Antichrist Bashes Trump as ‘Son of Gambling Halls’

Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr bashes Trump as ‘son of gambling halls’

Louis Casiano

An influential anti-U.S. Iraqi cleric who led a militia that battled American forces during the Iraq War lashed out at President Trump over social media with a series of insults that criticized his former casino empire and his medical deferments during the Vietnam War.

Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric, issued his remarks via a lengthy Twitter post on Monday,” the Military Times reported.

Al-Sadr has criticized U.S. involvement in the region and was a key leader behind some of the most fierce battles against U.S. troops during the Iraq War.

IRAQ’S OUTGOING PRIME MINISTER SAYD US TROOPS MUST LEAVE TO AVOID CRISIS

In his Twitter post, he made fun of Trump, saying his “voice and tweets are more strident than sound of donkey.”

“Your home is less stable than spider web. Your weapon is weaker than mosquito bites,” he wrote, before asking if Trump “forgot Vietnam, or are you anxious for a new swamp?”

The cleric also called the president the “the son of gambling halls.” Al-Sadr then urged his followers to come together and defend Iran if the U.S. invades the country.

Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attends Friday prayer at the Kufa mosque in Najaf, Iraq November. (REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani)

“Your intentions have become clear today. He who wanted to liberate us yesterday, today wants us on our knees,” he wrote. “If you want my advice, don’t be like your predecessor [former President George W. Bush] or else you shall regret it.”

Al-Sadr has criticized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, in a drone strike in Iraq last week.

Trump and Iranian officials have traded insults and threats in recent days with Iran vowing revenge and Trump promising to use military force should the Islamic Republic target American sites.

Iraq has become a flashpoint in the tensions between the two countries. On Sunday, Iraqi lawmakers approved a resolution to expel U.S. troops from the country.

On Tuesday, Iran said it fired surface-to-surface missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S troops. State media reported the attack was revenge for Soleimani’s death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iran’s retaliation for Soleimani is NUKES (Daniel 8:4)

Iran’s retaliation for Soleimani is to race toward a nuclear bomb

Josh Rogin

The head of Iran nuclear technology organization Ali Akbar Salehi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inspect nuclear technology in Tehran on April 9, 2019. (Iranian Presidency Office Handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The United States and Iran are locked in a tense and dangerous standoff following President Trump’s decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. But while the Iranian regime plots its revenge, its parallel effort to expand its nuclear program could be the spark that ignites a broader conflict.

Iranian officials are now openly threatening to target U.S. assets in the Middle East in response to the Soleimani killing. On Saturday, Trump threatened to attack 52 Iranian sites “if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets.” (On Tuesday, he backed off his threat to attack cultural sites.) The U.S. military is moving massive resources into the region, and U.S. forces are on high alert in anticipation of a possible military attack.

“I think we should expect they will retaliate,” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper told reporters Tuesday, saying the retaliation could come from Iranian-backed forces in the region or Iranian forces directly.

But officials and lawmakers say that while Iran contemplates military retaliation, a separate, even more dangerous retaliation is already underway. Iran is promising to relaunch its drive toward having the capability to build a nuclear weapon.

“The play that I think they are going to make in the short term is a dramatic escalation in their enrichment program,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told me. “A breakout and a race for a bomb is the most likely thing they will do.”

They’ve already started. On Sunday, Iran announced it would no longer abide by restrictions on uranium enrichment under the nuclear deal it struck with the United States and five other powers in 2015. The Iranian government did not specify to what level it would enrich uranium or on what timeline.

Trump responded on Monday by tweeting, “IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!” Graham said Trump is signaling that his threat of massive strikes on Iranian infrastructure extends to preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability.

“I think when the president says ‘no nuclear weapon for Iran,’ he means it,” said Graham.

Also, because Iranian nuclear sites like the Fordow enrichment facility are buried underground and therefore hard to hit, Trump would most likely target nonnuclear infrastructure like oil refineries, according to Graham.

“If they try to rapidly expand their nuclear program, they might lose their oil program,” he said. “The best way to stop their nuclear program is to crush the Iranian economy.”

Iran’s promise to ramp up its enrichment is surely meant to give Tehran leverage and also to pressure European countries who want to preserve the nuclear deal into pressuring Washington. The Trump administration, having withdrawn from the nuclear deal, is hard-pressed to call for its enforcement now.

By July, Iran had already breached a 300 kilogram limit for its stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent, a ceiling Tehran had promised to stay under until 2030, according to the nuclear deal. If that stockpile were enriched to higher levels, the timeline for Iran to produce a nuclear bomb would shorten dramatically.

Former national security adviser John Bolton tweeted that Iran’s announcement of enrichment was “another good day” because it revealed Iran had never made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons. “Now, it’s on to the real job: effectively preventing the ayatollahs from getting such a capability,” he said.

But the “real job” is actually avoiding a devastating war that would cost untold American blood and treasure and doom the region for a generation. Halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, while important, is just one piece of that larger puzzle. Diplomacy, sorely needed now, is the only alternative to this conflict.

Iran’s First Goal Is To Remove The US From Iraq

Mourners at funeral of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani –

Khamenei says US presence in the Middle East is ‘unacceptable’

• 08/01/2020

With tensions rising between Tehran and Washington, journalist Hamidreza Homayounifar is following developments from inside Iran. Speaking to Good Morning Europe, he said the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sees recent events as a watershed moment that could lead to the US being pushed out of the Middle East.

“The loss of the General must lead to the expelling of the United States from the region [as Khamenei sees it] because any government within the region which is from the people cannot accept their presence in the region anymore.”

Homayounifar details how Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran will not negotiate with the US as “the enmity with the US is ongoing and will never end.”

Iranians Accidentally Shoot Down Ukraine Jet

Video appears to show Ukrainian jetliner on fire before crashing in Iran, killing 176

JANUARY 8, 2020 / 8:13 AM / CBS NEWS

Unverified video from Iranian TV appears to show the Ukraine International Airlines flight on fire before it went down in a field just after takeoff in Iran, killing all 176 people on board. The video, which has not been authenticated by CBS News, appears to show the plane zig-zagging while descending before exploding into a fireball.

WATCH: Video shows Boeing 737 with 180 people on board on fire, crashing near Tehran pic.twitter.com/7cQMLF6bkY

— BNO News (@BNONews) January 8, 2020

CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports the Boeing 737-800, which was not a 737 Max, was only three years old. Ukrainian International Airlines says the plane was in good working order and was flown by one of its most experienced crews.

Iranian officials are indicating a mechanical failure — possibly an engine fire — may have brought down Flight 752. Video of the crash site taken right after the plane went down shows flames and debris scattered across a field.

Crews have reportedly found the black boxes but Iran will not give Boeing access to them.

“We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans,” Iran Civil Aviation Organization head Ali Abedzadeh said, quoted by Mehr news agency.

Van Cleave reports that the Boeing 737-800 generally has a strong safety record. This morning Boeing called the crash a “tragic event,” saying “our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers and their families.”

AFP reports that under the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization, of which Iran, Ukraine and the United States are all members, air crash investigations are led by the country where the accident occurred. However, according to aviation experts, the countries that are capable of analyzing black boxes are few — notably Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

First published on January 8, 2020 / 8:13 AM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thank Trump for a Nuclear Iran (Daniel 8 )

Thanks to Donald Trump, Iran Quickly Could Build a Nuclear Weapon

Iran on Jan. 5, 2019 announced it would no longer honor international restrictions on its enrichment of uranium, a key process in the production of nuclear weapons.

The announcement three days after U.S. president Donald Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps militia and one of the country’s top military leaders.

A U.S. Special Operations Command MQ-9 drone fired on a vehicle carrying Soleimani and a deputy militia commander at Baghdad’s international airport, killing both men.

Iran’s announcement regarding uranium enrichment “essentially sounded the death knell” of the 2015 nuclear agreement that then-U.S. president Barack Obama negotiated in order to keep Tehran from obtaining its first nuclear weapon, according to The New York Times.

“And it largely re-creates conditions that led Israel and the United States to consider destroying Iran’s facilities a decade ago, again bringing them closer to the potential of open conflict with Tehran that was avoided by the accord,” the Times noted.

Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal, weakening it without totally destroying it. Iran, Russia. China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union remained parties to the accord.

Lifting limits on enrichment leaves very little of the nuclear deal in effect. But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for preventing Iran from obtaining the bomb.

“Iran remains a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which prohibits it from developing nuclear weapons,” explained Edwin Lyman, a scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists in Massachusetts. “However, Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities could enable it to produce highly enriched uranium—uranium enriched to greater than 20 percent of the isotope uranium-235, which can be used to make a nuclear weapon.”

While the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not prohibit Iran from producing highly enriched uranium for peaceful purposes or for naval nuclear propulsion, the 2015 agreement restricted Iran from enriching uranium to greater than 3.67 percent uranium-235.

The 2015 deal’s numerical limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment program were intended to increase the “breakout” time it would take Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon if it were to make the decision to do so.

The 2015 agreement could not have physically prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but it would have provided additional time for the international community to respond before Iran could build a weapon.

As recently as May 2019, experts estimated Iran’s breakout time to be around one year. Lifting limits on enrichment could dramatically shorten that timeline, Lyman wrote. “The extent to which the breakout time will decrease will depend on what Iran does next.”

“Iran has said it will continue to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which presumably will enable the agency to closely monitor any increase in the number and type of installed centrifuges as well as the quantities of enriched uranium at various levels that Iran produces and stockpiles.”

It’s worth pointing out that Tehran hasn’t ejected international observers of its nuclear program. Iran’s foreign minister “held open the possibility that his nation would return to its provisions in the future — if Mr. Trump reversed course and lifted the sanctions he has imposed since withdrawing from the accord,” according to the Times.

Lyman urged a return to diplomacy.

“It is also important to note that Iran has made clear its decision is reversible if the United States ended its nuclear-related economic sanctions, which the 2015 deal required. Instead of ratcheting up pressure, which would give Iranian hard-liners the upper hand and could prod Iran to develop nuclear weapons, President Trump should take immediate steps to diffuse tensions, including recommitting to the terms of the nuclear deal. Only diplomacy—not military action—will make a peaceful resolution possible.”

But the time it would take for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon now is very short. Prior to Iran lifting limits on enrichment, experts estimated it would take the country a year to produce enough material for an atomic warhead.

If Iran takes the next logical step and builds up its stockpile of enriched uranium, the timeline for producing a nuke could shrink from a year to mere months.

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels  War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

Kashmir: A Nuclear Trigger (Revelation 8 )

Kashmir: A nuclear tinderbox

by Editor’s Mail , (Last Updated 13 hours ago)

Some people wish than an Indo-Pak nuclear confrontation was a myth rather than a reality. But, John Thomson, in his article ‘Kashmir: the Most Dangerous Place in the World’ thinks otherwise (Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Bushra Asif and Cyrus Samii (eds), ‘Kashmir: New Voices, New Approaches’). He gives cogent arguments to prove that the Kashmir issue could once again spark another Indo-Pak military confrontation with concomitant risks of a nuclear war. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also, inter alia, points out that ‘avoiding nuclear war in South Asia will require political breakthroughs in India-Pakistan’. India has been gearing up for a nuclear attack. It held mock exercises to withstand a nuclear attack (the Washington Post, January 22, 2013). The former Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra during an interview with the NDTV revealed that a letter given to President Clinton by PM Vajpayee had hinted that India was contemplating crossing the LoC as well as using nuclear weapons if Pakistan did not pull out its fighters from Kargil (Foreign Policy News, July 31, 2016). President Bill Clinton, on the eve of his visit to the subcontinent, called the ceasefire line that divides Kashmir ‘the most dangerous place in the world’ (the Independent, UK, dated March 18, 2000).

In an editorial, the Hindustan Times of January 28, commented that Indian Army Chief’s statements ‘provided Pakistan with an excuse to build short range, nuclear-capable missiles, like Nasr, to target Indian formations undertaking conventional strikes. Pakistan is now flaunting Nasr.’ Besides Nasr, Pakistan now has 52 Chinese Sh-15 Howitzer Guns (American equivalent M-777). These guns could fire nuclear tactical-nuclear-weapon projectiles up to a distance of 53 kilometres. India is unmindful of the possibility that its belligerence could lead to a nuclear confrontation.

Mohammad Asad Malick

Rawalpindi

The Iranian Horn Strikes Back at Babylon the Great

Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at air base

By NASSER KARIMI, AMIR VAHDAT and JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran struck back at the United States for the killing of a top Iranian general early Wednesday, firing a series of surface-to-surface missiles at an Iraqi air base housing U.S. troops and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate.

U.S. officials confirmed airstrikes at the air base. There was no immediate word on injuries.

Iranian state TV said the attack was in revenge for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose funeral Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman prompted angry calls to avenge his death, which drastically raised tensions in the Middle East.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack against the Ain Assad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The Guard issued the warning via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

“We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,” The Guard said. It also threatened Israel.

Ain Assad air base is in Iraq’s western Anbar province. It was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

State TV said the operation’s name was “Martyr Soleimani.” It said the Guard’s aerospace division that controls Iran’s missile program launched the attack. Iran said it would release more information later.

Wednesday’s revenge attack came a mere few hours after crowds in Iran mourned Soleimani and as the U.S. continued to reinforce its own positions in the region and warned of an unspecified threat to shipping from Iran in the region’s waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies. U.S. embassies and consulates from Asia to Africa and Europe issued security alerts for Americans. The U.S. Air Force launched a drill with 52 fighter jets in Utah, just days after President Donald Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran.

A stampede broke out Tuesday at Soleimani’s funeral for a top Iranian general slain in a U.S. airstrike, and at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 were injured as thousands thronged the procession, Iranian news reports said.

Tuesday’s deadly stampede took place in Soleimani’s hometown of Kerman as his coffin was being borne through the city in southeastern Iran, said Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s emergency medical services.

There was no information about what set off the crush in the packed streets, and online videos showed only its aftermath: people lying apparently lifeless, their faces covered by clothing, emergency crews performing CPR on the fallen, and onlookers wailing and crying out to God.

“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Koulivand said, and state TV quoted him as saying that 56 had died and 213 had been injured.

Soleimani’s burial was delayed, with no new time given, because of concerns about the huge crowd at the cemetery, the semi-official ISNA news agency said.

A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over 1 million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main avenues and side streets in Tehran. Such mass crowds can prove dangerous. A smaller stampede at the 1989 funeral for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini killed at least eight people and injured hundreds.

Hossein Salami, Soleimani’s successor as leader of the Revolutionary Guard, addressed a crowd of supporters gathered at the coffin in a central square in Kernan. He vowed to avenge Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike Friday near Baghdad’s airport.

“We tell our enemies that we will retaliate but if they take another action we will set ablaze the places that they like and are passionate about,” Salami said.

“Death to Israel!” the crowd shouted in response, referring to one of Iran’s longtime regional foes.

Salami praised Soleimani’s work, describing him as essential to backing Palestinian groups, Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria. As a martyr, Soleimani represented an even greater threat to Iran’s enemies, Salami said.

Soleimani will ultimately be laid to rest between the graves of Enayatollah Talebizadeh and Mohammad Hossein Yousef Elahi, two former Guard comrades killed in Iran’s 1980s war with Iraq. They died in Operation Dawn 8, in which Soleimani also took part. It was a 1986 amphibious assault that cut Iraq off from the Persian Gulf and led to the end of the war that killed 1 million.

The funeral processions in major cities over three days have been an unprecedented honor for Soleimani, seen by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force.

The U.S. blames him for killing U.S. troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before he was killed. Soleimani also led forces supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country’s civil war, and he also served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Assad in Syria on Tuesday amid the tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Soleimani’s slaying already has led Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as his successor and others vow to take revenge.

In Iraq, pro-Iranian factions in parliament have pushed to oust American troops from Iraqi soil following Soleimani’s killing. Germany and Canada announced plans to move some of their soldiers in Iraq to neighboring countries.

According to a report on Tuesday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran has worked up 13 sets of plans to avenge Soleimani’s death. The report quoted Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as saying that even the weakest among them would be a “historic nightmare” for the U.S. He declined to elaborate,

“If the U.S. troops do not leave our region voluntarily and upright, we will do something to carry their bodies horizontally out,” Shamkhani said.

The state-run IRNA news agency later published a statement from the Supreme National Security Council denying Shamkhani made the comment.

The U.S. Maritime Administration warned ships across the Mideast, citing the rising threats. “The Iranian response to this action, if any, is unknown, but there remains the possibility of Iranian action against U.S. maritime interests in the region,” it said.

Oil tankers were targeted in mine attacks last year that the U.S. blamed on Iran. Tehran denied responsibility, although it did seize oil tankers around the crucial Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world’s crude oil travels.

The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said it would work with shippers in the region to minimize any possible threat.

The 5th Fleet “has and will continue to provide advice to merchant shipping as appropriate regarding recommended security precautions in light of the heightened tensions and threats in the region,” 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Joshua Frey told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Iranian Gen. Alireza Tabgsiri, the chief of the Guard’s navy, issued his own warning.

“Our message to the enemies is to leave the region,” Tabgsiri said, according to ISNA. The Guard routinely has tense encounters with the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf.

Separately, Iran summoned the British ambassador over comments by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the British defense minister about Soleimani’s killing, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Iran’s parliament, meanwhile, has passed an urgent bill declaring the U.S. military’s command at the Pentagon and those acting on its behalf in Soleimani’s killing as “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions. The measure appears to be in response to a decision by Trump in April to declare the Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist organization.”

The U.S. Defense Department used that terror designation to support the strike that killed Soleimani. The action by Iran’s parliament was done by a special procedure to speed it into law and also saw the lawmakers approve funding for the Quds Force with an additional 200 million euros, or about $224 million.

Also Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the U.S. had declined to issue him a visa to travel to New York for meetings at the United Nations. As the host of the U.N. headquarters, the U.S. is supposed to allow foreign officials to attend such meetings.

“This is because they fear someone will go there and tell the truth to the American people,” Zarif said. “But they are mistaken. The world is not limited to New York. You can speak with American people from Tehran too and we will do that.”

Asked about Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists America would comply with its obligations under U.N. rules to grant visas. He then referred to the Iranian diplomat as “a propagandist of the first order.”

A U.S. official who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record said the application couldn’t be processed in time for Zarif’s travel although it wasn’t clear if his request had been formally denied. A formal rejection would trigger legal technicalities that could affect future visa applications and could violate the host country agreement the U.S. has with the U.N.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed.