The Sixth Seal Will be in New York (Revelation 6:12)

By Simon Worrall

PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2017

Half a million earthquakes occur worldwide each year, according to an estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to rattle your teacup. But some, like the 2011 quake off the coast of Japan or last year’s disaster in Italy, can level high-rise buildings, knock out power, water and communications, and leave a lifelong legacy of trauma for those unlucky enough to be caught in them.

In the U.S., the focus is on California’s San Andreas fault, which geologists suggest has a nearly one-in-five chance of causing a major earthquake in the next three decades. But it’s not just the faults we know about that should concern us, says Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake. As she explained when National Geographic caught up with her at her home in Portland, Maine, there’s a much larger number of faults we don’t know about—and fracking is only adding to the risks.

When it comes to earthquakes, there is really only one question everyone wants to know: When will the big one hit California?

That’s the question seismologists wish they could answer, too! One of the most shocking and surprising things for me is just how little is actually known about this natural phenomenon. The geophysicists, seismologists, and emergency managers that I spoke with are the first to say, “We just don’t know!”

What we can say is that it is relatively certain that a major earthquake will happen in California in our lifetime. We don’t know where or when. An earthquake happening east of San Diego out in the desert is going to have hugely different effects than that same earthquake happening in, say, Los Angeles. They’re both possible, both likely, but we just don’t know.

One of the things that’s important to understand about San Andreas is that it’s a fault zone. As laypeople we tend to think about it as this single crack that runs through California and if it cracks enough it’s going to dump the state into the ocean. But that’s not what’s happening here. San Andreas is a huge fault zone, which goes through very different types of geological features. As a result, very different types of earthquakes can happen in different places.

As Charles Richter, inventor of the Richter Scale, famously said, “Only fools, liars and charlatans predict earthquakes.” Why are earthquakes so hard to predict? After all, we have sent rockets into space and plumbed the depths of the ocean.

You’re right: We know far more about distant galaxies than we do about the inner workings of our planet. The problem is that seismologists can’t study an earthquake because they don’t know when or where it’s going to happen. It could happen six miles underground or six miles under the ocean, in which case they can’t even witness it. They can go back and do forensic, post-mortem work. But we still don’t know where most faults lie. We only know where a fault is after an earthquake has occurred. If you look at the last 100 years of major earthquakes in the U.S., they’ve all happened on faults we didn’t even know existed.

Earthquakes 101

Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with enough force to bring buildings down. Find out what causes earthquakes, why they’re so deadly, and what’s being done to help buildings sustain their hits.

Fracking is a relatively new industry. Many people believe that it can cause what are known as induced earthquakes. What’s the scientific consensus?

The scientific consensus is that a practice known as wastewater injection undeniably causes earthquakes when the geological features are conducive. In the fracking process, water and lubricants are injected into the earth to split open the rock, so oil and natural gas can be retrieved. As this happens, wastewater is also retrieved and brought back to the surface.

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Different states deal with this in different ways. Some states, like Pennsylvania, favor letting the wastewater settle in aboveground pools, which can cause run-off contamination of drinking supplies. Other states, like Oklahoma, have chosen to re-inject the water into the ground. And what we’re seeing in Oklahoma is that this injection is enough to shift the pressure inside the earth’s core, so that daily earthquakes are happening in communities like Stillwater. As our technology improves, and both our ability and need to extract more resources from the earth increases, our risk of causing earthquakes will also rise exponentially.

After Fukushima, the idea of storing nuclear waste underground cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Yet President Trump has recently green-lighted new funds for the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Is that wise?

The issue with Fukushima was not about underground nuclear storage but it is relevant. The Tohoku earthquake, off the coast of Japan, was a massive, 9.0 earthquake—so big that it shifted the axis of the earth and moved the entire island of Japan some eight centimeters! It also created a series of tsunamis, which swamped the Fukushima nuclear power plant to a degree the designers did not believe was possible.

Here in the U.S., we have nuclear plants that are also potentially vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, above all on the East Coast, like Pilgrim Nuclear, south of Boston, or Indian Point, north of New York City. Both of these have been deemed by the USGS to have an unacceptable level of seismic risk. [Both are scheduled to close in the next few years.]

Yucca Mountain is meant to address our need to store the huge amounts of nuclear waste that have been accumulating for more than 40 years. Problem number one is getting it out of these plants. We are going to have to somehow truck or train these spent fuel rods from, say, Boston, to a place like Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. On the way it will have to go through multiple earthquake zones, including New Madrid, which is widely considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous earthquake zones.

Yucca Mountain itself has had seismic activity. Ultimately, there’s no great place to put nuclear waste—and there’s no guarantee that where we do put it is going to be safe.

The psychological and emotional effects of an earthquake are especially harrowing. Why is that?

This is a fascinating and newly emerging subfield within psychology, which looks at the effects of natural disasters on both our individual and collective psyches. Whenever you experience significant trauma, you’re going to see a huge increase in PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicide, and even violent behaviors.

What seems to make earthquakes particularly pernicious is the surprise factor. A tornado will usually give people a few minutes, if not longer, to prepare; same thing with hurricanes. But that doesn’t happen with an earthquake. There is nothing but profound surprise. And the idea that the bedrock we walk and sleep upon can somehow become liquid and mobile seems to be really difficult for us to get our heads around.

Psychologists think that there are two things happening. One is a PTSD-type loop where our brain replays the trauma again and again, manifesting itself in dreams or panic attacks during the day. But there also appears to be a physiological effect as well as a psychological one. If your readers have ever been at sea for some time and then get off the ship and try to walk on dry land, they know they will look like drunkards. [Laughs] The reason for this is that the inner ear has habituated itself to the motion of the ship. We think the inner ear does something similar in the case of earthquakes, in an attempt to make sense of this strange, jarring movement.

After the Abruzzo quake in Italy, seven seismologists were actually tried and sentenced to six years in jail for failing to predict the disaster. Wouldn’t a similar threat help improve the prediction skills of American seismologists?

[Laughs] The scientific community was uniform in denouncing that action by the Italian government because, right now, earthquakes are impossible to predict. But the question of culpability is an important one. To what degree do we want to hold anyone responsible? Do we want to hold the local meteorologist responsible if he gets the weather forecast wrong? [Laughs]

What scientists say—and I don’t think this is a dodge on their parts—is, “Predicting earthquakes is the Holy Grail; it’s not going to happen in our lifetime. It may never happen.” What we can do is work on early warning systems, where we can at least give people 30 or 90 seconds to make a few quick decisive moves that could well save your life. We have failed to do that. But Mexico has had one in place for years!

There is some evidence that animals can predict earthquakes. Is there any truth to these theories?

All we know right now is anecdotal information because this is so hard to test for. We don’t know where the next earthquake is going to be so we can’t necessarily set up cameras and observe the animals there. So we have to rely on these anecdotal reports, say, of reptiles coming out of the ground prior to a quake. The one thing that was recorded here in the U.S. recently was that in the seconds before an earthquake in Oklahoma huge flocks of birds took flight. Was that coincidence? Related? We can’t draw that correlation yet.

One of the fascinating new approaches to prediction is the MyQuake app. Tell us how it works—and why it could be an especially good solution for Third World countries.

The USGS desperately wants to have it funded. The reluctance appears to be from Congress. A consortium of universities, in conjunction with the USGS, has been working on some fascinating tools. One is a dense network of seismographs that feed into a mainframe computer, which can take all the information and within nanoseconds understand that an earthquake is starting.

MyQuake is an app where you can get up to date information on what’s happening around the world. What’s fascinating is that our phones can also serve as seismographs. The same technology that knows which way your phone is facing, and whether it should show us an image in portrait or landscape, registers other kinds of movement. Scientists at UC Berkeley are looking to see if they can crowd source that information so that in places where we don’t have a lot of seismographs or measuring instruments, like New York City or Chicago or developing countries like Nepal, we can use smart phones both to record quakes and to send out early warning notices to people.

You traveled all over the U.S. for your research. Did you return home feeling safer?

I do not feel safer in the sense that I had no idea just how much risk regions of this country face on a daily basis when it comes to seismic hazards. We tend to think of this as a West Coast problem but it’s not! It’s a New York, Memphis, Seattle, or Phoenix problem. Nearly every major urban center in this country is at risk of a measurable earthquake.

What I do feel safer about is knowing what I can do as an individual. I hope that is a major take-home message for people who read the book. There are so many things we should be doing as individuals, family members, or communities to minimize this risk: simple things from having a go-bag and an emergency plan amongst the family to larger things like building codes.

We know that a major earthquake is going to happen. It’s probably going to knock out our communications lines. Phones aren’t going to work, Wi-Fi is going to go down, first responders are not going to be able to get to people for quite some time. So it is beholden on all of us to make sure we can survive until help can get to us.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Hamas Urges Palestinians to Attack Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas urges Palestinians to attack Jerusalem

15:36, 12 August 2019

Hamas terrorist group urged Palestinians to come into conflict with Israeli troops in Jerusalem. The representatives of the group stated that saint Islamic objects in the Israeli capital are under threat, as Israel Hayom reported.

“We call on all Muslims and Palestinians to go and protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque [the large mosque on Temple Mount] from the Zionist occupier,” Hamas said in a statement. “We commend all those who fight back against the Israelis settlers,” Hamas urged.

This call was revealed a few hours after Muslims and Israeli police clashed on the Temple Mount during pray dedicated to the Islamic holiday Id al-Adha, on Sunday.

This year, the Islamic holiday coincided with the European holiday Tisha B’Av, a solemn day when Jewish people are thinking about destruction of the temples and other disasters, and many believers prefer to fast.

Building Up the South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

U.S. B-1 bomber, center, flies over Osan Air Base with U.S. jets in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

US Military Experts Propose Sharing Nuclear Arms with Japan, South Korea

July 31, 2019

A group of military experts is proposing that the United States share its nuclear weapons with Japan and South Korea to answer the nuclear threat from North Korea.

The experts’ comments appear in Joint Forces Quarterly, a publication of the National Defense University. It notes that the opinions expressed in the article are not the official policy or position of the U.S. government.

In talks with U.S. officials, North Korea agreed not to test nuclear arms and long-range missiles. Yet the country apparently launched short-range missiles on Wednesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met three times with U.S. President Donald Trump. Their most recent meeting took place in June in Panmunjom, along the border between North and South Korea.

But the North has been slow to get involved in talks aimed at working out details of ending its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. government has offered to lift economic restrictions on the country once the program is suspended.

Experts: US should consider sharing

The four military experts expressed their opinions in an article called “Twenty-first Century Nuclear Deterrence.” The four serve in the U.S. army, navy and air force.

They wrote that: “The United States should strongly consider…sharing of nonstrategic nuclear capabilities during times of crisis with select Asia-Pacific partners, specifically Japan and the Republic of Korea.”

The Republic of Korea is the official name for South Korea. The term nonstrategic mainly describes weapons, like bombs, that can be dropped from warplanes.

The idea of the U.S. sharing nuclear arms with Japan and South Korea would involve deploying the weapons to the countries so they could be used in a nuclear war. The idea is similar to how the U.S. shares nuclear weapons with some members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The U.S. has promised to protect Japan and South Korea against nuclear attack. It also operates major military bases in both countries.

A view of North Korea’s missile launch on Thursday, in this undated picture released by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 26, 2019. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

The article on the proposal to deploy U.S. nuclear weapons in East Asia was released on July 25. That is the same day North Korea launched two short-range missiles. Early Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that the North launched several missiles from its eastern coast.

The military experts suggest that American nuclear sharing with Japan and South Korea could be based on the NATO model with a few differences.

Currently, the U.S. shares nuclear weapons with Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The NATO alliance now has a total of 29 member-states.

The article suggests that a possible nuclear weapons agreement in Japan and South Korea could be based on the agreement with NATO. Both the U.S. and the host country would need to agree to any possible use of the weapons. But some details may need to be changed for the East Asian allies.

Japan and South Korea dispute trade, history

The article suggests that nuclear sharing with Japan and South Korea would improve a “military partnership through joint-regional exercises” needed to deter North Korea. It also suggests that the move would provide a strong reason for North Korea to continue with negotiations to end its nuclear program.

A notice campaigning for a boycott of Japanese-made products is displayed at a store in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 12, 2019.

However, arms control expert Gary Samore said the timing may not be right for the proposed nuclear sharing because of the current trade dispute between Japan and South Korea.

Trade tensions between the two countries increased after Japan ordered restrictions on products exported to South Korean companies. The parts affected are needed in the manufacture of smart phones and high-technology devices.

The dispute has its roots in Koreans’ anger over the Japanese occupation of their country from 1910 to 1945, and its use of Korean forced labor during World War II.

South Korea’s Supreme Court approved the seizure of Japanese-owned property to pay South Koreans who were affected. To answer the export restrictions, many South Koreans are boycotting Japanese products. Those boycotts have become widespread in Seoul.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is traveling in Asia this week. Pompeo has said he would like to see Japan and South Korea “find a path forward” from the dispute.

Samore said, “There may come a time when the domestic politics in South Korea and Japan have changed especially when North Korea continues to maintain…nuclear weapons.”

He said, at that point, such an agreement would “make more sense.”

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

Kim Dong-hyun reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

More Nuclear Mishaps in Russia

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in 2018 at a state-of-the-union address, playing an animated video of missiles designed to evade American missile defenses.Marat Abulkhatin/TASS, via Getty Images

U.S. Officials Suspect New Nuclear Missile in Explosion That Killed 7 Russians

By David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer

Aug. 12, 2019

American intelligence officials are racing to understand a mysterious explosion that released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week, apparently during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow’s arms race with the United States.

American officials have said nothing publicly about the blast on Thursday, possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl, although apparently on a far smaller scale, with at least seven people, including scientists, confirmed dead. But the Russian government’s slow and secretive response has set off anxiety in nearby cities and towns — and attracted the attention of analysts in Washington and Europe who believe the explosion may offer a glimpse of technological weaknesses in Russia’s new arms program.

Thursday’s accident happened offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site and was followed by what nearby local officials initially reported was a spike in radiation in the atmosphere.

Late Sunday night, officials at a research institute that had employed five of the scientists who died confirmed for the first time that a small nuclear reactor had exploded during an experiment in the White Sea, and that the authorities were investigating the cause.

Vyacheslav Solovyov, the scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center, said in a video interview with a local newspaper that the institute had been studying “small-scale sources of energy with the use of fissile materials.”

But United States intelligence officials have said they suspect the blast involved a prototype of what NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall. That is a cruise missile that Mr. Putin has boasted can reach any corner of the earth because it is partially powered by a small nuclear reactor, eliminating the usual distance limitations of conventionally fueled missiles.

As envisioned by Mr. Putin, who played animated video of the missile at a state-of-the-union speech in 2018, the Skyfall is part of a new class of weapons designed to evade American missile defenses.

In several recent Pentagon and other government reports, the prospect of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missiles has been frequently cited as a potential new kind of threat. They are launched into the air and able to weave an unpredictable path at relatively low altitudes

That makes them virtually unstoppable for the existing American antimissile systems in Alaska and California, which are designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missile warheads in space, traveling a largely predictable path.

A 2011 photo of the military base near Nenoksa, Russia, where the explosion occurred.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Yet for all the hype, Russia’s early tests of the cruise missile appeared to fail, even before last week’s disaster. And Russia’s story about what happened Thursday in the sea off one of its major missile test sites has changed over the past four days as the body count has risen.

Beyond the human toll, American intelligence officials are questioning whether Mr. Putin’s grand dream of a revived arsenal evaporated in that mysterious explosion, or whether it was just an embarrassing setback in Moscow’s effort to build a new class of long-range and undersea weapons that the United States cannot intercept.

Many outside arms experts have long regarded his effort as part fantasy, using a technology the United States tried and failed to make work in the 1950s and 1960s. If so, it may call into question one of the Trump administration’s justifications for major new spending on American nuclear weapons to counter the Russian buildup — though the United States also cites a parallel program underway in China.

The accident came at a critical moment in the revived United States-Russia nuclear competition. This month, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement, citing long-running Russian violations, and there are doubts that New START, the one remaining major treaty limiting nuclear forces, will be renewed before it runs out in less than two years.

To Russian military officials, one of the appeals of the new class of hypersonic and undersea nuclear weapons is that they are not prohibited by any existing treaties — giving them free run to test and deploy them.

Russia’s military, in statements carried by state news agencies, first said that a fire broke out when a liquid-fueled rocket engine exploded at a testing site, but that radiation remained at normal background levels.

That contradicted a report from local authorities in the city of Severodvinsk, about 25 miles away. An official in charge of civil defense said two radiation meters registered a spike. Russian news media later reported radiation briefly rose to 200 times normal background levels.

The reports were quickly taken off the city’s websites, but not in time to stop a run by city residents for iodine, a way of protecting the thyroid gland against absorbing radiation.

“This information should be open” to inform those who might be exposed or wish to take precautions, said Aleksandr K. Nikitin, a former Russian naval officer and researcher with the Norwegian environmental group Bellona. “But in Russia it is done differently.”

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in May 1986.Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

The Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom on Saturday said the failure occurred in an “isotope power source for a liquid fueled rocket engine.” While the wording was confusing, it was the first official acknowledgment that the accident was nuclear in nature.

The change in Russia’s account, along with separate American intelligence reporting and satellite imagery, got the attention of American intelligence officials. They are now exploring whether the small nuclear reactor that Mr. Putin talked about when promoting the weapon failed, or exploded.

While the scale of the accident appeared vastly smaller than the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986, which killed thousands, the slow release of muddied information, the public confusion and distrust of official accounts, and the race for some limited form of protection, seemed to have echoes of the reaction to that disaster.

It has never been clear just how far along Mr. Putin’s grand plans for the cruise missile — called the 9M730 Burevestnick by the Russians — had gotten.

A missile-defense review published by the Pentagon — after careful scrubbing to avoid signaling to Moscow what American intelligence officials think they know — notes that “Russian leaders also claim that Russia possesses a new class of missile” that travels five times faster than the speed of sound and moves “just above the atmosphere,” in an evasive pattern that would defeat American antimissile technology. But the report made no assessment of whether they would work.

“I’ve generally been of the belief that this attempt at developing an unlimited-range nuclear-powered cruise missile is folly,’’ said Ankit Panda, a nuclear expert at the Federation of American Scientists. “It’s unclear if someone in the Russian defense industrial bureaucracy may have managed to convince a less technically informed leadership that this is a good idea, but the United States tried this, quickly discovered the limitations and risks, and abandoned it with good reason.”

Ivan Konovalov, director of the Center for Strategic Trends in Moscow and a military analyst, characterized the experiments underway now as “pioneering” work on a new technology and fraught with danger.

“When there are tests, anything can happen,” he said in a telephone interview.

But for Mr. Putin, facing protests that reveal some public restiveness with his long rule, the weapons programs have been part of his argument that he is restoring Russia to the position the Soviet Union held as a great power.

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When Mr. Putin first spoke about the new weapons in 2018, most of the attention fell on his description of an undersea drone, called the Poseidon, that could operate autonomously and, American officials feared, hit the West Coast in a nuclear “second strike” after an initial exchange. Mr. Putin seemed to be seeking attention for the new arsenal.

An undated video frame provided by the Russian Defense Ministry shows an undersea drone, called the Poseidon.Defense Ministry Press Service, via Associated Press

“Nobody wanted to talk to us,” Mr. Putin complained in the speech. “Now listen to us.”

He and others have talked about Russia’s plans for the “Poseidon” in a nod to the Doomsday Machine parodied in the 1964 classic “Dr. Strangelove,” which could hit the West Coast even if Moscow and Russia’s military centers were already destroyed in a nuclear strike. While fictional, the movie was based on a real Soviet plan, a demonstration of how long Soviet and Russian leaders have entertained the idea.

The “Poseidon” undersea drone still appears to be years away. But for Mr. Putin, the most promising weapon has been the nuclear-propelled cruise missile, which he advertised to be able to fly an unlimited range — an answer to American “global strike” weapons that are designed to reach any corner of the earth, with a non-nuclear warhead.

A little more than a year ago, Russia’s Ministry of Defense produced a carefully edited YouTube video that showed the missile heading aloft, and left the impression, wrongly, that it was already working.

The Russian admission that the accident centered on an “isotope power source” followed a series of anonymous statements, run on Tass and other Russian news sites, that seemed to mix fact, rumor and some disinformation. But satellite images offer some clues.

An Aug. 8 image released by Planet Labs, a firm that launches small satellites, appears to show the Serebryanka, a ship that carries nuclear fuel and waste, offshore from the Nenoksa Missile Test Site. Its presence, Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute, wrote on Twitter, “may be related to the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile.”

That vessel, which can safely collect nuclear waste, was also seen at another test of the 9M730 Burevestnick. Other facilities examined by Mr. Lewis’ experts seemed to show testing facilities consistent with those previously shown in Russian reports on past tests.

On Sunday, Mr. Lewis said that given the string of other suspected failures in tests of the missile’s propulsion system, “we think they are having troubles getting the reactor to light” and create the heat to fuel the missile. The images on the Russian YouTube video “doesn’t show you enough to prove it’s working,’’ he said.

“Maybe Putin will make it happen,’’ he added. “Maybe it will never work.”

Nuclear arms races are partly about the weapons, but they are also about leaving the impression that systems work, even if they don’t. Both sides engaged in propaganda and lies about the capability and size of their arsenals during the Cold War. They also covered up accidents.

The United States lost a nuclear weapon at sea off the coast of Japan, and didn’t acknowledge it for years, one of many cover-ups.

And this would hardly be the first time the Russian military, and its Soviet predecessors, covered up a testing disaster. A 1960 explosion at the Baikonur Cosmodrome was not acknowledged for nearly three decades. The official death toll then was 78; now there are some estimates that range into the hundreds.

With the passage of nearly 60 years, the truth may never be known.

Correction: Aug. 12, 2019

An earlier version of this article misstated the location of Chernobyl. It is in present-day Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union at the time of the nuclear accident. It is not in Russia.

Shi’a Horn to Unify Against the World (Daniel 8:8)

Iranian FM calls for Muslim unity following Temple Mount riots

Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticizes Israel following clashes between police and Muslim worshipers on Temple Mount.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday commented on the riots which broke out on the Temple Mount when Muslim worshipers clashed with police officers in an attempt to prevent Jews from visiting the holy site on Tisha B’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second Holy Temple.

Zarif posted a photo from the riots on Twitter and wrote, “The crime shown in this photo was but one perpetrated on Al-AQSA this morning—on our holy day.”

“The same terrorists are hoping to impose #HumiliationoftheCentury on Palestinians. We Muslims have power to end this tyranny, but only if we unite,” he added, in what appeared to be a reference to the US administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which has come to be known as the “Deal of the Century”.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Saturday blasted the Trump administration’s peace plan as well, and called on all Muslims to support the Palestinian people in their opposition to it.

In a letter marking the Islamic hajj pilgrimage, Khamenei said the still-unreleased US plan was a “ruse” that’s “doomed to failure.” He also called for “active participation” in efforts to block the US plan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later mocked Khamenei for what he called his “faux concern” for residents of the Palestinian Authority.

“It’s sick that on the eve of Tisha B’Av – a solemn day for the Jewish people – Khamenei calls for violence against the Jewish state,” Pompeo tweeted.

“Khamenei’s faux concern for the Palestinian people runs so deep that under his reign of terror he provided less than $20,000 in aid since 2008, while sending millions to Hamas & other terrorists. In contrast, U.S. provided $6.3 billion in support to Palestinians since 1994,” he added.

Babylon the Great is Turning Gulf Region into a Tinderbox

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference in Tehran, Iran August 5, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West A

U.S. turning Gulf region into ‘tinderbox’: Iran’s Zarif

Monday, August 12, 2019 5:19 a.m. CDT

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States on Monday of turning the Gulf region into a “matchbox ready to ignite”, according to Al Jazeera television.

Oil tanker traffic passing through the Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz has become the focus of a U.S.-Iranian standoff since Washington pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.

After explosions that damaged six tankers in May and June and Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in July, the United States launched a maritime security mission in the Gulf, joined by Britain, to protect merchant vessels.

Zarif, in interview remarks cited by Qatar-based Al Jazeera, said the Strait “is narrow, it will become less safe as foreign (navy) vessels increase their presence in it”.

“The region has become a matchbox ready to ignite because America and its allies are flooding it with weapons,” he said.

Zarif, who arrived on Sunday in Doha, met on Monday with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for talks to convey that message, Iranian state-run media reported.

Qatar, which hosts one of the biggest U.S. military bases in the Middle East, is trying not to be drawn into the escalating conflict between Washington and Tehran.

Iraq, which maintains good relations with both Washington and Tehran, cautioned on Monday that the deployment of Western forces was fueling regional tension.

“The states of the Gulf can together secure the transit of ships,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim said on Twitter. “Iraq is seeking to reduce tension in our region through calm negotiations…The presence of Western forces in the region will increase tension,” he said.

Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the British tanker, Stena Impero near the Strait for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

The tanker dispute has tangled Britain in the diplomatic dispute between the EU’s big powers – which want to preserve the Iran nuclear deal – and the United States which has pushed for a tougher policy on Iran.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Hair Trigger to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Hair-Trigger Nuclear Alert Over Kashmir

India and Pakistan, where people starve in the streets, waste billions on military spending because of the Kashmir dispute. Now some of India’s extreme Hindu nationalists warn they want to reabsorb Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka into Mother India.

Two of the world’s most important powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over the bitterly disputed Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir. Both are nuclear armed.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint since Imperial Britain divided India in 1947. India and Pakistan have fought numerous wars and conflicts over majority Muslim Kashmir. China controls a big chunk of northern Kashmir known as Aksai Chin.

In 1949, the UN mandated a referendum to determine if Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan or India. Not surprisingly, India refused to hold the vote. But there are some Kashmiris who want an independent state, though a majority seek to join Pakistan.

India claims that most of northern Pakistan is actually part of Kashmir, which it claims in full. India rules the largest part of Kashmir, formerly a princely state. Pakistan holds a smaller portion, known as Azad Kashmir. In my book on Kashmir, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ I called it ‘the globe’s most dangerous conflict.’ It remains so today.

I’ve been under fire twice on the Indo-Pak border in Kashmir, known as the ‘Line of Control,’ and once at 15,000 feet atop the Siachen Glacier on China’s border. India has over 500,000 soldiers and paramilitary police garrisoning its portion of Kashmir, whose 12 million people bitterly oppose often corrupt and brutal Indian rule – except for local minority Hindus and Sikhs who support it. A bloody, bitter uprising has flared on against Indian rule since 1989 in which some 42,000 people, mostly civilians, have died.

About 250,000 Pakistani troops are dug in on the other side of the ceasefire line.

What makes this confrontation so dangerous is that both sides have important tactical and nuclear forces arrayed against one another. These are mostly short/medium-ranged nuclear tipped missiles, and air-delivered nuclear bombs. Strategic nuclear weapons back up these tactical forces. A nuclear exchange, even a limited one, could kill millions, pollute much of Asia’s ground water, and spread radioactive dust around the globe – including to North America.

India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a Hindu hardliner who is willing to confront Pakistan and India’s 200 million Muslims, who make up over 14% of the population. In February, Modi sent warplanes to attack Pakistan after Kashmir insurgents ambushed Indian forces. Pakistan shot down an Indian MiG-21 fighter. China, Pakistan’s closest ally, warned India to back off.

Modi is very close to President Donald Trump and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, both noted for anti-Muslim sentiments. Modi just revoked article 370 of India’s constitution that bars non-Kashmiris from buying land in the mountain state, and shut down its phone and internet systems.

The revocation means that non-Kashmiris can now buy land there. Modi is clearly copying Israel’s Netanyahu by encouraging non-Muslims to buy up land and squeeze the local Muslim population. Welcome to the Mideast conflict East. China is also doing similar ethnic inundation in its far western, largely Muslim, Xinjiang (Sinkiang) region.

In an ominous sign, Delhi says it will separate the high altitude Ladakh region (aka ‘Little Tibet’) from its portion of Kashmir. This move suggests India plans to chop up Indian Kashmir into two or three states, a move sure to further enrage Pakistan and thwart any future peace settlement.

There’s little Pakistan can do to block India’s actions. India’s huge armed forces outnumber those of Pakistan by 4 or 5 to one. Without nuclear weapons, Pakistan would be quickly overrun by Indian forces. Only massive Chinese intervention would save Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Kashmir, the world’s longest-running major dispute, continues, threatening a terrible nuclear conflict. Making matters worse, both India and Pakistan’s nuclear forces are on a hair-trigger alert, with a warning time of only minutes. This is a region where electronics often become scrambled. A false alert or a flock of birds could trigger a massive nuclear war in South Asia.

India and Pakistan, where people starve in the streets, waste billions on military spending because of the Kashmir dispute. Now some of India’s extreme Hindu nationalists warn they want to reabsorb Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka into Mother India.

Previous Indian leaders have been cautious. But not PM Modi. He is showing signs of power intoxication.