The Iranian Horn Will Defend The Shia Crescent (Daniel 8:3)

News ID: 3955982 –

TEHRAN, Apr. 18 (MNA) – Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s defensive Army is not a threat to region and is ready to defend the whole critical and pivotal region of the Middle East.

Speaking at the massive military parade on Tuesday morning to mark Iran’s Army Day, President Rouhani said “I would like to extend my warm congratulations on the National Army Day to all staff, commanders, their respected families as well as the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei.”

“Army Day marks a reminder for sacrifice of brave Iranians during eight years of Imposed War against Iraq as well as protecting the country’s borderlands for almost 30 years after the war,” he continued.

“Virtuousness and grandeur have always been attributed to the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran both in the regions and in the world. Some armies in the world are associated with interference in internal affairs of other countries, genocide, protecting terrorists, coup, disrespect for view of people and the law while the Iranian Army is reminiscent of order, discipline, faith and holy defense of territories within the framework of law and national interests,” Rouhani said.

“The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran requires the Army to protect the country’s independence and territorial integrity as well as to maintain the Islamic Revolution,” he underscored.

Rouhani highlighted that capabilities of Iranian armed forces are now incomparable to the time of Imposed War since eye-catching achievements have been made in the meantime; “Iran’s defense industry and armed forces are becoming more powerful on a daily basis.”

The Iranian President rejoiced to note that one major objective of his government had been strengthening the country’s defense capabilities as evidenced by the 45% rise in the budget for defense sector despite tough economic conditions.

He recalled that the amount of progress in the past three and a half years were equal to the 10-year period before that saying “Iran’s armed forces are more prepared than any other time though they would never pose threat to others.”

Hassan Rouhani emphasized that the Army mainly seeks to prevent tensions and conflicts while at the same time maintains vigilance against conspiracies and boosts its deterrent power.

The senior official reassured neighboring countries that Iranian armed forces were ready to defend the whole critical and pivotal region of the Middle East; “other states can be confident that Iran’s Army holds defensive rather than offensive power.”

“Nevertheless, we have shown how vigorously will the Army defend people and the country in the face of aggression by invaders.”

Later at his speech, Iran’s President enumerated unique characteristics of the country’s Armed Forces including faith and divine inspiration since Army personnel are devoted and has always had sacrifice.

“Another distinguished feature of Iranian armed forces is their close relations with the nation which is a mutual relation indeed,” he stressed.

Rouhani said enjoying a Commander in Chief was another distinguished aspect of the Armed Forces, a leadership which stems from Islamic jurisprudence and moderation and possesses a legal and religious position.

He recalled the remarks made by Imam Khomeini and the Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who urge the armed forces to keep away from political games as a means of gaining more power and enjoying support of the nation.

Rouhani expressed hope that, by implementing religious orders of the Leader, unity will increase in Armed Forces in order to give sense of safety and calmness to the people.

HA/3955828

A Nuclear Saudi Arabia (Daniel 7:7)

Saudi-Iranian Rivalry Fuels Potential Nuclear Race

By James M Dorsey

Redress, April 10, 2017

Saudi Arabia is developing nuclear energy and potentially a nuclear weapons capability.

The Saudi focus on nuclear serves a variety of the kingdom’s goals: diversification of its economy, reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels, countering a potential future Iranian nuclear capability, and enhancing efforts to ensure that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran emerges as the Middle East’s long-term, dominant power.

Cooperation on nuclear energy was one of 14 agreements worth $65 billion signed during last month’s visit to China by Saudi King Salman. The agreement is for a feasibility study for the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) nuclear power plants in the kingdom as well as cooperation in intellectual property and the development of a domestic industrial supply chain for HTGRs built in Saudi Arabia.

… http://andrewtheprophet.comSaudi Arabia’s close ties to the Pakistani military and intelligence during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave the kingdom arms-length access to his country’s nuclear capabilities.

The agreement was one of number nuclear-related understandings concluded with China in recent years. Saudi Arabia has signed similar agreements with France, the United States, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea and Argentina.

To advance its programme, involving the construction of 16 reactors by 2030 at a cost of $100 billion, Saudi Arabia established the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City devoted to research and application of nuclear technology.

Saudi cooperation with nuclear power Pakistan has long been a source of speculation about the kingdom’s ambition. Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, asserts that Saudi Arabia’s close ties to the Pakistani military and intelligence during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave the kingdom arms-length access to his country’s nuclear capabilities.

“By the 1980s, the Saudi ambassador was a regular guest of A.Q. Khan” – Abdul Qadeer Khan, the controversial nuclear physicist and metallurgical engineer who fathered Pakistan’s atomic bomb, Mr Haqqani said in an interview.

Retired Pakistani Major-General Feroz Hassan Khan, the author of a semi-official history of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, has no doubt about the kingdom’s interest.

Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear programme to continue, especially when the country was under sanctions,” Mr. Khan said in a separate interview. Mr Khan was referring to US sanctions imposed in 1998 because of Pakistan’s development of a nuclear weapons capability. He noted that at a time of economic crisis, Pakistan was with Saudi help able “to pay premium prices for expensive technologies”.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said in a just published report that it had uncovered evidence that future Pakistani “assistance would not involve Pakistan supplying Saudi Arabia with a full nuclear weapon or weapons; however, Pakistan may assist in other important ways, such as supplying sensitive equipment, materials, and know-how used in enrichment or reprocessing.”

There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities…

The report said it was unclear whether “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may be cooperating on sensitive nuclear technologies in Pakistan. In an extreme case, Saudi Arabia may be financing, or will finance, an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility in Pakistan for later use, either in a civil or military programme,” the report said.

The report concluded that the 2015 international agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curb Iran’s nuclear programme had “not eliminated the kingdom’s desire for nuclear weapons capabilities and even nuclear weapons… There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of the JCPOA’s major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the deal or sooner if the deal fails,” the report said.

Rather than embarking on a covert programme, the report predicted that Saudi Arabia would, for now, focus on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure as well as a robust nuclear engineering and scientific workforce. This would allow the kingdom to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle at some point in the future. Saudi Arabia has in recent years significantly expanded graduate programmes at its five nuclear research centres.

Saudi officials have repeatedly insisted that the kingdom is developing nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes such as medicine, electricity generation and desalination of sea water. They said Saudi Arabia is committed to putting its future facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Saudi Arabia pledged to acquire nuclear fuel from international markets in a 2009 memorandum of understanding with the United States. In its report, ISIS noted, however, that the kingdom could fall back on its own uranium deposits and acquire or build uranium enrichment or reprocessing plants of its own if regional tension continued to fester. It quoted a former IAEA inspector as saying Saudi Arabia could opt to do so in five years’ time.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear agency has suggested that various steps of the nuclear fuel cycle, including fuel fabrication, processing and enrichment, would lend themselves to local production. Saudi Arabia has yet to mine or process domestic uranium.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term…” (Institute for Science and International Security)

Saudi insistence on compliance with the IAEA and on the peaceful nature of its programme is designed to avoid the kind of international castigation Iran was subjected to. Saudi Arabia is likely to maintain its position as long as Iran adheres to the nuclear agreement and US President Donald J. Trump does not act on his campaign promise to tear up the accord. Mr Trump has toughened US attitudes towards Iran but has backed away from tinkering with the nuclear agreement.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term,” the ISIS said.

Saudi ambitions and the conclusions of the ISIS report put a high premium on efforts by Kuwait and Oman to mediate an understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran that would dull the sharp edges of the two countries’ rivalry.

They also are likely to persuade Mr Trump to try to put pressure on Iran to guarantee that it will not pursue nuclear weapons once the JCPOA expires in a little over a decade. That may prove a tall order given Mr Trump’s warming relations with anti-Iranian Arab autocracies evident in this week’s visit to Washington by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and an earlier visit by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Iran Threatens Response To Trump’s Attack

Shia CrescentIran, Russia Threaten ‘Lethal Response’ to Further U.S. Action in Syria

BY: Adam Kredo Follow @Kredo0
April 10, 2017 5:00 am

Joint Russia-Iranian forces operating in Syria warned the Trump administration over the weekend that further American strikes on the war-torn country will unleash a “lethal response,” according to official statements aimed at ratcheting up tension with the United States following a string of fresh airstrikes on Syrian strongholds.

Iranian and Russian forces working together in Syria on behalf of embattled leader Bashar al-Assad issued a stern warning to the United States and threatened to take their own action against American military forces.

“We will respond to any aggression powerfully, as Russia and Iran would never allow the U.S. to dominate the world,” read a statement issued by the Syria-Iran-Russia Joint Operations Room, a combination of forces operating on behalf of Assad in Syria. The statement was first published in Iran’s state-controlled media.

The statement raises the stakes of continued U.S. intervention in Syria, as Iran and Russia become further entrenched in the battle to bolster Assad and keep him in power. Iran and Russia also announced this weekend new military alliances aimed at bolstering Tehran’s fleet of amphibious airplanes.

While the Trump administration has not ruled out further military intervention in Syria, it remains unclear how willing the White House will be to isolate further Iranian and Russian forces operating together inside Syria. U.S. coalition forces in nearby Iraq also remain vulnerable to reprisal attacks by the thousands of Iranian forces operating in that country alongside local militias.

The joint Russian-Iranian group in Syria hinted that it believes the United States may be behind the chemical attack that prompted military action.

“We believe that the events [chemical weapons use] in [Syria] have been plotted by certain states and bodies to be used as a pretext to attack Syria,” according to the statement, which suggests the United States may have orchestrated the attack in order to justify military intervention.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also condemned the U.S. strike on Sunday, warning the Trump administration about further military action.

“What Americans did was a strategic mistake, and they are repeating the same mistakes done by their predecessors,” Khamenei was quoted as saying during a meeting with senior Iranian armed forces commanders in Tehran.

Khamenei also said that U.S. forces in the region were conspiring with anti-Assad terrorist forces.

“Former U.S. officials created ISIL or helped it, and present officials are reinvigorating ISIL and similar groups,” Khamenei alleged.

Multiple Iranian military officials adopted a similar stance over the weekend and vowed to continue fighting alongside Russia on behalf of Assad in Syria.

A delegation of more than 220 Iranian lawmakers also moved to condemn the U.S. attack over the weekend and demanded an independent investigation into the measures.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a phone conversation Sunday with Assad, vowed to continue Iranian support for the Syrian president.

“The Iranian people are still standing by the Syrian nation,” Rouhani was quoted as telling Assad.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the latest strike by the United States could serve to push Russia and Iran closer in their alliance, which has grown since the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

“In the aftermath of the recent Tomahawk cruise missiles strikes by the U.S., Iranian officials have voiced their condemnation of the U.S. as was expected, but will also seek to capitalize on a recent highly public trip by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Moscow,” Ben Taleblu said.

“While not a formal alliance, the Syrian theater is one area where Russian and Iranian interests overlap,” he explained. “With the expiration of a United Nations mandated arms ban in 2020, we can expect to see this Russo-Iranian relationship deepen significantly. U.S. policymakers would be wise to exploit whatever cleavages exist in the relationship until then.”

The War of Iranian Hegemony (Daniel 8:4)

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters, RTX34BQA)

Of course I loathe Assad. And of course I despise the Obamans for that phony red line and the subsequent retreat-and-bogus-Russian-deal. But just carrying out vengeance against Assad isn’t good enough. It fails to address the central problem of our time: the global anti-American alliance.

There is no Syria any more, and the enemy forces on the Middle Eastern battlefield come from various jihadi groups, and three regimes: Moscow, Tehran, and Damascus. We have to defeat them all, and other members of the enemy alliance, including Cuba and North Korea. Nikki Haley has it right: “The truth is that Assad, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace.”

Indeed, they are waging war, and the principal force driving that war is not Assad, but Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Khamenei’s killers have been alongside Assad’s from the very beginning, as the survival of the Syrian dictator is crucial to Iranian ambitions and quite likely also the survival of the Islamic Republic itself. Listen to Defense Secretary James Mattis a few days ago (from Reuters):

Asked about comments Mattis made in 2012 that the three primary threats the United States faced were “Iran, Iran, Iran,” Mattis told reporters that Iran’s behavior had not changed in the years since.

“At the time when I spoke about Iran I was a commander of US central command and that (Iran) was the primary exporter of terrorism, frankly, it was the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today,” Mattis said.

True, and Mattis’ characteristically strong language points the way to the best American action in the region, namely bringing down the Tehran regime. Lashing out at Assad isn’t nearly good enough. After all, what strategic objective would we accomplish by smashing, even removing, Assad? The Iranian and Russian fighters would still be there, as would the Islamist forces. The demands on our military would dramatically expand. We do not want to occupy a significant land mass in what used to be called Syria, nor do we seem to have sorted out what we want to do with the Turks and the Kurds.

Punishing Assad would be satisfying, but we’ve got a big war to win. It’s smarter and more effective to go after the regime in Tehran. Not militarily, but rather supporting the tens of millions of Iranians who detest the Khamenei regime. Call it political warfare, or subversion, or democratic revolution. It worked against the Soviet Empire, and there are good reasons to believe it would work in Iran as well. Most Iranians, suffering under the failed regime, want a freely chosen government that will address their problems instead of dispatching their husbands and sons sent to the battlefield.

Regime change in Iran would be devastating to Assad and Putin, and its positive effects would be felt in North Africa and our own hemisphere, striking at the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah in Latin America. And it would remind the tyrants that America’s greatest weapon is political. We are the most revolutionary country in the world, and we should act like it.

Saudi Arabia Ready to Nuke Up

Image result for saudia arabia nuclear weapon

Saudi-Iranian Rivalry Fuels Potential Nuclear Race

James M. Dorsey, Contributor Dr.

Saudi Arabia is developing nuclear energy and potentially a nuclear weapons capability.

The Saudi focus on nuclear serves various of the kingdom’s goals: diversification of its economy, reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels, countering a potential future Iranian nuclear capability, and enhancing efforts to ensure that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran emerges as the Middle East’s long-term, dominant power.

Cooperation on nuclear energy was one of 14 agreements worth $65 billion signed during last month’s visit to China by Saudi King Salman. The agreement is for a feasibility study for the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) nuclear power plants in the kingdom as well as cooperation in intellectual property and the development of a domestic industrial supply chain for HTGRs built in Saudi Arabia.

The agreement was one of number nuclear-related understandings concluded with China in recent years. Saudi Arabia has signed similar agreements with France, the United States, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea and Argentina.

To advance its program, involving the construction of 16 reactors by 2030 at a cost of $100 billion, Saudi Arabia established the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City devoted to research and application of nuclear technology.

Saudi cooperation with nuclear power Pakistan has long been a source of speculation about the kingdom’s ambition. Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, asserts that Saudi Arabia’s close ties to the Pakistani military and intelligence during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave the kingdom arms’ length access to his country’s nuclear capabilities.

“By the 1980s, the Saudi ambassador was a regular guest of A. Q. Khan” or Abdul Qadeer Khan, the controversial nuclear physicist and metallurgical engineer who fathered Pakistan’s atomic bomb, Mr. Haqqani said in an interview.

Retired Pakistani Major General Feroz Hassan Khan, the author of a semi-official history of Pakistan’s nuclear program, has no doubt about the kingdom’s interest.

“Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear program to continue, especially when the country was under sanctions,” Mr. Khan said in a separate interview. Mr. Khan was referring to US sanctions imposed in 1998 because of Pakistan’s development of a nuclear weapons capability. He noted that at a time of economic crisis, Pakistan was with Saudi help able “to pay premium prices for expensive technologies.”

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said in a just published report that it had uncovered evidence that future Pakistani “assistance would not involve Pakistan supplying Saudi Arabia with a full nuclear weapon or weapons; however, Pakistan may assist in other important ways, such as supplying sensitive equipment, materials, and know-how used in enrichment or reprocessing.”

The report said it was unclear whether “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may be cooperating on sensitive nuclear technologies in Pakistan. In an extreme case, Saudi Arabia may be financing, or will finance, an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility in Pakistan for later use, either in a civil or military program,” the report said.

The report concluded that the 2015 international agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curb Iran’s nuclear program had “not eliminated the kingdom’s desire for nuclear weapons capabilities and even nuclear weapons… There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of the JCPOA’s major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the deal or sooner if the deal fails,” the report said.

Rather than embarking on a covert program, the report predicted that Saudi Arabia would, for now, focus on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure as well as a robust nuclear engineering and scientific workforce. This would allow the kingdom to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle at some point in the future. Saudi Arabia has in recent years significantly expanded graduate programs at its five nuclear research centres.

Saudi officials have repeatedly insisted that the kingdom is developing nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes such as medicine, electricity generation, and desalination of sea water. They said Saudi Arabia is committed to putting its future facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Saudi Arabia pledged to acquire nuclear fuel from international markets in a 2009 memorandum of understanding with the United States. In its report, ISIS noted however that the kingdom could fall back on its own uranium deposits and acquire or build uranium enrichment or reprocessing plants of its own if regional tension continued to fester. It quoted a former IAEA inspector as saying Saudi Arabia could opt to do so in five years’ time.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear agency has suggested that various steps of the nuclear fuel cycle, including fuel fabrication, processing, and enrichment, would lend themselves to local production. Saudi Arabia has yet to mine or process domestic uranium.

Saudi insistence on compliance with the IAEA and on the peaceful nature of its program is designed to avoid the kind of international castigation Iran was subjected to. Saudi Arabia is likely to maintain its position as long as Iran adheres to the nuclear agreement and US President Donald J. Trump does not act on his campaign promise to tear up the accord. Mr. Trump has toughened U.S. attitudes towards Iran but has backed away from tinkering with the nuclear agreement.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term,” the ISIS said.

Saudi ambitions and the conclusions of the ISIS report put a high premium on efforts by Kuwait and Oman to mediate an understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran that would dull the sharp edges of the two countries’ rivalry.

They also are likely to persuade Mr. Trump to try to pressure Iran to guarantee that it will not pursue nuclear weapons once the JCPOA expires in a little over a decade. That may prove a tall order given Mr. Trump’s warming relations with anti-Iranian Arab autocracies evident in this week’s visit to Washington by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and an earlier visit by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Upcoming Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Nuclear war fears: Saudi Arabia looking to get hold of ‘nukes to combat Iran’

Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud

SAUDI ARABIA has been accused of seeking nuclear weapons technology in response to the threat from Iran.

Labelled a nuclear ”newcomer” the Saudi Kingdom is pushing to arm itself with new technologies, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said.

The Washington DC-based group wrote since nuclear action was scaled back in Iran, it has increased in the Saudi kingdom.

Iran signed a landmark nuclear deal with world powers including the US, the UK, France and Russia in 2015.

Huge economic sanctions on Iran were lifted as a result of it restricting its sensitive nuclear activities.

The deal limited Iran’s sensitive nuclear program and subjected it to greater international monitoring.

But in nearby Said Arabia, a new threat is growing, it is claimed.

Nuclear missile

GETTY

Nuclear testing in Iran has been scaled back after agreement with world leaders

The organisation which monitors global proliferation issues (ISIS) said: “Saudi Arabia is in the early stages of nuclear development.It is also claimed Saudi will “more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities” in retaliation to the situation in Iran.But currently it is focused on civilian nuclear uses.

Former US President Barrack Obama’s administration claimed the nuclear deal would calm tensions in the area

However, this is not the case.

Saudi Arabia has already stated its intention to build at least 16 nuclear reactors in the coming years.

Saudis Join The Ten Horns (Daniel 7)

Welcome to the geopolitical edition of Oil Markets Daily!

In a move seen by some as non-material, we view the latest positive discussion between Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Trump as the start of a potential shift in geopolitics for the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has been a long-time ally of the US, but the relationship between the Saudis and the US deteriorated during Obama’s administration. The lackluster welcoming gesture demonstrated by the Saudis during Obama’s visit last year was one of many signs that the Saudis did not find the Iran Nuclear Deal in July 2015 to be one that was aligned with its vision.

During President Trump’s campaign, he called the Iran Nuclear Deal as one of the biggest disasters in the history of foreign policy making. He has since vowed to take a harsher stance on Iran, but has not given in detail exactly what he plans to do.

In our view, the Iran Nuclear Deal is just a delay mechanism. The Iranians will eventually create a nuclear bomb after 10 years once it’s allowed to install centrifuges again, and the deal is not a game changer in our opinion. As a matter of fact, geopolitical tensions in 10 years will likely be far worse than they are even today given that electric cars and renewable energy will likely take steeper market share away from hydrocarbons, and as a result, conflicts over oil market share and other religious differences will further escalate tensions between the Saudis and Iran.

Geopolitical analysts that have followed the conflict between Saudi and Iran point to the eventuality that if the world powers do not stop Iran from obtaining nuclear bombs, then it’s highly likely that Saudi Arabia will obtain the bombs by acquiring them through Pakistan. Having two nuclear armed countries that are bitter rivals only separated by the Persian Gulf is not a stable geopolitical environment to have.

The Bush and Obama administration understood the issues and potential risks with Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb. Tactics like Olympic Games, and Nitro Zeus were used to stop Iran by destroying centrifuges, but after the Iranians found out about the viruses, the attacks were stopped and Iran’s centrifuges started to grow exponentially.

The inevitability of this outcome and the uncertainty future geopolitical tensions bring in the future will likely force the Trump administration to work closely with Saudi Arabia and its Middle East allies to defuse the situation. Although Iran has said that it’s currently performing under the IEAE standards, it’s still not certain what eventually happens after the deal is concluded in 10 years. These concerns were pushing the Saudis and the Israelis to move in a separate direction until Trump became president. We think the stance on Iran will be much tougher going forward, and this will likely impact Iran’s recent growth, oil production, and geopolitical ambitions negatively. We view the recent positive meeting between the Saudi Prince and President Trump as a turning point in geopolitical collaboration towards Iran.

Disclosure:I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Supporting the Saudi Nuclear Horn

US State Department approves resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia

Move provides early indication of the new administration’s more Saudi-friendly approach to the conflict in Yemen

Washington: The State Department has approved a resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, a potential sign of reinvigorated US support for Riyadh’s involvement in the neighboring ongoing civil war in Yemen.

The proposal from the State Department would reverse a decision made late in the Obama administration to suspend the sale of precision guided munitions to Riyadh, which leads a mostly Arab coalition conducting air strikes against Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s approval this week of the measure, which officials say needs White House backing to go into effect, provides an early indication of the new administration’s more Saudi-friendly approach to the conflict in Yemen, and a sign of its more hawkish stance on Iran.

It also signals a break with the more conservative approach of Obama’s administration about US involvement in the conflict.

The move takes place as the Trump administration considers its approach to the Yemeni war, which has pitted US and Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi against an alliance of ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Al Houthi rebels.

Al Houthis have received substantial support from Iran which Saudi Arabia has long complained of and the US has confirmed.

Iran has provided money, weapons and even training to Al Houthi rebels despite repeated calls by Saudi Arabia and other regional players to stop interfering in the domestic afairs of Arab countries.

While the US military has provided support to the Saudi-led air campaign since 2015, including aerial refueling for Saudi jets and a US advisory mission in the Saudi operations headquarters, the Obama administration sought to scale back that support last year amid a series of alleged Saudi strikes in which civilians were killed.

Despite Saudi hopes that the conflict would quickly restore Hadi to power, it is now approaching its third year.

As of January, the conflict had led to the deaths of at least 10,000 civilians, according to the United Nations.

“It has become a quagmire in which we were deeply involved but had very little influence,” said Tom Malinowski, who served as the top human rights official at the State Department under President Barack Obama.

“That was not a good deal for the United States.”

Pressure increased on the Obama administration in October of last year, when Saudi jets hit a Yemeni funeral hall, killing more than 100 people.

An investigation team with the Saudi-led Arab coalition said wrong information led to strike ordered that victims’ families be compensated.

At the end of a review prompted by that strike, the Obama White House made the decision to halt the planned sale of roughly $390 million worth of precision munitions guidance systems to Riyadh.

At the same time, officials reaffirmed other kinds of military support, part of a carrot-and-stick approach, reflecting US eagerness to smooth things over with a crucial Middle Eastern ally that was sharply critical of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Now, President Donald Trump, who has also voiced opposition to the nuclear deal, has an opportunity to recalibrate that support and reset ties with Riyadh.

An ongoing Yemen policy review is also a chance for Trump to demonstrate a tougher approach to Iran and its activities throughout the Middle East. Trump and some of his top advisers, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have called Tehran a chief threat to American security.

A senior US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the Trump administration hopes to roll back Iranian influence in large part in Yemen.

“We’ll be looking for ways to blunt Iranian malign influence in the region. And we’ll be looking for all the tools that the US government has,” the official said.

“In that context, I think you have to look at Yemen.”

Trump has already supported the expansion of a separate military campaign in Yemen, one that US forces are now waging against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a potent militant group that has grown stronger amid Yemen’s instability.

It is not yet known how the new administration will approach the beleaguered Yemen peace process, one that Tillerson’s predecessor, John Kerry, tried unsuccessfully to push toward a peace deal.

Gerald Feierstein, a former US ambassador to Yemen, said that allowing Saudi Arabia to purchase the precision weapons would make sense. “My own view is that we should be able to sell these,” said Feierstein, who now directs the Center for Gulf Affairs at the Middle East Institute.

Feierstein and other advocates of the sale argue that precision munitions are preferable to unguided or “dumb” bombs and are less likely to cause civilian casualties when used properly.

“We should provide more help, more support,” Feierstein said. “We should not cut off all the tools that would enable them to do this the right way.”

If the White House gives its blessing to the new State Department position, the administration would then notify Congress about its intent to move forward with the sale.

Saudi Arabia Joins The Ten Horns (Daniel 7)

Saudi Journalist: Arab NATO Must Be Formed To Confront Iran

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP

TEL AVIV – An Arab version of NATO must be formed to confront Iran and its alliance with Iraq and Syria, a leading Saudi journalist wrote on Tuesday.

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, whose past roles include editor-in-chief of London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat and general manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, wrote articles in both those publications this week calling for the Arab world, and in particular Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan, to “establish a joint military power to confront Iran’s expansion.”

Al-Rashed further criticized the claim that President Donald Trump’s declarations against the Iran agreement strengthen the radicals there, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported, citing the articles in their original Arabic. Al-Rashed argued that Iran’s belligerence since the nuclear deal was signed, not least its current funding of four wars, proves that former President Barack Obama’s relaxed policy only encouraged Tehran to escalate its aggression.

The ayatollahs and radicals in Iran, Al-Rashed asserted, have been in control of the country since the Islamic Revolution, and its more moderate politicians are puppets used to coax the West into leniency.

President Hassan Rouhani and his FM Zarif both represented the moderates and they succeeded [in] winning over the administration of former president Barack Obama. They also managed to convince the administration that lifting sanctions and encouraging Iran’s openness were in the interest of moderate figures, the region and the whole world.

Once again, evidence suggested this assumption was wrong. [The] Iranian leadership became more aggressive than ever and for the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the regime dared to expand its military activity outside its borders. It is currently participating in and funding four wars outside of Iran. All of this was possible due to the nuclear deal that paved the way for better relations, trade and activity and kept silent over Iran’s threats to the region.

Al-Rashed added that “Things will keep on getting worse unless a strict international position against Iran’s adventures is taken and unless Iran is forced to end the chaos it is funding in the region and the world.”

The nature of the regime in Tehran is religious with a revolutionary ideology. It has a political agenda that has not changed much since it attacked the American embassy in Tehran and held diplomats hostage [in 1979],” Al-Rashed wrote.

“The only change that happened is that its financial and military situations improved a lot thanks to the nuclear deal it signed with the West,” he concluded.

In the second article published in Al-Arabiya, Al-Rashed noted that Iran exploited the region’s political vacuum formed in the years since the Iraq war. He also reiterated the Islamic Republic’s exploitation of the Obama administration’s policies, not least of all its nuclear agreement, to expand its hegemony in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Al-Rashed advised, “Military cooperation, under any umbrella, is a good idea and a necessary step, especially if expanded beyond [military cooperation]. Establishing an alliance to confront Iran is an essential balance to respond to its military alliance that includes Iraq and Syria.”

Iran also cooperates with Russia and the latter has a military base in Iran. The Russians strongly participate in the war in Syria alongside this Iranian alliance. Tehran has strengthened its alliance by bringing armed militias from Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and other countries into Syria and they are fighting there under its banner. Iranian forces, in the guise of “experts,” are fighting in Iraq and to some extent manage the conflict there. Therefore, establishing an Arab NATO … remains a natural reaction to Iran’s “Warsaw Pact.”

Iran Defends Its Hegemony In Iraq (Daniel 8:4)

Masum defends Iran revolutionary guard commander’s role in Iraq

by Mohamed Mostafa
Feb 12, 2017, 1:14 pm

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq’s president has lauded and defended the existence of Iranian military advisers in Iraq, including a top general whom the United States considers to brand as terrorist.

Speaking to Iranian news agency Tasnim, Fouad Masum “hailed the prominent role” of commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Major General Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq.

“The US and other European countries have also military advisors in Iraq, so one cannot say that Iranian military advisors are not allowed in Iraq. This is a common issue in our view, and Iran has the same rights as the other countries,” the agency quoted the Iraqi president as saying in an interview.

Shia Iran has been the strongest supporter of Shia political forces and militias in Iraq, and has been believed to provide generous support -in terms of training and finances- for Iraqi paramilitary forces fighting Islamic State Sunni extremists.

Recent reports have quoted United States officials as saying that President Donald Trump’s administration was mulling to place the IRGC on its list of terrorist organizations. Defence Secretary James Mattis had called Iran “biggest state sponsor of terrorism”.

The Trump administration has also declared intentions to impose new sanctions on Iran over the latter’s ballistic missiles tests, and declared a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear program.

“Iraq is very keen to preserve its national interests (..)and does not wish to be part of any regional or international conflict which would lead to disasters for the region and for Iraq,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saturday, according to state TV.

The U.S., too, is providing effective military backing for Iraqi government forces in their war against Islamic State extremists.