China Buys 700K Barrels of Iranian Oil Every Day, Violating US Sanctions
HNewsWire- Iran has been subject to devastating oil export restrictions for many years, but that hasn't prevented China from increasing its purchases of Iranian oil month after month (read: here), dealers and ship-tracking services told Reuters. Chinese customers are increasing their crude imports at cheap prices as the price of international benchmark Brent increases, outweighing any possibility of US penalties.
Indeed, as Reuters observes, Chinese imports of Iranian petroleum continued to soar this year despite Washington's threat to isolate individuals who breach the sanctions from the US economy if they are implemented. However, given that the US president is unlikely to wake up from his afternoon nap or refuse to be disturbed while eating ice cream and take any action to punish China for violating the embargo's terms, Chinese importers exceeded 700,000 bpd in January, according to estimates from three tanker trackers, surpassing the 623,000 bpd peak recorded by Chinese customs in 2017 before former President Trump reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in 2018.
Between November and December, one tanker tracker reported that imports averaged 780,000 barrels per day.
The bulk of the purchase comes from independent Chinese refiners (dubbed "teapots"), who welcomed Iran's cheaper oil when Brent prices climbed from $77 to $91 last month. Teapots traded at a discount to market, at a price of $5 per barrel less than Brent.
Iran's total crude exports increased to above 1 million barrels per day in December, the highest level in three years, according to consulting company Petro-Logistics, which follows oil movements.
"The majority of Iran's oil exports travel to China, often through intricate channels and trans-shipments, with modest amounts going to Syria each month," CEO Daniel Gerber said.
Petro-Logistics anticipates total Iranian oil shipments of 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January and 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February. Another tracker, OilX, said that 1 million barrels per day might be expected in both January and February.
Iranian imports are growing as officials from Iran and the United States continue to negotiate the restoration of the 2015 nuclear agreement. If such an agreement is made in Vienna, it would result in the easing of the majority of international sanctions on Tehran, allowing Iranian crude shipments to flood the globe, diverting sales away from Chinese teapots.
Iran's negotiating position is anticipated to strengthen as a result of the Ukrainian crisis, since Brent has risen beyond $100 per barrel due to geopolitical worries. Increased political pressure on President Biden to rein in inflation, and more significantly, high gas prices ahead of the midterm elections, may make western politicians more amenable to an oil pricing compromise.
On Friday, a senior US State Department source told the Wall Street Journal that just days remained to resolve the outstanding differences between Iran and the US in order to reach an agreement.
"Final decisions must be made this week—either we reach an agreement or we do not," a representative of one of the European nations participating in the negotiations said Monday. "The present worldwide crisis implies that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing."
Meanwhile, it looks as if the US would penalize nations that violate its sanctions, albeit it will avoid China out of fear of an escalation.
HNewsWire-Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) has urged President Joe Biden to ease restrictions on domestic oil production that have left the United States increasingly reliant on Middle Eastern and Russian energy. Despite the president's condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the US continues to purchase 500,000 barrels of Russian oil every day.
"The whole world is watching as [Russian President] Vladimir Putin attempts to extort and blackmail our European friends by using energy as a weapon," Manchin said in a statement. "While Americans lament what is occurring in Ukraine, the US continues to allow Russia to import more than half a million barrels of crude oil and other petroleum products per day at this time of conflict." This makes no sense and poses a clear and present risk to the energy security of our country."
"To both safeguard our energy independence and help our friends throughout the world," Manchin added, "the United States can and must scale up domestic energy production and improve access to our vast resources and technology."
"If there was ever a moment to be energy independent, it is now," Manchin said, accusing Biden of being "hypocritical" for allowing Russian oil to be imported. "It is irrational to continue to depend on Russian electricity when they are attacking Ukraine."
"The strategic significance of American energy and what can be done to better position our country on the world stage will be an ongoing discussion in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the coming days and weeks," Manchin said.
Biden enacted a series of executive orders terminating or reversing Trump-era measures upon assuming office, citing the so-called "climate catastrophe."
Most notably, Biden imposed a ban on oil and gas companies leasing public lands. He also put a halt to the development of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been a contentious topic since President Barack Obama's presidency.
However, as a result of these measures, the United States has become reliant on OPEC and Russian oil once again. Despite the fact that the US has strongly denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country's oil continues to flow into the US.
Republicans have repeatedly called on Biden, both before and after the invasion of Ukraine, to reverse these "anti-American energy policies" and restore President Donald Trump's energy policies, which dramatically increased US oil production and made the country energy-independent for the first time in decades.
Despite the fact that many Democrats have aligned with the White House on energy and climate policy, Manchin, who has often split with his party during the 117th Congress, has voiced mistrust about his party on the topic for some time.
After the White House announced that it will draw from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down soaring gas costs, Manchin called on Biden to resume work on the Keystone XL project in November. Manchin stated his opposition to a tax break for electric car makers included in the now-defunct Build Back Better spending proposal earlier that month.
Manchin has also opposed efforts from inside his party to de-legitimize the coal sector, which would be terrible for his West Virginia supporters. Citizens in the cash-strapped state rely on the coal sector for almost all of their energy. Coal mining is also a significant job in the state, which has some of the poorest population in the country.
Because Biden has unilateral power over most of US energy policy, the White House could greatly increase domestic oil output with a few executive actions.
Despite harsh sanctions implemented by the US and its western allies, including the exclusion of some of Russia's top banks from the SWIFT banking system, the country remains as reliant on Russian oil as it was before to the invasion of Ukraine.
If Biden follows Manchin's advice and modifies his energy policy, conservatives will applaud him, but progressive Democrats and environmentalists would be outraged.
When gas prices were skyrocketing in November, Biden surreptitiously broke his prior prohibition by leasing about 80 million acres of Gulf of Mexico territory to oil companies. The environmentalist Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental alarmist organizations slammed the plan, which still left the United States virtually totally reliant on OPEC and Russia.
"President Biden can't claim to be tackling the climate emergency or care about environmental justice if he continues to treat the Gulf of Mexico and coastal towns as sacrifice zones," Kristen Monsell, the group's legal director, said.
Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's seeming hostility to fossil fuels, Canada is the world's fifth-largest oil producer, and has previously prohibited Russian oil imports.
Ending the oil lease embargo and reopening the Keystone pipeline, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, is a "misdiagnosis."
"I'd also point out that, in President Biden's opinion, what this really justifies, in terms of oil leases, is the fact that we need to minimize our reliance on foreign oil, on oil in general, and look at alternative means of having energy in our nation and others," Psaki stated.
Energy sanctions on Russia are still a possibility, she added.
Although there has been no sign that Biden would impose such penalties or drastically alter his approach to domestic energy policy, Manchin's comment suggests that the plan has bipartisan backing.
The “Nuclear Option” for Sanctions Has Been Described as the Expulsion of Russia From Swift — Bank Run In Russia Today The Global Electronic Payment-Messaging System. That's Utopian Thinking — China and Russia Will Set Up Their Own Banking Systems Russian News Sources: (CIPS) Is a Chinese Government Payment System That Specializes in Enabling Cross-Border Payments in the National Currency of China
SRH: Israel's prime minister, Naftali Bennett, and foreign minister, Yair Lapid, despite their differing positions on the Zionist spectrum, have managed a pretty unified foreign policy.
Only the day when Russia invaded Ukraine could be considered an extreme.
With Israel at the center in his argument Lapid In the West, Russia was slammed as a hypocrite. Bennett, concerned about putting Israel in a fight it couldn't win, essentially said that the war was out of Israel's hands.
SRH-Russia and China Are Now in Charge of Their Own Swift-Like Communications Facilities (CIPS) That Are Exclusive to Them and Do Not Include the United States. Despite the Numerous Concerns of the United States Government, the Global Financial World Was Well Aware That It Would Be Impossible to Prevent Russia or China From Participating in Global Financial Transactions. We Are in This Situation Because of All of the Smoke and Mirrors, and That Is Why We Are Here. Made up Stories by Our Elected Officials
HNewsWire- In the wake of Russian banks' decision to shut down ATMs and, later, open market trading in order to avoid or contain the fallout from Russia's incursion into Ukraine, it has become increasingly clear that Western governments lack the necessary tools to sanction Russia - and that they would be unable to do so even if they had the means to do so.
As we have stated several times before, the root of the problem is Russia's stranglehold over Europe's energy sources. Russia's stance, however, remains unchallengeable, even as an increasing number of Russian oligarchs issue statements saying that their sympathies lay with the Ukrainians (none of them, however, have really committed to doing anything that may harm the war effort).
The German economics ministry has stated that, despite the broad sanctions against Russia, which include the expulsion of its banks from the SWIFT system, German firms would still be able to find methods to pay their energy invoices to the Russians, allowing gas to continue flowing into Europe.
For further information, see a quick Reuters report on the matter."
Although Russia was excluded from the primary global payments system SWIFT, a representative for the German economics ministry said on Monday that there are still avenues through which Germany's natural gas bills may be paid.
At the same time, according to the spokeswoman, it is hard to predict the complete impact of sanctions on Russia on the German economy at this time.
The United States of America got on that bandwagon a few hours later.
Yet, the intensity of the terror and the dramatic sights from the front have been enough to cause the price of natural gas in Europe to rise by more than 40 percent in a short period of time.
This should come as no surprise, since Putin and Russia have been well-prepared for international sanctions and have been hard at work researching methods to get around them for some time. Furthermore, the oil and gas resources of Russia are simply too enticing for investors to pass up on them.
According to our most current report, which was published on Saturday evening, the United States and its European allies have reached an agreement on the following issues towards Russia:
Ensure that "selected Russian banks" are withdrawn from the SWIFT messaging system by making the following commitment: "This will ensure that these banks are cut off from the international financial system and will have a negative impact on their capacity to conduct business internationally.
Declare a commitment to adopting "restrictive measures that will prohibit the Russian Central Bank from using its overseas reserves in a manner that will undermine the impact of our sanctions."
Declare a commitment to "acting against the people and entities who facilitate the war in Ukraine" by adopting legislation that restricts the sale of citizenship, also known as golden passports, which allow wealthy Russians with ties to the Russian government to become citizens. Golden passports allow wealthy Russians with ties to the Russian government to become citizens.
Dedicate yourself to establishing "a transatlantic task force that will ensure the successful execution of our financial sanctions by locating and freezing the assets of sanctioned persons and corporations that exist in our respective jurisdictions."
Increasing the intensity of or improving coordination in the fight against misinformation and other types of hybrid warfare.
As well, she took a few potshots at the Russian central bank.
German nuclear scientists and their efforts to build nuclear power plants would not be in this horrible position today - where they must choose between purchasing Russian energy supplies or letting their populace to freeze - if the country had continued to support them. Instead, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decommissioned nuclear power stations, reducing the country's reliance on Russian energy supplies. It appears that she was motivated by political considerations.
However, the timing of this decision is already proving to be a hindrance. One Twitter user put it this way:
For those who don't know, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, often known as SWIFT, is the financial-messaging infrastructure that connects institutions all over the world. The Belgian-based system, which is managed by its member banks, handles millions of payment instructions every day from more than 200 nations and territories, as well as 11,000 financial institutions worldwide. Iran and North Korea are cut off from the rest of the world. However, despite its enormous power, the truth remains that it is still a messaging service at its core. Its financial systems are completely devoid of money.
What is the likelihood that this action would hasten a global financial tilt toward China? Yes, given the moderate use of the yuan compared to China's prominence in the global economy, but the consequences of this action in the global financial sector have not yet been completely recognized. Only if a global financial transaction system is genuinely global and far-reaching will it continue to be the unchallenged leader in the field. Although there is no doubt that this policy will have a detrimental impact on Russia, the long-term consequences of this decision must be taken into account.
Finally, as a result of the United States' crackdown, Russia and China are now in command of their own SWIFT-like messaging facilities that exclude the United States, which was formerly one of Washington's greatest concerns.
Only three countries have been banned from SWIFT. Iran, since 2012, North Korea and now Russia, albeit partially. Oil and gas exports as well as other key commodities remain in the system.
Russia's expulsion from SWIFT continues to reverberate throughout the world, with the West focusing on the impact on Russia's economy, commodities prices, and global finance markets.
In what appears to be a boring session, China's micromanaged "market" is already up and running, with futures trading at session lows, but shares tied to China's Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System (CIPS) are soaring after Saturday's decision by Western nations to exclude some Russian lenders from SWIFT messaging. Why? There is a growing belief that China's CIPS might be an option for those institutions, according to Bloomberg
CIPS is a slang term for To facilitate cross-border yuan trading, the system provides clearing and settlement services. According to a recent report, Russian banks may soon be obliged to use a Chinese version of SWIFT.
A 10% daily restriction on Orient Group and HyUnion Holdings' stock prices resulted.
Meanwhile, the daily limit for Infosec Technologies and Forms Syntron Information is exceeded by 20%.
As Dylan Grice explained earlier, the West's goal was to drive a wedge between Russia and China, the country that is truly the biggest US challenger on the global scene, but instead, the West has succeeded in bringing the two powers even closer together while putting the fate of the world's reserve currency in jeopardy.
Never before has money been used as a weapon on such a grand scale...
The card may only be used once. Prior to annexing Taiwan, China will take steps to eliminate its reliance on the US dollar. In the history of money, this is a turning moment Dylan Grice (@dylangrice) February 27, 2022: The end of USD hegemony and the acceleration towards a bipolar monetary regime
“I’m in Shock,” Say Russians as They Rush to Withdraw Cash From ATM's as Bank Runs Begin
HNewsWire- "Once a bank can't move or receive cash from other banks, its solvency might be at jeopardy," hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman warned in a quick assessment of the impact exclusion from SWIFT would have on Ukrainian banks. If I were Russian, I'd withdraw my funds right now. In Russia, bank runs might start as early as Monday."
We saw scenes across Russia reminiscent of a bank run in the hours following the western announcement to suspend some Russian banks from SWIFT and to impose sanctions on the Russian central bank, as locals lined up at cash machines across the country to withdraw foreign currency amid growing fears the ruble would collapse when trading resumed on Monday.
"I've waited in queues for an hour, but foreign cash is gone everywhere, only rubles," said Vladimir, a 28-year-old programmer who declined to provide his last name, as he stood in line at an ATM at a Moscow shopping mall. "I didn't believe this was conceivable, so I got a late start." "I'm stunned."
When trading resumes on Monday, there are signs that the ruble may tumble dramatically. At 3:30 p.m. in Moscow, the exchange rate given by lenders ranged from 98.08 rubles per dollar at Alfa Bank to 99.49 rubles per dollar at Sberbank PJSC, 105 at VTB Group, and 115 at Otkritie Bank. On Friday, the spot ruble price on the Moscow Exchange was 83 rubles per dollar.
Paul McNamara, a portfolio manager at GAM Investments, said, "I can't imagine a situation where it doesn't get crushed." "I don't expect meaningful involvement in terms of pricing, but I do expect legal reasons to sell rubles to be reduced."
Despite Bloomberg reporting that some lenders were selling dollars for a third higher than the market's close on Friday, and far over the psychologically crucial milestone of 100 rubles per dollar, many experts predicted that the Bank of Russia would raise interest rates. The shock came as Russians were still processing the news that Europe would close its airspace to them and that popular payment systems such as ApplePay would cease to function.
The United States and the European Union decided late Saturday to block several Russian banks from using the SWIFT financial messaging system and to freeze the central bank's reserves. The EU stated on Sunday that it will block its airspace to Russian airlines, making it more difficult to physically carry cash into the nation.
The central bank announced last week that it was expanding cash supply to ATMs to match demand, and it released another statement on Sunday promising banks "uninterrupted" ruble deliveries. There was no mention of probable foreign-currency support or sanctions in the press release.
The last time Russia experienced a serious cash shortage was in 2014, when falling oil prices in the aftermath of Western sanctions caused the currency to plummet. According to Bloomberg, Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, spent 1.3 trillion rubles ($16 billion) in a single week.
"The situation is absolutely unstable, and the central bank's penalties and limitations may only worsen," said Alexandra Suslina, a budget expert with the Moscow-based Economic Expert Group. "There's already a rush to withdraw cash from ATMs, but no cash machine is built to handle the lineups that will form at sanctioned banks."
Meanwhile, the Russian central bank announced on Sunday that it will resume purchasing gold and precious metals from the domestic market on Monday, but it was unclear who the sanctioned central bank would acquire gold from. Furthermore, in light of the looming liquidity crisis, Russia is more likely to be forced to sell part of its gold stockpiles, which are estimated to be worth just under $150 billion by Credit Suisse.
According to a Us Official, China Is Not Now Assisting Russia in Evading Western Sanctions, Yet!
HNewsWire-China does not appear to be assisting Russia in evading Western financial sanctions imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine, according to a senior Biden Administration official, but doing so would "cause tremendous damage" to China's reputation.
"The latest indicators suggest that China will not come to the rescue," the official said after the US and its allies decided to put sanctions on Russia's central bank and block key Russian institutions from the SWIFT international financial transaction network.
Recent indications that certain Chinese banks have ceased granting letters of credit for purchases of actual goods from Russia, according to the source, are a good omen.
This "indicates that, as has been the case for many years, China has tended to respect the power of US sanctions," according to the source.
China is Russia's largest export and import partner, purchasing a third of the country's crude oil exports in 2020 and supplying it with manufactured goods ranging from mobile phones and computers to toys and apparel.
Since 2014, when the West initially implemented sanctions against Russian firms in response to Moscow's annexation of Crimea, the China-Russia commercial relationship has risen dramatically.
Satan Soldier Chief Space Cadet Threatens International Space Station Due to Sanctions — 500-Ton Structure Falling on India and China Do You Want to Put Such a Threat in Front of Them?
The sanctions implemented by the US and its allies in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to Russia's space agency chairman, might jeopardize collaboration on the International Space Station (ISS).
Following President Biden's announcement on Thursday that the US will penalize key Russian banks and put export controls on Russia in order to reduce high-tech imports, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin stated that the ISS is now under Russian control.
"Who will preserve the International Space Station (ISS) from an uncontrolled deorbit and crash into the United States or...Europe if you refuse to cooperate with us?" In one of his tweets, Rogozin stated. "It's also possible that a 500-ton structure would collapse on India and China. Do you want to put such a danger in front of them? Because the ISS does not fly over Russia, you are solely responsible for your own safety. Are you prepared to face them?"
According to CNN, four NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, and one European astronaut are now onboard the station.
According to CNN, NASA will continue to "engage with all of our international partners, including the State Space Corporation Roscosmos, to ensure the International Space Station's continued safe operations."
Overnight Defense & National Security – The future of Ukraine is in jeopardy.
The EU has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has announced new sanctions...
"The new export controls will enable for continued civil space collaboration between the United States and Russia. The agency's support for existing in-orbit and ground-station activities is not expected to alter. The new export controls will enable for continued civil space collaboration between the United States and Russia "Added the spokeswoman.
Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman told CNN that the International Space Station, which is a joint venture between the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Space Agency, cannot work unless the United States and Russia collaborate.
"The Russian segment can't work without the American side's energy, and the American side can't function without the Russian side's propulsion systems," Reisman explained. "So you won't be able to split amicably. You can't uncouple consciously."
According to CNN, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed concern about the ISS's future during remarks in the House of Commons on Thursday, saying that while he has been supportive of continued collaboration on the ISS, current circumstances make it difficult to "see how even those can continue as normal."
The announcement comes after the White House declared on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will face immediate sanctions.
While certain countries (such as the United Kingdom, Poland, and Lithuania) are lobbying hard for Russia to be kicked out of SWIFT, the worldwide electronic payment-messaging system, many others are wary of pursuing the so-called "nuclear option" for fear of negative consequences.
"The EU isn't on board with removing Russia from SWIFT for one thing because the EU isn't on board with giving up Russian energy," said Erik Meyersson, a senior economist at Svenska Handelsbanken AB in Stockholm who covers the Eurozone.
Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council, was dissatisfied that certain countries, including Germany, Italy, and Hungary (all of which obtain large quantities of their energy from Russia), had opposed the request for SWIFT to be shut down...
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is the financial-messaging infrastructure that connects the world's banks, as a refresher. The Belgian-based system, which is administered by its member banks, processes millions of daily payment instructions from over 200 countries and territories, as well as 11,000 financial institutions. It is blocked off from Iran and North Korea.
Given all of this, Allison Nathan of Goldman Sachs posed the question on everyone's mind:
"The "nuclear option" for sanctions has been described as the expulsion of Russia from SWIFT, the global electronic payment-messaging system. Are you in agreement with that assessment?"
Eddie Fishman, the former Russia and Europe Lead at the US State Department's Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation, commented in an intriguing manner:
"No, it's nowhere near being a nuclear option... SWIFT is only a communications system. If the US and Europe opted to cut Russian banks off from SWIFT without implementing full-fledged sanctions, they would still be able to interact with US and European financial institutions, but not via SWIFT."
Fishman went on to say that the West's actions might have an even larger repercussion:
"...and, ironically, this may enhance demand for SWIFT alternatives like Russia's own System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS)."
Russia may be enticed to use China's financial messaging system, according to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who spoke to media on Thursday.
He claims that suspending Swift would damage Russia less than the European Union.
Given Germany's previous opposition to the termination of SWIFT, Bloomberg reports that Germany's finance minister stunned market observers this afternoon by declaring, "We are open to cutting Russia off SWIFT," with a German government advisor telling RND that "banning Russia from SWIFT is feasible."
Following President Biden's remarks that "barring Russia from SWIFT remains a possibility," various European officials have pushed the notion of terminating Russia's SWIFT access in the last few hours.
Johnson of the United Kingdom wants Russia "barred" from the SWIFT payment system.
"Many EU officials wanted Russia kicked off of SWIFT," Rutte said, adding that "further work has to be done on prospective SWIFT measures." In addition, Rutte stated that the EU "made a step ahead" in removing Russia from SWIFT, although he did not elaborate.
"All alternatives are on the table," EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said, "including SWIFT withdrawal."
And now it looks that Italy is following suit...
Finally, European Union Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni said the EU and ECB will meet in the next days to discuss whether Russia should be cut off from SWIFT, the world's most widely used messaging system.
"We are also examining the idea of using this instrument," he said on "Bloomberg Markets: European Close," "but this requires a little bit more in-depth study."
However, despite all of this bravado, the real question is: if termination from SWIFT isn't the 'nuclear option,' as Goldman claims, what power does NATO have (apart from the genuine MAD 'nuclear option') to block Putin's advance? And, aside from energy concerns, do China and Russia (and the 400 or so businesses linked to their payment messaging systems) require another another reason to abandon the weaponize of the dollar reserve?
Putin: I'm a Dirt-bag, It's is Badge of Honor in Russia Politics
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SRH: Where Russia seems to come into the picture in Daniel’s prophecy is the indication that after the king of the North invades the Holy Land, “news from the east and the north shall trouble him” (Daniel 11:44). Since several nations in this region are going to be invaded and conquered by the king of the North, there is naturally going to be a reaction from major powers to the north and to the east (or, again, possibly northeast) of that region.
To the east of the Holy Land lies a large swath of Muslim nations that would be incensed at a takeover of Islam’s third-holiest city, Jerusalem. Among them are Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and several predominately Muslim nations from the former Soviet Union, plus India with its 200 million Muslims. To the north of the Holy Land are yet more Muslim nations—Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, plus areas of Russia with large Muslim populations.
Any European-led invasion of the Holy Land, as foretold in this prophecy, would be viewed by Muslims in these regions as another “Crusade” against Islam. Although that sounds odd to Western ears, this is exactly what many Muslims termed the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. In the minds of millions of Muslims, the Crusades never ended, and Islam remains at war against Christianity in a battle for supremacy—as we see reflected in the words and actions of many jihadists today.
No doubt a Western takeover of Jerusalem and the Holy Land would rally many Muslims to fight and throw out the “Crusaders”—exactly as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to humiliating Western withdrawals and resulting chaos as militant Islamic groups swept into the void.
A look at a map shows that beyond these Muslim nations and above the Middle East (and east of the area of the king of the North) there is only one major power, and that is Russia. Moscow is almost due north of Israel. And if the correct translation of the verse in question is the “northeast,” there is still only one powerful nation northeast of the Holy Land, and that is Russia, its territory stretching farther to the east than any other Asian power.
Russia has an intense interest in the Middle East for political, economic, military and religious reasons. In the last 200 years, a historical pattern has emerged when European powers have sought to conquer the Middle East—sooner or later, Russia will usually get involved, since this region significantly affects its national interests.
“Kings from the east” Daniel 11:44 tells us that “news from the east” (if that is a single direction), will greatly trouble the king of the North. What might this be referring to?
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