Pakistan Tests Another Nuclear Missile (Daniel 8:8)

Air Weapons: Two And A Half Pakistani Cruise Missiles

Hatf-VIII-Raad-Cruise-Miss

Strategy Page

February 24, 2015: Pakistan recently announced the successful test of its second cruise missile design, the Hatf 8 (Raad). Hatf 8 appears to be an original design, first tested in 2007, that weighs 1.1 tons and has a range of 350 kilometers. It can carry a nuclear or conventional warhead.

Pakistan’s first cruise missile was the Hatf 7 (Barbur), which was first tested in 2005. Hatf 7 appeared to be a copy of the American Tomahawk, (several of which had crashed on Pakistani territory during a 1998 American attack on Taliban camps in Afghanistan). The Tomahawk was not terribly high tech, and easy for the Pakistanis to copy. GPS made it easier to replace the earlier (and only high tech aspect of the missile) terrain following guidance system. Hatf 7 is a 1.5 ton, 6.8 meter (22 foot) long missile has a range of 500 kilometers. It appears to carry a 225 kg (500 pound) warhead, and the Pakistanis appear to have developed a nuclear weapon that fits in Hatf 7. This missile can be used from ships or aircraft. 

Another Pakistani cruise missile was not publicized much at all. In 2009 the United States accused Pakistan of stealing military technology by modifying American made Harpoon anti-ship missiles (received in the late 1980s) to attack land targets. The 545 kg (1,200 pound) Harpoon has a 221 kg (487 pound) warhead and a range of 220 kilometers. It approaches the target low, at about 860 kilometers an hour. GPS gets the missile to the general vicinity of the target, then radar takes over to identify and hit the target. The Harpoon has successful combat experience going back to the 1980s. Most Indian warships (corvettes and frigates) are small enough to be destroyed by one Harpoon. The modified Harpoons can hit land targets like air defense radars or headquarters.

How Many More Secret Sites Does Iran Have? (Daniel 8:4)

Iran opposition unveils ‘secret’ Tehran nuclear site
Part-WAS-Was8907035-1-1-0
Washington (AFP) – An exiled Iranian opposition group Tuesday accused Tehran of running a “secret” uranium enrichment site close to Tehran, which it said violated ongoing talks with global powers on a nuclear deal.

“Despite the Iranian regime’s claims that all of its enrichment activities are transparent … it has in fact been engaged in research and development with advanced centrifuges at a secret nuclear site called Lavizan-3,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

He said the site was hidden in a military base in the northeastern suburbs of Tehran.

He presented to reporters a series of satellite images drawn from Google Maps which he said backed “this intelligence from highly placed sources within the Iranian regime as well as those involved in the nuclear weapons projects.”

The Lavizan-3 site was apparently constructed between 2004 and 2008 and has underground labs connected by a tunnel.

“Since 2008, the Iranian regime has secretly engaged in research and uranium enrichment with advanced… centrifuge machines at this site,” Jafarzadeh said.

The group had shared its information with the US administration, he added.

The existence of the site was “a clear violation” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as UN resolutions and an interim November 2013 deal struck with global powers gathered in the P5+1 group, he said.

Under the interim accord, Iran agreed not to allow “any new locations for enrichment” and to provide IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, all information about its nuclear facilities.

“It is absolutely senseless to continue the negotiations,” added Jafarzadeh.

The NCRI is a political umbrella of five Iranian opposition groups, the largest of which is the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which was once banned in Europe and the United States as a terror group.

The People’s Mujahedeen has long opposed the nuclear negotiations, and with the NCRI has made several important revelations of the existence of secret nuclear sites in Iran.

The so-called P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany is trying to strike an accord that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

In return, the West would ease sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program, which Iran insists is purely civilian in nature.

A new March 31 deadline is looming for agreement on a political framework, after two previous dates for a comprehensive deal were missed.

“Despite the Iranian regime’s claims of transparency, these nuclear activities, today’s intelligence, makes clear it has been continuing to lie for more than a decade,” added NCRI member Soona Samsami.

Korean Horn Growing (Daniel 7)

N.Korea could have 100 nuclear weapons by 2020: US researchers
393751_img650x420_img650x420_crop

Agence France Presse

North Korea appears poised to expand its nuclear program over the next five years and in a worst case scenario could possess 100 atomic arms by 2020, US researchers warned Tuesday.

And cutting-edge European companies could be unwittingly contributing to Pyongyang’s suspect nuclear program with their equipment diverted to the isolated country via China, they said.
Unveiling the first results of what will be a 15-month study, Joel Wit, senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said some of their conclusions were very “disturbing.”
Although the North Korea’s nuclear program remains shrouded in uncertainty, Pyongyang is currently believed to have a stockpile of some 10 to 16 nuclear weapons fashioned from either plutonium or weapons-grade uranium.
Those years, which followed the 2008 collapse of international six-party nuclear talks, were “banner years” for Pyongyang’s nuclear program and missile systems development, Wit said.
“For these kinds of programs there have been developments that make it at least more possible to predict the future,” Wit told reporters. “We’re making our best guess about the future … we’re estimating the future, just like intelligence agencies do.”
In the first scenario, Pyongyang would almost double its stockpile to about 20 weapons, including plutonium-based weapons which have been miniaturized sufficiently to be mounted on its Rodong-class medium-range ballistic missile, capable of reaching Japan.
In the second — and most likely scenario — North Korea continues its current trajectory and manages to produce 50 weapons by 2020.
In what Wit dubbed “the worst case scenario,” the North Korean stockpile would grow more rapidly to 100 weapons and make “significant advances” in weapons designs to enable it to potentially deploy battlefield and tactical weapons.
“This is a pretty scary scenario, where we are seeing a dramatic expansion in North Korea’s stockpile,” Wit said.
Despite a network of international sanctions Pyongyang is able to acquire equipment, even from Western countries, which in some cases is bought by private Chinese companies and transported across the Chinese-North Korean border, said Albright.
“Just cracking down on the border could do a lot, and they (China) do very little now,” said Albright, who exposed flaws in US claims in 2003 that Iraq had large stocks of nuclear and chemical weapons.
US lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this month that would widen sanctions by imposing harsher penalties on foreign companies doing business with Pyongyang.

– See more at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/World/2015/Feb-24/288627-nkorea-could-have-100-nuclear-weapons-by-2020-us-researchers.ashx#sthash.SfpyV8qz.dpuf

How The Shia Horn Will Expand (Daniel 8)

Special Report: How Iran’s military chiefs operate in Iraq
File photo of members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy marching during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, in Tehran

BAGHDAD | Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:00am EST

By Ned Parker, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Isabel Coles
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The face stares out from multiple billboards in central Baghdad, a grey-haired general casting a watchful eye across the Iraqi capital. This military commander is not Iraqi, though. He’s Iranian.
The posters are a recent arrival, reflecting the influence Iran now wields in Baghdad.
Iraq is a mainly Arab country. Its citizens, Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims alike, have long mistrusted Iran, the Persian nation to the east. But as Baghdad struggles to fight the Sunni extremist group Islamic State, many Shi’ite Iraqis now look to Iran, a Shi’ite theocracy, as their main ally.
Until now, little has been known about the body. But in a series of interviews with Reuters, key Iraqi figures inside Hashid Shaabi have detailed the ways the paramilitary groups, Baghdad and Iran collaborate, and the role Iranian advisers play both inside the group and on the frontlines.
Those who spoke to Reuters include two senior figures in the Badr Organisation, perhaps the single most powerful Shi’ite paramilitary group, and the commander of a relatively new militia called Saraya al-Khorasani.
In all, Hashid Shaabi oversees and coordinates several dozen factions. The insiders say most of the groups followed a call to arms by Iraq’s leading Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. But they also cite the religious guidance of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, as a key factor in their decision to fight and – as they see it – defend Iraq.
Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organisation, told Reuters: “The majority of us believe that … Khamenei has all the qualifications as an Islamic leader. He is the leader not only for Iranians but the Islamic nation. I believe so and I take pride in it.”
He insisted there was no conflict between his role as an Iraqi political and military leader and his fealty to Khamenei.
FROM BATTLEFIELD TO HOSPITAL
Hashid Shaabi is headed by Jamal Jaafar Mohammed, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, a former Badr commander who once plotted against Saddam Hussein and whom American officials have accused of bombing the U.S. embassy in Kuwait in 1983.
The body he heads helps coordinate everything from logistics to military operations against Islamic State. Its members say Mohandis’ close friendships with both Soleimani and Amiri helps anchor the collaboration.
The men have known each other for more than 20 years, according to Muen al-Kadhimi, a Badr Organisation leader in western Baghdad. “If we look at this history,” Kadhimi said, “it helped significantly in organizing the Hashid Shaabi and creating a force that achieved a victory that 250,000 (Iraqi) soldiers and 600,000 interior ministry police failed to do.”
Kadhimi said the main leadership team usually consulted for three to four weeks before major military campaigns. “We look at the battle from all directions, from first determining the field … how to distribute assignments within the Hashid Shaabi battalions, consult battalion commanders and the logistics,” he said.
Soleimani, he said, “participates in the operation command center from the start of the battle to the end, and the last thing (he) does is visit the battle’s wounded in the hospital.”
Iraqi officials say Tehran’s involvement is driven by its belief that Islamic State is an immediate danger to Shi’ite religious shrines not just in Iraq but also in Iran. Shrines in both nations, but especially in Iraq, rank among the sect’s most sacred.
The Iranians, the Iraqi officials say, helped organize the Shi’ite volunteers and militia forces after Grand Ayatollah Sistani called on Iraqis to defend their country days after Islamic State seized control of the northern city of Mosul last June.
They have also provided troops. Several Kurdish officials said that when Islamic State fighters pushed close to the Iraq-Iran border in late summer, Iran dispatched artillery units to Iraq to fight them. Farid Asarsad, a senior official from the semi-autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, said Iranian troops often work with Iraqi forces. In northern Iraq, Kurdish peshmerga soldiers “dealt with the technical issues like identifying targets in battle, but the launching of rockets and artillery – the Iranians were the ones who did that.”
Kadhimi, the senior Badr official, said Iranian advisers in Iraq have helped with everything from tactics to providing paramilitary groups with drone and signals capabilities, including electronic surveillance and radio communications.
“The U.S. stayed all these years with the Iraqi army and never taught them to use drones or how to operate a very sophisticated communication network, or how to intercept the enemy’s communication,” he said. “The Hashid Shaabi, with the help of (Iranian) advisers, now knows how to operate and manufacture drones.”
A MAGICAL FIGHTER
One of the Shi’ite militia groups that best shows Iran’s influence in Iraq is Saraya al-Khorasani. It was formed in 2013 in response to Khamenei’s call to fight Sunni jihadists, initially in Syria and later Iraq.
The group is responsible for the Baghdad billboards that feature Iranian General Hamid Taghavi, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Known to militia members as Abu Mariam, Taghavi was killed in northern Iraq in December. He has become a hero for many of Iraq’s Shi’ite fighters.
Taghavi “was an expert at guerrilla war,” said Ali al-Yasiri, the commander of Saraya al-Khorasani. “People looked at him as magical.”
In a video posted online by the Khorasani group soon after Taghavi’s death, the Iranian general squats on the battlefield, giving orders as bullets snap overhead. Around him, young Iraqi fighters with AK-47s press themselves tightly against the ground. The general wears rumpled fatigues and has a calm, grandfatherly demeanor. Later in the video, he rallies his fighters, encouraging them to run forward to attack positions.
Within two days of Mosul’s fall on June 10 last year, Taghavi, a member of Iran’s minority Arab population, traveled to Iraq with members of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guard. Soon, he was helping map out a way to outflank Islamic State outside Balad, 50 miles (80 km) north of Baghdad.
Taghavi’s time with Saraya al-Khorasani proved a boon for the group. Its numbers swelled from 1,500 to 3,000. It now boasts artillery, heavy machine guns, and 23 military Humvees, many of them captured from Islamic State.
“Of course, they are good,” Yasiri said with a grin. “They are American made.”
In November, Taghavi was back in Iraq for a Shi’ite militia offensive near the Iranian border. Yasiri said Taghavi formulated a plan to “encircle and besiege” Islamic State in the towns of Jalawala and Saadiya. After success with that, he began to plot the next battle. Yasiri urged him to be more cautious, but Taghavi was killed by a sniper in December.
At Taghavi’s funeral, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, eulogized the slain commander. He was, said Shamkhani, one of those Iranians in Iraq “defending Samarra and giving their blood so we don’t have to give our blood in Tehran.” Both Soleimani and the Badr Organisation’s Amiri were among the mourners.
A NEW IRAQI SOUL
Saraya al-Khorasani’s headquarters sit in eastern Baghdad, inside an exclusive government complex that houses ministers and members of parliament. Giant pictures of Taghavi and other slain al-Khorasani fighters hang from the exterior walls of the group’s villa.
Commander Yasiri walks with a cane after he was wounded in his left leg during a battle in eastern Diyala in November. On his desk sits a small framed drawing of Iran’s Khamenei.
He describes Saraya al-Khorasani, along with Badr and several other groups, as “the soul” of Iraq’s Hashid Shaabi committee.
Asarsad, the senior Kurdish official, predicts Iraq’s Shi’ite militias will evolve into a permanent force that resembles the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. That sectarian force, he believes, will one day operate in tandem with Iraq’s regular military.
That could have big implications for the country’s future. Human rights groups have accused the Shi’ite militias of displacing and killing Sunnis in areas they liberate — a charge the paramilitary commanders vigorously deny. The militias blame any excesses on locals and accuse Sunni politicians of spreading rumors to sully the name of Hashid Shaabi.
The senior Shi’ite official critical of Saraya al-Khorasani said the militia groups, which have the freedom to operate without directly consulting the army or the prime minister, could yet undermine Iraq’s stability. The official described Badr as by far the most powerful force in the country, even stronger than Prime Minister Abadi.
Amiri, the Badr leader, rejected such claims. He said he presents his military plans directly to Abadi for approval.
His deputy Kadhimi was in no doubt, though, that the Hashid Shaabi was more powerful than the Iraqi military. 
“A Hashid Shaabi (soldier) sees his commander … or Haji Hadi Amiri or Haji Mohandis or even Haji Qassem Soleimani in the battle, eating with them, sitting with them on the ground, joking with them. This is why they are ready to fight,” said Kadhimi. “This is why it is an invincible force.”
(Editing By Simon Robinson and Richard Woods)