Chapter 44. Pending Completion or Fulfillment of the Gog/Magog Battle. (Ezekiel 38-39)

The Gog/Magog prophecy is a very long and detailed prophecy of a major, major battle that is to take place. It is not an ongoing war, but a very sudden and somewhat unexpected battle that takes place in one day. Only one day. (No nukes are used). Virtually everyone agrees that at its core, it involves Russia, Turkey, Iran and a number of lesser countries. All these countries come against Israel in the ‘latter days.’ If we believe we are in the ‘latter days’ or ‘season’ prior to the end times AND what we know about Russia, Turkey and Iran, what can be discerned about the timeliness of the prophecy? Please consider what has been stated on and reported publicly about each one of the players. As best as I can discern, these reports are accurate and not a result of the fake and lying news disease that we have today in the United States. There is a lot to learn about and at stake with all of the key players. The frictions and motivations are accelerating in infrequency and scope. Much like the birth pains of a woman in labor. The KJV of Ezekiel 38-39 is provided in total at the end of this section for reference. I believe there is compelling evidence that suggests that the Gog/Magog alliance has already formed, and each player already has the motivation to act against Israel independently. It will take just one ‘spark’ to set Russia’s/Putin’s mind on taking the “great spoil” that awaits him in Israel. What is the ‘spark’ that will set Russia/Putin off? What is the “great spoil?” What does Iran want? What does Turkey want? What happens? Why is any of this important? And for whom? Read on and find out!

Putin Crowns Himself OPEC King. November 24, 2017, Businessweek.

For more than half a century, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister could move markets with a few choice words about what OPEC may decide at its next meeting, generating millions if not billions of dollars of profit for insiders. Not anymore. While OPEC’s gatherings still influence prices, it’s not Saudi Arabia’s voice that matters most, but the voice of a non-member: Russia, specifically Vladimir Putin. Since engineering Russia’s pact with the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries to curb supplies a year ago, Putin has emerged as the group’s most influential player. As one senior OPEC official put it on condition of anonymity, the Russian leader is now “calling all the shots.” The Kremlin’s growing sway within the cartel reflects a foreign policy that’s designed to counter U.S. influence across the globe through a wide mix of economic, diplomatic, military and intelligence measures. That strategy, which is undergirded by Russia’s vast natural-resource wealth, appears to be working. “Putin is now the world’s energy czar,” said Helima Croft, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who directs global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York.

The strength of Putin’s position will be in the spotlight on Nov. 30, when OPEC’s 14 members, including Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela, host nominally independent producers such as Russia and Mexico in Vienna to discuss whether to extend the cuts past March. At stake is the economic and political health of all states involved, including Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics that Putin brought into the deal. Participants in the accord collectively pump 60 percent of the world’s oil. Putin spurred a short-lived spike in prices on the eve of the first-ever visit by a Saudi king to Russia last month by suggesting the cuts be extended until the end of next year, though he stressed he hadn’t made a final decision. Putin’s remarks, though qualified, triggered a fresh rush of diplomacy by both OPEC and non-OPEC producers to try to hammer out a deal.

To be sure, it’s an uneasy alliance. The Saudis, the world’s largest exporter and already unhappy about bearing the brunt of the cuts, complain that allied producers aren’t fully complying. They’re also growing frustrated with Russia’s reticence to prolong the curbs, according to a person briefed on the Saudi view. Since Putin’s comments, the Kremlin has been sending mixed signals, in part to placate domestic oil barons like state-run Rosneft PJSC chief Igor Sechin and Lukoil PJSC billionaire Vagit Alekperov. But it’s also trying to keep oil prices from rising enough to spur shale companies to drill even more in the U.S., which expects domestic production to reach a record 10 million barrels a day next year, a level exceeded only Saudi Arabia and Russia. Putin, who embarked on his unprecedented alliance with OPEC when prices were about $20 a barrel lower than today and the market looked far more oversupplied, has another reason not to want oil prices to rise sharply. Russia is currently benefiting from a weaker ruble, which benefits exporters, and becoming less dependent on energy sales to meet its spending commitments.

For Russian producers, the cuts are getting increasingly painful. With Brent, the global benchmark, at about $63 a barrel, almost 30 percent higher than a year ago, they’re anxious to start cranking up production. Rosneft this month even said it needs to be ready to open the spigots in December — a surprising date since it’s three months before the current agreement expires. “There are three scenarios we’re looking at, okay, that the OPEC cuts stop end of the year, end of March next year, or they continue throughout 2018,” Eric Liron, Rosneft’s first vice president for upstream, said on a conference call. Still, current prices — and geopolitical realities — suggest the accord will be rolled over, according to Edward C. Chow, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and a former Chevron Corp. executive. “It’s mutually beneficial,” Chow said. “The Saudis need a large oil-producing partner to effectively influence the market and the potential for a greater geopolitical and economic role in the Middle East for Russia makes compliance with production cuts an expedient move for Moscow.”

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih has said he would like to announce an extension until the end of 2018 next week. Russian officials have hesitated on following the Saudi plan, but more recently agreed the outlines of a deal with Riyadh to prolong the cuts until the end of 2018, according to people familiar with the matter. Still, both sides have yet to agree to crucial details and Moscow wants to include language in the agreement that will make the cuts conditional to the health of the market, the same people said, asking not to be named discussing private talks. For Saudi Arabia, having to share output decisions with Russia, an ally of its arch-enemy Iran in the Syrian civil war, is a bitter pill to swallow. In the past, the Saudis could impose their will on prices and punish rivals by flooding the market, as they did against other OPEC members in 1985-86, Venezuela in 1998-99 and the U.S. shale industry in 2014-15. Russia was an afterthought. But now the Saudi economy is reeling and the kingdom needs higher crude prices as much as everyone else. By some measures, including its fiscal break-even point, Saudi Arabia needs even higher prices than Iran or Russia, which is basing its budget for next year on oil averaging $40 a barrel. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s sweeping crackdown on corruption, including the sudden arrests of scores of royals and billionaires, appears to have only increased the kingdom’s newfound reliance on Russia. The purge upended the decades-old model that held the elite together and turned the success of his ambitious economic-reform program into a battle for survival, according to Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. “Because of this vulnerability, we believe the kingdom, and more importantly Mohammed bin Salman, needs strong oil revenues — and hence higher oil prices — to ensure he stays in power,” Sen said.

[Authors note:] Concerning the Gog/Magog battle prophesied in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, Saudi Arabia (Sheba & Dedan) is referred to as an ‘action-less’ witness as Russia, Turkey, Iran (and associated parties) attempt to attack Israel. However, Saudi Arabia is described as saying to Russia (and the rest), “Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a ‘great spoil?” The Saudi-Russian ‘Bromance’ suggests that Saudi Arabia consciously avoids any military confrontation with Russia, for obvious reasons. However, Saudi Arabia questions Russia’s motivation for advancing against Israel and is concerned about Russia’s interest in the oil and natural gas fields in Israel’s sovereign territory in the Golan Heights and Mediterranean Sea.

… ” And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? (Ezek. 38:11-13). (Emphasis added).

Putin Meets Saudi Crown Prince in Moscow amid Soaring Oil Prices and Short Supply. June 2018.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 14, 2018. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Saudi Arabia wants to continue cooperation with Russia on global oil markets, adding that this cooperation was beneficial for the whole world.

It appears both have agreed to cement the cornerstone of an already deepening energy and economic relationship, even as they look to alter a successful oil production deal that brought them together. Russia’s energy ministry said it has reached a general consensus with Saudi Arabia that its newfound relationship with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should be “institutionalized,” and be extended to monitor the market and take action if needed. OPEC will meet this upcoming Friday, and then with Russia and other non-OPEC members after that.

The chumminess of Russia and Saudi Arabia, however, is not unexpected. The relationship between two of world’s largest oil producers is being reinforced as OPEC is poised to grapple with several thorny issues. Chief among them is how to deal with the declines of supply from OPEC member Venezuela, and the effect of renewed sanctions on Iran by the United States. Iran is being sanctioned by the U.S. after President Donald Trump withdrew from a deal between Iran and six other countries designed to end its nuclear program. Trump said the deal was not tough enough, and under the renewed sanctions, companies around the world in essence will have to stop dealing with Tehran if they want to deal with the world’s largest economy. “This time more than most, [OPEC’s meeting] is almost more about geopolitics than it is about the market,” said Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit.

“This is one time when U.S. mid-term elections are going to figure into what OPEC does,” said Yergin. “The message from Trump is he is not wanting high oil prices, either as a result of sanctions on Iran or heading into the November congressional election. These elections could be of such decisive importance,” he added. When OPEC ministers meet, they are expected to consider altering a production deal that has held back 1.8 million barrels a day from the market for the past 18 months. Russia has pushed for returning a million barrels per day back into the market relatively quickly. However, Saudi Arabia would like to try a lower amount to prevent the price from dropping too much, analysts said.

“I think they do something like return 500,000 barrels a day, but the actual increase will be a lot more. I think they’ll try to obfuscate and obscure as much as they can, to try to prop up the price,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital. Oil prices took a beating Friday amid concerns about U.S. trade actions, and are off by more than 10 percent from last month’s high. The production cuts have been successful, shrinking world supplies and sending prices high enough to the point where Brent crude popped above $80 in May. Now that both Russia and Saudi Arabia are looking to return some barrels to the market, not all OPEC members agree. Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have all said the current production agreement should stay in place — mainly because they’re feeling the economic pinch of sanctions. “You now have in OPEC two countries that have been the subject of international sanctions and for one country, Iran, those sanctions have been supported by two members of OPEC, the [United Arab Emirates] and Saudi,” said Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC. “There are a whole host of divisions going into this meeting.”

There are also a complicated series of factors impacting the decision, and it’s not just about stabilizing the market. Already, Venezuela has lost about 700,000 barrels a day this year, and analysts expect U.S. sanctions could remove 500,000 Iranian barrels a day from the market by the end of the year, she said. Croft said Iran could be a bigger factor in the market later in the year, after the sanctions snap back. “Will they restart their nuclear program? I think the market just thinks, ‘well the Iranians aren’t going to want to get in trouble,'” she said. But at OPEC, they could ultimately be sidelined by Saudi Arabia, which has the backing of the UAE and Kuwait. “I think Iran becomes a story post-meeting,” Croft said, suggesting that Iran, Venezuela and Iraq may withhold support for a production boost. “Then you have the Saudis acting independently,” she said. The OPEC ministers meeting Friday will be followed by a meeting with Russia and other non OPEC producers. Ahead of that, they will be attending an OPEC summit Wednesday and Thursday, which includes global energy ministers as well as the CEOs of international companies like Total and BP, and U.S. producers Pioneer and Hess.

OPEC announced in March that it would invite U.S. producers to the seminar to discuss shale production and technology, as the world’s largest economy continues to churn out massive amounts of crude. The U.S. has been pumping record amounts of oil week after week, with the latest weekly figures showing production of just under 11 million barrels a day. U.S. output has surpassed Saudi Arabia, and its growing market share is another factor that makes production cuts difficult for OPEC and Russia. “The Saudis really have a sense of obligation with Trump, after he ditched the Iran nuclear deal,” said Again’s Kilduff. “It’s a weird dynamic. The Russians aren’t liking the U.S. getting up to 11 million barrels a day. They’ve foregone a lot of market share,” he added. “They could stick it to the U.S. and send prices lower to shake out some of our shale guys. They’ve got something up their sleeve.” After talks with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih in Moscow on Thursday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that both nations “in principle” supported a gradual increase in production. “We in general support this … but specifics we will discuss with the ministers in a week,” Novak said. He noted one possibility would be to gradually raise output by 1.5 million barrels per day, starting July 1.

As the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepares to meet on June 22, its members are looking at a very different world than just a few years ago. The massive oil supply glut – and rock bottom prices – is gone. The global economy is stronger, fossil-fuel energy demand is at a record high, and the nuclear deal that allowed Iran, an OPEC member, to start selling oil again is in tatters. After falling to sub-$30 a barrel in early 2016 for Brent, the global benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, oil prices have risen to about $76 and $67 a barrel respectively.

Crude oil demand now outstrips supply, and OPEC members will debate whether to lift the 18-month-old production cap to stabilize prices. It’s believed Saudi Arabia wants to pump more, as does Russia, a key non-OPEC member, but poorer OPEC members would rather see prices continue to rise. Agreements are never easy for the oil cartel, but oil-market watchers say even if the cap is lifted, spare global capacity to produce more oil is limited, which means for the first time in many years the oil market may be at the mercy of potential supply shocks or geopolitical tensions rattling prices.

After surprising discipline by OPEC members to hold to the cap, more oil is coming to the market. That’s why Brent and WTI prices are off their May highs of around $80 and $73, said analyst Scott Roberts of Invesco Fixed Income. Saudi Arabia and Russia said they were already pumping more than before, curbing the recent rally. Roberts said OPEC could boost production by about a million barrels day fairly rapidly, but several OPEC countries have problems. Venezuelan production continues to decline; its unknown how much Iranian production might be lost because of sanctions; and in Angola, Libya and Nigeria production is also crimped. And some OPEC members want prices to go higher to help them meet their country’s budgets. Thus, there are limits to how much extra oil the cartel can be called on to supply.

Rob Thummel, portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital, which focuses on energy markets, said those bottlenecks could last another 18 months, another aspect OPEC members will likely take into consideration at the meeting. What OPEC doesn’t want to do is hurt demand, Thummel said. Significant drops in US and global oil inventories show consumer demand is at record highs, spurred by the lower oil prices and now a stronger global economy, said Roberts and Michael Cohen, analyst at Barclays. Going into the second half of the year, demand will likely to continue to increase with the summer driving season ahead, Thummel said. With demand currently outpacing supply, it leaves the market in a situation it hasn’t been in for some time: susceptible to price shocks. Although the market probably won’t revisit the huge price swings from yesteryear because the US is now such a big producer, Thummel said, it’s still a possibility. Flynn said the markets really aren’t ready for the potential impact of geopolitical threats or outright output disruption. “If you look at the lack of spare capacity from OPEC and you compare it to demand, there’s just no room for error. What if we have another hurricane,” he said, referring to Hurricane Harvey, which took out refinery capacity in Houston and sent gasoline prices soaring for a while last fall.

Authors note: [More capacity and supply is needed, where will it come from?]. End of note.

What is Israel’s ‘great spoil’? Petroleum and Natural Gas!

Potentially game-changing oil reserves discovered in Israel. Fox News, October 08, 2015.

Game changer: Israeli officials believe the Golan Heights discovery could supply the Jewish State’s oil needs for centuries.

HAIFA, Israel –  After Israel complained for years that it was surrounded by oil-rich states but didn’t have a drop within its own borders, it appears there’s a big-time turnaround with the announcement Wednesday that massive oil reserves have been located in the Golan Heights, close to the country’s border with Syria. Afek Oil and Gas, an Israeli subsidiary of the U.S. company Genie Energy, confirmed the find in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV but conceded that until the oil is actually extracted, they won’t be sure of the actual amounts and quality of the oil that has been discovered. “We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity,” the company’s chief geologist, Yuval Bartov, explained. “On average in the world, strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.”

“There is enormous excitement,” Bartov said. “It’s a fantastic feeling. We came here thinking maybe yes or maybe no, and now things are really happening.” According to a September 2014 Times of Israel report on the Golan exploration, Genie Energy is chaired by Howard Jonas and counts among its more notable investors the “former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch.” Experts say actually extracting meaningful quantities of oil from the deposits is likely some time away. Some have suggested that while the find could be very significant, the announcement might have as much to do with the share price of the exploration company as the actual certainty that oil will be produced at the site. The other key consideration in the development of the potential oil feed is its close proximity to the vicious fighting taking place just over the border in neighboring Syria, where ISIS and other jihadi organizations had been battling the Syrian forces of President Assad and his Iran-backed allies Lebanon-based Hezbollah even before Russia’ recent entry into the regional conflict.

Most recent rocket strikes into Israel’s Golan territory have generally been declared stray fire by the Israel Defense Forces, but regional experts point out that the potential costs and challenges of protecting future oil fields so close to the war zone, as well as the large target it would provide for enemy fire, could prove challenging should the project indeed come to fruition and provide the Jewish state –where a reported 270,000 barrels of oil are consumed daily – with its own source of ‘black gold’. A license to drill in the area was initially issued in April 2013 within an area of nearly 98,000 acres -approximately a third of the Golan itself – but a series of appeals to the Israeli courts by organizations such as the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel and Greenpeace, put all development of the site on hold until a December 2014 ruling gave the green light for drilling.

The main site is close to the small town of Katzrin, which lies northeast of the northern shore of the fabled Sea of Galilee and is home to a wide range of special plants and wild animals, including major nature reserves such as Gamla, home to Israel’s largest population of Griffon vultures. The rugged land, captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and still under dispute between the two countries, includes vital underground water sources that feed directly into the Sea of Galilee itself, Israel’s main source of fresh water. In recent years massive natural gas reserves have been discovered and developed off the Mediterranean coast of Israel, but political wrangling over who gets which piece of the financial pie has caused a delay in benefits from the find.


Israel, European states advance plans for world’s longest underwater gas pipeline.

Israel’s discovery of huge natural gas fields in the Mediterranean could turn the country into a major exporter, transforming its geopolitical status and giving it energy independence and greater sway worldwide, according to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. “For many decades, the Arabs used the fact that they’re supplying Europe with oil and natural gas in order to try to pressure Israel,” Steinitz (Likud) said in an interview last week with The Jerusalem Post. “And now we will have something to balance and influence.” This year, Israel is in talks to export natural gas to Europe, with tentative plans to build an unprecedented, 2,200-km. subsea pipeline in the Mediterranean. It would connect gas fields off the shores of Israel and Cypress to Greece and possibly Italy, costing at least $6-7 billion. The gas could start being pumped within six to seven years, Steinitz added. “I convinced all these countries and the European energy commissioner a year-and-a-half ago to give it a chance. A feasibility study was conducted by the European energy commissioner. And they found out that what was just a fantasy two years ago – they said it’s a fantasy, it’s technologically and financially unfeasible – it’s becoming a reality. For Israel’s future, it will take time.” Already, Israel’s natural gas is flowing to neighboring Jordan, and deals are on the table with Egypt and Turkey. Nearly 70% of Israel’s electricity this year will come from natural gas, a far cry from the less than 30% some five years ago, before any of the country’s gas field were up and running. Three years ago, coal constituted 70% of local power sources. And by 2022, the government plans to close the Hadera coal-fired power plant, limiting coal to 15% of energy and replacing it with natural gas and renewable energies. “This is a revolution in Israel’s electricity production and in the Israeli energy sector,” Steinitz said. “I think we were the fastest in the world, in the past two years, in implementing natural gas instead of other fuels, coal and diesel…. The benefits of it are very significant. First, we are going to make a lot of money from developing natural gas. Second, no less important, public health: We are taking care of public health. Air pollution is already going down and will go down dramatically in the next few years. “We have to shift from coal to natural gas,” Steinitz said. “Like most of the world, from China to Holland, from Britain to Norway; it’s clear that natural gas is much better for public health and for the surroundings than coal,” he said, touting the government’s aggressive plans to shift to natural gas and renewable energy. “Except for America?” I asked the minister, in light of President Donald Trump’s plans to churn out more coal. Steinitz: “Yeah, in every reasonable country. It’s very strange.”

While the Tamar gas field has been connected since 2013, a group of companies is developing three other gas reservoirs – Leviathan, Tanin and Karish, of which the latter two were discovered only in 2012. After years of talks, Israel could also export gas to Egypt, along with eventually being a supplier to the Palestinian Authority, Turkey and Western Europe. While Royal Dutch Shell signed a memorandum of understanding with Delek and Noble some three years ago to supply Israeli gas to the company’s Egyptian liquified natural gas plant, no plan has been put into action yet. “I can say that the dialogue about natural gas between Egypt and Israel is ongoing. Egypt will need a lot of gas for domestic needs and also to use its energy facilities. I think that they’re still interested in Israeli natural gas,” Steinitz said, before quickly switching the topic to Jordan. Leviathan – the largest reservoir with 613 billion cubic meters of natural gas – is under development by lead partners Delek Drilling and Noble Energy. Situated 125 km. west of Haifa, the field will be connected to gas rigs some 10 km. off the coast of Dor, between Hadera and Haifa. For five years now, local residents have battled the plans, and the minister doesn’t mince words. “People sometimes don’t care about their brothers and sisters five or 10 or 20 kilometers away. Not in my backyard,” Steinitz said. “Look, two-and-a-half years ago, it looked almost hopeless, to the extent that my predecessor and the previous director-general told me: Don’t touch the natural gas issue, because it’s a lost cause, no chance. With the level of misunderstanding and hysteria in the public and on the part of the media [and] different directions of all the regulators, there’s no chance to save it. It’s doomed to fail.” Many of the residents opposing the natural gas infrastructure hail from Zichron Ya’acov, and Steinitz had a proposition for them. “Some people from the South already told me: ‘Look, why cancel the Hadera power plant?’ Cancel the Ashkelon coal plant; we are ready to have a natural gas rig in front of us. There’s already a rig offshore Ashkelon. We’ll reduce air pollution here, and they’ll continue to complain.” Leviathan should be up and running by the end of 2019, initially servicing Israel’s domestic market and Jordan. A Greek company, Energean, is aiming to connect the Karish reservoir to Israel by 2020, and only then develop adjacent Tanin. Karish and Tanin sit about 80 km and 120 km northwest of Haifa, respectively, and have an estimated combined reserves of 67 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Iranian Commander: 100,000 Missiles Poised to Strike Israel from Arab World. July 4, 2016, Breaking Israel News.

Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles prepared to attack Israel, said General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, on Friday. During a day of violent anti-Israel sentiment and demonstrations in Iran, Salami claimed, “Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel to liberate the occupied Palestinian territories if the Zionist regime repeats its past mistakes,” reported Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. Hezbollah, a recognized terror group, operates in Lebanon, north of Israel. Speaking in honor of “al Quds Day”, Iran’s annual “holiday” marking solidarity with the Palestinians, Salami continued, “Today, the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are [present] more than ever.” Salami boasted that “tens of thousands of destructive long-range missiles” are aimed at Israel from Islamic territories, said the Jerusalem Post. Iran itself has stockpiled thousands of missiles in defiance of international strictures, some of which it claims can reach Israel. Salami warned, “If the Zionists make a wrong move, all the occupied territories will come under attack from dedicated fighters and, God willing, the territories will be liberated.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also spoke at an al Quds event, accusing the West of “creating discord among Muslims” by exploiting religious differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East in order to distract attention from the “dispossessed Palestinian nation”. Anti-Israel riots took place throughout Iran on al Quds Day – the name represents the Arabic moniker for Jerusalem – with both Israeli and American flags being trampled and set alight in the streets. Crowds chanted “Death to Israel” as they burned effigies painted with the Star of David.

Netanyahu in Steely Message to Iran: Don’t Underestimate Us. December 15, 2016, Breaking Israel News.

During a visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the country’s president to pass a stern message to Iran: If the Islamic republic chooses to threaten Israel, it will pay. “Don’t threaten us. We are not a rabbit, we are a tiger,” he said. “If you threaten us, you endanger yourself.” The warning was given after President Nursultan Nazarbayev asked Netanyahu if he had any particular words for the Iranians, offering himself as a conduit, as Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is slated to visit Kazakhstan next week. “Ask him why Iran continues to threaten us with annihilation,” Netanyahu responded.  He told Nazarbayev that he takes the words of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, whose constant vitriol against the Jewish State includes military threats against its existence, very seriously. The Israeli premiere did not back down from his strong message, repeating it to Khazak Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev when they met later in the day. “I intend to repeat this message many times,” he said. His visit to Kazakhstan and neighboring Azerbaijan, both majority Muslim countries, was intended to strengthen ties between Israel and the few Muslim states which consider it an ally. Netanyahu praised Kazakhstan’s “attitude of tolerance towards Jews” and noted that Kazakh Jews “speak very warmly of Kazakhstan and of the attitude towards all religions here.” In Azerbaijan, the prime minister commended President Ilham Aliyev for being part of the effort to work against the attitude of “intolerance and lack of acceptance and mutual respect” found towards Israel in most Muslim countries.

Israel Issues Stern Warning To Iran. April 18, 2018, Breaking Israel News.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a piece of the Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airspace in February

Israel will respond decisively to any Iranian retribution against it carried out from Syria, Israeli security sources said Tuesday, referring to threats made by Tehran that it would respond to a missile strike the T-4 military airport in which seven Iranian military advisers were killed. Iran, Syria and Russia have said Israeli jets carried out the April 9 attack on the base between Homs and Palmyra, some 250 kilometers from Damascus. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the reports, but a military official appeared to confirm responsibility to the New York Times earlier this week, saying, “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people.” Iran has said it will respond to the attack. “The Zionist entity will sooner or later receive the necessary response and will regret its misdeeds,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said. Israeli military sources believe Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the extraterritorial and covert operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, is planning a revenge operation for the alleged Israeli strike, in which the commander of the Guard’s drone force Colonel Mehdi Dehghan was killed. Any Iranian response is likely to come in the form of a guided missile strike on targets in Israel or an armed drone attack operated directly by Revolutionary Guards and not via one of the Iranian proxies in the region such as Hezbollah or other Shi’ite militias operating in Syria.

“The IDF will do everything required to make sure that Independence Day passes peacefully and that Israel’s citizens will be able to enjoy the holiday. The IDF is prepared for a wide range of scenarios,” sources said. The IDF is believed to have prepared for the possibility of an Iranian attack and its response is likely to threaten the stability of the Assad regime, which controls some 70 percent of Syria with Iranian and Russian backing. Israel’s fear that Iran could launch a direct attack rather than employ proxies stems from the entrenchment of Iranian aerial forces in Syria with the goal of carrying out an offensive strike through UAVs or missiles. Israel believes that Tehran is no longer willing to rely solely on Hezbollah and other proxies, and that Soleimani, who has strong ties with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is pushing for a strategic escalation against Israel.

Military sources noted that while the Revolutionary Guard does not have aircraft in Syria, its assets in the country include both intelligence and attack drones.  It also possesses short and medium range surface-to-surface missiles, including Fateh 110 missiles with a range of up to 200 kilometers and Fajr 5 rockets with a range of up to 75 kilometers, as well as Shihab ballistic missiles based in Iran with a range of 1,300 kilometers that are capable of striking targets in Israel. Military sources note that in 2015 Saeed Izadi, the head of the Palestinian Division of the Quds Force planned a rocket attack on northern Israel that was carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The IDF hit 14 Syrian military positions in response to that attack, which caused bush fires in the Golan Heights but no casualties or injuries. The PIJ rocket attack came as a proxy response to an Israeli strike that killed senior Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh, Mohamad Issa, the chief of Hezbollah operations in Syria, Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, as well as several other Hezbollah fighters and Iranian soldiers, as they toured the Syrian side of the Golan Heights to prepare a terrorist attack on Israel. Then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned at the time that the rocket strike was a curtain raiser for future Iranian and Iranian funded attacks.

Military sources note that while the 2015 incident was the first time the Revolutionary Guard operated directly against Israel, the first time its aerial division did so was on February 10 of this year when an armed Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace, leading to a massive Israeli response that included a strike on the drone’s command and control center at the T-4 Military Airport, some 250 kilometers from Damascus. An Israeli jet was shot down by Syrian air defenses over Israeli territory as it returned from the mission. Iran also possesses air defense capabilities in Syria headed by Ali Akbhar Sidon that are capable of detecting fighter jets and other aerial craft. Other sections of the Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force, headed by General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, are also believed to have set up at five locations around Syria in Haleb, Deir ez-Zour, Damascus International Airport and the Dumair Military Airport south of Damascus. They are also believed to be using Russian-made Ilyushin 76 transport planes to provide missiles and munitions for Hezbollah, and missiles and drones for its own use.

After entering the Syrian war, the Revolutionary Guard at first operated against rebel forces, but after Russia intervened on behalf of the Syrian regime, the Aerospace Force began to concentrate on preparing to attack Israel from Syria. Israeli officials believe that Iran’s strategic long arm in Syria is aimed at deterring Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Despite the fact that de-facto, the Iranians have initiated the mobilization of the Aerospace Force as a front against Israel, some officials in Jerusalem believe that the Iranian entrenchment in Syria has advantages, as it allows the IDF to easily and accurately apply its full force against Iran at the time of its choosing. A former Israel Air Force commander said recently that in order to get to T-4, as well as other air bases and facilities at which the Iranian forces and militias are based. “[Israeli jets] don’t need to travel hundreds of kilometers, refuel mid-flight, and then deal with the Iranians’ significant aerial defense systems. We can do it rather easily and with relatively simple and cost-effective methods when they are in Syria. We don’t need to get to them [to Iran].”

The officials believe that Iran’s direct involvement in Syria, which Israel has been emphasized for years in the international arena, allows Israel to pressure and threaten Assad’s regime and Russia, as well as the Iranians themselves and Hezbollah All of those players’ primary interest, the officials believe, is to maintain and promote stability in Syria. Every one of those players: Russia, Assad’s regime and Iran will be able to cash in on the benefits of rehabilitating Syria only in a situation where Syria is stable. The officials also note divisions within Iran between President Hassan Rouhani’s pragmatic base, which is interested in improving the Iranian people’s economic state, and the militant, radical, line led by the Revolutionary Guard and Soleimani that wants to see Iranian hegemony in the region and conflict with Israel. The officials also note that Israeli revelations about Iranian involvement in Syria come shortly before the May 12 deadline for United States President Donald to renew sanctions waivers under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. Trump has threatened to suspend the deal as he wants changes made, a move that would have catastrophic effects on Iran’s economy.

Israeli Officials Continue to Warn of Iran’s ‘Empowerment’ in Syria. April 10, 2018, Breaking Israel News.

Senior Israeli defense officials expressed serious concerns over the implications of last week’s summit in Ankara at which the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey discussed the aftermath of the Syrian civil war and how the spoils would be divided once the hostilities conclude. “Iran views the outcome of the Ankara summit as a green light to continue entrenching itself in Syria,” one senior defense official said, calling it “a disconcerting development for Israel.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s participation in the meeting, alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is perceived by the defense establishment not only as a sign of gratitude to Iran for its efforts to help salvage the Assad regime in Syria, but also as a guarantee of Iran’s future role there. “The fact that Iran is participating in such a summit, under Russia’s wing, gives the Iranians the tailwind to continue on their current path,” an Israeli official said. “This is a blatant, dangerous empowerment of negative forces in the region.”

According to the official, Russia may not have an interest in establishing significant Iranian power in Syria, but it “not only is not doing anything to stop this process, it is actually hastening it.” In recent months, Israeli officials have been gravely concerned by Iran’s efforts to build permanent military bases inside Syria. These efforts have already prompted direct confrontations between Israel and Iran: In December, an Iranian base near Damascus was hit in a strike attributed to Israel. In February, Israel downed an Iranian drone that had breached Israeli airspace. Israel also destroyed the drone’s remote guidance system and two additional Iranian targets in Syria.

As these strikes have not curbed Iranian efforts to establish a presence in Syria, Israel has communicated resolute, diplomatic and open messages, first and foremost to the U.S. and Russia, that it will continue safeguarding its interests and will act to foil Iran’s activities. Israeli defense officials believe the only power capable of curbing or blocking Iran’s regional aspirations is the United States, but so far, Israel has had little success in its efforts to enlist the U.S. to take an active role in Syria. The other side is seeing this American weakness loud and clear and, it is enhanced further by the Russians’ embrace, giving these negative forces, led by Iran, a lot of confidence,” an Israeli official said. “

Erdogan calls 57 member states of the OIC to form a joint “Army of Islam”. Breaking Israel News, May 18, 2018.

Tensions between Israel and Turkey are flaring as for the second time in less than six months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a pan-Islamic meeting to discuss a coalition against Israel. On Monday, a six week Hamas-led protest-turned-riot culminated with 35,000 Palestinians challenging the security fence and approximately 60 Palestinians killed. Erdogan was quoted in the press as saying that Israel is “a terror state” that has committed “a genocide.” “Israel is wreaking state terror,” Erdogan said in a speech to Turkish students in London broadcast by state television. “Israel is a terror state. What Israel has done is a genocide. I condemn this humanitarian drama, the genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America.” Undaunted, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, issuing a statement that “Erdogan is among Hamas’s biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us.”  The Turkish president called for an emergency session of of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul to be held on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza. A massive anti-Israel rally is also scheduled to be held concurrently in Taksim Square in Istanbul.

Relations between the two countries hit a dangerous low on Tuesday when Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador from Istanbul and recalled its ambassador from its embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel responded by asking the Turkish consul-general in East Jerusalem to leave as well. Erdogan has used his position as head of the OIC to call for action against Israel and the US. In December, he called an emergency meeting in response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In an article published at the same time in Turkish media, Erdogan called for the 57 member states of the OIC to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel.

Turkey Wants to Lead an End-of-Days Global Islamic War against Israel. March 12, 2018 Breaking Israel News.

A recent study by a Middle East analysis organization based in Washington DC revealed that the Turkish president’s call for 57 nations to join together to form an anti-Israel army of Islam could create the most formidable military force on the planet. One Israeli expert on Islam stated emphatically, “make no mistake; this is war,” and lest the message is missed, he also emphasized that this call for jihad includes a direct threat against the US. A report on Wednesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) investigated an article that was published in December in the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, a media outlet which is closely affiliated with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party. The article titled, “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title, “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?” called on the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel. The article went into specifics, describing in detail how such an army would overwhelm the Jewish State. Once warm, relations between Turkey and Israel have been shaky in the last decade. But this call for a religious war against Israel is a relatively new development. The political differences between the two countries took on global religious overtones last May when Erdogan called for Muslims to flood the Temple Mount. “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us,” Erdogan had said from the International Forum on al-Quds Waqf in Istanbul. The article in Yeni Şafak explained how Erdogan’s Islamic military campaign against Israel would play out, citing logistical details that portrayed this theoretical Army of Islam as being formidable.

“If the OIC member states unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world,” the article said. “These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100. Their [overall] military defense budget, of $174,728,420, is also worthy of emphasis.” “As for Israel, it is significantly inferior,” the article continued. “The population of this country, which attempted to occupy Jerusalem while surrounded by Muslim states, is 8,049,314. Note that the population of Istanbul alone exceeds 14 million. The number of soldiers in active service in the [Israeli] occupation forces is 160,000, and [Israel’s] defense budget is approximately $15,600,000,000. In comparison, the US military has 1,281,900 active soldiers, less than one quarter of the proposed Army of Islam. The US military budget, which is the largest of any single country in the world, is approximately $580 billion and over 30 times that of the proposed Army of Islam. The article also described the details of the battle plans, with Turkey being the headquarters, and emphasized that Turkey’s army is the seventh largest in the world and the second largest in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Erdogan, Pope (false prophet?) Form Unholy, Alliance to Control Jerusalem. Breaking Israel News, February 7, 2018.

A meeting on Monday between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pope Francis may have grave implications for Jerusalem as both leaders appear to be building an agenda based upon their joint opposition to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The meeting, which took place at the Vatican, was already significant in that it was the first visit by a Turkish head of state since diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Turkey were established in 1960. However, a statement released by the Vatican says that both leaders also used the occasion to discuss, ”the status of Jerusalem, highlighting the need to promote peace and stability in the region (Middle East) through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and international law.” Both Erdogan and Pope Francis are opposed to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Erdogan responded to the move by calling for an emergency meeting of the OIC. The summit, held in Istanbul, declared “East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine” and called upon “all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital.” Erdogan, who spoke by phone with the pope at the time expressing his concerns over Jerusalem, called upon the Vatican in Monday’s meeting to help Turkey and the Muslim world “preserve Jerusalem’s status.” “We need to work together to preserve Jerusalem’s status,” he said to Pope Francis. “The messages you will convey to the Catholic world on this are important,” Erdogan said, emphasizing that both leaders had agreed to continue joint efforts. Turkey currently holds the presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a coalition of 57 Muslim states. Islam is currently the second largest religion in the world with 1.6 billion followers, and an alliance between Catholicism, which has 1.2 billion adherents worldwide could very well make a formidable force for advancing an anti-Israel agenda concerning Jerusalem. Moreover, tough the Vatican has enormous influence internationally, it has no military. This deficiency could be offset by an alliance with Turkey which has the largest military in the region.

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