Iran Talks About the Great Shia Cresent (Daniel 8)

Iran says Iraq, Syria conflicts gateway to spreading Islamic revolution worldwide

In front of a portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, mourners carry a flag draped coffin of an unknown Iranian soldier who was killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, whose remains were recently recovered, during a ceremony commemorating the death anniversary of Fatima, the daughter of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
In front of a portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, mourners carry a flag draped coffin of an unknown Iranian soldier who was killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, whose remains were recently recovered, during a ceremon
– The Washington Times – Tuesday, March 15, 2016
The chief of the hard-line Iranian military force that sees its mission as protecting the regime said Tuesday that Iran’s insertion into regional conflicts is helping Tehran spread its Islamic revolution around the world.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said in Tehran that “foreign military and security threats have all turned into an opportunity for Iran to spread the Islamic Revolution’s dialogue across the globe.”

Gen. Jafari’s stated goal is just the latest statement from a top Iranian figure about the country’s continued expansionist objectives and warlike rhetoric. The Obama administration has hoped for a softening of Iranian behavior in the wake of the nuclear deal in July hammered out by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and representatives from five other powers, but critics say there are signs that the agreement has emboldened Iran.

“The nuclear deal was a turning point,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East analyst at the American Enterprise Institute who strongly opposed the accord.

“It convinced the Iranian government that they could act without consequence, and it ended any budgetary constraints the Revolutionary Guards might have had,” Mr. Rubin said. “The Iranians played Kerry like a fiddle. His ambition is only matched by his naivete.”

The Revolutionary Guard includes the Quds Force, a combined special operations-intelligence unit that has been deployed to disrupt unfriendly other states in the region. The Revolutionary Guard is now fighting in Iraq and Syria, menaces Israel from Lebanon and aided the Houthi rebels in Yemen who toppled a pro-U.S. government there.

In Iraq, Iran is working with the Shiite Muslim-dominated government in Baghdad in the fight against the Sunni extremist Islamic State. In Syria, Iran is battling pro-Western rebels, as well as Islamic State and al Qaeda forces, to support its autocratic ally, President Bashar Assad.

Mr. Assad has committed atrocities against his own people with chemical and conventional weapons.
Iran is set to receive tens of billions of dollars in freed-up cash as a result of the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear programs. The Obama administration has conceded that there is no way to prevent some of that windfall from funding Iran’s overseas operations. The U.S. deems Iran the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism.

Gen. Jafari’s remarks at a ceremony in Tehran were reported in a brief dispatch by the semi-official FARS news agency.

Its headline: “IRGC Commander: Military Threats Turned into Opportunities for Iran.”
Bent on revolution?

Analysts say Iran seems determined, by actions and words, to signal that it remains a revolutionary regime bent on following through on threats to destroy Israel, bring “death to America” and one day raise an Islamic flag over the White House.

In a major provocation this month, Iran test-launched multiple ballistic missiles from ground silos capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran’s critics quickly responded by saying such tests violated a U.N. resolution calling for a halt, but not prohibition, on such tests. They said the launches were evidence that Iran would violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear accord is known.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, a key figure in the nuclear talks, insisted this week that the missile tests were for defensive purposes only and did not violate U.N. resolutions.

In January, the Revolutionary Guard seized two U.S. Navy patrol boats and 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian waters of the Persian Gulf after suffering mechanical trouble. In violation of international law, Iran exploited the detention by showing photos of surrendering Americans.

Said Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee: “I’m not sure which is worse — the ayatollah pinning medals on the chest of IRGC henchmen who conducted this illegal and provocative action or the shameful and dangerous lack of condemnation by senior administration officials.”

Gen. Ali Razmjou, a top naval commander in the Revolutionary Guard, said Tuesday that Iran had obtained thousands of pages of information from devices used by the U.S. sailors who were briefly held, according to The Associated Press, after probing the sailors’ laptops, GPS devices and maps. Gen. Razmjou told Iranian state television that the collection of information was within Iran’s rights under international law.

But the U.S. Navy’s chief of operations swiftly rejected that claim.

“They should not have been seized,” Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

In another provocation, Iran in January fired a rocket within 1,500 yards of a U.S. Navy carrier in the Persian Gulf.

A year ago this month, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, chief of U.S. Central Command, told Mr. McCain’s committee that Iran “continues to act as a destabilizing force in the region, primarily through its Quds forces, and through support to proxy actors such as Lebanese Hezbollah.”

This month, eight months after the nuclear deal was reached, Gen. Austin told the same panel, “We’ve not yet seen any indication that they intend to pursue a different path. The fact remains that Iran today is a significant destabilizing force in the region.”

Iran’s next big event may be the first launch of its “Simorgh” two-stage rocket to place a satellite in space, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports.

It would underscore that Iran may one day have an arsenal of rockets capable of striking the U.S.
The Simorgh is designed to carry a heavier payload than existing expendable rockets and was supposed to be launched six years ago. There is speculation that international trade and banking sanctions left Tehran with insufficient funds to keep to that schedule. Iran no longer faces those financial restrictions.

Iran first launched a satellite in space in 2009.

The scientists group said Iran appears ready to put a relatively crude reconnaissance satellite into space.

“Iran’s goal is presumably to learn and improve satellite construction, control and communications, and to systematically improve its launch capabilities,” the organization said in its blog All Things Nuclear, by scientist Laura Grego.

Iraq Cabinet Contests The Antichrist

Iraq cabinet warns Sadr protest camp ‘illegal’

Iraqi s hold banners demanding release of Farid al-Fadhili, one of shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr’s aides as they burn American flags in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. (AP)

The Scarlet Woman Takes A Huge Lead (Revelation 17:4)

Hillary Clinton Wins Four States, Adding to Delegate Lead
Hillary-Clinton-wins-Nevada-De

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton won critical presidential primaries in the industrial Midwest and completed her sweep of the South on Tuesday, as she took full command of a contest that has been far more competitive than expected at the start.
Rival Bernie Sanders was still hoping to win in Missouri, where the result was too close to call. But even a Missouri win for Mr. Sanders seemed nowhere near enough to change the dynamic of the race. Mrs. Clinton won in Ohio, Illinois, Florida and North Carolina, and blunted Mr. Sanders’s momentum from a win last week in Michigan. She widened her already formidable delegate lead and made it improbable he can catch up.

“We are moving close to securing the Democratic Party nomination and winning this election in November,” the former secretary of state and New York senator told cheering supporters in Florida, boasting that she has won more votes than any candidate in either party.

She took a swipe at Mr. Sanders, saying he should be more specific about his plans, but she lodged a wholesale indictment of Republican front-runner Donald Trump. “When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture—that doesn’t make him strong. It makes him wrong,” she said.
With 214 pledged delegates at stake, Florida was the night’s biggest prize, while Illinois had 156 pledged delegates and Ohio 143 up for grabs. They will be awarded proportionally.

Heading into Tuesday, Mr. Sanders was ramping up his attacks on Mrs. Clinton, and has vowed to fight all the way to the summer convention. But he may now face increasing pressure to back off and revert to his earlier role as a candidate primarily driving a progressive, populist message rather than pursuing a viable path to the nomination.

At his election night rally in Arizona Tuesday night, though, Mr. Sanders showed no signs of backing off. He pointed to Wall Street contributions to the super PAC supporting Mrs. Clinton and repeated his call that she release transcripts of her high-priced speeches to Wall Street firms.

“To my mind, if you’re going to give a speech for $225,000 it must be a really great speech,” he said. “And if it’s such a great speech, all of America should be able to read it.”

In a statement issued late into the night, Mr. Sanders said the race was still winnable.

“With more than half the delegates yet to be chosen and a calendar that favors us in the weeks and months to come, we remain confident that our campaign is on a path to win the nomination,” he said.
With nearly all precincts counted, Mrs. Clinton topped Mr. Sanders 64.5% to 33.3% in Florida, by 54.6% to 40.8% in North Carolina and by 56.5% to 42.8% in Ohio.

In Illinois, her margin was much closer, some 50.3% to 48.9% with 98% of precincts reporting.
Mrs. Clinton had been expected to easily win Florida, with the state’s demographics and rules barring independents from participating helping her. But Ohio was closely fought, and Mr. Sanders had hoped to parlay a victory last week in Michigan to the neighboring state. Both have seen a drain in manufacturing jobs, and Mr. Sanders put the blame squarely on free-trade agreements that Mrs. Clinton has long supported.

Mrs. Clinton completed a sweep of the South, where strong support from African-Americans pumped up her totals. But her Ohio win was more important, showing she could win in the industrial Midwest.

After Tuesday’s vote, Mrs. Clinton was assured of adding at least 253 delegates to her column, bringing her total pledged delegates, who are chosen by the voters, to more than 1,000. Mr. Sanders was sure to add at least 124 delegates, but he was on track to end the night more than 300 delegates behind. Including superdelegates, who can vote for any candidate they like, her total topped 1,400, more than double his.

At roughly the halfway point of the race, Sanders advisers say they now have the advantage, with friendlier states set later in the calendar. His campaign now looks ahead to contests next week in Arizona, Utah and Idaho, three states where aides have hoped to do well. But the next big delegate hauls aren’t awarded until April: first in Wisconsin, and then the giant prize of New York, where Mrs. Clinton lives and which she represented in the Senate for eight years.

ENLARGE

In Florida, Mrs. Clinton’s advantage was on display Tuesday in Miami, home to large populations of Hispanic and African-American voters who have gravitated to her campaign.

“I like that she’s a smart, charismatic woman,” said Bridgette Thornton, a 37-year-old African-American attorney, who cast her ballot at a Miami church. “It was a difficult choice for me, but I’m a practical person. Hillary has a better shot at winning the presidential election.”

The race was closer in Ohio, where Mr. Sanders hammered his anti-free-trade views in recent days. Mrs. Clinton tried to recast her trade message, but the attempt fell flat with at least some voters.
“The Clinton history with trade policies, that really just killed our area,” said Fred Woke, a 57-year-old radio announcer who voted for Mr. Sanders in Niles, in northeastern Ohio.

The question now is what tone Mr. Sanders will adopt in coming days. In the leadup to Tuesday’s contests, the Vermont senator targeted Mrs. Clinton’s record of support for free-trade deals, and for the backing she receives from an outside super PAC.

Earlier in the race, Mr. Sanders vowed to avoid negative attacks, but he has amped up his critique in the weeks since voting began. On the stump leading into Tuesday’s voting, he suggested Mrs. Clinton is in the pocket of Wall Street and connected her support for free-trade agreements to an exodus of manufacturing jobs across the Midwest.

The challenge for both Democrats is that Mr. Trump, should he win the Republican nomination, would be an unconventional opponent who could pick up some of Mr. Sanders’s populist arguments.
That has some Clinton backers anxious for Mr. Sanders to ease up. “The message of Sanders campaign has become personal attacks,” said Robert Zimmerman, a superdelegate from New York who backs Mrs. Clinton. “It’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous politically if he keeps up that tone. It could hurt plans for party unity and empower Republicans.”

Steve Elmendorf, a political consultant who backs Mrs. Clinton, agreed there will come a point when Mr. Sanders needs to let up, but he said it isn’t for Clinton supporters to say when. “When it becomes clear you cannot win, then you should unite behind the nominee of the party and try to beat the Republicans,” Mr. Elmendorf said. “It’s for him to decide when he can’t win.”

In 2008, Mrs. Clinton herself continued to compete in presidential-primary contests against then-Sen. Barack Obama even though he remained ahead in the delegate race the entire time.

“Even if he doesn’t think he will win the nomination, he’s trying to amass as many delegates as he can,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist. Delegates would give Mr. Sanders leverage at the party’s convention and demonstrate the strength of his movement, Mr. Trippi said, adding, “I don’t see him relenting.”

Sanders aides see a narrow path to the nomination to the nomination and say the senator will continue to fight for it. His fervent supporters, who continue to fill arenas, also hope he presses forward. “I think that you need to fight the fight ’til the end,” said Cindy Figh, 50, a massage therapist from Lithia, Fla., who shaved the name “Bernie” into her hair and came to see the senator speak last week in Tampa. “I just think that there’s a chance that he can pull it off.”

She rejected any suggestion that Mr. Sanders might damage Mrs. Clinton, whom she plans to support if she wins the nomination. “I think that this is part of politics,” Ms. Figh said. “We’re in the big-boy playground now, and sometimes your ball gets taken away.”

Steve Schale, a Democratic consultant in Florida who voted for Mrs. Clinton, said he doesn’t worry that the Sanders attacks will damage her, partly because Democrats are sure to unify if Mr. Trump is the nominee. “You want to get Democrats over the Sanders-Clinton thing, give them five seconds to think about Trump being within five feet of the nuclear codes,” Mr. Schale said.

Why Saudi Arabia And Pakistan Will Be Enemies At The End

Riyadh’s love for New Delhi worries Islamabad

ISLAMABAD – Riyadh’s growing love for New Delhi is causing serious concern to Islamabad as the country’s diplomats scrambled to stop the traditional ally from moving away towards the historic rival, The Nation learnt.
The diplomatic tremor came after Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country’s relations with Pakistan did not come at the expense of the Kingdom’s ties with India.
He expressed the hope that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Saudi Arabia early next month would see a “tremendous uplift” in bilateral relations.
Officials at the foreign ministry said the al-Jubeir’s statement was seen as a reaction to Pakistan’s diplomacy on Saudi tension with Iran, Syria and Yemen.
Calling it “a bombshell for most of us”, a senior official said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked his diplomatic corps to stand up and stop Saudi Arabia from going into the hands of India.
“Pakistan is a historic ally and will remain so,” al-Jubeir said in his statement, adding Saudi Arabia and India have a strategic relationship in all fields. He pointed out that Saudi Arabia had extensive economic relations with India. “We are the largest supplier of oil to India.”
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia had a community of almost 3 million Indians. “They are our doctors, bankers, engineers and teachers. They are by far the most peaceful non-Saudi community and we appreciate all their contributions to Saudi nation and society. They are an important bridge.”
Established in the 1960s, strategic ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have remained largely cordial, except during the erstwhile Pakistan People’s Party led government, which Saudis viewed with suspicion due to the PPP’s secular credentials and close relations with Iran.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – who recently visited Saudi Arabia along with Army Chief Raheel Sharif – enjoys exceptionally close ties with senior members of the Saudi royal family.
When Sharif was toppled in the bloodless 1999 Pakistani coup d’état, Saudi Arabia intervened and then military ruler Pervez Musharraf allowed Nawaz Sharif and his family to travel into exile to the kingdom.
“This is a bombshell for most of us. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked his diplomatic corps to stand up and stop Saudi Arabia from going into the hands of India,” a senior official told The Nation.
Mr Sharif, he said, believed Saudi Arabia has every right to have good ties with India but these should not be comparable to Pakistan.
“He wants the Saudi-India ties to remain within limits and has asked his men to work on this while he will also be in contact with the top leaders in Riyadh,” the official added.
Another official said, in the past, the United States too walked away from Pakistan preferring India. “Though the cases are different yet in case Saudi Arabia also follows the US, Pakistan will be diplomatically knocked out,” he remarked.
He said serious diplomatic efforts will be made to control the Saudi-India friendship from going too far. “The recent meetings of the PM and the army chief with the Saudi leadership have been positive and hopefully Adel Al-Jubeir’s statement would not be the policy of the Kingdom,” he added.
After coming to power in 2013, the incumbent PML-N government regained an enthusiasm for diplomatic and strategic ties with Saudi Arabia.
“This is a bombshell for most of us. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked his diplomatic corps to stand up and stop Saudi Arabia from going into the hands of India,” a senior official told The Nation.
Mr Sharif, he said, believed Saudi Arabia has every right to have good ties with India but these should not be comparable to Pakistan.
“He wants the Saudi-India ties to remain within limits and has asked his men to work on this while he will also be in contact with the top leaders in Riyadh,” the official added.
Another official said, in the past, the United States too walked away from Pakistan preferring India. “Though the cases are different yet in case Saudi Arabia also follows the US, Pakistan will be diplomatically knocked out,” he remarked.
He said serious diplomatic efforts will be made to control the Saudi-India friendship from going too far. “The recent meetings of the PM and the army chief with the Saudi leadership have been positive and hopefully Adel Al-Jubeir’s statement would not be the policy of the Kingdom,” he added.
The enthusiasm of Nawaz government to maintain close ties with Saudi Arabia was recently watered down when the Pakistani parliament decided to maintain Pakistan’s traditional policy of neutrality and non-interference in Middle Eastern affairs and refused to send troops to join Saudi-led combat forces in Yemen.
This decision was mainly motivated by a growing shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy, which is apparently becoming regional and China oriented in its outlook and calls for friendly relations with the country’s neighbours, including Iran, and fears that Pakistani involvement in the Middle East will negatively affect sectarian harmony and internal security of the country.
Defence analyst Lt-Gen Amjad Shoaib (r) said Pakistan was the only major military power in Saudi-led military alliance but other countries have their own political significance in the world.
“Pakistan needs a cautious foreign policy in this regard because we need to sustain our relations with Iran. The visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan is also due in coming days,” he added.
After Pakistan announced its National Action Plan against terrorism, criticism of Saudi Arabia’s alleged funding of madrasas and violent sectarian groups also increased.
Saudi Arabia’s 2014 defence agreement with India had also greatly disturbed Pakistani strategists and policymakers. However, analysts believed Pakistan will not want these factors to become permanent irritants in its relations with Saudi Arabia.
Lt-Gen Amjad Shoaib said that Pak-Saudi relations were historic and deep rooted. He said the kingdom’s better ties with India or any other country does not mean a threat to Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are leading members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. KSA was one of the strongest supporters of Pakistan during country’s wars with India, especially opposing the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
In 1969 pilots of the Pakistan Air Force flew aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force to repel an incursion from South Yemen. In the 1970s and 1980s, approximately 15,000 Pakistani soldiers were stationed in the kingdom.
Senior analyst Dr A Z Hilali also said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had historic bilateral relations which were based on religious grounds. He said the cooperation between the two countries covered several fields.
“Saudi Arabia always supports Pakistan and it is a time tested friend of our country. The Saudi forces are thankful to our military forces who provided them professional training,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has also negotiated the purchase of Pakistani ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Western countries speculate the kingdom secretly funded Pakistan’s nuclear bomb programme and seeks to purchase nuclear weapons from Islamabad to enable it to counter possible threats from the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ possessed by Iran, Iraq and Israel.
While KSA had supported Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir conflict, it has since endorsed the Paik-India peace process.
Defence analyst Lt-Gen Talat Masood (r) said Pakistan has its unchanged stance on Kashmir and wants to resolve all disputes with India through negotiations but India has never shown maturity in this regard.
Former ambassador B A Malik said, “The regional and global dimension of recently created KSA-led alliance must be kept in mind. The alliance should expand its goal beyond elimination of ISIS.” It should include the Kashmir, Palestine and other issues haunting regional peace into its agenda.
“The Middle Eastern monarchies must reform their political structures in order to make the alliance more inclusive, attractive and long lasting,” he added.

North Korea Prepares For More Nuclear Tests

North Korean leader says will soon conduct nuclear, missile tests
north-korea-nuclear-programme
22 Hours Ago

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country would soon conduct a nuclear warhead test and a test launch of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday.
Such tests would be in defiant violation of United Nations sanctions that were recently strengthened with the backing of China, North Korea‘s chief ally.
Kim made the comments as he supervised a successful simulated test of atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missile that measured the “thermodynamic structural stability of newly developed heat-resisting materials”, KCNA said.
Declaring that a nuclear warhead explosion test and a test-fire of several kinds of ballistic rockets able to carry nuclear warheads will be conducted in a short time to further enhance the reliance of nuclear attack capability, he (Kim) instructed the relevant section to make prearrangement for them to the last detail,” the agency said.
South Korea’s defense ministry said there were no indications of activities at the North’s nuclear test site or its long-range rocket station, but that North Korea continues to maintain readiness to conduct nuclear tests.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the North would lead itself to self-destruction if it did not change and continued the confrontation with the international community.
The North’s report comes amid heightened tension on the Korean peninsula as South Korean and U.S. troops stage annual military exercises that Seoul has described as the largest ever.
In the apparent re-entry simulation, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party carried pictures on Tuesday of a dome-shaped object placed under what appeared to be a rocket engine and being blasted with flaming exhaust. In separate images, Kim observed the object described by KCNA as a warhead tip.
The North has issued belligerent statements almost daily since coming under a new U.N. resolution adopted this month to tighten sanctions against it after a nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range rocket last month.
In 1962, the United States launched a ballistic missile with a live warhead in what was known as the Frigate Bird test. China conducted a similar test in 1966.
“What would be terrible is if the DPRK (North Korea) re-enacted Operation Frigate Bird or the fourth Chinese nuclear test and did a two-in-one,” said Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
“For now, though, it looks like a nuclear test and several missile tests in close succession,” he said.
Technology doubts
South Korea‘s defense ministry said after the North’s report that it still does not believe the North has acquired missile re-entry technology, which should include the ability to guide the rocket after it re-enters the atmosphere.
U.S. and South Korean experts have said the general consensus was that North Korea had not yet successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
More crucially, the consensus is that there have been no tests to prove it has mastered the re-entry technology needed to bring a payload back into the atmosphere.

The North, which has conducted four nuclear tests, also claims that its January nuclear test was of a hydrogen bomb, although most experts said the blast was too small for it to have been from a full-fledged hydrogen bomb.
The North also says the satellites it has launched into orbit are functioning successfully, although that has not been verified independently.
North Korea rejects criticism of its nuclear and missile programs, even from old ally China, saying it has a sovereign right to defend itself from threats and to run a space program putting satellites into orbit.
The new U.N. Security Council resolution sharply expanded existing sanctions by requiring member states to inspect all cargo to and from North Korea and banning the North’s trade of coal when it is seen as funding its arms program.
The foreign ministers of South Korea and China discussed the new sanctions against North Korea by telephone late on Monday and agreed it was important to implement them “in a complete and comprehensive manner”, China said on Tuesday.