If the past is any indication, New York can be hit by an earthquake, claims John Armbruster, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.Based on historical precedent, Armbruster says the New York City metro area is susceptible to an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 once a century.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.There’s another fault line on Dyckman St. and one in Dobbs Ferry in nearby Westchester County.“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.”“Considering population density and the condition of the region’s infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact,” says the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation on its website.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)
At a Glance
Tropical Storm Beta is several hundred miles east of Brownsville, TX.
New warnings have been issued for portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
This system may meander in the western Gulf the next several days.
Tropical Storm Beta has stalled in the western Gulf of Mexico, which will eventually set the storm up for a slow scrape of the Texas coast into next week. Beta poses a major threat of rainfall and coastal flooding to the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Beta’s formation is the 10th Atlantic named storm to form so far this month, which is the most on record for any September, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach. September is typically the most active month of the hurricane season.
(MORE: 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is Now Using Greek Alphabet For Only the Second Time)
A storm surge warning is now in effect from Port Aransas, Texas to High Island, Texas including Copano Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay, and Galveston Bay.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued from Port Aransas, Texas to High Island, Texas, including Galveston. Hurricane conditions are possible in this area on Monday, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Sunday.
A tropical storm warning is now in effect from Port Aransas, Texas to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Houston and Victoria, Texas and Cameron, Louisiana. Tropical storm conditions are expected in this area by late Sunday.
A storm surge watch has been issued from Baffin Bay to Port Aransas in South Texas, including Baffin Bay and Corpus Christi Bay; and from High Island, Texas to Cameron, Louisiana, including Sabine Lake and Calcasieu Lake.
A tropical storm watch has been issued from south of Port Aransas to the Mouth of the Rio Grande and east of High Island to Morgan City, Louisiana. Tropical storm conditions are possible in this area by late Saturday.
Current Wind Watches and Warnings
With plenty of warm ocean water and lessening wind shear, this system is expected to intensify gradually through the weekend. Some dry air and wind shear are hindering Beta’s circulation this afternoon.
How strong it will become remains uncertain but is currently expected to become a hurricane. Water temperatures are very warm, which supports intensification, and wind shear should remain low to moderate, at most. However, it could be impacted by some dry air and it could eventually churn up enough cooler water below the surface to keep a lid on its intensification.
Current Storm Status and Projected Path
(The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path.)
Beta’s center may hop around over the next few days as it tries to keep up with the thunderstorms that will power Beta into early next week. This will likely lead to jumps in the forecast left and right.
Even without the jumps in the forecast, this system has a number of twists and turns in its future.
First, a high pressure system setting up over the south-central U.S. has turned Beta westward at a slow pacr. This should be the most prevalent motion through the weekend and possibly into Monday.
After that, a dip in the jet stream and some lower pressures over the South may pick up Beta and take it northeastward by the middle part of next week, near or over the Texas or Louisiana coasts.
(Two big weather features will push Beta around in the northwestern Gulf over the next five days. )
Slow-moving tropical cyclones can be prolific rainfall producers, as we saw along the Gulf Coast and inland with Hurricane Sally.
Beta has been dropping light to moderate rainfall across southeastern Louisiana and southern portions of Mississippi and Alabama through much of Saturday. This plume of moisture may rotate westward or counter-clockwise through Louisiana and into Texas into Sunday.
(Note: Radar returns in some areas may appear lower than reality due to the obliteration of the Lake Charles radar during Hurricane Laura. )
Beta is expected to be no exception, in fact, the National Hurricane Center doubled its earlier rainfall forecast.
(MORE: A Hurricane’s Forward Speeds Can Be As Important as Its Intensity)
Much of southern Louisiana and coastal Texas should expect 8-12 inches of rainfall with isolated totals up to 20 inches possible.
Given Beta’s slow movement, heavy rainfall and flooding is an increasing danger near the Texas coast and possibly the Louisiana coast through next week.
A flash flood watch has been issued for portions of southeastern Texas.
Given the numerous changes in forward direction and upper-level winds, the zone of heaviest rainfall will likely change from day to day.
This is not expected to produce rainfall that is anywhere comparable to Hurricane Harvey or Imelda.
(This should be interpreted as a broad outlook of where the heaviest rain may fall.)
Increased surf and rip currents are also expected from northeastern Mexico to the northern Gulf Coast, beginning as soon as this weekend.
The National Weather Service notes that significant coastal flooding is possible on the middle and upper Texas coast through at least Tuesday morning, and coastal flooding might be possible in southeastern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi into early next week.
Persistent onshore flow and a possible storm surge component in combination with heavy rainfall could only worsen flooding near the coast into next week.
Here’s the current storm surge forecast from the National Hurricane Center:
Gusty winds will begin by Sunday afternoon across much of the western and northern Gulf Coast.
Winds could reach tropical-storm-force by late Sunday along portions of the Texas Coast and parts of the southwestern Louisiana coast.
Exactly where the worst winds are going to come ashore is uncertain, but hurricane conditions are possible between Corpus Christi and Galveston late Monday.
A few tornadoes are also possible on the upper Texas Coast on Monday.
For now, all interests near the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts should monitor closely the progress of this system and have their hurricane plans ready to go ahead of time in case it’s needed.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
The day before the snap drill was announced, the Russian Defense Ministry indicated there would be a drill involving the Iskander-M nuclear-capable missile system in the Southern Military , which is one of the areas for the snap drill. In August 2020, Russia announced a “special tactical exercise,” which involved simulated Iskander missile launches and the inspection of the “special hardware of the missile .” “Special” is a word used in Russia to describe nuclear weapons.
In late July 2020, the Russian nuclear-armed ICBM force (the RVSN) staged a major exercise involving operations in a nuclear war, including radiological decontamination of the ICBM launchers, which were on “combat patrol routes.” They were clearly fighting a mock nuclear war. In late June, July and August 2020, there were also threatening flights by Russian nuclear-capable bombers and other aircraft near the U.S., NATO allies, Ukraine and Finland. In August 2020, on the same day as the Iskander exercise involving “special weapons,” General Shoigu participated in an exercise of the mobile ICBM force.[iii]
The Caucasus 2020 (Kavkaz 2020) exercise, the largest planned exercise for 2020, will be, according to the Russian Defense Ministry and its Chief of the General Staff General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, a “special exercise.” The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the exercise will involve 80,000 troops, but Russia will not honor the Vienna document’s mandatory inspection provisions because of a contrived interpretation of this agreement. The probability of Russian simulated nuclear weapons use in such an exercise is very high. Kavkaz-2016 reportedly simulated the Russian launch of cruise missiles carrying non-strategic nuclear weapons.
In August 2020, Russia conducted a major naval exercise near Alaska, involving 50 ships and 40 aircraft, which involved cruise missile launches.
This pattern of preparation for war will likely continue and involve nuclear-capable forces.
In June 2020, Russia released a decree by President Putin on Russian nuclear deterrence policy, the first of its kind made public, which indicated a much lower threshold for nuclear weapons first use than was evident in the unclassified military doctrine publications released in 2010 and 2014. While much of the substance of Putin’s nuclear decree apparently goes back a long time, it clearly has new elements in it. Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolay Patrushev has characterized it as a “new Doctrine.” As Dr. Stephen Blank observed over 20 years ago, in Russian military doctrine, “Essentially there is no clear firebreak between conventional and nuclear scenarios in the open sources.” The 2020 decree presents a major but incomplete victory for the most hardline elements in the Russian military. The most fanatic of Russia’s generals want an open declaration of nuclear preemption as Russian strategy. In November 2018, the Russian Federation Council voted to urge the Kremlin to adopt a pre-emptive nuclear strike strategy against NATO and authorized it. (It already was secret Russian policy).
Putin’s decree indicates that Russian state-run RT (formerly Russia Today) and the independent Interfax[iv] news agency were accurate when they both reported Russian nuclear doctrine allows for nuclear weapons first use “…if the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation are under threat.” [v] (Emphasis in the original). Paragraph 4 of Putin’s 2020 decree states, “The state nuclear deterrence policy is of a defensive nature and is directed at supporting the capabilities of nuclear forces at a level sufficient to ensure nuclear deterrence and to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state and to deter a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies in the event of the emergence of an armed conflict by preventing the escalation of military activities and ending them on conditions acceptable to the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.”[vi]
In reviewing Putin’s decree, Russian expatriate Dr. Nikolai Sokov has pointed out, “Today, it is also easy to imagine a situation when the “existence” of Russia would not be threatened, but its ‘territorial integrity’ would—for example, an attempt to use force to return Crimea to Ukraine. The change of language may be explainable, but the presence of two very different definitions of nuclear threshold is not.” It actually is. The decree is not the entire Russia nuclear weapons use policy, which has always been included in classified documents.
In 2014-2015, there were a number of high level Russian nuclear threats relating to Ukraine, which were inconsistent with the announced Russian nuclear doctrine. Dmitry Adamsky of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy noted regarding Ukraine that Russia was “…engaged in nuclear signaling aimed to distance Western support out of fear of escalation, possibly also to soften further sanctions.” In 2015, President Putin said that during the Crimea crisis, he would have put Russian nuclear forces on alert if it were necessary. In July 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a nuclear threat relating to Crimea by referencing their nuclear doctrine. In September 2014, then-Ukrainian Minister of Defense Colonel General Valeriy Heletey wrote, “The Russian side has threatened on several occasions across unofficial channels that, in the case of continued resistance, they are ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon against us.”
The importance of these nuclear threats is that they were made to support blatant Russian aggression. Putin’s justification for the possible use of nuclear weapons in the Crimea crisis was that Crimea “is our historical territory. Russian people live there. They were in danger. We cannot abandon them.” As Dr. Stephen Blank has pointed out, protection of ethnic Russians was the rationale for Russian military intervention in Georgia, Crimea, Donbas, and Moldova. In 2015, Putin linked the protection of ethnic Russians to nuclear weapons use. Thus, the territorial integrity of Russia was changed to include the just conquered territory. In June 2017, Putin declared Russia would defend Crimea “with all means available to us.”[vii] The reason these statements appear to go beyond published Russian nuclear doctrine at that time is that that the published version was never complete. It still isn’t complete, but it is apparently closer to it than ever before.
Russian linkage of nuclear weapons first use to “sovereignty” is very disturbing because of the ambiguous nature of this concept and its potential permissiveness. In 2008, General of the Army Yuriy Baluyevskiy, then-Chief of the General Staff, declared that to “defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons.” In 2007 Putin declared, “The nuclear weapons remain the most important guarantee of Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and play a key role in maintaining the regional balance and stability.” Putin has said some amazing things about the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia, making these criteria potentially very permissive. President Putin has characterized cyber espionage (not cyber-attack) as “a direct violation of the state’s sovereignty…” In August 2020, President Putin stated that the Union State Treaty with Belarus obliges the parties to “to help each other protect their sovereignty, external borders and “stability. This is exactly what it says.”
Paragraph 19 of Putin’s decree listed four specific conditions for nuclear weapons first use:
The conditions which determine the possibility for the use by the Russian Federation of nuclear weapons are:
a) the receiving of creditable information concerning the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territories of the Russian Federation and (or) its allies;
b) the use by an enemy of a nuclear weapon or other types of weapons of mass destruction against the territories of the Russian Federation and (or) its allies;
c) enemy actions against critically important state or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the disablement of which will lead to a disruption of retaliatory operations of the nuclear forces;
d) aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weaponry, which threatens the existence of the state itself.[viii]
All four of Putin’s announced conditions allow for nuclear weapons first use in non-nuclear warfare. Paragraph 19(A), (B) and (C) all contain conditions for first use that are somewhat lower than even what appeared in the most alarming of the open source reports concerning Russian willingness to use nuclear weapons first. The supposed limitation of nuclear weapons first use in conventional war in previous editions of Russian military doctrine to situations in which there was an existential threat to Russia turned out to be a deception since all four of the conditions allow for first use of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear war.
The condition allowing for a nuclear response to the use of “other types of weapons of mass destruction…” (paragraph 19[C]) is broader than the three previous formulations in the military doctrine documents which spoke specifically about chemical and biological attack. This is clearly a change in declaratory policy. Michael Kofman from the Center for Naval Analysis has pointed out it is “…unclear how weapons of mass destruction are defined, some Russian military writing posits conventional capabilities as having strategic effects similar to nuclear weapons.” There are other possibilities, such as a very damaging cyber-attack.
The condition on the use of nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks on “nuclear forces” rather than “strategic nuclear forces” in paragraph 19(C) opens up the possibility of a nuclear response to a non-nuclear attack on a vast number of Russian military facilities, airbases, naval ships and Army bases and units. This is because dual capability (conventional and nuclear capability) is almost universal in Russia.[ix] The Russians are trying to use the threat of nuclear escalation to negate effectively our conventional and cyber capabilities. If they impose this targeting constraint upon us, we lose the war. Kofman’s suggestion that this is limited to cyber-attacks on nuclear command and control facilities contradicts the plain meaning of the provision. It clearly includes nuclear delivery vehicles and weapons. The provision can also be read to include cyber-attacks, but it certainly is not limited to cyber-attacks on nuclear command and control, which are not even mentioned. State documents on nuclear weapons use issues that do not contain “sloppy language.” Russian doctrinal writing in 1999 indicated that a nuclear strike might be used in response to conventional attacks on targets that are not even military.
The implicit meaning of the condition in paragraph 19(A) is that the launch of a single ballistic missile at Russia would be a justification for a Russian nuclear strike even before it was known what type of warhead the missile carried. This was made explicit in August 2020 when two senior officers of the Russian General Staff, Major General Andrei Sterlin and Colonel Alexander Khryapin, writing in the official newspaper of the Defense Ministry Red Star, noted that “. . . there will be no way to determine if an incoming ballistic missile is fitted with a nuclear or a conventional warhead, and so the military will see it as a nuclear attack.” They added, “Any attacking missile will be perceived as carrying a nuclear warhead” and, “The information about the missile launch will be automatically relayed to the Russian military-political leadership, which will determine the scope of retaliatory action by nuclear forces depending on the evolving situation.”
This is irresponsible in light of the potential consequences to Russia, but it is classic Putin. Indeed, in 2015, Putin declared that “Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight’s inevitable, you must strike first.” Applying street fighting tactics to nuclear war is not the smartest thing to do if a nation wants to survive. Yet, In March 2018, Alexander Velez-Green of the Harvard Belfer Center wrote, “Military Thought has published at least 18 articles in support of preemption against NATO from 2007 to 2017.” Military Thought is the journal of the Russian General Staff. In 2014, Dr. Sokov wrote that “nuclear exercises have been conducted with targets in Europe, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, and even the continental United States,” further adding that, “…all large-scale military exercises that Russia conducted beginning in 2000 featured simulations of limited nuclear strikes.” In January 2016, the annual report by the Secretary General of NATO indicated Russia in its Zapad (West) exercises not only simulated nuclear attacks against NATO but that in 2013 Russia simulated nuclear attacks against Sweden, which is not a NATO nation. This is inconsistent with Russia’s declaratory policy concerning so-called negative assurances. Negative assurances pledge no nuclear weapons use against non-nuclear nations that are not allied with a nuclear power.
This emphasis on pre-emption is particularly dangerous because Russia plans to use nuclear weapons, including nuclear armed ICBMs, as part of its “escalate to de-escalate” or “escalate to win” strategy.[x] Part of it is the concept of “escalation dominance.” According to Dr. Blank, “arguably [escalation dominance] is merely a part of a much broader nuclear strategy that relies heavily upon the psychological and intimidating component of nuclear weapons.” In 2009, Lieutenant General Andrey Shvaychenko, then-Commander of the Strategic Missile Force (RVSN), outlined the role of the nuclear ICBM force in conventional war. He said, “In a conventional war, [the nuclear ICBMs] ensure that the opponent is forced to cease hostilities, on advantageous conditions for Russia, by means of single or multiple preventive strikes against the aggressors’ most important facilities.”[xi] The most amazing thing about this statement is the implication that the introduction of strategic nuclear weapons in conventional war would not start a nuclear war.
In 2017, then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart affirmed that Russia is “the only country that I know of that has this concept of escalate to terminate or escalate to deescalate but they do have that built into their operational concept, we’ve seen them exercise that idea and it’s really kind of a dangerous idea…”[xii] He also said that he had seen no evidence that this policy was changing.[xiii]
Despite what Russia says about its possible response to the launch of even a single Western ballistic missile, Russia will clearly be launching nuclear-capable Kinzhal ballistic missiles against NATO in the event of a war. Paragraph 19(A) and (C) may be intended to deter conventional attacks on Russian territory in the event of a Russian invasion of NATO Europe. Paragraph 19(C) can justify a nuclear response to a conventional attack on almost any Russian military facility because virtually all Russian forces are nuclear-capable. Indeed, in 2018, President Putin stated Russia is developing nuclear weapons for “all types of forces.”
Putin’s decree contained implicit nuclear attack threats directed against NATO. In August 2020, the government-owned Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta made these threats explicit:
We will not analyse what kind of warheads they have, nuclear or not, and in any case, at the time of launch, decision will be made on a retaliatory strike to deliver a missile strike on the territory of the state from which the launch was carried out in our direction,” said military analyst Alexander Perendzhiev, member of the Officers of Russia expert council. Moreover, according to him, we are talking not only about countries where such missiles are produced but also about the countries that have allowed to host such missiles.[xiv]
Putin’s June 2020 nuclear decree clearly is not the entirety of Russia’s nuclear first use strategy. It did not supersede Putin’s 2017 decree on the Russian Navy. There are classified elements, including provisions for pre-emptive nuclear strikes. (Russian announced in 2009 that is was classifying its nuclear doctrine. Putin’s 2020 decree appears to be a partial reversal of this policy.) [xv] In September 2014, General of the Army (ret.) Yuriy Baluyevskiy, who developed the 2010 revision of Russia’s nuclear doctrine when he was Deputy Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, stated that the “…conditions for pre-emptive nuclear strikes…is contained in classified policy documents.”[xvi] In 2003, then-Russian Minister of Defense Colonel General Sergei Ivanov explained why these plans were kept secret. He told a reporter:
What we say is one thing. That sounds cynical, but everything that we plan does not necessarily have to be made public. We believe that from the foreign policy viewpoint, it is better to say that. But what we actually do is an entirely different matter.
There are certainly other secret aspects of Russian nuclear weapons use doctrine. According to state-run RT, “It follows from the document that nuclear deterrence is aimed at ensuring that the potential adversary understands the inevitability of retaliation in the event of aggression against Russia and its allies.” This is more permissive than Paragraph 19. In March 2020, state-run Sputnik News said that Russian nuclear doctrine provided for nuclear first use “…in response to large-scale conventional aggression.” This could allow a nuclear response to a conventional attack that would not be a threat to Russia’s existence. Moreover, what Russia is really talking about is not a response to aggression against Russia but a counterattack against Russian aggression, as was indicated in their nuclear threats related to Ukraine.
A hardline but very well-connected Russian journalist, Colonel (ret.) Nikolai Litovkin talked about what it would take for Russia to “push the button.” (Emphasis in the original). He wrote that while Russian strategy was defensive:
At the same time, a number of scenarios have been identified in which Russia could deploy nuclear weapons.
First, this pertains to the “build-up of general forces, including nuclear weapons delivery vehicles, in territories adjacent to the Russian Federation and its allies, and in adjacent offshore areas.”
Second, the “deployment of anti-ballistic missile defense systems and facilities, medium- and shorter-range cruise and ballistic missiles, precision non-nuclear and hypersonic weapons, strike drones, and directed-energy weapons by states that consider the Russian Federation to be a potential adversary.”
Third, the “creation and deployment in space of anti-ballistic missile defense facilities and strike systems.”
Fourth, the “possession by countries of nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction able to be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies, as well as the means to deliver them.”
Fifth, the “uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons, their means of delivery, and technologies and equipment for their manufacture.”
And sixth, the “deployment of nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles in non-nuclear states.”
Moscow also sets forth additional situations in which it is ready to take “extreme measures.” Among them is the “receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of Russia and (or) its allies,” as well as the “enemy deployment of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia and (or) its allies.”
Furthermore, the command to deploy nuclear weapons will be given in the event of an “enemy attack on critical state and military facilities of the Russian Federation which, if incapacitated, would disrupt a nuclear response,” as well as “aggression using conventional weapons that threatens the existence of the Russian state.”
According to Marek Menkiszak, head of the Russian Department at Poland’s Centre for Eastern Studies in Warsaw, “…the list of moves which could fall under the Russian definition of ‘threatening’ is impressive, and contains both offensive and defensive actions by a potential adversary.” The Litovkin version of Russian nuclear first-use policy indicates that these “concerns” are really conditions for “pressing the button.” He is apparently saying that in addition to Paragraph 19 criteria in the Putin decree, just about any serious threat to Russia justifies first use of nuclear weapons. Moreover, it appeared in Russian state media without any disclaimer concerning whether or not this is state policy. Litovkin’s conditions for nuclear weapons’ first use are actually similar to Russia’s nuclear missile targeting threats, which have involved missile defense facilities, troop deployments and non-existent U.S. INF missile deployments in Europe. Russia, including President Putin, has even threatened nuclear decapitation attacks against the U.S. with hypersonic missiles. Under Putin’s information warfare policy, nuclear threats are used “to achieve immediate strategic advantage.”
An August 2020 Red Star article, attributed to the General Staff, characterized the four conditions in the Putin decree as “redlines.” It also indicated that the political leadership would determine the scale of the nuclear response before they knew if the ballistic missile attack against Russia was nuclear. The response to a single missile launch against Russia, even without knowing the kind of warhead it carried, “will no doubt be crushing.”[xvii] Again, this is monumental stupidity because the consequences to Russia are ignored. This is irresponsibility turned into an art form.
The strong emphasis on escalation control in the original public discussion of nuclear first use in 1999 may be eroding, although there is still a considerable difference on initial nuclear first use. Keep in mind that the description of Russian targeting by General Shvaychenko cited above involves nuclear ICBM attacks “against the aggressors’ most important facilities.” This sounds more Soviet-like than the description of escalation in the doctrinal literature of 1999, which said Russia would “not to provoke the aggressor into escalating the use of nuclear weapons without a justified reason,” according to a First Deputy Defense Minister.
The new Russian nuclear doctrine in the context of massive modernization of Russian nuclear forces and constant nuclear first use exercises is very disturbing. It makes it critically necessary to modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent capability.
Dr. Mark B. Schneider is a Senior Analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy. Before his retirement from the Department of Defense Senior Executive Service, Dr. Schneider served in a number of senior positions within the Office of Secretary of Defense for Policy including Principal Director for Forces Policy, Principal Director for Strategic Defense, Space and Verification Policy, Director for Strategic Arms Control Policy and Representative of the Secretary of Defense to the Nuclear Arms Control Implementation Commissions. He also served in the senior Foreign Service as a Member of the State Department Policy Planning Staff.
[i] “Are Russian Military Deliveries to Armenia during Fighting in Tovuz Accidental?,” Turan News Agency, August 13, 2020, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/ 2433241217/ fulltext/1735CF59B993DB8DD7A/2?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=1735CF59B993DB8DD7A/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_173f7746b79
[ii] “In a Broad Context,” Krasnaya Zvezda Online, April 30, 2011. Translated by World News Connection. World News Connection is no longer available on the internet
[iii] “Russian defence chief visits nuclear missile unit – TV report,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, August 11, 2020, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/2432434299/fulltext/173 5CFAB5F96948C9F9/3?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=1735CFAB5F96948C9F9/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_173f785a34a
[iv] “Updated Russian military doctrine has no preemptive nuclear strike provision – source,” Interfax, December 10, 2014, available at http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=6&id=558118
[v] “Preemptive nuclear strike omitted from Russia’s new military doctrine – reports,” RT, December 10, 2014, available at http://rt.com/politics/213111-russia-nuclear-preemptive-strike/
[vi] “Putin approves state policy on nuclear deterrence – text,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, June 4, 2020, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/2409183356/fulltext/ 171E6F03B7B7D7382ED/2?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=171E6F03B7B7D7382ED/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_1728171393a
[vii] “Russia will defend Crimea with all possible means: Putin,” United News of India, June 15, 2017, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/1909584353/fulltext/173CA7D85A64B2AA7/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=173CA7D85A64B2AA7/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_17464fc5947
[viii] “Putin approves state policy on nuclear deterrence – text,” op. cit.
[ix] Alexander Mladenov, “Best in the Breed,” Air Forces Monthly, May 2017, p. 51
[x] “Senate Committee on Armed Services Hearing on U.S. Strategic Command Programs,” Political Transcript Wire, April 4, 2017, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/ professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/ 1902238886/fulltext/167BE8951294B52C4B4/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=1 67BE8951294B52C4B4/1&t:cp=maintain/Resultitationblocksbrief&t:zo neid=transactionalZone_16859081e63
[xi] “Russia may face large-scale military attack, says Strategic Missile Troops chief,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet
Union, December 16, 2009, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/ 460433852/fulltext/173438170CB2F81FF58/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=173438170CB2F81FF58/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_173de004188
[xii] “S Armed Services Hearing on Worldwide Threats,” Political Transcript Wire, May 23, 2017, available at https: //dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/1902238886/fulltext/1738266AFAE364AFE88/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=1738266AFAE364AFE88/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_1741ce58604
[xiv] “Russian pundits discuss new rules for use of nuclear weapons,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, August 19, 2020, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/24351 60686/ fulltext/1738C5577584F127A6B/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=1738C5577584F127A6B/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_17426d445a8
[xv] “Army; Closed Part of New Military Doctrine to Define Legal Aspects Of Forces’ Employment, Nuclear
Weaponsâ€•Gen. Staff,” Interfax, August 14, 2009, available https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professional newsstand/ docview/443749342/fulltext/173D4BAD9862D0C73B8/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewss tand&t:ac=173D4BAD9862D0C73B8/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_1746f39a927
[xvi] “Russia classifies information on pre-emptive nuclear strikes – military,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, September 5, 2014, available at Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0728,0752,0826Sep
14/BBC, available at https://dialog.proquest.com/professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/1560021754/fulltext/ 17344A2E7A6775A1A7F/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=17344A2E7A6775A1A7F/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_173df21b673
[xvii] “Russian pundits discuss new rules for use of nuclear weapons,” op. cit.
Saturday, 19 September, 2020 – 05:15
The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, warned on Friday against dragging Iraq to a “dark tunnel” by targeting cultural and diplomatic centers with missiles and explosives. Instead he called for using “political and parliamentary means” to deal with the US presence in the country.
“Attacking diplomatic and cultural centers will push Iraq to a dark tunnel,” Sadr wrote on Twitter.
The leader of the Sadrist movement called for using political means and resorting to the parliament “to end the occupation” and stop foreign interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
Commenting on Sadr’s statements, Ihsan Al Shameri, the head of the Political Thought Center in Baghdad, told Asahrq Al-Awsat that the leader of the Sadrist movement is trying to improve his image.
The position of the Shiite cleric came as armed factions continued to attack the Green Zone in Baghdad, where the US embassy is located.
On Friday, an explosion inside the American Institute for Teaching English in central Najaf, 160 km south of Baghdad, caused extensive damage to its building.
The Najaf Police Command said initial information indicates that an explosive device blew up at the Institute, without causing any casualties.
Shortly before the Najaf attack, an explosive device detonated on the highway in Al-Musayyib district in Babylon governorate, targeting a convoy transporting equipment for the international coalition by Iraqi transport companies, Iraq’s Security Media Cell announced.
It said the explosion did not cause human losses or material damage.
Also, the Salah al-Din Operations Command announced the explosion of a pile of ammunition in an abandoned building inside the Spyker base, denying rumors of the bombing of a Popular Mobilization Forces warehouse at the base.
The Operations Command stated that the ammunition exploded as a result of poor storage and high temperatures.
Tasnim News Agency
In an address to a gathering of IRGC personnel on Saturday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Hossein Salami hit back at US President Donald Trump for threatening military action against Iran.
In a tweet on Monday, Trump said any attack by Iran would be met with a response “1,000 times greater in magnitude”, after a Politico report alleged that Iran has plans to avenge the assassination of top commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani by killing US Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks.
The IRGC commander made it clear that the “decisive, serious and real” revenge for the assassination of Lt. General Soleimani would be taken in an honorable, fair and just manner, not on a female ambassador to South Africa.
“We will hit the people who, directly and indirectly, played a role in the martyrdom of the great man (General Soleimani),” Major General Salami underlined, giving a serious warning that anybody with a role in the January assassination plot will be hit.
Downplaying the American threat of a response 1,000 times greater in magnitude, the IRGC commander said hundreds of Iranian missiles had been prepared to “devastate” the US targets in a possible confrontation after the retaliatory strike on the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Iraq in January.
The enemy is being monitored by the IRGC everywhere and would get hit if necessary, Salami added.
The commander described the termination of the US as an undeniable reality, denounced Washington’s bid to trigger the so-called snapback mechanism to reinstate the sanctions on Iran, and said not a single bullet would be fired even if the US pulls such a trigger.
He finally highlighted the growing capabilities of the Iranian Armed Forces, saying the Islamic Republic has enhanced its influence as far as the Mediterranean and would chase the enemies.
In comments in April 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said the US is aware of the crushing response it will have to face in case of taking military action against Iran.
The era of hit and run is now over, and the US knows that if it gets entangled in military action against Iran, it will receive much harsher blows, Ayatollah Khamenei underlined.
The US is seeking a way to evade the costs of standing against Iran and place them on regional countries, the Leader said, reminding certain regional countries that if they confront Iran, “they will definitely suffer blows and defeat”.
Just as PM was telling the audience in Washington the agreements with UAE and Bahrain could ‘end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all,’ southern Israelis were running for bomb shelters yet again
Published: 09.17.20 , 15:41
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated signing landmark accords with two Gulf states in Washington, near the Israeli-Gaza border Tammy Shalev was hunkering down in a bomb shelter.
The latest flare-up with Palestinian militants in the enclave jarred with Netanyahu’s claim that the deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain could “end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all”
The rocket fire from Gaza, controlled by Islamist group Hamas, began Tuesday evening as the premier attended the signing ceremony at the White House.
By Wednesday morning, 15 rockets had been fired, according to the military, which said it responded with airstrikes on Hamas targets.
Two people were wounded when a rocket hit the Israeli port city of Ashdod, emergency services said. Nine of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defenses, according to the army.
(L-R)Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington
The violence came barely two weeks after a truce halted nearly nightly exchanges across the border throughout August.
Shalev, a 30-year-old software engineer, welcomed the Gulf agreements but saw no immediate benefit.
“It’s mainly good on paper,” she told AFP in the Israeli town of Sderot, close to the Gaza border.
“We don’t see it in the day-to-day. Like last night, we didn’t sleep.”
What about Gaza?
Until the Gulf deals, Israel had only signed peace accords with two Arab nations, Egypt and Jordan, following wars with both.
But while many Israelis have welcomed the Gulf accords, in Sderot’s main square, resident Yehuda Ben Loulou said Israel’s premier “should first solve the main problem in Gaza”.
Since 2007 Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza’s two million residents and fought three wars with Hamas as well as numerous flare-ups.
IDF airstrikes in Gaza
Netanyahu “goes to easy countries, with whom we have no problems. They sign agreements. But what about Gaza?” said Ben Loulou, 59, a black-and-white kippa resting on his head.
But David Amar, a retired carpenter and ardent Netanyahu supporter, was more optimistic.
“If the big players in the Arab world make peace with us, it’ll certainly force (Palestinian president) Mahmud Abbas to do the same,” said the 70-year-old.
The Palestinian Authority, dominated by the Fatah movement led by Abbas, exerts power in parts of the West Bank, but not Gaza. It has been in a bitter stand-off with Hamas for over a decade.
Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza
Abbas warned Tuesday the Gulf deals will “not achieve peace in the region” until the US and Israel acknowledge his people’s right to a state.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Palestinian leaders have broken off all contacts with the Trump administration over what they see as its bias towards Israel.
A peace initiative unveiled by Washington in January excludes Palestinians’ key demands such as an autonomous state with a capital in east Jerusalem.
But Amar, who leaned on crutches and clutched a pro-Netanyahu newspaper with a front-page reading: “A new Middle East”, said the latest deals would be game-changers.
President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership to discuss the United Arab Emirates’ deal with Israel to normalize relations
“Palestinians are stubborn, it’ll force them to make peace,” he said. “We need a new Palestinian leadership to make peace with us.”
But despite the deals, Sderot resident Shalev said her daily life would only improve after a deal bringing lasting calm to the Gaza border.
“Unless this is the way to make peace with the Palestinians in the long-term, which I don’t see, then… we don’t see the benefits,” she said
Confidential documents prepared by Chinese geologists and obtained by the Guardian show that those geologists had been rushing to help the kingdom map out its uranium reserves as part of their nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the Communist nation.
The geologists identified reserves that would be able to produce more than 90,000 tons of uranium from three “major deposits” in the center and northwest of the country.
Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency is working with a Chinese-linked institute to find and develop uranium for the Saudis — despite the fact the UN nuclear watchdog’s inspectors are still not permitted in the kingdom.
The IAEA published a document detailing how it was helping the kingdom develop nuclear fuel, something necessary for nuclear power and weapons.
The geologists’ work was also referenced in a statement from the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, which stated that promising locations were presented to the Saudis’ vice minister for mining affairs at the end of last year.
Saudi Arabia has said it wants to develop uranium for peaceful uses, but Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said it would develop nukes if regional rival Iran did.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called nuclear proliferation by Saudi Arabia a real “risk.”
“We’ve made it a real priority in this administration, working on these proliferation issues,” Pompeo told The Post during an exclusive interview last month.
“We’re trying to take down risk of proliferation all across the world, whether that’s in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea, or Russia,” he said, naming the oil-rich country along with basket-case regimes.