Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In The News:

As China And Japan Prepare For War, American Forces Battle Over Turf

Many readers of American Thinker may be thinking that a war between China and Japan, with or without the US being involved, is precluded by the fact that it would be stupid and destructive.  Nevertheless, the people who are actually going to fight that war are continuing to prepare for it.  In the US forces, the Marines are seeing off an attempt by the Army to gain a role.  The Marines believe that they won’t need any help in retaking the Senkakus from China. They are also concerned that the Army attack helicopters would suffer from corrosion while sitting on flat-decked ships at sea.

Foreign Policy has come to the realisation that if China seizes the Senakakus, they might as well seize the southern half of the Ryuku island chain, the Yaeyama Islands, while they are at it.  Militarily and morally, the Yaeyamas would be only a little bit more difficult than seizing the Senkakus but would come with plenty of basing opportunities and the benefit of partially enveloping Taiwan.

On the subject of airfields, China built one specifically for this war -- the Shuimen Airbase at 26° 56' 43"N, 120° 4' 37"E.  It was built on top of a ridge about as close as one can get to the Senkakus on the Chinese mainland.  From the Shuimen Airbase it is 400 km to the Senkakus and 500 km to the Yaeyamas.  The Google Earth imagery shows an interesting camouflage pattern on the taxiways to the hardened shelters.  The Shuimen Airbase also has a lot of apron area adjacent to the runway suggesting that it will be used to surge aircraft coming from other airbases in China. 

With plenty of signs from the protagonists that a war is coming, what should Republican legislators do to get ahead of the curve, instead of just being reactive and flat-footed?  The best thing that could be done right now is a bill requiring the expropriation of all Chinese-owned assets in the US upon the announcement by Japan that it has been attacked by China.  The internment of Chinese nationals could follow, but it is important to freeze and seize Chinesefinancial assets immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities.  This may end up being a warning system in that a sudden capital flight might mean that the attack was only hours away.
Back to the Army’s problem of having a role in this war.  What the Army could do is establish a field base for its helicopters on one of the larger, less-populated islands of the Yaeyamas, such as Iriomote-jima.  They won’t miss out on the war -- China will come to them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun to react to subtle U.S. military deployments in the periphery of Russia.

In an act deemed by the Pentagon as “provocative,” a Russian Sukhoi-24 fighter jet repeatedly buzzed the U.S.S. Donald Cook as low as 500 feet over a 90-minute period April 12 as the U.S. warship trolled the Black Sea in international waters near Crimea.
With enhanced Russian military presence in Crimea, the prospect of further provocations against ships and military aircraft from the U.S. and its partners of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is expected to increase, sources say.

In turn, such an episode would only increase Russian surveillance of Western military assets, possibly affecting their ability to conduct normal reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering operations.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is considering the deployment of up to 10,000 ground troops to Poland to show U.S. commitment to allied security in the area.
After a meeting with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Poland would play a major role in the NATO buildup of troops in Eastern Europe “under U.S. patronage.”
Signaling a change in overall strategic defense policy, Hagel said the U.S. needs to “re-pivot back to Europe from Asia to confront “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.

A forward contingent already is on the ground in Poland to oversee what may become a series of military exercises with NATO allies in the region. It’s a response to Putin’s apparent intention of taking over all of Ukraine and possibly other areas of Eastern Europe where there is a concentration of ethnic Russians.
The prospect has prompted concern among NATO countries in the region, which have assessed that the Russian military is stronger than all of their militaries combined. Consequently, the NATO members are hoping the U.S. will increase its presence to confront what they consider “Russian aggression.”
Putin’s motive is to set up buffer zones against the eastern encroachment of NATO, as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia seek to join the Western alliance.

The sources believe Putin will remain assertive in his determination to set up buffers while keeping out elements of NATO. For that reason, the Russian president last week reacted forcibly against the deployment of NATO anti-missile defenses, including the U.S.S. Cole, an Aegis-equipped missile warship, near Crimea.
Putin views the moves as a threat to the nuclear defenses of southwestern Russia, which include Crimea for the first time in Russia’s strategic doctrine.

[Footnote: You can bet that any arms supplied to the terrorist groups will ultimately be used against Israel]

According to an April 21st report in Time Magazine, the White House is now considering sending the rebels shoulder-fired surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles known as manpads. In the wrong hands, such missiles could be used to take out commercial aircraft.

Senator John McCain is pushing the Obama administration to take that risk. To combat the Assad regime’s use of barrel bombs dropped on civilian populations from government helicopters, McCain said in a March interview with Time Magazine that he was “willing to take the risk of a manpad, the risk of them falling into the wrong hands.”

McCain’s willingness to take the risk of anti-aircraft missiles getting into the wrong hands is wrong-headed for several reasons.  The most obvious reason is the blowback the United States and its allies will suffer when jihadists fighting in Syria take the weapons they have looted from the so-called “moderate” rebels and use them against us. Nearly half of the rebel fighters are “jihadists or hardline Islamists,” according to a summary by The Telegraph of a report the IHS Jane’s defense consultancy group issued last year. And they are the best trained and equipped forces amongst the Syrian opposition.

President Obama’s apparent openness to providing more advanced weaponry to the Syrian rebels at this stage of the conflict could well be the result of his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah last month, where Saudi concerns about U.S. resolve in dealing with the Assad regime and Iran’s nuclear threat were discussed. In bowing to the wishes of the Saudi government for more direct U.S. military aid to the Syrian rebels, Obama may have gotten some breathing room from the Saudi leaders as he tries in vain to negotiate a comprehensive, verifiable nuclear deal with Iran. If so, Obama is putting the interests of the United States behind those of a fanatical Sunni Muslim regime that has spawned global jihad and sees Syria as another beachhead to advance that cause.

As the world seems to hurdle from one crisis to another, today a 43-year market veteran warned King World News that massive volcanic eruptions are now wreaking havoc on the world.  Jeffrey Saut, Chief Investment Strategist at Raymond James, also warned this trend is going to continue for many years, even though no one in the mainstream media is talking about this.
Eric King:  “Jeffrey, we’ve seen skyrocketing food prices.”
Saut:  “This has a lot to do with the weather.  You’ve had a drought in Brazil, so the price of Brazilian coffee is up over 80% year-to-date.  I know a farmer in California who used to produce a bunch of alfalfa.  He’s about to lose his entire crop because he can’t get water….
“You also have a drought in Texas.  One of my themes, Eric, has been the weird weather.  The world is actually cooling, not warming.  What’s causing this is the volcanic ash in the air.  You’ve got more volcanic ash in the air than at any time in recorded history.

Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., says an attack one year ago on a power plant in California was a “dry run” for something bigger, and American needs to be paying attention.

WND reported the utility company, whose operation was disabled in the attack, has offered a $250,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
According to authorities, a team of attackers apparently cut a series of underground fiber optic telephone lines then fired guns at 17 transformers and shot out their cooling systems.
Experts have called the attack an act of terrorism, and West agrees.

He wrote on his website that just a year ago Americans were riveted by the Islamic terror attack at the Boston Marathon.
“But a year ago, there was another attack that while not horrific, was disturbing, and has gone largely unnoticed,” he wrote.
“On April 16, 2013, snipers waged a 52-minute attack on a central California electrical substation. According to reports by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the sniper attack started when at least one person entered an underground vault to cut telephone cables, and attackers fired more than 100 shots into Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf transmission substation, knocking out 17 transformers. Electric officials were able to avert a blackout, but it took 27 days to repair the damage,” he wrote.

He said while the FBI doesn’t consider the incident terrorism, the chief of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, Jon Wellinghoff, does.

“Wellinghoff … based his conclusion that this was terrorism on the analysis of experts he brought to the crime scene. The analysis pointed to the shell casings having no fingerprints and evidence that the shooting positions had been pre-arranged. No arrests have been made in the case,” West wrote.

“My concern is that this may have been a dry run for something far bigger. We should be demanding an update on the investigation as to the perpetrators of this attack who escaped without detection,” he said.

Also see:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

War Preparations

Warfare will be one the hallmarks of the Tribulation and if the Tribulation is relatively close (as we believe it is), then we would expect to see the nations preparing for war. Indeed we see this on a daily basis, almost to the degree that we become desensitized by the process. 

The 600 troops are to be sent to Poland and the Baltic states in the coming days in order to offer support to NATO allies which have expressed concern following Crimea’s accession to Russia, the Pentagon stated on Tuesday. 

“I’m told they’re infantry level – infantry training exercises,” said Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby in a press briefing given on Tuesday. However, he added that he couldn’t provide specifics.

Kirby pointed out that the bilateral exercises were a supplement to the standard military exercises which the countries undertake together and were because of current events in Ukraine.

“The United States takes seriously our obligations under Article 5 of the NATO alliance, even though these aren't NATO exercises,” Kirby said. “It's a very tangible representation of our commitment to our security obligations in Europe.”

Last Friday, Poland’s Defense Minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, said that this week Poland and the United States would be announcing the dispatch of ground forces to Poland take part in a two-week land-forces exercise. Some 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy are to begin the exercises in Wednesday after which similar exercises will follow in the Baltics.

US troops will rotate in and out of all four countries. “We’re looking at trying to keep this rotational presence persistent throughout the rest of this year,” Kirby stated, adding that exercises could potentially expand into other countries.

The measures are being taken as part of a stepped-up effort announced last week by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in order to reassure NATO allied states. 

Hundreds of U.S. troops are headed for maneuvers in Eastern Europe through year's end, the Pentagon announced, new deployments intended to reassure allies on Russia's borders as violence took a sinister turn Tuesday in embattled Ukraine.
Vice President Joe Biden, in a visit to Kiev, warned Russia to pull back its troops and abide by last week's international agreement or face the certainty of swift new sanctions. Mr. Biden also urged Ukraine's leaders to adhere to democratic principles and respect cultural differences, reassuring them, "You will not walk this road alone."
Despite Washington's efforts, tensions flared as Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists of torturing and killing two people and of shooting at one of its military planes, prompting a call by the country's interim president for a resumption of what he termed counterterrorism actions to uproot militants.

The Kremlin didn't comment on the developments but has complained that Western military moves only serve to raise tension in the region. (View hotspots along the Ukraine-Russia border in an interactive map.)

The deployments have fallen well short of demands by some members of Congress and Eastern European allies for a larger, more-permanent buildup of American forces in Europe, and for the shipment of arms to Kiev.
Privately, Pentagon officials dismiss the likelihood of a larger or permanent buildup of forces in Europe, but say they would consider stepping up the tempo of force rotations temporarily if Moscow doesn't move to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis.

It seems the truce "deal" is well and truly dead...
The question now, of course, is - what will Putin do in response to this action?

The head of a think tank associated with Vladimir Putin wrote the following in response to critics who liken the Russian president to Adolf Hitler and what he did so long ago: “One must distinguish between Hitler before 1939 and Hitler after 1939. The thing is that Hitler collected [German] lands. If he had become famous only for uniting without a drop of blood Germany with Austria, Sudetenland and Memel, in fact completing what Bismarck failed to do, and if he had stopped there, then he would have remained a politician of the highest class.”

Migranyan’s comment, published in a Russian newspaper, has received quite a bit of attention, both because of his position and for its chilling content. There is no doubt that Hitler crossed a line in September 1939 when he invaded Poland, finally forcing Britain and France to go to war. (Maybe Migranyan remembers that the Soviet Union also invaded Poland.) Up to then, Hitler had mostly satisfied himself with collecting the lands of German-speaking peoples — Austria, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, etc. — although Poland also had a substantial German minority.

If something like this is what Putin has in mind — gathering Russian-speaking people under his rule — then Migranyan seems to be saying: What’s the big deal? What he does not mention, though, is that by 1939 Hitler was already engaged in killing Jews, dissidents, communists, homosexuals and, that year, the mentally and physically feeble.Kristallnacht, a government-sanctioned pogrom, occurred in 1938; the Nuremberg laws, depriving Jews of their civil rights, were promulgated in 1935; and Germany was rapidly re-arming, in violation of its treaty obligations. It was, way before 1939, an outlaw state vigorously engaged in murder.

For anyone, least of all a think-tank director, to overlook this record is frightening. Maybe, though, Migranyan did not overlook it. Maybe he was simply reciting a fact: What Hitler did to his own people disturbed the West but did not stir it to action. Indeed, many argued that Hitler had a point: Germans belonged in Germany. As for the Jews, they were often blamed for their own plight.
You hear similar arguments now about Putin and Russian-speaking peoples: Crimea is Russian. Eastern Ukraine is Russian. Maybe some of the Baltic states are Russian, too. Who knows?
Still, what are we to make of Migranyan? He did not write in a vacuum. The Kremlin isstifling dissent. The Russian foreign minister is either lying with abandon or blithely passing lies on — or both. So-called green men, troops with their faces shielded and their identifying insignias missing, have circulated through eastern Ukraine, as they did in Crimea. Ukrainian and some Western intelligence agencies identify them as Russian, even down to providing the names of certain individuals. These are similar to the techniques Hitler used to provoke intervention in neighboring countries. He was forever coming to the rescue of embattled German minorities.

President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this week will be dominated by a country he’s not even visiting:China.
Each of the four nations on the president’s itinerary is involved in territorial disputes with an increasingly assertive China. And years of military spendinggains have boosted the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army faster than many defense analysts expected, casting a shadow over relations between China and its neighbors and sparking doubts about long-term prospects for the U.S. presence in the Pacific.
“There are growing concerns about what China is up to in the maritime space,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s a widely held view in the region that the U.S.-China relationship is tipping toward being much more confrontational.”
Obama arrives today in Japan, the start of a weeklong journey that also will take him to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. On display throughout will be the challenge of managing the uneasy relationship with China, the U.S.’s No. 2 trading partner and an emerging rival for global influence.

Danny Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, in February labeled China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea, hundreds of miles from its shoreline, as “inconsistent with international law.”
Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told an Australian audience on April 9: “I am concerned by the aggressive growth of the Chinese military, their lack of transparency, and a pattern of increasingly assertive behavior in the region.”
The statements signaled mounting U.S. alarm following China’s establishment in November of an “air defense identification zone” in the East China Sea, which overlapped with Japanese and South Korean airspace.
China’s growing strength in recent years has spawned a welter of territorial conflicts. The most serious involve uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls as the Senkakus and China calls Diaoyu.

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip on Monday fired seven rockets into southern Israel. One of the projectiles narrowly missed a synagogue packed with worshippers on the final day of Passover.
Police said that at least two of the rockets landed in the battered southern Israel town of Sderot. One caused damage to a residential street just outside a local synagogue.
Addressing a post-Passover celebration, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon issued a stern warning to Hamas:
“Even today, our enemies rise up to destroy us, and we see that the IDF responded immediately, to send a message to the other side: this will not be overlooked. We hope that Hamas and other [terror] organizations get the hint, accept the message and keep Gaza calm. If not, they should know that we will act on it.”

MaGog vs The U.S.

We know that Magog will be a strong land at the time of the Ezekiel 38-39 battle against Israel - as it will effectively launch a massive, coordinated attack against Israel. 

America is not mentioned in biblical prophecy. 

Those are two interesting facts to ponder as we see escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia:

Russia has “days, not weeks” to abide by an international accord aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine, the top U.S. diplomat in Kiev warned Monday as Vice President Joe Biden launched a high-profile show of support for the pro-Western Ukrainian government. Russia in turn accused authorities in Kiev of flagrantly violating the pact and declared their actions would not stand.

Biden, the highest-ranking American official to visit Ukraine during its conflict with Russia, planned to meet with government officials in the capital of Kiev on Tuesday. The vice president also planned to announce new technical support to help the fledgling government with energy and economic reforms.

Biden’s trip comes days after the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and Europe signed an agreement in Geneva calling for Moscow to use its influence to get pro-Russian forces to leave the numerous government buildings they now occupy in cites throughout eastern Ukraine. The U.S. asserted on Monday that publicly available photographs from Twitter and other media show that some of the troops in eastern Ukraine are Russian special forces, and the U.S. said the photos support its case that Moscow is using its military to stir unrest in Ukraine.

There was no way to immediately verify the photographs, which were either taken from the Internet or given to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last week by Ukraine diplomats.
In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected charges that Moscow was behind the troubles in eastern Ukraine and failing to live up to the Geneva agreement.
“Before putting forth ultimatums to us, demanding fulfillment of something within two-three days or otherwise be threatened with sanctions, we would urgently call on our American partners to fully recognize responsibility for those whom they brought to power and whom they are trying to shield, closing their eyes to the outrages created by this regime and by the fighters on whom this regime leans,” Lavrov told a news conference.
Words and actions by Ukrainian leaders are “absolutely unacceptable,” he declared.
The U.S. has warned that it will quickly order new economic sanctions on Russian officials and entities if Moscow doesn’t follow through on the provisions in last week’s accord. Gregory Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said it was still too early to tell whether the deal would succeed, but he added, “The ball is really in Moscow’s court in terms of whether they’re going to take this diplomatic off-ramp.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to respond to Western sanctions triggered by his country’s participation in the Ukrainian crisis by dramatically expanding bilateral trade with China, particularly in providing energy to fuel China’s fast-growing economy, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Moscow and Beijing have developed closer bilateral ties as relations between Russia and the European Union worsen. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said cooperation with Beijing is a top priority for Moscow.
“It is the rise of the Eurasia century,” one Asian source said. “Moscow and Beijing’s interests are converging.”
China is experiencing dramatic economic growth and has become the second largest economy in the world in the past two decades, growing faster than the combined economies of the United States and the entire European Union.
Economic experts predict China’s economy will be the largest in the world by 2018.
Putin intends to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in May to conclude an energy agreement and possibly work on military and other business contracts, including a major Siberian timber deal, sources say.

At the urging of the U.S., Europe is contemplating further sanctions, but it is hampered by its dependence on Russia for vital oil and natural gas imports through Ukraine.
If the Europeans attempt further sanctions, Moscow is expected to raise the price of oil and natural gas or even arrange for a cutoff due to the billions of dollars Ukraine already owes Russia for energy sales.
Because most of the oil and natural gas pipelines for Europe go through Ukraine, a shutoff of energy to Ukraine automatically will affect European access.
Consequently, Russian officials are suggesting to the West that any further sanctions against its recent seizure and annexation of Crimea will be counter-productive.

Also see:

FORGET carrying a wallet because all you could soon need is your hand to pay for goods.
Advanced technology is being rolled out in Sweden that allows empty-handed consumers to purchase goods using a tap of their palm.
Detection of a person’s unique vein structure allows the store to verify a person’s ability to pay.
Experts believe the alternative payment method would be handy for many people, particularly the absent-minded.
While vein scanning technology is not new, the ability to use it to pay is and it has been introduced in Lund in southern Sweden.
The Australian Payments and Clearing Association’s chief executive Chris Hamilton said these new-wave of technologies were constantly evolving despite not being used in Australia just yet.

The household cleaning agent chlorine, in heavy concentration is purchased by Iran and and fitted with  detonators, to provide President Bashar Assad with a vehicle for cheating on his undertaking to surrender Syria’s chemical arsenal under the year-old US-Russian chemical disarmament accord. And Assad is indeed getting away with using chlorine bombs, with crippling effect, especially on children, every few days.

Nonetheless, Sigrid Kaag of the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Saturday, April 19, that Syria had destroyed approximately 80 percent of its arsenal as agreed under the Kerry-Lavrov accord. At this rate, she said, Syria will have got rid of 100 percent of its chemical arsenal by the April 27 deadline.
The French President Francois Hollande admitted April 20, however, that the Syrian leader had continued to use chemical weapons on the front line, but he denied that definite proof had been established.
On April 7, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon offered chapter and verse to prove that the Syrian army had perpetrated a chemical attack on civilians in he town of Harasta on March 27, causing scores of serious injuries and lasting damage to children.
Yet although Assad continues to fight civilians with chemical weapons up to the present, neither the Obama administration, nor the Russian Kremlin or the United Nations find his actions reprehensible enough to warrant rebuke or even concern.
Indeed, the UN OPCW expressed satisfaction with the Assad regime’s compliance with the Kerry-Lavrov pact at a time that thousands of Syrians, men, women and children, were being subjected to chemical attack – many crippled for life for lack of medical attention and medication.
On April 11, Syrian planes dropped the new weapon, made of Chinese-manufactured chlorine gas canisters rigged with explosive detonators, on Kafr Zita near Hama. Since then, British and French intelligence sources have reported at least four such attacks against the northern towns of Idlib and Homs and the Harasta and Jobar districts outside Damascus.

Assad is dropping these gas bombs at the rate of one every three days.

Western, Russian and Middle East leaders have known all along that the list of chemical substances which the Kerry-Lavrov accord listed for removal covered at best 70-75 percent of Assad’s chemical arsenal.  But to prove the accord was working, they have held silent on his violations.

From the Israeli perspective, the accords and pacts produced by international diplomacy have proved worth less than the paper they were written on. Iran and Syria are cheating with complete impunity. Israel has no doubt that Iran will also find away round even the most stringent nuclear accord it concludes with the world powers and willy-nilly reach its objective of a nuclear bomb.