Don’t Forget About the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Don’t forget about earthquakes, feds tell city

Although New York’s modern skyscrapers are less likely to be damaged in an earthquake than shorter structures, a new study suggests the East Coast is more vulnerable than previously thought. The new findings will help alter building codes.

By Mark Fahey

July 18, 2014 10:03 a.m.

The 2014 maps were created with input from hundreds of experts from across the country and are based on much stronger data than the 2008 maps, said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. The bottom line for the nation’s largest city is that the area is at a slightly lower risk for the types of slow-shaking earthquakes that are especially damaging to tall spires of which New York has more than most places, but the city is still at high risk due to its population density and aging structures, said Mr. Petersen.

“Many of the overall patterns are the same in this map as in previous maps,” said Mr. Petersen. “There are large uncertainties in seismic hazards in the eastern United States. [New York City] has a lot of exposure and some vulnerability, but people forget about earthquakes because you don’t see damage from ground shaking happening very often.”

Just because they’re infrequent doesn’t mean that large and potentially disastrous earthquakes can’t occur in the area. The new maps put the largest expected magnitude at 8, significantly higher than the 2008 peak of 7.7 on a logarithmic scale.The scientific understanding of East Coast earthquakes has expanded in recent years thanks to a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia in 2011 that was felt by tens of millions of people across the eastern U.S. New data compiled by the nuclear power industry has also helped experts understand quakes.

Oddly enough, it’s not the modern tall towers that are most at risk. Those buildings become like inverted pendulums in the high frequency shakes that are more common on the East Coast than in the West. But the city’s old eight- and 10-story masonry structures could suffer in a large quake, said Mr. Lerner-Lam. Engineers use maps like those released on Thursday to evaluate the minimum structural requirements at building sites, he said. The risk of an earthquake has to be determined over the building’s life span, not year-to-year.

“If a structure is going to exist for 100 years, frankly, it’s more than likely it’s going to see an earthquake over that time,” said Mr. Lerner-Lam. “You have to design for that event.”

The new USGS maps will feed into the city’s building-code review process, said a spokesman for the New York City Department of Buildings. Design provisions based on the maps are incorporated into a standard by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which is then adopted by the International Building Code and local jurisdictions like New York City. New York’s current provisions are based on the 2010 standards, but a new edition based on the just-released 2014 maps is due around 2016, he said.

“The standards for seismic safety in building codes are directly based upon USGS assessments of potential ground shaking from earthquakes, and have been for years,” said Jim Harris, a member and former chair of the Provisions Update Committee of the Building Seismic Safety Council, in a statement.

The seismic hazard model also feeds into risk assessment and insurance policies, according to Nilesh Shome, senior director of Risk Management Solutions, the largest insurance modeler in the industry. The new maps will help the insurance industry as a whole price earthquake insurance and manage catastrophic risk, said Mr. Shome. The industry collects more than $2.5 billion in premiums for earthquake insurance each year and underwrites more than $10 trillion in building risk, he said.

“People forget about history, that earthquakes have occurred in these regions in the past, and that they will occur in the future,” said Mr. Petersen. “They don’t occur very often, but the consequences and the costs can be high.”

More Pakistani Terrorism Before the Nuclear War

Pak Reopens Terror Camps Along Border, Security Agencies On Alert

October 7, 2019

Safety personnel are bracing themselves for a soar in infiltration makes an attempt.

New Delhi:

Pakistan has reactivated all the phobia camps it had quickly shut down alongside the road of management, intelligence companies have reported, indicating the necessity for safety companies to brace themselves for a rise in infiltration makes an attempt within the days to come back.

Sources additionally counted 20 terror launch pads and 18 coaching centres amongst these camps, every accommodating a median of 60 terrorists.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the centre scrapped the particular standing accorded to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and imposed a region-wide clampdown to forestall a backlash. In his first speech delivered within the United Nations Common Meeting final month, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of an impending battle between the 2 nuclear powers except New Delhi reconsidered its transfer.

The intelligence inputs got here a day after Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbag Singh reported the presence of 200-300 terrorists within the state and a rise in cross-border firing geared toward pushing in additional of them earlier than the onset of winter. “The number of active terrorists (in Jammu and Kashmir) is between 200 and 300… the figure keeps going up and down,” Mr Singh instructed reporters throughout a go to to the border district of Poonch on Sunday.

He mentioned that though Pakistan has resorted to ceasefire violations at many locations throughout Jammu and Kashmir, together with Kanachak, RS Pura, Hira Nagar, Poonch, Rajouri, Uri, Nambla, Karnah and Keran, they have not at all times succeeded in injecting terrorists into Indian territory. “Our anti-infiltration grid is very strong and many infiltration attempts have been successfully foiled in the recent times,” he mentioned.

Based on current intercepts, three prime terror organisations — the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad — even met at an undisclosed location in Pulwama final week to determine on terrorist strikes on politicians and safety personnel in Jammu and Kashmir in addition to different elements of the nation.

Nevertheless, working in India’s favour is an remark by the Monetary Motion Activity Power (FATF) – a worldwide money-laundering watchdog – that Pakistan has failed to completely implement a United Nations Safety Council decision towards designated terrorists similar to Hafiz Saeed. The report, which went on to say that Pakistan was largely compliant on solely 9 of FATF’s 40 suggestions, got here per week earlier than the company decides whether or not to retain Pakistan in a “grey list” of nations with insufficient management over terror financing.

India has lengthy advocated together with Pakistan into the FATF blacklist, which lists international locations adjudged as non-cooperative within the world battle towards cash laundering and terror financing, and sources mentioned diplomatic efforts on this regard are nonetheless on.

Babylon the Great Fails to Divide the Shi’a Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Supreme Leader: Enemies unable to drive wedge between Iranians, Iraqis

TEHRAN – Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has said that the enemies tried hard to disunite Iranian and Iraqi nations but failed.

The enemies tried to sow discord (among Iranian and Iraqi nations) but failed and their plot will be ineffective,” the Leader’s official Twitter account quoted Ayatollah Khamenei as saying late on Sunday.

Iran and Iraq are two countries whose people’s hearts and souls are tied together via faith in Almighty God and love for Imam Hussein and the progeny of holy prophet of Islam (PBUH). Their bond will grow more firm day by day,” the Leader underscored.

Iraq has been rocked by a new wave of protests over economic hardships and joblessness since October 1.

In stark contrast with claims that the demonstrations are popular and spontaneous, new analyses have recently revealed that 79% of hashtags provoking protests in Iraq on Twitter originate from Saudi Arabia and only 6% are from Iraq.

The timing of the start of the protests with the great march of Arbaeen arouses suspicions, as new findings show that Riyadh is resorting to the cyberspace where it is stimulating the public on social media.


Uninhabitable Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Locals play amongst the sewage in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip Could Be Uninhabitable By Next Year

As sewage spills onto my streets, a dire United Nations prediction is looking likely. By Salem El Rayyes 07 October 2019, 4:49pm

This article originally appeared on VICE Arabia

Children swimming next to sewage drains on the beach, fishermen throwing their nets into contaminated water, wastewater leaking into the street. These scenes exemplify the water and electricity crisis in Gaza, where a harrowing prediction could soon become reality.

In 2015, a report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development warned that Gaza’s infrastructure, ravaged by years of military operations and conflict, may be unable to support a population by 2020 – a year that is, famously, only a few months away.

I’ve lived on the Gaza Strip for more than 30 years. For me and 2 million other Palestinians living under war and the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas took control in 2007, talk of the next environmental disaster doesn’t mean much. It’s as if people have decided they need to move forward and don’t have the space for a “new catastrophe” in their lives.

But with 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water supply contaminated, and sewage treatment plants shut down thanks to constant power cuts, our latest catastrophe simply can’t be ignored. But it is. I tried asking some of my friends if they’re afraid of Gaza’s environmental disasters worsening next year. One of them replied: “It’s not time to think about the environment, we need to focus on improving our economic situation.” Another friend told me Gaza was simply a lost cause.

My friends have been through a lot, so maybe they’ve earned the right to not pay attention to the scale of our environmental problems. But everything is intertwined – the water crisis is actually directly linked to many of the issues that have plagued this region for decades.

What was once considered the only natural water reserve in the Gaza Strip is now a rubbish landfill and sewage swamp.

Water and war don’t mix

Just one in ten households have access to clean water in Gaza, but this isn’t a new issue. The area’s main water source is a coastal aquifer (a natural underground fresh water reserve), but pollution and sewer leakages have contaminated 97 percent of the supply. Following the Oslo Peace Agreement and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1994, a committee developed a national plan to resolve Gaza’s water problems. But then came the second Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation in 2000, followed by Israel and Egypt’s 2006 blockade, and then the Hamas takeover in 2007. All plans were halted as Gaza’s water supply continued to deplete.

During a study by the Water Committee in the 1990s, right after the PNA was established, specialists were able to draw 55 to 60 million cubic litres per year from the Gaza Strip’s groundwater wells. The study proposed a central desalination plant that would make an additional 60 million cubic litres of seawater drinkable, in addition to the possibility of importing 10 to 20 million litres from Israel. But, like everything in Gaza, things didn’t go to plan.

“The desalination plant should have been implemented,” says Monzer Shiblak, director of the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, “but unfortunately in the year 2000, after securing funds, the second intifada [uprising] began and everything stopped, forcing us to rely solely on groundwater wells.”

“With the population increasing from nearly 1.5 million to 2 million, we are consuming approximately 200 million cubic litres per year, causing seawater to creep into the aquifer,” adds Shiblak. In short, Gaza’s only remaining water source is becoming undrinkable.

The Gaza valley estuary on the Mediterranean, which carries sewage and rubbish to the sea all year round.

No electricity means no sewage system

In 2006, Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant, causing a complete shutdown. Currently, the central power station, based in Deir al-Balah, is only operating at half capacity. Constant power cuts have closed Gaza’s sewage treatment plants, leading the authorities to pump untreated sewage directly into the sea.

“We needed to drain the wastewater with the least damage,” says Shiblak. “We had two options: either to let it leak into the houses close-by, or discharge it to the sea without treatment, so we decided to discharge it into the sea – we had no other choice.”

According to the UNEP, 70 to 80 percent of Gaza’s sewage is released directly into the sea. The Ministry of Health called this “one of the most dangerous causes of [Gaza’s] water pollution” in a 2017 report.

An old rainwater tank located southeast of Gaza City now collects sewage, despite its proximity to populated areas.

“It is estimated that 50 million cubic metres of wastewater is discharged in the sea annually,” says environmental expert Dr Samer Abu Zer, adding that those who come into contact with the water are at risk of diarrhoea and liver and kidney failure. A study entitled “The Impact of Climate Change on Children’s Health: Diarrhoea in the Gaza Strip”, by researcher Yosr Al Atrash, found that contaminated groundwater is also a leading cause of diarrhoea among children.

Dr Abdullah Al Kishawi, kidney specialist at Shifa Hospital, has previously raised concern around the rate of kidney failure, which has increased by 14 percent annually in Gaza.

Bear in mind that the fishermen continue fishing, often close to the shore, where the sewage attracts fish. This means most of the fish we eat in Gaza is contaminated, and a serious health risk.

Gaza holidaymakers relax by untreated sewage, which has caused hundreds of different diseases over the past few years.

No water, no electricity and no rain

On top of political and economic troubles, the Gaza Strip has also fallen victim to the impacts of climate change. In recent years, rainfall has been largely restricted to January and February only, affecting the groundwater wells. What rain we do have often falls on buildings and roads and is mixed with the sewage. Lots of farmers are now forced to rely on brackish water, causing damage to future crops.

And so continues a vicious cycle. In light of the ongoing crisis, other nations and organisations have tried to prevent the ominous prediction for next year; 48 small desalination plants have been established and there are plans to have sewage treatment plants operational early next year.

But it’s obvious that none of these projects can solve our problems without 24-hour electricity. And so Gaza residents expect the current situation to continue during next year, unless another military intervention brings more destruction – or a politician is able to negotiate a solution to a less-polluted and more liveable environment for us all.

The Truth About Nuclear Weapons

Free Julian Assange rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 2019.

Kazi Salahuddin/PA. All rights reserved.

What we know about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry thanks to WikiLeaks

“The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Why I support the nomination of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.”

The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the prize again this year, as they have since 2010. As the first staffer of the campaign that won the Peace Prize in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), I support this nomination for a number of reasons.

The vast majority of governments on this planet want nuclear disarmament negotiations to occur and produce results. ICAN has been mobilising this willingness to push for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. From the outset, the campaign deployed accurate information to mobilise public opinion and reeducate a new generation. In facing the truth about nuclear dangers, answers became available and courageous action was taken. Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.

Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.

WikiLeaks and Assange have made a great deal of information available about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry. A search on the WikiLeaks site for the word ‘nuclear’ brings up 284, 493 results. These documents traverse the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to nuclear waste – with many thousands exposing nuclear energy industry giants, and nuclear weapon threat assessments, numbers, doctrines and negotiations.

Ten examples

Below are just ten examples of where WikiLeaks exposed wrongdoing on the part of governments and corporations that meant citizens could take action to protect themselves from harm, or governments were held to account:

– Chalk River nuclear reactor shut down – released 11 January 2008 – Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on Chalk River reactor

After the Chalk River nuclear reactor was shut down for routine maintenance on 18 November 2007, inspectors verified the reactor’s cooling systems had not been modified as required by an August 2006 licensing review. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) did not start the reactor but said upgrades could be done as part of maintenance while still operating safely. This impasse lasted a month, with the government intervening to grant an exemption to the reactor to allow its restart. The responsible Minister for Natural Resources, Gary Lunn MP, fired Linda Keen, the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission. Their exchange of letters revealed much about the safety standards and routine practices of the Canadian nuclear regulatory system, and particular problems with the ageing Chalk River reactor previously unknown to the public.

– Footage of the 1995 disaster at the Japanese Monju nuclear reactor – released 25 January 2008

Following the 2008 announcement that the Japanese Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor would be reopened, activists leaked the suppressed video footage of the sodium spill disaster that led to its closure in 1995. Named after the Buddhist divinity of wisdom, Monju, located in Japan’s Fukui prefecture, is Japan’s only fast-breeder reactor. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which “breed” plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. On December 8, 1995, 700 kg of molten sodium leaked from the secondary cooling circuit of the Monju reactor, resulting in a fire that did not result in a radiation leak, but the potential for catastrophe was played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. Further complicating the story, the deputy general manager of the general affairs department at the PNC, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference where he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up.

– Serious nuclear accident lay behind Iranian nuke chief’s mystery resignation – released 16 July 2009

WikiLeaks revealed that a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told the organisation of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of

Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and the site targeted with the Stuxnet worm that contained 4 zero days and was designed to slow down and speed up centrifuges enriching uranium. WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible, however contact with this source was lost.

180 confirmed US tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe – released 7 December 2010

In advance of the nuclear posture review, a briefing was provided by US Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller to NATO in July 2009. Federation of American Scientists nuclear weapons expert Hans Kristensen stated, “Whether Miller was providing certified U.S. intelligence numbers or simply referenced good-enough nonofficial public estimates is less clear. But his use of a specific number (180) for Europe rather than a range suggests that it might an official number.”

– Italian nuclear industry corruption – released 18 March 2011

American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks revealed how, “bribes could have a major impact on the future of the country’s energy industry,” in a four-year US campaign, which began in 2005, to encourage Italy to re-start a nuclear power program with a view to reducing its energy dependence on Russian gas and limiting the influence of the partnership between Italian energy company ENI and Russia’s Gazprom.

– Cash payments were made to Indian MPs for support of US India nuclear deal – released 18 March 2011

WikiLeaks revealed a cable by US Charge d’Affaires Steven White dated 17 July 2008 that indicated that the ruling Congress Party in India had bought MPs a vote on the 2008 India-US nuclear deal. Nachiketa Kapur, a political aide to Congress leader Satish Sharma showed a US Embassy employee “two chests containing cash” saying it was part of a bigger fund of Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 60 crore that the party had assembled to purchase the support of MPs.

– The IAEA warned Japan about safety issues at nuclear plants in 2009 – released 17 March 2011 In 2009, years before the Fukushima disaster, Japan was warned that its power plants could not withstand powerful earthquakes. The US was highly critical of Japan’s senior safety director at the International Atomic Energy Association “particularly with respect to confronting Japan’s own safety practices.”

Safety and security issues with the UK Trident nuclear weapon system – released 17 May 2015

In an exclusive report to WikiLeaks, Trident nuclear weapons submariner, Royal Navy Able Seaman William McNeilly, aged 25, stated, “Please make sure this information is released. I don’t want to be in prison without anyone knowing the truth,” about the detailed nuclear safety problems he says he has been “gathering for over a year… This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us. We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public… Our Nuclear weapon systems are the prime target and we are wide open to attack. We must unite globally in order to eliminate the biggest threat the world has ever seen.”

– Western and Chinese companies expose workers in African uranium grab – released 5 February 2016

WikiLeaks released a collection of documents that open up a corrupt multi-billion dollar war by Western and Chinese companies which grab uranium and other mining rights in the Central African Republic (CAR) and escape paying for the environmental consequences. French giant Areva failed to protect miners from high levels of radiation who processed soil samples with no radiation protection, and neglected local employees when pulling out of a financially and politically disastrous venture in the CAR.

Uranium One links with the Clinton Foundation – released 7 October 2016

As Russian Rosatom company Uranium One gained control of 1/5th of the US uranium production between 2009 – 2013, its chairman used his family foundation to make donations of over USD$ 2 million to the Clinton Foundation. Because uranium is a strategic asset, such a deal had to be approved by a Committee, whose decision was signed off by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Uranium One paid $20,000 to The Podesta Group to lobby the State Department for this deal, a lobbying firm founded by Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman, John Podesta.

Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing… an effective death sentence.

WikiLeaks and Assange have brought forward many truths that are hard to face, publishing well over 10 million documents since 2006. Often forgotten is that each one was provided by a whistleblower who trusted this platform to publish, and who sought reform of how political, corporate and media power elites operate. Each release has shared genuine official information about how governments, companies, banks, the UN, political parties, jailers, cults, private security firms, war planners and the media actually operate when they think no one is looking.

Assange is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of these many releases of information, used as evidence in court cases, freeing prisoners and exposing scandals, torture, murder and surveillance for which redress is only possible when the wrongdoing is dragged into the light. For publishing this true information, Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing extradition and charges attracting 175 years in a US jail, an effective death sentence.

The Aftermath of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

Potential aftermath of a nuclear war

In the case of war between Pakistan and India, there would be no winners

At a time when there is a total breakdown in the relationship between Pakistan and India, there was a story last week that should give some glimmer of hope. Amidst war rhetoric and continued tensions, Pakistan military’s media wing released a handout regarding the handing over the body of an Indian solider. The Indian border security official had drowned in a nullah and swept away to the Pakistani side. Pakistan Army recovered his body after India had requested for help. The handout also accompanied an image showing Pakistani soldiers carrying the coffin of the Indian solider while their Indian counterparts looked on. The way Pakistani and Indian soldiers were standing together in a sombre mood, for once you forgot if there was any hostility between the two neighbours. In the current charged atmosphere, the story did not get much traction.

The reason, perhaps, is that the years of tensions and the recent row over Kashmir have poisoned the minds of the two peoples so much that a few are willing to listen to positive stories.

Since India stripped the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region of its special status, there is virtually a warlike situation amplified by toxic political statements coming from both sides. In the age of social media, the keyboard warriors are adding fuel to the fire. People are so casually talking about the possibility of nuclear war as if it is just a video game. Politicians from both sides, who are supposed to show some maturity, are not helping the cause either. If Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh talks of reviewing New Delhi’s “no-first-use” nuclear policy, our own Shaikh Rashid says Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not meant for celebrations. Such irresponsible statements, to say the least, tend to overlook the dreadful consequences of any nuclear conflagration between Pakistan and India. Perhaps, we may request Japan, which has dealt with the horrors of nuclear weapons, to invite people both from Pakistan and India to sensitise them about the devastating consequences of nuclear bomb. It is easier to talk about the possibility of nuclear war but few have really given a thought as to what will happen if this nightmare becomes a reality. A new study by American researchers gives the answer. Imagine this — the immediate effects of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India may lead to the deaths of up to 125 million people in just a week, according to the study, co-authored by researchers at Rutgers University. 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 aftermath of such a war would be even more devastating that perhaps, who survive the first phase, may wish to die. In addition to the 100 million-plus death toll in the immediate aftermath, the study authors warn that global vegetation growth could be expected to decline 20 to 35 per cent as ocean productivity fell 5 to 15 per cent — 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.

The study clearly illustrates that in the case of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India, there would be no winners. The destruction would be mutual.

The legitimate question, therefore, is: How can we prevent this dreadful scenario? The simple answer, of course, is to resolve the disputes bedevilling the relationship between the two countries. There is no doubt that Kashmir is a very intricate dispute and the recent changes India has brought further compounded this 72-year-old festering wound. In the current environment, prospects of finding a solution acceptable to all the parties are dim like never before. But still, the two sides, if their intentions are clear, can opt for a peaceful path instead of picking the destructive route. The choice is ours!

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2019.

Antichrist Ready to Take Over New Iraqi Government

Angry Iraqis Demand New Government

After 15 years of corruption, Iraqi protesters have finally reached a breaking point. Some even want military rule.

Pesha MagidOctober 7, 2019, 4:45 PM

Iraqi protesters speak with police in Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite district of Sadr City on Oct. 7. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

BAGHDAD—Baghdad’s demonstrations began on Oct. 1 with an intensity and a brutality that surprised even veteran protesters. Thousands of people came out on the first day only to be met with tear gas, water cannons, and bullets. By the second, third, and fourth days of protests, Iraqi armed forces were shooting point-blank at protesters’ heads. The government cut the internet, and there were reports of snipers targeting protesters. As of the last count, the armed forces had killed more than 100 people and injured thousands since the protests started.

Today, the newly reerected roadblocks in the streets and pall of yellow tear gas hanging over Baghdad represent years of frustration bubbling over into leaderless, often spontaneous demonstrations. Many of the protesters are young people between the ages of 13 and 30 who grew up in the post-2003 era and whose entire lives have been defined by a government plagued by corruption and inefficiency. Oct. 1 marked almost a year since Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi took office, and protesters say they still lack the basic services.

A number of demonstrators told Foreign Policy that they are so fed up with the Green Zone-protected Iraqi parliament—one installed in the heavily fortified former U.S. occupation zone under largely American rules—that they are ready for a military ruler again.

“We want to overthrow the Green Zone. The corrupt, the parliamentarians, the prime minister—they’re all in the Green Zone,” said Abdullah, a 25-year-old protester who stood with a group of friends on the street shortly after fleeing a protest where they were shot at with live bullets. One of his friends had a bullet wound bandaged up on his foot. They were determined to return to the protests and remain on the streets, he said.

We hope to overthrow the corrupt and create a different type of government, something presidential or a dictatorship,” said Abdullah, who asked that only his first named be used.

Ali Abdul Karim, an 18-year-old protester, also said he would prefer a military leader to the current multiparty parliamentary system. He pointed to a general named Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi as a leader who he believes is fit to take the reins in Iraq. “He freed Mosul,” he said. “He’s a true nationalist and does not have a relationship with Iran or America.”

“We want anything,” Abdullah said. From behind him, another protester added, “Even the Jews.” Abdullah agreed, saying, “Even if the Indians came to rule us, it would be better. Someone from another country, we don’t want someone from Iraq. The Iraqis are tired. The majority of them are shadowy and corrupt. … The most they do is cooperate with Iranians. So we hope for a change. We want to change all of them, the parliament, the prime minister.”

At the same time, however, many protesters fear that the violent crackdown shows that the Iraqi government is taking a path to greater authoritarianism than in the past. In the first days, Baghdad transformed from relative calm to a city filled with legions of armed forces, its central streets echoing with the sounds of bullets. In the days following the initial crackdown, the armed forces attacked media offices and raided the homes of activists.

Around a year into Abdul-Mahdi’s tenure, many people believe the Iraqi government no longer has an excuse for its dysfunction. Iraqis complain that there have been no new roads built since the Saddam Hussein era. Young graduates with degrees in engineering work thankless jobs selling water on the street or fruit at a kiosk. Corruption is endemic within the government. Years of neglect have taken their toll on the generation that grew up after the fall of Saddam in 2003.

One of the few and oft-vaunted achievements of Abdul-Mahdi’s government was the dismantling of the T-Walls, or concrete blast walls, and checkpoints that had characterized Baghdad for years after the U.S. invasion. A few days into the protests, trucks carrying loads of the recently removed T-Walls were back, and streets were again blocked off to civilians. Abdul-Mahdi’s small victory was reversed in days, as various armed factions fired ruthlessly on the protesters asking for jobs, services, and education.

“After 2003 until now. Problem after problem. Case after case,” Ali al-Mikdam, a young protester and activist, told Foreign Policy. “It’s collecting, and after this, inside of every single person in Iraq, there is an explosion, and this explosion came on October the 1st.”

How a Proxy War Could Blow Up Iraq—Again

Youth unemployment is around 25 percent, according to government figures, although the International Monetary Fund believes it to be much higher. Many Iraqis complain of a lack of health care and infrastructure. Mikdam expressed a sentiment echoed by many protesters: While Iraq’s rich oil resources have been funneled into the hands of politicians, “the new generation in Iraq has been left with nothing,” he said. “We cannot wait more. We are very full and very angry about what happened in the last 15 years until now. Billions of dollars spent for nothing. It’s a lot of money. Everything goes to political pockets.”

Khaldun Saab, a paramedic who volunteered to treat the injured at the protests, recalled seeing snipers moving in a half-constructed building next to Tayaran Square. He saw them shoot down two young protesters in front of his eyes. “You know it was snipers because the shot made a small wound when it entered and then the blood”—he made a gesture with his hand indicating an explosion—“on the other side.”

Renad Mansour, a researcher for Chatham House, said it’s clear that the “the Iraqi government has no control over the many armed forces, some of which view themselves as protectors of the system.” Abdul-Mahdi, a compromise choice to be prime minister, came to power primarily through the backing of the Iranian-supported Fatah coalition within parliament, and many protesters claimed to Foreign Policy that the snipers targeting the protesters came from Iranian-backed militia groups. Three of them pointed fingers specifically to a militia called the Saraya al-Khorasani, which is known to have deep connections to Iran.

This is not the first time that Iraqis have protested corruption in the government. “Protests have been common in Iraq for several years. Mahdi’s government came in promising reform, but a year on it’s become clear to many Iraqis that he has not been able to bring change,” Mansour said.

Many people have attended regular protests since 2010, each with varying degrees of intensity. It is also not the first time there has been a violent crackdown against protesters. Last summer, in response to protests in Basra, the security forces killed dozens of people and quelled the protests—a playbook that Mansour says armed forces are again following in the current protests. “These groups learned from Basra last year that a certain level of violence can shut down protests. And attacks on media outlets, cutting the internet, all point to an Iraq that becomes more authoritarian,” he said.

Bushra Abu al-Eis, a longtime protest organizer, said these protests are different from the ones she has seen in the past due to the influx of youth and the lack of formal leadership. “For the first time, the quiet majority is out in the streets,” she said.

Mikdam, who has also attended protests for years, said he has never seen a government response this severe. “I was in the demonstrations in 2015 and in 2011 and 2018,” he said. “I didn’t see anything like what the army and the police are doing to the people who are in the demonstrations.” He recounted being shot at, seeing someone die in front of him, and several of his friends getting injured.

“They just start killing. They come behind you and [start] killing. We are not ISIS, come on. We just need change. For the future, for everything. I don’t know why they do this. It’s crazy,” Mikdam said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

Abdul-Mahdi and President Barham Salih have made vague public statements saying they would attempt to fulfill the demands of the protesters, but the government’s response to the demonstrations has been met with derision by many protesters. “Abdul-Mahdi is stupid. The streets are more angry, more and more,” Mikdam said.

The demonstrations are often spontaneous and involve no clear direction. The speaker of the parliament, Mohamed al-Halbousi, met with a group of representatives of the protesters in an event broadcast live on TV, but at the same time other protest organizers held a news conference to say the group that was meeting Halbousi did not represent them and that the protesters have no leaders.

Hussein al-Najjar, a representative from the Sadrist-allied Communist Party, said he hopes that the prime minister, under pressure from the Sadrist coalition, will resign in response to the protests. Moqtada al-Sadr, one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite clerics, has previously called on the government to resign.

“If Mahdi resigns, things may quiet down,” said al-Najjar.

“The joke with Mahdi was that he would have his resignation letter in his pocket due to his resignations in the past,” Mansour said, adding that even if the ministers in power change, it may not address the demands of the protesters, who want more than surface-level changes of office. “If it [Iraq] muddles through now, it’s not sustainable, and cosmetic reforms are not sustainable,” he said.

The situation remains volatile. But as of this writing, waves of harsh reprisals seemed to have taken their toll. Protests have shrunk in size, and activists have been targeted by raids on their homes, as have several media channels. Mikdam’s home was targeted by armed men who kicked in his door and went through his possessions. He is currently in hiding and is too afraid to even venture near his home.

The remaining protests have been pushed back day by day and isolated from the rest of the city. Foreign Policy received calls from protesters late Sunday night saying security forces had surrounded their neighborhood, Sadr City, a sprawling Baghdad slum located behind both the original epicenters of the protests: Tahrir and Tayaran squares. Protesters claimed snipers and police were targeting them with live bullets and at least eight were killed. The entrances to Sadr City were completely blocked by the army, according to Saab, who attempted to enter the area to treat the wounded.

“There are snipers on the roof,” said Wissam, a protester calling from the midst of the chaos who also only gave his first name. “They’re shooting us from all directions.”

Saab, the young medic who has tended the wounded each day of the protests, doubts that they will die away permanently. The root issues remain deeply embedded as do people’s frustrations. The government cut the internet on the second day of the protests, disorienting many and making it difficult for protesters to organize. But Saab says they cannot keep the internet down forever.

“When things are published and people see it,” he said, “the demonstrations will come back strongly.”

Pesha Magid is a freelance journalist based in Baghdad. Twitter: @PMagid