Mortar shell fired at Israel from Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Mortar shell fired at Israel from Gaza, lands short of border

Launch triggers alarms in open field near the frontier, but no sirens in Israeli towns

By TOI staffToday, 9:12 pm

A mortar shell was fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, but appears to have landed inside the enclave, the army said.

The attack did not trigger rocket sirens in any Israeli community, but did set off alarms in an open field in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, a regional spokesperson said.

“A failed launch from the Gaza Strip was detected. It did not cross into Israeli territory,” the army said.

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The attack came amid ongoing tensions between Israel and terror groups in the Strip, following multiple rocket attacks last week.

On Friday, several thousand Palestinians protested along the Gaza border, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that war with terror groups in the Gaza Strip could break out “at any moment.”

Some 4,000 people took part in the demonstrations, with several hundred rioting and throwing rocks and explosive devices at Israel Defense Forces troops who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said 30 people had been wounded, including 15 from live fire.

Rockets have been fired at Israeli cities and communities multiple times over the past week — with most intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system or landing in open areas — drawing retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. On Tuesday night, two rockets were launched at Ashdod and Ashkelon during a campaign rally in Ashdod by the prime minister, who was whisked off the stage by his bodyguards to take shelter.

Babylon the Great Puts More Pressure on Iran

US to ‘substantially increase’ sanctions on Iran, says Trump


U.S President Donald Trump, says he has directed the U.S Treasury Department to substantially increase sanctions on Iran following the weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase sanctions on Iran,“ Trump said.

Washington is ratcheting up its maximum pressure campaign on Iran, which it began after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.

However, tensions had mounted in recent time after a drone attack, claimed by Yemen’s Iran-linked Houthi rebels, struck major Saudi oil installations.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the U.S had earlier blamed the attack on Iran, though Tehran denied the charge.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, earlier said Iran would consider talks with the U.S only if Washington showed goodwill and halts its maximum pressure campaign.

The Iran Deal is Dead

Imam Khamenei: “No negotiations will take place between Iran, U.S. officials at any level”

News Code : 976298

The first session of Ayatollah Khamenei’s Dars-e Kharij lecture at the beginning of the new academic year of Howza was held with a group of scholars and seminary students of religious sciences in attendance, this morning September 17, 2019, at the Hussayniyah of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The first session of Ayatollah Khamenei’s Dars-e Kharij lecture at the beginning of the new academic year of Howza was held with a group of scholars and seminary students of religious sciences in attendance, on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at the Hussayniyah of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).

Referring to the deep and admirable awareness of the Iranian people in face of the conspiracies of the enemies in the past four decades, Ayatollah Khamenei considered the only cure for the country’s problems relying on the people and youth and taking the internal capacities seriously, on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

The Supreme Leader of the Revolution tapped on the new offer by U.S. officials for negotiating and stressed that by negotiations, the U.S. seeks to impose their demands on Iran and showcase the impact of maximum pressure on Iran. His Eminence added: The policy of maximum pressure on the Iranian nation is of little importance, and all the officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe that there will be no negotiations at any level with the United States.

Ayatollah Khamenei opened his Dars-e Kharij Fiqh session, marking the commencement of the seminaries’ academic year, by considering the mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussain (a.s.) in Muharram this year, more thriving than the previous years, and noted: This significant fact shows that the people’s connection with the Ahlulbait (a.s.) is strong. So, despite numerous propaganda by enemies against the religion and despite the variety of entertainment and attractions for the youth, with the advent of Muharram, huge waves of people, often young people, move towards the tent of Hussein bin Ali (a.s.), and our nation advances under the patronage of Imam Hussain (a.s.).

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that the improvement of the affairs of the country and the solving of various problems lie in the hands of the people, and maintained: We should not incline to the foreigners, we should not place hope on foreign governments, we should not rely on relations with others.

The leader of the Islamic Revolution added: Of course, I do not mean that we should cut relations with other governments around the world; we favour relations and talks, yet, the affairs of the country should not be dependent on our foreign relations. Benefit from the facilities of the world, as much as you can, but the cure is inside the country, and the problems can only be solved by the people.

Referring to the new discourse and the new way that the Islamic Republic of Iran has opted for in the world, His Eminence called it impossible that the foreigners and the agents of the rotten Western capitalist system would welcome this honourable way, and added: They have done and continue to do everything they can to oppose us, but by God’s grace and power, their actions have had and will have no results; and the Iranian nation will overcome the enemies, especially the United States.

Ayatollah Khamenei cautioned everyone about the U.S.’s intention from proposing negotiations with Iran again and held: Everyone should know and notice that this is a trick.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the different positions by the U.S. officials regarding the negotiation and asserted: Sometimes, they say negotiations without prerequisites, other times, they say negotiations with 12 conditions. Such remarks are either due to their turbulent politics or a trick to confuse the other party. Of course, the Islamic Republic won’t be confused, because our path is clear, and we know what we are doing.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution described the U.S.’s goal by negotiation not as a just solution, but as a means to impose blatant demands, stating that: I’ve been repeating that the U.S. seeks is to impose, but they have become so insolent today that they are confessing to it themselves.

Referring to the recent remarks by a U.S. official who said ‘we should negotiate with Iran, and we should say so and so, and Iran must agree’, the leader of the Islamic Revolution held: For such negotiations, they should go to those who act as their ‘milking cows’. The Islamic Republic is the believers’ Republic, the Muslims’ Republic and the Republic of dignity.

Ayatollah Khamenei further elaborated on the United States’ goals in pursuing the maximum pressure policy and at the same time, trying to lure Iran to the negotiating table, saying: The U.S. pursues a policy of maximum pressure on Iran through various embargoes, intimidation, and distorted claims, because the current U.S. government believes that the Islamic Republic cannot be brought to its knees, humiliated, and made to submit, through any indirect approach.

Pointing out that the Americans and their allies have recognized that the maximum pressure policy has failed to bring Iran to its knees, Ayatollah Khamenei said: their goal of pursuing negotiation is to prove to everyone that maximum pressure has been effective, and the Islamic Republic officials were forced to sit at the negotiating table despite claiming that they would not negotiate. Thus, the only way of dealing with Iran is through maximum pressure.

Ayatollah Khamenei insisted: if the enemy succeeds in proving that maximum pressure is the only effective way of dealing with Iran, then Iran and our dear nation will never be left in peace. Because, this policy will become the default basis of every other oppressive policy of the US, and after that every time they make a new outrageous demand to the Islamic Republic, we would either have to accept and be done with it or say no and be subjected to maximum pressure anew.

He assessed the U.S.’s insistence on meeting and negotiation and the mediation by some Europeans regarding this matter as being part of the same policy and added: I will, of course, speak about the Europeans at another time, but they are insisting that a meeting with the U.S. President would solve all our problems, because they want to prove that the maximum pressure policy has been effective in dealing with Iran, and this policy must be pursued.

The Leader of the Revolution stressed: In return, we must prove that the maximum pressure policy has absolutely no value in the eyes of the Iranian nation.

Ayatollah Khamenei summarized his speech regarding negotiation with the U.S. in 2 points:

1) negotiating with the U.S. would mean accepting their terms being forced on the Islamic Republic;

2) negotiation would amount to a show of success for the U.S.’s maximum pressure policy.

His Eminence further held: It is for this reason that the country’s officials, from the President to the Foreign minister and others, have unanimously announced that we would not take part in talks, be it bilateral or multilateral, with the United States.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution went on to assert: If the U.S. backs off and repents, and implements the nuclear deal from which they have withdrawn, then the U.S. can also take part in and talk during negotiations between Iran and the countries that are part of this deal. Otherwise, there will be absolutely no negotiation between the officials of the Islamic Republic and the U.S. at any level; neither in New York and not anywhere else.

Stating that for the past 40 years, the Islamic Republic has faced every possible conspiracy, and the enemies have not succeeded in defeating dear Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out: their policies have been overcome by the policies of the Islamic Republic one after another, and in the future too, the Islamic Republic will defeat them by God’s grace, and will gloriously come out of the battlefield victorious every time.


End/ 257

The US Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) transits the Atlantic Ocean. Ramage is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Griffin Kersting/Navy)

A US missile destroyer made ‘historic’ visit to Beirut as regional tensions mount

By: Shawn Snow

A recent port visit by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Ramage to Beirut was the first for a U.S. warship in 36 years, according to Lt. Andriana Genualdi, a Navy spokesman. And it came at a time when the region is roiling with Iranian-backed militants wreaking havoc from Israel to Yemen.

One expert said the visit might be a message and a warning to Iran and its proxy forces to stop destabilizing the region.

A broader regional conflict bolstered by Iranian militants appears to be spilling out across the Middle East.

On Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks on two Saudi oil facilities that have caused oil production to plummet. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels based out of Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday evening that the U.S. was “locked and loaded depending on verification” of who perpetrated Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia claimed without evidence on Monday that the attacks against its oil facilities were not launched from Yemen and were carried out by Iranian weapons, according to the New York Times.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper tweeted on Monday that the U.S. would work through its partners to address the “unprecedented attack and defend the international rules-based order that is being undermined by Iran.”

Over the last several weeks, Israel has been the target of anti-tank missile strikes from Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants, and rocket and drone attacks from Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces say they also recently thwarted a multi-drone attack coordinated by Iranian forces and Hezbollah militants from Syria.

Trump says US locked and loaded in response to drone attack

A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.

By: Jon Gambrell, Zeke Miller

Conflict in the region is brewing as Israel prepares for parliamentary elections Tuesday that could see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win a fifth term.

Saturday’s port visit to Beirut by the Ramage was described by the State Department as a “historic” and “one-day goodwill visit.”

The last time a Navy ship ported in Beirut was 1983 — the same year a bomb-laden truck blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut killing 241 service members, mostly Marines. The attack was blamed on Hezbollah militants.

“This remarkable U.S. ship, docked in this remarkable Lebanese city speaks volumes about the partnership between the U.S. and Lebanese militaries,” U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, said in a press release.

Phillip Smyth, a research fellow with the Washington Institute, said the U.S. warship’s visit may be seen as signaling or a warning by the U.S. to Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies operating in the region.

“Though, one could also take the view that we are sending mixed messages, given the government in Beirut is pro-Hezbollah,” Smyth told Military Times.

“We are committed to our partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces and our shared goal of maritime security in the region,” Vice Adm. Malloy, said in a news release about Ramage’s Saturday port visit.

Hezbollah has recently been ratcheting up tensions with Israel. And according to Smyth, the militant group has aided Houthis in Yemen with weapons and propaganda support.

On Sept. 1, Israeli Defense Forces announced that Hezbollah militants fired two to three anti-tank missiles from Lebanon at a defense outpost in northern Israel. There were no reported injuries, but the IDF said it returned fire on the militants.

Israel also claims the Iranian-backed militants in Lebanon are seeking to manufacture precision guided missiles with an accuracy of up to 10 meters.

The IDF posted an image of a facility on social media that they claim is an Iranian supplied and Hezbollah-run plant designed to build precision missiles. The facility, according to the IDF, is located north of the city of Nabi Chit, which is in Lebanon’s Hezbollah controlled Bekaa Valley.

The IDF said it also thwarted a drone attack launched from Syria on Aug. 24. The IDF said the attack was carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force unit with collaboration from Hezbollah militants, according to a news release.

And from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, Israel has been subject to multiple rocket attacks from Gaza. The IDF claimed the attacks were carried about by Hamas militants. IDF aircraft responded to the attacks on Sept. 10 by striking 15 targets in Gaza.

As Iran flexes its proxies across the region, Israel appears poised to be dragged into a broader regional war with Hezbollah and Iranian proxies in Lebanon and Syria and Hamas militants in Gaza.

Israel accused Lebanon of doing nothing to curtail Hezbollah, in a video posted by the IDF on Twitter. Israel also blamed Lebanon’s government for allowing Hezbollah to abuse the Lebanese people.

Saudi Aramco said Saturday’s Houthi-claimed attacks on its oil facilities have cut its ability to produce about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day

Unlike Cheney, Trump Reluctant to Enter War

Houthi rebel fighters in Sana, Yemen, in August. United Nations experts say Iran has supplied the group with drones and missiles. The type of weapon used in Saturday’s attack was not yet certain.Hani Mohammed/Associated Press

Trump Says Iran Appears Responsible for Saudi Attack but That He Wants to Avoid War

By Richard Pérez-Peña, David D. Kirkpatrick and Michael Crowley

Sept. 16, 2019

President Trump said Monday that Iran appeared to have been responsible for the weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. But he also said he would “like to avoid” a military conflict with Tehran, emphasized his interest in diplomacy and played down the attack’s jolt to the global oil market.

Asked at the White House whether Iran was behind the strikes on Saturday that crippled much of Saudi Arabia’s oil output, Mr. Trump said, “It’s looking that way.” But he stopped short of a definitive confirmation, adding, “That’s being checked out right now.”

The attack was the most destructive blow to Saudi Arabia since it began waging war in Yemen more than four years ago. The damage inside Saudi Arabia helped drive world oil prices up by 10 percent on Monday, the fastest rise in more than a decade.

Mr. Trump warned that the United States has fearsome military capabilities and is prepared for war if necessary. “With all that being said, we’d certainly like to avoid it,” he said. “I know they want to make a deal,” he said of Iranian officials, whom he has been trying to draw into talks over their nuclear program and other issues. “At some point it will work out.”

Mr. Trump’s comments represented a notable shift in tone from the day before, when he wrote on Twitter that the United States was “locked and loaded,” ready to take action based on Saudi Arabia’s needs.

On Monday, he told reporters he had not “promised” to protect the Saudis. Rather, Mr. Trump said, he will “sit down with the Saudis and work something out.”

The president’s statements came shortly after Saudi Arabia, Iran’s principal rival in the region, said Iranian weapons had been used in the attack. But while the Saudis said they would “forcefully respond to these aggressions,” they also stopped short of directly blaming Iran and did not call for immediate retaliation.

The comments from Mr. Trump and the Saudis suggested they did not want the episode to escalate into a wider conflict, just a week before world leaders converge at the United Nations for the General Assembly. Mr. Trump had proposed meeting with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, possibly at the annual gathering in New York, although Iran ruled that out on Monday.

President Trump has sent mixed signals on a response to the attack, saying he would like to avoid a conflict with Iran while not ruling out a lethal military strike.Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Houthi insurgents in Yemen, who have been fighting a calamitous civil war against a Saudi-led military coalition. Iran is a chief ally of the Houthis.

American officials directly blamed Iran over the weekend for the blows to the Saudi oil facilities. They presented satellite photographs of the damage, contending that the images indicated that the attack had come from the north or northwest — in the direction of Iran or Iraq — not from Yemen, which is to the south. The Saudis also said Monday that their initial investigation showed that the attack had not come from Yemen.

But an analysis of the images by independent experts challenged those assertions.

The images did suggest a complex, precise attack that far exceeded any capabilities the Houthis had previously shown, raising the likelihood of Iran’s involvement.

Still, experts said the images were insufficient to prove where the attack came from, which weapons were used and who fired them.

Iran has denied any involvement in the strike, which threatened to disrupt the global flow of oil.

But Mr. Trump sought to play down the impact on oil prices. “They haven’t risen very much, and we have the strategic oil reserves, which are massive,” he told reporters. By releasing some of those reserves, he said, “you’d bring it right down.”

Mr. Trump has sent mixed signals on his response to the attack, which happened only a few days after he dismissed John R. Bolton, his national security adviser, who was known for having wanted to strike Iran militarily.

Earlier on Monday, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to suggest that Tehran could not be believed, reminding his followers of Iran’s downing of a United States surveillance drone in June. Iran’s version of events “was a very big lie,” he wrote. “Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

Mr. Trump, who has made American policy toward Iran markedly more hostile with severe economic sanctions, tweeted on Sunday night that Washington was seeking Saudi input before a potential military response. Saying the military was braced to respond, “depending on verification,” he wrote, “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit.”

A Saudi Aramco plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, was attacked early Saturday, one of two sites hit.Image by Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Mr. Trump did not rule out a lethal military strike. Asked later Monday on the White House lawn if such an action would be proportional, he responded: “I would say yes.”

No clear public message emerged from Saudi Arabia on what response the Saudis prefer.

Prominent supporters of the monarchy have portrayed the strikes as an assault on the world and its energy markets, not just Saudi Arabia, and some have talked of retaliation.

“What is required is nothing more than the destruction of Iran’s oil installations, and if there is a capacity, nuclear facilities and military bases as well,” argued Turki al-Hamad, a prominent Saudi political analyst and novelist.

But other social media accounts known for pro-government propaganda argued for patience, saying that wisdom favors choosing the right time and means to respond.

Mohammed Alyahya, editor in chief of the English website of the Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya, emphasized that the kingdom’s rulers were deliberating carefully.

The attacks show that Iranians are feeling the pain of the Trump administration’s sweeping sanctions, he said, and “they are more likely to take risks like the one they took recently.”

“A conventional military response must only be embarked upon with the utmost care in terms of the legality and consequences, after looking at all the other alternatives,” Mr. Alyahya said. “If there is a military conflict, Iran will inevitably be the biggest loser, but the reality is that everybody will lose. A conventional war will take its toll on everyone.”

The Houthis insisted on Monday that they had carried out the strikes using drones, and threatened more. They made no reference to whether Iranian equipment or training had played a role.

A satellite image provided by the United States government of damage at the Abqaiq oil processing plant on Saturday.U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe, via Associated Press

A spokesman for the Houthi military, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, “warned companies and foreigners not to be present in the factories that were hit by our strikes because we may target them again at any moment,” Almasirah, the Houthi news organization, reported on Monday.

The Houthis can strike at will anywhere in Saudi Arabia, he said, and their actions against it “will expand and be more painful.”

United Nations experts say that Iran has supplied the Houthis with drones and missiles that have greatly expanded their offensive capacity.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has worked extensively with other allied groups in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, Hamas in Gaza, and Shiite militias in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has killed thousands, many of them civilians. The war there is considered the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis of recent years, displacing millions of people and leaving millions more at risk of starvation.

The Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in Saturday’s attack; American officials said that there were 17 points of impact. The rebel group has launched missile and drone attacks into Saudi territory before, but never anything on that scale, or against such vital targets, or so deep into the kingdom, 500 miles from Yemeni territory.

The attack forced the shutdown of facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, which ordinarily are responsible for most of the crude oil produced by Saudi Arabia; the kingdom supplies about a tenth of the worldwide total.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased sharply since last year, when Mr. Trump abandoned the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed economic sanctions there. This spring, he imposed new sanctions, and Iran, which had continued to abide by the 2015 accord after the American withdrawal, began stepping back from some of the accord’s obligations.

In May and June, several tankers were damaged in or near the Strait of Hormuz, in what American officials said were Iranian attacks. Iran has also seized several foreign ships.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said that a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, which Iran impounded near its coast in July, would be released within days. Iran took the ship after British and Gibraltar forces seized an Iranian tanker, which was released last month after more than six weeks’ detention.

Reporting was contributed by Edward Wong, Megan Specia, Eric Schmitt and Annie Karni.

The Oil Is Damaged (Revelation 6:6)

Saudi attacks send oil prices soaring

By Sheena McKenzie, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:56 PM ET, Mon September 16, 2019

What to know about the Saudi oil attack

Weekend attacks: Coordinated strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities knocked out half of the country’s oil capacity — more than 5 million barrels a day. On Monday, US oil prices spiked.

▪ Who’s behind this? Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they’re responsible for the attacks, but a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said that Iranian weapons were used in the oil field attack. The spokesperson also said the strikes were not launched from Yemen, despite claims of responsibility by Houthi rebels.

▪ Where the US stands: President Trump said it looks like Iran was behind the attack but suggested it was too early to say for sure. Trump also insisted that he does not want war with Iran.

5:54 p.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Pakistan’s prime minister expresses support in call with Saudi crown prince

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday who expressed Pakistan’s “support” with the Kingdom, state-media Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

According to SPA, Khan said Pakistan stands with the Kingdom “in confronting these sabotage acts, which threaten the global economy and the Kingdom’s security.”

5:29 p.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Trump says Saudi oil attack “won’t affect us and ultimately I don’t think it will affect the world either”

President Trump on Monday downplayed the dangers of the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities wreaking havoc in international oil markets.

He said the US is well positioned because of both the strategic petroleum reserve and US energy output.

“Well we have the strategic, if you look at what we have we have tremendous amounts of oil in our country. We’re independent of everybody now. We have more than anybody else. We’re the number one energy producer in the world, which took place very recently and we will soon be substantially more than anybody else. So it won’t affect us and ultimately I don’t think it will affect the world either — but it won’t affect the United States,” Trump said.

Hamas Warns Israel Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas leader: Israel will pay ‘heavy price’ if it attacks Gaza

Hamas member Khalil al-Hayya claims Israeli threats to carry out military operation in Gaza do not scare the “resistance organizations”.

Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and one of the group’s senior leaders in Gaza, warned on Saturday that the “Israeli occupation” will pay a very high price if it attacks Gaza.

Al-Hayya noted that the statements made in Israel regarding an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip are part of the election campaign and do not scare the Palestinian “resistance organizations”.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Channel 13 News on Saturday night that “if Hamas does not take control of [Gaza], there will be no option other than to act systematically. Maybe that means a war. I look the residents of the south in the eye, and I understand their distress.”

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said last Sunday that Israel’s conflict with the terrorist organizations in Gaza is close to reaching the tipping point and warned that in the next campaign “it is clear that the top leaders of the terrorist organizations will be wiped out and its force destroyed.”

Al-Hayya, who spoke to the Hamas-affiliated Felesteen newspaper, also said that Netanyahu’s declaration of his intention to annex the Jordan Valley would not have been made had it not been for the Oslo Accords that paved the way for the expansion of the settlements.

The Oslo Accords, said the senior Hamas member, have failed and their initiators must openly acknowledge that in order to get back on the path of “resistance” against Israel.

“We do not recognize (the occupation) and we work day and night to bring it to an end in our land and have the refugees return to their land from which they were expelled,” said al-Hayya.

Saudi Arabia’s Threat From Iran (Daniel 8:4)

New threat to Saudi Arabia comes from two fronts and one actor – Iran

Strikes on oil plants part of a wider Iranian strategy with several objectives

Khaled Yacoub Oweis

September 15, 2019

Saudi Arabia is facing a major Iran-backed escalation of violence aimed at disrupting its economy in a challenge not seen since the attacks by Al Qaeda on foreign workers more than a decade ago.

Between 2003 and 2006, the authorities fought off hundreds of mostly Saudi militants who had returned from Afghanistan and aimed to bankrupt the kingdom by terrorising the foreign labour force and later undermining morale in the state security apparatus.

The current threat comes from across the kingdom’s borders to the north and to the south – Iran’s militia allies in Iraq and in Yemen, the target of the Saudi-led intervention since 2015.

Both are suspected of attacking Saudi civilian targets, most notably oil infrastructure, tankers and an airport in southern Saudi Arabia, in the past four months.

Most materially damaging was the attack on Saturday on a crucial oil plant, halving Saudi Arabia’s production.

In the 2000s, advanced training and reconnaissance, a mix of tough action and leniency towards militants who handed themselves in, and an enhanced esprit de corps within the Saudi security forces, eventually contained Al Qaeda in the country.

A major state, Iran, stands behind the latest militant threat.

Tehran has been counting on its response to the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy on Iran, to outlast President Donald Trump, who is up for re-election in November 2020, or force him to back down.

Although the Houthi rebel militia in Yemen claimed Saturday’s attack, US officials said there was no evidence that it was them.

At the same time, there are Iraqi militias dominant in Baghdad’s circles of power willing to do Iran’s bidding.

Washington has opened channels with the Houthis to lure the group away from Tehran through a deal that would end the war in Yemen.

But past policies from the US and others with the Syrian regime, before the 2011 revolt, and with Iraqi militias, failed to dissuade proxies from their controllers in Tehran.

Saudi Arabia tried to woo Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, who leads several militias and casts himself as anti-establishment.

But Mr Al Sadr appeared last week at a religious celebration in Tehran next to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, showing Iran’s widespread influence.

Iran’s rulers are unlikely to approve any Houthi compromise with Saudi Arabia without a major gain for Tehran.

They may be calculating that traditional US allies in the Middle East could become a casualty of Mr Trump’s eagerness to strike grand bargains before the elections.

But Saturday’s attack could also make it difficult for the US to soften its line, in the same way that the Afghan Taliban’s deadly bombing in Kabul this month scuttled talks with Washington.

Although the attacks in Saudi Arabia did not target American interests directly, or the hundreds of American soldiers in the country, they challenge a long-standing US policy of securing Middle East energy supplies.

Oil prices rose sharply at start of trading on Monday, the first day of business in the West since the attack, with Brent benchmark crude gaining 8.7 percent to $65.5 per barrell by mid morning.

But the attack was mainly designed for political purposes. Whatever extra capacity Iran has, it will struggle to put any of it on the market under US sanctions.

There are market worries about the extent of the latest damage to the Saudi oil infrastructure and whether the attack reflects enhanced capability by Iran’s proxies or is a statistical result of having hit Saudi Arabia so often.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Saudi has been struck almost 100 times.

The immediate objective for Saudi policymakers would be to protect the kingdom’s major assets from further attacks.

In the 2000s, action against domestic militants was accompanied by political action that contributed to their division and eventual containment.

But among Saudi Arabia’s foes in Sanaa and Baghdad, Iran remains a unifying force.

No Iran Deal for Trump

AP Photo

Iran Rejects Prospect of Trump-Rouhani Meeting on U.N. Sidelines

Simon Kent

16 Sep 2019

Iran has no interest in President Hassan Rouhani meeting U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines at the U.N. General Assembly, a Tehran spokesman confirmed Monday.

“We have neither planned for this meeting, nor do I think such a thing would happen in New York,” the foreign ministry’s Abbas Mousavi said in remarks aired on state media outlet Radio Farda.

“As we have stated before, if the Americans return to the JCPOA and cease their economic terrorism, they can return to the joint commission and talk,” Mousavi added.

Trump downplayed the prospect as well, Tweeting it is not true he is willing “to meet Iran, ‘No Conditions’. That is an incorrect statement (as usual)”.

The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, “No Conditions.” That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019

Tension between the respective leaders on the world stage was not helped in June when Rouhani sneered at Trump and his White House team, saying they are “afflicted by mental retardation.”

In 2017, the Supreme Leader of Iran,  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also called Trump “foul-mouthed”, uttering “nonsense,” and “suffering from retardation”.

“The President of the United States displays nonsense; however, this should not lead us to ignore the mischief of the U.S. regime,” Khamenei told a group of students, before taking to Twitter to expand his range of insults further.

I don’t want to waste time on answering the rants and whoppers of the brute US president. It’s a waste of time for anyone to answer him.

— (@khamenei_ir) October 18, 2017

The idea of a Trump-Rouhani meeting was floated last month by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been spearheading European efforts to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the United States.

The arch-foes have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump withdrew from the flawed Obama-negotiated 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions on Iran.

Rouhani has previously indicated he is open to holding talks with the Americans, but it is an approach that has faced criticism at home from Iran’s ultra-conservative Islamic leadership.

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Netenyahu Wishes to Make War Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi. (photo credit:” AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)



Two days earlier rocket fire interrupted his campaign speech in Ashdod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu almost ordered the IDF to go to war in the Gaza Strip which would have postponed the general elections slated for Tuesday, Haaretz reported on Monday.

Haaretz reported that National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat had met with Hanan Melcer, the head of the Central Elections Committee, at the urging of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit about a possible military operation.

According to the report, the action was aborted last Tuesday “at the last moment” by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit who said that the plan required the approval of the security cabinet.

Following the publication of the report on Monday, Blue and White co-leader and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter that “Netanyahu did away with ambiguity for political ends. Now he’s lost it and wants to drag us into war to postpone the elections. This is a scenario that belongs [in the TV show] House of Cards, not in the State of Israel.”

Democratic Union candidate and former deputy chief of staff Yair Golan said that Netanyahu was not judging his response on security but may have wanted to improve his position before the elections.

“What led Netanyahu to consider a large-scale military operation, and what was the balance for a measured response? Was there a pure security judgment here, a personal insult, or a desire to improve positions before elections,” he tweeted.”We will probably never know, but to rely on the cynical way in which Netanyahu uses security issues to advance his personal survival campaign, an unbiased judgment based on security was not there. “

Netanyahu was assailed by political rivals and militants in Gaza last week over stopping his speech to seek shelter after rocket fire from the Hamas-run blockaded coastal enclave during a campaign speech in Ashdod.

Yamina No. 2 Naftali Bennett said that “a prime minister being taken off the stage in the middle of a speech because rockets are fired at him is a national humiliation. Hamas has stopped fearing Israel. Israel’s security will be restored by Hamas leaders being eliminated and not by press conferences.”

The prime minister said he wasn’t fazed by the rocket alert sirens when he was taken to safety by his security guards and that it would be “absurd” if he had remained on stage.

Following the rally, Netanyahu met with senior defense officials at the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv with Ben-Shabbat, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen, Military Intelligence Director Tamir Hayman and Netanyahu’s military secretary, Avi Blot.

Mandelblit participated by phone, Haaretz reported.

Two days after the rocket fire that was believed to have been launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Netanyahu warned that Israel may have no choice but to embark on a military operation in Gaza to overthrow Hamas.

“It looks like there will be no other choice but to embark on a wide-scale campaign in Gaza,” Netanyahu said. “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime. Hamas doesn’t exert its sovereignty in the Strip and doesn’t prevent attacks. We have a situation in which a terror group that launches rockets has taken over, and doesn’t rein in rogue factions even when it wants to.”