Iran nuclear ready within two years (Daniel 8:4)

Iran could get nuclear weapon within two years, intel assessments find

By ANNA AHRONHEIM,TOVAH LAZAROFF

Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon within two years, if it steps up work on its nuclear program and violates the 2015 deal with the West, according to a recent Israeli intelligence assessment.

The assessment was released as the controversial US-led summit against Iran opened in Warsaw, where Israel is expected to pressure the European Union against trying to prop up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action following the American withdrawal last May.

In the Polish capital, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke openly about the possibility of war with Iran, and the possibility of a new alliance of Arab states with Israel, in the event of such hostilities.

“I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran,” Netanyahu said next to an outdoor skating rink in a short video clip his staff filmed for his Facebook page.

“What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” he said.

Israel has worked not just to block Iran’s accelerated nuclear activity, but has also attempted to stem its increased military activity along the North.

Before he boarded a plane to Warsaw Tuesday night, Netanyahu confirmed that Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria on Monday. Prior to heading to the ministerial meeting, he said Israel is working to oust Iran from Syria.

“What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria. We are committed to doing this,” he said.

Israel considers Iran’s nuclear program as the nation’s No. 1 concern, and, according to the assessment, if the Islamic Republic does decide to renege on the agreement, it would take it one year to produce enough fissionable material to make a nuclear bomb and then another year to actually make the weapon device.

According to the assessment, Iran is contemplating how to deal with American sanctions in the hope that President Donald Trump will not be reelected in 2020 and a new and more pragmatic president would be elected, or to signal to the West that if the current status quo remains, it, too, will leave the agreement and return to enriching uranium.

Under the JCPOA, Tehran is prohibited from transferring any weapons to third countries, but Iran, which possesses more than 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, is suspected of continuing to smuggle weapons to countries and non-state actors such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Nevertheless, it is believed that Iran is continuing to develop the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapons arsenal as well as produce ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, despite new US sanctions placed on Iran meant to pressure Tehran over its military activity in the Middle East.

Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons, and agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions as part of the JCPOA signed in 2015 between Iran and the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany.

While US sanctions have largely succeeded in convincing Western businesses to cut ties with Iran, countries such as France, Germany and Britain have begun nondollar trade with Iran to avert US sanctions, to keep the deal with Iran alive.

Though Iran’s economy has improved since the signing of the deal, the average Iranian has not felt it, with high unemployment and growing inflation due to the sanctions, with a rise in the price of bananas over the past year by 165%, 50% in meat prices, 103% in tomato prices, and 15% for housing.

While the spark for the protests has been the economy, protesters have also taken to the street denouncing the Islamic Republic’s role in conflict zones such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza, burning pictures of the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who is in charge of Iran’s policy in those countries.

US envoy Jason Greenblatt, who is in Warsaw, tweeted in advance of the conference that “Iran is the primary threat to the future of regional peace/security.”

Netanyahu is also set to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the conference to discuss Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed the conference as a “desperate anti-Iran circus.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Europe to distance itself from the US.

“Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them,” he wrote. “Iran must not retreat a single step from national and revolutionary values.”

US President Donald Trump’s attorney and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, called for Iranian regime change on Wednesday ahead of a US-backed Middle East summit in Warsaw.

“Everyone knows that Iran is the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world. There isn’t a single government there that disagrees with that,” he said.

“The reality is, Iran should be isolated until Iran changes. If they can do what our government, American government, other governments, believe and make policy change within, I would be satisfied with that, although skeptical. If it results in regime change, I think that would be a cleaner solution,” Giuliani said.

He spoke ahead of a rally to show support for the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a bloc of opposition groups in exile that seeks to end Shi’ite clerical rule in Iran.

Protesters banged drums, chanted and waved flags and placards outside the summit venue at the National Stadium. They were protesting the current regime and its human rights violations.

One Iranian protester, Mahmoud Masoudi of Germany, said they came to Warsaw to support NCRI head Maryam Rajavi.

She is “our leader and the only alternative to the dictatorship in Iran,” he said. “This is the basic reason that all of us are here today. And we think it is the time to support the NCRI… which includes the most democratic groups in Iran against the Khamenei regime, against dictatorship in Iran, the religious dictatorship.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Israel Prepares to Attack Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Israel preparing major new attack on Gaza

Israeli forces fire at Palestinians during the Great March of Return on 2 February 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

February 14, 2019 at 12:19 pm

The Israeli military is preparing for a major new offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi – who was sworn in last month – “has already prioritized preparations for a potential Gaza war,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. “Kochavi has approved operational plans for combat and set up an administrative unit to handle the formation of a list of potential targets in the Strip”, the paper added.

Haaretz noted that Kochavi has “recently visited the Southern Command headquarters and met with top commanders in charge of operations in the area” and “also ordered two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to be manned”.

The report claims that the army’s preparations are based on an “assessment” by the Israeli military intelligence’s research division that Hamas – which governs the besieged enclave – may seek a military confrontation “in a bid to obtain international involvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza”.

READ: Hamas asks UN to pressure Israel to commit to truce

According to the “intelligence assessments”, Hamas has grown frustrated with the lack of progress in talks with Egyptian mediators and now believes that “only an extreme move” will lead to any change in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The same article notes that Israeli intelligence believes a Palestinian revolt in the occupied West Bank is also more likely in light of the fact that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ rule is nearing its end.

As is well known, “the relative quiet in the West Bank is maintained mainly due to Israel’s military and intelligence activities carried out by the army, police and Shin Bet”, Haaretz stated.

Another Shake Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Report: New York City is overdue for a major earthquake

If a 5.0 Earthquake were to hit New York City, there could be $39 billion dollars worth of damage and 30 million tons of rubble… and experts say the city is overdue, according to the Daily Mail. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.

Buzz60

At least one person in the Rochester area reporting feeling the second small earthquake to strike under Lake Ontario in the last week.

The latest temblor, which had a magnitude of 2.4,  occurred shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. It was 6.2 miles below the surface.

The epicenter was about 7 ½ miles out from the Canadian shore of the lake, roughly 23 miles east-southeast of downtown Toronto and 75 miles west-northwest of the Charlotte pier in Rochester.

Tuesday’s quake comes just four days after a 1.5-magnitude temblor was detected under the lake about 22 miles north of the Ontario-Williamson town line in Wayne County. That quake struck just before 4 a.m. Friday and occurred about 3¼ miles below the surface.

No one reported feeling that tremor, which was much too small to do damage.

But social media lit up Tuesday evening with surprised statements by people in metropolitan Toronto who felt the Earth shudder, and the U.S. Geological Survey received 20 reports from people who sensed the quake.

One report came from someone in the Victor, Ontario County, area. Another came from someone in Buffalo, a third from someone in Oceanside, Nassau County and a fourth, somewhat improbably, from a person in Columbus, Ohio. The other 16 were from residents of Ontario, Canada.

The Geological Survey releases only the location of respondents, not names.

Why one person in Victor would feel the tremor at a distance of 90 miles isn’t clear. Generally, smaller quakes tend to be felt by relatively few. People who are indoors on an upper floor and who are in a quiet environment with few distractions are most likely to sense such a quake, experts say.

According to the non-linear math of earthquake science, Tuesday’s tremor was eight times bigger than the one last week, and released 22 times more energy. At magnitude 2.4, it was near the threshold where property damage is possible. None was reported.

Small earthquakes of this nature are common in New York and eastern Ontario. Nine temblors have been measured so far this year in New York. Tuesday’s was the first in Ontario, according to a list maintained by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

SORR@Gannett.com

The Iran Horn boosts nuclear activities

Iran to boost nuclear activities, uranium enrichment

Alfredo Boyd

Iran is ready , the spokesman for for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on Sunday during a visit to a park in Qazvin.

Behrouz Kamalvandi said that this would include boosting uranium enrichment to 190,000 Separative Work Units. The announcement could raise concerns in Europe about Iran’s goals under the Iran Deal and comes amid US sanctions that were put in place last year after the US withdrew from the Iran Deal.

In July 2018, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned that Iran would increase its uranium enrichment. “Some European governments expect the Iranian nation to both put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities.”

Iran constructed a new factory to create centrifuge rotors last year. French Foreign Minister Jeaan Yves Le Drian warned Iran last year about the plan to increase uranium enrichment.

SWU is a measure for work involved in separating isotopes of uranium, the aim of which, according to an article at the website of Federation of American Scientists, is to increase the concentration of “one or more isotopes… A typical enrichment process consists of a number of centrifuges arranged in the form of a cascade.”

SWUs are expressed in terms of kilograms or metric tonnes, the article notes. According to the text of the Joint Comprehensive. Plan of Action, Iran was supposed to “keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kg of up to 3.67% enriched uranium.”

In July 2018, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI, said that Iran had constructed an advanced factory during the course of the Iran deal negotiations and that instead of taking another eight years, the factory would be ready in ten months, according to Iran’s Fars News. This raised eye brows last year, but the new announcement goes even further. Iran had asserted in 2014 that it would take eight years to get to the level of 190,000 SWUs. It now claims it might reach that level this year or next year. Compared to other enrichment programs, such as India, the figure is still quite small.

Iran is now expected to unveil new information in March or April claiming to have made “achievements in the mass production of Oxygen 18,” according to Iran’s Press TV.

This is a “major leap,” according to Kamalvandi. He argued that the isotopes developed would have medical applications, avoiding the nuclear arms issue. “Only five countries can produce Oxygen 18,” he said.

Salehi said that researchers at its Khandab site, the Arak heavy water plant, were able to produce oxygen 18 with 97 percent purity at 60kg per year.

After the Iran Deal, Tehran sought to renovate this site according to Iranian accounts. In April of 2017 Iran signed an agreement with China to modernize the heavy water reactor.

Overall the recent Iranian announcements appear aimed at showing that sanctions will not deter them and that they will increase their nuclear capabilities.

Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Race (Daniel 8:8)

Protection rocket Saudi Arabia’s missile race

A new rocket factory is stoking fears of nuclear proliferation

IN 2016 Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, announced the latest stage of “Saudisation”—the replacement of foreign workers with Saudi ones. It now appears the policy does not stop at swapping out bankers and bakers, but extends to ballistic missiles.

Satellite photos analysed by researchers from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and reported by the Washington Post, appear to show that Saudi Arabia has been building a factory for rocket engines, at an existing missile base in al-Watah, south-west of Riyadh. It seems to be configured for solid-fuel rockets, which can be launched more quickly than liquid-fuelled ones.

Saudi Arabia is no newcomer to missiles. Having watched Iran and Iraq fling them at each other during the 1980s, it bought a few dozen DF-3 missiles from China in 1987. It came close to unleashing them after being struck by Iraqi Scud missiles during the Gulf war in 1991. In the 2000s it probably picked up a batch of newer, more accurate Chinese DF-21s.

Iran, the kingdom’s arch-rival, has been honing its missile force despite Western opposition and UN rebukes, conducting 135 test launches since 1990. On December 1st it tested one thought capable of comfortably reaching any corner of Saudi soil (see map). In January Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran’s national security council, insisted that although his country was not looking to expand the range of its missiles, “it is continuously working on increasing the precision.” That is reassuring for Europeans and Americans; less so for Saudis.

Nor is Iran the only concern. Hizbullah, a Lebanese militant group nurtured and armed by Iran, has a growing arsenal of missiles; some can already reach the north-western parts of Saudi Arabia. Israel is also armed to the teeth. Though Prince Muhammad is on good terms with the Jewish state, satellite images published in 2013 reportedly showed that one of the Saudi DF-3 launching pads at al-Watah was set in the direction of Tel Aviv.

Because missiles are ideal delivery systems for nuclear weapons, news of the plant has also revived worries about Saudi Arabia’s atomic intentions. America’s abandonment of a multinational nuclear deal with Iran last year has increased the risk that Iran will resume large-scale enrichment of uranium. Saudi Arabia has vowed to keep pace. It wants to build two nuclear reactors and insists on its right to enrich uranium (and to reprocess spent fuel from those reactors, another path to a bomb). “Without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb,” warned Prince Muhammad last March, “we will follow suit.” The Trump administration has refused to sell civil nuclear technology on these terms.

So the Saudis may turn to other nuclear friends. Western diplomats and spooks have long been concerned that Pakistan, whose own nuclear programme was bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, might be a ready supplier of know-how, fuel or bombs. In 1999 Saudi Arabia’s then defence minister horrified American officials by touring Pakistan’s nuclear facilities and meeting A.Q. Khan, the scientist who sold nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Ties remain close. Prince Muhammad was due to agree on $14bn of investment in Pakistan during a visit to the country on February 16th.

Another option lies further east. Michael Elleman, a missile expert at IISS, a think-tank, says he is almost certain that the apparent rocket factory was “designed, equipped and constructed by an outside entity”. Saudi Arabia has “no capacity” for such a project. The facility, he notes, closely resembles a Chinese one in Lantian. Saudisation, evidently, has some way to go.

This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline “Protection rocket”

Iran WILL Resume Uranium Enrichment

Iran May Resume Uranium Enrichment, Israeli Intel Assesses

Amos Harel13.02.2019 | 17:00

Israel’s 2019 military intelligence estimate says Iran has not violated the nuclear agreement, but pressure from economic sanctions and the American withdrawal from the deal may change that

Iran’s President Hassan Rohani speaks during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2019.Presidential Website/Handout via Reuters

The Israeli army’s intelligence assessment for 2019 states that Iran could adopt a more defiant approach on its nuclear project. Nevertheless, the intelligence branch of the army’s general staff says Iran has not yet decided to blatantly violate its nuclear accord with the major powers, an accord from which the United States withdrew last May.

The army’s Intelligence Corps sees a historic opportunity in the coming year, in which the West can increase pressure on Iran and curb Tehran’s actions. It also describes the Iranians as the “cornerstone” of the security challenges facing Israel.

As Haaretz reported in October 2018, military intelligence officials believe that the economic pressure being applied on Iran by the United States via the resumption of sanctions is working well and having a major impact on the Iranian economy and the Iranian regime’s circumstances. The renewed sanctions are putting unprecedented pressure on the regime and creating a level of crisis unlike anything it has experienced in the 40 years since the Islamic Revolution. In recent months, the price of meat, for example, has gone up by 50 percent and prices for some fruits and vegetables have more than doubled.

The Intelligence Corps does not foresee a popular uprising against the regime, but it has seen an increase in the number of protests in which a large number of professional associations have been involved. Some of the demonstrations are occurring in areas that up to now had been considered power centers of the Iranian authorities. These domestic developments are believed to reflect a significant change in the situation in Iran, as military intelligence sees it, but the regime has so far been able to cope skillfully and effectively.

The intelligence assessment is that Iran has not violated the international nuclear accord so far. If Tehran does decide to stray from the accord, it will take it at least a year to produce enough fissile material to manufacture a nuclear bomb and a total of two years to make a bomb.

There is disagreement among Iranian leaders about whether they should signal their displeasure with the sanctions and the situation that followed the American withdrawal from the accord by renewing enrichment activity, in violation of the pact. If the sanctions pressure continues, a decision could be made to go ahead with enrichment.

But some in Tehran predict that Donald Trump will be a one-term president and that the best approach is to wait until he leaves office in 2021 and avoid a direct confrontation with the world powers over a violation of the accord. Military intelligence officials see an intention on Iran’s part to expand the operations of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq, which is also an alternative path of influence in light of how the Iranians’ efforts to entrench themselves militarily in Syria are being thwarted by Israeli actions. In western Iraq, the Iranians are seeking to deploy Shi’ite militias, medium-range missiles and other weaponry that will enable them to threaten Israel from there and at the same time safeguard a land corridor for the transfer of weapons and forces from Iran to Syria and Lebanon.

Israeli officials are pleased with the relative success of the efforts against Iran in Syria. The economic crisis in Iran caused by the sanctions has also led to a sharp reduction in the monetary assistance sent to the Lebanese-based Hezbollah militia group. That is causing hardship in the ranks of the group, providing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah less room for maneuver.

Iran is Prepared to Strike Israel

Khamenei: Iran has presence near Israel’s borders, talks with US can only ‘harm’

In statement ahead of US-led Mideast conference in Warsaw, supreme leader says any negotiations with Washington would be an ‘unforgivable mistake’

By Agencies and TOI staff

13 Feb 2019, 6:40 pm

Iran’s supreme leader said Wednesday the Islamic Republic has a presence near Israel’s borders and is supporting militant groups throughout the region, adding that any negotiations with the US will “bring nothing but material and spiritual harm,” in remarks ahead of an American-led meeting on the Middle East in Warsaw.

The comments from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were part of a seven-page statement read word for word on Iranian state television and heavily promoted in the run-up to its release. They also come two days after Iran marked the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.

“Today the challenges concern Iran’s strong presence near the borders of the Zionist regime, putting an end to the United States’ unlawful infiltration in Western Asia, the Islamic Republic’s support for the Palestinian people’s resistance at the heart of the occupied territories as well as defending the high-flying flag of Hezbollah and the resistance throughout this region,” Khamenei said.

The US said it was confronting Iran’s influence in the Middle East and that it was currently concentrating on “preventing the transference of sophisticated Iranian weapons to resistance forces,” a reference to Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.

Hezbollah supporters watch a video screening of a speech by the group’s head, Hassan Nasrallah, to mark the 11th anniversary of the end of the 2006 war with Israel, in the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon, August 13, 2017. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria to thwart attempts to smuggle weapons to the Hezbollah terror group and keep Iranian-backed forces from entrenching themselves near the border.

“About the United States, the resolution of any issues is not imaginable and negotiations with it will bring nothing but material and spiritual harm,” Khamenei added.

The supreme leader went on to describe any negotiations as an “unforgivable mistake.” He also said any talks would be akin to “going on your knees before the enemy and kissing the claws of the wolf.”

In 2015 Khamenei approved talks between Iran and the United States that resulted in the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. The deal saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

However, that deal came under the administration of former US president Barack Obama. His successor Donald Trump last year quit the agreement, saying it provided Iran with relief without any substantial gains.

Since then, the United Nations says Iran has kept up its side of the bargain, though officials in Tehran have increasingly threatened to resume higher enrichment.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, during a cabinet meeting Wednesday, echoed Khamenei’s remarks, saying: “If the Iranian nation surrenders to the United States, it should surrender until the end.”

He said “Iran is about negotiation, but we are not ready to accept imposition, bullying, pressure and the trampling of our national rights.”

Amid the new tensions, Iran’s already-weakened economy has been further challenged. There have been sporadic protests in the country as well, incidents applauded by Trump amid Washington’s maximalist approach to Tehran.

However, some have suggested Iranian leaders meet with Trump in a summit, much like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Amir Mousavi, a former Iranian diplomat, has claimed that Trump sent a message to Rouhani last week requesting direct talks. Mousavi, speaking with Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen, said Trump is ready to visit Tehran and had sent several messages through intermediaries in Oman.

There has been no acknowledgment of such a request from Washington.

Iranian pro-government supporters burn the Israeli and US flags during a rally in Mashhad in support of the regime after authorities declared the end of the recent protests, on January 4, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tasnim News/Nima Najafzadeh)

The Warsaw summit, which started Wednesday, was initially pegged as focusing entirely on Iran. However, the US subsequently made it about the broader Middle East, to boost participation.

Before departing for Poland on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that the focus of the conference will be Iran, an issue he said “unites Israel, the United States, many countries in the world.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif predicted the Warsaw summit would not be productive for the US. “I believe it’s dead on arrival or dead before arrival,” he said.

Baghdad will follow the Antichrist’s lead concerning US troops

Baghdad will follow parliament’s lead concerning US troops: Iraqi PM

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Iraqi government will have no choice but to “obey” legislation from the parliament, but can still have its opinion concerning the US presence in Iraq, announced Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Within the framework of US-Iraqi-coalition cooperation Abdul-Mahdi explained during his press conference on Tuesday that he sees no mission besides training Iraqi forces and assisting in the ISIS fight.

He added that his meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday with US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was “good and fruitful.” 

They will “respect” and “obey” whatever decision the Iraqi parliament makes about the US troop presence. 

However, he insisted that the government can still have an opinion on the matter.

“Thus, what is being said in the press shouldn’t be taken as the final truth,” Abdul-Mahdi added.

US President Donald Trump has floated the idea of using bases in Iraq to watch Iran. Iraqi politicians quickly called the move unconstitutional and repeated that they do not want the country to be used as a battlefield between the United States or regional Arab countries and Iran. 

The PM’s remarks come at a potentially pivotal moment. Shiite parties allied with Iran insist that they will introduce legislation to the parliament when its recess ends to force US troops out of the country.

The majority of Shiite parties, including Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sayirun Alliance and Hadi al-Amiri’s Iran-linked Fatih have all rejected a US presence — many even before previous PM Haider al-Abadi declared the defeat of ISIS in December 2017.

The Sunnis and Kurds, however, have been more silent, but they generally agree that the US presence is needed in order to prevent pre-2014 conditions from returning and to continue efforts to train and professionalize Iraqi security apparatus. For Sunnis and Kurds, it is also a counterbalance to Shiite and Iranian hegemony in Iraq.

Abdul-Mahdi added they are “following” the battles against ISIS across Syria. And Iraq has set up “proactive” plans to protect its borders from any possible ISIS movements.

“The other side, the Syrian Democratic Forces, have large a number of Iraqi Daesh members. We will have repatriation actions for them,” the PM added, referring to ISIS suspects in SDF custody.

ISIS fighters remain in a 2 square-kilometer pocket in the border town of Baghouz, Syria. According to SDF’s spokesperson Mustafa Bali, the most “experienced” ISIS foreign fighters are there.

Logistical preparations are underway for the families of Iraqi members of ISIS to be relocated, Abdul-Mahdi added.

“Thus, we are getting prepared for everything. There are good military and security preparations,” added the PM.

Relations between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are “good,” according to Abdul-Mahdi. Reports of the Peshmerga returning to Kirkuk and other areas are “clamor with no basis,” he said.

“Things remain as they are. Actually, we have even bolstered the economic conditions in Kirkuk. We are closing any gaps that terror could exploit,” the premier added.

Last week there were sub-committees formed between the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and KRG Ministry of Peshmerga for cooperation, joint patrols, joint administration, and joint operation rooms in the disputed territories that could see the return of Peshmerga forces.

As for the oil export agreement with KRG, he added that there is an agreed upon “mechanism” and he reiterated KRG has to handover 250,000 bpd to SOMO.

Iraqi water improves in quantity and quality

“We pay great attention to water pollution,” said the Iraqi PM.  Five million cubic-meters of waste water runs into the Tigris.

He further added that the waste water has settled at the bottom of Diyala’s river. Because of recent flash flooding, the water has made its way into the desalination plants.

“The desalination plants became unhealthy. We had to stop distributing this water,” added the PM, saying they have resorted to water wells.

Still, he called the rain this year a “blessing” saying the water reserves of Iraq are being replenished and filled with this amount of rain water.

He also struck an optimistic view of agricultural yields. Baghdad expects them to increase this year due to a strong rainy season.

“In addition, the abundance of rain helped in elevating the quality of water,” claimed the PM, citing weekly water reports.

He also added that they estimate there are “5 billion cubic-meters” of water from the accumulated snow that will eventually melt. Thus Iraq might receive up to 30 billion cubic meters of water in total.

Iraq’s water problems sent thousands of Iraqis in Basra to hospitals last summer. It led to widespread protests which dashed the hopes of the former Iraqi PM’s reelection.

Turkey’s mega dam projects, and droughts, have all negatively impacted Iraq’s water reserves and the decreased water levels in the Euphrates and Tigris have damaged Iraqi agriculture. 

China Ready for Nuclear War (Daniel 7:7)

Tensions are building between the US and China in the disputed South China Sea (Image: GETTY)

Nuclear competition between the US and China has been building for years as Beijing takes steps towards the development of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Washington is attempting to limit China’s military build-up in the South China Sea. The contested strategic strait in the Pacific Ocean is claimed by China and neighbouring Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

A successful test of China’s new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the JL-3, is cause for concern in Washington, The South China Morning Post reports.

The test has sent a message to the world China is ploughing on with a new class of strategic submarines, SSBNs, which could be equipped with nuclear-armed JL-3s.

Hong Kong-based military expert Song Zhongping said: “China needs to strengthen and improve its at-sea nuclear deterrent capability by increasing both the quality and quantity of its SSBNs and attack subs because the US is making every effort to restrain Chinese strategic subs from sailing further.”

He said the US’s moves “are aimed at undermining Beijing’s second-strike capability”, adding Beijing’s decision to develop more nuclear subs “was also pushed by the massive replacement of old generation submarine-launched ballistic missiles”.

South China Sea

Chinese aircraft carrier fleet operates during a training at South China Sea (Image: GETTY)

Donald Trump

Donald Trump on a visit to China in 2017 (Image: GETTY)

 

According to Zhao Tong, a fellow in Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Programme, based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, the US and its allies are stepping up their anti-submarine warfare in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Zhao said in a report the US stepping up its nuclear ambitions was contributing to mistrust between the two superpowers and raising the possibility Beijing may re-think its “no first use” nuclear weapons policy, which has been in place since the first Chinese nuclear test in 1964.

In a separate report, the Washington-based US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said Beijing was looking at expanding its nuclear delivery systems, setting off debate in China over whether its nuclear arms should be used only as a deterrent and not as a “first strike”.

The threat of escalating tensions between China and the US comes after the Trump administration withdrew from a historic nuclear weapons accord struck between the US and Russia.

 

South China Sea: China are ‘bullying’ US allies claims Jack Keane

In October when he announced plans to withdraw from the decades-old deal, Trump said his decision had been influenced by a need to respond to China’s nuclear build up.

Meanwhile Bryan Clark of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has argued China already has the ability to control the South China Sea.

He said: “China has the ability to control the South China Sea because it has established escalation dominance in that area.

“China now has the world’s largest navy, which has more than 300 ships.

“If you want to be able to conduct sea control in a region, having a big navy is a valuable part of that.

“China is able to focus the attention of that navy on near seas to an extent that its competitors like the US cannot.”

Bolton Pulls a Cheney on Iran


“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. Daniel 12:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton John Bolton speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2014. (Shutterstock)

In the wake of reaffirmation of Tehran’s readiness to attack Israel and America by top-ranking Iranian officials, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton told Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who celebrated 40 years since the Islamic revolution in Iran, that “I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries to enjoy.”

“This week, Iran marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, and what a 40 years it’s been. Tyrannizing its own people and terrorizing the world. Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons, to intimidate peaceful people all around the globe and ballistic missiles to use as delivery systems,” Bolton said in a video uploaded by the White House.

He accused the ayatollahs of funding terror across the Middle East and causing massive suffering inside their own country, which features record high unemployment rates and a low-valued currency.

“So, Ayatollah Khamenei, for all your boasts, for all your threats to the life of the American president, you are responsible for terrorizing your own people and terrorizing the world as a whole. I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries to enjoy,” Bolton said.

Last week, Khamenei explained that the “Death to America” slogan is directed at U.S. President Donald Trump and Bolton, and will stand “as long as America continues its wickedness.”

Bolton’s remarks came the same day as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran that “if this regime makes the terrible mistake and tries to destroy Tel Aviv or Haifa, it won’t be successful, and it will be the last anniversary of their revolution they will ever celebrate.”

Netanyahu’s video response came following a threat by deputy head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps political bureau, Yadollah Javani, that “the United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets. But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”