The Bowls of Wrath

Nuclear Apocalypse: The Bowls of Wrath

Nuclear Apocalypse: The Bowls of Wrath
 
Rizwan Asghar
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the 21st century, South Asia faces an uncertain future where the forces of cooperation and conflict are simultaneously at work pulling the region in opposite directions. On the one hand, there is widespread consensus among the people on both sides of the India-Pakistan border that peace is the only solution, while on the other hand extremist forces are gaining strength in the corridors of power in both countries.

The enduring rivalry between India and Pakistan seems to have buried all hopes for peace and stability in the region under the shadows of mutual distrust of each other. After the 1998 nuclear tests, South Asia has emerged as a more dangerous place, taking mutual hostility up a notch. However, alarmingly, the political leaderships of Pakistan and India, both de-facto nuclear states, appear either stubborn and unwilling or afraid to take bold steps to explore new economic opportunities for about 1.5 billion poverty stricken people in the region.
 
The existence of nuclear weapons in South Asia is a matter of serious concern, with the region being considered by all leading experts a nuclear flashpoint. The possession of around 100 nuclear weapons by each country creates the possibility that nuclear warheads could be used in times of conflict. It is generally impossible to forecast the initiation and predict the conditions that could prevail in any such kind of accidental attack.

Nuclear tipped missiles may suffer mechanical failure or deflection in flight, allowing for the possibility of missiles falling within one’s own territory. Also, the possibility of accidental or unauthorised nuclear weapons exchange further exacerbates fears of cataclysmic destruction.

In South Asia, though the number of nuclear weapons in stockpiles is not very high, the risk of their use, by design or accident, is rapidly growing. Any such use would kill tens of thousands of people in an instant. Anticipating these risks, both countries signed the ‘Agreement on Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities’ on December 31, 1988. The agreement stipulated that both parties would keep each other informed about the exact locations (longitude and latitude) of all nuclear facilities and installations and exchange lists containing all necessary information on 1st January of each year.

Since January 1992, India and Pakistan have been exchanging lists of their respective classified nuclear installations but a lot more needs to be done to reduce the nuclear risks facing the region.

In the Lahore Declaration of 1999, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian prime minister A B Vajpayee agreed to explore new areas of cooperation in order to minimise the risks arising from the possibility of an accidental nuclear war between the two countries. But the Indian nuclear establishment remained unwilling to take practical steps in the following years. It was only after a long span of eight years in 2007 that both countries signed another agreement, agreeing to notify “each other immediately in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, under their respective jurisdiction or control.”

But there is no publically available information regarding the safety-security management of nuclear weapons in pursuance of the said agreement. There is also a dire need to slow down the rapid expansion and diversification of strategic missile forces on both sides of the border.

The official version is that the nuclear forces of both India and Pakistan are not on hair-trigger alert. During peacetime, warheads are stored in a disassembled state and the fissile core is kept separate from other physical components at different locations.

Samar Mubarakmand, the nuclear physicist, is of the view that “The weight of a nuclear warhead is between 25 and 30 tons [combined delivery system], which is assembled only at the eleventh hour if [it] needs to be launched…If a nuclear weapon doesn’t need to be launched, then it is never available in assembled form.”

However, media reports suggest that both countries have around five to ten assembled nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert for use during a sudden warlike situation because of very limited time available to respond in case of a nuclear strike. And these weapons can be used accidently, which could also be misinterpreted as a deliberate act, resulting in a full-scale nuclear war.

More alarmingly, thousands of personnel working at various levels in vast nuclear weapons-related infrastructure are also vulnerable to terrorists’ influence or psychological weaknesses. In the past, many incidents have been reported where the personal conduct of people working at sensitive levels in India’s nuclear security infrastructure was found objectionable.

In 2006, Alan Robock, a famous American climatologist, undertook extensive research on the consequences of a potential limited nuclear war between Pakistan and India. Examining the effects of this scenario, he found out that even if the two countries use less than one-half of their current arsenals, more than 20 million people would die within the first week from blast effects, burns and radiation exposure.

In addition to eradicating the social infrastructure, nuclear attacks will leave long-lasting and extreme environmental effects. A nuclear war between the India and Pakistan will totally change the politics and geography of both countries and provoke shocking responses from the people of both countries.

Abolishing nuclear weapons is a paramount challenge for the peoples and governments of both India and Pakistan. Many nuclear experts opine that a nuclear war between the two countries will not remain limited to South Asia and is also likely to engulf other nuclear powers. The bottom line is that discussions about nuclear weapons should not just focus on narrow perspectives of nuclear security but also on the indiscriminate devastation they cause.

Email: rizwanasghar7@hotmail.com

The Beast Of The Sea Can’t Shut Up! (Revelation 13:5)

Dick Cheney: The world’s a mess, and it’s Obama’s fault
By Dr. Stefan Grobe
14/07 23:10 CET

Proud and Arrogant Words

Proud and Arrogant Words

More than five years after leaving office, former US Vice President Dick Cheney sees the world in bad shape, especially the Middle East, and he blames President Obama (again) for most of it.

Crises in Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Ukraine and elsewhere, nuclear capabilities of Iran soon, rapid spread of terrorism: “I don’t like what I see happening”, Cheney said at a lunch hosted by Politico Magazine at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Monday.

For Cheney, Obama with his lackluster leadership is the prime suspect responsible for this mess. “He has created a situation in which our friends in the region are scared to death”, Cheney said, quoting Israeli and Arab “friends I have known for 25 years.”

Also speaking were Cheney’s wife Lynne and his daughter Liz. Just minutes into the conversation, things got nasty in the packed ballroom.

Protesters disrupted the on-stage event, shouting that Cheney needed to be held accountable for the war in Iraq.

“Dick Cheney — war criminal!” one woman shouted, holding a pink sign and handcuffs. The moderator tried to move on, but the woman continued shouting. “You destroyed Iraq, you’ll destroy this country!” and “Dick Cheney should be arrested!”

The woman, who belonged to the anti-war group Code Pink, was eventually escorted out by security agents. But just minutes later, other activists sitting in the audience repeated her protest.

Despite these awkward moments, the Cheneys stuck to their talking points during the discussion.
The former Vice President defended the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, calling it “absolutely the right thing to do”. President Obama inherited a stable situation in that country from the Bush administration, but his desire for a full withdrawal of US troops has led to the situation today, Cheney said.

Cheney weighed in heavily on that decision by Obama, deriding him for believing he “can go in and declare the war is over.”

Cheney has been harshly critical of the current administration’s foreign policy throughout Obama’s presidency, and has chimed in recently over the deteriorating situation in Iraq, where militants from the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant have taken over much of the northern and central parts of the country.

Cheney’s recent remarks and the creation of a political action committee to help advance his daughter Liz’ political ambitions have sparked a barrage of attacks from his political opponents and the media.

“When the Cheneys urge more of the same, it isn’t just as if they’ve missed the last decade, it’s also as if they never learned about opportunity costs. America should never again heed the foreign-policy advice of such incompetent analysts”, wrote The Atlantic monthly.

“I don’t think Obama ever had any intention of leaving anybody behind,” he added, saying that he thought Obama wasn’t fully committed to a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq given his desire to get all troops out.

Cheney also ripped Obama for having “dramatically reduced the military,” and called cuts at the Pentagon “outrageous.” He then made a call for the next president to rebuild the military.

“Turn around the whole trend with the United State military,” Cheney said. “That ought to be our top priority for spending. Not food stamps, not highways, or anything else. Your number one responsibility as president is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. He’s the commander-in-chief and he’s absolutely devastating the United States military today.”

Iraq Now Has WMD: Not a Discovery But a Result of the US

Heavy Weapons, Chemical WMDs and Nuclear Materials

Dirty Bomb Now A Reality

Dirty Bomb Now A Reality

No, this isn’t a blog about the NRA! It’s a wake-up call on the proliferation of blowback weapon systems, tools of war seized by jihadists determined to create a Sunni Islamist state dedicated to opposing (destroying?) Shiites, Israel and, of course, The Great Satan itself, the United States and its Western cronies. As ISIS attacks, as Gaza Hamas militants and Israel exchange artillery and missile strikes, as death and destruction mount and further escalations accelerate – perhaps even a ground invasion of Gaza moves closer to reality – and as Taliban warriors dig in against Pakistani forces finally determined to strike back… it’s time to realize how well-armed these crazies really are!

We’ve seen how even our purported ally – Pakistan – fostered high level nuclear weapons development in North Korea and Iran, a motivation for other regional powers to find their own nuclear path. The movement of dangerous technology and hard weapons is just too big to be ignored. As we watch ISIS moving across Syria and Iraq, we need to be aware of their new inventory of recently-acquired military hardware. The fall of Mosul was a windfall for ISIS.

While most of the weapons seized were small arms, some artillery (e.g., Howitzers), trucks and a pile of Humvees, there were some older Russian T-55 tanks in the mix. Rumors abound that a few helicopters may have been part of the booty, not major attack helicopters but rotary-winged aircraft that can be outfitted with enough weapons to make them lethal. Oh, and there was the seizure of $425 million in currency from Mosul’s biggest bank that now makes ISIS one of the richest terrorist groups on earth! But then there are a few additional “weapon systems” (including dangerous material that can be used as a weapon) that appear to me to be even more frightening.

For example, taken from the Iraqi town of Muthanna: “The Islamic State extremist group (Isis) has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility north-west of Baghdad, where 2,500 degraded chemical rockets filled decades ago with deadly nerve agent sarin or their remnants were stored along with other chemical warfare agents, Iraq has said in a letter circulated at the United Nations… The US played down the threat from the takeover, saying there were no intact chemical weapons and it would be very difficult to use the material for military purposes.” TheGuardian.com, July 9th. The disclaimer aside, this doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable about the situation, but if that is bad news, what ISIS also seized from Mosul is even more troubling.

According to Reuters (July 9th): “Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to ‘stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad.’… Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on [July 9th].

 “‘Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,’ Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials ‘can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction… These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts.”… He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

“A U.S. government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon. Another U.S. official familiar with security matters said he was unaware of this development raising any alarm among U.S. authorities.” The United Nations also responded that the nuclear materials taken were “low grade” and cannot be used to make a fissionable warhead or bomb. True, perhaps, but a dirty bomb, one that uses an explosion to spread nuclear waste that can contaminate one or more critical sites, possibly for a very long time.

So what are the real risks of dirty bombs? “A dirty bomb is a type of radiological dispersal device (RDD), and RDDs are, as the name implies, devices that disperse a radiological isotope. Depending on the motives of those planning the attack, an RDD could be a low-key weapon that surreptitiously releases aerosolized radioactive material, dumps out a finely powdered radioactive material or dissolves a radioactive material in water. Such surreptitious dispersal methods would be intended to slowly expose as many people as possible to the radiation and to prolong their exposure…

“[Or the more anticipated use, an explosive device] A dirty bomb is quite simply an RDD that uses explosives as the means to disperse a radioactive isotope, and the only blast effect will be from the explosives used to disperse the radioisotope. In a dirty bomb attack, radioactive material not only is dispersed, but the dispersal is accomplished in an obvious manner, and the explosion immediately alerts the victims and authorities that an attack has taken place. The attackers hope that notice of their attack will cause mass panic — in other words, the RDD is a weapon of fear and terror…

“Significantly, while the radiological effects of a dirty bomb may not be instantly lethal, the radiological impact of an RDD will in all likelihood affect an area larger than the killing radius of the IED itself, and will persist for far longer. The explosion from a conventional IED is over in an instant, but radiation released by a RDD can persist for decades unless the area is decontaminated. While the radiation level may not be strong enough to affect people exposed briefly in the initial explosion, the radiation will persist in the contaminated area, and the cumulative effects of such radiation could prove very hazardous. (Here again, the area contaminated and the ease of decontamination will depend on the type and quantity of the radioactive material used. Materials in a fine powdered form are easier to disperse and harder to clean up than solid blocks of material.) In either case, it will be necessary to evacuate people from the contaminated area, and people will need to stay out of the area until it can be decontaminated, a process that could prove lengthy and expensive.” Stratfor Global Intelligence, April 22, 2010.

In the end, we need to realize that when we leave masses of weapons behind in unstable regional conflicts, we can pretty much expect that such killing instruments could easily be turned against us someday. We basically gave Iran its air force when the Shah was deposed in 1979, armed the Taliban and similar jihadists as Mujahedeen pushed the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and clearly have provided ISIS with some juicy weapons. We are creating recruitment posters for more terrorists, our weapons and know-how are falling into their hands, and these realities have been with us for long enough so that we should finally know better.

I’m Peter Dekom, and we should all be concerned as to how much American technology, how many US-supplied weapons and how many American-inspired terrorists are now squarely deployed against us.

Iran Calls For Unity Against “Little Satan”

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Calls on World Muslims to Unite against Israel over Gaza Crisis

The Israel Gaza Crisis

The Israel Gaza Crisis

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Muslims across the world to unite against Israel over the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

Stating that Israel is benefiting from the “Islamic world’s negligence”, Khamenei hailed Iran’s standpoint on the conflict.

“Zionists are committing these crimes taking advantage of the Islamic world’s negligence. The massacre in Gaza by Zionists should awaken Muslim governments and nations to leave any discord and get united,” he said at a meeting, which was also attended by Iran’s President Hassan Rohani and other cabinet members.

The Iranian administration has also been condemning Israeli forces for their deadly attacks that have claimed a number Palestinian civilians.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide of Khamenei on international affairs, said in a statement: “The horrifying and savage crimes of the Zionist regime against the defenceless people of Gaza once again unveiled the savagery, war-mongering and aggressive nature of this regime to the people of the world.”

“All Muslims are duty-bound to maintain their vigilance in order not to be entangled in the pre-planned scenario of the Zionist enemy and make growing efforts, more than ever, to defuse the Zionist enemy’s objectives through a proper understanding of the realities and the regional developments as well as maintaining their unity, solidarity and consensus.”

The latest remarks follow the promise of Hossein Sheikholeslam, Iran’s director general of the parliament of international affairs, to support the cause of Palestinians “with all its might”.

In the week-long confrontation, at least 178 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,000 injured. So far there have been no casualties on the Israeli side.