East Coast Quakes and the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

Items lie on the floor of a grocery store after an earthquake on Sunday, August 9, 2020 in North Carolina.

East Coast Quakes: What to Know About the Tremors Below

By Meteorologist Dominic Ramunni Nationwide PUBLISHED 7:13 PM ET Aug. 11, 2020 PUBLISHED 7:13 PM EDT Aug. 11, 2020

People across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic were shaken, literally, on a Sunday morning as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in North Carolina on August 9, 2020.

Centered in Sparta, NC, the tremor knocked groceries off shelves and left many wondering just when the next big one could strike.

Fault Lines

Compared to the West Coast, there are far fewer fault lines in the East. This is why earthquakes in the East are relatively uncommon and weaker in magnitude.

That said, earthquakes still occur in the East.

According to Spectrum News Meteorologist Matthew East, “Earthquakes have occurred in every eastern U.S. state, and a majority of states have recorded damaging earthquakes. However, they are pretty rare. For instance, the Sparta earthquake Sunday was the strongest in North Carolina in over 100 years.”

While nowhere near to the extent of the West Coast, damaging earthquakes can and do affect much of the eastern half of the country.

For example, across the Tennesse River Valley lies the New Madrid Fault Line. While much smaller in size than those found farther west, the fault has managed to produce several earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 in the last couple hundred years.

In 1886, an estimated magnitude 7.0 struck Charleston, South Carolina along a previously unknown seismic zone. Nearly the entire town had to be rebuilt.

Vulnerabilities

The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.

Seismic waves actually travel farther in the East as opposed to the West Coast. This is because the rocks that make up the East are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of years older than in the West.

These older rocks have had much more time to bond together with other rocks under the tremendous pressure of Earth’s crust. This allows seismic energy to transfer between rocks more efficiently during an earthquake, causing the shaking to be felt much further.

This is why, during the latest quake in North Carolina, impacts were felt not just across the state, but reports of shaking came as far as Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 300 miles away.

Reports of shaking from different earthquakes of similar magnitude.

Quakes in the East can also be more damaging to infrastructure than in the West. This is generally due to the older buildings found east. Architects in the early-to-mid 1900s simply were not accounting for earthquakes in their designs for cities along the East Coast.

When a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia in 2011, not only were numerous historical monuments in Washington, D.C. damaged, shaking was reported up and down the East Coast with tremors even reported in Canada.

Unpredictable

There is no way to accurately predict when or where an earthquake may strike.

Some quakes will have a smaller earthquake precede the primary one. This is called a foreshock.

The problem is though, it’s difficult to say whether the foreshock is in fact a foreshock and not the primary earthquake. Only time will tell the difference.

The United State Geological Survey (USGS) is experimenting with early warning detection systems in the West Coast.

While this system cannot predict earthquakes before they occur, they can provide warning up to tens of seconds in advance that shaking is imminent. This could provide just enough time to find a secure location before the tremors begin.

Much like hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms, earthquakes are a natural occuring phenomenon that we can prepare for.

The USGS provides an abundance of resources on how to best stay safe when the earth starts to quake.

Babylon the Great Moves Back Into Iraq

Overnight Defense: NATO expanding troops in Iraq

By Ellen Mitchell

February 18, 2021 – 06:38 PM EST

NATO will expand its security training mission in Iraq by thousands of troops following a deadly rocket attack on a military air base earlier this week.

The 30-member alliance will increase its personnel in Iraq from 500 to around 4,000, a move to prevent the war-torn country from becoming a breeding ground for terrorists, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced Thursday.

“ISIS still operates in Iraq and we need to make sure they’re not able to return,” Stoltenberg told reporters at the end of a two-day virtual NATO defense ministers meeting.

What the increase means: He said NATO’s efforts will now include more Iraqi security institutions and areas beyond Baghdad, though their presence “is conditions-based and increases in troop numbers will be incremental.”

He added that the Iraqi government had made a request for the expanded mission, which will begin in the coming months.

The forces already there: NATO has been in Iraq since 2004 to train Iraqi security forces. Its current training mission, which began in 2018, is meant to help the Iraqi forces prevent ISIS from resurging.

The increase in NATO troops could possibly ease pressure on U.S. forces in Iraq, where about 2,500 troops are based for a mission separate from the alliance.

Will the US also increase?: A senior Defense official told reporters earlier this week that the Pentagon “welcomes NATO’s increased focus on Iraq,” but would not say if the U.S. would add more troops to the training mission.

Response to attack: Plans for an expanded NATO footprint follows the rocket attack Monday on Erbil International Airport, a military air base in northern Iraq, which killed a civilian contractor and injured nine people, including a U.S. service member.

The militant Shia group Saraya Awliya al-Dam claimed credit for the attack, though the Biden administration has not publicly confirmed who is responsible for the strike.

The State Department on Wednesday vowed “consequences for any group responsible for this attack.”

Pompeii Forgets His Opinion No Longer Matters

Pompeo slams White House over desire to restart Iran nuclear talks

By Lia Eustachewich

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Biden administration’s willingness to restart nuclear talks with Iran, fearing they could lead to sanctions relief and concessions — but little substantive change in the country’s nuclear policy.

“The ayatollah understands only strength. I led a response to the Iranian threat that protected the American people from its terror and supported the Jewish state of Israel,” Pompeo told the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday. “Adopting the European Union model of accommodation will guarantee Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal.”

Pompeo’s remarks came the same day the State Department said it would welcome an invitation to restore diplomacy with Iran.

In 2018, the Trump administration pulled out of the deal three years after it was brokered by the Obama administration with Britain, France, Germany Russia, China and the European Union. The accord reduced sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country reducing its stockpile of enriched uranium needed to fuel nuclear weapons.

The Biden administration has stated it plans to restart nuclear talks with Iran.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Since the US’s withdrawal, Iran has admitted it’s breached the 2015 deal by using advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges in an underground plant.

Pompeo credited the Trump administration’s steadfastness, saying that European nations “wanted to appease the Iranian theocracy for my entire time as secretary of state.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, on February 17, 2021.

EPA

“We refused,” he said.

Earlier this week, Pompeo said America needs to show strength when it comes to dealing with Iran.

An overview of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, south of the capital, Tehran

Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Tec

“When the Iranians sense weakness, they’ll attack,” Pompeo said on “Fox News @ Night.” “What we did is that when they came after an American, we made this very clear: Whether they attacked an American through a proxy force in Iraq, whether they attacked an American through Hezbollah in Syria, wherever it was, wherever Iran was responsible, we were going to hold the Iranians accountable. That’s the kind of strength that built the deterrence model that we had with respect to Iran. I hope that this current administration won’t give up on that.”

Israel Gets a Taste of Their Own Nuclear Medicine

Israel sounds alarm after U.S. backs nuclear talks with Iran

Barak Ravid, author of from Tel Aviv

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

The Israeli government has raised concerns about Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s announcement on Thursday that the U.S. is willing to open discussions with Iran about returning to the 2015 nuclear deal.

What they’re saying: “Israel believes that going back to the old nuclear agreement will pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal. We remain committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Why it matters: The Iranian issue is the main point of friction between Israel and the Biden administration, just as it was between Netanyahu and the Obama administration.

• Israeli officials say the U.S. notified Israel in advance about the announcement. “We are in close contact with the United States on this matter,” an Israeli official said.

Driving the news: Following a video conference on Thursday with his counterparts from France, Germany and the U.K., Blinken said the U.S. was prepared to discuss a path back to full, mutual compliance with the deal, which the Trump administration pulled out of and Iran is violating.

• Enrique Mora, a senior EU foreign policy official, then proposed an informal meeting of diplomats from Iran and the six world powers that signed the nuclear deal.

• Minutes later, the State Department issued a statement saying the U.S. was prepared to attend such a meeting. “The goal of coming together would be to sit down and to see what could be a prolonged path of trying to get back to a situation where both the U.S. and Iran were back into compliance,” a State Department official said.

• The U.S. took several other Iran-related steps on Thursday: America’s acting representative to the UN submitted a letter to members of the UN Security Council reversing the Trump administration’s efforts to snap UN sanctions on Iran backed into place.

• The U.S. mission to the UN also notified the Iranian mission that all travel restrictions imposed by the Trump administration on Iranian diplomats in the U.S. would be lifted.

What’s next: On Feb. 23, Iran is expected to withdraw from the “additional protocol” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

• That would see Iran curtail its cooperation with UN inspectors, suspending their ability to conduct unannounced visits to nuclear sites. Experts see that as the most damaging step

• The U.S. is waiting to see whether the meeting proposal could help delay the Iranian steps.

Time to Nuke Up: Revelation 16

Iran nuclear deal: Clock ticks as rivals square up

By Siavash Ardalan
BBC Persian

The nuclear deal has unravelled since the US pulled out in 2018

The window for saving the international nuclear deal with Iran is rapidly narrowing – and a power-struggle inside the Islamic republic between those for and against it could soon seal its fate.

Iran holds crucial presidential elections in June, and hardliners who see the deal as a humiliation want to stall its revival before the polls. The incumbent president, Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate and champion of the deal, cannot stand again following two terms in office. Anti-deal conservatives – already dominant in parliament – hope to replace him with a figure of their own.

While in the US opposition to the deal can generally be split along Republican (against) and Democrat (for) lines, in Iran it involves a more complicated political dynamic. This is because of how Iranian public opinion has largely turned against the regime since US sanctions were re-imposed in 2018 after the administration of former President Donald Trump abandoned the deal.

Growing discontent

On one hand, there are the hardliners who feel that Mr Rouhani’s government has been too conciliatory and that a government led by themselves can extract more concessions from the US.

This was the strategy behind the passing of a bill in December that reduces even further Iran’s nuclear commitments by setting a 22 February deadline for sanctions removal by the US or have Iran bar short-notice inspections of sites by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts.

Reuters

Iran has accused the US and Israel of killing one of its top nuclear scientists

President Rouhani has accused his hardline rivals of wanting to take credit for actually reviving the nuclear deal and even went as far as accusing them of “wanting Trump to have won US elections” so it would not happen on his watch.

On the other hand, many Iranians are not too excited about any measures that can give a new lease of life to a regime under siege by economic strangulation and whose legitimacy is questioned at home and abroad more than ever.

This public discontent has been fuelled by years of crippling US-led sanctions intensified under Donald Trump, which have led to inflation, rising unemployment and unprecedented anti-government street protests – which in turn led to more repression.

Iran’s nuclear programme: What’s been happening at its key nuclear sites?

Many frustrated and disillusioned Iranians have subscribed to the “regime change” school of thought advocated by supporters of Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy, though the former US administration never officially endorsed such a move.

Pro-Trump sentiments voiced around the time of the US elections by some Iranian academics, political activists and even former officials – from the daughter of ex-President Hashemi Rafsanjani to the adviser of another former President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – continue to be expressed on Iranian social media.

Many Iranians may feel that a revival of the nuclear deal will only prolong their hardship by extending to the regime greater international acceptance, and as a result will not bother voting in the June elections. Low turnouts in Iran historically tend to favour hardliners.

Iranian hardliners have been branded “sanction merchants” by moderates, referring to their vested economic interests in maintaining an underground economy that reaps profits by evading global trading restrictions.

Abbas Akundi, a moderate government minister, said such profits amounted to some “$25bn per annum”.

Eyes on Khamenei

Enter Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on important foreign policy questions.

His views are often considered as close to that of the hardliner faction in the Islamic Republic, although he went along with the agenda of the Rouhani government in striking the nuclear deal with the West. At the same time, he always kept a sceptical distance in the hope of taking credit for its success and denying responsibility for its failure.

EPA

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has the final say over its nuclear programme

Understanding Ayatollah Khamenei’s calculus can be important in predicting what may happen in the months ahead.

Mr Rouhani needs Ayatollah Khamenei’s support, which can only be forthcoming if the US is seen as making the first move.

For now the immediate problem stopping Iran and the US from going back to the nuclear deal is who initiates the process.

However, even a revived deal with all the political theatre that goes with it, may not be enough in itself to convince Iranian voters that go to the polls.

For this to happen, they may need to see immediate economic benefits, including a fall in the cost of living, especially in the price of food staples.

Hence, the repeated insistence by Iranian diplomats that “time is running out”.

Pakistan’s Successful Test Of Another Nuke: Daniel 8

Pakistan’s Successful Test Of Shaheen-III Missile: Achieving Full Spectrum Deterrence – OpEd

Ahyousha Khan*February 18, 2021

File photo of Pakistan launching a Shaheen-III Missile. Photo Credit: Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR)

Quite recently, in January 2021, Pakistan has conducted a successful flight test of Shaheen-III ballistic missile, capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads. It was first tested in 2015 and said to have a range of 2,750 kilometers. This enables it to reach the farthest points of India specially the Nicobar and Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. These Islands hold great strategic significance for India since they are believed to provide assured land-based second-strike options to India.

Similarly, they are also critical for Indian missile testing. Shaheen-III is a medium-range surface-to-surface two staged solid fueled missile equipped with Post Separation Altitude Correction (PSAC) system. Being a solid-fueled missile enables rapid response capability and PSAC allows it to have better trajectory and accuracy with the capability to evade the deployed ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems. Moreover, it can be launched through “Transporter Erector Launcher (TELs), which can move and hide. This makes the launcher more survivable as compared to the fixed launchers. As of now, the missile has not been operationally deployed.

This particular test was conducted by Pakistan to evaluate the design and technical parameters of the Shaheen-III weapon system. Moreover, the Arabian Sea was the point of impact. It was reiterated by Pakistan after the successful test that Pakistan’s nuclear capability is India-centric and the objective of its strategic capability is only to deter “any aggression” against the “sovereignty of Pakistan”. Missile tests in South Asia are routinely exercised as both countries are improving their capabilities of delivery vehicles to maintain the credibility of their deterrence forces. Moreover, they serve the purpose of “signaling” and “readiness” of forces. Just last year, India has conducted 17 missile tests, amid its growing tensions at its northern borders while Pakistan conducted only two missile tests. However, to avoid inadvertent escalation and accidents both countries have the agreement on informing each other before missiles tests. Moreover, Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence in the region.

Defence analysts believe that the Shaheen-III missile system’s development started in the early 2000s and initially, it was envisaged as a “Space Launch Vehicle (SLV). Therefore its successful tests and flights open up the possibility of space exploration for Pakistan as well. It is also believed that Ababeel, a Multiple Independently re-entry targeted Vehicle (MIRV) missile, is also compatible with the designs of Shaheen-III and II. Ababeel, a three-staged, solid-fueled, medium-range surface-to-surface missile was tested by Pakistan back in January 2017. Successful tests of the Shaheen-III missile system would likely enable Pakistan to acquire MIRV technology to maintain a credible deterrence force vis-à-vis India. To ensure the effectiveness and accuracy of different re-entry vehicles going in different directions, Pakistan has bought large-scale “optical tracking and measurement systems” from China. These systems would allow Pakistan to record high-resolution images of the whole process of missile launch till its impact (launch, stage separation, tail flame, re-entry, and impact).

It is worth mentioning here that Shaheen-III and other missile systems have been developed by Pakistan under its policy of “Full Spectrum Deterrence (FSD) which is in line with credible minimum deterrence. Since Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent posture is India-centric, the development of the Shaheen-III missile appeared as a compulsion for Pakistan that would enable it to target any part of India’s territory. This is very significant given the Indian development of Tri-services command in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANC). Furthermore, the absence of the Shaheen-III missile would have given India a decisive edge to launch a land-based second strike after absorbing the first strike. Moreover, India is aggressively pursuing BMDs, therefore Pakistan must develop a weapons system that can penetrate these defenses to maintain the element of mutual vulnerability.

Unfortunately, some international commentators have linked the test with the bid for attention from Biden’s administration. This only reflects the lack of understanding of deterrence dynamics of the South Asian region by the west. The recent test was not something entirely new or threatening; it was an attempt to ensure the element of credibility in its deterrence capability by Pakistan.

Summarizing it all, Pakistan’s policy of full-spectrum deterrence, along with other components, aims at the provision of response options at all three levels; tactical, operational, and strategic that would cover the Indian full landmass and its outlying territories. The Shaheen-IIII missile system is in-line with this posture. It further aims at keeping Pakistan’s deterrence posture robust in face of growing threats from India. The latter, in its attempts to achieve the status of the regional hegemon and global power, is in a constant state of denial vis-à-vis the existence of mutually assured destruction. In pursuit of this, India is constantly acquiring and building technologies that are not favorable for deterrence stability in the region. In this regard, one of the former top officials of Pakistan has rightly said that the responsibility of maintaining deterrence and stability in South Asia lands on Pakistan’s shoulders. A strong manifestation of deterrence capability would likely remain a plausible option for Pakistan.

*Ahyousha Khan,Research Associate, Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad.

Teaching the Children Violence Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

New Gaza educational materials continue to promote violence

By Melissa Weiss February 18, 2021

bad grade

A report issued by an Israeli watchdog group cites more than a dozen examples of problematic content

UK Department for International Development

UK Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan MP, looks on as students deliver a presentation at the opening of a UK-funded elementary school in Gaza in 2013.

One month after the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) acknowledged that anti-Israel content had been printed in workbooks distributed throughout Gaza in the fall, the organization is again under scrutiny for materials distributed in December and January that glorify violence and characterize Israelis as “our enemies.”

A report released Wednesday by IMPACT-se, an Israel-based watchdog organization that monitors Arabic-language educational content, highlighted learning materials that it claims glorify violence. Much of the material, including numerous references to Israelis as “enemies,” was created by UNRWA-trained educators and does not appear in textbooks and workbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority.

In a January grammar exercise, a flashcard reads “the Occupier commits all kinds of torture.” An exercise in verb conjugation includes the line “jihad is the road of glory.” Social studies curricula don’t acknowledge the existence of Israel, referring to the area known before 1948 as the British Mandate as “Palestine.”

In a Twitter thread last month, UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said that “Local reference to inappropriate pages [from] textbooks that were mistakenly distributed during #COVID19 lockdown were quickly replaced with content that adheres to UN values.”

Lazzarini did not respond to a private message from Jewish Insider at the time asking how the pages were retrieved from the 300,000 students the organization services in Gaza.

“UNRWA has both said they had no choice but to teach [the curriculum] but also has always said they have all these guardrails about how it can be moderated,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff told JI. “Nobody has ever extracted from UNRWA a real practical example of how this is done. Does a teacher in an UNRWA school in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip tell people not to read that particular sentence about Dalal Mughrabi [a Palestinian militant who died in a 1978 terror attack that killed 34 Israelis] because it is problematic? We’ve never understood it, [and] they’ve never explained it.”

James Cleverly, the U.K.’s minister of state in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, testified in Parliament earlier this month that the content had been rectified by November 2020. Cleverly did not respond to a request for comment.

Also earlier this month, concerns were raised by Miriam Lexmann, a Slovakian member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, over previous controversial material distributed to UNRWA schools. The European Union contributes upwards of $150 million to UNRWA, its second-largest sponsor after Germany, which gives more than $200 million annually to the agency.

A spokesperson for UNRWA did not respond to a request for comment.