The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be WaitingBy MARGO NASHPublished: March 25, 2001Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.Q. What have you found?A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault? A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.MARGO NASH

Trump may kill Russian nuclear deal

U.S. Allies Worry Trump Administration Might Let Key Nuclear Treaty With Russia Die

Internal documents acknowledge concern among allies about the expiration of the Obama-era New START accord, but U.S. negotiators are still playing hardball.

Jack DetschSeptember 24, 2020, 5:38 PM

Top U.S. arms negotiator Marshall Billingslea and Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere give a press conference in Vienna after the U.S. and Russia met for talks on the New START nuclear treaty on June 23. Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. allies are concerned about the repercussions of the looming expiration of the Obama-era New START arms control treaty between the United States and Russia, according to an internal administration report obtained by Foreign Policy. Meanwhile, former officials and arms control experts worry the administration may be seeking to slow-walk the accord to death by making impossible demands of Russia just months before the treaty is slated to end.

The Trump administration faces a tight deadline to renew the 2010 New START Treaty, which slaps limits on the number of strategic launchers, such as intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers that both nations can deploy. Unless both sides reach an agreement on an extension, it will end in February 2021, leaving no meaningful treaty to stave off the threat of an arms race. Top U.S. arms negotiator Marshall Billingslea appears to have temporarily set aside one condition already broadly dismissed as a nonstarter—adding China to the bilateral accord.

Still, he has insisted Beijing will have to be part of any agreement that would replace New START. “The next treaty will have to be multilateral, it will have to include China, and the framework that we are articulating together as two great powers, us and the Russians, will be the framework going forward that China will be expected to join,” Billingslea told reporters in a briefing last month. 

In the meantime, U.S. officials have added other conditions: predicating a short-term extension of New START on expanded restrictions on Russia’s growing arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons.

So far, Russia hasn’t shown any inclination to go along with such preconditions for negotiating an extension of the treaty. As the clock winds down, U.S. allies in Europe and arms control experts fear New START might not be renewed.

In an internal State Department report for Congress, the Trump administration acknowledged that the United States’ closest allies are hoping to constrain Russia’s and China’s weapons programs. But the report also notes that allies are growing unnerved by the prospect of talks falling apart as Washington is distracted by a contested presidential election. 

“Much has changed in the decade since New START was signed in 2010, including the development and deployment of new Chinese and Russian nuclear capabilities and the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russia’s longstanding violation and refusal to return to compliance,” said the report, sent to Capitol Hill in July. “Allies and partners share these concerns, although they are also concerned about the potential repercussions to the international security environment should New START expire before its full term.”

Though Billingslea has tried to push the Russians to accept more weapons inspections, there is concern among experts that the United States would also lose vital intelligence into Russian nuclear modernization if the deal lapses. 

Given China’s rapid military modernization and its new place as America’s major strategic rival, the Trump administration sought to rope China into what was originally a bilateral accord. China dismissed repeated efforts by Trump administration officials to begin discussions on the matter—including Billingslea posting a photo of empty seats with Chinese flags placed in front of them during negotiations with Russia that drew scorn from both Russian and Chinese officials. 

Eventually, even U.S. President Donald Trump backed away from the insistence on including China in the renegotiated New START treaty by this summer, and Billingslea appeared to drop any such demands in his meeting with Russian counterparts in Vienna last month. That initial insistence helped cause long delays in the treaty’s renewal, which has worried many U.S. allies.

Read More

<img src=”https://foreignpolicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/GettyImages-871867032.jpg?w=800&h=532&quality=80&#8243; alt=”China’s President Xi Jinping (L) and US President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.” class=”image -fit-3-2″>

Trump Fixates on China as Nuclear Arms Pact Nears Expiration

<img src=”https://foreignpolicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/GettyImages-872040428.jpg?w=800&h=533&quality=80&#8243; alt=”U.S. President Donald Trump in Beijing” class=”image -fit-3-2″>

Trump Wants China on Board With New Arms Control Pact

<img src=”https://foreignpolicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/GettyImages-1262330490.jpg?w=800&h=533&quality=80&#8243; alt=”U.S. President Donald Trump” class=”image -fit-3-2″>

Trump Undercuts Pentagon Over Germany Troop Withdrawal

“Publicly, they will lament [stalled negotiations] heavily because their domestic politics demand it. But they also recognize that, in the long term, China’s absence from any meaningful nuclear arms control is a concern,” said one U.S. official. 

But even publicly, U.S. allies have said they’d like to see the deal renewed sooner rather than later, even if that means dealing with China at a later date.

“In the absence of any agreement which includes China, I think the right thing will be to extend the existing New START agreement to provide the necessary time to find agreement—U.S., Russia, but hopefully also with China,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a think tank forum in June. “We cannot risk losing the New START agreement without having something else … to replace [it],” he added. Last year’s demise (over Russian violations) of the Reagan-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty raised concerns in Europe.

But after three years of shifting objectives, maximalist demands, and minimal interagency cooperation, some in Washington are beginning to wonder if the administration is actually trying to save the deal after all. 

Several House aides who spoke to Foreign Policy on condition of anonymity said that they had gotten minimal information on the Trump administration’s negotiating framework, and they worried the United States could still be positioning for an exit from the deal, given little coordinated interagency activity on forging a new agreement over the past three years. They point to newly provided reports to Congress that raise questions about whether New START remains in U.S. interests—a seemingly politically charged departure from past findings—by pointing to Russian violations of other arms control treaties. Billingslea, for his part, has suggested that the United States could reinstall launchers on ballistic missile submarines that were taken out of service to comply with the 2010 deal. 

But while Trump has overseen the U.S. exit from plenty of international agreements—the Iran nuclear deal, the INF Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty—and previously called New START “another bad deal,” it’s not clear he would bless the demise of New START now. Many attribute the dropping of the demand to include China to the president himself.

“The leash more or less got yanked in July when Trump said he wants to pursue a deal with Russia first,” said Pranay Vaddi, a former State Department arms control official and now a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, referring to a White House press conference earlier this summer when Trump called for the pursuit of talks with Russia instead of a trilateral deal.

But then came fresh demands—and increasingly tough negotiating ploys from the U.S. team. 

“I suspect that after President Trump wins reelection, if Russia has not taken up our offer, that the price of admission, as we would say in the U.S., goes up,” Billingslea told the Russian newspaper Kommersant in an interview on Monday. 

Some critics see the new U.S. demands, such as for more U.S. inspections of Russian nuclear weapons and the expansion to cover tactical nuclear weapons, as moving the goal posts too close to the deadline.

“This is an eleventh-hour offer at best here after three years of this administration being in office,” said Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association. “This is coming extremely late in the game, all of which raises the ever-growing concern that this is about running out the clock.”

One concern is that, even if Trump himself is ready to dial back his initial demands and aim for a more limited renewal of the existing treaty with Russia, not everybody is on board.

“[Billingslea]’s trying to seize failure from the grip of victory because he ultimately doesn’t like arms control, but he probably has a boss who does,” Vaddi said.

Jack Detsch is Foreign Policy’s Pentagon and national security reporter. Twitter: @JackDetsch

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @RobbieGramer

The threat of Pakistani Nukes: Revelation 8

Why Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Are A Bigger Threat To India Than Enormous Chinese Nuclear Stockpile?

By EurAsian Times Desk

September 24, 2020

At a time when Pakistan’s arch-rival – India is deeply engaged with China in the eastern Ladakh region, Islamabad knows it has got a clear window of opportunity to edge ahead of India, with the help of its nuclear program.

Pakistan is one of the nine countries to have developed nuclear weapons and in doing so, the country holds a unique strategic advantage over India as it is able to hold off any possible Indian aggression with the threat of using nuclear weapons. As it is, Islamabad does not have a any first use nuclear policy, which further raises doubts in New Delhi.

File Image

While Pakistan’s nuclear capacity may still be inferior to “Iron Brother” China, it has a nuclear arsenal that perfectly suits its requirements with an array of tactical nuclear weapons. Unlike significantly larger strategic nuclear weapons, Islamabad’s tactical nuclear weapons, also known as non-strategic nuclear weapons are low-yield weapons, weighing not more than 10 kilotons.

Utilized to eliminate military targets on the battlefield, the weapons are mainly used against troop formations, supply dumps, headquarters units and other high-value targets.

According to Hans M. Kristensen, Director of Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists and his affiliate Robert Norris, Pakistan has “the world’s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile”.

“Pakistan possesses between 150 and 160 nuclear weapons. It has stockpiled approximately 3.4 ± 0.4 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and produces enough HEU for perhaps 10 to 15 warheads per year. Pakistan also has a stockpile of about 280 kg of weapons-grade plutonium.” According to a report published in the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) Security Index.

Currently, Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division Force or (SPD Force) is the agency responsible for the protection of the nation’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.

SPD Force Pioneer Director Lieutenant General (retired) Khalid Kidwai, who founded the special division, had earlier put light on Pakistan’s ‘Full Spectrum Deterrence’ policy which is aimed at guiding the development of the nation’s nuclear capability to bring “every Indian target into Pakistan’s striking range”.

“(Pakistan has) the full spectrum of nuclear weapons in all three categories — strategic, operational and tactical, with full range coverage of the large Indian landmass and its outlying territories.” “India would have no place to hide,” said Kidwai.

In comparison to Pakistan, the Indian army is much larger and fields huge numbers of qualitatively superior equipment–particularly the tanks. However, Islamabad’s nuclear weapons, especially their tactical nuclear weapons hold the key to offsetting that advantage from India.

Another added advantage that Pakistan might have over other countries is that, unlike India and China, Islamabad does not have a “no first use” policy, and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, particularly low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, in a bid to offset India’s advantage in a conventional war.

Thereby, if pressured into resorting to nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s response would be far swifter than its neighbours. Meanwhile, both India and China have a well-defined policy of ‘No First Use’ of nuclear wepaons.

“India’s quest for deterrence stability with China — the ability to have a secure second-strike option against that country — has created crisis instability with Pakistan, where Islamabad/Rawalpindi worries that the INS Arihant, India’s sole nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), will be used for a first strike against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in a crisis.

Such a belief is likely to generate a “use it or lose it” pressure for Pakistan in a contingency involving India.” says Yogesh Joshi, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University.

Calm before the next wind of God‘s wrath: Jeremiah 23

After a Frenetic 7-Week Stretch, National Hurricane Center’s Outlook Map Is Finally Blank Again

At a Glance

Friday’s outlook from the National Hurricane Center had no storms or areas to watch.

This was the first time the Atlantic Basin outlook map was blank since early August.

There were 14 named storms during that stretch.

There is still about 28 percent of an average hurricane season left.

This includes the recently volatile month of October.

The National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic Basin outlook map was devoid of any active storms or areas to watch for the first time in almost two months as the Atlantic hurricane season finally takes a brief rest after a hectic stretch.

The outlook map on the front page of the National Hurricane Center’s website depicts current active tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes, as well as areas the NHC is monitoring for potential development over the next five days.

In recent weeks, that map has been littered with multiple storms and circles showing areas that could – and in many cases, did – develop.

However, Friday, that map finally went blank.

The NHC’s outlook map on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, had no active storms or areas of potential development for the first time in seven weeks.

(NOAA/NHC)

That was the first time the NHC map was blank since Aug. 7, seven weeks ago.

While August and September are typically the peak months of the Atlantic hurricane season, this seven-week stretch was particularly active.

Fourteen named storms formed during this frenetic stretch, beginning with Tropical Storm Josephine and ending two letters deep into the Greek alphabet with Tropical Storm Beta.

The named storms that formed from Aug. 7 to Sept. 22, 2020, beginning with Josephine and ending with Beta.

Six of those became hurricanes and two of those – Laura and Teddy – reached Category 4 strength.

That’s roughly an entire average season’s worth of storms (13), hurricanes (7) and major hurricanes (3) compressed into seven weeks.

Four of those storms – Laura, Marco, Sally and Beta – made a mainland U.S. landfall.

Contrast the blank NHC map above with what we saw last week.

On Monday, Sept. 14, there were five active named storms at once, plus a couple of other areas the NHC was monitoring that would eventually develop.

The NHC’s outlook map on Sept. 14, 2020, at 8 a.m. EDT included five active named storms and two areas they were monitoring for development, denoted by X’s with circles.

(NOAA/NHC)

Four days later, only Teddy remained from Monday’s map, but three new storms – Wilfred, Alpha and Beta – formed in just six hours on Sept. 18, and also pushed the names list into the Greek alphabet for the second time ever.

One of the storms – Subtropical Storm Alpha – moved into Portugal. It was so far off the map, only the letter “A” could fit in the extreme northeast corner of the NHC’s map.

Same as above, but on Sept. 18, 2020, at 2 p.m. EDT. One of the active named storms at the time, Subtropical Storm Alpha, is almost off the map in the upper-right corner, with only the first letter of Alpha – “A” – visible on the map.

(NOAA/NHC)

And here’s the progression of the NHC outlooks during this stretch from Virginia Tech graduate student Tyler Stanfield.

The Lull Won’t Last Long

These quieter periods in the heart of hurricane season are typical.

In this case, an atmospheric oscillation called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is moving into a phase to suppress convection in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean through the end of the month. This means relative quiet for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin.

However, Michael Ventrice, a meteorological scientist with The Weather Company, an IBM Business, noted the MJO is forecast to return to a more supportive phase for tropical storms and hurricanes by mid-October.

October can still be an active and dangerous month – and more of a threat than August or September for some parts of the U.S.

While the typical area for development shrinks westward in October compared to September, October’s storms and hurricanes often move north from the deep, warm western Caribbean Sea toward Florida, the eastern Gulf Coast, or the East Coast of the U.S.

Here are the typical areas for development of Atlantic Basin tropical storms and hurricanes in September (first image) and October (second image).

Recent October hurricanes like this include Michael, Matthew, Sandy and Wilma. All of those hurricanes were so destructive, their names were retired from future use.

In South Florida, October – not September – is the month with the most hurricane direct hits. According to NOAA’s Best Track Database, 26 October hurricanes have passed within 100 nautical miles of Miami since 1851.

An average remainder of the hurricane season would deliver another four to five named storms, two to three of which become hurricanes and one of which strengthens to a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger), according to statistics compiled by Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a tropical scientist at Colorado State University.

Using a metric called the ACE index, which tracks not only numbers of storms but also how long they last and how strong they become, about 28% of the hurricane season’s activity remains, according to Klotzbach’s statistics.

Enjoy this break while it lasts, but keep hurricane plans ready in case another storm threatens.

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 rising Iraqi nuclear horn: Revelation 8

Iraq reveals plans to build nuclear reactors for research purposes

The New Arab Staff

Iraq’s Saddam-era nuclear plant at Tuwaitha was destroyed in the Gulf War [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2020

Iraq is ‘looking forward to restoring its position in nuclear science, which it occupied in the 1970s and 1980s’, said the head of the country’s nuclear body

The office of the Iraqi prime minister has ordered the formation of a committee to build nuclear reactors for research purposes, the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority (IRSRA) said on Thursday.

The head of the authority, Kamal Hussein Latif, told the national Iraqi News Agency (INA) that Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi “is aware of the importance of the issue of atomic energy”, having discussed it in a recent meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Latif added that Iraq is “looking forward to restoring its position in nuclear science, which it occupied in the 1970s and 1980s”, highlighting a recent resolution by the UN Security Council in support of Iraq’s renewed work in the nuclear field and its potential peaceful benefits.

The reactors will be able to help produce medical isotopes and pharmaceuticals, in addition to having agricultural and industrial applications such as seed irradiation, nuclear insect sterilisation for pest control, and the production of radioactive isotopes with various industrial benefits, Latif explained.

He estimated the construction process for the reactor  would take approximately five years.

Latif added that the project would be a boon for Iraqi employment, providing training and work opportunities and help the oil-rich country move away from its dependency on fossil fuels for energy.

“Nuclear energy is an issue of the utmost national importance that can benefit the future of Iraq for generations,” Latif concluded in his statement.

Iraq’s previous nuclear power reactors, built during Saddam Hussein’s rule, were destroyed almost thirty years ago.

The country had three reactors in Tuwaitha, its main nuclear research site located south of Baghdad.

One was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 1981, and the other two by US strikes during the 1991 Gulf war following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait the previous year.

The seduction of the Chinese nuclear horn

Pompeo: China using nuclear weapons program aid to seduce US allies in Middle East

By Joel Gehrke

September 24, 2020 – 3:25 PM

China is using the prospect of access to technology related to a nuclear weapons program to lure American allies into Beijing’s geopolitical orbit, U.S. officials and lawmakers fear.

“I’m sure that they are,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Washington Examiner during an interview this week. “Certainly, when it comes to missile systems, we’ve seen that.”

China reportedly has provided Saudi Arabia with assistance in building a facility that can process yellowcake, which arms control observers regard as a sign that Riyadh could partner with the communist power to develop its own nuclear program. That suspicion was made explicit during a wide-ranging Senate hearing on the state of American policy in the Middle East, in which the sensitivity of the topic precluded a full discussion but couldn’t hide the U.S. unease about whether Riyadh’s security plans could benefit China.

“May I ask our witnesses about Saudi Arabia and its efforts to develop its own indigenous nuclear material program and to have a missile program, as well, which would be an enormously destabilizing element into the Middle East,” Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, asked State Department officials during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “If China is helping Saudi Arabia right now, the American people have a right to know that, especially a month before a presidential election.”

State Department undersecretary David Hale demurred repeatedly, explaining that all of the information available to him on that topic is classified.

“The most effective means to prevent this kind of proliferation and destabilizing activity would be to make sure that we’re addressing the threats that Saudi Arabia faces and providing it with the means of self-defense,” said Hale, the State Department’s third-highest ranking official.

Saudi Arabia has declared an interest in civilian nuclear power, but American analysts historically look with skepticism at oil-rich nations that seek nuclear energy.

“A country that has huge oil and natural gas reserves and is seeking nuclear power, for what? Not because it needs it for domestic energy, but for its design for nuclear weapons,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said during the hearing to explain the origin of his suspicion that Iran wanted nuclear weapons.

The relationship between the U.S. policy towards Iran and the Saudi interest in nuclear power proved controversial, as Democratic lawmakers argued that the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal had the unintended consequence of diminishing constraints on Tehran’s program and thus of incentivizing Saudi Arabia to pursue the same capability.

Administration officials, on the other hand, maintained that the withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord and the renewal of U.S. sanctions represented a step toward a more substantial curb on the Iranian program.

“We think that with that pressure, once our election is over, they will come to the negotiating table,” State Department special representative Elliot Abrams said during the hearing. “We do hope for the ability to negotiate what we would view as a comprehensive deal that would include a nuclear aspect that would really prevent Iran from moving toward a nuclear weapon — something that we don’t believe the JCPOA actually did.”

Hale testified that, in the meantime, U.S. officials are urging Saudi Arabia to strike a “gold standard” nuclear power cooperation agreement in which Riyadh would acquire civil nuclear power but would not build any nuclear industry infrastructure that could pull double-duty for a nuclear weapons program.

“We agree that there has to be commitment to a gold standard,” Hale said. “The most effective way in order to prevent those hypothetical scenarios from unfolding is to make sure that Saudi Arabia knows that we together are partners in defense of their security and that we are addressing their legitimate security needs.”

Pompeo didn’t comment explicitly on the yellowcake report, but he acknowledged in the interview that China is offering missile capabilities not only to reap financial gains, but also to build new alliances at the expense of the United States.

“They’re developing this technology, and they are actively soliciting in the market all across the world,” Pompeo told the Washington Examiner. “There’s no doubt that they’re using that both for economic benefit, but to create security alliances as well.”

That observation keyed an acknowledgment that the administration’s recent attempts to broker Arab-Israeli peace deals represent, in part, an effort to blunt China’s attempts to peel Middle Eastern nations away from the U.S.

“It’s why [we’re doing] what we’re doing in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords and the coalition that we’re building out and continuing to make sure that America is investing in those places and that the West is connected to the Middle East,” Pompeo said. “This will create the option set, so that these countries know that they can rely on its good friend and partner in the United States [and] don’t have to turn to China for their security.”

The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

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

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be WaitingBy MARGO NASHPublished: March 25, 2001Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.Q. What have you found?A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault? A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.MARGO NASH

Confrontation between Babylon the Great and the Russian horn

Russia Scrambled Su-27 Fighters to Intercept B-52s Over the Black Sea

NATO vs. Russia tensions rising?

In late August in a single-day mission, six B-52 bombers took part in the “Allied Sky” flyover, crossing 30 NATO countries to highlight solidarity with U.S. partners and allies. Four of the Cold War-era bombers, which were deployed from Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford, flew across Europe likely to send a strong message to Russia.

That message may have been received as Russia launched two Su-27 fighters to intercept two U.S. Air Force B-52s that were taking part on a patrol mission over the Black Sea on Wednesday, September 23. While it is unclear if the bombers were also from RAF Fairford, the Air Force has been regularly conducting Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions across the European theater of operations since 2018.

According to the Russian National Defense Control Center, two air targets were detected over the neutral waters of the Black Sea and were approaching Russian airspace.

“Two Su-27 fighter jets of the Southern Military District’s air defense units on duty were scrambled to identify the air targets and to prevent their unauthorized incursion into the Russian airspace,” the Control Center told state media. “The crews of the Russian fighter aircraft identified the air targets as B-52N strategic bombers of the U.S. Air Force and escorted them over the Black Sea.”

The Control Center added that the bombers turned away and afterward the Su-27 fighter jets returned to base.

“All the flights of the Russian fighter jets were conducted in strict compliance with international airspace rules,” the center reported. “No violation of the state border of the Russian Federation was allowed.”

The pair of B-52 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, had also reportedly entered Ukrainian airspace within the framework of security cooperation earlier in the day.

While the intercept took part in September 2020, it could have seemed like something from the 1980s as both the bombers and fighters are models likely as old (or older) than the pilots flying the respective aircraft.

The Su-27 Flanker is a fourth-generation fighter that was the last major fighter to enter service with the Soviet Air Force. Intended both to defeat U.S. fighters over central Europe in a NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict and to patrol the airspace of the Soviet Union against U.S. bomber incursions, the Su-27 survived the end of the Cold War to become one of the world’s premier export fighters.

It should also be noted that perhaps the Russian National Defense Control Center should brush up on its aircraft identification as it “identified the air targets as B-52N strategic bombers” despite that fact that there is no B-52N – and the Air Force currently operates the B-52H Stratofortress. It is confusing because the English equivalent for “H” is the “khah” but its symbol is “X.”

Defense Blog confirmed that the aircraft was in fact B-52H bombers – assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base (AFB), North Dakota – that integrated with Ukrainian fighter jets during a Bomber Task Force Europe mission.

Clearly, something was simply lost in translation – but this wasn’t the first time. Earlier this month Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of Russia’s General Staff Sergei Rudsko made the claim that the U.S. Navy was operating an aircraft carrier in the Black Sea as well when in fact it wasn’t a carrier but rather was the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.