A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011

By Bob Hennelly

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

The Small Horn Breaks from the Large Horn (Daniel 8)

ANALYSIS: Muqtada al-Sadr and rising tensions between Iran and Iraq

Moqtada al-Sadr addresses his supporters at the grand mosque of Kufa on September 21, 2018. (AFP)

Economic and political tensions are rising between Iran and Iraq. One of the major contributors is the souring of Muqtada al-Sadr’s personal relationship with Iran and, to a lesser extent, Iraq’s cooperation with the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States this month.

One of the major contributors is the souring of Muqtada al-Sadr’s personal relationship with Iran and, to a lesser extent, Iraq’s cooperation with the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States this month.

For much of his career as the leader of the Sadr Trend, Muqtada al-Sadr has had a very close relationship with the Iranian leadership – both political and religious. Al-Sadr rose to prominence opposing the Americans in Iraq after the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein. He has been their main operative in Iraq for much of the time since.

In the Iraqi national elections earlier this year, al-Sadr positioned himself as the champion of Iraqi nationalism and the candidate that would lead Iraq out from under everyone’s skirts and be truly independent and self-sufficient.

In a historically low turnout election boycotted by the overwhelming majority of Iraqis because of fears of corruption, al-Sadr was swept to victory by his loyal followers who voted by almost all by themselves.

After his surprise victory, the people were hopeful that his pre-election rhetoric would indicate what al-Sadr would actually do now that he was in legitimate power.

Sadly, the first thing al-Sadr did was to combine with the Iranian parties to form a coalition government. Together, these two factions enjoy a coalition that makes-up almost one half of parliament – almost enough to form a government apart from any other help.

Iran was delighted with the result and al-Sadr was their man in Baghdad – or so they thought. Before long, al-Sadr showed a few streaks of independence. He was (and almost certainly still is) willing to fully cooperate with Iran but now on his own terms and timetables, not Tehran’s.

Iran has balked and has further signaled to al-Sadr that he had better toe the line. To that end, Tehran has begun to independently fund Ahl al-Haq, the heretofore Sadrist militant arm. Now these militants work directly for Tehran and not al-Sadr.

After his surprise victory, the people were hopeful that his pre-election rhetoric would indicate what al-Sadr would actually do now that he was in legitimate power. (AFP)

Signals to Tehran

In response, al-Sadr has started a process of subtle signals to Tehran. Curiously, imports from Iran have been turned back at the Iraqi border crossings across Iraq. Dozens of shipments food stuffs and other comestibles have been rejected by the Iraqi inspectors as “substandard.”

This is unheard of and very new. Perhaps, Al-Sadr knows that the Iranian economy depends on regular and consistent sales to one of its largest trading partners, Iraq.

Further, Iranians have insisted on hard currency from Iraq to pay its light bill. Iraq buys electricity from Iranian power stations to supplement Iraq’s chronic electricity shortage. Unable to pay in dollars because of the US sanctions, Iraq offered its own currency (the dinar) as payment.

Iran refused and is insisting on Euros, at least. This situation is as of yet unresolved largely because al-Sadr may be tweaking the regime into both giving him the independence that he wants and the funding from Tehran he needs at the same time.

Other subtle signs of cracking in the long relationship are showing-up in other ways as well. The new Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, is trying very hard to finish the formulation of his government. The important ministries of Defense and Interior along with six others are still unfilled.

There was to be a vote on Monday on the slate offered by Abdul-Mahdi but it was postponed by leadership. The candidate for the Interior is the former leader of the Public Mobilization Force (PMF). The PMF was the military arm of the successful fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Moqtada al-Sadr (L) during a news conference with Iraqi prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on May 20, 2018. (Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via Reuters)

‘Totally independent’

Since those victories, the PMF has been entirely infiltrated by Iranian influence and is currently serving Iran’s needs on the borders rather than Iraq’s. Recent tweets by this leader reflect that he wishes be “totally independent from the government” (that is widely interpreted to mean, ‘serving Tehran instead’).

The PMF figures prominently into the friction. It is the PMF that facilitates this action by its control of the Syrian and Iranian border crossings into and out of Iraq in the North – where Iranian movement of oil, money and other necessities takes place to and from Damascus.

As observed by the State Department in imposing sanctions against Iran earlier this month, “The United States sanctioned an international network by which the Iranian regime and Russia are providing millions of barrels of oil to the Assad regime in exchange for the movement of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, and for onward transfer to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezballah.”

With his objections to the PMF leader taking over the Ministry of the Interior, al-Sadr signaled to Iran that Iranian influence in Iraq must be filtered through him and not independently through some other, well-placed minister in Iraq.

As the Iranian economy continues to spiral downward, the Iranian rial becomes worth less and less each day. Understanding this, al-Sadr is turning the screws on his Iranian patrons to give him more leash. For now, if Iran wants to continue to exert influence over Iraq through al-Sadr, they may have to see it his way.

However, Tehran and al-Sadr have resisted any outward detente, of any sort.

Last Update: Thursday, 29 November 2018 KSA 08:47 – GMT 05:47

Babylon the Great Withdraws from Nuclear Treaty

US makes case for withdrawal from missile treaty with Russia

Maria Danilova, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Russia has for years been developing, testing and deploying a missile that violates a landmark nuclear weapons treaty, a senior White House official said Tuesday, making a case for the administration’s planned withdrawal from the accord ahead of a scheduled meeting between the leaders of the two nations.

The nuclear-capable missile, the official said, can reach over 300 miles (500 kilometers), in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed amid Cold War hostilities in 1987 and which the Trump administration is now seeking to exit.

Russia developed the weapon between 2000 to 2010 and completed testing by 2015, the official said. But when questioned about it in recent years, Moscow officials have denied violating the treaty and demanded to know how the U.S. detected the apparent violation, the official said.

The official said the Trump administration believes it was Russia’s intention to keep the U.S. constrained by the treaty while they developed and deployed the illegal missiles that threaten Europe. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive foreign policy issue.

The future of the treaty is likely to come up this week when President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 Summit in Argentina. Administration officials have said it is time to withdraw from an accord that is outdated, has prevented the U.S. from developing new weapons and has already been violated with this Russian missile, the 9M729.

It comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Trump suggested Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post that he may cancel the sit-down with Putin over Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian naval ships last weekend.

Russia has denied that it has violated the treaty, saying the 9M729 has not been tested for the range that would make it prohibited. Moscow has also alleged the United States has also breached the accord.

Putin has warned that a U.S. decision to withdraw from the treaty would destabilize Europe and prompt Russia to „respond in kind.“ On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated that position.

„We won’t be able to turn a blind eye to the potential deployment of new U.S. missiles on the territories where they may threaten Russia,“ Ryabkov said.

The senior U.S. official said the administration, which is seeking support for withdrawal from NATO allies, can still reverse its plan to pull out if Russia acknowledges its violations and takes corrective steps.

Iran Prepares for World War

Khamenei calls on army to increase its capability

Iran should increase its military capability and readiness to ward off enemies, the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday.

His comments came in a meeting with Iranian navy commanders, Reuters reported, citing Khamenei’s official website.

“Increase your capability and readiness as much as you can so Iran’s enemies will not even dare threaten these great people,” Khamenei said, though he also stressed, “The Islamic Republic does not intend to start war with anyone.”

The Supreme Leader has upped his rhetoric in recent days. On Sunday, Khamenei took to Twitter where he belittled Israel and asserted that it “is clearly weaker than 10, 20 years ago.”

On Monday, he took to Twitter again to blast both Israel and the US.

Today, to hell with the US and Zionist regime for threatening the Iranian nation. Their threats and atrocities have so far failed and will continue to fail; the sanctions will also be defeated by the grace of resistance,” he wrote.

While his comments on Wednesday’s do not mention a specific “enemy”, Reuters noted that tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have increased in recent months as both countries compete for power and influence across the region.

The two countries support opposite sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen and different political factions in Iraq and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom’s neighbors.

Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.

Last Friday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards detained a Saudi Arabian fishing boat and arrested its crew.

Preparing for the Battle Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

IDF’s largest battalion drills urban fighting in preparation for Gaza war

By ANNA AHRONHEIM

The IDF’s Kfir Brigade has completed a period of brigade-level drills simulating maneuvering and fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the IDF announced on Thursday.

The drill was the IDF’s 11th brigade-level exercise to take place in 2018 as part of the military’s work on improving it’s readiness.

The troops trained on a variety of scenarios in the southern front, including a ground maneuver in Gaza and dealing with troops who simulated Hamas fighters. A week before the brigade drill, platoon-level exercises were held to test the troops’ ability to fight in densely populated and urban areas and the challenges of fighting in a civilian environment.

In addition, the Haruv reconnaissance unit operated for the first time in its new format, in which the soldiers of the commando unit underwent specialized training in fighting in an urban area inside a civilian environment and other capabilities.

Troops in the Haruv reconnaissance unit are divided into specialized teams, which focus on fighting in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, with an emphasis on tunnel warfare. The unit’s squads have state-of-the art combat equipment and robots, as well as guns specifically made for fighting in tunnels.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the brigade during the week and discussed the process of improving its operational readiness in preparation for the next war, with special emphasis on the special capabilities of the brigade and the Haruv reconnaissance unit in particular.

The unit was resurrected by the IDF last year after being dismantled 42 years ago and absorbed into the IDF’s largest infantry brigade, the Kfir brigade, which has five battalions: Nachshon Battalion, Shimshon Battalion, Haruv Battalion, Duchifat Battalion, and Netzah Yehuda Battalion.

Established in 2005 as a response to the need to combat Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank, it specializes in fighting on both the West Bank and Gaza fronts. The brigade has recently trained in fighting the enemy underground in sewers as well as fighting in high-rises and densely populated areas.

“During the training period, we maintained the training on a high level, while creating a simulation as close to reality as possible,” said the commander of the Kfir Brigade, Col. Zion Ratzon. “I am confident that now, after two months of intensive training that has also trained the abilities of both the fighters and commanders, that we are a more capable unit for the next campaign and are more prepared for the enemy we will meet in the arenas in which we operate.”

The IDF returned to 17 weeks of consecutive training last year, an increase from the 13 weeks soldiers trained for over the past 15 years. As part of the training program, the IDF has invested hundreds of millions of shekels into upgrading training facilities in the Golan Heights, Jordan Valley and southern Israel and adapting them to the challenges facing troops on various fronts.

While the defense establishment does not foresee any conflict breaking out in the near future, tensions have risen on both the northern or southern fronts.

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with elite commando troops during a major ten-day brigade-level drill, in which troops trained for a variety of scenarios, including fighting in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and in the North against Hezbollah.

In the North, the growing threat posed by Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the building of missile factories in Lebanon for its proxy terrorist group Hezbollah has led to significant concerns for Israel.

In addition to having rebuilt their arsenal to have hundreds of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel, Hezbollah has changed from a terrorist group fighting guerrilla style to an army with battalions, brigades and over 40,000 fighters with immeasurable battlefield experience.

In the South, Hamas in the Gaza Strip has been engaged in three wars with Israel over the past ten years. Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, is believed to possess an arsenal of 10,000 rockets and mortar shells. It has once again grown close to Tehran, reconciling after Iran froze its financial support to Hamas after the group refused to support the Assad regime in 2012.

While the security establishment does not believe that Hamas currently seeks another conflict, the situation is fragile, especially given the worsening living conditions in the Strip.

Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal

image-546With Indian Point, are you radiologically ready?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

August 23rd, 2018 | News, News and Features

Just as there are plans in place for dealing with natural emergencies such as tropical and winter storms, readiness plans are developed for man-made emergencies, which includes radiological hazards.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power.

Nearly three million people live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of an operating nuclear power plant, including West Point, which is situated between 7-to-9 miles from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan of Westchester County.

Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, incidents at these plants are possible—and planned for.

If an accident at IPEC were to result in the potential or actual release of radiation, warning sirens in the area would be activated. Commercial and West Point media sources would broadcast Emergency Alert System  messages to advise you on protective measures.

Depending upon the scope and scale of the emergency, protective actions may include “shelter-in-place” or “evacuation” advisories. As radioactive materials rapidly decay and dissipate with distance, the most likely scenario for West Point personnel would be to take shelter rather than trying to evacuate.

If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, the following steps will keep you and your family safe during the emergency.

• Shelter. Go inside your home or the nearest building; choose an inside room with as few windows or doors as possible.

• Shut. Shut and lock all windows and doors to create a better seal; turn off heating or cooling ventilation systems. If at home, make sure the fireplace damper and all ventilation fans are closed.

• Listen. Local officials are your best source of information. If in an office, monitor your computer, television and phones; if at home, listen to your radio or television until you are told it is safe to leave the shelter or to evacuate.

For more details, consult the Orange County Indian Point Emergency Guide, available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2368/Indian-Point-Orange-Emergency-Guide-PDF, or call the West Point Emergency Manager at 845-938-7092.

Readiness, through education and preparation, is the best defense. Are you radiological ready?

Democrats Try to Take Away Trump’s Nuclear Option

Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup

Control of the House will give them ‚the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement.‘

By BRYAN BENDER 11/24/2018 07:15 AM EST

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats preparing to take over the House are aiming to roll back what they see as President Donald Trump’s overly aggressive nuclear strategy.

Their goals include eliminating money for Trump’s planned expansion of the U.S. atomic arsenal, including a new long-range ballistic missile and development of a smaller, battlefield nuclear bomb that critics say is more likely to be used in combat than a traditional nuke.

They also want to stymie the administration’s efforts to unravel arms control pacts with Russia. And they even aim to dilute Trump’s sole authority to order the use of nuclear arms, following the president’s threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea and other loose talk about doomsday weapons.

The incoming House majority will have lots of leverage, even with control of only one chamber in the Capitol, veterans of nuclear policy say. They point to precedents in which a Democratic-controlled House cut funding for Ronald Reagan’s MX nuclear missile and a Democratic-led Congress canceled the development of a new atomic warhead under George W. Bush.

They can block funding for weapon systems,“ said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington. „The Democrats’ ascendancy will prove a much-needed check on the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policy and approaches.“

Leading the charge is Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for setting defense policy through the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Smith has long criticized both President Barack Obama and Trump’s $1.2 trillion, 30-year plan to upgrade all three legs of the nuclear triad — land-based missiles, submarines and bombers — as both unaffordable and dangerous overkill.

He’s made it clear in recent days that revamping the nation’s nuclear strategy will be one of his top priorities come January, when he is widely expected to take the gavel of the largest committee in Congress.

„The rationale for the triad I don’t think exists anymore. The rationale for the numbers of nuclear weapons doesn’t exist anymore,“ Smith told the Ploughshares Fund, a disarmament group, at a recent gathering of the Democratic Party’s nuclear policy establishment.

The daylong conference included leading lawmakers, former National Security Council aides, peace activists and an ex-secretary of Defense, William Perry, who was once an architect of many of the nation’s nuclear weapons but is now a leading proponent for a major downsizing.

Arms control and disarmament groups see Smith’s emergence as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft a much more sensible approach to nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of a global conflict.

The mere appearance of a would-be Armed Services chairman at the recent gathering demonstrated how much circumstances have changed.

„I have never seen a chairman give nuclear policy such a high priority, have such personal expertise in the area, and be so committed to dramatic change,“ said Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund.

Cirincione served as a staffer to then-Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), who chaired the panel during the fierce debates over nuclear weapons policies in the 1980s, which he sees as an instructive period for today.

„I know that a Democratic House can have a major impact on nuclear policy,“ he said. „It is the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement to dangerous new policies. Democrats may not be able to enact new policies, but they can force compromises.“

High on the priority list is halting or delaying the development of a planned new nuclear bomb that would have less explosive power than a more traditional atomic bomb. The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review called for the so-called low-yield weapon last year.

Advocates assert that the weapon, to be launched from a submarine, will provide military commanders with more options and better deter nations such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran that are building up their own nuclear arsenals. Such a modest nuke would not destroy a city but would devastate a foreign army — and adversaries would have reason to fear that the U.S. might use it in a first strike.

But Smith, who will also influence the House Appropriations Committee’s recommendations for Pentagon funding, insists such a new weapon „brings us no advantage and it is dangerously escalating.“

„It just begins a new nuclear arms race with people just building nuclear weapons all across the board in a way that I think places us at greater danger,“ he told Ploughshares Fund.

Democrats are expected to revive legislation proposed earlier this fall in both the House and Senate to try to roll back the program.

There’s no such thing as a low-yield nuclear war,“ said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), one of the co-sponsors, who also gave his pitch at the Ploughshares Fund gathering this month. „Use of any nuclear weapon, regardless of its killing power, could be catastrophically destabilizing.“

Leading Democrats also have their sights on a new intercontinental ballistic missile that is under development as the future land-based leg of the nuclear triad. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is set to replace current ICBMs that are deployed in underground silos in Western states such as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.

„The ICBM is where the debate will focus,“ predicted Mieke Eoyang, vice president of national security at Third Way, a centrist think tank, and a former aide on the House Intelligence Committee.

One key argument will be cost, she added.

„People make the case for all three legs of the triad, but when you look at the budget situation, the Pentagon is going to have to make some tough choices,“ Eoyang said in an interview. „The modernization of the triad is a big-ticket item that comes over and above what current Defense Department needs are — at a time when budget pressures are coming the other way.“

Critics also argue that the ICBM has outlived its usefulness.

Perry, who served as Pentagon chief for President Bill Clinton, has argued that the land-based ICBM is the leg of the triad that is most prone to miscalculation and an accidental nuclear war. He said submarine- and aircraft-launched nuclear weapons would provide a sufficient deterrent on their own.

But not everyone thinks cutting one leg of the triad will be easy. They cite the political clout of defense contractors and their political supporters in both parties, including the so-called ICBM Caucus — especially in the Senate, which will remain under Republican control.

„They won’t be able to take on the triad,“ warned former Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, who chaired the national security and foreign affairs panel of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

But Tierney and others said the House can pursue other areas for reshaping nuclear policy — and force the Senate to take up their proposals.

One way is to revive legislation adopting a „no first use“ policy for nuclear weapons, declaring that a president could not order the use of nuclear weapons without a declaration of war from Congress.

„We want to avoid the miscalculation of stumbling into a nuclear war,“ Smith said. „And this is where I think the No First Use Bill is incredibly important: to send that message that we do not view nuclear weapons as a tool in warfare.“

The unfolding strategy will also rely on inserting new reporting requirements in defense legislation as a delaying tactic on some nuclear efforts or to compel the administration to reconsider its opposition to some arms control treaties.

While the president negotiates treaties and the Senate is vested with the constitutional authority to ratify them, the House also has some power to force the administration’s hand.

Trump, citing Russian violations, has threatened to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that Reagan signed with the then-Soviet Union in 1987. He recently sent national security adviser John Bolton to Moscow to relay the message.

But critics say the landmark treaty, which banned land-based missiles with ranges from 50 to 5,500 kilometers, is still worth trying to salvage with the Russians. And Democrats can try to force the Trump administration to curtail plans for a new cruise missile that would match the Russians.

The Democrats can put the cruise missile „back on its heels,“ Tierney said. „Sometimes they can delay, sometimes defeat.“

Democrats also worry that the Trump administration will opt to not renew the New START Treaty with Russia, which expires in early 2021. That pact, reached in 2010, mandates that each side can have no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons and requires regular inspections to ensure each side is complying.

Trump and his advisers „are opposed to multilateralism just based on principle,“ Smith told the crowd of arms control advocates. „That is John Bolton’s approach, that he doesn’t want to negotiate with the rest of the world, almost regardless of what it is that we negotiate.“

But Kimball, who met recently with Smith, said Democrats have options on that front, too.

„If the Trump administration threatens to allow New START to expire in 2021, the Democrats are not under any obligation to fund the administration’s request for nuclear weapons,“ Kimball said.

He pointed out that Obama secured bipartisan Senate support for ratifying the New START treaty in return for a pledge to increase spending on upgrading the nuclear arsenal and new missile defense systems. „That linkage works the other way, too,“ Kimball said.

What is clear is that the nuclear arms control crowd sees Smith as the best hope for change in many years.

„I don’t think it is going to be easy, but we see a chance that we haven’t seen in a long time to have a different path forward on nuclear weapons,“ said Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, an antiwar group. „There isn’t enough money available for the wild plans we had before, let alone Trump’s new objectives.“

Iran Nuclear Horn Promises Ominous Consequences (Daniel 8:4)

Iran Nuclear Chief to EU: ‚Ominous‘ Consequences If Deal Breaks Down

Monday, 26 Nov 2018 6:39 AM

Iran’s nuclear chief warned the European Union of ominous consequences on Monday if it did not follow through with action to keep the economic benefits of the 2015 nuclear agreement alive.

The EU hosted the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, at a seminar on nuclear cooperation aimed at showing its continuing support for the deal after U.S. sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports resumed this month.

The EU and other remaining signatories to the accord hope to convince Tehran to respect the curbs that the deal placed on its nuclear program even though Washington has pulled out, depriving Iran of many of the economic benefits.

„If words are not turned into deeds, then … it is very ominous, the situation would be unpredictable,“ Salehi told reporters at the conference.

Salehi, however, said he believed the EU was „doing its best“ and was on its way to delivering on its promises.

EU efforts to salvage trade relations with Tehran, including by establishing a special mechanism for non-dollar transactions, have been floundering.

The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would act as a kind of clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement. However, no EU country has come forward as a potential host – delaying the plans.

„Nobody should have any doubt on the level of political ambition and determination by the member states involved, in particular France, Germany and the United Kingdom to swiftly operationalise the SPV,“ Europe’s Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said at a joint news briefing.

„This is a hugely complex and unique undertaking, technical work has been advancing over the last days and weeks.“

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved

Hospitals Overwhelmed by Nations Trampling (Revelation 11:2)

FILE – In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, file, photo, a Palestinian receives medical attention in a hospital after being injured during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Gaza City. A medical aid group says Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 that the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s health care system. Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Aid group: Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in violence

Associated Press

November 29, 2018, 9:52 AM GMT

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A medical aid group says the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s health care system.

Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have been organizing weekly border protests since March in which demonstrators approach the border fence, throwing firebombs at Israeli troops and burning tires.

Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands.

MSF, as the aid group is known after its French acronym, says most of the 3,000 patients it has treated were shot in the legs, with about a quarter suffering from infections. If left untreated, they can lead to lifelong disabilities or limb amputations.

Antichrist demands swift government formation

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. Reuters.

Sadr demands swift government formation, urging fresh nominations for key posts

Parliament postpones vote on key ministerial portfolios until next Tuesday

Mina Aldroubi

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr called on Tuesday for the swift formation of a government, following a turbulent month of widening political rifts over key ministerial posts.

Lawmakers last month confirmed 14 out of the 22 posts that Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi initially presented. Yet, eight ministers, including the key defence and interior posts, remain vacant.

Parliament was initially set to vote on the remaining ministers earlier this month but the vote was continuously delayed due to disagreements over nominees.

Mr Al Sadr said that he will not approve any candidate that is affiliated to the country’s political elite.

“I urge the prime minister to quickly fill the cabinet posts that are still vacant, except for the defence and interior position,” the cleric said on Twitter.

The cleric said that he will only support independent candidates for the key posts. He proposed that the premier must choose military candidates who led Iraq’s three-year battle against ISIS.

Earlier reports had suggested that Mr Al Sadr has pressured the parliament to postpone its vote due to internal differences over who should be selected.

“I am not the cause for the delay of the cabinet formation but of its postponement,” Mr Al Sadr said.

The influential cleric’s statement comes as Iraq’s parliament delayed a session initially scheduled for Tuesday, November 27, until next week to approve the remaining eight candidates for Mr Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet.

The premier was appointed to his position in early October to form a ‘technocratic’ cabinet but political jockeying has intensified in recent weeks as competing regional patrons vie for influence.

Parliament’s session is officially postponed to next Tuesday.

„This is a bad start for the prime minister, which proves his weakness,“ Sarkawt Shams, an MP in Baghdad for the New Generation party said on Twitter.

Sunni groups in parliament are not agreeing on which candidate to nominate for the post of defence minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Al Sadr has rejected the premier’s nomination of Falah Al Fayyad, former national security adviser, for the post of interior minister.

“We are seeing a situation where the premier has promised a technocratic government that wasn’t going to be beholden to political party leaders and yet he has put in names such as Fuad Hussein as minister of finance and others which is seen as a problem,” Michael Rubin, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute told The National.

“The way that horse trading occurs in Iraqi politics is there no accountability for party leaders because it’s the same leaders that distribute the patronage,” Mr Rubin said.

Mr Abdel Mahdi’s new government will not only deal with the daunting task of rebuilding the war-torn country after a devastating war against ISIS, but he will need to solve the country’s economic crisis, power and water shortages as well as tackle unemployment.

An attempt to heal ethnic and sectarian tensions will also be challenging for Mr Abdul Mahdi.