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 Iranian Nuclear Horn Presses Ahead: Daniel 8

Iran presses ahead with uranium enrichment

Iran has begun enriching uranium with newly installed advanced centrifuges, in breach of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The International Atomic Energy Agency told NHK on Tuesday that Iran began enrichment activities with the new centrifuges last Saturday at its core nuclear facility in Natanz.

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, tweeted that the centrifuges have four times the capacity of conventional ones.

He wrote that another type of advanced centrifuges is also being installed at a nuclear facility in Fordo, adding that “there’s more to come soon.” Both Natanz and Fordo are in central Iran.

Enriching uranium with the advanced equipment is banned under the nuclear accord, due to the risk of the end-product being diverted for military use.

Iran has signaled that it may stop accepting spot inspections by the IAEA later this month. The series of moves are seen as putting pressure on US President Joe Biden.

The United States pulled out of the nuclear agreement under the presidency of Donald Trump, and re-imposed economic sanctions.

Iran wants the Biden administration to lift the sanctions. But the country’s push for nuclear development is raising strong concerns from both the US and Europe.

Babylon the Great and Russia Make a Nuclear Peace Deal

US, Russia reach deal extending nuclear arms treaty for five years

GETTY IMAGES

BY LAURA KELLY

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the U.S. has reached a deal with Russia to extend for five years a key nuclear arms treaty, an agreement that comes days before the treaty was set to expire.

Blinken said in a statement that the extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty – through Feb. 5, 2026 – reduces the risk of a deadly arms race and allows the U.S. close inspection of the Russian arsenal and restrictions on its missile programs.

“The New START Treaty’s verification regime enables us to monitor Russian compliance with the treaty and provides us with greater insight into Russia’s nuclear posture, including through data exchanges and onsite inspections that allow U.S. inspectors to have eyes on Russian nuclear forces and facilities,” the secretary said.

The treaty, which first entered into force in 2011, puts strategic caps on both U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons arsenals as well as allowing inspections on both sides to ensure compliance.

Blinken said the U.S. will work over the next five years to extend the parameters of the treaty to address all of Russia’s nuclear weapons while also pursuing arms control with China to reduce its nuclear arsenal.

The Trump administration had earlier called on including China in the extension of the New START treaty but was rejected by Beijing. Those efforts were seen as hampering talks with Moscow to extend the treaty before former President Trump left office.

The extension on Wednesday was welcomed by NATO, saying the treaty contributes to “international stability” and is an important step in the effort to address nuclear threats.

Yet the international alliance also raised the warning that the extension of the treaty does not eliminate threats posed by Russia.

“Even as the United States engages Russia in ways that advance our collective interests, NATO remains clear-eyed about the challenges Russia poses. We will work in close consultation to address Russia’s aggressive actions, which constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” the council said in a statement.

The successful extension of the nuclear arms treaty marks a rare area of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia at a time of heightened tension between the two countries.

The Risk of War with the Russian and Chinese Nuclear Horns

US admiral warns of ‘real possibility’ of nuclear war with Russia, China

By Yaron Steinbuch

February 3, 2021 | 1:11pm

The admiral who heads the US Strategic Command — which is responsible for nuclear deterrence — is calling on the nation’s military and civilian leaders to seek new ways to face threats by Russia and China, including the “real possibility” of nuclear conflict.

Adm. Charles Richard warned that Moscow and Beijing have “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in “ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.”

“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” he wrote in the February issue of Proceedings, the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine.

“Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”

He added: “We cannot approach nuclear deterrence the same way.  It must be tailored and evolved for the dynamic environment we face.”

Adm. Charles Richard called nuclear conflict a “real possibility.”

US Strategic Command

“At the U.S. Strategic Command, we assess the probability of nuclear use is low, but not ‘impossible,’ particularly in a crisis and as our nuclear-armed adversaries continue to build capability and exert themselves globally,” he wrote.

In his blunt assessment of the geopolitical landscape, Richard also said the US “must wrestle with the relationships among competition, deterrence, and assurance. Despite views to the contrary, successful competition does not result in an ‘end state.’”

“We must rethink how we assess strategic risks and how those assessments inform our planning and execution. Following our conclusion that crisis or conflict with a nuclear-armed adversary could lead to nuclear employment, U.S. Strategic Command embarked on a revised ‘Risk of Strategic Deterrence Failure’ assessment process to better inform our own thinking,” he wrote.

Richard said the Defense Department “must reframe how it prioritizes the procurement of future capabilities. Our record in this regard is not stellar,” adding that “we must ensure that all of our capabilities map to an overarching strategy.”

The Navy officer added that the US “must acknowledge the foundational nature of our nation’s strategic nuclear forces, as they create the ‘maneuver space’ for us to project conventional military power strategically.”

He expressed his alarm at a spike in “cyberattacks and threats in space” by Russia and China, as well as their investment in advanced weapons, including nukes.

Not surprisingly, they are even taking advantage of the global pandemic to advance their national agendas. These behaviors are destabilizing, and if left unchecked, increase the risk of great power crisis or conflict,” he wrote.

“We must actively compete to hold their aggression in check; ceding to their initiatives risks reinforcing their perceptions that the United States is unwilling or unable to respond, which could further embolden them,” Richard continued.

“Additionally, our allies may interpret inaction as an unwillingness or inability to lead. Remaining passive may deny us opportunities to position in ways that underpin one of our greatest strengths: strategic power projection,” he added.

He said he bristles when he hears the Defense Department being accused of “being stuck in the Cold War.”

The department is well past the Cold War; in fact, a large part of our challenge lies in the fact that we no longer view our environment through the lens of potential enemy nuclear employment,” he wrote.

“The United States has sustained global counter-terrorism efforts for two decades — and has grown accustomed to ignoring the nuclear dimension. Our recent experiences against non-nuclear-armed adversaries have allowed us to believe nuclear use is impossible and not worthy of attention,” Richard continued.

Further, assessing risk is more than just assessing likelihood; it also involves accounting for outcomes. We cannot dismiss or ignore events that currently appear unlikely but, should they occur, would have catastrophic consequences,” Richard added.

He warned that the nuclear capabilities of the US adversaries are “sobering.”

“More than a decade ago, Russia began aggressively modernizing its nuclear forces, including its non-treaty-accountable medium- and short-range systems,” he wrote.

“It is modernizing bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, warning systems, command-and-control (C2) capabilities, and the doctrine to underpin their employment — in short, its entire strategic force structure,” Richard continued.

“This modernization is about 70 percent complete and on track to be fully realized in a few years. In addition, Russia is building new and novel systems, such as hypersonic glide vehicles, nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered torpedoes and cruise missiles, and other capabilities,” he added.

Dongfeng-41 intercontinental strategic nuclear missiles are reviewed in a military parade in Beijing.

Liu Bin/Xinhua via Getty Images

Richard noted that “until we come to a broad understanding of what the threat is and what to do about it, we risk suffering embarrassment — or perhaps worse — at the hands of our adversaries.”

Blinken: Iran Will Be Ready to Develop Nuclear Weapon in ‘Weeks’

Blinken: Iran Could Be Ready to Develop Nuclear Weapon in ‘Weeks’

Asharq Al-Awsat

Tuesday, 2 February, 2021 – 06:45

How Iran Lured a Dissident From France to Execution

Tuesday, 2 February, 2021 – 06:15

In October 2019, Iranian dissident Ruhollah Zam was running a widely followed news site based in France, accompanied by his family and benefitting from refugee status as well as security in his country of exile.

But just over a year later, on December 12, 2020, Zam was hanged in Iran, an execution that prompted international condemnation.

How had Zam gone from the relative comfort of his life in France to meeting his death aged just 42 at the hands of the hangman in his home country, whose leaders he had targeted in his work?

His father Mohammad Ali Zam is a cleric still based in Iran and was, at one time, a senior figure in Iranian cultural institutions.

So fervent was his support of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the Shah that he named his son after its founder, Ruhollah Khomeini.

Colleagues and friends of Ruhollah Zam in France told AFP that he had made the mistake of being lured into a trip to Iraq in October 2019, defying their warnings of danger and falling into a trap set to exploit his own character.

“He played a dangerous game by going to Iraq and he lost,” said Mahtab Ghorbani, a Paris-based Iranian writer and a refugee who worked with Zam.

“He was dragged into a dirty psychological game designed by this regime.”

Resident in France for almost half a decade, Ruhollah Zam had attracted up to two million followers to his Telegram channel Amadnews, encouraging people to turn out in protests during the winter of 2017-2018 and also publishing sometimes sensational allegations about the Iranian leadership.

As the privileged child of an influential father, Zam enjoyed good contacts in Tehran which he held onto even after leaving the country following the 2009 protests over disputed elections.

He first went to Malaysia and Turkey, and then France.

“When there were turf wars between people in power, they turned to Zam,” said Maziyar, a friend and fellow Iranian refugee, who worked on Amadnews and asked that his full name not be published.

“He delivered information without limits, he had no red line, he respected neither the president, nor the supreme leader, nobody. He even laughed at his own father.”

But the success of Amadnews and Zam’s own growing radicalism proved their undoing as Telegram suspended the account for inciting followers to use Molotov cocktails against police.

Zam’s influence appeared to be waning. Even friends began to question if he was pushing too hard for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.

“Ruhollah became really well known. He advocated the overthrow of the regime and maybe he started to think of himself as a leader,” said Hassan Fereshtyan, a Paris-based lawyer who assisted Zam.

“Bit by bit, he lost his friends,” he said.

“He was alone and isolated, and part of the Iranian opposition in exile did not trust him,” added Ghorbani.

He was also receiving an increasing number of threats, which prompted French police to give him protection.

His friends said this was a dark time for Zam, a hugely ambitious man who feared that the media presence he had built up so fast was now rapidly losing clout.

“He was in the position where he could make bad decisions and fall for the trap,” said Maziyar.

In mid-October 2019, he appeared at Fereshtyan’s Paris office and told the astonished lawyer that he was going to travel to Iraq to conduct an interview with Ayatollah Ali Sistani, one of the most influential figures in Shia Islam.

This interview was supposed to launch a new television channel suggested by an individual claiming to be an Iranian businessman.

His associates immediately sensed the danger, given the security influence Iran has in Iraq.

“I shouted, I told him: ‘If you go, it’s the end, you will never come back to France!'” said Fereshtyan.

And even though Zam gave no indication of when he planned to go, he took the plane to Amman and then onwards to Baghdad the next day.

“Everyone advised him against leaving, even his bodyguard, but he simply replied that he was tired of waiting,” added Maziyar.

“And he went. Sadly.”

Zam telephoned his wife from Amman airport but he appears to have been apprehended as soon as he arrived in Baghdad.

He was later blindfolded, put into a car and driven to the Iranian border in footage later seen on Iranian state TV.

His detention inside Iran saw him in July 2020 give an interview to state TV, a method used on prisoners in Iran that activists regard as a forced confession extracted by torture.

Sitting in a deep armchair, he was interviewed on the program “Without Compliments” by Ali Rezvani, officially a journalist for state broadcaster IRIB but who campaigners say is actually an interrogator for the Revolutionary Guards.

Zam was convicted of charges including “sowing corruption” and spying for foreign intelligence including France and Israel, accusations vehemently denied by him and his supporters.

His execution on December 12 came just four days after the confirmation of the supreme court’s verdict was announced, a haste that is unusual.

His father wrote on his Instagram account that he was allowed to meet his son a day before the execution, about which he said Ruhollah had been kept in the dark.

His daughter Niaz wrote on social media that her father had called on WhatsApp — inexplicably from a +44 UK number — hours before his execution.

“I knew that was it, and the hardest thing was that I knew and I could not do anything about it!” she wrote.

Still in grief, the family declined requests for interviews from AFP through their lawyer.

The United States and Europe expressed outrage at the execution while UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said there were “serious concerns” that Zam’s capture outside of Iran “could amount to an abduction”.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he did not believe the killing would harm relations between Iran and Europe, noting that capital punishment is part of Iranian law.

And for dissidents based in France, the execution was a warning that their security cannot be guaranteed even while outside the country.

“With this execution, they wanted to send a message to the loyalists of the regime not to take another path,” said Ghorbani. “And also to show opponents outside of Iran their power and sow panic among them.”

The Saudis and Iranians will never reconcile: Daniel

Can the Saudis and Iranians reconcile?

A Riyadh-Tehran rapprochement is unlikely, but not impossible.

Under the former Trump administration, the Saudis and its Gulf allies were strongly backed by Washington to challenge Iran’s assertiveness across the Middle East. The Gulf alliance’s interests fit neatly into the US’ ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against the Shia-majority country.

With the new Biden administration, which has indicated it wants a return to the Iran nuclear deal, there is not much incentive for Riyadh to continue to confront Iranian expansion across the region from Yemen to Iraq and Lebanon.

But will a change in political conditions help both sides develop common ground? On Monday, the GCC leadership was in Iraq. It has been reported that backchannel talks are taking place between Iranians and Saudis there.

Sami Hamdi, an Arab political analyst and head of the International Interest, a political risk analysis group, believes that the Biden administration’s attempt to rejoin the nuclear deal will just make things even more complicated for Riyadh.

“Saudi fears that the nuclear talks are in essence a discussion between Washington and Tehran over a power sharing agreement whereby the two parties will cooperate and acknowledge each other’s interests at the expense of Saudi Arabia,” Hamdi tells TRT World.

For the Saudis, Hamdi believes a US green light to Iranian expansion might be disastrous, due to huge discrepancies between the two countries’ military strength and political ambitions.

The Saudis have traditionally been cautious and have outsourced their security, being generally “insular and reactive” while Iran is far more ambitious and self-reliant, according to the analyst.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Saudi King Salman, right, at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 20, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AP Archive)

Tehran’s heavy sway in Iraq and its expansion into Yemen, Syria and Lebanon is “cementing its influence over institutions and decision-making processes” in those countries, Hamdi says.

Tehran’s ‘siege’ over Riyadh

The Iranian march across the Middle East will just increase Riyadh’s pain further, according to Hamdi.

“Riyadh believes Iran has surrounded the Kingdom [regionally] via Iraq to the North, Iran mainland to the East, Yemen to the South, and [globally] through political engagement with the Biden administration,” he says.

As a result, the Saudis believe the nuclear negotiations threaten “a complete re-ordering of the power dynamics” in the region through a new US-Iran axis, Hamdi observes.

Despite all these changes, the Kingdom has remained paralysed by its lack of political vision under the inexperienced leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whose domestic and foreign policies have been severely criticised across the board.

“Their relations could not be normalised because there are no political conditions for that,” says Mehmet Bulovali, an Iraqi-Kurdish political analyst.

He says there is a massive chasm between the political approaches on both sides.

“One [Riyadh] is trying to defend itself while another [Tehran] is acting in a revolutionary mood, which could not be persuaded to live in a low-profile or an isolated way. The [revolutionary] Shia Persian establishment wants to rule over the Islamic world,” the analyst tells TRT World.

Bulovali thinks rapprochement is based on flimsy grounds. “It’s like a sheep and a wolf wanting to negotiate for a mutual agreement to live together. That’s not possible.”

“There are no major political items on which they could really agree on something,” he adds.

The main issue between the two sides is security, but they can not address this because they don’t trust each other, he says.

Hamdi believes a political rapprochement between the two is a possibility if both countries develop a political mechanism of sharing information in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

“Saudi Arabia is not after an expansion of its own influence, but rather a check on Iran’s powerful influence. If it feels such a check exists (even if it is outside Riyadh’s control), it will be more inclined to respect a rapprochement with Iran,” he says.

“The second scenario is an increased security presence to check Iran’s militias. However, this is counter-productive in the long term,” he adds.

Gulf-Iraq rapprochement

Recent exchanges of visits between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Iraqi government have increased hopes that Baghdad could be distanced from Iran’s political influence.

Iraq’s President Barham Salih arrives to attend the meeting for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab and Islamic summits in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 30, 2019. (Credit: The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office / Reuters Archive)

Under the Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi, Iraq has appeared to follow a more independent political path, reestablishing its ties with the Arab world and limiting Iran’s influence, according to Bulovali. “The Trump administration backed Kadhimi on that move. This is a kind of political experiment.”

The GCC Secretary General Nayef al Hajraf was in Baghdad on Monday to hold talks with Kadhimi on various issues including boosting trade and electricity supply from the Gulf to Iraq.

Constant power outages across Iraq was one of the main reasons for large protests across the country, contributing to political change in Baghdad that helped bring Kadhimi to power.

“Al Hajraf’s visit is the continuation of GCC’s policy to develop better relations with Iraq,” says Bulent Aras, a Gulf expert and professor of international relations in the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University.

“If we go back to 2011, when the then-Iraqi government declared that it will support Shia rebellions across the Gulf, their relations hit bottom. But since then, both sides have worked to fix relations,” Aras tells TRT World.

According to Aras, the GCC leadership has three main objectives on the development of its relations with Iraq. First, the GCC wants to convey its political perspective to Iraq and expects Baghdad to align its policies accordingly, he says.

“Its second objective is to contain Iran,” says Aras. This objective was probably the main motive for the recent engagement between the GCC and Iraq, he says. “Under the Biden administration, the regional political balance will change and Iraq will play an important role in that,” Aras views.

The main objective of the GCC is to bring Iraq back into the fold of the Arab world in a way “Iran could not feel itself comfortable there anymore,” Aras says.

Lastly, the GCC wants to develop its trade and cultural connections with Iraq, he adds.

During the recent visit, Kadhimi also demanded the GCC to fulfill its pledge to aid Iraq’s reconstruction, which was promised in a joint conference three years ago, according to Aras. While the GCC promised $88 billion for the reconstruction, only $30 billion was given to Iraq.

“It’s crucial for Iraq’s reconstruction,” he says.

“If those promises were not met, it could also lead to a break-up in ties,” he concludes.

IDF drone crashes outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

IDF drone crashes in Gaza, a day after another went down in southern Lebanon

Military says there’s no risk of intelligence being taken from the device, a cheap off-the-shelf model used for basic reconnaissance missions

By Judah Ari Gross 2 Feb 2021, 11:28 am

An Israeli drone crashed in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, a day after a similar incident in southern Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said.

“During operational activity by IDF troops a short while ago, an IDF drone fell in the southern Gaza Strip,” the military said in a statement.

The IDF said there was no risk of intelligence being taken from the drone, which appears to have been a small, off-the-shelf model used for simple reconnaissance missions.

On Monday, a similar drone crashed in southern Lebanon, with the Hezbollah terror group saying it shot it down.

The IDF confirmed that one of its drones fell in Lebanese territory, but refrained from specifying the cause of the crash. “During operational activities by IDF troops on the Lebanese border, an IDF drone fell in Lebanese territory,” the IDF said in a statement Monday.