The last few months of the Syrian Civil War have been a very significant transitional period. Contrary to what many may think, this period has the potential to be far
An Iranian drone nearly collided with a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter plane over the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz in the Persian Gulf Tuesday.
The QOM-1 drone flew within 100 feet of the Navy jet as the Super Hornet was preparing to land.
“The dangerous maneuver by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed-wing flight operations and at coincident altitude with operating aircraft created a collision hazard, and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws,” a U.S. Navy press release stated.
The fighter plane had to perform a “roll over” to avoid collision.
A Navy spokesman told The Navy Times that if the F/A-18E “had not done the maneuver,” the two aircraft would have collided, a Navy spokesperson told The Navy Times.
“There were repeated radio calls to stay clear of the active fixed wing operations,” the spokesman said.
The drone had apparently been flying around the carrier for some time before buzzing it.
The QOM-1 or Saqeh is an unmanned drone that looks sort of like a small fighter plane. A picture of the drone released by the Iranian military shows it carrying four rockets similar to U.S. Hellfire missiles.
A nuclear-powered carrier such as the Nimitz carries a crew of about 4,500 sailors and officers and around 75 aircraft. Only two nations — the United States and France — have nuclear-powered carriers.
Military experts believe that the Iranians back-engineered the Saqeh drones from a US RQ-170 drone manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Voice of America reported.
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Some of America’s top enemies have sided with Russia in pledging to defend Syria following the U.S. missile attack on that country.
The U.S., for its part, isn’t backing down.
“We’re calling [Russia and Iran] out,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN. “But I don’t think anything is off the table at this point. I think what you’re going to see is strong leadership. You’re going to continue to see the United States act when we need to act.”
Haley’s words were prompted by statements of support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from Russia and Iran. The two governments were joined in their support for Assad by the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, the Associated Press reported.
“Both sides [Russia and Iran] noted the inadmissibility of aggressive U.S. actions against a sovereign state in violation of international law,” a Kremlin press release stated. “[Russia’s] Vladimir Putin and [Iran’s] Hasan Rouhani spoke in favor of an objective, unbiased investigation of all the circumstances of the chemical weapons incident on April 4 in the Syrian province of Idlib.”
Russia has implied that the chemical attack – which prompted the missile strike – never happened. On Tuesday, the White House alleged that Russia had helped Syria cover up the chemical attack.
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, earlier said the U.S. was “one step away from military clashes with Russia”
Rouhani, Iran’s president, even called Assad to voice his support for Syria. Iran has troops from its Revolutionary Guard fighting for Assad in Syria’s civil war. The Russians have been supplying Assad with air support, artillery and technical advice.
Trump ordered the strike in retaliation for a nerve gas attack on the city of Khan Sheikhoun that killed around 70 people.
War Talk Escalates
This prompted calls from U.S. allies for Assad’s removal.
“I am very clear that there can be no future for Assad in a stable Syria, which is representative of all the Syrian people,” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said.
But some in the U.S. say the White House should think twice about more military action.
“When the Trump administration uses the words ‘regime change,’ they are talking about a military effort to remove Assad,” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey told CNN. “And that would mean putting American young men and women on the ground in battlefield conditions in order to accomplish that goal. I don’t think there’s any appetite in the United States for a massive additional military presence.”
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WASHINGTON — The Iranian government continues to take provocative actions aimed at the United States and its allies.
The Iranian military tested ballistic missiles and sent four fast attack boats close to American and British warships over the weekend.
Four attack boats from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps intentionally blocked the path of the U.S. and British ships, coming within 600 words of them and forcing them to change their course, Fox News and CBS reported. The American ship was the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship which uses sonar to monitor submarines and missile tests. The incident took place in the Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. military labeled it “unsafe” and “unprofessional.”
This was the second time Iranian ships approached the Invincible; two days earlier a frigate from the Iranian Navy came within 150 yards of the surveillance vessel, CBS News reported. The Invincible was in the Gulf of Oman, south of Iran, when that incident occurred.
The Iranians also test fired two Fateh-110 Mod 3 short-range ballistic missiles, U.S. officials told Fox News. One the missiles destroyed a barge moored at sea 155 miles away.
“Between North Korea’s saber-rattling and Iran’s willful defiance, we certainly don’t lack for evidence of these rogue regime’s intentions,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said in a statement. “This is why we need to develop a strong missile-defense system and to take a harder line toward these regimes. No amount of words, however clear or forceful, will prevent this kind of aggression; only firm action to defend America and our allies will stop them in their tracks.”
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WASHINGTON — President Trump’s administration is making a mistake in its interaction with Iran and potentially setting the stage for war, famed conservative pundit Patrick J. Buchanan is warning.
“[The] White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable; and a war with Iran quite possible,” Buchanan wrote at WorldNetDaily, referencing a statement by National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn on Feb. 1.
Following Iran’s ballistic missile test launch, Flynn said during a White House press briefing he was “officially putting Iran on notice,” claiming Iran was violating a U.N. Security Council resolution.
Flynn did not elaborate.
“Iran is playing with fire” Trump tweeted on Feb. 3, and “they don’t appreciate how kind President Obama was to them. Not me!”
Wrote Buchanan, “A 2015 U.N. resolution ‘called upon’ Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. It did not forbid Iran from testing conventional missiles, which Tehran insists this was.”
Buchanan – a strong backer of Trump during the election – also was troubled by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments about China’s building of artificial islands in what an international court called international waters.
“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed,” Tillerson said during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing.
Buchanan predicted that the words and actions by the White House could lead to conflict.
“High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war on Iraq,” Buchanan wrote at WorldNetDaily.
“Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this. It was thought he would disengage us from these wars, not rattle a saber at an Iran that is three times the size of Iraq and has as its primary weapons supplier and partner Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
“… Neither the Ayatollah Khamenei nor Trump appears to be in a mood to back away, especially now that the president has made the threat public.”
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Today, I read a Fox News article entitled, “Iranian dissidents seeking meeting with Trump.” See: (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/23/iranian-dissidents-seeking-meeting-with-trump.html). According to the article, Iranian dissidents have penned a letter to Trump urging him
By Eric Leister – AccuWeather
A slow-moving storm system will lead to flash flooding across the Middle East on Wednesday and Thursday. The threat for flooding will extend from Iraq and western Iran into Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
As the storm slowly tracks from the Mediterranean Sea toward the northern Persian Gulf this week, widespread thunderstorms will ignite across the region.
Heavy rain will trigger flash flooding across several areas.
The Justice Department will soon release a statement blaming Iranian hackers for a 2013 cyberattack on a dam near New York City, according to CNN, which also reported that the department will bring an indictment against the suspected hackers.
Officials believe the hackers were working for the Iranian government at the time of the attack, unidentified sources said.
Intelligence officials discovered that hackers had managed to get control of floodgates at the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, New York, about 20 miles north of New York City in 2013.
The dam is used for flood control, Rye Brook Mayor Paul Rosenburg told CNN.
“I think one of the great things here is that the federal government stepped in and stopped what could have been something bad from happening,” Rosenberg said. “We appreciate that, but it makes me wonder about what would be potentially next, and that makes me concerned. I think in this day and age all municipalities needs to look at our infrastructure and see where are our soft targets, where should we be prepared.”
Although no damage was done, the concern is the attack may have been a test run, and that it simply is a sign of what can be accomplished against more significant aging equipment – such as the power grid, CNN reported. Much of America’s infrastructure has “retro-fitted software” that is connected to the Internet, the network said.
Cybersecurity expert and former FBI agent Leo Taddeo said the attack should concern US officials because it was so simple. Officials also are wondering why such a minor piece of infrastructure was targeted by a foreign country.
“The fact that you can affect the infrastructure with stuff you can download off the Internet shouldn’t give us any comfort,” Taddeo said. It shows that “actors with very little skill” potentially can take down infrastructure.
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By Adam Douty – AccuWeather
A series of disturbances tracking across the Middle East this week will spark heavy thunderstorms, threatening to bring flash flooding to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran.
Locally heavy thunderstorms will develop each of the next few days, causing normally dry rivers to swell with water and some roads to become impassable. The greatest threat for flooding will stretch from eastern UAE and northern Oman into southeastern Iran.
By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse Blog
350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called “Northern Thunder”. According to the official announcement, forces are being contributed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and several other nations. This exercise will reportedly last for 18 days, and during that time the airspace over northern Saudi Arabia will be closed to air traffic. This will be the largest military exercise in the history of the region, and it comes amid rumors that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are preparing for a massive ground invasion of Syria.
If you were going to gather forces for an invasion, this is precisely how you would do it. Governments never come out and publicly admit that forces…
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Iranian hackers have successfully penetrated America’s power grid and accessed passwords and engineering drawings of power plants, and security experts say it’s only a matter of time before such an attack leads to widespread blackouts, the Associated Press reported.
In fact, hackers from Iran and other countries have infiltrated America’s power grid at least a dozen times over the past decade, gaining enough “remote access to control the operations networks” that run the power grid, experts told AP.
“If the geopolitical situation changes and Iran wants to target these facilities, if they have this kind of information it will make it a lot easier,” former Air Force cyberwarfare officer Robert M. Lee told AP.
The AP investigation found that the danger of cyberattack on the grid is far greater than the US government wants us to believe.
Some of the other frightening details of the AP report include:
- Some of the attacks over the past decade were so sophisticated that attackers could have gained control over portions of the grid or power plants, if they wanted to do so.
- ISIS is trying to hack into America’s power grid.
- Hackers took “detailed engineering drawings” of 71 “networks and power stations” from New York to California. That information shows “the precise location of devices that communicate with gas turbines, boilers and other crucial equipment attackers would need to hack specific plants.”
- Some of the hackers stored their stolen data on unencryptedcomputers, meaning the data was easily accessible by others, too.
Security researcher Brian Wallace discovered that Iranian hackers had stolen passwords and detailed information from Calpine Corp., which operates 82 power plants in 18 states and in Canada.
“We’re still in this era where everybody believes [the power grid is] secure and it’s not,” Eireann Leverett of the Cambridge Center for Risk Studies told AP.
Fixing the damage done by a large cyberattack could take far too long. Many of the parts that would be damaged by an attack are custom-made, meaning there literally are no spare parts.
“In the case of a large cyberattack on the US we can’t be calling up vendors and having them say, ‘Sorry, it’s going to take us eight months to get this patched,’” Leverett pointed out.
We’ve been warned.
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It should come as no shock to our readers that the Third Iraq War President Obama initiated has already faltered. As predicted, the strategy (or lack thereof see: http://www.blackboxwire.com/2014/10/11/islamic-extremism-and-what-lies-ahead-part-ii-the-war-on-isis-and-syria/) did
It’s seems that the state of general peace is getting harder and harder to keep these days. Between the economical global instability and religious fundamentalism, there’s very little room left for human decency and peacekeeping. Just as before, during the World War II period, the gap between the radical oppressive political systems and the peace-loving, democratic ones is growing with each passing day. Animosity arose and swords started rattling for a long time now, and it’s only a matter of time before the World will generate a 3rd massive war.
This will divide people into 2 distinct sides: the Good (peace-keeping, freedom-fighting and God-loving) vs. the Evil (tyrannical, oppressors and bearers of false religions). It’s only a matter of time now, before the first official decree is released. As the land of the free and home of the brave, America will once again have the sacred duty of carrying the flag into battle, in the name of all that’s good and holy on God’s green Earth. This all might be avoided in the end, but the chances are slim to none, as the wheels have already been set in motion.
1 – Global recession
In a time of fluctuating economies, all the World’s superpowers will search for all sorts of allies in order to help their cause, be it just or unjust. The previous World Wars did not have much in common with each other except this single similarity: before each war broke out, many of the countries involved had been hit by recessions. Before World War I America was recovering from a 3 year-old recession, and prior to World War II, many countries were recovering from the Great Depression. What’s going on today is very similar to what happened before the 2nd World War. A very possible starting point could be the debt that the US owes China, which rose to about $17.5 trillion. And China too is finding itself during an economic crisis, so it’s only a matter of time before they start pressuring the US government on the subject of the unpaid debt. If things spiral out of control and it comes to armed conflict, China will have no problem in finding allies like Russia and North Korea, which don’t need much of an excuse to go to war against America and its allies.
2 – Russia’s claim over Ukraine
Over 7000 Russian troops have invaded the Crimea peninsula, on February 27, 2014, which was officially Ukrainian territory. Such an outrageous and intrusive act culminated in overthrowing Ukrainian authority from the territory, by overtaking official government buildings, airports, communication centers and military bases. Under the false pretext that Russian forces have intruded in order to free the Crimean people from an oppressive regime is as far from the truth as it could possibly be. Crimeans weren’t enslaved or oppressed in any way by their existing government. But they are now, due to Russia’s intrusion, which resulted in uncontrollable violence, tortures, beating and murders. As a result for their unjustified actions, the US and Europe have ceased economic trades and imposed drastic sanctions that hurt the invaders economy by a 20% deficit .Despite the obvious violation of human rights, Russia’s official stand is that there is nothing abusive about their actions, as they have not entered Ukraine’s whole territory, but only what they consider to be rightfully theirs. Ukrainians have responded and met violence with violence, as guerrilla wars and bloody protests continue to this day on Ukrainian soil.
3 – Iran is posing a direct threat
In mid January, 2014, Iran dispatched a fleet of battle ships in US territorial waters. In early February, 2014, Iran’s military chief , general Hassan Firouzabadi, stated that Iranian military forces are determined to go toe-to-toe with their American counterparts in military strategies and weaponry. The US Senate reacted, and fearing for the worst, stated that military action is imperative in order to stop Iran from developing its illegal nuclear program. The White House did not back up the Senate’s bill, as the ships were involved were not posing a real threat to US territory and general’s Firouzabadi saber rattling has happened many times before without direct consequences. But this doesn’t mean the threats fell on deaf ears. Intelligence shows that Iran 13 million trained soldiers, ready for combat at a moment’s notice. The number is impressive, but an upcoming war will most probably be technology-based one, heavily dependent on aerial and tactical strikes, rather than closed-quarter combat. But the Iranian air force is one of the most numerous and heavily trained in the world, with about 30,000 men, over 1,000 planes and armed with cruise missiles (that have a range of about 1240 miles, more than enough to hit military bases set in the Gulf).
4 – Japan and China’s dispute over air space
Just like Russia, China’s trying to push everybody’s buttons, hoping to get a reaction or a response. Chinese officials stated that China is changing its air defense strategy, by increasing their zone by overtaking part of Japan’s, South Korea’s and Taiwan’s airspace. The intruded Japan’s space as far as Senkaku Islands, and are planning on pushing the Japanese as far back as possible. South Korea answered by intruding Chinese airspace. If hostilities begin in the area, the US obliged to help the cause of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, in accordance to a pact signed in 1951. The blood is already boiling and it will take very little to light the spark that could plunge the whole world into an unavoidable war.
It’s plain to see that the machinations to set World War III in motion have already begun. It won’t be long until the first shots are fired or the wrong turn is taken and the world will go to war again. Technology will make the weapons more powerful than ever before and the consequences of war even harsher. When the fighting begins, society could be changed forever. Stay alert, and take whatever precautions are necessary so you can survive during the dark times ahead.
By Alec Deacon