear that we will not accept any such violation. We will not accept any such penetration of, or spillover into, our territory, neither on the ground nor in the air,” he said.

    Israel said the plane took off from Syria’s largest air-force base, known as T-4, which hosts government forces, Russian fighters and an Iranian drone fleet.

    Russian planes also operate in the area, Israel’s military and other observers said. The military said it issued multiple warnings to the aircraft in multiple languages and had used a so-called deconfliction channel with Russia earlier in the day meant to ensure that military forces stay out of each other’s way.

    Leaders of Israel and Russia also have spoken regularly in recent months about the conflict in Syria.

    While Israel has a policy of noninterference in the Syrian war, it has been carrying out strikes against Iranian targets there, hoping to contain Tehran’s influence so close to its border.

    In May, Israel’s military carried out strikes against Iranian targets in Syria—in what it called its largest-ever operation against Iranian positions in Syria— after it said Iranian forces there fired rockets at its soldiers in the Golan Heights.

    Mr. Netanyahu on Monday met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Israel’s demands that Russia use its influence to completely remove Iran’s military presence in Syria.

    Israel has warned the Syrian government not to allow its foreign allied ground forces, Iranian-backed militias, near its borders.

    Israel has increasingly launched strikes against military bases and warehouses inside Syria it says are part of Iran’s military entrenchment in the country, but this is the first time it has shot down a Syrian jet fighter since 2014, when it also downed a plane it said infiltrated its airspace in the Golan Heights.

    Syria has never responded to any previous Israeli aggression or attack, including the 2014 incident, except for trying to intercept missiles and use its antiaircraft batteries to target Israeli fighter planes in its airspace.

    The Syrian regime didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Israel in February shot down an what it said was an Iranian drone that had been launched from the same T-4 airbase. Israel then struck Syrian targets in response to the episode, and Syria shot down one of Israel’s planes, which landed in Israeli territory. The pilots ejected from the plane and survived in what was a rare loss of an Israeli aircraft to hostile fire.

    Israel on Monday engaged its David’s Sling missile system for the first time to intercept Syrian missiles that appeared to be headed toward Israeli territory. Israel said it is still investigating where the missiles eventually landed.

    After more than a month of a regime military offensive on parts of Syria’s southwest held by antigovernment rebels, the Syrian government has succeeded in forcing all the opposition factions to surrender or agree to withdraw.

    Some of the rebels who have chosen to stay have had to join the regime’s offensive against the Islamic State affiliated group. Though both the rebels and Islamic State oppose the Assad regime, they have been at war with each other as well.

    The downing comes days after Israel evacuated hundreds of White Helmets rescuers and their families from southwest Syria. The White Helmets are first responders who operate in opposition-held areas and mostly rescue victims of the regime’s airstrikes and mortar attacks.

    The Syrian regime has long accused the group, which is funded by various Western countries including the U.S., of being a terrorist group.

    On Monday, an unnamed foreign ministry official told Syrian state media that the evacuation, which it called a “criminal operation,” had revealed the group’s true nature in trying “to destroy Syria and undermine its stances and image.”
  5. Don_D

    Don_D ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

    Unrest continues in Iran. Sanctions have not yet kicked in and the currency has hit record lows already...

    Hundreds of people are demonstrating in the Amir-Kabir industrial (New Shapour) complex

    The people of Iran have had enough with horrific economic conditions and the collapse of their currency. Demonstrations have broken out across the country.

    Hundreds of people are demonstrating now in the Amir-Kabir industrial complex (Shapour) of Isfahan, central Iran, protesting skyrocketing prices and continuous power outages.

    Protesters are chanting:

    “Death to high prices”

    “Proud bazaar merchants, support, support”

    “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, my life for Iran”

    All store owners in this area have closed their shops and are on strike.

    The Seven-Headed Dragon Of The Mafia Government In Iran

    The Amir-Kabir industrial park was established back in 1990 west of the city of Isfahan, eight kilometers outside of the city on “Khomeini” highway and Ata’olmolk Boulevard. The area is around 127 hectares in size where industrial, city and municipality workshops are located.

    Updated, 1100 PM (Local Iran time) – As night settles in Iran, protests that began this afternoon continue in different cities of Iran. In Karaj, protesters have been clashing with security forces and chanting anti-regime slogans. Videos obtained from the protests show protesters are not afraid of the regime’s repressive forces and are confronting them despite heavy security presence.

    Protesters chant the game is over for both factions of the regime, “reformists” and “hardliners”.

    On Iran, Trump Must Be Strong Where Obama Was Weak

    Update: 9:00 PM local time: In Shiraz, security forces have started targeting protesters with tear gas. According to local reports, security forces have injured a young boy who had attended the protest along with his mother.
  6. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Archangels

    2 minute read.
    [​IMG]Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017 (photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)
    The system will be deployed to boost the security of Russian troops in Syria.
    Russia will supply an S-300 air defense missile system to Syria within two weeks as a response to the downing of an Ilyushin military plane over the war-torn country last week, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Monday.

    The delivery of the advanced missile defense system to Syria is “an adequate response” to Israel’s role in the downing of the Russian plane last week, he was quoted as saying by Russia media during a briefing.

    The system will be deployed to boost the security of Russian troops in Syria and will ensure the identification of Russian aircraft by Syrian air defense forces.
  7. BrianK

    BrianK Proud2bRC Staff Member

    North Korea just jumped with both feet back into the headlines:

    North Korea blows up liaison office in Kaesong used for talks with South
    Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office used for talks between itself and South Korea, the latest sign that ties between the two longtime adversaries are rapidly deteriorating.

    North Korean state media reported that the four-story building, which is located in the town of Kaesong on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, was "completely destroyed by a "terrific explosion" at 2:50 p.m. local time.

    A plume of black smoke rising above the site was visible from the South Korean side of the border shortly after.

    Smoke rises from Kaesong in this picture taken from Paju, South Korea.

    The liaison office had been closed since January 30 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry. South Korean staff had not been to the building since, the ministry said.

    But the destruction of a building meant to facilitate dialogue, paid for by South Korea and sitting on North Korean soil, is highly symbolic. It may mark a turning point in relations between two countries that had committed themselves to "a new era of peace"fewer than three years ago.
    North Korea framed its decision to destroy the liaison office as a retaliatory measure after a group of defectors used balloons to send anti-North Korean leaflets north of the DMZ.
    Beth B likes this.
  8. Byron

    Byron Powers

    Everyday Fr Michel seems to make more sense.
    Sam likes this.
  9. Jason Fernando

    Jason Fernando Archangels


    Yeah, that's what scares me most. Remember he said Iran and North Korea vs USA. But he said nothing about China vs USA...
    Byron likes this.
  10. Don_D

    Don_D ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

    China IMO will fight a kinetic war via proxy at least to begin with. We are already at war with them, it has just been limited to a trade and ideological battle fought for hearts and minds here at home so far. There is no way it will end there. A good number of the local leaders in various state govt and our education system were long ago bought and paid for.
    Byron, Sam and BrianK like this.
  11. BrianK

    BrianK Proud2bRC Staff Member


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