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

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

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

Monday, March 14, 2011

By Bob Hennelly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Babylon the Great Lags Behind China and Russia

An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN-739) off the coast of California in 2008. US Navy Photo

Official: U.S. Far Behind China, Russia in Modernizing Nuclear Arsenal

John GradyApril 25, 2019 2:45 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – China and Russia had their money on winning asymmetric advantages in conventional and nuclear forces in the last decade, and now the United States is playing catch-up in modernizing its sea, air and land nuclear forces, the Pentagon’s top policy official said Wednesday.

David Trachtenberg, the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary for policy, said the United States put off modernizing the three legs of its nuclear deterrent for almost 20 years, he told USNI News following a presentation at the Brookings Institution.

“In the 2000s, we skipped a generation” in modernizing the triad – ballistic missile submarines, bombers and ballistic missiles. He added that the United Kingdom and France, both nuclear powers and NATO allies, reduced their weapons stockpiles while continuing to modernize their nuclear forces during that same time. The United Kingdom has sea-based ballistic missile submarines; France has both submarines and aircraft capable of delivery of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, North Korea, India and Pakistan established themselves as nuclear powers.

Most of the nation’s nuclear deterrence was built in the 1980s or even earlier,” Trachtenberg said during the presentation. The triad was “aging into obsolescence.”

Trachtenberg said in answer to a question during the forum that the United States is not engaged in a new arms race with Moscow or starting one with China, but “Russia is re-scoping” its nuclear and conventional forces, including using low-yield nuclear weapons to get its way in a confrontation.

During the presentation and follow-up conversation with USNI News, he emphasized that the Pentagon’s move to modifying existing sea-launched cruise and ballistic missiles are designed to “close a gap” that Moscow is exploiting with its positioning of ground-based intermediate range cruise missiles on its borders. The United States has said their deployment violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement between the two.

China was not a party to that treaty and has missiles of that range in its arsenal. The United States has announced is pulling out of the agreement. Whether that move will lead to the United States leaving other arms agreements is unclear.

In answer to an audience question, he said the administration has not yet decided on continuing in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.

“We’re not attempting to match Russia system for system,” but “to close a gap” that the Kremlin believes gives it a “coercive advantage” in a European crisis. He said the American sea-launched systems “provide a mix and range of capabilities” needed in a changed security environment, do not violate any arms agreement and do not require congressional approval.

Trachtenberg said during the session that Russia’s military doctrine accepts the use of “so-called tactical nuclear weapons and [nuclear-armed] cruise missiles” in resolving a confrontation. As for the United States’ position on “first use” of nuclear weapons, he added it is one of “constructive ambiguity,” the same as the United Kingdom’s announced policy.

He specifically cited “the novel nuclear systems that President [Vladimir] Putin unveiled with great fanfare a couple of months ago” as yet another development designed to throw into question the United States’ commitment to “extended deterrence” to its allies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

“Extended deterrence does not exist in a vacuum.” That includes allies and partners wanting it, believing that it is there for their protection and would be employed if necessary, and a willingness to do their part, he said.

In addition to the nuclear arsenals of the United Kingdom and France to help deter Russian aggression, he cited the deployment of the F-35A Lightning II showing allied commitment to extended deterrence. For some nations, it will be replacing the dual-weapon capable F-15E.

For allies like Japan and Korea, the deterrence centers on their continued belief that the U.S.’s “nuclear umbrella” protects them as well as the American homeland and the placement of sophisticated air and missile defense systems like Patriot and Theater High-Altitude Area Defense on the peninsula and Aegis Ashore on the home islands.

He added Asian allies “may hold different view than our European allies” on the exact meaning of extended deterrence; and even among European allies, views may differ from one nation to another.

Trachtenberg linked the Nuclear Posture Review and the Missile Defense Review as showing the administration’s commitment to extended deterrence and how the United States values allies and partners. The administration also has remained committed to spending 3.5 percent of the Pentagon’s overall budget [or $25 billion annually] on its nuclear weapons programs, a percentage that would grow about 7 percent as costs of Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and new bombers come more into play.

A modernized nuclear triad “is the ultimate guarantor of our security.” Extended deterrence is “more challenging” now – especially with North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

60 More Injured Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Palestinians protest next to the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, as it is seen from its Israeli side March 30, 2019. (photo credit:” AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

60 PALESTINIANS INJURED DURING CLASH WITH IDF FORCES AT GAZA BORDER

By HAGAY HACOHEN

The ongoing Friday protests, which the Palestinians call ‘March of Return’, began on March 30th and has seen over half a million people violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel.

Around 60 Palestinians were reportedly injured during clashes with IDF forces across the Gaza border, the Palestinian Ministry of Health and Israeli media reported on Friday.

Roughly 8,000 Palestinians confronted the troops in the clashes, Walla reported – protesters threw stones and explosives devices on the IDF soldiers, no casualties were reported.

The ongoing Friday protests, which the Palestinians call ‘March of Return’, began on March 30th and has seen over half a million people violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade.

As the Middle East waits to the unveiling of the US peace plan, commonly refereed to as the ‘Deal of the Century’ by the Trump administration, special US envoy Jason Greenblatt called on Palestinian leaders not to reject it before they read it and announced it does not involve giving up a portion of the Sinai, which is part of Egypt, or a part of Jordan to create the future Palestinian state

The White House Prepares for War

Iran Sanctions Redux—and Why a Blunt Cudgel Can’t Replace Targeted Tools

While Washington fixates on the Mueller Report and the hordes entering the 2020 presidential race, the Trump administration is making a quiet, seismic shift in US foreign policy that will outlast arguments over tweets and impeachment.

Foreign policy requires a combination of diplomacy, carrots, and sticks—and sanctions, when employed strategically, can be a pretty effective stick. The textbook case is international financial pressure on South Africa that forced an end to apartheid and free elections. More recently, a mind-boggling array of US and European sanctions on Iran forced Tehran to accept a 2015 deal to roll back its nuclear program, under 24/7 international surveillance. Those sanctions would have failed without the cooperation of China, Turkey, and other Iranian trading partners, who sacrificed their short-term economic interests to help pressure Iran. US and international sanctions on what both Presidents Trump and Obama rightly denounced as Iran’s malign activities—terrorism, illicit missiles, and human rights abuses—were never lifted as part of the nuclear deal, and remain in force today.

Sanctions can be an attractive weapon—but they’re not a silver bullet. A nearly 60-year-old unilateral US embargo on Cuba hasn’t brought the Castros down, nor have decades of penalties managed to end the brutal, totalitarian Kim dynasty in North Korea. When wielded clumsily and without international unity needed to make them effective, sanctions are toothless—all bark and no bite.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday the United States is ready to severly punish countries that import Iranian oil, including China and Turkey, who responded defiantly. Oil markets were caught by surprise and prices jumped to six-month highs.

Pompeo is re-imposing sanctions the Obama administration and Congress imposed in 2012 to pressure Iran over its illicit nuclear program. The difference now is that Iran’s nuclear program has been curtailed—as verified more than a dozen times since 2015 by UN International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal last year, stubbornly convinced he could force Iran to accept tougher terms. But Iran—along with Europe, China, and Russia—ignored him and remained in the deal, maintaining surveillance of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for trade.

Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an architect or adviser on some of the toughest sanctions that led to the nuclear deal, thinks Iran “is trying to wait Trump out, convinced that a Democratic president will give massive sanctions relief . . . If Trump is reelected, the regime will have the choice between returning to negotiations or potential economic collapse that could create massive civil unrest.” Administration officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, share the hope that crippling Iran’s economy will stoke uprisings that destabilize or topple its regime.

But what if Iran, Europe, China, and Russia remain in the nuclear deal? What if the UN continues to certify that Iran is in compliance with its nuclear limits? Re-imposing sanctions seems far more likely to galvanize Iranian hardliners’ iron grip on power, and to fuel backlash from our allies and trade partners.

The European Union last year banned European companies from complying with reimposed US sanctions on Iran, and is working on a scheme to allow Europeans to engage in legal commerce with Iran while end-running US banks, explains Adam M. Smith, a former senior Treasury Department official, now an trade lawyer at Gibson Dunn. The world’s two largest banks by capitalization now are Chinese, meaning oil importers could use Chinese banks rather than American ones anyway.

The Trump administration treats sanctions like “an iron fist” instead of a surgical tool, but that doesn’t mean officials will get the results they expect, said Richard Nephew, a former lead sanctions official under both Obama and George W. Bush. Iran will now bargain hard with importers, offering discounts and special terms. Oil markets remain on edge, because replacing Iranian crude with Saudi and Emirati oil doesn’t account for potential shortfalls in Venezuela, Russia, or elsewhere. In March, Iran had an estimated 1.9 million barrels of day in the market, according to Ellen Ward, an energy fellow at the Atlantic Council, far higher than the amount Pompeo says need to be replaced.

Iran may push the envelope on nuclear restrictions, perhaps short of violations, but enough to raise concerns. Iran could also retaliate by boosting terrorists in the Middle East or launching cyber attacks on Saudi, Emirati, or US oil companies.

Further confusing the picture is Trump’s mixing and matching of apples-and-oranges economic tools—from sanctions and export controls to trade and tariffs. Tariffs are wielded tit-for-tat on unfair trade; sanctions take aim at foreign policy goals, and should be removed when the goal is achieved.

Conflating them makes “a big ball of wax” out of otherwise sharp, specific tools, said Gary Hufbauer at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Pressure on Venezuela or North Korea is undermined when Iran and Cuba sanctions don’t have international support or likelihood of success.

Unlike a surgical knife, if you hurl a ball of wax at a target, it doesn’t stick to anything.

India Threatens Pakistan with Nukes

India-Pakistan nuclear WAR fears as Modi threatens Pakistan with ‘mother of bombs’

INDIA’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened Pakistan with the “mother of nuclear bombs” over the weekend.

By Claire Anderson 03:04, Thu, Apr 25, 2019 | UPDATED: 10:11, Thu, Apr 25, 2019

India: Prime Minister Narenda Modi casts vote in election

During his re-election campaign trail, Mr Modi warned Pakistan of an attack, The Times reported. Mr Modi has national security the forefront of his campaign following recent strikes between India and Pakistan. Both countries have invaded each other’s airspace and fired along the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Mr Modi said at a rally: “India has stopped the policy of getting scared by Pakistan’s threats.

“Every day, Pakistan would make claims about having nuclear weapons.

“Even the media would bring out reports about Pakistan having nuclear weapons. So what do we have? Are we saving nuclear weapons for Diwali?

“I crushed Pakistan’s arrogance and forced it to roam around the world with a begging bowl.”

The threat comes just a week after the Prime Minister boasted India has 140 nuclear warheads, CCN reported.

He told crowds in Chhattisgarh: “We have the mother of nuclear bombs. I decided to tell Pakistan, do whatever you want to do but we will retaliate.”

Tensions have flared up since when 40 Indians were killed in a suicide attack from Pakistani based terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Mr Modi went on to refer to the Sri Lanka bombings at the rally last Sunday.

He claimed he is the only person who could stand up to terrorism.

He said: “Remember, when you cast your vote this time, you are not just playing the role of an alert citizen but also an alert soldier.

“In our neighbouring Sri Lanka, terrorists have played a bloody game. They killed innocent people.

“Who can do this? Can you think of any name aside from Modi? Can anybody else do this?”

The Nations Trample Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

The clash of interests between these two regional Middle Eastern powers seems clear; Egypt wishes to see Gaza calm and cut off from Islamic State-affiliated terror networks in the Sinai, which also threaten Egyptian security as a whole. Iran sees Gaza as one more base from which it can exercise its influence and threaten Israel and regional stability.

At the start of April, Hebrew media outlets quoted unnamed Israeli security officials as saying the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror faction, whose rocket arsenal is larger even than that of Hamas, was planning a significant attack on Israeli targets.

The information appeared to achieve its goal of discouraging the perpetrators, and no attack transpired. But the fact that Islamic Jihad was reportedly planning an incident that could have hampered Egyptian attempts to restore calm to the Gaza Strip could hint at a wider struggle taking place within Gaza between Egypt and Iran.

Hamas, which rules over Gaza, has reportedly faced demands from Egypt in recent months to decide whether it “takes its orders from Tehran or continues to implement the understandings for calm” formulated by the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel.

The clash of interests between these two regional Middle Eastern powers seems clear; Egypt wishes to see Gaza calm, stable and cut off from Islamic State-affiliated terror networks in the Sinai Peninsula, which also threaten Egyptian security as a whole.

Iran sees Gaza as one more base from which it can exercise its radical influence and encourage the growth of a terrorist army that threatens Israel and regional stability.

Iran transfers $100 million a year to the military wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad collectively, according to Israeli estimates.

Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, recalled that with the signing of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Cairo had no interest in retaking Gaza.

Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat “understood the problematic nature of this territory, which is the most crowded in the world, and racked with poverty, fundamentalism and a lack of a sovereign ruler,” said Ganor. As a result, Sadat did not demand a return of Egyptian rule over Gaza, despite the fact that Egypt controlled the territory prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.

“What Sadat understood, [current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah] el-Sissi also understands, although in a different manner,” Ganor told JNS. “El-Sissi understands that the Strip contains many risks to Egypt within it. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is tied by the umbilical cord to its mother movement—the Muslim Brotherhood—who are Sissi’s loathed and strategic enemies.”

El-Sissi has identified a process of Iranian infiltration into Gaza via its proxy, PIJ, “and is concerned by the growth of a forward Iranian post on the northern border of Egypt,” assessed Ganor.

Another source of concern for El-Sissi is the fact that IS in Sinai is linked to fellow Salafi-jihadist elements in Gaza. These security and political factors, as well as Egyptian concerns over the prospect of a new armed conflict erupting between Israel and Hamas on Egypt’s border, have all led to “massive Egyptian intervention and a will to be active in what is taking place in the Strip,” said Ganor. Israel, for its part, is in favor of this intervention and has even requested it over the years.

Yet Iran is trying to neutralize Egyptian influence in Gaza, Ganor noted, while looking to tighten its links with its Gazan proxies. Tehran is trying to transfer funds and weapons into Gaza. “It also seeks to instruct its proxies to disrupt every process that can lead to calm,” said Ganor.

Tehran’s relationship with Hamas is somewhat more complicated.

Ganor said that “Iran’s influence on Hamas is significant, but much smaller than its influence on Hezbollah. Hamas zealously safeguards its independence and does not view itself as being obligated to Iranian interests.”

The Iranian branch in Gaza

Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, described Islamic Jihad as a “kind of Iranian branch inside the Gaza Strip.”

Former Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Salah, as well its current chief, Ziad Nakhalah, are both frequent visitors to Iran, where they are “familiar guests,” stated Segall, a former head of the Iran Branch at the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate.

With Iran training Islamic Jihad fighters in the Islamic Republic, the organization is an “explicit proxy of Iran, in contrast to Hamas, which is under Iranian influence but has its own agenda and is more independent,” he said.

Despite this Iranian influence, Egypt has far more at stake in Gaza, which is at its back door. “Whatever happens in Sinai directly influences Egypt. Iran, meanwhile, is distant, and tries to activate its influence in Gaza by remote control,” said Segall.

He summed up the Iranian proxy strategy as follows: “The more Israel bleeds on its borders, the less it can engage Iran directly.” And the Iranians would like the same thing to happen in the West Bank, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for terror factions there to be armed just like they are in Gaza.

“This is [a] central component in [the] Iranian doctrine. It’s about asymmetric warfare. Gaza, Lebanon and Syria have become part of Iran’s asymmetric warfare doctrine,” said Segall.

Islamic Jihad has used Iranian-made sniper rifles to fire at the IDF, as well as advanced bombs. It manufactures rockets with Iranian know-how – all part of Iran’s attempt to “sharpen its influence and leave its footprint” in Gaza.

Segall positioned Gaza as one layer in a broader “Iranian war, which plays out in other places, including Yemen, where the Houthis operate against Saudi Arabia, firing missiles against it. It is very similar to what is happening in Gaza. The Iranians work with a proxy toolbox against the Saudis, the Egyptians and Gulf states. This is not limited to Gaza.”

While Iran has the power to activate Islamic Jihad to disrupt Egyptian mediation efforts or spark a new conflict, the terrorist group also faces pressure from Hamas, which can force its will on it, including through the force of arms, according to Segall.

“I think that on the day they receive their order from Iran, Islamic Jihad will obey and cash in its checks, which it received over the years from the Iranians,” he said.

This article is reprinted with permission from JNS.org.