“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”
“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.
Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.
“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.
CIA overplayed capitalist hegemonic role in Iran during the Iranian oil nationalization movement under Dr Mussadegh in the 1950s. Thereafter Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, inexperienced in national politics and regional diplomacy, failed to interact with the Iranian Left, the Jibbeh-e-Milli and also the Iranian clergy, both opposed to the monarchical rule. Some self-seeking intransigent political leaders who emerged from time to time hardly enjoyed popularity with any solid constituency in Iran. Though the Left was suppressed but not eliminated. The clergy expanded their influence fairly well in rural Iran.
As Iranian revolution of 1979 gained momentum, of course thanks to the cooperation offered by the left, it so happened that at the end of the day, the Ayatollahs stole the march and Iran fell into their hands. Revolutionary Iran treated the United State with unbounded hatred.
The clerics have been always influential in Iran and Reza Shah Pahlavi would not antagonize them. Many of them had clout in the administrative machinery. But they never aspired to take the reins of the government in their hands. The success of the Islamic revolution changed that concept and they grabbed power sidelining the Left which thought they would be in the driver’s seat after the removal of monarchy. That did not happen.
The Ayatollahs focused on a couple of fundamentals of the policy of revolutionary regime. One was total contempt and hatred for the United States. The second was to wash away the Pan-Iranian vestiges assiduously maintained and reinforced during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi. The third important policy parameter was to dye the Iranian society in Islamic colour to be able to claim that Iran was more Islamic than the Semitic Islamic people. The real problems for Iran have emanated from (a) Iran’s fake claim of being more Islamic than any Arab country especially Saudi Arabia, the religious centre of the Muslims of the world, and (b) willful destruction of the vestiges of Iran’s pre-Islamic civilizational manifestations. The Arabs would not recognize her claim to super Islamic status and the proselytized non-Arab Sunni countries (of Aryan descent) would not give her any credit as she followed the Shia faith. Both of these aspects went against her.
The real problem of Iran with the US is because of Israel. No political commentator either in or outside Iran has been able to convince the world why the regime of the Ayatollahs have adopted an inimical stance toward Israel, a country with which she has no geographical borders, no trade and commerce competition, no territorial dispute and not even a real political dispute.
The reason, as hinted at in foregone lines is that Iran has been nursing the obsession for centuries on the end that she must prove to the Arabs and particularly the Saudis that she is more Islamic than they are. The real woe of Iran is that she is unable to reconcile to the fact that Saudi Arabia enjoys the centrality of the ummah which Iran can never achieve do what she may. This is the reason why Ayatollah Khomeini had said that monarchy is disallowed in Islam and that the custodianship of the twin shrines of Mecca and Medina cannot be the sole prerogative of the Saudi monarchs. During his time Iranian pilgrims to the Mecca had made violent demonstrations against the Saudi monarchy within the precincts of the sanctum sanctorum and nearly five hundred of them were done to death by the Saudi guards.
Because the US Congress has a large majority of Jewish members who dictate terms to the White House to support the State of Israel, Iran has turned its guns on Israel which enjoys outright support of the US. Under the US influence, the Saudi monarchy has established normal relations with Israel and it never gives expression to animus against the Israeli State. Same is true of about half a dozen littoral states that are under the direct influence of Riyadh. Thus Iran considers not only the Saudis but also the littoral states as anti-Iran.
Ayatollahs are an obstinate lot by training. They are mostly not transparent and not open to reason. They are very tough to negotiate with. Anyway, the ground situation is that most of the Arab Islamic countries with Saudi in the lead are having cordial relations with Israel. They have trade relations and in some cases agreements for the supply of arms. Three small Islamic countries have already recognized Israel. UAE is the latest and five more littoral countries are about to give her recognition. Surprisingly, during the Iran-Iraq war, Israel supplied war material to Iran via Pakistan. This means that Pakistan is also in the loop of Israel. The question is why does not Iran read the writing on the wall? How long will she go nurturing the thorny bush of hatred, rancour and animosity against Israel? She is getting isolated nay marginalized.
Iran is swayed by the burning desire of destroying the social centrality of Saudi Arabia. She cannot fight Israel which has access to nuclear option covertly or overtly. But she wants to settle her score with Saudi Arabia and it is this urge that makes Iran go for a nuclear facility. All the three countries, Saudi, Israel and the US understand that if Iran gets nuclear capability it will be a threat to their existence or interests. Therefore, the US, under self-created importance will not allow Iran any chance of achieving nuclear capability. The US never stonewalled Pakistan’s project of obtaining nuclear weapon because the US wanted to counterbalance India. Pakistan will not be allowed by the US to make nuclear technology available to Iran, something for which Turkey is also struggling.
In this scenario of desperation, Iran is changing the goalpost of her regional diplomacy. She seems to be enchanted by the 400 billion dollars 25-year bilateral agreements with China against giving Beijing not only the Chahbahar where India invested billions of dollars but also the road-rail connectivity to Zahedan and Zanjan to Afghanistan. This is rank blackmailing. India aimed access to Central Asia circumventing inimical Pakistan. Iran, too, had an element of interest in Chahbahar – Afghanistan link undertaken by India as it would provide her road link to the Shia dominated northern region of Afghanistan.
Iran, as a member of the OIC, never took a strong stand against Pakistan bringing in repeated resolutions on Kashmir against India. Not only that, in recent times Iranian Supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei issued a stark anti-India statement on Kashmir in which he instigated the Kashmiri Muslims to fight for their rights. The relations dipped down and Indian foreign office summoned Iranian ambassador in New Delhi to lodge a strong protest. The real reason for Iran to jump onto the bandwagon of Beijing are (a) to convey to the US that she has more lucrative options, and (b) retaliate to India for refusing to accommodate an Iranian organization in the Chahbahar projects that have proven links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) designated by the US State Department.
The request of Iran to RM Rajnath Singh for a detour to Teheran on his way back from Shanghai Cooperation (SC) meet of Defence Ministers in Moscow and his talks with his Iranian counterpart Brig. Gen Hatami carries meaning. Interestingly, a couple of days later, our Foreign Secretary Jaishankar, on his flight to Moscow to join SC foreign ministers meet made a halt at Teheran and met with his counterpart Zarif. What is transpiring between the two countries is still not clear except that they both said in their statements that they exchanged views on the security aspect of the Afghan crisis.
India recognizes Iran’s strategic importance in the Gulf region. India is not happy with the Trump administration imposing sanctions on Iran. India is very unhappy on Iran jumping blindly onto the bandwagon of China in respect of handing over Chahbahar to Beijing oblivious of its consequences, regionally and globally. India never made Iran-Pakistan good relations an issue at any time and as such Iran has to recognize the dynamics of bilateral relations between countries. She must understand the grand reality in Kashmir which she can do best by taking into account the clandestine infiltration of Pakistani terrorists of Jundullah across the Baluchistan-Sistan border and their attacks on Iranian guards and Iran’s retaliatory measures. It means that Iran must take a holistic view of regional issues and then frame her foreign policy. We are suggesting that Iran is getting isolated by adopting an inimical and belligerent attitude towards Israel. The day she understands the futility of her animus against Israel will be the day when she will step into world mainstream order.
On Thursday, Biden said Trump had made an Iranian nuclear weapon more likely despite his claims to the contrary. “Iran is closer to a weapon now than we were when we left office in 2017,” he said, according to a press pool report sent out by his campaign.
The former vice president defended the JCPOA, describing it as the “most intrusive inspection regime in history.”
Trump abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018, claiming the deal was too lenient and fulfilling a promise that became a key part of his foreign policy campaign strategy.
Trump withdrew despite other signatories urging him to reconsider and despite the International Atomic Energy Agency confirming that Tehran was complying with the agreement.
U.S.-Iran reactions have continued deteriorating since, with the two sides launching strikes against each other and flirting with an open conflict. Trump has maintained his “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, seeking to undermine the regime with crippling economic sanctions.
The Trump administration has tried to rally its allies against Iran but has failed. The other signatories to the JCPOA—Russia, China, the U.K., Germany and France—remain committed, and the United Nations Security Council has rejected U.S. efforts to extend an arms embargo on Iran or re-apply the sanctions lifted by the JCPOA.
Meanwhile, Iran has ended compliance with the JCPOA’s terms. Tehran is now expanding its enriched uranium stockpile and ramping up its ability to produce more. Iran had been ending compliance piecemeal since Trump’s withdrawal, but said it would no longer respect any restrictions after the U.S. assassinated Major General Qassem Soleimani in January.
The Trump administration has accused Iran of running a clandestine nuclear operation outside of the JCPOA, citing Israeli intelligence. A nuclear-armed Iran would represent an existential threat for Israel.
Iran has denied the allegations and international inspectors repeatedly confirmed Iranian compliance in the years before Trump’s withdrawal.
Biden said Thursday he would reenter the deal if Iran “returns to compliance,” though said he would need help from the other JCPOA signatories, including U.S. rivals Russia and China. “I promise you it will be a significant initiative of mine to get back into the deal,” Biden said.
Trump has vowed to secure a new, more restrictive deal with Iran, one that would include limits on Tehran’s ballistic missile program and malign regional influence. Earlier this year, Trump urged Iran to “make the big deal” before November’s presidential election.
But Iranian officials have repeatedly refused new talks with the Trump administration, and dismissed any suggestion it would renegotiate the deal to make it more restrictive.
Thousands join Iraq’s first weekly prayers since Covid-19Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr maintain social distancing as they attend Friday prayers for the first time in months. (Reuters)
Iraq’s mosques have been closed to gatherings for close to six months
The coronavirus pandemic has hit Iraq hard, with nearly 280,000 confirmed cases
BAGHDAD: Thousands of supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr gathered at a mosque in east Baghdad on Friday for the first weekly prayers since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Iraq’s mosques have been closed to gatherings for close to six months, but notoriously outspoken Sadr said on Wednesday that he would hold open-air prayers in his stronghold. In east Baghdad’s Sadr City on Friday, worshippers put on medical masks and gloves and had their temperatures taken before being allowed into the courtyard of the main mosque, where volunteers were spraying disinfectant. “We urge everyone to abide by social distancing and protect themselves against this virus,” the imam said in the opening to his brief sermon. Sadr had issued a list of restrictions on Twitter this week, including that worshippers must stand exactly 75 centimeters apart and sermons must last only 15 minutes. One worshipper, Qassem Al-Mayahi, 40, said he was “happy to finally be able to pray on Fridays, as this is one of the five pillars of Islam.” “We need to figure out how to live” with the virus, he told AFP. “We may as well pray.” Other prayers at Sadrist mosques were expected in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Friday. The coronavirus pandemic has hit Iraq hard, with nearly 280,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,800 deaths. In March, Iraqi authorities shut down airports and imposed total lockdowns to halt the virus’s spread. Top Shiite authority Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani halted his weekly sermons, and they have yet to resume. But rules have generally been relaxed, with most airports reopening in July and curfews now only in place overnight. On Monday, the Iraqi government’s coronavirus crisis cell announced restaurants could seat customers — rather than just providing takeaway services — if they abide by health ministry protocols and that sports events could resume, but in the absence of spectators. The loosening of restrictions came just a few days after Iraq recorded its highest daily caseload yet, with more than 5,000 new Covid-19 infections recorded on September 4. The health ministry attributed the spike to recent “large gatherings” that took place without recommended safety measures, including mask wearing and social distancing. That included the marking on August 30 of Ashura, a Shiite day of mourning that commemorates the killing of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein in Karbala in 680 AD. Usually, millions of pilgrims from around the world travel to Karbala to mark Ashura, but this year Iraq did not grant visas to religious tourists and kept borders with neighboring Shiite-majority Iran closed. But concern is already building over Arbaeen, which comes 40 days after Ashura — on October 8 — and typically sees even larger numbers converge at Karbala. Iraq’s interior ministry told AFP any foreign national without Iraqi residency would not be granted entry until after Arbaeen. Hospitals in Iraq have already been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines, hospital beds and even protective equipment for doctors.
“Due to the sabotage, it was decided to build a more modern, larger and more comprehensive hall in all dimensions in the heart of the mountain near Natanz. Of course, the work has begun,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian diplomat and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), according to Reuters, which cited state TV.
The “sabotage” Salehi spoke of refers to the July 2 fire and subsequent explosion that took place at the Natanz nuclear site, the country’s largest uranium enrichment facility. Iranian officials initially suspected a gas leak was responsible for the incident, which did not result in radioactive leaks or other significant damage, but a more thorough investigation has since been launched by Tehran.
This comes amid ongoing tensions between the US, Iran, and the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) rejection of a US-led draft resolution to extend the weapons embargo initiated under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared prior to the UNSC vote last month that the Trump administration will do “everything within our diplomatic toolset to ensure that the arms embargo doesn’t expire” on October 18.
“We have been unambiguous about the fact we have no intention of allowing this arms embargo to expire. None whatsoever,” Pompeo underscored.
India’s erratic expansion of its space program could leave Pakistan at a disadvantage in terms of defence capabilities.News Desk -September 9, 2020
India has a long-held desire to be recognized as one of the greatest military powers at the global level. In pursuit of this objective, over the last few years, India has been carrying out extensive outer space and military modernization programs.
Sher Bano writing for Modern Diplomacy writes about the rising threat that the Indian space program presents to Pakistan’s defence capabilities.
Along with all the other components of its ongoing military modernization, maintaining a military presence in outer space has been the key focus of the Indian strategic elite. India had also recently launched a mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2.
The lander was about 2.1km (1.3 miles) from the lunar surface when it lost contact with scientists, dashing hopes that India would become only the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 was the most complex mission ever attempted by India’s space agency
India’s space militarization primarily comprises of indigenously developed satellites such as GSAT-6 and GSAT-7 (Geostationary Satellites), and RISAT-2BR1 (Radar Imaging Satellite). India has also acquired ASAT (Anti-satellite weapon) capability after a successful test in early 2019.
Sher Bano talked about how India’s space-based ISR satellites would enhance its counterforce capabilities vis-à-vis Pakistan. Likewise, this would provide India’s Command and Control centres with quantifiable and discernable data.
These acquired space capabilities are likely to enable India’s NC2 (Nuclear Command and Control) with more liberty to take decisions. Such a security dilemma would annihilate the South Asian nuclear deterrence equation by providing India with an incentive to launch a counterforce pre-emptive strike against Pakistan.
In March 2019, India had successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon by destroying one of its own satellites in outer space. By doing so, India has become the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia, and China that possess the ASAT capability. Similarly, with this capability, the likelihood of India’s space weaponization is more evident as India would be in a strong position to kinetically destroy any incoming satellite.
ASAT capability would be huge advantage to India
This would be a significant military advantage, especially in a crisis, as India would be in a position to use its ASAT capability to disturb the satellite communications and intelligence gathering of its opponent states. Along with this, India would be able to destroy the targets of its adversary’s missiles.
India has also enhanced the observation, reconnaissance, and surveillance capabilities of its GSAT series with 0.35m resolution, and RISAT/Cartosat series with1-meter resolution.
Moreover, India aspires to integrate its BMD systems (Ballistic Missile Defenses) with its satellites. This expected integration would further strengthen India’s BMD as satellite networks in space would provide early information regarding the incoming missiles.
In the same vein, India’s overall BMD capabilities would also enhance with the incorporation of space-based detection along with the S-400 missile system.
India’s enhanced space capabilities have further enhanced the security concerns of Pakistan. Since Pakistan does not aspire to militarize space, there exists a visible qualitative gap between Pakistan’s and India’s space programs.
But in the space arena, the competitive cascade does not travel all the way to Pakistan because Pakistan’s space programme is underdeveloped. While Pakistan has expended considerable national wealth in keeping pace with India in its nuclear and missile capabilities, it has not done so with regard to outer space.
On the other hand, there might be a security incentive for Pakistan to demonstrate that it also has an ASAT capability.
Pakistan could also develop other counter-space capabilities, including cyber and electronic means to target India’s space assets. While this remains speculative so far, the history of India-Pakistan competition suggests that this remains a possibility.
To penetrate the space-based precision targeting capability of India, at the least Pakistan can use high energy lasers.
These lasers are ground-based ASAT weapons that can damage and disturb the other satellites with its sensors. Furthermore, the MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle) capabilities of Pakistan can easily infiltrate India’s enhanced Missile Defence shield integrated with satellites.
Pakistan’s premier space agency SUPARCO needs to further counter the emerging Indian space threat by developing indigenous observation and surveillance capability that could detect Indian space assets.
At the international level, Pakistan should further urge the international community to pressurize India against militarizing outer space. In this regard, PAROS (Proposed Prevention of an Arms Race in Space), though an agreement neglected by the international community needs to be agreed upon.
Besides this, the previous multilateral agreements like the 1972 liability convention (Prevention of damage by space objects), 1979 Moon Agreement (Prevention of activities on celestial bodies and moon) and others are needed to be further enforced.
This would likely highlight the militarization of space by India as a threat to international security. Pakistan further needs to draw its red lines vis-a-vis space militarization to deter India from any adventurous intrusion.
India had long maintained a rather doctrinaire approach toward space security, emphasising the peaceful uses of outer space and opposing the weaponization and militarization of space. Thus, India had opposed the US Strategic Defense Initiative programme and other efforts to build ballistic missile defences, let alone deploying ASAT systems. The reasons for such an approach was fairly clear: India did not house these capabilities
But by the early 2000s, India’s position had begun to change as Pakistan began acquiring long-range missiles. India felt the need to build ballistic missile defences, leading New Delhi to take a sympathetic view of the George W. Bush administration’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in late 2001. By the end of the decade, as India’s own capabilities increased, it was clear that India was becoming more discriminating in its attitude towards space security.
Regional politics at play
China’s ASAT test in 2007 helped advance India’s process of revaluating its space strategy. India realised that its growing investments in outer space – until then largely civilian in nature – were now under threat from China’s new security capabilities. India also started thinking more about how to manage outer space for security purposes. As a result, India established a space cell under its Integrated Defence Headquarters shortly after China’s ASAT test.
What occurs in space can be the result of a geopolitical chain reaction. For instance, consider the US-China-India relationship: China often takes action because of its strategic competition with the United States.
This has an impact on India, forcing India to respond. But India’s response to China has an effect on Pakistan, which then responds to India.
This cascade can be seen on land, and at times, in space. For example, China’s first successful anti-satellite (ASAT) test in January 2007 was to demonstrate a catch-up effort with the United States. But once China tested its ASAT in 2007, India had little choice but to develop its own ASAT because of the need of deterrence.
The space-based ISR capability has provided India a technical advantage to carry out a counter force pre-emptive strike against Pakistan. The technical abilities provided by space-based ISR when fused provide an ability called F2T2EA (Fix, Find, Track, Target, Engage, Assess).
This would give discernable data along with the exact target to attack. To counter such a pre-emptive strike by India, Pakistan must focus on the enhancement of its assured second-strike capability. Furthermore, Pakistan needs to further enhance the research and development of space-based ISR capability to retain the strategic balance in South Asia.
By Meteorologist Michael Gouldrick New York State PUBLISHED 6:30 AM ET Sep. 09, 2020 PUBLISHED 6:30 AM EDT Sep. 09, 2020
New York State has a long history of earthquakes. Since the early to mid 1700s there have been over 550 recorded earthquakes that have been centered within the state’s boundary. New York has also been shaken by strong earthquakes that occurred in southeast Canada and the Mid-Atlantic states.
A school gymnasium suffered major damage, some 90% of chimneys toppled over and house foundations were cracked. Windows broke and plumbing was damaged. This earthquake was felt from Maine to Michigan to Maryland.
Another strong quake occurred near Attica on August 12th, 1929. Chimneys took the biggest hit, foundations were also cracked and store shelves toppled their goods.
Strong earthquakes outside of New York’s boundary have also shaken the state. On February 5th, 1663 near Charlevoix, Quebec, an estimated magnitude of 7.5 occurred. A 6.2 tremor was reported in Western Quebec on November 1st in 1935. A 6.2 earthquake occurred in the same area on March 1st 1925. Many in the state also reported shaking on August 23rd, 2011 from a 5.9 earthquake near Mineral, Virginia.
Earthquakes in the northeast U.S. and southeast Canada are not as intense as those found in other parts of the world but can be felt over a much larger area. The reason for this is the makeup of the ground. In our part of the world, the ground is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been put together. If one piece shakes, the whole puzzle shakes.
In Rochester, New York, the most recent earthquake was reported on March 29th, 2020. It was a 2.6 magnitude shake centered under Lake Ontario. While most did not feel it, there were 54 reports of the ground shaking.
So next time you are wondering why the dishes rattled, or you thought you felt the ground move, it certainly could have been an earthquake in New York.
Here is a website from the USGS (United Sates Geologic Society) of current earthquakes greater than 2.5 during the past day around the world. As you can see, the Earth is a geologically active planet!
Another great website of earthquakes that have occurred locally can be found here.
To learn more about the science behind earthquakes, check out this website from the USGS.