America Is Helping the Saudi Nuclear Horn

Trump officials sought to help Saudi Arabia build nuclear weapons: report

Alex Lockie Feb 19, 2019, 5:06 PM

President Donald Trump and other leaders at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

President Donald Trump’s administration has done several secretive and highly suspicious activities that suggest the US is now clearing a path for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to build a nuclear bomb.

• The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report on Tuesday based on information from whistleblowers, who said his administration has planned to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia since day one.

• These whistleblowers said Trump’s officials also wanted to brush aside laws that would bar Saudi Arabia from using the nuclear technology transfer to build bombs.

New evidence suggests Saudi Arabia is building ballistic missiles, which it would also need for nuclear weapons, and the US hasn’t responded to it.

President Donald Trump’s administration has done several secretive and highly suspicious activities that suggest the US is now clearing a path for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to build a nuclear bomb.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report on Tuesday with whistleblowers calling foul on Trump administration officials trying to transfer sensitive nuclear secrets to one of the world’s last true monarchies.

“The Trump Administration’s interactions with Saudi Arabia have been shrouded in secrecy, raising significant questions about the nature of the relationship,” the report said, citing Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s close relationship with the Saudi royal family and Trump’s response to the killing of the Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran, which prevented Saudi Arabia’s bitter regional rival from seeking a nuclear weapon, in 2017, saying it went against US interests.

Since then, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran’s nuclear programs, has consistently reported that Iran is not working on a nuclear weapon.

But Trump and his top administration officials routinely dismiss US intelligence reports that conclude Iran is not working on a nuclear weapon.

In responding to the killing of Khashoggi, Trump appeared willing to accept Saudi Arabia’s version of events despite a “high confidence” assessment from the CIA that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the killing.

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” the Saudi crown prince said in 2018.

Trump’s plans to nuclearize Saudi Arabia go back to day 1

George Frey/Getty Images

From the report:

“Derek Harvey, the Senior Director for Middle East and North African Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) from January to July 2017, stated during the first week of the Trump Administration that the decision to adopt [a business plan to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia] … which it called the Middle East Marshall Plan, and develop ‘dozens of nuclear power plants’ had already been made by General [Michael] Flynn during the transition-while he was serving as an advisor to IP3 [the company that proposed the business plan].”

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and became the first of many Trump officials indicted and sentenced over undisclosed ties to foreign powers. Flynn reportedly also failed to disclose a 2015 trip to Saudi Arabia to explore building nuclear power plants jointly with Russia.

The whistleblowers went on to say that the career staff for Derek Harvey, the former Senior Director for Middle East and North African Affairs at the National Security Council, warned him that any nuclear technology transferred to Saudi Arabia would need to reach a “123 Agreement,” or a requirement in the US’s Atomic Energy Act that would demand the Saudis agree to nine nuclear nonproliferation clauses.

Basically, the US could legally transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia if the Saudis agreed to keep the material safe, let inspectors check on it, and never use it to make a nuclear weapon.

Harvey’s staff reportedly warned him he couldn’t get around this law, but “Mr. Harvey reportedly ignored these warnings and insisted that the decision to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia had already been made.”

“Both career and political staff inside the White House reportedly agreed that Mr. Harvey’s directive could violate the law. One senior political official stated that the proposal was ‘not a business plan,’ but rather ‘a scheme for these generals to make some money,'” the report continued.

Eventually, after Flynn had been replaced at the NSC, his successor, H.R. McMaster, canceled the plan, according to the report.

Turning a blind eye to missiles, too?

Saudi Arabia’s missile defense system intercepts several missiles fired from rebel-Houthis.

Screenshot via Twitter/Rosie Perper

As the whistleblowers described it, Trump’s officials tried to provide the Saudis with a clear path to a nuclear warhead by transferring them nuclear technology with no strings attached on how they could use it.

But nuclear warheads represent only half the puzzle for fully functional nuclear weapons: A country also needs missiles to carry them. And there again, Trump’s administration has appeared hospitable.

An expert analysis of satellite imagery has exposed suspected ballistic-missile production sites, something that the US would normally oppose.

“Under normal circumstances, we would be doing everything we could possibly do to constrain and convince the Saudis not to do this,” Michael Elleman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told The Washington Post. “The US has always been opposed to the transfer of missiles that are inherently capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

Earthquake Assessment For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquake Risk in New Jersey

by Daniel R. Dombroski, Jr.

Earthquake Risk in New Jersey

by Daniel R. Dombroski, Jr.

A 10–fold increase in amplitude represents about a 32–fold increase in energy released for the same duration of shaking. The best known magnitude scale is one designed by C.F. Richter in 1935 for

west coast earthquakes.

In New Jersey, earthquakes are measured with seismographs operated by the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the Delaware Geological Survey.

An earthquake’s intensity is determined by observing its effects at a particular place on the Earth’s surface. Intensity depends on the earthquake’s magnitude, the distance from the epicenter, and local geology. These scales are based on reports of people awakening, felt movements, sounds, and visible effects on structures and landscapes. The most commonly used scale in the United States is the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and its values are usually reported in Roman numerals to distinguish them from magnitudes.

Past damage in New Jersey

New Jersey doesn’t get many earthquakes, but it does get some. Fortunately most are small. A few New Jersey earthquakes, as well as a few originating outside the state, have produced enough damage to warrant the concern of planners and emergency managers.

Damage in New Jersey from earthquakes has been minor: items knocked off shelves, cracked plaster and masonry, and fallen chimneys. Perhaps because no one was standing under a chimney when it fell, there are no recorded earthquake–related deaths in New Jersey. We will probably not be so fortunate in the future.

Area Affected by Eastern Earthquakes

Although the United States east of the Rocky Mountains has fewer and generally smaller earthquakes than the West, at least two factors  increase the earthquake risk in New Jersey and the East. Due to geologic differences, eastern earthquakes effect areas ten times larger than western ones of the same magnitude. Also, the eastern United States is more densely populated, and New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.

Geologic Faults and Earthquakes in New Jersey

Although there are many faults in New Jersey, the Ramapo Fault, which separates the Piedmont and Highlands Physiographic Provinces, is the best known. In 1884 it was blamed for a damaging New York City earthquake simply because it was the only large fault mapped at the time. Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault.

However, numerous minor earthquakes have been recorded in the Ramapo Fault Zone, a 10 to 20 mile wide area lying adjacent to, and west of, the actual fault.

More recently, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to the Indian Point, New York, Nuclear Power Generating Station. East of the Rocky Mountains (including New Jersey), earthquakes do not break the ground surface. Their focuses lie at least a few miles below the Earth’s surface, and their locations are determined by interpreting seismographic records. Geologic fault lines seen on the surface today are evidence of ancient events. The presence or absence of mapped faults (fault lines) does not denote either a seismic hazard or the lack of one, and earthquakes can occur anywhere in New Jersey.

Frequency of Damaging Earthquakes in New Jersey

Records for the New York City area, which have been kept for 300 years, provide good information

for estimating the frequency of earthquakes in New Jersey.

Earthquakes with a maximum intensity of VII (see table DamagingEarthquakes Felt in New Jersey )have occurred in the New York City area in 1737, 1783, and 1884. One intensity VI, four intensity V’s, and at least three intensity III shocks have also occurred in the New York area over the last 300 years.

The time–spans between the intensity VII earthquakes were 46 and 101 years. This, and data for the smaller–intensity quakes, implies a return period of 100 years or less, and suggests New Jersey is overdue for a moderate earthquake like the one of 1884.

Buildings and Earthquakes

The 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, is an example of what might happen in New Jersey in a similar quake. It registered a magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale and produced widespread destruction. But it was the age of construction, soil and foundation condition, proximity to the fault, and type of structure that were the major determining factors in the performance of each building. Newer structures, built to the latest construction standards, appeared to perform relatively well, generally ensuring the life safety of occupants.

New Jersey’s building code has some provisions for earthquake–resistant design. But there are no requirements for retrofitting existing buildingsnot even for unreinforced masonry structures that are most vulnerable to earthquake damage. Housing of this type is common in New Jersey’s crowded urban areas. If an earthquake the size of New York City’s 1884 quake (magnitude 5.5) were to occur today, severe damage would result. Fatalities would be likely.

Structures have collapsed in New Jersey without earthquakes; an earthquake would trigger many more. Building and housing codes need to be updated and strictly enforced to properly prepare for inevitable future earthquakes.

20 Gaza protestors injured outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Palestinians report 20 Gaza protestors injured by IDF

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH,TOVAH LAZAROFF

Twenty Palestinians were wounded on Tuesday during clashes with the IDF in the northern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said.

The Palestinians were participating in the Hamas-sponsored “naval protest” near the Bet Lahia beach, according to Hamas sources. The soldiers used tear-gas to disperse the “peaceful” protesters, the sources said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent organization claimed that seven Palestinians were wounded by gunfire. Two of them were said to have sustained moderate wounds. The remaining Palestinians were taken to the hospital for tear-gas inhalation, the organization said.

The IDF said that is soldiers had responded to a violent riot of some 150 protestors who threw stones and rolled burning tires at the security forces. Some of the protestors also attempted to place explosive devices by the barrier.

Gaza border protests have been heating up as media outlets reported that Qatar is unlikely to renew its funding pledge to provide fuel for the Gaza power plant. Qatar pledged $150 million to Gaza in the fall in an attempt to alleviate humanitarian suffering in the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip.

The United Nations and Israel hold that such funds would help quell Palestinian violence and help prevent an outbreak of hostilities between the IDF and Hamas that could lead to war.

In January Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding with the UN in January to provide $20m. over the course of the next year for Palestinians in need.

It had already given $30m. in cash to Hamas in November and December of last year. In January it gave $10m. to 94,000 poor Gaza families, which was broken down to $100 per family. It’s still expected to distribute three more payments of $10m. each to Gaza.

In addition, Qatar pledged $60m. for fuel for a period of roughly six months that ends i in April. Qatar had never spoken of renewing that pledge, but it is now presumed that no more money will be immediately forthcoming for Gaza fuel.

The money has alleviated the electricity crisis in Gaza, raising the hours of available power from about four to 12 hours a day. Part of the electricity crisis stems from severe economic sanctions the Palestinian Authority has imposed on Gaza, in an attempt to regain control of the Strip. Hamas has forcibly ruled in Gaza since 2007, after it ousted Fatah in a bloody coup.

The Nations Have Trampled the Outer Court (Revelation 11:2)

A year into Gaza border protests, conflict seems unavoidable – Analysis | The Jerusalem post

By ANNA AHRONHEIM

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a sling to hurl back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence. (photo credit:” REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

Israel’s military intelligence offered a grim assessment for Gaza, saying Israel is facing a high risk of military escalation.

Almost a year after Palestinians first began demonstrating along the Gaza border fence as part of the Great Return March, Israel is facing a high risk of military escalation, the IDF military intelligence assessment for 2019 has warned.

Based on the assessment, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who was sworn in last month as the military’s top officer, prioritized the southern front as one which could explode into war at any moment.

As one of his first visits as chief of staff, Kochavi went to the Southern Command and met with senior officers and approved operational plans for war, including setting up a centralized administrative unit to prepare a list of potential targets in Gaza in case a war should break out.

The grim assessment comes as Palestinian “night confusion units” have resumed along the fence earlier this month after several months of quiet, with rioters setting fires, hurling explosive devices, shining lasers at troops across the border to blind them and attempting to infiltrate into Israel.

On Sunday, an IDF soldier was moderately wounded after an IED thrown at troops during the night clashes exploded next to him. Identified as Yoadd Zaguri, an infantryman in the Nahal Brigade originally from Los Angeles, he was hospitalized for shrapnel wounds to his neck.

Two days earlier, a Border Police officer was lightly wounded in the leg from shrapnel from another IED thrown at troops.

The Great Return March protests began on March 30th and has seen thousands of Gazans violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade.

According to the intelligence assessment, while Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has succeeded in alleviating certain conditions in the blockaded coastal enclave with the Great Return March protests, including an expanded fishing zone and the opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt for longer periods of time, he has still not been able to lift the blockade.

During the violent weekly protests, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones as well as grenades and other explosive devices towards IDF troops. Gazans have also launched countless aerial incendiary devices into southern Israel, devastating thousands of acres of land.

In a bid to alleviate conditions in the coastal enclave and hoping it could calm the months of border clashes in October, Israel allowed financial support for the Strip to be provided by Qatar, who began to transfer some $10 million per month in fuel to Gaza’s only power station, as well as $15m. a month to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants in Gaza.

But, according to a report by Israel’s Kan public broadcaster, Qatar’s envoy to the Gaza Strip Mohammad al-Emadi has warned that Doha would not extend the payments for the electricity supply beyond April due to Hamas’s continued foot-dragging on several large infrastructure projects, including a long-delayed high-voltage power line from Israel. The payments for the civil servants are set to end in May.

Despite the financial aid from Qatar, socioeconomic conditions in Gaza are bleak, with an unemployment rate of 54.9% and over 68% of families suffering from poverty and food insecurity, according to a January report by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA).

Despite both sides not being interested in another war, a continued deterioration of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure will continue to put pressure on Hamas, which could lead to another violent clash with Israel.

In order to improve the humanitarian situation and to bring in international involvement in the Gaza Strip, it is believed that Sinwar might consider having militants attack IDF troops along the border fence by sniper fire, anti-tank missiles, firing rockets at Israeli cities or attacking troops through one of their cross-border attack tunnels.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, was also assessed as a factor increasing the risk of an escalation since it is not under the direct control of Hamas and acts independently for its own interests.

In late January, an IDF officer was lightly wounded after a he was struck in his helmet by sniper fire along the Gaza Strip security fence claimed by PIJ.

The officer was struck near Kibbutz Kissufim, the same area where Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi was killed after he was shot in the chest by sniper fire. Levi was the first soldier killed along the Gaza front since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Another soldier was struck by sniper fire in the area less than a week after Levi was killed.

The IDF has warned that both Hamas and PIJ have restored their military capabilities to their pre-2014 strength, and expect that in the next war the southern communities bordering the Strip would be incessantly pounded with rockets and mortar attacks.

Due to that threat, Kochavi has ordered an increase of two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries, which would see Israel have a total of 10 Iron Dome batteries, eight manned by conscript soldiers and two by reservists.

In January former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gadi Eisenkot stated that the Israeli military thwarted the smuggling of 15,000-20,000 rockets into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, but despite that, 2018 saw the most serious peak of violence between Israel and terror groups in the strip since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, with over 1,000 rockets fired.

How We Handed Iraq to the Antichrist

Wars ending badly

By Jed Babbin

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The United States and the Taliban have agreed in principle to a roadmap for peace, according to Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. But peace is not at hand.

About two weeks ago, Mr. Khalilzad told an audience at the U.S. Institute for Peace that his team had gotten Taliban agreement to “guarantees and enforcement mechanisms” that will ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for terrorists such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS).

The U.S. negotiators want to reach an agreement with the Taliban before the nationwide presidential election scheduled for July. The Taliban — and their many allies, including Pakistan, Russia and China — have no deadline.

The peace talks are reportedly stalled over at least two fundamental issues. First, the United States wants a cease-fire before a peace agreement can be signed. The Taliban insist that there cannot be a cease-fire until all U.S. and NATO troops are withdrawn. Second, the United States wants the Taliban to negotiate a reconciliation with the U.S.-supported government of Ashraf Ghani, which the Taliban refuse to do.

On Feb. 5, the Russians began their own talks between the Taliban and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, one of Mr. Ghani’s political opponents. Russia’s aim is not to make peace but to undermine any agreement between us and the Taliban, as if that were necessary.

The Taliban’s intentions mirror those of the North Vietnamese at the end of the Vietnam War, so they have patterned their strategy on the one the North Vietnamese used. Just as the North Vietnamese refused to talk to the U.S.-backed Saigon government, the Taliban refuses negotiations with the U.S.-supported Ghani government.

The Paris Peace Accord supposedly preserved South Vietnam’s right to self-determination. But the North attacked shortly after the last U.S. troops left in 1973 and by 1975 had conquered all South Vietnam. Because of the certainty that the Taliban will violate any agreement as soon as the United States leaves, the likelihood that any peace in Afghanistan would prevent the fall of the Ghani government and a resurgence of terrorist networks in Afghanistan is a nullity.

In Iraq and Syria, the prospects for peace are not any greater.

After invading Iraq in 2003 and toppling the Saddam Hussein regime, President Obama withdrew our forces in 2011. In 2014, the Iraqis requested their return and U.S. troops have been there since fighting ISIS.

Last December, after a surprise visit by President Trump, many Iraqi legislators called for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militias fought U.S. troops for years, is now a major political force in Iraq. Many of the legislators who demanded U.S. withdrawal are members of Mr. al-Sadr’s political party.

Mr. al-Sadr is a bipolar politician, partly an Iraqi nationalist and partly a follower of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Both sides of Mr. al-Sadr are our enemy.

In short, Iraq isn’t quite an Iranian satrapy, at least yet, but its politicians, led by those who Mr. al-Sadr controls, may force us to leave. Iran is considerably strengthened by our failure in Iraq.

In December, President Trump announced that our troops would be withdrawn from Syria, and on Jan. 11 the Pentagon announced that the withdrawal had begun. The withdrawal has since been delayed while negotiations continue to establish a safe zone for Kurdish forces on the Turkish border. The positions of the United States, our Kurdish allies and Turkey have proved irreconcilable.

The reaction of Democrats to all these events have been beyond strange. Many have opposed the planned withdrawals from Afghanistan and Syria, sounding as if they were neocon interventionists. They only oppose our withdrawal because it is Mr. Trump’s decision. They propose no alternative to leaving our troops there on an endless and undefined mission.

In his State of the Union speech, the president said that great nations do not fight endless wars. In that he was precisely correct. Great nations fight wars — even long wars — to an end that benefits their national security or until they are defeated.

In Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, we have not reached any ends that benefit our security.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, we have been defeated by our own strategy. Nation-building to create some sort of democracy cannot work among a population whose religion doesn’t permit the separation of church and state. Moreover, and equally important, is the fact that three presidents have failed to fight and destroy the enemy’s ideology. That, alone, propels Islamic forces to fight us. We cannot win without defeating that ideology.

In Syria, we haven’t been defeated but have been out-maneuvered militarily and politically by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Even if we are clear about the devastating consequences we will impose on any nation that attacks the Kurds, Syria will remain a nation controlled by our adversaries.

The result of the Afghanistan War will be the same as the result of the Vietnam War and for much the same reason.

The lesson of Vietnam isn’t that a better approach to nation-building could make it successful. The lesson is that if we don’t fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, we will lose the war inevitably.

Great nations can fight long wars and win them. We haven’t.

• Jed Babbin, a deputy undersecretary of Defense in the George H.W. Bush administration, is the author of “In the Words of Our Enemies.”

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