First Horn Is Right: Israel Has Been Murderous

Khamenei calls for end to “murderous” Israeli regime

Palestine “Collateral Damage”

“Israel”s annihilation is the only real cure, but that doesn”t mean destroying Jews in this region,” he said in his speech, which was posted on his website.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today called for a referendum canvassing the Arabs and Jews that live in Israel in order to end the “Zionist state”, but said until such a vote could be held, armed resistance was necessary.Khamenei and his predecessor the Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini have called repeatedly over the years for an end to the Jewish state, including through a referendum in the region, where Palestinians are in the majority.

In his first official comments on Israel since the start of its offensive on the Gaza Strip on July 8, Khamenei reiterated the call.

“There are logical and practical means to this end, which is for people who live and belong there to pick the government of their choice through a referendum. That would be the end of a usurping fake regime,” Khamenei, who has the last word in all matters in Shi’te Muslim Iran, said in a speech to university students in Tehran.

Until then, Khamenei said, “while waiting for an end to this cold-blooded murderous regime, mighty armed resistance is the only way to deal with it.”

Khamenei made clear for the first time that he was talking about the dismantling of the state of Israel, not the death of Jews.

“Israel’s annihilation is the only real cure, but that doesn’t mean destroying Jews in this region,” he said in his speech, which was posted on his website.

Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani is trying to improve ties with Western countries, including the United States, in a public relations war with Israel.

Israel launched its offensive to halt rocket salvoes by Hamas and its allies, which have struggled under an Israeli-Egyptian economic blockade on Gaza and been angered by a crackdown on their supporters in the nearby occupied West Bank.

As of the end of Wednesday, 687 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 32 Israeli soldiers had died in the fighting.

Iran is to mark “International Qods Day,” an annual event falling on the last Friday of Ramadan, with nationwide organised demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel.

The Idiocy of the Nations

Nuclear Testing and the South Asia Arms Race

1998 India Nuclear Test

1998 India Nuclear Test

The Treaty’s relevance and significance was underscored first in 1998 with nuclear tests carried out first by India and then Pakistan, and then again more recently when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted its own tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Nearly two decades have elapsed since the treaty was opened for signature and yet its entry into force has not been achieved, the consequence of political and geo-strategic obstacles.

In South Asia a nuclear arms race continues, led by India and followed by Pakistan. India has acquired a ballistic missile defense system, invested heavily in satellites, launched a nuclear submarine (the INS Arihant), unveiled ambitious limited war fighting strategies – for instance, its Cold Start military doctrine – and moved away from a concept of deterrence to compellence. Pakistan has responded with, for instance, the fielding of Nasr (a low-yield nuclear weapon), supplemented by full spectrum deterrence. These moves have the potential to erode the prevailing deterrence stability of South Asia, and cause the region to drift toward conflict.

The steady enlargement of nuclear stockpiles and sweeping modifications in conventional as well as nuclear doctrines of these two regional nuclear-armed rivals, combined with a massive influx of foreign technology to India, first under the banner of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) in 2005 and later the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTI) in 2012, have pushed South Asia toward perpetual instability.

According to the U.S. 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, “the United States supports India’s rise as an increasingly capable actor in the region.” The role of extra-regional players is not only “adding fuel to fire” and exacerbating the already fraught regional security environment in South Asia, it is also pushing India to counter China’s influence in Asia, at the risk of regional as well international strategic stability.

Changes on its eastern border and a bloody insurgency against the U.S. in Afghanistan have had a deep impact on Pakistan’s security calculus. These developments undermine Pakistan’s deterrence equation vis-à-vis India, as it begins to feel marginalized.

The rapidly changing strategic landscape of South Asia brings to mind the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” For India and Pakistan, the history of the Cold War could be a guide. The U.S. and Soviet Union accumulated a vast stockpile of nuclear weapons in the 27 years after the first nuclear explosion conducted by the U.S. in 1945, yet later they were still able to sign the SALT-1 accord in 1972.

However, looking at India and Pakistan’s rationale for nuclear deterrence and the rapid developments in their conventional and non-conventional weaponry, combined with the transformation of their security doctrines toward an increasing reliance on the “power” of nuclear deterrence, it appears that neither country has learned any lesson from the excesses of the Cold War.

It seems that neither India nor Pakistan have reached their desired maximum number of nuclear weapons, the point at which they might feel there is no need to produce more nuclear weapons or delivery systems.

According to a SIPRI report and IHS Jane’s, “India is expanding a covert uranium enrichment plant that could potentially support the development of thermonuclear weapons.”

According to analysts, this could potentially be used to make a thermonuclear bomb – something that India has been trying to develop for quite some time, in order to match China, which already has a thermonuclear capability.

The latest revelations regarding India’s nuclear program have validated and reinforced Pakistan’s apprehensions about its neighbor’s strategic buildup. The reports have the potential to further destabilize the complex regional security alignment. Given that Pakistan does not yet possess thermonuclear weapons, a deadly new arms race in South Asia could ensue, something that Islamabad likely wants to avoid.

Both countries will continue to produce fissile material for new weapons and their delivery systems. If the time comes, they will proceed with nuclear testing to validate their acquired capability and ultimately enhance their international standing, at the expense of established international norms against nuclear weapons tests.

In this context, the CTBT remains an essential component of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Moreover, CTBT constrains the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ends the development of advanced nuclear weapons.

At present, 183 states are signatories to the treaty, and 162 states have ratified it. The vast majority of the world’s nations have spoken: no more nuclear testing.

What lies behind this political determination is a vision to bring an end to the age of nuclear weapons, a strong desire to establish an international norm against nuclear testing, and a firm political will to advance the treaty’s entry into force as soon as possible.

Thus far in South Asia, Pakistan and India have not found it possible to sign and ratify the CTBT, a reflection of regional security exigencies. The continued hostility between India and Pakistan, rooted in territorial disputes, has also increased the imbalance and tension between them. Thus, as long as India remains outside the CTBT, Pakistan will continue to keep its options open.

For its part, Pakistan signaled its intention to sign and ratify the treaty in parallel with its regional adversary, India. Moreover, Islamabad “will not be the first to resume nuclear testing.”

It would be prudent for India “as a father state of the CTBT” to take the lead role in signing it. That would enhance its nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament credentials, despite the fact that it received the Nuclear Supplier Group waiver without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India’s move to sign the CTBT will strengthen its bid for membership in the NSG. It will also not only put pressure on Pakistan to follow suit, but also put tremendous global pressure on China and the U.S. to ratify the CTBT and pave the way for its entry into force.

With the recent election in India and a new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is a window of opportunity for a bilateral dialogue on regional security and arms control issues. A recent meeting between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Modi demonstrated that there is ample space for both countries to build trust and transparency, and move forward on key issues that include the strengthening of existing nuclear confidence building measures (CMBs), and addressing the issues of a dangerous nuclear arm race.

It is imperative for the two neighbors to begin discussing nuclear and regional security issues within a parallel setting. The 1998 Lahore declaration could be a starting point.

The First Seal – The White Horse (Revelation 6:2)

The Late Historian Who Predicted The Years of War After September 11

An excerpt from Jonathan Schell’s 2003 book, “The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People.”
Bush And The First Seal

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

In December 2002, finishing the introduction to his as-yet-unpublished book The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, Jonathan Schell wrote that the twentieth century was the era in which violence outgrew the war system that had once housed it and became “dysfunctional as a political instrument. Increasingly, it destroys the ends for which it is employed, killing the user as well as his victim. It has become the path to hell on earth and the end of the earth. This is the lesson of the Somme and Verdun, of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, of Vorkuta and Kolyma; and it is the lesson, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” More than a decade later, that remains a crucial, if barely noticed, lesson of our moment. Jonathan Schell died this March, but he left behind a legacy of reporting and thinking—from The Real War and The Fate of the Earth to The Unconquerable World—about just how, as the power to destroy ratcheted up, war left its traditional boundaries, and what that has meant for us (as well as, potentially, for worlds to come). In The Unconquerable World, published just before the Bush invasion of Iraq, he went in search of other paths of change, including the nonviolent one, and in doing so he essentially imagined the Arab Spring and caught the essence of both the horrors and possibilities available to us in hard-headed ways that were both prophetic and moving. Today, partly in honor of his memory (and my memory of him) and partly because I believe his sense of how our world worked then and still works was so acute, this website offers a selection from that book. Consider it a grim walk down post-9/11 Memory Lane, a moment when Washington chose force as its path to… well, we now know (as Schell foresaw then) that it was indeed a path to hell.

Then came the attack of September 11th. Like the starting gun of a race that no one knew he was to run, this explosion set the pack of nations off in a single direction—toward the trenches. Although the attack was unaccompanied by any claim of authorship or statement of political goals, the evidence almost immediately pointed to al-Qaeda, the radical Islamist, terrorist network, which, though stateless, was headquartered in Afghanistan and enjoyed the protection of its fundamentalist Islamic government. In a tape that was soon shown around the world, the group’s leader, Osama bin Laden, was seen at dinner with his confederates in Afghanistan, rejoicing in the slaughter.

Historically, nations have responded to terrorist threats and attacks with a combination of police action and political negotiation, while military action has played only a minor role. Voices were raised in the United States calling for a global cooperative effort of this kind to combat al-Qaeda. President Bush opted instead for a policy that the United States alone among nations could have conceivably undertaken: global military action not only against al-Qaeda but against any regime in the world that supported international terrorism.

The president announced to Congress that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who commit these acts and those who harbor them.” By calling the campaign a “war,” the administration summoned into action the immense, technically revolutionized, post-Cold War American military machine, which had lacked any clear enemy for over a decade. And by identifying the target as generic “terrorism,” rather than as al-Qaeda or any other group or list of groups, the administration licensed military operations anywhere in the world.

In the ensuing months, the Bush administration continued to expand the aims and means of the war. The overthrow of governments—”regime change”—was established as a means for advancing the new policies. The president divided regimes into two categories—those “with us” and those “against us.” Vice President Cheney estimated that al-Qaeda was active in 60 countries. The first regime to be targeted was of course al-Qaeda’s host, the government of Afghanistan, which was overthrown in a remarkably swift military operation conducted almost entirely from the air and without American casualties.

Next, the administration proclaimed an additional war goal—preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In his State of the Union speech in January 2002, the president announced that “the United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.” He went on to name as an “axis of evil” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea—three regimes seeking to build or already possessing weapons of mass destruction. To stop them, he stated, the Cold War policy of deterrence would not be enough—”preemptive” military action would be required, and preemption, the administration soon specified, could include the use of nuclear weapons.

Beginning in the summer of 2002, the government intensified its preparations for a war to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and in the fall, the president demanded and received a resolution from the Security Council of the United Nations requiring Iraq to accept the return of U.N. inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction or facilities for building them. Lists of other candidates for “regime change” began to surface in the press.
 
Leaving Cooperative Action Behind

In this way, the war on terror grew to encompass the most important geopolitical issue facing the world: the disposition of nuclear weapons in the second nuclear age. The Clinton administration had already answered the question regarding American possession of nuclear weapons: even in the absence of the Soviet Union, the United States planned to hold on to its nuclear arsenal indefinitely.

In 2002, the Bush administration gave an answer to the question regarding nonproliferation, which throughout the nuclear age had been dealt with exclusively by diplomacy and negotiation, or, on occasion, economic sanctions. The new answer was force. Nuclear disarmament was to be achieved by war and threats of war, starting with Iraq. One complementary element of the new policy, embraced long before September 11th, was the decision to build a national missile defense system to protect the United States against nuclear attack by “rogue nations.” But the fundamental element was a policy of preemptive war, or “offensive deterrence.”

This momentous shift in nuclear policy called, in addition, for programs to build new nuclear weapons and new delivery vehicles; confirmed new missions for nuclear weapons—retaliation for chemical or biological attacks, attacking hardened bunkers unreachable by other weapons—in the post-Cold War world; and listed seven countries (Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria) for which contingency plans for nuclear attack should be considered. To achieve all these aims, nuclear and conventional, the president asked for an increase in military spending of $48 billion—a sum greater than the total military spending of any other nation.

The sharp turn toward force as the mainstay of the policies of the United States was accompanied by a turn away from treaties and other forms of cooperation. Even before September 11th, the trend had been clear. Now it accelerated. The Bush administration either refused to ratify or withdrew from most of the principal new international treaties of the post-Cold War era. In the nuclear arena alone, the administration refused to submit to the Senate for ratification the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would have added a ban on underground tests to the existing bans on testing in the air; withdrew from the A.B.M. Treaty, which had severely limited Russian and American deployment of antinuclear defensive systems; and jettisoned the START negotiations as the framework for nuclear reductions with Russia—replacing them with the Strategic Offensive Reduction Agreement, a three-page document requiring two-thirds of the strategic weapons of both sides to be removed from their delivery vehicles, but then stored rather than dismantled.

In addition, the Bush administration withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which had become the world’s principal forum for making decisions about reducing emissions that cause global warming; refused to ratify the Rome treaty establishing an international criminal court; and declined to agree to an important protocol for inspection and enforcement of a U.N. convention banning biological weapons.

The consequences of this revolution in American policy rippled through the world, where it found ready imitators. On December 12th, the Indian Parliament was attacked by terrorists whom India linked to Pakistan. Promptly, nuclear-armed India, citing the American policy of attacking not only terrorists but any state that harbored them, moved half a million men to the border of nuclear-armed Pakistan, which responded in kind, producing the first full-scale nuclear crisis of the twenty-first century.

In South Asia, nuclearization did not produce the cautionary effects that the theorists of deterrence expected. High Indian officials openly threatened Pakistan with annihilation. Rajnath Singh, the minister for the state of Uttar Pradesh, declared, “If Pakistan doesn’t change its ways, there will be no sign of Pakistan left,” and when India’s army chief, General S. Padmanabhan, was asked how India would respond if attacked with a nuclear weapon, he answered that “the perpetrator of that particular outrage shall be punished so severely that their continuation thereafter in any form of fray will be doubtful.” In Pakistan, the dictator General Pervez Musharraf stated that, in the event of an Indian conventional invasion of Pakistan, “as a last resort, the atom bomb is also possible.” In March 2002, Israel, citing the same American precedent and calling for US support for its policy on this basis, responded to Palestinian suicide bombings by launching its own “war on terrorism”—a full-scale attack on the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank.

Antichrist Training Terrorists Against Bahrain (Revelation 13:16)

Terror funds plot man jailed for life

Mahdi Army

Mahdi Army

A BAHRAINI who funded a terror cell in Bahrain to support an invasion by foreign fighters has been jailed for life.Murtadha Majeed Alawi recruited young men and sent them to Iraq to receive militia training from Shi’ite strongman Moqtada Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

The 31-year-old salesman helped three of his co-defendants travel to a military camp in Karbala where they received firearms training along with 11 other unknown men in 2012 and 2013.

Training

The defendants told prosecutors the training was conducted for a “zero hour” when the Mahdi Army would enter Bahrain to carry out terrorist attacks.

They said a militia general named Ra’ad trained them and told them the army was awaiting orders from Moqtada Al Sadr to enter Bahrain and that they would be needed “in future” to help stage a coup.

The High Criminal Court yesterday sentenced Mr Alawi to 25 years behind bars for establishing and funding an illicit group that aimed to cripple Bahrain’s economy and establishments, carry out terrorist attacks in the country and topple the Bahraini regime.

Judges also convicted Abdulla Isa Al Banna for helping Mr Alawi establish the group and recruit members and jailed him for 15 years.

Two others, Basil Ali and Mahmood Yousif, were found guilty of receiving weapons training in Iraq and were sentenced to 15 years behind bars, while a fifth man was jailed for five years for participating in an illegal gathering and possessing Molotov cocktails.

However, they were all cleared of conspiring with a foreign country.

All five men, who are in police custody, refused to appear in court yesterday for the ruling.

“Three of the defendants travelled to Iraq to receive training in weapons and explosives to carry out terrorist attacks in Bahrain,” according to court verdict documents.

“The two masterminds who established the terrorist cell helped recruit the rest of the group members and helped them travel to Iraq to receive training from Moqtada Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

“Three of the defendants confessed to meeting a soldier from Moqtada Al Sadr’s army named Ra’ad, who helped train them on firearms and explosives.

“They said they received training in how to fire weapons when crouching, kneeling and other positions.

Evidence

“The defendants were found guilty of the charges according to evidence given by prosecution witnesses and the defendants’ confessions.

“However, we found them not guilty of conspiring with a foreign country due to the lack of evidence – the prosecution testimony is not sufficient to find them guilty of that charge.” Lawyers representing the defendants said they will lodge appeals against the convictions at the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court. noorz@gdn.com.bh