The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)


Historic Earthquakes
Near New York City, New York
1884 08 10 19:07 UTC
Magnitude 5.5
Intensity VII
USGS.gov
This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.
Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.
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The nuclear arms race is back on: Revelation 16

The nuclear arms race is back on

Shigeko Matsumoto emerged from a bomb shelter in Nagasaki, 800 metres from ground zero, on 12 August 1945, three days after the US dropped its “Fat Man” atomic bomb over the city, and six days after “Little Boy” had decimated Hiroshima. “I will never forget the hellscape that awaited us”, she recounted in 2017 in testimony republished in Time magazine. “Half burnt bodies lay stiff on the ground, eyeballs gleaming from their sockets. Cattle lay dead along the side of the road, their abdomens grotesquely large and swollen. Thousands of bodies bopped up and down the river, bloated and purplish from soaking up the water. ‘Wait! Wait!’, I pleaded, as my grandfather treaded a couple paces ahead of me. I was terrified of being left behind.”

by Jack Crawford

29 September 2020

Shigeko Matsumoto emerged from a bomb shelter in Nagasaki, 800 metres from ground zero, on 12 August 1945, three days after the US dropped its “Fat Man” atomic bomb over the city, and six days after “Little Boy” had decimated Hiroshima. “I will never forget the hellscape that awaited us”, she recounted in 2017 in testimony republished in Time magazine. “Half burnt bodies lay stiff on the ground, eyeballs gleaming from their sockets. Cattle lay dead along the side of the road, their abdomens grotesquely large and swollen. Thousands of bodies bopped up and down the river, bloated and purplish from soaking up the water. ‘Wait! Wait!’, I pleaded, as my grandfather treaded a couple paces ahead of me. I was terrified of being left behind.”

Scenes like this gripped the popular imagination for much of the remainder of the twentieth century, as the Soviet Union and the US raced to build ever deadlier nuclear arsenals. The modern imperialist system had created the reasonable possibility that human civilisation as we know it might end in a sudden burst of light.

Schoolchildren today aren’t trained to “duck and cover”, as they were in the 1950s and ’60s. Those willing to contemplate apocalyptic scenarios are, perhaps with good reason, more likely to imagine the continued deepening of the climate crisis. Nonetheless, we are now in the midst of an escalating nuclear arms race. We ignore it at our peril.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its work on the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN’s Australian director, Gem Romuld, spoke to Red Flag about the current build-up. “In 2019, nuclear-armed states spent [US]$73 billion on nuclear weapons, resources sorely needed for health care”, Romuld says. “Several are investing in new kinds of nuclear weapons, including ones with a smaller yield for use in a wider range of scenarios. Longstanding nuclear arms control agreements are collapsing, with the only forward progress represented in the treaty.”

This new arms race is driven by the return of great power rivalry. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the unchallenged master of the globe. Its unipolar world order still featured wars, but only asymmetrical ones in which the US antagonised vastly weaker powers such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

In recent years, however, the US has been forced to face down more serious threats to its global hegemony. This includes more aggressive posturing from its old rival, Russia. But more important is China, where rapid economic growth has laid the basis for military expansion and ambitions of superpower status.

The release of the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy in 2018 signalled the arrival of a new era: “The central challenge to US prosperity is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition … As China continues its economic and military ascendance … it will continue to pursue a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future”.

Cracks have emerged in the post-Cold War frameworks designed to restrain the proliferation, testing and use of nuclear weapons. Last year, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a statement of US readiness to threaten the annihilation of its rivals. Nikolai Sokov, a negotiator of the START I and START II disarmament treaties, recently explained the new logic to German publication Der Spiegel. “We are returning to the days of the 1950s and 1960s, when each country decided for itself how many and what kind of weapons to deploy”, he said.

It’s difficult to visualise weapons more destructive than those detonated in Japan 75 years ago. But modern devices are capable of much worse. The Hiroshima bomb’s 15 kiloton yield (equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of TNT) is dwarfed by the B-83’s 1.2 megatons (or 1,200,000 tonnes of TNT). If the Hiroshima bomb were detonated over central Sydney, NUKEMAP (an online app that simulates nuclear detonations) estimates 39,520 fatalities. The B-83, by comparison, would produce 411,930 fatalities and 831,880 injuries, with damage stretching from the Harbour Bridge to Parramatta.

The US today has enough warheads to obliterate the world’s major cities several times over and usher in a global nuclear winter, but this destructive arsenal isn’t enough to satisfy the heads of empire in the new arms race. The US is currently undertaking an expensive “nuclear modernisation program”, which started under the Obama administration. One element of the program is the development of smaller or “tactical” bombs, the destructive force of which can be targeted more precisely. A 2016 study by the Lowy Institute found that these more sophisticated arsenals raise “the possibility that these weapons will also become more usable”.

The US Government Accountability Office has warned that the Pentagon’s spending on nuclear modernisation will surpass the planned US$1.2 trillion over coming decades. The threat of nuclear warfare aside, this spending is a criminal economic waste, directing money towards weapons of mass destruction while underfunded healthcare systems strain under the weight of the pandemic.

This story is the same on the other side of the geopolitical divide. China too is pouring resources into nurturing its small but growing nuclear arsenal. Last year, Beijing added 30 warheads, bringing its total to 320, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

There is a popular assumption that nuclear arsenals are entirely defensive and will never be used. The logic of mutually assured destruction, so the theory goes, will keep Trump, Putin or Xi from pressing their doomsday buttons. This assumption underestimates the irrationality at the core of capitalism and the imperialist rivalry it breeds.

First, the original Cold War featured several flashpoints when nuclear weapons were nearly used. These included US threats against China during the Korean War, the 1961 military stand-off in Berlin and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Second, as Romuld explains: “The possession and maintenance of nuclear weapons for the supposed purpose of ‘deterrence’ rests on a readiness to actually use them, thereby inflicting massive radioactive violence. This is why hundreds of nuclear weapons are deployed, and ready to use within minutes”.

There are an estimated 13,400 nuclear arms in the world’s militaries today. Of these, 3,720 are currently deployed and ready for use, whether placed on missiles or otherwise in bases. And unlike in the early years of the arms race, when only a narrow range of countries possessed nuclear weapons, there are today nine nuclear-armed states. This means that regional conflicts—for example, between Pakistan and India—have the potential to lead to unprecedented devastation.

Capitalism is a world system requiring endless military competition, as states compete over spheres of influence and profits. Ultimately, no empire will peacefully allow itself to be displaced by a rival. The Soviet Union never truly reached the strength to challenge the US as the number one global power. Will China? Certainly not if the US can help it. Ruling classes will use anything at their disposal to secure and maintain their dominance.

Seventy-five years on from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, mass annihilation remains only a button away.

Saving the Shi’a oil and wine: Revelation 6

How the Iran-Iraq war shaped oil markets regionally and globally

Napoleon once notably said, “A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets”. Forty years ago, when Iraqi tanks rolled across the Iranian border on September 22, 1980, after early skirmishes and Iraqi complaints of incursions into disputed border regions, they invited the not yet two year-old Iranian revolution to unsheathe those bayonets. The consequences have shaped the Middle East and the world oil system ever since.

Energy was in the firing line immediately. The oil-rich province of Khuzestan was the main target of Saddam Hussein’s aggression. The giant Agha Jari oil-field and the huge Abadan refinery on the Iranian side of the Shatt Al Arab were immediate targets. Just eight days into the war, Iran bombed and badly damaged the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad. The Iraqis would attack the under-construction Bushehr nuclear power plant several times during the conflict.

In April 1982, Iran’s ally, Syria, shut down the Iraqi pipeline through its territory to the Mediterranean. With Iraq’s narrow Arabian Gulf frontage also unusable, the country’s oil exports were mostly cut off. They would not revive until a new pipeline through Turkey was finished in 1986. Output, which had hit a record 3.5 million barrels per day in 1979 just before the war, would not exceed that until 2015, under a very different management.

Meanwhile, Iran’s exports, which had collapsed during the revolution, were also hit by air attack. They revived from 1982 but have never come close to regaining the levels of 1973-78 in the last years of the Shah.

During 1984-88, both sides attacked shipping throughout the Gulf in the “Tanker War”, with hundreds of ships damaged. The American and Soviet navies ended up protecting reflagged neutral tankers, and the US involvement marked a major escalation in its direct military presence in the Gulf.

Eventually, the bloody stalemate on the ground and growing disillusionment, the American threat and the 1986 collapse in oil prices, together forced Ayatollah Khomeini to accept a ceasefire in 1988.

The political ramifications were also profound. The demands of national defence allowed the Iranian revolutionaries to consolidate power. Much of the regime’s current paranoia, its attempts at self-sufficiency and its attempts to engage its enemies in the theatres of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen rather than on Iranian soil, stem from the wartime experience.

Today’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was president for most of the war; current president Hassan Rouhani was on the supreme defence council and an early player in the US’s Iran-Contra scandal. Much of the esprit de corps and personal relationships of the Revolutionary Guards, including men such as former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and foreign expeditionary mastermind Qassem Soleimani, were forged on the battlefields. These have now burgeoned into corrupt business networks that distort the Iranian economy.

The war has three major energy lessons. The first is the great vulnerability of the Middle East’s oil industries to military action. Despite inadequate and uncoordinated deployment of their (for the time) very modern air-forces, both sides inflicted severe tit-for-tat damage on each other’s facilities. Through air, naval and political action, they were able to choke the enemy’s economic lifeline.

The second lesson is the cost of modern warfare, which far outweighs the value of capturing petroleum assets. Iraq emerged with $86 billion (Dh315.8bn) in debt, a ratio to gross domestic product of 278 per cent. With a large and unemployed army, Saddam was tempted to solve his economic problems by bullying his Gulf neighbours to cut production, then to invade Kuwait in 1990, bringing down on Iraq a yet greater catastrophe.

The scars of those two decades of dictatorship, war and sanctions on Iraq’s mutilated economy and politics have never healed. But the George W. Bush administration in 2003 had not learnt the lesson. They expected a swift reconstruction of Iraq’s oil sector after the US invasion, which would contradictorily bankroll the country’s reconstruction and bring down world prices.

Iran has rebuilt better. Its semi-isolation from the world economy, partly by choice, partly because of international and US sanctions, has been detrimental. Yet it has encouraged a rather diversified industrial base and export industry.

The third lesson is the unpredictable and chaotic long-term political and energy market impacts of conflict.

How would the energy world have evolved if Saddam had not launched his war? The early-1980s oil price spike would not have happened. The market to the mid-1980s would then have been much more oversupplied, with both Iran and Iraq pumping at normal levels. Non-Opec production, such as the North Sea, would not have developed as far and fast; the subsequent oil bust might not have been as long and punishing.

Saudi Arabia would have continued to face two strong rivals within Opec – in the case of Iraq, likely a growing one. If the pragmatism of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the post-war president, had taken hold earlier, Iran might have achieved what it has often promised but not managed, and become a significant gas exporter to its neighbours.

Without the Tanker War intervention and President Bill Clinton’s “dual containment” of the 1990s, the US military build-up in the Gulf, with all its consequences, may not have occurred. The Gulf would have continued to be geopolitically and economically important, and the looming threat of revolutionary Iran’s bayonets would have remained. But the region may not have obsessed military and oil market strategists to the neglect of eastern Europe and east Asia.

Forty years on, these consequences are apparent, even if the counterfactuals must remain speculation. Generations in Iraq and Iran have grown up under the shadow of the human, environmental and financial cost of Saddam’s criminal blunder and Khomeini’s intransigence. Perhaps no other event in human history has so well illustrated the fragility of oil wealth.

Robin M. Mills is chief executive of Qamar Energy and author of The Myth of the Oil Crisis

Updated: September 27, 2020 06:39 PM

Trump Is Trying to Destroy America

Marshall Billingslea

Trump administration orders assessment on bolstering nuclear warheads as talks with Russia stall

U.S. diplomats are trying to play hardball with Russia in negotiations over whether to extend New START.

U.S. arms control envoy Marshall Billingslea speaks at a press conference. | Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images

By DANIEL LIPPMANBRYAN BENDER and LARA SELIGMAN

09/28/2020 06:03 PM EDT

The Trump administration has asked the military to assess how quickly it could pull nuclear weapons out of storage and load them onto bombers and submarines if an arms control treaty with Russia is allowed to expire in February, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

The request to U.S. Strategic Command in Nebraska is part of a strategy to pressure Moscow into renegotiating the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty before the U.S. presidential election, the people said.

In making the request, the Trump administration wants to underscore that it is serious about letting the treaty lapse if Russia fails to meet U.S. demands. The negotiating team is leery that Russia is dragging out the talks in the hope that Joe Biden — who has pledged to extend New START under what Moscow believes will be more favorable terms than what this White House is offering — wins the election.

“It’s a clear signal that the costs for not negotiating before the election are going to go up,” said one of the people, who requested anonymity to relay sensitive discussions. The Trump administration is “trying to create an incentive, and it’s a real incentive, for the Russians to sit down and actually negotiate.”

The request for the assessment camein the last two weeksfrom a group of officials at the National Security Council and State, Defense and Energy departments that’s supporting Ambassador Marshall Billingslea in negotiations with Moscow to try to replace New START before it runs out in February.

The assessment will determinehow long it would take to load nuclear weapons now in reserve onto long-range bombers, ballistic missile submarines and land-based silos to beef up the U.S. nuclear force in the event Russia increases its arsenal.

It comes as Billingslea has publicly raised the possibility of putting more weapons on bombers and submarines if New START lapses and has sharpened his rhetoric in recent days to try to secure more concessions from the Russians.

“It would certainly be a question that you would want to ask STRATCOM,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, who oversaw nuclear forces before serving as head of the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration. “You would want to fully understand all the possible implications of your negotiating approach, both if it should succeed or, alternatively, if it should fail.”FBI Director: Russia meddling in election to ‘denigrate’ BidenSharehttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.413.0_en.html#goog_2039436002Play Video

But former senior arms control and military officials also consider the move a risky gambit. It could send a message that the Trump administration, which has already pulled out of two other nuclear-related treaties with Russia, is no longer interested in any limits on the world’s largest arsenals. And it could goad the Russians into taking similar steps.

“I call that megaphone diplomacy,” said Rose Gottemoeller, who served as deputy secretary general of NATO until last year and negotiated New START when she was at the State Department. “Do we want to end up in a less stable place? Because we would be nuclear arms racing.”

“It’s very stupid,” added a former GOP arms control official who declined to be identified because he still advises the government. “It makes absolutely no sense to threaten to upload. It becomes a valid leveraging point only if the other side can’t do it. The Russians can do it, too.”

“But more importantly,” this person added, “the systems we have deployed today are the ones we believe are necessary to provide an adequate deterrent. There is no obvious reason and every reason not to in the absence of a change in the threat. It’s not going to scare the Russians. The likelihood of success with the Russians is about nil.”

A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on Billingslea’s behalf.

Capt. Bill Clinton, a spokesperson for Strategic Command, declined to address the military’s role in the deliberations. “We don’t talk about future operations, and really can’t speculate on arms control talks (as that is not [our] responsibility),” he wrote in an email.

An NSC spokesperson declined to comment.

New START, signed in 2010, mandated both sides draw down to 1,550 deployed strategic weapons and includes provisions to verify compliance, including reciprocal on-site inspections of nuclear bases.

The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5 unless both sides agree to an extension for up to five years.

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Russia in December offered to extend the treaty without preconditions. The position of the Trump administration, which withdrew from both the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces and the Open Skies treaties, has been that New START is too narrow and a replacement is needed that covers more classes of weapons, such as “tactical” or battlefield nuclear weapons.

At the outset of negotiations in June, the U.S. also insisted that China be party to any new agreement, but dropped that demand after Beijing balked.

The U.S. negotiating team has insisted on a number of Russian concessions: a commitment to follow-on talks about a new arms deal that includes all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons; a pledge to eventually bring in China, which is projected to double its relatively small nuclear arsenal in the next decade; and strong compliance measures.

Billingslea’s current public negotiating position is that the U.S. and Russia must agree on at least the outlines of a new framework that both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin can sign in order for Washington to consider extending New START.

Asked in an interview published last week by a Russian newspaper if the Trump administration would scrap the treaty if the two sides can’t agree on such a “presidential agreement,” Billingslea responded, “absolutely.”

“In such a situation, we will not extend the treaty,” he told Kommersant, according to an English translation of the interview. “Given all the deficiencies of New START, we consider it disadvantageous to the United States. It imposes constraints on the United States that it does not impose on Russia.”

In the same interview, Billingslea also indicated that the United States would take steps to increase the number of its deployed nuclear warheads if the pact is not extended.

“If that doesn’t happen, we will simply reconvert our weapons as soon as the treaty expires in February,” he told the newspaper.

Billingslea also said that the longer the Russians delay, the less attractive it would be for Moscow.

“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,” he said.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands. | Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Billinglea has previously also threatened that the U.S. could spend Russia, as well as China, “into oblivion” in a nuclear arms race.

Already, the U.S. and Russia have a much larger number of weapons in storage that could be placed on alert if they decided to take that course.

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According to the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Security Project, which tracks global inventories of atomic arms, the U.S. has 3,800 warheads stockpiled, while Russia has 4,310.

Some in reserve could be made ready to deploy more quickly than others, according to Hans Kristensen, director of FAS’ Nuclear Security Project.

Of the three legs of the nuclear triad — bombers, submarines and missile silos — the quickest would be the bombers.

“Those weapons are just a few hundred yards from the aircraft,” Kristensen said. “They could be loaded in days. Others would have to be transported to the bases. Maybe a week or so.”

Next would be the fleet of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, beginning with those already in port and the rest when they return from deployment.

Finally, there are the intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed in underground silos at bases in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

“The slowest leg would be the ICBMs,” Kristensen said. “They only have so much capacity to do that. That’s a very slow process. That would take a long time for 400 silos. Many months.”

Both the ICBMs and the subs currently carry only one nuclear warhead on each missile, but they are designed to carry more.

If the U.S. decides to upload all of its reserve force, “it would more than double the deployed force,” Kristensen added. “The question of course is why.”

To the Trump administration, the STRATCOM assessment is necessary to be prepared for the treaty to expire, but also to strengthen its hand with the Russians.https://e63864dfe501a1ac6f0a3e775f4b7828.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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“I think there’s an element of, ‘the Russians might not make a deal, we need to be ready,’”said a former White House official who is one of the three people familiar with negotiations. “The administration is planning on what to do the day after. They want to be ready, but being ready doesn’t actually mean that they will.”

“We don’t just want to rubber stamp New START, so we need to start doing some prudent planning to see what other options there are,” the first person familiar with the discussions added. “They’re getting ready with options to raise the price.”

But at what cost, asked a number of veterans of nuclear negotiations who said they were alarmed at the administration’s strategy.

Rose Gottemoeller
Rose Gottemoeller speaks at a conference on nuclear disarmament in 2017. | Alessandra Tarantino/AP Photo

Gottemoeller, who is now a research fellow at the conservativeHoover Institution at Stanford University, expressed concern the approach could merely increase the chances of a new arms race if New START expires.

“We can upload,” she said, referring to the U.S. reserve nuclear stockpile. “But the Russians can upload, too. I would argue they could get a jump on us.”

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Klotz, who also served as defense attaché in Moscow during previous arms control negotiations and is now an analyst at the government-funded Rand Corporation, agreed.

“It’s my personal view that the United States might initially be at a disadvantage,” he said. “The Russian nuclear modernization program is already well underway, while the U.S. program is still in its very early stages. Moreover, the systems the Russians have developed generally have the ability to carry more warheads than analogous U.S. systems.”

The Trump administration, he added, “rather glibly says, ‘we’ll spend you into oblivion’ in any potential nuclear arms race. But wouldn’t it be far better to avoid getting into that situation in the first place, especially when there are so many other capabilities our military needs?”

Kristensen, of the Federation of American Scientists, said the prospect of setting off a new competition to increase the two sides’ arsenals “only underscores the need to keep New START to keep those numbers in check.”

“Without it you don’t really know where you are going.”

Antichrist Tells US to Evacuate Iraq

Moqtada al-Sadr, the Donald Trump of Iraq

Threat to evacuate U.S. diplomats from Iraq raises fear of war

By John Davison

6 MIN READ

BAGHDAD, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Washington has made preparations to withdraw diplomats from Iraq after warning Baghdad it could shut its embassy, two Iraqi officials and two Western diplomats said, a step Iraqis fear could turn their country into a battle zone.

Any move by the United States to scale down its diplomatic presence in a country where it has up to 5,000 troops would be widely seen in the region as an escalation of its confrontation with Iran, which Washington blames for missile and bomb attacks.

That in turn would open the possibility of military action, with just weeks to go before an election in which President Donald Trump has campaigned on a hard line towards Tehran and its proxies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close the embassy in a phone call a week ago to President Barham Salih, two Iraqi government sources said. The conversation was initially reported by an Iraqi news website.

By Sunday, Washington had begun preparations to withdraw diplomatic staff if such a decision is taken, those sources and the two Western diplomats said.

The concern among the Iraqis is that pulling out diplomats would be followed quickly by military action against forces Washington blamed for attacks.

Populist Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who commands a following of millions of Iraqis, issued a statement last week pleading for groups to avoid an escalation that would turn Iraq into a battleground.

One of the Western diplomats said the U.S. administration did not “want to be limited in their options” to weaken Iran or pro-Iranian militias in Iraq. Asked whether he expected Washington to respond with economic or military measures, the diplomat replied: “Strikes.”

The U.S. State Department, asked about plans to withdraw from Iraq, said: “We never comment on the Secretary’s private diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders … Iran-backed groups launching rockets at our Embassy are a danger not only to us but to the Government of Iraq.”

PERENNIAL RISK

In a region polarised between allies of Iran and the United States, Iraq is the rare exception: a country that has close ties with both. But that has left it open to a perennial risk of becoming a battle ground in a proxy war.

That risk was hammered home in January this year, when Washington killed Iran’s most important military commander, Qassem Soleimani, with a drone strike at Baghdad airport. Iran responded with missiles fired at U.S. bases in Iraq.

Since then, a new prime minister has taken power in Iraq, supported by the United States, while Tehran still maintains close links to powerful Shi’ite armed movements.

Rockets regularly fly across the Tigris towards the heavily fortified U.S. diplomatic compound, constructed to be the biggest U.S. embassy in the world in central Baghdad’s so-called Green Zone during the U.S. occupation after a 2003 invasion.

In recent weeks rocket attacks near the embassy have increased and roadside bombs targeted convoys carrying equipment to the U.S.-led military coalition. One roadside attack hit a British convoy in Baghdad, the first of its kind against Western diplomats in Iraq for years.

Two Iraqi intelligence sources suggested plans to withdraw American diplomats were not yet in motion, and would depend on whether Iraqi security forces were able to do a better job of halting attacks. They said they had received orders to prevent attacks on U.S. sites, and had been told that U.S. evacuations would begin only if that effort failed.

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

Iraqis are concerned about the impact of November’s presidential election on the Trump administration’s decision-making.

While Trump has boasted of his hard line against Iran, he has also long promised to withdraw U.S. troops from engagements in the Middle East. The United States is already drawing down its force sent to help defeat Islamic State fighters in Iraq from 2014-2017.

Some Iraqi officials dismissed Pompeo’s threat to pull out diplomats as bluster, designed to scare armed groups into stopping attacks. But they said it could backfire by provoking the militias instead, if they sense an opportunity to push Washington to retreat.

“The American threat to close their embassy is merely a pressure tactic, but is a double-edged sword,” said Gati Rikabi, a member of Iraq’s parliamentary security committee.

He and another committee member said U.S. moves were designed to scare Iraqi leaders into supporting Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who has tried to check the power of Iran-aligned militia groups, with scant success.

HAWKS ON BOTH SIDES

The militias are under public pressure to rein in supporters who might provoke Washington. Since last year, public opinion in Iraq has turned sharply against political groups seen as fomenting violence on behalf of Iran.

Publicly, the powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite militia groups which control large factions in parliament have tried to distance themselves from attacks on Western targets.

U.S. officials say they think the Shi’ite militias or their Iranian backers have created splinter offshoots to carry out such attacks, allowing the main organisations to evade blame.

A senior figure in a Shi’ite Muslim political party said he thought Trump might want to pull out diplomats to keep them out of harm’s way and avoid an embarrassing pre-election incident.

Militia attacks were not necessarily under Tehran’s control, he said, noting that Iran’s foreign ministry had publicly called for a halt to attacks on diplomatic missions in Iraq.

“Iran wants to boot the Americans out, but not at any cost. It doesn’t want instability on its Western border,” the Shi’ite leader said. “Just like there are hawks in the U.S., there are hawks in Iran who have contact with the groups carrying out attacks, who aren’t necessarily following state policy.” (Reporting by John Davison, additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed Editing by Peter Graff)

Medical woes outside the temple walls: Revelation 11

The Barzilai Medical Center, which is home to the Accelerated... News Photo - Getty Images

Barzilai Medical Center could be overwhelmed if Gaza clashes start

Prof. Yaniv Sherer, director of the Barzilai Medical Center, said on Monday that given the rise in the number of infected with coronavirus, a sudden round of violence between Hamas and Israel would cause major complications for the already overwhelmed hospital in terms of its ability to treat patients, according to Ynet.

“We turned an internal ward to a ‘coronavirus ward’ during Yom Kippur. In addition, we activated our sheltered, underground internal ward, meant to be used during periods of escalation,” said Sherer.

If we find ourselves fighting on two fronts – that is, against the coronavirus and in Gaza – we will be in trouble, because the internal wards have reached their full capacity.”

On the precipice of the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

India-China standoff: is nuclear deterrence hanging on a slender thread?

Dr Anil Kumar Lal

The Geopolitical Flux & Need for Recalibration (Part-2)

Since the inception of the current nuclear doctrine, twenty years have elapsed and there has been a dramatic shift in the global security architecture. This is mainly due to the rapid transformation of multiple and newer technologies of Information domination, gathering of real-time Intelligence, digitisation and the increased use of precision-guided munitions to name a few. The geopolitical security landscape is also under flux due to the rise and belligerence of China and its subservient allies. Before we delve into the desired changes in recalibrating the existing nuclear doctrine, we have to understand, how in tandem, it will also affect the national military strategy.

The theory of “Pre-war deterrence” and “Intra-war deterrence” in the Asian context needs to be seen by the NSAB urgently for a corresponding change in India’s nuclear strategy. The linkage between Flexible Response and the Command and Control is a critical infrastructure, which should give a real-time management facility. Strategists like Racket, Stinbruner, and Cartor, to prove this point had carried out a major study on this aspect. Military doctrine is more commonly a product of strategy. It spells out the principals and lays the dogma for development, employment and deployment of force. In nuclear terminology, the nation’s nuclear policy is the broad strategy comprising facets like a blueprint for development, the requirement of Fourth Generation systems, and use in Space. The nuclear doctrine thereafter gives principles concerning the ethical, physical aspects and declaratory statement for the necessary deterrence effect. It may also include aspects like threat assessment, nuclear threshold levels and retaliatory strike drills and training. In short, it operationalizes the nuclear forces. Ideally, the Military (CDS) should decide the policy, which could be deliberated by the NSAB thereafter, for evolving the operational aspect of the doctrine.

China-Pakistan Nuclear Growth

Analysing the Chinese and Pakistan nuclear growth and strategy will also facilitate India in recalibrating the new Indian ‘Nuclear Strategy’ and a follow-up doctrine. Nuclear analyst holds that China is modernizing “the PLA’s nuclear capability through the creation of a small yet more accurate and versatile triad-based strategic and tactical missile force” China has 320 nuclear warheads(Figures could be much more) this year as against 290 in 2019 and Pakistan has 160, which were about 150 to 160 in the year 2019. India has the least among the three with 150 counts of warheads and had 130 to 140 in the year 2019. New developments further suggest that China intends to increase the peacetime readiness of its nuclear forces by moving to a launch-on-warning (LOW) posture with an expanded silo-based force.

Pakistan possesses a wide variety of nuclear-capable medium-range ballistic missiles with ranges up to 2750 km. Pakistan also possesses nuclear-tipped Babur cruise missiles with ranges up to 700 km. Pakistan has a Hatf-4 Shaheen-1A, said to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead designed to evade missile-defence systems. Army Strategic Forces Command of Pakistan Army controls these land-based missiles. Pakistan is also believed to be developing tactical nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield with ranges up to 60 km such as the Nasr missile.

Arguments

The arguments that can be made for a changed doctrine are summarised below:

NFU/FU Debate. Incentive of damage limitation during a crisis when nuclear use is imminent could shift the calculus in India’s decision-making to the point that pre-emptive counterforce first strike becomes a rational choice to avoid the damage inflicted by first use. This is a more desirable option when the foremost objective of India’s nuclear doctrine to keep the conflict from going nuclear is not met. While the NFU may serve India’s interest in peacetime, it will make no sense to absorb the full impact of a potential first nuclear strike or use, particularly when such use is imminent.

Counter-Force Targetting.There is a need for a study on ‘Tactical Weapons’ and its linkage to the Escalation ladder and the need for a flexible response only further strengths the stability and the deterrence factor. History of NATO-WARSAW also proves the same point. In any case, both China and Pakistan have Nuclear weapons and have a policy for its military use. Future technologies talk of very light Fourth Generation Nuclear Systems, which can be fitted, on a tactical missile.

Threshold Perceptions. This enables a nuclear weapon in complimenting military operations. These could be geographical points showing a nuclear response if the adversary crosses the line.

Battlefield Transparency. This enables better targeting and situational awareness by the adversary. This demands a lesser response time by defender when following an ‘NFU’ policy. Thus, it is necessary to create architecture for Information domination and reaction. This may demand the necessity of having “Launch-On-Warn” capability. Space militarisation unfortunately, is an unfolding reality. India also needs judicious investments in this frontier to enable building a kind of “Space Deterrence” which may in fact degrade the potency of strategic nuclear weapons as against firing precession guided fractional nuclear weapons

Transparent Nuclear Doctrine. Adoption of newer technologies with special emphases on Precision Firing capabilities, Fourth Generation systems etc. be included in the open doctrine. Being transparent in a doctrine strengthens the deterrence rather than grading things as classified, which only aids de-stability.

Modernisation & New Concepts

The issues, as discussed above need to be further debated for a national consensus. The Parliament or at least the CCS should preferably clear the same. Thereafter, plan the Force Structuring and employment in a short time frame due to the fast detonating security environment around India’s perimeter. There is a definite requirement of a more Atmannirbhar ‘R&D’ on many future nuclear weapons technologies. Some facts on nuclear modernisation and its application are spelt out as (i) US is making a ’Mini-Nuke’ (W76-2 bomb), which will ensure shrinkage of power and enable tactical applications. This will enable nuclear-war-fighting “flexibility,” This weapon system will transcend the concept of deterrence.to war fighting. The limited use of tactical nuclear weapon to “restore strategic stability” is essentially the same concept as the Russian “escalate-to-deescalate” doctrine that the Nuclear Posture Review also had mentioned.(ii)Multiple countries are seeking to build even smaller and more sophisticated nuclear weapons, China is developing a mobile missile with multiple-independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) In order to counter missile defence, (iii)China and Russia are developing hypersonic glide vehicles, and Russia is probably developing a nuclear-armed, nuclear powered underwater vehicle (iv) Concept of Non-Strategic Nuclear weapons and munitions like artillery ammunitions and mine are taking roots. (v)Finally, miniaturised nukes and fractional bombs are becoming possible because of technologies like the Fourth Generation Nuclear Systems, which are based on Plutonium. They are also called the Pure Fusion bombs.

These trends are shifting warfare from the ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ analogy, based on Counter-Value targeting, which had ensured deterrence. However, as can be seen, the USA and others are talking of Fractional yields to be used for war fighting. They are talking of using tactical mini-nukes to stabilise a combat situation to protect a strategic objective. What does that imply? Will we have two levels of deterrence? One in the spectrum of nuclear war fighting and the other for going for higher yield weapons, which target major cities, and population centres. This kind of layered deterrence may become the new norm. Nevertheless all the above, the fundamental basic moot question is, what will be the impact of these niche technologies on the slender thread of the existing strategic deterrence? Since after the First Nuclear Bomb, both NATO and the erstwhile WARSAW and now Russia have not allowed the thread of deterrence to break at any cost, in spite of various precarious geopolitical conflicts. The future will be very uncertain with China also jockeying for superpower status. Therefore, India is left with a very limited option of defying the trends of tactical nuclear weapons. This may even require a national debate as a good democracy demands. Finally, as can be seen, the future of global security is definitely under challenge as we see the slender thread of nuclear deterrence weakening more and more to create an uncertain world.

Part 1: India-China standoff: Is nuclear deterrence hanging on a slender thread?

The blog will address national security issues like on Space warfare,Transformation of the Armed Forces,Terrorism,Siachen and the geopolitics of the Himalayas.It will also cover issues on the China and Pakistan threats