Mystery, Babylon and The Scarlet Coloured Beast


Following The News of The Scarlet Coloured Beast:

How it all ties together:

Rev 13:1And I stood upon the sand of the sea (‘sea’ in scripture imagery stands for the populace, the unorganized mass of mankind (Isa 60:5; Dan 7:2,3; Mt.13:47; Lk 21:25;)),

and saw a beast (17:3And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns)

rise up out of the sea (‘sea’ in scripture imagery stands for the populace, the unorganized mass of mankind (Isa 60:5; Dan 7:2,3; Mt.13:47; Lk 21:25;)),

having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, (17:3And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns) (Rev 12:3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.) (Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years) (These 10 crowns/horns (see Dan 7:24) are kings/countries that once were the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, Iran, Iraq (Babylon), Syria, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya  corresponding to the ten toes of the image. (Dan 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/ottomanempire_1.shtml (These 10 horns are kings/countries that once were the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, Iran, Iraq (Babylon), Syria, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya: corresponding to the ten toes of the image.) At its peak it included:

  • Turkey
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Macedonia
  • Hungary
  • Palestine
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Parts of Arabia
  • Much of the coastal strip of North Africa

The empire officially ended on the 1st November 1922, when the Ottoman sultanate was abolished and Turkey was declared a republic. The Ottoman caliphate continued as an institution, with greatly reduced authority, until it too was abolished on the 3rd March 1924.]

and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. [“Allah”- “Praise “Allah”] (17:3And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns)

2 And the beast (17:3 a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns) 

which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion:  (Daniel 7:3″And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
4″The first [was] like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
5″And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and [had] three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’
6″After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
7″After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It [was] different from all the beasts that [were] before it, and it had ten horns.
8″I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, [were] eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

17’Those great beasts, which are four, [are] four kings [which] arise out of the earth.
23″Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all [other] kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.
24The ten horns [are] ten kings [Who] shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first [ones], And shall subdue three kings. (ISIS)
25He shall speak [pompous] words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then [the saints] shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. (3 1/2 years)
26’But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy [it] forever). (Dan 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, [are] four kings, [which] shall arise out of the earth.)
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all [things]: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And [as] the toes of the feet [were] part of iron, and part of clay, [so] the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (note there are 5 counting the toes))

and the dragon (Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand year) 

gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. (Rev 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand: 25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. 26 This [is] the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this [is] the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul [it]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back?)

3And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4And they worshipped the dragon (Rev 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.) (Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years)

which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship – acknowledges his power) (Rev 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (see Isa 14:24-27))

saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things (now speaking of the antichrist man, a leader)

and blasphemies; (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship – acknowledges his power) (17:3And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns) 

and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months. (3 ½ years)
6And he opened his mouth (now speaking of the antichrist man, a leader) 

in blasphemy (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah”)

against God, to blaspheme His name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 
7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Rev 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (see Isa 14:24-27))

8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship – acknowledges his power, bowing down) (Rev 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (see Isa 14:24-27))

whose names are not written in the book of life (the unsaved) of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
11And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.)

12And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship – acknowledges his power, bowing down)

13And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth (Rev 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (see Isa 14:24-27))

by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (bow down, convert to, “Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship – acknowledges his power)

16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Rev 14:9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”)

17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six. (In the Codex Sinaiticus there are three Greek symbols that have been interpreted to be 666.)

Rev 17:1
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment
(Chap 18)

of the great harlot (17:5 and on her forehead a name [was] written MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH) (18and the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. “Babylon”)

who sits on many waters (15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues)

2 “with whom the kings of the earth (The Scarlet Beast)

committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman (17:5 MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH) (18 the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. “Babylon)

sitting on a scarlet beast (15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues)

[which was] full of names of blasphemy (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship (acknowledges his power)),

having seven heads and ten horns. (12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.”)

4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
5 And on her forehead a name [was] written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw the woman, (17:5 MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH) (18the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. “Babylon)

drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman (17:5 MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH) (18 the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. “Babylon) (17:3And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy (“Allah”- “Praise “Allah” – worship (acknowledges his power)), having seven heads and ten horns)

and of the beast (5 the scarlet beast, (15 peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues))

that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. (12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.”)

8 “The beast that you saw (5 the scarlet beast, (15 peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues))

was, and is not, and will ascend (the Ottoman Empire)(Dan 7:23The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom (These 10 horns are kings/countries that once were the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, Iran, Iraq (Babylon), Syria, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, corresponding to the ten toes of the image.) [are] ten kings [that] shall arise and another shall rise after them (ISIS); and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/ottomanempire_1.shtml At its peak it included:

  • Turkey
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Macedonia
  • Hungary
  • Palestine
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Parts of Arabia
  • Much of the coastal strip of North Africa

The empire officially ended on the 1st November 1922, when the Ottoman sultanate was abolished and Turkey was declared a republic. The Ottoman caliphate continued as an institution, with greatly reduced authority, until it too was abolished on the 3rd March 1924.)

out of the bottomless pit (Rev 9:1,2; 20:1,2;) and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world (ISIS),

when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (the Ottoman Empire)

9 “Here [is] the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains (17:2 kings of the earth and inhabitants of the earth) (note: A mountain is one of the Biblical symbols of a kingdom authority, or rule. See: Dan 2:45; Isa 2:2; 13:4; 25:6-7; Jer 51:25-29; Micah 4:1; Rev 13:4;) (see ‘Nuclear Showdown in Iran’ by Bill Salus, page 125, ‘Although the Bible often refers to mountains in a literal, geographical sense, it may allude to the leadership or government of a nation in the typological sense.’)

on which the woman sits. (2 the kings and the inhabitants of the earth) (15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues)

10 “There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, [and] the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time (ISIS Leader?).

11 “The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. (the Ottoman Empire),

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. (These 10 horns are kings/countries that once were the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, corresponding to the ten toes of the image. Dan 2:41-45)

13 “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
14 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those [who are] with Him [are] called, chosen, and faithful.”
15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.
16 “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast (These 10 horns are kings/countries that once were the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya  corresponding to the ten toes of the image. Dan 2:41-45),

these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (Chap 18)

17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose (Rev 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand: 25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. 26 This [is] the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this [is] the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul [it]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back?),

to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, (These 10 horns are kings/countries that once were the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya corresponding to the ten toes of the image. Dan 2:41-45)

until the words of God are fulfilled.
18 “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.(17:5 MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH)

Following the News of the Scarlet Coloured Beast:

*8/1/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21177/NKorea-prepares-submarine-missile-launch-in-international-waters US and South Korean analysts suspect that the 1,800-ton diesel vessel, travelling more than 100km into international waters, may have prepared to carry out a series of successful “ejection tests” of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. They say that these tests are a “critical step forward” for Pyo0ngyang’s missile capabilities. Until now such ejection tests were carried out in North Korean waters. According to these analysts, North Korea is “most likely preparing for a test in the near future of an updated Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile or a potentially newer system” after two successful ICBM missile tests.
8/1/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/394306  “cheap populism” ?
“This is a sad day for Israeli industry. There are solutions which would allow the continued existence of the factory and the employment of its thousands of workers. It is unthinkable that in a proper country there should not be a consistent supply of ammonia which is such a vital raw material for so many different industries.
***7/31/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21169/Hundreds-of-Russian-combat-troops-posted-at-Quneitra-opposite-Golan DEBKAfile’s military sources report that several hundred Russian combat troops took up position Monday at Quneitra opposite Israel’s Golan border. Contrary to Russian media reports, they are not military police officers bearing the light weapons of peacekeepers, but fully kitted out and armed Russian special operations troops, the first to be deployed at any Israeli border.
*7/31/17 http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/US-Ambassdor-Friedman-briefs-Trump-on-Temple-Mount-crisis-501255  America’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt all got together to try to diffuse situation. Reported to President, and then Screwed Israel!!! Netanyahu can’t complain without antagonizing Prez Trump?? Is it because of Kushner? Or Greenblatt? Or Both!!
*7/30/17 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-haj-idUSKBN1AF0L3 Saudi Arabia says that calls for internationalization of holy sites ‘a declaration of war’.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain previously issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, which included curtailing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its relations with Gulf enemy Iran.
7/30/17 http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Policeman-killed-six-wounded-in-eastern-Saudi-Arabia-attack-501194 A Saudi police officer was killed and six others wounded when a patrol came under attack in the town of Awamiya in eastern Saudi Arabia on Sunday morning, the interior ministry said.
*7/30/17 http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Iraqi-Shiite-leader-Sadr-makes-rare-visit-to-Saudi-Arabia-501195 DUBAI – Iraq’s influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr made a rare visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, where he met the Saudi crown prince and other officials, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
Iraq lies on the fault line between the Shi’ite Muslim power Iran and the Sunni-ruled countries that are its regional arch-rivals, chief among them Saudi Arabia.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia announced last month they were setting up a coordination council to upgrade strategic ties as part of an attempt to heal troubled relations between the Arab neighbors.
Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in 2015 following a 25-year break, and in February Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made a rare visit to Baghdad. Sadr, an anti-American Shi’ite leader, commands a large following among the urban poor of Baghdad and the southern cities, including Saraya al-Islam, or Peace Brigades militia.
He met with the powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and discussed issues of common interest, SPA reported.
7/28/17  http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21149/Saudis-intercept-a-%E2%80%9Cballistic-missile%E2%80%9D-fired-against-Mecca  The Saudi Press Agency reported Friday that the Arab Coalition command late Thursday intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi insurgents against the holy city of Mecca. It was shot down over the Al-Waslya area of Taif province some 69km away from Mecca, causing no damage or casualties. The statement described the attack as “a desperate attempt to disrupt the Haj season.”
*7/27/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26157/Israel-capitulates-to-Palestinian-escalation The Netanyahu government has caved in to combined Palestinian and Israeli Arab pressure on its positions regarding Temple Mount and its responses to acts of terror. By Thursday morning, July 27, all the security measures, metal detectors, cameras and fences, had been removed from Temple Mount, and the bodies of the three Israeli Arabs who murdered to Israeli police officers handed over to their families in their home town of Umm al Fahm in the Israeli Arab Triangle.
As DEBKAfile noted Wednesday, the Israeli government, by surrendering to Palestinian and Israeli Arab nationalist and religious extremists, has set its feet on a dangerously slippery slope. The insatiable demands for more capitulation will not stop at this point.
Very few Israelis are aware of the origins of the 180,000 Arabs living in Jerusalem today. Most of them originate in Hebron and migrated to Jerusalem over the years since 1967. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan which ruled eastern Jerusalem and its shrines for 19 years up until the Six Day War, very carefully kept Hebron natives out of the city. Their extremist conduct over Temple Mount explains why.
If Israel fails to draw a strong red line at this point in the standoff, a new crisis or terrorist outrage will be staged every few days to force the ministers to fall back step by step on measures pivotal to national security. Popular opinion at home, incensed over the Halamish terrorist outrage, was against the first concession and will oppose any more.
*7/27/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21136/Fatah-proclaims-anti-israel-showdown-Friday-Jordan%E2%80%99s-king-talks-to-Abbas- Israel’s security forces, dedicated to victory for “Blessed Al Aqsa.” Fatah leaders confirmed this decision.
DEBKAfile: Tanzim, the Fatah movement’s militia, has tens of thousands of members, some of whom bear arms. It has a history of leading Palestinian uprisings against Israel, alongside the fundamentalist Islamic Hamas. Its belligerent declaration Wednesday coincided with Jordan’s King Abdullah’s telephone conversation with Abbas. The king tried to de-escalate the Temple Mount crisis, after Israel made the gesture of dismantling the metal detectors and cameras installed there. The king and Palestinian leader also agreed to work together to restore what they called Al Aqsa’s “historic and legal status quo.”
*7/26/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21137/Hizballah%E2%80%99s-Nasrallah-praises-%E2%80%9Cnew-resistance-tactic%E2%80%9D-in-Jerusalem Hassan Nasrallah, Hizballah’s leader, said in a televised speech Wednesday night that he “salutes” the “dwellers of East Jerusalem and all Palestinians who come to defend Al Aqsa.” He said “a new kind of resistance” had achieved success. Most of his speech was devoted to boasting about the battles his movement was fighting with the Syrian and Lebanese armies against Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front rebels in the Qalamoun Mountains, which he claimed had ended in “a great military victory.”
*7/26/17 http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=500740 The Prime Minister’s Office said that Erdogan is “the last person” who can preach to Israel. “It is interesting what Erdogan will say to the Kurds and residents of northern Cyprus,” a PMO statement read.
Erdogan’s tirade was interpreted by some as part of an intra-Muslim battle for influence in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. His reaction was in stark contrast to signals from Amman that removing the metal detectors would go far toward calming down the atmosphere. Jordan – through the Wakf Islamic religious trust – has administrative jurisdiction at the site.
7/26/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/232967 Netanyahu, Liberman, and Eizenkot tour Golan Heights. Three briefed by Division Commander Major General Yoel Strik, and Company Commander Brigadier General Yaniv Asor.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived today (Tuesday) together with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot at the Bashan formation in the Golan Heights.
The three heard briefings by Northern Command head Maj. Gen. Yoel Strik and Brigadier General Yaniv Asor.
7/26/17  https://sputniknews.com/europe/201707261055880616-spanish-court-consider-russian-extradition/  The court in Madrid will consider on Wednesday the extradition of a Russian citizen Petr Levashov, whom the US authorities call one of the world’s most dangerous hackers, from Spain to the US, but the decision will be delivered later, the Spanish National Court told Sputnik.
7/26/17 https://sputniknews.com/us/201707261055880179-tillerson-remain-state-department/ US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Rex Tillerson will remain in office contrary to reports that he was going to resign. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing.
7/26/17 https://sputniknews.com/europe/201707261055880348-usa-weapons-ukraine-expand-conflict/ Once the United States ships weapons to Ukraine it will be impossible to prevent them from being used for offensive purposes as well, former CIA officer Phil Giraldi told Sputnik.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US government is pushing ahead with plans to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine despite concerns in the Department of State that they could be used to escalate violence and increase the risk of conflict with Russia.
“On the ground, tank destroying
“On the ground, tank destroying missile systems would by their very nature be quite usable in an offensive, mobile fashion to neutralize any disadvantage in armor,” Giraldi said.
Giraldi observed that the tactical impact of such an arms package had been seriously discussed in US military and government s circles.
“There is also considerable debate over what constitutes a lethal but defensive weapon, hence the discussion of tank vs anti-tank,” he said. “To keep the weapons from falling into the wrong hands there will be provisions in the arms sale agreement that will establish a monitoring system to confirm that the arms are still in the hands of the authorized users.”
However, there was good cause to doubt whether such safeguard would actually work in practice, Giraldi acknowledged.
“In the past, however, those provisions have proven nearly impossible to enforce and the situation in Ukraine with militias on the ground does not suggest that one should be optimistic,” he cautioned.
Giraldi warned that the weapons sales would certainly be viewed unfavorably by the Russian government.

Technically approving such an arms package for Kiev would not break the Minsk Accords although it would certainly escalate tensions, Giraldi said.
“Minsk does not define what is meant by the defensive weapon as far as I know so one could plausibly argue that the sale of anti-tank and other battlefield refinements would not necessarily be a violation,” he said.
Many of these dangers associated with sending lethal arms to Ukraine have already been pointed out by US officials in internal government policy discussions, Giraldi said.
“The US government has taken so long to review the arms sale to Ukraine because there is some, though admittedly not much, opposition to it at the State Department and elsewhere due to concerns that it will cause the existing crisis to escalate,” he said.
In September 2016, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to allow the supply of lethal “defensive” weapons to Ukraine, but the law still needs to be approved by the US Senate and signed by the US president.
Russian officials have repeatedly warned against arms deliveries to Ukraine, stressing that it would only escalate the situation in the eastern part of the country.
The Ukrainian government has been conducting a military operation in the country’s eastern regions since April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new government in Kiev. In February 2015, Kiev and the Donbass militias signed a ceasefire deal. Despite the agreement, both sides have been reporting violations of the ceasefire
Philip Giraldi is executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates more even-handed US government policies in the Middle East.
7/25/17 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/23/thune-trump-will-sign-russia-sanctions-measure-senate-to-vote-this-week-on-obamacare.html
*7/25/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21125/US-Navy-ship-fires-warning-shots-at-Iranian-patrol-boat A US Navy ship fired warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guards boat at the northern end of the Persian Gulf when it came to within 150 meters and failed to respond to warnings, including radio calls, flares and short whistle blasts. The warning shots prevented a collision but the Iranian boat after withdrawing stayed in the area for some hours. The incident occurred Tuesday. DEBKAfile: The Rev Guards operate fast boats in Gulf waters armed with torpedoes and some packed with explosives. Their crews are training for confrontation with American warships.
*7/25/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26155/Russia-posts-troops-8km-from-the-Israeli-Golan Russia has quietly moved troops to a point in southern Syria that is 8km from Israel’s Golan border, in the face of Israeli objections, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Moscow used the uproar over the Temple Mount standoff and the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Jordan to cover its creeping troop deployment almost up to Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan.
Tuesday, July 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott visited Bashan Division headquarters on the Golan for a rundown on the Russian deployment just opposite.
7/25/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21126/Netanyahu-speaks-of-new-threats-after-touring-Hermon-and-Golan “The situation here is changing rapidly, ISIS is retreating and Iran is trying to fill the void,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after touring the Hermon and Golan Tuesday. “Iran and Hezbollah have formed a northern deployment armed with precise weaponry. We are dealing with new threats. We are aware of the entire gamut of threats against Israel,” Netanyahu said. He complimented “the sharpness and alertness of the officers, the forces [of the Bashan Division] and the important work they are doing.”
7/24/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201707241055841193-qatar-doha-blockade-advantages/ Qatar’s Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Attiyah claims that the Arab states’ blockade of Qatar has benefits as Doha will now be able to rely on its own capabilities.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Arab states’ blockade of Qatar has benefits as Doha will now be able to rely on its own capabilities, Qatar’s Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Attiyah said in an interview to Russian RT broadcaster on Monday.
“The current crisis has a lot of negative as well as positive sides. Now Qatar will be able to mainly rely on its own capabilities and turn to the development of bilateral relations with its partners,” Attiyah said.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a blockade on the Gulf country, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their domestic affairs. The Maldives, Mauritius, and Mauritania followed suite, while Jordan and Djibouti reduced the level of their diplomatic missions in Qatar.
On June 23, Kuwait, acting as a mediator in the crisis, handed over to Doha the ultimatum of the four Arab states with 13 demands to be fulfilled by Qatar in order to restore the relations with its neighbors, which Doha refused to comply with.
7/22/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-warns-iran-of-new-and-serious-consequences-if-americans-not-returned/ US warns Iran of ‘new and serious consequences’ if Americans not returned.
Trump threatens prisoner-related sanctions unless ‘unjustly’ imprisoned citizens, including CIA contractor Robert Levinson, are released.
*7/21/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201707211055769109-baghdadi-death-us-intel/  US National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen said on Friday that has seen not seen any evidence that would indicate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Daesh terrorist group, has been killed.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On June 16, the Russian Defense Ministry said Baghdadi was likely to be eliminated as a result of a Russian Aerospace Forces strike on a militant command post in the southern suburb of the city of Raqqa in late May. It noted that it was in the process of confirming the information through various channels.
7/20/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201707201055737465-tal-afar-offensive/ TAL AFAR (Iraq) (Sputnik) — This is Tal Afar, one of the last remaining, major Daesh (outlawed in Russia) strongholds in Iraq. In January 2014, about six months before the Islamic State proclaimed its caliphate in Iraq, this area was close to becoming a separate administrative division. Within just a short period of time, the city has become the most powerful extremist stronghold in Iraq.
Tal Afar lies in the north of Syria’s Nineveh province. Looking at a map, one notices that the city and its nearby villages are located in the middle of a desert. It is 63 kilometers (39 miles) west of Mosul and 60 kilometers east of the Syrian border. The Sinjar Mountain range, which is believed to be the only escape route for terrorists into Syria, separate the Daesh stronghold from Turkey.
A Sputnik correspondent stumbled upon traces of massive air strikes in this region. It turned out that these strikes targeted oil tankers that Daesh militants tried to take out of the country as they retreated.
“The high command has taken the view that if an operation to free Tal Afar gets underway, Daesh militants would try to come back to Mosul, which could further complicate the fighting. For this reason, the operational theater was divided in order to launch the operation to liberate Mosul, after which the army, having strengthened its position, could strike Daesh in Tal Afar,” Al Miyakhi noted.
The militia commander said that Daesh militants were deceiving local residents from the very beginning by appealing to their religious feelings, but the terrorist groups’s unprecedented atrocities soon became apparent.
According to Al Miyakhi, there are not many Daesh militants nearby, so they are unable to ensure complete control over their territory.
**7/20/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/232735  The move to end the secret program to arm the anti-Assad rebels was not a condition of the ceasefire negotiations, which were already well underway, stressed the U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
With the end of the CIA program, U.S. involvement in Syria now consists of a vigorous air campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) and a Pentagon-run train-and-equip program in support of the largely Kurdish rebel force that is advancing on ISIS strongholds in Raqqa and along the Euphrates River valley, the report stated.
The Trump administration’s long-term strategy, following the defeat of ISIS, appears to be focused on stitching together a series of regional cease-fire deals among the U.S.-backed rebels, the Syrian government and Russia.
7/19/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/21089/Bomb-gun-attack-on-Egyptian-police-in-Sinai-At-least-9-dead Unidentified gunmen ambushed an Egyptian police vehicle in the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, killing at least one policeman as well as eight civilians who happened to be in the area, according to an Egyptian security source. The gunmen were said to have set off an improvised explosive device and then opened fire on the vehicle as it traveled south of the city of El Arish in the northern part of the peninsula. As of late Wednesday afternoon there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.
*7/18/17 https://worldisraelnews.com/report-alleges-saudi-king-secretly-contacted-israel-temple-mount-crisis/  The London-based Arabic media outlet Elpah reported that the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud contacted Israel via the Americans in an effort to defuse the crisis following the terrorist murder of two Israelis on the Temple Mount.
According to unnamed sources quoted in the Elpah report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed the Saudis via the Trump Administration that the status quo remains on the Temple Mount. Israel’s neighbor Jordan was allegedly also involved in the communication process.
*7/18/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-slaps-iranians-with-sanctions-over-malign-activity/
Iran’s chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, said that designating the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps a terrorist organization would be a huge miscalculation, and threatened the consequences of doing so, saying it could destabilize the entire region, Iranian media reported.
“Drawing an analogy between the IRGC and terrorist groups and imposing the same sanctions on the IRGC would be a big risk to the US and its bases and forces stationed in the region,” Bagheri told a group of military commanders in Mashhad.
Bagheri also said the US should be wary of imposing new sanctions on the country to stop its missile program.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s missile power is defensive and is never negotiable at any level,” he said.
7/18/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26150/Russian-troops-for-Quneitra-in-defiance-of-Israel Russian army units are preparing to move into the Syrian town of Quneitra in the coming days and take up positions opposite the Syrian-Israeli Golan border, DEBKAfile reports exclusively from military sources. Their function is to police the second zone of southwestern Syria designated for ceasefire by Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin when they met in Hamburg on July 7. Quneitra is just 5km from Israel’s border and the line of IDF positions defending it.
Israel has notified Washington and Moscow that it is flatly opposed to the presence of a Russian unit on its border. However, the US and Russian officers coordinating the ceasefire’s implementation agreed to recommend going forward with the Russian deployment. The White House and the Kremlin gave the officers’ recommendation the green light, virtually imposing it on Israel against its will.
7/18/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/393103 ‘The world should know: UNRWA perpetuates the conflict’.
A new caucus will be established in the Knesset to achieve a reform in the activities of UNRWA, the UN organization responsible for treating the affairs of Palestinian refugees. MK Sharren Haskel(Likud) who will lead the caucus, said that the goal is to arouse international support for a proper reform in this organization which perpetuates the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“The educational system inculcates violence and hatred. The organization is partially staffed by terror activists. The money given to the organization reaches these activists and they use hospitals and schools as a cover for terror tunnels and weapons slicks. A real reform and international supervision is required.”
*7/18/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-doubles-down-on-accusing-hezbollah-of-hiding-behind-ngo/ Army releases videos showing operatives from the Iran-backed terrorist group watching Israeli activities from the Lebanese border.
According to Israeli assessments, Hezbollah has significantly built up its weapons stockpile since the 2006 war and has upgraded its arsenal to more than 100,000 missiles.
Arabic media has reported that Iran constructed at least two missile factories within Lebanon, capable of producing medium-range rockets and other weaponry. Israel also fears that some advanced surface-to-sea and anti-aircraft weapons systems have reached Hezbollah from Iran.
Last month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel against attacking Lebanon or Syria, saying “hundreds of thousands” of Arab and Muslim fighters would be ready to strike back.
“The Israeli enemy should know that if it launches an attack on Syria or Lebanon, it’s unknown whether the fighting will stay just between Lebanon and Israel, or Syria and Israel,” he said in a speech to mark Jerusalem (Quds) Day, an annual show of solidarity with the Palestinians marked by marches and speeches that rail against Israel and the West.
*7/18/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/232614 Qatar says Washington Post report proves the United Arab Emirates was involved in hack of Qatar’s state news agency.
*7/17/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26148/Israel-Syrian-truce-plan-license-for-Iran-foothold Israel waited 10 days from Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s announcement in Hamburg of their ceasefire plan for southwestern Syria along the borders with Jordan and Syria, before proclaiming its “total opposition” to the plan. On Sunday, July 16, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced publicly, after meeting President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, that the plan was unacceptable.
An official in the party that accompanied him to the Elysée Palace explained to reporters that Israel objected to a truce that could be used as a vehicle for “perpetuating” Iran’s presence in Syria and on its own border. Iran is not just sending advisers to Syria, the official said, but large-scale military forces to establish in Syria an airbase for Iranian aircraft and a naval base for Iran’s navy.
“This already changes the picture in the region from what it has been up to now,” he said.
According to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, Israel was finally galvanized into making an unqualified stand against the US-Russian ceasefire plan by discovering how it was being implemented: When last week Russian troops moved into Daraa in southern Syria to police the ceasefire in that embattled town, the Syrian army withdrew – but the Hizballah forces fighting with Assad’s army did not.
A few days later, Hizballah’s elite Kalibat Radwan brigade was seen digging in at Daraa, 1km from the Jordanian border, and preparing to resume the offensive at a moment’s notice for driving Syrian rebels from the town.
This was despite the assurances Washington and Moscow had broadcast that the departure of Iranian and Hizballah forces from the ceasefire zones would be ascertained.
Since Quneitra is the next zone scheduled for the application of the ceasefire, Israel requested clarifications from Washington and Moscow. When they went unanswered, the Israeli prime minister proclaimed total objection to the plan before the Daraa template is replicated in an area abutting its Golan border.
The Hashemite Kingdom is impatient to start sending back home the 1.4 million Syrian refugees who fled the violence in their country, as well as restoring trade ties with Syria. If this means living with Hizballah forces on its border, so be it.
***7/17/17 http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-iraq-baghdadi-exclusiv-idUKKBN1A20JB SULAIMANIA, Iraq (Reuters) – A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, despite reports that he had been killed.
“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive,” Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview.
“Don’t forget his roots go back to al Qaeda days in Iraq. He was hiding from security services. He knows what he is doing.”
The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since he climbed up to the pulpit of a mosque in Mosul in 2014 and declared a caliphate with himself the leader of all Muslims.
*7/17/17 http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=499908
Al-Baghdadi may have been misguided when he adopted a territorial basis, making Islamic State an easier target for the many forces bent on destroying it. His actions also weakened the Muslim Brotherhood, which was trying to destroy the West from within through massive Muslim immigration to gain power “by democratic means.” Today, several countries, such as the UK and US, are considering branding the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Al-Qaida and Islamic State are just the better-known parts of a global Islamist movement to restore the caliphate. Dozens of other organizations are working toward that goal, differing only on the background of their founders or they methods of action, such as al-Shabaab of Somalia; Boko Haram of Nigeria; Jemaa Islamiyah in Southeast Asia; Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines; and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Though initially based on Saudi Wahhabism, they have the same objective.
Western media has been wondering what Islamic State fighters would do after the collapse of the group. No doubt they will easily find a home within those organizations and do their utmost to intensify their terrorist operation to demonstrate that they are not abandoning their goal.
Arab sources reported in December that Fatah al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra), an al-Qaida offshoot in Syria that is well entrenched in the Idlib area bordering the Alawite region, is trying to unite with Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful Islamist organization backed by Saudi money.
The result would be a” Islamic Syrian organization” that would welcome other Jihadi groups and try to penetrate Assad’s Alawi region – an ambitious project considering Russian support for the Syrian leader.
In other words, with the disappearance of Islamic State as a geographical entity, new coalitions will be made to keep the fight for an Islamic regime through a variety of means that probably will come as a surprise.
Didn’t Abu Sayyaf Islamic just take over a city in the Philippines and promptly proclaim an Islamic emirate? The army is still trying, with little success, to drive them away.
The writer, a fellow of The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.
7/17/17 ‘We Are Lost’ story: http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-islamicstate-families-idUKKBN1A20DL Like other women whose male relatives joined Islamic State, Umm Suhaib said she was powerless to stop him.
“I have no authority over them,” 50 year-old Fatima Shihab Ahmed said of her two brothers who joined the group. She believes one of them is still alive in the militant-held city of Tel Afar, which Iraqi forces plan to assault next.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warn U.S. against terrorist designation, new sanctions.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – A senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned the United States on Monday that if it designated the group a terrorist organisation and applied new sanctions its action could be perilous for U.S. forces in the region.
U.S. officials said earlier this year that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering a proposal that could lead to potentially categorising the powerful Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.
“Counting the Revolutionary Guards the same as terrorist groups and applying similar sanctions to the Revolutionary Guards is a big risk for America and its bases and forces deployed in the region,” said Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri, according to Sepah News, an official news site of the Guards.
**7/16/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/232544 Jordanian parliament praises Temple Mount terror attack.
‘Our martyrs are watering the holy land’, say Jordanian lawmakers after 3 Israeli Arab terrorists killed Israeli officers.
After Jordan’s King Abdullah II condemned the murder of two Israeli Border Police officers near the Temple Mount on Friday, some Jordanian lawmakers voiced support for the three murderers, praising them as “martyrs”, Yediot Ahronot reported.
On Saturday, Abdullah spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the attack, and issued a condemnation of the murders.
Less than a day later, however, the Jordanian parliament expressed support for the terrorists, praising them as “martyrs”.
6/26/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20918/Syrian-fire-reaches-the-Golan-for-third-day-in-a-row Early Monday, Syrian shells again, for the third day, spilled over into the Israeli Golan from battles on the Syrian side of the border. The explosions were heard widely from the northern part of the territory.
6/26/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706261054966805-qatar-iran-gulf-row/ Qatar Emir Remains Committed to Developing Ties With Iran Despite Gulf Row.
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held a phone conversation on Sunday evening with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and expressed commitment to develop the bilateral relations in all fields despite the ongoing diplomatic row in the Persian Gulf.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Al Mayadeen broadcaster, the Qatari Emir said that Doha “is seeking a complex development of relations and cooperation with Iran in order to solve the problems of the Islamic world, which is currently in a difficult situation.”
“Air, land and sea space will always be open to the brotherly country and neighbor — Qatar,” Rouhani stressed during the conversation.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations with Doha and stopped all communication with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Later, the Maldives, Mauritius, and Mauritania also announced the severance of diplomatic relations. Jordan and Djibouti reduced the level of their diplomatic missions in Qatar. Senegal, Niger and Chad announced the withdrawal of ambassadors.
6/26/17 https://sputniknews.com/europe/201706261054965037-moscow-minsk-eu-eaeu/  Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Russia and Belarus are cooperating to establish of relations between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the joint statement by authorities issued on Sunday reads.
MINSK (Sputnik) — Russia and Belarus seek to contribute to establishment of relations between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the states’ joint statement, devoted to the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Minsk, said Sunday.
As regards the situation in Ukraine, Moscow and Minsk considered there was no military solution and the issue should be resolved by political and diplomatic means on the basis of the Minsk agreements.
The EAEU, comprising Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, is an international organization that encourages regional economic integration through the free movement of goods, services, and people within the union.
6/25/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26115/Golan-battles-bring-Hizballah-near-Israeli-border Golan battles bring Hizballah near Israeli border. In the last 48 hours, Israel has conducted air strikes on and aimed tank fire at Syrian army positions near Quneitra’s northern suburb of Baath city, 3km from IDF Golan border defenses. (See map). Those positions were the source of the mortar shells that exploded on the Israeli Golan – 10 on Saturday, June 24 and three the next day. They came from a battle in which Syrian and Hizballah units were fighting off a Syrian rebel offensive around Quneitra.
The rebel militias set up a coalition to coordinate their offensive. It is dominated by the Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which Damascus claims is an arm of Al Qaeda-Syria. In fact, it is an alignment of dozens of Islamist groups, some of which belonged and still do to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham – the former Nusra Front.
Fighting on the side of the Assad regime are the remnants of the Syrian army’s 90thBrigade, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards South Syrian command center, and the pro-Iranian Afghan Shiite militia.
They are joined by members of Hizballah’s Southern Shield Brigade.
This brigade is made up of Palestinians, Druzes, Circassians and local Syrians, whom Hizballah recruited and has posted in Hermon villages ready to launch terrorist attacks inside Israel.
Assad’s army, combined with large-scale Hizballah units and pro-Iranian forces, are therefore in full flight to seize control of Syria’s borders with Jordan and Israel. Amman and Jerusalem therefore face a twin peril on the Daraa and Al-Baath fronts.   Both are anxious to keep Hizballah as far as possible from their territory.
But for now,  both these warfronts hang in the balance and are undecided. Also undecided on how and when to react are Israel and Jordan. Hizballah is already 3km from the Golan border, although Israel’s government and military leaders have pledged repeatedly that they would be allowed to come in so close.
6/25/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706251054964212-syria-israel-attack-golan-heights/ Israel conducted another attack on the positions of the Syrian Armed Forces in Golan Heights, the Syrian army said Sunday in a statement.
BEIRUT (Sputnik) — Earlier on Sunday, the IDF said that several projectiles launched from the Syrian territory fell in the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights, causing no injuries.
The Syrian army stated that it was attacked by Israeli forces after repelling an assault from Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the Quneitra Governorate.
“After our armed forces successfully repelled a large-scale attack of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists [Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group, banned in Russia] near the town of al-Baath in the vicinity of Quneitra… hostile Israel resumed its aggression and attacked one of our positions in order to support the terrorists and raise their fighting spirit,” the statement read.
On Saturday, the Israeli Air Force attacked the Syrian government forces’ tanks and artillery positions after 10 projectiles fell on the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights. A source told RIA Novosti that the Syrian government forces were repelling a massive Nusra-Front terrorists’ attack in the Golan Heights when they were struck by the Israeli Air Force in the area. According to Al Mayadeen channel citing a source, at least two Syrian soldiers were killed in the airstrike.
The Golan Heights, internationally recognized as Syrian territory, was seized by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1981, the Israeli parliament voted to annex two-thirds of the region. The United Nations has repeatedly stated that Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights is illegal, calling for it to be returned to Syria.
6/25/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/231546 IDF hits Syrian army following mortar fire.
For second time this weekend, IDF responds to stray mortar fire hitting Israel with targeted strikes on Syrian army targets.
IDF forces struck Syrian army targets Sunday afternoon, after a number of mortar shells from Syria exploded in the Israeli Golan Heights.
According to an IDF spokesperson, the Israeli military attacked two Syrian artillery pieces and an ammunition truck on the Syrian side of the northern Golan Heights.
The IDF spokesperson emphasized that Israel is not “a party to or involved in the Syrian civil war,” but added that the IDF “takes seriously any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel or the security of its citizens, and views the Syrian army as being responsible for occurs in [Syria’s] territory”.
The mortar fire from Syria which prompted the Israeli response was likely stray fire, the IDF said Sunday, and not part of a deliberate attack on Israel.
No injuries or damage have been reported.
Over the weekend, a number of mortar shells from Syria landed in the Golan Heights, prompting Israeli retaliations against Syrian government targets.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel would continue to respond to any attacks by the Syrian government.
“The IDF attacked Syrian army targets last night,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Sunday morning. “It was a military response to the mortar fire [which] exploded in our territory.”
6/25/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706251054962393-why-israel-struck-syrian-army-golan-heights/ The Israeli Air Forces on Saturday attacked the Syrian government forces’ tanks and artillery positions after 10 projectiles fell on the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights from Syria.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that projectiles fired from Syrian territory hit an open area in the northern Golan Heights with no injuries as a result of the incident.
Syrian channel al-Mayadeen reported that at least two Syrian soldiers were killed as a result of the Israeli airstrikes.
|”In response to over 10 projectiles launched from Syria, IAF aircraft targeted origin of launches & 2 Syrian tanks,” the IDF stated.
Following the attack the Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said that Israel would not tolerate encroachments on its sovereignty and security, even in the form of stray shelling.
6/25/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/as-islamic-state-wanes-iran-and-hezbollah-could-turn-on-israel/ As Islamic State wanes, Iran and Hezbollah could turn on Israel
With Russia’s help, the Syrian regime and Shiite axis are vanquishing the opposition – and drawing dangerously close to Israel’s border.
The Shiite axis is on the march, and the Islamic State is no longer in the breach, where it was keeping the Shiites occupied. The unofficial Israeli approach to the Syrian conflict, a prayer for the success of both sides, is becoming increasingly irrelevant as one side — that of the regime — pummels the other.
The consequences of the latest developments in Syria and Iraq are echoing in Lebanon in the form of belligerent declarations by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. On Friday, Nasrallah vowed that his group’s next war with Israel will pave a path for “thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of fighters from all the Arab states and the Islamic world” to fall upon the Jewish state.
6/24/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706241054949752-no-state-north-syria-erdogan/ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey will never allow the establishment of a state in northern Syria, state-run Anadolu Agency reported Saturday.
6/24/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20910/Israel-air-force-strikes-Syrian-positions-at-Quneitra In reprisal for the errant mortar fire on the Golan Saturday, the Israeli air force struck Syrian positions near Quneitra, destroying at least one and knocking out two tanks.
6/24/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20909/%E2%80%8BTwo-Syrian-mortar-rounds-land-on-Golan Police cleared weekend trippers from the popular Golan sites in northern Israel after two mortar shells from battles across the Syrian border landed on open ground in the enclave. There were no casualties or damage.
**6/23/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-chief-thousands-of-fighters-will-respond-if-israel-attacks/ Hassan Nasrallah said.
“I’m not saying countries would intervene directly — but it would open the door for hundreds of thousands of fighters from all around the Arab and Islamic world to participate in this fight — from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,” he said.
Tensions were rising this week along the frontier, with Israel accusing Hezbollah of expanding observation posts to conduct reconnaissance missions across the border under cover of a purported environmental NGO.
In a letter to the UN Security Council, Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, pointed to an incident in April, in which a patrol of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was denied access to an observation post flying the flag of the NGO “Green Without Borders,” by a group of locals.
Hezbollah’s purported use of such facilities under cover of the NGO is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
Danon denounced the “dangerous provocation” and called on the council to demand the Lebanese government dismantle the Hezbollah outposts, as required by the resolution.
Earlier this week, the head of Israel’s air force said it would have “unimaginable” military power at hand in any future conflict with Hezbollah.
“What the air force was able to do quantitatively in the… Lebanon war over the course of 34 days we can do today in 48-60 hours,” Major General Amir Eshel said on Wednesday.
“This is potential power unimaginable in its scope, much different to what we have seen in the past and far greater than people estimate.”
6/23/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20906/A-Turkish-base-in-Qatar-was-revealed-by-Arab-states%E2%80%99-13-demands One of the 13 demands four Arab states sent to Qatar this week was the removal of Turkish troops, as well as shutting down the Al Jazeera TV station and cutting ties with Tehran. DEBKAfile reports that Turkey, the only regional Muslim state backing the emirate, recently flew five armored troop carriers plus crews to Doha. They were described by the Turkish high command as the vanguard of a larger force. The list of demands slapped down by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain was presented this week by Kuwait. It included deporting Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas leaders who live in Doha and severing ties with those organizations, ISIS, al Qaeda, Nusra Front and all other terrorist organizations. These demands were first put before Doha last month, but were sent again this week when they were ignored by Qatari leaders, prompting an aviation, travel and diplomatic boycott of the tiny emirate and the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the Arab Gulf in years.
*6/23/17 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/23/trump-considering-camp-david-style-summit-to-unite-arab-leaders-to-fight-terrorism.html “The four major allies within the alliance, Egypt, Saudi, UAE and Bahrain, as well as other moderates, are the ones who have been complaining to Washington for years over the protection and funding the Muslim Brotherhood has been obtaining from Qatar,” said Walid Phares, a Fox News national
security and foreign affairs expert.
“The core allies were certainly encouraged by the clear narrative by President Trump in Riyadh, and thus decided to address the Qatar-Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] problem,” he said. “The speech changed the narrative.”

6/23/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranians-parade-missiles-shout-death-to-israel-in-annual-rally/ Unveiling clock showing 8,411 days left for Israel, Iranians rage against Jewish state
Parliament speaker calls Israel ‘mother of terrorism’ as Islamic Republic parades missiles, rallies in support of Palestinians and against raft of enemies
Iran held major anti-Israel rallies across the country Friday, with protesters chanting “Death to Israel” and condemning the occupation of Palestinian land.
Marchers in Tehran headed from various points of the city toward the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University. Similar demonstrations were held in other cities and towns in Iran, according to state media.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard used the demonstration in the capital’s Valiasr Square to showcase three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar — the type that Iran used this week to target the Islamic State group in Syria. The Guard said it fired six such missiles on Sunday at IS targets in the city of Deir el-Zour, more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) away. The Guard said the airstrike was in retaliation for an IS attack earlier in June on Iran’s parliament and a shrine in Tehran that killed 18 people and wounded more than 50.
6/23/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26114/First-Russian-base-for-SE-Syria—near-US-garrison The Russian engineering corps has started building a new base in southeastern Syria at a small village called Khirbet Ras Al-Wa’r in the Bir al-Qasab district. Until now, Moscow adhered to a policy of restricting its military presence to the western part of the country along the Mediterranean coast; no Russian troops were based further east than Palmyra.
The new facility is the first to be established since Moscow’s initial military intervention in the Syrian war in September, 2015. DEBKAfile’s military sources say it will provide Russia with a lever of control over the volatile Syrian southeast and its borders, where US-backed and Iranian-backed forces are fighting for dominance. . Russian forces will also stand closer than ever before to the Israeli border – 85 kilometers from central Golan and 110 kilometers from southern Golan, not far from IDF military positions.
The new Russian foothold will be located strategically 96 kilometers from northern Jordan and 185 kilometers from the American and Jordanian special forces garrison at the al-Tanf crossing inside the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi border triangle.
Placing the new base just 50 kilometers from Damascus serves another primary function, that of securing  the strategic crossroads leading from eastern and southern Syria to the capital – in other words, propping up the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Our intelligence sources note that construction on the new Russian base began concurrently with the resumption his week of secret US-Russian talks in the Jordanian capital, Amman. They are led by Michael Ratney, the special US envoy for Syrian affairs and Aleksandr Lavrentiev, for Moscow.
Washington has so far turned Moscow down on this plan for two reasons: First, the Syrian army’s conquest of Abu Kamal would strengthen Iran’s grip on the Syria-Iraq border area, the prevention of which is a primary US objective. And second, the Americans want Iranian and Hizballah forces out of the region before any other steps are taken – instead of later, as per the Russian guarantee. This, the Russian negotiators were not prepared to concede.
6/22/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-says-hezbollah-posing-as-environmentalists-to-operate-on-border/  Posing as environmentalists, Hezbollah digging in at border, Israel tells UN
UN envoy Danon, IDF intelligence chief demand action against Lebanese terror group’s violations along border.
srael told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that Hezbollah is establishing observation posts along the Israeli-Lebanese border under cover of a purported environmental NGO.
In a letter, Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, pointed to an incident in April, in which a patrol of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was denied access to an observation post flying the flag of the NGO “Green Without Borders,” by a group of locals.
Hezbollah’s purported use of such facilities under cover of the NGO is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
In the letter, Danon called on the council to demand the Lebanese government dismantle the Hezbollah outposts, as required by the resolution.
The 15,000-strong UN force is also charged with ensuring “the immediate cessation” of attacks by Hezbollah, and of ensuring “the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations.”
Hezbollah has significantly built up its weapons stockpile since the 2006 war and has upgraded its arsenal to about 150,000 missiles, Israeli officials say. Israel also fears that some advanced surface-to-sea and anti-aircraft weapons systems have reached Hezbollah from Iran.
6/21/17 http://www.debka.com/article/26108/Naming-Bin-Salman-Saudi-heir-impacts-US-Israel The Saudi king’s decision to elevate his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, to crown prince and heir to the throne, in place of his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef – as part of a broad reshuffle, is not merely the internal affair of the royal hierarchy, but a game-changing international event.
DEBKAfile’s analysts see it as the outcome of a global and regional process initiated by Donald Trump soon after he settled in the White House in January. With his appointment as de facto ruler of the oil kingdom, the Saudi king’s son is ready to step into his allotted place in a new US-Arab-Israeli alliance that will seek to dominate Middle East affairs. Israel will be accepted in a regional lineup for the first time alongside the strongest Sunni Arab nations who all share similar objectives, especially the aim to stop Iran.
Trump’s trip to Riyadh and Jerusalem in early May laid the cornerstone for the new US-Sunni Arab bloc versus Iran’s Shiite grouping and also cemented Israel’s co-option.
This bloc is in its infancy and has yet to display staying power and prove the wisdom of its policies. But its contours have taken shape. US President Trump is taking the lead role along with Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, another crown prince, Egypt’s President Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi, and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Three of those leaders already maintain strong direct – albeit discreet – ties with Israel’s prime minister, its security establishment, military and various intelligence agencies.
The first steps towards this goal are in the making. They will include exposing parts of their hidden interaction to the light of day, as well as such important symbolic actions, as opening Arab skies to the passage of Israeli commercial flights, or direct telephone links.
None of this is expected to transpire overnight but rather over years, especially since there is opposition to the process still to overcome in the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, and also in the United States. Critics lay into Mohammed bin Salman, who has made his mark as a visionary social and economic reformer at home, as too young, brash and impatient to rule the kingdom. His decision to entangle Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war, which many believe it cannot win, is held up as evidence of his reckless nature.
But the process switched on by Trump in Riyadh took a large stride forward on June 21, with the formalization by King Salman of his young son’s role as the top mover and shaker in the Saudi kingdom. King Salman obtained the support of 31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia’s Allegiance Council for confirming Prince Muhammad Bin Salman as crown prince as well as deputy prime minister and minister of defense.
6/20/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20887/US-jet-downs-Iranian-drone-near-Al-Tanf-crossing-in-S-Syria A US F-16 jet shot down Monday an Iranian-made Shahed 129 drone flying in southern Syria near the Al-Tanf Syrian-Iraqi crossing which is held by US special forces and Syrian allies, a US official confirmed. The drone was armed and posed a threat to the US forces stationed at the crossing. This was the second time the US had shot down an Iranian drone in less than a month. On June 8, an American fighter jet downed a drone flown Iranian-supported Hizballah forces for an attack on US-backed troops.  Monday’s incident also marked the fifth time since late May that the US military has bombed pro-Syrian forces in southern Syria. Sunday, US fighter-bombers shot down a Syrian warplane.
6/20/17 http://syria-personally.beforeitsnews.com/israel/2017/06/fierce-battles-in-daraa-after-48-hour-ceasefire-ends-2475107.html DEBKAfile was founded by a team of journalists in June 2000 as an independent Internet Web site, providing an intelligence and security news service. June 20, 2017, 4:52 PM (IDT)
Large-scale Syrian army and Hizballah forces resumed their onslaught in the southern Syrian town of Daraa Tuesday as a 48-hour ceasefire drew to a close. They are fighting to dislodge the rebel forces that are backed by the US and Jordan. The battles are taking place just one kilometer from the Jordanian border.
Our unique angle on these subjects – and strong intelligence dimension – has earned DEBKAfile a global reputation and a steady readership – which skyrockets in times of crisis.
6/20/17 https://www.wsj.com/articles/skirmishing-over-syria-1497914427  A bipartisan conceit has been that the U.S. can defeat Islamic State by ducking the larger conflict in Syria, and now we’re finding out that may not be possible. A U.S. F-18 jet shot down a Syrian bomber on Sunday to protect U.S. allies fighting Islamic State, and on Monday Russia and Iran threatened to target U.S. planes in response.
A U.S. fighter shot down the Syrian SU-22 plane after Syrian aircraft made their second bombing run against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allied with the U.S. near Taqba. The regime was clearly testing whether the U.S. would assist its allies on the ground. The U.S. needed to send a deterrent message or Syrian President Bashar Assad will continue to press his offensive across SDF-held territory.
The risk of escalation is real, but this isn’t a skirmish the U.S. can easily avoid. Mr. Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran know that ISIS’s days controlling Raqqa in Syria are numbered. They want to assert control over as much territory as possible in the interim, and that means crushing the SDF.
The Russian threat on Monday to target with anti-aircraft missiles any U.S. aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria is part of the same intimidation strategy. Russia also suspended a hotline between the two armed forces designed to reduce the risk of a military mistake. Iran, which arms and assists Mr. Assad on the ground, vowed further Syrian regime attacks against SDF, all but daring U.S. planes to respond amid the Russian threat.

4/5/17 http://www.debka.com/article/25996/Condemnation-will-not-stop-Assad%E2%80%99s-chemical-war Seven nations maintain elite military units in Syria – the US, Russia, Britain, Germany, France, Jordan and Israel. American, Russian and Turkish troops are backed by air support. Had those powers decided to destroy the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s poison chemical arsenal, they could have combined to do so and finished the job in a few days – and this week’s horrific tragedy possibly been averted.
The death toll from the Syrian chemical warfare bombardment of the rebel-held town of Kkhan Sheikhoun Monday, April 3, is now estimated at 150 with several hundred injured, cared for in totally inadequate medical facilities. The number of child victims has raised the pitch of world condemnation  The total figure fluctuates according to source.
But the most tragic truth of all is that no one in Moscow, Washington or Ankara is ready go ahead with this operation, any more than they are focused on ending the six-year old Syrian war, which has claimed a death toll of more than 600,000 – most civilians – and the displacement of 12 million refugees. Instead, they are calling the UN Security Council into another emergency (useless) session.
The most cynical aspect of this international wringing of hands is the sorry record of the way Assad’s toxic warfare record has been handled.
On May 3, 2014, the US military reported that efforts to bring about the dismantling of the Syrian army’s chemical weapons had come to naught after Bashar Assad refused to hand over the 27 tons of sarin precursor chemicals, so long as the UN disarmament agency (OPCW) insisted on his destroying their underground storage sites..
According to DEBKAfile’s sources, 12 of those bunker facilities are still operational and barred to access by UN inspectors.
Five months later, OPCW reported that Assad’s chemical weapons stocks had been liquidated. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shook hands in Geneva to flashing cameras to celebrate the successful outcome of their negotiations on the subject.
This turned out to a charade, staged to cover up President Barack Obama’s decision to dodge his own red lines and abstain from action against the Assad regime if he resorted to chemical warfare.
Careful reading of the final OPCW report gives the game away: “To date, nearly 95 percent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by the possessor states have been destroyed under OPCW verification.” For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.
So 5 percent of the poisonous substances remained intact. In the interim four years, the Syrian ruler was able to substantially build up his depleted stocks of poison gas, the use of which also spread to the war in Iraq. The Syrian air force meanwhile began unbridled air strikes with chlorine bombs. They were replenished by Iranian freight planes landing at the Damascus military airfield and the T4 military air base near Palmyra with fresh consignments of chlorine bombs custom-made at Iran’s military industry factories.
Neither the Obama administration in Washington nor the Kremlin in Moscow lifted a finger to stop these deliveries. In the opposition camp, certain Syrian rebel groups, ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front branch started tests on homemade chemical weapons, some of them successfully building up stocks of primitive poison weapons. Other rebel groups simply purchased Syrian chemical weapons from Syrian army officers.
Today, no international inquiry commissions would be able to establish beyond doubt the source of the chemical substances that poisoned hundreds of people in Idlib this week or determine who was ultimately responsible for this atrocity. It must be said that only the Syrian military had the ability to carry out an aerial attack like the one that struck the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Russians will certainly try to use as a pretext for vetoing a condemnatory UN Security Council resolution the claim that Syrian warplanes had only struck an insurgent storehouse containing toxic substances.
The task of locating destroying Assad’s stocks of pernicious weapon of war can only be performed by troops on the ground. And that is unlikely to happen.
4/5/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/20277/Over-30-dead-as-ISIS-fighters-disguised-as-police-strike-Iraqi-forces At least 31 people were killed and more than 40 others were wounded Wednesday in an attack by the Islamic State terrorist organization on the Iraqi city of Tikrit. A police spokesman in the city said that about ten ISIS fighters, including two wearing suicide vests, infiltrated the city in police uniforms and vehicles. They attacked the home of the head of Tikrit’s security services, who was responsible for fighting terror, killing him and four members of his family. The fighters also attacked a police checkpoint in the city located about 175 km north of Baghdad. Three of the fighters were killed in exchanges of fire, two blew themselves up and five others escaped.
4/5/17  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/227784  Jerusalem Arabs enraged by idea of Passover on Temple Mount.
Arab mufti and sheikh promises ‘unfathomable war’ if Israelis allowed on Temple Mount.
Al-Quds General Mufti (Islamic scholar) Sheikh Muhammad Hussein warned Israel of the possible consequences which may result if Jews “break into Al-Aqsa mosque and hold religious Pesach (Passover) ceremonies on the Temple Mount.”
Hussein serves as the mufti for the Arab areas in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem, as well as a member of the Islamic-Christian Association.
In a statement published on Monday, Hussein said that “continued attacks against sites holy to the Muslims and Palestinians, and especially against Al-Aqsa, will turn the entire region into a ticking time bomb and cause a religious war, whos results cannot be fathomed.”
He also called on all Muslims to strengthen their ties to Al-Aqsa by holding prayers there “in response to the activities of Jewish organizations, who are trying to cause a dangerous escalation.”
The Palestinian Authority and other Islamic associations have continuously denied Jews’ rights to access the Western Wall and Temple Mount, even going so far as to push the United Nations to pass their opinions as an official resolution.
In the Arabs’ opinion, the entire Western Wall area is part of Al-Aqsa’s territory and known as the Wall of Al-Buraq, where Mohammed tied up the animal he flew to heaven with.
Jewish organizations recently appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court for permission to reenact the Pesach (Passover) sacrificial ceremony at the foot of the Temple Mount. They did not receive permission, however, and are currently planning to hold the reenactment in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter.
4/5/17 https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704051052301312-syria-strikes-chemical-weapons-warehouse/ Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that Syrian aircraft have conducted an airstrike near the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib province on the warehouse of terrorists’ ammunition and the mass of military equipment, where chemical weapons’ ammunition had also been stored and delivered to Iraq.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Syrian aircraft have conducted an airstrike near the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib province on the warehouse of terrorists’ ammunition and the mass of military equipment, where chemical weapons’ ammunition had also been stored and delivered to Iraq, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday.
According to Konashenkov, on Tuesday “from 11.30 to 12.30, local time, [8.30 to 9.30 GMT] Syrian aircraft conducted an airstrike in the eastern outskirts of Khan Shaykhun on a large warehouse of ammunition of terrorists and the mass of military equipment”.
Konashenkov said that from this warehouse, chemical weapons’ ammunition was delivered to Iraq by militants.
Konashenkov added that there were workshops for manufacturing bombs, stuffed with poisonous substances, on the territory of this warehouse. He noted that these munitions with toxic substances were also used by militants in Syria’s Aleppo.

***2/15/17 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/15/trump-touts-prospects-for-great-mideast-peace-deal-prods-netanyahu-on-settlements.html President Trump touted the prospects for a “great peace deal” in the Middle East while meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as both leaders sought to reaffirm their countries’ alliance and turn the page on years of tensions between the Israeli leader and Trump’s predecessor.
***2/15/17 http://video.foxnews.com/v/5324240509001/?#sp=show-clips Biggest Event in History!
2/15/17 http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/plo-warns-trump-dont-walk-away-from-2-state-solution/2017/02/15/

2/10/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/assad-us-troops-welcome-in-syria-to-fight-terrorism/ Assad: US troops welcome in Syria to fight ‘terrorism’

Syrian leader says Washington can join fight against his enemies if it cooperates with his government and respects country’s sovereignty
2/10/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/224749  PA intelligence chief meets American officials
2/10/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/224755 Rouhani: Our military power is ‘purely defensive’

Iranian President insists his country does not intend to interfere with other countries’ affairs.

2/9/17 http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/local/juarez/2017/02/09/mexican-army-federal-police-join-jurez-patrols/97718878/ Multi-agency patrols have started in Juárez and security will be increased at nightclubs in an attempt to quell a rise in violence, local authorities said.

The increased patrols began Tuesday night and include the Mexican army, federal police, Chihuahua state law enforcement and Juárez police and transit officers working together in various operations in different parts of the city, the Juárez Police Department said.
2/9/17 http://freebeacon.com/national-security/inside-ring-sanctions-highlight-china-iran-missile-connection/ The Trump administration recently imposed sanctions on Iran for its missile test, and the sanctions reveal that Tehran’s missile program is backed by covert assistance from China.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces U.S. sanctions, said last week that a “Chinese-based network” was helping procure goods for Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The sanctions designated 13 people and 12 companies who were placed under the Treasury restrictions that prohibit any U.S. companies from doing financial transactions with them. The action followed a flight test Jan. 29 of an Iranian medium-range missile that failed a short time after launch.
2/9/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/19885/Head-of-CIA-arrives-in-Ankara-for-talks-with-top-officials Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA, arrived Thursday in Turkey for a visit that will include meetings with President Tayip Erdogan and Hakan Fidan, head of the country’s MIT intelligence service. Pompeo and senior Turkish officials will discuss military and intelligence cooperation in northern Syria against ISIS, US support for the Kurdish rebels, and Turkey’s request for the extradition of exiled opposition leader Fethullah Gulen who Ankara claims was behind the country’s attempted military coup in July 2016. Pompeo is making his first trip abroad since becoming CIA director. Why is CIA Director doing it?
2/9/17 https://sputniknews.com/science/201702091050488229-orbital-suing-darpa-forviolation/ American aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK is leveling a lawsuit against the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to halt a robot-satellite repair system being developed by the agency in conjunction with a non-US-owned competitor.

The National Reconnaissance Office, which operates spy satellites, stands to benefit from robotic servicing of geosynchronous satellites (RSGS) technology, as satellites some 22,000 miles up in geosynchronous orbit could be evaluated and repaired, along with the ability to upgrade features.

Orbital ATK claims that DARPA’s project violates a US National Space Policy which orders “that the government not build or buy systems” that “preclude, discourage or compete” with commercially-available technology.
Orbital ATK filed its lawsuit Monday, after a contract DARPA awarded to Space Systems Loral (SSL), owned by a Canadian multinational corporation, for RSGS was briefly posted by accident. DARPA claimed it was ironing out the final details of the contract.

In early February, DARPA sent letters to lawmakers claiming that the National Space Policy had not been violated. Orbital ATK filed its lawsuit nonetheless, in the US District Court Virginia’s Eastern District “in response to DARPA’s apparent decision to continue pursuing a program that violates long-standing principles of the US National Space Policy, wastes taxpayer funds, and benefits a foreign-owned corporation.”

Orbital ATK complains that it will, “Continue to pursue all available options to oppose DARPA from moving forward with this illegal and wasteful use of US taxpayer dollars.” Orbital ATK’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV), which the company claims is similar to RSGS, already has $100 million worth of development tied into it.

In an interview with Space News, SSL senior vice president of strategic business development Steve Oldham said, “Really, it’s kind of a next-generation objective for DARPA to create a long-term, sustainable space architecture for satellite servicing.”

If the program proceeds, Loral would construct a spacecraft and integrate the system, as well as provide a mission-operations center and staff, after DARPA finishes developing hardware, software and other aspects of the module, and the government funds a launch.

Loral would control the vehicle and give commercial GEO satellite owners, and the military, the option of using cooperative servicing, pending a successful on-orbit demonstration.

In a letter to Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), acting DARPA director Steven Walker wrote that the “robotic servicing technologies will not become the exclusive property of its commercial partner but will be shared with other qualified and interested US aerospace companies.”

Walker also wrote Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), saying, “We believe the program is consistent with the 2010 National Space policy.”

2/8/16 http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/serious-concern-as-islamic-terrorists-released-from-prison/ ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri both have spent considerable periods of time in prison.

Further, one in three terrorists released from prison returns to violent jihad.

These facts should give pause to U.S. authorities, because as many as 100 people convicted of terror-related offenses in U.S. prisons are scheduled to be released in the next four years, warns Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general for New York State Department of Corrections, writing for the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Dunleavy writes that “while Islamic terrorist organizations have rapidly changed in their recruitment and tactical methodologies overall, the U.S. has not adapted to countering the evolving threat.”

He noted that amid a vigorous debate over whether to treat terrorists as criminals or as enemy combatants, a “reasonable consensus among the military and the judicial branches is building for the use of both designations.”

But there are significant changes in policy and practice toward Islamic terrorists that still must be made, he said.
One is that with as many as 500 terrorists now in custody and more to come, prisons must change how they handle jihadists.

“Terrorists go into prison much the same way as the burglar, the drug dealer, or the pedophile. They are housed and fed in existing correctional facilities with common criminals,” Dunleavy pointed out. “No mandatory rehabilitation or de-radicalization programs exist for convicted Islamic terrorists. And when they are released, there is no specialized supervisory program applied to monitor their employment or whereabouts.”

Dunleavy said developing registration lists of convicted terrorists, which has been successfully used with sex offenders, would assist local authorities.
Also, he said, a terrorist prisoner’s security classification must not be downgraded simply because he has exhibited good behavior.

“American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, for example, will be released from prison in two years.

Baghdadi’s case also makes the point.

U.S. Forces in Iraq arrested him near Fallujah in 2004 and detained him at the Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca detention centers as a “civilian internee.”

In December 2004, the leader of ISIS was released as a “low level prisoner.”
2/7/17 https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702071050412574-astana-syria-meeting-february/ Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that the next round of negotiations on Syrian peace settlement may take place in Astana in the middle of February.

ASTANA (Sputnik) — The next round of negotiations on Syrian peace settlement may take place in Astana in the middle of February, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said Tuesday.

“Of course,” the minister said, when asked if the meeting would take place in Astana.

“Roughly speaking… we are talking about the middle of February,” Abdrakhmanov said.

On Monday, Maj. Gen. Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov, the head of the Russian delegation at the Astana meeting, said the talks were planned for February 15-16.

The intra-Syrian peace talks were held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana on January 23-24. The talks resulted in Moscow-Tehran-Ankara agreement on establishment of a tripartite mechanism to monitor the ceasefire in Syria, embroiled in a civil war since 2011.

The next round of UN-brokered negotiations on the Syrian reconciliation is expected to take place on February 20.
2/7/17 https://sputniknews.com/military/201702071050412674-usa-canada-defence-cooperation-america/ The Department of Defense said that US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan agreed to boost their strategic cooperation to protect the North American continent.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan agreed to boost their strategic cooperation to protect the North American continent, the Department of Defense said in a press release.
“Secretary Mattis and Minister Sajjan reaffirmed the US-Canada defense relationship, emphasizing their commitments to NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] and continental defense, and agreeing to deepen cooperation to protect North America,” the release stated on Monday.
Mattis addressed enhancing North American defense relations and the North American Defense Ministerial meeting, which he offered to host this spring in Washington, the release added.

‎”The secretary and minister also discussed the importance of defense investments and modernization to ensure continued cooperation,” the release said.

Sajjan was the first minister of defense of any other nation that Mattis had hosted at the Pentagon since being sworn into office, the release noted.
2/7/17 http://therightscoop.com/china-sails-warships-near-islands-mattis-vowed-to-defend-for-japan/ Well this is provocative:

FOX NEWS – Three Chinese warships sailed near the contested Senkaku Islands Monday, in a rare move apparently sending a message to the U.S. just two days after President Trump’s defense secretary visited Japan and vowed to defend the islands.

The ships sailed within Japan’s territorial waters some 12 nautical miles off the islands in the East China Sea, roughly 140 miles northeast of Taiwan, a U.S. defense official told Fox News.

On his first overseas trip as defense secretary, Jim Mattis, speaking in Tokyo, said China “has shredded the trust” of countries in the region by building up man-made islands in the South China Sea. He also said the U.S. commitment to protect Japanese territory applied to its islands in the East China Sea.

Mattis later called for all regional disputes over territory to be handled peacefully during a press conference alongside his Japanese counterpart, Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada.

The Chinese, who also lay claim to the Senkakus, call the uninhabited islands the Diaoyus.

Japan has laid claim to the islands since the late 19th-century. China has claimed the islands since the end of World War II.

Following Mattis’ pledge to defend the Senkakus, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude, stop making wrong remarks… and avoid making the issue more complicated and bringing instability to the regional situation.”

Obama has basically surrendered the South China Sea, which is responsible for over $5 trillion in commerce every year, to the Communist Chinese and done nothing about their belligerent actions there. The Chinese even claim sovereignty over the airspace.

Trump, however, is taking a different position than Obama, sending Mattis to Japan to let them know we’ve got their back, and that includes the islands as well.

China is already unhappy with Trump’s call to Taiwan and his rhetoric about their country. Now they are trying to intimidate us with their warships.

It certainly looks like things are beginning to escalate.
2/7/17 https://sputniknews.com/military/201702071050411099-new-missile-hits-space-target/ The US Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency and Raytheon have successfully tested a missile that intercepts enemy missiles in space.

The SM-3 IIA missile can sense ballistic missile attacks from space and neutralize the threats. The SM-3 made its debut by eliminating a ballistic missile fired from the Navy’s USS John Paul Jones destroyer.

The idea for the mission was conceived and motivated, in part, by Star Wars, according to Scout Warrior’s Kris Osborn. “Now that technology is getting better,” he said, “exoatmospheric” missiles can intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles descending from outer space. The anti-missile technology would come in handy if the medium-range DF-16 missile tested by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army gets deployed.
2/6/17 http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/763193/donald-trump-president-brussels-eu-envoy-european-ambassador EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump HITS OUT – If Brussels bans my man, I’ll kick EU envoy out of USA

DONALD Trump could expel the European Union’s ambassador to the United States in retaliation for attempts by the European Parliament to block his choice of EU envoy, it was claimed.
2/6/17 https://sputniknews.com/military/201702061050405531-rocket-force-china-tests-missiles/ The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force has begun practicing the deployment of medium-range Dongfeng (DF) missiles capable of reaching strategic US and Japanese bases near China, the latest iteration of Beijing’s war game-preparations for an armed conflict in the South and East China Seas.

While the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday celebrations carried on, Beijing focused on defense preparations. DF-16 missiles, first unveiled to the public in late 2015, were tested in the deep forest during missile-launch exercises in recent weeks, according to video footage of the war games published by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

The DF-16 missile touts a level of accuracy comparable to a cruise missile, Shi Hong, executive editor of Shipborne Weapons, told China Daily. To quantify this precision, the missiles can travel some 625 miles, carry up to three nuclear warheads at a combined weight of one ton, and strike within five feet of a programmed target.  

The DF-16’s range puts it in striking distance of the US military base on Okinawa, as well as the Japanese islands, Taiwan, and the Philippines, The Japan Times reports. The latest medium-range ballistic missiles developed by China work via two phases that allow the missiles to alter trajectory mid-flight, the news outlet added. This feature of the DF-16 makes it possible to maneuver around Taiwan’s missile defense systems, The Japan Times notes.

Beijing’s PLA Rocket Force could launch the DF-16 missiles from anywhere on the Chinese mainland, and perhaps even from China’s lone aircraft carrier Liaoning, given that the missiles are deployed from a mobile, 10-wheeled platform.
2/6/17 http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/06/China-protests-US-Iran-sanctions-for-penalizing-Chinese-firms/5921486405833/  China is protesting a U.S. decision to include Chinese individuals and entities on its Iran sanctions list.

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Monday the Chinese government has lodged a protest regarding the “latest U.S. sanctions against Iran that affect Chinese companies and individuals.”

Describing the sanctions as a “unilateral” measure, Lu said the “sanctions will not help in enhancing trust among the different parties involved and will not help in resolving international problems,” The South China Morning Post reported.

Last Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions against Iran in response to a ballistic missile test.

The list includes two Chinese firms, the Ningbo New Century Import and Export Company and the Qingdao Cosailing Business Trading Company, businesses that are suspected of aiding Iran’s weapons program, South Korean news service Newsis reported.

But according to the Post, Qingdao Cosailing executive Yue Yaodong said he never engaged in full transactions with Iranian buyers.

Yue said his company sent product samples to Iran but no deals were made.

“I don’t know what my company has done that would lead to U.S. sanctions,” Yue said. “I don’t have a way out but to close the company. I don’t think it’s useful to raise a complaint.”

Sanctioned firms are prohibited from access to U.S. banks. Third-party entities that deal with blacklisted firms also face penalties.

China is critical of the latest Iran sanctions, and state-owned Xinhua said the embargoes would result in tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Beijing played an intermediary role in the 2015 nuclear deal between the United States and Iran.
2/6/17 http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/6/14523466/aclu-y-combinator-trump-silicon-valley-donations The 97-year-old organization just joined the incubator that gave us Airbnb and Dropbox. Now what?

A generation ago, during a heated presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush called opponent Michael Dukakis a “card-carrying member of the ACLU.” It was meant as a way to paint Dukakis, the Democratic nominee for president, as a far-left extremist. And it worked: the line became the campaign’s signature insult, and after a series of Dukakis missteps, Bush won with 53.4 percent of the popular vote.

After the events of the past two weeks, it’s hard to imagine Bush’s words carrying quite the same sting. In the wake of President Donald Trump banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, the American Civil Liberties Union recorded $24 million in online donations over a single weekend.

Silicon Valley has historically been wary of politics, but Trump’s executive order spurred a series of large donations. Lyft donated $1 million. Twitter employees donated $1.59 million. Googlers raised $4 million to be divided among the ACLU and three nonprofits that support immigrants and refugees. Google Ventures made a separate donation of undisclosed size. “It’s the most important investment we’ll make all year,” David Krane, the firm’s managing partner, told portfolio companies at a private dinner last week.

“IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT INVESTMENT WE’LL MAKE ALL YEAR.”

At more than 750,000 members, the ACLU is hardly a fringe group. Founded in 1920, it first came to fame during the Scopes Trial, in which the group defended a Tennessee high school teacher who was prosecuted for teaching human evolution. It prominently opposed the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and racial segregation in public schools during the civil rights movement.

But after Trump’s wild first few weeks in office, the ACLU has an unexpected and substantial war chest and — some powerful new supporters. Its deepening ties to Silicon Valley culminated last week with the announcement that the organization had an intriguing new ally: Y Combinator, the prestigious Silicon Valley incubator that gave birth to Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and other billion-dollar companies.

The alliance between the ACLU and Y Combinator was Sam Altman’s idea. Altman, who became president of the incubator in 2014, was a vocal opponent of Donald Trump who helped organize a $1 million voter registration drive during campaign season. After getting to know Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director, Altman offered to help him any way he could. “This guy Anthony is incredible,” Altman said in an interview.

Since 2013, Y Combinator has enrolled nonprofits in its accelerator program. In some ways, nonprofits and for-profit companies go through the same steps. They spend a season working together in Silicon Valley, often sharing a house as they work to grow their respective organizations. (Each group picks a single metric to optimize around, such as revenue growth or new donors.) They attend Tuesday night dinners together, trading notes with peers and listening to talks from tech-world luminaries like Mark Zuckerberg and Marc Andreessen. At the end of the program, they present their work at Demo Day, hoping to attract money and other assistance from the venture capitalists in the audience.

THE LURE OF Y COMBINATOR IS THE ALUMNI NETWORK

The main difference for nonprofits in Y Combinator is how they’re funded. For for-profit companies, Y Combinator makes a small investment in exchange for part of the company. For nonprofits, Y Combinator gives them a no-strings-attached donation. In both cases, the lure of the program is the alumni network as much as it is the program itself: being part of Y Combinator means having easy access to some of this generation’s most successful entrepreneurs, who readily offer young companies advice, contacts, and business deals.

In some ways, ACLU will be like any other nonprofit in Y Combinator. According to the ACLU, it’s getting a $200,000 donation. It will also get access to Y Combinator’s alumni network, which is lining up to offer its support, Altman said. “One of the cool things has been that many big YC companies have said whatever we can do — free services, discounts — multiply that by 10, [and that’s] what we’ll do for the ACLU,” Altman said. “Payments processing, [web] hosting, help with designing the payments flow and donations flow. We want to do that.”

In other ways, though, it will be different. The ACLU isn’t sending representatives to Silicon Valley to live and work with the other startups in the batch. Instead, Y Combinator will send advisers to the organization’s headquarters in New York City, Altman said — an unusual arrangement for the incubator, but not the first time it has worked with a remote organization.

Other details are still being worked out — what metric the ACLU might try to improve during its time in the accelerator, for instance.

The ACLU declined to make anyone available for an interview. But in an email, executive director Anthony Romero said the organization hopes to use Y Combinator’s expertise to help sustain its momentum. “We’re thrilled to have the help of Y Combinator to help us reach new audiences and be at the leading edge of technology,” Romero said. “Beyond financial contributions, the Silicon Valley community can help organizations like ours harness recent membership surges and spread the word about what the ACLU is doing to protect people’s rights from violations by the Trump administration.”

Still: a 97-year-old nonprofit corporation doing inside a startup factory? It’s a move that has raised eyebrows among some ACLU supporters, who worry that the organization’s embrace of Silicon Valley could warp its values. “I wish I was excited [about] this,” tweeted Laura Weidman Powers, CEO of Code 2040, a nonprofit that seeks to create opportunities for black and Latino workers in the tech industry. “But I’m nervous [because] principles of tech growth have not historically been inclusive or benefitted all.”

Critics have also blasted the ACLU for linking itself to an organization where Trump adviser Peter Thiel is a part-time adviser. Romero said Thiel would have no influence over the group. “Thiel, a well-known supporter of President Trump, has no role in this project, but the ACLU imposes no political litmus test on our supporters or volunteers,” Romero said in an email. (The organization has defended a host of notorious individuals and organizations over the years, including Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.) “As with other pro-bono legal donations and other in-kind services received by the ACLU, individuals across the political spectrum are welcome to support our work. We set our own agenda.”
2/6/17 https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-ballistic-missile-strikes-riyadh-saudi-arabia/ According to emerging reports from Yemen, a surface-to-surface missile fired by the Yemeni Army has hit Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
The missile was launched on Sunday evening, and sources in Yemen have described the missile test as successful.  It is unclear exactly what missile was used, and casualty figures, if any, are yet to be reported.
Saudi Arabia militarily intervened in the Yemeni Conflict in 2015, leading a coalition of almost 10 Middle Eastern countries. In October 2016, a Yemeni activist warned that Riyadh was the next target for a Yemeni missile attack.
Update 1: More information has emerged, suggesting that the missile was a variant of a Russian Scud, known as the “Borkan” surface-to-surface missile.
Update 2: Sources indicate that the missile struck a military base West of Riyadh, in Mazahimiyah.
Update 3: On social media, a Saudi attempts to cover-up the attack, saying that the sound of the explosion in Riyadh was an earthquake or meteor.
Update 4: Co-Founder of Mona Relief, a Yemeni charity, Dr. RS Karim, has reported that his contacts in Riyadh told him that a state of emergency has been declared.
2/5/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/224467 Iran’s nuclear chief said Sunday that his country will have 60 percent more stockpiled uranium than it did prior to the 2015 agreement with world powers after a shipment expected later this week, reports The Associated Press.
Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying that Iran will receive a final batch of 149 tons of natural uranium by Tuesday, in addition to 210 tons already delivered since early 2016.
Under the nuclear agreement Iran signed with world powers, its import of uranium is supervised by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Last month it was reported that Iran would receive 130 tons of natural uranium from Russia as compensation for exporting tons of reactor coolant – a move that was carried out with the approval of the other world powers that signed the deal.
Low-enriched uranium can be used for civilian applications, including power generation and medical research. Highly enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons, noted AP.
Since the implementation of the deal, Iran was found several times to have exceeded the amount of heavy water it is permitted to produce under the agreement. The IAEA determined that those violations were minor.
In September, the IAEA indicated that Iran had kept to the nuclear deal to which it agreed with six world powers, which limits its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons.
2/5/17 http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-justice-department-demolishes-case-against-trump-order/article/2613988?custom_click=rss Despite the overwhelming strength of the administration’s argument, what happens next — as the case is argued in a liberal circuit and then possibly moves on to a Supreme Court divided evenly, 4 to 4, among liberal and conservative justices — is impossible to predict. But strength of the case does not assure victory. As Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio host who also served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, tweeted on Sunday: “The law is on Donald Trump‘s side. Doesn’t mean that the courts will follow it.”

1/15/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/hollande-world-cannot-impose-peace-deal-on-israel-palestinians/  Hollande: World cannot impose peace deal on Israel, Palestinians

At peace conference, French president urges direct talks but warns Middle East cannot be ‘stabilized’ without accord; French FM warns Trump not to move US embassy to Jerusalem

French President Francois Hollande on Sunday said the world cannot impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a lasting peace accord can only be clinched through direct talks.
Addressing a Paris peace conference in Paris with the representatives of 70 countries in attendance, Hollande also warned the international community not to forsake peace efforts as it focuses on the fight against the Islamic State, as the region cannot be stabilized without a resolution to the “oldest conflict in the Middle East.”
1/15/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-islamic-state-resume-close-cooperation-despite-pressure-from-cairo/ Israel thanks Jamaica for skipping controversial UNESCO vote

Netanyahu welcomes Kingston’s refusal to back ‘absurd’ resolution, which ignored Jewish ties to Temple Mount
1/15/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-islamic-state-resume-close-cooperation-despite-pressure-from-cairo/ Hamas, Islamic State resume close cooperation despite pressure from Cairo

Jihadist group’s Egyptian affiliate has opened a propaganda office in Gaza, sends its wounded fighters to Gaza’s hospitals, and runs lucrative smuggling tunnels into the Strip.
**1/15/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/full-text-of-middle-east-peace-conference-joint-declaration/ Following the Ministerial meeting held in Paris on 3 June 2016, the Participants met in Paris on 15 January 2017 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They reaffirmed that a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.

They emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.

They reiterated that a negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides, including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that begin in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and also recalled relevant Security Council resolutions.

They underscored the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as a comprehensive framework for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, thus contributing to regional peace and security.

They welcomed international efforts to advance Middle East peace, including the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016, which clearly condemned settlement activity, incitement and all acts of violence and terror, and called on both sides to take steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground; the recommendations of the Quartet on 1 July 2016; and the United States Secretary of State’s principle on the two-state solution on 28 December 2016.

They noted the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift steps to improve the situation.

They emphasized the importance for Israelis and Palestinians to comply with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.

  1. II) The Participants highlighted the potential for security, stability and prosperity for both parties that could result from a peace agreement. They expressed their readiness to exert necessary efforts toward the achievement of the two-state solution and to contribute substantially to arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a negotiated peace agreement, in particular in the areas of political and economic incentives, the consolidation of Palestinian state capacities, and civil society dialogue. Those could include, inter alia:

– a European privileged partnership; other political and economic incentives and increased private sector involvement; support to further efforts by the parties to improve economic cooperation; continued financial support to the Palestinian Authority in building the infrastructure for a viable Palestinian economy;

– supporting and strengthening Palestinian steps to exercise their responsibilities of statehood through consolidating their institutions and institutional capacities, including for service delivery;

– convening Israeli and Palestinian civil society fora, in order to enhance dialogue between the parties, rekindle the public debate and strengthen the role of civil society on both sides.

III) Looking ahead, the Participants;

– call upon both sides to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution, thus disassociating themselves from voices that reject this solution;

– call on each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solutions and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, including, inter alia, on Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees and which they will not recognize;

– welcome the prospect of closer cooperation between the Quartet and Arab League members and other relevant actors to further the objectives of this Declaration.

As follow-up to the Conference, interested Participants, expressing their readiness to review progress, resolved to meet again before the end of the year in order to support both sides in advancing the two-state solution through negotiations.

France will inform the parties about the international community’s collective support and concrete contribution to the two-state solution contained in this joint declaration.
**1/15/17 http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-january-15-2017/ Paris conference ends with call for both sides to affirm commitment to two-states

France warns of ‘serious consequences’ of US moving embassy to Jerusalem; Kerry tells Netanyahu he’s working to limit damage of confab.
20:29

Abbas hails Paris declaration, says ready to resume talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomes the Paris peace conference’s final declaration, saying it “affirms” December’s UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements, the PA’s official Wafa news agency reports.

“Palestine is ready to resume negotiations on all final status issues, to create a full and lasting peace through the framework of an international mechanism and a specific timeframe along international parameters, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative, Security Council Resolution 2334 and the Paris declaration,” Abbas says in a statement.

Abbas states the “necessity of following up the implementation” of Resolution 2334 and the peace conference’s declaration and will travel to Paris in the coming weeks for that purpose, and welcomes French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Ramallah.

— Dov Lieber
**1/13/17 http://www.wnd.com/2017/01/obama-kerry-have-1-last-surprise-waiting-for-jewish-state/ Israel is bracing for more hostile declarations from a bloc of more than 70 nations meeting Sunday in Paris with the goal of embracing a document that calls for a two-state solution with a Palestinian state formed within the 1949 boundaries.
Israel will not even have a representative in Paris, nor will Israel be present when Pope Francis meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the day before, on Saturday. This has led some to describe the pope’s meddling as tantamount to “having a wedding without the groom.”
This weekend’s developments are just the latest in a three-week nightmare for Israel that has coincided with the final month of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution Dec. 23 calling all of east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria “occupied Palestinian land.” Five days later, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that construction in Judea and Samaria stands as one of the main obstacles to peace and said Israel could either be Jewish or Democratic, not both.
Now, the Paris peace summit document looms, and the fear is that it will be used by the U.N. as the basis for yet another anti-Israel resolution or statement that will be issued when the U.N. Security Council meets on Jan. 17, just three days before Obama leaves office.
“Despite significant U.S. military and diplomatic weakening under Obama’s leadership, the U.S. remains the world’s leading global nation state,” Bachmann told WND. “Tragically, Obama unmistakably sent the message that the problems of the world are Israel’s fault.”
And why would he do that?
“Because Jews seek to live quietly on their own rightfully secured land, and Arabs want the land known as Israel,” Bachmann said. “Arab leaders announce every day they will not rest until Israel is no longer a Jewish state, and apparently Obama agrees with that.”
1/13/17 https://sputniknews.com/world/201701131049547104-opec-informal-meeting/ A meeting of energy and oil ministers of seven Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Algeria and Iraq will take place in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to media reports, citing OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo, the meeting which will take place on the sidelines of the Global Energy Forum, will have an informal nature.
The meeting will take place before the OPEC monitoring committee meeting in Vienna on January 21-22. Kuwait and Russia co-chair the committee convening with an aim establish the mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the oil output cap agreement. In November 2016, OPEC agreed to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day to 32.5 million barrels per day for the whole cartel starting 2017. On December 10, OPEC finished a meeting with non-OPEC countries in Vienna, at which non-OPEC countries decided to cut oil output by 558,000 barrels per day, with Russia cutting the output by 300,000 barrels per day from January 2017.
There is language in the document that pays lip service to the concept of a solution “not being imposed” on the parties, “yet that is precisely what U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, the Paris Peace Summit ‘Agreement,’ and the upcoming UNSC Resolution seek to do,” according to a report by the Jewish Press.

1/12/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/223170 Representatives of 72 countries will attend the upcoming conference in Paris ostensibly for promoting Israel-Palestinian peace.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to come to France after the conference to learn of its conclusions, the French news agency AFP reported. Netanyahu, who has criticized the process, saying only direct negotiations between the two parties will be effective, has said he will not travel to Paris.
1/12/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/223164 Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Wednesday urged the international community to speak out against the intention of the new United States administration to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.

Speaking with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, Hamdallah warned that moving the embassy would lead to “an explosion in the security situation in the entire region”.

Hamdallah and Brende also discussed ways to ensure the success of the international peace conference to be convened in Paris next week, to save the two-state solution and to ensure the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders.

The PA Prime Minister’s comments are the latest in a series of warnings by PA officials against the planned move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, a campaign promise of President-elect Donald Trump.
1/12/17 https://sputniknews.com/military/201701121049500060-us-marines-f-35-b/ While USMC division VMFA-121 declared the F-35B fleet operational in 2015, despite years of problems, cost overruns, and persistent fires, the deployment marks the first international relocation of the fifth-generation fighter jets. Through 2016, the US bought 71 F-35Bs, however 10 of the “B” variety jets are part of a squadron stationed in Japan, USMC spokesman Capt. Kurt Stahl told Defense News.
“The short take-off vertical landing aircraft is a true force multiplier,” the Corps said. Check it out.
1/11/17 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/223105 Though Hamas and Hezbollah both possess improved rocket abilities and Hamas recently discovered how to defeat Israel’s Iron Dome, the Israeli government has continuously displayed reluctance to start – or be drawn into – another war. This may be because the IDF has not yet been able to replenish its weapons arsenal after it was depleted during Operation Protective Edge.
1/10/17 http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/19698/Six-world-powers-ok-Russian-raw-uranium-supply-to-Iran- Russia gained approval from the six signatories of the nuclear deal with Iran for the supply of 130 tons of raw uranium to Iran, after Tehran complied with its commitment to ship out surplus tons of heavy water. Heavy water is used to cool the reactors that produce large quantities of plutonium, which may be an alternative substance to enriched uranium for manufacturing a nuclear bomb.