A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Monday, March 14, 2011

 

 

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

„There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,“ said Robinson. „There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.“

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: „The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,“ he said.

„More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,“ according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

„Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,“ according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Korea Continues Nuclear Missile Tests

North Korea threatens to resume nuclear and ICBM testingAFP

Mr Kim warns he’s got a new strategic weapon up his sleeve

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he is ending the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests put in place during talks with the US.

Mr Kim also said his country would soon introduce “a new strategic weapon”.

But he left a door open for dialogue, and said the scope of any testing would depend on the US’s “attitude”.

The momentum of the past few years has stalled, as Washington refuses to lift sanctions until Pyongyang fully abandons its nuclear programme.

The North conducted several smaller weapons tests late in 2019, in what was seen as an attempt to pressure the US into making concessions.

But the self-declared moratorium on nuclear tests and tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could reach the US mainland had been one of the foundations of the negotiations with Washington.

Pyongyang has not carried out such tests since 2017.

• North Korea’s missile and nuclear programme

• North Korea crisis in 300 words

What did Mr Kim say?

Mr Kim’s comments came at the end of a four-day gathering of party leaders in Pyongyang, an unusual event for this time of the year.

On 1 January, state media reported him as saying North Korea was no longer bound by the self-declared moratorium, as the US continued joint military drills with South Korea and had stepped up their sanctions.

“Under such condition, there is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer, the commitment to which there is no opposite party, and this is chilling our efforts for worldwide nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” news agency KCNA quoted him as saying.

He threatened that “the world will witness a new strategic weapon” from the North “in the near future”, while giving no further details.

• North Korea carries out ‘very important test’

• North Korea attacks Trump’s ‘dotage of a dotard’

Reuters

North Korea tested several smaller missiles in 2019

Mr Kim’s comments to the party meeting also admitted that sanctions have hit the economy and were unlikely to be lifted soon, warning that North Koreans will have to “tighten our belts”.

The North Korean leader did not, however, mention Donald Trump or South Korea by name, seen by observers as a toning-down of language compared to the aggressive rhetoric of recent months.

The comments were “notable for falling short of directly tearing up the April 2018 moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests”, Chad O’Carroll of North Korea analysis site NK News told the BBC.

“Instead, Mr Kim’s remarks implied that such resumed testing will be contingent on US actions in the weeks and months ahead.”

Why did he say it?

Mr Kim’s published comments appear to have taken the place of his usual New Year’s Day speech.

Previous addresses have signalled changes in policy direction to Pyongyang’s international adversaries and this year’s comments appear to have a similar role.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un: From enemies to frenemies

“Kim Jong-un knows that President Trump faces an election campaign soon and that renewed North Korean ICBM and nuclear testing would be a major foreign policy embarrassment for the White House,” said Mr O’Carroll.

“The remarks delivered today communicate a simple message to Washington: provide us with major concessions soon if you want to avoid long-range missile tests during the election campaign.”

There is little indication the White House will give in to that pressure, he adds, so “we appear headed toward significant turbulence in the year ahead”.

How did the US respond?

As he headed into a New Year event in Florida, Mr Trump told reporters that he and Mr Kim “did sign a contract, talking about denuclearisation”.

“I think he’s a man of his word,” he said.

US Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo said he hoped the North would choose peace over war.

“If Chairman Kim has reneged on the commitments he made to President Trump, that is deeply disappointing,” Mr Pompeo told US broadcaster CBS.

“He made those commitments to President Trump in exchange for President Trump agreeing not to conduct large-scale military exercises. We’ve lived up to our commitments. We continue to hold out hope that he will live up to his as well.”

How did we get here?

• Throughout 2017, North Korea tests nuclear devices and ICBMs able to reach the US mainland.

• On 1 January 2018, Kim Jong-un says he’s “open to dialogue” with both South Korea and the United States.

• June 2018: Mr Kim and Mr Trump hold historic face-to-face talks in Singapore, agreeing on denuclearisation in vague, unspecific terms.

• Kim Jong-un also meets with South Korean President Moon several times, including once in North Korea.

• In February 2019, he meets Donald Trump again in Vietnam but the talks end early without agreement.

• In June that year, they have an “impromptu” but largely symbolic meeting at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea.

But relations between the US and North Korea have deteriorated in the months leading up to 2020.

President Trump: “Stepping across that line was a great honour”

Already in May, North Korea had started testing short-range missiles again – though not the long-range missiles capable of reaching the US, which are more controversial – and more recently, the language between the two sides has grown increasingly hostile.

Pyongyang had set Washington an end-of-year deadline to offer sanctions relief, threatening that the US could expect a “Christmas gift” if it did not comply.

So far though, Washington has refused to lift sanctions, insisting that North Korea must first fully abandon its nuclear programme.

IDF: 900 Strikes Outside the Temple Walls Over Past Year (Revelation 11)

IDF: 54 targets struck in Syria, 900 in Gaza over past year

By ANNA AHRONHEIM

Israel has struck 54 targets in Syria and 900 in the Gaza Strip over the last year, which has also seen a decrease in attacks in the West Bank, data released by the IDF has shown.

Thursday marked the first time that Israel’s military publicly stated the exact number of targets struck by the Israel Air Force in Syria.

Israel has been carrying out a “war-between-wars” campaign aimed at preventing Iran from reaching its goal of establishing a 1,200 km. length land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean, entrenching itself on Israel’s northern borders. Hundreds of targets are estimated to have been struck by Israel over the years.

During the first few years of Israel’s campaign against Iran, the state denied having struck targets in war-torn Syria, preferring instead plausible deniability in an attempt to prevent any retaliatory attacks by Iran or their proxies like Hezbollah.

On September 1, on the first day back to school in Israel, Hezbollah fired a Kornet anti-tank missile toward an IDF vehicle in northern Israel, driving between the communities of Yir’on and Avivim.

Pompeo speaks with Netanyahu following attack on US Embassy in Baghdad

While there were no Israeli casualties or injuries, the incident marked the first time since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 that saw direct confrontation between the IDF and Hezbollah, which could have spiraled into war.

In addition to the targets destroyed in Syria, the IDF noted six cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. The military also noted that 38 kilometers of the barrier between Syria and Israel has been built along the northern border.

The past year saw the most serious peak of violence between Israel and terror groups in the strip since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, with 1,295 rockets fired in 2019 – the majority (93%) having been fired during the 12 violent rounds of confrontation between Israel and terrorist groups in the Strip.

According to the military, 729 of them were fired toward open territory while another 478 were fired toward residential areas, with 85% of them intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

While almost every year since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 the number of rockets fired toward Israel was in triple digits, 2018 has seen the most serious peak of violence between Israel and terror groups in the strip like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

In comparison, a total of just over 1,000 projectiles were fired toward Israel in 2018, and 35 projectiles were fired toward Israel in 2017, 15 the previous year and 21 in 2015, for a total of 71 rockets launched from the coastal enclave by terror groups.

In response to the rocket fire from Gaza, the Israel Air Force carried out over 1,800 sorties and struck 900 targets in the Strip over the past year, the large majority of them belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In comparison, 865 targets were struck in 2018.

Unmanned aerial vehicles spent over 40,000 operational hours during missions over the past year.

According to the IDF, only 22 out of a total of 47.5 kilometers of the underground barrier with the Gaza Strip has been completed. It was expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

In the West Bank, there has been a notable decrease in attacks by Palestinians against Israeli troops and civilians, with a total of 51 terror attacks in the past year compared to 76 in 2018, 75 in 2017 and 141 in 2016.

According to the data, there were 19 shooting attacks in 2019 compared to 33 during the previous year, 34 in 2017 and 54 in 2016. There has also been a decrease in stabbing attacks with 12 in 2019 compared to 17 in 2018, five in 2017 and 22 in 2016. The military noted that there was also a decrease in stone and IED throwing toward Israeli cars over the past year, with 1,469 instances of stone throwing in 2019, compared to 1,881 in 2018, 2,549 in 2017 and 2,225 in 2016. Meanwhile, there were 290 IEDs thrown at cars in 2019 compared to 990 the previous year.

The military also noted that 603 guns and 521 knives were confiscated from Palestinians in the West Bank, compared to 406 guns and 273 knives confiscated the previous year. The IDF also confiscated NIS 972,560 in terror funds compared to NIS 2,156,089 in 2018.

IRGC’s Leader is Martyred

NEWS / MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s Qassem Soleimani killed in US airstrike in Baghdad airport

Nighttime incident occurred amid tensions with the US after Iraqi protesters attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force, has been reported killed alongside six others following a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.

Iraqi officials and the state television reported that aside from Soleimani, Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was killed in the attack.

Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces umbrella grouping of Iran-backed militias, also confirmed the attack.

Two unnamed US officials told Reuters news agency that the US carried out the targeted airstrikes.

Sources from the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) earlier told Al Jazeera that the rockets destroyed two vehicles carrying “high profile guests”, who had arrived at the airport and were being escorted by a PMF public relations official.

Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Baghdad, said the incident appeared to be a targeted strike.

Witnesses in the area also told Al Jazeera that they could hear the sounds of sirens and helicopters in the air following the pre-dawn attack.

The area of the incident has been cordoned off, authorities told Al Jazeera, but the international airport remains in operation.

Our correspondent added that the attack took place near the base of the US-led coalition forces.

The attack occurred amid tensions with the US after an Iran-backed militia and other protesters breached the United States’s Embassy in Baghdad.

The attack at the embassy on New Year’s Eve was in response to a deadly US airstrike that killed 25 forces of the PMF, also known as the Hashd al-Shaabi group.

More details to follow.

Trump Prepares for War With Iran

Trump deploys more troops to Mideast

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Charging that Iran was “fully responsible” for an attack on the US Embassy in Iraq, President Donald Trump ordered about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East as about 3,000 more prepared for possible deployment in the next several days.

No US casualties or evacuations were reported after the attack on Tuesday by dozens of Iran-supported militiamen. US Marines were sent from Kuwait to reinforce the compound.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday night that “in response to recent events” in Iraq, and at Trump’s direction, he authorized the immediate deployment of the infantry battalion from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He did not specify the soldiers’ destination, but a US official familiar with the decision said they will go to Kuwait.

“This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against US personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today,” Esper said in a written statement.

Additional soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s quick-deployment brigade, known officially as its Immediate Response Force, were prepared to deploy, Esper said. The US official, who provided unreleased details on condition of anonymity, said the full brigade of about 4,000 soldiers may deploy.

The 750 soldiers deploying immediately were in addition to 14,000 US troops who had deployed to the Gulf region since May in response to concerns about Iranian aggression, including its alleged sabotage of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf. At the time of the attack the US had about 5,200 troops in Iraq, mainly to train Iraqi forces and help them combat Islamic State extremists.

The breach of the US Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday was a stark demonstration that Iran can still strike at American interests despite Trump’s economic pressure campaign. It also revealed growing strains between Washington and Baghdad, raising questions about the future of the US military mission there.

They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon, though it was unclear whether his “threat” meant military retaliation. He thanked top Iraqi government leaders for their “rapid response upon request.”

American airstrikes on Sunday killed 25 fighters of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah. The US said those strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor and the wounding of American and Iraqi troops in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that the US blamed on the militia. The American strikes angered the Iraqi government, which called them an unjustified violation of its sovereignty.

While blaming Iran for the embassy breach, Trump also called on Iraq to protect the diplomatic mission.

“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many,” he tweeted from his estate in Florida. “We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the US Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”

Even as Trump has argued for removing US troops from Mideast conflicts, he also has singled out Iran as a malign influence in the region. After withdrawing the US in 2018 from an international agreement that exchanged an easing of sanctions for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, Trump ratcheted up sanctions.

Those economic penalties, including a virtual shut-off of Iranian oil exports, are aimed at forcing Iran to negotiate a broader nuclear deal. But critics say that pressure has pushed Iranian leaders into countering with a variety of military attacks in the Gulf.

Until Sunday’s US airstrikes, Trump had been measured in his response to Iranian provocations. In June, he abruptly called off US military strikes on Iranian targets in retaliation for the downing of an American drone.

Robert Ford, a retired US diplomat who served five years in Baghdad and then became ambassador in Syria, said Iran’s allies in the Iraqi parliament may be able to harness any surge in anger among Iraqis toward the United States to force US troops to leave the country. Ford said Trump miscalculated by approving Sunday’s airstrikes on Kataeb Hezbollah positions in Iraq and Syria — strikes that drew a public rebuke from the Iraqi government and seem to have triggered Tuesday’s embassy attack.

“The Americans fell into the Iranian trap,” Ford said, with airstrikes that turned some Iraqi anger toward the US and away from Iran and the increasingly unpopular Iranian-backed Shiite militias. AP

US Must Prepare for War Against Iran and Iraq

Baghdad Embassy Attackers Pull Back; Tehran Foresees Iraqis Expelling US Forces

(CNSNews.com) – Pro-Iranian Iraqi militiamen and supporters pulled back from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Wednesday following a second days of clashes and tensions, but from Tehran came optimistic predictions that Iraqi authorities will now work to end the U.S. military presence there.

The compound had come under attack by members of the Iran-backed Shi’ite militia Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), but after incidents of rock throwing met by tear gas fired by U.S. forces they withdrew by Wednesday evening, after Iraqi government appeals for calm.

The militiamen were angered by U.S. military strikes last Sunday on five KH bases in western Iraq and eastern Syria which cost the lives of at several dozen fighters.

Those strikes were in response to the latest in a series of rocket attacks targeting U.S. personnel in Iraq. An American civilian contractor was killed when multiple rockets were fired at a military base near Kirkuk.

KH, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization since 2009, is a key component of the “Popular Mobilization Forces” (PMF), a force formed in 2015 to help Iraq’s military in its fight against ISIS terrorists.

For that reasons and others, many Iraqi politicians and lawmakers reacted heatedly to the U.S. strikes.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country’s top Shi’a cleric, condemned the strikes and accused the U.S. of violating Iraq’s sovereignty. He said the Iraqi government alone was responsible for dealing with the “illegal practices carried out by some sides” – likely a reference to the rocket attacks that prompted the U.S. response.

The prominent Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said he was ready to work with his political rivals to get the roughly 5,000 American troops in Iraq expelled, through political and legal means – or if unsuccessful, then by taking “other actions.”

The move is significant because Sadr, whose political bloc controls the largest number of seats in parliament since elections in 2018, has been critical of both Iranian and U.S. involvement in Iraqi affairs.

In Tehran Keyhan, a hardline newspaper whose editor is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insinuated that the U.S. had ulterior motives for attacking the KH bases.

A Keyhan writer began with the allegation that Khamenei himself has leveled – that the U.S. wanted to avenge the PMF’s successes against ISIS (which the regime bizarrely claims is a U.S. creation.)

The writer then offered other possible motivations for the military strikes, including an attempt by President Trump to divert attention from a pending trial in the U.S. Senate; and an attempt flex U.S. muscles in response to the recent Iran-Russia-China joint naval maneuvers.

Whatever the actual reason for attacking KH bases, the writer said, “the U.S. has disturbed a hornet’s nest whose lethal stings will soon see its end in West Asia.”

Keyhan noted with satisfaction Sistani’s statement and Sadr’s readiness to work to expel U.S. troops.

“[I]t is only a matter of time for the executive and legislative branches of the government to coordinate moves for formally ending the undesirable military presence of the Americans,” it said.

‘This will not be a Benghazi’

Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago, Florida on New Year’s Eve that he neither wants nor envisages a war with Iran.

Asked whether he foresees going to war with Iran, he replied, “ I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran. It wouldn’t last very long. Do I want to? No. I want to have peace. I like peace.”

“And Iran should want peace more than anybody. So I don’t see that happening. No, I don’t think Iran would want that to happen,” Trump said.

Trump also noted that, when violent protests erupted at the embassy on Tuesday, a taskforce of U.S. Marines were dispatched “immediately,” contrasting the incident with the Sept. 2012 attack by armed militants on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“This will not be a Benghazi,” he said. “Benghazi should never have happened. This will never, ever be a Benghazi.”

The 2012 attack cost the lives of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s handling of the episode plagued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign.

As part of the response to Benghazi, U.S. Marine crisis response taskforces have deployed or been repositioned in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.

It was members of the Central Command element, known as the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, that deployed from Kuwait to the Baghdad embassy in MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the same day that at the president’s direction he has authorized the deployment of a battalion from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force to the Central Command area, “in response to recent events in Iraq.”

 

Babylon the Great’s Embassy is Damaged

US Embassy in Baghdad fire damage seen in new photos following militants’ attack

By Charles Creitz | Fox News

Stunning photos reveal scenes of destruction inside the U.S. Embassy in Iraq’s capital one day after Iran-backed militiamen stormed the previously heavily fortified compound in protest of recent airstrikes.

The photos, released Wednesday by The Associated Press, show windows blown out and the charred remains of papers, office furniture and shelving inside the Baghdad complex.

Smoke was still seen rising from a reception room in the embassy and an embassy checkpoint was left in complete ruins from the conflagration.

Fire damage can be seen in a reception room of the U.S. embassy compound, that was burned by pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. On Tuesday, dozens of protesters had broken into the compound, trashing a reception area and smashing windows . (Associated Press)

Protesting militants stormed the compound on Tuesday, leading President Trump to call for an immediate response that included a surge of U.S. Marines to quell the unrest.

American troops dropped flares from aircraft and fired tear gas to disperse the militia.

POMPEO: US WILL HOLD IRAN ‘ACCOUNTABLE’ FOR ANY ‘MALIGN ACTIVITY’ AFTER BAGHDAD EMBASSY ATTACK

In a Fox News interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made reference to Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the shadowy Tehran-linked militant-slash-intelligence organization known as the Quds Force.

On “Special Report,” Pompeo said there were no plans to evacuate the embassy or to pull troops out of Iraq following the attack.

“You have to put this in a larger context,” he said. “This is 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran [being] engaged in global terror campaigns, nuclear weapons dreams and nuclear enrichment capability.”

Pompeo criticized the Obama administration, appearing to make a veiled reference to its nighttime delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to Tehran.

Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters are seen through broken windows of a burned checkpoint in front of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (Associated Press)

“We put real pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the former Kansas congressman said of the Trump administration. “We will continue to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable wherever we find their malign activity and we will make sure we have the resources to do so.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.