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Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

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Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”
That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.
His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news/images/nj-quake-030201.gif

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”

That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.

His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Pakistan is Illegally Increasing Her Nuclear Horn

Pakistan trying to illegally procure nuclear technology, says German govt

November 16, 2019

According to the German government, Pakistan has heightened its efforts to illegally obtain advanced technology used in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons(NBC), says a report published in the Hindustan Times. Many legislatures of the left party in German parliamentary group had raised a question regarding this. The answer the the same was communicated by the German government in an official reply earlier this month.

The response from the German government fits accurately to the concerns raised by the German Intelligence agency, Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) in 2018. The intelligence agency had said that there had been a “steep increase” in Pakistan’s attempts to secretly gain advanced nuclear technology in Germany and other Western countries. The report by the intelligence service also added that Pakistan which currently holds 130 to 140 nuclear warheads has plans to augment their nuclear arsenal to 250 atomic weapons by 2025.

In addition to this, the report highlights the significant fact of Pakistan being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and associated security agreements. Along with this, the report underscores Pakistan’s “extensive military nuclear and carrier technology programme directed against the ‘arch-nemesis’ India”.

Dagdelen and four other MPs of the Left Party had written to the German government seeking information on quantitative and qualitative changes since 2010 in attempts by foreign countries to illegally acquire goods required for the research and manufacture of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and carrier systems from Germany, a country known for housing pioneer companies with unmatched expertise in the nuclear field.

The German government in its report said that since 2010 that countries such as Iran, whose activities had witnessed a significant reduction since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) came into force in January 2016, have adopted “some quantitative changes” in illegally pursuing advanced nuclear technology.

However, the report mentions that Pakistan has seen a sharp increase in proliferation-relevant procurement activities in recent years while adding “no quantitative change” was observed with regard to North Korea and Syria.

In the current scenario, several Pakistani leaders including PM Imran Khan had liberally issued threats of a nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan when the relations between the two countries nosedived in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 and subsequent bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

India, on the other hand, had maintained on all platforms and international forums that Jammu and Kashmir has and will always remain an integral part and no foreign country has a right to interfere in her internal matters.

India Broadens It’s Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

India Test-Launches Nuclear-Capable Missile With Range of Over 3,000 Km – Video

The Agni missile series is the country’s main strategic weapon capable of delivering a wide variety of warheads, including nuclear ones, to hit targets ranging from 2,000 to 3,500 kilometres away.

The Agni missile series is the country’s main strategic weapon capable of delivering a wide variety of warheads, including nuclear ones, to hit targets ranging from 2,000 to 3,500 kilometres away.

India’s Strategic Forces Command successfully test fired the strategic Agni-II missile on the night of 16 November, the Live Hindustan media outlet reported. A video of the missile successfully launching from the firing range in the eastern Indian state of Odisha was broadcast by Kanak News.

The Agni-II is one of six missiles in the Agni family, comprising the foundation of India’s strategic weapons with operational ranges of between 2,000 and 3,500 kilometres. It can carry a variety of warheads, ranging from penetrating and thermobaric to nuclear ones. The more modern, long-range Agni-VI missile is capable of delivering a payload to distances of up to 12,000 kilometres.

Video: India Tests BrahMos Cruise Missile Amid Tensions With Pakistan

India has successfully developed a nuclear triad, made up of land-, sea- and air-launched weapons, and claims to have introduced this as a “credible deterrence”, but vows to use it only as a means of response, not for pre-emptive strike purposes. At the same time, India has refused to sign both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Its neighbour and regional rival, Pakistan, also possesses a nuclear arsenal without being a signatory to either of the regulating and restricting treaties.

Iranian Hegemony in Iraq (Daniel 8:3)

Soleimani in Iraq

By Giancarlo Elia ValoriNovember 16, 2019

The current presence of Qassem Alì Soleimani, leader of the Al QudsForce of the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” in Iraq is strategically significant.

Certainly, according to the Iranian press, Soleimani was the sole responsible for the destruction of the so-called “Caliphate” of Al Baghdadi, whohas recently been eliminated by the US Special Forces, upon probable Turkish pressure.

It is not entirely false: the various Shiite forces from Iran and Iraq have made about 3,000 military operations against Al Baghdadi’s network.

Soleimani also remains the strategic holder of the Lebanese stability – if we can say so – even with the robust presence of Hezbollah in Saad Hariri’s Lebanese government that resigned on October 29 last, in spite of the pressure from a great Christian friend of Iran and Syria, namely Michel Aoun. President of the Lebanon and, as Maronite, certainly not disliked in Iran and Syria.

The idea that the government of Saad Hariri – a friend of the naive West and of the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, but in fact in the hands of Hezbollah and Amal, two Lebanese Shiite and Iranian movements – could survive the economic crisis that persists even after the 11 million US dollars lent by the Sunni monarchies and the USA, and after the Shiite riots in Beirut and in the South of the country, was completely unfounded.

If the Lebanon collapses, Iran shall strengthen Iraq, and vice versa. It is obvious if we study the political structures of both countries and their role for Israel and the USA.

In Syria, however, the Russian Federation – and not Iran – has won, but it is equally true that the Shiite Republic, also thanks to Qassem Soleimani, is currently able to fight well in Syria, thus maintaining such a level of hostility as to minimize the possibility of retaliation against Iranian forces both in Syria and at home.

Iran has now stably penetrated the informal and official Syrian defence structures and its goal is both to support Hezbollah and the Shiite forces that will replace it, for an attack southwards, namely against Israel, and the definitive exclusion of US forces or US allies from the whole region of the Syria-Iraq axis.

Nevertheless the trump card that counts for the internationalization of the Syrian crisis is still in Russian hands only.

Furthermore, the territorial and operational limitation of the Russian forces in Syria, above all on the Golan Heights, is a further strategic aim of Iran in Syria and Jordan, as well as obviously in Iraq.

Qassem Alì Soleimani, however – often associated to Rahbar, the Supreme Leader Alì Khamenei, in the iconography of the Iranian regime – is considered the military leader closest to the ideas and opinions of Rahbar himself.

He has always been a myth for the Iranian public because he has quickly risen to the top ranks, among Iran’s 13 Major Generals, starting from a humble job as mason in Kirman, Southern Iran, and he is currently the only senior officer of the Armed Forces who speaks directly with the Supreme Leader.

Jointly with some of the most powerful representatives of the Sunni regimes in the Emirates and in the Saudi Kingdom, Soleimani and the Rahbar are organizing a new policy of negotiations with Saudi Arabia and with the whole Sunni world of  Egypt and Jordan.

Currently the Al Quds Force led by Soleimani is organizing alone – with at least 12 commercial jet planes never entered into any register – import-export operations in its favour and in favour of the Iranian regime, while millions of Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani, Azerbaijani and Bahraini refugees in Iran have quickly obtained – through the Al Quds Force – citizenship in the Republic founded by Ayatollah Khomeini.

An Iranian passport is always ready -through Soleimani’s Force – also for many Lebanese, Pakistani (20% of the Pakistani inhabitants are Shiite) and Bahraini citizens.

These are the future strengths of Iran’s destabilization, which uses the Shiite minorities, but not only them.

Soleimani also manages a network of special envoys of the Shiite Republic of Iran throughout the Middle East that report directly to him who then transfers data directly to the Supreme Leader’s Office.

Currently Soleimani’s parallel and military diplomacy is the real axis of the Iranian power projection in the Greater Middle East and reaches as far as India and the West.

As Ayatollah Yatani said about a month ago: “Nowadays, thanks to General Soleimani, we directly control four Arab capitals, namely Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana’a”.

This is not entirely true, but certainly Soleimani’s network is effective and credible, at least to back the business that supports the Al Quds Brigade  and hence also its political operations of infiltration and control of the local political systems.

Certainly Qassem Soleimani’s power is not as relevant as the Iranian propaganda suggests, but it is however true that, in Iraq, the role played by the General and his Al Quds Force is really important and decisive.

Iraq has a border of 1,559 kilometres with Iran and the great country that was Saddam Hussein’s absolute dominion has always hosted a vast Shiite majority, the second in the world after Iran and India. It is also the majority in the country.

In fact, it has just been reported that General Qassem Alì Soleimani has reached Iraq by helicopter and has settled in Baghdad, taking direct control of the Shiite armed forces and their autonomous security services.

Certainly, the most important sign to define this Iranian decision was the attack on the Iranian Consulate in Karbala, the Shiite holy city. The attack launched on November 3 last caused the death of three people.

The demonstrators carried the Iraqi flags and cried out “Karbala is free, Iran out, out!” – one of the many signs of growing intolerance, not only by Sunnis, towards Iran’s strong interference in Iraqi politics and economy.

On November 11 last, Al-Sistani, the Great Shiite Iraqi Ayatollah, gave the Iraqi government a two-week deadline to find out which  “undisciplined elements” – as the Iraqi government of Adel Abdul Al Mahdi euphemistically called them- had used snipers to shoot some demonstrators.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi declared three days of mourning for the victims of the demonstrations in Karbala and elsewhere.

The toll was terrible. At least 110 Iraqi citizens were killed in the demonstrations; over 6,000 were injured in demonstrations in Baghdad, Karbala and the South of the country. The death toll includes at least six elements of government security forces.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo ,asked the Iraqi Prime Minister for maximum repression of demonstrations, which, however, are becoming increasingly “harsh”.

Abdul Al Mahdi immediately announced his 13-point plan for reforms, with economic subsidies and free housing for poor people, while a special session of the Iraqi Parliament opened on October 8, with meetings between the government and the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Mohammed Al Haboulsi, and between them and the tribal leaders.

On the same day, the Head of the State Grain Buying Agency in Baghdad, Naeem Al Maksousi, was removed and immediately replaced by Mahdi Elwan.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had arrived in Baghdad as early as October 7 to negotiate with the Iraqi government and curb the protests, which are potentially destructive both for the Russian equilibria in Syria and for the sensitive relationship that the Russian Federation has with Iran, between Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

If Iraq becomes viable for all the destabilization operations that currently pass through the Greater Middle East, the Russian successes in Syria, the stability of Assad’s regime in Syria, the penetration of the Sunni jihad from Afghanistan into Iran, and finally the destabilization of Jordan, will become not only possible, but likely.

In this case it is not only a matter of “bread riots”, as those described by Manzoni in his book The Betrothed, but of a political equilibrium between Iraqi ethnic groups, tribes and international relations, which today is inevitably breaking.

However, as mentioned above, on October 30 last a helicopter transported Qassem Alì Soleimani from Baghdad airport to the fortified Green Zone around the Iraqi capital.

In a meeting called by him in the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Soleimani also discussed the issue of the protests mounting in the capital city and, above all, in the Shiite Southern Iraq.

Soleimani is now the de facto Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, especially with reference to the actions taken to keep the protest under control.

“We in Iran know how to control these situations. They also happened in Iran and we quickly put them under control”. According to many sources, he reportedly said so to the Iraqi political leaders.

Hence a real Iranian coup d’état took place in Iraq, because of or with the pretext of the often bloody riots that occurred particularly in the last fortnight.

But there is also another weakness that has emerged for Iran in a  traditionally friendly country like Iraq.

Soleimani and his Brigade were not able to organize Hezbollah and its  network in the Lebanon, especially to prevent Saad Hariri – a Lebanese President who is a friend of Iran, but connected to the Saudi banks that hold him in their hands – from resigning together with all his government, including the various, and often powerful, Ministers chosen by Hezbollah itself.

Hariri’s resignation has also made a future technocratic solution for the Lebanese government more likely – a solution that would certainly diminish the grip of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, always trained by the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”a Lebanese movement that was the “right eye” of Imam Khomeini.

If Iran loses also Iraq, its area of influence will be so much reduced as to allow a possible penetration of its own territory.

However, despite the presence of Soleimani, the Iraqi Prime Minister intends to leave power.

Therefore, while a “friendly” government for Iran resigns in the Lebanon, another “friendly” government in Iraq is floundering in a structural crisis. This is the rationale underlying Soleimani’s presence in the Iraqi capital.

It should be noted that on the border between Iran and Iraq, on both sides of the line, the Kurds live and they are a real human shield against massive military penetration from Iran into Iraq.

Sunni and Shiite Arab-Iranian tribes are also straddling the border line, and all the parties involved on the border between the two countries – both with a Shiite majority – have vast reserves of oil at their disposal, which they control almost entirely on their own.

Not to mention the various rivers of the region and, above all, the Shatt-el-Arab.

Let us see, however, who Qassem Alì Soleimani really controls in Iraq.

Firstly, there is the Asaib al-Haq network, as well as the Popular   Mobilization Forces (PMF) and finally what remains of the old Al Badr Brigades.

Asaib al-Haq, the “League of the Righteous”, also known as the Khazali Network, heavily operated also during the last war in Syria.

In the Iraqi war, after Saddam Hussein’s fall, it was responsible for at least 6,000 attacks against the US and coalition forces.

At the time, the “Widowers’ House”, where the Sunni jihadist “martyrs” – also those who hit Italy’s military in Nassiriya – passed at the end of their journey towards death, was placed in Syria.

It was from there that a young Sunni “martyr”, of Moroccan origin, who initially worked in a halal butcher shop on the Catalan coast moved to the Mosque of Viale Jenner, in Milan, and finally to Syria, to hit Italy’s soldiers in Camp Mittica, Nassiriya.

We were informed of it by the Spanish Guardia Civilthat – as always happens in these cases – had received some DNA found on the body of the “martyr” who killed our soldiers.

Asaib al-Haq, that is also an Iraqi political party, is under direct orders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and, in any case, is institutionally part of the old network of the Popular Mobilization Forces.

It is estimated that the militants and operatives of the Asaib network and of the Popular Mobilization Forces are currently worth about 15,000 elements, all well-trained, both in Iraq and Iran.

Asaib was born as a splinter group of the old Army of the Mahdi, led and founded by Muqtada al-Sadr (and exactly in the old “rationalist” Sadr City, ferocious clashes between the “rebels” and the Iraqi police forces have taken place very recently).

The working style of the militia group among the population – that is to provide aid to poor people through a “religious welfare”, the same policy of Hezbollah in the Lebanon – is, however, a significant cost for Iran.

Hezbollah in the Lebanon, however, is supported by a system of private funding from rich local Shiites; companies, also Sunni ones, that operate in the areas or with Iranian customers; income from investment and from the usual private donations.

Between 1983 and 1989 Iran has given directly to Hezbollah as many as 450 million US dollars.

Currently – and, however, this does not include operational military support and training for Hezbollah men and women in the Lebanon – there is talk of at least 650 million US dollars a year, from Iran directly to the Southern district of Beirut, where the operational centre of the Lebanese and Shiite “Party of God” is located.

Hezbollah also gets money from the often powerful Shiite minorities outside the Middle East, such as those in West Africa, in the USA and also in the very important area of the “tripartite border” between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.

As shown by international agencies’ data, there are also operations that demonstrate how and to what extent  the business network of the “Party of God” also deals – for significant amounts – with the illegal trafficking of tobacco and, often, with international drug trafficking.

Currently news about Iran’s financial commitment in Iraq tells us of at least 16 billion US dollars to train, support and organize Shiite militias in Iraq.

Moreover the expansion of the Shiite militias in these areas is recent and will follow Soleimani’s presence in Iraq, like Banquo’s ghost in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

The Popular Mobilisation Forces are currently a complex organization born in 2014 to fight against  the so-called Al Baghdadi’s “Caliphate”.

In September 2019, upon order of the Shiite Iraqi leader, Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis,the network of the Shiite PMF separated from the rest of the Iraqi Armed Forces. This Iran’s political choice stems from a series of air bombings that the PMF bases have suffered in Iraq over the last three months.

The Shiite network has accused Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied the charge.

But there is no guarantee that this Shiite network is now also opposed to many of the sectarian forces operating on Iraqi soil, between Sunnis and Kurds.

However, the great Shiite military alliance, under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, was born in 2014 from a fatwa of the Great Ayatollah al Sistani that indicated to the young Iraqis the duty to “be part of the security forces” to save the country from the danger of the so-called Al Baghdadi’s “Caliphate”.

Despite various decrees enacted by the Iraqi government, both by Nouri al Maliki and the current President, the structure of the Popular Mobilisation Forces has not given their weapons to the Iraqi army and the PMF have never subjected their chain of command to the Iraqi hierarchy of the Armed Forces.

Recently, the Shiite network in Iraq has increased from the 4,500 armed militants, who had been identified in 2011, to well over 81,000 ones, with a significant increase that has occurred only over the last six months.

The network of the Popular Mobilisation Forces is also useful for Iran to create a second front – more difficult to control – of missile launch against Israel, operated solely from the Iraqi territory.

Also the Hashd al Shaabi movement in the Lebanon was born in 2014, like the new PMF. It is a movement connected – from the very beginning -to the Iraqi brigades of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, as well as to the Badr Brigade and the new Asaib al-Haq network, always linked to the presence of the Brigades of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and hence to Soleimani’s Al Quds Brigade.

Now this network, under Qassem Alì Soleimani’s direct control, currently counts at least 130,000 armed militants.

In other words, Iran is replacing its proxies in Iraq and the Lebanon with a view to avoiding the enemy penetration and staking – with new organizational and military models – a very heavy claim to regimes, between the Lebanon and Iraq, which are obviously at the end of their pathway.

Israel Continues to Fire Rockets Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

A rocket interception above the city of Ashkelon, November 2019. Ilan Assayag

Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after rockets fired amid shaky truce – Israel News – Haaretz.com

Israel Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza After Rockets Fired Amid Shaky Truce

Friday night’s rockets fired by Hamas operatives without orders to do so, Israeli defense sources believe ■ Palestinian factions met, declared unity ■ Hamas stayed out of week’s round of violence between Islamic Jihad and Israel

Yaniv Kubovich

Jack Khoury

Almog Ben Zikri

Amos Harel

The rockets intercepted over the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva Friday night were fired by Hamas operatives, defense officials said, in contrast to the hundreds of rockets fired over the week by Islamic Jihad.

Israel struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday following the rocket fire from the Strip, after the group stayed out of this week’s round of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad. Security officials are of the opinion that the rockets launches were not ordered by Hamas leadership, but were rather the work of lone Hamas operatives. 

The Hamas-run TV channel Al-Aqsa reported that a site belonging to the group in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, was attacked, as was a naval police compound in Gaza City. The Israeli army said that underground infrastructure was targeted as well. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Israel Defense Forces, which had not struck Hamas targets over the course of the week’s escalation, said of the strike: “Hamas is responsible for what is carried out in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences.”  

The strikes came hours after two rockets were intercepted in in the area surrounding the major southern city of Be’er Sheva. 

A cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad group went into effect on Thursday, ending two days of fighting ignited by Israel’s targeted killing of one of the Iran-backed militant group’s top Gaza commanders. The fighting killed 34 Palestinians, including 16 civilians, according to rights groups. Hamas stayed on the sidelines, and Israel did not attack targets linked to the group. 

Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Saturday morning that Islamic Jihad and Hamas military leaders met in the past two days to assess the situation and draw conclusions following the round of violence. The meeting remained practical, the report said, even as both sides exchanged criticism, and the two factions agreed to continue cooperating while sharing a war room.     

Senior Islamic Jihad member Khader Habib said the two factions have united to form one front, and will not “allow anyone to put a wedge between them.” The discussion strengthened the groups’ assessment that the relative quiet will not hold, the report added, due to what they describe as Israel’s methodical violations of the agreements made between the country and the Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh’s bureau said that Haniyeh spoke with his Islamic Jihad counterpart Ziad al-Nakhalah on Friday night, where they pledged to continue cooperation between the two factions.

Hamas’s Al-Aqsa channel broadcast a picture Friday night of Islamic Jihad leaders, including family members of Baha Abu al-Ata, visiting Hamas official Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar in an apparent display of unity between the factions. Tensions have run high between the factions in the Strip over the course of the week’s conflict, and Hamas leaders were met with screams and opposition while visiting mourners’ tents.  

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of Hamas’ s political bureau, said that the alleged praise heaped on Hamas by Israeli officials for not getting involved in the fighting served the purpose of “maliciously dividing” Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He added that there are those who took Israeli officials’ words to heart, and warned that Gazans “must take care in their relation to these statements.”

Islamic Jihad fired at least 450 rockets into Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday, most of which landed in open areas or were intercepted. Sporadic rocket fired continued Thursday after the cease-fire was announced, followed by Israeli strikes that resulted in no casualties. 

The Israeli airstrikes this week included one overnight  Wednesday that killed eight members of a Palestinian family. The strike targeted a Gaza building that appeared in an outdated target database, and it was carried out without prior inspection of civilian presence at the site.

The building where the family lived was on a list of potential targets, but Israeli defense officials confirmed to Haaretz that it had not been looked at over the past year or checked prior to the attack.

Jack Khoury and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

The rockets intercepted over the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva Friday night were fired by Hamas operatives, defense officials said, in contrast to the hundreds of rockets fired over the week by Islamic Jihad.

Israel struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday following the rocket fire from the Strip, after the group stayed out of this week’s round of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad. Security officials are of the opinion that the rockets launches were not ordered by Hamas leadership, but were rather the work of lone Hamas operatives. 

The Hamas-run TV channel Al-Aqsa reported that a site belonging to the group in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, was attacked, as was a naval police compound in Gaza City. The Israeli army said that underground infrastructure was targeted as well. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Israel Defense Forces, which had not struck Hamas targets over the course of the week’s escalation, said of the strike: “Hamas is responsible for what is carried out in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences.”  

The strikes came hours after two rockets were intercepted in in the area surrounding the major southern city of Be’er Sheva. 

A cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad group went into effect on Thursday, ending two days of fighting ignited by Israel’s targeted killing of one of the Iran-backed militant group’s top Gaza commanders. The fighting killed 34 Palestinians, including 16 civilians, according to rights groups. Hamas stayed on the sidelines, and Israel did not attack targets linked to the group. 

Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Saturday morning that Islamic Jihad and Hamas military leaders met in the past two days to assess the situation and draw conclusions following the round of violence. The meeting remained practical, the report said, even as both sides exchanged criticism, and the two factions agreed to continue cooperating while sharing a war room.     

Senior Islamic Jihad member Khader Habib said the two factions have united to form one front, and will not “allow anyone to put a wedge between them.” The discussion strengthened the groups’ assessment that the relative quiet will not hold, the report added, due to what they describe as Israel’s methodical violations of the agreements made between the country and the Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh’s bureau said that Haniyeh spoke with his Islamic Jihad counterpart Ziad al-Nakhalah on Friday night, where they pledged to continue cooperation between the two factions.

Hamas’s Al-Aqsa channel broadcast a picture Friday night of Islamic Jihad leaders, including family members of Baha Abu al-Ata, visiting Hamas official Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar in an apparent display of unity between the factions. Tensions have run high between the factions in the Strip over the course of the week’s conflict, and Hamas leaders were met with screams and opposition while visiting mourners’ tents.  

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of Hamas’ s political bureau, said that the alleged praise heaped on Hamas by Israeli officials for not getting involved in the fighting served the purpose of “maliciously dividing” Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He added that there are those who took Israeli officials’ words to heart, and warned that Gazans “must take care in their relation to these statements.”

Islamic Jihad fired at least 450 rockets into Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday, most of which landed in open areas or were intercepted. Sporadic rocket fired continued Thursday after the cease-fire was announced, followed by Israeli strikes that resulted in no casualties. 

The Israeli airstrikes this week included one overnight Wednesday that killed eight members of a Palestinian family. The strike targeted a Gaza building that appeared in an outdated target database, and it was carried out without prior inspection of civilian presence at the site.

The building where the family lived was on a list of potential targets, but Israeli defense officials confirmed to Haaretz that it had not been looked at over the past year or checked prior to the attack.

Jack Khoury and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Khamenei Strikes a Contradiction of Terms

Khamenei: We are not anti-Semitic, we’re only anti-Israel

Iran’s Supreme Leader claims Iran has “no problem” with the Jewish people and is only against the “imposed state” of Israel.

Iran’s Supreme Leader explained on Friday that his country is not against the Jews, only against the “Israeli regime” and the State of Israel, which he described as an “imposed state”.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the future of the land should be decided by Palestinian Arabs of all faiths, Jewish as well as Christian and Muslim.

“The ‘abolition of the Israeli regime’ … does not mean the abolition of Jewish people; we have no problem with them,” Khamenei told a meeting of Islamic countries in Tehran, reported the AFP news agency.

It means “abolition of the imposed regime and state, that the Palestinian people, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish… choose their own government and oust thugs like (Binyamin) Netanyahu,” he added.

The Iranian government does not recognize Israel, referring to it as the “Zionist regime”, and support for the so-called “Palestinian cause” has been a constant feature of its foreign policy since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

“We are not anti-Semitic. Jews are living in utmost safety in our country. We only support the people of Palestine and their independence,” claimed Khamenei.

The “enemies of Islam,” including Israel and the United States, seek to sow discord between Islamic countries and called for unity in the face of the “common enemy”, he continued.

Khamenei regularly verbally attacks Israel. He has several times in the past referred to the Jewish state as a “cancer” and threatened to “annihilate” the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Last year, Khamenei took to Twitter where he belittled Israel and asserted that it “is clearly weaker than 10, 20 years ago.”

Several days later he took to Twitter again to blast both Israel and the US.

“Today, to hell with the US and Zionist regime for threatening the Iranian nation. Their threats and atrocities have so far failed and will continue to fail; the sanctions will also be defeated by the grace of resistance,” he wrote.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Forget North Korea: This Is Where The First Nuclear War Will Start (Revelation 8 )

Forget North Korea: This Is The Nuclear Hotspot No One is Talking About

November 14, 2019, 5:39 AM MST

Key Point: The rest of the world should work to calm nuclear tensions on the Indian subcontinent.

While the United States is preoccupied by the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of potential adversaries such as Russia, China or North Korea, the danger of nuclear conflict may actually be greatest between two of its allies, Pakistan and India. The two nations have engaged in four wars starting since their partition along religious lines in 1947. A fifth could be drastically more costly, as their nuclear capabilities continue to grow and diversify.

Several years ago I made the acquaintance of a Pakistani nuclear science student in China. Curious about the thinking behind his country’s nuclear program, I asked if he really believed there was a possibility that India would invade Pakistan. “There’s still a lot of old-school thinkers in the Congress Party that believe India and Pakistan should be united,” he told me.

I doubt there are many observers outside of Pakistan who believe India is plotting to invade and occupy the Muslim state, but a feeling of existential enmity persists. The third conflict between the two countries in 1971 established India’s superiority in conventional warfare—not unexpectedly, as India has several times Pakistan’s population.

The bone of contention has always been the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. At the time of partition, the predominantly Muslim state was politically divided over which nation to join. When Pakistani-allied tribesmen attempted to force the issue, the Hindu maharaja of the region chose to accede to India, leading to the first war between India and Pakistan. Ever since, the line of control between the Indian and Pakistan side has remained bitterly contested, with artillery and sniper fire routinely exchanged. Pakistan intelligence services have infiltrated insurgents and plotted attacks across the border for decades, and Indian security troops have been implicated in human-rights violations and killings of the locals as a result of their counterinsurgency operations.

The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Historic Earthquakes

Near New York City, New York

1884 08 10 19:07 UTC

Magnitude 5.5

Intensity VII

USGS.gov

This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.

Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.

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Israel Raids Students Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel raids Hebron camp as pro-Gaza protests held

Israeli forces raid Al-Arroub refugee camp in Hebron to crackdown on a student march which condemned the Israeli aggression on Gaza on 13 November 2019 [ShehabAgency/Twitter]

November 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Scores of Israeli occupation soldiers raided Al-Arroub refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Safa news agency reported yesterday.

According to Palestinian news site, Israeli forces raided the refugee camp in order to crackdown on a student march which condemned the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the murder of refugee Omar Al-Badawi in Hebron’s Al-Fawwar refugee camp two days ago.

The Israeli occupation forces opened fire at the Palestinian refugees and threw sound and gas grenades at them, causing several cases of suffocation.

On Monday, the Israeli occupation forces killed Al-Badawi, 23, after targeting him with a live bullet and preventing paramedics from reaching him.

Al-Badawi, the Red Crescent said, was bleeding for about half an hour before a group of Palestinian youths reached him and took him for treatment.

How Iran Will Cross America’s Redline (Revelation 6:6)

How Tehran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over In Iraq

Patrick Cockburn1 day ago

Iraqi security and pro-Iranian paramilitary forces are shooting into crowds of protesters in a bid to drive them from the centre of Baghdad and end six weeks of demonstrations that have challenged the political system to an extent not seen since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Police retook three bridges across the Tigris River that lead to the fortified Green Zone on Saturday and are surrounding Tahrir Square, the central focus of the protests.

In al-Rasheed Street, close to the square, police set fire to tents set up by volunteer doctors to treat injured protesters.

At least six people were killed in the latest clashes, four of them by bullets and two by heavy-duty tear gas grenades fired directly at the head or bodies of protesters, according to Amnesty International.

It says that 264 people taking part in demonstrations have died since 1 October, though the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights gives a higher figure of 301 dead and 15,000 injured.

The protests – and the merciless government attempt to stamp them out – are the biggest threat to the power of the Iraqi political establishment since Isis was advancing on Baghdad in 2014. In many respects, the danger to the status quo is greater now because Isis was an existential threat to the Shia majority who had no choice but to support their ruling elite, however predatory and incompetent they had proved in office.

The slaughter of so many demonstrators is similar to the tactics used by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013 to crush protests opposing his military coup that had overthrown the elected government.

By way of contrast, there was no such violence response to street demonstrations in Baghdad in 2016, when protesters invaded the Green Zone, or in Basra in 2018, when the government and party offices were set ablaze.

Over the last month-and-a-half, however, there has been repeated use of snipers firing at random into demonstrations or targeting local protest leaders. The people doing the killing are parts of of the government’s highly fragmented security services and factions of the paramilitary Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) known to be aligned with Iran.

It is the Iranian leadership, and more especially General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds force and supremo of Iranian regional policy, who is orchestrating the campaign to smash the protests by sustained use of violence.

Precisely why General Qasem Soleimani decided to do so is a mystery, since the initial demonstration in Tahrir Square on 1 October was small.

The NGOs organising it had been failing for months to generate momentum.

It was the unprecedented “shoot-to-kill” policy of the authorities that turned these ill-attended rallies into a mass movement not far from a general uprising.

During the first days of the protests, protest organisers told The Independent they were at first baffled by what had happened, inclining at first to believe that the first day’s violence, when at least 10 people were killed, might be a one-off overreaction that would not be repeated.

But the killing of protesters, counter-productive though it might be, went on.

On the day after the first shootings, bands of young protesters, looking very unintimidated, could be seen milling about the area. The authorities escalated the crisis further by declaring a 24-hour curfew and closing down the internet, a collective punishment of all 7 million people in Baghdad that could only spread support for the demonstrators.

At the same time, paramilitary groups, open in their loyalty to Iran, sent their black-clad militants into television stations publicising the protests to wreck their equipment and studios. They assaulted injured demonstrators in hospitals and abducted and threatened journalists, doctors and anybody else backing the demonstrations.

It is unlikely that this was a pre-arranged plot by the pro-Iranian paramilitaries acting on their own initiative.

Several of their leaders, whose groups were subsequently known to have supplied snipers to shoot at the street protests, were interviewed by The Independent a few days earlier.

Though they later declared that they had long detected a deep-laid conspiracy by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to use the protests to overthrow the political system in Iraq, they did not say so at the time. Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a powerful paramilitary faction, said that “Iran wants a solution [in the US-Iran confrontation] but it cannot say this itself.”

He downplayed the idea that a US-Iran war was on the cards.

Abu Ala al-Walai, the head of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, said in a separate interview that what most concerned him was an Israeli drone attack on a weapons depot at one of his bases on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Nevertheless, the speed and cohesion with which these pro-Iranian Shia paramilitary groups reacted – or overreacted – to the protests suggests a detailed contingency plan.

“The Iranians always have a plan,” notes one Iraqi commentator.

Nor did the paramilitaries act alone: no distinct boundary line divides the PMF from state security institutions. The PMF may number about 85,000, are paid their salaries by the Iraqi government and the chairman of the PMF is Faleh al-Fayyad, the government’s national security adviser.

The Interior Minister always belongs to the Iran-supported Badr Organisation and the ministry’s Emergency Response Division, for instance, is reported to have provided snipers to shoot protesters.

In the weeks since the first peaceful march was met with extreme violence, the intensity of the repression has escalated in Baghdad and across southern Iraq.

In the Shia holy city of Karbala on one day, snipers killed 18 people and survivors were detained by pop-up checkpoints as they fled through the alleyways.

Kidnapping, disappearances, intimidation – a whole apparatus of repression – has been put in place and is unlikely to be dismantled.

Pro-Iranian pro-status quo individuals and institutions within the Iraqi political system are becoming more dominant.

Critics of the status quo, like the populist-nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose coalition is the largest grouping in parliament, have fallen silent.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called last Friday for the security forces to refrain from using “excessive force”, but there is no sign of this having any impact.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Iraqi prime minister for the last year, has come out of the crisis looking ineffectual.

The Iraqi political class as a whole have evidently decided that they must stamp out the protests to preserve their interests.

The protesters in the streets – the radicalism of whose demands and their vagueness about how they might be achieved resembles French students during the 1968 events in France – are not able to say what they would put in place of the present corrupt and dysfunctional government. As for those carrying out the repression, they are so steeped in blood that it will be impossible for them to reverse course, not that they show any sign of wanting to do so.

Republished from The Independent