History Expects the Sixth Seal in NYC (Revelation 6:12)

According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.

A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.

Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.

There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan’s 125th St. – which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” explained Skyes after the study was published.

He adds: “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.”

Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

“I would expect some people to be killed,” he notes.

The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale. (ANI)

The Asian Nuclear Horns (Daniel 7)

Japan marking the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing, at a park in in Hiroshima on August 6,2020. – AFP

Asia back on the nuclear centre stage

SEVENTY-FIVE years after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug 6 and 9,1945, respectively, Asia is coming back to the centre stage of global nuclear politics as the tensions between the US and China acquire an atomic dimension.

An incipient arms race in Asia in strategic weapons promises to destabilise the security order in the region.

For Asia, that is a double tragedy. Meeting for the first time in 1946, at the dawn of the atomic age, the General Assembly of the newly founded United Nations in its very first resolution had called for the abolition of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.

Since then, despite repeated diplomatic efforts, treaty commitments, major political moments like the end of the Cold War, mass protests, international court judgments that they are illegal and religious dicta on their immorality, there has been no consensus among the great powers on whether and how to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Second, Asia is no longer marginal to the nuclear dynamics among the major powers.

Asia had no choice but to contemplate the economic and political consequences of the unfolding contest between the US and China. But the region is yet to consider the implications of the nuclearisation of the Sino-US conflict. The 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan is a good moment to begin that reflection.

The Manhattan Project

That Japan was the first and only target of nuclear weapons was perhaps entirely incidental. The race to develop nuclear weapons began a few years before 1945 amid concerns that Nazi Germany was developing nuclear weapons. As leading scientists, including Albert Einstein, drew attention to the emerging atomic threat in 1939, the Roosevelt administration embarked on the Manhattan Project to develop atomic weapons.

The first test of an atomic bomb took place on July 16,1945, by which time Hitler’s armies in Europe had been defeated. As the US began to consider using the new weapon against Imperial Japan, a number of scientists in the Manhattan Project, led by Dr James Franck, objected to its use. They pointed to the enormous destructive power of the atomic weapon and the inevitability of other countries acquiring them. They called instead for a public demonstration of its horrific effects and to initiate a process for their international control.

That advice was not taken by President Harry Truman. Since then, the principal justification for the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the claim that it was necessary to bring the war in Asia to an early close and save the valuable lives of American soldiers. But many revisionist historians question that claim. Although Japan was the victim of the atomic bombing, they argue, the real political target was the Soviet Union.

First act of the Cold War

Some contemporary observers had called the atomic bombing of Japan not the last act of World War II, but the first act of the Cold War. Put simply, the argument was that the nuclear use in Japan was about excluding Soviet Russia from the post-war settlement in Asia.

In Europe, Washington had to share the political spoils of the war with Moscow. There was no choice, given the Red Army’s role in defeating Nazi Germany. The US was eager, the argument goes, to avoid a similar outcome, given the plans for mobilising the Red Army to force Imperial Japan’s defeat. Other historians argue that Emperor Hirohito was preparing to surrender in any case and there was no need for the use of atomic weapons against Japan.

Many historians researching the US’ decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan do not concur with these views. But there was no question that the atomic focus quickly shifted to Europe as Soviet Russia was seen as an existential threat to the West. As the alliance between Russia and the West, forged during World War II, morphed into an all-out confrontation in Europe, nuclear weapons became quite central to the new tragedy that unfolded in Europe and across the Atlantic.

Russia followed America to test its nuclear weapons in 1949; Britain and France joined the nuclear club in 1952 and 1960 respectively. In the years that followed, the US began to deploy hundreds of nuclear weapons in Europe, in the name of deterring a Soviet aggression. As the military confrontation escalated in Europe, Asia became increasingly marginal to the nuclear calculus of the US and the Soviet Union.

To be sure, the Asia-Pacific region remained a testing ground for American, British and French nuclear weapon development. As the nuclear contestation became global, many Asian nations became sites for the location and transit of nuclear weapons, and the affiliated infrastructure of bases and communication facilities.

The People’s Republic of China tested its first atomic weapon in October 1964. India tested a nuclear device a decade later in 1974, and was later followed by Pakistan and North Korea. Israel never admitted to any nuclear test, but no one doubts the existence of its atomic arsenal.

Although many Asian powers crashed into the atomic club, they made little difference to the central nuclear balance between the US and the Soviet Union.

China and the nuclear treaties

The concerns of the great powers were about preventing the losers of World War II – Germany and Japan – from acquiring nuclear weapons. The US and Russia devised the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in the late 1960s to codify this prohibition. The NPT, which came into force in 1970, also became an instrument to limit the spread of nuclear weapons to the developing world.

The normalisation of Sino-US relations since the 1970s significantly reduced American concerns about the dangers of Chinese nuclear weapons. China, too, sensibly chose not to imitate the US and Russia in building a large nuclear arsenal. It was happy to focus on a small arsenal that was enough to deter attacks from the nuclear superpowers – America and Russia.

Given its marginality to the great power nuclear dynamic, China was left out of the agreements that sought to regulate the arms race between the US and USSR. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (Start) set caps on long-range nuclear-armed missiles of Washington and Moscow and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty eliminated US and Russian medium-range missiles in Europe.

China, of course, was part of multilateral nuclear arrangements like the NPT. The end of the Cold War saw renewed attention to the problem of proliferation and provided a basis for collaboration between China and the US on limiting the nuclear dangers in the Middle East, South Asia and the Korean peninsula.

The unravelling

This reasonably stable nuclear framework has now begun to unravel amidst the breakdown of the nearly four-decades-old US-China partnership. This is tied inextricably to China’s rise and the growing American concerns about it. Consider two recent developments.

Last year, the US withdrew from the INF treaty. Washington argues that China’s absence from the treaty had allowed it to develop an arsenal of medium-range missiles that now threaten US military primacy in Asia.

This year, amid a debate on the future of the Start process with Moscow, the Trump administration called for Chinese participation in the talks on nuclear force reduction. Beijing, of course, made it quite clear that it has no desire to join the nuclear talks until Washington and Moscow bring down their arsenals to its level.

China’s long-range nuclear force of about 300 weapons is barely one-fifth of the permitted deployment of about 1,550 warheads each for the US and Russia. But the Trump administration argues that China’s expanding nuclear forces are undermining the bilateral process between Washington and Moscow.

Writing in The New York Times last week, Mr James Anderson, a top administration defence official, warned that China was rapidly expanding its nuclear forces and could double the size of its atomic arsenal over the next decade.

“China’s nuclear expansion and its refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue will affect stability on multiple levels,” Mr Anderson said. “Increased US nuclear force requirements to ensure credible deterrence against China would affect the United States-Russia strategic nuclear balance and threaten to undermine the prospects for further negotiated reductions.”

The size of China’s nuclear arsenal is not the only issue bothering the US security establishment as it embarks on an expansive military contest with China in Asia.

Doubts about US security umbrella

As the People’s Liberation Army becomes a powerful military force, there is growing concern about the credibility of the US’ “extended deterrence” to its allies in Asia.

Extended deterrence refers to the “nuclear umbrella” that the US offered to its Asian allies during the Cold War. The promise of the US use of nuclear weapons in the event of a Soviet attack, America’s Asian allies believed, would deter Soviet aggression. This framework has begun to weaken amidst the relative decline of Russia and the rapid rise of China as a great military and economic power.

Can the security framework designed to deter Russia work against China? America’s own deep economic interdependence with China raises questions about the US’ willingness to defend its allies against an assertive Beijing. Making matters worse has been President Donald Trump’s questioning of the utility of alliances and his demands on South Korea and Japan to pay more for American military presence on their soil.

As the Asian nations question the reliability of the US’ security guarantees and worry about China’s muscular regional policies, there is a growing sense that they might have to beef up their own military capabilities in this uncertain security environment.

Might this mean reconsidering the nuclear weapon option that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had considered in the past?

Although the nuclear option is tempting, few of them are expected to go down that route. But many East Asian nations are looking to develop or acquire strategic weapons systems, including long-range missiles.

New weapons, new dangers

That brings us to the larger question of technological change that continually tested the stability of the nuclear balance in Europe and between the US and Russia. Asia is now likely to face a similar challenge as new technologies begin to stoke the rivalry between the US and China, as well as the long-term planning of Beijing’s Asian neighbours.

New developments in lethal non-nuclear explosives, space weapons, missile defences, underwater drones, cyber warfare and hypersonic weapons that travel at five times the speed of sound are breaking down the firewall between conventional and nuclear weapons.

In the past, military technological advances travelled from the West to the East at a leisurely pace. Today, China is at the forefront of the development of some of these technologies and in some areas, the US is trying to catch up.

That China is a key actor in the current nuclear power play and Asia is the main theatre of great power jousting should wake up the region to think through the consequences.

Until now, Asia’s nuclear worries were limited to atomic proliferation and its impact on sub-regional conflicts in the Middle East, the subcontinent and the Korean peninsula.

Like Europe in the Cold War, Asia must now engage with the consequences of a great power nuclear arms race centred on itself. — The Straits Times/ANN

Professor C. Raja Mohan is director of the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore and contributor with The Straits Times, a member of the Asia News Network (ANN), an alliance of 24 news media entities. The Asian Editors Circle is a series of commentaries by editors and contributors of ANN.

 

The Ever-growing Danger of the Bowls of Wrath (Revelation 18)

Getty

The ever-growing danger of nuclear weapons

The anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing last week should remind us that there are other sudden catastrophes that can bring far worse suffering than the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike Covid-19, nuclear weapons were invented by human beings and stocked by them in large numbers. Their capacity to bring death and destruction are so vast that they could, in the process of deterring or punishing adversaries, devastate the perpetrators themselves.

Overwhelmed by Covid-19, the world is simply looking away at the threat by these 14,000 or so weapons, most of them in the hands of the United States or Russia. Given the largely bumbling response to the Covid-19 outbreak, we should worry about the consequences of a nuclear detonation, accidental or otherwise. Last  week we got a small preview of that in the  ammonium nitrate blast in Beirut which destroyed a significant part of the city. The Beirut blast was the equivalent of a few hundred tonnes of TNT, while the Hiroshima blast had a yield of some 15,000 tonnes.

The Beirut blast was the equivalent of a few hundred tonnes of TNT, while the Hiroshima blast had a yield of some 15,000 tonnes

 

It took more than a decade for the world powers to realise just how close they came to Armageddon. This was in the Cuban Missile Crisis which we now know was a near run thing. Despite their intense rivalry, the US and USSR realized that there would be no national boundaries limiting the impact of the use of nuclear weapons. So, the first step was the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 that banned tests in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater. The seminal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 did commit its signatories to the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons, a promise that has been clearly ignored. Most agreements, multilateral, some plurilateral and others purely bilateral, have sought to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war and limit its scope and intensity, but not eliminate its possibility.

In recent times we have seen a kind of backwash as some of the agreements have been unravelling. Beginning with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972, from which the US walked out off in 2002, we have seen a quickening pace of arms control agreements coming apart. In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he would not be bound by the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) agreement of 1992. A year ago, in August 2019, Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from the INF agreement of 1987, and in May 2020 the US withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty of 1992. The New START agreement of 2011, which limits deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 on each side, will expire on  5 February, 2021 with its extension depending on who wins the US election in November. US President Donald Trump wants a deal which includes intermediate range nuclear weapons and China. But Beijing, which has an arsenal of 290 warheads, had balked. The US interest is in constraining the intermediate range missiles that the Chinese have deployed against the US in the western Pacific Ocean.

So, we are in a world where nuclear weapons remain in abundant numbers, and many states are modernizing their arsenals. Russia has developed an arsenal of what it says are unstoppable weapons, China is modernizing its arsenal at its own deliberate pace.

Where former US President Barack Obama wanted to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US defence policy, Trump wants it to go back to its pre-arms control era strengths. The US, for example, plans to spend an astonishing  $1.7 trillion modernizing its arsenal over the next 25 years, and recently, the Trump administration even hinted at a resumption of nuclear tests.

At the same time the diplomatic instruments of controlling their use are atrophying, in other words, arms control is simply not on the agenda of any country. A bigger danger arises from newer technologies such as cyber tools, hypersonic missiles and Artificial Intelligence (AI) which are making the nuclear weapons landscape more hazardous. Then, countries like Russia and Pakistan are becoming more, rather than less dependent on nuclear weapons because of the relative weakness of their conventional forces.

Cyber warfare can be used to mess with the command, control or early warning system of adversaries, hypersonic missiles mean little or no reaction time thus pushing states to adopt hair-trigger “launch on warning” deployments. AI remains the big unknown since its still in the development phase. While AI could help make the right decisions where the speed of response is beyond human abilities, its alleged prowess could also be a hubristic encouragement for aggressive behavior.

Beyond technology is the issue of proliferation. Despite initial promise, the US engagement with North Korea has proved to be sterile. Washington cannot be blamed for the ways of Kum Jong Un, but certainly it bears the principal blame for walking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to constrain Iranian nuclear weapons. In recent years we have been hearing a great deal of how the Saudis are positioning themselves as hedgers on the issue of nuclear weapons.

India has two nuclear neighbours with whom it has an adversarial relationship. It has not been able to manage any kind of an arms control dialogue with either of them. A promise to start one during the Lahore visit of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in February 1999 became casualty of Pakistan’s Kargil adventure. Yet, as the experience of the US and USSR shows, there is a certain value in dealing even with adversaries when it comes to reducing the possibility of nuclear war.

India already confronts a piquant situation with regard to the development of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW)  by Pakistan. And now, it may have to deal with a modernized Chinese arsenal featuring hypersonic and MIRVd missiles. At least with China, India shares an official posture of No First Use (NFU). Conventional inferiority has pushed Pakistan to reject such a posture and, indeed, through the development of TNWs, threaten an early use of nuclear weapons in any crisis.

As of now, the world is overwhelmed in a sea of troubles and the ever-present danger of a nuclear conflict, something that is truly a threat to humanity, is taking a worrying backseat. Indeed, as has been noted, in the past months itself several steps have been taken that serve to undermine the structure of confidence building measures that have sought to impose some level of restraint among states that possess nuclear weapons.

In 1985, following the Reykjavik Summit, US President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev adopted a declaration that stated baldly, “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Nothing has happened since, either in terms of technological development or force levels to invalidate that truth.

 

The views expressed above belong to the author(s).

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Saudi Arabia will acquire nuclear weapons, and the US is livid (Daniel 7)

UAE and Saudi Arabia want to acquire nuclear weapons, and the US is livid

The US is concerned and very unhappy with the ambition of leading Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the UAE to acquire nuclear weapons.

August 8, 2020

Nuclear proliferation is bigger than global warming, the US president said in an interview this week amid reports that two leading Gulf States, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are taking solid steps to acquire nuclear weapons.

“If we can do something with Russia in terms of nuclear proliferation, which is a very big problem. A much bigger problem than global warming in terms of the real world, that would be a great thing,” Donald Trump stressed in an interview with Axios.

According to a statement on the website of China Atomic Energy Authority (CNNC), “Beijing Research Institute of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy signed a collaborative agreement regarding research on uranium extraction from seawater with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology on July 15.”

“Chinese and Saudi experts will conduct a two-year-long investigation into uranium extraction from seawater, according to the agreement. It’s another milestone for CNNC and Saudi Arabia, following after a human resources training program and a uranium exploration project,” it said.

Despite a categorical denial from the Arab kingdom that it pursues nuclear weapons, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged in 2018 that “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy lost no time slamming Saudi Arabia’s major deal with China.

US is displeased with nuclear weapon ambitions of Gulf States

“We do nuclear technology deals with countries so that they will commit to the Gold Standard and a working relationship with the U.S.. The Saudis are trying to have it both ways, and we can’t allow them to get away with that,” said Murphy, as cited by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions and its hedging behavior with China are the direct result of Obama’s courtship of Tehran and the Iran nuclear deal. If the US wants to remain the dominant power, it has to deliver security to its allies, not hector them. https://t.co/HQOD5EdK7e

— Mike (@Doranimated) August 4, 2020

According to the report by the WSJ, the Saudi-China deal is part of a program to extract uranium yellowcake from uranium ore, which is a crucial first step for later enrichment to obtain a nuclear weapon. Uranium mining is usually of no concern to world governments and watchdogs, but its enrichment raises immediate concerns.

Will and should the US State Department, Pentagon and the Trump administration be on the same page in opposing nuclear armament of two belligerent Gulf states amid escalating tensions in the Middle East? Saudi Arabia, in particular, goes further in rubbing salt in the wound of its American allies by cooperating with China at a time when the Trump administration has designated the Asian country as its biggest rival and enemy in the 21st century.

Taking into consideration the rash decisions of the UAE and Saudi crown prince in the region and beyond, can they be trusted with nuclear capabilities?

US policy does not condone nuclear weapon acquisition

Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Matthew Bryza told Anadolu Agency it has for decades been the policy of the US government, regardless of who was president, to oppose any country acquiring nuclear weapons since the UK and France acquired nuclear arsenals.

“This policy remains valid with regard to both Saudi Arabia and UAE,” according to the former US diplomat and White House official.

“Congress can try to legislate mandatory sanctions against Saudi Arabia, as it did in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” he said, yet noting that “any such legislation is unlikely to be approved in the Republican-controlled Senate” because of Trump’s “aversion to pressuring Saudi Arabia.”

“I don’t think there will be any such sanctions from the Trump administration,” he said.

Kuwait University professor Dr. Bader Al-Saif told Anadolu Agency that a “nuclear-free Middle East would go a long way in reducing tensions and establishing peace and stability.”

“The US is one of many parties and should not be running the show. Instead, UN efforts should be focused on ridding the region from this deadly weapon starting with Israel,” he asserted.

LOL.

‘Chinese companies help Saudi Arabia to produce uranium concentrate

Western officials fear that the Saudi ruling house plans to develop its nuclear program to the detriment of the balance of power in the ME. The absolute unaccountability of Riyadh adds to the worries.’

— Cold Wind (@ColdWind11) August 7, 2020

The UAE has been “more transparent than the Israelis, Iranians, or Saudis in their intents thus far,” he said.

“We also know that Saudi Arabia has noted that it will go nuclear if Iran does, which reminds us of the India-Pakistan case. To avoid all of this, the international community should redirect its efforts toward the already established non-peaceful program like Israel or the aspiring program like Iran,” he added.

Experts say world needs to abide by Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty

Luke Coffey, Director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington told Anadolu Agency that he is a strong believer in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and these countries should not get a nuclear weapons capability.

“This is why it is important that the United States and the international community leads an effort that prevents Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons power,” Coffey said.

“The only reason why some countries in the region are hinting that they would like to have nuclear weapons is because they believe that the international community is not serious about stopping Tehran,” he added.

Dr. Ali Bakeer, an Ankara-based political analyst, told Anadolu Agency it will “intensify the nuclear race in one of the most volatile and unstable regions in the world and this will increase the instability and makes the possibility of nuclear catastrophe even bigger in the region.”

NO SAUDI ARABIA NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!!!! STOP THE ENRICHMENT PROGRAM IN SAUDI ARABIA NOW!!!!!!@cenkuygur @TheDemocrats @GOP

— Scott L Wilson (@scottlwilsonTRB) August 6, 2020

“It will also convince these regimes that they will not be held accountable for their repression and malicious regional activities which will make things even worse for their people and for the people of the region,” he added.

An Arab-American businessman who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said “these two crown princes want nukes because they lose all their unjustified wars in the region and worry about the future of their oppressive regimes.”

“Our Saudi and Emirati brothers and sisters deserve better people,” he added.

US House concerned by behaviour of Saudi Arabia and UAE

Lawmakers from both parties in the US Congress have been concerned about Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaigns in Yemen, which is on the brink of famine, and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an eminent Washington Post journalist killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Last week, the House Intelligence Committee requested a report from the administration about Saudi efforts to develop a nuclear program with any other country other than the US — an indication of growing suspicion.

“Where is the transparency? If you claim your program is peaceful, why not show what you have?” Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the WSJ.

So far, the US president, in return for large sums of petro-dollars from Saudi Arabia and UAE, did not mind using his executive authority to allow those two crown princes to get away with grave human rights violations and alleged war crimes in Yemen, Libya and beyond.

However, time will tell whether intending to go nuclear at stone’s throw away from Israel in cooperation with China is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

Iran Deal Reaching Its Final Demise (Daniel 8 )

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council is preparing to vote this week on a U.S. proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran, a move that some diplomats say is bound to fail and put the fate of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers further at risks

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the seat of Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ahead of a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

A last-minute attempt by Britain, France and Germany to broker a compromise with Russia and China on an arms embargo extension appeared unsuccessful so far, diplomats said. Russia and China, allies of Iran, have long-signaled opposition to the U.S. measure.

A Chinese diplomat at the United Nations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that “extending the arms embargo on Iran in whatever form lacks legal basis and will undermine efforts to preserve” the nuclear deal, adding that there is “no chance” the U.S. text will be adopted.

The embargo is due to expire in October under a 2015 deal among Iran, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France and the United States that prevents Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in return for sanctions relief.

Even though U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration quit the accord in 2018 – with Trump dubbing it “the worst deal ever” – Washington has threatened to use a provision in the agreement to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran if the Security Council does not extend the arms embargo indefinitely.

Renewed sanctions — a move known as snapback — would likely kill the nuclear deal because Iran would lose a major incentive for limiting its nuclear activities. Iran has already breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the pact and Washington’s imposing strong unilateral sanctions.

“This U.S. administration’s goal is to terminate the Iran nuclear deal,” said a European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook alluded to the United States wanting to reimpose all U.N. sanctions when he said last week, “We need to restore the U.N. Security Council standard of no enrichment.”

A snapback of U.N. sanctions would require Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, and ban imports of anything that could contribute to those activities or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

It would reimpose the arms embargo, ban Iran from developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and reimpose targeted sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities. States would also be urged to inspect shipments to and from Iran and authorized to seize any banned cargo.

‘ZERO CHANCE’

Richard Gowan, U.N. director for conflict prevention advocacy body the International Crisis Group, said there was “zero chance” the U.S. attempt to extend the arms embargo would be adopted and that it was “a ploy to get to snapback.”

The council is operating virtually so once a vote is called the 15 members would have 24 hours to submit their decision and the result would be announced at a public meeting, but diplomats say there is little support for the current U.S. text.

The draft resolution needs at least nine votes in favor to force Russia and China to use their vetoes, but some diplomats question whether Washington can even secure those nine votes.

“Everyone at the U.N. understands that this resolution is just the curtain-raiser for a much bigger fight over the Iranian nuclear deal,” said Gowan.

Washington argues it can trigger the sanctions because a Security Council resolution enshrining the nuclear deal names it as a participant. But the remaining parties to the agreement are opposed to such a move, and diplomats say the United States would face a tough, messy battle.

“It’s highly likely … a number of countries will be saying they have no intention of implementing further sanctions, until the U.N. Security Council decides whether or not snapback has been carried out legally,” said a senior council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“I don’t see how the council can decide that given the divisions that will be within it,” the diplomat said. “I don’t see any rush to re-establish sanctions regimes therefore around the world.”

Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman

Iran Urges IAEA to Expose the Saudi Arabian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Iran Urges IAEA to Clarify Saudi Arabia’s ‘Covert’ Nuclear Program – Politics news – Tasnim News Agency

Tasnim News Agency

“Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has a comprehensive bilateral safeguard agreement with the agency (IAEA), it has unfortunately refused to abide by its commitments to the agency’s inspections despite repetitive calls,” Gharibabadi said on Saturday.

He further called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out investigations and submit a full report on the status of nuclear activities in the Arabian Peninsula country.

Gharibabadi raised alarm about Riyadh’s nuclear ambitions, and said the international community will not accept Saudi “deviation” from a peaceful nuclear program and will confront it.

The comments came after American intelligence agencies reportedly said they had spotted an undeclared nuclear site near Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh, scrutinizing attempts by the kingdom to process uranium and move toward the development of atomic bombs.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the agencies had in recent weeks circulated a classified analysis about Saudi attempts to build up its ability to produce nuclear fuel that could potentially lead to the development of nuclear weapons.

The study shows “a newly completed structure near a solar-panel production area near Riyadh, the Saudi capital, that some government analysts and outside experts suspect could be one of a number of undeclared nuclear sites,” the report said.

The site is situated in a secluded desert area not too far from the Saudi town of al-Uyaynah, located 30 kilometers northwest of Riyadh, and its Solar Village.

A day earlier, an article in The Wall Street Journal said that Western officials were concerned about a desert site in northwestern Saudi Arabia just south of the town of al-Ula.

It was part of a program with the Chinese to extract uranium yellowcake from uranium ore, according to the article.

Frank Pabian, a former satellite image analyst at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said the desert site appears to be a small mill for turning uranium ore into yellowcake as it has a checkpoint, high security fences, a large building about 150 feet on a side and ponds for the collection of uranium waste.

Israeli military strikes Hamas target outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israeli military strikes Hamas target in northern Gaza Strip

The Israeli military says it has struck a Hamas target in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the continued launches of explosives-laden balloons from the Palestinian territory into Israel

ABC NewsJERUSALEM — The Israeli military said late Sunday that it struck a Hamas target in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the continued launches of explosives-laden balloons from the Palestinian territory into Israel.

In a brief statement, the army said an aircraft struck a Hamas observation post in northern Gaza.

There were no immediate reports of injuries on either side.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and numerous smaller flareups since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007.

The enemies have largely observed an unofficial truce in recent months. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire out of the coastal enclave.