Jihadists Planning Attack Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Gaza Terror Group ‘Islamic Jihad’ Could be Planning ‘Significant’ Terror Attack on Israel

Israel’s Ynet News reports that a terror group in Gaza called “Islamic Jihad” is attempting to carry out a  “significant” attack on Israelis in the coming hours or days.

Israeli security officials noticed unusual activity by the terror group in several locations along Israel’s border with Gaza Monday. According to Ynet, the activity could be an attempt to launch a missile, place explosives along the border fence, or breach the barrier.

On Monday, the Islamic Jihad group denied claims suggesting they were trying to carry out an attack.

“There is no truth to these reports. From time to time Israel tries to create confusion in the Palestinian arena, but these attempts will fail,” the group said in a statement.

An attack could sabotage an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians following repeated clashes with Gaza in recent weeks.

Islamic Jihad is believed to be responsible for several rockets fired at Israeli communities along the Gaza border  Sunday morning.

It is the second largest terror group in Gaza after Hamas and acts according to its own interests.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Islamic Jihad was behind several violent attacks on IDF soldiers during the “Great March of Return” riots along the Gaza border in the last year.

Sgt. Aviv Levi was killed by a sniper in July 2018 and another solder was lightly wounded by sniper fire in January.

Meanwhile, tense calm remains along the Gaza border after terrorists sent a barrage of rockets on Israelis last week. One rocket blew up an Israeli home. No one was killed in the attack.

Israel responded by destroying several Hamas military targets in the Gaza strip.

The Sixth Seal Will Be On The East (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes

Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances

Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2 from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

The Prospect of the Nuclear Holocaust (Revelation 16)

Prospect of a nuclear war ‘higher than it has been in generations’, warns UN

The warning came from Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, in a meeting convened in support of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ahead of the next conference to review the historic accord, scheduled for 2020.

The possible use of nuclear weapons is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, represents the only multilateral, binding commitment to the goal of disarmament by the States which officially stockpile nuclear weapons.

Its objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and disarmament overall.

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, speaking at the Security Council meeting on strengthening the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Ms. Nakamitsu said that the use of nuclear weapons, “either intentionally, by accident, or through miscalculation”, is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security, and that “the potential consequences of a nuclear war would be global and affect all Member States.”

The Treaty, she said, is widely acknowledged as “the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation of nuclear disarmament. Its role as a pillar of our collective security is likewise an accepted fact.”

From disarmament success to “dangerous rhetoric”

The disarmament chief described the two pillars of the NPT – disarmament and non-proliferation ­– as “two sides of the same coin”, adding that “backward movement on one will result in backward movement on the other.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Nakamitsu was able to cite several examples, including the use of “dangerous rhetoric” about nuclear weapons’ use; an increased reliance on nuclear weapons in security doctrines; and modernization programmes to make nuclear weapons faster, stealthier and more accurate.

The durability of the NPT, which has lasted for almost half a century, cannot be taken for granted, she insisted, adding that there is currently nothing to replace the disarmament and arms control framework which is foundational to the post-Cold War era.

With the Treaty coming under increasing stress, the upcoming Review Conference in 2020 will, she said, be a “defining moment.” It could either highlight divisions between States and raise questions about their willingness to seek collective security for all, or present “a golden opportunity to make the practical gains that will ensure the Treaty’s continued viability.”

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, speaking at the UN Security Council.

Iran, North Korea nuclear programmes ‘top of the agenda’

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, also briefed the Council, reminding members of the role that the Agency plays in the implementation of the NPT; in the creation of an environment “conducive to nuclear cooperation”; and in assisting developing countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful means.

However, Mr. Amano said the IAEA was facing several challenges, including the steady increase in the amount of nuclear material in circulation, the number of nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards (the system of inspection and verification of the peaceful uses of nuclear materials), and continuing pressure on the Agency’s budget.

He told the Council that monitoring the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), are among the top items on the IAEA’s agenda.

Mr. Amano said that Iran was implementing its commitments under the UN-backed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, whose future has been put in doubt by the decision of the US administration to withdraw from the agreement. After 2009, he said, there have been “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

As for the DPRK, Mr. Amano said that the country’s nuclear programme has significantly expanded over the past decade, carrying out nuclear tests on five separate occasions since 2009, despite the recent lull. With no inspectors inside the country, the IAEA monitors the situation using tools such as open-source information and satellite imagery.

Security Council reaffirms support for nuclear treaty

In a statement released following the meeting, the Security Council announced a reaffirmation of its members’ support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and a commitment to “advance the goals of the NPT as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

Describing the NPT commitments taken under the treaty as viable and mutually reinforcing, the statement underscored the need for its full implementation, and the importance of achieving universal adherence to the Treaty.

The Council members agreed that the 2020 NPT Review Conference will provide an opportunity for an unambiguous reaffirmation of commitment to the Treaty, a commemoration of its historic achievements, and the strengthening of the nuclear-disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

Building the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Nuclear issues sharpen focus on US-Saudi relations

April 02, 2019 – 11:00 AM EDT

By Simon Henderson, opinion contributor 12

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

A nuclear war is in prospect between Congress and the Trump administration. Tension is high. Skirmishes have begun. But the political battle is not being fought with nukes. Rather, it is about nukes — Saudi nukes.

The word “Saudi” is cropping up in many headlines these days. Perhaps too many. The Saudis likely are players in the “deal of the century” — the yet-to-be-announced Middle East plan, where their financial weight, regional prestige and religious significance could be crucial to U.S. diplomacy.

But this role runs in parallel with the challenge of coping with the notoriety gained by imprisoning and allegedly abusing women political activists, and the cause celebre of the murder and dismemberment of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The nuclear issue bridges the positives and negatives — what we want the Saudis to do, and what we hope they will stop doing.

Riyadh wants nuclear power plants, for generating electricity and for desalination. To access U.S. technology, Riyadh needs to sign a so-called 123 Agreement, which would lay out the parameters for nuclear cooperation. When the United States signed one with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2009, Abu Dhabi pledged not to enrich its own fuel nor to reprocess its spent fuel. (Enriching is the technique that can result in highly enriched uranium, a nuclear explosive. Reprocessing produces plutonium, which also can be used in atomic bombs.)

Riyadh declares its nascent nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes but wants to retain the right to enrich and reprocess. An additional argument made by individual Saudis is that, if Iran is allowed to enrich under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord — which still exists even though President Trump withdrew the United States last year — why can’t Riyadh?

For skeptics, there are powerful economic arguments why, perhaps counter-intuitively, oil and gas rich countries such as the kingdom, the UAE and Iran need nuclear power. First, it enables them to generate electricity at a fixed cost, rather than one that fluctuates with energy prices. Second, it enables these countries to maximize their oil and gas foreign exchange revenues.

The White House wants to secure any Saudi nuclear technology purchases, worth up to $80 billion, for American business rather than the competing Russians, Chinese, French or South Koreans. In Congress, there is a bipartisan belief, likely reinforced by intelligence briefings on the demise of Khashoggi, that the mercurial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, aka MbS, is not reliable. Politicians and the public alike are concerned by his comment in a “60 Minutes” interview a year ago: “… If Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

In the Middle East, the UAE reportedly will want to revisit its 123 Agreement if the kingdom’s is less restrictive. And Saudi neighbor Qatar was bothered by news reports last year that not only would a canal be dug to separate it from the kingdom but the area between the two countries would be used as a nuclear waste dump.

Even Israel, arguably one of MbS’s best, albeit low-profile, advocates in Washington, reportedly is concerned about nuclear technology in Saudi hands. And MbS’s recent high-profile visit to Islamabad has rekindled anxieties about Pakistan being prepared to give or lend nuclear-tipped missiles to the kingdom in time of regional tension. (A new missile manufacturing facility in the Saudi desert looks very similar in layout to one China supplied to Pakistan in the 1990s.)

The latest round of arguments in Congress on March 28 involved Energy Secretary Rick Perry not remembering whether any of the paperwork he had authorized, allowing American companies to have initial nuclear discussions with the Saudis, had been signed after Oct. 2, 2018, the day Khashoggi was murdered. A subsequent Department of Energy (DOE) statement did not clarify the timeline. The same day, Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman, the 31-year-old former ambassador to Washington and MbS’s younger brother, discussed “bilateral issues” with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department.

For the moment, it is perhaps nuclear theater rather than nuclear war. But it is certainly time to make the popcorn.

Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

India-Pakistan Clashes in Kashmir (Revelation 8)

A civilian, who according to local media was injured in a cross-border shelling near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Poonch sector, is rushed to a hospital in Jammu, Pakistan administered Kashmir, April 1, 2019. REUTERS

India-Pakistan clashes on Kashmir border leave civilians dead

April 2, 2019 / 7:20 AM

New DelhiSeven people have been killed and 28 injured in two days of small arms fire and shelling between Indian and Pakistani forces. The renewed clashes have taken place along the de-facto border that divides the Kashmir region in half. Both of the nations claim rightful ownership of the entire area, and they’ve fought three wars over it already.

This week has seen the deadliest border escalation between the nuclear armed neighbors since they carried out airstrikes on each other’s territory near the end of February.

An intervention by the United States and other nations brought the two countries back from the brink of a possible full-scale war.

Four Pakistanis and three Indians have been killed in the cross-border clashes since Monday morning. On Tuesday, three Pakistani soldiers were killed by gunfire from Indian forces. A statement by the Pakistan military said they were killed in the Rawalakot area of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. A Pakistani civilian was also killed in shooting on Monday, and five civilians were injured.

On the Indian side, a 5-year-old girl, a woman, and a soldier of the Border Security Force (BSF) were killed on Monday. Eighteen other civilians and five soldiers were also injured.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Indian side on Tuesday, but the exchange of fire was continuing in at least six areas along the unofficial border dividing Kashmir, known as the Line of Control (LoC).

Government officials in one part of Indian Kashmir ordered all schools near the border to remain shut amid the violence.

A ceasefire has been in place since 2003 along the border, but both sides’ militaries regularly exchange fire and then accuse the other side of “unprovoked ceasefire violations,” usually followed by warnings of a “retaliatory response.”

The cross fire incidents have increased since the February airstrikes, claiming dozens of lives and displacing scores of people from the border areas on both sides.

The tension has escalated in recent weeks as India is just days away from a crucial national election in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term.

National security issues have come to dominate the election campaign in a major shift from previous elections, in which political parties have generally focussed on development and employment issues.