Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

Andrew the Prophet, andrewtheprophet, Earthquake, indian point, new jersey, New York, Nuclear, nyc, revelation 6, Sixth Seal


By WILLIAM K. STEVENS

Published: October 24, 1989

AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.

The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.

But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.

For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”

If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.

Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.

The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”

On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.

Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.

The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.

No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.

The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.

The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.

Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.

Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 

Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California,  said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more  vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.

The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”

 Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.

Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.

Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.

”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.

New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.

Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.

As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.

New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.

”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”

For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.

”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”

In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.

Tunnels Vulnerable

The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.

Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.

”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”

Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?

”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

South Korea To Become The Next Nuclear Weapons State (Daniel 7)

South Korea: The Next Nuclear Weapons State?

As the Republic of Korea (ROK) ramps up its ongoing efforts to deter a prospective North Korean strike, the spectre of a limited nuclear deterrent is slowly emerging from a fringe position to an increasingly prominent part of mainstream South Korean political discourse.  

Seoul entered the U.S. nuclear umbrella in 1958 when Washington stationed over one hundred nuclear warheads in ROK on the heels of the Korean War and the proliferation of the U.S.-Soviet competition into East Asia. But the ROK never fully abandoned its nuclear ambitions even at the height of the Cold War, actively exploring the prospect of acquiring an independent nuclear deterrent in the early 1970s.

Washington vigorously discouraged South Korea’s nascent nuclear ambitions, conditioning further military aid on the complete cessation of nuclear weapons development. The Park Chung-hee administration caved to US pressure and formally renounced any future plans to acquire nuclear weapons with South Korea’s 1975 ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but private doubts persisted in Seoul; the Vietnam War, which formally ended that same year, was a particularly stark illustration of the limits of the American security guarantee.

On a wave of misplaced optimism following North Korea’s 1985 accession to the NPT, Washington agreed to withdraw all U.S. nuclear warheads from South Korea in 1991. This was shortly followed by the Joint Declaration of Denuclearization, envisioning a future of North-South reconciliation on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.  

South Korea’s abandonment of nuclear ambitions had been and continues to be, premised on two political tenets of faith: the continued viability of the U.S. security guarantee, and the hope that North Korea will work with ROK in good faith to achieve the full and permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Both of these hopes have proven increasingly ephemeral in the present day. There is a growing consensus among experts, as well as the South Korean population, that North Korea will never willingly surrender its burgeoning nuclear arsenal. The future of the U.S. security guarantee is also murky—although the military alliance is highly unlikely to be abandoned outright, the Trump administration has recurrently indicated its possible intentions to reconsider the scale of U.S. security commitments in East Asia.  

Unsurprisingly, there is a renewed call among parts of South Korea’s security establishment to revisit the prospect of acquiring a nuclear deterrent. Former South Korean foreign minister Song Min-soon posed the challenge directly in a 2019 editorial: “It’s necessary for South Korea to move on to a self-reliant alliance from a dependent alliance . . . a defensive nuclear capacity, with a missile range limited to the Korean Peninsula, is justified.” It is rather more surprising that a whopping 60 percent of South Koreans agree with Min-soon’s sentiment, voicing their support for an independent nuclear deterrent in a 2017 Gallup poll. Once a fringe position, nuclear armament has become an increasingly mainstream idea on the heels of several failed rounds of North-South negotiations and decades of North Korean military buildup. 

To be sure, ROK’s subtly changing tone on nuclear weapons raises a cascade of difficult policy questions: if it comes to that, can Washington successfully squash South Korea’s nuclear ambitions as it did five decades ago? If the sentiment in favor of nuclearization is formally adopted by Seoul, how would Japan react to such a drastic attempted revision of East Asia’s security architecture? 

This ongoing shift in South Korean popular and elite opinion on nuclearization comes at a time when ROK is not only seeking proactive military solutions to contain North Korea but to project power across the East Asia region in light of the increasingly assertive foreign policy stance being taken by Beijing.    

Mark Episkopos is a frequent contributor to the National Interest and serves as a research assistant at the Center for the National Interest. Mark is also a Ph.D. student in History at American University. 

Babylon the Great Snapback Against Iran

Iran Nuclear Deal: United Nations Proves Useless, U.S. Must Lead | National Review

August 30, 2020 6:30 AM

Iran’s growing defiance of its nuclear-nonproliferation commitments led to tensions over the last year with IAEA officials and European states. In addition to refusing to cooperate with IAEA investigations of the Nuclear Archive revelations, between May 2019 and January 2020 Iran withdrew from all of its JCPOA commitments. Tehran is now enriching uranium over the agreement’s 300-kg maximum and producing enriched uranium that exceeds a 3.67 percent uranium-235 cap; it has resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow facility and activated advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges.

There was a new development on August 26 when the IAEA released a statement that Iran has agreed to allow IAEA inspectors access to two suspect nuclear sites identified in the Nuclear Archive. This appeared to be an Iranian concession to discourage Security Council members from snapping back sanctions. But the significance of that concession was outweighed by what was essentially an IAEA concession: The statement included language saying that the IAEA had no further questions for Iran or inspection requests beyond these two sites. Although the door was left open for future inspections in response to new information, it was clear that the IAEA did not plan to investigate the dozens of other nuclear sites revealed by the Nuclear Archive. The result was a huge win for Iran and another embarrassing retreat by the U.N.

Iran’s increasingly belligerent behavior, which almost led to war several times over the last year, gives the U.S. further reason to want to snap back U.N. sanctions. In June 2019, Iran shot down a U.S. drone in the Persian Gulf. Last September, drones fired from Iranian soil heavily damaged two Saudi oil facilities. In January, Iran fired 15 ballistic missiles at a U.S. airbase in Iraq.

On April 1, in response to intelligence that Iranian proxies were planning new attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, President Trump warned in a tweet that Iran was planning a “sneak attack” on U.S. forces and pledged it would pay “a very heavy price” for such attacks. On April 22, after Iranian gunboats made “dangerous and harassing approaches” near American ships in the Persian Gulf, Trump announced that the United States would “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian ships that attempted this in the future. This was followed by a lull in Iranian harassment of ships in the gulf until August 12, when Iran attempted to seize a Greek-owned oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The threat from Iran’s missile arsenal continued to grow this year with tests of advanced missiles and drones with greater ranges and accuracy. This includes the “358” cruise missile, which is designed to evade defensive measures and shoot down U.S. military helicopters and the tilt-rotor Osprey. Last February, the U.S. Navy intercepted two shipments of these missiles sent from Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The growing list of dangerous and belligerent actions by Iran and clear evidence of its cheating on the JCPOA more than justify President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and implement his successful “maximum pressure” strategy, which is limiting Iran’s access to advanced technology it could use in its nuclear weapons and missile programs as well as funds to spend on terrorism and the Iranian military.

The U.N. Security Council’s rejection of U.S. demands to increase pressure on Tehran vindicates President Trump’s judgment that America needed to act alone to counter the growing Iranian threat. For example, on August 14 the council overwhelmingly rejected a U.S. resolution to indefinitely extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran that is scheduled to be lifted in October. The council is refusing snap-backs because a majority of its members — including all European members — want to protect the moribund nuclear agreement so as to appease Iran’s ruling mullahs.

In response to the Security Council’s recalcitrance, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “America will not join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease, America will lead.”

The refusal of Security Council members to agree to increase the pressure on Iran in response to its recent warlike behavior further shreds the U.N.’s already tattered moral authority. But it also shows the urgent need for decisive U.S. global leadership.

President Trump has provided this leadership, which has reduced the threat from Iran and increased stability in the Middle East. These gains will quickly vanish if Joe Biden wins the 2020 presidential election: He has promised to rejoin the JCPOA and work through the U.N. to resolve issues over Iran’s nuclear program. Biden also will restore the weak foreign policies of President Obama such as appeasing Iran and “leading from behind” in the Middle East. It therefore was no surprise when the U.S. intelligence community recently revealed that Iran’s ruling mullahs are rooting for a Biden win this November.

FRED FLEITZ, president of the Center for Security Policy, served in 2018 as deputy assistant to the president and to the chief of staff of the National Security Council. He previously held national-security jobs with the CIA, the DIA, the Department of State, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is the editor of the 2020 book DEFENDING AGAINST BIOTHREATS. @fredfleitz

India Bulks Up For The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

India Bulking-Up Military Hardware In Ladakh As A Tactic To Negotiate With China – Analyst

By EurAsian Times DeskAugust 30, 2020

Calling India’s claims of taking a military resolve against its neighbours China a bluff, Beijing believes that PM Narendra Modi is fearful of the immense nuclear arsenal at Xi Jinping’s disposal and is only accumulating military hardware as a tactic of negotiating with Beijing. 

Yesterday, India decided to withdraw from a multilateral war game in Russia, a week after confirming its participation in the exercise that is also expected to be attended by the Chinese and Pakistani troops. The defence ministry spokesperson said India has decided not to send its contingent to the exercise in view of the coronavirus pandemic and “consequent difficulties”.

According to a paper published by Chinese Military expert, Wei Dongxu, India, which has been embroiled in a stand-off with China ever since the Galwan Valley clash, should be wary of picking up fights with its nuclear powered eastern neighbour.

“India is aware of China’s national strength and will not take risks to confront a nuclear power rashly,” said Wei

T-90 Tanks

As reported earlier by the Eurasian Times, China has reportedly placed some of its nuclear weapons close to the Indian border in Kashgar. The People Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly bolstered its nuclear plans after successfully conducting a missile attack early warning system, which gives them the power to detect hostile nuclear missiles and counterattack using nuclear weapons within minutes before they hit mainland China.

Wei, who writes columns for Global Times, a daily newspaper under the auspices of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also believes that while India is ramping up efforts to deploy additional troops and weaponry, which include shoulder-fired missiles like the origin Igla air defence system, in key areas of Ladakh, it is only a tactic to attain leverage in negotiations.

The Indian Army has remarkably ramped up its deployment of troops and weaponry, including tanks and artillery, into various sensitive areas. However, in fact, Indian senior military officials must be clearly aware of the gap of military capability between China and India. So they will not unilaterally launch a large-scale attack. The Indian military may expect to use such rhetoric and moves as leverage in its negotiations with China.”

His comments come on the back of warnings made by India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, who stated that India will take the military option if peace talks with the Chinese continued to fail.

Rawat had stated – “Transgressions along the LAC occur due to differing perceptions about its alignment. Defence services are tasked to monitor and carry out surveillance and prevent such transgressions from turning into intrusions. The whole of government approach is adopted to peacefully resolve any such activity and prevent intrusions. Defence services always remain prepared for military actions should all efforts to restore status quo along the LAC do not succeed”

Meanwhile, under the initiation of Rawat, India announced the setting up of a new Air Defence Command (ADC), to enhance military cooperation of its Air Force, Army and Navy protect its military assets from enemies’ aerial threats like fighter jets, missiles and drones.

The newly acquired advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system from Russia, once delivered, will come under the command of the ADC, which will already have indigenous Akash, the Israeli SpyDer, and Soviet-origin Pechora, OSA-AK and the shoulder-fired Igla, at its disposal.

Hamas, Israel trade fire outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel responds to explosive balloons with tank fire on Gaza

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said it struck militant targets in Gaza early on Sunday in response to continued launches of explosives-laden balloons out of the Hamas-run territory.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side. But the violence comes at a time when Gaza is struggling with a worsening economic crisis and a new outbreak of the coronavirus.

Hamas-linked groups have launched a wave of incendiary balloons into Israel in recent weeks, torching wide swaths of farmland. Israel has responded with airstrikes and other attacks. The army said Sunday’s tank fire struck Hamas “military posts” in southern Gaza, without elaborating.

Hamas is pressing Israel to ease its blockade on Gaza and allow large-scale development projects. Egypt and Qatar are trying to shore up an informal cease-fire.

Those efforts have grown more urgent in recent days as authorities in Gaza have detected the first cases of local transmission of the coronavirus. Hamas has imposed a lockdown in the coastal territory bordering Israel and Egypt, which is home to 2 million Palestinians.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep Hamas from building up its arsenal, but critics view it as a form of collective punishment. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller battles since the closure was imposed.

The restrictions have pushed the local economy to the brink of collapse, and years of war and isolation have left the health care system ill-equipped to cope with a major outbreak.

In response to the recent attacks, Israel closed Gaza’s sole commercial crossing, forcing its only power station to shut down for lack of fuel and leaving Gazans with just a few hours of electricity a day. Israel has also closed the coastal territory’s fishing zone.

The U.N.’s Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, last week warned the situation is “rapidly deteriorating.”

Iran’s continued hegemony in Iraq (Daniel 8:3)

Iran’s influence in Iraq strong despite regime fears

US President Donald Trump welcomes that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at the White House on August 20, 2020. (AFP)

Iran’s regime is concerned about the direction the Iraqi government is taking and the repercussions this shift might have on Tehran’s influence in Baghdad.

Two major issues particularly worry the Iranian authorities. First, the theocratic establishment is uneasy and dissatisfied with some of the policies that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has been pursuing.

Since top political figures, rather than governmental organizations, play an important role in dictating Iraq’s politics, Tehran has always attempted to control and influence high-level officials within the Arab state. But Al-Kadhimi this month enraged Iran when he paid a visit to the US and met President Donald Trump. After the meeting, the US and Iraq “reaffirmed their commitment to a robust and productive bilateral relationship.” A joint statement said officials took part in separate sessions covering “economics, energy, health and environment, political and diplomatic issues, security and counterterrorism, and education and cultural relations.”

The visit was considered a major blow to the ruling clerics of Iran because it was only in January that the US killed its top general, Qassem Soleimani, and several Iraqi Shiite militia leaders in Iraq under a direct order from Trump. Iran is still searching for ways to retaliate, as it is not satisfied with the missile attacks it launched on US targets in Iraq in the days following Soleimani’s death. In a meeting with Iraqi leaders last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei once again brought the issue to the attention of the authorities, stating: “The US’s crime in assassinating general Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is an example of the US’s presence. They killed your guest in your home, and they blatantly confessed to this crime. This is not a trivial matter.” Khamenei again warned that retaliation was on the way, saying: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and will definitely strike a reciprocal blow to the US.”

The Iranian regime has long spread the false narrative that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Quds Force have been saving the Iraqi government from collapse. As a result, Iraqi politicians must take Iran’s side. For example, the Asr Iran news site wrote to Al-Kadhimi last week: “If it was not for Iran, there would not be a prime minister named Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Baghdad. Instead a caliph named (former Daesh leader) Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi would be ruling the country.”

But it is worth noting that Iran has been exploiting Iraq in order to skirt US sanctions, strengthen its Shiite militia groups, and profit from the Iraqi market. Iran’s exports to Iraq increased 37 percent to about $13 billion in 2019, according to the Head of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale Eshaq. And Iran has reportedly discussed with the Iraqi government a plan to boost Tehran’s exports to its neighbor to $20 billion.

Iran has been exploiting Iraq in order to skirt US sanctions, strengthen its Shiite militia groups, and profit from the Iraqi market

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

The Iranian regime was also expecting that Al-Kadhimi would quickly expel US forces from the country, since the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of such a move after the killing of Soleimani. Kayhan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Khamenei, expressed the regime’s fury by writing: “The Prime Minister of Iraq, ignoring the resolution of the parliament and the anti-American feelings of the people of his country, claimed that Iraq needs the United States.”

The second issue that is concerning Iran is related to the Iraqi public’s increasing resentment toward the regime and its interference in the country’s domestic affairs. Protests against Tehran started in October 2019, when people shouted slogans and some even burned down the Iranian consulate in Najaf. Last week, following the reported assassinations of several human and social rights activists, protesters stormed buildings linked to the Iranian regime’s proxy groups in the southern cities of Iraq.

Nevertheless, while the Iranian regime is facing some obstacles in Iraq, its influence there remains intact. The bilateral agreement between Al-Kadhimi and the US does not mean that the prime minister is entirely against Iran. In fact, before visiting Washington, Al-Kadhimi’s first foreign visit was to Tehran. He also told the US ambassador to Baghdad that “Iraq will not be a ground for settling accounts and launching attacks on any neighboring or friendly country.” Al-Kadhimi is more likely performing a balancing act between Iran and the US, rather than fundamentally shifting Baghdad’s policy against Tehran.

Furthermore, Iran wields significant influence in Iraq through its network of Shiite militia groups, which pose a threat to any official who dares to significantly undermine Iran’s role in Iraq. Through its influence in the Iraqi government, the Iranian regime has pushed the state into recognizing these militias — including the conglomerate known as the Popular Mobilization Forces — as legitimate groups, incorporating them into the state apparatuses and making the Iraqi government allocate wages and ammunition for them.

Overall, the Iranian regime still exerts significant influence in Iraq and this trend will likely continue as long as the ruling clerics remain in power.

• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

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

German intel exposes the Pakistani Nuclear Horn

German intel exposes nefarious Pak designs

•   Sat, Aug 29 2020 03:00:34 PM

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS): A domestic intelligence agency for the German state of Saarland has revealed that Pakistan had sought technology for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) “in order to retain a serious deterrent potential against ‘arch enemy’ India”.

“Iran, Pakistan and, to a lesser extent Syria, made efforts to procure goods and know-how for the further development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems,” an intelligence report released by the West German state Saarland, and accessed by Israel’s leading daily, The Jerusalem Post, has revealed.

The intelligence report titled ‘Overview of the situation’ released last week, noted the apparent illicit nuclear weapons activities of Pakistan in Germany and elsewhere abroad.

Pakistan also operates an extensive nuclear and carrier technology program and continues to endeavour to expand and modernize, in order to retain a serious deterrent potential against the ‘arch enemy’ India. Although Pakistan is largely technically self-sufficient, it needs some key components (including control technology) that are procured abroad,” the newspaper quoted from the 112-page report.

“Counter-terrorism experts have long accused Pakistan of sponsoring and protecting terrorist movements such as the Taliban,” it added.

German intelligence has detailed the operations strategy of Pakistan, Iran and Syria in its annual report.

“The intelligence services of these countries are present with varying staffing levels at the respective official and semi-official representations in Germany and maintain so-called legal residencies there. This refers to the operational bases of a foreign intelligence service, disguised in an official (e.g. embassy, consulate general) or semi-official (e.g. press agency, airline) representation in the host country as a starting point for intelligence activities,” stated the report according to The Jerusalem Post.

“The intelligence staff there, supposedly working as diplomats or journalists, conduct open or covert information gathering themselves or provide support in intelligence operations that are carried out directly by the headquarters of the intelligence services in their home countries. In addition, intelligence services also carry out operations without their legal residences being involved. The focus of their respective procurement activities is based on current political requirements or economic priorities,” the Saarland intelligence document revealed.

Another report on the proliferation of atomic, biological and chemical weapons from Baden-Wurttemberg’s state intelligence agency revealed how countries like Pakistan continue to make illegal procurement efforts in Germany to perfect the range, deployability and impact of their weapons and new weapons systems. As one of the leading industrialized nations and having many high-tech companies, Germany is an important area of operation for such nations.

“Regardless of the number of national and international sanctions and embargoes, countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are making efforts to optimize corresponding technology. Pakistan has for many years been running a comprehensive military nuclear weapons and delivery program in addition to a civilian nuclear program. This is primarily directed against ‘arch-enemy’ India which also has nuclear weapons. For maintenance and development, Pakistan depends, among other things, on obtaining western technology and practices. In addition to the purchase of products (dual-use goods), it is also important to send researchers to universities, institutes or research institutes. This also applies to facilities in Baden-Wurttemberg,” stated the 181-page document.

A top German security panel headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel had also turned down Pakistan’s request for supply of air independent propulsion (AIP) systems for its submarines that would allow them to stay underwater for weeks, the Hindustan Times had reported a few days ago.

The German intelligence authorities have only exposed Pakistan’s double game yet again – that how the country continues to be the biggest refuge for the terrorists and, at the same time, is currently desperately trying to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) blacklist.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had yesterday warned that Pakistan’s economy would collapse and the consequences of the blacklisting could be “horrific” with economic conditions becoming akin to those in Iran.