Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for 1755 massachusetts earthquake

It happened before, and it could happen again.

By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg

Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM

The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.

According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.

The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.

A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:

“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”

The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.

The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.

The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.

“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”

The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.

“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.

The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.

There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.

According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.

“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,

that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,

the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;

O turn to God; lest by his Rod,

he cast thee down to Hell.”

Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”

There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.

Well, sort of.

In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”

It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.

In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”

If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Future of the Antichrist’s Men

The Leadership and Future of Kata’ib Hezbollah

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 18 Issue: 7

Rafid JabooriApril 6, 2020 05:23 PM

On February 26, the U.S. State Department designated Ahmed al-Hamidawi, the new secretary general of the Iraqi Shia militia, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), as a specially designated global terrorist (State.gov, February 26). The designation came amid ongoing tension between the United States and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militias. Among the numerous militias supported by Tehran, KH is particularly unique. The militia is one of the most well-armed and organized of these groups, with an active media arm, but an intentionally opaque leadership and chain of command. The United States’ recent strategy has focused more heavily on targeting KH than any other Shia militia.

Recent Tensions

On December 28, a rocket attack on the K1 military base near Kirkuk in northern Iraq killed a U.S. contractor and wounded several U.S. soldiers. The United States quickly launched retaliatory strikes that targeted KH bases and killed dozens of its members (Arabi21, December 29).

Hundreds of KH and other militias members attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in protest. Although most, if not all, of the attackers were Iraqis, the United States administration blamed Iran directly for the attack based on the degree of influence the country has on KH and other Shia militias (Aljazeera, December 31, 2019).

The highest point in the confrontation between the United States and Iran came just days later when the U.S. military killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani and Jamal Ja’afar al-Ibrahim (a.k.a. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis), the founder of KH, outside Baghdad International Airport on January 3 (Al-Quds al-Araby, January 3).

The Insurgency Years

KH first became widely known in 2007 as an active Shia insurgent group that targeted U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq. The group has not officially stated when exactly it was founded.  Iranian strategy in post-invasion Iraq aimed to empower its Iraqi allies, namely the Shia parties, and help them dominate the government while at the same time maximizing the losses and cost of the U.S. and coalition military occupation. In 2007, that strategy faced two particular problems. First, Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, which dominated the Shia insurgency after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, declared a series of ceasefires and al-Sadr sponsored a political wing that joined the parliament and government. Second, the Sunni insurgency witnessed the dramatic emergence of the Sahwa (Awakening) groups that shifted sides and fought against al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) alongside U.S. forces. Under those circumstances, KH emerged as an insurgent group almost at the same time another Iranian-supported Shia militia group, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (The league of the Righteous-AAH). In 2009, KH and its founder al-Muhandis were issued terrorist designations (Treasury.gov, July 2, 2009).

The two groups enjoyed significantly more support from Iran than the Mahdi Army received and were referred to as ‘Special Groups’ in U.S. military literature. AAH was clearly a splinter group of the Mahdi Army and its leaders were former aides of al-Sadr’s. KH also attracted members of the Mahdi Army, but its leadership included members with stronger ties to Tehran. Some lived in Iran and were members of the Iran-based armed opposition to the Saddam Hussein government before the 2003 invasion. [1]

Leadership

In response to the collapse of large units of the Iraqi army and police in the face of the swift advance of the Sunni jihadist Islamic State (IS), Shia militias mobilized and deployed its fighters to the frontlines.

While most of the Shia militias publicized their activities and promoted their leaders as war heroes, KH continued to keep its structure and leadership secret. While the group’s founder al-Muhandis came into prominence from operating an underground organization, KH never officially announced that al-Muhandis was its leader. He was known to have always aspired to a larger role in Iraq. He was revered by all of the Shia militias as an influential commander and became the deputy leader of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)—the official umbrella group that gave the Shia militias a government mandate to operate.

On March 11, two U.S. and one British soldier were killed in another rocket attack on Camp Taji, north of Baghdad (Rudaw, March 1) Although the United States blamed KH, the group did not claim responsibility for the attack. Instead, they declared that they supported it and called for those who launched it to be proud and claim responsibility. Shortly after, a new unknown group called Usbat al-Thaereen (The League of the Revolutionaries) claimed responsibility for the attack (Al-Akhbar, March 16).

Although KH declared that it opposes the United States and the coalition military presence in Iraq, it never claimed responsibility for the recent attacks. The formation of a new group that is not part of the government or PMU became a necessity for the Shia militias movement. The Shia militias do not want to further embarrass the Iraqi Shia-led government, which is under immense U.S. pressure to reign in the armed groups. Most of the leaders of the Shia militias and the locations of their camps and branches have become known in recent years. A shadowy new group, however, will not be under the same scrutiny or threat from U.S. reprisals.

Future of KH

Reports have surfaced that the United States is considering plans to completely destroy KH in the wake of the Taji attack (Al Arabiya, March 28). KH, however, is just one of several Iranian-backed Shia militias that have acquired significant political and military power in Iraq, especially after the defeat of IS. Many of those militias promote the same anti-American sentiment as KH and have declared policies that aim to expel the United States from Iraq through both violent and nonviolent means. As such, confronting this threat requires a more comprehensive U.S. strategy.

KH was one of the Shia groups that played a key role in repressing the anti-corruption protests that have engulfed Iraq since October. The group, however, pursued a misleading discourse. Like all Iranian-backed militias, KH was against the protests and accused the protesters of being sponsored by the United States, Israel, and anti-Iran Gulf countries. The group never accepted responsibility for killing protesters (almaalomah, October 29).

There have been accusations against many of KH’s leaders of orchestrating the crackdown that killed hundreds of protesters. Yet, the group alleged that it also supports the protesters’ cause and their calls for reform. Protesters have condemned KH and the United States has sanctioned the group’s leaders. The whole protest movement, however, seems to have lost momentum and failed to bring any genuine reform to the political system. KH appears to have emerged stronger from that crisis and U.S. sanctions are unlikely to weaken its leaders who operate secretly between Iraq and Iran.

The question of leadership is problematic for KH. After all, it failed to live up to its inspiration/name and form an Iraqi Shia group as successful as the Lebanese Hezbollah. KH could neither publicly present a charismatic leader like Hassan Nasrallah, nor unify the other Iraqi Shia militias into one group that dominates the military and political field like Hezbollah did in Lebanon. KH will not be easily eliminated, even in a potential large-scale U.S. military campaign. It would most likely survive, albeit in a different form, and use any losses to consolidate its position as a major component of the PMU. The militia’s position and status, however, will always depend on Iranian support for the group and its secretive leadership.

Notes

[1] Author’s April 3 interview with an Iraqi source who preferred to remain anonymous.

Iranians Attack American Oil

Three rockets fall near a US oil company in southern Iraq | International

Carlos ChristianApril 6, 2020

A policeman in a Basra oil field.Essam al-Sudani

At least three rockets have landed on Monday in the vicinity of the Energy City, on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Basra. Although the attack has caused no casualties or material damage, the estate houses Iraqi and foreign oil sector companies, such as the American Halliburton, which some have seen as the target. So far no one has claimed responsibility, but it is striking that it comes just hours after the pro-Iranian groups agreed on an alternative prime minister candidate to the one proposed by the president two weeks ago.

“Three Katyusha rockets have landed near the site of the Halliburton oil company,” said a statement from the Iraqi Army. Shortly before, police sources had reported that the shells were fired at around three in the morning (one hour less in mainland Spain) on the Burjesia industrial estate, west of the city of Basra.

The Oil Ministry has described the attack as an “unjustified criminal act”. According to a statement from his spokesman, Asim Jihad, one rocket landed near a health center, another in the vicinity of the Zubair oil field (operated by the Italian company Eni) and three others in a wasteland. The Reuters agency also quotes an Iraqi Halliburton worker who claims they fell far from the site of that company.

Basra is the main city in southern Iraq and its oil center. The so-called City of Energy, located 20 minutes from the international airport, was launched a decade ago to provide the infrastructure and services that oil companies needed both for their offices and for their employees. However, most of their accommodation has been emptying in recent weeks due to the coronavirus. Given the risk of contagion, companies have preferred to evacuate their foreign personnel.

Sources with the state-owned company Basra Oil Co., which oversees oil operations in southern Iraq, have told Reuters that the attack has not affected production or exports. Police, who have found the rocket launcher with 11 shells still unused at a nearby farm, have intensified the search for those responsible.

It is difficult to understand the reason for the attack on the oil sector, the country’s almost sole source of foreign currency, at a time when the drop in the price of crude oil exacerbates both political difficulties and the fight against the coronavirus facing Iraq. “It does not make any sense. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot, ”interprets a western observer in Baghdad.

Hence, some analysts look at the moment chosen for the attack. Last night, most Shiite (pro-Iranian) political groups agreed to endorse Mustafa al Kazimi, head of the secret services, as the new prime minister in place of Adnan al-Zarfi, whom the president proposed a couple of weeks ago. Only the Alliance of Victory (Al Nasr) of former Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and Sairun of the incendiary Muqtada al Sadr were left out of the deal.

At the same time, the pro-Iranian militias that are commonly blamed for attacks on Western interests are divided after Abdulaziz al Mohammedawi has succeeded Abu Mahdi al Mohandes as the new leader. Al Mohandes was assassinated by the United States in the same operation as the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. His successor, Esmail Ghaani, also does not appear to command the same authority. His recent visit to Baghdad failed to convince his local associates of the inopportunity to provoke the United States at this time. Significantly, US President Donald Trump accused Iran shortly after planning a surprise attack on his troops in Iraq.

Iran seeks to use crisis to force US out of Iraq

AN Iraqi soldiers stands guard in front US military air carrier at the Qayyarah air base in northern Iraq. (AFP)

In recent weeks, Iran-backed Shiite militias have become more empowered and emboldened in attacking US personnel in Iraq and advancing Tehran’s geopolitical, strategic and ideological interests.

According to American officials, almost every day there are reports of “imminent” attacks against its diplomatic and military bases or facilities in Iraq. US President Donald Trump has become alarmed, as he last week tweeted: “Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq. If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price.”

There are several reasons why Iran and its proxies are ratcheting up attacks against US-linked entities. First of all, from the perspective of the Iranian leaders and their Shiite militia groups, they have not yet taken proportionate revenge for the January killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and several Iraqi Shiite militia leaders, including Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. Iran’s retaliation is not over yet because Soleimani’s death was a monumental blow to the Iranian regime and its prestige on the regional and global stage.

The Iranian leaders, particularly Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, continue to mention Soleimani. On Khamenei’s official website, an editorial on March 31 stated that: “The assassination of General Soleimani and his companions by the US was a turning point in security-related developments in the tumultuous West Asian region and the hostile policies of the US towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.” It added that the death of Soleimani “closed the door to all endeavors to manage and reduce tensions.”

The Iranian authorities and their Iraqi proxies have made significant progress in pressuring the US forces

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

To fully take revenge, Iranian leaders are most likely seeking to push the US forces out of Iraq completely — and preferably the entire region. This would allow the ruling mullahs and the Quds Force to wield more influence in Iraq and more effectively control the political, security and religious institutions of this Arab state. Khamenei’s website also made mention of this mission: “The most important consequence of General Soleimani’s assassination for US policies in West Asia is the formation of a regional consensus among the people and resistance groups for expelling American forces from the region.”

Iranian leaders scored a political victory when the Iraqi parliament voted to expel US forces from the country in the aftermath of the Baghdad airport attack that killed Soleimani. Tehran is capitalizing on this vote by mobilizing its Shiite militias and targeting US-linked bases.

From the point of view of the Iranian authorities and their Iraqi proxies, they have made significant progress in pressuring the US forces to pull out of the country. Following their recent attacks, America and its allies, including France, have been withdrawing forces from Iraq.

Khamenei boasted in a February speech: “There are tens of American military bases in different countries surrounding us. However, these military bases will have no use for them. These bases are useless for America and useless for those miserable people who pay for them and have hope in them (for protection). They are useless even for them. If something happens, they will not be of any use. In the same way that the Titanic’s glory and splendor could not save it from sinking, America’s glory and splendor will not stop it from sinking. And America will sink.”

More importantly, escalating tensions with the US will weaken the Iraqi political system and increase instability in the country, which is conducive to the Iranian regime’s parochial interests. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and militia groups thrive on conflicts, insecurity and chaos in the region. The instability and violence also allow Iran’s militias to be engaged in various crimes against civilians, including summary executions, disappearances, torture, the use of child soldiers, widespread demolition of buildings, indiscriminate attacks, and unlawful restrictions on the movement of people fleeing the fighting.

Another reason for the increase in attacks on American interests in Iraq is that the US is currently focused on the coronavirus crisis and the Iranian regime therefore believes it is less likely to engage in military offensives in the Middle East. Washington has so far only imposed sanctions in response to the Iran-backed militias’ attacks in Iraq. Last week, it placed five Iran and Iraq-based companies and 15 individuals on its blacklist for supporting terrorist groups.

With Iran’s retaliation for Soleimani’s death not over yet and the US occupied with the coronavirus crisis, Tehran and its militias are seizing the opportunity to try to push all American forces out of Iraq.

*Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is an Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the International American Council. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

More Deaths in Kashmir (Revelation 8 )

9 rebels, Indian soldier killed in Kashmir fighting

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Nine rebels and an Indian soldier were killed in two gunbattles in disputed Kashmir, an Indian army official said Sunday.

Indian soldiers killed five suspected militants along the highly militarized de facto front line in Keran sector on Sunday as an armed group of militants infiltrated from the Pakistani side of Kashmir into the Indian-controlled part, said Col. Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman.

Kalia said one soldier was also killed and two others were injured in the fighting.

There was no independent confirmation of the incident.

The other gunbattle broke out in a neighborhood in southern Kulgam town as police and soldiers scoured the area looking for militants on Saturday, Kalia said. He said that as troops began conducting searches, they came under heavy gunfire, leading to a clash that killed four militants.

The fighting comes amid an ongoing lockdown in Kashmir to combat spread of the coronavirus.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan.India has accused Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting and the ensuing Indian crackdown.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep among the region’s mostly Muslim population and most people support the rebels’ cause against Indian rule despite a decades-long military crackdown to fight the armed rebellion.

Donald Trump’s grave error will accelerate Iran’s push for nuclear weapons

WW3 warning: Donald Trump’s grave error may accelerate Iran’s push for nuclear weapons

DONALD TRUMP’S military errors may spark the next world war conflict as his stringent sanctions on Iran could result in a dangerous backlash.

Gerrard Kaonga

PUBLISHED: 07:01, Sun, Apr 5, 2020

Tensions between the US and Iran have remained high for years and the killing of general Qassem Soleimani raised fears of World War 3 in early 2020. Iranian expert of Iran International TV Dr Pupak Mohebali warned Iran’s stockpiling of nuclear-rich Uranium and ignoring the rules of the 2015 nuclear agreement may be a response to Donald Trump’s recent military and political actions. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Dr Mohebali claimed Iran stockpiling Uranium could be linked to the US leaving the nuclear agreement in 2018 and the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

Despite the nuclear war fears, she noted it was unlikely Iran was currently stockpiling in a race to create nuclear weapons, at the moment.

Dr Mohebali said: “In the past few months the Iranian Government announced that they would no longer abide by most of the restrictions under the Iranian agreement.

“That was the agreement set in place by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iranian nuclear deal.

“Iran’s announcement was widely seen as a reaction to the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

“However, some experts also believe it is partly a reaction to Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

“So you may ask does this mean that Iran is now racing to develop nuclear weapons?

“But I would say probably not, at least not at the moment.

“This is because you can see that Iran has not withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal altogether.

Tensions between the US and Iran have remained high for years and the killing of general Qassem Soleimani raised fears of World War 3 in early 2020. (Image: Getty)

Trump outlines US response to Iran’s airstrikes

“They just no longer recognise some restrictions on the stockpiling on nuclear-rich Uranium.”

Earlier in the interview, Dr Mohebali warned one wrong move from either the US or Iran could result in a major conflict.

She claimed if Iran continued to disobey or withdraw from nuclear treaties it could result in stronger sanctions from the US and potentially military intervention.

Iran nuclear weapons

Dr Mohebali warned one wrong move from either the US or Iran could result in a major conflict. (Image: Getty)

She said: “I would not say there is one worst-case scenario but more like a domino effect.

“One problematic decision leads to another and another.

“If Iran was to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) it could bring further diplomatic isolation.

“It might even lead to more international sanctions on the country or cause the US military to start on Iran.

Hamas Threatens Israel From Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas: If Gazans die from coronavirus, Israelis will be unable to breathe

Sinwar also declared that the coronavirus pandemic was retribution for the decision by President Donald Trump to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018.

Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, threatened over the weekend that if Gazans start dying as a result of not having enough ventilators,Hamas will make six million Israeli settlers unable to breathe, in an interview with Arab media last week.

Speaking with Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV and Shehab News Agency on Friday, and reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Sinwar said, “I say this loud and clear: God forbid, if a time comes when we have no choice but to watch our citizens breathe their final breaths, and when there are no ventilators – I say to (Israeli Defense Minister Naftali) Bennett that we will make six million Israeli settlers unable to breathe.”

Sinwar accused Israel and Bennett of having a “Merchant of Venice mentality,” a comment which has antisemitic overtones, due to its reference to Shylock, the Jewish lead character of the William Shakespeare play. Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock as a Jewish moneylender has been accused of appearing antisemitic due to stereotypes about Jews.

“Bennett, I refer you to the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 17, to read what awaits you, and what awaits your filthy [Zionist] entity,” Sinwar declared. “Because the kind of language that you use can be expected only from someone who has a Merchant of Venice mentality. “The Merchant of Venice gave people loans, and when the time came, and they could not repay their debts, he started to cut off their flesh as payment for the money he had given them,” he said. “This is the common practice of Bennett, and of the entire Zionist system that has occupied our land.”

Sinwar also declared that the coronavirus pandemic was retribution for the decision by President Donald Trump to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018.

“When I saw Trump signing his decision to allocate $2.2 trillion for the coronavirus response, I recalled how he had signed in the same manner his decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Sinwar said in the interview. ” I said then: You and the Americans will pay the price for this unjust and criminal decision.”