Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

By WILLIAM K. STEVENS
Published: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California,  said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more  vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
 Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

India to Increase her Nuclear Arsenal

IAF Experts Explain Why India Needs To Quickly Invest In ‘Nuclear Bombers’ & Match China’s Growing Military Arsenal?

March 12, 2021

Strategic nuclear bombers can be stupendous instruments of power projection and an essential part of the nuclear triad to deter and defeat any adversary.

Currently, only three nations — the US, Russia, and China — fly bombers. India, the fourth largest air force in the world, is out of this league.

There has been much debate on whether India should equip its air force with this ultimate airpower asset, but the experts differ in their views.

The bombers can penetrate enemy air defenses and carry nuclear weapons. Their long-range capability and immense striking power despite the heavy weapons load they carry give the countries possessing them an option to strike “anytime, anywhere.”

The addition of a strategic bomber, which can fly into the enemy territory and deliver large amounts of munitions to destroy military installations, logistics establishments, or even the whole cities, can truly complete India’s nuclear triad, offering exceptional deterrence from its two nuclear-armed neighbors.

While this aircraft is not needed on the Pakistan front, the threat from China is increasing with the country about to induct its newest and most powerful bomber, the H-20.

The upcoming H-20 will truly make China an intercontinental power, claims the South China Morning Post, which describes the bomber as being a heavy and stealthy plane, capable of flying across the Pacific with a 45-ton weapons’ payload. That claim is, however, refuted by critics saying such range and carrying capability will significantly increase the aircraft’s size.

The SCMP quotes sources in China as saying the bomber will have a range of at least 12,000 kilometers, which would even put Hawaii within its reach. If the plane took the Arctic route from China, then the whole of the United States would be within its striking distance.

China’s H-6 bomber

Much to the consternation of military observers in India, China’s newest bomber will give the country a formidable nuclear strike capability far deeper into enemy territories.

However, the experts say the modern fighter aircraft have the ability to carry out strategic bombings, and the primary delivery aircraft need not be a bomber necessarily. They argue that India already has the Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Rafale fighters with the capability of strategic nuclear delivery.

The current H-6 bombers possessed by China are known to be vulnerable to both ground and airborne targets because of their large radar cross-section. However, the EW system aboard the H-6 has the capability to blind the radars, a challenge, which the Indian military experts feel, can be countered by shooting down the bomber with both ground-based and airborne platforms.

Does India Need Strategic Bombers?

So does India need the strategic bomber capability? If one considers nuclear deterrence against China, India can’t match their numbers in strategic bombers and missiles, which would take at least a decade or two. Speaking of conventional strategic bombing, India will need a staggering number of such aircraft considering the vastness of the Chinese territory, says Group Captain A.K. Sachdev (retd).

“However, given the fact that Chinese bombers can reach Indian cities, airports and military installations, the desirability of having strategic bombers capable of holding a similar threat for at least a proportion of Chinese target systems is undebatable,” he adds.

The US B-2 bomber

And there is very little optimism about India being able to produce a strategic bomber even if it wanted to, considering the country spent enormous amounts of money on a fighter aircraft, which took three decades to build, and still couldn’t deliver the efficiency that was promised.

Going for a bigger aircraft, with sophisticated and complex combat requirements, would, therefore, take decades to materialize.

Let’s not forget the elephant in the room – the cost of building a strategic bomber – which is exorbitant, even from the standards of the United States, which has witnessed severe opposition to bomber programs.

The total production cost involved with the development of the US’ latest bomber is estimated to be around $100 billion, which is one of the reasons only a handful of countries operate and build them.

The US has witnessed continued erosion of its bomber force since the Cold War when it had a total of 400 such aircraft, a number now reduced to just 157. That does not, however, mean that the era of bombers is almost over. The strategic bombers continue to be the most important instruments of power projection in the US arsenal.

The country continues to deploy them in the Middle-East and other Asian countries of concern in a show of power. The B-52s were deployed for the airstrikes against ISIS in Qatar destroying their weapons storage facilities and other installations.

Last week, B-52 bombers were flown over the Middle-East to send a message to Iran amid tensions between the two countries. This marked the fourth-such bomber deployment into the region this year, proving how such aircraft continue to be the potent instruments of deterrence in the hands of major powers. The US is developing the B-21 Raider as the future of its Air Force bomber fleet, which is a modified version of the B-52 Stratofortress.

“A bomber can help India take the war deeper into enemy territory. It can be a bigger deterrent. Can India’s fighter-bombers, surface-to-surface missiles and cruise missiles stand-in for bombers, remains a moot question. If it was true, then the major powers need not develop bombers,” argues Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired).

And since both India and China are large countries, it may be of interest for India to have a bomber of its own, he says, adding that they will be a great asset for dominance of the Indian Ocean Region.

Chopra believes that the Chinese bombers will remain a real threat to India in the future. India, he says, can develop bombers that as a platform can combine more roles for now.

“India will have to consider acquiring some strategic bombing assets, at least 20 of them, in the next decade. It is time to take a call,” he concludes.

Although such aircraft packs a punch when it comes to delivering decisive victories in war, India has a long way to go before it can acquire or build its own bombers. Packing both electronic warfare elements and nuclear offensive capabilities, bombers will be significant force-multipliers in the Indian arsenal.

Antichrist’s Men will stop attacks on US targets if Iraq demands full withdrawal

Iran-backed groups will stop attacks on US targets if Iraq demands full withdrawal, report says

September 27, 2020

US soldiers in Kirkuk, Iraq on 29 March 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

March 12, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups have agreed to stop attacking US targets if Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Khadimi formally demands the full withdrawal of American forces, Middle East Eye (MEE) reports.

The de-escalation agreement is conditional on Al-Khadimi demanding the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, to be completed within 12 months.

The Iraqi PM must send a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) requesting the US-led coalition’s mission in Iraq come to an end, according to the agreement.

Sources cited by the English-language site said they expected the Iraqi prime minister to comply with the agreement.

It was reportedly brokered after meetings in Baghdad, Beirut and Tehran, between the Iraqi government and a group of commanders known as the Coordinating Committee for the Resistance Factions.

Talks to achieve an agreement were mediated by Iranian and Lebanese parties, as well as an international organisation operating in Iraq.

One of the Iraqi negotiators confirmed to MEE that all the parties had agreed to the de-escalation and that attacks which break the agreement would be “a personal act” and that the culprit would be “considered outside the consensus”.

READ: Iraq’s Muqtada Al-Sadr supports PM call for national dialogue

A previous de-escalation agreement was brokered in October and largely held, despite a few violations, until armed factions announced it had ended on 1 March.

Earlier this month, back and forth attacks between US forces and paramilitaries led to a raid on Ain Al-Assad military base, which houses US-led coalition troops.

A series of ten rockets from a launcher five miles away hit the air base in western Iraq at 7:20am local time on 3 March.

A US contractor later died after suffering a heart attack during the raid, the Pentagon announced the next day.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has responded strongly to the rocket attack, saying the US will do what it sees as necessary to defend its interests.

He said: “We’ll strike if that’s what we think we need to do, at a time and place of our own choosing. We demand the right to protect our troops.”

He called on the Iraqi military to investigate the incident and determine who was responsible.

“We would hope that they would choose to do the right things,” he said.

The Islamic Revolution is part of the Prophecy: Revelation 13

Islamic Revolution Inspired by Holy Prophet’s Path

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a live address to the Iranian nation on Thursday, on the occasion of Eid al-Mab’ath, which marks the appointment of Muhammad ibn Abdullah as the prophet of Islam in the seventh century.

The Leader said Iran’s Islamic Revolution followed the Prophet’s path that started with Bi’tha — an Arabic word that means the Prophet’s selection by Allah for the guidance of people.

“It (Revolution) was against oppression, tyranny and arrogance…in support of the oppressed people of any faith or religion. It stood for the deprived and the downtrodden [people] from any nation, religion or faith. Under all circumstances, this Revolution invited the entire humanity to [follow] the straight path of Islam,” the Leader said.

Following the Revolution, which brought about the Islamic establishment in Iran, the world’s villains and criminals joined forces and lined up to confront the Revolution, similar to what happened to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad when he began his divine mission.

“That was, of course, not contrary to our expectations. It was crystal-clear from the start that…the likes of America and the then Soviet Union would confront [Iran],” he added.

‘Insight, patience plus perseverance key to foiling enemy plots’

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Leader elaborated on ways that the nation can thwart the conspiracies of the US and other enemies against the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Khamenei named “insight” in addition to “patience and perseverance” as the two important factors required to face the enemies’ plots, saying “if these two elements are there, the enemies will not be able…to do any harm [to the country] and will not achieve any success.”

Ayatollah Khamenei further renewed the warning against the soft war being waged by the enemies against Iran, who have targeted the nation’s patience and perseverance and resorted to the distortion of realities about the Islamic Republic in pursuit of their hostile goals.

In the face of the war, Iran’s youth have a task to fulfill, the Leader said, praising them as the “officers of the soft war.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said the youth should use cyber space as an opportunity to promote perseverance and insight among the people and prevent them from losing hope.

Examples of how US, other enemies distort facts

Elsewhere, the Leader offered a number of examples to shed light on the tactics that the enemies, especially the US, use to present the developments in a way that is opposite to the truth.

As a case in point, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the Saudi regime’s US-backed campaign of military aggression against Yemen, Press TV reported.

“It has been six years that America’s Arab partner has been bombarding the oppressed Yemeni people in homes, hospitals and schools. It has imposed an economic siege on [the people,] blocking their access to food and medicine. This has been going on for six years with America’s green light,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the “talented” Yemeni people have succeeded in developing the required defense equipment to retaliate against the Saudi attacks, but as soon as they began to respond, the United States, and even the United Nations, raised an outcry against Yemen’s campaign of self-defense.

In another case, the Leader referred to the US as the possessor of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

“America is the only government that has used nuclear bombs, but raises its voice to say that ‘we are against the development of nuclear arms.’ They claim to be against weapons of mass destruction, while they possess the worst and the most dangerous such weapons.”

The Leader also pointed to the state-sponsored murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally killed and dismembered in 2018 at Riyadh’s consulate in Turkey at the hands of the agents of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Ayatollah Khamenei slammed the United States for turning a blind eye to the gruesome assassination and keeping up its support for the Saudi regime and still claiming to be a supporter of human rights.

In another case, the Leader pointed to Washington’s destructive role in the Middle East region, where it has been using the Takfiri Daesh terror group to advance its personal agenda.

“The US created Daesh and they (the Americans) themselves admitted to it…Then, they create a military base under the pretext of the existence of Daesh …. They provide Daesh with modern media facilities and money and allow them to destroy and sell Syrian oil, then they say we are fighting Daesh,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

“They (the Americans) refer to Iran’s presence in the region with hatred and resentment. While we do not have a military presence…Wherever we are present, we are there to defend legitimate governments at their own request. But they (Americans) themselves attack a country without permission and establish a military base,” he added.

The Leader also pointed to the state-sponsored murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally killed and dismembered in 2018 at Riyadh’s consulate in Turkey at the hands of the agents of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Ayatollah Khamenei slammed the United States for turning a blind eye to the gruesome assassination and keeping up its support for the Saudi regime and still claiming to be a supporter of human rights.

In another case, the Leader pointed to Washington’s destructive role in the Middle East region, where it has been using the Takfiri Daesh terror group to advance its personal agenda.

“The US created Daesh and they (the Americans) themselves admitted to it …. Then they create a military base under the pretext of the existence of Daesh …. They provide Daesh with modern media facilities and money and allow them to destroy and sell Syrian oil, then they say we are fighting Daesh,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

“They (the Americans) refer to Iran’s presence in the region with hatred and resentment. While we do not have a military presence…Wherever we are present, we are there to defend legitimate governments at their own request. But they (Americans) themselves attack a country without permission and establish a military base.”

Iran’s influence on the Shi’a Horn: Daniel 8

Iran’s influence on the chaos in Iraq and Syria

Nakul Suresh

Earlier this year on Feb. 15, a series of rockets struck the Iraqi city of Erbil. Some of these rockets directly hit the U.S.-led coalition base near the Erbil International Airport, while others hit the residential surroundings. Erbil is the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. Since Iraqi Kurdistan has been a relatively safe and stable region for the past few years, this attack was unusual. The casualties included two killed and thirteen injured; no Americans soldiers were killed in these attacks.

In response to the attack in Erbil, the Biden administration authorized airstrikes on “Iranian backed” militant groups in Eastern Syria on Feb. 25. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the airstrikes killed at least 22 people.

NBC’s Chief White House correspondent, Kristen Welker, claimed “the administration wanted to send a strong message to Iran, attacks like those last week against American assets will not be tolerated.” In addition, she claimed the attacks were meant to be “proportionate and targeted, which basically means it was aimed at avoiding escalation.” Furthermore, she reiterated that the administration’s intent was to display strength, despite being open to discourse on renegotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal.

However, who are these “Iranian backed” militant groups? The group that claimed responsibility for the attack in Erbil is called Saraya Awliya al-Dam. According to an NBC News article, this obscure Iraqi militant group is apparently “a front organization created by the main Shiite militias in Iraq.” Since Iran is a powerful Shiite-Muslim power in the region, the United States presumed Iran was behind the attack in Erbil. As a consequence, other Shiite paramilitary groups in Eastern Syria were attacked. Iran and other Middle Eastern countries condemned the military action taken by the Biden administration, as they were viewed as an infringement of Syrian sovereignty.

When ISIL was still an eminent threat in the region, the same Shiite paramilitary groups known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, aided the US in stabilizing the region. Now that ISIL is essentially wiped out, these Iraqi Shiite forces do not see a place for the United States in the region.

In addition, the US also recently carried out a swift operation to take out Iran’s most powerful general, Qasem Soleimani. He was assassinated through a drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq. Soleimani was considered the second most powerful political figure in Iran, equivalent to Vice Presidential status. As a result, this further caused resentment amongst the Iranians and Iraqis toward the US.

The unfortunate reality is that countries like Syria and Iraq are victims of proxy wars, where greater powers like the US and Iran try to exert their influence. Syria has a Shiite government led by Bashar Al-Assad, while Iraq has a Shiite majority population. Therefore, Iran utilizes its cultural ties to expand its influence on the region. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States have a common goal in stifling Iran’s power. The question is whether to harm them economically or prevent them from developing nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the controversial Iran Nuclear Deal was viewed as an achievement of peace by some, and a catastrophe by others. The deal ensured Iran would stop enriching uranium, curbing its nuclear program. As a result, some viewed this policy as progress towards creating a safer world. This also meant that Iran’s economy would prosper due to previous sanctions being lifted. Those who viewed the deal poorly claimed a more prosperous Iran could further exert its influence around the region.

The unstable relationship and lack of diplomacy between the United States and Iran has created palpable tension in the Middle East. Consequently, this gives the American Military-Industrial Complex the justification to commit violence in the region in the name of protecting American interests. This extremely well-funded, hawkish military establishment tends to fearmonger Americans into believing war is necessary. For example, the war in Iraq was justified due to the country’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, which never existed in the first place. Similarly, will the ambiguous label “Iran backed” always warrant immediate military action?

All in all, will this administration continue to take swift and decisive military action against any perceived threat or proceed with caution in order to bolster diplomacy?

India expands her nuclear triad

India’s Second Indigenous Nuclear Submarine, Arighat, To Be Commissioned This Year

By Hindustan Times

India will commission its second nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), Arighat, this year, a report in the Hindustan Times says. The submarine, which had been quietly launched in 2017 by the then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is currently in the final stages of sea trials.

The Arighat was to be commissioned into service in late last year but the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the plan.

The boat has four missile launch tubes, capable of carrying 12 K-15 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) or four K-4 SLBMs. While the K-15 has a range of 750 kilometer, the K-4 can hit targets 3,500 km away.

K-15 missile has entered service. The last developmental trial of the K-4 was conducted in January 2020 and, reports say, the missile is ready for induction. With the induction of K-15, India’s SSBNs will become capable of targeting large parts of China, including Beijing, and all of Pakistan, during a crisis.

India currently has only one SSNB, INS Arihant, in service.

Two more SSBNs, identified as S4 and S4* for now, are under final assembly at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam. These boats will not only be better armed — capable of carrying eight 3,500 km range K-4 — than INS Arihant and Arighat but also displace 1,000 tonnes more than the two submarines.

India is also working on SSNs or nuclear-powered submarines which are armed with missiles with conventional warheads. The plan is to build at least six SSNs with a displacement capacity of 6,000 tonnes.

The SSN programme, reports say, was cleared in 2015, a year after the Narendra Modi government came to power. The Gurgaon-based Submarine Design Centre had started working on the project sometime in 2017.

Crashed Israeli drone killed fishermen outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Crashed Israeli drone killed fishermen: Hamas

Thu, March 11, 2021, 10:35 AM

Palestinian authorities in Gaza say three fishermen who died in an offshore blast last Sunday came into contact with an Israeli drone that had fallen into the sea and exploded in their net.

The Interior Ministry, which is run by Islamist militant group Hamas in Gaza, claimed that parts of an Israeli quadcopter drone that carried explosives were discovered in the wreckage.

Eyad Al-Bozom is a spokesman for the ministry:

“They were killed due to high explosive device that was installed on an Israeli quadcopter drone which was hung up in their net, and it was blown up as the fishermen were lifting their nets.”

Bozom says the drone may have been in the water since an Israeli attack on a Palestinian naval craft on February 22.

The incident came at a time when Palestinian militants have been test-firing rockets into the sea, and a Gaza-based human rights group, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, previously said the fishing boat may have been hit by accident.

An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

At the time of the blast, the Israeli military had denied having any involvement.

Video Transcript

– Palestinian authorities in Gaza say three fishermen who died in an offshore blast last Sunday came into contact with an Israeli drone that had fallen into the sea and exploded in their net. The Interior Ministry, which is run by Islamist militant group Hamas in Gaza, claimed that parts of an Israeli quadcopter drone that carried explosives were discovered in the wreckage. Eyad Al-Bozom is a spokesman for the Ministry.

INTERPRETER: They were killed due to a high explosive device that was installed on an Israeli quadcopter drone which was caught up in their net, and it was blown up as the fishermen were lifting their nets.

– Bozom says the drone may have been in the water since the Israeli attack on a Palestinian naval craft on February 22. The incident came at a time when Palestinian militants have been test firing rockets into the sea, and a Gaza-based human rights group, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, previously said the fishing boat may have been hit by accident. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment. At the time of the blast, the Israeli military had denied having any involvement.