26 October 2016

Update on Russian and NATO War Preparations

25 Tishrei 5777

Russia beefs up Baltic Fleet amid NATO tensions: reports

Russia is sharply upgrading the firepower of its Baltic Fleet by adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter NATO's build-up in the region, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

There was no official confirmation from Moscow, but the reports will raise tensions in the Baltic, already heightened since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and cause particular alarm in Poland and Lithuania which border Russia's base there.

The reported deployment comes as NATO is planning its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War to deter possible Russian aggression.

Russia's daily Izvestia newspaper cited a military source as saying that the first two of five ships, the Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol, had already entered the Baltic Sea and would soon become part of a newly formed division in Kaliningrad, Russia's European exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

Another source familiar with the situation told the Interfax news agency that the two warships would be joining the Baltic Fleet in the coming days.

"With the appearance of two small missile ships armed with the Kalibr cruise missiles the Fleet's potential targeting range will be significantly expanded in the northern European military theater," the source told Interfax.

Russia's Defence Ministry, which said earlier this month the two ships were en route to the Mediterranean, did not respond to a request for comment, but NATO and the Swedish military confirmed the two warships had entered the Baltic.

Read the rest HERE.

Russia withdraws request to refuel battle group heading to bomb Aleppo, after intervention from Spain's foreign ministry

Spain’s government has announced that the flotilla of Russian warships heading towards Syria will not be refuelling at the Spanish port of Ceuta after an international outcry.

...Spain regularly refuels Russian warships at the North African port, which it says is not covered by Nato treaties. At least 60 Russian military craft have made technical stops at the Spanish enclave since April 2010, when the naval base was opened up to serve ships from other nations.

Sir Gerald Howarth MP, a former Defence Minister, said it would be “wholly inappropriate” for a Nato member to refuel the Russian vessels.

He said: “Spain is a member of Nato and Nato is already facing challenges from Russia, not least in the Baltics.

He went on: “The Russians stand accused of indiscriminate bombing in Aleppo and Syria and it would be inappropriate to render them military assistance.”

Read the rest HERE.

Britain, U.S. sending planes, troops to deter Russia in the east

Britain said on Wednesday it will send fighter jets to Romania next year and the United States promised troops, tanks and artillery to Poland in NATO's biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War.

Germany, Canada and other NATO allies also pledged forces at a defense ministers meeting in Brussels on the same day two Russian warships armed with cruise missiles entered the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Denmark, underscoring East-West tensions.

In Madrid, the foreign ministry said Russia had withdrawn a request to refuel three warships in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta after NATO allies said they could be used to target civilians in Syria.

The ships were part of an eight-ship carrier battle group - including Russia's sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov - that is expected to join around 10 other Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast, diplomats said.

More HERE.

U.K. to Send Formidable Force to Eastern Europe
Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the U.K. will deploy tanks and drones with troops amid NATO worries about Russia

Putin promises ‘confrontation’ if Clinton keeps up Russia talk

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled threat to Hillary Clinton, saying his country will engage in “confrontation” with the US if she continues to provoke the Motherland, according to a new report.

Putin, 64, accused the Democratic presidential nominee of putting forth continued “harsh rhetoric” and “threats” against Russia for her own political gain, The Daily Star reported.

“Jeopardizing Russian-American relations in order to gain brownie points internally – I consider this to be harmful and counterproductive, Putin recently told reporters in Russia.

“It’s not funny anymore. If somebody out there wants confrontation. This is not our choice but this means that there will be problems,” Putin warned.

More HERE.

25 October 2016

The Bullies On The Block

23 Tishrei 5777

"...I shall put hooks into your jaws and bring you forth and all your army...." (Yechezkel 38.4)

This is a famous quote from the Prophet Yechezkel's description of the future War of Gog uMagog which is read on Shabbat of the Sukkot Festival. One year ago at Sukkot, the Russian army invaded Syria. This year at Sukkot, Russia sent 7-10 warships in a provocative trek through the English Channel en route to the Mediterranean waters off Syria's coast. They are expected to arrive within a week.

Although the set-up for what we are seeing today started at least as early as 2008-2009, I think these "birthpangs of Mashiach" are occurring at this particular time of year in order to clue us in to the fact that it will ultimately lead to the War of Gog uMagog at some point.

The so-called Syrian Civil War, which is no "civil war" at all, began in 2011, but the seeds of it were planted even earlier.

From a November 2009 European Parliament Policy Paper entitled...

An Assessment of the Gas and Oil Pipelines in Europe

"Security of supply is one of the priority objectives of the EU's new energy policy. The Commission is concerned that Europe's energy networks are no longer up to the task of providing secure energy supply in the foreseeable future. The physical ruptures of energy transport networks following the crises with transit countries (Ukraine in 2006 and 2008 and Belarus in 2007) have forced the EU to adopt the strategy of diversifying supply routes which would gradually reduce its dependence on transit countries."

Under Section 2.2.1 Pipelines from Third Countries (Import Pipelines) we find the following:

"The South-Eastern Corridor from Caucasus/Central Asia/Middle East via Turkey/the Black Sea). 

This import route is under development and is seen as a major priority area for the EU-27 security of supply, as this route has considerably future supply potential."

From Section 2.2.4 Future Trends...

"Despite of progress in the EU infrastructure priority projects, there are still major future challenges facing the EU gas market, amongst others:

i) to reduce the vulnerability to gas supply shocks;

ii) to plan for increasing import dependency and the uncertainty about the availability of gas reserves;

iii) to facilitate the development of an integrated gas market, due to the EU enlargement;

iv) to handle the climate challenge where natural gas will be both a bridging and a future energy source;

v) to prepare the coming investments for climate change impacts on the pipeline routing and other infrastructure in order to integrate increasing climate risks into investment planning.

As part of the Commission's five-point Energy Security and Solidarity action plan, the above mentioned four areas for gas will be strengthened. The development of a Baltic interconnection plan will improve the integration of the missing continental members.

Development of a Southern Gas Corridor for Caspian supply source and future Middle-East sources will improve the security of supply. An LNG action plan for all Member States will improve the diversity and security of supply, especially for countries relying on sole suppliers."

From Section 3.3.4 Political Dependence on Transit Routes crossing Unstable Countries...

"EU natural gas supply is concentrated in a handful of countries (primarily Russia, North 
Africa and Middle East), some of which are exposed to high geopolitical risks. Supply and pipeline transmission from these countries can be threatened by wars, internal conflicts, export or import embargos and terrorism. Gas transportation through these countries often involve transport along long and vulnerable pipeline routes."

From Section 6.2 Russia as a Supplier, Experiences and Risks on Supply and Transit Routes

"The European Union as the major consumer and Russia as the major supplier are extremely interdependent in terms of their energy policies. ...The transportation infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines, plays a vital role in this relationship of interdependence. 

The existing and projected routes are, however, subject to a great deal of political and economic power play, which potentially undermines or endangers their efficiency.

Along with the Russian-Ukrainian dispute during the winter months of 2006 and 2008, the EU is becoming increasingly worried about the stability of oil and gas exports from RussiaThere has been a growing concern that Russia is becoming an unreliable supplier or is using its dominant position to promote its political aims. As a reaction, the EU has begun to eagerly promote the need for energy diversification aiming to improve the overall energy security level within the EU borders."

From Section 6.4 Diversification of Natural Gas Supplies...

"The European Union's effort to curb Russia's supply monopoly has been ongoing for many years and seemed to gain ground in July 2009 by the signing of an agreement on the Nabucco pipeline, which will connect Europe to the gas-rich Central Asia via the Balkans, Turkey and Caucasus with back-up from the main transit countries: Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The Nabucco has a capacity of 30 mcm of gas per year, i.e. one fifth of the current Russian export to Europe and could be finished in 2015. The source of natural gas for the Nabucco, however, remains unclear. Azerbaijan is a small supplier, Iran has large gas resources, but there are serious political obstacles to making trading agreements with Iran.In Iraq's northern part (Kurdistan) efforts are made to extract natural gas amounts that could feed half of the Nabucco's needs.

In Turkmenistan where gas is abundant, most of it is exported to Russia and its leadership avoids political steps that potentially undermine its good relation with Russia. However, the country maintains its interest in supplying natural gas to the Nabucco pipeline.

Egypt is also a possible supplier to the Nabucco pipeline, if a pipeline from Egypt over Jordan and Syria to Turkey is completed.

It has also been discussed to purchase Russian gas, but that would undermine the whole idea of diversifying the supply sources to the EU.

These countries are currently not committed enough to supplying gas for the pipeline and the EU and Russia are competing for the resources. Russia recently obtained commitments for additional supplies from Azerbaijan.

Furthermore, the Turkish Government has signed an agreement with Russia about building the 'South Stream' pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria. The South Stream could possibly be finished by 2013. At this point in time, it is considered unlikely that both pipelines will be built simultaneously. It will be difficult to find investors for both of them and it will be difficult to find enough gas to supply both projects."

From the following diagrams, it is clear to see that Syria features geo-strategically in the EU quest for an alternative to Russian supplies of gas.

Notice how the "US-backed" and the "Russian-backed" 
proposed pipeline routes intersect in Syria!

Is the fight over a gas pipeline fuelling the world’s bloodiest conflict? (2015)

"Major Rob Taylor, an instructor at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College wrote in the Armed Forces Journal last year [2014] that the rival pipelines could be influencing the conflict in Syria.

“Viewed through a geopolitical and economic lens, the conflict in Syria is not a civil war, but the result of larger international players positioning themselves on the geopolitical chessboard in preparation for the opening of the pipeline,” he noted.

Just as the 2003 Iraq War has been linked to oil in the Persian Gulf, Syria may turn out to be all about gas."

Turkey-Israel: Gas pipeline rumors are geopolitically tectonic (2013)

Now, to complicate things further, Israel is proposing a solution that bypasses Syria entirely and, as another threat to Russian gas hegemony, puts it square in Russia's crosshairs. 

Less than 2 weeks ago...

Turkey, Israel to examine building gas pipeline
Energy minister meets Turkish counterpart in Istanbul to weigh supplying Europe, embraces ‘Turkish option’ as energy partner

And last week!...

Norwegian surveillance photos show Russian warships, said to be bound for Syria

"The Norwegian military has released pictures taken by surveillance aircraft of a fleet of Russian warships sailing in international waters off the coast of Norway and reported to be heading to Syria.

Photos of the vessels, which include the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the Pyotr Velikiy battle cruiser, were taken near Andoya island, in northern Norway on Monday."

This is what it looked like three years ago. By comparison, the fleet which is currently en route, and which is joining 10 others already on station, is reported to total from 7-10 more.

"They are deploying all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

"This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia's strategy to declare victory there," the diplomat said.

We might just as well call this the Battle of the Bullies (the US and Russia). There is not room enough for two Big Bullies in the same neighborhood. There is bound to be a showdown and it looks very much like that is what we are coming to. The one left standing will no doubt be identified as the "Gog" who will confront Mashiach at the End of Days.

23 October 2016

Shemini Atzeret 5777

21 Tishrei 5777
Chag Sameach!

Sh’mini Atzeres: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

By Rabbi Yehudah Prero

...In Vayikra 23:36, the Torah tells us “…on the eight day, you will have a holy day…it is a day of detention (“Atzeres”)….” The Sefer HaChinuch writes that the Sages have told us that in reality, Shmini Atzeres is not the eighth day of Sukkos, but rather a separate holiday, which occurs at the end of the Sukkos holiday. What was the reason why Hashem commanded us to observe this day as a holiday? The Sefer HaChinuch explains that Sukkos is the last holiday of the Jewish calendar (if we consider the month of Nissan as the beginning of the year, and Pesach the first holiday). By giving us this holiday of Shmini Atzeres, its as if Hashem was telling us “Please, stay with me one more day, as it is difficult for me to part with you.” Hashem, out of his great love for the nation of Israel, finds it hard to “leave” his children at the end of the holidays. Therefore, He added on one more day, so we, the nation of Israel, can spend one more day with Hashem before our “departure.”

22 October 2016

The Excuse Needed to Launch The War?

21 Tishrei 5777
6th Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Hoshanah Rabbah
Shavua tov! Moadim l'Simchah!

WW3 Has Begun, And It Is Digital: “New World Hackers” Claim Cyber Attack That Took Down Major Sites

Get ready – it seems that this will be an October Surprise to remember.

The Internet is under attack through the United States and UK [Friday, October 21, 2016]… and there is every reason to think that more is coming.

...Speculation is that this could be a test run for larger attacks – and public demonstration of just how vulnerable Internet connected systems are. Things are coming to a head very quickly, and there is no telling what will happen as the U.S. election approaches.

...A hacking collective calling itself “New World Hackers” are taking credit – and they are based out of Russia and China, ....

Read the rest HERE.

21 October 2016

Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot 5777

19 Tishrei 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
4th Day Chol HaMoed Sukkot

It is remarkable that the War of Gog and Magog figures so prominently in the readings for the Festival of Sukkot. The Haftarah for the first day of Sukkot comes from Zechariah 14 and the Haftarah for Shabbat of Sukkot comes from Ezekiel 38:18 - 39:16...
18 And it will come to pass on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, that My blazing indignation will flame in My nostrils.
19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken; Surely there shall be a great noise on that day in the land of Israel.
20 And at My presence, the fishes of the sea and the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the field and all the creeping things that creep upon the earth and all the men who are upon the surface of the earth shall quake, and all the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall to the ground.
21 And I will call the sword against him upon all My mountains, says the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
22 And I will judge against him with pestilence and with blood, and rain bringing floods, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone will I rain down upon him and upon his hordes and upon the many peoples that are with him.
23 And I will reveal Myself in My greatness and in My holiness and will be recognized in the eyes of many nations, and they will know that I am the Lord.
1 And you, Son of man, prophesy about Gog, and say; So says the Lord God: Lo! I am against you, O Gog, prince and head of Meshech and Tubal.
2 And I will unbridle and entice you and lead you up from the utmost parts of the north and bring you upon the mountains of Israel.
3 And I will smite the bow out of your left hand and make your arrows fall from your right hand.
4 Upon the mountains of Israel shall you fall, you and all your hordes, and the people that are with you; to the birds of prey, to all the winged creatures and the beasts of the field have I given you to be devoured.
5 Upon the open field shall you fall, for I have spoken, says the Lord God.
6 And I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell in safety in the islands, and they will know that I am the Lord.
7 And I will make known My Holy Name in the midst of My people Israel, and I will no longer cause My Holy Name to be profaned, and the nations will know that I, the Lord, am holy in Israel.
8 Behold it is coming, and it will be, says the Lord God: that is the day whereof I have spoken.
9 Then the inhabitants of the cities of Israel will go forth and make fires and heat up with the weapons, the bucklers, and the encompassing shields, the bows and the arrows and the handstaves and the spears, and burn them as fires for seven years.
10 So that they shall carry no wood from the fields nor cut down any from the forests, for they shall make fires from the weapons. Thus will they spoil those who spoiled them and plunder those who plundered them, says the Lord God.
11 And it shall come to pass on that day that I will give Gog a place there as a grave in Israel, the valley of them who pass along the east side of the sea, and it will then stop those who pass along. And there shall they bury Gog and all his hordes, and they shall call it the Valley of Hamon Gog [the masses of Gog].
12 And seven months shall the House of Israel be burying them in order to purify the land.
13 They will bury all the people of the land, and they will be renowned; it is a day when I will be glorified, says the Lord God.
14 Men of continuous employment they shall separate, who pass through the land, burying those who pass through with those who are left on the surface of the land, in order to purify it, at the end of seven months shall they search.
15 And when they that pass through shall pass and see a human bone, they shall build a sign next to it until the buriers bury it in the Valley of Hamon Gog.
16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus they shall purify the land.
"The reading of the haftara of Gog and Magog on Shabbat Chol ha-Mo'ed Sukkot is not merely a custom, but an obligation of Talmudic law. The gemara in Megilla (31a) mentions it along with the other haftarot read on the various holidays to this very day; we thus see that Chazal already saw an essential connection between the prophecy and the festival."

See the rest here: The War of Gog and Magog

Shabbat shalom! Moadim l'Simchah!

20 October 2016

No Abatement

18 Tishrei 5777
3rd Day Chol HaMoed
Moadim l'Simchah!

Has World War 3 Already Started?

...for the first time since Operation Barbarossa, German tanks are once again advancing on Russia’s border.
You probably haven’t heard this extraordinary piece of news. That’s because the mass media has basically ignored and obscured it. They’ve been busy covering far more important things… like transgender issues and Kim Kardashian’s latest stunt.
That’s why I want to tell you about Operation Anaconda 2016.
It’s the largest war game in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. It’s essentially a rehearsal to secure a quick NATO victory in the event of war with Russia.
It was launched from Warsaw, Poland, recently and involves 31,000 NATO troops.
Operation Anaconda 2016 is one of the most important stories you’re not hearing about. It shows how perilously close the world is to another global war.

'War may begin before US elections' Stark warning from Putin’s special advisor

Sergei Markov, special advisor to Russian head honcho Vladimir Putin, made the chilling prediction as relations between the two military superpowers threaten to reach crisis point.
Fears of all out war were stoked further today as US Marine Corps revealed plans to camp out on Russia’s doorstep.
With both nations mobilising troops, warships and fighter jets across the globe, Markov told Daily Beast he believes military posturing could soon spill over into war.
The fear of the world facing a devastating third world war continues to rise. And the dangerous blame game the two superpowers, the U.S. and Russia, are currently involved in isn’t helping either. Threats have now been directed both by the White House and the Kremlin against one another, as tensions between the two countries rise to its highest since the end of the Cold War.

19 October 2016

"Pushing the Envelope"

18 Tishrei 5777
3rd Day Chol HaMoed
Moadim l'Simchah!

Italy to Deploy Troops Along Russian Border

...“It looks like NATO is pushing Italy to deploy its troops in the Baltic countries even though our interests have traditionally been in the Mediterranean and it would only be logical to use our forces there,” [Italian military expert and observer with Analisi Deifesa and Libero journals, Mirkio Molteni] added.

...The deployment will reportedly take place about 600 miles (965km) from the border with Russia, which is in the Arctic Circle and spans 125 miles.
The plans may strain the already tense relationship with Moscow, as it breaks Norway’s promise not to deploy foreign troops on its territory – something it committed to in 1949, in response to Soviet fears. 
...Meanwhile, NATO has plans to deploy 4,000 more troops to the Baltic region by next May. Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel, who commands the European forces of the military bloc, has said the deployment will not be “exclusively about a training presence,” and insisted the troops will “serve as a deterrent and if necessary a fighting force.”

"Sabre-Rattling" Increasing

17 Tishrei 5777
2nd Day Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Moadim l'Simchah!


Vladimir Putin’s nuclear warships pictured steaming towards the English Channel as Royal Navy prepares to scramble fleet

The Russian fleet is believed to be planning military drills off Scottish coast before heading towards the Med
A FLEET of Russian nuclear ships have been spotted steaming out of base – and it is heading for Britain.

Vladimir Putin‘s policy of gunboat diplomacy continued as a giant aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine were among eight vessels snapped sailing south past Norway yesterday.

Russian navy flagship and nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is leading a group of eight vessels towards the Syrian port of Tartus

The ships are expected to pass through the English Channel, prompting the Royal Navy to prepare to scramble ships.

The fearsome fleet is headed for Russia's Mediterranean base in Tartus, Syria.

But first, the ships are set to pass through the English Channel in the latest act of sabre-rattling from Moscow.

Royal Navy warships are being readied to intercept the fleet which could pass within miles of the British coast.


Iran Launches War Drills Amid Accusations U.S. Breaking Nuke Deal

Uses American-made jets, planes in air force drills

Iran on Monday launched a series of war drills that included the use of American-made planes amid accusations by top officials that the United States is violating last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement, according to regional experts and Persian-language media reports.
Iran’s Artesh Air Force kicked off a three-day series of drills aimed at displaying the Islamic Republic’s air might, according to Iranian military officials who told the country’s state-run press that the drills are in preparations for upcoming war.


I neglected to address another significant bit of news yesterday, so I'll include it here...

UNESCO Ratifies Resolution Denying Jewish Connection to Har Habayis and the Kosel

UNESCO on Tuesday, 16 Tishrei, ratified its draft resolution which denies the Jewish People’s connection to Har Habayis and the Kosel, referring to Har Habayis by its Arabic name, not the Temple Mount.