The report was apparently citing the research and data collected by scientist Cho Hyong Il on the direction of Kim. It is a strange manner for the regime to communicate their latest threat, seeing as this specific state-run website has also focused on the farming of rabbits and school backpack manufacturing. Although tensions between North Korea and other nations, including the United States, have run high continually, the latest string of threats began back in January, as the Post reminds.
“Kim in January ordered North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and claimed that it was ahydrogen bomb, not a simple atomic one. But most experts are skeptical of the claim, saying the seismic waves caused by the blast were similar to those caused by the North’s three previous tests. Then in February, Kim oversaw the launch of what North Korea said was a rocket that put a satellite into orbit but that is widely considered part of a long-range ballistic missile program.”
It’s been reported that North Korea has made up ground and advances in their nuclear capabilities and the distance which they are able to reach with their missiles. It’s predicted that the nation is now able to reach the west coast of the United States. Although experts on the subject of weaponry and warheads were skeptical when Kim offered up a view to the world of a miniaturized warhead, mainly about it’s appearance, saying that it just doesn’t look right, Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, indicated that it should not be dismissed as being what Kim insists it is.
“It does not look like US devices, to be sure, but it is hard to know if aspects of the model are truly implausible or simply that North Korean nuclear weapons look different than their Soviet and American cousins,” Lewis wrote in an analysis for 38 North, a website devoted to North Korea. “The size, however, is consistent with my expectations for North Korea.”
Sanctions have been called for in response to the Pyongyang regime and their increasingly hostile activity. Time reminds of these sanctions being ordered.
“North Korea, under the rule of Kim Jong-un, last week threatened nuclear strikes on the U.S. and South Korea and was hit with more sanctions after a nuclear test and rocket launch this year.”
The sanctions have been ordered at the same time annual spring drills between the U.S. and South Korean military are taking place. Kim views these drills as antagonist actions and a “rehearsal for invasion.” This has led to Kim ordering exercises to be practiced by his own military that involve “decapitation strikes” on leaders and destruction of nuclear and missile sites.The South Korean defense ministry urged North Korea to halt its threats in a statement.
While he opposed the Baathist regime, his rise to prominence came with his resistance to the Anglo-American occupation after 2003, founding a militia known as the Mahdi Army, which was involved in the post-invasion insurgency, and accused of sectarian violence. Being able to count on both large popular support and a powerful military force, he soon became one of Iraq’s leading political and religious figures.
Sadr’s stance with regards to Iraqi politics has been rather ambiguous, leading some to describe him as “a hybrid of anti-establishment positions while being part of the establishment himself.” His involvement in the country’s public life has seen him make moves and take positions which are sometimes in contrast with the Shia ruling majority’s orientations. He is a steadfast opponent of sectarian politics, although some members of his bloc, the Sadrist Movement, have held, and continue to hold, positions in governments based on quota-sharing.
A common thread since 2003 has been the opposition to foreign interference in Iraq, regardless whether it comes from the West (US, UK) or the East (Iran). His disenchantment as to the possibility of pursuing an alternative to sectarian politics was one of the reasons that led him to suddenly announce his withdrawal from political life in 2014, as one of his movement’s officials stated. Since then, things have evolved in Iraq. The rise of Islamic State (Isis) in which sectarian politics undoubtedly played a role has posed a serious threat to the stability of the country, exacerbated by the political tensions of Maliki’s government at the time. Despite enormous difficulties (the constant threat of extremism, the recent fall of oil prices), his successor Haidar al-Abadi has managed to keep the country afloat as the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMU) and the Security Forces have regained territory from Daesh.
Abadi has been able to ease tensions with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to take some anti-corruption measures, and to purge the army of inefficient officials. Some issues which have taken root in Iraq have not yet been entirely solved, such as poor public services, corruption, lack of transparency, and sectarianism.
These are the plagues that Sadr has vowed to fight against, on the base of a populist vision of national unity in which religiosity and patriotism are often conflated, as the slogan “Love for one’s country is part of the faith” suggests. The Shia leader supported Abadi’s pledge to carry out a government reshuffle, aimed at installing a technocratic cabinet, as well as to fight corruption, restore services, and implement public accountability.
People in Iraq are getting more and more frustrated at Abadi-led government’s inability to move forward in the reform process — which some elements in the ruling majority actually oppose, seeing it as a threat to their interests. As talks between political factions have not led to concrete results so far, Sadr has seen an opportunity to mobilise the Iraqi masses and push for more audacious measures. After having a member of his own political bloc, Baha al-A’raji (PM deputy), arrested on corruption and embezzlement charges, he disavowed the corrupt officers in his movement and is currently going to investigate how they have caused corruption.
Looking at the causes that may have led Sadr to such a steadfast return to public life, it has been suggested that he hopes to prevent other Shia groups from asserting their influence in the country, on both a political and a military level. After a government reshuffle was proposed, factions have been in disagreement over how this is to be done: while one side prefers the ministries to be chosen by political parties, another side, led by Sadr, asserts that parties should not interfere. Sadr has also threatened the current government with a vote of no-confidence if no agreement is reached within 45 days. It is also worth noting that Sadr does not oppose Abadi, but he thinks he should take the chance to promote reforms before it’s too late.
How is Sadr’s comeback to be evaluated? This week, the third demonstration led by the Shia leaexpected to be held, which threatens to storm the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital. There are mixed feelings in the Iraqi street regarding Sadr’s role. Some support his push for change, frustrated at Abadi government’s poor performance in terms of reforms.
Others, however, are afraid that if a breach in security occurs during the protests, it will undermine the rule of law and set a precedent that Sadr is taking the law into his own hands. This is why some of the Green Zone residents have allegedly left the area lest the situation gets out of control. Despite being characterised by some clearly populist motifs, Sadr’s pledge to fight against corruption and for the sake of the most vulnerable classes of Iraqi society can function as an incentive for the large-scale reforms proposed by Abadi. At the same time, though, Sadr’s uncompromising stances may lead to political stalemate in a country that still needs to recapture the remaining areas under Daesh control.
His call for a more transparent and efficient administration, then, can be beneficial as long as his long-term vision does not hinder the current government’s activity, given the delicate stage the country is going through.
Stefano Freyr Castiglione is an Arab media analyst at Integrity UK
Paul had called Pakistan “an uncertain ally” and other lawmakers expressed concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, commitment to fighting terrorist organisations and co-operation in the Afghanistan peace process.
However, they generally supported the sale, saying the South Asian state needs to modernise its air force and counter-terrorism activities.
Republican Senator Bob Corker said he would use his power as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to bar the use of any US funds for the deal.
In a statement, Corker said, “Prohibiting a taxpayer subsidy sends a much-needed message to Pakistan that it needs to change its behaviour, but preventing the purchase of US aircraft would do more harm than good by paving the way for countries like Russia and China to sell to Pakistan while also inhibiting greater co-operation on counterterrorism.”
The US identified Pakistan as a key partner in its war against terror following the September 11, 2001, attacks and spent billions of dollars on military aid to help the country fight insurgents. But there is growing consternation in Washington about continuing with the same level of assistance unless Pakistan provides evidence it is using the funds effectively to eliminate militants.
Nuclear ‘programme not within ICJ ambit’: Pakistan has decided not to participate in the ongoing oral hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague but instead submitted a detailed counter-memorial in the case filed against it by the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), with which Pakistan does not have diplomatic relations, Internews reports.
In a statement, the foreign office says the court should adjudge and declare that the RMI’s claims against Pakistan are neither within the jurisdiction of the court nor are admissible, a report published in The News daily said yesterday.
Pakistan has submitted a written response to the court in the form of a counter-memorial, seeking dismissal of the RMI’s suit for lack of the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the RMI’s claims and the inadmissibility of its application. In its counter-memorial, the court has been conveyed that there is no dispute between Pakistan and the RMI nor it ever suffered any damage caused by Pakistan directly or indirectly. Earlier, the RMI had filed suits with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against all the nine Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) of the world. The foreign office spokesman said: “Pakistan’s counter-memorial emphasises that Pakistan’s nuclear programme is a matter of its national defense and security which falls exclusively within its domestic jurisdiction and is therefore not to be called into question by any court including the ICJ.”