Pakistan Promises Nuclear Retaliation Against India

Nuclear-armed Pakistan will retaliate strongly if India crosses LoC: Markandey Katju

LAHORE (Dunya News) – India’s former Supreme Court Judge Markandey Katju has warned New Delhi to not take Pakistan lightly as it is a nuclear power, Dunya News reported on Thursday.

“Pakistan will strongly retaliate if India tries to cross the Line of Control (LoC),” Markandey said. He pronounced that India cannot even conduct surgical strike against Pakistan.

Markandey held a large stick in his hand during his interview and said he himself is a Kashmiri and will respond with this stick against the violence in Kashmir.

“99 percent Kashmiri people are with the freedom fighters,” he claimed.

Let it be known that tensions increased between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama attack. New Delhi leveled baseless allegations on Islamabad and threatened to isolate Pakistan at international level afterwards.

Pakistan Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan vowed to retaliate against any Indian aggression without thinking after New Delhi accused Islamabad of involvement in the Pulwama attack.

Pakistan will not think of retaliation, Pakistan will retaliate,” Imran pronounced.

At least 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed last Thursday in Indian-occupied Kashmir in one the deadliest attacks. The attack saw explosives packed inside a van rip through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying some 2,500 members of the paramilitary CRPF.

Two blue buses carrying around 35 people each bore the brunt of the massive blast, heard miles away, around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the city of Srinagar on the main highway to Jammu.

Iran Correctly Predicts Global Extinction

Iranian General Predicts Extinction of Al Saud by 2030

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A high-ranking Iranian general said the Al Saudi regime ruling Saudi Arabia will become extinct by 2030.

Tasnim News Agency

Addressing a cultural ceremony in the central city of Isfahan on Tuesday evening, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military aide to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, said the Al Saud regime is not going to last long and “there will be no trace of Al Saud in Saudi Arabia by 2030.”

He said 16 American research organizations have prepared a document dubbed ‘World in 2030’, which excludes any regime called Al Saud by that year and refers to Iran as the most powerful country in the region.

In comments in December 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei took a swipe at the Saudi regime for forming a friendship with the enemies of Islam and for its crimes in Yemen, saying Saudis had plans to conquer Yemen within days or weeks but have failed to gain anything for around four years.

“The more time passes by, the harder will be the blow they (Saudis) would receive (in Yemen),” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

The Al Saud has adopted a stupid policy towards Yemen and Bahrain, Ayatollah Khamenei deplored.

Earlier, in November, the Leader had recommended the rulers of Muslim states to stop abiding by the US, and deplored the US president’s insults to Saudi Arabia and his move to ‘milk’ the Saudi rulers.

In 2017, US President Donald Trump said the US target has been “milking” the Saudi kingdom for years.

Trump Fast Tracks the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Report: Trump officials tried to fast-track nuclear tech transfer to Saudi Arabia

“Middle East Marshall Plan” appeared to be mostly about money for ex-generals, not policy.

by Sean Gallagher – Feb 20, 2019 11:06am MST

President Donald Trump is intent on a deal that allows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud’s government to purchase nuclear technology built by US companies. There’s a small problem with that: it’s against the law.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

An interim report from the staff of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform shows evidence that members of the Trump transition team and administration attempted to push through a plan from a consortium advised by former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn to sell nuclear technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plan would have led to the construction of 40 nuclear power plants and facilities to enrich uranium fuel. The technology, while focused on civil nuclear power, could give the Saudis resources that could be used to build nuclear weapons. The plan would also have pumped billions into a number of US companies involved in the nuclear industry, including the bankrupt nuclear services company Westinghouse Electric—which would have build the reactors.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told NPR’s Ari Shapiro in an interview that the details in the report were “bonker-balls…can’t come up with a better word. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. It’s a half-baked, grandiose plan with all kinds of things that could go wrong in it and people screaming at them to stop. And they don’t stop.”

Despite repeated wave-offs by national security officials, members of the White House team and Trump confidants outside the White House—including Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Trump inauguration committee and a close friend of the president—continued to press forward on the scheme. Barrack, who urged Trump to take on Paul Manafort as his campaign manager, also tried to broker a secret meeting between Manafort and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to a New York Times report.

We’re simply making plans for Michael

The effort was part of what was labeled the “Middle East Marshall Plan,” a package advanced by IP3 International, a private company led by a retired admiral and with a board of assorted retired Army and Marine Corps generals, former Republican administration officials, and congressmen. Flynn signed on as an advisor to IP3 just before joining the Trump transition team. The Saudi nuclear sales push is the entire focus of the company.

According to the House report, Derek Harvey—the senior director for Middle East and North African Affairs for the National Security Council from January to July 2017—told NSC staff members immediately after Trump’s inauguration that Flynn had decided to adopt IP3’s plan to develop “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia during the transition while he was still serving as an advisor to IP3. Harvey also said that Barrack would be made a special representative, with credentials equivalent to an ambassador, to guide the plan.

On January 27, Harvey met with representatives of IP3, including its co-founders, retired General Jack Keane, Reagan administration National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, and a group of other retired generals working with the firm. Immediately after the meeting, Harvey told NSC staffers to add information about IP3’s “plan for 40 nuclear power plants” to the briefing package for President Trump’s call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman—stating that “this was the ‘energy plan’ that had been developed and approved by General Flynn during the presidential transition,” according to the report.

The IP3 plan draft was sent to Flynn on January 28, 2017 by McFarlane, a board member of IP3 and co-founder of the US Energy Security Council. The email said, “In the enclosed memo you would call upon the relevant cabinet officers to lend their support to this historic program. I recommend that you sign it.”

The draft memo, written to be signed by Flynn, stated, “Tom Barrack has been thoroughly briefed on this strategy and wants to run it for you. He’s perfect for the job. Rex [Tillerson, then Secretary of State] and [Defense Secretary] Jim [Mattis] are supportive of Tom’s focus on this also.”

Enlarge / An email from Robert McFarlane to National Security Advisor Michael Flynn giving him direction to pitch a plan to sell nuclear tech to Saudi Arabia.

Laws, shmaws

After Harvey’s pronouncement of the plan, career NSC staffers warned him that “any transfer of nuclear technology must comply with the Atomic Energy Act, that the United States and Saudi Arabia would need to reach a 123 Agreement, and that these legal requirements could not be circumvented.”

Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act requires that countries receiving nuclear technology from the US must comply with a number of requirements focused on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, including a guarantee that transferred nuclear material, equipment, and technology will not have any role in nuclear weapons development or any other military purpose, except in the case of cooperation with nuclear-weapon states. Enrichment of nuclear fuel must be covered under a separate agreement and must be overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The law also dictates that the US can demand the return of any transferred equipment if the IAEA reports a violation.

Harvey was reported to have ignored the warnings and continued to insist that the decision had already been made. The House report states:

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.” That official stated: “Okay, you know we cannot do this.” Yet, just days after the President’s inauguration, IP3 officials sent documents directly to General Flynn for President Trump to approve, including a draft Cabinet Memo stating that the President had appointed Mr. Barrack as a special representative.

Even after the NSC legal advisor John Eisenberg ordered a stop to all work on the plan and senior officials told IP3 representatives to take their plan through normal government agency channels, Harvey persisted. McFarlane continued to push to get the plan in front of Trump, sending an email to Harvey with a subject line reading, “We’re Very Close to Losing Our Position in the Middle East.” McFarlane sought “a public US government statement or letter of support for the IP3 plan, ideally ahead of then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Washington, D.C.,” the congressional staff report states.

Harvey managed to work the plan into Trump’s agenda for the March 2017 meeting with then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office, and his “readout” of the meeting included a reference to “a new United States-Saudi program… in energy, industry, infrastructure, and technology worth potentially more than $200 billion in direct and indirect investments within the next four years.” Nobody else in the NSC had been aware of any such plan.

But the seed was planted, and Trump has continued to be “directly engaged in the effort, maintaining contact with IP3 about the plans and expressing his support for the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia,” the report states. “These reports also indicate that Saudi Arabia is refusing to agree to prohibitions on enriching uranium and processing plutonium similar to those agreed to by other countries in the region.”

Gold’s not about cash in this case

Enlarge / The UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). UAE signed an agreement to never seek technology to enrich uranium or plutonium as part of its 123 Agreement with the US, making it the “gold standard” for nuclear power technology transfer and nonproliferation.

That’s a reference to the “Gold Standard” for Section 123 agreements in nonproliferation circles, set by the 2009 agreement between the US and the United Arab Emirates, in which the UAE declared it would never pursue fuel enrichment and reprocessing technologies. Saudi Arabia has never signed such an agreement, and it has repeatedly refused to consider one—a point raised by Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Todd Young, Cory Gardner, Rand Paul, and Dean Heller in an October 31, 2018 letter to President Trump urging him to not go forward with a nuclear power agreement.

“We remain concerned that the Saudi Government has refused, for many years, to consider any agreement that includes so-called ‘Gold Standard’ requirements against pursuing technologies to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium-laden spent nuclear fuel,” the senators wrote in their letter to Trump. The murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen, and apparent interference in the government of Lebanon, the senators noted, “have solidified our reservations about pursuing a potential US civil nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia, and increased our willingness… to block such an agreement at this time.”

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Sean Gallagher / Sean is Ars Technica’s IT and National Security Editor. A former Navy officer, systems administrator, and network systems integrator with 20 years of IT journalism experience, he lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

War Looms Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

MLADENOV: “EXTREMISM RISING, RISK OF WAR LOOMS LARGE” IN GAZA, WEST BANK

By TOVAH LAZAROFF

Palestinians hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip February 15, 2019.. (photo credit:” IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

The Palestinians, who are the weaker people in the conflict, need international support more than ever, Mladenov said.

The risk of war and an economic impassion in the West Bank and Gaza is rising, UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said on Wednesday as he briefed the UN Security Council.

“The prospect of sustainable peace is fading by the day as the specter of violence and radicalism grows,” Mladenov said. “Our efforts today are focused on the immediate challenges – on preventing the risk of an economic and humanitarian implosion in the West Bank and Gaza.”

He spoke as Palestinian violence has increased along Israel’s border with Gaza. Qatar has threatened not to continue to fund fuel for Gaza’s power plant, a move that would likely reduce electricity in the Strip from 12 to four hours a day, thereby increasing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Extremists are on the rise again and the risk of war continues to loom large,” Mladenov continued. “For Israelis and Palestinians to get back on track for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the first thing that is required is leadership.”

The situation in Gaza is at a breaking point, he said, due to Hamas’s control and Israel’s severe restrictions. More radical and extremist groups are pushing both sides into war, Mladenov said.

“With the prospects of intra-Palestinian reconciliation dimming, the people of Gaza feel more and more left to their own devices – with no representation, no relief and no way out,” he said. The Palestinians, who are the weaker people in the conflict, need international support more than ever, he said.

The UN envoy, who has worked tirelessly to resolve the Gaza crisis, focused particularly on the economic crisis facing the Palestinian Authority.

Mladenov took issue with both the Israeli decision to withhold $140 million in tax fees to the Palestinians and changes in US policy which have resulted in the total withdrawal of American funds for the PA.

“These are very serious developments that put at risk the financial stability of the Palestinian Authority and ultimately the security of both Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Mladenov said.

The PA had a deficit of $1.4 billion in 2018 that is only expected to grow larger in 2019, Mladenov said. Some 60% of that deficit was covered by donor aid, which is drying up just as the Palestinians’ economic situation is worsening, he added.

Israel’s decision to withhold $140 million in tax fees has only made the situation worse, Mladenov said. Lack of US funding may also impact attempts to unify Fatah and Hamas, he warned. Palestinian elections may now be the only way out of the continued crisis that has resulted from conflict between Hamas and Fatah, he said.

Mladenov called on both sides to recommit themselves to a two-state resolution based on international principles which have guided the conflict for the last 25 years.

He also spoke out against continued Israel demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank, and an upsurge in settler violence that included 20 incidents in which settlers injured Palestinians or damaged their property. This included he said, the January 26 incident in which Israelis entered Al-Mughayyir and killed a “38-year-old Palestinian man, and the injury of 15 others.”

“Ultimately, only sustainable political solutions – including reuniting Gaza and the West Bank under a single, democratic and legitimate Palestinian government and ending the closures of the Strip – will genuinely change the current course,” he said. “What is needed, first and foremost, is the necessary leadership and political will for change. Until that can be found, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to slide into increasingly hazardous territory.”

 

History Warns New York Is The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York Earthquake 1884

Friday, 18 March 2011 – 9:23pm IST | Place: NEW YORK | Agency: ANI

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

If the past is any indication, New York can be hit by an earthquake, claims John Armbruster, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.Based on historical precedent, Armbruster says the New York City metro area is susceptible to an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 once a century.According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.

Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iraq Continues to Support the Larger Horn (Daniel 8)

Iraq says it will continue sanctions-busting imports from Iran

By HENRY MEYER | Bloomberg | Published: February 20, 2019

Iraq is close to finalizing a deal that will allow it to import Iranian energy despite American sanctions by avoiding the U.S. dollar, an Iraqi official said.

“A big delegation came from the Iranian central bank and the idea was proposed to trade with Iran in euros,” Abdulkarim Hashim Mustafa, special adviser to Iraq’s prime minister, said in an interview Tuesday in Moscow on the sidelines of a Middle East conference hosted by the Kremlin-backed Valdai discussion club. “There are other ideas to pay in Iraqi dinars, or in oil.”

The U.S. has been pressuring Iraq to end its purchases of Iranian natural gas and electricity, which meet a large share of domestic energy needs. In the meantime, it has extended to Baghdad a temporary waiver from the sanctions targeting Iran that President Donald Trump reimposed last year after pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal. Mustafa said

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government has rebuffed the U.S. pressure to cut energy ties with Iran, adding to strained ties with Washington over Trump’s vow to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely to “watch” the Islamic Republic. The two majority Shiite neighbors have become close allies since the 2003 U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

“These are American sanctions and we have the right to protect our national interests,” Mustafa said. “We tell them always: we are your friends but we are not part of your policies in the region. The Americans are well aware of this — it isn’t news for them.”

Iraq doesn’t expect the American forces to stay for an indefinite period of time, the official said. “When the Iraqi side asks the American side to pull out, they will withdraw as they have done in the past,” he said. “As the terrorist threat recedes, the U.S. will scale back its military presence in Iraq.”

Flynn Sought to Share Nukes with the Saudis

Flynn Pushed to Share Nuclear Tech with Saudis

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior White House officials pushed a project to share nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia despite the objections of ethics and national security officials, according to a new congressional report citing whistleblowers within the administration.

Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons if the U.S. technology were transferred without proper safeguards.

The Democratic-led House oversight committee opened an investigation Tuesday into the claims by several unnamed whistleblowers who said they witnessed “abnormal acts” in the White House regarding the proposal to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The report raises concerns about whether some in a White House marked by “chaos, dysfunction, and backbiting” sought to circumvent established national security procedures regarding nuclear power technology. It also comes as Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is developing a Middle East peace plan that could include economic proposals for Saudi Arabia.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the report, the effort was pushed by former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in early 2017. Derek Harvey, a National Security Council official brought in by Flynn, continued work on the proposal, which has remained under consideration by the Trump administration.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, announced the investigation Tuesday.

Relying on the whistleblower accounts, email and other documents , the committee’s report details how NSC and ethics officials repeatedly warned that the actions of Flynn and one of his senior aides could run afoul of federal conflicts of interest law and statutes governing the transfer of nuclear technology to foreign powers.

The probe puts new scrutiny on Flynn’s early days in the administration as he awaits sentencing for lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation. Congressional investigators are also probing the role of Tom Barrack, a proponent of the nuclear proposal who ran Trump’s presidential inaugural committee, which is separately under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York. Rick Gates, a former Barrack employee and cooperator in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, was also involved in advocating for the nuclear proposal.

An attorney for Flynn declined to comment. Harvey and representatives for Barrack did not immediately return requests for comment.

According to the report, the whistleblowers came forward to the committee because they had concerns “about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law — efforts that may be ongoing to this day.”

The report tracks closely with public reporting, including a 2017 article by the nonprofit news outlet ProPublica, which detailed some of the concerns raised inside the National Security Council about the nuclear proposal — known as the “Marshall Plan for the Middle East — advocated by a company called IP3 International.

IP3 is led by a group of retired U.S. military officers and national security officials, including retired Rear Adm. Michael Hewitt, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane and former Reagan national security adviser Bud McFarlane. IP3 and other proponents of nuclear power in the Middle East argue that the U.S. needs to be involved because otherwise it will lose out to Russia, China and others on billions of dollars in business. They also say that the U.S. involvement — and the limits on nuclear fuel that come with it— are essential to stem an arms race in the region.

IP3 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Up until the month before he joined the Trump administration, Flynn listed himself as a consultant to a previous iteration of Hewitt’s company advocating a similar nuclear power proposal, though the company told The Washington Post that Flynn was offered a role as an adviser but never formally came aboard.

Still, according to the report, Flynn served as a conduit for IP3 inside the White House.

Just days after Trump’s inauguration, the company sent Flynn a draft memo for the president’s signature that would have appointed Barrack as a “special representative” in charge of carrying out the nuclear power proposal and called on the director of the CIA and the secretaries of State, Energy, Treasury and Defense to lend him support. The report also quotes former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland as saying Trump personally told Barrack he could lead the plan’s implementation.

The report also catalogs the actions of Harvey, the Flynn confidant who was put in charge of the NSC’s Middle East and North African affairs.

According to the report, upon entering the White House in January 2017, Harvey saw his mission as getting Trump to adopt the nuclear proposal despite the objections of ethics and national security officials. Even when H.R. McMaster, who replaced Flynn as national security adviser, and NSC lawyer John Eisenberg directed for work to stop on the proposal because of concerns about its legality, Harvey ignored them and continued pursuing the proposal, according to the report.

Harvey was fired from the NSC in July 2017. He then joined the staff of GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, a Trump ally and the former Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee.

___

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville, Ben Fox and Stephen Braun in Washington, Jim Mustian in New York and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.

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Read the report: http://apne.ws/yuaJskv

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