The Sixth Seal Long Overdue (Revelation 6)

Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

By MARGO NASH

Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.

MARGO NASH

The Antichrist Breaks Rank From the Iran Horn

Place and role of Hezbollah in Syrian war

One of the pro-Iranian actors involved in the Syrian civil war is Hezbollah. The organization has been involved in the Syrian war since the very beginning.

Whereas previously Hezbollah could gain favor with a particular part of the non-Shiite population of Lebanon through confrontation with Israel, now the participation of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict was ambiguously interpreted in Lebanon and affected the sympathies of the Lebanese.

Many Lebanese politicians and public persons condemned Hezbollah and encouraged not to fight against the Syrian people. It is noteworthy that Hezbollah has long ceased to be a marginal pro-Iranian group and right now it has serious control over Lebanon’s domestic and foreign policy.

On the one hand, the war in Syria is a tribute to Iran’s loyalty; on the other hand, it is a guarantee of their survival. If Assad’s regime falls in Syria, Hezbollah will be cut off the weapon supplies from Iran.

Militarized groups

Together with the Iranian forces, Hezbollah is also involved in the development and training of militarized groups, consisting mostly of Shiites and Alawites. One of such groups is Jayshal-Sha’bi. Although the military capacity of these groups remains in doubt, Assad’s regime uses them mainly for security and patrolling.

In the Syrian battles, Hezbollah suffers significant losses. Hezbollah’s commanders, such as Abdel Hamid Mahmoud Shri, Ali al-Hadi al-Ashiq, Mustafa Badreddine were killed during the war.

It is noteworthy that Hezbollah’s losses in Syria far exceed its losses during the war with Israel. So if during the 2006 war Hezbollah lost 250-500 fighters, in Syria their losses are already about 2,000 fighters.

In general, Hezbollah fighters’ discipline and level of preparation are higher and better than the Shiite militants from Iraq, or certain military units of the Syrian army have. In certain cases, Hezbollah’s commanders also obtained tactical control over small units of Syrian military forces during offensive operations.

For example, as it happened in Homs. The American side is of the view that Hezbollah has deployed up to 7,000 fighters in Syria.

Taking into account Hezbollah’s relatively modest mobilization resources, it is a massive figure for this organization. Besides participation in the military actions on the regime’s side and organization of ethnic cleanings in favor of the regime, Hezbollah took part in a series of systematic abuse of Sunnis, in particular, when they were passing through checkpoints.

It is noteworthy that Hezbollah has long ceased to be a marginal pro-Iranian group and right now it has serious control over Lebanon’s domestic and foreign policy

Ali Hajizade

At first sight

Notwithstanding all success of Hezbollah and the fact that Bashar Assad and Iran are favorable to them, the organization has quite strain relations with certain Iraqi militants, close to the Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada-al-Sadr. Although, at first sight, all Shiite groups are under the patronage of Iran and bow to its will, in fact, sometimes, it is not so straightforward.

Sadr’s supporters not only refused to join Hezbollah, but they also started to act like the Hezbollah’s opponents on a number of issues. Muqtada-al-Sadr has its position and point of view different from the position of other Shiite groups and Iran, regarding the Syrian conflict and he has spoken publicly about it.

Sadr is, in fact, the only major Shiite leader, who called upon Bashar Assad to step down and end the bloodshed. For Sadr it also an opportunity to show Tehran that he has no intention to become a puppet in the hands of puppeteers from Tehran.

It is also possible that competing with Hezbollah, Sadr tries to reclaim a unique role in the post-war architecture of Syria. However, the positions of Hezbollah in Syria are strong so far. Using the Syrian civil war and many factors, Hezbollah, which had been fighting only Israel before, could increase its influence in the region.

Recently, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said that “no one can force them to leave Syria.” It can suggest Hezbollah is intended to take root in Syria and subsequently apply in certain Syrian districts the same scenario as in southern Lebanon.

However, like a coin, Hezbollah’s success has an opposite side. Getting distracted by Syria, Hezbollah risks being taken by surprise in case of the Israeli military operation.

___________________________

Ali Hajizade is a political analyst and founder editor in chief of thegreatmiddleeast.com. He tweets @AHajizade.

Last Update: Thursday, 18 October 2018 KSA 18:03 – GMT 15:03

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English’s point-of-view.

The Growing Risk of Nuclear War (Revelation 15)

U.S.-China Nuclear War Threat Is Greater Than Most People Realize, Expert Warns

By Jason Lemon On 10/17/18 at 4:57 PM

It is more likely than in the past that China and the U.S. could enter into a military conflict, and the possibility of such a battle going nuclear is higher than many analysts believe, a security expert from Georgetown University has warned.

Caitlin Talmadge, who is an associate professor of security studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, laid out a grim picture of how military escalation could play out between Washington and Beijing in an article for Foreign Affairs’ November-December issue.

“The odds of such a confrontation going nuclear are higher than most policymakers and analysts think,” she wrote. However, she also pointed out that “a war between the two countries remains unlikely, but…no longer seems as implausible as it once did.”

According to Talmadge, most U.S. and Chinese analysts have generally dismissed the possibility of a nuclear confrontation altogether. However, looking at the Pentagon’s preferred war tactics in recent conflicts, the professor pointed out that typical U.S. strategy involves punching “deep into enemy territory in order to rapidly knock out the opponent’s key military assets at minimal cost.”

“The Pentagon developed this formula in wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Serbia, none of which was a nuclear power,” Talmadge wrote.

In China, nuclear and other more conventional military weapons are closely intertwined, meaning the U.S. would likely purposefully or inadvertently target Beijing’s nuclear capabilities early on. Recognizing this possibility, the Chinese may consider using their nuclear arsenal before it could be taken out.

U.S. Navy personnel raise their flag during bilateral maritime exercise between the Philippine navy and U.S. Navy aboard the USS John S. McCain in the South China Sea near waters claimed by Beijing, on June 28, 2014. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

Talmadge suggested that such a scenario could arise if Beijing were to move to invade Taiwan. A conflict could also erupt over territorial rights in the South China Sea, where Beijing has staked claim to what much of the world sees as international waters. Tensions have remained high between U.S. and Chinese naval patrols within the region.

Although Talmadge maintains that such military scenarios are not highly likely, the risk has increased as tensions between China and the U.S. have escalated. “This sobering reality should encourage leaders on both sides to find ways of resolving political, economic and military disputes without resorting to a war that could rapidly turn catastrophic for the region and the world,” she concluded her article.

The warning comes as the Trump administration has raised concern about the growing threat from China, arguing that it is working to interfere in U.S. elections. While many security and intelligence experts have pointed to Beijing’s ambitions for greater dominance, analysts have also cautioned that little evidence exists that the Chinese are working to interfere directly in U.S. polls.

President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China’s President Xi Jinping, in Beijing, on November 9, 2017. The Trump administration has raised concern about the growing threat from China. Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images

But experts agree that China is working to interfere domestically in the U.S. in other ways.

Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, also said earlier this month that “unfortunately, the Chinese are back,” according to Reuters. He said Chinese hackers are now “the most predominant threat actors we see threatening institutions all over this country and Western Europe.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray also warned last week that China presents a “very significant threat” to the U.S. and its interests while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “I would tell you that China in many ways represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face,” he said.

In July, Michael Collins, the deputy assistant director of the CIA’s East Asia Mission Center, told the Aspen Security Forum that the threat from Beijing is the most serious currently faced by the U.S. He argued that China’s current actions in the world could be defined as “fundamentally a cold war.”

Increasing Violence Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

The file photo shows smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike outside the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

ICC prosecutor ‘alarmed’ by Gaza violence

Wed Oct 17, 2018 05:01PM

HomeMiddle EastPalestine

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says she is “alarmed” by violence at the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied territories, threatening to take an action.

The warning comes on the heels of Israeli aerial assaults on Gaza that killed a Palestinian youth.

The Israeli military claimed that its fresh air raids came “in response to the rockets fired from Gaza” onto occupied territories overnight. The claim was, however, rejected in a joint statement by Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups.

The Hague-based court has been conducting a preliminary probe into crimes in the Palestinian territories since 2015.

The probe covers Tel Aviv’s actions during the regime’s full-scale war of 2014 against the Gaza Strip.

Bensouda said in a statement on Wednesday that she was „alarmed by the continued violence, perpetrated by actors on both sides, at the Gaza border with Israel.“

„As prosecutor seized of the situation in Palestine, I therefore feel compelled to remind all parties that the situation remains under preliminary examination by my office,“ she added.

„I continue to keep a close eye on the developments on the ground and will not hesitate to take any appropriate action.“

Tensions have been running high along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington’s relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 190 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014 and ended in late August the same year. The Israeli military aggression killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and injured over 11,100 others.

Antichrist Goes After the US Pawn

Iraqi Vice President and leader of the State of Law coalition, Nouri Al-Maliki [File photo]

Shia leader threatens to investigate former Iraqi prime minister for corruption

October 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm

The Iraqi Shia cleric and prominent political leader Muqtada Al-Sadr has threatened to investigate former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki for corruption, Arabi21.com reported yesterday.

Sadr’s Spokesman Sheikh Salah Al-Obeidi said the “thieves” would be held accountable, in addition to Al-Maliki’s men, “who brought back the thieves to Iraq and covered up their corruption”.

“The abundance of corruption crimes during the past years does not mean that crimes committed against the Iraqis would be abandoned,” he announced.

The spokesman concluded: “There is a lot to reveal in the coming days.”

These remarks came after a tweet posted by the head of the National Movement for Development and Reform party, Jamal Al-Karbouli, in which he called for the people who preach morals to teach themselves before teaching others.

The veiled comment was directed at Al-Sadr after he launched an appeal calling for people to ignore the sectarian partition of the government and allowing the designate prime minister to choose technocrats for his government.