Korea And The US Play War Games

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Pyongyang threatens US & Seoul with ‘Korean-style preemptive retaliatory nuclear strike’

RT

North Korea has once again warned the “US imperialists and the South Korean puppet” against staging any provocations and threatened a “preemptive retaliatory strike,” should the US-led war drills threaten Pyongyang’s sovereignty.

South Korea and the United States kicked off the annual two-week Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercise on Monday involving around 50,000 Korean and 30,000 US soldiers. Fearing that US has been planning to mount a surprise nuclear attack on North Korea during a joint military exercise, General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) has issued a loud warning against any dangerous provocations that could lead to a “nuclear war”.

North Korea has once again warned the “US imperialists and the South Korean puppet” against staging any provocations and threatened a “preemptive retaliatory strike,” should the US-led war drills threaten Pyongyang’s sovereignty.

South Korea and the United States kicked off the annual two-week Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercise on Monday involving around 50,000 Korean and 30,000 US soldiers. Fearing that US has been planning to mount a surprise nuclear attack on North Korea during a joint military exercise, General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) has issued a loud warning against any dangerous provocations that could lead to a “nuclear war”.

“The first-strike combined units of the KPA keep themselves fully ready to mount a preemptive retaliatory strike at all enemy attack groups involved in Ulchi Freedom Guardian,” Pyongyang’s Korean Central News, Agency ( KCNA ) said.

“The nuclear warmongers should bear in mind that if they show the slightest sign of aggression on the inviolable land, seas and air where the sovereignty of the DPRK is exercised, it would turn the stronghold of provocation into a heap of ashes through Korean-style preemptive nuclear strike,” the statement added.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula continue to escalate since the ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile tests which the North has continued to conduct this year in violation of UN resolutions. The belligerent rhetoric was exacerbated further following Washington’s recent decision to deploy sophisticated nuclear-capable bombers to its base in Guam and the announced deployment of THAAD missile systems to South Korea.

Over the years, Pyongyang has constantly dubbed the joint military exercises as a rehearsal for an actual attack on the country. The latest statement did just the same, calling the drills “a clear manifestation of a vicious plot” not only to conduct nuclear strikes but to enslave North Koreans.
Meanwhile, the South Korean government warned its citizens of a possible provocation from the North.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is designed to train combat soldiers of both countries for a full-scale invasion scenario. Seoul and Washington insist that the drills are purely defensive in nature.

Gamesmanship By The Antichrist

Muqtada al-Sadr doesn’t appear to have quit Iraqi politics

Iraqi Shiite cleric and political powerhouse Muqtada al-Sadr has reversed his promise to quit politics. It now looks like gamesmanship ahead of April parliamentary elections.
By , Staff writer / February 26, 201
Sadr out of politics? Can a leopard change its spots?
Ali Abu Shish/Reuters
On Feb. 16, Mr. Sadr, a Shiite cleric who built a far-reaching political machine in the decade after the UStoppled Saddam Husseinsaid he was calling it a dayfor his network of political and social services offices.
Powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has withdrawn from politics, overnight dismantling his influential political movement in a move that has stunned his followers and handed a pre-election boost to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The young cleric announced in a handwritten note posted on his movement’s website Sunday that he was immediately withdrawing from politics and dissolving the party structure to protect his family’s reputation.
“I announce the closure of all offices and libraries in all religious, social and political fields,” the note read. “There is no (political) bloc that represents us from now on nor do we hold any positions inside or outside the government or parliament.”
It turns out he didn’t mean it. Perhaps he was instead looking to shore up his own image as a champion of the poor, unsullied by the political corruption that is endemic in Iraq. Since the announcement, the leadership of his Ahrar political bloc has been reshuffled and the group has announced its intention to field candidates in the April election.
Ahrar was pivotal in helping Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki retain power after Iraq’s last election. But Sadr has become a leading critic of the Iraqi premier, who hails from the Dawa Party, a rival Shiite Islamist group. Sadr has railed against government corruption and accused Mr. Maliki of taking on dictatorial powers. While Sadr’s claim of a withdrawal from politics was seen as a boost for Maliki, the fact that Ahrar will be in the race – with the money and prestige of Sadr behind it – is bad news for the prime minister.
In a speech shortly after his announcement, Sadr once again denounced Maliki as a tyrant and hinted that he’s a tool of both the US and Iran. It’s hard to imagine Sadr leaving politics entirely.
Iraq’s Shiite clergy, particularly during the rule of Saddam Hussein, was often crudely divided into two camps: The speaking hawza and the silent hawza, a reference to the main Shiite seminary in the Iraqi city of Najaf. The silent hawza were senior clergy like Ayotallah Ali al-Sistani, who tried to remain detached from politics. The speaking Hawza were clerics like Sadr’s father, Ayatollah Mohamed Sadik al-Sadr, who saw religion and faith as inseparable and was murdered, along with two of his sons, in Najaf on Hussein’s orders in 1999.
Within days of Hussein’s ouster, Saddam City, a teeming Shiite slum in Baghdad’s northeast, was renamed Sadr City in honor of Muqtads’s father and uncle, also killed by the former dictator. That reverence, which has been bestowed on Muqtada as well, stems from their willingness to take on the state – and to die if need be.
The Sadr legacy is a powerful one in Iraq. But a Sadr who shrinks from politics in favor of the quietest style of Mr. Sistani is no Sadr at all.
Iraq, which is gearing up for elections in its most politically violent environment since 2008, has not seen the last of the mercurial preacher. Expect him to play an important role in determining the election’s outcome.