Tag Archives: Turkey

The joys of socialized healthcare: Children in Northern Ireland wait over a year for surgeries

government solve all problems
From BBC: Wearing pajamas and fluffy slippers, she treads carefully, held up on either side by a Turkish nurse.
Megan flew to Istanbul for private surgery late last year, having been told she faced long delays for an operation to fix the deformation of her spine, which was causing her problems breathing.
When the healthcare trust in Belfast told her parents it would be at least a year before she could have the procedure, they felt they had no choice but to fundraise for treatment.
Through the generosity of strangers, the money was raised – but surgery to insert four metal rods into her spine was painful and expensive, costing about £30,000.
Just a few days after treatment, 14-year-old Megan had to board a plane home to Northern Ireland. “But I was so happy, because I just wanted it over and done with, and to get back on the road to recovery,” she says.
For her mother, Karen Fleming, though, the upset and uncertainty still plays on her mind. And she is angry on behalf of dozens of other children still waiting for similar treatment. “It’s a shambles. It’s a mess,” she says.
“It’s no fault of the surgeons. It’s no fault of the nurses. But it’s awful. It’s just seeing your child in pain every day, knowing that you can’t help them. And the only way for a lot of families is to fundraise, or actually to remortgage your house.”
In Northern Ireland, targets say most patients should be seen within nine weeks and none should wait over 15 weeks.
Curvature of the spine:
Just a few miles away from Megan’s home in Carrickfergus, we visit 16-year-old Sophie Tanner in Belfast. She waited 20 months for the same operation, to correct curvature of the spine, before it was cancelled the day before surgery.
Her parents were delighted when Sophie was then offered the procedure in Stanmore hospital, in Middlesex.  It went well but took 14 hours instead of the eight it was supposed to. Nevertheless, the operation has taken the pressure off her heart and lungs and she has made a very good recovery.
But Sophie’s parents say having to wait as long as she did was unacceptable. “What most people in Northern Ireland want is the same treatment as the rest of the UK,” says her father, Eddie.
“We’re part of the UK, so we think that the waiting lists should be similar. We pay taxes. We pay National Insurance. We would expect the powers to be to make sure that places are pretty equal.
Surgeon: ‘We have no choice’
Spinal surgeon Niall Eames, in Belfast, says the health service is doing what it can to restructure itself and offer surgery faster. But in the short term he has no choice but to tell many children they need to expect long waits.
“Telling a child that they can’t have the operation when they need and want the operation – it’s completely inappropriate,” he says.
“Obviously it’s terrible for the patients. It’s awful for them. But equally for the healthcare people involved in the caring, the managers, the nurses, the consultants, the staff – it’s awful not being able to offer the treatment we know they require in a timely manner.”
New data from the Royal College of Surgeons shows the problem in Northern Ireland is getting worse.
At the end of 2017, there were more than 14,000 patients waiting over a year for treatment, with more than 3,000 waiting over two years.
In Northern Ireland that represents nearly one in 100 people.  By comparison there are about 1,800 people waiting over a year for surgery in England.
The Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board, which runs the NHS, said: “The system is under huge pressure and the waiting times experienced by many patients continue to be unacceptable.
“There simply isn’t either the money or required staffing levels to sustain the current model of care.”
But the Department of Health in Northern Ireland said it had announced a £30 million investment in tackling hospital waiting lists in the current year. However, the money has not yet reached the frontline.
DCG

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Horror on streets of Germany: State of Emergency declared as 80 men brawl with machetes


Ain’t multiculturalism grand?
From Express UK: A horrifying street battle between 80 men armed with machetes and metal pipes forcing a state of emergency to be declared in Duisburg.
Police were called to the Altmarkt area of the city over reports of the mass bawl. Officers used CS gas to control the brawling men.
The scores of men were also using telescopic batons in the fight in Druisburg, which is on the west of Germany.
Police said they were spat at and had objects hurled at them. Around 50 people were arrested and onlookers captured the brutality in shocking photos.
Those arrested refused to explain what sparked the fight and 30 people were later released.
A police official told the newspaper Der Westen: “There are three rival groups. It may be a conflict between Turks, Lebanese and Kurds. Unlike with a demonstration of that size, we do not have a contact person, nobody wants to talk to the police.”
He added: “The officers got the situation under control before it escalated.”
Between 20 to 30 people were on each side of the fight in Monday night’s incident and police said the majority of those arrested were from a Lebanese background.
The police spokesman said similar incidents had taken place the previous night and the week before. Police are looking into whether there is a connection.
DCG

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Cascade Mall shooter was not a U.S. citizen yet voted several times in Washington state

I’m shocked that a non-U.S. citizen was able to vote in Washington state. Just shocked…

Criminal Arcan Cretin

Criminal Arcan Cretin


From King5: The Cascade Mall shooting suspect, Arcan Cetin, may face an additional investigation related to his voting record and citizenship status.
Federal sources confirm to KING 5 that Cetin was not a U.S. citizen, meaning legally he cannot vote. However, state records show Cetin registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary.
Cetin, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a child, is considered a permanent resident or green card holder. While a permanent resident can apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time, sources tell KING his status had not changed from green card holder to U.S. citizen.
While voters must attest to citizenship upon registering online or registering to vote at the Department of Licensing Office, Washington state doesn’t require proof of citizenship. Therefore elections officials say the state’s elections system operates, more or less, under an honor system.
Kim Wyman

Kim Wyman


“We don’t have a provision in state law that allows us either county elections officials or the Secretary of State’s office to verify someone’s citizenship,” explained Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “So, we’re in this place where we want to make sure we’re maintaining people’s confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process, but also that we’re giving this individual, like we would any voter, his due process. We’re moving forward, and that investigation is really coming out of the investigation from the shootings.”
The penalty for voting as a non U.S. citizen could result in five years of prison time or a $10,000, according to Secretary of State’s Office. “The penalties are very serious. That’s why we want to make sure we’re very measured, and this is why we want to make sure we’re very calm and purposeful in how we move forward,” Wyman continued. “The stakes are very high on both sides. You want to keep the confidence level high, but you also want to protect the voting rights of everyone.”
Wyman says while it’s impossible to determine an exact number, she does not believe this case points to a larger issue.  “Our hands are kind of tied, but make no mistake, we want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible. This is certainly going to be a topic at next legislation.”
h/t Weasel Zippers
DCG

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Popular Muslim media personality says Jesus will convert the world to Islam

Christ with angels

Jesus is a Muslim! Who knew? LOL

Adnan Oktar is the host of a popular TV show in Turkey; a prolific author; and a Sunni Muslim.

Leo Hohmann reports for WND, Oct. 27, 2014, that in a new documentary, “End Times Eyewitness,” Oktar says the Muslim world is eagerly anticipating the end days when their messiah, the Mahdi, as well as Jesus will come.

Jesus, whom Muslims call “Isa,” is not the messiah. Instead, Jesus is a Muslim. Not only is Jesus a Muslim, Jesus was never crucified nor resurrected from the dead.

Adnan Oktar

Adnan Oktar

And to top it off, Oktar says Jesus will soon return to Earth to convert the whole world to Islam! And this Muslim Jesus will be very persuasive.

The documentary is produced by WND Films and directed by a bible teacher and author of The Islamic Antichrist and Mideast Beast.

Oktar also says:

  • A group of supernatural beings made of fire called the djinn, from which we get the English word for “genie,” will assist Jesus and the Mahdi to convert the world to Islam.
  • However, there are bad djinn and good djinn. The latter are Muslim djinn, whose leader is the Mahdi. Only the good Muslim djinn will assist in converting the whole world to Islam.
  • According to Hijri calendar, the Mahdi (and the Muslim Jesus) will appear sometime between the years 1400 and 1500. Since the current Islamic year is 1435, the Mahdi and Muslim Jesus are likely already walking the earth! — in Istanbul! Oktar says, “Yes. We believe that Hazrat Mahdi has come and is busy carrying on his activities. We believe that he appeared in Istanbul, as that is how it is related in the Judaic accounts. This is how it is related in the Islamic accounts as well.”
  • The Mahdi will rule for seven years.
  • Oktar believes that he has the ability to communicate with the djinn (hopefully only the good Muslim djinn), and that they respect him and give him information.

Richardson points out that Oktar’s TV show is watched not just in Turkey, but throughout Central Asia, the Arab world and parts of Russia and Eastern Europe, Oktar has a close relationship with Turkey’s president and former prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who listens to and follows Oktar’s advice.
This is the same Erdoğan who saidThere is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”
Turkey, which is a NATO ally, has already proved to be a growing thorn in the side of U.S. policy in the Middle East, refusing the use of its airbases for bombing raids against ISIS terrorists and providing safe haven for the militants. It has also been purchasing oil from ISIS-controlled oil wells, flooding the terrorist army with fresh cash.
In the documentary, Richardson says a coalition of Middle Eastern nations will invade Israel, and that Turkey is emerging as the dominant power in the Middle East and is positioning for a showdown with other powers, most notably Iran and Egypt. “The whole goal of the Turkish neo-Ottoman government is to rule the Middle East and the Islamic caliphate,” Richardson said.
Richardson believes Washington is still working with a foreign policy that is “based on a 10-year-old model” in which Turkey is seen as the moderate Muslim state that U.S. leaders would like to see replicated across the Middle East. “You still hear Joe Biden talk about how Erdoğan is his buddy and how they go way back together and he’s such a great friend,” Richardson said.
Richardson also says the Obama administration is “probably just putting on a little bit of a show,” with its limited bombing of ISIS targets in Iraq, and that “ISIS really is Turkey’s proxy in the Middle East,” supported financially and supplied by the Turkish Islamic government” in “a wider war against the Kurds, against Bashar Assad in Syria and against Iran. Richardson points out Turkey “refused the U.S. to use their soil for bombing raids against ISIS in Kobani, they allowed a lot of the refugees to flee into Turkey, but they would not allow them to go back and fight ISIS.”
Richardson believes Iran will eventually be drawn into Iraq to stop ISIS, especially if ISIS threatens the shrines or mosques in Iraq that are considered holy to Iran’s Shiite Muslim population. “If ISIS takes sacred cities in Iraq whether it’s Baghdad or Samara or Najaf, the Iranians are not going to let that happen and destroy those shrines and mosques…. I would expect even a year from now we could be in a very different situation. Iran already controls southern Iraq but within a year I would say their presence in Iraq could be far more overt.”
H/t Weasel Zippers and FOTM’s Anon
~Eowyn

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Creation: Black Rose

black roses1
Unlike the blue rose, which is not natural but is either a white rose dyed blue or a genetically modified rose containing the blue pigment delphinidin, the Turkish Halfeti black rose is a natural, though very rare, flower.
Although they appear black, the Halfeti rose is actually a very deep crimson color. It is seasonal, only growing during spring and summer, and only in the tiny village of Halfeti on the banks of the Euphrates river in Turkey. Thanks to the unique soil conditions of the region, and the pH levels of the groundwater that seeps in from the river, the roses take on a blackish hue. They bloom dark red during the spring and fade to black during the summer months.
The local Turks consider the flowers to be symbols of mystery, hope and passion, but also of death and bad news. Unfortunately, the black roses of Halfeti are an endangered species. They have been under threat of extinction ever since the residents of the village moved 6 miles from the “old” Halfeti village in the 1990s, when the Birecik Dam was constructed, which led to Old Halfeti and several other villages becoming submerged in the waters of the Euphrates.
Halfeti, TurkeyClick map to enlarge
Yeni HalfetiThe village of Yeni (or New) Halfeti
But the move to the new Halfeti proved fatal for the beautiful black roses. The villagers replanted them in their new gardens, but the flowers didn’t take to their new environment very well, resulting in a decline in the number of black roses grown in the region.
Government  officials have made efforts to save the roses. They collected seedlings from village homes and replanted them in greenhouses closer to their original surroundings. The rare roses have been doing slightly better, ever since.
black roses2black roses3
Seeing a black rose in full bloom is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you ever happen to be in Turkey during the summer, be sure to visit Halfeti to see these very rare, albeit rather ominous looking, roses!
Sources: Today’s ZamanRocketnews24, Karapaia
H/t FOTM’s josephbc69
~Eowyn

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St. Gregory of Nyssa, Theologian

St. Gregory
Today, January 10th, the universal Church celebrates St. Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century thinker, philosopher and theologian (330-95).  He was raised by his older brother, the wonderful St. Basil the Great, and his sister, Macrina, in what is now called Turkey.
He became a professor of rhetoric, but decided to devote his learning and talents to the Church.  He was ordained a priest and appointed the Bishop of Nyssa (lower Armenia) in 372, defending the Council of Nicea, from which came the  Nicene Creed, from the heresies of his time, including the Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Christ.  He produced numerous sermons and letters on the Scriptures, was an original thinker and theologian, being especially familiar with Platonism.
In our Catholic Study Group, we studied one of St. Gregory’s ascetical writings, On What It Means to Call Oneself a Christian (De Professione Christiana), which is absolutely thought-provoking and brilliant.  The purpose of this work is to set forth the foundation for the attainment of holiness by following in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  As Father John A. Hardon, S.J. set out in his commentary, “Since He is the Incarnate Son of God in human form, the virtues He practiced on earth were the attributes of God lived out in recordable history. . . Gregory shows how important is sound doctrine in the faith, especially faith in Christ as true God and true man, as the precondition for achieving holiness.”
In the De Professione Christiana, in discussing what is meant by the term, Christian, St. Gregory states in part, the following:
If, therefore, someone puts on the name of Christ, but does not exhibit in his life what is indicated by the term, such a person belies the name and puts on a lifeless mask. . .For it is not possible for Christ not to be justice and purity and truth and estrangement from all evil, nor is it possible to be a Christian, that is, truly a Christian, without displaying in oneself a participation in these virtues.  If one can give a definition of Christianity, we shall define it as follows:  Christianity is an imitation of the divine nature. . .
. . .Therefore, the One who orders us to imitate our Father orders us to separate ourselves from earthly passions, and this is a separation which does not come about through a change of place, but is achieved only through choice. . .
. . .For just as we are, in accordance with our nature, accomplish little in making our deposit because we are what we are, so, also, it is likely that the one who is rich in every way will give to the depositor a return which reflects His nature.  So let no one be discouraged when he brings into the divine treasury, what is in keeping with his own power, assuming that he will go off with what corresponds to the amount he has given, but let him anticipate, according to the Gospel which says he will receive in exchange large for small, the heavenly for the earthly, the eternal for the temporal, such things as are not able to be grasped by thought or explained by word, concerning which: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him.”
St. Gregory is known as the defender of orthodoxy, and was sent on missions to counter other heresies and held a position of importance during the Council of Constantinople.  Indeed and in fact, “St. Gregory contributes to the mystical tradition in Christian spirituality. . .”
St. Gregory, please help us on our journey, to be real Christians, to examine ourselves daily, to convert ourselves daily with the guidance and assistance of the Church, and to love and trust God completely; our upcoming eternal lives depend on our choices. . .
Respectfully,
Joan
Sources:
The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom, Edited and with an Introduction by John A. Hardon, S.J., 1995 Ignatius Press;
americancatholic.org

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Dog saves baby from drowning

After my last post, we all need a palate cleanser.

We need a story about a creature without sin!

A dog in Turkey became the hero of the day when it saved a baby from going into the water on a beach in Kabak Bay on the southwest coast of Turkey.

The dog was playing fetch when it spotted a baby crawling toward the water.

hero dog2

The baby was seconds from the water when hero dog used his body to block the baby’s path.

hero dog1

Here’s the video:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ0jeVmnTtQ]

Good dog!

Source: Daily Mail

~Eowyn

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CIA report on Noah's Ark

Science and faith do not have to be contentious.
On the contrary, since science is about the empirical world, and Christians believe God created the Universe, then if the Bible is His Word, the events chronicled in the Bible should leave traces that can be discovered by science. As examples, recent archeological discoveries are lending substance to the biblical accounts of the parting of the Red Sea and of the catastrophic destruction-by-fire of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The search for physical remains of Noah’s Ark has held a fascination for many people since at least the third century. Despite many expeditions, no material evidence of the ark has been found. (Go here for a list of modern post-1949 searches.)
Speculations about the location of the remains of Noah’s Ark center on Mount Ararat in contemporary Turkey (elevation 16,854 ft) because, according to the book of Genesis, the ark came to rest in the “Mountains of Ararat“.

Mt Ararat2Mt AraratLittle Ararat (l) and Mount Ararat (r)

The following report, compiled for the now-defunct National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC), a unit of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T), details the history of official requests to the CIA for aerial photographs of Noah’s Ark taken by U-2 and satellites, which some suspect the agency was holding in secret. (This report confirms material in the State Department Noah’s Ark cables.)
According to the report, the CIA insists it has no photos of the ark and that they have found no evidence of Noah’s Ark in aerial images of Mount Ararat. Redacted portions of the NPIC report are indicated with X’s.
Whether you believe the CIA is another matter entirely. LOL
~Eowyn
noah-s-ark

CIA REPORT ON NOAH’S ARK

Central Intelligence Agency
January 1, 1992 (est.)

Noah’s Ark 1974 – 1982. On 13 May 1974, DCI Colby sent a letter to the DS&T, Sayre Stevens, asking if the Agency had any evidence of Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat. Mr. Colby said that Lieutenant Colonel Walter Brown of the US Air Force Academy had asked “whether it would be appropriate or possible to exploit satellite photography to examine the glacier systems there to see whether any evidence of the Ark could be found.” On 21 May, the Center responded that no evidence of the Ark could be discerned on U-2 photography acquired on 10 September 1957 or on any satellite imagery available at the Center.
On 6 August 1974, Congressman Bob Wilson asked the Agency whether any aerial photos of Mt. Ararat could be released to a friend of his, Dr. John Morris, son of Dr. Henry M. Morris, the head of the Institution of Creation Research of San Diego, California. Mr. Hicks stated in a letter to the Agency legislative liaison staff that several U-2 photos dated 1957 were available but were still classified “Confidential.” The younger Dr. Morris wrote to the Agency later requesting the photos. His request was denied by Angus Theurmer, the Agency’s press spokesman who stated “We have looked into this matter in some detail and we regret that we are unable to provide any information”.
In September/October 1974, Admiral Showers of the Intelligence Community Staff, in response to a query from Lieutenant Commander Lonnie McClung, asked about the availability of intelligence information concerning the location of Noah’s Ark. He was told that a search had been made of aerial photography with negative results.
On 30 January 1975, Dr. John Morris again wrote Congressman Bob Wilson noting that aerial photos “were taken in August 1974, as a result of my request. They were not to be classified, but have been classified since and are not available.” Congressman Wilson again contacted the Agency with the request. On 27 February 1975, Mr. Hicks again denied the request. On 11 March 1975, Dr. Morris was notified that the photography of Mt. Ararat was classified and, therefore, could not be provided. An additional request made through Dr. Charles Willis of Fresno, California to Mr. Arthur C. Lundahl, retired Director NPIC on 5 March 1975 was also denied on 31 March 1975.
On 3 April 1975, NPIC Section Chief XXXXXXXX sent a memo to the Chief, IEG, detailing the efforts of Messrs. XXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX who had searched unsuccessfully all available U-2 and satellite imagery for possible evidence of Noah’s Ark. This search had been prompted by the visit to the Center, on 14 March 1975, of Captain Howard Schue of the IC Staff with a ground photo “showing a long range view of the purported Ark.” The XXXXXXX Division of NPIC was tasked to determine if the Ark’s features in the photo had been altered; tests failed to identify any manipulation. Attempts to compare the ground photo with satellite imagery for identification and location purposes also proved negative.
From 27 March to 5 April 1975, a French archeological explorer, Fernand Navarra was at Iverson Mall in Washington, D.C. publicizing his book Noah’s Ark I Touched It. As part of the sales pitch for the book, there was a display which included a supposed wood fragment of the Ark. Several NPIC analysts concerned with the Ark problem visited the display but found nothing that would help their search efforts.
On 10 April 1975, Colonel Paul Tanota and Captain Howard Schue, of the IC Staff visited NPIC to discuss Mt. Ararat and to see the August 1974 aerial photography of the mountain. At the request of Captain Schue, a print of Mt. Ararat showing the 13,000 and 14,000 foot elevations was provided.
On 5 July, 1975 a book entitled The Ark of Ararat by Thomas Nelson was released. Mr. Nelson maintained that the CIA had photos of Ararat and that they had been analyzed in the search for the Ark.
On 12 October 1975, Tom Crotser from a group known as The Holy Ground Mission of Frankston; Texas showed a ground photo supposedly of the Ark taken during their 1974 expedition to Mt. Ararat.
Sometime in 1977, Bill Chaney Speed of Search Foundation, Inc. requested the aerial photos of Mt. Ararat. His request also was denied.
Senator Barry Goldwater wrote DCI Turner on 1 September 1978, “You may think this is a screwball request and it may be, but I would like to know if you can do anything about it.” The letter went on to ask if satellite photography could be searched “to determine whether or not something in the way of an archeological find might be located near or on top of the Mount.” Goldwater explained that a letter he had received had come “from a man in whom I have great confidence, who certainly is no nut, who knows Turkey rather well but who feels that there is reason to believe the Ark may be resting at or near the top of the mount. I assure that I will keep this at any classification you want it kept and if you desire me to go to the devil, I know the way.” DCI Turner replied “we have been requested on several occasions if we could determine whether there was remains of the Ark on Mt. Ararat. We have, as a result, carefully reviewed the photography of the area but have not found any evidence of the Ark.”
On 27 May 1981, XXXXXXXX of the Center received a telephone call from Air Force Talent  Control Officer, Major Ray Abel, requesting information on Noah’s Ark. Major Abel said he had received a request from General Lew Allen, Air Force Chief of Stall, who, in turn, was answering a, requirement from Congressman Bill Archer of Texas. Congressman Archer had indicated that some of his constituents from Houston, Texas were going on an expedition to Mt. Ararat and would like to have as much information as possible. XXXXXXX told Major Abel that NPIC had conducted a study of Mt. Ararat in the 1970s and had found no evidence of the Ark.
In February 1982, former Astronaut James B. Irwin of the High Flight Foundation, a Christian group in Colorado Springs, Colorado, called former NPIC official Dino A. Brugioni, at his home and asked about the aerial photos of Mount Ararat. Irwin was informed that no evidence of the Ark had ever been seen on aerial photography.
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Readying for war, Russia is massing troops on Iran's border

Is a U.S. war against Iran imminent?

The U.S. Navy has deployed to the Persian Gulf two aircraft carriers (the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Enterprise) with supporting vessels, as well as, reportedly, four more minesweepers and minesweeping helicopters.
Now, F. Michael Maloof reports for the Business Insider, April 9, 2012, that Russia is massing troops on Iran’s Northern border, preparing for a Western attack:

WASHINGTON – The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.
Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.
Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran. “Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.

Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.
The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.
Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.
The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.”
This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.
Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.
Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say.
“Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”
With Vladimir Putin returning to the Russian presidency, the prospect that he again would order an attack on Georgia as he did in August 2008 also has become a possibility, these informed sources say.
The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel.
Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.
“Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia,” according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.
In September, the Russian military plans to hold its annual military exercises called Kavkaz 2012. However, informed Russian sources say that preparations and deployments of military equipment and personnel already have begun in anticipation of a possible war with Iran.
These sources report that new command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using the Russian GPS system, GLONASS for targeting information.
“The air force in the South Military District is reported to have been rearmed almost 100 percent with new jets and helicopters,” according to regional expert Pavel Felgenhauer of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.
In 2008, Felgenhauer pointed out, Kavkaz 2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia in August of that year.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov already has announced that new Spetznaz, or Special Forces units, will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which are located in the North Caucasian regions.
To read the rest of the article, go here.
~Eowyn

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Saudi Grand Mufti: Destroy all Christian churches

A mufti is a jurist who interprets Muslim religious law.
Grand Mufti is the title given to the titular head of the Muslim community. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is Sheik Abdul Aziz al ash-Shaikh, 72, the equivalent of the Catholic Church’s pope. He’s been blind since 1960.
The blind Grand Mufti has just declared it necessary to destroy all Christian churches in the Middle East region. In so doing, Sheik Abdul puts the lie to Muslims’ insistence that Islam’s God is the same as the God of Judaism and Christianity, and that Muslims respect Jews and Christians as all “People of the Book.”

Saudi Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh


As reported by an editorial in The Washington Times on March 16, 2012:

On March 12, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” The ruling came in response to a query from a Kuwaiti delegation over proposed legislation to prevent construction of churches in the emirate. The mufti based his decision on a story that on his deathbed, Muhammad declared, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.” This passage has long been used to justify intolerance in the kingdom. Churches have always been banned in Saudi Arabia, and until recently Jews were not even allowed in the country. Those wishing to worship in the manner of their choosing must do so hidden away in private, and even then the morality police have been known to show up unexpectedly and halt proceedings.

This is not a small-time radical imam trying to stir up his followers with fiery hate speech. This was a considered, deliberate and specific ruling from one of the most important leaders in the Muslim world. It does not just create a religious obligation for those over whom the mufti has direct authority; it is also a signal to others in the Muslim world that destroying churches is not only permitted but mandatory.

Being not just a mufti but a grand mufti, the sheik’s declaration that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” therefore is a fatwa — a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law.
Not only is the sheik’s declaration unreported by the useless MSM, the fatwa also went without any comment, even less a condemnation, by the Obama administration.
The Washington Times notes:

If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening. […]

The Obama administration ignores these types of provocations at its peril. The White House has placed international outreach to Muslims at the center of its foreign policy in an effort to promote the image of the United States as an Islam-friendly nation. This cannot come at the expense of standing up for the human rights and religious liberties of minority groups in the Middle East. The region is a crucial crossroads. Islamist radicals are leading the rising political tide against the authoritarian, secularist old order. They are testing the waters in their relationship with the outside world, looking for signals of how far they can go in imposing their radical vision of a Shariah-based theocracy. Ignoring provocative statements like the mufti’s sends a signal to these groups that they can engage in the same sort of bigotry and anti-Christian violence with no consequences.

Mr. Obama’s outreach campaign to the Muslim world has failed to generate the good will that he expected. In part, this was because he felt it was better to pander to prejudice than to command respect. When members of the Islamic establishment call for the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing, the leader of the free world must respond or risk legitimizing the oppression that follows. The United States should not bow to the extremist dictates of the grand mufti, no matter how desperate the White House is for him to like us.

Alas, The Washington Times’ counsel that Obama should condemn what the Saudi Grand Mufti said will fall on deaf ears. Have we already forgotten this famous bow to the Saudi king in 2009?

Thankfully, since Islam is not (yet) a unified political religion, but is divided at least into the Sunni and Shia sects, dissenting Muslim voices are already criticizing the Grand Mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Gulf region.
Turkey’s top imam, Mehmet Görmez, said he cannot accept the Grand Mufti’s fatwa because it runs contrary to the centuries-old Islamic teachings of tolerance and the sanctity of institutions belonging to other religions.
H/t our beloved fellow Grouchy.
~Eowyn

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