A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault LineMonday, March 14, 2011By Bob HennellyThe Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.„There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,“ said Robinson. „There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.“Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: „The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,“ he said.„More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,“ according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

„Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,“ according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

The Antichrist and Iran see Iraq’s leaders pro-US, aim to topple them

Iran sees Iraq’s leaders pro-US, aims to topple them | Hammam Latif | AW

BAGHDAD – A political source in Baghdad revealed that Iran plans to overthrow the three presidents in Iraq ahead of early parliamentary elections scheduled for the summer of 2021, but its ambitions are facing serious difficulties.

Since the ousting of Iran’s ally and former Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and his government following massive and unprecedented protests that began in October 2019 and lasted for months, Iran has branded his replacements, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, President Barham Salih and Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi as allies of Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The sources expect that the Iranian plan to overthrow the three presidents in Iraq will be revitalised once the results of the American presidential election are known.

The source familiar with the scenes of the political movement that has been taking place for days said “Iran is working according to the principle of ‘what cannot be fully achieved, should not be totally abandoned’, meaning that it will accept any partial victory resulting from this plan.”

Iran believes that the popular protests unfairly toppled its ally Abdul-Mahdi but ignored Salih and Halbousi; and that to add insult to injury, they put forward its old opponent, Kadhimi as the new head of government.

Iran-affiliated Iraqi politicians, analysts and writers are publicly expressing this vision in the media and on social media, and are working hard to rally Shias behind this hypothesis, but to no avail.

Sources said that Tehran was betting on the anger of some political parties for not being represented at the three highest positions in the country in order to effect major change. It is, for example, fuelling the anger of Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani against Salih, feeding the anger of the Sunni Islamic Party against Halbousi and feeding the anger of its followers within extremist Shia wings against Kadhimi.

This hypothesis developed in light of the emergence of a Sunni political movement supported by Iran and Turkey to dismiss Halbousi, who represents the second generation of Sunni politicians and is adopting a liberal model while being open to relations with Arab Gulf states, the West and the United States.

A coalition front made up of the Turkey-backed Arab Project Party led by Khamis al-Khanjar and the Salvation Front led by Osama al-Nujaifi, in addition to the Masses Party led by Ahmed al-Jubouri “Abu Mazen” and supported by Nuri al-Maliki, one of Iran’s most prominent men in Iraq, have joined the efforts of the Islamic Party led by Rashid al-Azzawi, to remove Halbousi, in conjunction with a green light from Kurdish leader Barzani and Shia leaders to replace Salih and Kadhimi.

The Islamic Party, the arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq, has become a reliable ally of Iran ever since Azzawi became its top man.

Azzawi, a Sunni, spent nearly half his life as a refugee in Iran, got married there and built extensive relationships with Iranian political and military leaders before returning to Iraq after 2003.

The sources said that the leader of the Badr Organisation, Hadi al-Amiri, and the leader of the State of Law coalition, Nuri al-Maliki, share roles within the Iranian plan. The first takes the role of the “good cop” in the game, appearing cool and wise, while the second plays the role of the “bad cop,” leading sustained political pressure operations through the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) to mobilise the crowd with the aim of toppling Halbousi first, and Kadhimi and Salih if possible.

Maliki cannot forget that Halbousi insisted on passing the election law in a multi-district formula that lies at the heart of the demands of the October protesters.

Maliki wants every Iraqi governorate to be a single district so that it will be easy for him to obtain seats in central and southern governorates, where most of his supporters are, but difficult for him to compete if they are divided in many smaller districts.

Maliki is seeking to appease his fierce Shia opponent, Muqtada al-Sadr, in order to unify Shia efforts against Halbousi, Kadhimi and Salih, but Sadr prefers to “stay on top of the hill” for the time being, according to observers.

For the first time in years, Maliki announced that he did not object to coordinating political efforts with Sadr, who sponsors a parliamentary bloc of 52 MPs, which was considered by many as an indication of the intentions of the leader of the State of Law Coalition to make concessions in exchange for building an alliance against the heads of arliament, the government and the republic.

Observers say that Iran prefers to overthrow the three presidents months before the date of early elections so that its allies can arrange their cards and regain absolute control over political life in the country.

But achieving this goal seems very difficult given the complex intertwining of internal and external lines.

While Barzani seems to want to take the presidency from Salih because he thinks it is a personal right for his family, the veteran Kurdish leader still remains a prominent ally and personal friend of Kadhimi.

Given Sadr’s unclear stance towards Kadhimi, achieving a Shia consensus to overthrow him does not seem easy, and Halbousi’s close relationship with many Shia and Kurdish political parties also makes it difficult to come to an understanding on his removal.

The Wind of God’s Wrath Strikes Central America: Jeremiah 23

Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Eta is now a major Category 4 hurricane bearing down on the coast of Nicaragua

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season keeps raging with Hurricane Eta - The  Verge

By Michael Guy, Hollie Silverman and Judson Jones, CNN

Updated 7:50 PM ET, Mon November 2, 2020

(CNN)Slow-moving Eta, which rapidly intensified overnight, is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and strong winds to Nicaragua and Honduras. Portions of Central America could receive nearly 3 feet of rain, resulting in catastrophic flooding and landslides in some areas.”Eta has become an impressive November hurricane as it continues to undergo rapid strengthening,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Monday afternoon.Eta’s wind speed went up 80 mph and more than doubled from 7 p.m. Sunday, when Eta was only a tropical storm, to 7 p.m. Monday. This is more than double the qualification for rapid intensification — a wind speed increase of 35 mph in 24 hours.Eta is now a dangerous Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 150 mph and higher gusts, the NHC said Monday evening.Content by PhoneSoapShop this holiday’s hottest giftKeep your phones and devices as clean as they can possibly be with PhoneSoap’s revolutionary technology.et your local forecast and more weather news from around the world >>>Eta is located about 70 miles from the Nicaragua/Honduras border and is moving to the west-southwest at 9 mph, according to the advisory from the NHC. Conditions will deteriorate in Nicaragua throughout the night, with landfall expected early Tuesday.”Continued strengthening is expected until Eta reaches the coast of Nicaragua,” the NHC said. It will make landfall early Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane, before moving inland over northern Nicaragua through early Wednesday.Monday night, conditions were already beginning to deteriorate along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua, according to the NHC.A hurricane warning is in place for the entire coast of Nicaragua. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras.

The Nuclear Horns Continue to Grow: Daniel

Proliferation Revelations in the Middle East – AIJAC

Two and a half years ago, I wrote an analysis (“Coming soon – a Nuclear Middle East”, AIR March 2018) of the implications for Israel of the advancing nuclear capabilities of various Middle Eastern countries. Recent major developments on this front – involving various nations, but especially new revelations about Saudi Arabia – require an update and a renewed look at Israel’s security dilemmas in dealing with the regional proliferation threat.

UAE, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq

With regards to nuclear power reactors, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the most advanced nation in the Arab world. Abu Dhabi successfully started up its Barakah Nuclear Plant in August 2020. The reactor is closely monitored by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is consistent with the US-UAE 123 Agreement, which denies the UAE the key capabilities needed to develop an atomic weapon: uranium enrichment and plutonium processing.

With the full peace and normalisation between Israel and the UAE, the Barakah reactor is not considered a proliferation threat, although there are normal security concerns, such as the potential theft of nuclear technology or materials by terrorists or other rogue actors.

The push towards atomic energy in other countries in the region remains at earlier stages, and existing nuclear infrastructure appears limited and fully monitored. Jordan has moved forward with its plan to build a nuclear power plant by 2030, signing an agreement with US company X-energy in November 2019. Egypt is expected to issue permits to construct the Dabaa Nuclear Power Station in the second half of 2021. Politically, as long as the governments of both these countries remain aligned with the West, their nuclear efforts pose little danger of creating a risk to international stability.

In September 2020, Iraqi PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi formed a committee to initiate steps towards building a nuclear research reactor. This appears potentially problematic given the volatile political situation in Iraq and the fluctuating, but substantial, influence in Baghdad from neighbouring Iran, leader of the region’s radical camp, and its armed loyal militias within Iraq. Hence, although Iraq’s nuclear program is in the earliest stages, it is likely that it is being observed closely by the relevant parties.

Turkey

In September 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that he does not accept the prohibition on Turkey possessing nuclear arms while other countries are allowed to do so. This stands in direct contrast with Turkey’s ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1980.

Erdogan specifically mentioned Israel, considered an unofficial member of the club of atomic nations: “They scare [other nations] by possessing these. No one can touch them,” said Erdogan of Israel.

So far there is little indication that Turkey is matching Erdogan’s words with actions. Turkey was once a transit station in the illicit nuclear proliferation network of Pakistani scientist, Abd Al-Qadir Khan. Today, however, it does not seem to have the ability to divert its monitored civilian nuclear infrastructure – a research reactor, TR-2, and three power plants being built with assistance from Russia, Japan and the US respectively – to military aims.

As a NATO member, Turkey hosts around 50 American nuclear warheads at the Incirlik Air Base. Erdogan’s threat may have been directed at the US following reports that Washington has been considering moving these weapons out of the country.

The NPT vs. the “Begin Doctrine”

The basis for Erdogan’s complaint is the centrally important 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). According to the NPT, countries with nuclear weapons at the time (the US, UK, Soviet Union/Russia, France and China) remained the only ones allowed such an arsenal in exchange for a commitment to supply nuclear technology for peaceful use to all other nations. Since then, however, additional countries have sought – some successfully – to acquire atomic bombs outside the NPT framework, including India, Pakistan and, allegedly, Israel (though some reports say Israel’s nuclear capabilities predate the NPT’s signing). Meanwhile, some signatory states have used their NPT-sponsored nuclear infrastructure to manufacture nuclear weapons despite its strictures – North Korea being the obvious case.

Several Middle Eastern states have been caught with their hands deep in the nuclear cookie jar in violation of the NPT – including Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Syria, Libya under Muammar Ghaddafi and Iran. To tackle this threat, Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin is credited with devising the “Begin Doctrine”, which says that Israel has a right and an obligation to make sure its enemies cannot achieve nuclear weapons capabilities.

Since then, Israel has acted directly against emerging nuclear threats, bombing reactors in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007). Jerusalem is also deeply involved with the US and others in the multifaceted effort against the ambitious Iranian nuclear weapons project that has endured for two decades now. The dismantling of Libya’s atomic bomb venture in 2004 may have been an exception, as Israel reportedly failed to detect that program in advance.

From an Israeli perspective, the dilemmas created by the Begin Doctrine have intensified recently. Ironically, this has happened because of the positive change in relationships between Jerusalem and several countries in the region. Instead of a zero-sum game – Arab countries are either friendly or belligerent – Israel now faces a Middle East which is a web of alliances on a continuum ranging from overtly friendly, to under-the-table friendly, to non-friendly yet potential future allies, to enemies, and everything in between.

This seismic shift is forcing Israeli policymakers to rethink their policy towards advanced nuclear capabilities in Arab hands. And nowhere is this issue more acute than in the case of Saudi Arabia.

Israel’s Saudi dilemma 

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman famously threatened in March 2018 that “without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Technically, Saudi Arabia is years away from possessing an ability to produce its own bomb. The kingdom’s current nuclear infrastructure is “embryonic”, focused on civilian energy (plans are in place to build 16 reactors by 2040), and is lacking in key elements to produce a bomb.

Instead, Riyadh has put its trust in its strong alliance with the US and a Pakistani “nuclear umbrella”. The Saudis have invested considerable sums in Pakistan’s atomic weapons program over the years, allegedly with the expectation that Islamabad would use its nuclear assets to protect Saudi Arabia in a time of need.

In August, the media exposed an undeclared Saudi nuclear site southwest of Riyadh, built with Chinese assistance. This facility, located at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), can process uranium ore into “yellowcake” – uranium concentrate powder used in the process of uranium enrichment.

Riyadh’s failure to disclose this facility to the IAEA is a worrying breach of its NPT obligations, with Beijing as an accomplice to this problematic behaviour. China’s role is especially concerning given its close relations with Saudi Arabia’s arch-nemesis, Iran. China has been a major customer for Iranian oil, circumventing US sanctions, protecting Iran and the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA) at the UN Security Council, and more.

Furthermore, Saudi atomic activities are currently not supervised under the maximum safeguard measures. Riyadh refuses to sign either the aforementioned US 123 agreement or the IAEA’s “Additional Protocol” for extended monitoring agreement. It is also reportedly declining to promise it would not pursue nuclear fuel production abilities.

Jerusalem is facing a dilemma deciding how to respond to Saudi atomic aspirations. Israel does not want to see a nuclear arms race triggered in the Middle East if a nuclear weapon is introduced to the region by Saudi Arabia (or anyone else). At the same time, Riyadh may soon go public with its informal secret cooperation with Israel, cemented in the shadow of the Iranian menace. And in the Middle East there are always worries about future internal political stability. Egypt, for example, flipped from foe, under Gamal Abd Al-Nasser, to friend, under Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, then turned hostile again under the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Morsi, but again became an ally under current President Abd Al-Fatah Al-Sissi.

Thus, instead of choosing to fully pursue the “Begin Doctrine” in this case, Israel has been following in the footsteps of another Israeli PM, Yitzhak Shamir. Just like Shamir quietly communicated to the US a willingness to exercise restraint in exchange for American protection after Israel was attacked by Iraq in the First Gulf War (1991), so too Israel seems prepared to put its trust in Washington, privately relaying its concerns about Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions. Such a policy solves, for now, its Saudi dilemma, but it may resurface in the not-so-distant future.

Dr. Ran Porat is a research associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya and a research associate at the Future Directions International Research Institute, Western Australia

Iranian Nukes Are Going Underground: Daniel 8

Bad News: Iran’s Centrifuge Assembly Plant is Going Underground

The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael M. Grossi, confirmed in an interview this week that Iran has begun replacing a key centrifuge assembly plant that a massive blast destroyed in July. Known as the Iran Centrifuge Assembly Center (ICAC), the ruined plant is where Tehran assembled advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium. An anonymous Middle Eastern official told the New York Times and Washington Post in the days after the explosion that Israel had planted a bomb at the site to sabotage Iran’s centrifuge assembly line.

The start of construction on the Islamic Republic’s new centrifuge plant has generated breathless headlines, but Iran will still require at least one to two years—if not longer—to replace the inventory it lost. As Director-General Grossi aptly stated, Tehran faces “a long process.”

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced in early September that construction had begun on the new facility “in the heart of the mountains” near Natanz, the location of a major nuclear complex. ICAC had been located near the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant. In his interview, Director-General Grossi declined to reveal the location of the new plant, citing confidentiality concerns, but Iranian officials previously stated they would rebuild the center underground where it would be better fortified against attacks or sabotage.

Commercial satellite imagery points to a candidate area for the new facility. Images taken as recently as October 21 show activity in the mountains south of Natanz which could be indicative of underground construction. According to the Institute for Science and International Security, signs include a construction staging area, new roads, the presence of security—and perhaps most importantly—a road leading from the construction staging area to the base of a mountain. A pre-existing underground tunnel network is also located nearby.

Which capabilities does Iran need to reconstitute? Video from Iranian state media, taken at the June 2018 inauguration of the ICAC, showed that the plant assembled IR-2m, IR-4, and IR-6 centrifuges before their delivery and final assembly at the enrichment facility at Natanz. ICAC put together advanced centrifuges made of specialized carbon fiber, maraging steel, and other specially fabricated and machined parts and subcomponents. Even though Tehran may have some of these materials on hand, and possesses other centrifuge production and assembly plants, it will likely need to acquire more raw materials from abroad, as well as replace ICAC’s delicate measuring and balancing equipment. A centrifuge assembly plant must also be immaculately clean and dust-free to build operable centrifuges, a feat made more difficult given the facility’s probable location under a mountain.

Although Iran may conduct limited research and development on advanced centrifuges, it is presently restricted from enriching in those centrifuges under the 2015 nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Following U.S. withdrawal from the accord in mid-2018, Tehran has incrementally reduced its adherence to the JCPOA and deployed prohibited models at Natanz.

According to the IAEA’s September safeguards report, Iran had installed 164 IR-2ms, 156 IR-4s, and 120 IR-6s at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant and planned to relocate the cascades to the main underground enrichment hall. It also installed a few dozen other advanced centrifuges, including these models, for R&D purposes. Iran already operates thousands of its simpler and slower IR-1 model centrifuges at the main enrichment hall at Natanz and at its other enrichment plant near Fordow.

Regardless of the present bottleneck in advanced centrifuge production, Iran’s breakout time—i.e. the interval required to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for one nuclear weapon—continues to shrink. As of September, Iran could break out in 3.5 months, and produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a second nuclear weapon two months after that. When the new assembly plant begins replacing inventory destroyed in the blast, in the coming years, Iran’s breakout time could diminish further.

The saboteurs responsible for the ICAC blast likely expected Iran would rebuild and locate a replacement facility underground but still thought the moment opportune to set back Tehran’s centrifuge program—and perhaps under a favorable U.S. president. Given the JCPOA’s unpredictable future and absence of efforts to reach a replacement deal, the saboteurs may have decided setting back Iran’s program now was worth the risk to temporarily halt the growing threat.

Governments of advanced and newly industrializing countries and high-tech industries must recognize that Iran will soon be out shopping for replacement parts, materials, and equipment. They must remain vigilant for new illicit procurement attempts by Tehran aimed at reconstituting its advanced centrifuge program, and crackdown on willing suppliers.

The new centrifuge assembly facility’s groundbreaking underscores that a more comprehensive nuclear agreement is needed to replace the JCPOA to ensure that Iran’s enrichment program is restrained for years to come. The victor of the U.S. presidential election should quickly get to work on leading that effort.

Andrea Stricker is a research fellow focusing on nonproliferation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (@FDD). Follow her on Twitter @StrickerNonpro. FDD is a non-partisan research institute focusing on foreign policy and national security issues.

Image: Reuters.

Nuclear arms control in crisis: Revelation 8

Responding to a question, Albert Einstein, the German-born physicist who won the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics, predicted rather ominously: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Einstein, who regretted the marginal role he played in the creation of the atomic bomb, was implicit in his warning of a world going back to a pre-historic stone age in case it is annihilated by nuclear weapons in a third world war.

With the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW) receiving its 50th ratification last week, and scheduled to go into force in 90 days, there is a lingering fear as to the effectiveness of these treaties, particularly when the world’s nine nuclear powers stand defiant or are openly violating these treaties.

The slew of anti-nuclear treaties has, undoubtedly, acted as a deterrent against a nuclear war since the devastation caused by the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people back in 1945.

Paradoxically, there is also an often-quoted near-truism that “nuclear weapons have done more for world peace than any peace treaty” as most nuclear powers have affirmed “no first use of nuclear weapons.”

Still, it did not prevent the emergence of four new nuclear powers since the 1970s – India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel (which has officially refused to admit its nuclear status) ¬ – even as four countries de-nuclearized, including South Africa which disassembled its arsenal while Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine repatriated their weapons to Russia.

And despite these treaties, the world’s major nuclear powers, particularly the US, UK, China, France and Russia, who are also veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, have continued to modernize their weapons.

According to the London Economist, the US alone has spent over US$ 348 billion in a decade-long modernization programme followed by the UK, France, Russia and China.

“In short, there has been no attempt to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the military and security doctrines of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council despite their commitments under the NPT,” said the Economist back in 2015.

There are also reports that some of the Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are harbouring intentions of developing weapons perhaps in a distant future.

So, how far are we from the longstanding struggle for a nuclear-weapons-free world? Is this an achievable goal or a political fantasy?

According to an Associated Press (AP) story last week, the Trump administration has sent a letter to governments that have either signed or ratified the treaty, telling them: “Although we recognize your sovereign right to ratify or accede to the TPNW, we believe that you have made a strategic error.”

This has been interpreted as an attempt by the US to exert pressure on signatories to withdraw from some of the anti-nuclear treaties.

Asked whether it was possible for Member States to withdraw their ratifications from the TPNW, if they were under pressure to do so from other Member States, Brenden Varma, the Spokesperson for the President of the UN General Assembly referred journalists to the Secretariat and its legal affairs officers.

From the President’s side, he said, the TPNW represented a significant step, and in general, he supported the objective of a nuclear weapon-free world.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the total inventory of nuclear weapons worldwide, as of 2019, stood at 13,865, of which 3,750 were deployed with operational forces. And, more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons were owned by Russia and the United States.

Dan Smith, Director at SIPRI said all nuclear weapon states are upgrading their arsenals. “And arms control is in crisis,” he warned.

“The strategic arms agreement between Russia and the United States – the last bilateral arms control treaty still standing – must be extended by February next year. It is not surprising that a radical change of direction is gaining this degree of support worldwide,” he added.

Professor M.V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, told IPS the quest for a nuclear weapons-free world has been longstanding, since the beginning of the nuclear age to be precise.

“The goal is definitely difficult to achieve and we are not close to it, but I don’t think it is a fantasy,” he said.

Other weapons of mass destruction, he pointed out, have been banned and there is no essential reason why nuclear weapons cannot be too, although this would require far-reaching changes in how countries interact with each other.

“The entry into force of the Ban Treaty is definitely a step toward the goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons because it allows non-nuclear countries to increase pressure on the nuclear weapon states to get rid of their means of Mass Destruction,” declared Dr. Ramana, who is also 2020 Wall Scholar, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia.

Since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been violated by all the nuclear powers, one reporter asked at the UN press briefing last week, “what actually is accomplished by this?”

In his response, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said: “ I think the treaty itself is a very important message on the need for total elimination of nuclear weapons, and I think that’s reflected in what the Secretary General said its most immediate effect is that when it comes into force the treaty will become binding International Law for those States who have ratified it.”

Those States will also have to submit an initial declaration regarding any past or present nuclear weapons under their control within 30 days of the entry into force, he explained.

He also pointed out that the Secretary General is very well aware of the general climate, and he’s consistently called for dialogue among Member States so that they may return to a common vision and a path leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

“Despite the differences over the treaty itself, the frustrations and concerns that underlie it must be acknowledged and addressed in that spirit.” The Secretary-General, he said, supports the continued engagement between supporters and critics of the treaty.

Dr. Joseph Gerson, President of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, told IPS if there is hope for creating a nuclear-weapons-free world despite the reality of new arms races and possible proliferation, the obvious answer is “yes.”

There is hope, but no guarantee, he added. Humans inherently have free will and the possibility of taking action.

During the darkest days of the Vietnam War, with its massive daily death toll, he said, it was difficult to imagine a day when the murderous bombs would stop falling. But they did.

Generations of African-Americans suffered and courageously resisted brutal slavery and Jim Crow racism, said Dr. Gerson.

“It took centuries, but legalized US apartheid was overcome. And I had the unique privilege of knowing and working with courageous men and women who survived Nazi death camps and who resisted – nonviolently and otherwise – the Nazi occupations of their countries. Their actions, small and ambitious, saved lives and helped to build post-war democratic societies.”

“As long as there is life, there is hope,” declared Dr Gerson, author of With Hiroshima Eyes, and Empire and the Bomb. (IPS)

(Thalif Deen is a former Director, Foreign Military Markets at Defense Marketing Services; Senior Defense Analyst at Forecast International; and military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group. He is also the co-author of “How to Survive a Nuclear Disaster” (New Century,1981).

Violent Clash Outside the Temple Walls Imminent, Israeli Officials Worry: Rev 11

Violent Clash With Gaza May Be Imminent

Officials suspect Islamic Jihad wants to strike on anniversary of leader’s targeted killing, while Hamas is frustrated by the actions of Qatar and Israel

Amos HarelPublished on 01.11.2020

Defense officials are concerned about a possible escalation in tensions with the Gaza Strip in the near future, perhaps even as early as the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, they told the security cabinet on Wednesday.

The officials suggested one of the main factors behind their concerns centered on a group within the military wing of Islamic Jihad. They felt that these activists apparently want to mark the anniversary of the death of Islamic Jihad leader, Baha Abu al-Ata – who was killed by Israel in a targeted assassination last November 12 with a retaliatory attack. The killing of Abu al-Ata, which the army called “Operation Black Belt,” sparked two days of clashes with Islamic Jihad, during which time the militants fired 500 rockets at Gaza border communities.