Iran Is The First Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:3)

Iran's Nuclear Program

Iran’s Nuclear Program

Don’t ignore threat Iran poses to global security

For months, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have repeated a mantra about nuclear negotiations with Iran: “no deal is better then a bad deal.” But when Obama is asking rhetorically “what’s the alternative,” he contradicts the mantra, indicating that the U.S. seeks an agreement at any cost.
An examination of Iran’s nuclear record shows that the ayatollahs changed their conduct only on two occasions. In 2003, they suspended the military nuclear project because of U.S. invasion of Iraq and the fear of an American strike; and in 2013, they agreed to negotiate because of stringent sanctions imposed by Congress and European powers.
Asking “what’s the alternative,” Obama practically gives up the two leverages over Iran — a credible military deterrent and debilitating sanctions. He leads the ayatollahs to conclude that Washington is more eager than Tehran to reach an agreement.
The emerging deal creates a 12-month “breakout” period, should Iran race to the bomb, enough time for the U.S to respond. But, this assumption is predicated on U.S. intelligence being able to detect such “breakout,” an ability challenged by a Pentagon study. Stating that “U.S. intelligence is neither organized nor equipped to detect development of nuclear weapons,” it concludes that “the detection abilities in cases like Iran are inadequate or nonexistent.” This conclusion removes the rug from under the basis of the agreement. Indeed, the woeful U.S. record in detecting development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan, North Korea and Syria clearly refutes the assumption.
In addition, a “sunset clause” in the agreement would allow Iran, “legally,” to develop nuclear weapons. The administration’s claim that an Iranian violation would result in reimposition of sanctions is unrealistic. Having spent billions of dollars in Iran, are big corporations likely to sacrifice their investments?
The emerging deal is flawed not only due to its contents, but also because of its omissions. No reference is made to Iran’s “nuclear weaponization” program, as well as to its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which only serve nuclear weapons.
The Iranians cite India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons as reasons for their decision to go nuclear. But this analogy is deceptive: neither India nor Pakistan developed ICBMs; both use nuclear weapons only as a means of mutual deterrence.
Also, the agreement does not require Iran to desist from threatening its Arab neighbors, to stop financial support of and involvement in worldwide terrorism, to avoid calling for Israel’s annihilation, and to remove the battle cry of the Islamic regime — “Death to America.”
The net result of the agreement would be to institutionalize Iran’s status as a nuclear threshold state. It would not lead the Ayatollahs to tone down their revolutionary zeal; just the opposite: a nuclear umbrella would embolden their aggressiveness.
This will adversely affect U.S. national security. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are determined to acquire or develop their own nuclear deterrent. This would destroy a major pillar of U.S. foreign policy: preventing nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
A nuclear threshold Iran would also be able to prevent a future decline in oil prices. While Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies ignored Iranian demands to lower production and keep prices high, they are unlikely to dare ignore similar threats by a nuclear Iran.

Bad Blood Between The Antichrist and Babylon (Eze 17)

The Antichrist Moqtada al-Sadr

The Antichrist Moqtada al-Sadr

A history of bad blood between Iraq’s Shiite militias, US troops

By Robert H. Reid

Stars and Stripes

Published: March 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — A long, bloody history of conflict, double-crosses and American blood lies behind the U.S. military’s refusal to cooperate with Iraq’s Shiite militias — even if both sides now face a common enemy in the Islamic State.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command, bluntly laid out the reasons why the military was loathe to launch airstrikes to help the stalled Iraqi government offensive against Islamic State fighters in Tikrit until Iranian-backed Shiite militias pulled back from the frontlines.

“Once those conditions were met, which included Shiite militias not being involved, then we were able to proceed,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. “[After] three tours in Iraq commanding [U.S.] troops who were brutalized by some of these Shiite militias, I will not, and I hope we never will, coordinate or cooperate with Shiite militias.”

Until the U.S. launched airstrikes late Wednesday, critics had accused the Obama administration of sitting on the sidelines, allowing the Iranians and their Shiite militia clients to exploit the campaign against Tikrit to expand their influence in Iraq, where nearly 4,500 American servicemembers died.
Others, including former Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus, had warned that as long as militias made up the bulk of the pro-government forces besieging Tikrit, a Sunni city, the U.S. ran the risk of being seen by Sunnis as the “Shiite air force.”

Aside from the political risks, cooperation with the Shiite militias would be a bitter pill for Americans who fought many of those same militiamen only a few years ago. Some of those militia leaders rose in stature in the Shiite-dominated Iraq that the U.S. left behind when the last American troops left in December 2011.

[After] three tours in Iraq commanding [U.S.] troops who were brutalized by some of these Shiite militias, I will not, and I hope we never will, coordinate or cooperate with Shiite militias.
— Gen. Llyod Austin

For Americans who never served in Iraq, the image of the war promoted in such Hollywood productions as “American Sniper” has focused on the fight against Sunni insurgents from al-Qaida in Iraq, the forerunner of the Islamic State.

But much of the fighting, especially in the Baghdad area, was waged against Iranian-backed Shiite groups, some which are now part of the “popular mobilization units.” Since the Iraqi army collapsed last summer, the government has sent those militiamen to the front lines against the Islamic State, not only in Tikrit but in the old battlefields of Diyala, Salaheddin and Babil provinces where they once fought the Americans.

Those Shiite groups include the “Peace Brigades,” the rebranded Mahdi army of Muqtada al-Sadr, whose followers battled U.S. troops in Sadr City, Najaf, Basra and elsewhere, as well as two other groups — Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, which were largely seen as proxies for Iran.

During the war, Kataib Hezbollah and the League were often described by the U.S. military as the “Special Groups” — shadowy militants responsible for rocket attacks on the Green Zone, kidnappings and ambushes in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad and elsewhere.

The “Special Groups’” signature weapon was the notorious EFP, or explosively formed penetrator, a lethal IED that could fire an explosive charge through all but the most heavily armored vehicles. In the last years of the war, EFPs were believed to have accounted for as many as 80 percent of the U.S. casualties.

The EFPs were so well-made that U.S. intelligence was convinced they were manufactured in Iran and smuggled into Iraq by a network controlled by the League.

The League claimed more than 6,000 attacks against U.S. troops, including EFP and rocket attacks. After the U.S. routed al-Qaida in Iraq in 2008, the U.S. military identified the League as the biggest single threat to American forces in the final three years of the war.

Those Special Groups were also was believed responsible for the Jan. 20, 2007, raid on the Joint Security Station in Karbala, which left five American soldiers dead and three wounded. The raid was among the boldest and most sophisticated attacks against American troops during the war.

It was carried out by up to a dozen Shiite militants, dressed in American uniforms and carrying American weapons, who drove to the station in vehicles similar to those used by U.S. civilian convoys. They bluffed their way through Iraqi checkpoints and stormed a building used by the Americans, killing one U.S. soldier and capturing four others before fleeing with their prisoners.

Three of the Americans were found shot to death near the compound. A fourth was found alive but died soon afterward of his wounds.

Two months after the raid, American troops captured the leader of League, Qais al-Khazali. He was released in 2010 under an Iraqi-negotiated deal in exchange for a British computer contractor who had been kidnapped by Shiite militants.

Al-Khazali ended up rehabilitated and elevated to hero status by the government of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who needed political support from his fellow Shiites as the Americans were preparing to leave the country. Al-Khazali’s followers are among Shiite militias now fighting the Islamic State.

He wasn’t the only Special Groups leader to escape punishment thanks to Iraq’s murky sectarian politics.

Ali Mussa Daqduq, a Lebanese citizen who was sent by Hezbollah and the Iranians to train Shiite militias, was also captured by the U.S. in March 2007 and accused of a role in the Karbala raid.

With al-Khazali having escaped punishment, the U.S. was determined to see Daqduq held accountable for the five American deaths in Karbala. As with al-Khazali, however, the Iraqi government didn’t want to take the political risk of punishing a popular figure.

To add to the problem, Daqduq became the center of an internal political battle in Washington. The Obama administration wanted to extradite him to the U.S. to stand trial. Republicans in Congress demanded that he be sent to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. But the White House wanted to close the Guantanamo prison and refused.

Instead, the administration decided to hand him over to the Iraqis and formally ask them for his extradition. The Iraqis refused the request and put him on trial. But the courts threw out the charges.
After months of high-level wrangling and U.S. pressure, in July 2012 — five months after the last American troops left Iraq — the Iraqi central criminal court ordered his release, signaling that as far as Baghdad was concerned, the case was closed. Daqduq was free.

Robert H. Reid reported from Iraq as a journalist from 2003 until 2009.

reid.robert@stripes.com
Twitter: @rhreid

Why Iran Will Go Nuclear (Daniel 8)

Why Iran Has All The Leverage Over Obama

Mar. 27, 2015
Sometime next week, perhaps as early as Tuesday, President Obama will most likely announce that his administration has reached a political agreement with Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime on nuclear weapons.
The deal may not be signed, it may not have any real specifics, but Obama will hail it as the only way to stop a war with Iran and delay them from getting a bomb. 
Whatever the contours of the “agreement” Obama announces next week, it will look far weaker than it was supposed to look just months ago. Over the past week alone, U.S. negotiators reportedly have conceded to Iran: 1) the need for a written agreement; 2) the ability of Iran to use nuclear centrifuges underground; and 3) the need for Iran to disclose the full range of its current nuclear capabilities.
Why, as Lando Calrissian might ask, is this deal getting worse all the time?
The simple answer is that Obama’s broader Middle East strategy leaves him with zero leverage over Iran. The New York Times Thomas Friedman explains:
The Obama team’s best argument for doing this deal with Iran is that, in time, it could be “transformational.” That is, the ending of sanctions could open Iran to the world and bring in enough fresh air — Iran has been deliberately isolated since 1979 by its ayatollahs and Revolutionary Guard Corps — to gradually move Iran from being a revolutionary state to a normal one, and one less inclined to threaten Israel.
If one assumes that Iran already has the know-how and tools to build a nuclear weapon, changing the character of its regime is the only way it becomes less threatening.
The only reason Khamenei’s regime is negotiating with Obama at all is because they want the world’s economic sanctions on Iran lifted. In return for lifting those sanctions, Iran is supposed to give up its ambitions for a nuclear weapon. That’s the basic outline of the deal: Iran gets the sanctions lifter and Obama gets an end to their nuclear weapons program.
But read the above Friedman paragraphs again. Obama’s Middle East strategy is premised on “transforming” the current Iranian government by ending sanctions on Iran. This means that Obama wants the sanctions on Iran lifted just as badly as Ayatollah Khamenei.
Now, granted, Obama and Khamenei have very different ideas about what the outcome of the end of sanctions will be. Obama believes an Iran without economic sanctions will lead to if not Kamanei’s demise, than it least the marginalization of him and his followers. Khamenei, on the other hand, believes an Iran without sanctions will allow his regime to strengthen their control over not just Iran, but also the entire Middle East.
Who has a better understanding of Iran, its politics, its people, and the impact of ending economic sanctions? Is it Khamenei, who has ruled his country for over two decades? Or is it Obama, who honestly thought the power of his own celebrity could save Democrats from crushing defeat in 2010? We’ll see.
The answer to that question is ultimately irrelevant though when judging who currently has more leverage in the nuclear weapons talks. Since both Obama and Iran want sanctions on Iran to be lifted, Obama has no way to force any real concessions from Iran on nuclear issues. His threat to continue the current sanctions, or enact new ones, are hollow. Everyone knows he wants the sanctions lifted anyway. Why should Iran concede anything?
That’s why they are not.

Pakistan Will Become A Nuclear Terror (Daniel 8)

Pakistan's Nuclear Terrorism

Pakistan’s Nuclear Terrorism

Pakistan’s Promises Will Remain Unfulfilled

Pakistan remains unwilling to change the substance of its policy on terrorism even as it tries to reassure the international community that it is ready for a drastic transformation. Several recent developments affirm the Pakistani military’s belief that cosmetic changes or words alone will suffice to convince others, especially the U.S., that Pakistan is serious about giving up its decades old sponsorship of terrorism.
In some ways, Pakistan’s generals are offering Americans a rehashed version of General Pervez Musharraf’s promises in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Now, as then, it is being argued that Pakistan is concerned about the blowback from its policy of sponsoring Jihadis. Musharraf admitted recently that his government continued to support Afghan Taliban even after ostensibly abandoning them at Washington’s behest, to ‘counter India’s influence’ in Afghanistan. 
This time too, the Pakistan military’s efforts are focused narrowly on out of control Jihadis attacking inside Pakistan. Terrorism directed at Afghanistan and India remains unaffected by Pakistan’s new stated policy of rooting out terrorism. Pakistan raised the terrorist militias to compete with India. There is no evidence that goal has been reviewed. 
There has been no introspection over the Pakistani national narrative that allows the country to violate all international norms as long as Pakistan can be seen by the world as India’s equal. Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment still believes it can still play the games of yesteryears and be a critical player in its region and beyond. 
That the fundamentals of Pakistani policy have not changed was recently demonstrated when an official from Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division, the key administrative organ within Pakistan’ Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) made light of Jihadists having penetrated Pakistan’s nuclear program. “We filtered out people having negative tendencies that could have affected national security,” said the NCA official, as if that was sufficient to assuage international concerns.
This attempt to reassure the international community that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are in safe hands and will not fall into the hands of the Jihadis differs little from Pakistan’s response to the troubling sale of nuclear weapons technology by Dr. A.Q. Khan and his criminal network. 
Dr. Khan was removed from his position but there was no accounting for his actions. An official Pakistani pronouncement to the effect that the problem had been addressed was deemed enough.
Pakistan’s latest reassurance about the security of its nuclear program ignores the possibility of a military officer with Islamist sympathies rising up the ranks. In that event, an Islamist would have his fingers on the nuclear trigger and could act independent of his institution, just as Dr. Khan single-handedly sold nuclear material and plans to Iran, Libya and North Korea. 
In November 2014 Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif visited the United States to declare that Pakistan no longer differentiated between good and bad Jihadis. But soon after his proclamation, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz questioned the rationale of the military commander’s promise in a BBC interview in Urdu.
“Why should Pakistan target those who do not pose any threat to its security,” Aziz said, adding that not all terrorists are bad for Pakistan. In his words, “Some of them are a threat to Pakistan, while others pose no threat to Pakistan’s security. Why should we antagonize them all?” 
This attitude is not different from that Musharraf who maintained a similar ambivalence after 2002 when he differentiated between Jihadis (foreign militant groups like Al Qaeda) and freedom fighters (Afghan Taliban, Lashkar e Taiba.)
Immediately after the December 2014 attack by the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on a school in Peshawar, Pakistani leaders launched a public relations offensive to convince skeptics that this time they had changed, for real. General Sharif went to the United Kingdom before his U.S. visit and over the last few months several Pakistani officials have visited Washington. 
The U.S. could fall for Pakistan’s narrative, as it did with Musharraf, or accept the fact that Pakistan became its ally only to advance its rivalry with India. Pakistan’s military sees India as the main threat, as always, while seeking American arms on the pretext of fighting communism or terrorism. 
Pakistan’s support of Jihadis in Afghanistan and India is tied to its belief that these proxies will further Pakistan’s foreign and security policy of securing parity with India and preventing Indian influence over Afghanistan. The U.S. ignored Pakistan’s support of insurgent and terror groups in India during the anti-Soviet Afghan Jihad, only to recognize the problem since the 1990s. 
It is time for Washington to recognize that Pakistan will continue to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy to counter India’s rise as a global power. Pakistani leaders believe they know how to play the Americans and to create a façade of compliance with American requests. 
The gullibility of U.S. officials, such as those in the Obama administration, enables Pakistan to seek U.S. military and economic largesse even as Pakistan harbors terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. Pakistan has never had to pay a price for its actions. Only serious reprisals for Pakistan’s repeated flouting of American requests, misuse of American arms and equipment and support of Jihadi groups would change Pakistani policy, not accepting fresh promises after broken ones.

Saudi Arabia Will Become A Nuclear Horn (Dan 7:7)

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Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons

‘It is not something we would discuss publicly’. 
Jon Stone
Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”.
Pressed later on the issue he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”
Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.
The two countries maintain close relations and are sometimes said to have a special relationship; they currently have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.
The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force.
In 2012 the Saudi Arabian government threatened to acquire nuclear weapons were neighbouring regional power Iran ever to do so.
“Politically, it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom,”  a senior Saudi source told The Times newspaper at the time.
The United States and other Western allies say a deal with Iran on its nuclear programme is possible. Iran denies it is building nuclear weapons.
The news comes days after Saudi Arabia launched a military operation in neighbouring Yemen aimed at suppressing a rebel group that is attempting to form a central government.
Saudi’s military operation against the advancing Shia Houthi group has been joined by Egyptian, Jordanian and Moroccan forces.

Babylon The Great Expands The Shi’a Horns (Daniel 8)

370679_US-drone
Washington’s Two Air Wars: With Iran In Iraq, With Saudis (Against Iran) In Yemen
By Juan Cole
26 March, 2015
Initially, the US sat out the Tikrit campaign north of the capital of Baghdad because it was a largely Iran-directed operation. Only 3,000 of the troops were regular Iraqi army. Some 30,000 members of the Shiite militias in Iraq joined in– they are better fighters with more esprit de corps than the Iraqi army. Some of them, like the Badr Corps of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, have strong ties to Iran. The special ops unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Jerusalem Brigade, provided tactical and strategic advice, commanded by Qasem Solaimani.
The campaign deployed tanks and artillery against Daesh in Tikrit, but those aren’t all that useful in counter-insurgency, because they cannot do precise targeting and fighting is in back alleys and booby-trapped buildings where infantry and militiamen are vulnerable.
US air intervention on behalf of the Jerusalem Brigades of the IRGC is ironic in the extreme, since the two have been at daggers drawn for decades. Likewise, militias like Muqtada al-Sadr’s “Peace Brigades” (formerly Mahdi Army) and League of the Righteous (Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq) targeted US troops during Washington’s occupation of Iraq. But the fight against the so-called “Islamic State group” or Daesh has made for very strange bedfellows. Another irony is that apparently the US doesn’t mind essentially tactically allying with Iran this way– the reluctance came from the Shiite militias.
Not only US planes but also those of Jordan and some Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Saudi Arabia? the UAE? Qatar?) will join the bombing of Daesh at Tikrit, since these are also afraid of radical, populist political Islam. But why would they agree to be on the same side as Iran? Actually, this air action is an announcement that Iraq needs the US and the GCC, i.e. it is a political defeat for Iranian unilateralism. The US and Saudi Arabia are pleased with their new moxie in Baghdad.
Then in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has begun bombing the positions of the Shiite Houthi movement that has taken over northern and central Yemen and is marching south. One target was an alleged Iranian-supplied missile launcher in Sanaa to which Saudi Arabia felt vulnerable. That isn’t a huge surprise. The Saudis have bombed before, though not in a while. The big surprise is that they have put together an Arab League anti-Houthi coalition, including Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, and the GCC. Even Pakistan has joined in. (Sudan and Pakistan are a surprise, since they had tilted toward Iran or at least had correct relations with it formerly). The US State Department expressed support for this action and pledged US logistical and military support. It remains to be seen if this coalition can intervene effectively. Air power is unlikely to turn the tide against a grassroots movement.
About a third of Yemenis are Zaidi Shiites, a form of Shiism that traditionally was closer to Sunni Islam than the more militant Iranian Twelver or Imami branch of Shiism. But Saudi proselytizing and strong-arming of Zaidis in the past few decades, attempting to convert them to militant Sunnism of the Salafi variety (i.e. close to Wahhabism, the intolerant state church of Saudi Arabia) produced the Houthi reaction, throwing up a form of militant, populist Zaidism that adopted elements of the Iranian ritual calendar and chants “Death to America.” The Saudis alleged that the Houthis are Iranian proxies, but this is not likely true. They are nativist Yemenis reacting against Saudi attempts at inroads. On the other hand, that Iran politically supports the Houthis and may provide them some arms, is likely true.
The Houthis marched into the capital, Sanaa, in September, and conducted a slow-motion coup against the Arab nationalist government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. He came to power in a referendum with 80% support in February, 2012, after dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh had been forced out by Yemen’s youth revolution of 2011-12. Hadi recently fled to the southern city of Aden and tried to reconstitute the nationalist government there, with support from 6 southern governors who, as Sunni Shafi’is, rejected dictatorial Houthi Zaidi rule (no one elected the Zaidis).
But the Houthis, seeking to squelch a challenge from the south, moved south themselves, taking the Sunni city of Taiz and attracting Sunni tribal allies (Yemeni tribes tend to support the victor and sectarian considerations are not always decisive). Then Houthi forces neared Aden and Mansour Hadi is said to have fled. The nationalist government appears to have collapsed.
The other wrinkle is that elements of the old nationalist Yemen military appear to be supporting the Houthis, possibly at the direction of deposed president Ali Abdallah Saleh. So in a way all this is a reaction against the youth revolution of 2011, which aimed at a more democratic nationalist government.
The US support for the Saudi air strikes and the new coalition makes the Yemen war now the second major air campaign supported by the US in the region. But the one in Iraq is in alliance with Iran. The one in Yemen is against a group supported in some measure by Iran. This latter consideration is probably not important to the US. Rather, the US is afraid that Houthi-generated chaos will create a vacuum in which al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula will gain a free hand. AQAP has repeatedly targeted the US. The US also maintains that in each instance, it is supporting the legitimate, elected government of the country.
A lot of the online press in Yemen appears to have been knocked offline by the turmoil, by the way.

Bush War Cost Now 1.3 Million Lives (Rev 13:10)

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Endless War: As U.S. Strikes Tikrit & Delays Afghan Pullout, “War on Terror” Toll Tops 1.3 Million

Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He wrote the foreword for the new international edition of the group’s report, “Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror.’”

Hans Von Sponeck, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, who in 2000 resigned his post in protest of the U.S.-led sanctions regime. He is the author of A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq. He is currently teaching at the University of Marburg.
Brock McIntosh, served in Afghanistan from November 2008 to August 2009. He applied for conscientious objector status and was discharged in May 2014. He is a co-founder and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Related

As the United States begins bombing the Iraqi city of Tikrit and again delays a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new report has found that the Iraq War has killed about one million people. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries — Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found “the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware. … And this is only a conservative estimate.” The true tally, they add, could be more than two million. We are joined by two guests who worked on the report: Hans von Sponeck, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, who in 2000 resigned his post in protest of the U.S.-led sanctions regime; and Dr. Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Antichrist’s Men Protest Against The US (Rev 13:16)

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Iraqi Shia militia pull out from offensive to liberate Tikrit

Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Brigades, loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said in a statement that they will not participate in liberating the Iraqi cities and towns held by the Islamic State (IS) militant group with the presence of US-led coalition airstrikes, considering that the militias are capable of liberating the land and that the US presence is to “confiscate the victories” of Iraqis, Xinhua reported.
“The Saraya al-Salam announces withdrawal from any operation to free the cities of Iraq with the presence of US shameless intervention,” it said.

Another Shia militia Ahl al-Haq Movement said it will not participate in a battle with the presence of international coalition saying the Iraqi security forces and Hashid al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation, are capable of liberating the Iraqi IS-held cities.

“We will not participate in any battle conducted by the United States, whether their presence was by air or by land. We reject to get involved into any battle in which the international coalition will be there,” a statement by the group quoted its spokesperson Na’im al-Abboudi as saying.

A few more Shia groups such as Hezbullah Brigades and National Defence Brigades also rejected participation in battles to free Tikrit after the announcing of conducting US-led airstrikes in Tikrit.

Late on Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that the Iraqi forces started the final phase to liberate Tikrit and the rest of the northern parts of Salahudin province with the assistance of the international coalition air support.

The battles to free Tikrit from IS militants have been stalled for about two weeks as the militants have planted thousands of bombs and booby-trapped dozens of buildings and cars.

Since March 2, some 30,000 Iraqi troops and thousands of allied Shia and Sunni militias have been involved in Iraq’s biggest offensive to recapture the northern part of Salahudin province, including Tikrit and other key towns and villages, from IS militants.

Large parts of the province have been under IS control since June 2014, after bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the group.

The IS took control of the country’s northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

To Bomb Iran Or Not To Bomb (Dan 7)

nuclear-Iran

John Bolton: Bomb Iran Before It Gets the Bomb

By Sandy Fitzgerald

There is only one way to block the Iranians from building a nuclear bomb, according to former ambassador John Bolton: Bomb them first.

“The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program,” Bolton wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times on Thursday. “Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure.”

The “inconvenient truth,” Bolton insists, is that “only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”

Such an attack would not need to destroy Iran’s entire nuclear infrastructure, but instead, Bolton said, would break key links in the nuclear fuel cycle and set back Iran’s program by at least three to five years.

“Rendering inoperable the Natanz and Fordow uranium-enrichment installations and the Arak heavy-water production facility and reactor would be priorities,” said Bolton. “So, too, would be the little-noticed but critical uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan.”

The United States could thoroughly destroy the targets, he said, but Israel, acting alone, could also take the necessary steps. He also called for the action to combine with U.S. support for regime change in Iran.

Meanwhile, Bolton said, President Barack Obama’s fascination with striking a nuclear deal with Iran could trigger a wave of nuclear programs throughout the Middle East.

“The president’s biggest legacy could be a thoroughly nuclear-weaponized Middle East,” said Bolton. 

Experts have been worried for years that it would happen, said Bolton. As in other cases such as India, Pakistan and North Korea, the West should have been vigilant, he says, “but failing to act in the past is no excuse for making the same mistakes now.”

Obama, like his predecessors, inherited the effects of past presidents’ decisions, but is responsible for what is happening on his watch, Bolton said, and his “approach on Iran has brought a bad situation to the brink of catastrophe.”

Meanwhile, comprehensive international sanctions have crippled Iran somewhat but have not stopped the nuclear program’s progress. 

“Even absent palpable proof, like a nuclear test, Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear weapons has long been evident,” said Bolton. “Now, the arms race has begun.”

He noted that Saudi Arabia is expected to move first, as “no way would the Sunni Saudis allow the Shiite Persians to outpace them in the quest for dominance.”

Analysts believe that Saudi Arabia is able to get nuclear weapons from Pakistan, and Bolton said Egypt or Turkey would not be far behind.

Israel’s nuclear capability, though, is mainly seen as a deterrent, not as an offensive measure, and has not brought on an arms race, but Iran is different.

The evidence is mounting that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey are quickening their pace for nuclear weapons of their own, said Bolton.

The Saudis have also held recent meetings with leaders from Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey, and “nuclear matters were almost certainly on the agenda.”

Bolton said that Pakistan could quickly supply weapons, and he warned not to rule out North Korea dealing behind the backs of its Iranian allies “for the right price.”

Babylon The Great Pushing Towards Nuclear War (Rev 17)

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The US is Pushing The World Towards Nuclear War

by COLIN TODHUNTER
The US initiated economic sanctions against Russia, has attacked its currency and has manipulated oil prices to devastate the Russian economy. It was behind the coup in Ukraine and is now escalating tensions by placing troops in Europe and supporting a bunch of neo-fascists that it brought to power. Yet the bought and paid for corporate media in the West keeps the majority of the Western public in ignorance by depicting Russia as the aggressor.
If the current situation continues, the outcome could be a devastating nuclear conflict. Washington poured five billion dollars into Ukraine with the aim of eventually instigating a coup on Russia’s doorstep. Washington and NATO are supporting proxy forces on the ground to kill and drive out those who are demanding autonomy from the US puppet regime in Kiev. Hundreds of thousands have fled across the border into Russia.
Yet it is Washington that accuses Moscow of invading Ukraine, of having had a hand in the downing of a commercial airliner and of ‘invading’ Ukraine based on no evidence at all – trial by media courtesy of Washington’s PR machine. As a result of this Russian ‘aggression’, Washington slapped sanctions on Moscow.
The ultimate aim is to de-link Europe’s economy from Russia and weaken Russia’s energy dependent economy by denying it export markets. The ultimate aim is to also ensure Europe remains integrated with/dependent on Washington, not least via the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and in the long term via US gas and Middle East oil (sold in dollars, thereby boosting the strength of the currency upon which US global hegemony rests).

The mainstream corporate media in the West parrots the accusations against Moscow as fact, despite Washington having cooked up evidence or invented baseless pretexts. As with Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and other ‘interventions’ that have left a trail of death and devastation in their wake, the Western corporate media’s role is to act as cheerleader for official policies and US-led wars of terror.

The reality is that the US has around 800 military bases in over 100 countries and military personnel in almost 150 countries. US spending on its military dwarfs what the rest of the world spends together. It outspends China by a ratio of 6:1.

What does the corporate media say about this? That the US is a ‘force for good’ and constitutes the ‘world’s policeman’ – not a calculating empire underpinned by militarism.

By the 1980s, Washington’s wars, death squads and covert operations were responsible for six million deaths in the ‘developing’ world. An updated figure suggests that figure is closer to ten million.

Breaking previous agreements made with Russia/the USSR, over the past two decades the US and NATO has moved into Eastern Europe and continues to encircle Russia and install missile systems aimed at it. It has also surrounded Iran with military bases. It is destabilising Pakistan and ‘intervening’ in countries across Africa to weaken Chinese trade and investment links and influence. It intends to eventually militarily ‘pivot’ towards Asia to encircle China.

William Blum has presented a long list of Washington’s crimes across the planet since 1945 in terms of its numerous bombings of countries, assassinations of elected leaders and destabilisations. No other country comes close to matching the scale of such criminality. Under the smokescreen of exporting ‘freedom and democracy’, the US has deemed it necessary to ignore international laws and carry out atrocities to further its geo-political interests across the globe.
Writing on AlterNet.org, Nicolas JS Davies says of William Blum’s book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II: if you’re looking for historical context for what you are reading or watching on TV about the coup in Ukraine, ‘Killing Hope’ will provide it.

Davies argues that the title has never been more apt as we watch the hopes of people from all regions of Ukraine being sacrificed on the same altar as those of people in Iran (1953); Guatemala(1954); Thailand (1957); Laos (1958-60); the Congo (1960); Turkey (1960, 1971 & 1980); Ecuador (1961 & 1963); South Vietnam (1963); Brazil (1964); the Dominican Republic (1963); Argentina (1963); Honduras (1963 & 2009); Iraq (1963 & 2003); Bolivia (1964, 1971 & 1980); Indonesia (1965); Ghana (1966); Greece (1967); Panama (1968 & 1989); Cambodia (1970); Chile (1973); Bangladesh (1975); Pakistan (1977); Grenada (1983); Mauritania (1984); Guinea (1984); Burkina Faso (1987); Paraguay (1989); Haiti (1991 & 2004); Russia (1993); Uganda (1996);and Libya (2011).
Davies goes on to say that the list above does not include a roughly equal number of failed coups, nor coups in Africa and elsewhere in which a US role is suspected but unproven.

The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) is a recipe for more of the same. The ultimate goal, based on the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine, is to prevent any rival emerging to challenge Washington’s global hegemony and to secure dominance over the entire planet. Washington’s game plan for Russia is to destroy is as a functioning state or to permanently weaken it so it submits to US hegemony. While the mainstream media in the West set out to revive the Cold War mentality and demonise Russia, Washington believes it can actually win a nuclear conflict with Russia. It no longer regards nuclear weapons as a last resort but part of a conventional theatre of war and is willing to use them for pre-emptive strikes.

Washington is accusing Russia of violating Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty, while the US has its military, mercenary and intelligence personnel inside Ukraine. It is moreover putting troops in Poland, engaging in ‘war games’ close to Russia and has pushed through a ‘Russian anti-aggression’ act that portrays Russia as an aggressor in order to give Ukraine de facto membership of NATO and thus full military support, advice and assistance.

Washington presses ahead regardless as Russia begins to undermine dollar hegemony by trading oil and gas and goods in rubles and other currencies. And history shows that whenever a country threatens the dollar, the US does not idly stand by.

Unfortunately, most members of the Western public believe the lies being fed to them. This results from the corporate media amounting to little more than an extension of Washington’s propaganda arm. The PNAC, under the pretext of some bogus ‘war on terror’, is partly built on gullible, easily led public opinion, which is fanned by emotive outbursts from politicians and the media. We have a Pavlov’s dog public and media, which respond on cue to the moralistic bleating of politicians who rely on the public’s ignorance to facilitate war and conflict.

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst has spoken about the merits of the Kiev coup and the installation of an illegitimate government in Ukraine. Last year, he called the violent removal of Ukraine’s democratically elected government as enhancing democracy. Herbst displayed all of the arrogance associated with the ideology of US ‘exceptionalism’. He also displayed complete contempt for the public by spouting falsehoods and misleading claims about events taking place in Ukraine.
And now in Britain, the public is being subjected to the same kind of propaganda by the likes of Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond with his made-for-media sound bites about Russia being a threat to world peace:
“We are now faced with a Russian leader bent not on joining the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations, but on subverting it… We are in familiar territory for anyone over the age of about 50, with Russia’s aggressive behaviour a stark reminder it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security… Russia’s aggressive behaviour a stark reminder it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security.”
In a speech that could have come straight from the pen of some war mongering US neocon, the US’s toy monkey Hammond beats on cue the drum that signals Britain’s willingness to fall in line and verbally attack Putin for not acquiescing to US global hegemonic aims.
The anti-Russia propaganda in Britain is gathering pace. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said that Putin could repeat the tactics used to destabilise Ukraine in the Baltic states. He said that NATO must be ready for Russian aggression in “whatever form it takes.” He added that Russia is a “real and present danger.” Prior to this, PM David Cameron called on Europe to make clear to Russia that it faces economic and financial consequences for “many years to come” if it does not stop destabilising Ukraine.
Members of the current administration are clearly on board with US policy and are towing the line, as did Blair before. And we know that his policy on Iraq was based on a pack of lies too.
If Putin is reacting in a certain way, it is worth wondering what the US response would be if Russia had put its missiles in Canada near the US border, had destabilised Mexico and was talking of putting missiles there too. To top it off, imagine if Russia were applying sanctions on the US for all of this ‘aggression’.
What Russia is really guilty of is calling for a multi-polar world, not one dominated by the US. It’s a goal that most of humanity is guilty of. It is a world the US will not tolerate.
Herbst and his ilk would do well to contemplate their country’s record of wars and destabilisations, its global surveillance network that illegally spies on individuals and governments alike and its ongoing plundering of resources and countries supported by militarism, ‘free trade’ or the outright manipulation of every major market. Hammond, Fallon and Cameron would do well to remember this too. But like their US masters, their role is to feign amnesia and twist reality.
The media is dutifully playing its part well by keeping the public ignorant and misinformed.  A public that is encouraged to regard what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Libya, etc, as a confusing, disconnected array of events in need of Western intervention based on bogus notions of ‘humanitarianism’ or a ‘war on terror’, rather than the planned machinations of empire which includes a global energy war and the associated preservation and strengthening of the petro-dollar system.
Eric Zuesse has been writing extensively on events in Ukraine for the last year. His articles have been published on various sites, but despite his attempts to get his numerous informative and well-researched pieces published in the mainstream media, he has by and large hit a brick wall (he describes this here).
This is because the corporate media have a narrative and the truth does not fit into it. If this tells us anything it is that sites like the one you are reading this particular article on are essential for informing the public about the reality of the aggression that could be sleepwalking the world towards humanity’s final war. And while the mainstream media might still be ‘main’, in as much as that is where most people still turn to for information, there is nothing to keep the alternative web-based media from becoming ‘mainstream’.
Whether it involves Eric’s virtually daily pieces or articles by other writers, the strategy must be to tweet, share and repost! Or as Binu Mathew from the India-based Countercurrents website says: “It is for those who want to nurture these alternative communication channels to spread the word to tell the world about these avenues. ‘Each one reach one, each one teach one’ can be a good way to sum up.”
Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.