Why the Antichrist Will Abandon Iran (Daniel 8)

The Iraq Report: Iran implicated in bombing Shia shrines
As Tehran-backed Shia paramilitary units continue to expand their power and influence in Iraq, Iran has been implicated in the bombing of a Shia shrine in Samarra that triggered a sectarian bloodbath more than a decade ago. While this accusation is nothing new, the significance of the allegation’s resurgence is that it comes from a militant Shia Islamist movement that had long been a recipient of Iranian financing, arming and training.
The astonishing about-turn from one of Iran’s Iraqi allies comes as Baghdad continues to be rocked by the interventionist policies of foreign powers. The United States has been implicated in a deadly attack against Shia militants near the Syrian border, while Turkish politicians have threatened that Ankara may intervene in Iraq, based on treaties that are almost a century old. With Iran continuing to play a dominant role across the full spectrum of Iraqi political, economic, cultural and security affairs, sovereignty continues to elude the war-ravaged country.
Iran linked to Shia shrine bombing
A senior leader of the Sadrist Movement, led by firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has directly implicated Iran in the 2006 Askari shrine bombing that triggered a wave of sectarian bloodletting that lasted for years and cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis – mostly Sunni Arabs. The effects of the sectarian slaughter are visible to this day, with continuing examples of torture, murder, sexual violence and other atrocities having their roots in the violence that erupted in the bombing’s aftermath.
Speaking to Dijlah TV on Sunday, Awad al-Awadi said that Iranian operatives had infiltrated Iraq around the time of the Askari bombing, saying “many reports have revealed that there were interests, there were terrorist cells and groups that came in from Iran”. Awadi alleged that Iran had wanted a sectarian war that would pit Iraqis against each other, and ultimately weaken any chance of national reconciliation or future Iraqi sovereignty.
The Askari shrine bombing took place in Samarra, a Sunni Arab-majority city just north of the capital, and was blamed on al-Qaeda extremists – though no group formally took responsibility. Previously, al-Qaeda had been known to claim any attacks against Shia targets in order to boost its propaganda image of being a defender of the Sunnis, but then-leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Mosab al-Zarqawi did not make any of his usual grandiose statements claiming responsibility. He was killed later that year.
However, since the attack, many have suspected Iran of ultimately being behind the bombings, with reports from WikiLeaks purporting to show that Tehran was actively supporting al-Qaeda by supplying them with innovative explosives for carrying out suicide bombings. More recently, the US Treasury sanctioned three senior al-Qaeda operatives in 2016, all of whom reside in Iran with Tehran’s knowledge and consent. This has led to claims that Iran had the most to gain by the sectarian conflagration that followed, and was either directly or indirectly behind the attack.
The shocking allegation comes amid Saudi Arabia’s recalibration of its strategy in Iraq, as Riyadh moves closer to long-time pro-Tehran stalwarts. Riyadh has increased its diplomatic presence in Shia holy cities in its northern neighbour, and has paid millions of dollars towards “legitimising” some Shia leaders over others – seemingly in an attempt to tip the scales more in its favour versus its regional foe, Iran.
That the allegation comes from a Sadrist leader is interesting in itself, as the Sadrist’s militia at the time, the Army of the Mahdi – better known as Jaysh al-Mahdi, or JAM, to counterinsurgency experts in the US military – was heavily involved in the sectarian killing spree. The Sadrists targeted Sunnis in Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities, alongside many Shia militants, including the Badr Organisation that controls the interior ministry to this day.
However, following Sadr’s visit to Saudi Arabia last week at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Shia cleric has adopted a more conciliatory stance towards Riyadh, offering to remove anti-Saudi posters in areas under his control. Saudi Arabia also took the step of blessing Sadr’s visit with $10 million to open a Saudi “presence” in the Shia holy city of Najaf, as a way of demonstrating Sadr’s influence and Saudi largesse all at once.
Sadrist statements implicating Iran in one of the most heinous bombings in post-invasion Iraq are therefore likely to be intricately tied to Riyadh’s charm offensive and attempts at prising Shia leaders out of Iran’s grip.
Militia granted further religious authority
Another side-effect of Sadr’s visit to Saudi Arabia was his call last Friday for the Iraqi government to dismantle Shia paramilitary organisations that have been formally absorbed into the armed forces. Sadr called upon Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to dissolve the Popular Mobilisation Forces, saying that “disciplined members” of the Iran-backed militia should instead be “integrated into the army”.
While the PMF, or Hashd al-Sha’abi in Arabic, is part of the armed forces, it operates as a parallel army to the main national army. The PMF has its own budget, barracks, equipment and most of its recruits come from pro-Iran Shia Islamist militant factions, including some associated directly with Muqtada al-Sadr’s militias.
The PMF is at least nominally under the command of Baghdad, but statements released by the group show that they appear to take their orders from Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force. Despite claiming to have been established by religious decree to fight Islamic State group militants in Iraq, the PMF has detachments inside Syria and are actively helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crush the uprising against decades of Ba’athist rule.
Sadr’s call was almost immediately shot down by the government, as Abadi not only flatly refused to dissolve the PMF, but said that the controversial organisation would stay with government and religious backing. Speaking at an event organised by the PMF on Saturday, the Iraqi leader said the PMF would “never be disbanded, and will remain under the command of the state and the religious authorities”.
Abadi’s remarks have raised concerns that the transformation of Iraq into a theocratic rump state under the influence of ayatollahs both in Iraq and in Iran with a religious armed force to enforce the status quo will kill any chance of Iraqis obtaining the democracy promised to them by the United States when it invaded and toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
By legitimising and strengthening the PMF and other armed factions, Abadi has shown that continuing torture in Iraqi prisons perpetrated by sectarian elements of the Iraqi armed forces primarily against Sunni Arabs is not an issue that concerns him as he struggles ahead of the general elections due next year. The continuing torture – as well as the transformation of homes in Mosul into headquarters for the Iraqi Hizballah – are leading to fears that political failures will lead to a revival of the circumstances that led to the rise of IS in the first place.
US accused of killing dozens of Shia militants
While Saudi Arabia and Iran increasingly have their say in Iraq, other major powers – including the United States – continue to try to secure their interests in the country.
IS has not been the only target of American airstrikes, as the PMF accused the US of bombing its positions in Iraq, leading to the deaths of dozens of fighters as well as Iranians fighting alongside them.
According to Iraqi military sources, as well as the PMF itself, a pair of American air raids killed no fewer than 60 Shia militants in two separate strikes, all on the Syrian border. At least 20 of the casualties came from one group, the Tehran-leaning Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades militia, one of the many militias under the overall control of the PMF, and under the command of Iranian military leaders. The Brigades vowed they would retaliate against the US, saying they would “not be silent” after the attack.
US Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the US-led anti-IS coalition, said on Twitter: “Allegations of #Coalition strikes vs. Popular Mobilization Forces near #Iraq – #Syria border are INACCURATE. No coalition strikes there ATT.”
Although the US has denied any involvement, one of the strikes hit the Iraqi side of the border near al-Tanf, the site of several such incidents in Syria, where a US military outpost is positioned. Washington has been quietly concerned that Iraqi Shia extremists to whom they have provided air support in the fight against IS are being quietly sent across the Iraqi-Syrian border on Iranian orders to threaten US interests in Syria.

Antichrist Opposes Iranian Forces

Assessing Sadr and Sistani’s opposition to the Hashd al-Shaabi
By Paul Iddon yesterday at 11:17
Hashd al-Shaabi members at Tal Afar airport late last year. Photo: Achilleas Zavallis/AFP file
Two of Iraq’s most influential Shiite figures are in favour of disbanding the Shiite-majority Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries and placing them under the complete command and control of the regular Iraqi armed forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently rejected the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s call to dissolve the Hashd, integrate it into the army and place its weapons “in the hands of the state too.”
“Sadr and [Ayatollah Ali al-] Sistani have taken a similar stance towards the future of the Hashd for slightly different reasons, and Sadr has been more out front on this matter,” Iraq analyst Joel Wing told Rudaw English. “Sadr has called for the Hashd to be integrated into the armed forces and the undisciplined ones to be disbanded.”
The “undisciplined ones” Sadr refers to, Wing explained, are the groups closely tied to Iran such as the Badr Organization, Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl Al-Haq. “Many of these organizations are political rivals of Sadr and contain many ex-Sadrists,” he added, pointing out that in recent memory Sadr’s forces and the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq “were having running gun battles in Baghdad.”
Sadr is worried that these groups will directly challenge him for the Shiite street after the war is over. They are also aligned with Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, another rival of Sadr,” Wing elaborated.
Sadr is “more open” to groups like his own Saray al-Salam and the Al-Abbas Division, which is loyal to the Shiite establishment headed by Sistani in Najaf. The commander of the Al-Abbas Division, Maitham al-Zaidi, recently said he is under instructions not to meet any figures who aren’t part of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), a clear indication that Sistani and Najaf oppose the continued existence of a Hashd fighting-force not under complete state command and control. Al-Abbas has also worked closely with the ISF.
Sadr’s position is rather ironic because he wants to be the rebellious one of the Shiite establishment, but now is threatened with being usurped and losing his base along with other parties to the pro-Iran groups,” Wing pointed out.
While Sistani has a similar position he is “less driven by the partisan machinations of Sadr.”
Wing concluded by pointing out that Sistani “does not want the pro-Iran Hashd to increase Tehran’s influence within Iraq,” and recalled that from the beginning, with his 2014 fatwa, the ayatollah never endorsed the creation of such a paramilitary force.
When Islamic State (ISIS) captured Mosul in June 2014 Sistani, the leading Shiite religious authority in Iraq, released a fatwa calling on Iraqis to join the country’s regular armed forces to defend Iraq against that threat, not to form paramilitaries in order to do so.
Nevertheless, the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries were formed to fight ISIS while the regular army got back on its feet after its infamous retreat from Mosul. Many Shiite leaders defend the continued existence of the Hashd, especially those whose groups have close ties with Iran.
An Iraqi parliament vote in November passed a bill that was signed into law recognizing the paramilitaries as a legal and a “permanent stand-alone component of the Iraqi armed forces, under the Ministry of Defense.”
They haven’t, however, been fully demobilized and integrated into the armed forces. As the defense journal Jane’s 360 noted last year, the law “will not increase government oversight or influence” over the Hashd.
Kyle Orton, a Middle East analyst at the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, believes that the Sadr and Sistani “components of the Hashd are somewhat helpful in diluting Iran’s power in the paramilitaries.”
“Unfortunately, Tehran is also able to use them to legitimize the Hashd by presenting the involvement of these professed nationalist factions as if they represent the overall aims of the organization,” Orton told Rudaw English.
In “an ideal world”, he added, forces loyal to Sistani and Sadr will integrate into the regular army. “But there doesn’t seem to be a way to detach these elements of the Hashd now, and even if there were, the effect would be to strengthen Iran’s hold over this paramilitary formation.”
Orton points to “an ideological distinction between Sistani and Sadr, who conceive of political order within an Iraqi framework, and the most powerful Hashd battalions that are loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“There is also the more prosaic aspect of the power-struggle: for both Sistani and Sadr, the Iranians and their proxies are the main competitors for influence,” he concluded.
For now, the Hashd is a very formidable force in Iraq with an estimated 110,000 fighters. When driving ISIS out of Mosul the Iraqis used their best soldiers, the elite Golden Division, as shock troops backed by US-led coalition airpower. The Hashd sat out of that battle as the United States feared their participation would inflame sectarian tensions. They suffered fewer casualties than the regular forces as a result, which has left it in a position of significant strength.
While the Hashd also continues to have powerful supporters like former Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and other Iranian-supported leaders in Iraq, it also has influential opponents in both Sadr and Sistani.

The Sunni and Shia Horns

The head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation, one of the architects of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, has warned the US to stop upsetting the regional balance of power by siding with Saudi Arabia.
Writing in the Guardian, Ali Akbar Salehi said “lavish arms purchases” by regional actors – a reference to the Saudi purchase of $100bn of US arms during Donald Trump’s recent visit to Riyadh – would be seen as provocative in Tehran and that it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain “indifferent”.

Salehi, an MIT graduate scientist who has also served as foreign minister, was the second most senior Iranian negotiator, dealing with technical aspects, during nearly two years of talks between Tehran and six of the world’s major powers that led to the final nuclear accord in Vienna in July 2015.
Although Trump has promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”, he has not so far taken any concrete steps to scrap it. Last month, two days before Iran’s presidential election, his administration announced that it was continuing to waive nuclear-related sanctions under the agreement despite Washington toughening up its overall Iran policy.
Salehi said it was possible to rescue the deal’s engagement if it was met with reciprocal gestures. “Often following hard-won engagement, some western nations, whether distracted by short-sighted political motivations or the lucrative inducements of regional actors, walk away and allow the whole situation to return to the status quo ante,” wrote Salehi, who is also a vice-president of Iran.
Salehi warned of “chaotic behaviour” and “further tension and conflict” if the other side disregarded Iran’s security concerns, failed to adhere to its commitments and insisted on what he called alternative facts including ideas such as the “clash of civilisations”, “Sunni-Shia conflict”, “Persian-Arab enmity” and the “Arab-Israeli axis against Iran”.
His article comes at a time of simmering tensions in the Middle East, where relations between Tehran and Riyadh, which are on opposite sides of many regional conflicts such as the wars in Syria and Yemen, have deteriorated.
Trump’s first post-election foreign trip to Riyadh tilted the regional balance, and contributed in part to the diplomatic isolation of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who have accused the tiny emirate of funding terrorists and appeasing Iran. Meanwhile, in Syria, Iran-backed militias and a coalition of forces led by Washington have collided a number of times in recent weeks while fighting Islamic State.
“Stoking Iranophobia” or failure to deliver on promises under the deal would jeopardise engagement, Salehi wrote. “We would all end up back at square one,” he cautioned. “Unfortunately, as things stand at the moment in the region, reaching a new state of equilibrium might simply be beyond reach for the foreseeable future.”
Salehi urged the outside world to take heed of the results of last month’s Iranian presidential election and the message Iranians sent, but he said “engagement is simply not a one-way street and we cannot go it alone”.

The End of the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Image result for sunni vs shiaSaudi rulers will perish: Khamenei
ANI | Tehran [Iran] May 28, 2017 03:10 PM IST
On the occasion of the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that “Saudi rulers are going to perish”.
He further added that the Saudi rulers “are too harsh on Muslims, yet kind to the disbelievers. They are giving special handouts to the US. To whom does all this wealth belong? This is the Saudi people’s wealth, which they give away to disbelievers and their people’s enemies.”
“Among the Muslim world, a group of worthless, inept and villainous people are ruling over a community of the Muslim nation, namely the Saudi government. The fools actually think they can gain the friendship of Islam’s enemies by providing them with money and assistance. There is no friendship there; as they say themselves, they are ‘milking them’ like cattle. They oppress their own people in this manner, and oppress the people of Yemen and Bahrain in other ways. But they are going to perish.”IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s supreme leader as saying.
After re-elected for a second term, Iran’s reformist president, Hassan Rouhani asserted that unity and consensus is the solution against the terrorism.
The era of interfering in other countries’ affairs, waging wars and funding terrorism is over and fighting terrorism is the only way ahead, he added.
Iran’s leader also reminded his audience on the experience of the Iranian nation’s victory over the eight-year imposed war; adding that the Iranian nation triumphed during the eight-year war as the ‘underdog.’
Referring to the afflictions of the Islamic world and disputes imposed on the Muslim states, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on leaders of the Islamic world to undertake further responsibility regarding unity of the Islamic nations.

An Unprecedented Alliance (Daniel 7:7)

By John Irish and Andrea Shalal | MUNICH
Saudi Arabia and Israel both called on Sunday for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests, while U.S. lawmakers promised to seek new sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim power.
Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran as Saudi and Israeli ministers rejected an appeal from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Sunni Gulf Arab states to work with Tehran to reduce violence across the region.
While Saudi Arabia remains historically at odds with Israel, their ministers demanded at the Munich Security Conference that Tehran be punished for propping up the Syrian government, developing ballistic missiles and funding separatists in Yemen.
International sanctions on Iran were lifted a year ago under a nuclear deal with world powers, but Republican senators said at the conference they would press for new U.S. measures over the missiles issue and Tehran’s actions to “destabilize” the Middle East.
He sidestepped a question about Israel’s call for concerted action with Sunni Arab states amid growing speculation that the two countries could normalize relations and join forces to oppose Tehran, much as Turkey has done.
The six Arab members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of using sectarianism to interfere in Arab countries and build its own sphere of influence in the Middle East. Iran denies the accusations.
“Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the conference. “It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East … (and) until and unless Iran changes its behavior it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.”
Al-Jubeir said Iran was propping up the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, funding the Houthi movement in Yemen and fomenting violence across the region.
The international community needed to set clear “red lines” to halt Iran’s actions, he said, calling for banking, travel and trade restrictions aimed at changing Tehran’s behavior.
“The real division is not Jews, Muslims … but moderate people versus radical people,” Lieberman told delegates.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also criticized what he called an Iranian “sectarian policy” aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
“Turkey is very much against any kind of division, religious or sectarian,” he said. “It’s good that we are now normalizing our relations with Israel.”
Zarif opened Sunday’s session with the call for dialogue to address “anxieties” in the region. This followed a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait last week to try to improve ties, his first visit to the Gulf states since taking power in 2013.
Asked if Iran’s envisioned regional dialogue could include Israel, Zarif said Tehran was looking at a more “modest” approach. “I’m focusing on the Persian Gulf. We have enough problems in this region so we want to start a dialogue with countries we call brothers in Islam,” he said.
Zarif dismissed any suggestions his country would ever seek to develop nuclear weapons. When asked about the new U.S. administration’s tough rhetoric on Iran’s role in the region and calls to review the nuclear deal, he said Tehran did not respond well to threats or sanctions.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he and other senators were preparing legislation to further sanction Iran for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions with its missile development program and other actions.
Senator Christopher Murphy, a Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Washington needed to decide whether to take a broader role in the regional conflict.
“We have to make a decision whether we are going to get involved in the emerging proxy war in a bigger way than we are today, between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by David Stamp)

The Separation of the Islamic Nations (Daniel 7/8)

The Nation 
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday confirmed that former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif has been appointed the commander of the Saudi-led 39-nation military coalition to combat terrorism.
” The coalition has stated that it will fight terrorists in “Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan”.
However, the alliance has been criticised for enforcing the same sectarian and regional cleavages that have plagued the Middle East for decades.
For one, it does not include Iran and is “Sunni-only”.
An international alliance that side-lines Iran is bound make the sectarian dimensions of the war in Syria and Yemen more pronounced. Iran, as part of the alliance could have been pressurised to moderate its positions. While the US has welcomed the alliance to combat IS, it has been called “a sectarian coalition” by Hakeem Azameli, a member of the Security and Defense Commission in the Iraqi parliament. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen also stressed that it should be a part of the Vienna process involving all countries fighting against IS like the US, Europe, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and also include Iran and China.
In 2015 the Saudi government asked Islamabad for warplanes, warships and soldiers to assist in the conflict against Houthi forces in Yemen besides joining the Saudi-led military coalition and was refused.
The Saudi government was upset and stated, “The Kingdom felt betrayed”. While pledging military support to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) heavy alliance feels a betrayal of our sovereign stand to not become part of the Middle Eastern quagmire, continually offending the GCC countries is not pragmatic either.
The combined strength of the alliance presents a formidable force. This strength is further bolstered with the intimidation value of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and Turkish industrial and military expertise. But the alliance may be unable to intimidate the enemy as most countries in the alliance have deep-rooted problems of terrorism, or supporting terrorism, or are tied to the direction the US or NATO forces want to take in the region.
While it is natural to be sceptical about an Islamic military alliance, at least the right man is in charge.
Pakistan needs to clean up the mess of terrorism at home, before putting its soldiers in Syria or Iraq.
Hopefully General Sharif can make sure Pakistan is not forced to take decisions that would make it a party to one of the bloodiest and most complex humanitarian disasters of our time.

All The Nuclear Horns Are Catching Up (Daniel 8)

By JAMIE MCINTYRE • 11/3/16 12:41 PM
Defense Secretary Ash Carter delivered an impassioned defense of the Pentagon’s extensive and expensive program to rebuild all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad, arguing America’s adversaries have been strengthening their nuclear capabilities, while the U.S. has allowed its arsenal to fall into disrepair.
Speaking at a change of command ceremony at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Carter called nuclear deterrence the bedrock of U.S. security, and said it would be a mistake to think spending less on nuclear weapons would prompt America’s foes to spend less as well.
“The evidence is to the contrary,” Carter said. “They have consistently invested in nuclear weapons during a quarter-century pause in U.S. investment.”
Carter said while the U.S. made only modest investments in maintaining its aging Cold War nuclear arsenal of land-based missiles, submarines and bombers, other countries were busy amassing formidable nuclear forces.
“While we didn’t build anything new for 25 years, and neither did our allies, others did — including Russia, North Korea, China, Pakistan, India, and for a period of time, Iran,” Carter said. “We can’t wait any longer.”
The Pentagon’s plan to rebuild its strategic forces is estimated to cost $1 trillion over 30 years, and includes replacing nuclear air-launched cruise missiles with long-range standoff weapon that can be delivered by a new stealthy B-21 bomber, a new ballistic submarine fleet to replace the Ohio-class subs, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replacing aging Minuteman ballistic missiles, and state-of-the-art nuclear command, control and communications systems.
Carter also acknowledged that the U.S. has also failed to properly appreciate and incentivize the people who carry out the nuclear deterrence mission, and Carter promised that underinvestment would be corrected as well.
“You deter large-scale nuclear attack against the United States and our allies,” Carter told the enlisted personnel gathered in a large hangar. “You help convince potential adversaries that they can’t escalate their way out of a failed conventional aggression. You assure our allies that our extended deterrence guarantees are credible.”

The Sunni versus the Shia Horn

Imam Khamenei: Saudi Killing of Yemeni People Worst Type of Terrorism
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei says Saudi Arabia’s killing of Yemenis is “the worst type of terrorism.”
“Terrorism is not defined as terror acts committed by some groups only, but massacres at the hands of certain governments, such as the Saudi attack on people in a mourning procession in Yemen which left hundreds killed and injured, is the worst type of terrorism,” the Leader said in a meeting with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Tehran on Wednesday.
Ayatollah Khamenei also described terrorism as one of the “painful” sufferings gripping the human society, and called for a sincere fight against the scourge.
“Countering terrorism needs the serious resolve of all those who have an influence within global powers,” the Leader said, calling on world pundits and governments to take measures to deal with the phenomenon.
Ayatollah Khamenei also said the US and certain Western countries are not sincere in the fight against terrorism.
“These governments calculate all issues based on their own interests, and they do not think about eradicating the malady of terrorism in Iraq or Syria,” the Leader added.
Ayatollah Khamenei further criticized UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s failure to end and condemn the Saudi war on Yemen.
“The UN secretary general said explicitly that it is not possible for the body to condemn the killing of Yemeni children as the UN depends on the Saudi government’s money,” the Leader said, stressing this approach is indicative of the “wretched ethical status” of politicians at the helm of international organizations.
Source: Press TV

The Rising Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

By Webmaster – October 27, 201604
Astana—An agreement of cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy was signed by President of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy Dr. Hashim Yamani and Kazakhstan’s Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev.
The signing comes following Kazakhstan’s official visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday where King Salman and President Nursultan Nazarbayev reviewed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them in all fields.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) and three agreements between the two governments.
The MoU, in the fields of agriculture and livestock, was signed by Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdurrahman Al-Fadhli and Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Askar Myrzakhmetov. An agreement in the fields of extradition of wanted persons and another one in the transfer of prisoners were signed by Deputy Interior Minister Abdulrahman Al-Rubaian and Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor Zhaqip Asanov.
Nazarbayev held separate talks with Iyad Madani, secretary general of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Bandar Hajjar, president of Islamic Development Bank. Their talks mainly figured issues of common interest.—Agencies

Saudis And Iran Will not go to War … Yet

Why Iran and Saudi Arabia will jaw-jaw but not war-war
TEHRAN, Iran – “You must understand that they [Iranians] are not Muslims, they are sons of Magi [Zoroastrians], and their hostility toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is an old one.” These are the words of the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz Al Sheikh, delivered Sept. 6. The unprecedented remarks are said to have been a response to the hajj message the Iranian supreme leader released the preceding day. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had stated, “Saudi officials are trying to cover up their enmity and hatred of the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran by talking about politicization of the hajj. They are small and pitiful devils who are very afraid of jeopardizing the interests of the big Satan, the United States.”
Although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013 with the promise of easing tensions between Iran and other countries in the region, what is currently taking place between Tehran and Riyadh cannot in any way be considered a de-escalation. In his first press conference after being elected, Rouhani emphasized that Iran and Saudi Arabia are neighbors and brothers and therefore should forge closer relations. This ideal scenario remains an ideal. Exchanges between Iran and Saudi Arabia show that far from brotherly relations, the two sides openly consider the other the enemy.
The regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is at a point where the two countries no longer even enjoy diplomatic relations. The immediate incident leading to this point was the January execution of the Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the subsequent attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities by Iranian protesters. Other contributing factors include last year’s hajj stampede, which left hundreds of Iranians dead, the sexual molestation of two Iranian youths while on the same pilgrimage and the Saudis’ military intervention in Yemen.
Al-Monitor spoke with Javid Ghorban-Oghli, former director general of Middle East affairs at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, about these tensions. “The root of this conflict is the regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Ghorban-Oghli said. “This process began after the [2003] downfall of Saddam Hussein and the regional imbalance that it created. The rivalry started between Iran and Riyadh in their neighboring regions, and after the Arab Spring, the rivalry transferred to Syria, and it intensified.”
Ghorban-Oghli believes it is not helpful to try to determine which side is perhaps more responsible for escalating tensions. “We will not achieve anything by trying to look for the guilty party,” he said. “We should look for a win-win pattern of engagement similar to what was used during the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. When a house is burning, we should first try to put out the fire and then look for the responsible person.”
Saudi arms purchases have recently dramatically increased. According to an estimate by the firm IHS, Riyadh planned last year to buy defense equipment worth close to $10 billion, a whopping 42% increase compared to 2014 purchases. One of the reasons for the increase is the kingdom’s military intervention in Yemen, but given the staggering size of the increase, is it conceivable that Saudi officials have another possible military conflict on their minds, that is, one with Iran?
No Iranian officials, including military commanders, have publicly broached the idea or possibility of armed conflict with Saudi Arabia. The closest to such a statement was a rare warning, on June 20, by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of external operations for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to the Saudi-allied rulers of Bahrain. Soleimani said, “The supporters of Al Khalifa should know that insulting Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim and the continuation of pressure on the people of Bahrain is the beginning of a bloody uprising, the consequences of which will be the responsibility of those who legitimize the arrogance of the rulers of Bahrain.” This message, Soleimani’s harshest to a neighbor to date, implicitly targeted Saudi Arabia in light of Riyadh having dispatched troops to crush Arab Spring protests in Bahrain.
Earlier, on April 5, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC, had asserted, “The IRGC’s answer regarding Saudi audacity in Bahrain is awaiting an order.” The most recent comments regarding this issue were made by Ali Fadavi, commander of the IRGC’s naval operations. On July 16, Fadavi rejected the idea of enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia, saying that it was “the enemy’s” plan to pretend as if Iran now considered Saudi Arabia, rather than the United States, as its main adversary. Fadavi also emphasized, however, that if necessary, Iran could deliver irreparable blows to the Saudis.
Nosratollah Tajik, Iran’s former ambassador to Jordan, told Al-Monitor, “As far as domestic affairs are concerned, especially given the generational gaps and new demands, the Saudi government is walking on a minefield. Iran should plan for an active and influential foreign policy by avoiding policies driven by slogans and adopting a coherent, comprehensive and intelligent strategy.”
There is, of course, the question of whether war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a credible possibility. In this regard, Ghorban-Oghli said, “I hope that this is not the case, and I hope that wise people on both sides will step forward and prevent a war from taking place.” He added, “It is probably better if a mediator manages the [dialogue] process. We should remember that these tensions neither benefit Iran nor Saudi Arabia, only arms dealers, and more so, Israel.”
At a meeting at the Center for International Research and Education of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sept. 13, Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, former commander of the IRGC (1997-2007) and now special adviser to Khamenei, said, “Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States are aware of Iran’s geopolitical importance. They want to create tension in order to diminish our successes in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. We should avoid tension as best we can. I also suggest that Iran expand its relations with Oman, Kuwait and even Qatar. We should additionally exercise patience regarding the Saudis. We should not, under any circumstances, look for more tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.”