The Russian Nuclear Horn Upgrades Her Nukes

Russian army soon to get new nuclear weapons: Putin

Foreign10 hours ago BY Agencies

MOSCOW: The Russian military will soon receive new nuclear weapons, which are far ahead of any foreign designs, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

Speaking at a meeting in Sochi, Putin said delivery of the new Avangard hypersonic vehicle will begin next year, while the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile will enter duty in 2020.

The Avangard and the Sarmat were among an array of new nuclear weapons Putin presented in March.

The Russian leader said then that the Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. The Russian leader added that the weapon can change both its course and its altitude en route to a target, making it “absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defense means.”

Putin noted that Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 Celsius (3,632 Fahrenheit) resulting from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.

“It heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball,” he said in March.

The Sarmat is intended to replace the Soviet-designed Voyevoda, the world’s heaviest ICBM that is known as “Satan” in the West and which carries 10 nuclear warheads.

Putin said in March that Sarmat weighs 200 metric tons (220 tons) and has a higher range than Satan, allowing it to fly over the North or the South Poles and strike targets anywhere in the world. He added that Sarmat also carries a bigger number of nuclear warheads, which are more powerful than the ones on Satan.

Putin said the new ICBM accelerates faster than its predecessor, making it harder for the enemy to intercept in its most vulnerable phase after the launch. He also said Sarmat could carry an array of warheads capable of dodging missile defenses.

Speaking Friday at a meeting with the top brass in Sochi that wrapped up a series of such conferences with military leaders this week, Putin said Russia’s new nuclear weapons far surpass any foreign designs.

“These unique weapons systems are years and, perhaps, even decades ahead of any foreign analogues,” he said. “They have rendered many expensive, I would say highly expensive foreign systems, useless and outdated.”

Putin emphasized that two other new systems unveiled in March — the Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the laser weapon called Peresvet — have already been put on duty with the units of Russia’s Southern Military District, which are developing tactics of their use.

Mig-31 fighter jets carrying the massive Kinzhal missiles flew over Red Square during the Victory Day parade earlier this month.

During his March presentation Putin also mentioned a nuclear-powered global range cruise missile and an underwater drone designed to strike coastal facilities with a heavy nuclear weapon. Officials have been coy about their deployment prospects.

The Kremlin has conducted a sweeping arms modernization program amid tensions with the West over the fighting in Ukraine, Syria and other disputes.

History Says Expect The Sixth Seal In New York (Revelation 6:12)

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If the past is any indication, New York can be hit by an earthquake, claims John Armbruster, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Based on historical precedent, Armbruster says the New York City metro area is susceptible to an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 once a century.

According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.

A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.

Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.

There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan’s 125th St. – which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.

There’s another fault line on Dyckman St. and one in Dobbs Ferry in nearby Westchester County.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” explained Skyes after the study was published.

He adds: “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”

“Considering population density and the condition of the region’s infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact,” says the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation on its website.

Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

“I would expect some people to be killed,” he notes.

The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale. (ANI)

Babylon the Great Prepares to Deal with the Antichrist

See the source imageAfter upset Iraqi vote, US prepares to embrace a former foe

Originally published May 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm Updated May 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fourteen years after Muqtada al-Sadr’s militias fought American troops, the United States is preparing to work hand in hand with the charismatic Shiite cleric and his movement, hoping to find common cause in curtailing Iran’s influence in the wake of an upset Iraqi election.

Like many Iraqis, Washington was caught off guard by the election, in which a coalition organized by al-Sadr took the largest share of the parliamentary vote. Although al-Sadr, who didn’t run himself, won’t become prime minister, his movement will have an outsize role in building the next government and determining the course of Iraq’s future.

Can the U.S. really set aside the past and embrace a cleric whose Mahdi Army killed U.S. and Iraqi troops and was accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing Sunni Iraqis? The tentative answer is yes.

U.S. officials involved in Iraq policy said President Donald Trump’s administration was cautiously optimistic that al-Sadr, having evolved over the years into a populist, corruption-fighting leader, could herald the formation of a broad-based and inclusive government that tolerates a continuing American presence in the country.

Al-Sadr has turned away from his previous alignment with Iran. U.S. officials believe that will make it more difficult for Tehran to install an Iran-friendly government in Baghdad. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss Iraq’s election publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said recent public messages from al-Sadr bode positively for U.S. interests — such as finishing off the Islamic State group, a common enemy of the U.S. and al-Sadr’s militia. In addition to vowing to respect Iraq’s constitution, al-Sadr has emphasized Iraqi sovereignty and the need for a balanced foreign policy that limits Iran’s influence, as well as his ability to work with secularists and liberals such as Iraq’s communist party.

“If he practices what he says — if a former adversary embraces your objectives — one should respond to that, but be cautious until you see changes on the ground,” Khalilzad said. “If he’s willing to engage, we should be prepared to engage as well.”

Publicly, the Trump administration has said little about the success of al-Sadr’s slate of candidates, in part because the vote count hasn’t been finalized and a new coalition government has yet to be formed. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she didn’t want “to get ahead of the process and presume how things are going to look in the end.”

“The overarching theme right now is congratulations to Iraq for holding democratic and free elections,” Nauert said.

Yet in its limited comments, the State Department has also dropped buzzwords that signal tacit acceptance of al-Sadr and his agenda, voicing U.S. support for a “nationalist government” that is “sovereign” and leaves “sectarian divisions behind.”

In many ways, al-Sadr’s surprising political climb mirrors that of Trump and other nationalist figures in Europe, Asia and the Arab world who have tapped into the populist impulses coursing through world politics. In fact, even before this week’s vote, some Iraqis had drawn their own comparisons between al-Sadr and Trump.

With an extraordinary ability to work the media and attract millions to his fiery rallies, al-Sadr railed against corruption and threats from outside the country’s borders. He capitalized on his outsider status and led his coalition to electoral success in a low-turnout election, securing support beyond his traditional Shiite base by allying with secularists and Iraq’s communist party.

It was that populist message that won over Abu Ali Sweirawi, 50, who backed al-Sadr’s candidates in the election. He blamed Iraq’s current government for failing to provide basic services like health care, employment, trash collection and affordable education.

“If it were not for Sadr, we would not finish off these corrupt politicians,” he said, adding that al-Sadr would “form a new government, and God willing, we will see good results.”

For al-Sadr, it’s a striking about-face from 2003, when he led a bloody uprising against American and coalition forces in Iraq. Yet behind the scenes, the U.S. has been in quiet contact with al-Sadr and his camp since at least 2007, several current and former U.S. officials said.

Peter Feaver, who helped draft Iraq policy in the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2007, said the U.S. had long recognized that, for better or worse, al-Sadr did have a legitimate political base.

“If the leopard could change its spots, then there might be some political future,” said Feaver, now a Duke University professor. “He was young enough that it was possible.

In an AP interview this week, al-Sadr’s spokesman, Salah al-Obeidi, indicated his group had moderated its views. He pointed out that the incumbent prime minister, Haidar al-Abadi, nurtured military and diplomatic ties with Washington during his four years in office.

“We did not have any problems with that,” al-Obeidi said.

The election comes as the Trump administration is keenly focused on opposing Iran and preventing what the U.S. sees as the Shiite-led nation’s malign influence in the Arab world. Underscoring that concern, Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force, was in Baghdad this week talking with politicians about the formation of a new coalition government.

Al-Sadr once sought refuge in Iran when the U.S. was looking to capture him. But more recently he has reached out to Iranian adversaries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, even meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year.

___

Associated Press writers Philip Issa, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Susannah George in Baghdad contributed to this report.

The Small Horn of Sadr Breaks from Iran (Daniel 8:3)

Sadr’s Victory In Iraq And The Fading Influence Of Iran

May 18, 2018

Jalil Roshandel

Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, seen in the poster, celebrate at Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Iraq, early Monday, May 14, 2018

The surprising victory of an electoral bloc controlled by the influential Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq’s parliamentary elections May 12 can help reduce Iran’s influence in Iraq.

Iran-backed Shi’ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc came in second place, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, once seen as the front-runner, finished third.

Even though, Sadr cannot become prime minister as he was not a candidate in the election himself, but by controlling 54 seats in the next parliament it is very likely that Sadr can influence the formation of the new government and the selection of a new prime minister.

The victory of the young cleric means in fact that Iran will lose some of its influence in the neighboring country.

Sadr, the son of an influential Iraqi ayatollah murdered in the 1990s because of his opposition to the former President Saddam Hussein, was a close ally of Iran in the past, however toward the end of Nuri al-Maliki’s era as prime minister, he distanced himself from Tehran. The Mahdi Army a militia group that he created in 2003 was one of the reasons for his dispute with Iran. He used his forces a few times to challenge Prime Minister Maleki who was a close ally of Iran.

Additionally, in contrast to Iran that still supports the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Sadr has been for his removal from power.

Sadr slowly has turned into a more complex figure. In the recent election, he presented himself as the supporter of the poor and dispossessed and entered into alliance with Communists, Kurds, and Arab Sunnis.

In an interview with the London based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Sadr said last year that he was about to create a bloc with “independent technocrats” in order to serve his country.

The young cleric did not leave any doubt about his political divorce from Iran when in 2017 he visited the Iran’s regional foe Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

With the victory of Sadr in the parliamentary election in Iraq, now, the door has been opened for Saudis to increase their involvement in Iraqi politics at Tehran’s expense.

Iran has invested in multiple groups in Iraq. Shi’ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri and the former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who respectively came second and fourth in the parliamentary elections. Certainly, they can still pose a challenge to Sadr.

After the formation of the new Iraqi government, the foreign policy and relations with the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia will be on the agenda. Considering the election results, it is very likely that Iraq which has been influenced by its neighbor Iran since the fall of Saddam Hussein, will move away from Tehran.

The extent of this change will depend on many factors, including how far Iran’s regional rivals can influence the new Iraqi government.

At the same time, after its withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, Washington will be focused on minimizing Tehran’s influence in the region. Since Iran’s allies are not the winners of the recent election in Iraq, the United States might have the opportunity to play a more significant role in the country.

The emergence of the Islamic State allowed Iran to increase its influence in Iraq, and now after its defeat, Tehran’s role is fading fast.

Quickening the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Here’s how quickly Iran could build a nuclear weapon

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President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that reinstates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

• The Iran nuclear deal was designed to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, but now that President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the pact, there’s a chance it could fall apart and the Iranian regime could move toward becoming a nuclear power.

• Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hasn’t said exactly what his government plans to do in response to Trump’s decision, but warned Iran could resume enriching uranium within weeks if it wished to.

• and was perhaps only a few months away from developing the required bomb fuel.

The Iran nuclear deal was designed to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, but now that President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the pact, there’s a chance it could fall apart and the Iranian regime could move toward becoming a nuclear power.

There was no credible evidence Iran was violating the terms of the deal, but Trump, among others, felt it didn’t go far enough in terms of preventing Tehran from becoming a nuclear power.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hasn’t said exactly what his government plans to do in response to Trump’s decision, but warned Iran could resume enriching uranium within weeks if it wished to.

Prior to the 2015 deal, Tehran had enriched uranium to 20% purity — weapons-grade uranium is roughly 90% purity. As part of the deal, Iran agreed to reduce its uranium stockpile by 98% and limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%. It also agreed to reduce its number of centrifuges — tube-shaped machines that help enrich uranium — by two-thirds.

The deal was essentially designed to ensure it would take Iran at least 12 months to gather enough bomb fuel necessary for a nuclear weapon, but there are concerns that if the deal fully crumbles, Tehran could ramp up nuclear activities and develop one much faster.

Jon Wolfsthal, who oversaw all aspects of arms control, nonproliferation and nuclear policy on the National Security Council in the Obama administration, expressed alarm in this regard on Twitter.

He tweeted, “As of yesterday, Iran is one year from being able to build a weapon. Now, all bets are off thanks to Trump. The pace is now set in Tehran, not Washington.”

Before the deal, experts believed Iran had the technical capacity to become a nuclear power and was perhaps only three to four months away from developing the required bomb fuel.

Iran had roughly 20,000 centrifuges prior to the pact, but the agreement saw that number go down to approximately 6,000, and it was primarily only allowed to keep outdated models.

If Tehran reneges on the deal — which includes other global powers as well — now that Trump has pulled the US out if it, Iran could probably get the roughly 13,000 centrifuges it dismantled and put into storage up and running rather quickly, effectively jump-starting its nuclear program.

Still, Iran might not know how to actually build a nuclear weapon

Based on what was known about Iran’s nuclear capabilities before the deal this means it could theoretically develop bomb fuel within months — if it chooses to go this route. Some experts have suggested it would take Iran at least eight to 10 months to get to this point.

With that said, there’s also evidence Iran knows little about actually building a nuclear weapon, according to a 2015 report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and there’s a debate over whether it has developed the missile technology to successfully deliver a warhead.

Hence, there are varying opinions on the length of time it would take for Iran to develop a nuke.

Siegfried Hecker, a Stanford professor and expert on nuclear weapons, told Business Insider it would take Iran “at least one year.”

“It would take Iran at least one year because they would have to re-constitute their full uranium centrifuge enrichment capabilities and then build the bomb,” Hecker said. “At this point, producing sufficient quantities of enriched uranium for the bomb fuel presents the greatest obstacle.”

Members of the Trump administration have also suggested Iran has no desire to race toward developing a nuclear weapon.

“Iran wasn’t racing to a weapon before the deal,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations committee last month. “There is no indication that I’m aware of that if that deal no longer existed that they would immediately turn to racing to create a nuclear weapon today.”

In short, the length of time it would take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon depends on an array of technological and geopolitical factors. But Trump’s decision arguably gives Tehran far more wiggle room on this issue than it has had in years.