Antichrist Stops Congress Policy Makers (Rev 13)

Antichrist Unites Shiites and Sunni

Antichrist Unites Shiites and Sunni

Congress decides Iraqi Kurds, Sunnis aren’t countries after all

Congress is rewriting a provision to directly arm Iraqi Kurdish and Sunni militias after a backlash from Baghdad and threats to US troops.

Author Julian Pecquet Posted May 12, 2015

The annual defense bill that cleared the House Armed Services Committee last month would have deemed the militias “countries” in order to make it easier for the United States to arm them directly. Criticism from Iraq and the Obama administration, however, has prompted the panel’s chairman to seek to rewrite the provision as the bill prepares to hit the House floor May15.

“I filed a manager’s amendment to just emphasize what I said during the markup, and that is in no way are we trying to make a comment about decisions about Iraqi sovereignty that they ought to make for themselves,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters May 12. “The manager’s amendment I have filed would clarify that we’re not trying to break up Iraq or treat any of these entities as separate countries. What we’re trying to do is to encourage all of these groups to come together to fight a common enemy, which is ISIS [the Islamic State].”

Thornberry’s amendment would simply remove language stating that the peshmerga, Sunni tribal security forces and the yet-to-be-established Iraqi Sunni national guard “shall each be deemed to be a country” for purposes of aid eligibility. The amendment, however, retains a controversial requirement that at least 25% of $715 million in annual US military aid go straight to the three groups — a provision the Obama administration has asked be removed.

“The position of this administration has been clear and consistent in support of a unified Iraq,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said after the bill was first introduced. “Our policy remains that all arms transfers must be coordinated via the sovereign central government of Iraq. We believe this policy is the most effective way to support the coalition’s efforts to combat ISIL [the Islamic State] and promote our policy of a unified, federal, pluralistic and democratic state.”

The administration’s lobbying, however, appears to have fallen on deaf ears: No lawmakers had filed amendments to try to change the underlying policy of arming the Kurds and Sunnis directly as of the evening of May 12.

Thornberry’s proposed changes come after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s office slammed the use of the word “country,” asserting on its website that the provision “will only lead to further divisions in the region.” Shiite leaders also took offense, with cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatening retaliation.

“If the time comes and the proposed bill is passed, we will have no choice but to unfreeze the military wing that deals with the American entity so that it may start targeting American interests in Iraq and outside of Iraq when possible,” Sadr said, according to the Long War Journal.

Thornberry said it was “unfortunate” that “in order to technically provide arms directly to the Kurds and the Sunni tribes, we had to write it in a way that was misleading.”

“Now, of course, the purpose of this is to encourage the government of Iraq to support the Kurds and the Sunni tribes,” Thornberry said, adding that that message was delivered to Abadi by members of both parties when he visited last month, but indicating that the matter may have gotten caught up in “a variety of currents of domestic Iraqi politics.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee also began voting on its version of the defense bill this week, although it’s not yet clear if it will contain similar provisions. Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., has long been a champion of the Kurds.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/05/congress-ndaa-kurd-sunni-country-iraq-arms.html#ixzz3a4jMjoE7

Save The Oil, Shiite Oil (Revelation 6:6)

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Here’s why Iran and Iraq should worry OPEC

Stephen Sedgwick | @steve_sedgwick
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 | 6:01 AM ET

Oil Iraq OPEC

Atef Hassan | Reuters

Caveat emptor! The big Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) summer pow-wow is only 24 days away now and ceteris paribus we should see a continuation of the status quo. Right that’s enough Latin, the only languages that really count at the meeting will be Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish and money, namely petrodollars.

As far as I can see, this one is about how Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq solve a growing problem of how you cap OPEC production – and thereby falling prices – at a time when Baghdad and Tehran are desperate to up output.

Despite the rally from the mid-$40 region, OPEC could be hundreds of billions light in terms of revenues this year causing some to once again trot out the old, tired and inaccurate line that OPEC is losing its importance in world energy supply.

I even read a report under the headline ‘OPEC going broke…’ Really?

Well no-one is doubting that the loose alliance is fractured, sometimes dysfunctional and limited in its adherence to stated production levels but going broke and irrelevant? Dream on.

What is clear though is that some countries desperately need the petro-dollars that would come from increased production. Iran and Iraq are not only near the top of that list but also have the capacity to ratchet up their levels, albeit with the caveat in Iran’s case of completing nuclear talks.

Bernstein Research has just put out a briefing on the importance of Iraqi and Iranian production ahead of the OPEC meeting on 5th June and amid the reams of statistics I pulled out a few. And if you think it’s only Saudi Arabia that matters then look again at these numbers on Iran and Iraq:-

Iran has 1 percent of global population but an estimated 157 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves.

The Iranian number equates to 9.5 percent of world total and is fourth largest amongst all countries after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

Iran also has the second-largest proven gas reserves at 1,193 trillion cubic feet – 17 percent of the world’s resources and 35 percent of OPEC’s.

And the Iraqi numbers are not to be sniffed at either:-

Iraq comes close with 144 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves.

The Iraqi figure equates to 9 percent of the world total and is fifth largest globally.

Iraq is the second-largest OPEC producer currently, producing 3.4 million barrels per day, equating to 4.3 percent of the world total.

To put this in context, Bernstein’s report says there are roughly 1,6 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves in the world.

So Iran and Iraq are potentially the major players who could upset not only OPEC equilibrium with their challenge to number one producer Saudi but have the ability to put the skids under the big rally in oil off the March lows.

Follow Steve on Twitter: @steve_sedgwick

Fulfilling The Prophecy Of Esau (Gen 27)

 

Top Khamenei Advisor: We Have Divine
Permission to Destroy Israel

MAY 12, 2015 6:36 PM
An official close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei asserted that his government has a godly ordained right to annihilate Israel, Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday.
The “government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has divine permission to destroy Israel,” said Mojtaba Zolnour, a Khamenei representative in the elite Revolutionary Guards.

According to semi-official state news agency Fars, Zolnour said that, “the Noble Koran permits the Islamic Republic of Iran to destroy Israel.” He added that, “Even if Iran gives up its nuclear program, it will not weaken this country’s determination to destroy Israel.”
This is by no means the first time that Iranian political or military officials have threatened Israel with destruction.
Iran has raised the specter of “wiping Israel out of existence,” since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in the country in 1979. Khomeini’s animosity towards Israel was based on an ideological and religious opposition to Zionism, amplified by the challenge Israel’s military and economic strength posed to Iranian regional expansionism.
Perhaps most famously, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” in a 2005 speech that he gave. More recently, in late March 2015, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of Iran’s Basij militia – a volunteer paramilitary organization under the command of the IRGC – said that, “wiping Israel off the map is not up for negotiation.”
Iran also actively finances and militarily backs proxy terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah that are ideologically opposed to Israel’s existence.

New York Hazard: The 6th Seal (Revelation 6:12)

EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

 (Source: US Geological Survey)
NY hazard

New York State Geological Survey

Damaging earthquakes have occurred in New York and surely will again. The likelihood of a damaging earthquake in New York is small overall but the possibility is higher in the northern part of the state and in the New York City region. Significant earthquakes, both located in Rockaway and larger than magnitude 5, shook New York City in 1737 and 1884. The quakes were 147 years apart and the most recent was 122 year ago. It is likely that another earthquake of the same size will occur in that area in the next 25 to 50 years. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in New York City would probably not cause great loss of life. However the damage to infrastructure – buildings, steam and gas lines, water mains, electric and fiber optic cable – could be extensive.

Earthquake Hazard Map of New York State

Acceleration of the ground during an earthquake is more important than total movement in causing structural damage. This map shows the two-percent probability of the occurrence of an earthquake that exceeds the acceleration of earth’s gravity by a certain percentage in the next fifty years.
If a person stands on a rug and the rug pulled slowly, the person will maintain balance and will not fall. But if the rug is jerked quickly, the person will topple. The same principle is true for building damage during an earthquake. Structural damage is caused more by the acceleration of the ground than by the distance the ground moves.

Earthquake hazard maps show the probability that the ground will move at a certain rate, measured as a percentage of earth’s gravity, during a particular time. Motion of one or two percent of gravity will rattle windows, doors, and dishes. Acceleration of ten to twenty percent of gravity will cause structural damage to buildings. It takes more than one hundred percent of gravity to throw objects into the air.

San Francisco Is The Third Woe Or Quake (Rev 11:14)

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When, not if: how do San Franciscans live with the threat of the next quake? 

The earthquake question comes up in two out of every three transactions that Eileen Bermingham handles. Demand for San Francisco property has hit new heights in recent years, forcing buyers to offer far above the asking price – and things don’t appear to be slowing, even in the usually sluggish early months of the year. “It’s been particularly hectic,” confirms Bermingham, an agent with Zephyr Real Estate, which sells houses all over the city.

But the earthquake question is always in the background.

Bermingham gets specific requests from clients for newer homes built under more stringent building codes, houses that have been retrofitted for earthquakes, or specific neighbourhoods that pose less risk. Many parts of the city are built on landfill, and maps highlight large swathes that are at risk of ‘liquefaction’ – the soil literally turning from solid to liquid – in the event of a large earthquake.

“A lot of it comes down to being at least knowledgeable about what you’re getting into,” Bermingham says of investing in the city. “You don’t want to find out later that you’re on a liquefaction zone.”

That’s something many people found out the hard way in 1989, when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the San Francisco region. About 28,000 structures in the region were damaged by the quake, including a sizeable chunk of San Francisco’s Marina District, a neighbourhood with front-row views of the Golden Gate Bridge built on landfill poured into the bay in the early 20th century.

This unsteady ground was itself the leftover rubble of another disaster, the estimated 7.8-magnitude earthquake of 1906 that left 3,000 people dead. Though the earthquake was immense, most of the damage was caused by a fire in its aftermath that spread across nearly five square miles of the city, consuming 28,000 buildings and leaving more than half of the population homeless. Despite the century that’s since passed, this disaster has left a deep mental scar on the city. The spectre of 1906 is both a guide to prepare, and a warning of what could happen again.

And the next “big one” could come any day. Between now and 2038, there’s a 99.7% chance of a 6.7-or-larger earthquake striking somewhere in California. That’s according to a 2008 report from the US Geological Survey, which estimates that there’s a 63% probability of a big earthquake hitting the San Francisco region. The two faults flanking San Francisco – the northern San Andreas and the Hayward – have a 21% chance and a 31% chance, respectively. Clearly that’s not a sure bet, but if the experts are right, San Francisco will probably be shaking hard again sometime soon.

It’s a threat not lost on locals. Byron Davis is one of Bermingham’s clients, and he was cautious about homes in damage-prone parts of the city when he was looking – mostly because of the risk, but also because he happens to be a vibration consultant, who helps design buildings and laboratories to be extremely resistant to tiny vibrations. “My mind is tuned to think about these kinds of issues,” he says. “I don’t actually do any seismic work but I work around people that do. I hear the kind of language they use and it scares me. They talk about ‘when’, not ‘if’.”

The house Davis and his wife ended up buying was built in 1928, long before building codes were modernised in the 1970s to account for seismic issues. He says he plans to retrofit its foundations against seismic risks, but knows there’s only so much he can do in the face of a major earthquake. His house is about 200 feet from a liquefaction zone, and though he is pretty confident about its safety, he does wonder how accurately those liquefaction maps are drawn. Ultimately, he says, the choice of where to buy was driven more by the neighborhood than the thought of a future earthquake.

“There are so few houses that are for sale that you don’t get to do much picking and choosing on a basis like that,” he says.

Even the tech companies who have been swarming into the city are pushing any earthquake concerns into the background. Startups like Square and Pinterest have located their offices in the liquefaction zone that is the South of Market, or SoMa, neighbourhood, as have bigger companies like Yahoo! and Yelp. Rachel Walker, a Yelp spokesperson, brushes the earthquake concern aside, saying the company’s new headquarters, a historic 1925 building, went through “substantial renovation, including significant earthquake retrofitting”. Many other stone and brick buildings in the city have undergone similar retrofits, in which foundations are replaced or steel framing is added.

Most of the risk will likely fall on homeowners and renters. A 2013 report from the San Francisco Public Press found that there could be as many as 58,000 people living in housing units at major risk of collapse during a large earthquake. The city has a mandatory retrofit program for such buildings, but progress has been slow.

One way people can protect themselves, at least financially, is earthquake insurance – but few do, and it’s not required. Of those homeowners with insurance policies in San Francisco, less than 10% have earthquake insurance. That’s according to the California Earthquake Authority, an entity established by the state legislature to insure against earthquakes after most insurers stopped issuing policies. They were nearly bankrupted by 1994’s 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake in Southern California – they’d underestimated potential losses from earthquakes, and they ended up paying out more than $12bn in claims. Most of the reason so few people have earthquake insurance today is that its cost has risen to reflect the larger potential payouts from earthquake damages.

An earthquake policy can cost as much again, if not more, than a typical homeowner’s insurance policy, according to Kyle Cliff, a salesman with Liberty Mutual Insurance in the Bay Area. That can add another $1,500 a year, depending on the house. And with a 10% or 15% deductible, the policy would only pay off if there’s major damage to a home. Cliff says he sells maybe a dozen policies a year.

“Usually when I do it’s to people from out of state,” Cliff says. “They turn on the news and what do they see? Earthquakes.”

He says locals are less likely to consider the expense because they’ve experienced so many earthquakes but so little catastrophic damage. For example, Los Angeles residents woke up to a 4.4-magnitude earthquake on 17 March – large enough to rattle some nerves, but not enough to cause even minor damage.

But Glenn Pomeroy, chief executive of the California Earthquake Authority, argues it’s those catastrophic events people should really be insuring themselves against. “This insurance enterprise isn’t there to take care of the little things that might happen after a minor earthquake. We’re here to help make sure someone has the financial strength to get about their lives after their home has been substantially damaged during an

The California Earthquake Authority has issued about three-quarters of the 841,000 earthquake insurance policies in California. Pomeroy says the authority has about $10bn in claims-paying capacity – enough to handle even a devastating big one, at least for those with insurance. But in a city where 90% of homeowners aren’t insured against earthquakes, the risks are acute.

“I think there’s definitely a situation where a major earthquake could really disrupt life here,” says Patrick Otellini, Director of Earthquake Safety for the County and City of San Francisco. “San Francisco is a very resilient city. We’ve always bounced back. So I think that drive and that hope to recover is there, but those dangers are real.”

Ultimately, Otellini is confident that local retrofit requirements and the city’s 30-year Earthquake Safety Implementation Program will help the city to withstand a major earthquake – adding that if property owners are proactive about implementing mitigation measures, they’ll reduce the damage they and the city as a whole suffers, even if they don’t opt to invest in earthquake insurance.

Pomeroy, though, makes the case that the more protection people have the better. “Some people think earthquake insurance is too expensive, and if they live in a high-risk area I’m not going to try to argue that it’s cheap. But I would suggest that there’s a cost of being uninsured that outweighs the cost of that insurance policy when that event happens.”

And if the USGS is right, that major event has a very high probability of occurring. So why is it that San Franciscans, with all their experience of minor earthquakes and the occasional major one, are willing to take on the risk of living in a city so prone to major devastation?

“People don’t understand probability very well, even if you’re relatively well educated,” says David Ropeik, author of RISK! A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Really Safe and What’s Really Dangerous in the World Around You. The problem, he says, is that numbers are abstractions, and we have trouble processing them cognitively.

“You could describe an earthquake in terms of knocking things down; that’s a tangible thing. But saying there’s a 99% chance that in the next 30 years the next big one will hit is an abstraction. The entire risk language of probability pales in its influence against the more tangible factors.”

Ropeik argues that one of the central components of risk perception is control and choice. If we’re forced to move to a risky city like San Francisco, we’ll probably be more attuned to its earthquake risk than if we choose to move there of our own volition. “If we have a choice as to whether to engage in it, we’re less afraid,” he says. Many in San Francisco have made that choice, fully conscious of its inherent risk.

“Earthquakes are just one example of how we all have a problem with risks that are very infrequent, low probability, despite their high consequence,” Ropeik says. “Cities around the world are exposed to a variety of low-likelihood but high-consequence events, and because of our psychological nature, we’re not very good at assessing the risks.”