The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NEW YORK IS 40 YEARS OVERDUE A MAJOR EARTHQUAKE AND AMERICA ISN’T PROPERLY PREPARED, ‘QUAKELAND’ AUTHOR KATHRYN MILES TELLS TREVOR NOAH

BY TUFAYEL AHMED ON 9/27/17 AT 9:28 AM

Updated | An earthquake is long overdue to hit New York and America isn’t prepared, author and environmental theorist Kathryn Miles told Trevor Noah on Tuesday’s Daily Show.

Miles is the author of a new book, Quakeland, which investigates how imminently an earthquake is expected in the U.S. and how well-prepared the country is to handle it. The answer to those questions: Very soon and not very well.

“We know it will, that’s inevitable, but we don’t know when,” said Miles when asked when to expect another earthquake in the U.S.

She warned that New York is in serious danger of being the site of the next one, surprising considering that the West Coast sits along the San Andreas fault line.

“New York is 40 years overdue for a significant earthquake…Memphis, Seattle, Washington D.C.—it’s a national problem,” said Miles.

Miles told Noah that though the U.S. is “really good at responding to natural disasters,” like the rapid response to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, the country and its government is, in fact, lagging behind in its ability to safeguard citizens before an earthquake hits.

“We’re really bad at the preparedness side,” Miles responded when Noah asked how the infrastructure in the U.S. compares to Mexico’s national warning system, for example.

“Whether it’s the literal infrastructure, like our roads and bridges, or the metaphoric infrastructure, like forecasting, prediction, early warning systems. Historically, we’ve underfunded those and as a result we’re way behind even developing nations on those fronts.”

Part of the problem, Miles says, is that President Donald Trump and his White House are not concerned with warning systems that could prevent the devastation of natural disasters.

“We can invest in an early warning system. That’s one thing we can definitely do. We can invest in better infrastructures, so that when the quake happens, the damage is less,” said the author.

“The scientists, the emergency managers, they have great plans in place. We have the technology for an early warning system, we have the technology for tsunami monitoring. But we don’t have a president that is currently interested in funding that, and that’s a problem.”

This article has been updated to reflect that Miles said New York is the possible site of an upcoming earthquake, and not the likeliest place to be next hit by one.

Iran Prepares to Cross the Redline (Revelation 6:6)

Iran Is Secretly Moving Missiles Into Iraq, U.S. Officials Say

By Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt

Dec. 4, 2019

WASHINGTON — Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq, part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power, according to American intelligence and military officials.

The buildup comes as the United States has rebuilt its military presence in the Middle East to counter emerging threats to American interests, including attacks on oil tankers and facilities that intelligence officials have blamed on Iran. Since May, the Trump administration has sent roughly 14,000 additional troops to the region, primarily to staff Navy ships and missile defense systems.

But new intelligence about Iran’s stockpiling of missiles in Iraq is the latest sign that the Trump administration’s efforts to deter Tehran by increasing the American military presence in the Middle East has largely failed.

IRGC May Be Trying To Cross The Redline (Revelation 6:6)

U.S. Military Base Hit By New Rocket Attack as Iraq Unrest Continues Without Prime Minister

By Tom O’Connor On 12/3/19 at 3:38 PM EST

A U.S. military base in western Iraq has been hit by a new rocket attack as the country’s unrest persisted in the wake of the prime minister’s resignation.

The Iraqi security forces’ media cell reported Tuesday that “five rockets fell within the Ayn al-Asad Air Base in Anbar Province, without significant losses, and we will share with you the details later.” The attack is only the latest in a string of unclaimed rocket strikes often targeting positions affiliated with the U.S. presence in the country.

The U.S. military first entered Iraq to beat back the invading forces of longtime leader Saddam Hussein from neighboring Kuwait in 1991 and to enforce a no-fly-zone. A decade later, in 2003, the U.S. led its own invasion, overthrowing Hussein and ultimately setting up a new government, which has gone on to foster ties with both the U.S. and its top regional foe, Iran.

Washington and Tehran both collaborated with Baghdad to defeat the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), but have since turned on one another as President Donald Trump’s administration exited a 2015 nuclear deal, imposed sanctions on Tehran and sought to restrain its growing influence across the Middle East, leading to new bouts of unrest across the region.

Adding to tensions, the Iraqi people have taken to the streets in unprecedented demonstrations that have forced Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to step down and have targeted the influence the U.S., Iran and others seeking to take advantage of the once-powerful Arab nation still in ruins after decades of conflict.

U.S. Army soldiers, with Task Force Jazeera and a Norwegian officer observe artillery impacts during a live-fire training exercise at Ayn al-Asad Air Base, Iraq, August 15. The site was hit by up to five rockets in an unclaimed December 3 attack as unrest continues to grip the nation. Specialist Zachary Myers/U.S. Army

Two years after Iraq officially declared victory over ISIS, much of Iraq’s infrastructure has yet to be repaired and corruption has run rampant in a sectarian political system many citizens feel was imposed by the U.S., which has at least 5,000 troops deployed throughout the country, and was later exploited by Iran, which has close ties to largely Shiite Muslim militias and political leaders. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who succeeded former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last October, sought to balance the two.

Since nationwide demonstrations began in October, hundreds of Iraqis have been reported killed in clashes with security forces. Abdul-Mahdi had reportedly succumbed to the pressure of the deteriorating situation weeks ago but retained the support of both the U.S. and Iran.

At home, he found himself stuck between two top political figures and militia leaders. Influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke last month broke with Abdul-Mahdi, urging him to resign, while rival Hadi al-Amiri reportedly called on him to stay in power.

Ultimately, Abdul-Mahdi offered his resignation Friday and, on Sunday, the parliament accepted the move.

A senior State Department official said Monday that the U.S. will “continue to engage with the Iraqi government,” including Abdul-Mahdi and “a broad range of Iraqi political personalities.” The official also commented on the U.S. and Iran’s interests in the nation.

“I think it’s Adil who says famously—the prime minister—’Iran is our neighbor, you are our friend, right?’ I think we have been a reliable partner to Iraq. I expect that we will continue to be a reliable partner, helping to build their capacity to defend themselves and to exert their sovereignty, to help defeat ISIS and can you prevent a resurgence of ISIS in Iraqi territory,” the official added. “So I would expect that we will continue to have that kind of relationship with the Iraqi government and also have economic investments in the country, etc. going forward.”

An Iraqi anti-government protester waves a national flag close to a concrete barricade amidst clashes with security forces along the capital Baghdad’s Rasheed street near Al-Ahrar bridge on November 29. Demonstrations have continued in the wake of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

The official expressed support for Iraqis’ “legitimate demands—reform, anti-corruption” and called for “an end to the violence.” While protesters on the ground welcome Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation, scenes of unrest have continued as rioters set fire Sunday to Iran’s consulate in the city of Najaf for the second time in less than a week.

“Generally speaking—and specifically speaking—the United States believes [in] the inviolability of the diplomatic facilities,” the official said.

Ayn al-Asad Base is one of a number of facilities jointly operated by Iraqi and U.S. military personnel. Vice President Mike Pence paid a Thanksgiving visit to the site just last week and President Donald Trump traveled there last year to celebrate the day after Christmas with U.S. soldiers.

Both high-profile visits stirred some resentment among Iraqis who felt the unannounced visits were a violation of the nation’s sovereignty. The country has also expressed frustration over a recent string of unclaimed airstrikes against Iran-partnered Iraqi militias and widely attributed to Israel.

The Iranian people struggle against the Iranian Horn

Iran, Despite Crackdown the “Resistance Units” Continue the Uprising

03 December 2019

Despite the Iranian regime’s bloody crackdown on the people, the rebellious youths, organized as resistance units, continue the uprising.

Protests

Despite a bloody crackdown on the protesters in Iran, the resistance units of Iran’s main opposing group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI-MEK) continue their activities in major cities in Iran.

On December 3, 2019, the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran released a statement in regards to these activities.

“On Sunday, December 1, 2019, despite the state of full alert on the part of the regime’s suppressive forces, the Resistance Units posted large portraits carrying the messages of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and Mr. Massoud Rajavi, the Leader of the Iranian Resistance, in different parts of Tehran, including Saeedi, Azadegan and Imam Ali expressways, Pirouzi, Shariati and Sabalan streets and Sohrevardi Park.” The NCRI’s statement reads adding:

“The banners read, ‘More flames on the way. Uprising for freedom is ablaze,’ ‘Regime cannot stop the uprising with killings and arrests,’ ‘Rebellious youth have made life like hell for you,’ ‘Tremors of overthrow shake the ruling theocracy to its foundations,’ ‘Victorious strategy of Liberation Army was tested in rebellious units, districts, and cities,’ ‘The overthrow of the anti-human enemy is certain,’ ‘Rebellion continues. The only response to the Sheikh is fire. Ignite the flames,’ and ‘Death to Khamenei, hail to Rajavi. Khamenei must know, he will be overthrown very soon.”

The mullahs’ regime reacted to the uprising very bloody and it is reported that over 750 protesters have been killed by the regime’s security forces. On December 2, 2019, London based Amnesty International reported that the “death toll from a bloody crackdown on protests rises to 208.”

“The number of people believed to have been killed during demonstrations in Iran that broke out on 15 November has risen to at least 208, said Amnesty International, based on credible reports received by the organization. The real figure is likely to be higher.” Amnesty International said in a report.

“This alarming death toll is further evidence that Iran’s security forces went on a horrific killing spree that left at least 208 people dead in less than a week. This shocking death toll displays the Iranian authorities’ shameful disregard for human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Those responsible for this bloody clampdown on demonstrations must be held accountable for their actions. Since the Iranian authorities have previously shown they are unwilling to carry out independent, impartial and effective investigations into unlawful killings and other arbitrary use of force against protesters, we are calling on the international community to help ensure accountability.”

In a related issue, on December 2, 2019, Italy’s foreign ministry announced that the visit of the Iranian regime’s foreign minister to Italy is canceled. Javad Zarif, the regime’s foreign minister was scheduled to visit Italy on December 5. Earlier Italian human rights organizations denounced this visit and asked the Italian government to cancel the visit, and condemned Iranian regimes crackdown on the protesters.

Babylon the Great runs dangerous and chaotic approach toward nuclear weapons

Trump runs dangerous and chaotic approach toward nuclear weapons

By Laura Kennedy, opinion contributor

December 03, 2019 – 06:00 PM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

The decision to abruptly withdraw United States forces from Syria is one of the most recent dangerous illustrations of the flawed foreign policy of President Trump and the chaos it has generated abroad. As a diplomat who served for nearly 40 years and under seven presidents, I am aware of how these impulsive and undisciplined actions have left allies reeling with American interests hobbled. His approach toward nuclear weapons and arms control is similar, but with even graver possible consequences.

His nuclear agenda reflects the same pattern of alliance mismanagement, American unreliability, and chaotic decision making. Instead of bailing on bilateral and multilateral arms control efforts, the United States should preserve remaining treaties like the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the observation regime offered by the Open Skies Treaty, which promote our interests abroad and avoid introducing destabilizing and unnecessary nuclear weapons in a heated international competition.

The Iran nuclear deal was the first nonproliferation agreement to be axed by Trump, followed by the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. By recklessly withdrawing from the successful limits imposed on the Iranian nuclear program, Trump undercut our reliability with some of our closest allies and raised global tensions. Withdrawing from the latter agreement rather than continuing efforts to resolve violations by Moscow has shifted the onus away from Russia while removing constraints. The insecurity from withdrawal of these agreements is exacerbated by the prospect of blowing up the other key foundations of our arms control architecture.

Next may be the Open Skies Treaty. It is a useful transparency regime which was instituted by the United States and 33 other nations. The agreement allows these nations to conduct observation flyovers of the territories of each of the signatories, providing critical insight into military deployments and possible military buildups. While some might argue that new technology makes such flyovers unnecessary, that overlooks the advantage offered by the framework. It is difficult to ignore evidence when all states have access to the same intelligence. Leaving this deal would end those benefits, poorly serve Ukraine, and send yet another message to our allies and adversaries of our diplomatic unsteadiness.

Such a counterproductive step would be massively compounded if the United States does not extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which caps American and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons and is set to expire in early 2021. The predictability, transparency, and access it provides is unparalleled. Its regime of notifications, information exchange, and onsite inspections has been lauded on both sides of the aisle and by numerous military and civilian officials. In addition to losing this level of certainty on Russian strategic nuclear weapons, the United States could face an expensive and destabilizing arms race, beyond the major $1 trillion nuclear program already authorized by President Obama.

In fact, the Trump administration has called for the development of a new “low yield” submarine launched ballistic missile deemed more “usable” for the military. Critics argue it would be difficult to distinguish from existing high yield variants and would increase the risk of nuclear miscalculation. The House has included a provision in the annual defense authorization bill earlier this year that prohibits the deployment of such a submarine weapon. As the conference negotiations continue, the Senate ought to recognize the risks of this unnecessary and destabilizing addition to our already massive nuclear arsenal and ensure it remains in the final bill.

Russia and China indeed pose risks, and we must seek to have serious strategic dialogues with both. But as we pursue such talks, we should use them to build on existing agreements, most notably the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and not scrap historical agreements in favor of a complex new effort to include additional weapons and actors such as China. Such a comprehensive deal, which the Trump administration says it is pursuing, would take years to negotiate. Russia does not believe there is time to negotiate a new arms control agreement prior to the expiration of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and China has emphatically rejected joining such a trilateral endeavor. Any potential negotiations are further complicated by the fact that the State Department has dumped its under secretary and assistant secretary in charge of arms control policy.

When it comes to international agreements, ignoring legislative, military, and civilian expert advice and picking fights with American allies leads to chaos, frayed alliances, and increased instability, as we have witnessed in Syria, Ukraine, Turkey, and across the world. The United States simply cannot afford to let that happen when it comes to nuclear weapons.

Laura Kennedy is a member of the board of directors of Foreign Policy for America. She served as United States permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, was a diplomat for the United States Mission to International Organizations, and served as the deputy assistant secretary for European Affairs with the Department of State.

Israeli Fighter Planes Strike Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, May 4, 2019. (JTA/Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

Israeli fighter planes strike Hamas military compound in northern Gaza

By Marcy Oster, JTA | December 2, 2019

By Marcy Oster, JTA | December 2, 2019

Israeli fighter planes struck what the Israeli military identified as Hamas “terror targets” in retaliation for a rocket fired on southern Israel.

The rocket fired on Israeli territory on Friday night landed in an open area; no damage or casualties were reported. About two hours later, military projectiles that were not rockets were fired from Gaza on Israeli territory.

The retaliation came early on Saturday morning, striking a Hamas military compound in northern Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Earlier Friday, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the stomach by Israeli troops and killed while demonstrating on the Gaza border with Israel. Official demonstrations on the border had been ordered canceled earlier in the week by protest organizers, but some still took place.

India Spurns On The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

Indian army’s BrahMos Mobile I Autonomous Launchers, February 7, 2014 (Courtesy Anirvan Shukla)

India’s Harebrained Nuclear Behavior – OpEd

Shamsa Nawaz*December 3, 2019

Politics with an opportune, proportionate, precise and unequivocal resolve represents the continuous face of nuclear signaling within the Indo-Pak rivalry. As has been evident, strategic restraint is so far being ingeniously and perpetually reinstated to redefine the archetypal connectivity between politics and war. It does, however, reassert the proclivity of a paradox. Lowering the nuclear threshold towards one’s redlines represents a gradual upward gradience of threat.

Penetrating through the inherent blurriness of fluid and whirled debates in arms control and disarmament regime to establish fear, honor and interest (Robert E. Osgood) is calculated but mutually fatal. Deterrence is made ever more relevant in a setting of nationalist predominance particularly in India. On the other hand, Indian force posture driven through deterrence while skillfully synchronizing the four components of national power; the diplomatic, economic, conventional and nuclear ability allowed by a hypocritic environment of international order cannot be taken dismissively.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto of 2014 in relation to India’s nuclear doctrine was raised initially by India’s Strategic Force Command (ISF). It urged India’s stated nuclear doctrine of No First Use (NFU) to change and emphasized massive retaliation (1). Rather than having a flexible and limited nuclear response and looking for counter-force instead of counter-value targets reaffirms the Indian wish of twining the battle of nerves by the arms of death.

The caveated description of surgical strikes and attacks on non-state base points while breaching the sovereign geographical identity of the state of Pakistan, as demonstrated in February 2019 by India, has certainly enhanced an uncertain security environment. “In taking aim at each one of its doctrinal pillars, albeit in language that is caveated and cautious, Menon is indicating that the Indian nuclear doctrine should not be taken for granted, whether by Pakistan or China.”(2) Such a warning espoused along with a doctrinal shift is fraught with serious risks but does it really aspire any trust or confidence? Can the threat of targeting Pakistan’s nuclear weapon’s program in an act of preemption be presumed as a false promise?  Is a consequent aggressive and competitive conventional and nuclear arms build-up by both India and Pakistan more reassuring?

The recently promulgated Joint Doctrine for the Indian Armed Forces (JDIAF) to fully address the growing Chinese threat in cyber and information warfare, also apparently suggests “a written national security strategy document that would help to outline the primary tenets of a “comprehensive defence strategy” by India (3).

The doctrine categorically indicates the Indian decision of dealing cross border threats with surgical strikes. Akin to the Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States (JP-1), the JDIAF elaborates on the basic fundamentals of power and excellence in war-fighting across the full spectrum of conflict closely knit into a triad.  Both the JDIAF and LWD are coercive and are aimed at deterring Pakistan. India believes that the conventional options for military ‘counter terrorism’ against Pakistan are limited, so the adoption of “Deterrence through Punishment” rather than “Deterrence through Denial” (4) is more viable (5) in order to maintain the notions of ambiguity, uncertainty, short and swift yet lethal and intense, precise and non-linear, unrestricted and hybrid. (6)

The JDIAF represents the operational integration of the three armed services. Publically presented in April 2017, the JDIAF-2017, is the second edition of the doctrine meant to expanding India’s overseas operations. The JDIAF may also lead to a nuclear disaster owing to its ambiguity on “the first-use or no first use of nuclear weapons” (7). Similarly, the LWD promulgated in the latter half of December 2018, offers an insight into Indian strategic thinking and the dominant logic that drives Indian posturing and behaviour towards Pakistan.

Both the JDIAF and LWD have the potential to transform into adventurism at any time. Already the presence of security dilemma, conventional asymmetries, the conventional and strategic arms race between these countries, gaps in defense production, offensive and defensive nuclear capabilities and the non-existence of arms control and threat reduction measures (TRMs) between India and Pakistan have increased the threat of conflict escalation or even initiating conflict among regional powers.

John J. Mearsheimer in the Tragedy of Great Power Politics maintains that states are not satisfied with a given amount of power but seek hegemony for security. Similarly, Carl von Clausewitz, also linked tactics to a wider objective and ultimately, of course strategy to policy (8). Operations, intelligence, technology management, human resources development, operational logistics whether conventional or nuclear, diplomacy and politics all bear ample testimony that the character of conflict is changing.

The trends are new for the strategic equilibrium, however, throwing challenges and opportunities at the same time for both India and Pakistan. At Pulwama, Pakistan clearly exposed India’s long-held myth of conventional superiority. At the same time, it does urge Pakistan to rethink on non-contact warfare abilities. To resuscitate the debate on nuclear thresholds and the uncertainty it generates is equally orchestrated. Understanding of both these doctrines in view of the recent episode of escalations have almost brought the thresholds of nuclear exchange at their lowest. Nonetheless, the political nature of war/conflict and use of military force remain predominant which would keep the Indian nuclear behavior dangerous particularly under the radical Hindutva mindset.

*Shamsa Nawaz is working as a Senior Research Associate/ Editor at Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad.

Notes:

1  Rajesh Rajagopalan, “India’s Nuclear Doctrine Debate,” Carnegie endowment for international peace, June 30, 2016. https://carnegieendowment.org/2016/06/30/india-s-nuclear-doctrine-debate-pub-63950

2  Shashank Joshi, “India’s nuclear doctrine should no longer be taken for granted,” the interpreter, March 22, 2017. https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/indias-nuclear-doctrine-should-no-longer-be-taken-granted

3  “Joint Doctrine of Indian Armed Forces”, Bharat Shakti, April 2017, available at https://bharatshakti.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Joint_Doctrine_Indian_Armed_Forces.pdf, accessed on August 15, 2017.

4  Lieutenant General PR Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd), “Is Indian Deterrence effective against potential aggressors?,”The United Service Institution of India, July 2019-September 2019, https://usiofindia.org/publication/usi-journal/is-indian-deterrence-effective-against-potential-aggressors/

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Joy Mitra,  “When Push Comes to Shove, Will India’s NFU Stand?” South Asian Voices, January 9, 2019, available at https://southasianvoices.org/sav-review-when-push-comes-shove-will-india-nfu-stand/, accessed on March 23, 2019.

8  John M. Mearsheimer, “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), p. 35. John M. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001): p. 35.