Iraqi PM Clashes With Antichrist’s Followers

Later, protesting students and Abadi’s guards clashed, according to a Rudaw source from inside the campus, adding that the students were chanting against Abadi and throwing bricks at him, forcing the prime minister to leave the campus immediately.
The force defending Abadi used bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, causing 50 people to suffer breathing difficulties, according to the source. After the incident, ambulances arrived on the scene and rushed the affected students to the hospital.
The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said security forces later took measures to avoid media agencies broadcasting the incident.
Abadi’s trip to the Wasit province was to visit the university, meet with families who had lost relatives in the fight against ISIS, and to attend a Wasit Council of Ministers meeting.
According to a statement from the PM after the visit, he was calling on universities remain separate from political conflicts. The release stated Abadi said the educational aspect is essential in defeating ISIS.
He added that those who have a problem with the prime minister should direct complaints at him without affecting the security of the country and thus distracting from the battle [against ISIS].
Abadi also visited the families of Iraqi forces who were killed against ISIS, expressing that their sacrifices were able to “liberate the occupied.”
Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr released a statement, calling the assault on Abadi’s convoy a breach against the prestige of the state and also that people in Wasit province should from refrain all peaceful protests until further notice. The release stated the protests do not represent [Sadrists] and may even be hostile to it.
The IHEC, which is seen as an independent polling body, has members that are affiliated with nearly all political parties across the Iraqi spectrum, including several Kurdish members. Sadr has in the past cast doubt on the independence of the commission and stated that “no election are free and fair under the current IHEC.”

An Unprecedented Alliance (Daniel 7:7)

By John Irish and Andrea Shalal | MUNICH
Saudi Arabia and Israel both called on Sunday for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests, while U.S. lawmakers promised to seek new sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim power.
Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran as Saudi and Israeli ministers rejected an appeal from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Sunni Gulf Arab states to work with Tehran to reduce violence across the region.
While Saudi Arabia remains historically at odds with Israel, their ministers demanded at the Munich Security Conference that Tehran be punished for propping up the Syrian government, developing ballistic missiles and funding separatists in Yemen.
International sanctions on Iran were lifted a year ago under a nuclear deal with world powers, but Republican senators said at the conference they would press for new U.S. measures over the missiles issue and Tehran’s actions to “destabilize” the Middle East.
He sidestepped a question about Israel’s call for concerted action with Sunni Arab states amid growing speculation that the two countries could normalize relations and join forces to oppose Tehran, much as Turkey has done.
The six Arab members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of using sectarianism to interfere in Arab countries and build its own sphere of influence in the Middle East. Iran denies the accusations.
“Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the conference. “It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East … (and) until and unless Iran changes its behavior it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.”
Al-Jubeir said Iran was propping up the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, funding the Houthi movement in Yemen and fomenting violence across the region.
The international community needed to set clear “red lines” to halt Iran’s actions, he said, calling for banking, travel and trade restrictions aimed at changing Tehran’s behavior.
“The real division is not Jews, Muslims … but moderate people versus radical people,” Lieberman told delegates.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also criticized what he called an Iranian “sectarian policy” aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
“Turkey is very much against any kind of division, religious or sectarian,” he said. “It’s good that we are now normalizing our relations with Israel.”
Zarif opened Sunday’s session with the call for dialogue to address “anxieties” in the region. This followed a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait last week to try to improve ties, his first visit to the Gulf states since taking power in 2013.
Asked if Iran’s envisioned regional dialogue could include Israel, Zarif said Tehran was looking at a more “modest” approach. “I’m focusing on the Persian Gulf. We have enough problems in this region so we want to start a dialogue with countries we call brothers in Islam,” he said.
Zarif dismissed any suggestions his country would ever seek to develop nuclear weapons. When asked about the new U.S. administration’s tough rhetoric on Iran’s role in the region and calls to review the nuclear deal, he said Tehran did not respond well to threats or sanctions.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he and other senators were preparing legislation to further sanction Iran for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions with its missile development program and other actions.
Senator Christopher Murphy, a Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Washington needed to decide whether to take a broader role in the regional conflict.
“We have to make a decision whether we are going to get involved in the emerging proxy war in a bigger way than we are today, between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by David Stamp)

Khamenei’s Miscalculation of Babylon the Great

Shahir Shahidsaless
Monday 27 February 2017 20:30 UTC
Since the culmination of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six powers, which is commonly referred to by its Farsi acronym as Barjam, the position of Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has been as follows: “[Barjam] removed the malevolent war shadow over Iran … and, [as a result], real security returned to our country.”
According to a report prepared by Raja News, a hardline outlet that quotes several officials on Rouhani’s team, this viewpoint is shared by the president’s circle, including his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
However, in his 17 February televised address, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an angry tone, “It is said that in the absence of Barjam, Iran would have become engulfed in war. This is a pure lie.”
What is behind Ayatollah’s position? The arguments presented by the radical camp, including Raja News, could prove telling.
‘Which insane? Which war?’
An article published on the Raja News website and widely shared by other hardline news outlets, titled “Which insane? Which war?” read: “The [reformist] chain newspapers and servants of the current that promotes Westernisation, in their headlines and writings, aim to convince people that [Donald] Trump is an insane warmonger.”
Why? “Because,” the article continues, “once people are convinced that Trump is an unpredictable and crazy personality who can take any action [at his choosing], they would be forced to elect a president whose stated policy is centered on ‘patience and toleration’ and believes in detente with Trump, [rather than resistance against him].”
In other words, the moderates’ argument that should Barjam collapse, a war with the US under Trump would be inevitable, is a lie. It is a conspiracy. It is nothing but a propaganda tool designed to scare people in order to distance them from the hardliners, who believe in resistance against, rather than diplomacy with, Washington.
‘Either war or peace’
In support of Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks against the president and his team, the most important position was taken by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in an editorial in the 20 February issue of the weekly Sobhe Sadiq. The article in the publication of IRGC’s political body was titled, “The invalidity of the argument of either war or peace.”
‘One can argue that this dirty scenario of either war or peace, which is pursued for election purposes, serves Zionists, the House of Saud, and the newcomers in the US’- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps editorial
The opening of the editorial maintains that the Rouhani administration “has taken Trump’s aggressiveness as an opportunity … to portray him as an illogical and dangerous person … in order to create a discourse of ‘either war or peace,’ which can have a political application aimed at [shaping the outcome of the upcoming] election in favour of the current administration”.
The editorial argues that moderates seek to portray any resistance from their opponents – meaning the IRGC and conservatives as a whole – against the US as dangerous and a symbol of warmongering. Moderates, thus, seek to shape public opinion so that those who supported talks with the US and successfully concluded the nuclear deal represent peace and security for the nation, the article argues.
It then fiercely attacks the discourse of “either war or peace” and positions this thesis as in line with the policies of the Zionists and Saudis, who seek to use Trump-phobia to scare Iran and tame its revolutionary nature.
“Therefore, one can argue that this dirty scenario of either war or peace, which is pursued for election purposes, serves Zionists, the House of Saud, and the newcomers in the US,” the editorial reads.
The article presented six reasons as to why the US is incapable of engaging in a war with Iran. The reasons were briefly as follows:
High financial costs.
A lack of consensus both within the US and between the US and its allies on entering into a war with Iran.
Unpredictable consequences of such a war.
Trump’s priorities, which are to fix domestic, rather than international, problems.
Trump’s stated policy of avoiding securitising other nations (namely, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms, and Israel) at the expense of the US.
Trump’s business-focused mindset, which does not favour military confrontations.
The editorial concludes by emphasising that the moderates’ war-or-peace discourse is “in complete contrast with Iran’s national interests”.
Trump, watch your step
There are two explanations for Ayatollah Khamenei’s position, which calls such discourse “a pure lie”.
The first is that he does not want to allow moderates, as argued by the IRGC, to continue using the argument as a major element of their platform for the upcoming presidential elections. Simply put, he wants to silence and disarm Rouhani and his supporters who deploy this rationale to marginalise the Ayatollah’s own supporters – the radicals and their candidate(s) in the May election.
This position is understandable, because since Khamenei’s election as Iran’s supreme leader in 1989, no Iranian president has been in line with him (presidents are elected by the direct vote of the people). Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seemed to be Khamenei’s favourite, had sharp disagreements and confrontations with the Ayatollah during his second term.
The second explanation is that Khamenei does not want to give the impression to the new US administration that Iran is in a weak position and will bend no matter how aggressive Washington acts.
In other words, Khamenei seeks to convey the following message: “Watch what you do. If you impose new sanctions or avoid renewing sanctions waivers, as you are committed to under Barjam, we will walk away from the agreement despite your sabre-rattling. We are not afraid of the consequences of taking such a step because we know that you are not in a position to start a war.”
Dangerous misperception?
Iran, in clear defiance of Trump, conducted a ballistic missile test several days after his inauguration. This and additional missile tests in the future will be carried out based on the assumption that even if Barjam collapses, no war will occur under Trump’s watch.
Such a view is a misperception. It is true that Trump, as an isolationist, does not seek a new war, and that he prioritises domestic issues. However, if the US imposes new sanctions under non-nuclear pretexts – for example, over the expansion of missile programme – on the banking and energy sector of Iran, which is quite likely, Barjam will collapse.
That will result in Iranian retaliatory policies, namely an unstoppable expansion of its nuclear and missile programmes, which could unwittingly drag the two states into war.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s assertion – that it is a pure lie to claim that in the absence of a nuclear deal, war would be inevitable – is a miscalculation.
As the prominent international relations scholar Robert Jervis has put it, “War is most likely if you overestimate others’ hostility but underestimate their capabilities. War can occur without misperception, but rarely.”
– Shahir Shahidsaless is an Iranian-Canadian political analyst and freelance journalist writing about Iranian domestic and foreign affairs, the Middle East and US foreign policy in the region. He is the co-author of Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace. He is a contributor to several websites with focus on the Middle East as well as the Huffington Post. He also regularly writes for BBC Persian. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @SShahisaless.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses teachers during the Teachers’ Day on 6 May 2015 in Tehran (AFP)

USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6)

Ernie Garcia,
A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.
If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.
So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.
“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”
One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.
The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.
Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.
The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”
Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.
“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.
The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.
Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.
Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.
There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.