Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study

A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.

Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.

The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”

Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.

One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.

The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.

“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”

The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.

Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”

The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.

The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.

Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.

“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”

New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:

Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.

Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.

New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.

Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.

The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.

Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.

Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.

In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

More Killed in Iraq-Iran Rocket Attack

Two U.S., one British personnel killed in Iraq rocket attack: officials

Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One British and two American personnel were killed and about a dozen people were wounded when 18 small rockets hit Iraq’s Taji military camp north of Baghdad on Wednesday, U.S. officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A truck loaded with Katyusha rockets is seen in Rashidiya, after ten rockets struck the Taji military camp, which house also U.S. forces, north of Baghdad, Iraq in this undated picture obtained March 12, 2020. Iraqi Media Security Cell/Handout via REUTERS

The officials, who cautioned the death toll may rise given the severity of some of the injuries, said it was too soon to assign blame. Any indication that Iran-backed militia were responsible could spark a new round of confrontation between the United States and Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and they “underscored that those responsible for the attacks must be held accountable,” the State Department said.

The last military escalation led to a U.S. strike in January that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, which, in turn, led Iran to fire missiles at a base in Iraq hosting U.S. forces, leaving more than 100 troops with brain injuries.

Pompeo has argued the killing of Soleimani was necessary in part to deter Iran and Iran-backed groups from additional attacks.

The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq said in a statement that 18 107 mm Katyusha rockets struck the base and suggested they may have been fired from a truck.

It confirmed three personnel were killed and about a dozen wounded but declined to disclose the nationalities of the casualties or offer any other identifying information.

“The attack is under investigation by the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces,” the U.S.-led coalition said.

The State Department readout of the call with Raab said that there had been American, British and other casualties in the attack, but it did not provide details.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a statement condemning the attack and added that Raab had spoken with Pompeo.

“We will continue to liaise with our international partners to fully understand the details of this abhorrent attack,” Johnson said, without confirming British casualties.


In a sign of concern that tensions between the United States and Iran could be headed toward open conflict, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to wage war against Iran.

The Republican president has been engaged in a maximum-pressure campaign of renewed sanctions and near-constant rhetorical conflict against Iran, after pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal reached during the administration of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.

Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been rocketing and shelling bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces and the area around the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The Kataib Hezbollah militia was blamed for an attack on a base last year that killed an American contractor, which led to retaliatory U.S. strikes against it in Iraq and Syria.

Syrian state media reported on Wednesday that unidentified jets hit targets southeast of a Syrian town along the border with Iraq.

But there was no indication so far that those strikes were by the United States. U.S. officials told Reuters the United States had not carried out any retaliatory strikes at this point.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart. Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Makini Brice; Writing by Phil Stewart; Editing by Peter Cooney & Shri Navaratnam

Antichrist Says Trump Made Coronavirus, Rejects Any US Treatment

Sadr Says Trump Made Coronavirus, Rejects Any US Treatment

Thursday, 12 March, 2020 – 11:00

Workers in protective suits spray disinfectants near the gate of Shalamcha Border Crossing, after Iraq shut a border crossing to travellers between Iraq and Iran (File photo: Reuters)

Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat
Sadr rejected any treatment developed by US medical companies saying: “We accept none of your companies’ treatments.”He slammed in a tweet Trump’s statement about the great job the US administration is doing to fight COVID-19.

Addressing Trump, he said: “You and the likes of you are the main cause behind the outbreak, in particular since those who are suffering from the virus are against the US.”

Earlier, Sadr urged Iraqis to adhere to the health and medical measures concerning coronavirus, which infected dozens in the country, saying it was a “jural duty.”

He also warned against spreading rumors about the virus.

Sadr praised the medical staff dealing with coronavirus patients, saying their work is similar to jihad, calling on them to perform their duties by keeping personal interests aside.

The Iraqi Health Ministry announced Wednesday that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country increased to 68 cases, with 8 deaths and 15 recovered patients.

The ministry’s laboratories diagnosed two new cases, one in Karbala and the other in Najaf.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Border Ports Authority closed the country’s land borders with Iran and Kuwait starting mid-March as part of its precautionary measures to limit the spread of coronavirus

Kurdistan Regional Government canceled Nowruz celebrations scheduled later this month for concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and added in a statement, that it will impose restrictions on citizens’ travel and commercial activities.

Pestilence Plagues the Iranian Horn

Iran’s First Vice-President, Three Minsters, Khamenei Aide Ill With Coronavirus

Radio Farda

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard affiliated Fars News Agency on March 21 published a list of senior officials and politicians who have tested positive or died from coronavirus (COVID-19). First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri is included among those who have tested positive and in isolation.

Jahangiri had not been seen in public for several days and was conspicuously absent from the regular Wednesday morning Cabinet meeting. However, his condoling message for Mohammad-Reza Rah-Chamani, a veteran reformist politician and lawmaker, was published on the government website on Tuesday.

Two days ago, the Head of Public Relations of First Vice-President denied the rumors that Jahangiri has coronavirus and said he was present in his office and spoken to province governors across the country about the coronavirus situation. The Cabinet has yet neither denied nor confirmed the report by Fars News Agency.

Among other eye-catching names in the list published by Fars is the name of Mohammad-Javad Iravani, one of the influential men in Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office. According to Fars he has been quarantined but his health is improving. Iravani is also a member of the Khamenei-appointed Expediency Council. Another member of the Council, Mohammad Mir-Mohammadi, died of coronavirus on March 2.

Three other cabinet members who have tested positive are Vice-President in Women’s Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan and the Minister of Industries, Mines and Commerce Reza Rahmani.

When questioned by the press today about the health conditions of Jahangiri and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour did not even include Jahangiri’s name in the very general response that he made, leaving everyone guessing.

Iran is among the hardest-hit nations by the virus and so far even according to doctored official figures, at least 9,000 have been diagnosed with coronavirus and 354 lost their lives.

Five current lawmakers have the coronavirus and two representatives elected in February 21 parliamentary elections have died of the disease.

Six Quakes Rattle Northeast Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Six quakes rattle Northeast in six days. Scientists don’t know what’s causing them

March 11, 2020 07:58 AM

How to prepare for an earthquake

FEMA released a video on tips on what people should do in the event of an earthquake. By FEMA

Six earthquakes in six days rattled communities throughout the Northeast and surrounding areas in Canada, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The strongest was a 3.1-magnitude earthquake at about 6:43 a.m. Wednesday in Upstate New York, the USGS said. More than 2,000 people reported feeling the quake about 45 miles north of Albany.

The quake was felt as far away as Albany, according to the USGS.

A pair of 2.7-magnitude earthquakes have also hit the region over the past week. One hit in Montreal, on the city’s island on the St. Lawrence River, at about 4:20 p.m. Friday, USGS data shows. About 300 people reported feeling shaking from the quake, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

Another 2.7-magnitude earthquake was reported in the ocean about 31 miles off Old Orchard Beach, Maine, at about 3 p.m. Monday, according to the USGS.

That was the second quake in the region Monday. At 8 a.m., a 2.2-magnitude earthquake struck about 21 miles north-northeast of Augusta, Maine, according to the USGS.

Quakes between 2.5 and 5.4 magnitude are often felt but rarely cause much damage, according to Michigan Tech.

Geologists are not sure what caused the earthquakes in New England and Quebec.

“New England and Long Island are far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. New England is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at the depths of most earthquakes,” according to the USGS.

“Few, if any, earthquakes in New England can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in New England and Long Island is the earthquakes themselves.”

The same is true for the Adirondack region and Quebec, the USGS said.

There were five small earthquakes in four days around the northeast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS

The last earthquake in New England to cause “moderate damage” was in 1940 when a 5.6-magnitude temblor hit central New Hampshire, according to the USGS.

On Sunday a smaller 1.9-magnitude earthquake hit over the border in New Hampshire, about 10 miles from the state capital Concord.

The first quake in the area over the past week was a 1.7-magnitude that hit Thursday on the Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick.

There were five small earthquakes in four days around the northeast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.

Save the Oil and the Wine (Revelation 6:6)

Iran Triples Enriched Uranium Stockpile

The king of the south is preparing for the push.

By Rufaro Manyepa • March 11

I can’t think of anything that has produced more fear in recent years than the coronavirus. It dominates the headlines and has brought panic to supermarket aisles, as we fight over the remaining rolls of toilet paper.

The way we as a society respond when we are afraid reveals something powerful about ourselves.

In ancient times, when calamity struck, men would turn en masse to the gods or the priests. The gods, they believed, were in control. Catastrophe meant they were unhappy and needed to be appeased.

As humanity entered the Enlightenment, men became less inclined to beseech the gods during times of crisis. Instead, they turned to themselves. Especially in America, this was the age of self-reliance. If a flood, disease or fire hit, they would stoically accept the losses and do whatever they could to rebuild and move on.

Times have again changed. Facing crisis, most men today are once again quick to turn to the gods. Not Zeus or Jupiter. Today, we turn to the government and experts.

We saw this in the United Kingdom last month, when we were hit with unusually heavy flooding. News broadcasts continually insinuated that this was the government’s fault, without explaining exactly how. Locals affected by the flooding appeared on television, explaining that the government wasn’t doing enough to help them.

In the past, victims of flooding may have tried to appease the river gods, or waited for the waters to recede before digging in and trying to repair the damage. Today, the people look toward London, waiting for the government to step in and fix it.

In our modern worship, we believe that our governments can solve anything. Therefore, if something has gone wrong, the government could have solved it but didn’t. It’s their fault. To stop the flooding, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should have banned plastic bottles, or something.

The same thing is happening with coronavirus. In country after country, men blame the government. The media is full of accusations. Why didn’t we do more here or there? Why did you make this or that cut? Some of this, no doubt, is media bias against certain governments. But I think there’s more going on. The media can only use this tactic because the public accepts the basic assumption that governments can and should fix every problem.

They should fix it by looking to “the experts”—another core part of modern worship. Experts have the solution to all our problems—if only people would listen. But when it comes to coronavirus, the experts can’t give clear answers. Will this get worse? How much worse can it get? What can I do to guarantee I won’t get it? The experts don’t have any good clear answers.

The government can’t fix it, and the experts cannot help. The panic we see in our headlines is society experiencing a crisis of faith.

Maybe this will kill no more than a particularly bad flu. Maybe it will be much worse. But aside from taking common sense steps of quarantine and advocating good hygiene and hand washing, governments and experts won’t have much of an impact on where it goes from here. As China and Iran show, there are things governments can do to make this worse. But they can’t make it better.

The foundations that we trust in are exposed as sand. It would be like the ancients asking their priests, “How can we appease the gods and stop the plague?” only to be told, “No idea; hopefully it will go away soon.” When our normal support structures have failed, we panic.

The cover of our latest print magazine states: “Coronavirus in Prophecy.” Even those who don’t know much about the Bible know that it talks about plagues and pestilence. But the question of whom we trust gets to the heart of why the Bible makes those prophecies. Jeremiah 17:5 states, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.” If we look to men to solve our problems—whether in the form of man-made religion, as almost all are, or governments, experts or even our own selves—we’re under a curse. Mankind cannot solve the biggest problems facing it. Only God can.

This is why God sends plagues. “It pains God to know that the suffering is about to get much, much worse,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in his latest Trumpet article. “It grieves Him to consider the diseases and other horrors soon to be visited upon Earth. But it is all part of His plan to teach man the absolute necessity of obeying His law.”

God can solve disease pandemics—and all our problems. Mr. Flurry wrote that soon “Jesus Christ will accomplish what the most brilliant doctors, scientists and other experts have utterly failed to do: He will bring lasting peace and perfect health to all men, women and children.” But to do that, we must invest our trust in Him. When He says, This action is causing you to be miserable, stop doing it, we must trust and obey Him.

The Bible says that disease pandemics will get worse in order to stop our looking to men—to teach us that only God has the solutions.

“God is teaching men even as they rebel,” writes Mr. Flurry in his free booklet Daniel Unlocks Revelation. “They are learning that man cannot rule himself—only God can bring men peace, prosperity, happiness and joy.” God rules, and man cannot. Mr. Flurry called that lesson “the greatest lesson mankind could possibly learn.” And God is teaching us that lesson, right now, through the coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia has launched what could end up being one of the worst oil price wars in modern history, and American oil and gas companies could be caught in the cross fire. With fears about a coronavirus epidemic effecting demand for oil around the world, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec) met in Vienna, Austria, on March 6 to propose that total oil output be reduced by 1.5 million barrels a day to prevent oil prices from dropping too fast. Yet Russia refused to cooperate with opec and cut its oil production. This refusal prompted Saudi Arabia to announce that it would not be cutting oil production either. Instead it would increase its oil production by 2 million barrels per day.

In an already oversupplied global market, Saudi Arabia’s announcement caused Brent crude oil prices to plunge 31 percent to a low of $31.25 a barrel, its steepest single-day drop since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

It only costs $9.90 for Saudi Arabia to pump a barrel of crude oil out of an existing oil field, while it takes Russia $17.20 to do the same thing. So the Saudi government figures it can survive low oil prices much longer than Russia can.

But the heart of this dispute revolves around America’s oil and gas companies.

On February 18, the Trump administration announced economic sanctions targeting Russia’s largest oil company. The reason for these sanctions is that Russia is helping Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro bypass United States sanctions by transporting his oil for him. Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been retaliating against the Trump administration by refusing to cut oil production. Since most U.S. oil wells have a break-even point of $36.20 a barrel over their production life, American oil and gas companies (which rely heavily on expensive hydraulic fracturing techniques) cannot turn a profit when oil prices are this low.

The U.S. has also passed sanctions against companies involved in constructing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, saying it is a “tool of coercion” to make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.

“The Kremlin has decided to sacrifice opec+ to stop U.S. shale producers and punish the U.S. for messing with Nord Stream 2,” the president of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow told Bloomberg News.

Saudi Arabia’s response probably pushed prices far lower than Russia expected. These low oil prices may hurt Russia’s economy more than they hurt the U.S. economy, and could actually boost the U.S. economy overall. But in the short term, they will likely hurt U.S. oil and gas companies. In Russia’s geopolitical calculus, anything it can do to prevent America from becoming a net energy exporter strengthens the Kremlin’s influence over nations like Venezuela and Germany. So for the time being, Russia seems willing to suffer through low oil prices to prevent America from developing its oil fields to the point where it can start offering nations an alternative to Russian energy.

The most important player in the complicated world of energy politics is Germany. The U.S. is sanctioning Russia’s largest oil company in an effort to reduce Russian influence in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Yet Germany wants to develop closer energy deals with Russia as a means of reducing its reliance on the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (nato) was started back in 1949, its basic purpose was to protect disarmed Germany and other European countries from the Russian-led Soviet Union,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the September 2018 Trumpet issue. “Nord Stream 2 binds Russia and Germany together in a way that undermines nato. In fact, though Russia and Germany will not say so, this pipeline project is clearly intended to wreck nato. … Many elite Germans feel their nation has now gotten all it can from the U.S. and they are ready to move on.”

Unlike the Russian economy, the U.S. economy is not particularly dependent on oil. So as long as Germany supports America, the worst that is likely to happen from Russia’s oil price war is that U.S. energy companies may have to shut down their hydraulic fracturing operations for a while until oil prices rebound. But if Germany’s desire for cheap Russian gas brings about a German-Russian alliance against the United States, things could get bad quickly.

International relations expert George Friedman gave a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in February 2015. He explained that the U.S. government actively works to prevent a German-Russian alliance because the combination of German technology with Russian natural resources could create a Eurasian power bloc with the capability to challenge America’s position as the world’s lone superpower.

The Trumpet and our parent magazine, the Plain Truth, have proclaimed for 80 years that Germany will lead a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. And the Bible reveals that Russia will play a key role in Germany’s rise to power.

A prophecy in Ezekiel 27 describes a trading power called Tyre that exchanges merchandise with many nations. “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God: “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’ … Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you; they exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze for your merchandise”‘” (verses 1-3, 12-13; English Standard Version).

Tyre was the commercial heart of the the Middle East and is a type of a major financial power rising now in Europe. Since the people of Tubal and Meshech settled in Russia, this is a prophecy about German and Russian merchants working together to create a great mart of nations. If Russia is prepared to hurt its own bottom line and sell oil at reduced prices just to hurt U.S. oil and gas companies, it shows that the Kremlin truly is waging a somewhat secret war against America—and Germany is prophesied to help Russia in this endeavor.

For more information on why deepening cooperation between Germany and Russia is a sure sign of future conflict, read “Germany and Russia’s Secret War Against America,” by Gerald Flurry.

Iran Kills Three More Troops (Daniel 8:4)

American troops killed, injured in Iraq rocket attack, US officials say

Three service members were killed, including two Americans, and a dozen more were injured when a barrage of rockets were fired at a military base in Iraq, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

One of the officials said five service members were seriously wounded and evacuated from the Camp Taji base and seven others were still being evaluated. Buildings on the base were in flames. Several other U.S. officials confirmed that U.S. troops had been killed and injured, but did not provide numbers. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to give details of the attack ahead of a public announcement.

Army Col. Myles Caggins, a U.S. military spokesperson in Iraq, said on Twitter that more than 15 small rockets hit Iraq’s Camp Taji base. He provided no details. Another U.S. official said that as many as 30 rockets were fired from a truck launcher, and 18 hit the base.

Officials did not say what group they believe launched the rocket attack, but Kataib Hezbollah or another Iranian-backed Shia militia group is likely.

Camp Taji, located just north of Baghdad, has been used as a training base for a number of years. There are as many as 6,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, training and advising Iraqi forces and conducting counterterror missions.

Kataib Hezbollah was responsible for a late December rocket attack on a military base in Kirkuk that killed a U.S. contractor, prompting American military strikes in response.

That, in turn, led to protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. They were followed January 3 by a U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s most powerful military officer, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis,a leader of the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, of which Kataib Hezbollah is a member.

Kataib Hezbollah has been designated a “foreign terrorist organization” by the State Department since 2009.

Later Wednesday, Syrian opposition activists and a war monitor reported an airstrike that targeted Iranian militia positions along the Iraq-Syria border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 10 airstrikes carried out by three unidentified aircraft that targeted pro-Iran militias in the Boukamal region in eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq. The Britain-based Observatory which monitors the Syria war through a network of activists on the ground said at least 10 explosions were heard in the region but said there was no immediate word on casualties.

U.S. officials said the strike was not related to the Taji base strike at all. But, it was not immediately clear who conducted the attack.

Syrian activist Omar Abu Layla said the unidentified airstrike targeted Iranian militia positions in the Boukamal region.

Syrian state-run media also reported an aerial attack in the Boukamal region near the Iraqi border that caused material damage.