Featured

Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

https://i1.wp.com/www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news/images/nj-quake-030201.gif

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.

Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study

A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.

Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.

The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”

Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.

One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.

The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.

“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”

The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.

Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”

The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.

The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.

Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.

“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”

New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:

Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.

Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.

New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.

Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.

The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.

Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.

Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.

In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Iran Prepares to Spin More Uranium (Daniel 8:4)

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear chief was quoted on Sunday as saying, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal collapses after the United States exits.

In June, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the facility at the Natanz nuclear plant would be completed within a month.Salehi’s statement in June came days after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered preparations to increase the country’s uranium enrichment capacity if the nuclear agreement with world powers collapsed.

On Sunday, the official news agency IRNA quoted Salehi as saying: “(Ayatollah Khamenei) had ordered us to set up and complete a very advanced hall for the construction of modern centrifuges, and this hall has now been fully equipped and set up.”

Salehi said Iran’s announced plans to build nuclear reactors for ships, while staying within the limits set by its atomic deal with major powers, was “advancing well but would take 10 to 15 years to complete”, IRNA said.

“A third step (in reaction to the U.S. withdrawal) might be to suspend some of the limitations within the nuclear agreement, for example on the volume and level of enrichment,” Salehi said, according to IRNA.

“And the final scenario can be a complete exit from the nuclear accord, which I hope will never happen, with the help of (remaining signatories), because everyone would suffer,” Salehi added.

Iranian officials have said they would decide whether to quit the 2015 nuclear deal after studying a planned European package of economic measures that could help offset U.S. sanctions.

Iraqis Turn Against Iranian Hegemony

Protesters in Basra turn on Iran, torch consulate

BASRA/IRBIL, Iraq: Protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Iraq’s southern city of Basra Friday, turning their wrath on Iraq’s powerful neighbor after five days of deadly demonstrations in which government buildings have been ransacked and torched.

Demonstrators broke in and began damaging the offices, shouting condemnation of what many Iraqis perceive as Iran’s sway over Iraq’s political parties. They also set a fire inside the consulate. Security sources said the building was empty when the crowd burst in.

Russian oil company Lukoil said protesters entered its water treatment facility linked to the West Qurna 2 field and held two employees.

Local security and health sources said one protester had died and 11 were wounded Friday.

Iraqi security officials later announced a citywide curfew just before 9 p.m. local time, a statement from Basra Operations Command said. “Security forces will arrest anyone present in the street,” the statement said. The storming came hours after Iraq’s most revered Shiite preacher called for a political shakeup in Baghdad and a halt to violence against the protesters. Ayatollah Ali Sistani placed blame for the unrest with political leaders and said a new government should be formed, “different from its predecessors.”

At least 11 protesters have died, mostly in clashes with the security forces, since Monday in Basra, a city of 2 million people. Residents say they have been driven to the streets by corruption and misrule that allowed infrastructure to collapse, leaving no power or safe drinking water in the heat of summer.

The unrest could have deeper implications for a country that imports most of its food. Since Thursday protesters have shut Iraq’s only major sea port at Umm Qasr, 60 kilometers south of Basra. It remained shut Friday, local officials and security sources said, although oil exports, carried out from offshore platforms, have not been affected. Smaller protests in solidarity with Basra took place in several other cities including Karbala and Baghdad.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s national security council met Friday and said it was investigating casualties at the protests. Abadi, under pressure to promise more money to fix Basra’s public services, said funds that had previously been allocated would be released.

More than 2,000 people, including many women, gathered in Basra Friday afternoon, to mourn a protester who died from burns during the torching of the provincial government headquarters overnight.

The unrest has thrust Iraq into a major new crisis at a time when politicians still have yet to agree a new government after an inconclusive election in May. Parliament’s interim leader summoned lawmakers to an emergency session Saturday to discuss the unrest.

Moqtada al-Sadr, a populist Shiite preacher whose electoral bloc came first in May’s election, said on Twitter that Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi must release more funds for Basra. Sadr, the former leader of an anti-American Shiite sectarian militia who has reinvented himself as an anti-corruption campaigner, has allied himself with Abadi.

Their alliance is competing to form a government against a rival bloc backed by Abadi’s predecessor Nouri al-Maliki and the leader of an Iran-backed Shiite armed group, Hadi al-Amiri. Amiri called on Abadi to resign over the crisis Friday.

Iran Builds Up Her Military Power

img_3143Khamenei urges Iran’s military to ‘scare off’ enemy | Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iran’s armed forces on Sunday to increase their power to “scare off” the enemy, as the country faces increased tension with the United States.

His statement came just before Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said it fired seven missiles in an attack on Iraq-based Iranian Kurdish dissidents that killed at least 11 people on Saturday.

Increase your power as much as you can, because your power scares off the enemy and forces it to retreat,” Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying at a graduation ceremony for cadets of Iran’s regular armed forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump in May withdrew from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers — a deal aimed at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting some sanctions — and ordered the reimposition of U.S. sanctions that had been suspended under the deal.

“Iran and the Iranian nation have resisted America and proven that, if a nation is not afraid of threats by bullies and relies on its own capabilities, it can force the superpowers to retreat and defeat them,” Khamenei said during a visit to Iran’s Caspian port city of Nowshahr.

State television also showed Khamenei praising Iranian naval forces in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, while speaking to their commander via videolink.

Shi’ite power Iran rejects accusations from Saudi Arabia that it is giving financial and military support to Yemen’s Houthis, who are fighting a government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition of Sunni Arab countries.

Meanwhile, a senior military official said Iran had capability to export the know-how to produce solid rocket fuel, the state news agency IRNA reported. Solid fuel rockets can be fired on short notice.

“In the scientific field, today we have reached a stage where we can export the technology to produce solid rocket fuel,” said Brigadier General Majid Bokaei, director-general of Iran’s main defense university, quoted by IRNA.

Iran said earlier this month it planned to boost its ballistic and cruise missile capacity and acquire modern fighter planes and submarines to boost its defense capabilities.

On Saturday Iran dismissed a French call for negotiations on Tehran’s future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen, following the U.S. pullout from Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by David Goodman and Raissa Kasolowsky

The Antichrist calls on Iraq PM to step down as Basra crisis deepens

Muqtada al-Sadr calls on Iraq PM to step down as Basra crisis deepens

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who had entered an alliance with Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi following elections earlier this year, has called upon the premier to resign as deadly protests in the southern city of Basra worsen.

We demand the government apologise to the people and resign immediately,” said Hassan al-Aqouli, spokesman for Sadr’s list, which won the most seats in May’s poll.

Ahmed al-Assadi, spokesman for the second-largest list, Conquest Alliance, also called for Abadi’s resignation, denouncing “the government’s failure to resolve the crisis in Basra”.

The call came as parliament met on Saturday for an emergency session to discuss the crisis in public services in the city after 12 protesters were killed this week, the Iranian consulate torched and its airport hit by rockets.

The meeting was originally demanded by Sadr, whose political bloc won the largest number of seats in May elections although a new government has yet to be formed.

Sadr had called on politicians to present “radical and immediate” solutions at Saturday’s session or step down.

On Friday, Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for a government to be urgently formed to resolve the crisis in Basra.

Abadi described the unrest as “political sabotage” as he joined the session along with several ministers, charging that “the question of public services” was being exploited for political ends.

His government has announced the allocation of an unspecified amount of extra funds for Basra, although demonstrators say that billions of dollars in emergency funding pledged in July has failed to materialise.

In a session attended by 172 deputies in the 329-seat house, Abadi traded barbs with Basra’s governor, Asaad al-Eidani, who is also parliament speaker.

Iraqi officials have imposed a curfew on Basra starting at 4pm (1pm GMT) on Saturday, a military statement said.

Since Tuesday, demonstrators in Basra have set ablaze government buildings, the Iranian consulate and the offices of pro-Tehran militias and political parties.

The anger flared after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water, in an oil-rich region where residents have for weeks complained of water and electricity shortages, corruption among officials and unemployment.

At least 12 demonstrators have been killed and 50 wounded in clashes with security forces, according to the interior ministry.

Airport and Iranian consulate attacked

Hours before parliament met, four rockets fired by unidentified assailants struck inside the perimeter of the Basra airport, security sources said.

Staff at the airport, which is located near the US consulate in Basra, said flights were not affected.

The attack came after a day of rage in the southern city, where hundreds of protesters stormed the fortified Iranian consulate, causing no casualties but sparking condemnation.

Abadi said he had instructed security forces to “act decisively against the acts of vandalism that accompanied the demonstrations”.

Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, which includes the army and police, vowed a “severe” response with “exceptional security measures”, including a ban on protests and group travel.

The foreign ministry called the attack on the consulate “an unacceptable act undermining the interests of Iraq and its international relations”.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denounced the “savage attack”, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

A spokesman for the consulate said that all diplomats and staff had been evacuated from the building before the protesters attacked, and that nobody was hurt.

Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, said the consulate was “totally demolished” and charged that “foreign agents close to the US, Zionists and some Arab countries are trying to sabotage Iran-Iraq relations”, Iran’s ILNA news agency reported.

‘Sick and abandoned’

The wave of protests first broke out in Basra in July before spreading to other parts of the country, with demonstrators condemning corruption among Iraqi officials and demanding jobs.

Since then, at least 27 people have been killed nationwide.

“We’re thirsty, we’re hungry, we are sick and abandoned,” protester Ali Hussein told the AFP news agency on Friday in Basra after another night of violence.

“Demonstrating is a sacred duty and all honest people ought to join.”

The anger on Basra’s streets was “in response to the government’s intentional policy of neglect”, the head of the region’s human rights council Mehdi al-Tamimi said.

Iraq has been struggling to rebuild its infrastructure and economy after decades of bloody conflicts, including an eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s, the US-led invasion of 2003 and the battle against the Islamic State group.

In August, the oil ministry announced that crude exports for August had hit their highest monthly figure this year, with nearly 112 million barrels of oil bringing $7.7bn to state coffers.

Iraq, however, suffers from persistent corruption and many Iraqis complain that the country’s oil wealth is unfairly distributed.

Parliament said deputies would hear speeches by Abadi and key ministers and discuss the water contamination crisis, the latest breakdown in public services to spark public anger.

Two months ago, Abadi pledged a multi-billion dollar emergency plan to revive infrastructure and services in southern Iraq, one of the country’s most marginalised regions.

Trying to hold onto his post in the next government, Abadi had formed an alliance with Sadr, a former militia chief who has called for Iraq to have greater political independence from both neighbouring Iran and the United States.

The Sixth Seal Long Overdue (Revelation 6)

 

Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

By MARGO NASH

Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.

MARGO NASH

The Antichrist Tells US Pawn to Quit

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during the first session of the new Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, Iraq September 3, 2018. (Reuters)

Iraq’s top two parliament groups urge PM to resign

• Basra has been rocked by protests since Tuesday, with demonstrators setting ablaze government buildings, the Iranian consulate and the offices of pro-Tehran militias and political parties.

• At least 12 demonstrators have been killed and 50 wounded in clashes with security forces, according to the interior ministry.

Updated 22 sec ago

AFP

September 08, 2018

BAGHDAD: The two leading groups in Iraq’s parliament on Saturday called on Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to resign, after lawmakers held an emergency meeting on unrest shaking the country’s south.

“We demand the government apologise to the people and resign immediately,” said Hassan Al-Aqouli, spokesman for the list of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr that won the most seats in a May election.

The announcement dealt a severe blow to Abadi’s hopes of holding onto his post through a parliamentary bloc unveiled just days earlier with Sadr, a former militia chief.

Ahmed Al-Assadi, spokesman for the second-largest list, the Conquest Alliance, condemned “the government’s failure to resolve the crisis in Basra”, a southern city where 12 protesters were killed this week in clashes with security forces.

The Conquest Alliance was “on the same wavelength” as Sadr’s Marching Towards Reform list and they would work together to form a new government, Assadi said.

Abadi defended his record in parliament, describing the unrest as “political sabotage” and saying the crisis over public services was being exploited for political ends.

Anger in Basra flared after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water, in an oil-rich region where residents have for weeks complained of water and electricity shortages, corruption among officials and unemployment.

Demonstrators have set fire to government buildings, the Iranian consulate and the offices of pro-Tehran militias and political parties.

Iran and Russia Threaten America

Iran and Russia can work together to restrain America: Iran supreme leader

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran and Russia can work together to restrain America, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, according to Fars News.

Putin arrived in Tehran on Friday to attend a trilateral meeting with Iran and Turkey focused on the Syrian province of Idlib, the last stronghold of active opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“One of the issues that the two sides can cooperate on is restraining America,” Khamenei said. “Because America is a danger for humanity and there is a possibility to restrain them.”

A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011

By Bob Hennelly

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

How We Missed the Antichrist

Iraqi Militant Qayis Khazali Warned Us About Iran. We Ignored Him.

Bill Roggio is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of the Long War Journal .

Iran has its tentacles all over Iraq, and the United States has no one to blame but itself. It is a bipartisan failure dating back to the March 2003 invasion. Even after the Bush administration adjusted its course in Iraq, waging a large counterinsurgency campaign, the United States was so eager to wash its hands of a messy insurgency that it did little to roll back Iran’s gains. Nearly seven years after President Obama’s disastrous withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, Iran and its Shia militias wield an enormous amount of power, and the militias’ political arms are set to play a major role in Iraq’s next government.

The seeds of this failure can be seen in the interrogation transcripts of Qais Khazali, the leader of an Iranian-backed militia, one of what the U.S. military used to call the “Special Groups.” Khazali’s interrogation logs were declassified by U.S. Central Command and released via the American Enterprise Institute on August 30. The hundreds of pages of files are part of the U.S. government’s push to designate Khazali, a militant with American blood on his hands, a terrorist. Khazali is now a politician, and his group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, holds 15 seats in the Iraqi parliament. His rise was no accident. Khazali, who was in U.S. custody from 2007 to the end of 2009, told his interrogators then that Iran had long-term plans to infiltrate Iraqi society at all levels. And the Iranians have done just that.

The Special Groups were paramilitary units embedded in Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Sadr has long been a Shia powerbroker in southern Iraq. The newly released files confirm that Khazali, who worked for Sadr, came to view his superior as a rival. They also confirm that Sadr’s Mahdi Army received funding, weapons, training, and advice from Iran and its chief proxy, Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The Shia militants primarily targeted coalition forces, killing hundreds of American soldiers. Khazali himself led such operations.

In March 2007, British commandos raided a compound in Basra, Iraq, and captured their targets: Qais, who led the Special Groups at the time, his brother Laith, and a Hezbollah military commander known as Musa Ali Daqduq. Qais was responsible for issuing the order to kidnap and kill five American soldiers in Karbala. Laith was Qais’s deputy, while Daqduq was responsible for organizing, training, and advising the Special Groups.

U.S. military interrogators interviewed Qais at least 70 times during his almost three years in detention. Qais often played coy, pretending not to know about key figures and groups in the Shia insurgency. Yet at other times he divulged important details about his leadership of the Mahdi Army Special Groups, as well as Iran’s role in fueling the fire in Iraq.

Qais was one of several figures with inside knowledge of Iran’s plans for Iraq. During one interrogation, he “let slip” that he had “direct contact with Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) General [Qassem] Suleimani.” As commander of Quds Force, the infamous Suleimani is tasked with directing Iran’s expansion throughout the Middle East.

Iran wasn’t interested merely in giving the U.S. military a bloody nose in Iraq, although surely its leaders enjoyed watching American soldiers be killed and wounded by the militias they sponsored. “The ultimate goal of Iran is to destroy the Americans,” Qais said, according to one interrogation summary. In addition, Qais indicated, “Iran is using both the U.S. and the Iraqis to keep each other busy through fighting while Iran pursues their own agenda and most importantly, nuclear ambitions.”

Qais provided copious information concerning Iran’s use of a vast network of Shia militias, many in competition with each other, to achieve its goals. Yet his interrogators seemed far less interested in the big picture of Iranian expansionism in Iraq than in extracting tactical information they could exploit, as well as how Qais might be used as part of an Iraqi reconciliation process.

The interrogations thus come across as shortsighted. Little effort was made to exploit Qais’s knowledge of the petty jealousies and rivalries within the Mahdi Army and among various Shia factions. And virtually nothing was done to target the network of training camps, weapon supply hubs, and other infrastructure inside Iran that supported the Shia militias. Iran never paid a price for its meddling in Iraqi affairs and its direct responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers, even though Tehran’s culpability was obvious.

Many of the interrogations focus on Qais’s ideas for ending the Shia insurgency. He seems to have sensed his interrogators’ desire for reconciliation and positioned himself as the only man who could play a major role in dialing back the violence and ending Iranian involvement in Iraq. At times, his captors appear to have accepted Qais’s views uncritically. In June 2009, the U.S. military released his brother Laith and more than 100 Asaib Ahl al-Haq commanders and fighters. Qais was released six months later. The reason given: Qais and company were freed so they could take part in a reconciliation plan. The U.S. military believed that the Khazalis and their Iranian-backed terror group would lay down their arms and join the political process.

In exchange for Qais and his men, the U.S. government secured the release of a British hostage, Peter Moore, and the bodies of three of the four men who were kidnapped with him in the spring of 2007. Moore’s compatriots had been murdered by Khazali’s men; three of the bodies that were returned were riddled with bullet holes; the fourth was never recovered.

The U.S. military also handed over Daqduq, the Hezbollah special forces commander who had the ear of Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and Suleimani, to the Iraqi government in 2011 under the promise that he would remain in prison. Daqduq was freed within a year. Qais and Daqduq never paid for the kidnapping and murder of the five U.S. soldiers in Karbala or any of the other attacks they had orchestrated against U.S. forces.

Daqduq’s whereabouts are unknown, but he is thought to have returned to Hezbollah and resumed a senior leadership position with the group. The U.S. government promptly designated Daqduq a global terrorist after he was freed by the Iraqis.

Qais, his brother, and his militia never laid down their arms. He would later lead a portion of his militia into Syria to fight alongside Bashar al-Assad’s regime, at the behest of Suleimani. By 2014, the militia was battling the Islamic State, as well as terrorizing Iraqi minorities in areas it liberated from ISIS.

Qais Khazali is but one player to emerge from the Shia branch of the Iraqi insurgency as a major figure. Iranian-backed commanders Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Mustafa Abu Sheibani, Akram al-Kabi, Abu Duraa, and others lead their own militias and dominate what is known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF. Khazali mentioned these men and their connections to Iran numerous times during his interrogations.

Muhandis is the most notorious of them all. Khazali said that Muhandis’s “closest ties with Iran are with the IRGC” and that he resides in Tehran. The State Department listed Muhandis as a global terrorist, described him as “an advisor to Qassem Suleimani,” and detailed his extensive involvement with the Special Groups. Today, Muhandis leads the PMF, which is dominated by Iranian-backed militias who cut their teeth fighting U.S. forces in Iraq. These militias remain hostile to the United States to this day, even though America has backed the PMF in its fight against the Islamic State.

The PMF was formed in 2014 to battle Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s ISIS goons, but it has since become an official military institution answerable only to Iraq’s prime minister. In many ways it is analogous to Iran’s IRGC, which takes its orders from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, outside the military chain of command.

As with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Iraqi militias are more than paramilitary formations. They are political actors and scored a major victory in Iraq’s parliamentary election in May. Running as the Fatah Alliance, they finished second behind Muqtada al-Sadr’s Saairun Coalition and will likely ally with Sadr’s party in parliament. While Sadr maintains a degree of autonomy, Qais noted repeatedly in his interrogations that Sadr and his men were supported in various ways by the Iranians. These two Iranian-backed movements will form the next Iraqi government and select the next prime minister, who will have exclusive control over the PMF.

Iran has played the long game in Iraq, but one whose outcome was by no means assured. The U.S. military heavily targeted Iranian-backed proxies between 2007 and 2009, forcing many of their leaders and fighters to flee to Iran. But President Obama was determined to fulfill his campaign promise to end all U.S. involvement in Iraq, whatever the cost. In 2012, he claimed that “we have responsibly ended the war in Iraq.”

However, the war in Iraq did not end just because Obama declared it was over. After he withdrew U.S. troops in December 2011, Al Qaeda in Iraq reorganized and took advantage of the growing insurgency in neighboring Syria. Khazali had warned his interrogators about the nefarious influence of the “salafis” and “wahhabis,” by which he meant groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq. But he also warned that Iran was ecumenical when it came to fighting Americans. “Detainee [Khazali] said that every group that is fighting in Iraq trained in Iran, including al Qaeda,” one log reads. The passages that followed are redacted, likely indicating that some in the U.S. government are still uncomfortable discussing this Shia-Sunni cooperation against their common foes. Other newly released interrogation files, which have also been redacted, allude to this anti-American arrangement as well.

By early 2014, Al Qaeda in Iraq controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah and many towns in Anbar Province. By that summer, the terrorist group had seized nearly one-third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul. It renamed itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Thus the Islamic State was born. But the Sunni jihadists weren’t the only ones who capitalized on America’s retreat.

Buoyed by Obama’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, Iran expanded its influence there. Support for the Shia militias and their political parties continued unabated. Iran was able to enlist many of these militias, including Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq, to fight on the side of the Syrian regime against rebels and Sunni jihadist groups. This built their stature in Shia communities in Iraq, while raising fears among Iraq’s Sunnis that the militias were merely tools of the Iranian government.

When the Islamic State rampaged throughout central and northern Iraq, threatening Baghdad during the summer of 2014, Iraq’s military was on the brink of defeat. The Iranian-backed militias came to the rescue and spearheaded every major operation against the Islamic State. Iranian generals and IRGC officers embedded with the Shia militias to increase their effectiveness. Militia commanders were frequently photographed with Suleimani on Iraqi battlefields. Suleimani reportedly created battle plans and directed operations in some theaters.

The Shia militias, with Iran’s help, were instrumental in liberating Mosul, Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit, Baiji, and Sinjar. But the operations to liberate Iraqi cities from the Islamic State came at a high cost to Iraqi civilians.

Ironically, the U.S. military, which had been forced to reengage in Iraq by the rise of ISIS, abetted the militias by providing air support during their operations to clear the Islamic State from Iraq’s cities. U.S. airpower, in other words, supported the same Shia militias that had killed American soldiers and abused their own countrymen.

There is one aspect of Iran’s primacy in Iraq that has gone virtually unreported: its access to a vast recruiting base among Iraq’s Shia population. In Lebanon, Iran stood up Hezbollah, which has waged proxy war against Israel for over three decades and lived to tell about it. Today, Hezbollah is the most influential player in Lebanon, and its military eclipses the Lebanese Army. Iran was able to set up Hezbollah by recruiting from Lebanon’s 1.65 million Shia. Iran has more than 24 million Shia to recruit from in Iraq.

Iraq’s Shia militias have not been content with fighting the Islamic State inside of Iraq and Syria. As Jonathan Spyer noted in the last December, Qais Khazali visited the village of Kafr Kila on the Lebanese border with Israel, where he gave a speech highlighting his desire to take the fight beyond Iraq and Syria and provide direct support for Hezbollah.

“I’m at the Fatima Gate in Kafr Kila, at the border that divides south Lebanon from occupied Palestine. I’m here with my brothers from Hezbollah, the Islamic resistance. We announce our full readiness to stand as one with the Lebanese people, with the Palestinian cause, in the face of the unjust Israeli occupation,” Khazali declared.

Khazali’s threat is real. With Iran’s help, he branched out from a localized Shia insurgency in Iraq and expanded his operations into Syria. The rise of Khazali and other Iranian-backed Shia commanders was abetted by a feckless U.S. policy in Iraq. That war never really ended, and the United States and its allies will be paying the price for that failure for years to come.

is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of the Long War Journal .