Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”

That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.

His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Testing Indian Point Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

image-1351Siren testing for Indian Point Wednesday morning

Thomas C. Zambito, Rockland/Westchester Journal News
Published 11:55 a.m. ET Oct. 30, 2018 | Updated 6:27 a.m. ET Oct. 31, 2018

Dennis Malles, of Malles Auto Body in Montrose and the Montrose Business Association, talks about the future of local businesses after the closure of the nearby Indian Point Energy Center nuclear power plant. Peter Carr/lohud

Indian Point will be testing its emergency evacuation sirens between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Sirens in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties will sound at full volume for four minutes.

“Sirens are not a signal to evacuate,” Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, said in a statement.

In a real-life emergency, sirens are used to alert residents to tune into local radio or television stations for further information.\

A list of the stations can be found hereon the nuclear power plant’s website. Stations are also listed in the emergency planning booklet mailed to homes and businesses within a 10-mile radius of the Buchanan plant.

During a February test last year, two of the 172 sirens in the Lower Hudson Valley — one in Rockland, the other in Putnam — failed to sound. Those issues have been resolved, officials said.

Entergy plans to shut down its two working reactors at Indian Point in 2020 and 2021 as part of a 2017 agreement reached with the state.

Read or Share this story: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/2018/10/30/siren-testing-indian-point-wednesday/1817524002/

Russia Threatens Babylon the Great


© FoxNews.com Raw video: U.S. Navy shares footage of incident where a Russian SU-27 jet conducts a high-speed pass directly in front of the American EP-3 aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea.
A Russian jet’s “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. aircraft and a Kremlin spy plane’s conspicuous presence during the largest post-Cold War NATO military exercise highlighted the continuing tensions between many alliance nations and Vladimir Putin’s government.NATO’s Trident Juncture war games were launched last month in central and eastern Norway, the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, and are set to continue until Nov. 7.“This is not a Cold War situation,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week, adding the exercises were “purely to prevent, not to provoke.”But Russia views the exercises through a different lens, and the country sent military planes to two Trident Juncture locations in the past few days.

U.S. Navy Forces in Europe and Africa tweeted harrowing video Monday of a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft being intercepted by a Russian SU-27 at high speeds. The EP-3 was in international airspace over the Black Sea at the time.

“This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk,” U.S. officials said in a statement. “The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away.”

Meanwhile, a Tupolov TU-142 Russian spy plane made an unexpected appearance over NATO operations off the Norwegian coast Saturday. The Soviet-era plane was seen flying over the USS Mount Whitey while U.S. Marines watched.

Russia said prior to the start of the war games that it might test missiles in the area as well, though so far Putin has not followed through on the threat. Moscow had been angered by the notion of the war games being conducted and accuses the West of acting provocatively around its borders.

There are 65 ships, 250 aircraft, 10,000 vehicles and 50,000 personnel taking part in the exercises. The war games’ storyline revolves around NATO restoring Norway’s sovereignty after an attack by a “fictitious aggressor.”

Saturday’s Russia flyover elicited shouts from the Marines aboard the USS Mount Whitey, according to Military.com.

“We are at sea, everyone’s got the right to be here. It’s international waters, it’s international airspace,” British Adm. Guy Robinson told Military.com. “So clearly, we monitor closely. But everything we see in this exercise is that they’ve been safe and professional.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iraq Tells US to Stop Meddling In Their Affairs

Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces march as they hold their flag and posters of Iraqi and Iranian Shiites spiritual leaders during “al-Quds” or Jerusalem Day, in Baghdad, Iraq. AP

Iraq calls on US to stop meddling in its internal affairs

A spokesman for the foreign ministry said that Washington violated diplomatic norms by calling on Iran to disband Shiite militias in Iraq

Iraq has called on Washington to stop meddling in it’s internal affairs after the US Department of State said Iran must respect Baghdad’s sovereignty and disarm Shiite militias that operate in the country.

The department last week published 12 requirements for Iran to behave like a “normal state” before new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sector would take effect on Monday. The demands, published on Twitter, include calls for Tehran to demobilize and end support for it’s proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine and Lebanon.

The far-reaching demands were translated into Arabic and shared on the US embassy in Baghdad’s Twitter page, drawing criticism from Iraqi officials.

With 6 days to go before the sanctions deadline, this is the 6th requirement for #Iran’s regime to behave like a normal state: The Iranian regime must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias. pic.twitter.com/IRsZR90KmN

— Department of State (@StateDept) October 30, 2018

Iraq’s foreign ministry rejects the embassy’s statement. It is seen as an interference in Iraq’s internal affairs,” foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Mahjoob, told The National on Sunday.

Mr Mahjoob said the statement violated diplomatic norms and disregarded Iraq’s sovereignty.

Both Tehran and Washington have competed for influence in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein. In an interview with The National last week, Brett McGurk, the US envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, said that Washington wanted to help Iraqi’s strengthen their country’s sovereignty and independence.

“That is the objective for the new government and we look forward to do all we can to help them in that regard,” Mr McGurk said.

The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a controversial organization that consists of around 50 predominantly-Shiite paramilitary groups, including factions linked to Iran, were formed in 2014 after Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, urged citizens to take up arms against ISIS.

The PMF provided instrumental support to the Iraqi army and security forces in the many battles against ISIS since the militants overran large areas of the country in 2014. This critical auxiliary role awarded them semi-official status as an an independent military formation that is part of the Iraqi armed forces. However, the Iraqi government has so far failed to bring them under complete state control, even after the defeat of ISIS in December.

A sizable portion of the country’s Shiite majority view the PMF as the primary bulwark against radical militant groups, making the task of disarming the militias one of the biggest challenges facing newly appointed Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

However, many in the country, including Shiite followers of the powerful cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, see the PMF as an instrument of Tehran’s regional ambitions.

Washington has continuously called on Iran to end it’s support for the PMF especially as sanctions approach.

“Here’s a reminder about the second requirement for the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a normal state: The Iranian regime must end the IRGC-Qods Force’s support for terrorists and militant partners,” the State Department said in a tweet on Saturday

Pakistan’s Nukes Are NOT Secure (Daniel 8:8)

Are Pakistan’s Nukes Secure?

Since Pakistan acquired the nuclear capability in May 1998 by denoting six nuclear devices in response to India’s five nuclear tests, Western media has been the most ardent critics of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal due to domestic instability in Pakistan. Also, Abdul Qadir Khan’s illicit nuclear proliferation episode has added fuel to the fire because of which Western media and authors started doubting Pakistani scientists and engineers. The two retired Pakistani scientists meeting with Osama Bin Laden in Kandahar is the best evidence provided by the Western authors in this regard. The most controversial discourses by Western scholars often described Pakistan’s nuclear weapon as the ‘Islamic Bomb’ as a threat to Middle East. For instance, Al. J Venters’ Allah’s Bomb: The Islamic Quest for Nuclear Weapons, Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney’s Pakistan’s Islamic Bomb: Nuclear Threat to Israel and the Middle East, aBBC documentary on the same title was telecasted in 1980, and the biography titled Dr. A. Q. Khan and the Islamic Bomb of Dr. A. Q. Khan, written by Pakistani journalist Zahid Malik.

The impetus to accuse Pakistan’s nuclear weapon as the Islamic bomb to Western media was provided by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s historic speech on the Islamic bomb. Later, Zia ul Haq also claimed that Pakistan would be the first Muslim nuclear state. Israel was the first state which was worried about the Islamic bomb as it was assumed that Pakistan might provide a nuclear security to Muslim states. There is no strong evidence to prove this hypothesis. However, Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami senator Khurshid Ahmad is in favour of providing extended deterrence to Muslim states.

Another interesting episode in the history of Pakistan’s nuclear development was the threat posed by extremists or terrorists that might seize the nuclear assets in Pakistan. Terrorists attacked the nuclear weapons facilities including a nuclear missile storage facility in Sargodha, a nuclear air base at Kamra, and a Taliban suicide attack on entry point to one of the armament factories at the Wah Cantonment in Pakistan.

Nuclear expert, Shaun Gregory’s study entitled ‘Terrorists Tactics in Pakistan Threaten Nuclear Weapons Safety’ cannot be ignored in this regard. He argued that Pakistan nuclear sites are located near the borders where Taliban and Al-Qaida are dominated. The security personals with access to the nuclear weapons cycle might be willing to collude with terrorists. Also, the terrorists might get hold of fissile material and nukes in Pakistan. Surprisingly, Gregory argued that the ISI exists with strong anti-West sentiments and there is possibility of connection between security forces and Islamists in Pakistan. Additionally, Philip Bobbit’s study Terror and Consent states that Pakistan army might decide to transfer nukes to terrorists.

The western and few Pakistani analysts’ observation on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safety and security resulted into the debates within Pakistan, the main mission was how to secure the nuclear warheads from terrorists. Also, Seymour Hersh’s puzzling report increased the anxieties to Pakistan. Hersh argued that at least two occasions the US Special Forces have prepared plans to take control of Pakistani nuclear assets in case they fall into the wrong hands. Pakistani military has already in their minds the pre-emptive strike threat to Pakistan’s nuclear facilities from India and Israel, the Hersh’s report has alerted Pakistan about the possible US attack.

Hersh’s report has not seriously taken by Pakistan, however, safety of nukes is now the paramount responsibility of Nuclear Command Authority (NCA)and Strategic Plans Division (SPD)of Pakistan. The new discourses on Pakistan nuclear programme, for instance, Feroz Hussan Khan’s Eating Grass and Naeem Salik’s Learning to Live with the Bomb provided detailed study of Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, command and control structure. In Hans Born, Bates Gill, and Heiner Hanggi’s edited book Governing the Bomb, Zafar Iqbal Cheema argued that due to the Export Control Act of 2004, there is no possibility of any illegal nuclear exports from Pakistan. Also, with the help of United States, best practices related to protecting fixed installations, convoys transportation, sensitive nuclear materials, material production control &accounting, export and border controls, and personal reliability programme has been shared with Pakistan by the US. The US is confident about the safety of nuclear assets in Pakistan. The former US President Barack Obama to the US military officials have vehemently supported the nuclear control and command structure of Pakistan. Similarly, former British politician David Miliband and French military official Erard Corbin de Mangoux have praised Pakistan’s nuclear control and command structure. Also, some Indian nuclear strategists have openly acknowledged Pakistan’s NCA, SPD, and nuclear control and command system, for instance, Bharat Karnad and M. K. Narayanan.

However, some experts like Scott Sagan is still worried due to operational control of nuclear arsenals in the hands of military in Pakistan.Hassan Abbas’s book Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb clearly displayed that Abdul Qadir Khan’s illicit nuclear episode was supported by politicians and military in Pakistan. Also, Hussain Haqqani in his piece Reimaging Pakistan argued that there is a nexus between the politicians, Islamists and army in Pakistan. The followers of Maududi’s version of Islam (Jamaat-e-Islamia) which talks about the political revolution are within the military, scientists, judiciary, academic, and media in Pakistan. Also, Haqqani argued that although Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons, it is still scared of India.

There is a possibility that that radical Islamist type personals might join the security forces particularly who are trained for security of nuclear installations in Pakistan. Also, there might be sympathisers of Islamists within the nuclear establishments. One employee dealing with nuclear installations was caught for distributing the religious pamphlets among his colleagues in Pakistan. Naeem Salik argues that Pakistan has developed a mechanism to identify an extremist person. However, it is difficult to figure out who is extremist and who is not. The facial expressions can hardly help Pakistani officials dealing with nuclear control and command system to identify an extremist person. The great source of alarm is that there is possibility that the officials dealing with recruiting the persons for security installations might be themselves the followers of extremism. Also, the sympathiser of terrorists can easily join the security forces for nuclear installations in Pakistan.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan managed to satisfy some Western nuclear strategists and politicians regarding the nuke security with the help of its NCA, SPD and control and command structure. Also, Pakistan had actively participated in many nuclear summits (Washington DC in 2010 and Seoul in 2012) to gain experience and knowledge to secure its nuclear assets from falling into wrong hands. Additionally, Pakistan has supported the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Interesting, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Nuclear Materials Security Index of 2014, Pakistan has won the seat in updating nuclear security regulations, to implement best practices and has overtaken India. However, Scott Sagan, Shaun Gregory, Philip Bobbit, Bruce Riedel, David Sanger, Joby Warrick, and Seymour Hersh are worried about the nuke security in Pakistan.

I am also worried due to the domestic instability and the religious-political-army nexus in Pakistan. The Islamists might prefer religion (violent Jihad) than army security during the crisis situations in Pakistan. For some Muslims, violent Jihad is part of their faith to fight against the enemies of Islam. Since Pakistan military has killed terrorists in Pakistan, in response, terrorists started attacking the military units and schools in Pakistan. Also, Ahmadiyya Muslims were forcibly declared non-Muslims in 1974, since then, the persecuted minority community have been seen as anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam. Ahmadi scientists and engineers who were busy in helping the nuclear development of Pakistan were forcibly removed during the Zia rule on the baseless charge of threat to Pakistan’s security. Astonishingly, Pakistan did not acknowledge the Nobel laureate, Dr. Abdul Salam’s role in nuclear development of Pakistan. Also, Islamists forced Pakistani government to remove the renowned economist, Dr. Atif Mian’s name in the Economic Advisory Council due to his Ahmadiyya faith. The minority community is also struggling to save their lives and property in Pakistan because for some Muslims it is part of Jihad/Islam to kill the blasphemers.

Recently, Pakistan’s supreme court has acquitted Asia Bibi (a Christian) after accepting her 2015 appeal against her sentence. She was arrested on the blasphemy charges. The supreme court’s verdict regarding Asia Bibi has resulted into protests supported by Islamists in Pakistan. The Dawn newspaper reported that ‘the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan called for ‘mutiny’ against the army’s top brass and the assassination of the top court’s justices.’ In response, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Ghafoor advised the religious-political parties to refrain from dragging army into the matter and legal actions would be taken in case of any violation. Also, prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan warned the protestors to refrain from clashing with the state. As expected, the weak Pakistani government was forced to accept the demand of agitators to put Asia Bibi on exit control list. Also, Asia Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Mulook left Pakistan due to threats to his life by Islamists. The killings in Pakistan is not difficult as in other states. Politician Salmaan Taseer was killed in 2011 by his body guard due to Taseer’s personal views on blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

The Islamists are powerful and there is a strong evidence that they enjoy a popular support from the public as well as a minor support from the civil and military officials in Pakistan. Former military official, Feroz Hassan Khan has admitted the power of Islamists and their threat to Pakistan’s nukes. Pakistani government can secure nukes from extremists as long as there is a peace between military and Jihadi organizations. Hussain Haqqani’s book Reimagining Pakistan have narrated about the new Jihad so-called ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’ (Battle of India) that inspired the Jihadi groups in Pakistan to lunch the terrorist attacks across the border. The Jihadists also want the implementation of Sharia in Pakistan and to retaliate the deaths of famous Jihadists at the hands of Pakistani military. Haqqani states that there is possibility of future tussle between the Jihadists in Pakistan due to different interpretations of the Ghazwa-e-Hind. Thus, not only nukes but Pakistan as a whole is in great danger because some Jihadists have claimed Pakistan as part of the Ghazwa-e-Hind, too. Naeem Salik, however, is not confident about the total breakdown of the state structure as well as the complete meltdown of military in Pakistan that might led to an imminent takeover of power in Pakistan by religious extremists. Also, moderate mainstream religious political parties have never won more than five to seven percent of the votes in any national election.

Nevertheless, the historical experience is a valid evidence that Pakistan might fall into the hands of extremists. The extremist ideology is not confined to religious people only, people involved in media, military, judiciary, bureaucracy, and academics are also influenced by radicalism in Pakistan, Haqqani stated. The former president of Pakistan Zia ul Haq was the follower of Jamaat-e-Islamia. Zia implemented the blasphemy laws that resulted into persecution of minorities in Pakistan. The minority communities especially the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were isolated in their own country. The Jihad policy was also introduced during Zia’s rule. Thus, this is not a distant dream when extremists might rule Pakistan and hopefully, Islamists would prefer to provide extended nuclear deterrence to Muslim states as senator of Jamaat-e-Islamia Khurshid Ahmad have stated. Khuram Iqbal in his piece The Making of Pakistani Human Bomb argued that suicide bombers (young, rural, and semi-literate) are the deadliest in the world and suicide terrorism is caused by religious fundamentalism. In case terrorists got access of some nukes in future in Pakistan, there is a possibility they might prefer suicide nuke bombings, too.

Dying With a Nuclear-Armed Iran

Living With a Nuclear-Armed Iran

5th Nov ’18

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has sought to undo the Obama Administration’s policies towards Iran, especially regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. He has withdrawn the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and staffed the upper ranks of his administration with hawks, like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, who have long seen force as America’s best option for defusing any Iranian threat. At the same time, the administration has voiced support for anti-government protests in Iran, and Trump has announced a willingness to talk to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Image Courtesy of Nanking2012 © 2012

These mixed messages take already volatile situations in the Middle East and make them even more so. Fortunately, there is something the administration could do that would clarify U.S. intentions and undo much of the damage already done by Trump’s belligerent attitude thus far. It could choose to live with a nuclear-armed Iran.

History does not suggest that a preventive strike on a would-be nuclear power dissuades it from pursuing nuclear weapons. Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear facility at Osirak in 1981 was intended to force Saddam Hussein to give up his quest for a warhead. But when, after the 1991 Gulf War, international inspectors viewed Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, they discovered that Iraq had continued its quest, not abandoned it.

Accepting Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon in the event it attains one is the lesser evil. This need not be an officially stated U.S. policy. The U.S. could choose not to forcibly prevent Iranian acquisition of the bomb. When military force is unlikely to work, and when the Trump Administration is sending mixed messages about its willingness to engage diplomatically, a de facto policy of inaction is the least bad option available.

There would be several obstacles to this policy. First would be Israel’s reaction. The Islamic Republic’s long hostility to Israel, plus Tehran’s support for implacably anti-Israel terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, make Israel naturally frightened of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

The U.S. could assuage these concerns by formalizing the U.S.-Israel alliance. It could turn it into a collective security treaty similar to the U.S.-South Korea Alliance formed in 1953. Furthermore, whether the Israeli government acknowledges it or not, the world is already well aware that Israel possesses nuclear weapons of its own. A mutual defense treaty that includes coordination of nuclear strategy between Jerusalem and Washington, perhaps combined with further investment in Israel’s missile defense systems, ought to mollify a sensible Israeli government.

Another concern would be the reaction of Saudi Arabia. Under both Obama and Trump, the U.S. has supported Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthis. Trump has also continued prior administrations’ arms sales, worth billions of dollars, to Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has made confrontation of Iranian proxies throughout the Middle East a key priority, would certainly be worried about an Iranian nuke.

The U.S. could temper that worry by extending its nuclear umbrella to the Middle East. Officials could announce what John F. Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when he declared that any Soviet missile launched from Cuba, against any country in the Western Hemisphere, would provoke a “full retaliatory response” against the Soviet Union. The U.S. could announce that any Iranian nuclear attack, on any country, will be met with overwhelming force. Iran and its ally Russia might condemn such an announcement, but the U.S. should hold firm. By making clear that this move was a defensive one on behalf of vulnerable countries, Washington would signal that its policy toward Iran truly is one of deterrence. The upcoming modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal gives the U.S. a chance to update its nuclear strategy, formalizing an extension of nuclear protection from its European and Asian allies to any country Iran might strike.

A final worry concerns Iran’s allies. From the Houthis and Hezbollah to the Assad regime in Syria and Shiite militias in Iraq, Iran has asserted itself across the Middle East. A longstanding fear is that a nuclear weapon would embolden Iran even further.

A nation whose pride has been severely wounded by an attack would only become bolder in backing its proxies and undermining its rivals. Not only would Iran respond to a preventive strike by ramping up its nuclear program, as Iraq did, but it would see all the more reason to act against the U.S. and its allies. Thus preventive force would be counterproductive twice over, not only failing to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions but leading it to commit even more strongly to its friends.

The choice is not between an active Iran and a passive Iran. It is between an Iran whose people are divided and whose regional activities are forceful but limited and an Iran whose people are united in the wake of a foreign attack and which is aching for revenge. The U.S. has the capacity to protect its friends in the Middle East and deter Iranian aggression short of preventive force. Protecting friends is preferable to inadvertently emboldening an enemy. As frustrating as the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapon would be, living with it is the world’s least bad option.

Michael D. Purzycki is an analyst at Powell Strategies, a communications and analytics firm based in Annapolis, MD. All views expressed are entirely his own. In addition to Charged Affairs, he has written about international affairs and public policy for the Washington Monthly, the Truman National Security Project, and France 24. You can follow him on Twitter @MDPurzycki.