March 2012

Will Israel Strike Iran From Azerbaijan?

Steven LeBlanc

Late this week Foreign Policy magazine quotes anonymous American officials saying that Israel has been given access to airbases by Iran’s northern neighbor Azerbaijan, from which Israel could launch air strikes against Iranian military targets.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has been quoted describing his country’s relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: “nine-tenths of it is below the surface.” The government of Azerbaijan has denied that they have sold Israel land for a landing strip.

Israel’s relationship with Baku [capital city] was secured in February by a $1.6 billion arms agreement that provides Azerbaijan with sophisticated drones and missile-defense systems. At the same time, Baku’s ties with Tehran have deteriorated: Iran warned Azerbaijan’s ambassador last month claiming that Baku has supported Israeli-trained assassination squads targeting Iranian scientists, an accusation the Azeri government protested as “a slander.” The relationship between Iran and Azerbaijan is cool at best.

Has Azerbaijan sold land to Israel—it is very possible. Wars and rumors of wars continue (Matthew 24:6).

More Sanctions Against Iran

Steven LeBlanc

It was reported today (March 30th), that President Obama is moving ahead with harsher sanctions aimed at crippling the Iranian economy. The U.S. is pressing forward with sanctions against foreign banks that continue to purchase oil from Iran. The sanctions aim to further isolate Iran’s central bank, which is the agent that processes oil transactions coming into, and going out of the country.

Washington hopes that the sanctions will pressure Iranian leaders to abandon its nuclear ambitions. At the same time President Obama is putting pressure on Israel to be patient a little longer, as it is believed the sanctions are taking a serious toll on the Iranian economy.

It is doubtful that the sanctions will have their desired outcome. Iran has its pride. To back down on their nuclear program would signal weakness to many in the Muslim world. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.—Proverbs 16:18. That scripture applies to individuals, and it also applies to world leaders.

Iran's key nuclear sites&#45 Israel targets?

If Israel decides to attack Iran to cripple their ability to manufacture a nuclear bomb, these are the targets that will be hit in an air strike.

Arak – Heavy water plant

The existence of a heavy water facility near the town of Arak first emerged with the publication of satellite images by the US-based Institute for Science and International Security in December 2002.Heavy water is used to moderate the nuclear fission chain reaction either in a certain type of reactor – albeit not the type that Iran is currently building – or produce plutonium for use in a nuclear bomb.

Bushehr – Nuclear power station

Iran’s nuclear program began in 1974 with plans to build a nuclear power station at Bushehr with German assistance. Moscow delayed completion on the project while the UN Security Council debated and then passed resolutions aimed at stopping uranium enrichment in Iran. In December 2007, Moscow started delivering the canisters of enriched uranium the plant needs. There are two pressurized water reactors at the site. When it was inspected by the IAEA in October 2011, the agency noted that the reactor was in operation.

Gachin – Uranium mine

In December 2010, Iran said it had delivered its first domestically produced uranium ore concentrate, or yellowcake, to a plant that can make it ready for enrichment. Iran was believed to be running low on its stock of yellowcake, originally imported from South Africa in the 1970s.

Isfahan – Uranium conversion plant

Iran is building a plant at a nuclear research facility to convert yellowcake into three forms:

• Hexafluoride gas – used in gas centrifuges
• Uranium oxide – used to fuel reactors, albeit not the type Iran is constructing
• Metal – often used in the cores of nuclear bombs. The IAEA is concerned about the metal’s use, as Iran’s reactors do not require it as fuel.

Natanz – Uranium enrichment plant

Iran resumed uranium enrichment work at Natanz in July 2004, after a halt during negotiations with leading European powers over its program. It announced in September 2007 that it had installed 3,000 centrifuges, the machines that do the enrichment.

This is the facility at the heart of Iran’s dispute with the United Nations Security Council. The Council is concerned because the technology used for producing fuel for nuclear power can be used to enrich the uranium to a much higher level to produce a nuclear explosion.

Parchin

The overall complex is one of Iran’s leading munitions centers – for the research, development and production of ammunition, rockets and high explosives. A limited inspection carried out by the IAEA in 2005 found no proof of any nuclear weapons activity at Parchin. But according to information from an IAEA report in November 2011, it is believed the site has also been used for testing high explosives that could be used in nuclear weapons.

Qom – Uranium enrichment plant

In January 2012, Iran said it had begun uranium enrichment at the heavily fortified site of Fordo near the holy city of Qom. Iran says the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) is for use as a fuel in research reactors. Uranium – with a concentration of 20% or more – is needed to build nuclear weapons.

Germany the Power of Europe

Steven LeBlanc

Below are excerpts from an excellent article written by Henry Chu of the Los Angeles Times: “Germany finds itself back in power in Europe”. Complete article found at address: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-germany-europe-20120228,0,2973408.story

Germany today finds itself right back where it wasn’t supposed to be: dominating Europe.

As the region’s richest, most populous nation, with control over purse strings rather than panzers, Germany is the unquestioned boss amid Europe’s stubborn debt crisis and deepening economic malaise. But the turnaround has inspired a fair bit of discomfort and unease, not just among some neighboring nations but also among some Germans.

“We have an ambivalent relationship with power,” said senior research fellow Ulrike Guerot of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. “We’ve never gotten it right.”

Potentially the fate of the global economy now lies in Germany’s hands as it heads the effort to keep heavily indebted Greece (where people mutter about a “Fourth Reich”) from going under and pulling down other Eurozone countries with it. Chancellor Angela Merkel successfully steered approval for a $175-billion Greek bailout through the German Parliament, a deeply divisive measure for German taxpayers who will foot more than half the bill.

Even so, President Obama and other world leaders are urging Germany to contribute even more to a permanent European bailout fund that might stanch the debt crisis — pressure that Merkel has so far resisted.

The leadership role thrust onto Germany is turning out to be a minefield in many ways, complicated by the nation’s past. Officials here in the German capital are keenly aware of the delicate balance they must strike.

Even so, critics fault Merkel’s government for mistakes of both style and substance amid what they complain is an ever-increasing German hegemony over its neighbors.
The plan that Europe is pursuing to save the euro currency bears an unmistakably German stamp, with its insistence on solemn pledges of fiscal rectitude, stiff austerity measures and punishment for countries that stray.

Despite the growing chorus of detractors and indicators showing that austerity is strangling economic growth in ailing nations, Merkel has refused to yield, and no fellow European leader has been strong enough to overrule her.

She’s the queen of Europe,” said Josef Joffe, editor of the newspaper Die Zeit.
Merkel recently surprised many with the startling announcement that she would cross the Rhine and actively campaign on behalf of French President Nicolas Sarkozy for reelection in April — more proof, critics say, of Germany’s pan-European aspirations.

But Joffe said Berlin had neither sought nor built up much experience for its current ascendancy in European affairs, which helps explain some of its missteps.

“The leadership of Europe has really been dropped into its lap, a country with a culture that’s not prepared for leadership, doesn’t have the apparatus and doesn’t feel comfortable in the role,” he said.

We believe that Germany will play a pivotal role in end-time Prophecy, and that a rising European Beast power will eventually dominate the world economy (read Revelation 13 & Revelation 18).

Israel/German Agreement.

This week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for selling Israel the latest German made Dolphin-class submarine. The price tag is a stunning $528 million dollars. According to the agreement between Israel and Germany, Germany will finance a third of the submarine’s costs.

The Israeli navy currently has three German-made Dolphin-class submarines. Two other submarines are under construction at Kiel shipyard and are due for delivery later this year. Dolphin subs are considered among the most sophisticated conventional submarines in the world.

Cruise missiles from Israeli submarines, with a range of more than 1200 miles, could strike any target in Iran. Those submarines, according to reports, can carry missiles with nuclear warheads.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel radio that “the purchase increases the navy’s capacity to confront far-away challenges such as Iran as well as closer ones such as defending shipping routes, countering sea-borne terror and arms smuggling, and safeguarding natural gas drilling sites and production platforms off its coasts”.

Israel and Germany have had for years an awkward and careful relationship. Is Israel in danger of trusting in her military strength rather than in God’s help? “You say you have strategy and military strength… On whom are you depending…?”—Isaiah 36:5.

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