by Michael Snyder
Is something really big about to happen? For months, people have been pointing to the second half of this year for various reasons. For some, the major concern is Jade Helm and the unprecedented movement of military vehicles and equipment that we have been witnessing all over the nation. For others, the upcoming fourth blood moon and the end of the Shemitah cycle are extremely significant events.
Yet others are most concerned about political developments in Washington D.C. and at the United Nations. To me, it does seem rather remarkable that we are seeing such a confluence of economic, political and spiritual events coming together during the second half of 2015. So is all of this leading up to something? Is our world about to change in a fundamental way? Only time will tell. The following are 7 key events that are going to happen by the end of September…
Late June/Early July – It is expected that this is when the U.S. Supreme Court will reveal their gay marriage decision. Most believe that the court will rule that gay marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states. There are some that believe that this will be a major turning point for our nation.
July 15th to September 15th – A “realistic military training exercise” known as “Jade Helm” will be conducted by the U.S. Army. More than 1,000 members of the U.S. military will take part in this exercise. The list of states slated to be involved in these drills includes Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Mississippi and Florida.
July 28th – On May 28th, Reuters reported that countries in the European Union were being given a two month deadline to enact “bail-in” legislation. Any nation that does not have “bail-in” legislation in place by that time will face legal action from the European Commission. So why is the European Union in such a rush to get this done? Are the top dogs in the EU anticipating that another great financial crisis is about to erupt?
September 13th – This is Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar – the last day of the Shemitah year. Many are concerned about this date because we have seen giant stock market crashes on the last day of the previous two Shemitah cycles.
On September 17th, 2001 (which was Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in U.S. history up until that time. The Dow plummeted 684 points, and it was a record that held for exactly seven years until the end of the next Shemitah cycle.
On September 29th, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), the Dow fell by an astounding 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one day stock market crash of all time.
Now we are approaching the end of another Shemitah year. So will the stock market crash on September 13th, 2015? Well, no, because that day is a Sunday. So I guarantee that the stock market will not crash on that particular day. But as Jonathan Cahn has pointed out in his book on the Shemitah, sometimes stock market crashes happen just before the end of the Shemitah year and sometimes they happen within just a few weeks after the end of the Shemitah. So we are not just looking at one particular date.
September 15th – The 70th session of the UN General Assembly begins on this date. It is being reported that France plans to introduce a resolution which would give formal UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state. Up until now, the United States has always been the one blocking such a resolution, but Barack Obama is indicating that things may be much different this time around.
September 25th to September 27th – The United Nations is going to launch a brand new sustainable development agenda for the entire planet. Some have called this “Agenda 21 on steroids”. But this new agenda is not just about the environment. It also includes provisions regarding economics, agriculture, education and gender equality. On September 25th, the Pope will travel to New York to give a major speech kicking off the UN conference where this new agenda will be unveiled.
September 28th – This is the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on Biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015. This blood moon falls on the very first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, it will be a “supermoon”, and it will actually be visible in the city of Jerusalem. There are many that dismiss the blood moon phenomenon, but we have seen similar patterns before. For example, a similar pattern of eclipses happened just before and just after the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans in 70 AD.
Perhaps none of this alarms you. But when you add everything above to the fact that the elite definitely appear to be feverishly preparing for something, a very alarming picture emerges.
For example, due to fears that a “natural disaster” could interrupt their operations in New York, the New York Fed has been working hard to build up a satellite office in Chicago.
What kind of “natural disaster” could possibly be so bad that it would cause the entire New York Fed to shut down?
And NORAD has decided to move back into the base deep inside Cheyenne Mountain after all these years. The threat of an electromagnetic pulse was the reason given for this decision.
By themselves, perhaps those moves would not be that big of a deal. But let’s add all of the weird movements of military vehicles and equipment that we have been witnessing lately to this discussion.
What does all of this mean?
It is hard to say. We have imperfect information, so it is difficult to come up with perfect conclusions.
But what I will say is that I believe that the second half of 2015 is going to be extremely significant. I believe that events are about to start accelerating greatly, and I believe that life in America is about to change dramatically.
by Michael Snyder
Pope Francis says that global warming is a fact and that a new global political authority is necessary in order to save humanity from utter disaster.
The new encyclical that was scheduled to be released on Thursday has been leaked, and it is being reported that this new global political authority that Pope Francis envisions would be in charge of “the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”.
The funny thing is that this sounds very much in line with the new sustainable development agenda that is going to be launched at the United Nations in September. This radical new agenda is already being called “Agenda 21 on steroids” because it goes so much farther than Agenda 21 ever did.
The new UN agenda does not just address the environment – it also addresses issues such as poverty, agriculture, education and gender equality. It is essentially a blueprint for governing the entire planet, and that sounds very much like what Pope Francis also wants.
In fact, Pope Francis is going to give the speech that kicks off the UN conference in September where this new sustainable agenda will be launched. For some reason, this Pope has decided to make the fight against climate change the central pillar of his papacy, and he is working very hard to unite as much of humanity as possible to get behind that effort.
It is not an accident that this new encyclical is coming out now. An article from the Guardian even states that the release was intended “to have maximum public impact” prior to the Pope’s major speech at the UN in September…
The rare encyclical, called “Laudato Sii”, or “Praised Be”, has been timed to have maximum public impact ahead of the pope’s meeting with Barack Obama and his address to the US Congress and the UN general assembly in September.
It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November.
Much of the encyclical is not that surprising. But what is raising eyebrows is the Pope’s call for a new global political authority. Here is more from the Guardian…
Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.
Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.
What is even more alarming is who will be on the stage with the Pope when this encyclical is formally released. John Schellnhuber is a German professor that has some very radical views on climate change. For instance, he believes that our planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people…
Professor John Schellnhuber has been chosen as a speaker for the Vatican’s rolling out of a Papal document on climate change. He’s the professor who previously said the planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people. Now, the Vatican is giving him a platform which many expect will result in an official Church declaration in support of radical depopulation in the name of “climate science.”
And Schellnhuber also happens to believe that we need a new global political authority. If he had his way, there would be an “Earth Constitution”, a “Global Council” directly elected by the people of the planet, and a “Planetary Court” that would be above all other courts on the globe. The following is an excerpt from a very disturbing piece that he authored…
Let me conclude this short contribution with a daydream about those key institutions that could bring about a sophisticated — and therefore more appropriate — version of the conventional “world government” notion. Global democracy might be organized around three core activities, namely (i) an Earth Constitution; (ii) a Global Council; and (iii) a Planetary Court. I cannot discuss these institutions in any detail here, but I would like to indicate at least that:
– the Earth Constitution would transcend the UN Charter and identify those first principles guiding humanity in its quest for freedom, dignity, security and sustainability;
– the Global Council would be an assembly of individuals elected directly by all people on Earth, where eligibility should be not constrained by geographical, religious, or cultural quotas; and
– the Planetary Court would be a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution.
Does the Pope want something similar?
It is quite telling that Schellnhuber was invited to stand with the Pope as this major encyclical is released to the world. Did Schellnhuber play a role in drafting it? Has he been advising the Pope on these matters? Does the Pope share his vision of the future?
And does the Pope share Schellnhuber’s belief that our planet is currently overpopulated by six billion people? If so, how would the Pope solve that “problem”?
Without a doubt, most of those that make up the “global elite” would love to see the number of people on earth decline precipitously. This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled “46 Population Control Quotes That Show How Badly The Elite Want To Wipe Us All Out“. Of course the Pope is not going to publicly advocate for getting rid of six billion people, but clearly he is extremely concerned about the impact that all of us are having on this planet.
The funny thing is that the earth is not even warming. In fact, there has been no sign of global warming at all for the past ten years…
Over the years the government and the scientific community have largely stood their ground when it comes to climate change. They’ve been adamant in their assertion that the planet is gradually warming due to human activity, and that we all need to do our part to stop climate change. However, the data provided by the scientific community doesn’t always jibe with their claims.
At least, that seems to be the case with the data coming out of NOAA’s climate monitoring stations. They have a series of 114 stations across all 50 states, which is known as the US Climate Reference Network. For the past 10 years they’ve shown no sign of global warming. In fact, there’s been a very slight cooling in temperatures across the US.
But at this point, most of the world has bought into the propaganda. In most industrialized nations, a solid majority of the population actually believes that climate change is the greatest threat that humanity currently faces.
And since just about all forms of human activity produce “carbon emissions” or affect the environment in some way, it gives control freaks that dream of global government a good excuse to grab more power.
They will always say that it is about “saving humanity” or “saving the planet”, but ultimately everything that they are trying to accomplish would mean more power in their hands.
Palestinian leaders plan to submit their first file against Israel to the International Criminal Court next week.
The file, which which will list Israel’s alleged violations of international law, will be delivered on June 25, a Palestinian Foreign Ministry official, Ammar Hijazi, said Thursday in Ramallah, I24 News reported.
The file to be submitted to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is “only general, it’s only statistical,” Hijazi said. “But it certainly draws a grim picture of what Israel is doing and why we think that there are reasonable grounds … for the prosecutor to start [her] investigations.”
Also Thursday, according to the Palestinian Maan news service, another top Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, urged the Palestinian Authority to revoke its recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes a Palestinian state. Erekat also called on the P.A. to refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and not allow Israel to maintain troops in the Jordan Valley as part of a peace deal.
According to Maan, Erekat also said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should be allowed to join the PLO’s Executive Committee and that Palestinian leaders should do more to help Palestinians living in Lebanon and Syria.
In January, ICC prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry into possible war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank dating to the end of June 2014, just before the start of Israel’s military operation in Gaza. The prosecutors will determine whether preliminary findings merit a full investigation into alleged atrocities and possible charges against Israeli and/or Palestinian officials.
The sheer hypocrisy of these Arabs, who are in their present situation as a direct result of their ancient and on-going Jew hatred, is matched only by that of the international community, and its institutions (UN, ICC etc) that give them succour.
What kind of world would encourage a group of Arabs to hijack an ancient name given by the Roman emperor Hadrien (Syria-Palestina) to the land of the Jews after he ethnically cleansed them from it. And become complicit with their revisionist history claims of antiquity?
In what kind of world would that group, which has been responsible for world-wide acts of terrorism dating back before 1948, be rewarded with billions of dollars and land they have no entitlement to, despite their on-going acts of terrorism?
In what kind of world would these terrorists actually believe they have a hope in hell of successfully bringing charges against their victims for defending themselves?
Human enhancement technologies are expanding the frontiers of biotechnology and changing the nature of warfare, international relations and geopolitics.
Human enhancement refers to the suite of techniques which alter the human body beyond its normal healthy state. While ‘therapy’ is meant to ‘fix’ or ‘heal’ something damaged, enhancement technologies aim to stimulate and augment the human body beyond its natural capacities. Some of the possibilities available soon, such as “personality pills”, super-intelligent machines or gene therapy to block normal aging, come with extremely disruptive side effects.
As is frequently the case with technological innovation, the origins of enhancement technologies are closely linked to military research. Soldiers equipped with devices for increased muscle strength, better pain management or extra-alertness make ideal combatants. Yet whilst administering pills that enable stress resistance or erase post-traumatic stress might seem like ideal quick fixes, they raise profound ethical and security concerns.
In their most extreme form, such techniques could push us beyond what it means to be human, effectively bringing us on the brink of transhumanism. Transhumanism challenges the very notion of the human condition as fixed, rooted and constant. Interventions to improve our bodies, modify our pleasure centres, eradicate pathogenic conditions, enhance cognitive functions or extend life will eventually alter our very emotions emotions, such as fear.
The rise of the super soldier – at any cost
The search for performance optimization via human enhancement in the military is not new. Stimulant drugs have been used in the army for decades. For instance, amphetamine, a synthetic drug which enhances the neurotransmitters adrenalin and noradrenalin, started being widely available to US troops in the 1960s for its effects in enhancing alertness and physical endurance. More recently, in an effort to find safer alternatives, the military has switched to the use of modafinil, a drug first used by US troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Modafinil acts as a psycho-stimulant, enhances vigilance and overall cognitive and physical performance even in sleep-deprived individuals. It is estimated that the UK Ministry of Defence purchased 24,000 modafinil tablets in 2004.
Apart from the use of such enhancements in the military, we are increasingly witnessing the rise of technologies that can alter human biology irreversibly, especially by incorporating technology within the human body. Such technologies are radically different from previous eras as they are much more invasive and potentially irreversible, marking a new phase in the quest to create super soldiers.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is now at the forefront of developing enhancement technologies. In the early 1990s, DARPA acquired an avid interest in biology. DARPA’s turn to biotechnology and biomimetics (getting inspiration from nature, the animal world and metabolic flexibility) is now well on track, and garnering growing federal funding. For the fiscal year 2015, DARPA’s proposed budget request was of 2.915 billion, a steady increase from previous years.
The projects for human augmentation resulted from the recognition that even with the most sophisticated weapons, war remains dependent on soldiers that are subject to physical, cognitive, or psychological vulnerabilities. This sentiment was openly expressed by the Agency, which stated that the human being was “the weakest link in Defense systems”.
Techno-integration became critical to achieving this purpose. This requires creating a symbiotic coupling between men and machines in order to enhance physical and cognitive fitness. This mostly concerned restorative medicine for a long time, but more recent advances in neural integration bring about the real possibility that the peripheral nervous system could be coupled with advanced technology with a simple plug. An extreme form of invasive technology currently being explored is a micro-processing chip which can be implanted beneath the skull and manipulated remotely.
Experiments with so-called “non-invasive brain stimulation” at the US Air Force Research Lab, made public in early 2014, tried a new technique to keep soldiers awake and alert with electric shocks. The results were promising: the electro-stimulation tested much better than the mere use of caffeine. The doses of electrical current were carefully controlled and succeeded in making soldiers wide-awake, refreshed and alert for as long as 30 hours. Although still at an experimental stage, the initiative proves that hijacking the brain for the end of military effectiveness will be used justify whatever scientific means.
The basics of neuro-stimulation now allow us to employ methods to boost our ability to learn, pay attention to the environment, better recall information, take risks or exercise self-control. The amount of knowledge we have on the frontal cortex already permits us to understand how to influence cognitive processes. Two major approaches are Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) and the latter is already in use by the US military to improve the performance of drone pilots. However, scientists caution that TMS and TDS can produce many unintended effects. The military’s ambitions could soon catch up with the neuro-stimulation technology to the extent that soldiers’ reactions, responsiveness and emotionality could be pre-programmed with precision. They could become faster, more agile, alert, more receptive and fast learners, more disciplined or docile or, if needed, less empathetic.
Other projects pursued by DARPA in partnership with various universities across the United States include programs such as: “Accelerated Learning”, “Crystalline Cellulose Conversion to Glucose” (enabling humans to eat grass and other non-digestible plants), “Human-aided optical recognition”, (neuro-optical binoculars to detect threats), “RealNose”, (extra sensors to detect chemicals as accurately as a dog) and “Z-Man” (allowing humans to climb up walls like lizards).
While DARPA officially claims these projects are without invasive mental or physical effects, controversies abound and many questions about their long-lasting implications remain open. Human nature is frail, vulnerable and less adaptable than other species. It is therefore not surprising that DARPA would explicitly defend human enhancement projects based on a pragmatic calculation of cost, time and military effectiveness: “the idea is not simply to replace people with machines, but to team people with robots to create a more capable, agile and cost-effective force that lowers the risks of US casualties.”
Implications for international relations and geopolitics
With these developments, questions of law, international competition and ethics will become more prominent as both states and societies will have to respond to these technologies and their risks of spinning out of control.
Enhancement raises many ethical ’red flags’: how far will the imperative of “military necessity” go in justifying biotechnological enhancement that would otherwise be considered unacceptable? Could soldiers become dehumanized tools, coerced into whatever is necessary to wage war? Are safety considerations taken into account, and are norms of ethical medical conduct extended to all enhancement technologies? Moreover, it will be critical to explore whether enhancement is reversible or not and to what extent a transhumanist soldier can switch back to the ‘pre-enhanced’ state.
Considerations of risks from enhancement and transhumanism have been largely absent from the military, but it is high time the military gave more considerations to the ethical aspects of enhancing soldiers. These should cover both long-term consequences for the soldiers’ health, as well as the inequalities created between enhanced and non-enhanced soldiers, since enhanced soldiers might eventually need to be treated differently from the average, non-enhanced soldiers. Questions of responsibility will ensue as well.Should the enhanced soldier run out of control, who will be accountable: the soldier, the engineer or medical teams that enhanced him?
Pressure could soon mount for the US to have an ethical review of its enhancement programs, an expectation that is easier to foresee in a country where demands for accountability can be consequential even in an institution as secretive as the Army. However, this might not be the case everywhere, which brings the need for global discussions and standard-setting for enhancement technologies.
Human enhancement will be disruptive for the entire military establishment and have far-reaching international relations and geopolitical consequences. At a unit level, war-fighters might be enhanced differently, or selectively, creating thus a class of enhanced vs. “normal” soldiers. This will affect morale and unit cohesion drastically, potentially causing resentment in some and a false sense of entitlement in others. Such asymmetry of capabilities will also reflect in international competition and international law, where countries benefiting from advanced technologies of enhancement will possess an advantage over those who will continue relying on non-enhanced soldiers.
In the more near future, the implications of human enhancement in international relations could entail similar reactions to those provoked by the extensive use of drones by the United States. While one country might regard enhancement as justifiable, appropriate and defensible, others could perceive it as an unjust use of capabilities. This will further exacerbate the sense of illegitimacy in war and disproportionate material and human loss.
At the same time, and as was the case with other technologies, it is not improbable to anticipate a race of development and acquisition of human enhancement technologies by many other countries in the coming decades, thus further complicating international conflict resolution, code of conduct and international law. In addition, given the potential effects of these technologies on emotions, remorselessness and increased physical power (for instance through the use of powered exoskeletons), it should be expected that the level of brutality in warfare could increase significantly, thus complicating the implementation of international treaties and post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction efforts.
by Carey Lodge
Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee Iraq as Islamic State continues to tighten its grip, but still people are turning to Jesus, a church leader has told Christian Today.
Rev Sami Dagher, president and founder of all Alliance churches in Lebanon, has churches all across the Middle East, including 22 in Syria, six in Lebanon, and three in Iraq – one each in Dahuk, Irbil, and Baghdad. He also has two Bible schools, one in Beirut and another in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, and is just starting a church in Cairo.
Having been working and leading churches in Iraq since 1990, Dagher has seen significant changes in the region. He lived there under the reign of Saddam Hussein, and was once able to give a Bible to the dictator, who sent a gold watch in return and a letter thanking Dagher for his gift. At that time, it was illegal to open churches, so Dagher started one congregation under the pretence of it being a nursery, and encouraged Christians to eat together when they met, so if they got caught praying by the police they could say they were just thanking God for the food.
Since ISIS began gaining influence in Iraq, life has got even worse for Christians and swathes have been forced to convert to Islam, leave their homes or risk being killed. Many are now refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, but there are also believed to be around 2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis, some in makeshift camps but many living in abandoned schools and other buildings. Dagher’s ministry has partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to provide food, aid and shelter to some of those most in need in places such as Irbil and Dahuk.
According to the BBC’s Lyse Doucet in Baghdad last September, ISIS militants were closing in on the city, and the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East then reported that jihadists were “less than 2km away”. However, it has as so far remained free from ISIS control.
Dagher estimates that 80 per cent of his original church congregation in Baghdad have left, but “the church is still full with new people coming,” he says.
“We have about 400 people every Sunday in Baghdad, and about 30 per cent of those are from different religions.” Currently, 73 people who have converted to Christianity are waiting to be baptised in the church.
Christians in Iraq are afraid of ISIS, Dagher added, but many Muslims are coming to Christ, despite the risk. “They are seeking to see the truth, and they can’t find that truth maybe in their religion.” While orthodox churches in the Middle East do not allow Muslims to worship there, the evangelical churches have opened their doors.
Kevin Sutter, president of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Frontier Missions, recently claimed that there is a spiritual revival happening among Muslims in the Middle East, and though Dagher said that the word “revival” may be too strong, many Muslims are becoming disillusioned with their faith, and looking to the Church for answers.
“They see people who will put a bomb around themselves and go kill themselves and others and say ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is great]. They see a man take another man, cutting [off] his head with a knife and saying ‘Allahu Akbar’. They can’t really understand…how can they do it in the name of Allah?” he explained. “They want to find the truth.”
A YWAM worker also reportedly met an ISIS militant who had become a Christian. “I’m not surprised,” Dagher responded to this story. “God can do miracles.”
The Middle East is a dangerous place for him to be, but despite having a British wife and children, and therefore able to move to the UK, Dagher – who is now 79 years old – says he will continue to plant churches until “they put me six feet underground”.
“The Holy Spirit has given me the courage to stay and shepherd, and bring light to a dark place,” he says. “We have titles in the word of God, and one of the titles we have [is that] we are ambassadors for Christ…we have the ministry of reconciliation. If all the ministers leave Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, who is going to reconcile people to God? Who is going?
“We also have another title – we are the light of the world. Syria is a dark place, Iraq is a dark place, Lebanon is a dark place, Kurdistan is a dark place and the light is leaving it – who is going to shine there?
“According to God, we have to shine in the dark place, and if it’s dark, one candle will make a difference.”
by Con Coughlin
Since its creation 85 years ago, Saudi Arabia has acquired a reputation as a country that tries to avoid confrontation with its neighbours at all costs. During the long war between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s the Saudis desperately sought to preserve their neutrality, even if Riyadh’s sympathies lay with its fellow Sunni co-religionists in Iraq rather than the Shi’ite Muslim hardliners running Iran.
Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the two Gulf wars against Saddam Hussein was kept to a minimum. Saudi warplanes made a modest contribution to the overall air campaign during the 1991 liberation of Kuwait, while Riyadh steadfastly refused to involve itself in the 2003 Iraq war. In other conflicts affecting the region, such as the Palestinian intifada, the Saudis have preferred to channel their immense oil wealth in support of Arab allies rather than become directly involved in the strife.
But then this year came Saudi Arabia’s dramatic military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. Saudi warplanes and troops are now involved in a bitter conflict with Iranian-backed rebels from the Houthi religious movement in Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as one of the region’s dominant military powers.
In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around 37 billion pounds (compared with the UK at around 34 billion pounds).
The military offensive in Yemen has seen Saudi Arabia deploy an estimated 150,000 troops – nearly twice the size of the British Army – while Saudi fighter jets, many of them British-made, have flown thousands of sorties.
Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme.
Prince Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s long-serving ambassador to London, says that for many years the kingdom upheld the policy established by the late King Fahd that Riyadh would not pursue a policy of developing nuclear weapons. “Then it became known that Iran was pursuing a policy that could be shifted to a weapons-of-mass-destruction programme,” Prince Mohammed explained in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph. “This has changed the whole outlook in the region.”
Like many in the Arab world and beyond, the Saudis are hoping the current negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue, being led by U.S. President Barack Obama, will provide assurances that Tehran does not possess the means to build an atom bomb.
“We have always expressed our support for resolving the Iranian nuclear file in a diplomatic way and through negotiation,” said Prince Mohammed. “We commend the American president’s effort in this regard, provided that any deal reached is watertight and is not the kind of deal that offers Iran a license to continue its destabilizing foreign policies in the region. The proof is in the pudding.”
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Russia (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) and Germany – are due to be concluded by the end of this month.
Negotiators are pressing Tehran to freeze key elements of its uranium-enrichment cycle – which can be used to produce nuclear warheads – in return for easing the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
Despite attempts lasting more than a decade to resolve the issue, Iran has yet to make any significant concessions on its nuclear programme.
The New York Times reported last week that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel had increased by 20 per cent in the past 18 months. That would make a nonsense of the Obama administration’s contention that Iran had frozen its enrichment operations for the duration of the negotiations. Consequently, there are fears in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states that Obama is more interested in reaching an accommodation with reformists in Iran than in standing by America’s traditional allies in the Arab world.
“Iran’s nuclear programme poses a direct threat to the entire region and constitutes a major source and incentive for nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, including Israel.”
Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice. Any failure by Iran to provide the necessary safeguards by the end of this month could see Riyadh activate that deal, thereby enabling Saudi Arabia to become the Arab world’s first nuclear power. And if that were to happen, then many other regional powers, such as Egypt and Turkey, would also attempt to follow suit – a nuclear arms race in the world’s most unstable region.
Prince Mohammed’s comments should serve as a warning to Obama as he briefs other G7 leaders on the Iran talks at this week’s summit in Germany.
by Adam Winthal
The Isis militant group has seized enough radioactive material from government facilities to suggest it has the capacity to build a large and devastating “dirty” bomb, according to Australian intelligence reports.
Isis declared its ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction in the most recent edition of its propaganda magazine Dabiq, and Indian defence officials have previously warned of the possibility the militants could acquire a nuclear weapon from Pakistan.
According to the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, Nato has expressed deep concerns about the materials seized by Isis from research centres and hospitals that would normally only be available to governments.
The threat of Isis’s radioactive and biological weapons stockpile was so severe that the Australia Group, a 40-nation bloc dedicated to ending the use of chemical weapons, held a session on the subject at its summit in Perth last week.
“This is really worrying them,” Ms Bishop said in an interview with The Australian.
When they swept across territory in Syria and Iraq, she said, “the insurgents did not just clear out the cash from local banks”.
Last week Ms Bishop spoke at the Australia Group meeting about fears Isis was weaponising poisonous gases such as chlorine.
And speaking to The Australian, she confirmed that the concerns she was raising stemmed from reports filed by the Australian department of defence as well the foreign office.
The growing concerns about Isis’s development of weapons of mass destruction come at a time when experts fear the militant group will be “more active than ever” to mark the start of Ramadan and the one-year anniversary of its declaration of a “caliphate”.
Isis said it was changing its name to “Islamic State” following the first public address by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Mosul on 29 June last year, and the US-based Institute for the Study of War has noted that the group usually reserves its major operations to coincide with the Islamic holy month.
“Isis is likely to begin and end Ramadan with attempted spectacular military offensive actions in Iraq and Syria,” it said.