Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

(John 14:1)
Troubled

Dear Friends,

Greetings! We are featuring several articles on the Middle East this week especially the situation as it develops in Syria.

For those familiar with Bible prophecy it would certainly seem that the time is fast approaching and can not be far off when we will begin to see the culmination and fulfillment of Endtime Bible prophecy, especially as it was spoken by Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

The events spoken of by Jesus in these chapters are truly monumental earth shaking and heaven shaking events to such an extent that Jesus in Luke 21:6 said that:

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

Some may look at verses such as the above and be tempted to fear for the future events

that are soon coming upon the world.

But, what was it that Jesus told us, his disciples, how we should react when we see the calamitous events that will be engulfing the countries of the world?

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for [such things] must needs be; but the end [shall] not [be] yet.”

But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end [is] not by and by.” Matthew 24:6, Luke 21:9, Mark 13:7

Jesus told us not to be troubled or terrified when we see wars rising around us.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

John 10:29-31

+++

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
(1Timothy 5:18 ESV)
The Laborer

For those of you affiliated with the TFI you can send donations and gifts via the sign in name: ram

Dear Friends,

Greetings! This introduction will be different than other introductions we have written over the past several years as we wanted to inform our readers a little bit about what goes into the making of this web site each week.

To begin, depending upon the amount of material being processed each week it will take from twenty-five to forty hours each week by the time People of the Keys is updated each Friday or Saturday depending on which part of the world in which you are reading and downloading the material on the site.

Generally, we present between ten to twenty articles each week, sometimes more. For those who are familiar with the web site you will have noticed that we open with articles pertaining directly to,for want of a better word, religious articles, especially articles that deal with prophetic and end time events as related in the Bible.

The person who compiles these articles has studied Bible prophecy for decades and continues to stay in touch with all the latest activities of the worlds leading Bible prophecy experts, meeting with many of them personally. He has also written several original publications including the one that is the basis for the soon coming documentary about "The Coming Temple" and it original location. (Solomon's and Herod's Temples were never on the Dome of the Rock.) This documentary will include interviews with the world's foremost authorities on the topic. It is being edited in Uganda and God willing, will be completed this month, February 2016.)

Following the introductory “religious articles” we generally post articles more of a political nature, but again, normally showing how current events are related to Biblical prophecy.

A current example of this is the war in Syria involving Russia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, etc. all of which figure in end time events and the eventual battle of Armageddon.

The third general area of articles we cover each week could be human interest, or possibly lighter articles, and we generally try to end with relevant articles concerning nutrition or health matters.

For every news article that is picked to put on the site at least ten other articles have been viewed or scanned. That would mean for every ten articles you see on the site one hundred have been viewed and scanned.

Also for every ten articles you see on the site twenty have been downloaded.

These twenty are then read and scrutinized to see how they hold up against the Word of God.

The so called ten articles are then taken from the original web site where they are found and made into individual word based documents. Each article in document form is then cleared of its original formatting and edited.

By editing we mostly mean advertisements removed, links to other articles, any remaining html, etc.

Photos from the articles are also downloaded as well as any video's the articles may contain. The videos contain embedding, the embedding is reinserted back into the original article.

Toward the end of the week, generally on Thursday, a list of the individual articles is made and put into the order we would like them to appear on People of the Keys.

Once all the articles are assembled into a single document they are saved, and then saved again in the html format.

Once the document in html is completed and checked for errors we then look at the photos to accompany the articles. Many times the photos will need to be resized, cropped, combined with another photo, etc.

On Friday, we upload the completed document, and add any relevant articles from the morning of Friday. We put the document in html format to the site and upload the photos, and occasionally music to a web site we use for this purpose.

The photos are then inserted into the article from which they were originally taken. We try to make every article appear exactly as it did in it original format.

All the articles, photos, videos, and music are then proof read two more times for errors. Occasionally, an error still gets through but then again we have had to correct misspelling in newspapers such as the Guardian and other major newspapers! Ha! We do the best we can.

We then set the time for the new material to appear online. We have at this point still not given the weeks presentation a name, because the introduction, (what you are reading at this very moment) has not yet been completed and proof read. We then pray for an appropriate introductory verse that will represent the weeks introduction and take the title from the verse.

The title and closing is then inserted into the document, given its name and we all breathe a sigh of relief because it is finished for another week.

We also make sure a new Activated magazine each month is added and continue to maintain the “Studies” and “Letters” sections.
Through the week we respond to questions and prayer requests we get from people who write in, many times regarding personal problems. Every email is answered as soon as we are able.

The web site itself is maintained by an individual who lives hundreds of miles from the editor of People of the Keys. He has a full time secular job as a top programmer with a large printing firm and donates his time to maintain the People of the Keys web site.

Why are we relating all this to you?

If you value this web site and find it useful to you and others we need your help to continue on. It is very much our burden and desire to continue to bring you People of the Keys. Everyone involved with People of the Keys is a volunteer who donates the time they put into its production.

Up until two years ago we had a patron, a medical doctor, who helped support People of the Keys. She passed away two years ago this coming March and the past two years have been difficult for us in maintaining the web site.

To encourage you to support this we wanted to give you some idea of the fruit statistically of the site. In 2014 and 2015 each month averaged 2,297 unique visitors. Total visitors were much higher, that is people who returned each week for the new posting or maybe multiple visits each week.

We should mention here that we are very thankful for those of you who have helped in the past, some we know to their own hurt. God bless you!

What we need to continue are people who will pledge on a regular monthly basis. We understand completely that some are in situations or countries that make this difficult.

Our budget is very low for all that is involved.

We could get by and survive on $1000 to $1200 a month.

If we averaged 2,297 visitors each month for 2014 and 2015 we would only need 1/10 of each months unique visitors to pledge just $5 a month.

Will you help us?

We have a Paypal account on People of the Keys web site but if you would like to recommend some other method that would be easier for you we would be happy to look at alternative methods of receiving donations.

Thanks for taking the time to read this introduction and explanation of all that we do here. Keep us in your prayers ...we need them. God bless you.

Robert for People of the Keys

PS: Just a few more stats...this past January 2016 we went over our three millionth hit and we are about to hit one million pages downloaded. We have also had hits and pages downloaded in 193 countries, almost every country in the world, and 25 territories and provinces.

WND

GOD'S SECRET AGENTS

Exclusive: Greg Laurie looks at biblical evidence of 'ministering spirits'

Published: February 11, 2015

GREG LAURIE

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in America.

Have you ever prayed and asked God to do something for you, but it isn’t happening as quickly as you would like it to?

I have learned that delays are not necessarily denials. We don’t know what is going on in the supernatural realm. We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes on our behalf.

In the Old Testament there is a fascinating story about Daniel’s prayer being heard in heaven. An angel was dispatched with a special message but was engaged in combat with a demon power for 21 days (see Daniel 10).

The prayer of Daniel went to heaven, his prayer was heard, and an angel was dispatched with the answer. But the angel was unable to get through to Daniel because of this apparently higher-ranking demon power that stopped him.

In Ephesians 6 we are told, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (verse 12 NIV).

The Bible refers to Michael, the archangel. We know from the Scriptures that he plays a unique role in God’s plan and appears to be a high-ranking angel. Then we have Gabriel, who also must have been a high-ranking angel, sent with a specific message for Joseph and Mary concerning the arrival of the Messiah.

In fact, there are only three angels who are named in the Bible: Michael the archangel, Gabriel and Lucifer, who of course is a fallen angel.

In Daniel’s story, God dispatched Michael to help the angel who was being delayed by the demon power.

Then, in the New Testament, we find the story of the apostle Paul, who was on a ship in the midst of a storm. Men feared for their lives, but Paul reassured everyone they would be safe. An angel had appeared to him and said, “Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you” (Acts 27:24 NLT).

In Acts 12 there is another story of angelic activity, where Peter was in a horrible predicament. James had been arrested and put to death. Then Peter was arrested and certainly would be killed as well. He was chained up in a cell, surrounded by guards. There was no way of escape.

What did the church do in this dilemma? They prayed. All other doors remained closed, but one door remained open into the presence of God: the door of prayer. It has been said that Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saints upon their knees.

The church prayed, and God answered their prayer by dispatching an angel. In an almost comical situation, the angel appeared to Peter and struck him on the side as he slept. I don’t know whether this angel hit Peter or simply nudged him, but he woke Peter up. The two of them walked past the guards and out of the prison, where the gate opened automatically. Then the angel disappeared.

That’s so typical of angels. They don’t want to stand around and take credit. They’ve done what they were sent to do, and they simply disappear. Peter said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me” (Acts 12:11 NIV).

Also from Acts, we know that an angel appeared to Philip and directed him to the desert. There Philip met a government official who had come from a distant country, searching for God (see Acts 8:26).

The Bible says that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” and “the angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 34:7 NIV).

Throughout the pages of Scripture, we see angels at work. Angels will be working mightily in the last days. And clearly, they are working in our lives as well.

One of the reasons we aren’t personally aware of angels in our lives is because they are doing their jobs properly. Angels are invisible. And they remain that way most of the time.

If we were able to roll away the veil that separates the physical from the spiritual and the natural from the supernatural, if we could get a behind-the-scenes look into the invisible world of angels and demons, we would be overwhelmed. On one hand, it would be frightening to see the demon powers that are clearly at work. But on the other hand, it would be a great blessing to see the angels that are working in our lives.

This very thing happened to the servant of the prophet Elisha, who was frightened by the armies that were closing in on them. But Elisha simply said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see” (2 Kings 6:17 NKJV).

In a moment, this servant had the privilege of peeking behind the supernatural veil and caught a rare glimpse into the invisible world. The Bible says that Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (verse 17). What he saw was the equivalent of an army, an angelic military force that was surrounding them.

We just don’t know how many times angels have delivered us, how many times they have rescued us from tight situations and how many times they have protected us from harm. As Billy Graham has pointed out, they are God’s secret agents. They do the bidding and work of God.

***

BREAKINGISRAELNEWS

How a 300-Year-Old Vision Predicted a Global Economic Crisis That Could Bring Messiah

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz February 17, 2016 , 11:00 am

And the hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil: a hundred sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their capitals, and made fillets for them.”

Exodus 38:27-28 (The Israel Bible™)

(Photo: Graphic Stock)

Many prophecies indicate that we are in the final days before the coming of the Messiah, and the only question that remains to be answered is precisely when he will arrive. A clue given by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, a renowned Jewish scholar and leader known as the “Alter Rebbe”, had a vision almost 300 years ago that seems to indicate precisely when the world’s resources will run out, forcing the Messiah to come. The date is sooner than you might expect.

The Alter Rebbe lived in the 18th century and he founded the Chabad branch of Judaism, which flourishes to this day. His teachings are still studied in depth and his book, the Tanya, is widely read by Jews around the world. Chabad is exceptional in that it emphasizes the concept of Messiah in a manner generally eschewed by other branches of Judaism.

A famous story is told of how the Alter Rebbe was reading from the Torah in front of the congregation. He reached the verse of Exodus 38:28, which mentions the sum of 1,775 talents of silver. When he read the first letter ‘hey’ which precedes the word “Ha-Eleph” (the thousand), he read it incorrectly four times in a row, despite being corrected each time. The letter ‘hey’ in Hebrew numerology equals five, so by reading it incorrectly, the Alter Rebbe was actually saying 5,775, instead of 1,775 as it is written in the Torah. He then walked away, much to the amazement of the congregation, and someone else had to finish the reading.

Rabbi Dovber Schneuri, known as the Mitteler Rebbe, who eventually succeeded him as the second rabbi of Chabad, asked him what had happened. The Alter Rebbe responded that he had had a vision that the Messiah would come after the year 5775 – which was last year according to the Hebrew calendar – and this vision would not permit him to read the verse any other way.

This story was written in the Mitteler Rebbe’s book, Sefer Imrei Bina (Book of Wise Sayings). The Alter Rebbe’s vision was interpreted in this manner:

Silver was collected in the form of the half-shekel taken from every Jewish male, each year. The half-shekels from the 600,000 Jews in the desert (Numbers 1:46) equalled one hundred talents of silver, with each talent composed of 3,000 full shekels of silver. But the Bible lists an additional 3,550 half-shekels (1,775 full shekels), from which Moses made the silver hooks at the top of the pillars used to set up the screen surrounding the Tabernacle in the desert.

Jewish tradition holds that the world was given a general amount of sustenance to last 4,000 years from creation. When that sustenance ended, the Messiah would come. It is taught in the Talmud, the book of Jewish oral law, that the Messiah can come anytime between the year 4000 and the year 6000, according to the Hebrew calendar.

The Alter Rebbe’s vision during the verse pertaining to the silver has been understood to mean that the 1,775 shekels of silver gave the world another 1,775 years of sustenance.

According to Jewish tradition, the world’s sustenance, given in the form of rain which waters the fields, is determined in the Heavenly court each year on the holiday of Hoshana Raba, at the end of Sukkot. The annual period ends on Tu B’Shevat, when the last benefit of the year’s rain is seen on the trees.

The last sustenance from the Hebrew year of 5775 was given last month, on Tu B’Shevat, meaning that the last benefits of the bounty from the 1,775 shekels of silver in the Tabernacle ended on January 24, 2016.

To gain insight on how this is affecting us today, Breaking Israel News spoke to Torah scholar, educator, and writer on Messiah-related issues Dov Bar Leib. He stated that the Alter Rebbe’s prediction is appearing right in front of our eyes in current events.

“The world’s resources are running out, but more significantly, the entire economic system is grinding to a halt,” he explained. “Oil is at a relative all-time low, with recent increases only bolstered by investor speculation.”

However, he continued, “Gold and silver prices, which have been steadily dropping for five years, are starting to rise significantly. We are seeing negative interest rates, a concept that has never existed before. It is as if economists and investors have lost faith and don’t believe there will be any tomorrow.”

When asked about the significance of these factors, Bar Leib had a dual perspective: economic and Biblical. “From the point of view of investors and economists, there are reasons for all this. Precious metals go up when confidence in currency goes down. But silver has a unique meaning in rabbinic literature. It is what the rabbis use as the basis for the concept of currency, even more than gold, which has practical uses that make it valuable.”

Silver, said Bar Leib, “signifies our connection to this world and material desires. When the Alter Rebbe had his vision about 1,775 silver shekels in the Tabernacle, he was saying that the silver used in the Tabernacle raised up the material world and our connection to it, for that many years.

“This allowed good and evil people alike to derive benefit from the material world. That time, that extra bit of sustenance, has ended. We are now beginning a period in which sustenance will be given as a reward for relating to the material world in a positive manner. The rules have changed.”

The global economy is in a precarious state, with its mainstays on the brink of collapse. China, which holds a huge share of global wealth, is attempting to downsize its enormous economy, and Germany, overcome with the financial burden of thousands of Syrian immigrants, is struggling to hold its head above water. The prophetic vision of the Alter Rebbe seems to be surprisingly relevant today, challenging us to reevaluate the true source of wealth and reminding us that sometimes, the well can run dry.

***

PRESSTV

Senior Israeli officials urge sectarian partition of Syria

Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:23AM

Syrian residents look at the damage following reported militant shelling in Aleppo's government-controlled neighborhood of Suleimaniyeh, on February 14, 2016. (AFP photo)

Officials with the Israeli regime, which is already widely accused of supporting Takfiri militants wreaking havoc in Syria, have called for the partition of the Arab country along sectarian lines.

Ram Ben-Barak, the director general of Israel's Intelligence Ministry, said the proposed breakup was “the only possible solution” to the conflict in Syria.

"I think that ultimately Syria should be turned into regions, under the control of whoever is there - the Alawites where they are, the Sunnis where they are," Ben-Barak told Israel's Army Radio on Sunday.

Israel's Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya'alon, who was in Munich to meet with European counterparts and Jordan's King Abdullah, also echoed Ben-Barak’s remarks.

"Syria as we have known it will not be united anew in the foreseeable future, and at some point I reckon that we will see enclaves, whether organized or not, formed by the various sectors that live and are fighting there," he said in a statement on Sunday.

Ya'alon also voiced doubt that a ceasefire plan for Syria agreed upon recently would succeed.

After negotiations in Munich, diplomats from a working group of 17 countries, including the US, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, agreed Thursday to establish a temporary "cessation of hostilities" in Syria within a week.

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) also called for rapid humanitarian access to besieged Syrian towns.

The Israeli officials' statements come as reports say Israel has been supporting the militants fighting the government of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

The Israeli regime has set up hospitals near the border with Syria to treat the injured militants coming in from the battlefield there. Locals in the occupied Golan Heights have also intercepted Israeli vehicles transporting injured militants on the road between al-Sheikh Mountain and the village of Majdal Sham.

The Israeli calls for dividing Syria was raised as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two regional sponsors of militant groups in Syria, have in recent weeks voiced their interest in launching a ground operation inside the country.

On February 12, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN that Riyadh is ready to deploy special forces to Syria if the US-led coalition, carrying out airstrikes in the country since September 2014, decides to take such a move.

The idea of a possible participation in ground operations in Syria was first raised on February 4 by Ahmed Asiri, a spokesman for the Saudi Defense Ministry.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has dispatched warplanes to the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, claiming that the move is in line with the fight against Daesh terrorists in neighboring Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Ankara and Riyadh could launch a ground operation in Syria “if there is a strategy.”

The United States has welcomed the Saudi offer, while it has been met with strong criticism from Syria and its allies.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has said that any “ground intervention on Syrian territory without government authorization would amount to an aggression that must be resisted.” He has also warned that potential aggressors would return home in a “wooden coffin.”

Russia, Iran and Iraq have also warned against the deployment of foreign ground forces in Syria.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared up in March 2011, has killed some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the so-called Syrian Center for Policy Research.

***

(And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And (it) had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred [and] forty [and] four cubits. (That is approximately two hundred feet high.) And the building of the wall of it was [of] jasper: And the foundations of the wall of the city [were] garnished with all manner of precious stones. Revelation 21:2,12,14,15,17,18,19)

***

BloombergView

Bring On the Cashless Future

309 JAN 31, 2016 5:00 PM EST

By Editorial Board

Cash had a pretty good run for 4,000 years or so. These days, though, notes and coins increasingly seem declasse: They're dirty and dangerous, unwieldy and expensive, antiquated and so very analog.

Sensing this dissatisfaction, entrepreneurs have introduced hundreds of digital currencies in the past few years, of which bitcoin is only the most famous. Now governments want in: The People's Bank of China says it intends to issue a digital currency of its own. Central banks in Ecuador, the Philippines, the U.K. and Canada are mulling similar ideas. At least one company has sprung up to help them along.

Much depends on the details, of course. But this is a welcome trend. In theory, digital legal tender could combine the inventiveness of private virtual currencies with the stability of a government mint.

Most obviously, such a system would make moving money easier. Properly designed, a digital fiat currency could move seamlessly across otherwise incompatible payment networks, making transactions faster and cheaper. It would be of particular use to the poor, who could pay bills or accept payments online without need of a bank account, or make remittances without getting gouged.

For governments and their taxpayers, potential advantages abound. Issuing digital currency would be cheaper than printing bills and minting coins. It could improve statistical indicators, such as inflation and gross domestic product. Traceable transactions could help inhibit terrorist financing, money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and corruption.

The most far-reaching effect might be on monetary policy. For much of the past decade, central banks in the rich world have been hampered by what economists call the zero lower bound, or the inability to impose significantly negative interest rates. Persistent low demand and high unemployment may sometimes require interest rates to be pushed below zero -- but why keep money in a deposit whose value keeps shrinking when you can hold cash instead? With rates near zero, that conundrum has led policy makers to novel and unpredictable methods of stimulating the economy, such as large-scale bond-buying.

A digital legal tender could resolve this problem. Suppose the central bank charged the banks that deal with it a fee for accepting paper currency. In that way, it could set an exchange rate between electronic and paper money -- and by raising the fee, it would cause paper money to depreciate against the electronic standard. This would eliminate the incentive to hold cash rather than digital money, allowing the central bank to push the interest rate below zero and thereby boost consumption and investment. It would be a big step toward doing without cash altogether.

Digital legal tender isn't without risk. A policy that drives down the value of paper money would meet political resistance and -- to put it mildly -- would require some explaining. It could hold back private innovation in digital currencies. Security will be an abiding concern. Non-cash payments also tend to exacerbate the human propensity to overspend. And you don't have to be paranoid to worry about Big Brother tracking your financial life.

Governments must be alert to these problems -- because the key to getting people to adopt such a system is trust. A rule that a person's transaction history could be accessed only with a court order, for instance, might alleviate privacy concerns. Harmonizing international regulations could encourage companies to keep experimenting. And an effective campaign to explain the new tender would be indispensable.

If policy makers are wise and attend to all that, they just might convince the public of a surprising truth about cash: They're better off without it.

***

SPUTNIK

Russian Prime Minister Says Global Developments 'Dramatic'

12:20 13.02.2016(updated 13:57 13.02.2016)

Europe has witnessed integration crisis, EU-Russia relations have deteriorated, and a "migration collapse" is taking place, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

MUNICH (Sputnik) — The development in the world over the past years has been "dramatic," as Europe does not stand united, EU-Russia relations have deteriorated, and a "migration collapse" is taking place, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

"Before leaving for the conference, I met with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. We discussed the speech he delivered here, in Munich, in 2007. Back then, he talked about the fact that ideological stereotypes, double standards in international relations do not help to reduce tensions, but only increase them, leaving the international community with fewer and fewer opportunities to make important political decisions," Medvedev said.

"Unfortunately, I must admit that the situation today is even more serious. The development since 2007 has been far more dramatic. There was and there is no unified Europe, our economies — all economies — are growing very slowly. Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have intensified, a migration collapse has begun. EU-Russia relations have deteriorated, there is civil war in Ukraine," he added.

***

The Economic Collapse

World War 3 Could Start This Month: 350,000 Soldiers In Saudi Arabia Stand Ready To Invade Syria

By Michael Snyder, on February 14th, 2016

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 are moving into position for an invasion ahead of time, so “military exercises” are a common excuse that gets used for this sort of thing.

If these exercises are actually being used as an excuse to mass forces near the northern Saudi border, then we should expect an invasion to begin within the next couple of weeks. If it happens, we should expect to see the Saudi coalition storm through western Iraq and into Syria from the south, and it is likely that Turkey will come in from the north.

The goal would be to take out the Assad regime before Russia, Iran and Hezbollah could react. For the past couple of years, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies have been funding the Sunni insurgency in Syria, and they were counting on those insurgents to be able to take down the Assad regime by themselves.

You see, the truth is that ISIS was never supposed to lose in Syria. Saudi Arabia and her allies have been funneling massive amounts of money to ISIS, and hundreds of millions of dollars of ISIS oil has been shipped into Turkey where it is sold to the rest of the world.

The major Sunni nations wanted ISIS and the other Sunni insurgent groups to take down Assad. In the aftermath, Saudi Arabia and her allies intended to transform Syria into a full-blown Sunni nation.

But then Russia, Iran and Hezbollah stepped forward to assist the Assad regime. Russian air support completely turned the tide of the war, and now the Sunni insurgents are on the brink of losing.

Aleppo was once the largest city in Syria, and Sunni insurgents have controlled it since 2012. But now relentless Russian airstrikes have made it possible for Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah ground forces to surround the city, and it is about to fall back into the hands of the Syrian government.

If this happens, the war will essentially be over.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies have invested massive amounts of time, money and effort into overthrowing Assad, and they aren’t about to walk away now.

If the war was to end right at this moment, a weakened Assad regime would remain in power, and Iran and Hezbollah would be the dominant powers in the country for years to come. And once Assad died, it would be inevitable that Iran and Hezbollah would attempt to transform Syria into a full-blown Shiite nation. This is something that Saudi Arabia and Turkey want to avoid at all costs.

So they are actually considering what was once absolutely unthinkable – a massive ground invasion of Syria.

But if Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies go in, they run the risk of a full-blown war with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Just consider some of the comments that we have seen in recent days…

Reacting to a potential troop deployment, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Saturday, “Let no one think they can attack Syria or violate its sovereignty because I assure you any aggressor will return to their country in a wooden coffin.”

Pavel Krasheninnikov, a deputy of Russia’s State Duma, has warned Saudi Arabia that any military ground operation in Syria without Damascus’ consent would amount to a declaration of war, Press TV reported.

We could literally be looking at the spark that sets off World War 3. I can’t believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are actually considering this.

And if it does happen, you can rest assured that Barack Obama gave them the green light to go in.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the decision may have already been made. Just consider what Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is saying…

“If we have such a strategy, then Turkey and Saudi Arabia may launch a ground operation,” he added, fueling concerns that a foreign troop invasion may soon further complicate the already turbulent situation in the war-torn country.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE voiced their readiness to contribute troops for a ground operation in Syria on the condition that the US would lead the intervention. Damascus and its key regional ally, Iran, warned that such a foreign force would face strong resistance.

And in addition to all of the forces massing in northern Saudi Arabia, the London Independent is reporting that the Saudis have sent troops and aircraft to a military base in Turkey…

Saudi Arabia is sending troops and fighter jets to Turkey’s Incirlik military base ahead of a possible ground invasion of Syria.

The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, confirmed the deployment in a statement to the Yeni Şafak newspaper on Saturday, days before a temporary ceasefire is due to come into force.

There are reports that Saudi officials are saying that the decision to send in ground troops is “irreversible”, and Reuters is reporting that the Syrian government claims that some Turkish troops have already entered the country…

The Syrian government says Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen it said entered Syria on Saturday accompanied by 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an ongoing supply operation to insurgents fighting Damascus.

“The operation of supplying ammunition and weapons is continuing via the Bab al-Salama crossing to the Syrian area of Azaz,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council published by state news agency SANA.

Of course the Turkish government is not going to confirm that report, but what we do know is that Turkey is shelling Kurdish forces on the Syrian side of the border. The funny thing is that these Kurdish forces are actually being supported and supplied by the U.S. government.

So the Turks are not supposed to be doing this, but according to Reuters they have been doing it for two days in a row anyway…

The Turkish army shelled positions held by Kurdish-backed militia in northern Syria for a second day on Sunday, killing two fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Turkey on Saturday demanded the powerful Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraw from areas that it had captured in the northern Aleppo region in recent days from insurgents in Syria, including the Menagh air base. The shelling has targeted those areas.

The hostility between Turkey and the Kurds goes back a long, long way. The Syrian Kurds are not threatening Turkey in any way right now, but Turkey is using the instability in the region as an excuse to lob artillery shells at a hated enemy. It is an act of naked aggression that the Obama administration should be loudly denouncing.

In addition, it is being reported that Syrian government forces have also been getting shelled by the Turkish military…

Anatolia news agency reported that the Turkish military hit Syrian government forces on Saturday, adding that the shelling had been in response to fire inflicted on a Turkish military guard post in Turkey’s southern Hatay region.

Turkish artillery targeted Syrian forces again late on Saturday, according to a military source quoted by RIA Novosti. The attack targeted the town of Deir Jamal in the Aleppo Governorate.

Needless to say, the Russians are quite alarmed by all of this.

In fact, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is warning about what could happen if things spiral out of control…

In the wake of Saudi Arabia’s proposal to send in ground troops on Thursday, the Russian Prime Minister claimed the move could spark a new world war.

“A ground operation draws everyone taking part in it into a war,” he told the Handelsblatt newspaper.

“The Americans and our Arab partners must consider whether or not they want a permanent war.”

If Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies launch an invasion and make a mad dash to take out the Assad regime in Damascus, the Russians will inevitably respond.

And if tactical nuclear weapons are necessary to keep the invading forces out of Damascus, the Russians will not be shy about using them.

I don’t know if I have ever seen a scenario which was more likely to initiate World War 3 than the one that we are watching unfold right now.

So what has the mainstream media been saying about all of this?

Incredibly, they have been almost entirely silent. When he went looking for news about these events, James Bailey could find almost nothing on either Fox News or CNN…

I just visited the home page for Foxnews.com and found not one single mention of the insane events now unfolding in the Middle East. I could not believe it, so I used my Find tool to search for Syria and Saudi Arabia. Not one mention!

Of course that could change at any moment, but nothing there when I checked. Their stories were all about the meaningless Presidential election, which has already been decided regardless of what we think about it, and other stories about entertainment, sports, Congressional political theater, etc.

So I went to CNN and found just about the same thing with one news story about the Syrian cease fire, but when I read it there was no mention of any of the big events that have developed this week. This is truly an amazing media blackout!

But Fox News does have space to run headlines like these…

–Spanish man skipped work for 6 years, still got paid

–48 people rescued from stuck tram cars at New Hampshire ski resort

–Lovelorn elephant takes out his rage on more than a dozen cars

And CNN apparently thinks that these news stories are more important than the potential beginning of World War 3…

–Kanye West drops album, says he’s $53 million in debt

–Dutch cops train eagles to hunt drones

–Teen hands out 900 flowers to girls at school

If Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies are going to conduct an invasion of Syria, the most likely time for this to happen will be by the end of this month during these military exercises.

If we can get to March 1st and no invasion has happened yet, perhaps we can breathe a little sigh of relief.

But if it does happen, and the Russians and the Iranians decide to shoot back, it really could be the start of World War 3.

If you have not been paying attention up until now, you need to start, because this could literally change everything.

***

RT

Saudi Arabia to host ‘largest’ military exercises in region, 20 states invited

Published time: 15 Feb, 2016 05:17

Edited time: 15 Feb, 2016 10:17

Soldiers from 20 countries are to gather in Saudi Arabia for massive military exercises lasting 18 days, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. It comes as Riyadh has openly warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that he will be toppled.

The Saudi state agency made the announcement on Sunday, adding that participating troops will begin arriving in “the next few hours.”

The oil-rich nation described the exercises as “the largest and most important” military drills in the region’s history.

The so-called “Northern Thunder” exercise will take place in the north of the country and will include air, sea and land forces. SPA said that it will show that Riyadh and its allies “stand united in confronting all challenges and preserving peace and stability in the region.”

Among the participants will be Arab and African countries. The US and other Western powers have not been invited.

Sunday’s announcement comes as Saudi Arabia, which is a member of the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), deployed military jets and personnel to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The base is already used by the US Air Force for their planes conducting sorties in Syria.

While Riyadh says this necessary to “intensify” its operations against Islamic State in Syria, the move has sparked concern that the Saudis are getting ready for a full-scale ground invasion of war-torn Syria, where they are backing anti-government rebels battling Syrian President Assad.

In a recent interview with American media, the Saudi Foreign Minister flatly stated that Assad will be toppled if he does not leave during a political transition.

“Bashar al-Assad will leave – have no doubt about it. He will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force,” Adel al-Jubeir told CNN.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition that has been bombing Houthi rebels in Yemen since March. Riyadh went to war in Yemen to restore ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled from the Shiite Houthi rebels after his two-year term expired in January.

His predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was formerly an opponent of the rebels, is now their ally and provides assistance them with tribal troops loyal to him.

***

FARS NEWS AGENCY

Ex-Security Chief: Russia to Launch Airstrikes on Turkish, Saudi Troops in Syria

Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:12

TEHRAN (FNA)- Former Head of Russia's Federal Security Service Nikolai Kovalyov warned Turkey and Saudi Arabia against sending ground troops to Syria, saying that Russian warplanes are likely to launch airstrikes on their positions if they deploy in the war-torn country.

"The Turkish and Saudi officials are well aware that in case of deployment of their forces in the Syrian territories, the Russian air force will likely bomb them," Kovalyov, also a member of the State Duma's security and resistance to corruption committee, was quoted as saying by al-Mayadeen news channel on Tuesday.

"If the Saudi and Turkish ground forces enter Syria, they cannot be distinguished from the terrorists and Russia will act upon the demand of the legal Syrian government," he added.

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia and Turkey said they plan to send ground forces to Syria.

The idea of Riyadh’s possible participation in ground operations in Syria was first raised on February 4 by Ahmed Asiri, a spokesman for the Saudi Defense Ministry.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are also both part of an effort to create an alleged “Islam Army,” ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism in the region and consisting of 34 Sunni Islam nations.

Almost the entire range of extremist and terrorist groups are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with their key commanders and leaders being Saudi nationals. ISIL, Al-Nusra and other extremist groups pursue the same line of ideology exercised and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. Hundreds of Saudi clerics are among the ranks of ISIL and Al-Nusra to mentor the militants.

Wahhabism is now the only source of the textbooks taught at schools in the self-declared capital of the ISIL terrorist group, Raqqa, in Northeastern Syria resembling the texts and lessons taught to schoolgoers in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi ideology, an extremist version of Sunni Islam that is promoted almost only in Saudi Arabia, sees all other faiths - from other interpretations of Sunni Islam to Shiism, Christianity and Judaism - as blasphemy, meaning that their followers should be decapitated as nonbelievers.

Early in February, the Saudi Defense Ministry said it stood ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to allegedly aid the US-led anti-ISIL, also known as Daesh, coalition.

Riyadh has been a member of the US-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia started its own Muslim 34-nation coalition to allegedly fight Islamic extremism.

Daesh or ISIL/ISIS is a Wahhabi group mentored by Saudi Arabia and has been blacklisted as a terrorist group everywhere in the world, including the United States and Russia, but Saudi Arabia.

Damascus, Tehran and Moscow have issued stern warnings to Riyadh, stressing that the Saudi intruders, who in fact intend to rescue the terrorists that are sustaining heavy defeats these days, will be crushed in Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned that any ground operation in Syria without Damascus' approval is an "act of aggression", warning that the Saudi aggressors "would go back home in coffins".

In Tehran, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Saudi Arabia doesn't have the guts to send its armed forces to Syria.

"They claim they will send troops (to Syria) but I don’t think they will dare do so. They have a classic army and history tells us such armies stand no chance in fighting irregular resistance forces," Jafari said.

"This will be like a coup de grâce for them. Apparently, they see no other way but this, and if this is the case, then their fate is sealed," he added.

Jafari, said this is just cheap talks, but Iran welcomes the Saudi decision if they decide to walk on this path.

***

Zero Hedge

Russian Prime Minister Warns There Will Be A "Permanent World War" If Saudis Invade Syria

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/11/2016 19:31 -0500

"It’s a joke. We couldn't wish [for] more than that. If they can do it, then let them do it — but talking militarily, this is not easy for a country already facing defeat in another war, in Yemen, where after almost one year they have failed in achieving any real victory.”

That’s what one source in the Iranian military had to say about reports that Saudi Arabia is preparing to send ground troops into Syria.

If you frequent these pages you know why Riyadh (and Ankara for that matter) is considering the ground option. The effort to oust Bashar al-Assad and the Alawite government was going reasonably well right up until September. Sure, the conflict was dragging into its fifth year, but Assad’s army was on the ropes and absent a miracle, it seemed likely that his government would fall.

As it turns out, Assad did indeed get a miracle from above although instead of divine intervention it was Russian airstrikes which commenced from Latakia starting on September 30. Contrary to The White House’s prediction that Putin would find himself in a “quagmire,” Russia and Hezbollah have rolled up the opposition and are preparing to recapture Aleppo, the country’s largest city and a major commercial hub. If that happens, the rebellion is over.

That would be a disaster to the rebels’ Sunni benefactors as it would mean Iran will preserve the Shiite crescent and its supply lines to Hezbollah. It would aimply put, that's unacceptable for the Saudis and so, it’s time to call upon the ground troops.

But this isn’t Yemen where the Iranians are fighting via proxies. If the Saudis start shooting at the IRGC or at Hezbollah in Syria it’s just as likely as not that the two countries will go to war and just like that, you’d have the beginning of World War III.

Don’t believe us? Just ask Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev.

“If Arab forces entered the Syrian war they could spark a new world war," Medvedev warned on Thursday. “Ground offensives usually lead to wars becoming permanent". Here’s what else he told Handelsblatt:

"The Americans and our Arabic partners must think hard about this: do they want a permanent war?”

"Do they really think they would win such a war very quickly? That's impossible, especially in the Arabic world.

There everyone is fighting againsteveryone... everything is far more complicated. It could take years or decades."

"Why is that necessary? All sides must be forced to the negotiating table instead of sparking a new world war."

Yes, "all sides must come to the negotiating table." Of course that's easy for Medvedev to say. After all, it's a lot easier to sit at the table when you've already won and are negotiating from a position of strength.

That is, there won't be anything left to negotiate in a couple of weeks if things keep going like they're going. What Moscow pretty clearly wants to do is crush the opposition in Aleppo and then discuss how to proceed with some kind of political "agreement" that will prevent whatever remains of the rebels from launching a prolonged war of attrition involving periodic attacks on government forces.

In any event, don't say Russia didn't warn everyone when the Saudis and the Turks end up setting the world on the road to a global conflict. Below, find excerpts from an interview The Atlantic conducted with Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Kathy Gilsinan: I wanted to start with what the significance of Aleppo has been to the Syrian uprising up to this point.

Andrew Tabler: Aleppo is Syria’s largest city. It’s the commercial hub. It is extremely important, particularly to the opposition, because Aleppo, along with the other northwestern cities, have been some of the strongest opponents to the Assad regime historically. I think the decision in 2012 to take [the city] was one of the first real major offensives of the armed opposition in Syria. And they hoped that by denying the regime Aleppo, it would set up an alternative capital and allow for a process where the Assad regime’s power was whittled away. Since that time, it has instead been one of the most bombed, barrel-bombed, and decimated parts of Syria, and now is much more like Dresden than anything else.

Gilsinan: If Aleppo falls, walk me through what happens next. First, how would it change the balance of power, within the civil war, between the rebels and the regime?

Tabler: I think it would cement the regime’s hold on “essential Syria”—western Syria, perhaps with the exception of Idlib province [to] the south [of Aleppo]. But basically you would have the regime presence from Aleppo the whole way down to Hama, Homs, and Damascus, and that’s the spine of the country, and that’s what concerns the regime and the Iranians in particular. It would then allow them to free up forces, potentially, to go on the offensive elsewhere, directly into Idlib province, most likely, and then eventually into the south. Then after that they could turn their attention finally to ISIS.

Gilsinan: And then what happens to the regional balance of power within that war?

Tabler: It would be a tremendous loss for the U.S. and its traditional allies: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. It’s already been extremely costly for most of those allies, but it would be a defeat [in the face of] the Russian-Iranian intervention in Syria. This would also be a huge loss for the United States vis-à-vis Russia in its Middle East policy, certainly. And because of the flow of refugees as a result of this, if they go northward to Europe, then you would see a migrant crisis in Europe that could lead to far-right governments coming to power which are much more friendly to Russia than they are to the United States. I think that is likely to happen.

Gilsinan: So it changes the entire orientation, not just of the Middle East, but of Europe as well.

Tabler: It will soften up American power in Europe, yeah. And put into jeopardy a lot of the advances in the NATO-accession countries, which are adjacent to Russia, as well.

***

PRESSTV

Russia official urges int’l union to confront ‘US dictatorship’

Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:44AM

Director of Russia’s Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin

The director of Russia’s top law enforcement agency has called for the establishment of an international coalition to battle what he referred to as the US-imposed “dictatorship” on the rest of the world.

Director of Russia’s Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin said on Friday the world is in urgent need of a new system of checks and balances that would equally represent every nation across the global political spectrum.

The formation of a global coalition of countries could serve as “a feasible pole to counter the dictatorship imposed by the Americans together with their Western allies,” he said during a round table discussion in Moscow.

Bastrykin said Washington’s geopolitical dominance is founded on its financial might, which is based on “the uncontrolled and non-guaranteed” injection of the dollar currency into the global economy.

“It is against common logic to financially support the country that is using these same resources against our interests,” he said, adding the international coalition should ascertain the gradual exclusion of the US dollar from their foreign currency reserves.

The Russian official said Washington and its allies are waging a “hybrid war” against Moscow, ranging from what he referred to as price dumping on energy markets, along with “currency wars” in the shape of the unrestrained expansion of the US dollar.

Bastrykin also said a number of international institutions and groups — such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Community, the BRICS and the Collective Security Treaty Organization — have already established the basic elements for shaping a future global alliance.

Russia is at odds with the West, particularly the US, over a series of issues, including the crisis in Ukraine, where Western countries accuse Russia of fanning the flames of conflict.

Western countries have imposed a set of punitive sanctions against Russia which has retaliated with its own embargo against those measures.

Russia also perceives an east-ward expansion by the US-led NATO military alliance as a threat.

Last Wednesday, NATO — which is mostly made up of Western European countries — approved a plan to strengthen military presence in their so-called eastern flank, which means Eastern European countries near Russian borders.

***

CNN

'Thank you Russia!' Life after the siege for pro-regime Syrians

By Frederik Pleitgen, CNN

Updated 4:39 PM ET, Fri February 12, 2016

Nubl, Syria (CNN)"Thank you Russia! Thank you Hezbollah! Thank you Iran!" shouts the man, as he passes us in the busy square.

Nearby, a photograph of Bashar al-Assad beams down from the front of the town hall, and banners in support of the Syrian President hang outside the main mosque.

This is Nubl, a mostly Shia, pro-government town in Syria, so close to the border with Turkey that on the way here our phones constantly switched to Turkish mobile networks.

Until two weeks ago Nubl and its neighbor al-Zahra were under siege; various rebel factions, including the al-Nusra Front and others linked to the Free Syrian Army, controlled the countryside nearby for more than three years.

Then the Syrian army -- backed by pro-Iranian militias and supported by controversial Russian air strikes -- broke through.

In Nubl, al-Assad-supporting local residents are still jubilant; "God, Syria, Bashar, and nothing else," a group of them chanted as we approached.

Many houses are decorated with posters of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Outside the town hall, 14-year-old Zolfiqar Ali Jawish is selling cigarettes and candy. He says life under siege was a struggle.

"It was tough," he tells us. "Many people got sick and the kids were very scared. But after a while we became numb to the fear.

"Sometimes it took very long to get aid in here," he added. "It was awful because there was shelling all the time as well."

Humanitarian relief

Some supplies were able to get through, so the situation in Nubl was never as life-threatening as that seen in Madaya, where Syrian government forces were accused of leaving residents on the brink of starvation.

But those here say the army had to send aid in via airdrops, and earlier this week, the Syrian Red Crescent says it delivered humanitarian relief to the town and to Al Zahra.

Now, a few weeks on from the end of the siege, stores in Nubl are well stocked.

In the town's market, we saw several stalls offering an array of fruit and vegetables for sale; a barrow full of bright green apples was lined up next to trays loaded with tomatoes and potatoes.

The lifting of the sieges of al-Zahra and Nubl were key victories for the Syrian military not just because they boosted morale among pro Assad forces, but also because this area north of Aleppo is a decisive battleground in Syria's brutal five year long civil war.

The towns and villages here lie between the rebel-held parts of Aleppo and the border with Turkey; fully controlling this area would allow the Syrian army to choke off almost all supplies to rebels inside Aleppo, potentially dealing a crushing blow to the already weakened opposition.

One soldier who fought to end the siege of Nubl offered a stern warning to rebel fighters:

"Their families should encourage them to look for reconciliation or, I say, they will be killed," he tells us. "They have no other option."

'Cessation of hostilities'

But the opposition does not believe that reconciliation is truly on the government's mind; rebel factions say they are simply being slaughtered by Russian air power and a newly invigorated Syrian army.

The U.N. and other aid groups fear a protracted siege of rebel-held areas in Aleppo would lead to a humanitarian disaster for the many civilians also trapped there.

Already, tens of thousands of people have fled the city, heading for the Turkish border, leading to warnings of a surge in an already overwhelming refugee crisis.

Major world powers meeting in Munich, Germany, on Friday agreed on a plan to end the use of starvation and denial of medical aid as a weapon in this conflict. The U.N. has strongly criticized the Syrian government, various rebel factions, and ISIS for not allowing aid deliveries to surrounded areas.

They also agreed to what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria.

Russia, however, says it plans to continue its airstrikes in Aleppo, as well as attacks against what it believes are terrorist targets across Syria.

The Syrian soldiers we spoke to said they were confident that, backed by Russian air power, their forces could make it all the way to the Turkish border -- dealing what could be a decisive blow to the opposition.

***

The National Interest

Why Assad's Army Has Not Defected
Kamal Alam

February 12, 2016

Four years ago, Turkey’s then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that within in a few weeks he would be praying in Damascus’s Umayyad Mosque, as Assad was about to fall. Similarly, Israel’s most decorated soldier, former Defense Minister Ehud Barak, predicted that Assad and his military would be toppled within weeks. That was at the beginning of 2012, when there were no Iranian soldiers on the ground or Russian planes in the skies.

As another round of Geneva peace talks collapses and the world wonders what’s next for Syria, it is time to begin with the warnings of Henry Kissinger and Zbignew Brzezinski. Kissinger and Brzezinski, the most seasoned and influential U.S. policymakers on the Middle East since World War II, have gone against popular opinion and stated that President Bashar al-Assad has more support than all the opposition groups combined.

It is no secret that the Saudis and Qataris, with full U.S. support, have tried to bribe some of Assad’s innermost circles to defect. The all-important professional military cadre of the Syrian Arab Army, however, has remained thoroughly loyal.

The Syrian Arab Army was mostly a conscript force with only about eighty thousand professionals in its ranks. At the start of the war, much was made of the “defections” of thousands of officers, but these were mere conscripts who never wanted to be in the army in the first place, and would also have done anything to escape conscription in peacetime. The professional ranks, meanwhile, are still very strong and religiously pluralistic. When the Syrian opposition talks about a future pluralistic Syria, they fail to realize that while they may theoretically be pluralists in Geneva, Washington and Vienna, their representatives on the ground are allied with the most sectarian terrorist groups the Middle East has ever seen.

The Syrian Arab Army has held its own for more than five years. Its numbers might have been depleted, as is normal for any wartime military, but a close glance at its military reveals that its core, perhaps unexpectedly to many, is Sunni. The current minister of defense, Fahd al-Freij, is one of the most decorated officers in Syrian military history and hails from the Sunni heartland of Hama. The two most powerful intelligence chiefs, Ali Mamlouk and Mohammad Dib Zaitoun, have remained loyal to the Syrian government—and are both Sunnis from influential families. The now-dead and dreaded strongman of Syrian intelligence, Rustom Ghazaleh, who ruled Lebanon with an iron fist, was a Sunni, and the head of the investigative branch of the political directorate, Mahmoud al-Khattib, is from an old Damascene Sunni family. Major General Ramadan Mahmoud Ramadan, commander of the Thirty-Fifth Special Forces Regiment, which is tasked with the protection of western Damascus, is another high-ranking Sunni, as is Brigadier General Jihad Mohamed Sultan, the commander of the Sixty-Fifth Brigade that guards Latakia.

The history of the Syrian Army that Hafez al-Assad built is instructive today. As president, the elder Assad brought senior members of the Syrian Air Force into the military high command. Naji Jamil (another Sunni) served as air force chief from 1970 to 1978 and was promoted to the General Staff committee overseeing defenses on the Iraqi border. Another air force commander was Muhammad al-Khuli, who until 1993 held coveted logistical positions between Damascus and Lebanon. Other prominent officers above the rank of Brigadier in military and civil defense positions post-2000 were Sunnis, including Rustom Ghazaleh, Hazem al Khadra and Deeb Zaytoun. Since 1973, the strategic tank battalions of the Seventieth Armored Brigade, stationed near al-Kiswah near Damascus, have had rank-and-file Alawis under the command of Sunni officers. As well, two of the most decorated officers who rose to be Chief of General Staff under Bashar al-Assad were Sunnis: Hassan Turkmani and Hikmat Shehabi.

From the 1970s until the 1990s, the Syrian Arab Army had a mandate to stabilize Lebanon. During these years, it worked to outmaneuver both the IDF and the U.S. Marines by supporting various proxies in Lebanon. In post-Saddam Iraq, the Americans could never understand which elements of both the Sunni and Shia insurgencies were supported by Syrian military intelligence, much of this owing to the stealth with which the Syrian Army controlled various Iraqi agents dating back to the Lebanese civil war.

The Syrian Arab Army is also the only Arab army with multiple Christians serving as generals. The most famous of these was Daoud Rajha, the Greek Orthodox army chief of staff. The two most influential Lebanese Christian leaders, now on the verge of becoming the next president of Lebanon, are Michel Aoun and Suleiman Franjieh, who are also allies of the Syrian Arab Army and President Assad. Deir al-Zour is an entirely Sunni city which has held out against ISIS encirclement for two years—and is commanded by the Druze General Issam Zahreddine.

The fact remains: The moderate Syrian opposition only exists in fancy suits in Western hotel lobbies. It has little military backing on the ground. If you want to ask why Assad is still the president of Syria, the answer is not simply Russia or Iran, but the fact that his army remains resilient and pluralistic, representing a Syria in which religion alone does not determine who rises to the top. The military also represent as challenge against the spread of terrorism, which is why three of the top British generals of the last five years have openly called for the recognition that the Syrian Arab Army, loyal to President Assad, is the only force capable of defeating ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Levant.

Kamal Alam is a Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a Syrian Military Analyst advising several Damascus-based family offices.

***

PRESSTV

Iran will defend Syria’s airspace if Damascus requests

Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:23PM

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base

A senior Iranian air force commander says Iran is prepared to defend Syria’s airspace if Damascus calls for it.

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, made the remarks during an interview with the Tasnim news agency on Sunday.

After praising the government and people of the Arab country for their five-year battle against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorism, he stressed that any military presence in Syria without the approval of Damascus would end in nothing but "defeat.”

The remarks were made in the wake of reports that Turkey and Saudi Arabia were preparing to launch joint military operations on Syrian soil.

Instead of contemplating a ground presence in Syria, Esmaili noted, Riyadh should consider stopping atrocities in Yemen where over 8,200 people have been killed and some 16,000 more injured since March 26, 2015.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has confirmed deployment of warplanes to the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, claiming that the move was in line with the so-called fight against Daesh.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has also stated that any decision for the deployment of forces to Syria would follow the will of the US-led coalition.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also said Ankara and Riyadh could launch a ground operation in Syria “if there is a strategy.”

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are widely believed to be among major sponsors of terrorist groups operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

THE JERUSALEM POST

The main beneficiary of the Russian intervention in Syria has been Iran.

02.16.2016 | 7 Adar I, 5776

GOVERNMENTS AND pundits were stunned last September when Russia sent an expeditionary force into Syria.

The immediate goal seemed to be to safeguard the survival of the beleaguered Bashar Assad regime and Russian naval assets in the port of Tartus. But it soon became clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin had other major strategic goals.

On the face of it, Putin was challenging Western sanctions and NATO military moves after Russia’s occupation of Crimea and its military support for the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. But Russia’s interest in Syria goes much deeper. It is driven by a burning desire to reinstate its Middle Eastern presence and influence, after an absence of three decades, and the great power status it lost with the crumbling of the Soviet empire.

Moreover, after Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani declared the creation of a new province, in the North Caucasus in June 2015, Russia shifted its threat assessment from the Caucasus emirate to IS militants in the region. Moscow’s Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service have been monitoring over 2,800 Russian citizens who left to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq, and the Russian government is deeply concerned over IS influence among Russia’s 20 million Muslims.

Putin exploited American weakness on Syria and European confusion over the massive wave of refugees from the region.

US President Barack Obama appeared to be caught off guard by the bold Russian move. His administration responded with contradictory steps, criticizing the Russian attacks against moderate pro- Western rebels, while coordinating “deconflicting” talks with Moscow to avoid accidental clashes between the Russian and US militaries.

The Russian intervention in Syria was planned months before the signing of the P+5 nuclear deal with Iran. The Iranians, despite a major military effort, failed to stop the advance of the Syrian opposition forces. Indeed, Tehran was probably the regional architect of the Russian move, coordinating the positions of its allies, Hezbollah and the Shi’ite government in Baghdad. As early as September 2014, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said Russia had been calling “for months for a new coalition to fight against Islamic State, which would include Syria, Iraq and Iran.”

Although Russia has a direct long-term interest in destroying the IS caliphate and neutralizing the threat of thousands of Chechens and other North Caucasians fighting in its ranks, the Russian bombings are targeting mainly the less radical Islamists and the more moderate opposition.

A late December airstrike in Eastern Ghouta killed Salafist leader Zahran Alloush, the commander of Jaysh al- Islam, the largest armed opposition group.

This could result in further instability inside rebel-held areas and sabotage the upcoming UN negotiations for a solution to the Syrian civil war. By its actions, Russia is endangering the interests of the main sponsors of the Syrian opposition forces: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states. The Russian intervention comes at a price.

Turkey’s reaction, on both the rhetorical and military levels, was swift. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated Ankara’s opposition to any political transition in Syria that includes Russia’s ally Assad. Several cases of Russian fighters penetrating Turkish territory, Russian bombings of pro-Turkish Turkmen tribesmen in northern Syria and Russia’s flirting with the Syrian Kurds led to the downing in late November of a Russian warplane that violated Turkish airspace, the first time a NATO country has shot down a Russian plane since the Korean War.

The Saudis have also taken a strong stand. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir threatened his country would embrace a military option if Assad did not step down as part of a political transition. In early December, Saudi Arabia organized a gathering in Riyadh of most of the Syrian opposition groups who agreed to form “a new and more inclusive body to guide the diverse and divided opponents of President Assad in a new round of planned talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil war.” A few days later the Saudis announced the formation of a 34-state “Islamic military coalition” – excluding Shi’ite nations – to fight global terrorism and challenge the Russian-Iranian alliance.

And after dozens of Islamist Saudi clerics called on Arab and Muslim countries to “give all moral, material, political and military” support to jihad against Syria’s government and its Iranian and Russian backers, the Sunni Islamist rebel group Ahrar Al-Sham issued a joint statement with 40 other rebel groups calling for a “regional coalition” against Russia and Iran.

Indeed, Turkey and the Gulf states may match Russian intervention by stepping up their own assistance to the rebels, for example by providing anti-aircraft missiles and putting Russian planes deployed in Syria at risk.

As for IS, it challenged Moscow’s military intervention by bombing a Russian Metrojet flight through its Wilayat Sinai associate in late October, killing 224 people. More attacks could come in Syria, the region or even on Russian soil.

THE MAIN beneficiary of the Russian intervention in Syria has been Iran. Arab observers maintain that in any future deal, Iran will keep at least most of western Syria under its control.

The legitimacy gained by Tehran following the signing of the nuclear deal has made it possible for Russia to rapidly advance their common strategic, political and economic interests. During his late November visit to Tehran, Putin eased an export ban on nuclear equipment and technology, promised to help Iran modernize its Arak heavy water reactor and agreed to build up to eight new nuclear power reactors. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for “closer interaction” with Russia to counter the US in the Middle East.

Israel has so far been able to mitigate the negative impact of the Russian presence in Syria. In his late September visit to Moscow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu achieved an understanding for cooperation in de-conflicting the two air forces’ activities in the region. The Israeli approach seems to be “live and let live,” acknowledging Russia as a major player that “cannot be ignored.”

The Israel Air Force continues to enforce Israel’s red lines: Bombing transfers of strategic weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon (for example, long range ground-to-ground or anti-aircraft missiles), including in the sensitive area of the Qalamoun Mountains, and preventing Iranian/Hezbollah attempts to build a strategic platform near the Golan border.

The reported IAF mid-December air strike, which killed senior Hezbollah Druze operative Samir Kuntar, brought down a multistory building near Damascus, housing an operation room of the so called “National Syrian Opposition in the Golan” group, which is sponsored by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force.

Interestingly, however, the Kremlin did not voice any displeasure at the strike and, three days later, Putin and Netanyahu spoke on the phone and agreed to continue their dialogue and cooperation on the war against terror and other regional matters.

For their part, Russian jets did not refrain from targeting rebel forces in important locations in southern Syria, less than 20 kilometers from the Israeli border. Indeed, according to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, they even “occasionally” crossed into Israeli airspace.

The Russian intervention has already produced important strategic effects in the region.

As a result of its alienation from Moscow, Turkey is aligning more closely with NATO and Saudi Arabia. The Turkish-Russian crisis has also compelled President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to strive to improve political and economic relations with Israel and possibly with Egypt too.

Saudi Arabia has deliberately provoked a dangerous crisis with Iran and regional escalation by executing a prominent Saudi Shi’ite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr. The heightened tension has raised serious doubts concerning the UN diplomatic initiative, supported by Russia and the US, to end the war in Syria.

After the Russian intervention, the US decided to escalate its campaign against the Islamic State by stepping up its airstrikes in support of Kurdish and Arab fighters, and engaging in some level of ground commando operations.

It is still unclear whether Russia has a plan on how its adventure in Syria might end and whether its new military assets on the ground, like the modern fighters and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, will remain there.

Given this backdrop, it seems the longer the Russian military campaign in the region lasts, the stronger Moscow’s alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and possibly Iraq will become. This alliance threatens strategic Israeli interests with regard to Iran and Hezbollah.

The deep Russian military involvement in Syria is slowly leading to a de facto restructuring of regional alliances, putting US and Western influence in the Middle East and beyond at risk and creating new scenarios for potential clashes with the Russians.

Dr. Ely Karmon is a Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Herzliya-based Interdisciplinary Center

RUSSIA INSIDER

Goodbye Petrodollar: Russia Accepts Yuan, Is Now China's Biggest Oil Partner

Russia is now the top crude exporter to China, the largest (or second largest, depending on whom you ask) oil demand growth country in the world.

At the start of the decade, Saudi Arabia enjoyed a 20% share of Chinese crude imports, while Russia was lagging far behind with 7%. Now the Saudis find themselves neck and neck with Moscow for the lead in Chinese market share, with both performing in the 13-16% range. But Russia's share continues to rise, as The Kingdom struggles to maintain a foothold.

Why? Analysts attribute Russia's huge market share growth to its willingness to accept yuan, while Saudi Arabia is still clinging to blood-soaked dollars. As Business Insider notes:

Interestingly, part of Russia's success in China has been attributed to its willingness to accept Chinese yuan denominated currency for its oil.

This is consistent with earlier forecasts about Russia's market share in China. Bloomberg reported back in July:

“Following Russia’s recent acceptance of the renminbi as payments for oil, we expect more record high oil imports ahead to China,” Gordon Kwan, the Hong Kong-based head of regional oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc., said in an e-mail, referring to the Chinese currency. “If Saudi Arabia wants to recapture its number one ranking, it needs to accept the renminbi for oil payments instead of just the dollar.”

As both the head of the Eurasian Economic Union (and founding member of BRICS), as well as a major energy exporter, Russia is leading the charge against the dollar. And now other nations are following suit: Iran and India announced last month that they intend to settle all outstanding crude oil payments in rupees, as part of a joint strategy to dump the dollar and trade instead in national currencies.The dollar is slowly losing its privileged place in international transactions. What this means for the United States is anyone's guess.
(We wouldn't say it is “anyone's guess”. This will lead to war.)

***

THE SPECTATOR

If Deutsche Bank collapses, it’s taking the euro with it

(Photo: Getty)

Matthew Lynn

11 February 2016

The queues haven’t started forming outside branches in Frankfurt or Cologne yet. Even so, it is hard not to suspect that something is badly amiss at Deutsche Bank, Germany’s and indeed Europe’s mightiest financial institution, and the rock on which that economy is founded. The shares have been in freefall, and executives have been wheeled out to try and reassure everyone that all is well. For Deutsche to be in trouble is bad enough. But here’s the real problem. If Deutsche does go down, it is taking the euro down with it. Why? Because if Germany bails it out, the contrast with the punishment metered out to Greek banks will be too painful to contemplate. And yet, were it to be allowed to fail, it would be catastrophic for the German economy.

There is something nastily 2008 about the trading action in Deutsche. The shares have almost halved over the past month, falling from 21 euros to 13. They are down another 6 percent today. Earlier this week, its Yorkshire-born co-chief executive John Cryan took the unusual step of telling everyone the bank was ‘rock-solid’, while the German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble made a point of telling everyone he was not worried about Deutsche, which is bit like Roman Abramovich saying he totally backs whoever happens to be managing Chelsea this week.

Of course, that might just be the markets getting into a panic about not very much. It would hardly be the first time traders have over-reacted. It may well be the case that Deutsche is in perfectly good shape, and can withstand whatever losses may be heading its way. We will see in the next few weeks. But what if it isn’t? That is where the story gets interesting.

If Deutsche were in serious trouble, the German government would surely feel compelled to bail it out, just as we bailed out RBS, and the Americans their banks, a few years ago. But hold on. It is less than a year ago that the Greek banks were allowed to go down, and the cash machines stopped working. That would be an acutely painful contrast, and one that could hardly fail to be missed. Everyone’s sneaking suspicion about the euro – that it is designed to work only for Germany – will be confirmed, and in the most dramatic way possible. It gets worse. The cost of a rescue would blow Germany’s debt to GDP ratio – currently 71 percent – through the roof. The rules it has been so fiercely enforcing for everyone else would turn out to be conveniently forgotten about for itself. How is that going to look to the Portuguese or the Spanish, living through German-imposed austerity to keep their debts under control? Not good.

Against that, letting it fail is hardly an option either. It is hard to see an already fragile currency surviving the collapse of its most systematically important bank. Neither would the Germany economy. Deutsche is not really a retail bank, like Barclays or Lloyds. Its main role is to finance Germany’s army of small exporters. But without them, the German economy would be in crisis – and, it hardly needs to be added, the whole of Europe depends on Germany.

Either way, the Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to be stuck in a very hard place. If she bails out the bank, it looks terrible, yet if she lets it fail, the economy goes down. She will probably be wishing she had something relatively simple – like a million Syrian refugees – to deal with. Because were Deutsche to be in trouble, it could turn into the trigger for the euro to unravel – and that would be very serious indeed.

***

***

Natural News

Weapons of Mass Vaccination? CDC intensifies childhood vaccine schedule to include 74 injections before age 17

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 by: Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just added three new vaccines to the Childhood Immunization Schedule, bringing the total to an almost unbelievable 74 vaccine doses recommended before the age of 17.

The agency also lowered the age of HPV (a sexually-transmitted virus) vaccination to include nine-year-olds.

Since 1950, the number of required vaccine doses has risen from 3 to 74 – an increase of more than 24 times.

In 1983, there were still only 10 recommended vaccines being administered to children under the age of 6 – the schedule then required 24 doses, 7 injections and 4 oral polio doses.

By 2010, the number of doses had increased to 68, with over half of them being administered before children reached 18 months of age.

As of February 1, 2016, the number of doses before age 17 has increased to 74 – including 53 injected vaccines and 3 oral rotavirus doses.

From The Healthy Home Economist:

"These rapid increases in the vaccine schedule mean that a 6 month old baby born today would receive over 2.5 times the number of vaccines as the maximum permitted for a 6 year old back in the 1980's. And, by the time that same baby was 12 years old, he/she would have received over 7X the number of vaccines as a child born 30 years ago.

"Predictably, children today are suffering from autoimmune disorders, behavioral problems, and physical disabilities at a rate growing in lockstep with the skyrocketing number of shots.

"One in every two children suffers from a chronic problem today and the situation is only growing worse with each passing year."

So, why the huge increase since 1983?

A license to kill?

Many Americans are unaware of the fact that in 1986, a bill called the Vaccine Injury Act was passed into law.

This Act absolves vaccine manufacturers from any liability for injury or death caused by vaccines.

That's right: If a vaccine injures or kills your child, the company which made the vaccine will not be held responsible.

Now it becomes clear why so many new vaccines have been added to the schedule, and why there are currently another 271 new vaccines awaiting approval by the FDA:

"The CDC will never stop adding to the immunization schedule as long as pharmaceutical manufacturers are protected from ALL liability of injury and death ... There is absolutely no incentive to make existing or new vaccines safe or keep the schedule at a reasonable level since the passage of the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act."

Are the risks worth taking?

For many parents, the health risks associated with vaccines are much worse than the risk of no vaccines at all, but Big Pharma lobbyists have deep pockets, and have managed to buy out the politicians in charge of drafting vaccine-related policies.

The anti-vaccine movement has been portrayed in the media as a bunch of paranoid lunatics who are endangering the lives of the rest of the population, when in fact the exact opposite is the reality.

Now, lawmakers are pushing for mandatory vaccinations so that the big drug companies can keep making huge profits without any regard for their safety or efficacy.

This is happening despite a large (and continuously increasing) amount of evidence, that vaccines do cause serious health problems, and that many of them are ineffective in the first place.

Not only are many of these vaccines tainted and useless, but at least one of the major vaccine makers – Merck – has been caught falsifying efficacy data.

As long as vaccine manufacturers remain legally protected from liability, we can expect to see the number of recommended vaccine doses continuing to rise exponentially.

We can also expect to see the number of children harmed by vaccines continuing to increase.

Isn't it time to stop this madness before future generations are irreparably harmed due to the greed of the big drug companies?

Sources:

TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com

NaturalNews.com

***

EXPRESS

Have SEX to ward off dementia – especially if you're an 'older man' scientists claim

MAKING love may keep your brain tip top, reveal scientists.

By BECKY FLETCHER

PUBLISHED: 07:40, Tue, Feb 16, 2016 | UPDATED: 08:48, Tue, Feb 16, 2016

Sex and dementia: Having a healthy sex life could help brain health

Getting frisky between the sheets could benefit your brain health, according to a Coventry University study.

Older men who enjoyed regular love-making showed signs of a healthier brain.

In particular, they were able to recall lists and recognise patterns.

The research team quizzed 6,800 people aged 50-89 from across England.

They were asked about their sex lives and set a number of mental tests.

Participants were played a list of ten words and asked to recount them after five minutes. They were also given a number sequence with one number out of place and asked to correct the pattern.

Start of Brightcove Player By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. End of Brightcove Player

The men who were sexually active scored 23 per cent higher on the word tests and three per cent higher on the number puzzles.

But it wasn’t just the men who benefitted from a healthy sex life. Sexually active women also scored higher on the tests.

Researchers believe sex hormones, like dopamine and oxytocin, which are linked to the part of the brain responsible for reward, could help cognitive function.

They said: “The findings have implications for the promotion of sexual counselling in healthcare settings, where maintaining a healthy sex life in older age could be instrumental in improving cognitive function and well-being.”

The study was published in the journal Age And Ageing.

***

Natural News

Mother beats cancer with JUICING after told she only had two weeks to live

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 by: Harold Shaw


(NaturalNews) When you become a parent, life changes a lot. Suddenly, you're responsible for another life and you realize that you can't afford to do a lot of things that you used to. Obviously, there are pros and cons, but one constant is that every parent feels a burning need to be there for their daughter or son. Particularly while the child is young, it falls on the mother and father to help their offspring understand this world and how to get by in it.

If you had two young siblings, a girl of six and a boy of five, they would definitely be your main concern, so much so that you couldn't imagine life without them. But what if you were told that you had stomach cancer? That it had spread to your lymph nodes, neck and almost all of your abdomen and you may have less than a month to spend with your children and husband?

A woman who refused to give up

This was the case of Natasha Grindley, a 37-year-old mom from Liverpool whose condition was deemed terminal by hospital doctors. In July 2014, healthcare advisers told Natasha that it was very possible that she would die before the end of the month. However, as a mother of two young siblings, she felt that she was yet to be beat. While doctors were hesitant to call the illness for what it was, the nursery teacher accepted her diagnosis and, together with her husband, started reading on cancer research.

Along with caring for her 5-year-old son Liam and 6-year-old daughter Gabriella, the couple made it their obsession to find alternative therapies for cancer. They accepted doctors' advice to begin chemotherapy, but they knew that there must also be other things they could do. On its own, chemo can cause even more cancer. In a couple of days, Natasha became acquainted with renowned author Deliciously Ella and started fighting cancer with proper nutrition.

More than just "alternative"

Even though her health was rapidly declining, Natasha's radical change to her diet helped her immensely. Contrary to everyone's expectations, she started looking better while on chemo. Her friends were simply amazed at her glow. Moreover, the newly acquired diet changed her outlook and improved her emotional state.

"I used the foods to power up my immune system and that helps me because my blood is then ready for chemo," Natasha said, as reported by the Daily Mail. "I noticed that every time I made a change to my diet, I saw a positive difference in how I felt."

The mom's secret is, actually, no secret to the world of nutrition. Many before her managed to stop or even cure cancer with major diet changes and juicing. What they all have in common is adjusting their diet to minimize artificial sugars and potentially harmful meat products while increasing their intake of organic vegetables, particularly carrots. Continuing to defy the predictions of her clinical diagnosis, Natasha hopes to spread the knowledge she managed to gain in the darkest moments of her life and teach others about the power that nutrition holds.

Two years from a two weeks' notice

Now it's been two years since Mrs. Grindley was told that she had no more than two weeks left with her family. Ever since, the nursery teacher's dedication and gratefulness to alternative treatments led her to complete a higher education degree in nutrition and start her own Facebook page. Backing up her experience with scientific arguments, the mother now hopes others will benefit from the power that diet has in curing various illnesses.

Neither doctors nor Natasha claim that cancer can solely be cured through diet, but changing one's food habits has proven to be at the root of numerous positive benefits, particularly in those cases where patients have to deal with terminal diseases. The harder it is on the body, the more pressure is put on the immune system, and a diet rich in fresh, organic produce is what powers an immune system to fight. How many servings of vegetables and fruit do you eat a day?

Sources include:
DailyMail.co.uk
OncologyNutrition.org
ChrisBeatCancer.com

***

Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.”
(Leviticus 26:4-5)


http://www.missionarychristian.org