Preparing for War with Iran

US B-52 bombers land in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat

by Agencies , (Last Updated 17 hours ago)

DOHA: B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran have arrived at a major American air base in Qatar, the US Air Force acknowledged Friday.

Images released by the US Air Force’s Central Command show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Thursday night.

Others landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday in “southwest Asia,” the Air Force said. The US military in the past has described its presence at both the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and Al Udeid as “southwest Asia.”

The Air Force identified the aircraft as coming from the 20th Bomb Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

On Sunday, the White House announced it would send the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and the bombers into the Persian Gulf to counter Tehran. The Lincoln on Thursday passed through the Suez Canal on its way to the Persian Gulf.

The administration of President Donald Trump has not offered specific details of the threat allegedly presented by Iran.

On Wednesday, Iran announced it would begin backing away from its nuclear deal with world powers, a year after Trump pulled America from the accord. President Hassan Rouhani gave European leaders a 60-day deadline to find a way to shield Iran from U.S. sanctions targeting its economy and oil industry, otherwise, he said Tehran would begin to enrich uranium at levels closer to weapons-grade levels.

The European Union on Thursday urged Iran to respect the international agreement curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and added that the bloc aims to continue trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions. But so far, the EU and its member nations have not offered any new plans.

For his part, Trump said he wanted to speak to Iran’s leaders.

“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House.

There was no immediate reaction from Iran, which in the past has said it turned down Trump’s requests for meetings.

The Sixth Seal Will be in New York (Rev 6:12)

By Simon Worrall

PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2017

Half a million earthquakes occur worldwide each year, according to an estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to rattle your teacup. But some, like the 2011 quake off the coast of Japan or last year’s disaster in Italy, can level high-rise buildings, knock out power, water and communications, and leave a lifelong legacy of trauma for those unlucky enough to be caught in them.

In the U.S., the focus is on California’s San Andreas fault, which geologists suggest has a nearly one-in-five chance of causing a major earthquake in the next three decades. But it’s not just the faults we know about that should concern us, says Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake. As she explained when National Geographic caught up with her at her home in Portland, Maine, there’s a much larger number of faults we don’t know about—and fracking is only adding to the risks.

When it comes to earthquakes, there is really only one question everyone wants to know: When will the big one hit California?

That’s the question seismologists wish they could answer, too! One of the most shocking and surprising things for me is just how little is actually known about this natural phenomenon. The geophysicists, seismologists, and emergency managers that I spoke with are the first to say, “We just don’t know!”

What we can say is that it is relatively certain that a major earthquake will happen in California in our lifetime. We don’t know where or when. An earthquake happening east of San Diego out in the desert is going to have hugely different effects than that same earthquake happening in, say, Los Angeles. They’re both possible, both likely, but we just don’t know.

One of the things that’s important to understand about San Andreas is that it’s a fault zone. As laypeople we tend to think about it as this single crack that runs through California and if it cracks enough it’s going to dump the state into the ocean. But that’s not what’s happening here. San Andreas is a huge fault zone, which goes through very different types of geological features. As a result, very different types of earthquakes can happen in different places.

As Charles Richter, inventor of the Richter Scale, famously said, “Only fools, liars and charlatans predict earthquakes.” Why are earthquakes so hard to predict? After all, we have sent rockets into space and plumbed the depths of the ocean.

You’re right: We know far more about distant galaxies than we do about the inner workings of our planet. The problem is that seismologists can’t study an earthquake because they don’t know when or where it’s going to happen. It could happen six miles underground or six miles under the ocean, in which case they can’t even witness it. They can go back and do forensic, post-mortem work. But we still don’t know where most faults lie. We only know where a fault is after an earthquake has occurred. If you look at the last 100 years of major earthquakes in the U.S., they’ve all happened on faults we didn’t even know existed.

Earthquakes 101

Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with enough force to bring buildings down. Find out what causes earthquakes, why they’re so deadly, and what’s being done to help buildings sustain their hits.

Fracking is a relatively new industry. Many people believe that it can cause what are known as induced earthquakes. What’s the scientific consensus?

The scientific consensus is that a practice known as wastewater injection undeniably causes earthquakes when the geological features are conducive. In the fracking process, water and lubricants are injected into the earth to split open the rock, so oil and natural gas can be retrieved. As this happens, wastewater is also retrieved and brought back to the surface.

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Different states deal with this in different ways. Some states, like Pennsylvania, favor letting the wastewater settle in aboveground pools, which can cause run-off contamination of drinking supplies. Other states, like Oklahoma, have chosen to re-inject the water into the ground. And what we’re seeing in Oklahoma is that this injection is enough to shift the pressure inside the earth’s core, so that daily earthquakes are happening in communities like Stillwater. As our technology improves, and both our ability and need to extract more resources from the earth increases, our risk of causing earthquakes will also rise exponentially.

After Fukushima, the idea of storing nuclear waste underground cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Yet President Trump has recently green-lighted new funds for the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Is that wise?

The issue with Fukushima was not about underground nuclear storage but it is relevant. The Tohoku earthquake, off the coast of Japan, was a massive, 9.0 earthquake—so big that it shifted the axis of the earth and moved the entire island of Japan some eight centimeters! It also created a series of tsunamis, which swamped the Fukushima nuclear power plant to a degree the designers did not believe was possible.

Here in the U.S., we have nuclear plants that are also potentially vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, above all on the East Coast, like Pilgrim Nuclear, south of Boston, or Indian Point, north of New York City. Both of these have been deemed by the USGS to have an unacceptable level of seismic risk. [Both are scheduled to close in the next few years.]

Yucca Mountain is meant to address our need to store the huge amounts of nuclear waste that have been accumulating for more than 40 years. Problem number one is getting it out of these plants. We are going to have to somehow truck or train these spent fuel rods from, say, Boston, to a place like Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. On the way it will have to go through multiple earthquake zones, including New Madrid, which is widely considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous earthquake zones.

Yucca Mountain itself has had seismic activity. Ultimately, there’s no great place to put nuclear waste—and there’s no guarantee that where we do put it is going to be safe.

The psychological and emotional effects of an earthquake are especially harrowing. Why is that?

This is a fascinating and newly emerging subfield within psychology, which looks at the effects of natural disasters on both our individual and collective psyches. Whenever you experience significant trauma, you’re going to see a huge increase in PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicide, and even violent behaviors.

What seems to make earthquakes particularly pernicious is the surprise factor. A tornado will usually give people a few minutes, if not longer, to prepare; same thing with hurricanes. But that doesn’t happen with an earthquake. There is nothing but profound surprise. And the idea that the bedrock we walk and sleep upon can somehow become liquid and mobile seems to be really difficult for us to get our heads around.

Psychologists think that there are two things happening. One is a PTSD-type loop where our brain replays the trauma again and again, manifesting itself in dreams or panic attacks during the day. But there also appears to be a physiological effect as well as a psychological one. If your readers have ever been at sea for some time and then get off the ship and try to walk on dry land, they know they will look like drunkards. [Laughs] The reason for this is that the inner ear has habituated itself to the motion of the ship. We think the inner ear does something similar in the case of earthquakes, in an attempt to make sense of this strange, jarring movement.

After the Abruzzo quake in Italy, seven seismologists were actually tried and sentenced to six years in jail for failing to predict the disaster. Wouldn’t a similar threat help improve the prediction skills of American seismologists?

[Laughs] The scientific community was uniform in denouncing that action by the Italian government because, right now, earthquakes are impossible to predict. But the question of culpability is an important one. To what degree do we want to hold anyone responsible? Do we want to hold the local meteorologist responsible if he gets the weather forecast wrong? [Laughs]

What scientists say—and I don’t think this is a dodge on their parts—is, “Predicting earthquakes is the Holy Grail; it’s not going to happen in our lifetime. It may never happen.” What we can do is work on early warning systems, where we can at least give people 30 or 90 seconds to make a few quick decisive moves that could well save your life. We have failed to do that. But Mexico has had one in place for years!

There is some evidence that animals can predict earthquakes. Is there any truth to these theories?

All we know right now is anecdotal information because this is so hard to test for. We don’t know where the next earthquake is going to be so we can’t necessarily set up cameras and observe the animals there. So we have to rely on these anecdotal reports, say, of reptiles coming out of the ground prior to a quake. The one thing that was recorded here in the U.S. recently was that in the seconds before an earthquake in Oklahoma huge flocks of birds took flight. Was that coincidence? Related? We can’t draw that correlation yet.

One of the fascinating new approaches to prediction is the MyQuake app. Tell us how it works—and why it could be an especially good solution for Third World countries.

The USGS desperately wants to have it funded. The reluctance appears to be from Congress. A consortium of universities, in conjunction with the USGS, has been working on some fascinating tools. One is a dense network of seismographs that feed into a mainframe computer, which can take all the information and within nanoseconds understand that an earthquake is starting.

MyQuake is an app where you can get up to date information on what’s happening around the world. What’s fascinating is that our phones can also serve as seismographs. The same technology that knows which way your phone is facing, and whether it should show us an image in portrait or landscape, registers other kinds of movement. Scientists at UC Berkeley are looking to see if they can crowd source that information so that in places where we don’t have a lot of seismographs or measuring instruments, like New York City or Chicago or developing countries like Nepal, we can use smart phones both to record quakes and to send out early warning notices to people.

You traveled all over the U.S. for your research. Did you return home feeling safer?

I do not feel safer in the sense that I had no idea just how much risk regions of this country face on a daily basis when it comes to seismic hazards. We tend to think of this as a West Coast problem but it’s not! It’s a New York, Memphis, Seattle, or Phoenix problem. Nearly every major urban center in this country is at risk of a measurable earthquake.

What I do feel safer about is knowing what I can do as an individual. I hope that is a major take-home message for people who read the book. There are so many things we should be doing as individuals, family members, or communities to minimize this risk: simple things from having a go-bag and an emergency plan amongst the family to larger things like building codes.

We know that a major earthquake is going to happen. It’s probably going to knock out our communications lines. Phones aren’t going to work, Wi-Fi is going to go down, first responders are not going to be able to get to people for quite some time. So it is beholden on all of us to make sure we can survive until help can get to us.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

The Next Deadly Round Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

The Next Round in Gaza Will Be Deadlier

An Israeli-Palestinian truce ended the fighting but didn’t address the issues driving it.

Neri ZilberMay 8, 2019, 6:02 PM

Palestinian amputees break their fast at a community center that was destroyed during the two-day escalation, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 8. SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV, Israel—Every two months or so for the past year Israel and Hamas have engaged in a deadly but relatively limited round of violence—with the Islamic militant group firing rockets from the Gaza Strip and Israel responding with airstrikes for a day or two until international mediators step in and stop the fighting. The latest round over the weekend was the most lethal since the 2014 war but consistent with the pattern.

Yet there are signs—economic, military, and political—that this could be the last of the short-lived escalation rounds. Absent a more durable diplomatic arrangement between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza, the next engagement will likely be much broader and deadlier, and not so easily contained.

The proximate cause for this last round, like all the ones that came before, was economic. Hamas has attempted to break the 12-year blockade around the coastal enclave through the calibrated use of violence: negotiating via rocket and other means (including mass border protests) in order to extract concessions from Israel. Indeed, a cease-fire deal—what some term an “armistice”—between Israel and Hamas has been on the table since last fall. In return for a halt to the violence, Israel would countenance several far-reaching steps, loosening restrictions, to improve Gaza’s dire humanitarian conditions.

With tensions already rising on Friday, the senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said that, despite an agreed timetable, Israel was tarrying in implementing some of the clauses in the deal. “All the options are open, and we know how to cause Israel to fulfill the understandings,” he said. The next morning, Palestinian militant groups began firing rockets into Israel.

Hostilities ended two days later at essentially the same point from which they began: with the two sides haggling over the very same cease-fire deal. Israel, for its part, has now reportedly committed itself to move forward expeditiously on implementation in the coming days. Absent a more durable diplomatic arrangement between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza, the next engagement will likely be much broader and deadlier, and not so easily contained.

Tangibly, the cease-fire calls for tens of millions of dollars in Qatari cash to be moved into Gaza every month, paying for Hamas public sector salaries, subsidies for the poor and injured, and a United Nations-sponsored cash-for-work program for some 15,000 locals. In addition, Qatari-funded fuel shipments would resume, the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza would be re-expanded, and crossings into the territory reopened (all had been curtailed by Israel over the past week).

Humanitarian and development projects run primarily via the U.N. are also believed to be part of the agreement, helping to mend Gaza’s shattered health, water, sanitation, and energy sectors. Electricity generation would be improved via repairs to Gaza’s sole power plant and, later, via the introduction of new lines and solar power from Israel.

Israel also reportedly agreed to lift a third of its restrictions on the import of so-called dual use items—potentially utilized for military purposes—into Gaza, and to ease restrictions on some exports from Gaza.

It’s a long list of demands that, if implemented, would go some way in stabilizing the situation—but also bolstering Hamas’s power, which Israel is loath to do. Yet if the demands aren’t met then, as one Gazan politician told the Times of Israel, “all options would be on the table.” If this sounds eerily similar to last Friday’s threat, then that’s the point. Yet Israeli officials don’t even acknowledge there is a cease-fire, let alone the concessions they are being asked to make. That is likely not good enough this time.

In pure military terms, the options this last round on both sides seemed to increase exponentially. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the other Gazan factions fired over 600 rockets and mortars into Israel in less than 48 hours, causing widespread panic and bringing life in all of southern Israel to a halt. Three Israeli civilians were killed by rocket fire—the first civilian deaths since 2014 due to violence emanating from Gaza.

Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system performed well overall but was overwhelmed during one intense stretch of constant Palestinian barrages on Sunday. For the first time in five years, too, major cities in southern Israel were targeted on a sustained basis via longer-range projectiles. Another Israeli citizen was killed when a guided anti-tank missile struck his car near the Israel-Gaza border, a further sign of escalation.

In response the Israeli military struck back hard, bombing over 300 targets inside Gaza including several multistory buildings and the homes of militant commanders alleged to be staging grounds for military operations. Indicatively, after a long hiatus the Israeli military resumed the practice of targeted assassinations of high-value figures, one from Hamas and the other from Islamic Jihad. Over 20 Palestinians were killed in the two days of fighting, roughly half of whom were acknowledged militants.

The Israeli military under new Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has taken on a more aggressive approach in responding to violence coming out of Gaza. “This time it appears, any restrictions the IDF may have operated under, were lifted,” veteran Israeli military correspondent Ron Ben Yishai wrote in the Ynet news portal. In this the military is simply following the overall political and public mood inside Israel after months of periodic escalations—with each one growing more lethal.

Opposition leader Benny Gantz, himself a former army chief of staff, criticized the government’s policy, demanding a full military offensive. “We must restore the deterrence that has been eroded catastrophically for more than a year,” he said at the height of the weekend’s violence. More worrying for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were widespread criticisms from supporters within his right-wing camp after a cease-fire was reached.

“I think this is a failure for Netanyahu, and I am sorry I convinced people to vote for him,” one southern Israeli resident said. “Gaza decides when to start a war and when to stop it.”

Gideon Saar, a senior official from Netanyahu’s Likud party, aired rare criticism of his boss, tweeting that “the circumstances in which the cease-fire was reached are very lacking for Israel … [t]he time in between rounds of violence targeting Israel and its citizens is decreasing, while terrorist groups in Gaza are getting stronger. A [military] campaign was not prevented, but postponed.”

Conspicuous by his complete silence during the weekend’s escalation (and still) is former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman angrily resigned from Netanyahu’s government last November after a similar round of violence—and cease-fire—in Gaza, protesting what he called Israel’s “surrender to terror.”

After his successful re-election last month, Netanyahu is dependent on Lieberman’s small party to form a governing coalition in parliament. Lieberman, however implausibly, is being touted for a return to the defense ministry. But in exchange for his political support he has publicly issued a set of demands including a major shift in Gaza policy.

“I resigned because of a substantive difference: the prime minister supports an arrangement [with Hamas] and I support a [military] decision in the Gaza Strip. This isn’t a simple difference,” Lieberman said after the election.

The day after the rockets and fighter jets fell silent, Netanyahu told the Israeli public that “the campaign is not over and it demands patience and sagacity. We are prepared to continue. The goal has been—and remains—ensuring quiet and security for the residents of the south.”

Whether this “quiet” will be achieved via a true cease-fire arrangement with Hamas (despite Lieberman’s protestations) or a military offensive is now the key question. Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhaleh yesterday continued with the threats. “The last escalation was only a live fire drill in preparation for the major campaign that is coming,” he warned.

Neri Zilber is a journalist and analyst on Middle East politics and culture and an adjunct fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is the co-author, most recently, of State with No Army, Army with No State: Evolution of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, 1994-2018. Twitter: @NeriZilber

Antichrist Mocks Pompeo’s Demands

Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are known, serial, dedicated liars.(Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Pompeo in Baghdad to Pressure Iraq to Join Press Against Iran; Iraq Declines

Bolton and Pompeo are warmongers and like the idea of bullying Iran, and they are also closely tied to the fascist Likud Party in Israel, which has been plumping for a war on Iran for decades

byJuan Cole

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo made a surprise four-hour visit to Baghdad on Tuesday in connection to the panic he is trying to trump up, along with US national security adviser and Sheldon Adelson plant John Bolton about Iran supposedly planning to attack US troops in the Middle East.

For his part, Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in remarks to the press that Iraq will undertake to ensure the safety of the some 5,000 US troops in Iraq, who are helping the Iraqi army mop up ISIL remnants.

At the same time, Abdul Mahdi insisted that Iraq would not participate in any economic boycott of any country, which is to say that he declined to cooperate with the Trump administration’s attempts to squeeze Iran.

Iraqi sources said after the visit was over that Bolton offered to give Iraq a temporary waiver with regard to its trade ties with Iran. He may as well, since he is unlikely to get much cooperation from Shiite-ruled Iraq in the blockade on Iran.

The Trump administration has imposed an international financial blockade on Iran trade, which has no UN backing or basis in international law. Iran is in compliance with its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, according to UN inspectors. In contrast, the United States has breached that treaty by its blockade.

Tuesday night I watched Iranian president Hassan Rouhani give a speech in which he said that the 2015 nuclear deal is on life support, and that while Iran is not withdrawing from it, it will cease observing some self-limits it had imposed beyond the strict letter of the treaty. Iran will no longer limit enrichment of uranium to 3.67 percent (what is needed to make fuel for generating electricity). It has to be enriched to 95% for a bomb, but every increase above 3.67 percent is a tiny step toward the latter, and concerning to the world community. Rouhani said that Iran may also renovate the heavy water reactor at Arak. Heavy water reactors are much easier to use to make fissile material than light water reactors. I’m confused by this statement, since I thought bricking in the Arak proposed reactor was one of the four cardinal points of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Rouhani’s plans are foolish, since they just give ammunition to the US War Party, even though they are not steps toward a bomb.

The only two countries in the greater Middle East who actually have nuclear weapons are Israel and Pakistan. Iran does not, and apparently has never intended to develop such weapons, in part on religious grounds.

Pompeo and Bolton have not only claimed credit for sending a US aircraft carrier battle group to the Gulf but they have also sent four B-52 bombers to al-Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, in hopes of spooking the Iranians into doing something rash so that they can rally the gullible American public to a war on Iran. Qatar has correct relations with Iran, and this move puts Doha in a difficult position. Iran came to Qatar’s aid in 2017 when the Saudis imposed a blockade on it, at a time when Trump was tweeting lies about Qatar and siding with the Saudis.

US intelligence sources leaked to the US press such as The Daily Beast that Bolton and Pompeo are hysterically hyping the intel, which is not as specific or threatening as they are making it out to be.

The practice in journalism is to be cautious about calling people liars, since we cannot know what is in their heads, and what they say may be incorrect but a sincerely held belief. I think George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of that crew used the reluctance of journalists to call them out as liars to political advantage, and it may have helped Bush win a second term.

So let me be clear. Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are known, serial, dedicated liars. Bolton helped lie the US into the Iraq War. Pompeo assiduously lied about the Benghazi affair. Nothing they say about Iran should be given any credence whatsoever.

The American security establishment has seldom actually understood the relationship of Iran to Iraq’s Shiites. For the 8.5 years the Pentagon occupied Iraq, mostly in the Bush era, US government personnel were absolutely convinced that Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr was a cat’s paw for Iran. But the al-Sadrs think of themselves as arch Iraqi nationalists and Muqtada’s father had contested the top clerical post in Iraq with the Iranian Ali Sistani. Muqtada’s followers, poor Iraqis of the cities and the south, deeply resent Iranian influence in Iraq.

On the other hand, al-Sadr is a staunch anti-imperialist, who has said that if the US ever attacked Iran, his followers would defend it. In fact, al-Sadr is upset about the US pressure on Iraq to stop doing business with Iran, and said in late April that if Iraq was going to be put in the middle of Washington and Tehran, it was better that the US embassy be closed and the US kicked out of Iraq.

Iraq does billions of dollars in trade with Iran and depends on that country for electricity in some provinces.

Al-Sadr’s Sairoun Party has 54 seats in the 329-seat parliament and was a power broker who helped ease the current prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, into power.

Bush’s illegal war of aggression on Iraq is the gift that keeps on giving to the US fascists, since there are ways in which it now sets up Iran for similar treatment. I heard a congressman speaking on tv who had served in Iraq estimate that one-fifth of US troops killed in Iraq were killed by Iran or Iran proxies. That is such a bullshit statistic. There were never any Iranian troops in Iraq in that period, and many US troops who were killed by Shiite militias were killed by Sadrists or radical offshoots of Sadrism, which is to say, by Shiite Iraq nationalists who also disliked Iran (one group burned down the Iranian consulate in Basra). The US military also had this mysterious theory that Iraqi Sunnis could not use shaped charges against US tanks, and tended to count all shaped charge attacks as Iranian, even in al-Anbar province where there are no Shiites to speak of. The US invaded Iraq on the theory that its Sunni-dominated government was 2 years from having a nuclear weapon, but Iraqi Sunnis can’t get up a shaped charge, a technology that goes back to WW II?

Besides, no US troops would have been killed at all if the then president had not given them an illegal order to go occupy somebody else’s country. Using the fact that they faced resistance to this neocolonialism to stage more neocolonialism is fiendishly clever.

The Americans also assumed that Iraqi Shiites voted for fundamentalist parties because of Iranian influence on the elections, but the Da’wa (Islamic Call Party), which generally did well, was a longstanding Iraqi Shiite party representing the professional middle class and which rejected Khomeinism. Iraqis had their own reasons for voting as the did.

Ironically, the Shiite militia that the US generally got along with was the Badr Corps, which is more or less a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

It was pro-Iran Iraqi Shiite militias, helped by small numbers of advisers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, who did a lot of heavy lifting in defeating ISIL after the US-built Iraqi army collapsed, and it seems clear that despite denials on both sides, the US occasionally gave them air support. But Iran would have a right to be annoyed with the US for policies that led to the rise of ISIL on its borders in the first place.

Bolton and Pompeo and Trump don’t actually know anything about the Middle East nor do they care about the welfare of its people. Bolton and Pompeo are warmongers and like the idea of bullying Iran, and they are also closely tied to the fascist Likud Party in Israel, which has been plumping for a war on Iran for decades. Pompeo is in the back pocket of the Koch brothers Big Oil lobby, which would benefit from higher prices if there is trouble with Iran.

One Step Closer to the Final War

Strait of Hormuz

ANALYSIS: Iran and the US are one step closer to war

The Mossad told the US that Iran may be preparing to attack US assets in the Middle East, a step that would mean war

Yochanan Visser, 09/05/19 00:20

On Wednesday, Iran announced it would pull out of parts of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) with five world powers in reaction to increasing US sanctions and military pressure on the Islamic Republic by the US army in the Middle East.

Iran’s so-called moderate President Hassan Rouhani said the country would now keep enriched uranium within its own borders and warned that Iran could resume weapons-grade uranium enrichment within 60 days.

The announcement could lead to the collapse of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) since the UK has already made it clear that the move would have “consequences,” meaning re-introduction of sanctions against Iran.

That in turn, could lead to war with Iran.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday issued a thin-veiled threat to the US when he invoked God and said the Americans would be slapped and that there would be no other option other than “to stand against the devils, tyrannies and disbelievers.”

Khamenei was not only referring to the cancellation of Iranian participation in parts of the nuclear deal but also to preparations for military action against US assets in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf in particular.

The Israeli spy agency Mossad reportedly delivered intelligence to the US indicating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was preparing to attack American marine vessels and US bases in the Persian Gulf.

The Mossad warning came after the Trump Administration and media reported the US was deploying additional warships and military aircraft to the Middle East.

The US military recently deployed additional Aircraft Carrier Strike Groups, F-35 stealth fighters and B-52 bombers in the region while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an unexpected visit to Baghdad, where he apparently delivered a warning to the Iraqi government.

On Tuesday, US Central Command spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban said they there were “indications that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were making preparations to possibly attack US forces in the region.”

The US has warned Iraq that any attack on US forces, whether an assault by the IRGC or one of its Iraqi proxy militias, would be considered a declaration of war by the Trump Administration.

The Iran-backed predominantly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militias seem not to be deterred by the American warning and said defiantly that US military action in Iraq would lead to a general mobilization of forces.

The Trump Administration is now further upping the pressure on Iran by planning additional sanctions which will be implemented “very soon”.

“Expect more sanctions soon. Very soon,” Tim Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Bio Defense said in reaction to Iran’s announcement about the JCPOA.

Several Trump officials, furthermore, revealed that the US had intelligence Iran was moving short-range missiles via ships in the Persian Gulf to other parts of the region.

It is not clear if Iran could launch those missiles from the vessels or that they were to be delivered to Iran’s proxies and allies in the Middle East, CNN reported.

The American news organization claimed that the deployment of the B-52’s and the additional aircraft carriers was related to the Iranian missiles, but that seems far fetched.

The main concern currently is that Iran will attempt to close off the Strait of Hormuz or the Bab el-Mandeb waterway at the entrance of the Red Sea.

Both waterways are of great importance because of the fact that a large part of the West’s oil supply passes through them.

The Pentagon is now considering sending additional firepower to the region to protect US forces in the event of an Iranian attack.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf peaked after a mysterious incident occurred involving a huge Iranian oil tanker.

The Iranian vessel had serious problems near the Saudi port of Jeddah in the Red Sea on April 30 after it faced “engine trouble,” according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch foe, later confirmed that it had received an official request from Iran’s UN delegation to assist the crew of the tanker which, according to Marine Traffic.com, was stuck near Jeddah.

The Saudis reportedly rescued the crew and are trying to prevent an ecological disaster, but it is possible that the tanker was not carrying only oil.

A crew member of the tanker, the Happiness 1, reported that the vessel was hit by a missile or that a missile on board the ship exploded, causing a hole in the engine room.

The crew member said there had been “intelligence pressure for this story not to be leaked”.

None of the crew members was willing to discuss what exactly had happened on the ship, the man wrote on Telegram.

The Happiness 1 was reportedly on its way to Syria when it was hit by the explosion.

 

Iran Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Iran was unseen hand behind Gaza rocket strikes, former Israeli national security adviser says

May 9, 2019

“Why did the Islamic Jihad do this? The answer is again and again and again – Iran,” former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror said.

By FPI

Iran directed its terror proxy Islamic Jihad to tie up Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip in order to free up Iran’s forces to do what they want to unhindered in Syria, a former Israeli national security adviser said.

Why did the Islamic Jihad do this?” Yaakov Amidror asked. “The answer is again and again and again – Iran.”

Islamic Jihad, unlike Hamas, is a completely owned and operated Iranian subsidiary, Mr. Amidror said. “It was established by Iran, financed by Iran, and does what Iran wants it to do.”

In an interview with The Israel Project, Mr. Amidror said he traced the recent round of rocket attacks on Israel to May 3, when an Islamic Jihad sniper fired on IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza border, wounding two officers. Israel responded and killed two Hamas men, and then the rocket barrage began from Gaza.

What made the May 3 shooting on the IDF patrol interesting, Mr. Amidror said, was that it took place precisely when Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders were in Cairo putting the finishing touches on an agreement drawn up by Egypt that was designed to ease the tension in the region.

In a statement issued on May 5, Islamic Jihad said that it was ready to wage an “open confrontation” with Israel. It said that the continuation of Israeli military strikes “will be met with a similar and large-scale response” targeting all Israel.

In a separate statement, Islamic Jihad announced that six of its men were killed in Israeli military strikes over the weekend.

Iran’s motive for sparking the conflict, Mr. Amidror said, is that “Israel will be busy focusing on Gaza and not have enough energy to deal with the building up of an independent war machine in Syria.”

Hamas, Mr. Amidror said, was “dragged” into the current escalation by Islamic Jihad. He added that whatever is agreed upon in Cairo – whatever arrangements are reached regarding fishing rights, the economy and the transfer of Qatari funds – “at the end of the day, it will be destroyed by Islamic Jihad if Hamas does not take control and do what it should as an organization that is in control of the Gaza Strip.”

Mr. Amidror, a former head of Military intelligence’s Research Department and currently a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said that Islamic Jihad miscalculated in thinking that Israel would not retaliate during the week of Remembrance Day and Independence Day – and with the Eurovision song contest scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv later this month.