History Expects the Sixth Seal in NYC (Revelation 6:12)

According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.

A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.

Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.

There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan’s 125th St. – which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” explained Skyes after the study was published.

He adds: “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”

Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

“I would expect some people to be killed,” he notes.

The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale. (ANI)

Trump is Preparing for Martial Law

Trump expected to send new federal force to Chicago this week to battle violence, but plan’s full scope is a question mark

By Gregory Pratt and Jeremy Gorner

Chicago Tribune

Jul 20, 2020 at 7:56 PM

Federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on July 20, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. (Noah Berger / AP)

Chicago may see an influx of federal agents as soon as this week as President Donald Trump readies to make good on repeated pledges he would try to tamp down violence here, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for example, is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to the city this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned.

The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, according to sources familiar with the matter, though a specific plan on what the agents will be doing — and what their limits would be — had not been made public.

DHS in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the Department of Justice indicated an announcement would be forthcoming on an expansion of what has been dubbed Operation Legend, which saw several federal law enforcement agencies assist local police in Kansas City, Missouri, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service.

Activists march through the Loop to protest the deployment of federal agents in Chicago on July 20, 2020. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

One Immigration and Customs Enforcement official in Chicago, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, confirmed the deployment was expected to take place. The official noted that the HSI agents, who are part of ICE, would not be involved in immigration or deportation matters.

Federal agents being used to confront street protesters in Portland, Oregon, has raised alarm in many circles. Chicago, too, has dealt with protests that have led to injuries in recent days.

At an unrelated news conference Monday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has great concerns about the general possibility of Trump sending feds to Chicago based on what has happened in Portland.

If Trump wants to help, she said, he could boost federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives resources and fully fund prosecutors.

We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully,” Lightfoot said.

It was unclear where all the agents would be coming from, though sources said some could be from agencies operating in the Chicago area, and others might appear from around the country. Questions remained about the chain of command they would fall under.

The Chicago Police Department issued a statement Monday.

“The Chicago Police Department does not maintain any authority over the federal government’s deployment of federal law enforcement agents to the City of Chicago. We regularly work alongside our local and federal law enforcement agency partners toward the common goal of keeping Chicago residents safe,” the statement read. “If federal agents are deployed, it is critical that they coordinate with the Chicago Police Department and work alongside us to fight violent crime in Chicago.”

Activists march through the Loop to protest the deployment of federal agents in Chicago on July 20, 2020. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

Later Monday, Lightfoot sent a four-page letter to Trump saying that, despite his “misplaced and incendiary rhetoric,” she will take him at his word that he wants to help Chicago.

And if that’s so, she said, the city needs gun safety reforms and investigations of illegal sales, more spending on community-based outreach and development in disinvested South and West Side neighborhoods.

“These acts will deliver on your promise to make Chicagoans safer — not derision, mandates, or militarized forces,” Lightfoot said.

But late Monday, Lightfoot appeared on the MSNBC show “The ReidOut” and said she will use every tool she has to stop Trump from sending “troops” to the city, including filing a lawsuit.

“We’re not going to have tyranny in the city of Chicago,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said the federal government could help by sending resources that work through the existing federal infrastructure but said she’s concerned about the possibility of what happened in Portland happening in Chicago.

Our democracy is at stake and I’ll be darned if I’m going to let anybody, even if their name is Mr. President, bring those kind of troops to our city and try to take off our residents,” Lightfoot said.

Word of the Chicago plan comes as Trump last week made a vague announcement on how his administration intended to deal with crime in big U.S. cities like Chicago. The Republican president, who has been very critical of Chicago’s violence throughout his term, has been pushing a “law-and-order” message as he enters the final stretch of his reelection campaign against his presumptive Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump alluded to the same issue in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, calling Chicago and New York “stupidly run” cities and blaming the violent crime there on Lightfoot and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He repeated his pledge at the White House on Monday, and linked the effort to Portland.

“I’m going to do something that I can tell you, because we’re not going to leave New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore, and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country, all run by liberal Democrats,” Trump said, talking about violence in those places, and then mentioning Portland.

“We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you,” he said. “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time, no problem.”

Lightfoot pushed back last week on criticism from Trump’s press secretary, saying the Trump administration is trying to put the blame for crime on Democrats for political purposes to “score points with their base.”

Without offering specifics, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News over the weekend that Trump, Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf would roll out a plan this week about reducing crime in various U.S. cities.

“Some of the unrest that we saw, even in the last month or so, but particularly last night and in the week leading up to it in Portland, is just not acceptable when you look at communities not being safe and not upholding the rule of law,” said Meadows. “So, Attorney General Barr is weighing in on that with Secretary Wolf and you’ll see something rolled out this week as we start to go in and make sure that the communities, whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or some place across the heartland of the country, we need to make sure their communities are safe.”

As news of the plans spread, leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois issued a strongly worded statement opposing the move.

“Make no mistake: Trump’s federal troops will not be a constructive force in Chicago,” Colleen Connell, executive director of the group, said in the statement. “As our colleagues have seen in Portland, Trump’s secret forces will terrorize communities, and create chaos. This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country, the specific protections of protest and press in the First Amendment, and the Constitution’s assignment of policing to local authorities — not from a president acting like a despot.”

The president of CPD’s largest union had pushed for the federal government to help fight crime in Chicago as recently as Saturday, sending Trump a letter.

“I am certain you are aware of the chaos currently affecting our city on a regular basis now,” John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, wrote in a letter that was posted on the FOP’s Facebook page. “I am writing to formally ask you for help from the federal government. Mayor Lightfoot has proved to be a complete failure who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here.”

In her MSNBC interview, Lightfoot called Catanzara “unhinged.”

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter Chicago issued a statement condemning Catanzara’s request, saying it “made even more frightening” the news of federal agents rounding up protesters in Portland.

“Escalating the level of surveillance and militarization of our communities does not make us safer, whether it is by federal agents or the Chicago Police Department,” the group said in the statement. “Defunding the police and investing in education, jobs, housing, and mental health care is what is needed to make us safe.”

Former Obama education secretary Arne Duncan, who now leads anti-violence group Chicago CRED, said he doesn’t believe Trump is trying to help the city.

“I have zero confidence that he’s trying to serve anyone’s interests but his own, that’s all he does,” Duncan said.

Like Lightfoot, Duncan said he’s concerned that Trump’s move could exacerbate problems if it turns into a situation like Portland.

“It’s creating lawlessness, it’s not stopping it. It is an act of lawlessness itself,” Duncan said. “If that’s the plan, if that’s the intent, nobody needs it, including Chicago.”

So far in 2020, Chicago has experienced one of its most violent years in recent memory, especially since late May with the fallout over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota. Through July 12, homicides in Chicago were up 48% with 385, compared with 260 at the same time last year, official CPD statistics show. Shootings were also up by 46%.

During a 28-day period through July 12, 116 people were slain in Chicago, the statistics show. That’s up from 41 during the same period in 2019.

Other cities around the country also have seen spikes in violence this year. For instance, through July 12 in New York, homicides were up 23% over the year-earlier period, while shootings rose about 61% during that same time last year, according to NYPD statistics. In Philadelphia, homicides were up 21% through July 19, and shooting victims were up by 33% compared with that same period in 2019, Philadelphia police statistics show. In Los Angeles, homicides were up close to 13%, according to LAPD statistics through July 11.

In addition to Portland, Homeland Security agents have already been sent to other cities, including Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

Oregon’s attorney general sued Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service on Friday, alleging in a complaint that federal agents in Portland, which has continued to see intense unrest since Floyd’s death on May 25, unjustifiably grabbed people from the city’s streets.

Chicago Tribune’s David Heinzmann contributed.

Russia and China WILL Rule Space (Daniel 7)

Will Russia and China Rule Space?

The United States is making a colossal error in the space race.

By Andrew Miiller • July 20

On July 13, the chief of Russia’s space corporation told Komsomolskaya Pravda that Russia was not interested in partnering with the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Instead, Russia was speaking with China about establishing a joint-base on the moon.

When asked about Russia’s interest in partnering with nasa to send people to the moon, Dmitry Rogozin dismissed the possibility. “For the United States, this is now more of a political project,” he said. “With the lunar project, we are observing the departure of our American partners from the principles of cooperation and mutual support that have developed during the cooperation on the iss [International Space Station]. They see their program not as international, but as similar to nato. There is America; everyone else must help and pay. Honestly, we are not interested in participating in such a project.”

Rogozin then elaborated on his plans with China: “But there are other projects in which we are interested in participating. This morning we held a teleconference with my colleague, the head of the China National Space Administration, Zhang Kejian, a very influential person, and my good friend. We agreed to begin the first steps towards each other precisely by defining the contours and significance of the lunar scientific base.”

Rogozin noted that he was not opposed to American involvement with this new “lunar scientific base,” as long as Russia and China lead the project. So whether he admits it or not, this “lunar scientific base” is part of a new space race: Russia and China against America. Each power bloc wants to establish its own moon-base.

American politician Newt Gingrich is warning that no issue is more important to America than the “great space race.” In a July 5 Fox News editorial, he wrote: “It’s the United States versus China, in competition to be first to create systems for commercial space travel, to establish outposts on the moon, and ultimately to colonize other planets. … It’s vital for Americans to understand that, in the long run, no issue is more important than U.S. leadership in space. As [Charles Miller, president of NexGen Space llc] told me, in the future, whoever dominates space is going to be able to control Earth and dictate the planet’s culture and values.”

Gingrich has a good grasp of what is at stake in the race for supremacy in outer space. If the Russians or the Chinese gain supremacy over the U.S. in outer space, they will be able to use space-based weapons to force their culture and values on the world. Americans cannot afford to be complacent.

President Donald Trump is taking the space race seriously and has established a sixth branch of the U.S. military—called Space Force—to protect the nation. However, pouring more resources into the space race has not stopped foreign spies from stealing America’s technological secrets. In fact, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray has warned that the biggest law enforcement threat to the nation is Chinese theft of U.S. technology. Much of America’s strength is actually being spent in vain.

During the Cold War, the late theologian Herbert W. Armstrong wrote a booklet titled Who Will Rule Space? in which he explained that the U.S. was making a colossal error in the space race. “We are looking exclusively to material science to rescue us from the threat of communism,” he wrote. “We are in a frenzy over methods of training future scientists who can develop even greater weapons of destruction and death! Have we gone utterly mad? For the past few years, the United States educational system has been on a crash program to accelerate the influx of science students in American colleges, universities and institutes of technology. And this very thing—looking to the physical, material, science—is our colossal error!”

America is making the same error today. Developing new and better space-based weapons may act as a temporary deterrent to nations like China, which would like to take over the world. But ultimately, these weapons will only make conflict more devastating when it comes. The only lasting solutions are spiritual.

Psalm 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” So Newt Gingrich is right that “whoever dominates space is going to be able to control Earth and dictate the planet’s culture and values.” But no human being can rule in outer space. The jurisdiction of man’s various forms of government stop at the edge of Earth’s atmosphere.

Most politicians scoff at the idea that there is a God who rules the heavens and gives power to human leaders on Earth. Yet the Bible states: “[T]he most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17).

This same God states that He will break America’s military power, not because it refused to spend more on weapons research, but because its people have turned away from His law. “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands” (Micah 5:10-13).

This is a literal, direct prophecy about this generation. (For detailed proof, please request The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.)

Today, Americans worship the work of their hands. Because of this, God says that as America reaches the zenith of its military power, He will cut off its weapons systems, including its satellites and space-based weapons systems. When these systems are gone, people will have little choice but to put their faith in the Creator of the universe, who holds supreme power in the heavens.

The Growing Russian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Two Russian latest nuclear-powered subs to carry hypersonic weapons

Military & Defense July 20, 18:19

Three leading Russian shipyards simultaneously laid down six new ocean-going ships on Monday

MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Two upgraded Project 885M ‘Yasen-M’ nuclear-powered submarines laid down at the Sevmash Shipyard in Russia’s northwest on Monday will get hypersonic weapons, Sevmash CEO Mikhail Budnichenko said at the keel-laying ceremony.

Today we are laying down ships with hypersonic weapons, which are the future of the Russian submarine fleet,” the chief executive said.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin who attended the keel-laying ceremony for the Russian Navy’s first helicopter carriers at the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch on the Crimean Peninsula on Monday said that the Project 885M ‘Yasen-M’ two multi-purpose nuclear powered subs laid down at the Sevmash would be named the Voronezh and the Vladivostok in honor of the Russian military glory cities.

Three leading Russian shipyards simultaneously laid down six new ocean-going ships on Monday: two universal amphibious assault ships in Kerch on the Crimean Peninsula, two frigates in St. Petersburg and two nuclear-powered submarines in Severodvinsk.

Following the tradition, the universal amphibious assault ships and next-generation frigates will be named after Russian glorified military and naval commanders “who did much for strengthening the Navy,” Putin said at the keel-laying ceremony.

These are the helicopter carriers Ivan Rogov and Mitrofan Moskalenko and the frigates Admiral Yumashev and Admiral Spiridonov, he specified.

The contract for building Project 885M ‘Yasen-M’ multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarines was signed at the Army-2019 international arms show in the summer of 2019.

The baseline Project 885 lead nuclear-powered underwater cruiser Severodvinsk entered service with Russia’s Northern Fleet in 2014. The upgraded Project 885M lead sub Kazan is preparing for its delivery to the Navy in 2020.

Five Project 885M submarines are at various stages of their construction at the Sevmash Shipyard.

Project 885/885M submarines will carry Kalibr-PL and (or) Oniks cruise missiles and also Tsirkon hypersonic missiles as their basic weapons.

Hamas Courts Iran and Terrorist Allies Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas Courts Iran and Terrorist Allies to Fight Israel — Annexation or Not

Palestinian police officers loyal to Hamas march during a graduation ceremony in Gaza City, April 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Over the past month, Hamas has ramped up its diplomatic efforts to secure additional financial and military support to deter Israel from annexing parts of the West Bank.

Israel’s government is reportedly stalling its annexation plans in part due to given mixed signals from the White House, according to a Tuesday Times of Israel report. But annexation or not, Hamas will find any justification to pursue more resources and assistance in its bid to fight Israel as long as the Jewish state exists.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh recently wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei seeking further Iranian backing to fight Israel, according to a July 6 article in Iran’s Mehr News Agency as reported by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

In an official response letter, Khamenei pledged that the Islamic Republic will throw its full weight behind the Palestinian terrorist organization in its campaign against the “Zionist entity” — a derogatory term referencing Israel while denying the Jewish state’s right to exist. Haniyeh acknowledged receiving this message on July 6.

Iran will spare no effort to support the Palestinian people to restore their right and hold off the evil schemes of the Zionist entity,” wrote Khamenei in the letter, translated by Al Monitor on July 13.

“Iran decided to provide the Palestinian resistance with the greatest possible support to confront Israel’s annexation plan of the West Bank. This support will be greater than ever, with no restrictions and in any way the Palestinian resistance wishes,” a senior Hamas official told Al-Monitor.

Iran’s unconditional support, the Hamas official said, “will mainly be directed to the West Bank” and will “focus on mobilizing the Palestinian people to confront this scheme [Israel’s annexation proposal].”

Iran and Hezbollah have spent years actively recruiting Palestinians and Arab Israelis to plan terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Hamas engaged with Iran in several other high-level discussions this month. Iran’s parliamentary speaker had a phone call with Haniyeh and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)’s commander on July 1, in which both Palestinian leaders praised the Iranian regime for its continued sponsorship. A Hamas delegation also met with Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon, who reinforced the Islamic Republic’s backing for the Palestinians and their “resistance,” according to the Meir Amit report.

Haniyeh also sent letters to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the Houthis, Iran’s militant ally in Yemen, seeking both organizations’ support against Israel, according to an article published by Hezbollah’s media relations wing and reported by the Long War Journal on Monday.

In his letter to Hezbollah, the Hamas leader called for both terrorist organizations to “unite the ranks” and deter Israel’s proposed plan to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

The Houthis, like Iran, have no territorial dispute with Israel but have nevertheless adopted the mantra: “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.” The group’s antisemitic and Shia-oriented ideology overlaps with the Iranian regime’s worldview and geopolitical objectives.

In a largely symbolic gesture, the Houthis responded to Haniyeh’s letter by proclaiming their support for the “resistance against the occupation.”

These recent high-level diplomatic interactions show how Hamas actively seeks outside support for resources to attack Israeli civilians, in an effort to spread fear and coerce government concessions. The Iranian regime is similarly looking to strengthen its presence in the Palestinian arena to better confront Israel amid rising regional tensions.

Hezbollah’s support for Hamas is far more robust than is commonly known — it previously sent Hamas advanced weaponry to attack Israel, and allows the Palestinian terrorist group to cultivate a base of operations in Lebanon.

Hamas’ presence in Lebanon is overseen by Saleh Al-Arouri, Hamas’ deputy leader, who has also led Hamas delegations in previous visits to Iran to coordinate efforts against Israel.

Arouri admitted in 2017 that “the aid Iran provides to the resistance is not merely symbolic” and “nobody but Iran gives us [Palestinian terrorist groups] any military support.” Arouri has directed numerous terrorist plots in the West Bank, including the 2014 murder of three Israeli teenagers. The State Department issued a $5 million bounty for his arrest in 2018.

Hamas’ chief in Gaza, Yehya al-Sinwar, also praised strong ties with Iran in 2017 and acknowledged that “Iran is the largest supporter of the [Hamas military wing] Izz Al-Din Qassam Brigades with money and arms.”

During one high-level Hamas visit to Tehran in 2018, a senior adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei “called on the Palestinians to continue resisting [Israel] until their final victory.” The “final victory” means the destruction of the Jewish state.

Despite divergent ideologies and ultimate objectives, unwavering hatred for the Jewish state unites armed Sunni Islamists like Hamas with Iran, Shiite militant groups, and secular Palestinian organizations.

Earlier this month, Hamas and Fatah held a joint conference and agreed to cooperate against Israel’s proposed annexation plans in the West Bank. If the two Palestinian rivals unite, Israel could face a coordinated violent uprising like the Second Intifada, which included Fatah and PLO-affiliated organizations joining Hamas and the PIJ to carry out deadly terrorist attacks. However, it is unclear whether Fatah and Hamas can maintain a unified approach since similar recent efforts have failed.

Arouri represented Hamas during the event and said that the terrorist group would “use all forms of struggle and resistance against the annexation project.” Fatah leaders similarly threatened Israel with the possibility of a third Intifada and said that “all the options are open.”

Hamas claims that Israel’s annexation plans have prompted the group to step up its efforts to secure more external support. But the terrorist group has been reaching out to Iran and its terrorist partners, like Hezbollah, for years before annexation was seriously discussed.

Hamas’ latest outreach campaign is part of its long-standing effort to strengthen its terrorist capabilities and strike Israel — whether annexation moves forward or not.

Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing, and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit organization that serves as one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

Iran is Attacked Yet Again

Explosion Hits Central Iranian Power Plant Few Weeks After Natanz Nuclear Site Blast

The blast occurred a few weeks after an explosion ripped through Iran’s Natanz facility for enriching uranium, in an incident that was reportedly caused by a bomb.

An explosion took place at a power plant in Iran’s central Isfahan Province on Sunday, the country’s IRNA news agency reports.

The news outlet cited Saeid Mohseni, chief executive of Esfahan Power Generation Co., as saying that the blast did not disrupt the plant’s electricity supply to customers.

“The damaged equipment is being repaired”, he said, adding that the power station resumed operations about two hours after the explosion.

The incident reportedly took place due to a technical problem at the plant and did not cause any casualties.

Natanz Explosion

This came after a blast occurred at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran in early July, with the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation stating at the time that the facility “is operating as usual”, since the reactor was not damaged in the explosion and there were no casualties following the incident.

© REUTERS / Handout .

A handout satellite image shows a general view of the Natanz nuclear facility after a fire, in Natanz, Iran July 8, 2020

Tehran pledhed to announce “the main cause” of the explosion “at a proper time”, warning that if it finds out “foreign elements” were behind the incident, they will face consequences.

Earlier, The New York Times reported, citing an unnamed Middle East intelligence official, that the Natanz blast was caused by an “explosive device planted inside the facility”. The report was followed by the Kuwaiti daily al-Jarida citing an unnamed “senior” source as saying that the explosion was Israel’s work.

The Natanz plant remains the Islamic Republic’s primary uranium processing facility, where Tehran reportedly installed new cascades of advanced centrifuges in November 2019 in retaliation for Washington’s earlier unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The incident followed an explosion ripping through the Parchin military complex located about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the Iranian capital Tehran late last month, in what Iranian authorities said was the result of “leaking gas tanks”.

The Iranian Horn is Closer than We (the US) Realizes

Iran’s Multifarious Network of Influence in the West

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives to attend a news conference in Tehran, Iran August 5, 2019. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS.

JNS.org – The Trump administration placed Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of the Islamist regime in Iran, on the US sanctions list a year ago this month. As expected, the leftist and liberal media in the West immediately made an outcry against the designation. That’s because they typically tend to portray Zarif as the moderate, peace-seeking diplomat who is at odds with the hardline, somber Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the brutal, missile-toting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). What they always fail to mention is that Zarif is only an agreeable showcase for the same apocalyptic regime that chants “Death to America” and calls for the destruction of Israel, and is intent upon conquering the Arab world.

In fact, Zarif runs one of the most elaborate influence campaigns in the United States on behalf of Khamenei and the IRGC. What his extended overseas apparatus is focused on is to lower the defenses of the democratic world with sleek smiles and false narratives so that the IRGC can strike more destructively. As such, what Zarif does is as deeply disturbing and detrimental to US security interests, the Mideast, and world peace as the already terrorist-designated IRGC and its liquidated Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The Islamic Republic is a totalitarian, isolationist, interventionist, and anti-Western regime. In order to overcome the problem of a lack of domestic and international legitimacy, it has devised a mechanism that showcases the dictatorial and chaotic Islamist regime as “democratic,” “stable,” and “popular,” with a fair degree of internal opposition as guarantee of its dynamism and openness. The “reformist/moderate” faction that the regime has been promoting with the help of the leftist and liberal media in the West for more than 20 years now is precisely the manifestation of that security project of creating a fake, state-run opposition that acts as a safety valve for the regime on the domestic and international stage.

Zarif is the puppet master of the Iranian regime’s “fake opposition” in the West. While in New York as Iran’s deputy representative (late 1980s) and then representative (early 2000s) to the United Nations, Zarif and a couple other functionaries best known as the “New York Boys” set the foundation stone for the Islamist regime’s lobby network in the United States. These interest groups would concentrate on cultivating connections and currying favor with the leftist and liberal media, organizations, and politicians in the United States. In the meantime, they would plant regime assets disguised as “dissidents” in sensitive strategic areas such as human-rights organizations, universities, think tanks, state and private media, and even government agencies in the democratic world.

The Zarif-run fake opposition mostly acts as padding for the Islamist regime abroad. One of its functions is to persuade the West that the “opposition” does not want to overthrow the regime, but only wants to “reform” it. Another is that it constantly scares the Iranian people and the world community off the prospects of a regime change in Iran, and goads them to participate in state-engineered procedures such as elections and negotiations to generate legitimacy for the regime. Another function is to broker deals for the regime, whether with private entities or with governments. The most well-known example of these deals, of course, was the JCPOA, better known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with the Obama administration, which proved to be a disaster for world peace.

However, the fake opposition is exposed as fake, and the claimed duality of “moderate/hardliner” starts to fade when the opposition is faced with the prospect of the collapse of the whole system. This becomes clear when the opposition, headed by Zarif himself, constantly lobbies in Europe and the United States to keep Khamenei and the IRGC off the sanctions list and designation for international terrorism and war crimes. A conspicuous instance of this trend took place when Zarif and his network in the West made an outcry against the designation of the IRGC by America. (Some of these so-called moderates in Iran went as far as to put on IRGC uniforms in a show of solidarity with the terrorist organization.) Zarif himself appeared side by side with Soleimani, stating that they had a “perfect working relationship.” Later, these same “moderates” vociferously condemned the liquidation of Soleimani.

Most recently, during a Majlis (parliament) hearing, Zarif went out of his way and made an eye-opening admission that should dispel any illusion of his moderation and independence from the criminal core of the regime. Addressing angry MPs who kept accusing him of disloyalty to the regime’s regional designs, Zarif retorted: “Say whatever you want, but Martyr Soleimani and I would hold a meeting every week and coordinate. Whatever we did regarding regional affairs was in coordination. Those who know Martyr Soleimani, those who consorted with Martyr Soleimani, those who hang around Seyed Hassan Nasrallah and the Resistance in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine know the depth of our relationship, not you!” According to Zarif himself, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once sharply pointed out, Zarif and Soleimani were fully coordinated when the regime was killing Americans. Also, they worked in tandem to commit horrible crimes against humanity in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

To sum up, the Islamist regime in Iran, with the self-made claim of the “split in the system” and the supposed dualism of the pro-Western “moderate/reformist” and the anti-Western “hardliner/IRGC,” has managed to deceive both the West and the Iranian people, and extend its deleterious lifespan by two decades. However, it looks like the free world is finally coming around to see the substance of the sinister regime through the appearance of legitimacy that Zarif and his fake opposition have been trying to generate for it. As such, Zarif’s designation as a terrorist and criminal against humanity can prove the start of the dismantling of the Islamist regime’s network of influence in the West, and finally, the collapse of its evil empire.

Reza Parchizadeh, PhD, is a political theorist and analyst with a concentration on the Middle East, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. Follow him on Twitter @rezaparchizadeh.