Friday, February 28, 2014

[UPDATED] Magog Rising - Iran Threatens Jerusalem. Ezekiel 38-39 Closing In

Russian troops were on the move inside Ukrainian territory on Friday, prompting US President Barack Obama to warn Moscow that “there will be costs for any military intervention”.

It was unclear exactly what the Russian forces were doing but two airports in Crimea was taken over by armed men in combat fatigues, barricades shut off road links to the region, military helicopters were seen flying in across the border and armoured personnel carriers were on the roads. The Crimean peninsula’s main port, Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, was also blocked off.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that armoured units were operating inside Ukraine, but insisted they were acting in accordance with an agreement with Kiev. Their mission was to protect its naval base, the ministry said in a statement.

However, Ukraine’s interim President Olexander Turchynov condemned the “naked aggression” against his country and accused Russia of a “military invasion and occupation”.

Ukraine “will defend its independence, and any attempts of annexation or invasion will have very grave consequences”, he said, as he made a personal appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops.

There were numerous reports of Russian forces arriving in Crimea.

Serhiy Astakhov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian border service, said eight Russian transport planes landed at the Gvardeiskoye airbase north of the regional capital Simferopol with unknown cargo. He said the people in the planes refused to identify themselves and waved away customs officials, saying they did not require their services. There were unconfirmed reports that nearly 2,000 troops had been flown in to the base.

Associated Press journalists in Crimea spotted a convoy of nine Russian armoured personnel carriers on a road between Sevastopol and Simferopol.

Crimea, already semi-autonomous, may not yet be ruled by the Kremlin as the majority of its population is aggressively demanding, but it was slipping away, almost hourly.

At a time ofescalated tensions with the West over Ukraine, Russia says it is negotiating with eight governments around the world for access to military facilities, to enable it to extend its long-range naval and strategic bomber capabilities.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday the military was engaged in talks with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.

“We need bases for refueling near the equator, and in other places,” ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying.

Russia is not looking to establish bases in those locations, but to reach agreement to use facilities there when required.

The countries are all strategically located – in three leftist-ruled countries close to the U.S.; towards either end of the Mediterranean; in the Indian Ocean south of the Gulf of Aden; and near some of the world’s most important shipping lanes in the Malacca Strait and South China Sea.

Access to the new locations would extend the Russian military’s potential reach well beyond its existing extraterritorial bases, at the Syrian port of Tartus and in former Soviet states – Ukraine’s Sevastopol, Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and the occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Shoigu said Russia was also beefing up its existing military presence in the post-Soviet region, doubling its troop numbers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and deploying a regiment of troops to Belarus where it already has fighter aircraft stationed.

“Russia has started reviving its navy and strategic aviation since mid-2000s, seeing them as a tool to project the Russian image abroad and to protect its national interests around the globe,” the RIA Novosti state news agency commented.

“Now, Moscow needs to place such military assets in strategically important regions of the world to make them work effectively toward the goal of expanding Russia’s global influence.”

Russian defense spending has been climbing sharply in the years since its last military engagement – the invasion of Georgia in August 2008 – and early this year it was reported to have overtaken Britain to become the world’s third biggest spender, behind the U.S. and China.

According to the British consultancy HIS Jane’s, Russia’s defense expenditure has more than doubled since 2007, and will have tripled by 2016. [cns-donate]

The Islamist Basij militia force in Tehran ran a special military exercise Thursday and Friday preparing for an Iranian takeover of Jerusalem.

The exercise, entitled “March to Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem),” included training in the event of such a takeover, including drills for the protection of cities, assistance and rescue, dealing with social unrest, the protection of sensitive and important military centers, dealing with the invasion and landing of “enemy” (IDF) forces from helicopters, and carrying out complicated tactical maneuvers at night.

In an official statement, the militia said that the exercise is designed to develop and enhance the capabilities of the Al-Maqdis Brigades, improve Basij military competence, and foster a “self-sacrificing spirit” among the 

Tens of thousands participated in the exercise and terrorists-in-training flocked to the program from dozens of Basij battalions.

Basij commander General Mohammad Reza Naqdi announced that the exercise was planned because the “boastful” (an expression used to indicate the US and Western powers) are at the end of their path to power and “the fighters and freedom-loving people” worldwide – Islamists – are angry and want to destroy the US and Israel to “restore” Jerusalem to an Islamic city.

Naqdi added that the terrorists “need to be prepared now, more than ever,” for the great “liberation battle” for Jerusalem, which would “avenge for the innocent blood spilled” by Western powers.
The General also claimed that Islamists worldwide are “waiting” for the call to battle from the Islamic Republic.

Last week, “moderate” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani called for the Palestinian Arab “liberation” of Jerusalem in light of ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“One of the wishes of the Iranian nation is liberation of the Holy Quds,” the Iranian President was quoted as having said by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Rouhani also hoped that “the Palestinian nation and the entire Muslim world will find a serious solution to this occupation through unity and integrity.”

------------------  UPDATED BELOW----------------

The news is coming in rapidly - updates will be added below:

Shocking Videos Of Russian Troops And Helicopters Moving Through Crimea

IT BEGINS: Russian Drill Flipped Live, Rapid Intervention Force Airlifted To Crimea

The Russian mode of operation was as predictable as a Swiss clock: Orchestrate pro-Russian rallies, send in spec-ops units disguised as local “pro-Russian elements” totake over airfields and strategic facilities, order your local proxy to “call for Russian help in restoring law and order”, then flip the massive military drill live and move into the country, defying Obama’s pathetic “warning”.
Below are some key excerpts from world media on the unfolding events.

Following an appeal by the Prime Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, for assistance in securing peace and quiet in Crimea the Russian presidential administration said Russia would not disregard the request.
Earlier this Saturday, Sergei Aksyonov asked the Russian President to render assistance in ensuring peace and quiet in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Aksyonov also said he had subordinated all of the republic’s security agencies to himself.
Meanwhile, the cordoned-off area around the eastern and southern parts of the Crimean Council of Ministers building has been enlarged by one street block, so the closest one can now approach the building is 300 metres.
Police and Road Traffic Police prevent motor vehicles and pedestrians from entering the area, but allow street-cleaners to work there, and let everyone living in the nearby houses out.
The Simferopol streets are currently half-deserted, and almost no motor vehicles have been seen around.
The newly-chosen prime minister of the Ukrainian southern region of Crimea on Saturday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to held restore “peace and calm” to the Black Sea peninsula, amid a standoff with the new authorities in Kiev.
“Taking into account my responsibility for the life and security of citizens, I ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to help in ensuring peace and calm on the territory of Crimea,” Sergiy Aksyonov said in an address quoted by local media and broadcast in full by Russian state television.
Thirteen giant Ilyushin-76 (NATO codenamed IL-76 Candid) air transports flew into the Crimea Friday night, Feb. 28, and landed some 2,000 fresh Russian troops at a military airfield near Sebastopol.
debkafile’s military sources report the new intake were members of the Russian Rapid Intervention Force. They arrived as the UN Security Council in New York discussed the Kiev government’s protest against the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Earlier, airline companies said Crimean airports had been closed to traffic following reports that armed Russian troops in uniform but without insignia had take control of the runways of Crimea’s two main airports at Simferopol and Sevastopol.
“Under the guise of military exercises, Russia has brought troops into the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. And not only have they seized the parliament of the Crimea, the Council of Ministers of the Crimea, they are trying to take civilian buildings under control, communications, and trying to block places where Ukrainian soldiers are based,” he said in an appeal to the nation.
“They are provoking us to military conflict. According to information from our intelligence, they are working out scenarios that are completely analogous to Abkhazia, when after provoking a conflict, they began annexation of territory,” the acting president emphasized.
Related articles

Ukraine: Russia Sending 'Thousands' Of Troops To Crimea

Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of sending thousands of extra troops into Crimea as the Kremlin vowed to help restore calm on the flashpoint peninsula and Washington warned of “costs” to Moscow should it use force.

Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh told the Ukrainian government’s first cabinet session that Russia’s armed forces had sent in 30 armored personnel carriers and 6,000 additional troops into Crimea in a bid to help local pro-Kremlin militia gain broader independence from the new pro-EU leaders in Kiev.

Tenyukh accused Russia of starting to send in these reinforcements on Friday “without warning or Ukraine’s permission.”
The defence chief spoke as dozens of pro-Russian armed men in full combat gear patrolled outside the seat of power in Crimea’s capital Simferopol, a day after similar gunmen seized control over airports and government buildings in the territory.

The rugged peninsula jutting into the Black Sea — host to a Kremlin fleet and with an ethnic Russian majority — has now effectively been cut off from mainland Ukraine, with airports shut down and a pro-Kremlin militia establishing a tightly-controlled checkpoint on the main road from the mainland.

BREAKING: U.S. Sixth Fleet Moves Toward Crimea, NATO Troops Land In Western Ukraine

Remember those US warships who were so eager to “protect the Sochi Olympics” ? According to Russian sources they have now been detected moving in the black sea towards Crimea (according to their motion vector). As Russia rapidly completes its takeover on the Crimean peninsula, those ships will be able to survey the situation and gather intelligence for the Pentagon. Simultaneously, NATO troops have arrived at the Lviv region in western Ukraine, possibly in expectation for a Russian backed military coup against the NATO installed puppet regime in Kiev. It remains to be seen to whom the Ukrainian army itself is loyal to – Russia or NATO (it is known, however, to be based on Russian military hardware and tactics). If it decides to declare an emergency situation and martial law in order to neutralize the new regime and sweep the Svoboda Nazi gangs out of the way, NATO could be facing a major strategic defeat, at least in eastern Ukraine. Either way, the prospects of WWIII have just increased by a considerable margin.

Ukraine: Putin Seeks Crimea Military Action

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country's military in Ukraine in a marked escalation of the crisis.
The Kremlin has already been accused of sending 6,000 troops into Crimea despite calls by Britain and the US for Moscow to back off.
Tensions are rising amid reports that Russian and Ukranian troops are trying to gain control of key sites in the southeastern region of Ukraine.

The autonomous republic has a prime minister loyal to Moscow but the government in Kiev has vowed to maintain the country's territorial integrity.
Reports suggest that Russian troops are trying to occupy an anti-aircraft missile base and have taken control of airports in the peninsular.
Ukraine's border guard service said about 300 armed men were attempting to seize its main headquarters in the port city of Sevastopol.
Russian helicopter gunships have also been seen in Ukrainian airspace.
But there were claims by Russia that gunmen from Kiev had been sent overnight to seize the offices of Crimea's interior ministry.

There was grainy footage of an unidentified armed group breaking into a building, with smoke rising and reports that people had been "wounded".
Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "As a result of the treacherous provocation, there are wounded.
"With decisive actions by self-defence groups, the attempt to seize the interior ministry building was averted.
"This confirms the desire of prominent political circles in Kiev to destabilise the peninsula."

Putin Asks Russian Parliament For Approval To Use Force In Ukraine: Update: Given Approval

Putin Dismisses Obama's Warning Over Ukraine Incursion

Friday: In The News

Israel sent a warning to the Lebanese government in Beirutby way of UNIFIL that it would be held responsible for any attacks by Hezbollah that are launched from Lebanese soil, reported al-Akhbar News Agency on Friday.
The warning comes in connection to Hezbollah's threats of retaliation for an air-strike on a Hezbollah missile convoy near the border with Syria, which was attributed to the IAF by foreign media sources.  The strike would have been a first on Lebanese soil as recent attacks attributed to Israel have taken place on the Syrian side of the border.

A Lebanese security source was quoted saying that the Janta region where the alleged airstrike took place is known to be a hotbed of Hezbollah recruitment and training. It is also considered a key stop on the route through which arms are smuggled between Lebanon and Syria.
At first, Hezbollah denied the airstrike on its television network al-Manar. However, on Wednesday, the network quoted Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah who vowed to respond "at the time and place of our [Hezbollah's] choosing."
"It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon," Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Friday.

US President Barack Obama is gearing up to take a more active role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and will begin by pressuring the sides to accept US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework proposals, according to a report that cited administration officials on Wednesday.

In his scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday in Washington, Obama will make an urgent appeal to the Israeli leader to accept Kerry’s generalized roadmap for final status negotiations, according to The New York Times.

The US president is expected to apply the same pressure to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when the two meet next month.

With reports that the sides have reached an impasse over issues such as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and maintaining an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, and with a 9-month deadline for talks looming in April, White House officials said now is the time for the president to get involved.

On Wednesday, Kerry said that the talks would extend past April, but officials said the goal is to have a framework in place by the end of that month.
Also on Wednesday, a report surfaced in the Palestinian media which described an explosive meeting between Abbas and Kerry in Paris last week, after which the Palestinian leader reportedly called the secretary’s proposals “insanity.”

Russia will never, ever give up Crimea without a fight.  Anyone that thinks otherwise is just being delusional.  TheRussian Black Sea fleet's main base at Sevastopol is far too strategically important.  In addition, ethnic Russians make up approximately 60 percent of the population of Crimea, and most of the population is rabidly pro-Russian.  In fact, many prominent Crimean politicians are already calling for reunification with Russia.  So if you have been thinking that Russia is just going to fold up shop and go home now that pro-European protesters have violently seized power in Kiev, you can quit holding your breath.  The truth is that Russia is more than willing to fight a war over Crimea.  And considering the fact that vitally important pipelines that pump natural gas from Russia to the rest of Europe go right through Ukraine, it is not likely that Russia will just willingly hand the rest of Ukraine over to the U.S. and the EU either.  If the U.S. and the EU push too hard in Ukraine, a major regional war may erupt which could ultimately lead to something much larger.

The following are 12 signs that Russia is ready to fight a war over Crimea...
#1 More Russian military vehicles continue to pour into Crimea.  Just check out this video.
#2 Russian military vehicles have been photographed in the main square of Sevastopol.
#3 Russian military jets near the border with Ukraine have been put on combat alert.
#4 Russia has ordered "surprise military exercises" along the Ukrainian border.
#5 In connection with those "exercises", it is being reported that Russia has deployed 150,000 troops along the border with Ukraine.
#6 Russia already has approximately 26,000 troops stationed at their naval base in Sevastopol.
#7 Russian ships carrying additional soldiers have been spotted off the coast of Crimea...

#8 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the following statement to reporters on Wednesday...
"Measures are taken to guarantee the security of our facilities."

#9 An unidentified Russian official has told the Financial Times that Russia is willing to use military force to protect Crimea...

#10 Officials in Sevastopol have "installed" a Russian citizen as mayor of the city.
#11 Approximately 120 pro-Russian gunmen have seized the Crimean parliament building and have raised the Russian flag.
#12 There are rumors that Russian authorities have offered protection to ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych...

So what would the U.S. and the EU do if a war erupts between Russia and Ukraine?
Would they risk a direct military confrontation with Russia in order to help Ukraine?
I am very concerned about where all of this could be heading.

Like we estimated yesterday, the recent takeover of strategic facilities in Crimea by “mysterious gunmen” is in fact a Russian Spetsnaz operation thinly disguised as “spontaneous pro-Russian elements”. The same mode of operation was observed in the early phase of the Soviet invasion to Afghanistan in 1979.

The Chinese yuan can overtake the dollar as the leading international reserve currency, a new poll of institutional investors indicates.
The authors of the survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by State Street financial services, polled 200 senior executives at institutional investors with knowledge of their exposure to yuan assets. Half of the respondents were from the firms headquartered in mainland China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) and the other half were based elsewhere.
The report accompanying the survey points out that by the end of 2013, the yuan has risen to become the second-most-used trade financing currency and ninth-most-used currency for payments globally.
The very few pessimists from China-headquartered institutions, meanwhile, say that people would be“concerned about future policies of the Chinese government and opposition from other economic powers, such as the US, the EU and Japan.”
But the consensus is that one day it will be a yuan world, according to the survey.
"As China's economic influence grows, the global importance of the renminbi (yuan) will become magnified. Indeed, while for decades it has been a 'greenback world', dominated by the US dollar as the world's primary reserve currency, many think a 'redback world', in which the renminbi enjoys premier status, is increasingly a possibility," the survey’s authors concluded.

Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, came under pressure on Thursday as the city of Rome was on the brink of bankruptcy after parliament threw out a bill that would have injected fresh funding.
Ignazio Marino, Rome mayor, said city services like public transport would come to a halt and that he would not be a "Nero" - the Roman emperor who, legend has it, strummed his lyre as the city burnt to the ground.
Marino said that Renzi, a centre-left leader and former mayor of Florence who was only confirmed by parliament this week, had promised to adopt urgent measures to help the Italian capital at a cabinet meeting on Friday.
The newly-elected mayor faces a budget deficit of 816 million euros ($1.1 billion) and the city could be placed under administration if he does not manage to close the gap with measures such as cutting public services.
"Rome has wasted money for decades. I don't want to spend another euro that is not budgeted," Marino said, following criticism from the Northern League opposition party which helped shoot down the bill for Rome in parliament.

Yes, that is the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, standing at a podium in our Capitol and labeling every American citizen who has spoken up in public to describe his or her problem with Obamacare as a liar. 

That’s right, by Harry’s lights it’s not the president who lied when he was selling this legislative lemon to the American public; no it’s the folks complaining about all the breakdowns in this clunker they were sold who are the liars. 

With his bitter denunciation of those victimized by the disastrous legislation he played a major role in enacting, Lightweight Harry Reid has declared war on a significant sector of the American public which includes a huge number of women, as well as theirchildren, and in the process proven indisputably that he’s no Lighthorse Harry

The alleged Republican War on Women? That pales into insignificance when you consider that the leader of the senate has denounced and demonized almost the entire American citizenry because they are being victimized by the results of his ill-advised legislation and dare to have the audacity to speak up about their plight. He who gave us that which must be passed so that we can know what’s in it apparently doesn’t want the peons complaining now that they’ve found out what’s in it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just called a female leukemia patient a liar.  He evidently believes countless other women across the country who have reported unsatisfactory experiences with ObamaCare are liars, too.

Also see:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Russia And The Ukraine

One gets the feeling that this story is just beginning:

Russia is reportedly sheltering Viktor F. Yanukovych, the ousted president of the Ukraine as he hides behind Russia’s skirts and says he fears for his life, while claiming he is the rightful ruler of the Ukraine. No surprise there. Mother Russia is set to put Yanukovych’s house in order in the Ukraine with bloody force and suppression. It’s the Communist way.
It has begun as Russia scrambled its fighter jets yesterday and amassed approximately 150,000 soldiers on the border of the Ukraine in preparation for a massive take-down. Pro-Russian gunmen stormed the offices of Crimea in the Ukraine and took it over as well. The Russian military is on combat alert and they have tightened security at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula in southeastern Ukraine. This of course prompted our milquetoast Secretary of State, John Kerry, to cry foul and warn the Russians that any military intervention in the Ukraine would be a “grave mistake.” I’m sure they are taking Lurch very seriously – not. It’s all for show. In the end, I’ll bet that Obama is secretly cheering Putin on.
The siege on Crimea is a military takeover by Russia. Here come the Russians:

While NATO and the US warn Putin not to militarily go in, it is all but assured he will and is doing so right now. Putin is looking to expand his reach. Georgia is on the menu and he will look to expand into Europe. Russia controls most of the major gas lines and a great deal of the oil. They are the lifeblood of Europe and he will use them to strangle his opposition into submission. Putin is ignoring all criticism and warnings. The Russian bear has strengthened their military, while the US, being the sole super power left, has aggressively weakened hers. He does not fear us or NATO. He also has very powerful allies in China and Iran. Do the math.
For those who naively believe this is far away and has nothing to do with us, you should reconsider that stance. Russia has a warship docked in Havana. The Viktor Leonov CCB-175 boat, measuring 91.5 meters (300 feet) long and 14.5 meters wide, was docked at the port of Havana’s cruise ship area, near the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. They are not there to exchange recipes and swap war stories with the Cubans. Neither Russia or Cuba will say what the ship is doing there, but I have an idea why. Oh yes, I do.
That ship carries a crew of 200. It has 30mm guns and anti-aircraft missiles. It has been reported that Cuba has killing units on the ground in Venezuela to help the beleaguered dictator there. What do you want to bet the Russians are here to help their comrades in Communist arms? Without the Monroe Doctrine in place and with a President who is an enemy within America, what’s to stop the Ruskies from quelling the uprising in Venezuela? All you need is a little violent help from your friends.
And another warm and fuzzy thought… Iran has a major base in Caracas. What’s to stop them from coming to the aid of the despot in Venezuela? They also have ships on the way. Russia or Iran could also give nukes to Venezuela. You can bet they would have the US as a target in mind. So you see… it is a small world after all, militarily speaking.
Putin has adopted his own version of the Lebensraum Policy. He is expanding the Russian living space, power, control and influence. We’re back in the USSR, baby.

The Russian defense ministry announced Thursday, Feb. 27 that fighter jets stood on combat alert along its western borders with Ukraine. Moscow repeated its commitment to protect Russian-speaking elements in the Crimean Peninsula. Earlier, armed men carried out a pro-Russian coup in the Crimean capital, by seizing government and parliamentary buildings and hoisting Russian flags – in response to the pro-European coup in Kiev. Forces loyal to the provisional government in Kiev meanwhile surround the area which they say was occupied by “criminals in army fatigues.” 

Witnesses in Crimea Wednesday night saw Russian military equipment moving into the peninsula. We reported earlier that Vladimir Putin would never relinquish Russian control of the Crimean peninsula and its military bases there - or more particularly the big Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. 

There is no way that President Vladimir Putin will relinquish Russian control of the Crimean peninsula and its military bases there - or more particularly the big Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. This military stronghold is the key to Russia’s Middle East policy. If it is imperiled, so too are Russia’s military posture in Syria and its strategic understandings with Iran.

The Russian president’s military move Wednesday signaled his readiness to send his army into Ukraine and divide the country, if Moscow’s national interests and the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine are at stake. Having broadcast that message, Putin will now wait to see if it picked up by Washington and Brussels for action to restrain the new authorities in Kiev.
But it is no longer certain how much control Western powers have over the former protesters of Kiev, who appear to have taken the bit between their teeth.