This Happened On Planet Earth…May 2019…End Times Signs
Published on May 20, 2019
Please Help Support This Ministry: https://www.paypal.me/watchman1963 Please subscribe to my backup channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4nc… Current Events Linked To Biblical Prophecies. Everything is unfolding just as the bible foretold. Wars, Volcanic Eruptions, Earthquakes, Extreme Weather, Christian Persecution, Violence and more!
Matthew 24:3-14 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Israel conducts two airstrikes on Syrian targets – TV7 Israel News 20.05.19
Published on May 20, 2019
Today’s top stories 20.05.19; 1) The Israeli air-force conducted two separate aerial-strikes on Syrian targets, over the weekend – against infrastructure reportedly used as “a stockpiling and transit point for Iranian missiles.” 2) Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to de-stabilize the Middle East, after responsibility for last-week’s sabotage-attack, on four oil-vessels at the UAE port of Fujairah, was attributed to Iranian-backed militias. 3) U.S. President Donald Trump responded to numerous Iranian threats that were voiced toward the United States, saying: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.”
Syrian War Report – May 20, 2019: Hama Ceasefire Initiative Failed. Clashes Ongoing
Bible Prophecy Update – May 19th, 2019
Published on May 19, 2019
Pastor J.D. addresses the escalating tensions with Iran and why this even matters regardless if it ends in a war. – Those wishing to give to Calvary Chapel Kaneohe, please visit https://calvarychapelkaneohe.com/dona… Connect with Pastor J.D. Farag on Social Media to stay updated on his latest Bible Prophecy teachings and End Times-related news.
LATEST WORLD NEWS – ARTICLES TUESDAY MAY 21st 2019
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6)
1Cor. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: AND THAT NO MAN CAN SAY THAT JESUS IS THE LORD, BUT BY THE HOLY GHOST.
Eph. 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph. 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Eph. 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption
Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them
PUT YOUR TRUST AND FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST (OUR SAVIOUR):
(Romans 12:2) to seek God’s will, the Lord says, “Do not worry about what you’ll eat or drink or wear. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”
THIS IS THE END RESULT OF A CHRISTIANS PATIENCE AND LOVE FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Rev. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth:
THE TRIBULATION OF THE UNJUST IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER’S 6 to 22:
TRIBULATION IS COMING AND THE REMOVAL OF THE CHURCH IS IMMINENT.
so won’t you accept Jesus now and be removed from that event and live forever with Jesus in the Family of God?
2 “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2nd Corinthians 2:6)
DAILY CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL DEVOTIONAL – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
The Devastating Consequences Of Ignorance
QUESTION: Re: Fulfilling God’s Will? You said, “Because of this they were completely ignorant of the signs of the times in which they lived, and rejected the King they had been waiting over 2000 years for. Sadly, much of the “church” has made the same mistake and for the most part, is just as ignorant of the signs of our times. The results will be just as devastating.”
It’s true and a bit depressing that comparatively few Christians are interested in studying the prophecies of His return, and I understand how devastating that was for Israel to pay no attention to the evidence. They still suffer the judgmental consequences. Can you please explain your last statement as to how ignorance in the church will be just as devastating?
ANSWER: Notice the quotation marks around the word “church”. They mean I’m using the word in its broadest possible sense to include both those who are part of the Church and those who only think they are. There are lots of people who self identify as Christians. They attend religious services on Sunday mornings, contribute to their church’s support, and do good works. They think they’re in the Church, but reject the idea that they have to be born again to be saved. They think that belonging to a church and trying to live a good life is all that’s necessary. They don’t believe that Jesus is God in human form and may not even believe in His resurrection. They have no idea He’s coming back to judge the world and wouldn’t believe it if you told them.
They are people we call “Christians in name only” and they make up a substantial portion of the “church.” After the rapture, many who are left behind will become true believers while others will not. But believer or not, they’ll all suffer through the end times judgements, and the results will be devastating. This will be especially true for those who never become believers because they will face eternal separation from God.
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless He is born again” (John 3:3)
Eternal Consequences For Believers?
QUESTION: I just read ‘Best Of Both Worlds?‘ and came across this:
‘And when they stand before the Bema Seat judgment (1 Cor 3:10-15) with their salvation intact but absent any rewards, this will become most obvious to them as they experience eternal consequences for a few years of rebellious behavior.’
What do you mean by eternal consequences? As in restrictions placed on us in eternity? The more rebellious we were on Earth, the more consequences (like what?) we have in eternity?
I held the view that all the Church would be equal in eternity, with no class structure. How do you see it?
ANSWER: In 1 Cor 3:10-15 Paul wrote about the works of believers being judged. He used the analogy of subjecting them to the fire to see if they’d survive. Those of gold, silver or precious stones will withstand the heat, but those of wood, hay, and stubble will be consumed. It’s a test of the value, if you will, of the things we do with our life after becoming believers. In chapter 4 verse 5 he said that the basis for establishing the value of these works is the motive of our hearts when doing them. He made it clear that the judgment wouldn’t affect our salvation, but would determine the rewards we’d receive.
In other letters he called these rewards crowns. There are five of them listed in Scripture, the Everlasting Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 & 1 Thes 2:19, Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8 , Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 & Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4. Here’s a
In 1 Cor. 9:24-27, using an Olympic analogy, he wrote that no athlete is satisfied to just qualify for the race. They all want to run in such a way as to win the victor’s crown. In the same way, no believer should be satisfied with just being saved. We should all want to live our lives in such a way as to win crowns too.
Jesus also hinted at some kind of reward system. In Matt.6:19-21 He advised us not to work to accumulate treasure on Earth but to store up treasure in Heaven. The idea is that the things we do here may have value for us when we get there. It’s another take on the judgment of 1 Cor. 3:10-15. In the Parable of the 10 Minas (Luke 18:11-27), He tells of giving His servants rewards commensurate with their effort on His behalf.
Some believers by their ongoing sinfulness fail to produce any fruit in their lives. Others take their salvation for granted and never do anything to express their gratitude for being saved. I took the position in my answer that they’ll probably fail to qualify for these rewards. There are several theories on just what our rewards will be, and in my limited understanding, none is conclusive. But if we all achieve exactly equal status in Heaven, then why these teachings?
One final note. Doing good works just to earn recognition for ourselves disqualifies us for any further reward. (Matt. 6:1)
Our motive has to be purely that of expressing our gratitude to the Lord for what He’s done for us.
NEWS CLIPS OBTAINED FROM MANY SOURCES – INCLUDING
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Rapture Ready News
Main News Channels
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Other Christian Sites
(CLICK ON) LATEST DAILY NEWS CLIPS:
THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN IS “ANTI GOD” – (GOD WILL NOT ALLOW JERUSALEM TO BE DIVIDED).
Zech. 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
Zech. 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it
I AM GOING TO MAKE JERUSALEM A CUP THAT SENDS ALL THE SURROUNDING PEOPLES REELING … Zech. 12:2
God is in control, and He told the nations the consequences of dividing the Promised Land and declaring peace and safety on their own terms (Joel 3:1-2; I Thess. 5:3)
WORLD TERRORISM – WARS
GENERAL WORLD NEWS:
MASSIVE EARTH CHANGES/EARTHQUAKES/VOLCANOES ETC:
2Chr. 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
2Chr. 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land
CHRISTIAN AND RELIGIOUS WORLD NEWS:
Matt. 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
Matt. 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another
EXTRA WORLD – ALTERNATIVE NEWS:
WORLD PROPHETIC NEWS CLIPS/ARTICLES PRESENTATION – TUESDAY MAY 21st 2019
MIDDLE EAST WAR LOOMING THE BUILD UP TO PSALM 83 – ISAIAH 17 AND GOG OF MAGOG WARS EZEKIEL 38:
WHERE WE ARE CURRENTLY IN SCRIPTURE
Matt. 24:6 And ye shall hear of WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Matt. 24:7 FOR NATION SHALL RISE AGAINST NATION, AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Matt. 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows
MAJOR WARS ON THE HORIZON
WORLD WAR 3
Matt. 24:6 And ye shall hear of WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS:
Matt. 24:7 FOR NATION SHALL RISE AGAINST NATION, AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM:
ISAIAH 17/PSALM 83:
THE DESTRUCTION OF DAMASCUS and
Muslim Countries in the Middle East will launch an attack on Israel
PROPHECY OF ELAM – (Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Program
EZEKIEL 38 & 39
ROCKET FIRED TOWARDS U.S. EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD
Moments ago a blast was reported in central Baghdad close to the fortified ‘Green Zone’ in the Iraqi capital. Several journalistic sources are saying the US embassy there has come under rocket attack, with regional Arabic media confirming a blast was heard in the vicinity of the embassy.
A BBC correspondent in the region, Ali Hashem, reports that “one Katyusha rocket was launched towards the US embassy in the Green Zone in Baghdad, no reports of casualties”.
Reuters has confirmed an emergency security incident unfolding:
Two Baghdad-based diplomatic sources also said they heard the blast close to the Iraqi capital’s fortified Green Zone which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.
The U.S. embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in the northern city of Erbil evacuated non-essential staff this week.
The Iraqi government has confirmed a rocket was fired toward the embassy, with no further attacks reported and no casualties, per Reuters:
A Katyusha rocket reportedly fell in central Baghdad’s Green Zone on Sunday night, Iraq military personnel announced.
”A Katyusha rocket fell in the middle of the Green Zone without causing any losses or causalties, further details will come later,” the military said in a statement.Earlier in the evening, a blast was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night, with its cause and precise location unclear, Reuters witnesses said. Iraqi officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
🛑This a major escalation, at 8:29 PM a rocket was launched toward the Green Zone and the vicinity of the U.S Embassy from (Jisr al Amana ) neighborhood in Baghdad.
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) May 19, 2019
Earlier last week the US State Department had ordered the evacuation of all non-emergency and non-essential personnel, citing intelligence that US troops and assets in the region were under immediate threat from Iran or its allied proxy forces in the region.
BREAKING: Katyusha shelling on #Iraq Green Zone in Baghdad + blast in area near foreign embassies.
Comes 4 days after US pulled non-essential staff, amid tension w #Iran https://t.co/7LYU8ZRkZ8
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) May 19, 2019
US forces in Iraq and the Persian Gulf have been on “high alert” since National Security Advisor John Bolton first announced new intelligence on May 5th claiming a heightened Iran threat that has put the US and its allies in the cross hairs in the Middle East.
The White House previously warned Iran the US will “respond swiftly and decisively” to any attacks by Tehran’s allies in Iraq against Americans.
IS IRAN TESTING TRUMP WITH LITTLE ATTACKS IN IRAQ, SAUDI ARABIA, AND THE PERSIAN GULF?
(DB) – The sound of an explosion echoed through the Green Zone on Sunday night around 9:00 p.m., a reminder that this most secure part of the Iraqi capital is not, in fact, all that safe. The projectile appears to have been aimed at the United States embassy and, after the blast, embassy sirens went off, accompanied by repeated warnings blaring on loudspeakers instructing everyone to take immediate cover. Within the hour the missile was reported to have been fired from the Amana bridge in Baghdad, missing its likely intended target and landing in an empty field near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,
with no casualties reported. But for a brief and highly fraught moment alarms were going off in Washington, as well, where the much-publicized threat of Iranian “proxy” attacks on U.S. interests and personnel, and the American response positioning bombers and aircraft carriers, have conjured the specter of a new Middle Eastern war. One breaking news service breathlessly reported National Security Adviser John Bolton “just seen arriving at the White House amid rocket attack possibly aimed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.” President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” READ MORE:
TRUMP WARNS IRAN: ANY ATTACK WILL BE ‘OFFICIAL END OF IRAN’
US President Donald Trump issued a stern warning to Iran on Sunday, suggesting that if the Islamic republic attacks American interests, it will be destroyed.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump said in a tweet.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been on the rise as the United States has deployed a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over what it termed Iranian “threats.”
Iran’s foreign minister downplayed the prospect of a new war in the region on Saturday, saying Tehran opposed it and no party was under the “illusion” the Islamic republic could be confronted.
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
“We are certain… there will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion they can confront Iran in the region,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told state-run news agency IRNA at the end of a visit to China.
Iran-US relations hit a new low last year as US Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed unilateral sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Tehran scaling back its nuclear program.
Trumps warning came just after a Katyusha rocket crashed into Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government offices and embassies, including the US mission, Iraqi security services said in a statement.
The rocket — which came after Washington ordered the evacuation of non-essential diplomatic staff from the Baghdad Embassy and the Erbil Consulate, citing threats from Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups — caused no casualties, it said.
The Green Zone is one of the world’s most high-security institutional quarters. Located in the centre of the Iraqi capital, it houses parliament, the prime minister’s office, the presidency, other key institutions, top officials’ homes and embassies.
The American embassy in Baghdad — the world’s largest — lies within the fortified neighbourhood, also known as the International Zone, which is surrounded by concrete walls.
The apparent attack came amid heightened tensions across the Persian Gulf, after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran.
There also have been allegations that four oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last week, and Iran-aligned rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for an attack on a Saudi Arabian oil pipeline.
Last week, the US ordered the evacuation of non-essential diplomatic staff from Iraq, citing threats from Iranian-backed armed groups operating in the country. Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country due to the soaring tensions.
Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more than 5,000 US troops.
A day after a rocket was fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad near the US embassy Iranian commander Ali Hajilou said that the US and “enemies” of Iran were incapable of defeating the country. He asserted that the US currently des not have the military power to strike at Iran, a claim that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp said last week as well.
He claimed that the country’s northwestern region was prepared for any attacks. He described Iran’s recent military history and its aid in the battle against ISIS as examples of its strength. He argued that the US has been using “media warfare” to threaten Iran, to weaken morale and scare Iranians. But Iran is stronger than the US in the region, he implied, noting that “our sphere of influence reaches the Mediterranean.” He also said Iran would respond to any aggression. If the US attacks it. Will be severely damaged.
Other Iranian commanders were quoted by Tasnim News bragging about the greatness of the country’s armed forces. They each argued that Iran has increased its military competence in recent years. “Thanks to the efforts to modernise the armed forces the country has made remarkable progress,” one commander said. This includes advanced missiles and drones.
The comments are aimed at reassuring the Iranian people that the US rhetoric will not spill into full-scale war. It comes as the US continued to threaten Iran and after US President Donald Trump said that Iran’s regime could be destroyed. Iran’s leaders want to put on a brave face because they know that in reality their technology is no match for the US and any confrontation is rooted in keeping the public on the side of the IRGC and its ground forces.
A US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed next to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, ignoring repeated warnings from Beijing to stay clear of the region amid rising tensions between the two economic superpowers.
On Sunday, the USS Preble (DDG-88), armed with Tomahawk missiles, sailed along the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea in order to “challenge” the Asian giant’s claim to the area. Washington has repeatedly refused to acquiesce to Chinese protests over its incursions into the sea, citing the principle of “freedom of navigation.”
“Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet, stated.
The navigation of the Preble, so close to the Scarborough Reef, was later condemned by Beijing. Commenting on the matter during a news briefing, Foreign Minister Lu Kang said the ministry “strongly urges” the US to stop sending its warships to the region, calling them “provocative actions.”
Sunday’s incident marks the second such US intrusion into the South China Sea this month. On May 6, the USS Chung-Hoon sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands, triggering a strong response from China.
“The relevant actions of the US warships violated China’s sovereignty and undermined peace, security and good order in the relevant sea areas,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.
Washington’s daring actions followed last week’s Chinese announcement that it will impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on $60 billion worth of American products, in retaliation for Trump’s levies on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
The Preble’s journey into the disputed waterway also coincided with bilateral naval drills being held in the South China Sea by the Indian and Singaporean Navies. Those exercises are set to conclude on Wednesday.
There are many indications that the United States and China are creeping towards a potential conflict in the South China Sea. When the motivations behind this war become clear the stakes become that much more serious.
WHILE THE WORLD IS DRUMMING UP A POTENTIAL MARITIME SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE US AND IRAN (YET AGAIN), WESTERN MEDIA IS CONVENIENTLY IGNORING A POTENTIAL LOOMING CONFLICT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, ONE THAT HAS BEEN BUILDING UP FOR YEARS.
Just last week, naval vessels from Japan, the US, India, and the Philippines sailed through the South China Sea in an almost week-long military drill aimed at containing China’s expanding influence in the region. As it happens, China’s renewed friendship with the Philippines under the rule of Rodrigo Duterte has been short-lived and is not exactly going as planned.
Duterte, who has signaled he wants to turn his country away from the US and work more closely with China, even disregarding an international arbitration ruling which ruled in favor of the Philippines, has had his work cut out for him. For example, he must reckon with two former Filipino officials who filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over China’s activities in the South China Sea. He also has to deal with what he feels is the to-ing and fro-ing between the US and China on a regular basis. Should the Philippines be forced to defend any of its claimed territories from China, Washington has signaled that it is committed to defending the Philippines against China due to a mutual defense treaty between the two nations.
And just last Monday, the Philippines high court instructed multiple agencies, including the Philippine Navy, police and the Coast Guard to protect reefs and marine life in Scarborough Shoal, Second Thomas Shoal and Mischief Reef. According to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the government is now “duty bound” to enforce the court order.
Not to mention that a multilateral military drill, which saw the Philippines teaming up with India – China’s major competitor in the Indo-Pacific region – and Japan – China’s historic rival, should tell everyone all they need to know about where this is headed.
Furthermore, the US Navy’s operations chief, Admiral John Richardson, just went on the record to state that he would like to see Australian and Indonesian maritime forces have a greater naval presence in the South China Sea, encouraging the two nations to take part in what the US calls “freedom of navigation” operations.
Beijing, for its part, is not taking these developments well. In a recent editorial piece, state-owned newspaper the Global Times made it clear that China had to continue to build its navy in order to deter Washington from waltzing freely into the South China sea.
“Only if the Chinese navy is sufficiently strong will US warships dare not wilfully enter China’s offshore waters to flex their muscles,” the newspaper wrote. “A strong Chinese navy is the guarantee for peace and stability of the South China Sea and even the whole world.”
As such, it does appear that China is making plans of its own should a conflict break out. Last month, China carried out a series of military exercises on the south and north ends of Taiwan. This is true even while the Taiwan Relations Act compels the US to defend Taiwan from Chinese military aggression, despite the fact Washington purportedly adheres to China’s “One China” policy.
Angry Erdogan Defies Trump: May Accelerate S-400 Delivery, Slams Western Meddling In Turkish Economy
Following several weeks of speculation (including what in retrospect was fake news from Bloomberg that “Turkey Weighs New U.S. Call to Delay Buying Russian Missiles”), in a televised speech in Istanbul late on Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Turkey’s executive president Erdogan invited yet another sharp gap down in the lira when trading resumes in a few hours, after he not only ruled out US demands that Turkey delay the purchase of an advanced Russian missile-defense system, but – assuring that Trump and NATO will be furious at Turkey’s regime – said he may bring forward the delivery date from July.
“It is definitely out of the question for us to step back on the issue of S-400s, it is a done deal,” Erdogan said “Our deal was to have the S-400s delivered to us by July; they will probably bring that forward.”
Erdogan’s defiance has not gone unnoticed and on Thursday, the lira slumped after Trump terminated a preferential trade agreement with Turkey in retaliation for Ankara’s stubborn support of the Russian deal; the latest escalation took place after the Trump admin last week asked Ankara to delay taking the system to 2020 although it is now clear that won’t happen.
In many ways Erdogan’s decision on whether to proceed with the Russian S-400 deal over a competitive deal offered by the US, involving Patriot missiles, is seen as a barometer of US superpower “standing” among frontier nations, those where there is a clash between Moscow and DC for future influence.
And even though pushing ahead with the deal carries the risk that renewed US sanctions that could plunge Turkey into renewed economic turmoil, slam the lira and accelerate the country’s surging inflation, the accord with Putin also highlights Turkey’s aspirations for an increasingly independent role in regional policies and, obviously, the mutual erosion of trust with Washington.
“The S-400 is a defensive system and has a long range. As for the payment plan, Russia has given us very suitable conditions,” Erdogan said, saying that Turkey has sent 100 engineers to Russia to help make the weapons. And just to make sure Trump is truly pissed off, Erdogan also vowed to continue future cooperation with Russian, saying that “after the S-400s, the S-500s are also considered and there will be co-production of S-500s as well.”
As reported on numerous prior occasions, the proposed purchase has anger ed Trump’s administration, which argues that integrating such a system into NATO’s second-largest army could help Moscow gather critical intelligence on the stealth capabilities of the next generation F-35 fighter planes, which Turkish manufacturers help build. Erdogan dismissed the U.S. argument and said Turkish military experts were good at deciding what to purchase.
To be sure, Trump’s retaliation has yet to be manifest; should the US presidentr wish to punish Turkey more, not only could Turkey be expelled from the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, but also face sanctions under two pieces of legislation: the Magnitsky Act and CAATSA, which allows the punishment of entities doing business with parts of the Russian state. As Bloomberg notes, a bipartisan group of eight senior U.S. House members introduced a resolution on Wednesday calling on Turkey to cancel the planned S-400 acquisition.
As always with the Arab-Israeli (or Iranian-Israeli) conflict, the real danger isn’t the regional conflict, but how it might escalate. In the 1973 war, the Soviets threatened to send troops to Egypt unless Israel agreed to a cease-fire. The United States responded by going on nuclear alert.
Could Israeli air strikes in Syria trigger war between Israel and Russia?
Israel remains determined to continue pounding Iranian forces in Syria in a bid to keep Tehran’s forces away from Israel’s northern border. At the same time, Russia has thousands of troops in Syria that could be caught in the crossfire—or even become belligerents if Moscow tires of its Syrian ally being pummeled.
And if Israel and Russia come to blows, would Israel’s big brother—the United States—feel compelled to intervene?
Not that Jerusalem or Moscow are eager for such a fight. “Neither of us desire a military confrontation,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) official told me during a recent interview in Jerusalem. “It would be detrimental to both sides.”
Yet Israel’s policy boils down to this: it will do whatever it sees as necessary to eject Iranian forces from Syria. And if Russia doesn’t like it, then that’s just the price of ensuring that Syria doesn’t become another Iranian rocket base on Israel’s border.
“No one in Israel is confused about who the Russians are and who they are aligned with,” said the IDF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Russians are not our allies, to put it mildly. We have one ally, and that is the United States. The Russians are here for totally different objectives. They are supporting a regime [Syria] that has an outspoken goal of annihilating Israel if it only could. They are also part of a coalition that supports Iran.”
Just how easily Israeli military operations can trigger an incident became evident during a September 2018 strike on ammunition depots in western Syria. Anti-aircraft missiles launched by Syrian gunners accidentally shot down a Russian Il-20 surveillance aircraft, killing fifteen people. Israel denies Russian accusations that it deliberately used the Russian plane as cover, or failed to give Moscow sufficient warning of the raid. Yet Russia still blamed Israel for the mishap and retaliated by supplying advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.
Still, the Kremlin has denounced Israeli strikes in Syria as “illegitimate.” Syria has been a Russian ally for more than fifty years, and it was Russian air strikes—along with Iranian and Hezbollah troops—that saved Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s faltering regime from ISIS and other rebel groups. At least 63,000 Russian troops have served in Syria since 2015. Though Putin has promised since 2016 that Russian forces would withdraw, Russia currently retains more than 5,000 troops and private military contractors in Syria, backed by several dozen aircraft and helicopters.
And Russia is in Syria to stay. The Syrian port of Tartus is Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean: in 2016, Moscow and Damascus signed a forty-nine-year agreement that allows nuclear-powered Russian warships to operate from there. In addition, Russian aircraft and surface-to-air missiles, including the long-range S-400 air defense system, operate from at least two air bases in western Syria.
Israel can live with the Russians next door—but not the Iranians. Israeli officials warn of Tehran’s plan to station 100,000 Iranian and allied troops in Syria. Hezbollah, with its estimated arsenal of 130,000-plus rockets, already menaces Israel’s Lebanon frontier. Syria joining Lebanon as a second Iranian rocket base is the stuff of Israeli nightmares.
“We continue to implement our plans,” the IDF official replied when asked if Russia would deter Israeli raids into Syria. “Our activities suggest that, despite everything, we enjoy significant freedom of action.”
But more telling was his one-word response when asked how willing is Israel to fight for that freedom of action.
Which leaves the question: Can Israel target Iran in Syria without triggering a clash with Russia?
There are de-confliction mechanisms in place, including a hotline between the Israeli and Russian militaries. “We are very strict about informing the Russians about our activities and that their operational picture is up to date,” said the IDF official. Yet those procedures were not sufficient to avoid a downing of a Russian plane.
Perhaps that ill-fated Il-20 was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, it is not hard to imagine a multiplicity of equally fatal scenarios. Russian advisers or technicians caught in an Israeli raid on an Iranian or Syrian installation. An errant Israeli smart bomb that hits a Russian base, or a Russian pilot or anti-aircraft battery spooked by a nearby Israeli raid into opening fire. Or, perhaps Russia will just feel obligated to support the prestige of its Syrian ally and its shaky government. Just how incendiary Syrian skies are for everyone became evident in December 2017, when U.S. F-22 fighters fired flares to warn off two Russian Su-25 attack jets that breached a no-go zone in eastern Syria.
Were the Israelis and Russians to come to blows, or if Moscow were to seriously threaten military force against Israel, could the United States risk a grave loss of prestige by not intervening to back its longtime ally? Could Russia—whose Syrian intervention is a proud symbol of its reborn military muscle and great power status—not retaliate for another downed Russian plane or a dead Russian soldier?
Which leads to the ultimate question: could tensions between Israel and Russia lead to a clash between American and Russian troops?
In the end, somebody will have to back down. But Iran isn’t about to give up its outpost on Israel’s border, and Russia probably can’t force them to. Then there is Israel, which is grimly determined to stop Iran.
French President Emmanuel Macron sees himself as Europe’s savior, and this week’s European Parliament elections as a make-or-break moment for the beleaguered European Union.
But Macron is no longer the fresh-faced force who marched into a surprising presidential victory to the rhythm of the EU anthem two years ago. His pro-Europe vision has collided with national interests across the continent. And at home, his pro-business policies have given rise to France’s raucous yellow vest uprising.
Macron wanted the May 23-26 European Parliament elections to be his shining moment to push his ambitions for a stronger Europe — but instead, nationalists and populists who blame the 28-nation bloc for piles of problems could achieve unprecedented success. They argue that elitist EU leaders have failed to manage migration and remain out of touch with ordinary workers’ concerns.
“We have a crisis of the European Union. This is a matter of fact. Everywhere in Europe … all the extremes, extreme-rights, are increasing,” Macron said Thursday, making an unexpected appeal for European unity on the sidelines of a technology trade show.
“On currency, on digital, on climate action, we need more Europe,” he said. “I want the EU to be more protective of our borders regarding migration, terrorism and so on, but I think if you fragment Europe, there is no chance you have a stronger Europe.”
Macron has already visited 20 of the EU’s 28 countries in his two years in office, and while he acknowledges the EU’s problems, he says they can only be solved by fixing the bloc — not disassembling it.
Even at home, Macron is far from certain of being able to claim victory in the European vote. Loiseau’s campaign has been lackluster, and polls suggest their party is in a close race with the far-right National Rally in the election, which takes place in France on May 26.
Le Pen’s National Rally is determined to take revenge after she lost to Macron in 2017, and the European election campaigning has been unusually personal.
Le Pen compared Macron this weekend to “a child king” with “a kind of conviction of superpower.” Speaking at a meeting of European nationalist leaders in Italy, Le Pen accused Macron of unfairly using his presidential office to campaign against her, and challenged him to step down if his party doesn’t come out on top.
Le Pen isn’t Macron’s only problem. His political opponents across the spectrum are calling on French voters to seize the European elections to reject his government’s policies.
While he won 64% of the presidential vote in 2017, Macron’s popularity has been around half that for the past year.
WHAT IS CAUSING EXTREMELY BIZARRE WEATHER PATTERNS TO HAMMER THE MIDDLE OF THE U.S. OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
The middle of the country has never seen anything quite like this. As 2019 began, the central portion of the nation was relentlessly hammered by bitter cold and massive snow storms, and many were hoping for better things once spring arrived. But then in March the flooding began, and it hasn’t stopped since. In fact, this is already the longest we have seen flooding along the Mississippi River since 1927, and there is no end in sight. By the time it is all said and done, all of the old records will probably be completely shattered. Meanwhile, powerful storms continue to pound the heartland every few days. Over the weekend, huge storms struck the middle of the country on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and more are expected on Monday. So what is causing such extremely bizarre weather to happen? Is there a reason why weather patterns have shifted so dramatically, or is all of this just a really, really strange coincidence? (READ MORE:…)