New Crown Prince Mohammed seen taking a harder line on Iran

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

 

In elevating his son Prince Mohammed to next in line to the throne, Saudi King Salman approved a strategic realignment with the U.S. under Donald Trump and handed sweeping new powers to the 31-year-old who has been highly critical of regional rival Iran.

The decision by King Salman to promote his son to crown prince and consolidate his power was endorsed by 31 of 34 members of the Allegiance Council, made up of senior members of the ruling Al Saud family, Reuters reported on June 21. Continue reading

US Air Force Grounds F-35s at Arizona Base

An F-35A Lightning II on static display at Luke AFB, Arizona, in April 2016. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

 

Base officials halted local flights after five pilots experienced symptoms of oxygen deprivation.

The U.S. Air Force has grounded 55 of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Arizona’s Luke Air Force base following five incidents in which pilots experienced symptoms of oxygen deprivation.

The pilots “reported physiological incidents while flying” but a backup oxygen system turned on, allowing them to land safely, Capt. Mark Graff, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, said in an email Friday afternoon.

Continue reading

How an Iranian general duped US command in Syria

The Iranian-made Syrian drone downed by US F-15 fighters in southeastern Syria on June 8 was presented by American media as a “pro-regime” drone. It was in fact, as DEBKAfile’s military sources can disclose, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Shahed-129, which was fired as a part of a complicated ruse to dupe the US commanders while pro-Iranian forces surreptiously moved in on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Americans had drawn a line in the Syrian Desert sand 55 km outside the Al-Tanf border crossing embedded in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle, which is under the control of US, Western and Jordanian special forces, together with a US-trained Syrian rebel group. The Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the US military command in Syria and Iraq were confident that by securing this perimeter, their forces would keep the pro-Iranian advance at bay and the border safe. Continue reading

Britain’s Islamic Domino

The current wave of Islamic terror seen in Manchester and London, only reinforces the general feeling that the excessive  political correctness of recent years by the Obama Presidency, by the British Labor party, and the European media has fostered and festered productive breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists in the heart of England. London’s current Mayor Sadiq Khan, a practicing Muslim, could have a significant impact on the minds and hearts of many of England’s young Muslims should he decide to express what should have been said years ago to Muslims living in England and throughout the Western World. Continue reading

U.S. lawmakers say Iran eyes military base near Syria-Israel border

Iran military leaders. Teheran wants to establish a military base in Syria near the Jordan or Israel border, U.S. lawmakers said. / Fars via AFP

 

Iran is looking to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and is eyeing a potential base near the Syrian border with Israel or Jordan, two U.S. lawmakers said.

“A permanent Iranian military base in Syria … would increase Iran’s operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region,” Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, and Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The lawmakers’ warning comes as a Senate panel on May 25 approved new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s support for international terrorism and its ballistic missile program, the first move to punish Teheran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord went into effect. Continue reading

Sharia Down Under

A mosque minaret in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)

 

  • Sharia law, the president at the time of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils ludicrously argued, far from discriminating against women, “guarantees women’s rights that are not recognised in mainstream Australian courts”.
  • The Australian Federal Police investigated 69 incidents of forced or under-age marriage in the 2015-16 financial year, up from 33 the previous year. While there are no official numbers, it is estimated that there are 83,000 women and girls in Australia who may have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which has spent the past four years probing numerous religious organizations, has made no inquiries into Islam. The commission has held 6,500 one-on-one private interview sessions with survivors or witnesses making allegations of child sexual abuse within institutions, but only three sessions in relation to Islamic institutions.

What legacy did Australia’s former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali — named “Muslim Man of the Year” in 2005 and the country’s most senior, longest-serving (1988-2007) Muslim cleric — leave behind? Continue reading

Iran shrugs off Trump threats, missile tests to carry on

Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani ridiculed US strategy in the Middle East, dismissing Donald Trump’s summit with Arab leaders as “just a show” and insisting that missile tests will continue.

“Our missiles are for our defence and for peace, they are not offensive. Know that while there is a technical need to conduct missile tests, we will do so and we will ask the permission of no one,” Rouhani told reporters in Tehran.

His comments followed fierce critism from the US president during visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Continue reading

Iraqi officers land in Syria, stir Israeli concern

Iraq switching sides to the Iranian-Syrian-Russian axis is now official:

 

Israeli security chiefs were gravely concerned Wednesday, May 17, when they learned that a high-ranking Iraqi military delegation had arrived in Damascus, the first in decades during which the Iraqi and Syrian ruling regimes were at odds, for a discussion on the situation unfolding on the Syrian-Iraqi border – in particular the Al-Tanf crossing.

DEBKAfile’s military sources reported on May 15 and May 16 on the potential for a clash of arms over this strategic crossing, which is situated at the intersection of the Jordanian, Iraq, and Syrian borders and commands the No.1 Route linking Baghdad with Damascus and the Jordanian capital of Amman. Continue reading

Philippines to shop for Chinese, Russian arms due to strict US conditions

FILE PHOTO: Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana speaks during the opening ceremony of Philippines and U.S. military joint exercises called Balikatan in Quezon city

 

The Philippines has been forced to turn to China and Russia for arms supplies because of conditions imposed by its long-time ally and former colonial ruler the United States, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.

The United States has provided its defence treaty ally with most of its major hardware, like ships, fighters, helicopters and small arms, but the Philippines was now looking to China and Russia for drones, planes, fast boats and rifles to fight Maoist-led rebels and Islamist militants behind an unrelenting spree of piracy and kidnapping, he said. Continue reading

US, UK, Jordanian forces enter S. Syria

 

US special forces, together with British and Jordanian elite troops, moved into southern Syria late Sunday, May 14. They were acting to counter the Syrian-Iranian scheme to nullify the American plan for posting Jordanian forces in southeastern Syria, which timed for the days before US President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East.

The US-led armored force with British and Jordanian units crossed from northern Jordan through the Tanf Border-Crossing between the Hashemite Kingdom, Iraq and Syria, and took up positions capable of consolidating their control of the main road between Palmyra and Baghdad. Some of their moves were coordinated with Israel. Continue reading

The Coming China-Germany Trade Juggernaut

 

ISTOCK.COM/AKE1150SB

 

In a post-American trade war, this emerging bloc will wield devastating power.

Stories of international angst over United States President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach are becoming more commonplace. Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” catchphrase sounds good for many at home, but abroad, it is prompting a weighty reorganization of international trade relationships. And long term, the result will be a trade war that will prove ruinous to the U.S.

World trade has changed a great deal over the last several decades. The international community at large no longer depends on America’s giant import expenditures and exports. Parag Khanna of Politico wrote:

As Americans, it’s easy to assume that global trade still depends on America as the consumer of last resort. But that’s no longer true. In fact, the majority of trade in emerging-market nations is with each other, not with the U.S. In 1990, emerging economies sent 65 percent of their exports to developed nations like the U.S. and Europe, and only 35 percent to other developing countries. Today, that figure is nearly reversed. Continue reading

Erdogan calls on Muslims to flood Jerusalem’s iconic mosque and protect its Islamic identity

President Erdogan also warned the Trump administration not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

 

The Turkish president compared Israel’s policies to South Africa’s Apartheid system.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Muslims around the world to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to protect the site’s Islamic identity. The Turkish leader also took the opportunity to heap scorn on Israel, likening the country’s policies to South Africa’s Apartheid era.

Speaking in Istanbul at a charity conference discussing Palestinian economic development, Erdogan lashed out at Israel regarding its settlement plans in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Continue reading

Exclusive: Trump says ‘major, major’ conflict with North Korea possible, but seeks diplomacy

U.S. President Donald Trump looks out a window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.

“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” he said. Continue reading

Untapped Global Trade Potential for UK

Shutterstock

 

A world of opportunity!

New work from Open Britain highlights the irrelevance of an obsessively Eurocentric trade policy as it points to foreign markets that the UK has thus far failed to exploit. Continue reading

Iranian spies second most active in Germany, says Interior Ministry

 

Iranian intelligence operatives are the second most active in Germany after Russian spies, with much of their activity focusing on Israeli targets in the country, according to the German Interior Ministry. The information is contained in a report that was issued in response to a request by a member of Germany’s Bundestag last week. It states that Iranian spies have engaged in nearly two dozen known intelligence operations on German soil since 2007, and have even targeted individuals for assassination. Continue reading