The Ramapo: The Sixth Seal Fault Line (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for ramapo fault lineThe Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults 

 Map depicting the extent of the Ramapo Fault System in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region, but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage.Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

Modi’s Ideology and the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

RSS-Modi Nationalist Ideology and Threat of Nuclear War between Pakistan and India

Published 4 hours ago on April 14, 2020

By Irfan Mahar

The relation between both the neighbouring countries namely India and Pakistan has remained sour since the inception of both the nations. There were many issues which kept unsolved between both nations which became the cause of escalation of wars in 1948, 1965, 1971, and 1998. When it comes to the governments in India since its independence, there is a huge difference between the governments came to India before Modi and the government of Modi. Before Modi, Indian governments kept disagreements concerning their old issues between both the nations which started with the independence of Islamabad and Delhi from Britishers. As for as the government of Modi is concerned, it is different from other ones because it inspires the extremist and fascist ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an extremist and fascist group in India, which keeps Hindus above over the other religions. Though Hinduism as a religion does not entertain the policies and actions done by the followers of RSS rather it is said that there is a group of people (the members of RSS) who have exploited the Hinduism for their benefits. This is the most dangerous thing the world has ever experienced because of its evil and destructive nature which has cost this world various difficulties and loses in multiple fields of life.

Glancing over the history of the world where the individuals, states, empires and governments seemed to be inspired by such kind of ideological traits and inspirations and became cause of war among them. For instance, Romans considered themselves as the superior people above all other people who were present in the different parts of the world and killed thousands of people by engaging in war with them. Furthermore, Germans dubbed themselves as a “Martial Race” and killed people in a great number during the Second World War. Americans also considered themselves as a superior race that was derived from their ideological teachings that describe the “American exceptionalism”. which defines that Americans are the sophisticated and superior people on earth. Therefore, it is their duty or responsibility to make this world a safe and pure place via educating the other ones. In this regard, American leaders consider that they can even use the force aims to mold the global structure according to their whims and wishes. There are multiple examples where the U.S. has been practicing the policies and actions based on power such as Afghanistan, Africa, Middle East and other parts of the world where it has shown the use of force to fulfil its interest in the pretext of making these people civilized and good as mentioned by Edward Saeed in his book “Orientalism”.

When it comes to this region, RSS and Modi considered Hindus as a superior race which was mentioned and stated by the Prime Minister of India Modi who is the permanent member of RSS and also the big proponent of the extremist and fascist ideology of RSS in India as well as other parts of the world. Besides, he has started his mission of spreading the RSS ideology throughout the world along with showing the Muslims as terrorist and people of low class. The recent incidents like revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) imposed on the Muslim of India are examples. The first and the foremost thing which one has to realize is, knowing about the real nature of problems where all these are coming from and how these are generated? In this regard, it is believed that the real problems take birth from the thinking or ideology of Modi who wants to forcefully impose Modism in Kashmir as well in India. Moreover, it is believed that the major threat to India is not Pakistan and foreign powers rather it’s the increasing inability to tolerate each other’s differing opinions. The stage, where a person considers himself right and judgmental/decisive, gives birth to the many evils in society.

Besides, it also leads to the stage where one loses his/her temper to listen to the opinions of others and thinks over it with soft mind, patience and calm. In the same manner, PM Modi led RSS policy also suffers from this problem of considering themselves correct and superior to do whatever they want to do in the pretext of RSS ideology. Where people fear to raise any question about their ideology because they connect it with religion (though it is also the exploitation of Hinduism as a religion of peace, love, and unity) and can dub anybody as out of religion and right to be tortured or killed. The recent examples of the policies and activities to implement the RSS ideology reflects from the words as well as actions of Fascist and Hawkish government headed by Modi that harm the minorities in India. Indian people are deliberately kept ignorant and unaware of their fundamental rights because of this nationalist ideology. The ideology carried by RSS and Modi is not based on rationality and justice rather on killings innocent people of Kashmir, deaths, destruction, humiliation, and other kinds of multiple atrocities. At the time when whole the World is wrapped with pandemic disease named novel Covid-19 and fighting hard against it to eliminate this destructive disease. In this situation, PM Modi is following his same hawkish policies and actions such as firing at LoC (That causes the increase in tension between two arch rivals India and Pakistan) and atrocities on the people of the Kashmir. Such kind of policies and actions by PM Modi could compel Pakistan to take stark action that resultantly leave severe impacts on India-Pakistan, region and the world ultimately. This craziness and madness at the hands of PM Modi could cause for the escalation of war between both the nuclear power states which ends with the deaths and destruction of both the nations

Errors Leading to the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Inspector General report: Impacts of Indian Point gas pipeline wasn’t properly examined

Posted: Feb 29, 2020 7:29 PM MST Updated: Feb 29, 2020 7:29 PM MST

The Office of the Inspector General says the safety impacts of a natural gas pipeline near Indian Point was not properly examined, causing some concerns in the Buchanan community.

Kelly Ingraham-Friedman is among the residents worried about living so close to the pipeline, which was built in 2015.

“It’s definitely, definitely concerning,” Ingraham-Friedman said. “We worry about our kids who are in the school district.”

The Inspector General report showed that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to properly analyze safety concerns before the pipeline’s approval and installation. Many are calling on the commission to address the findings and to create a plan to keep residents safe.

According to Westchester County Executive George Latimer, the long-term environmental and health impacts are unknown.

“I think right now the burden is on the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] to defend the decisions they made and how they implemented it and to do that in a public fashion,” Latimer said.

The Village of Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker is also requesting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission immediately hold a public meeting to address the findings.

Another Iranian Nuclear Site (Daniel 8:4)

Previously Undisclosed Iranian Nuclear Weapons Site Identified

Previously Undisclosed Iranian Nuclear Weapons Site Identified

A new Iranian nuclear weapons site has been identified by a team of experts, who are now calling on Tehran to acknowledge the previously undisclosed site to international inspectors.

The Institute for Science and International Security announced on Wednesday that it has evidence Iran operated a nuclear weapons construction facility in northern Iran until at least 2011, when it was likely destroyed as Western nations began to investigate the country’s weapons program. The information was found in a tranche of records recently smuggled out of Iran by Israel.

The facility still has not been declared as a former weapons site by Iran, as it is required to do under international law.

“The facility was intended as a pilot plant, aimed at developing and making uranium components for nuclear weapons, in particular components from weapon-grade uranium, the key nuclear explosive material in Iranian nuclear weapon cores,” according to the institute.

“The key building of the site, the uranium metals workshop, was apparently gutted and abandoned between late 2010 and early 2011,” the research organization found.

It is likely Iran destroyed the site after the international community discovered the existence of its Fordow nuclear enrichment plant in 2009. That site, a military bunker dug into the side of a mountain, contained a large portion of Iran’s weapon infrastructure.

David Albright, president and founder of the research institute, called on Iran to come clean about this site to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Iran should declare this site to the International Atomic Energy Agency and allow its inspection, since the facility was designed and built to handle nuclear material subject to safeguards under Iran’s comprehensive safeguards agreement,” Albright wrote in the report. “The IAEA, more generally, should verify sites, locations, facilities, documentation, equipment, and materials involved in the Amad Plan activities, and urge Iran to cooperate fully in these investigations, despite their age, as part of ensuring that Iran has not continued nuclear weapons work up to today.”

Albright told the Free Beacon the site has not been publicly revealed before Wednesday and it is likely Western nations had no knowledge of it prior to Israel’s seizure of the nuclear documents.

“This site may have been close to being able to make weapon-grade uranium cores for nuclear weapons, albeit no evidence Iran had any weapon-grade uranium yet,” Albright said. “But the site highlights concretely that Iran was putting in place a nuclear weapons production industry, not just a development program, and there is no evidence of its destruction.”

This and other evidence suggests that Iran has not fully ended its pursuit of nuclear weapons, but has instead bided its time in the face of scrutiny from the United States and other global powers.

Andrea Stricker, a non-proliferation expert and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the discovery of this new site “shows the extent to which Tehran lied to international inspectors about its past and possibly ongoing nuclear weapons program.”

It remains possible Iran continues to use information gleaned from the site to continue nuclear weapons research, Stricker said.

“It could have been used to make actual nuclear weapon cores until a larger, planned facility called Shahid Boroujerdi was brought online,” she said. “What’s more, there is no guarantee that these uranium metallurgy activities stopped, since the archive information shows intentions to move and hide military nuclear activities after 2003.”

“Today, Tehran is closer to a nuclear weapon than previously thought,” Stricker said. “The IAEA needs to undertake a full investigation in Iran to ensure that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful.”

Posted in: National Security

The Islamic Revolution vs. the Merchant

The Islamic Revolution vs. Donald Trump

Iran and Ayatollah Khamenei are more influential today than at any time since 1979.

Reuel Marc Gerecht14 hr

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to bring you this comprehensive and authoritative two-part analysis of Donald Trump and Iran, written by Reuel Marc Gerecht. Gerecht is a widely published author, with regular contributions to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Atlantic and The Weekly Standard. He’s a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and one of the country’s leading experts on Iran and its Islamic revolution. The first part examines the incentives the Iranian regime has to continue its confrontational approach to the United States and President Donald Trump.

Part I: The Coming Collision

The Islamic revolution recently celebrated its 41st birthday. The upheaval, especially the hostage-taking and the failed attempt to rescue American diplomats, may have cost Jimmy Carter the election in 1980. In 2020 the Islamic Republic may already be trying to enter the presidential campaign by challenging Donald Trump in Iraq and through its nuclear ambitions. After slowly pushing forward the atomic program beyond the confines of Barack Obama’s now defunct nuclear deal, the clerical regime is advancing more vigorously; another murderous assault upon Americans, via Iran’s Iraqi proxies, just happened. Given the president’s determination to keep maximum economic pressure on Iran, more attacks are surely coming.

If Ayatollah Khamenei wants to try to bring the Democrats to power, and he believes that challenging Donald Trump is the best way to weaken his chances of victory, then it’s a near certainty that the supreme leader is going to attack something more significant than what he has before November. President Hassan Rouhani’s and foreign minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif’s extraordinary effort to engage and bend U.S. and European officials to their goals ultimately failed because of the unexpected election of Trump, but the Iranian political elite became much more attuned to U.S. politics because of the nuclear negotiations.  Where once Khamenei was an inattentive, bipartisan hater of America, he became more nuanced in his contempt for Democrats and Republicans. The Iranian regime’s understanding of how American politics function has improved a lot.

Also, the coronavirus has hit Iran hard. If the regime senses that its deceit and ineptitude in handling the malady could cause civil unrest once people can again safely gather, it’s not unlikely that the regime will strike Americans in the hope of recapturing the ardent emotions vented during the massive funeral processions for Qassem Suleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard commander killed in Baghdad in January by a U.S. drone. Khamenei’s druthers are to go bold. Numerous factors are coming together to superheat the 41-year-old struggle between the Islamic Republic and the United States over the next eight months. But the most important factor by far is the supreme leader—his unrelenting conspiratorial hatred of the United States, his particular distaste for Trump, and his determination to preserve his impressive accomplishments.

Khamenei is prideful. He has maintained the legacy of the theocracy’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, and, despite enormous resistance from his compatriots, kept the revolution from sliding into Thermidor. Khamenei has thwarted every attempt to reform the Islamic fundamentals of the state. He has confronted massive pro-democracy street demonstrations, as large as those that brought down the shah, and overcome them. He has also bent the Iranian senior clergy, which had little respect for him when he became supreme leader in 1989, to his will. He has outmaneuvered his rivals and advanced his men among the ruling ulama, the intelligence service, and the Revolutionary Guards, the theocracy’s praetorians. VIP mullahs and guardsmen hold vast wealth and power and yet haven’t become seditious. A student of European literature, a poet manqué who has tormented and likely killed dissident poets, Khamenei is capable of promoting men of widely differing scruples and religiosity.

The Islamic Republic is more influential today than at any time since 1979. Most of his countrymen may have zero respect for him as a divine, but Khamenei, with the indispensable assistance of Suleimani, successfully oversaw the creation of foreign Shiite militias throughout the Middle East, subjugated the Shiite Iraqi elite and gained de facto control of Shiism’s holiest shrine cities. Khamenei held firm in Syria when it appeared the Allawi government of Bashar al-Assad was going down. A Sunni victory in Syria could have been catastrophic for the clerical regime in Lebanon and Iraq. Adverse repercussions at home could have been substantial. The regime’s resolve enabled Russia’s decisive entry into the conflict in 2015.

And, perhaps above all else, Khamenei humbled the United States. No factor was more important in tormenting Americans in Iraq than the Iranian. Tehran provisioned and sometimes captained a wide array of militant Shiite groups attacking American soldiers. These forces were defeated or beaten into quiescence by George W. Bush’s “surge” from 2006–2008, but deep, lasting damage was done to America’s psyche. Barack Obama’s election in 2008; his calamitous withdrawal from Iraq in 2011; the rampant anti-war and isolationist sentiments on both the American left and right; Donald Trump’s political rise; the bipartisan indifference to Iranian and Russian imperialism that in Syria watched hundreds of thousands of civilians perish, millions put to flight, the foundation of the European Union crack, and right-wing populism rise—all happened in part because of Khamenei’s determination to make America bleed in Iraq. For this achievement alone, the cleric is one of the most consequential rulers in the Middle East since World War II. Only his predecessor may have had a greater global impact.

And yet Khamenei has been discombobulated by Trump. The cleric initially saw something in the New Yorker to inspire hope: His “endless wars” rhetoric suggested that America might really be departing the Middle East, that the retrenchment Obama started might become a full-on retreat. Trump’s revocation of the nuclear agreement, re-imposition of punishing sanctions, and killing of Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force, the special-forces/terrorist-liaison branch of the Guard Corps, who’d become a son to the supreme leader—dashed Khamenei’s hope that the Great Satan was a spent force.

And the supreme leader has surely noted that since Trump took office he has had to deal with nearly continuous internal protests, some of them regime-threatening. There is an intensity to Khamenei’s distaste for Trump that may spring from surprise: The supreme leader, who has been a good judge of men and taken down his betters, probably didn’t envision Trump as a catalyst for nation-wide protests against theocracy. Khamenei may well have expected renewed U.S. sanctions to give Iranians, to quote the prediction of Philip Gordon, the former Middle East coordinator on Obama’s National Security Council, “a reason to rally to — rather than work against — the government they might otherwise despise.” Trump will likely prove pivotal for the Islamic Republic: If the clerical regime makes it through his presidency, then the American threat to Iran’s theocracy may well be over.

Democrats have made the Iran issue, and Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a partisan litmus test. There’s little chance that the Democrats, if they win in November, can revive a nuclear agreement since the clerical regime has moved on. Tehran is far wiser about the limitations and inherent turbulence of American politics and the utility of an executive agreement, like the JCPOA, and the United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 supposedly ratifying it. It would take an isolationist–Rand Paul–Tucker Carlson takeover of the Republican Party for Republican senators to agree to another Democrat-delivered nuclear accord with the clerical regime. Tribal pride, let alone the likely conditions of any such agreement, would make a binding treaty with Iran’s theocracy impossible. And only a Senate-ratified treaty would give large corporations, especially energy firms, the needed sense of normalcy and predictability for making major investments in the Islamic Republic.

And the clerical regime may well expect that the next Democratic president might just give up. Joe Biden didn’t reveal a lot of spine on the Iraq War. Biden initially backed the invasion; he wanted to throw in the towel early. His proposal for a confessional/ethnic division of the country, beyond making no historical and geographical sense, was really a cover for a U.S. withdrawal. And Biden preferred a more cautious, patient approach in the hunt for Osama bin Laden than the SEAL-team raid that killed the Al-Qaeda leader.  Given the disquiet and palpable fear that almost all Washington Democrats evinced after Trump took out Suleimani, it’s increasingly hard to imagine a Democratic president telling Tehran in the prelude to any new negotiations that “all options are on the table.” A Democratic president would, more likely, just try to “engage” the Iranian regime through substantial sanctions relief before any nuclear talks started, which is essentially what Bill Burns and Jake Sullivan, the tandem who conducted the secret diplomacy in Oman in 2012, which kicked off Obama’s nuclear diplomacy, recommended last October.

And as Ray Takeyh at the Council on Foreign Relations has pointed out, a new nuclear deal wouldn’t align now with Tehran’s nuclear progress. In 2012 the clerical regime was years away from developing advanced centrifuges, which require small cascades and are easily concealed. That’s not true today. Ali Salehi, an MIT Ph.D. in nuclear engineering who heads Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, led the technical discussions at the nuclear talks. Unfailingly loyal to the supreme leader, not averse to highlighting his cleverness, and determined to push the development of more advanced centrifuges, Salehi backed the JCPOA precisely because it overlapped well with the development of higher velocity machines, which the agreement allows. In 2015 Iranian nuclear engineers needed about eight years; the accord granted an eight-year provision for the construction of advanced centrifuges. Salehi is pretty sanguine now about Iran’s capacity to make considerable progress quickly. He may be lying about getting closer to a take-off point, but when it comes to verifiable technical achievements, and reflections on the Islamic Republic’s accomplishments, he’s not been particularly mendacious. A new agreement, which would be pointless unless it freezes the development of high-velocity centrifuges, wouldn’t be deemed by Iran’s physicists and engineers as helpful.

No new deal, billions of dollars in sanctions relief, no meaningful restrictions on Iran’s oil sales, occasional meetings among U.S., European, and Iranian diplomats, and adamant opposition to the elongation of any limitations on Tehran’s ability to purchase advanced weaponry (the clerical regime can legally purchase heavy weaponry and advanced fighters in October 2020 per UNSCR 2231) mightbe acceptable to the supreme leader. Probably not much more.

No Diplomatic Exit

If Khamenei were more clever than principled, he would, of course, engage Trump and see whether the American’s love of deal-making could lead him to substantial compromises, most importantly, splitting the nuclear question from Iranian imperialism and again allowing short sunset clauses, which would grant the Islamic Republic a massive nuclear-weapons infrastructure down the road. If Khamenei were to commit to talks, the vast inertia of Washington’s arms-control community would come into play. The isolationist right and its amplifiers on Fox would cheer. And a telephone call from Rouhani might just tweak the president’s vainglory. It would, however, entail for Khamenei and many other VIP Iranians a massive loss of face.

The supreme leader, who has never been cracked up about his country’s dependence upon oil and how that commodity ties Iran to Western companies, markets, and the dollar and opens the country to coercion (first Great Britain and then the United States have used sanctions to punishing effect), can seem almost relieved that Trump’s actions have obliged greater self-reliance and industry. Khamenei didn’t try to prevent President Akbar Hashemi–Rafsanjani’s efforts in the 1990s to bring in Western commerce and cash to fuel the Islamic Republic’s recovery from the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988); he accepted, if with some reservation, Rouhani’s argument that the clerical regime with the JCPOA could simultaneously achieve its nuclear aspirations, propel greater economic growth, and become a more modern and powerful Islamist state. Although always concerned about insidious Western penetration and perfidy, Khamenei didn’t let his cultural paranoia and autarkist instincts get the better of him. The odds are poor he would do so again.

And Khamenei’s resilience has an economic basis, too. Washington’s sanctions have, so far, barely dented the non-oil component of Iran’s economy. Non-oil exports are still bringing in around $40 billion per year (the big three are petrochemicals, distillates, and metals), and Tehran’s accessible foreign-currency reserves may be well above the $10 billion figure that the State Department cites as a hopeful datum signaling an imminent hard-currency meltdown. The Islamic Republic’s vast welfare state, which is essential for maintaining whatever loyalty the clerical regime has among the lower classes, burns cash. Yet the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards certainly have sufficient will, lethal intent, and likely sufficient funds to stave off financial Armageddon, at least for a few years.

The economic contraction brought on by the coronavirus may change these calculations. Less advanced economies really don’t have the option of following Rouhani’s mandan dar manzel (“stay at home”) advice. This may mean Iran is even more ravaged. It may also mean the economy adjusts, Iranians bury their dead and move on. Khamenei sermonized that this is really the only sensible course of action for his country. It’s wiser if Washington assumes that COVID-19 won’t crack the country. Sanctions against Iranian exports and imports need to become more potent, both in scope and enforcement, for the administration’s theorizing about a hard-currency meltdown paralyzing the clerical regime to be plausible. And getting the Europeans, who still have significant small- and medium-scale trade with Iran, to apply their own sanctions because of Tehran’s nuclear advance will be very challenging, especially while the coronavirus is spreading through the Old World. The clerical regime can import whatever medical supplies it wants through non-sanctioned Swiss channels. Western banks and European pharmaceutical companies, which know the Iranian market intimately, are well aware that the Trump administration has approved such transactions without reservation. But the optics of increasing sanctions on a country stricken with disease is surely too much for soft-power Europeans. Getting them to “snapback” all the pre-JCPOA U.N. sanctions against Iran, which the United States is, per the State Department lawyers who negotiated under Obama, legally entitled to do given Tehran’s violations of the JCPOA and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, would also be arduous, which likely explains why Foggy Bottom has been avoiding even trying.

President Trump is only in the early stages of dealing with increasingly truculent mullahs. It’s not clear that he has the mettle—but after the killing of Suleimani, one has to presume that he might—to handle Khamenei’s murderous machinations likely coming our way. It’s unlikely that the Democrats have the will to handle the supreme leader’s bloody-minded obstinance. The Iraq War burned Biden. If he wanted to be more cautious about killing bin Laden, it’s difficult imagining him checkmating the supreme leader.

As erratic as he can be, Trump probably can’t compromise much with Tehran on the nuclear question; it’s conceivable, depending on what Khamenei does, that he will even be bolder in trying to contain the clerical regime’s ambitions. The reasonable fear that many Iran hawks and conservatives had about Trump, that he would be inclined to cut a really bad deal with Tehran and label it “perfect,” seems much less likely after the death of Suleimani and the imposition of an ever-expanding array of sanctions. Even Trump is subject to momentum and gravity. For him to switch course now, to become more Obama than Obama, would reduce him to a laughing stock on an issue—the clerical regime’s 41-year knack for making the United States look weak—that deeply annoys the president.   The supreme leader could change this situation, by surrendering to talks without massive sanctions-relief, but the odds of that are near zero. Trump may not seek out new ways to punish the regime before November, fearing an escalation that may be politically adverse, but his Iran policy—just keep squeezing—seems set in stone, if for no other reason than Khamenei probably won’t give him any other choice.

Supporters of the president, and just supporters of a tougher approach to the Islamic Republic, often air the view that if Khomeini could relent against Saddam Hussein and drink from the “poisoned chalice,” Khamenei, under severe economic pressure, could accept negotiations with Trump. This “realist” rendering of the clash between the United States and the Islamic Republic isn’t, however, compelling.  The clerical regime was on the verge of collapse in 1988: Hundreds of thousands had died, a million men had been maimed; Revolutionary Guard forces were coming undone; the regular army had cracked; children were fighting in the trenches; Iranian cities were wide open to Iraqi chemical-weapons attacks, which Saddam had demonstrated that he was prepared to undertake; Washington had sunk a good part of the Iranian navy and (accidentally) blown out of the air an Iranian civilian jet liner; and the mullahs had no allies offering weapons, cash, or even moral support in the United Nations.

There is no indication today that the Revolutionary Guards have lost their mojo. Just the opposite. In November and December 2019, the Guards and the morals police, the Basij, the regime’s Brown Shirts, mowed down hundreds of demonstrators, who’d originally taken to the streets to protest a drop in gasoline subsidies. Security forces reportedly shot 400 protesters in just three days. Particular ferocity was used against the demonstrators in Iranian Kurdistan and the heavily Arab province of Ahvaz. It’s still impossible to confirm the reported figure of 1,500 dead. If that number is accurate, it’s a significant increase in the fallen from 2009, when Khamenei crushed the pro-democracy Green Movement, which put millions onto the streets of Tehran. Surely a big reason for the regime’s quick savagery last year is that the petrol demonstrations almost immediately turned into riots aimed at state institutions and the clergy, and in Ahvaz and Kurdistan, into armed encounters between oppressed, deeply embittered ethnic minorities and the security forces.

During and after the 2009 suppression, Khamenei removed several senior Guard commanders, it appears for either refusing or failing to show the requisite severity. That hasn’t happened with the 2019 protests. The Guards’ leadership appears today more ideologically harmonious and ruthless. Khamenei appears harsher. In 2009 he allowed for a certain official remorse about the crackdown (the videoed shooting of the beautiful Neda Agha-Soltan and the verified stories of torture, including rape, of jailed protesters, some of whom were the children of the ruling class, shocked many); in 2019, Khamenei mocked the protesters for their revolutionary faithlessness.

If the supreme leader were to make the concessions that the Trump administration has demanded, on the nuclear program, ballistic missiles, and regional aggression, including the support to radical Shiite militias and Sunnis throughout the Middle East, which would permanently shut down the clerical regime’s nuclear-weapons quest and ensure that the United States and Europe aren’t subsidizing Tehran’s imperialism, then he could well be toppled in a coup since Khamenei would have betrayed everything he has declared holy. In 1988 senior Revolutionary Guard commanders were begging for the war to end; when Rafsanjani, then the second most powerful cleric in Iran, and Khamenei, then the president, went to Khomeini to argue for a ceasefire and a de facto surrender, they represented a broad consensus within the ruling elite that war had to end quickly or the theocracy would collapse. In contrast, the supreme leader and the Guard generals today appear unified in taking a hard line towards their own citizens and the United States.

Trump is obviously not a regime changer and doesn’t appear to care really whether Iranians, or foreigners anywhere, live in a democracy. Discussions about the causes of Islamic militancy or how to corral it (for example, through the ballot box), don’t appear to interest him in the slightest. But Trump’s willingness to take risks rivals Khamenei’s. And there is something about the Islamic Republic, perhaps rooted in memories of America being laid low in the embassy hostage crisis, that makes Trump at least qualify his view of the Muslim Middle East as a sandbox not worth the fight. It’s not inconceivable that as Khamenei approves more operations that kill Americans — and given what’s already happened, that’s likely—in response Trump abandons his aversion to adopting a containment strategy. Depending on how bloody and ambitious Khamenei’s actions are, it’s conceivable that Congress could again even authorize covert action and allow for a larger, more assertive US military commitment in Syria.  Such a policy might bring serious pressure on Iran in the Persian Gulf and bleed the Revolutionary Guards and Shiite militias in Syria through CIA-delivered military aid to Sunnis. A patient policy of regime change isn’t unthinkable.

Insufficient Dissuasion

Trump is currently caught in a contradictory situation: He has shocked the Iranian ruling elite with his strike against the Quds Force commander, the operational overlord of the Islamic Republic’s foreign adventures. Yet the president has diligently avoided any containment effort, which would constrain Iranian actions—except near Dayr az-Zor at the Syrian–Iraqi border, where U.S. troops still remain, blocking an Iranian “land bridge” between Iraq’s primary highway system and Syria’s. In the southern Middle East, the White House has refrained from making any direct, defensive commitment to the Sunni Gulf states or non-American shipping in the Persian Gulf, despite Iranian mining and missile attacks. More U.S. troops have been sent to the region, but it’s uncertain that President Trump would use them to defend foreigners.

Such restraint surely made it more likely that Tehran would aggressively test the United States, which is exactly what happened before Suleimani’s death, when Iran-backed Shiite Iraqi militias repeatedly rocketed U.S. forces, eventually killing an American contractor. The president’s preference for such “strategic caution,” coupled with an aggressive use of sanctions, which has become Washington’s preferred coercive tool because it has allowed the United States to bring pressure without using armed force, makes it much more likely, however, that Khamenei will again target Westerners in the Middle East, including U.S. soldiers and civilians. As the diplomatic historian Robert Kagan has noted about U.S. actions toward Japan before Pearl Harbor: The United States did enough to anger the Japanese empire but not enough to intimidate it. Trump really annoys Khamenei, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the strike against Suleimani, as unexpected and shocking as it was, wasn’t enough to implant paralyzing fear.

And American attacks against Iraqi Shiite militias tied to Iran aren’t likely to have any lingering dissuasive effect on the mullahs’ intentions and actions. A tit-for-tat game with these forces, where the administration refrains from striking Iran for the lethal actions of Shiite militias that Iran controls or subventions, will undermine the perception that Trump is willing to kill Iranians. For Trump to deter Tehran, he must strike the Revolutionary Guards directly. Jerusalem has fundamentally changed Iranian calculations and plans in the Levant by its continuous bombing of Iranian bases, vehicles, and personnel. According to Israeli defense and intelligence officials, Tehran had plans to open major Revolutionary Guard Corps bases in Syria; they have shelved them. What is striking and instructional is the significant damage and fatalities Israel has inflicted upon the clerical regime, and Khamenei’s understated response.  How Trump does what is required to deter, assuming he is willing to, given opposition in Congress, is an open question. A classic containment strategy against the Islamic Republic may require new legislation. It may be politically impossible.

Continuing doubts about America’s commitment to the region will also likely encourage the clerical regime’s penchant for terrorism, particularly assassinations of dissident Iranian expatriates. The supreme leader greenlighted a terrorist attack against an Iranian opposition group outside Paris in June, 2018—a bombing operation that could have killed dozens, possibly hundreds, if Western European security services hadn’t thwarted it. The Iranian regime has never forsaken terrorism. There was a pause when the clerical reformer Mohammad Khatami unexpectedly won the presidential election in 1997 and flustered the ruling hierarchy, including the Ministry of Intelligence, which was then the primary agency for killing surreptitiously.  The attempted attack in Villepinte was bold and signaled, at a minimum, that Khamenei had grown bored with Europeans as counterweights to America.

And President Trump is unlikely to escape his bind: The more effective sanctions are against the Islamic Republic, and the administration’s unilateral measures have proven more costly to the clerical regime than combined U.S.-European-U.N. sanctions were in the lead up to the nuclear negotiations under Obama, the more likely it is that Khamenei decides to unleash more attacks against Americans, Europeans, and Sunni Gulf Arabs, which could oblige the White House to escalate, which Trump doesn’t want to do. Any American policy that actually tries to thwart the Iranian regime’s ambitions, which includes its three-decade effort to develop atomic arms, will risk war. Americans who judge the rightness of any policy by its risk of conflict are really saying that no policy that effectively challenges Iranian supremacy in the region is acceptable. This is essentially the position taken by the Obama administration; it was emphatically the stance taken by Senator Bernie Sanders and others on the left.

And Khamenei has little to lose by being aggressive, especially if he doesn’t directly target Americans, since doing nothing leaves him in a losing status quo, where his economy slowly crashes, his people become angrier and possibly more rebellious, and the more religiously militant forces in his own society demand vengeance against Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign.  Wounding the United States, driving back its physical and cultural presence in the Muslim Middle East, remains a raison d’être of the Islamic Republic; this is über true when the ruling mullahs and senior officers in the Guards feel the need to reassert their dominion at home. The supreme leader may not want a big head-on collision with Washington since the odds disfavor Iran so enormously and so much of the Islamic Republic’s leadership, especially in its domestic-security apparatus, would be prey to America’s high-tech weapons. But he is clearly willing to risk a lot, which was shown in his reprisal for Suleimani’s death.  The Iranian missiles used against the Ayn al-Assad base may have had primitive gyroscopes, but they easily could have done more than concussed American soldiers. And there were Americans all over the opposition gathering at Villepinte, including Rudy Giuliani; they, too, could have died if not for Western security measures.

Fortunately, the Islamic Republic no longer has the capacity to launch suicide bombers/live-to-die assassins against its enemies: Iran’s and Lebanon’s more traditional “12ver” Shiite clergy recoiled from this practice in the 1990s, as it also vetoed women becoming agents of jihad a decade earlier. State-sponsored terrorism, either direct or through third parties—and ballistic missiles, drones, and cruise missiles, openly claimed or camouflaged through proxies—is how the clerics prefer to respond when angry. The Islamic Republic’s capacity to inflict pain, vastly greater than Al-Qaeda’s or the Islamic State’s, has always been corralled by its understanding of American red lines. The Revolutionary Guards open fondness for jang-e namotaqaren, or asymmetrical warfare, grew out of their own conventional weakness and the need to dodge American might through clandestine or third-party actions. The common wisdom, for example, that Tehran would never invade Bahrain, a strategic gateway to the Arabian peninsula with its badly oppressed Shiite population, which Iran controlled in the 17th and 18th centuries, is questionable the moment the American naval base there closes. If Riyadh isn’t up to the task of checking Tehran, and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman did nothing after the Iranians droned and cruise-missiled the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities in September, then Iran, armed openly by Russia, could rapidly and permanently change the region. The entire way we think the oil-rich Middle East functions, even after the retrenchment of Obama and Trump, is premised on sufficient countervailing U.S. force. Take it away and the inconceivable becomes thinkable. The Israeli Air Force just doesn’t have the dissuasive power. And the Europeans no longer matter.

Reuel Marc Gerecht a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and one of the country’s leading experts on Iran and its Islamic revolution.

Handout photo of Ayatollah Khameini from Anadolu Agency/Getty Images. Photograph of protesters by AFP/Getty Images.

Pay For Iran’s COVID Crisis With Obama Deal

Newspaper In Iran Calls For Khamenei’s Financial Empire To Assist The People

Radio Farda

A newspaper close to the office of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has suggested that financial institutions operating under his aegis should support low-income Iranians hit by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Islamic Republic) newspaper is funded by Khamenei’s office and its editor Masih Mohajeri who wrote the article is known to be one of the Islamic Republic’s old guards.

Likening the fight against COVID-19 to Iran’s war with Iraq in the 1980s, during which ordinary people provided the logistics for Iranian forces, Mohajeri wrote that the institutions should extend financial support to the underprivileged people whose livelihood has been endangered by the outbreak and its economic consequences.

However, he wrote, that “no economic support by ordinary people can alleviate the hardships imposed on the poor by this outbreak,” adding that “big financial powers should come to solve the problem and rescue the people.”

In recent weeks Iran has launched a diplomatic and public campaign to force the United States to suspend its economic sanctions, arguing that amid a pandemic these sanctions amount to “economic terrorism”. The U.S. State Department and others have countered that Khamenei controls billions of dollars and if the country needs money, he should loosen up his purse.

During the past week since President Hassan Rouhani introduced the idea of “smart social distancing” and allowed small businesses to resume their activities, there has been a lot of debate in the media and among officials and the people in Iran about whether concern for the state of the economy should come first and endanger people’s lives by encouraging them to act as usual, setting aside epidemic restrictions.

Meanwhile, many observers, including the Iranian Parliament’s research center warned Rouhani that the economic problems resulting from even partial lockdowns and closure of businesses might lead to protests and riots among by low-income Iranians.

Mohajeri in his editorial suggested that powerful and rich financial organizations including the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, the Mostazafan Foundation and the Executive Headquarters Carrying Out Imam’s Order, three of the richest organizations operating under Khamenei’s direct supervision should help out the people in this hard times.

Mohajeri reminded that “These organization’s assets belong to the people and should be spent for them.” He added that with their help, the people’s problems could be solved during a short period.

According to a 2013 Reuters report, the Executive Headquarters Carrying Out Imam’s Order was in possession of $95 billion in assets.

Mohajeri further mentioned some of the financial assistance these organizations extend to certain groups of underprivileged families, “But these are extremely rich organizations. They should come to the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 immediately and meet the requirements of the people who are suffering as a result of current economic hardships.”

The editor-in-chief of the Jomhouri-ye Eslami further opined that “Certainly, either the managers of these organizations are not well informed about the extent of the problem, or they simply do not want to spend the funds at their disposal to help the underprivileged.”

Mohajeri reminded that “two thirds of the country’s population is self-employed and do not get paid regularly by the government. Very few of them can afford their expenses at this time. The rest of them, a majority, are now poor and empty handed,” he said.

He further noted: “Many have lost their jobs and this dangerous trend still continues while the [presidential] administration is not financially in a position to help them under the pressure of sanctions and reduced revenues.”

Mohajeri then called on the organizations under Khamenei’s supervision to come to the frontline and spend people’s money for the people. “How can they justify their raison d’etre if they don’t spend their money to help the people?” Mohajeri asked.

The Jomhouri-ye Eslami newspaper was the mouthpiece of the Islamic Republic Party in the 1980s. Later when the party was disbanded, the paper continued its existence. For several years, Ali Khamenei’s name was still printed as the daily’s proprietor and managing editor, but his name was finally retracted in 1990s although his office still pays for the paper.

The significance of the editorial is that it appears in a paper owned and politically close to Khamenei although its slant in its economic articles favor President Rouhani’s policies.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Terrorism (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons A Bigger Threat To Pakistan Itself Than India: OpEd

Published 23 hours ago on April 12, 2020

By EurAsian Times Desk

Pakistan is one of the few countries and the only Islamic nation in the world to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are designed to offset India’s huge superiority in conventional forces and deter the adversaries, writes Kyle Mizokami for the National Interest.

Pakistan began developing nuclear weapons after its arch-rival India detonated its first nuclear bomb in 1974. A conservative estimate puts Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal around 150 to 180 bombs. In 1998 Pakistan in response to India’s second nuclear test detonated five devices in a single day and a sixth one two days later.

To tackle growing Indian threats of punitive cross border strikes, Pakistan focussed on developing tactical nuclear weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons or non-strategic nuclear weapons that have a low yield. These weapons unlike large nuclear weapons that are used for destroying large strategic or civilian targets in the enemy’s territory are used for destroying military targets on the battlefield.

Pakistan’s economy is tiny when compared against India and as such it does not have a defense budget to counter India’s vastly superior armed forces with the gulf widening every day. In an all-out ground war, India undoubtedly holds the edge.

India had envisioned launching a counterattack with three Strike Corps of three divisions, all highly mechanized and each including at least one armored division in case of a Pakistani offensive. However, Pakistani Tactical Nuclear Weapons are meant to thwart India’s counterattack in case of a failed Pakistani offensive to halt the advancing Indian troops dead in their tracks.

The idea for having tactical nuclear weapons most probably had its origins in the 1999 Kargil War. After Pakistani forces occupied much of the Indian Territory, the Indian Army mounted an offensive to remove the Pakistani force and regain the lost ground.

The Indian Army says that it has retaliated heavily to unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistan by targeting terror launch pads and ammunition storage across the border. Tensions between India and Pakistan remain high, despite both nations engulfed with Covid-19 pandemic.  Why Is The World Turning Towards India During Covid-19 Pandemic? “India has carried out precision … Continue reading

Although India was at a disadvantageous position it still managed to win the war and this loss made Pakistan aware of India’s conventional superiority and the need to have tactical nuclear weapons. Another reason Pakistan wanted to have tactical nuclear weapons was to thwart India’s cold start doctrine, as widely publicized by former Indian National Security Advisor – Ajit Doval

It became clear that according to a report by Bulletin of Atomic Scientist Pakistan has around 20 -30 transporter-erector-launcher vehicles meant to carry its NASR/HATF short-range tactical nuclear ballistic missiles. Each vehicle can carry two or more NASR missiles.

These missiles are believed to have a range of 43 miles meaning they are more likely to be used for defensive rather than offensive purposes. This also indicates that the nuclear weapons would have a low yield as Pakistan would not want to have its own nuclear weapons with a huge yield detonated on its territory.

However, these weapons should worry Pakistanis more than anyone else. Even if Pakistan calls it tiny weapons to offset India’s conventional military might, these are nonetheless nuclear weapons and if used against India will not only invite an unimaginable response from New Delhi but also global condemnation and sanctions from across the world.

Analysts believe that Pakistan would have to use a minimum of 30 kiloton bomb to seriously hurt Indian troops. The wind direction is crucial at the time of detonation. The radioactive particles from a detonation can spread to thousands of miles. Any such detonation on the Pakistani soil and near to a city can kill millions of Pakistanis.

Additionally, a big problem that has struck the Pakistani political and military establishment is regarding the control of such weapons. A political decision may take too much time rendering the use of tactical nuclear weapons futile.

However, the Pakistan Army to avoid such delay has tasked area commanders with the responsibility of using the tactical warheads which has presented another serious question. If an area commander uses these weapons then there may be no turning back as India then would be forced counter-nuke Pakistan. This has exacerbated the command and control challenges.

One of the biggest threats to these Pakistani weapons is from the home and foreign-based insurgents. India and other global powers are especially worried about the nature of security accorded to such tactical weapons and their control system.

Some officials are worried that these weapons may be snatched while they are being transported. Another worry is that the terror groups may be able to plant one of their own sympathizers or they may turn an insider to sympathize with the terrorist cause who in turn may hand them secrets of nuclear technology.

Considering that such weapons present multiple problems from their effective control to protection and to its possible use on Pakistani soil itself and that too without any conclusive evidence of it being a deterrent, the tactical nuclear weapons are more a nightmare than a strategic deterrent.

Nitin J Ticku is a MARCOM specialist with a deep interest in Education, Defence and Geopolitics. Nitin holds a double masters degree in Business Management and Journalism and is a frequent contributor to the EurAsian Times.