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The US-Iran Silent War is Transformed Into An “Iraq Uprising”

THE US-IRAN SILENT WAR IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN “IRAQ UPRISING”

The last four days have shown that the ongoing US-Iran war is acutely affecting the whole region. This is now evident in Iraq where more than 105 people have been killed and thousands wounded in the course of demonstrations that engulfed the capital Baghdad and southern Shia cities including Amara, Nasririyeh, Basrah, Najaf and Karbalaa. Similar demonstrations could erupt in Beirut and other Lebanese cities due to the similarity of economic conditions in the two countries. The critical economic situation in the Middle East offers fertile ground for uprisings that lead to general chaos.

Iraq has special status due to its position, since the 2003 US occupation of the country, as both an Iranian and as a US ally. Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi up to now has armed himself with article 8 of the constitution, seeking to keep Iraq as a balancing point between all allies and neighbouring countries, and to prevent Mesopotamia from becoming a battlefield for conflicts between the US and Iran or Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Notwithstanding the efforts of Baghdadi officials, the deterioration of the domestic economic situation in Iraq has pushed the country into a situation comparable to that of those Middle Eastern countries who were hit by the so-called “Arab Spring”. 

Fuelled by real grievances including lack of job opportunities and severe corruption, domestic uprisings were manipulated by hostile foreign manipulation for purposes of regime change; these efforts have been ongoing in Syria since 2011. Baghdad believes that foreign and regional countries took advantage of the justified demands of the population to implement their own agenda, with disastrous consequences for the countries in question.

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Iran Will Be a Full Nuclear Power By the End of 2020: No Return to the 2015 Agreement

IRAN WILL BE A FULL NUCLEAR POWER BY THE END OF 2020: NO RETURN TO THE 2015 AGREEMENT

French President Emmanuel Macron failed to promote successfully his Iranian initiative with the US administration despite the initial blessing of his US counterpart. This failure led Iran to make a third gradual withdrawal from its JCPOA nuclear deal commitment, raising two main issues. Iran has become a regional power to be reckoned with, so we can now scrap from reactions to its policies the words “submit,” or “bow to the international community”. Moreover, since Europe is apparently no longer in a position to fulfil its commitments, Iran will now be headed towards a total pull-out following further gradual withdrawal steps. Just before the US elections due in November 2020, Iran is expected to become a nuclear country with the full capability of producing uranium enriched to more than 20% uranium-235, weapons-usable and therefore in a position to manufacture dozens of nuclear bombs (for which uranium must be enriched to about 90%). However, this does not necessarily mean that this is Iran’s ultimate objective.

Industry data shows that half of the effort goes into enriching from 0.7% to 4%. If Iran reaches the level of 20%, the journey towards 90% is almost done. A few thousand centrifuges are needed to reach 20% enrichment while a few hundred are enough to cross from 20% to the 90% needed for a nuclear bomb. When Iran announces it is reaching a level which is considered critical by the west, there is the possibility that Israel might act militarily against Iran’s capability as it did in Iraq in 1981, in Syria in 2009, and in assassinating nuclear scientists. If this happens, the Middle East will be exposed to a mega earthquake whose outcome is unpredictable.

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Trump Offered to Suspend Sanctions While Negotiating With Iran, Khamenei Rejected the Offer: More Attacks Expected

TRUMP OFFERED TO SUSPEND SANCTIONS WHILE NEGOTIATING WITH IRAN, KHAMENEI REJECTED THE OFFER: MORE ATTACKS EXPECTED

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo conveyed a message from US President Donald Trump to the Iranian leadership, asking the release of 5 US prisoners and inviting Iran to sit around a negotiation table, adding “he [Donald Trump] would be ready to suspend all sanctions only during the negotiations”. No guarantee was offered to freeze or revoke the sanctions. Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the revolution, rejected the message and any dialogue with the US President and told his guest that he considers Trump unworthy to “to exchange a message with”.

Informed sources close to Iranian decision makers repeated the words of President Hassan Rouhani and the Iranian advisor to Sayyed Khamenei for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, namely that  “if Iran can’t export oil through the Persian Gulf, no-one in the Middle East will be able do this”. The source “expects further attacks in the future, given the US decision to stop the flow of oil by all means at all costs. Thus, oil will stop being delivered to the world if Iran can’t export its two million barrels per day”.

Two tankers  – Kokuka Courageous and Font Altair – were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, putting at risk the supply of oil to the West and making oil tanker navigation in the Middle East very unsafe. “One more attack and insurance companies are expected to increase their fees. More attacks and no insurance company will agree to cover any oil tanker navigating in Gulf waters, putting Iran and other oil-exporters at the same level. Moreover, let us see what justifications Trump and Europe will offer their people when the price of oil becomes unaffordable”, said the source.

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Iran to Iraqis: Do Not Attack US Forces Unless They Refuse to Withdraw Following a Parliamentary Decision

IRAN TO THE IRAQIS: DO NOT ATTACK US FORCES UNLESS THEY REFUSE TO WITHDRAW FOLLOWING A PARLIAMENTARY DECISION


US president Donald Trump’s statement of his intention to remain in Iraq in order to “be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem” has created a political storm in Mesopotamia among local politicians and groups now determined to put an end to the US presence in the country. Many are upset by Trump’s statement, saying that the “US forces are departing from their initial mission to fight terrorism, the reason for which they are allowed to stay in Iraq”. Iraqi President Barham Saleh commented that the US administration did not ask Iraq’s permission for US troops stationed in the country to “watch Iran”.

US forces have been deployed in Iraq in large numbers since 2014 when ISIS occupied a third of the country. The US establishment under president Obama refrained from rushing to support the Iraqi government, leaving room for Iran to act rapidly and send weapons and military advisors to Baghdad and Erbil. The intentionally slow US reaction pushed the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani to call for the mobilisation of the population, a call that led to 

the creation of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), called Hashd al-Shaabi, who managed to stop ISIS’s advance.

Moreover, in response to Iraq’s request, a joint military operational room was formed in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” where Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian high-ranking officers are still present, coordinating military attacks and sharing electronic and other intelligence information about ISIS whereabouts and the movements of its militants, sleeping cells and leaders.

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New Rules of Engagement Between Syria and Israel, as Russia Changes its Position

NEW RULES OF ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN SYRIA AND ISRAEL, AS RUSSIA CHANGES ITS POSITION

Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

This Syrian political decision is based on a clear position taken by Russia in Syria following the downing of its aircraft on September 18 this year. In 2015 when the Russian military landed in Syria, it informed the parties concerned (i.e. Syria, Iran and Israel) that it had no intention to interfere in the conflict between them and Hezbollah and that it would not stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s planes bombing Hezbollah military convoys on their way to Lebanon or Iranian military warehouses not allocated to the war in Syria. This was a commitment to remain an onlooker if Israel hit Iranian military objectives or Hezbollah convoys transporting arms to Hezbollah from Syria to Lebanon, within Syrian territory. It also informed Israel that it would not accept any attacks on its allies (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies) engaged in fighting ISIS, al-Qaeda and its allies.

Israel respected the will of Moscow until the beginning of 2018, when it started to attack Iranian bases and Syrian military warehouses, though it never attacked a Hezbollah military position. Israel justified its attack against the Iranian base, a military facility called T4, by claiming it had sent drones over Israel. Tel Aviv considered violation of its neighbours’ sovereignty as its exclusive prerogative.

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The Global US Squeeze On Iran Has Started: Europe is Looking For Alternatives

THE GLOBAL US SQUEEZE ON IRAN HAS STARTED: EUROPE IS LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES

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Today the harshest and highest level economic and energy sanctions that can be imposed on any country are being imposed unilaterally on Iran. The US establishment will try its best to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees and Tehran will do its best to cross the US minefield. Whatever the outcome, Iran will never submit to Washington’s twelve conditions.

Iran is not a fledgeling country ready to collapse at the imposition of the first tight sanctions, nor will Iran allow its oil exports to be frozen without reacting. In fact, US and UN sanctions against Iran date to the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and the fall of the Shah in 1979.

No doubt the Iranian economy will be affected. Nevertheless, Iranian unity today has reached new heights. President Trump has managed to bring reformists and radicals together under the same umbrella!

Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has said to President Hassan Rouhani: “You walk and we stand ahead of you. Don’t respond to Trump’s provocations because he is insolent and not at your level. I shall face him myself”. Rouhani believes “US policy and its new conspiracy will fail”. All responsible figures in the Iranian regime are now united under the leadership of Imam Ali Khamenei against the US policy whose aim is to curb the regime.

Under the previous worldwide sanctions regime, Iran began developing missile technology and precision weapons. Iran has never yielded in support of its allies because these alliances are an integral part of its ideology. Today, Tehran is not standing alone against the US and is waiting to see what course global sanctions will take before reacting. Officials in Tehran, convinced that Trump will win a second term, are preparing for a long siege.

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The Edge of the Abyss in Syria

The Edge of the Abyss in Syria

SYRIAN-WAR

For the first time since he is in office, the US President Donald Trump has launched a clear threat in the direction of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin saying “he will pay a price”. This menace is related to the claim that the Syrian army had launched a chemical attack against the city of Duma, in eastern Ghouta, the last stronghold of Saudi Arabia’s proxies close to Damascus.

Trump is maybe thinking of bombing the Syrian Army positions spread throughout the Syrian geography, or perhaps even the Al-Muhajereen President’s palace in Damascus- of course, without necessarily saying when and where his army will strike.

On the other side, Russia is saying it won’t stand still and will respond to any threat against its soldiers. Indeed, Russian officers are deployed in every single Syrian unit on the ground and in command and control headquarters in the Levant, coordinating and participating in attacks against jihadists since September 2015. Therefore, it is almost certain that any direct hit against the Syrian Army will cause Russian casualties.

Such an act of war may trigger a Russian response by President Putin who will certainly not want to look weak in front of Russian politicians, the Russian military and in front of his own people. Russia has just returned to the international arena, not only as a country in possession of nuclear weapons, but also as a country trying to create a world balance and put an end to the US unilateral dominance that Washington enjoyed since the Perestroika in 1991.

But how could the US benefit from military action in Syria?

The mainstream media, the think tank generously financed and nourished by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrein, Trump’s team and the intelligence community- are all asking the US President to go to war in Syria to change the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and replace it with “freedom fighters” that the same Donald Trump is very familiar with and has specifically criticised.

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Qassem Soleimani’s letter to the US: Leave Syria or else! Could Al-Hasaka 2018 become Beirut 1983?

Qassem Soleimani’s letter to the US: Leave Syria or else! Could Al-Hasaka 2018 become Beirut 1983?

Well informed sources have said the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a verbal letter, via Russia, to the head of the US forces commander in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier “or the doors of hell will open up”.

“My message to the US military command: when the battle against ISIS (the Islamic State group) will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it”, said Soleimani to a Russian officer. Soleimani asked the Russian responsible to expose the Iranian intentions towards the US: that they will be considered as forces of occupation if these decide to stay in north-east Syria where Kurds and Arab tribes cohabit together.

The Russians are not against the US presence and can adapt to this after defining the demarcation lines to avoid any clash. But Iran has a clear position and has decided not to abandon the Syrian President alone to face the US forces, if these stay behind.

Soleimani’s letter to the US clearly indicated the promise of ‘surprise measures’ against the US: ” You shall face soldiers and forces you have not experienced before in Syria and you will leave the country sooner or later”.

Russia conveyed to the US that Iran will stay in Syria as long as President Assad decides, he who insists in liberating the entire territory from all forces without exception. Russia confirmed to the US its intention to refrain from offering any air support to Iran and its allies in the case of attacks on US forces. From the Russian perspective, the Iran-US dispute is not its concern nor on its agenda.

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Kurds in Iraq and Syria: a new chaos is redefining the Middle East’s borders

Kurds in Iraq and Syria: a new chaos is redefining the Middle East’s borders

There is no doubt that most Iraqi Kurds will say “yes” to the referendum and start materialising the dream of the 30 million Kurds inhabiting Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Armenia, a dream of establishing an independent state in Kurdistan-Iraq to start with. Despite the announcement of the Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani that the referendum is only the beginning of a negotiation with the central government in Baghdad (and not a “divorce” from the state of Iraq) he hopes (and most probably knows) that the independence will be recognised as a fact by the international community sooner or later. For certain, this referendum – if its result is implemented – will lead to a redefinition of the map of the Middle East, and the countries of Iraq and Syria to start with where Kurds in both countries control enough energy resources to sustain their “state”. Leaders around the world said – during the war in Syria – that the Middle East would never return to the way it was before 2011, probably referring to the “Islamic State” (ISIS) occupation of large part of Syria and Iraq. But today, their prediction may come true through the Kurds – even though the “Islamic State” (ISIS) “project” failed to reach its objective, that of dividing both Syria and Iraq.

Thus, the Kurdish will to establish an independent state is giving greater power to Turkey, holding the key of the Kurdish future state, and to the partition of the Middle East. In fact, in Iraq, Ankara will play a crucial role in the coming months and years in reshaping Mesopotamia and the Levant. Kurdistan exports its main oil revenue through Turkey, putting Erbil at Ankara’s mercy. Therefore, if Turkey considers the independence a threat to its national security, it will not hesitate to send troops into Kurdistan, triggering probably little effective action or reaction from Baghdad.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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