NYC earthquake risk: the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

Updated May 16, 4:31 AM; Posted May 16, 4:00 AM

Rubble litters Main Street after an earthquake struck Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines the differences between the effect of an earthquake in the West vs. one in the East. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – While scientists say it’s impossible to predict when or if an earthquake will occur in New York City, they say that smaller structures — like Staten Island’s bounty of single-family homes — will suffer more than skyscrapers if it does happen.

„Earthquakes in the East tend to cause higher-frequency shaking — faster back-and-forth motion — compared to similar events in the West,“ according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published on its website recently „Shorter structures are more susceptible to damage during fast shaking, whereas taller structures are more susceptible during slow shaking.“

DIFFERENCES IN INTENSITY

The report, „East vs West Coast Earthquakes,“ explains how USGS scientists are researching factors that influence regional differences in the intensity and effects of earthquakes, and notes that earthquakes in the East are often felt at more than twice the distance of earthquakes in the West.

Predicting when they will occur is more difficult, said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist and the central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va.

„One of the problems in the East Coast is that we don’t have a history to study,“ he said. „In order to get an idea, we have to have had several cycles of these things. The way we know about them in California is we dig around in the mud and we see evidence of past earthquakes.“

Yet Pratt wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a high-magnitude event taking place in New York, which sits in the middle the North American Tectonic Plate, considered by experts to be quite stable.

„We never know,“ he said. „One could come tomorrow. On the other hand, it could be another 300 years. We don’t understand why earthquakes happen (here) at all.“

Though the city’s last observable earthquake occurred on Oct. 27, 2001, and caused no real damage, New York has been hit by two Magnitude 5 earthquakes in its history – in 1738 and in 1884 — prompting many to say it is „due“ for another.

While earthquakes generally have to be Magnitude 6 or higher to be considered „large,“ by experts, „a Magnitude 5, directly under New York City, would shake it quite strongly,“ Pratt said.

The reason has to do with the rock beneath our feet, the USGS report says.

OLDER ROCKS

In the East, we have older rocks, some of which formed „hundreds of millions of years before those in the West,“ the report says. Since the faults in the rocks have had so much time to heal, the seismic waves travel more efficiently through them when an earthquake occurs.

„Rocks in the East are like a granite countertop and rocks in the West are much softer,“ Pratt said. „Take a granite countertop and hit it and it’ll transmit energy well. In the West, it’s like a sponge. The energy gets absorbed.“

If a large, Magnitude 7 earthquake does occur, smaller structures, and older structures in Manhattan would be most vulnerable, Pratt said. „In the 1920s, ’30s and late 1800s, they were not built with earthquake resistance,“ he said, noting that newer skyscrapers were built to survive hurricanes, so would be more resistant.

When discussing earthquake prediction and probability, Pratt uses the analogy of a baseball player who averages a home run every 10 times at bat and hasn’t hit one in the past nine games: „When he’s up at bat, will he hit a home run? You just don’t know.“

And though it would probably take a magnitude of 7 to topple buildings in the city, smaller earthquakes are still quite dangerous, he said.

„Bookshelves could fall down and hit you,“ he said. „People could be killed.“ A lot of stone work and heavy objects fell from buildings when a quake of 5.8 magnitude struck central Virginia in 2011, he noted, but, fortunately, no one was injured.

To be safe, Pratt encourages New Yorkers to keep a few days‘ worth of drinking water and other supplies on hand. He, himself, avoids putting heavy things up high.

„It always gets me nervous when I go into a restaurant that has heavy objects high on shelves,“ he said. „It’s unlikely you’ll get an earthquake. But, we just don’t know.“

North Korea Completes the Nuclear Triad

 

North Korea has confirmed it successfully launched a new ballistic missile from a submarine, in a move intended to raise pressure on the US as the two countries prepare to resume nuclear talks at the weekend.

Wednesday’s launch, the first involving a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for three years, was Pyongyang’s most provocative weapons test since it began denuclearisation talks with Washington early last year.

Perfecting SLBM technology would significantly expand North Korea’s military options, enabling it to deploy missiles far beyond the Korean peninsula and giving it a “second-strike” capability in the event of an attack on its military bases. Missiles fired from underwater are also harder to detect before liftoff than ground-based missiles.

The KCNA state news agency said the test, in waters off its east coast, marked a “new phase” in containing the threat from “outside forces” – although it did specify the nature of that threat.

“The new-type ballistic missile was fired in vertical mode” in waters off Wonsan Bay on Wednesday, KCNA said, adding: “The successful new-type SLBM test-firing comes to be of great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat to the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defence.”

Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists described the missile, the Pukguksong-3, as Pyongyang’s longest-range-capable solid-fuel missile, adding that Wednesday’s launch was “unambiguously the first nuclear-capable missile test since November 2017”.

“Kim Jong Un’s ‘rocket men’ kept busy during the diplomatic charm offensives of 2018-2019,” Panda added.

It isn’t clear if the missile was launched from a submarine, barge or some form of underwater platform.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst from Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, wrote on Facebook that the missile was probably fired from a specially built underwater barge. He said the missile is under development and that North Korea must test-fire it from a submarine before it can be deployed.

North Korea began testing SLBMs in 2015 and conducted four submarine launches by August 2016, when a two-stage solid-fuel Pukguksong missile flew about 500 km (310 miles) on a lofted trajectory. That test was considered a success.

The launch may be used as leverage in talks with the US due to resume at the weekend after months of stalemate, and with Pyongyang warning recently that engagement with Washington could unravel unless it comes up with new proposals by the end of the year.

Pyongyang has said that denuclearisation measures are contingent on the US making reciprocal actions, including the lifting of sanctions.

Kim Myong-gil, a former North Korean ambassador to Vietnam who will lead the North Korean delegation, arrived in Beijing on Thursday before flying to Stockholm, where the talks will take place, Kyodo news agency said, citing diplomatic sources.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the missile travelled about 450km (280 miles) in an easterly direction at a maximum altitude of 910km.

Photos of the launch in the official newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed a black-and-white painted missile emerging from the water and flying into the grey sky.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, “sent warm congratulations” to those who had carried out the successful test-firing, KCNA said, indicating that Kim was not at the site.

A State Department spokeswoman called on Pyongyang to “refrain from provocations” and to remain committed to the nuclear negotiations.

South Korea expressed strong concern and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, condemned the launch, saying it was a violation of UN security council resolutions.

North Korea rejects those resolutions that ban Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology, saying they are an infringement of its right to self-defence.

The launch was the ninth since Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, met at the heavily guarded demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas in June, and came soon after Pyongyang announced it would hold working-level talks with the US on Saturday – a development that could potentially break months of stalemate over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

Talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have been stalled since the second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.

Iranian Hegemony in Iraq (Daniel 8:3)

Checking Iranian Power in Iraq

Iraq faces a threat of Iranian subversion that is, to a large extent, a function of a deepening geopolitical rift in which Iran stands on one side and the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are on the other. To protect its own interests and avoid falling prey to Iran’s apparent desire to become the regional hegemon and assimilate Middle Eastern capitals into its sphere of influence, Iraqi leaders would be wise to chart these waters carefully. They need to defend and strengthen institutions at home, check the rogue factions that are trying to supplant the state in its political and military apparatus, and abstain from getting sucked into costly, losing battles with regional antagonists.

Iraq is in trouble. Baghdad cannot challenge Tehran’s use of allied Iraqi militias to beef up its forward defenses at Iraq’s expense. These militias might not take marching orders from Tehran, but there is a strong “convergence of interests” between Iran and powerful Iraqi militias whose influence in Iraq’s government is powerful enough to deter coercive measures by Baghdad. Nor can Iraq allay the concerns of the United States and other neighbors who see themselves as threatened by Iran. Meanwhile, Iraq’s government appears overwhelmed by the difficult test of establishing good governance, combating corruption, and creating an inclusive meritocracy with real equal opportunity for hitherto marginalized groups. Its impending failure is inseparable from the country’s deepening entanglement in the rising tension with Iran.

The outlook for Iraq was positive a year ago, when post-election negotiations delivered a new government under independent Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, young and promising Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, and articulate, Western-friendly President Barham Salih. Since then, trends have highlighted the Achilles’ heel of this government: Though impressive at the top, the fact that the prime minister does not have his own political party means that the government lacks an organic political base in parliament that’s necessary to sustain it through crises. Thus, it is increasingly kept in a box and manipulated by influential leaders of pro-Iran militias and their disproportionate presence in parliament.

At the root of the government’s steady decline is a fundamental flaw: It was formed as a last-ditch compromise between two rival groups with competing agendas — a nationalist-leaning pro-reform Islah, led by Moqtada al-Sadr, and an Iran-backed, militia-centric Binaa, led by Hadi al-Amiri — rather than by one unified coalition, as Iraq’s constitution intends. Islah showed resistance for several months and blocked Binaa from appointing its own candidate, Popular Mobilization Committee Chairman Falih al-Fayyadh, as interior minister. Fayyadh didn’t withdraw his nomination without exacting other concessions, and he won back his positions as national security adviser and Popular Mobilization Committee chairman, from which he was fired four months earlier. Eventually, Islah leaders began to lose heart, complaining that the prime minister was losing his independence in favor of Binaa, eroding the shaky balance of political power and government authority.

The new wave of militias in the pro-Iran camp have grown in power and influence to unprecedented levels, and Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s vocal but toothless attempts to rein them in have failed to impress.

These militias are making their own war and peace plans with complete disregard for the official state policy. This greatly undermines Baghdad’s efforts to mediate regional disputes as well as its ability to appear neutral. After the major war effort with the Islamic State ended, the various militias that fought on the government side (collectively known as Popular Mobilization Forces) did not demobilize. In some rare cases, that was not problematic. Units close to the clergy of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, such as the Abbas Combat Division earned a good reputation for refraining from human rights violations and close coordination with the Iraqi government. Many turned their attention to building economic machines to expand their power. Those close to Iran also began to play a different military role, threatening American interests in Iraq, harassing Iraq’s own oil industry, and moving Iranian missiles to extend the power projection capability of their supporters in Iran. The U.S. government reportedly believes that the May 14 drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline was launched from Iraq. Specifically, some analysts trace the attack to Jurf al-Sakhr, a region south of Baghdad where Kata’ib Hizballah, a group the United States designates as a terrorist organization, maintains a base.

Alerted to the gravity of the situation by an unscheduled visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abdul-Mahdi reluctantly moved to action. It took the premier a month to issue instructions that prohibited unauthorized storage of weapons or military actions against neighbors. The militias evidently ignored the order, thereby attracting preemptive airstrikes by Israel to stem the proliferation of precision-strike capabilities by forces answering to Iran. Using Iraqi soil to store Iranian weapons or launch them at neighbors diminishes the likelihood of Iraq becoming a bridge-builder.

The militias have moved to overt defiance of the government. On June 30 Abdul-Mahdi issued another ultimatum setting a 30-day deadline for militias to choose between integrating into state security forces or disarming if they wanted to practice politics. The ultimatum was met by lip service and demand for more time. As the requested two-month period elapsed, the militias went more decidedly rogue, not only ignoring, but actively threatening the government.

Around Aug. 5, a little-noticed showdown took place in the Ninewa plains. The prime minister sought to dislodge a rogue militia (Brigade 30) whose leader was recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department over human rights abuses and funneling money for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard from checkpoints the militia has been using for illegal taxation. While al-Fayyadh worked out a humiliating compromise that kept Brigade 30 in place, his hardline deputy —Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, whom the United States considers a terrorist  — reportedly rewarded the militia with a gift of three tanks to bolster its defenses.

The militias are also reshaping Iraq’s military leadership to their liking. During the same period, pro-Iran militias worked to neutralize opponents in the formal military establishment. In early July, Kata’ib Hizballah targeted Gen. Mahmoud al-Falahi, in charge of security forces in Iraq’s largest province, Anbar, which shares borders with Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. The militias accused Falahi of helping Israel attack Popular Mobilization Force targets by feeding the Israelis intelligence via the CIA. Although the prime minister said an investigation did not prove the allegations, by Aug. 19, Falahi was out. Whether Kata’ib Hizballah did this to facilitate Iran’s expansion into Iraq’s west, or simply to defend against future attacks, the result is the same — militias are manipulating and weakening formal state security forces to serve their interests. A month later, following rumors of political pressure by the militias, the prime minister moved to sideline Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, the commander of the elite Counter-Terrorism Service and Iraq’s most respected hero in the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Although it remains difficult to ascertain the reasons behind the dismissal, the loss of a capable and unbiased commander like Saadi certainly weakens the Counter-Terrorism Service and removes a threat to law-breaking militias.

The prime minister’s inability to stand up to pressure from the militias is causing the political foundation of his government to crumble. As these militias ignored the rules set in the 2016 Popular Mobilization Law and other government decrees, their power continued to rise and political leaders who initially supported Abdul-Mahdi’s appointment are now complaining that his government is listing toward the militias’ side of the political equation. The pro-Iran militias’ rivals in the Islah coalition — initially comprising nationalist, reformist, and semi-secular forces including Sadr, Hikma, Abadi and Iraqiya — have crumbled. Hikma broke off, declaring opposition to the government. Abadi continues to take jabs at his successor without showing serious activity. Meanwhile, Sadr has gone fatalistic, declaring the end of the Iraqi government.

There isn’t much that Baghdad can do to protect itself from the future fallout of the simmering conflict between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel on one side and Iran on the other. Aside from calls for de-escalation, Baghdad has no means to control the course of events. Israel seems determined to strike perceived Iranian threats regardless of location, meaning there could be more attacks on militia sites, further fueling the security dilemma.

Unrestrained Israeli airstrikes can slow down Iran’s efforts, but they also have a side effect of further weakening Baghdad’s position and creating favorable conditions for greater Iranian influence inside Iraq. Israeli attacks provide pretext for the militias to silence opposition and push Iraq away from a much-needed long-term relationship with the United States, whom the militias accuse of aiding Israeli aggression.

Because proxy attacks are harder to trace back to and blame on Tehran than actions by its own forces from its own soil, Iran likely has less inhibitions about using Iraqi — or Yemeni — territory or agents to launch new attacks on Saudi Arabia. Iran has demonstrated that it can hurt the energy market (and global economy) with relative ease and impunity. The series of operations includes the Iraq-based drone attacks on Saudi pipelines, the boat-based attacks on tankers, and the Houthi-claimed attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facility in Abqaiq.

In return, the Saudis, who only opened up to Iraq beginning in 2017, may soon revert to the traditionally hostile attitude they had adopted toward a Shia-dominated Iraq since 2003. Against this backdrop, Washington has no readily available solutions for punishing Iran beyond more sanctions — of questionable effect at best, since existing sanctions appear to have increased, not decreased Iran’s belligerency — short of an attack on Iran itself that carries the risk of a costly all-out war that would be disastrous for the region and for international security.

What can be done to prevent Iraq from joining Syria and Yemen as another failed state in the region? While we cannot predict how this crisis will unfold for all stakeholders, there are measures that can mitigate the impact on Iraq and build on many years of U.S. investment in Iraq since the toppling of Saddam.

First, all stakeholders should respect Iraq’s sovereignty and desire to not take sides. Iran is not the only actor to blame for dragging Iraq into its fight with the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. The United States also unnecessarily exposed Iraq to the risk of becoming a battleground by suggesting that it could use its military presence in Iraq to spy on Iran. It is difficult to undo the damage, but it is perfectly possible to try.

Second, the United States and allies should step up diplomatic engagement with Iraqi leaders to build consensus behind Baghdad’s pursuit of neutrality, provide greater counterbalance to Iran’s rising influence and stiffen the resolve of the prime minister and moderate forces. For example, re-opening the Basra consulate could send a powerful signal that Washington is not ceding ground to Tehran.

Third, the international community should encourage electoral reforms in Iraq to restore confidence in the democratic process (by restoring the independence of the Election Commission, tarnished by partisan appointments in 2017), improve governance, and prevent boycotts by disenchanted moderates. Turnout was so poor in the 2018 election (the official figure was 44.5 percent, but Iraqi politicians told me the real figure was closer to 30 percent) that organized, often radical parties and militias were able to outperform skeptical, unmotivated moderates. The upcoming provincial elections next April are an opportunity to reverse that trend.

Fourth, the United States and NATO allies should maintain robust support for Iraq’s formal security establishment. Besides training and advice, this should include political support against plots targeting its leadership in order to stop more politicized replacements that could weaken Iraq’s military the way former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki did between 2010 and 2014.

Lastly, the United States should work with Baghdad to explore ways to empower law-abiding elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces and isolate rogue factions, including legal measures to make it harder for rogue factions to receive salaries from Baghdad. The forces are not a monolith, and there is an apparent rift between the political and the militant leadership over attempts by the latter to drag Iraq deeper into Iran’s side of the conflict. This presents an opportunity to support Baghdad’s recent initiatives to reshape the institution into a disciplined and accountable force.

This crisis demands an adjustment in the way the United States deals with Iraq. Helping Baghdad assert its authority and put its shaky democracy back on track has its rewards. It can create a strong, U.S.-friendly Iraq, strong and independent enough to resist Iranian manipulation from within and without. Failure to act now, though, gives Iran the chance to turn Iraq into another Syria. It’s critical that the United States and its partners on the ground in Iraq not let this happen.
Omar Al-Nidawi is a program manager at Enabling Peace in Iraq Center, a charity dedicated to the advancement of human security in Iraq. He leads the organization’s research and field work in Iraq. He is also a fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

Image: State Department (Photo by Ron Przysucha)

Khamenei Tells IRGC to Prepare for Asymmetric War

Khamenei Tells Guards Commanders To Prepare For ‘Major Events’

Radio Farda

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders to prepare themselves for “big events.”

Speaking to IRGC leaders who went to see him at the end of a 3-day national gathering of Revolutionary Guard commanders, on Wednesday October 2, Khamenei said: “Do not fear the enemy at all. Be alert and have thorough assessment of the enemy’s potentials.”

“You should not fear the enemy no matter how strong, but at the same time you should not underestimate its capability,” Said Khamenei.

Khamenei made the statement as tensions have been escalating between Tehran and Washington and its allies in the Persian Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities in September for which U.S. blames Iran, and some observers have been talking about the possibility of a military confrontation.

Meanwhile, Khamenei advised that the IRGC should extend its outlook beyond Iran’s geographic bordersand pay attention to threats “beyond the borders”. Iranian officials have occasionally said that Syria, Yemen and Lebanon are part of the country’s “strategic depth.”

In an odd comment in a country where most civilian officials and military commanders, not to mention Khamenei himself serve much beyond their retirement age, Khamenei advised the commanders “Not to allow the IRGC become old and conservative or complacent with the status quo.”

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on October 2, 2019, shows him during a meeting with the members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tehran.

On the Path to Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

India-Pakistan: India and Pakistan on the

India-Pakistan: India and Pakistan on the “warpath’ (Image: GETTY)

India-Pakistan: Imran Khan warned of an impending disaster

India-Pakistan: Imran Khan warned of an impending disaster (Image: GETTY)

 

A and Pakistan could well enter into a near-apocalyptic nuclear war, according to one Kashmiri-based expert.

Last week, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan warned of an impending nuclear war between the two countries at the United Nations General Assembly. Mr Khan’s warning was in light of the current crisis that has gripped the Kashmir region and has seen both sides launch separate skirmishes.

In his speech, Mr Khan insisted that the two states are heading for “a potential disaster of proportions that no one here realises” as he implored other countries to step in to help remedy the potential conflict.

In support of the current tense relations between the two states, a journalist based in Kashmir told The i newspaper of how the current situation is very “sensitive”.

The journalist said: “It is clear here at least that they are on a warpath.

“Tensions have never been so high on the ground.

“There is a threat of nuclear war if conventional warfare prolongs.”

Tensions erupted between the two states when, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Article 370, the section of the Indian constitution which guarantees special status to Kashmir and neighbouring Jammu regions.

The revocation of the special status was based on the rounds to prevent possible acts of terrorism from occurring in the region.

Modi’s comments were in reference to a specific attack, in the Kashmir region which killed 44 India paramilitary.

JUST IN: Did Pakistan just threaten nuclear war with India over Kashmir?

India-Pakistan: The two states came close to war earlier this year

India-Pakistan: The two states came close to war earlier this year (Image: GETTY)

In response, the Indian Prime Minister called an airstrike on a camp run by the militant organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Following the infringement on Pakistani territory, two Indian jets were shot down, thrusting the two countries close to an all-out war.

The pilot of one of the downed planes, Abhinandan Varthaman, was then paraded on television before being returned to India as a “goodwill gesture”.

In his recent speech to the UN Assembly, Mr Khan indicated that the clash between the two states was the closest moment the world has come to a nuclear war.

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India-Pakistan: Modi revoked Article 370

India-Pakistan: Modi revoked Article 370 (Image: GETTY)

India-Pakistan: Modi recently met with Trump

India-Pakistan: Modi recently met with Trump (Image: GETTY)

He said: “It is the only time since the Cuban crisis that two nuclear-armed countries are coming face to face.

“We did come to face to face in February.”

In support of the Pakistanis Prime Minister, President of Azad Kashmir – the Pakistan administered region – Masood Khan, warned of the potentially catastrophic situation in the region.

Speaking to US publication, Newsweek, Masood Khan said: “We have beefed up security, we remain vigilant.

Nuclear map

Nuclear map (Image: Express)

“India with its aggressive and aggravating steps has pushed the region to the brink of war.

“We are in a state of war right now, but the situation could escalate even further.

“Any military exchange will not remain limited, it can and we fear it would escalate to the nuclear level, that is tantamount to nuclear armageddon.”

Such has been the severe ramifications of the potential conflict, that US President, Donald Trump has offered to intervene as a mediator between the two countries.

India-Pakistan: Trump has offered to be a mediator

India-Pakistan: Trump has offered to be a mediator (Image: GETTY)

Trump recently remarked that he had hoped that the two countries could “come together” to try and solve the current crisis.

Trump met the Pakistani Prime Minister last week at the UN General Assembly where he once again issued his desire to help cool relations between the two.

The US President said: “If I can help, I’d like to help. I want everyone to be treated well.”

The Tribulation of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

The immediate effects of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan could cause up to 125 million deaths, a new study published in Science Advances has found. That’s 2.5 times the fatalities of the Second World War, when an estimated 50 million people were killed as a direct consequence of military action.

The study, co-authored by researchers at Rutgers University, quantifies just how catastrophic a nuclear conflict between the two nations would be. In addition to the 100 million-plus death toll in the immediate aftermath, the study authors warn we could expect global vegetation growth to decline 20 to 35 percent as ocean productivity fell 5 to 15 percent⁠—a result that would cause mass starvation, ecosystem disruption and more deaths. It could take over a decade to fully recover from the impacts, they say.

“Nine countries have nuclear weapons, but Pakistan and India are the only ones rapidly increasing their arsenals,” said Alan Robock, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University—New Brunswick.

“Because of the continuing unrest between these two nuclear-armed countries, particularly over Kashmir, it is important to understand the consequences of a nuclear war.”

Indeed, only last week in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed for international support against India’s decision to remove semi-autonomous status from its share of Kashmir last month and impose a lockdown on the majority Muslim population—stressing the threat of nuclear war.

“If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen,” said Khan. “But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbor is faced with the choice: either you surrender, or you fight for your freedom till death, what will we do?”

“I ask myself this question and my belief is la ilaha illallah, there is no god but one, and we will fight. And when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will consequence far beyond the borders.”

Robock et al.’s calculations are based on a potential war scenario for 2025, when it is estimated the two countries could have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons between them. Each nuke could have an explosive power between 15 kilotons—equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, i.e. the same size as the “Little Boy” that fell on Hiroshima in 1945—and a few hundred kilotons, the researchers say. The largest known nuclear weapon in existence today, the Tsar Bomba, far exceeds those considered in the study with an explosive power of 50 megatons.

The researchers conclude that were India to release 100 strategic weapons in a nuclear conflict and Pakistan 150, the number of fatalities caused by the initial effects could total 50 million to 125 million people—the exact size depends on the size of the weapons used. For context, an estimated 50 million people were killed in the Second World War, although that number excludes those who died from disease and starvation. Many more would die from the mass starvation that would almost certainly follow, they add.

Starvation is likely because the explosions would cause fires that could, between them, release 16 million to 35 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. This soot would absorb solar radiation and heat the air, which would then cause the smoke to rise further, blocking our sun’s light so that 20 to 35 percent less would fall on the Earth. This would trigger a period of global cooling—resulting in a nuclear winter—that would see surface temperatures drop 3.6 F to 9 F to levels not seen on Earth since the last ice age. We could also see global precipitation levels plummet 15 to 30 percent, affecting some regions more than others, the study’s authors conclude.

As a result, they predict 15 to 30 percent less vegetation growth and a 5 to 15 percent decline in ocean productivity worldwide.

“Such a war would threaten not only the locations where bombs might be targeted but the entire world,” said Robock.

“I think we have been lucky in the 74 years since that last nuclear war that we have not had another due to mistakes, panic, misunderstanding, technical failures or hacking,” Robock told Newsweek.

“If the weapons exist, they can be used. And the ongoing conflict in Kashmir has the potential to escalate.”

Neither party is likely to initiate a nuclear conflict without major provocation, the study’s authors wrote. However, they did warn of a new Cold War.

“India and Pakistan may be repeating the unfortunate example set by the United States and Russia during the ‘Cold War’ era: that is, building destructive nuclear forces far out of proportion to their role in deterrence,” they write.

While India and Pakistan do not have anything like the nuke-power of the US or Russia—nations that, combined, possess 93 percent of the world’s estimated 13,900 nuclear weapons—both are continuing to grow, rather than stabilize, their arsenal. India, for example, is thought to have a stockpile of 130 to 140 nuclear warheads. By 2025, they could have 200.

“The only way to prevent [nuclear conflict] is to eliminate them,” said Robock.