Opinion: Syrian Conflict Playing with Wild Fire

The Butterfly Effect builds off of the theory that if a butterfly flaps its wings, the impact of its action ultimately can impact a hurricane many miles away. In short, it argues that the world is interconnected and even small actions have unexpected consequences. Well, the Syrian civil war is …

A Heavenly Message? Lunar Eclipses to Line Up with Biblical Feasts

Ever wondered if G-d wanted to tell you something? Well, get ready to wonder, because the moon is going to do something over the next two years that has only happened eight times in the last 2000 years. From April 2014 through October 2015, lunar eclipses will be occurring on …

Iran, World Powers Discuss ‘All Concerns’—Deal Drafting Is Next

If the goal for the first set of talks between Iran and the major world powers was to discuss every concern related to Iran’s nuclear program, then consider things a success so far. Of course, it means nothing if an actual deal isn’t reached—so don’t expect the actual negotiations and …

Israeli President to China: Iran Building Nuclear Bomb

Saying it like it is—while that may be a dying art in many places, it’s not in Israel. This week, Israeli President Shimon Peres made sure he was crystal clear in telling China about Iran’s threat to the world. Speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to China, …

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Iranian Military Issues Veto Threat on Nuclear Deal

April 13, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program

Sometimes ideas that are floated end up sinking, and other times they don’t really leave the docks. That’s what happened to Iranian goals of sailing warships into the Atlantic Ocean, with the Fars News Agency confirming the ships were called back to Iran before reaching the ocean that borders the US and Europe.

But if you think that’s a sign of Iran changing its tune, a military deputy chief of staff made it clear that’s not the case – especially when it comes to the nuclear talks with world powers. That’s key, because the Iranian armed forces are the biggest concern in those talks – they’re the most likely ones who would build or use nuclear weapons, after all.
… Continue Reading

Iran, World Powers Discuss ‘All Concerns’—Deal Drafting Is Next

Just talking, or making progress? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Just talking, or making progress? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

If the goal for the first set of talks between Iran and the major world powers was to discuss every concern related to Iran’s nuclear program, then consider things a success so far. Of course, it means nothing if an actual deal isn’t reached—so don’t expect the actual negotiations and drafting of a deal to be easy. But it is next.

A senior US administration official, in comments released by the State Department, said that the deal drafting stage is the next step, but, “I would caution everyone from thinking that a final agreement is imminent or that it will be easy. As we draft, I have no doubt this will be quite difficult at times.” What’s more, just as everything was discussed, everything has to be agreed upon as well. … Continue Reading

Israeli President to China: Iran Building Nuclear Bomb

April 9, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program, News
Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Saying it like it is—while that may be a dying art in many places, it’s not in Israel. This week, Israeli President Shimon Peres made sure he was crystal clear in telling China about Iran’s threat to the world. Speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to China, Peres said, “Iran is building a nuclear bomb, threatens to destroy Israel and is developing long range missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.”

As a member of the global negotiating team trying to reach a nuclear deal with Iran and holding veto power in the United Nations, China has a big say in the nuclear talks. In Peres’ comments, which were released by his office, the Israeli politician noted that China “has a central role in the efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.” The press statement said the Chinese President said his country “understands Israel’s security concerns.” … Continue Reading

Iran: Not Waiting for US Permission to Grow Oil Exports

Iran’s oil sales are an important part of the sanctions pressuring the Iranians to make concessions on their nuclear program, but how much longer will that continue? If it’s up to the Americans, it’s going just fine as work continues on a final Iran nuclear deal. But the Iranians don’t care what the Americans think.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying, “Tehran will do its best to increase its oil exports and will not wait for a US permission to do that.”

Along those lines, the Fars report cited a Korean statement that showed Iranian oil exports to South Korea doubled in February 2014 compared to February last year. Fars said that the Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) showed that South Korea imported over 8 million barrels from Iran during February.

But despite such news, the official US line is that Iran’s rising oil exports still haven’t risen enough to threaten the sanctions plan. In comments released by the State Department, a Senior Administration Official said, “In terms of the oil exports, as we have always said, we expect there to be fluctuations. They go up and down month to month.

“What we care about is the aggregate over the period of time that’s agreed to. We have had teams talk to each of the remaining importers of Iranian oil, and we feel comfortable that in fact, they will meet the target that we have, and there’s nothing to lead us to believe otherwise at this time. We, of course, keep continuous eye on this and in continuous discussion with all of the importers.”

So despite the questions, the US is feeling good about the success of their sanctions. Not that Iran cares what the Americans think.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 7, 2014)

Bomb Attacks during American Visit Show Deep Divide in Egypt

April 3, 2014 Egypt, Egypt Crisis, News

In many ways, events are all about timing and place: when did they happen, and where? So when the Egypt Independent translated an Al-Masry Al-Youm news report saying that three bombs went off in Egypt outside a university on Wednesday and killed a police officer, the when and where take center stage. And it’s not good: The location is not far from the capital of Cairo and the timing occurred during an important visit to Egypt by American officials.

That makes it appear very intentional and far-reaching: terrorist forces were able to get into Egypt’s capital region and set off bombs while the US officials were in the next city over. The Egypt Independent-edited version of the Al-Masry Al-Youm report added one more wrinkle: “Who.” As in, the attacks were said to be by “resistance” forces in Egypt opposing the “occupation” police and military. … Continue Reading

Israel-Palestinian Talks Nearing Collapse

The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are falling apart, with the Palestinians moving to join more than a dozen United Nations’ groups—thereby backing out of previous agreements to not seek statehood recognition outside of the peace talks. The New York Times reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the membership applications on television, although the Palestinians had not yet submitted their applications as of early Wednesday.

The good news for Israel, which was pointed out by US officials in The New York Times article, is that the Palestinians did not move to join the International Criminal Court—which could be used to harass and even threaten Israel with unfounded criminal lawsuits. Meanwhile, Abbas has plenty of support to abandon the talks—from a terror group. … Continue Reading

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