January 20, 2010New York City isn’t immune to earthquakes; a couple of small tremors measuring about 2.5 on the Richter scale even struck back in 2001 and 2002.But on August 10, 1884, a more powerful earthquake hit. Estimated from 4.9 to 5.5 in magnitude, the tremor made houses shake, chimneys fall, and residents wonder what the heck was going on, according to a New York Timesarticle two days later.The quake was subsequently thought to have been centered off Far Rockaway or Coney Island.It wasn’t the first moderate quake, and it won’t be the last. In a 2008 Columbia University study, seismologists reported that the city is crisscrossed with several fault lines, one along 125th Street. With that in mind, New Yorkers should expect a 5.0 or higher earthquake centered here every 100 years, the seismologists say.Translation: We’re about 30 years overdue. Lucky for us the city adopted earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.1884 A Forewarning Of The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)
Lawmakers want greater safeguards now and for future presidents so they cannot launch missiles unilaterally
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s incitement this week of a violent mob to assault Congress to halt the certification of his election loss, longstanding advocates of taking away the presidency’s authority to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike see an opening for their cause.
With even some Republicans publicly stating that Trump in his final two weeks of office is mentally unwell, concerned activists and supportive lawmakers such as Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., are pressing their case and calling for both immediate and longer-term steps to prevent current and future presidents from being able to order a first-strike nuclear attack.
For decades, the U.S. president has had the sole authority and complete discretion to order an initial nuclear strike on an adversary.
“With a mentally unstable president, you can’t just rely on him being his own check and balance,” Lieu said Friday, discussing the bicameral legislation he plans to reintroduce with Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., that would forbid any U.S. president from launching a pre-emptive nuclear attack without the express approval of Congress.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said in a Friday letter to Democratic House members that she spoke earlier in the morning to Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about “available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”
“All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his oath, but from reality itself,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., an Air National Guard veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and one of the few GOP members to call for Trump’s removal by the 25th Amendment, said in a Thursday video message. “The president is unfit and the president is unwell and the president must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily.”
While the pro-Trump extremists rioted around the Capitol complex on Wednesday, Lieu, a former Air Force attorney said he spent a good portion of the lockdown huddled with his House Foreign Affairs colleague, David Cicilline, D-R.I., drafting language for articles of impeachment against Trump as well as a letter to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller that implores him to provide a check in Trump’s final days in office on his ability to order a nuclear attack.
“As members of Congress who served in the military, we are writing to request that you and your combatant commanders consider ways to provide a check and balance on the President’s nuclear strike authority in the final days of his presidency,” reads the Thursday letter sent by Lieu, former Navy reservist and Afghanistan veteran Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and former Marine reservist Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif.
The trio point to the precedent set in August 1974 during President Richard Nixon’s final days in office when he was drinking heavily and viewed as unstable by many with proximity to him.
“As President Richard Nixon prepared to leave office, then-Defense Secretary James Schlesinger issued orders requiring that military commanders check with either him or then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before executing any nuclear launch order by the president,” states the letter, which was obtained by CQ Roll Call. “Donald Trump is detached from reality, angry and acting out. To safeguard our country from potential catastrophe, similar steps to those taken in August 1974 need to be taken now.”
If Trump is not removed from office via the 25th Amendment or the impeachment process, Lieu acknowledges there is little else lawmakers can do in the next two weeks to wrest nuclear control from the president’s hands other than beseeching the common sense of senior Pentagon and military leaders to act with caution before carrying out any potential nuclear-related orders from Trump.
Unstable nuclear order
The nuclear chain-of-command launch authority was developed during the Cold War when speed and efficiency were prioritized amid fears the United States would have little warning to respond to a surprise attack by the Soviet Union on the homeland or on NATO allies.
Policies on atomic weapons use vary among those countries that maintain nuclear arsenals. For example, China has a longstanding stated policy of no-first-use for its nuclear arsenal. But Russia has gradually expanded the types of scenarios that it says would merit a first-use nuclear attack, including in a new military doctrine finalized last summer that gives Russian President Vladimir Putin the ability to order a nuclear attack if critical Russian military infrastructure appears to be under imminent catastrophic conventional attack.
“I now think that the Russia policy is similar or the same as the U.S. policy, which to me is terrifying,” said Tom Collina, policy director at the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund, noting that Russia’s military capabilities for identifying a possible missile attack haven’t been updated in years, creating a heightened risk of miscalculation in a moment of crisis.
For this reason, many anti-nuclear advocates have called on President-elect Joe Biden to issue some type of declaration early in his administration that the United States is no longer a first-use nation or that would require concurrence by additional senior officials before a nuclear attack order can be carried out.
Calls for Biden to adopt a more restrained nuclear attack policy have only grown in recent days amid alarm about Trump’s mental state and a desire to send a reassuring message to the American public and foreign allies and adversaries alike.
“[Wednesday’s] violence and governmental chaos reinforced what we already know: no one person, not even a president, should be given the sole authority to start a nuclear war, which could lead to the immediate death of millions,” Laura Grego, senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement.
Grego said the policy should be changed to require that two other elected officials “in the line of succession” concur with a presidential order to use nuclear weapons.
The political moment for such an action by Biden is ripe, said Collina, warning that if too much time passes, people might become lulled into complacency again.
“The danger here is that President Biden comes in and, rightly so, people are reassured. I don’t think anyone is worried that President Biden is going to launch [pre-emptive] nuclear war,” Collina said. “The problem is that there may be another Trump in our future. ”
Steve Andreasen, the former director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, said an executive order by Biden is “the most promising path for strengthening the process by which the president will receive thorough and timely advice to inform a decision on the potential use of a nuclear weapon.” Such an executive order “could later be reinforced in legislation.”
Of course, any Biden executive order declaring a more restrained nuclear launch policy could be reversed by a successor president just as Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the multinational nuclear deal with Iran that the Obama administration painstakingly negotiated.
“While a future president could reverse any policies or process a president put in place, establishing them (preferably, early in a new administration) will send a strong signal of the president’s dedication to informed yet timely decision-making, and create a baseline for future presidents on this critical matter,” Andreasen, who now teaches at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said in an email.
Fear that a Trump-like successor could unilaterally revert the United States back to its expansive nuclear attack posture means that Congress should take action through legislation, argued Lieu, noting strong constitutional arguments exist for permanently taking away the presidency’s pre-emptive nuclear attack authority.
Opponents such as Lieu of this unilateral power argue it goes against the intent of the Constitution, which places the power to declare war solely in Congress’ hands. Because any pre-emptive nuclear attack on a foreign country would amount to a de facto act of war, only Congress should be able to approve one, the thinking of this group goes.
Daniyal TalatJanuary 8, 2021
Since ancient times, security has been one of the most important concerns of humans. Humans have always felt insecure due to either wild animals or tribes who would come at night and assault them to loot their animals, women, and children. Today, after ages, human is still not secure. Potent armies and nuclear weapons did provide some sense of security in terms of consolidating physical boundaries, but technology has also changed the entire shape of warfare. Proxy wars and hybrid threats are the terms of modern times. One thing that can be said that the prosperity and the development of a nation in today’s world is conditional to its ability to counter hybrid threats.
Hybrid warfare is one of the most talked about type of warfare in current time. It is also known as “Grey Zone conflict” or “low intensity conflict”. Hybrid warfare is the way to achieve the objectives or interests without using force. It is the combination of regular forces, irregular forces, proxy wars, criminal networks, terrorist activities, political organization, and insurgent groups to carry out the blend of traditional and non-traditional act of war. It is supported by political pressure, economic pressure, information influence and cyber operations.
Hybrid warfare is surrounded by the public opinion. It is basically not to defeat the enemy or adversary, but it is meant to demoralize the enemy. In fact, it is a way to achieve objectives without fighting. It was emerged in the early period of the 21st century. It has been used in context of non-state actors since many years.Labelling warfare as hybrid warfare does not change the core objectives of war. Its goal is to exploit the threat or use organized form of violence in your advantage to gain victory over an opponent. Instruments that were used in a warfare will not be going to be used in a hybrid warfare which complicates the problem. Regardless of how the threat is labelled, strategists must decide how best to address the methods employed by their adversaries, whether state or non-state actors. Usually, the best strategies involve the coordination and direction of all the effective instruments of state power, no matter how the world will define the threat.
South Asia was faced with a hybrid challenge long before Western theorists coined the term. The LTTE is, in many ways, an early example of hybrid threat; it had state-like military capability by having an army, navy, and air force; it tried to use illegal organisations to help support the guerrilla movement; it also had a complex media network around the globe. It took decades for the Sri Lankan government to transform its own fighting strategy into a hybrid one as well, before the LTTE could be defeated.
Dr. Ashfaque Hasan khan (Dean of social sciences at NUST, Islamabad) said that the pace of hybrid warfare has become rapid since the last four to five years. Furthermore, the people of Pakistan has not yet realized about this warfare because this warfare has the beauty of deception and misinformation.Pakistan is facing the economic pressure and political instabilities; both are the big influencing instrument of hybrid warfare. The kind of impact that this war imply depends on the strength of the aggressor. Pakistan has on several occasions given ample information to the Indian authorities of Indian clandestine funding for a variety of terrorist activities. Former United States Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has also suggested that India is using Afghan soil to fund Pakistan’s problems.These Indian infiltrations in Pakistan are a prominent feature of hybrid warfare as Webster G. Tarpley, a prominent US based analyst revealed that “the chosen strategy is to massively export the Afghan civil war into Pakistan and beyond, fracturing Pakistan along ethnic lines.”
At the external stage, the 2001 bombing on the Indian Parliament, Mumbai mayhem in 2008, the 2016 attack at Pathankot and the 2019 Pulwama incident were all blamed on Pakistan in a strongly clear and immediate way, although these allegations were mainly based on circumstantial facts.This narrative was further strengthened by the political power of India around the world to mark Pakistan as a state that supports terrorism and to portray itself as its target as part of its own hybrid war policy.As a result, Pakistan is being forced to fight this hybrid warfare by better preparedness and a coordinated policy, as this ‘new normal’ continues to challenge Pakistan’s national security.Pakistan is being forced into this warfare as this is clear as how Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian military officer, was accused of treason within Pakistan and caught supportingterrorism in Baluchistan. In addition, the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), a militant organisation known for decades to be supported by India, was also allegedly involved in an attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi back in November 2018.Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, the chief of the military’s media wing stated that India is engaged in a ‘fifth generation warfare’ and trying to block Pakistan’s path to development, primarily by targeting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and trying to deform the Pakistan’s image in front of International arena. He also stated, “Unfortunately, it’s a major onslaught, it’s a major part of the fifth-generation warfare. Pakistan is being subjected to […] hybrid applications in a massive way and we are aware of that.” In response to India’s Hybrid warfare, Pakistan submitted a dossier and try to bring attention of the whole world on Indian-state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan.
Keeping in view the vastness of the hybrid threats no army alone has the wherewithal to counter them. In most cases states find themselves short of capacity to counter such threats. Since anything and everything comes under the ambit of hybrid threats either directly or indirectly, countering them is only possible through a national resolve and commitment. This resolve and commitment must be reflected in every aspect of life of its citizens.Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military theorist stated, “Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions” and this is the age of Hybrid warfare.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the Rafah Medical Complex in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on Nov. 23, 2019. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
JNS.org – In the final days of 2020, the IDF released its annual figures for the year, and the data revealed that the Gaza Strip remains the least stable and most explosive arena in Israel’s environs.
While the Hamas regime in Gaza and its terror army, the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, are unlikely to initiate war with Israel at this time — preferring instead to preserve Hamas’ rule by seeking economic relief and coping with the coronavirus pandemic — any small tactical flare-up involving Hamas or one of the other armed terror factions could still quickly escalate into a broader conflict.
In addition, Hamas could soon turn to “pressure tactics” to try to convince Israel to reach a longer-term arrangement with it — a campaign that could backfire and snowball into conflict.
Other factions in Gaza, such as the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are not weighed down by complicating factors like the need to preserve a governing regime or concerns over Gaza’s gravely ill economy, and therefore have a freer hand to initiate escalations
The fact that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to produce rockets and a range of other weapons means that Gaza is home to a growing arsenal of firepower, embedded deeply within and underneath Gaza’s sprawling urban neighborhoods in a deliberate policy of human shielding.
Recent comments by Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad Nakhaleh, who addressed a memorial event in Tehran to mark the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in a US drone strike one year ago, shed light on Iran’s considerable contribution to building up Gaza’s terror factions.
According to Nakhaleh, the Iranian “resistance” axis worked to smuggle weapons into Gaza and invited Hamas operatives to Syrian military bases to train them in rocket-building methods.
Hamas has been in possession of Kornet anti-tank guided missiles since 2012 and has also gotten hold of long-range rockets and mortars, thanks to the efforts of Soleimani.
Soleimani also came up with the idea of training Gazan engineering units to set up their own domestic-weapons production industry in the Strip — an initiative that proved extremely valuable to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad after Egypt destroyed many smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula, making weapons smuggling much harder.
Today, Gaza’s weapons-builders can and do create their own long-range rockets, some of which were recently fired into the Mediterranean Sea by Gazan factions in a joint war drill, allegedly reaching a 100-kilometer range. The weapons-production units also know how to build their own mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades, and an array of explosives.
The working assumption in the IDF is that enemies will possess capabilities in five years that they do not have today, and that every Israeli military advance will create a counter-reaction on the side of adversaries, who will study the Israeli advantage and change their own arsenal and preparations accordingly.
According to the IDF’s annual data, in the past year, Gazan terror organizations fired 176 rockets at Israel in 2020 with 90 of those hitting open areas and 80 intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system.
Iron Dome successfully intercepted 93% of all rockets heading towards Israeli populated areas.
The IDF recorded 38 attempts to breach the border from Gaza, and detected and destroyed a new tunnel dug by Hamas into Israel, using new technology in Israel’s underground barrier, designed to end Hamas’ attack tunnel project. That barrier is nearly complete, while 45 kilometers of the new above-ground fence, which brims with advanced sensors, was also built this year.
The IDF struck around 300 targets in the Gaza Strip in the past year — most of them belonging to Hamas — in retaliation for rocket attacks primarily launched by smaller Gazan factions as part of Israel’s policy of holding Hamas responsible for all that occurs in Gaza.
In comparison to past years, such figures represent a relatively low level of conflict with Gaza’s factions. The IDF is using that relative quiet to prepare new battle plans, in case Gaza “explodes” once again.
Unlike past escalations, particularly the 51-day Operation Protective Edge in 2014, which ended indecisively, the Israeli defense establishment is drawing up new battle plans designed to achieve the rapid destruction of enemy capabilities and a decisive victory that will spare the Israeli home front weeks upon weeks of air-raid sirens and rocket attacks.
According to a recent report by Maariv military analyst Tal Lev Ram, the IDF has concluded that if it inflicts rapid and heavy damage on Hamas, it can force it into a truce arrangement from a weak position.
The IDF can achieve this objective through the use of more intense, accurate firepower, according to the report.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has set an objective for the IDF’s Southern Command (which is responsible for Gaza), as well as for maneuvering divisions, the air force, and the intelligence directorate: that is to kill 300 Hamas military operatives and other terror faction members during every 24 hours of combat, thereby disrupting the enemy’s plans and shortening the length of the combat.
Such plans rely on the military’s new ability to operate as a single combat network — one that instantly detects and shares enemy targets among forces on the military’s digital command networks, and acts on that intelligence in real-time, translating it into firepower strikes within seconds. This vision of future battle performance lies at the heart of the IDF’s Momentum multi-year program, drawn up by Kochavi and military brass.
It is about connecting an array of sensors to an array of shooters, whether on the ground, in the air, or at sea.
This type of network-centered warfare is the key to understanding the IDF’s future battle plans.
But it’s not only about offense. In a detailed paper published in Bamahane, the IDF’s official magazine, the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi (who is slated to become the next deputy chief of staff), stressed the need to think about defense — and not just the type provided by air-defense systems like Iron Dome.
Hamas’s elite unit, the Nahba Force, is planning offensive cross-border raids into Israel in the next war; those plans include killing and kidnapping raids against civilian communities and military targets in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip.
In the north, Hezbollah is planning similar types of ground raids to target Israel’s Galilee region.
“These are not maneuvers designed to hold territory for a long time, but rather, they are aimed at causing damage, taking hostages, and more than that, create a consciousness effect among the Israeli public and to reverberate, via the media, that something has happened that has never happened before,” explained Halevi. “Terror’s goal is to frighten, not to win in the classic sense of the word. In this case, creating a lack of control over a state’s territory, sowing fear and instability — that is its achievement.”
In his paper, Halevi noted how American football teams are made up of players who are experts in offense, delivering the ball to the opponent’s end zone with players designated to defense in order to foil the opposing team’s offense.
“Our reality is immeasurably more complex; we play in defense and offense simultaneously, and we can’t swap the squads in every maneuver. The number of possibilities and tools in war is endless, and the price of a mistake influences the battle formations, as well as the public and the home front more than the impact of a painful loss in a decisive sports event,” he said. Nevertheless, continued Halevi, it is worth asking when it comes to modern warfare against terror armies if giving more attention to defense has become necessary.
While a quality military always prefers to attack, the importance of defense in both routine times and wars has become more important, he argued.
Israel’s adversaries today have access to high-tech combat capabilities that in the past were only available to advanced states. The cheap cost and easy availability of technology mean that enemies can create attack capabilities from the ground, in the air (projectiles and drones), at sea, and underground, as well as cyber warfare.
Part of the answer to this new threat, argued Halevi, is to create a defense system that operates in the same domains that enemies operate in. Instead of looking at the old division of land, sea, and air, it is now possible to divide them into sub-categories — above-ground and underground, high altitude and low altitude, sea surface and underwater, while adding the cyber domain.
An accurate defensive picture that can provide an early alert over enemy attacks in every domain is critical, said Halevi. This means being able to identify an attack in one of the domains, even if most of the attack occurs in another domain.
Quality intelligence that provides an ongoing picture of the enemy must include the ability to monitor all of the domains at the same time, according to Halevi’s new defense strategy.
“Every sign in one of the domains will [also] be examined in the other domains, and this significantly increases the chances of understanding the full picture and foiling [the enemy’s] maneuver,” he wrote. “Returning to the football team — while the coach knows the game schedule and when the decisive game will come, the game that the team must prepare for and arrive at its best — we must always be ready for the decisive game of our lives and assume that we will never know when it will occur.”
Yaakov Lappin is a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in Israel’s defense establishment, military affairs, and the Middle Eastern strategic environment.
January 07, 2021 – 9:27 AM
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s military said Thursday it successfully conducted a successful test flight of a rocket system capable of carrying a conventional warhead up to a range of 140 kilometers (about 90 miles).
In a statement, miliary leaders said the weapon system, called Fatah-1, will give Pakistan’s army “capability of precision target engagement deep in enemy territory.” It said President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the military leaders congratulated scientists and troops on the “successful” flight test.
TEHRAN, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) — Iran can enrich uranium to 90 percent of purity, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced on Thursday.
“Our achievements are so great that we can easily enrich uranium in different percentages up to 90 percent,” Behrooz Kamalvandi told state TV.
“If enrichment above 20 percent is required in some areas, the AEOI can do that,” said Kamalvandi.
The 20-percent uranium enrichment process was launched on Monday as part of Iran’s Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions which was approved by the parliament in December 2020. Enditem
Published: January 6, 2021, 10:16 am
In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, spokesman of the organization Behrouz Kamalvandi, center, briefs the media while visiting Fordo nuclear site near Qom, south of Tehran, Iran Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Joe Biden has an Iran problem. And, its getting more complicated by the day. Thanks to provocative moves by Iran and less-than-coherent actions by the outgoing Trump administration, the president-elect is facing an increasingly uncertain situation when it comes to Iran, a decades-long American nemesis that has been a target of blame for much of the Middle East’s instability, (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)
BERLIN – Germany, France and Britain pressed Iran on Wednesday to reverse a decision to start enriching uranium to levels beyond the limits of a 2015 nuclear agreement, a move which they said “risks compromising” chances of diplomacy with the incoming U.S. administration.
The foreign ministers of the three European nations said in a joint statement that the Iranian activity “has no credible civil justification.” They said the enrichment was a clear violation of the 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers and “further hollows out the agreement.”
The United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018, and the remaining countries that signed it with Iran — Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — have been trying to keep the accord from collapsing.
On Monday, Iran began enriching uranium to levels unseen since the 2015 deal. The decision appeared aimed at increasing Tehran’s leverage during U.S. President Donald Trump’s waning days in office.
Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plans to increase enrichment to 20% last week. Increasing enrichment at its underground Fordo facility puts Tehran a technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.
The purpose of the deal was to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb — something Tehran insists it doesn’t want to do. The three European powers have expressed hope that with the change of administrations in Washington, the U.S. might rejoin the agreement.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he hopes to return the U.S. to the deal.
Complicating that goal is that Iran — which is seeking relief from crippling U.S. sanctions — is now in violation of most major restrictions set out in the agreement.
The uranium enrichment move “undermines the joint commitment” made on Dec. 21 by participants in the deal to preserve the agreement, the European ministers said in their statement Wednesday.
“It also risks compromising the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy with the incoming U.S. administration,” the statement said.
“We strongly urge Iran to stop enriching uranium to up to 20% without delay, reverse its enrichment program to the limits agreed in the (agreement) and to refrain from any further escalatory steps which would further reduce the space for effective diplomacy,” the ministers added.
A decision to begin enriching to 20% purity a decade ago nearly triggered an Israeli strike targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities. The tensions only abated with the 2015 deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on the sidelines of a meeting on nuclear disarmament in Jordan that the accord still “has a chance.”
He added that the world would know soon after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration what demands Washington has.
“That’s why one can only say once more to Iran that it would be extremely dangerous to gamble away this chance,” Maas said.
Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.