Iran’s Supreme Leader Khomeini Shows His Love For All Non Shiite’s

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khomeini Shows His Love For All Non Shiite’s

( I FIRST POSTED THIS ARTICLE ON SEPTEMBER 19th OF 2016. I FEEL THAT THIS IS AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE, ONE THAT i HOPE YOU WILL TAKE A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME TO READ AS IT IS VERY ‘TELLING’)

Special Dispatch Memri
Iranian General Discusses Shi’ite Liberation Army Under Command Of Qassem Soleimani, Who Is Subordinate To Supreme Leader Khomeini September 15, 2016 Special Dispatch No.6611

On August 18, 2016, Ali Falaki, a retired general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who commanded a brigade in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and claims to have volunteered to fight in Syria, gave an interview to the Iranian website Mashregh, which is close to the IRGC. In it, he spoke of the “Shi’ite Liberation Army” that Iran has deployed on its three battlefronts in the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen – stating that it comprises divisions based on ethnicity that Iran has established for this purpose. These divisions, he said, are the Afghan division (Fatemiyoun), the Pakistani division (Zaynabiyoun) and the Iraqi division (Hayderiyoun), in addition to the Lebanese Hezbollah division that is operating in Lebanon and Syria. Falaki explained that these divisions comprise the Shi’ite Liberation Army that operates according to the ethnic model adopted by Iran in the Iran-Iraq war.[1]


Ali Falaki (Image: Farsnews.com)

Falaki stressed that while the Shi’ite Liberation Army forces on the various fronts are divided by ethnicity, their command structure is Iranian, and is headed by IRGC officers under the command of Qassem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s elite Qods Force, which operates outside Iran’s borders. He added that Soleimani answers directly to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini.

Falaki, who said that he maintains direct contact with the top echelons of the Iranian Army and IRGC, proudly reported that he had commanded, as part of the Afghan division, many Iranian Army soldiers who had volunteered to fight in Syria since February 2016. He said that it had been decided that they would be incorporated into the Afghan division of the Shi’ite Liberation Army as commanders. Falaki appears to be referring to February reports that Iran had replaced IRGC officers in Syria with Iranian Army soldiers and to relations between the IRGC and the Iranian Army, which have had their ups and downs.

Like other Iranian spokesmen, Falaki stressed that Iran is not sending Iranian forces to directly fight on the various fronts in the Middle East, but is creating local fighting forces that it provides with “guidance, organization, and management” by means of IRGC officers, and, when necessary also reinforces with the ethnic divisions of the Shi’ite Liberation Army. Wherever “there is a need for this army, the people in that region will be organized and supplied with the necessary forces,” he said. He added that the Shi’ite Liberation Army was established “because of the existence of Israel,” which Khamenei has vowed will cease to exist in about 20 years, though in practice the Shi’ite Liberation Army is fighting against Sunnis in the Middle East.

It should be mentioned that Falaki uses the term “Shi’ite Liberation Army” to mean two things: one, that its mission is to liberate Shi’ites, and two, that it is itself distinctly Shi’ite.

Following are excerpts from Falaki’s interview on the Mashregh website:[2]

“The First Seed Of The Shi’ite And Muslim Liberation Army Was Germinated In Syria”

“We have certain weaknesses in Syria that I do not wish to currently discuss, but some of them stem from a weakness we have in Iran. From here [in Iran], we come to South Lebanon and support the Shi’ites there; we come to Bahrain and Yemen at great expense and support the Shi’ites there.

“In Lebanon, we found [Hizbullah secretary-general] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, but here [in Iran], we could find no leader among all the active revolutionary [Afghan] clerics willing to be on the frontlines [like he is], nor could we organize such large forces [as Hizbullah]. We were not able to properly support the three million Shi’ite Afghans [living in Iran as refugees], and it is very unfortunate that for 30 years we ignored Afghan Shi’ites who, despite their oppression, resisted the arrogance of the east [Russia] and the West [the U.S.] in Afghanistan. We saw them as mere laborers waiting [for work] at intersections or as criminals. This generation [of Afghans in Iran] stepped up and showed heroism, altruism, courage, and daring in Syria. They shone under the command of the Iranian forces…

“Under the command of [Qods Force head] Haj Qassem [Soleimani], the Afghans prevented Zaynabiyya, Damascus, and the airport from falling [to the Syrian rebels]… We must not think that we [Iranians] are fighting in Syria, [but rather that] the Afghans are being courageous there under our command…

“The name ‘Fatemiyoun’ refers to explicit aid from God. The name ‘Fatemiyoun’ produced two great events… [for Iran] in the world of Islam. First, during the [Iran-Iraq] War, we were tasked with creating unity among [ethnic] sects [in Iran] – Lors, Kurds, Baluchis, Persians, and Arabs – [albeit] in separate frameworks,  [which all fought] the Ba’ath Party [in Iraq]. We transformed all the [ethnic] sects into military divisions, and during the war never dared to say that some of the brothers were Sunnis and some were [Shi’ite] Afghans.

“The Fatemiyoun banner was raised, and thus the first seed of the liberation army of Shi’ites and Muslims was germinated in Syria. Today we have the privilege [of forming the Shi’ite Liberation Army] because back then, we created the unity among the [ethnic] sects; now, we have created international [Shi’ite] unity. The [Pakistani] Zaynabiyoun division comprises Pakistanis under the command of IRGC officers. The [Afghan] Fatemiyoun division has several brigades comprising Afghans, and even has some Sunni members. IRGC [officers] guide this division. These divisions include IRGC commanders and [Afghani] commanders, from squad commanders to staff officers. These divisions have a single uniform and a single banner. They come under a single umbrella organization and fight on a single battlefront. We also have the Hayderiyoun division, which comprises Iraqis. We also have a Hezbollah division, which is divided into two: one part is Hezbollah in Lebanon and the other is Hezbollah in Syria, which comprises the people of Damascus, Nubl, and Al-Zahraa.

“The [Shi’ite] Liberation Army was formed because, with God’s help, in 23 years there should be no such thing as Israel. These divisions are on the Israeli border. The Fatemiyoun have laid the groundwork for this fight.

“The second thing, that we are happy to see is spreading to everyone, is that our previous [patronizing] view of these [Afghan] brothers has changed…”

“Wherever There Is A Need For This Army, The People In That Region Will Be Organized And Supplied With Necessary Forces”

“The Shi’ite Liberation Army was established, and it is currently under the command of [Qods Force head] Haj Qassem Soleimani, who obeys the leader [Khomeini]. One of this army’s fronts is in Syria, another is in Iraq, and yet another is in Yemen. The forces in this army are not meant to be only Iranian; [instead], wherever there is a need for this army, the people in that region will be organized [to form it] and supplied with the necessary forces…

“We [Iranians] are not meant to come [to Syria] as forces operating [on the ground]. We want [Iranian] elements who know how to teach, organize, and manage to come to Syria. This way, the forces in that region can spring into action…

“Some of the commanders of the army [of the Syrian regime] fled abroad, and some of its bases were captured. The crushed Syrian army units have today regrouped with renewed strength. Therefore, there is no need for us [in Iran] to send an army there. We can stand alongside the Syrian army, organize Syrian forces, and prepare them for battle. [In the future] we can remove the enemy occupation of Syria, just as we did in [Iranian] Kurdistan, which took a year or two – but controlling foreign incursions into Syria is up to the Syrians themselves and we cannot prevent it.

“Regime change and changes of president can happen only when the enemy is no longer [in Syria]…  For example, we succeeded, within two years, to expel the enemy presence in Kurdistan in western [Iran], but it took us years to impose law and order there… Today, this region is considered one of the safest in Iran… even though 20 years ago, they were beheading IRGC personnel with pottery shards…”

The Iranian Army Felt It Had A Roll To Fulfill In Syria

“The Iranian army felt that it had to fulfill a role in this [Syrian] arena. According to my knowledge, the army told Qassem Soleimani that it wants to fulfill its duty in this matter [i.e. fighting in Syria]. Qassem Soleimani told this to the leader [Khomeini], and the leader gave his blessing… Some volunteers from various military units, who were mostly experts in aerial combat, were sent to Syria in mid-February 2016.

“These [Iranian army] forces were competent enough to operate independently, but we decided that they would operate as part of the [Afghan] Fatemiyoun [division]. God rewarded me by placing me in command of them as part of the Fatemiyoun [division]. I placed them in charge of the area and transferred means to them, and after a short period, the [Afghan] unit was placed under their command. Neither their rank nor their weapons in Iran were the same as they were [after they joined] the Fatemiyoun [in Syria]. But due to their presence in Syria and after a short time fighting alongside the [Afghan] Fatemiyoun brothers, they became one organization, wore the same uniform, and fought in the same trenches. They became fast friends.

“I also told [Iranian ground forces commander] Amir Pourdastan that I was proud to fight along with the brothers from the [Iranian] army on one of the global battlefront outside of Iran, just like during the sacred defense period [the Iran-Iraq War]. [Back then] there was no difference [between us and them] and they were like the Basij boys [of the IRGC].

“I spoke with the commander who was tasked with sending [Iranian soldiers to Syria] and he said: ‘One of my concerns is to curb the wave of volunteers who want to be sent [to Syria]. According to the needs of the [Iranian] General Staff, we only send the necessary amount of forces [to Syria]. Had I allowed it, we would have had several divisions of [Iranian] volunteers [in Syria].’

“The presence of these forces has been hugely beneficial [in the Syrian arena]. They also suffered martyrdoms and injuries, but this did not damage their morale or make them less determined. They were experienced, brave, and passionate…

“The [volunteers] coming from Iran to Syria are given a monthly stipend of $100.”

“We Do Not Wish To Produce An Atomic Bomb… [But Rather] Prove… That [We] Can Reach Higher Than France [And] England… In All Fields… Even On The Military Level”

“Until our power grows, the world of the arrogance [the U.S.] will never let us be. Some wonder why there is a need for tension between us and the Western world. I must say that if we tolerate this tension for a while, we will be a match for [the enemy] and then they will no longer dare fight us. We do not wish to produce an atomic bomb. We only want to prove that our people and country can reach higher than France, England, Austria, and Denmark in all fields – humanities, science, economy, technology, as well as human rights, and even on the military level.

“If we destroy the enemy that is currently mobilizing against us, there will be no room for any other country [to mobilize against us]. When we show our true might, they will no longer be able to do anything against us…”

 

End notes:

 

[1] In the first part of the interview Falaki refers to the problem of the Afghan refugees in Iran, who number some 3,000,000. The Iranian regime recruits young men from among these refugees to fight in Syria as part of the Afghan division. The fighters receive a monthly stipend and, if they fall in battle, their families’ social status is enhanced.

[2] Fars (Iran), August 18, 2016. It should be mentioned that the interview was deleted from the Mashregh website shortly after publication.

Further Hawaii Volcano Eruptions after Major Quake

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Further Hawaii Volcano Eruptions after Major Quake

Saturday, 5 May, 2018 – 08:30
Lava is seen coming from a fissure in Leilani Estates subdivision on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 4, 2018. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP
Asharq Al-Awsat
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook Hawaii’s Big Island on Friday, prompting fresh eruptions of the Kilauea volcano that has been spewing lava into residential areas, and forcing hundreds of people to flee amid a high alert.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 12:32 pm and was centered on the south flank of the volcano, which first erupted on Thursday after a series of tremors on the island.

“This is in almost exactly the same location as the deadly 1975 M 7.1 quake,” USGC said in a tweet.

Another 5.7-magnitude tremor hit the island earlier on Friday and authorities said they expect more seismic activity.

The quakes have prompted the volcano, one of five active on the island, to erupt.

Drone and video footage showed orange magma gushing up from cracks in the ground and snaking through a wooded area.

Molten lava could also be seen bubbling up through cracks on streets in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhood where residents were ordered to evacuate on Thursday.

The area is home to about 1,700 people and 770 structures. The broader district potentially impacted by the threat is home to some 10,000 people.

No injuries have been reported but several homes were said to have been destroyed or badly damaged on Friday, authorities said.

Officials urged any remaining residents to evacuate and warned of extremely high levels of toxic fumes.

“Elderly, young and people with respiratory issues need to comply with the mandatory evacuation order and leave the area,” a statement from the mayor’s office said.

Governor David Ige said residents were being housed in community centers until the danger from Kilauea has passed.

Ige signed an emergency proclamation releasing disaster funds to the Big Island.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in an alert that a total of six lava fissures had occurred. Although no significant lava flows have yet formed, additional outbreaks of lava, which can reach temperatures of about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,150 Celsius), were expected, the agency said.

Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years.

Do You Actually Own Anything: Or Does The U.S.Federal Government Own It/You?

(This article is courtesy of OPB TV and Radio of eastern Oregon)

News | Nation | Local | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

‘This Land Is Our Land’: The Movement Bigger Than The Bundys

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

Dave Blanchard/OPB

OPB’s Conrad Wilson and the Oregonian/OregonLive’s Maxine Bernstein update us on the last full week of the government’s case against the Malheur refuge occupiers.

Then, we take a look at the so-called Patriot Movement — a loosely connected network of organizations that are united in the belief the federal government has overstepped its authority.

Mark Potok is a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center. His job is to monitor groups that are a part of what he calls the “extreme right.” That includes everything from racist groups like the KKK and to groups like the Bundys, whose concerns revolve around severe distrust of the federal government.

Potok says many people in the groups he tracks believe there is “a secret plan to impose draconian gun control on all Americans” and “those who resist the coming seizure will be thrown into concentration camps that have been secretly built by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

SPLC has identified nearly 1,000 groups across the country with these kinds of beliefs and connects the groups to the philosophies that motivated the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho; the Waco, Texas, siege; and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Potok says there is a way to curb the movement.

“In the late ‘90s, the FBI made quite an effort … to meet with militiamen, to go out to have coffee to talk to these people about their concerns and fears, and in fact I think there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that was quite effective,” Potok said. “You realize the person you’re having coffee with is an actual human being just like you are.”uge

 

Joseph Rice is the head of the Josephine County chapter of the Oath Keepers — a group that Potok sees as central to so-called patriot groups. But Rice thinks SPLC is uninformed about his group.

“I’ve never spoken to those folks,” he said.

Rice was in Harney County when Ammon Bundy led a group to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but Rice and his group didn’t join the occupation. Instead, he and a group of like-minded organizations known as the “Pacific Patriots Network” stuck around to provide security in town. The group said it was there to prevent another Waco or Ruby Ridge-like incident.

Those incidents, he says, were “lessons in history.” The individuals involved in those incidents “were living their life as they chose to live freely, without impact to others. It was only when the federal government came in they had impact, and that resulted in loss of life.”

Though he didn’t endorse it, Rice insists that the takeover of the refuge was an act of civil disobedience. And while he disagrees with the charges against Ammon Bundy and the other defendants, he does think the incident has drawn attention to issues around the federal control of land, which could be good for the aims of his group.

Subscribe To ‘This Land Is Our Land’

Subscribe to “This Land Is Our Land” on NPR One, iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts. Find comprehensive trial coverage at OPB.org/ThisLand.

Share your thoughts on the trial with us on Facebook and Twitter, or by emailing us directly at [email protected].

Do Black Lives Or Any Lives Really Matter In Today’s Society

Do Black Lives Or Any Lives Really Matter In Today’s Society

(I wrote this on September 26th of 2016)

Here in the States we see and hear of evil everyday on the different news feeds we have at our fingertips. Just this morning I heard of an active shooter in SW Houston Texas where a disgruntled lawyer went on a shooting spree wounding 9 people before the Police shot and killed him. As of the time of this report I do not know if the color of ones skin had anything to do with who was shot this morning or not. Just a couple of days ago an idiot shot and killed 5 people at a mall in Washington State. In that instance it appears to me that gender and the religious beliefs of the shooter had a huge role in those murders. Yet even when there are mass shootings here in the U.S. the mass media focuses most of its airtime whenever a Black person is killed by a Police Officer than on any other of these events. It seems that in our American Media there is always the effort to divide and take sides when this happens. I guess because hatred, racism, ignorance and criminal activities sell more papers and airtime.

 

Do I think that some Police Officers are racist and or just plain punks? Yes of course I do, I have lived 60 years here in the States and I have been eye-witness to such type of events several times. Do I believe that all Police Officers are racist or punks, no, not at all, that would be bias and quite stupid of me to think that. Yet it is my belief that some people do believe that about all Police Officers and if they do then I believe that they have become exactly what they hate, racist, hate filled punks themselves. Do I believe that the young Black man who was shot and killed by a Black plain clothed Police Officer in Charlotte North Carolina this past week was a racist act? No I don’t unless the Black Officer was a person who is bias against his own race. Also earlier this week there was another case of a young Black man being shot and killed by a White lady Police Officer in Tulsa Oklahoma. Do I believe that race had anything to do with this shooting? Yes I do. Each case of a Police shooting has to be analyzed separately. Every human case is different because the humans involved are different. The lady Officer in Tulsa has been charged with first degree manslaughter but the Officer in Charlotte has not been charged with anything, at least not yet. Personally I believed and still believe that the Officer in Tulsa should have been charged with second degree murder. I have known a lot of Officers in my life and I know that some do always carry a ‘throw down’ gun or a knife just in case they mess up and shoot an unarmed person they can throw down that weapon so that they don’t get charged with shooting an unarmed person. Is this what happened in Charlotte? By what I have seen on tapes and pictures, it looks to me like this might well be one of those throw down situations.

 

Race is a big issue on these shootings because of the media trying to sell airtime and news papers. There are far more people in this Country that are shot by Police Officers that are not black folks than the cases where they are Black folks. Yet we hear very little in the Nations media unless it is a Black person who got shot. The media and those ignorant enough to believe their bias hype could believe that Police Officers only shoot black people. There are plenty of cases though where I do believe the person’s skin color got them executed by a Police Officer like where that young Black kid was shot 16 or 17 times as he lay on the street in Chicago. In my opinion this is a case of first degree murder and the Cop should be charged with first degree murder and nothing less.

 

How much ruckus do you hear in the media when any other race of person is shot by an Officer when the one shot wasn’t Black? How about when a White person is shot by an Officer? Now, when was the last time there were any riots when a Hispanic, Indian or Asian person was shot by an Officer? America’s media play’s the race card mostly/only when it is a Black person who has been shot. Our society has been groomed to treat Black folks different in almost all issues. Some of these issues are good but many are toward the negative. Before the 1960’s all non White people were treated horribly not just the Black folks. It is true that the only ‘legal’ slaves in this Country were Black people but slavery ended more than 150 years ago. Most likely no one in our Country today has ever even known someone who was a ‘legal’ slave nor has anyone ever been one. Slavery of any kind is a sickening thing to even think about and it is nothing to ever joke about. Have you ever watched the movies Roots or Django? How about the TV program on WGN out of Chicago called Underground? If these situations don’t make you sick at your stomach, have you no morality?

 

This ‘movement’ here in America called ‘Black Lives Matter’ in my opinion is not much more than a racist movement of hate. Do Black lives matter? Absolutely they do, but so does every life, equally. Should it be okay for people in this Country to protest peacefully against the Government or against a Police Department’s? Yes, of course it should be okay for everyone in this Country to peacefully protest yet the word Peacefully is the key word. In Charlotte we have seen once again where folks, mostly Black folks have protested with violence and the Nations media has remained very quiet about it because if they spoke the truth they would be accused of being racist towards Black people. Think about it, people riot, burning vehicles, breaking into store and tractor trailers on the interstate and blocking off a major interstate and it is said by some that these rioters were simply ‘street cleaners’, how sickening! The media have created their own monster. The Black Race in this Country has been allowed to be racist in almost all venues. Think about these issues for a moment please. Here in this Country there are such things as the NAACP, the Black Miss America Pageant, the Negro College Fund, Black Colleges, Black Churches, Black Congressional Caucuses, Black Businessmen Associations, Black Lives Matter Movement and the list goes on and on. Now think about it, if there were such things as the National Association of White People, the White Miss America Pageant, the White Peoples College Fund, White Colleges and White Churches, White Congressional Caucuses, White Businessmen Associations, or the White Lives Matter Movements a huge amount of America’s Black folks would be livid, ranting and raving about how racist these groups are and how they had to be stopped from existing? The same thing would happen if there were Associations like this for Asian, Hispanic or Indian folks. There is a group of white folks that most everyone knows of called the KKK and rightfully so, most Americans have no use for their hatred. My question to everyone is, shouldn’t every single thing is this Country that is in any way race based be made illegal? Are they not all hate groups? Are they not all bias?

 

Racism is a huge problem in this country and racism does exist in some people in every race on the planet. Racism is simply another term for hatred of those who aren’t like us. I am a white guy by birth, I like everyone else ever born had no say so concerning my skin color when I came out of the womb. Skin color does not make me a good person or a bad person. My skin color had nothing to do with me being or not being a racist hate filled person, nor did it you. I have first hand experienced hate because of my white skin. This has happened many times from Black folks, Hispanic folks and from Indian folks. I have also experienced hatred from White people who were mad at me because I was daring to speak with a non-White. Now the question is, do Black Lives Matter? I think you know my answer by now so the question is to you, do Black Lives Matter, to you? The question is also to all of the Black folks reading this article today, are you a racist, do you hate any other race of people, or all the other people who are not Black? Hatred like racism is a disease of the mind and of the Soul. Everyone on this planet are brothers and Jesus made it plain that if we hate our brother without a cause (something they can’t help or do anything about, like skin color) then we are condemning our own selves to Hell. I’m just saying, racism is an individual personal thing, we choose to be or not to be. So now my last question to you is, what have you chosen to be?

Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa

(CNN)Chinese personnel at the country’s first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots and prompted the US to launch a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, two military officials told CNN.

The US issued a notice to airmen “to exercise caution when flying in certain areas in Djibouti,” which “was issued due to lasers being directed at US aircraft on a small number of separate occasions over the last few weeks,” according to the notice obtained by CNN.
“During one incident, there were two minor eye injuries of aircrew flying in a C-130 that resulted from exposure to military-grade laser beams, which were reported to have originated from the nearby Chinese base,” the notice said.
Two US military officials told CNN that the issue was of major concern as such activity can cause major accidents. The officials said that the State Department had lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing in an effort to get China to stop the activity.
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White confirmed the incidents later on Thursday, saying the United States has “formally demarched” the Chinese government over the incidents and has “requested” that the Chinese launch their own investigation of the situation.
“This activity poses a true threat to our airmen,” White said, later saying that the incidents had grown increasingly serious over the last few weeks.
A US defense official told CNN that the US military also believes the Chinese use similar lasers to interfere with US aircraft in the South China Sea.
Last month the US military was forced to briefly halt air operations in the East African nation of Djibouti, a critical location in the fight against terrorism, following a series of accidents involving aircraft. The halting of air operations was done at the request of Djiboutian government.
There are about 4,000 US personnel in Djibouti, based at Camp Lemonnier. The US military places a lot of importance on its ability to base forces in Djibouti given its critically strategic location near countries like Somalia and Yemen, where the US regularly targets terrorists in airstrikes.
But US officials have recently expressed concern about the growing influence of China in Djibouti, noting its establishment of its first military base there and its close economic links with the country.
Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who oversees US Africa Command, acknowledged both challenges during an appearance before Congress in March.
“We are taking significant steps on the counterintelligence side so that we have all the defenses that we need there, there is no doubt about that,” said Waldhauser, referring to the proximity of the new Chinese base.

Iran: Khamenei Refuses to Abandon Iran’s Regional Role

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Khamenei Refuses to Abandon Iran’s Regional Role

Tuesday, 1 May, 2018 – 08:15
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Reuters)
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei closed the door to any international attempts to negotiate Tehran’s regional role and ballistic missile program, accusing the US administration of waging an economic war against his country run by the US Treasury Department.

Khamenei criticized the positions of US President Donald Trump without naming him, pointing out that years ago he addressed a letter to former US President Georges Bush, in which he said that the “hit-and-run era is over.”

“They know that if they get into a military conflict with Iran, they will be struck multiple times over,” he stated.

Commenting on the international move aimed at containing Iran’s regional threats, Khamenei said the Middle East wars were “the result of the American presence.”

“The United States, not Iran, should withdraw from West Asia,” he stressed.

According to Khamenei, Iran is engaging in an “economic and cultural” confrontation with the United States, claiming that the Treasury Department was leading the war against Iran, in a tacit reference to the possibility of imposing new international sanctions if Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told state media that his country was “fully prepared” for any scenario in case Trump decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

“Iran [is] fully prepared for any US scenario on the 2015 nuclear deal,” he said.

Iran’s nuclear chief said that Tehran was technically ready to enrich uranium to a higher level than before, Reuters reported.

According to the agency, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Iran was able technically to enrich uranium to a higher level than it could before it signed the 2015 deal designed to curb its nuclear program.

‘Lies’ Of Western Powers—(So Says China And Syrian Governments)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA DAILY NEWS PAPER NOW CALLED THE ‘SHINE’)

 

‘Lies’ of Western powers

Xinhua

SYRIA’S Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sussan said Saturday that investigating the chemical weapons allegations in Damascus’ eastern district of Douma will expose the lies of the Western countries.

In an interview with Xinhua, Sussan said it was the Syrian government who invited the inspection experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to look into the allegations about the use of chlorine gas in the battles in Douma on April 7 ahead of the withdrawal of the rebels and their families to northern Syria.

“The Syrian government has declared in its invitation letter (to the OPCW), and after the arrival of the (inspection) team, that it will fully cooperate and offer all facilitations for the inspection team to carry out its mission,” he said.

The remarks of Sussan come as the OPCW inspection team arrived in Damascus last Saturday afternoon, just hours after the US, France and Britain launched a series of missiles strikes on Syrian positions in retaliation for an alleged toxic gas attack on the rebels in Douma on April 7.

The Syrian government has condemned the US strikes while denying carrying out such an attack, saying the militants and their foreign allies were making fabrications to justify a strike on Syria. The security team of the UN has entered Douma to assess the situation on the ground as the actual entry of the inspectors hasn’t taken place yet.

In a statement on April 18, the OPCW said the UN security team came “under small arms fire” while conducting a reconnaissance work in Douma and went back to Damascus. The team was spotted entering Douma again on Friday, with no details about the actual visit of the inspectors. In his interview Saturday, the Syrian official said that the decision of visiting Douma by the inspectors is the decision of the OPCW, not the Syrian government, adding that “we respect their justifications.”

“The OPCW team in Damascus has held several meetings with Syrian government, and met with a number of witnesses from inside Douma, including locals, doctors or the medical cadres working in hospitals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sussan slammed the US and its Western allies for overstepping their boundaries by making their allegations and attacks on Syrian positions ahead of the international investigation into the chemical weapons’ allegations.

“If they are saying that chemical (weapons) were used in Ghouta, and if (US President Donald) Trump or France and Britain really wanted to know the truth, they should have provided appropriate conditions for the OPCW to carry out its mission as it’s the organization involved in this matter, and not to encroach upon the work of the international institutions and launch accusations and verdicts and then implement punishments,” he said.

He stressed that the Western countries will not stop making allegations and claims because they want to thwart the work of any organization.

“The US-led strike aimed to hinder the work of the inspection mission and the West wanted that because the work of the mission will expose their lies,” he said, adding that “the Western powers thought that the strike on Syria would push the Syrian government to react by preventing the mission from entering Douma and that this would indicate that the Syrian government won’t cooperate.”

US AND CHINA HEADED FOR WAR OVER TAIWAN?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST AND FROM ANDY TAI’s GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT)

 

ARE THE US AND CHINA HEADED FOR WAR OVER TAIWAN?

As Beijing and Washington position themselves for a trade war, Trump should beware playing the Taiwan card – or he may find his actions lead to a real war

BY WANG XIANGWEI

Are the Chinese mainland and Taiwan headed down an inevitable path to war – one that is likely to see the United States join the fray?

This slow-burning question came to the fore again last week when the mainland launched live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday amid fiery rhetoric from Chinese state media. On Thursday morning, Chinese state media started to post online videos of helicopters and warships firing at targets at sea but Taiwandismissed the exercises as “routine”.

This came after President Xi Jinping had presided over a massive naval parade off Hainan island a week earlier, one that involved 48 warships including China’s sole operating aircraft carrier and more than 10,000 servicemen – the largest such exercise since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

PLA submarines, naval vessels and fighter jets accompany China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning on exercises in the South China Sea. Photo: Xinhua

The state media said Beijing was sending a loud and clear warning to Taipei and Washington amid heightened tensions caused by Taiwanese leaders’ open advocacy for independence and increased American support for the Taiwanese government.

Over the past few weeks, Chinese officials and state media have ratcheted up the rhetoric against Taipei and Washington, the largest supplier of arms to the island.

Trump’s trade war with China is just his opening gambit

Referring to Thursday’s live-fire drills, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to US, warned in a lecture at Harvard University that China would try every possible means to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks on the telephone to Donald Trump. Photo: EPA

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said any outside forces that attempted to “play the Taiwan card” would find their efforts “futile” and would hurt themselves if they went “over the line”, according to the official China Daily.

The remark was clearly aimed at US President Donald Trump and his administration which in recent months has taken a number of significant steps to warm ties with Taipei. As Beijing and Washington are currently positioning themselves for a possible trade war, Trump’s intention to play the Taiwan card again is even more dangerous because this would further destabilise bilateral ties or even worse, could lead to a real war.

A nasty US-China fight is inevitable. But it needn’t be terminal

True to Trump’s unconventional and unpredictable presidency, he first started to play the Taiwan card in the transition to the White House when he took a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, breaking a nearly 40-year-old diplomatic protocol governing China-US ties.

At that time, Trump made it clear his intention was to use Taiwan as a play to force more concessions on trade from China. His suggestion then was overwhelmingly met with criticism and cynicism almost everywhere, even in Taiwan where it raised concerns that the island could be used as a pawn and discarded easily.

China sees Taiwan as a province and usually reacts strongly to any foreign country having official contacts with the Taiwanese government or sale of arms to the island, particularly from the United States.

Now one year later, Trump’s intention to play the Taiwan card again signals a much broader agenda targeting China. Almost all the moderating voices in his administration have been forced out and replaced by more hawkish officials including the soon-to-be secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the National Security Adviser John Bolton – both of whom are known for tough stances against China and pro-Taiwan views.

Tough on China: US national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Reuters

In recent months, his administration has approved licences for American firms to sell Taiwan technology to build submarines and signed the Taiwan Travel Act to encourage visits between American and Taiwanese officials. All these have invited protests from China.

A major test will come in June when the American Institute in Taiwan, the US de facto embassy, is slated to move into a new building. There has been growing speculation that Bolton or some other senior US official will attend the ceremony. If that happens, Beijing will regard it as a major provocation.

It is interesting to note that amid the war of words with Washington over trade, some elements in Beijing’s propaganda machine have been using warlike language to give the impression that China will not back down from the trade spat and will fight the US to the very end. That could well be a negotiation tactic, as trade issues are negotiable after all. But from the Chinese perspective, the Taiwan issue is absolutely non-negotiable. It is a clearly marked red line.

The Taiwanese leaders, encouraged by the latest warming signs from Washington, have started to openly advocate independence, which is a major taboo for Beijing and seen as breaking the status quo.

Over the past 40 years, Beijing and Taipei have tried to maintain the status quo in which both sides recognise the island as part of China, even while neither government recognises the legitimacy of the other. Taiwan agrees not to broach independence, in return mainland China does not use force to take over the island. Washington recognises this one-China principle but maintains close unofficial ties with Taiwan and provides the island with arms under the Taiwan Relations Act – a constant source of friction with Beijing.

Taiwanese Premier William Lai. Photo: EPA

This month, the Taiwanese premier William Lai publicly described himself as “a political worker for Taiwanese independence”. Although this was not the first time he has said this, Lai’s latest declaration caused serious worries in Beijing in the context of Washington’s warming ties with Taipei.

The heightened tensions over the Taiwan Strait have come as Xi embarks on his second term as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Last month the national legislature repealed the term limits on the presidency, enabling Xi to rule as long as he likes.

With Xi trying to assert China’s power on the international stage, flexing China’s military muscle in the Taiwan Strait in the name of pushing back against the independence movement is likely to bolster Xi’s support on the mainland.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been trying to assert China’s power on the international stage. Photo: AFP

China’s official line has always been that it will seek peaceful reunification with Taiwan but not rule out using force to take it over. In the past, officials and state media have tended to emphasise the peaceful reunification part – more recently they have highlighted the bit about using force. Moreover, China has never publicly stated a timetable for reunification with Taiwan but some mainland analysts have started to preach the idea that reunification could take place by 2035 or 2050.

As China beats its war drum, who should hear its call?

These assumptions stemmed from Xi’s landmark report at the Communist Party’s 19th congress in October when he outlined a clearly defined timetable to realise what he called the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation – China would basically become a modern country by 2035 and a world power by 2050.

For an ambitious leader like Xi, reunification with Taiwan has to be an integral part of the dream.

So will the US join the fray if push comes to shove? Many people have mistakenly assumed the Taiwan Relations Act requires the US to come to Taiwan’s defence. In fact, the law contains no explicit guarantee.

Besides, there is a big question over whether the US would risk waging a full-blown war with China over Taiwan. In the short term, if the current trend continues with the US determined to play the Taiwan card – which in turn helps embolden the pro-independence movement in Taiwan – China will probably feel compelled to accelerate its military preparations and increase the frequency of military shows of strength like the one last week. All this means that tensions over the Taiwan Strait will get much worse unless Trump rethinks his plan to play the Taiwan card.

Wang Xiangwei is the former editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post. He is now based in Beijing as editorial adviser to the paper

Naked Gunman Still at Large: The Latest on Nashville Waffle House Mass Shooting

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Naked Gunman Still at Large: The Latest on the Nashville Waffle House Mass Shooting

Updated: 11:56 AM ET | Originally published: 11:08 AM ET

Four people were killed and two others wounded in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee early Sunday.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said that the gunman opened fire at 3:25 a.m. A heroic 29-year-old patron at the diner was able to stop the gunman and wrestle the gun away from him. However, the shooter – believed to be Travis Reinking, 29, of Illinois – escaped before police arrived.

Authorities say the gunman was nude as he fled the scene. Authorities were still searching for him through late morning Sunday, though murder warrants are now being drafted against Reinking, the police said via Twitter.

Police posted a photo of what appears to be an AR-15-style assault rifle that the gunman used.

Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said in a local TV interview, “If you see a nude guy walking around, call the police immediately. We believe he may be the suspect in this,” according to USA Today.

What happened?

Metro Nashville PD

@MNPDNashville

BREAKING: 3 persons fatally shot & 4 others wounded at the Waffle House, 3571 Murfreesboro Pike. Gunman opened fire @ 3:25 a.m. A patron wrestled away the gunman’s rifle. He was nude & fled on foot. He is a white man with short hair.

A gunman shot six people, four fatally, when he opened fire in a Waffle House located at 3571 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville.

A restaurant patron, whom police said is a 29-year-old man, stepped in and disarmed the gunman.

“No doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and tossing it over the counter and prompting the man to leave,” Nashville police spokesman Aaron told the Associated Press.

The gunman was wearing only a green coat when he opened fire. During the struggle over the gun, the shooter left his coat and fled the scene naked, police said.

The investigation is still on-going and the crime scene is being processed, Nashville police said.

Who is the gunman?

Metro Nashville PD

@MNPDNashville

BREAKING: Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, IL, is person of interest in Waffle House shooting. Vehicle the gunman arrived in is registered to him. Gunman last seen walking south on Murfreesboro Pike. He shed is coat and is nude. See Reinking? Pls call 615-862-8600 immediately.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Metro Nashville PD

@MNPDNashville

Investigation on going at the Waffle House. Scene being processed by MNPD experts. This is the rifle used by the gunman.

Metro Nashville PD

@MNPDNashville

Waffle House Update: Murder warrants are now being drafted against Travis Reinking.

Police have named 29-year-old Travis Reinking, originally of Morton, Illinois, as a person of interest in the shooting after identifying his truck in the parking lot of the Waffle House.

Reinking is described as a white man with short hair. Law enforcement in Illinois and federal authorities were aware of Reinking prior to the shooting, police told Nashville’s News Channel 5.

Police also tweeted that Reinking shed his clothes and is either naked or wearing pants but no shirt, and is still at large, and Reinking “was last seen in a wood line near Discovery at Mountain View Apartments on Mountain Springs Drive near the Waffle House.” Channel 5 also reported that “police dogs have been tracking him.”

Anyone with information about Reinking is urged to call the Nashville Police Department at (615) 862-8600.

Metro Nashville PD

@MNPDNashville

A man believed to be Travis Reinking was last seen in a wood line near Discovery at Mountain View Apts. on Mountain Springs Dr. near the Waffle House. The man was seen wearing black pants and no shirt.

What was the motive for the shooting?

Police are still trying to determine why the gunman opened fire, but at this time, they believe the shooting was random. They also do not know why the alleged suspect, Reinking, came to Nashville from his hometown in Morton, Illinois, 450 miles away, but according to The Tennessean, police believe he lives at the Mountain View Apartments near the Waffle House where the shooting took place. ”

Who are the victims?

Metro Nashville PD

@MNPDNashville

Waffle House: 6 persons shot, 4 fatally (3 died at the scene, 1 at the hospital). The 2 others are being treated at Vanderbilt. Search continuing for Travis Reinking.

The names of the victims have not yet been released.

A total of six people were shot. Three died at the scene and a fourth victim died at the hospital.

Two others were wounded and are being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

What is the reaction to the shooting?

Waffle House, a 24/7 diner chain that is popular throughout the South, issued a statement after the shooting saying, “This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family. We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.”

Waffle House News@WaffleHouseNews

This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family. We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.

Nasvhille’s Mayor David Briley also issued a statement, saying: “It’s a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman. My heart goes out to the families and friends of every person who was killed or wounded in this morning’s shooting. I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime.”

Mayor David Briley

@MayorBriley

It’s a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman. My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded in this morning’s shooting. I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime.

Mayor David Briley

@MayorBriley

It’s a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman. My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded in this morning’s shooting. I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime.

Mayor David Briley

@MayorBriley

There’s clearly more to be said about these circumstances, but for now I ask Nashville to pray for and rally around these victims and join me in thanking @MNPDNashville as it works to find and apprehend the shooter.

Trust Trump, look like a fool. Just ask Nikki Haley

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Trust Trump, look like a fool. Just ask Nikki Haley.


President Trump with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at the White House in July. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

 Opinion writer April 18 at 7:49 PM 

What makes Republicans in Congress think their trust in Trump will work out any better for them?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he won’t take up legislation blocking Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Why? “I don’t think he’s going to” sack Mueller, McConnell told Fox News.

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House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) expressed similar faith that Trump wouldn’t sack Mueller: “I have no reason to believe that that’s going to happen” because “I have assurances that it’s not.”

Courting disaster because of what they “think” and “believe” the erratic president will do? You may think your toddler won’t wander into traffic. You may even have her assurances. But that doesn’t mean you leave her in the front yard unattended.

When I followed the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations, it was often possible to predict presidential actions based on patterns: Clinton’s split-the-difference style, Bush’s verbal signaling, Obama’s caution. But here’s a handy rule of thumb for this administration: Those who claim to know what Trump is going to do are making it up. Nobody truly knows, because Trump himself often doesn’t know what he’s going to do before the moment he does it. Decisions are impulsive, the product not of reason but of the brain’s cortisol levels. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This is some of what we have learned lately from the Trump administration:

We are imposing new sanctions on Russia. We are not imposing new sanctions on Russia.

China isn’t manipulating its currency. China is manipulating its currency.

We’re getting out of Syria. We aren’t getting out of Syria.

We’ll decide about bombing Syria in 24 to 48 hours. We might not bomb Syria for a long time. We bombed Syria.

The bombing of Syria will be sustained. The Syria bombing was a one-time shot.

Trump will be talking to Kim Jong Un. Trump may not be talking to Kim.

Trump fired James B. Comey because of the Russia investigation. Trump did not fire Comey because of the Russia investigation.

We are leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We may rejoin the TPP. We are not rejoining the TPP.

Poor Haley had no reason to think the president would change his mind. Yet Trump made the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations look like a fool.

After a meeting on Friday about Russia sanctions, Haley went on “CBS Sunday Morning” and said the treasury secretary “will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already.”

This was consistent with talking points distributed on Saturday by the Republican National Committee, saying America intends “to impose specific additional sanctions against Russia.”

But some synapse misfired in the presidential amygdala, and what Haley thought she knew was no longer the case. Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Haley had “some momentary confusion.”

Retorted Haley: “I don’t get confused.”

But she was confused: She believed assurances that Trump would do as expected.

Last Friday, Trump’s Treasury Department put out a report saying, “The Chinese currency generally moved against the dollar in a direction that should, all else equal, help reduce China’s trade surplus with the United States.” This is true: The dollar has fallen nearly 10 percent against the yuan since Trump took office.

But on Monday, Trump took the opposite position. “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!” he tweeted.

Last month, Trump announced, “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon.” Now the White House was back to saying there was no timetable for an American withdrawal.

Last week, Trump signaled an imminent missile attack in Syria, saying via Twitter that Russia should “get ready” to shoot down “nice and new and ‘smart’ ” missiles. Criticized for telegraphing the strike, he then said the attack might be “not so soon at all” — a day before the attack. He said he was “prepared to sustain this response,” but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said it was a “one-time shot.”

The president has similarly reversed or contradicted himself this week on quitting the TPP trade pact and his justification for firing Comey. On North Korea, he said he would meet with Kim and raised the possibility he wouldn’t — in the same passage.

Now, Republicans in Congress are risking a constitutional crisis because of their “belief” that Trump won’t fire Mueller:

Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa): “I don’t think he would.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah): “I do not believe the president would.”

Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.): “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

They think they know Trump’s mind, huh? So did Nikki Haley.

Twitter: @Milbank

Read more from Dana Milbank’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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