Current Events

Russia Is Preparing for Invasion in Eastern Ukraine

The New York Times wrote on August 22:

“The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday. The West has long accused Russia of supporting the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, but this is the first time it has said it had evidence that the Russian military was operating in Ukrainian territory.

“The Russian move represents a significant escalation of the Kremlin’s involvement in the fighting there and comes as a convoy of [100] Russian trucks with [alleged] humanitarian provisions has crossed into Ukrainian territory without Kiev’s permission…

“NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, criticized the Russian moves in a statement issued in Brussels on Friday. ‘I condemn the entry of a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without any involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross,’ Mr. Rasmussen’s statement said… adding: ‘We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming buildup of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.’”

BBC News added on August 22:

“Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the [aid lorries] convoy was a ‘pretence’, that allowed Russia to encroach on Ukraine through unauthorised means… Meanwhile, Lithuania – a fierce critic of Russia’s actions in Ukraine – has said its honorary consul in Luhansk has been [kidnapped and brutally] murdered ‘by terrorists’, a term routinely used by Ukraine for pro-Russian separatists… The news came amid reports that some Russian aid lorries had reached Luhansk without any permission from Ukraine.”

Deutsche Welle reported on August 25:

“Moscow says it is sending more humanitarian aid to Eastern Ukraine – despite international condemnation of a first such convoy. Kyiv refused permission for the move, accusing Moscow of aiding the rebels.”

The Associated Press reported on August 25:

“For several evenings this month, convoys of military weaponry passed with clockwork-like regularity through Krasnodon, a rebel-held town in eastern Ukraine near the porous border with Russia. The convoys were seen three times last week by Associated Press reporters, and one of them carried about 30 units of weaponry and supplies. All were coming from the direction of Russia and heading west to where pro-Moscow separatists were fighting Ukrainian troops.”

In spite of Russia’s continued denials and juvenile lies, it is obvious that they are supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine with the ultimate goal of invading the area. In fact, notice this report from BBC News, dated August 27:

“Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he had received Polish intelligence reports that regular units of the Russian army were operating inside Ukraine… Accusations that Russia is sending both weapons and men into eastern Ukraine gathered force this week when 10 Russian paratroopers were captured on Ukrainian territory, near the Russian border…”

In addition, the Washington Post wrote on August 28:

“Russian soldiers, tanks and heavy artillery began rolling into southeastern Ukraine in earnest Thursday, the Ukrainian government said, as well-armed detachments captured key towns, burned buildings and sent the under-equipped Ukrainian forces into full retreat — a show of military force that the United States now considers an invasion in all but name.”

Please view our newest StandingWatch program,“Will Russia Invade Eastern Ukraine?”

Angela Merkel Spearheading Efforts to Resolve Crisis in Ukraine

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 23:

“Merkel… has been spearheading efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine… Germany has also been a major force behind the imposition of economic sanctions on Moscow… Since the outbreak of the crisis over four months ago, Merkel has regularly put pressure on Putin to use his influence on the separatists to bring an end to the fighting…”

Sounds good, even though it is clearly not good enough, but read the next article…

Merkel: Ukraine Can Go!

The EUObserver wrote on August 25:

“Germany’s Angela Merkel has said Ukraine is free to ‘go to’ Russia’s ‘Eurasian Union’, amid signs of a new willingness to make peace with Russian leader Vladimir Putin… ‘if Ukraine says we are going to the Eurasian Union now, the European Union would never make a big conflict out of it, but would insist on a voluntary decision,’ Merkel added. ‘I want to find a way, as many others do, which does not damage Russia. We [Germany] want to have good trade relations with Russia as well. We want reasonable relations with Russia. We are depending on one another and there are so many other conflicts in the world where we should work together, so I hope we can make progress’…

“[Some] fear Berlin is making a deal with Moscow over the heads of Brussels and Kiev… Andrey Illarionov, a former aide to Putin who works for the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington, also wrote on his blog on Sunday there is a Merkel-Putin deal in the making. He said it includes: Ukraine talks with pro-Russia rebels that would freeze the conflict and give Putin de facto control of east Ukraine; a promise that Ukraine will never join the EU; a promise it will never join Nato.

“Merkel in her ARD interview said ‘Nato membership for Ukraine is not on the agenda’. She added that Poroshenko’s participation at a Nato summit in September in Wales is part of Nato-Ukraine co-operation, ‘but not membership.’”

One is reminded of the infamous non-aggression pact between Stalin and Hitler, which did not last long. Any peace agreement between Germany (or Europe) and Russia is predestined to fail.

Ukrainian Parliament Dissolved

BBC News reported on August 25:

“Ukraine’s president has dissolved parliament and called snap elections, as government forces continue to fight pro-Russian rebel forces in the east.

“Petro Poroshenko said many current MPs were backers of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and that the majority of Ukrainians wanted a new parliament. Elections would be held on 26 October, he said in a TV address.”

One wonders what is really behind this move.

The Gaza War Continues…

BBC News reported on August 22:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said military operations will ‘intensify’ after an Israeli boy was killed by fire from Gaza. The four-year-old died in a mortar attack on a southern Israeli village near the Gaza border. [The missile landed near a kindergarten in the Sdot Negev region.]

“Meanwhile Israeli air strikes have continued, killing at least four people on Friday, Palestinian officials say. More than 2,090 Palestinians – mostly civilians – and 67 Israelis have been killed in recent weeks.

“On Thursday, an Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas leaders… on Friday, Hamas sources in Gaza said 18 people accused of collaborating with Israel had been executed…”

The Washington Post wrote on August 25:

“After 49 days of war, the armies of Israel and Hamas appear to have run out of new ideas — but not bombs… As the conflict enters its eighth week, the populations on both sides are less angry than exhausted… In Gaza, more than a quarter of the population has been at least temporarily displaced… In Israel, communities along the border with Gaza now resemble ghost towns, as families with children have fled…

“The 2006 Lebanon war between Israel and Hezbollah lasted 33 days. The last two wars in Gaza against Hamas, in 2009 and 2012, went 22 days and eight days, respectively. This time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning that a war that began July 8 might continue into September, when Israeli schoolchildren are scheduled to return to classes — a potential setback for Netanyahu and Israeli military leaders, who have made a return to ‘peace and quiet’ their metric for success…

“On Monday, Israel pounded two mosques that it said were used as storehouses for weapons or as meeting points for militants. For its part, Hamas has sworn that it will never surrender or give up its arms. In a raw display of power — or panic —the group publically executed 24 alleged collaborators over the past five days…

“But despite calls from the Israeli right wing to strike a decisive blow against Hamas, neither Netanyahu nor the Israeli majority appears to have the stomach for a massive ground invasion and the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, which is what it would take for Israel to bring the Islamist resistance movement to its knees… there are no public signs in Gaza that the people are putting pressure on Hamas to stop. Nor has the military or political wing of Hamas been hurt in any existential way — so it is possible that Hamas’s campaign will go on and on.”

We can safely say that Tuesday’s ceasefire between Hamas and Israel will not hold. Hamas declared already that they “will refuse to disarm, as demanded by Israel, until all ceasefire demands are met,” stating that “the latest 50 days of bloodshed between Israel and Hamas would not be the last round of conflict between the two…” (Deutsche Welle, August 28, 2014).

Iraq Conflict Intensifies at a Critical Moment

BBC News reported on August 22:

“An attack by suspected Shia militiamen on a Sunni mosque in Iraq’s Diyala province has killed at least 68 people. Officials say a bomber blew himself up in the mosque during Friday prayers and gunmen fired on fleeing worshippers…

“The attack is seen as a blow to government efforts to secure backing from Sunni groups in its battle against Islamic State (IS) jihadists [consisting of radical Sunnis].

“Prime Minister designate Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, is trying to form a more inclusive government… But two influential Sunni politicians… have suspended participation in talks on a new cabinet in protest at Friday’s massacre…

“It’s just the kind of sectarian provocation that is threatening to plunge the country back into the dark days of 2006 and 2007, when many thousands died in a vicious spiral of communal carnage… Bringing the Sunnis on board is a key element in the American strategy for isolating the Islamic State militants, who have capitalised on Iraqi Sunni grievances. But actions like the latest massacre in the mosque are not going to make that task any easier.”

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 23:

“A suicide bomb attack in Baghdad has killed at least 11 people, in what looks like revenge after Friday’s mass murder at a Sunni mosque… It was unclear Saturday whether the attack at the village mosque was carried out by Shiite militiamen or IS insurgents who have been advancing into mixed Sunni-Shiite areas in Diyala. Though IS is a self-proclaimed Sunni group, their fighters have also been known to kill Sunni Muslims who refuse to submit to their harsh interpretation of the Islamic code and Sharia law.”

Sunnis and Shiites will never work together under a powerful Islamist leader, as some suggest. They are too much divided amongst themselves.

Is ISIS Preparing to Blow Up Major US City?

Newsmax wrote on August 22:

“Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe has warned that Islamic State extremists are attempting to develop a weapon to blow up a major city in the United States. ‘We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation,’ the ranking GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee told Fox…

“Referring to the beheading of American journalist James Foley, Inhofe said that the terror group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has now set its sights on Americans and targets on U.S. soil. ‘They’re crazy out there, and they’re rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city, and people just can’t believe that’s happening,’ he said.”

Cities which have been suggested as potential targets include New York, Chicago and Las Vegas.

IS Sleeper Cells in Europe and USA

Newsmax wrote on August 21:

“A former CIA officer said Thursday he has no doubt Islamic State (ISIS) sleeper cells are already planted on U.S. soil. An unnamed U.S. intelligence official told CNN there’s already an indication of ISIS sleeper cells in Europe that could target U.S. embassies and other American interests. But former CIA officer Bob Baer told the network ISIS is already on this side of the Atlantic. ‘I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper cells in this country,’ he said…

“In several telephone conversations with a Reuters reporter over the past few months, Islamic State fighters suggest their leader, Iraqi Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is planning something for the West – and that attacks could take place through sleeper cells in both Europe and the United States… About 100 Americans are being tracked by the FBI because of their travels to Syria, some to join ISIS, analysts say. And ISIS is actively recruiting Westerners and European Muslims who could easily enter the US.”

IS Recruit in Canada

The Telegraph wrote on August 25:

“A Canadian imam known for his pacifist sermons has warned that Islamist militant group IS was actively recruiting in Canada and said one member issued him a death threat… In February, intelligence services said at least 130 Canadians were fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria.”

James Foley’s Murderer Identified—Britons Fight for ISIS

Newsmax reported on August 24:

“A 23-year-old British former rapper was identified on Saturday by British security officials as the man suspected of beheading American journalist James Foley, according to news reports.  Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who is said to be known by Islamic State members as ‘Jihadi John’ because of his British accent, was identified by unnamed British intelligence sources as the masked terrorist standing by Foley in a video ISIS posted on the Internet of the execution, The Sunday Times of London reports…

“Bary, whose music has been played on BBC radio, left his family’s home in West London last year to go to Syria, The Telegraph reports…

“According to the Evening Standard, Bary is the son of high-profile al-Qaida terror suspect Adel Abdul Bary, the Egyptian militant who was extradited to the United States in 2012 over allegations that he masterminded the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa…

“The British intelligence agencies and police estimate that up to 20 extremists from the U.K. are now traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS every month, the Times reports…

“Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Sunday that the killing of Foley by a man speaking with an English accent was an ‘utter betrayal of our country… our values and everything the British people stand for.’… Hammond also warned that IS was ‘turning a swathe of Iraq and Syria into a terrorist state as a base for launching attacks on the West.’ He added: ‘Unless they are stopped, sooner or later they will seek to strike us on British soil.’…

“More than 500 Britons have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight with jihadists in the last few years…”

Ebola Outbreak Unprecedented

BBC News reported on August 22:

“The World Health Organization has said the speed and extent of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is ‘unprecedented’… The organisation confirmed 142 new cases of the disease had been reported since 19 August, as well as 77 deaths… At least 1,427 people have now died in the outbreak so far, with the number of cases now standing at 2,615…

“In Liberia on Friday, a boy of 16 shot during a protest about a quarantine died… Senegal has defended the closure of its border with Guinea because of the Ebola outbreak…

“Senegal also banned flights and ships from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – the three worst-hit countries… Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya and South Africa have also imposed travel bans.”

President Obama Plays Golf on Vacation—Indifferent to the Turmoil Surrounding Him?

The New York Times wrote on August 21:

“He had just hung up the telephone with the devastated parents before heading in front of the cameras. Unusually emotional, President Obama declared himself ‘heartbroken’ by the brutal murder of an American journalist, James Foley, and vowed to ‘be relentless’ against Islamic radicals threatening to kill another American.

“But as soon as the cameras went off, Mr. Obama headed to his favorite golf course on Martha’s Vineyard, where he is on vacation, seemingly able to put the savagery out of his mind. He spent the rest of the afternoon on the links even as a firestorm of criticism erupted over what many saw as a callous indifference to the slaughter he had just condemned…

“Yet the juxtaposition of his indignant denunciation of terrorists and his outing on the greens this week underscored the unintended consequences of such a remove… after the outcry over Wednesday’s game, he defied the critics by golfing again on Thursday, his eighth outing in 11 days on the island.

“It was all the more striking given that Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain canceled his vacation after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released the video showing Mr. Foley’s death because the accent of the masked killer suggested he came from Britain.

“… the criticism went beyond the usual political opponents. Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error. Ezra Klein, editor in chief of the online news site Vox, who is normally sympathetic to Mr. Obama, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that ‘golfing today is in bad taste.’ The Daily News published a front-page photograph of a grinning president in a golf cart next to a picture of Mr. Foley’s distraught mother and father…”

“Mr. Obama is not the first president to get in trouble with a golf club in hand. On the course one day in 2002, President George W. Bush delivered a tough-worded statement denouncing a suicide bombing in Israel and then, barely missing a beat, told reporters, ‘Now, watch this drive.’ Mr. Bush later concluded that such scenes sent a bad message, and in the fall of 2003, with the Iraq war raging, he gave up golf for the remainder of his presidency.”

“What Is It About August?” – Troubles Galore

The Associated Press reported on August 25:

“While in office, former President George H. W. Bush once plaintively asked, ‘What is it about August?’

“Indeed, this sultry month usually associated with the doldrums of summer has burdened modern presidents with personal, domestic or international crises. And for President Barack Obama, who returned to Washington Sunday from a two-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation, what remains of the August calendar looks perhaps more daunting than when he left.

“Islamic militants personalized their fight in Iraq and Syria by beheading American journalist James Foley. Russia escalated tensions in Europe by moving artillery and troops on the Ukrainian border… And a Chinese fighter jet provocatively buzzed a Navy plane in international air space…

“Obama faces his own self-imposed end-of-summer deadline for how to sidestep Congress on changes to U.S. immigration policies. And while racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police killing of an unarmed young black man have subsided, the St. Louis suburb remains under the White House’s wary gaze…

“He certainly is not the first commander in chief to find August so vexing.

“President George H.W. Bush had to respond to Saddam Hussein’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Bill Clinton admitted to an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinski in August of 1998 and days later ordered air strikes against terrorist bases in Afghanistan in retaliation for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania earlier in the month.

“For Obama, it’s the overseas trouble spots in Iraq and Syria and along Ukraine’s eastern border that present the president with his most immediate challenge… Obama, who has already ordered limited air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, now must decide whether to expand that fight into Syria — a step he has previously been reluctant to take…”

Strong Earthquake Hits California

Deutsche Welle reported on August 24:

“California has been struck by its strongest earthquake in 25 years, with a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter scale [later downgraded to 6.0]… The quake, which was the region’s strongest since 1989, struck at 3:20 am local time, 6 kilometers (3 miles) northwest of American Canyon and 64 km northeast of San Francisco… the epicenter was located only 11 km under the earth’s surface…

“California lies on the San Andreas Fault, which forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, two of the large moving plates that form the Earth’s crust. In 1906, a devastating San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires destroyed over 80 percent of the city, killing more than 3,000 people. In 1989, San Francisco was hit by 6.9-magnitude earthquake, also known as the Loma Prieta earthquake, resulting in 63 deaths and close to 4,000 injuries.”

The website of added on August 24:

“Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency after a 6.0-magnitude quake jolted the Bay Area early Sunday morning, igniting fires, damaging buildings, injuring dozens, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness…”

CBS SF reported on August 25:

“In just over 24 hours following the… Sunday earthquake the USGS recorded 124 minor quakes and counting in the area… The largest of the tremors was 3.6 magnitude, just hours after the initial earthquake.

“Immediately following the quake seismologists said there was over a fifty percent chance that a magnitude 5.0 earthquake will hit within the week in the same area, though that percentage begins to drop significantly more than 24 hours after the initial earthquake…

“Seismologists believed there was a 5-percent chance of an even larger quake over magnitude 6.0 in the next few days.”

On August 24, another “large 6.9-magnitude earthquake has struck a sparsely populated area of central Peru” (The Associated Press).

French Government Collapses

Deutsche Welle reported on August 25:

“The French government has resigned after infighting in the cabinet about the country’s economy. French President Francois Hollande has announced there will be a cabinet reshuffle… The new ministers will not include former economics minister Arnaud Montebourg, whose harsh criticism of French austerity sparked the government’s collapse.”

Even though France would like to become the leader of continental Europe, they will have to realize that it is Germany which is pre-ordained to fulfill that leadership role in these end times.

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