The Pakistan Nuclear Horn Continues to Grow

Pakistan has more nukes than India, still building arsenal

India’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine “INS Arihant” became operational last year, giving the country a “nuclear triad” – the ability to launch nuclear strikes by land, air and sea.

Islamabad: Pakistan has 150-160 nuclear warheads compared to India’s 130-140 warheads, according to a 2019 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

They are comparable in the sense that both have the capability to strike each other’s territories and cause immense damage and massive loss of life.

Pakistan has longer-range nuclear weapons, such as the Shaheen 3 missile that can reach India’s Andaman Islands near Southeast Asia. India is developing long-range ballistic missiles able to strike targets across China.

India’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine “INS Arihant” became operational last year, giving the country a “nuclear triad” – the ability to launch nuclear strikes by land, air and sea.

Pakistan is also working on sea-launched cruise missiles to complete its own triad.

China, India and Pakistan are increasing the size of their nuclear arsenals.

SIPRI Governing Board Chair Ambassador Jan Eliasson, former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, says: “A key finding is that despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2018, all nuclear weapon-possessing states continue to modernise their nuclear arsenals.”

At the start of 2019, nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) — possessed approximately 13,865 nuclear weapons.

This marked a decrease from the approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2018.

Of these 13,865 nuclear weapons, 3,750 are deployed with operational forces and nearly 2,000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert.

The decrease in the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world is mainly due to Russia and the US — which together still account for over 90 per cent of all nuclear weapons — further reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) while also making unilateral reductions.

In 2018, Russia and the US announced that they had achieved the final New START force reduction limits by the specified deadline.

Iran WILL Nuke Babylon the Great

Iran war: Does Iran have nuclear weapons? Could it nuke the US?

TENSIONS between Iran and the US have escalated, threatening World War 3. But does Iran have nuclear weapons?

By Kaisha Langton 15:17, Sat, Jun 22, 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56, Sat, Jun 22, 2019

Iran has incentive to ‘up the ante’ on the US says expert

Iran threatened to accelerate its nuclear program this week, directly violating a nuclear agreement signed in 2015. Tensions ensions between the US and Iran have neared breaking point over the last few weeks after a series of attacks on oil tankers and the most recent use of a missile to sink a US drone in “international airspace”. Both countries have warned of terrifying consequences if the other attacks. But does Iran have nuclear weapons and could the country nuke the US?

How did current tensions with Iran start?

Tensions between the US and Iran have risen and fallen since the mid-20th century, with the two countries having shared a close relationship at one point.

The harmony came to an abrupt end during the Iranian revolution when pro-US Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was deposed.

Today, the recent tensions stem from Donald Trump’s reaction to the 2015 nuclear pact.

What did the 2015 nuclear pact say?

In 2015, Iran agreed a long-term deal on its nuclear programme with a group of world powers known as the P5+1, which includes the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.

The deal came after years of tension over Iran’s alleged efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

Iran insisted that its nuclear programme was entirely peaceful, but the international community did not believe that.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Iran agreed to limit the enrichment of uranium, which is used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear weapons; redesign a heavy-water reactor being built, whose spent fuel would contain plutonium suitable for a bomb; and allow inspections by a global watchdog.

Iran war: Iranians gathering on May 10 to support the gov’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal (Image: FATEMEH BAHRAMI/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY)

Does Iran have nuclear weapons?

In May, Iran suspended its commitments under the 2015 international nuclear deal, a year after it was abandoned by the US.

President Hassan Rouhani said he would keep enriched uranium stocks in the country rather than sell them abroad.

He also threatened to resume production of more-highly-enriched uranium in 60 days if other signatories did not act to protect Iran from US sanctions.

The 2015 accord was aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions in return for relief from sanctions.

Iran war: Iran signed a nuclear deal in 2015 called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Image: FATEMEH BAHRAMI/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY)

But since the US left the deal it has imposed new sanctions, hitting Iran’s economy and raising Iran-US tensions.

Enriched uranium is used to make reactor fuel, but also nuclear weapons.

Iran had two facilities – Natanz and Fordo – where uranium hexafluoride gas was fed into centrifuges to separate out the most fissile isotope, U-235.

Low-enriched uranium, which has a 3-4 percent concentration of U-235, can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants.

Iran war: On June 20 US president Donald Trump announced and cancelled strikes against Iran (Image: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY)

“Weapons-grade” uranium is 90 percent enriched.

In July 2015 at the time of the nuclear deal, Iran had almost 20,000 centrifuges.

Under the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran was limited to installing no more than 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient centrifuges at Natanz until 2026 – 10 years after the deal’s “implementation day” in January 2016.

On June 17, Iran announced it would exceed limits of stockpiled uranium set by the 2015 arrangement on June 27.

Iran war: Oil tanker Kokuka Courageous which was damaged by a limpet mine believed to be Iranian (Image: MUMEN KHATIB/AFP/GETTY)

The US withdrew from the nuclear deal on May 8 this year, but despite this Iran has remained committed to the deal and to the other agreements within it, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which inspects Iran’s nuclear sites and issues quarterly reports on its compliance.

Iran does not yet have a fully equipped nuclear bomb, but with the stockpiled uranium the country is heading in the direction of building a bomb. 

As the country does not have nuclear weapons to hand, it is impossible for them to currently issue a full scale nuclear attack.

However, it is possible that Tehran could use its growing missile program to target American ships and troops in the area.

The Reason For Nuclear Modernization

A Trident II D5 missile is test-launched from the Ohio-class US Navy ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska. © Reuters / US Navy

US wants low-yield nukes to blackmail dissident countries, not to deter Russia – Moscow

Published time: 22 Jun, 2019 20:02

US generals are well aware that there’s no way of limiting the use of nuclear weapons in a war between superpowers, so the claim that some “low-yield” nukes are needed to match Russia is an outright lie, the Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow’s statement comes in response to the vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva, who vehemently promoted the modification of the warheads on Trident missiles, which are carried on Ohio-class submarines, in order for them to be able to carry low-yield nuclear weapons.

Selva argued that the US will be put in a difficult situation if Russia decides to hit an American city with a low-yield nuclear weapon. “The US doctrine says it will respond in kind, but without a low-yield nuclear weapon in its inventory, responding in kind means it will have to respond with a high-yield nuclear weapon,” supposedly provoking and all-out nuclear war.

But the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday blasted the general’s claims as “disingenuous” and pointed out that the use of low-yield nuclear weapons wasn’t even a part of Russia’s military doctrine.

An obvious deception is also the idea that it’s possible to ‘limit’ the use of nuclear weapons in a clash between two nuclear powers.

The yield of an incoming enemy warhead can only be determined after it detonates and the Americans are well aware of that, the ministry said in a statement.

“Therefore, any launch of a strategic nuclear carrier aimed at Russian territory… regardless of the capacity of its warhead, will be treated as an aggression with the use of nuclear weapons, and met with an appropriate response.”

US must show evidence if it wants to claim Russia breached nuke test treaty – Moscow

American attempts to turn nukes into “battlefield weapons” have nothing to do with Russia, Moscow insisted.

It seems Washington wouldn’t mind making low-yield warheads a means of blackmailing the countries, who oppose American dictates.

The US returning to its views “from 60 years ago,” when they believed that a “limited nuclear war” was acceptable and winnable, is a source of serious concerns, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that “this is apparently linked to the growing signs of Washington’s desire to refuse its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).”

CTBT, which forbids nuclear explosions in all environments, was adopted at the UN General Assembly in 1996. However, the treaty has never gone into force, due to not being ratified by over a dozen countries, including the US.

Trump Loses the Iranian Gamble

Trump’s Iran gamble

Will the first consequence of a US attack on Iran be war between Israel and Lebanon?

Paul Wood


It seems that American planes were actually on their way to bomb Iranian targets last night when they were called back. That’s what the New York Times was told by a senior official in the administration, speaking anonymously of course. ‘Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down.’ Was this President Trump or the Pentagon? It’s possible that the US military suddenly learned of a vulnerability in some part of their forces spread around the Middle East, in Bahrain, in Iraq, or in Syria, but then again, they’ve had time to prepare. More likely, this was Trump. From the Manhattan real estate business to international diplomacy, Trump’s tactic has always been to do something crazy at first so that, later, the other side is so grateful to find him reasonable in negotiations they cave and do a deal.

The US does have vulnerabilities in the Middle East, though. Shia militias know how to make roadside bombs that can pierce American armored vehicles, expertise they got from Tehran. The militias killed hundreds of American troops when the US occupied Iraq. There are only 5,000 troops there now, not the 150,000 of the occupation, but this is sure to be one place the Iranians hit back. The same for Syria, where there are still some 2,000 American military forces. Last month, a British general, Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, could say he saw no increased Iranian threat on the ground in either place. Unsurprisingly, British officials, say it’s not ‘appropriate’ to use that assessment in the current situation.

Iran’s most powerful proxy in the region is Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon. The Israelis worry that Iran will order it to attack them – an act that would consume the US in a new Middle East crisis. Hezbollah is said to have 150,000 missiles in southern Lebanon, pointed at Israel. The Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, said this week: ‘We warn Hezbollah not to impose Iran’s agenda on Lebanon and we warn Lebanon not to be a base for attacks on Israel.’ He was speaking at a memorial ceremony for soldiers killed during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Rivlin said that Israelis had ‘never had anything against the Lebanese people’, but other Israeli leaders make no distinction between Hezbollah and Lebanon. The commander of Israel’s forces in the north, General Amir Baram, said: ‘[T]he nation of Lebanon will pay a heavy price in the next campaign for cooperating with Shiite terror.’

In the first instance, he was talking about the Shia population of southern Lebanon. The Israeli media quotes defense experts as saying that people living in some 200 villages are being ‘used as civilian shields for Hezbollah weaponry’. In the event of war, expect massive Israeli airstrikes across the south of Lebanon. Expect, too, a repeat of the ‘mistakes’ of 2006, when Israel fought the second of its wars with Lebanon. On July 30th 2006, an Israeli aircraft dropped a 2,000lb American MK84 bomb on a building in the village of Qana. The building collapsed, burying three extended families who had taken shelter in the basement. Twenty-eight people died, all civilians, the oldest 75, the youngest nine, who was one of 16 children killed. During a two-week period of the 2006 war, Human Rights Watch counted some 500 civilians killed by Israeli fire. There was ‘a systematic failure by the IDF [the Israeli Defence Force] to distinguish between combatants and civilians’. Israel denies that and less than a week after what Lebanese call the ‘Qana massacre’, Israeli jets destroyed what they had identified as rocket launchers in the very same village – making Israel’s point about Hezbollah firing from civilian areas.

Regardless of these arguments, a third war between Israel and Lebanon will be bloody for Lebanese civilians. Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and so people here expect airstrikes on government ministries in Beirut, on Lebanese army barracks, on roads and bridges, and on power stations – the whole country believes it will suffer, not just the south, not just territory loyal to Hezbollah. The devastating Israeli campaign that everyone expects may be one reason why Hezbollah will not fire its rockets. The Party of God – as its name translates – has already been drained by years of fighting in Syria. Despite the martyr posters tacked to lampposts in Shia neighborhoods, that war has not been popular. More casualties and more grieving families could weaken Hezbollah’s support. And it would be a mistake to think that Hezbollah is simply a cipher for Tehran. Whether there is a third Israeli Lebanese war may depend on how much pressure Iran exerts on its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

That is a question of American actions and Iranian intentions. What actions would be seen a red line by Iran? What would they consider a proportional response? There are some interesting answers to these questions in a piece in the National Interest by Michael Rubin, who was on the Iran desk at the Pentagon during the W. Bush administration. He writes that there are new commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and specifically of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Navy. In late 2017, there was also a change at the top of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy. ‘When changes of command occur, especially in the Islamic Republic, the successors have to prove their revolutionary mettle.’ Rubin believes that, in the past, Iran’s leaders have shown themselves to be flexible when put under pressure. But he also thinks that the Islamic Republic is in its ‘death throes’ and that its leaders might try to survive by provoking a crisis that will rally Iranians around the flag.

If so, they have help. President Trump campaigned on a promise to scrap the Iran nuclear deal and did just that last year, imposing painful economic sanctions on Tehran. As Rubin says, the sanctions – on top of a desire for change after 40 years of rule by the clerics – may now threaten the regime’s survival. Iran’s response is to stockpile uranium, leading to condemnation from the US last week for abandoning the deal it had already abandoned. If Trump’s aim is ultimately to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, that might now take more than just a few punitive strikes against the Iranian navy and Iranian government buildings. In 2010, I interviewed the Israeli air force officer who led Operation Babylon, the bombing raid by Israeli F-16s that destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, at Osirak, in 1981. That officer, Colonel Ze’ev Raz, warned against expecting too much from airpower alone. Iran would probably require ground troops to finish the job, he said. ‘We can destroy some targets, cause some damage. But we can’t stop the project [if Iran is intent on pursuing it].’

Is President Trump prepared to occupy another country in the Middle East, to wage what his critics fear will be another ‘forever war’? His national security adviser, John Bolton – an Iran hawk – has one ear; as Freddy Gray reports, the Fox presenter Tucker Carlson – who wants no more foreign wars – has the other. We don’t know if the decision to call back the US bombers last night was a result of the push and pull between these two – or if this was Trump’s plan all along. He may believe that by threatening to attack, he will get the Iranians to cave and there’ll be a new, better nuclear deal. Trump once said: ‘I’m a really great negotiator…Deals are my art form.’ Peace in the Middle East may now depend on whether the president can live up to his own assessment of his abilities.

Paul Wood is a BBC correspondent


Earthquake activity in the New York City area


Although the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.

Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.

As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island. The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5.For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.


The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.

Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region,but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

The Iranian Hedgehog vs. the American Fool

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting in Tehran in 2017.Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

The Iranian Hedgehog vs. the American Fox

The escalation between the two countries is being driven by the clashing temperaments of their leaders.

Karim SadjadpourJun 21, 2019

Senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Though few citizens of the United States or Iran seek conflict, the two countries are on a dangerous trajectory that has less and less to do with the diverging interest of two nation-states. More and more, the escalation is being driven by the clashing temperaments of two cynical elderly men. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the 80-year-old Iranian supreme leader, has been steadfast, even monomaniacal, in opposing the United States. In contrast, the 73-year-old Donald Trump has employed a flurry of strategies—from flattering Iran to coming within minutes of military strikes—to bring Tehran to heel.  

The Oxford University philosopher Isaiah Berlin’s seminal 1953 essay, “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” offers a simple dichotomy to explain recent dynamics between the United States and Iran—or, rather, between Trump and Khamenei.

Borrowing a line from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus, Berlin divided human beings into two different categories: “The fox knows many things,” he wrote, “but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Hedgehogs have a grand theory of the world, while foxes employ a different cunning for every circumstance. He cites Shakespeare and Aristotle as examples of foxes, while “Karl Marx was the most implacable hedgehog of them all.”

Among world leaders today, few hedgehogs are more implacable than Ayatollah Khamenei. Hedgehogs, Berlin argued, “relate everything to a single central vision … a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance.” In this spirit, Khamenei’s organizing principle throughout his 30-year rule as supreme leader has been “resistance” against America.

Rather than calming Iranian national anxieties about the prospect of war with the United States, Khamenei used the word resistance more than 65 times in a recent speech—sometimes more than once in a sentence. “Today in our region,” he said, “the common word among nations is resistance. Everyone agrees with resistance … The recent defeats that the Americans suffered in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and other such countries were an outcome of the resistance of Resistance groups.”

For Khamenei, “resistance” against “global arrogance”—his moniker for American imperialism— is both an ideology and a strategic doctrine. “Resistance,” he said, “unlike surrender, leads to the retreat of the enemy. When the enemy bullies you, if you take a step back, he will undoubtedly advance. The way to stop him from advancing is to resist.” Consistent with Khamenei’s philosophy, Iran has not responded to Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign with concessions, but rather by sowing chaos in the region and threatening to restart its nuclear program.

Berlin contrasted the dogmatism of hedgehogs with foxes, who, he wrote, “pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle.” Even sympathetic observers of Donald Trump’s presidency would likely concur that he pursues contradictory ends motivated by an unknown psychological cause for no clear moral principle. But while Khamenei is the quintessential hedgehog, Trump is a variation on the prototypical fox; he does not know many things as much as he says many things.

Unlike Khamenei’s sole strategic doctrine, Trump’s Iran strategy—sometimes to the left of Glenn Greenwald, and sometimes to the right of Sean Hannity—has had the coherence of a Jackson Pollock painting. Days after angrily tweeting that “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” Trump proclaimed that Iran “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership.” After Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf this week, Trump ominously tweeted “big mistake.” Moments later, he assessed it may have just been a big misunderstanding. Hours later, he claimed to call off military strikes against Iran 10 minutes before they were to happen.

Trump’s erratic approach—provoking an escalation cycle while simultaneously making clear his aversion to conflict—only increased Tehran’s appetite for risk. As Suzanne Maloney from the Brookings Institution has pointed out, Trump is learning the same hard lesson as six U.S. presidents before him. If Tehran is willing to subject its population to economic hardship and use the entirety of its energy wealth to promulgate an antiquated ideology that advocates “Death to America” rather than “Prosperity for Iranians,” the United States has limited ability—using either engagement or coercion—to dissuade it.

Indeed, despite the imbalance of power between Tehran and Washington, Khamenei has been the one to consistently refuse Trump’s offer of dialogue, not vice versa. While many have declared this a failure of Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign, the reality is that Iran is in a much greater bind. A U.S. military strike on Iran might have been averted for now, but Iran’s deteriorating economic circumstances cannot likely be reversed absent an accommodation of the United States.

In this context, for Trump the best option is not to respond militarily to Iranian acts of aggression and sabotage, but to use them to build more robust international support, all while keeping the door of diplomacy open. While the deteriorating Iranian economy probably won’t make the regime implode, Iranian popular pressure will grow on Khamenei to justify his opposition to negotiations, and will increasingly expose him as the obstacle that stands between Iranians and a better future. Tehran already shows signs of frustration with Khamenei’s intransigence, including President Hassan Rouhani’s recent admission that he has no authority over Iran’s foreign affairs.

When and if Tehran is ready to talk, the differences between Trump and Khamenei present further obstacles. Trump prefers public pageants about broad topics; Khamenei prefers private discussions about narrow topics. Reaching a deal—or at least averting a conflict—will require Khamenei to acquire the flexibility of a fox, and Trump to adopt the strategic patience and resolve of a hedgehog. While two men with a combined age of 153 surely lack the psychological and ideological agility to change who they are, the possibility of a devastating war will encourage a little more deftness.

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Karim Sadjadpour is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on Iran and U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

81 Palestinians injured Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

GAZA, June 21 (Xinhua) — At least 81 Palestinians were injured on Friday afternoon during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel, medics said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Gaza Health Ministry, told reporters that 79 people as well as two paramedics had various injuries in the clashes with the Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip.

Local media and eyewitnesses said that dozens of Palestinian demonstrators clashed with the Israeli soldiers stationed on the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel.

They said that Palestinian demonstrators gathered close to the border, waved Palestinian flags, chanted slogans against Israel and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed on the borderline area.

The soldiers fired teargas canisters, rubber bullets and live gunshots to keep the demonstrators away from the fence of the border, according to the eyewitnesses, who added that several demonstrators were injured.

The demonstrations were part of the weekly anti-Israel protests and rallies, better known as the “Great March of Return,” which started in late March last year.

The highest commission of the event said at the end of the rallies that next Friday’s protests will be held in eastern Gaza Strip against holding the U.S. economic workshop in Manama, Bahrain.

Gaza health ministry had earlier said in a press statement that since the outbreak of the protests on March 30 last year, the Israeli army has killed 306 Palestinians and wounded more than 17,000 with live ammunition in eastern Gaza.

On Thursday, Islamic Hamas movement politburo Chief Ismail Haniyeh warned that the calm understandings brokered with Israel by Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar “are in danger.”

“The understandings are in danger because the occupation (Israel) is delaying its implementation on the ground,” Haniyeh told foreign media representatives in Gaza, adding that “his movement is committed to the calm understandings.”

Egypt, the UN and Qatar have been mediating between Israel and Hamas-led militant groups and factions to defuse mounting tensions between the two sides that usually promotes to military escalation.

The weekly protests call on Israel to end Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007 after Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave. 


Palestinian protesters carry a wounded boy during clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2019. At least 81 Palestinians were injured on Friday afternoon during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel, medics said. (Xinhua/Yasser Qudih)


Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2019. At least 81 Palestinians were injured on Friday afternoon during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel, medics said. (Xinhua/Yasser Qudih)


Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on June 21, 2019. At least 81 Palestinians were injured on Friday afternoon during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in eastern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel, medics said. (Xinhua)