The History of Earth­quakes In New York Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

  The History of Earth­quakes In New YorkBy Meteorologist Michael Gouldrick New York State PUBLISHED 6:30 AM ET Sep. 09, 2020 PUBLISHED 6:30 AM EDT Sep. 09, 2020New York State has a long history of earthquakes. Since the early to mid 1700s there have been over 550 recorded earthquakes that have been centered within the state’s boundary. New York has also been shaken by strong earthquakes that occurred in southeast Canada and the Mid-Atlantic states.

Courtesy of Northeast States Emergency ConsortiumThe largest earthquake that occurred within New York’s borders happened on September 5th, 1944. It was a magnitude 5.9 and did major damage in the town of Massena.A school gymnasium suffered major damage, some 90% of chimneys toppled over and house foundations were cracked. Windows broke and plumbing was damaged. This earthquake was felt from Maine to Michigan to Maryland.Another strong quake occurred near Attica on August 12th, 1929. Chimneys took the biggest hit, foundations were also cracked and store shelves toppled their goods.In more recent memory some of the strongest quakes occurred On April 20th, 2002 when a 5.0 rattled the state and was centered on Au Sable Forks area near Plattsburg, NY.Strong earthquakes outside of New York’s boundary have also shaken the state. On February 5th, 1663 near Charlevoix, Quebec, an estimated magnitude of 7.5 occurred. A 6.2 tremor was reported in Western Quebec on November 1st in 1935. A 6.2 earthquake occurred in the same area on March 1st 1925. Many in the state also reported shaking on August 23rd, 2011 from a 5.9 earthquake near Mineral, Virginia.

Earthquakes in the northeast U.S. and southeast Canada are not as intense as those found in other parts of the world but can be felt over a much larger area. The reason for this is the makeup of the ground. In our part of the world, the ground is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been put together. If one piece shakes, the whole puzzle shakes.In the Western U.S., the ground is more like a puzzle that hasn’t been fully put together yet. One piece can shake violently, but only the the pieces next to it are affected while the rest of the puzzle doesn’t move.In Rochester, New York, the most recent earthquake was reported on March 29th, 2020. It was a 2.6 magnitude shake centered under Lake Ontario. While most did not feel it, there were 54 reports of the ground shaking.So next time you are wondering why the dishes rattled, or you thought you felt the ground move, it certainly could have been an earthquake in New York.Here is a website from the USGS (United Sates Geologic Society) of current earthquakes greater than 2.5 during the past day around the world. As you can see, the Earth is a geologically active planet!Another great website of earthquakes that have occurred locally can be found here.To learn more about the science behind earthquakes, check out this website from the USGS.

Babylon the Great’s Record Nuclear Spending

Biden budget calls for record military spending, nuclear weapons and hypersonic missile

Amid mounting tensions with both Russia and China, the Biden administration has requested the largest military budget in US history, demanding $753 billion, or more than the next 10 biggest militaries combined, in annual military spending.

The budget calls for additional spending on nuclear weapons, the upgrading of the country’s nuclear-capable ballistic submarine fleet, and the development of a whole new range of long-range weapons that military planners say are necessary for the US to fight a major war with Russia or China.

The budget exposes the hollow promises of the “progressive” wing of the Democratic party, including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who claimed that a Biden presidency would be a departure from the militarism and warmongering of former president Donald Trump.

The Pentagon (Wikimedia Commons)

Instead, just months into his presidency, the Biden administration has poured gasoline on global flashpoints, creating the greatest period of tensions between the United States and Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, and with China since the 1970s.

Following an announcement by the US proxy regime in Ukraine last month of a plan to militarily retake Crimea from Russia, relations between Washington and Moscow have been on a hair trigger. On Friday, the United States announced plans to deploy warships to the Black Sea, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned about the eruption of a “full-scale” war.

At the same time, the Biden administration has moved to deploy offensive weapons on the islands surrounding China and is discussing a military alliance with Taiwan, creating a standoff in both the strait of Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Biden’s budget proposal continues and accelerates the multi-trillion-dollar nuclear buildup initiated under Obama and continued under Trump, featuring the development of smaller, more “usable” nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

Foreword to the German edition of David North’s Quarter Century of War

Johannes Stern, 5 October 2020

After three decades of US-led wars, the outbreak of a third world war, which would be fought with nuclear weapons, is an imminent and concrete danger.

The text of the budget request says it will maintain “a strong, credible nuclear deterrent for the security of the Nation and U.S. allies,” adding that “the discretionary request supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs.”

The budget proposal firmly targets China and Russia, declaring, that it “prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the Department’s top challenge. The Department would also seek to deter destabilizing behavior by Russia.”

In order to carry this out, the budget explicitly endorses the so-called “Pacific Deterrence Initiative,” which aims to ring China with offensive, land-based missiles previously banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

“Leveraging the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and working together with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, DOD would ensure that the United States builds the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges.”

In addition to the development of new forms of previously-banned offensive weapons, the budget prioritizes the development of “hypersonic strike capabilities” capable of evading defenses to deliver nuclear payloads.

The budget declares that “Maintaining U.S. naval power is critical to reassuring allies and signaling U.S. resolve to potential adversaries,” adding, “the discretionary request continues the recapitalization of the Nation’s strategic ballistic missile submarine fleet, and invests in remotely operated and autonomous systems and the next generation attack submarine program.”

Coming after four consecutive years in which Trump increased the Pentagon’s budget, military officials had expected that Biden would keep military spending unchanged, or even cut it. Biden’s defenders among the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party likewise promoted the belief that Biden would shrink the military budget. Instead, Biden has only intensified the massive inflation of the Pentagon budget.

But the defense budget is just one component of a massive increase in domestic spending aimed at countering China. Earlier this month, Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure bill centrally aimed at “strategic competition” with Beijing.

Explaining the bill, Biden said China is “attempting to own the future—the technology, quantum computing,” he said. “That’s the infrastructure of a nation.”

“Do you think China is waiting around to invest in its digital infrastructure or in research and development? I promise you, they are not waiting. But they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited and too divided to keep pace.”

This week, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unveiled the “Strategic Competition Act of 2021.” The bill will be an “unprecedented bipartisan effort to mobilize all U.S. strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that will allow our nation to truly confront the challenges China poses to our national and economic security,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez.

He added that “The Strategic Competition Act of 2021 is a recognition that this moment demands a unified, strategic response that can rebuild American leadership,” and “invest in our ability to out-compete China.”

Such flagrant misuse of society’s resources for the preparation of reckless and destructive wars is doubly criminal while the world is in the grips of an out-of-control pandemic. While capitalist governments declare that the population must “live with” COVID-19 because containing it is too expensive, unlimited resources are made available to plan and prepare for wars that could potentially kill billions of people.

The rapid escalation of the US conflict with China and Russia raises immense dangers. Facing an enormous social crisis at home and a raging pandemic, the United States is desperately seeking to divert internal tensions outward.

But nothing about these war plans is inevitable. Workers must mobilize on the basis of a common, socialist and internationalist perspective, to stop the reckless war drive of the capitalists. The essential precondition for this development is the decisive repudiation of the Democratic party and all those who promote illusions in it.

The Russian Nuclear Horn Has a Massive Amount of Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Daniel 7

Russia Has a Massive Amount of Tactical Nuclear Weapons. Why?

The United States and Russia still actively deploy 230 and 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons respectively—arsenals which are not regulated by treaty, unlike strategic nuclear weapons. But calling them “tactical” and “non-strategic” weapons is arguably a misnomer.

As former Defense Secretary James Mattis once told Congress, “I don’t think there is any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. Any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game-changer.”

The term “tactical” implies shorter-range, less destructive, and more “useable” weapons qintended for striking battlefield targets and forward bases in sparsely or unpopulated areas, not wiping out cities, factories and power plants across the globe.

But U.S. and Russian arms control treaties simply define non-strategic weapons as those with a strike range inferior to 3,417 miles. Of course, regional rivals like China, India, and Pakistan consider their non-intercontinental range nuclear weapons to be strategic anyway.

The U.S. non-strategic arsenal is made up of roughly 230 B61 nuclear gravity bombs droppable by jet fighters. 100 to 150 B61s are forward-deployed for use by NATO allies to form a kind of collective-responsibility pact.

However, the Trump administration cited Russia’s development of sophisticated non-strategic weapons as cause to reintroduce less powerful W76-2 nuclear warheads onto Navy submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

However, Russia’s non-strategic arsenal is believed to have shrunk between 2009 and 2018 from 3,800 to 1,910.

Where the hawks are more on point is that Russia has developed more precise, longer-range dual-capable missiles which can be used to deliver either a conventional or nuclear warhead, creating dangerous ambiguity.

Cold War Legacy

In the early years of the Cold War, the Soviet and U.S. militaries thought nuclear weapons would be liberally employed in future wars—and not just for civilization-shattering strategic attacks.

A tank column barreling through your lines? Drop a nuke on them with an artillery piece, fighter bomber, or even a portable “nuclear bazooka.”

Enemy warships pummeling your submarine with depth charges? Respond with the “special weapon” in the torpedo tubes.

Lack enough interceptors to stop an incoming bomber formation? Time to launch a nuclear air-to-air missile.

Many of these applications were essentially ways to work around the limited precision of early guided weapons. NATO, in particular, saw tactical nukes as a last-ditch hedge against the land warfare behemoth that was the Warsaw Pact.

But in the post-Soviet era, Russia isn’t favored to win a prolonged conflict against NATO. So now Moscow sees non-strategic nukes as a more useable hedge against U.S. military power.

But would Moscow actually use nukes?

Moscow’s official policy states it will use nuclear weapons to retaliate against an adversary’s use of a weapon of mass destruction, or to preemptively strike against an imminent nuclear attack identified by Russian intelligence.

However, the policy states Moscow may also use nukes in response to non-nuclear attacks threatening to disarm Russia’s nuclear forces, or that threaten the existence of the Russian state itself.

Unfortunately, these latter conditions could be interpreted broadly. In practice, Russian officials have not hesitated to threaten nuclear weapons use injudiciously.

Arms control expert Hans Kristensen writes:

“…officials explicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons against ballistic missile defense facilities, and in regional scenarios that do not threaten Russia’s survival or involve attacks with weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, the fact that Russian military planners are pursuing a broad range of upgraded and new versions of nuclear weapons suggests that the real doctrine goes beyond basic deterrence and toward regional war-fighting strategies, or even weapons aimed at causing terror.”

One theory is that Russia may make limited nuclear attacks a part of an “escalate to deescalate” strategy in which Russia quickly seizes a disputed territory, then employs a nuclear weapon to shake the resolve of NATO countries assembling forces for a counterattack, bringing an end to hostilities.

However, some critics argue this analysis exaggerates or mischaracterizes the prominence of “escalate to deescalate” in Russian strategic thinking. Instead, nukes may be a way of maintaining “escalation dominance” in the face of superior NATO airpower rather than instrumental to coercive offensive strategy.

Regardless, military analyst Michael Kofman argues the Russian military sees non-strategic nuclear weapons as likely to play a major role in future conflicts:

“…while the Russian military leadership may believe that a nuclear war cannot be won, it does not believe that limited nuclear use will necessarily result in uncontrolled escalation. Russian thinking in this area is based on deterrence by intimidation, or fear inducement, and deterrence through limited use of force…A modernized nuclear arsenal, with lower yields and precise means of delivery, is better able realize such missions, whether it is select use for the purpose of escalation management or nuclear warfighting in geography proximate to Russia’s own borders.”

However, he cautions that calls for the United States to match Russia’s arsenal capability for capability make little sense because Russia’s non-strategic nukes are premised on U.S. conventional military superiority.

Let’s conclude by surveying Russia’s estimated non-strategic nuclear forces based on a report by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Naval Nukes

Nearly half of Russia’s non-strategic arsenal (930 warheads) are estimated to belong to the Russian Navy. Of greatest relevance are long-range (1,550 miles) subsonic Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles, as well as P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles (range 500 miles), both understood to be nuclear-capable.

Both the P-800 and Kalibr can be mounted on Russian frigates, corvettes, and Yasen-class submarines. The P-800 is also deployed on the truck-mounted Bastion-P coastal defense systems, which are believed to have twenty-five nuclear warheads allocated.

The Russian Navy also reportedly still maintains nuclear torpedoes, depth charges, and anti-submarine rockets. Like dropping hand grenades in a fishing pond, these weapons allow the destruction or disabling of submerged vessels in a given sector without having to nail down their exact position.

Nuclear Surface-to-Air Missiles

The same report estimates that Russia still maintains 290 nuclear warheads for surface-to-air missiles for S-300 and S-400 long-range air defense systems—likely for ballistic missile defense contingencies. Similarly, the A135 missile defense system protecting Moscow is believed to have ninety 10-kiloton warheads.

Missile defense is often described as similar to shooting down a rifle bullet with another bullet. Nuclear warheads again offer a cheap solution to the precision problem: instead of having to accurately impact an incoming warhead, an air defense nuke can lean on its considerable blast radius.

Land-Based Batteries

The Russian Army is estimated to possess only seventy nuclear warheads for its missile batteries. Its precise Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile system can also swap its regular warhead for up to a 50-kiloton nuke.

Four battalions of the Iskander-K variant instead launch a variant of the nuclear-capable Kalibur missile called the 9M729 Novator, the development of which ushered in the demise of the INF Treaty regulating intermediate-range missiles.

Non-Strategic Bombers

More of Russia’s non-strategic nuclear firepower comes in the form of 500-600 air-launched weapons carried by Su-34 and older Su-24M attack jets and longer-range Tu-22M supersonic bombers, which can carry dual-capable Kh-32 supersonic anti-ship and land-attack missiles.

Russia has also developed a unique air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile with a 1,200-mile range. This is currently deployed by ultra-fast MiG-31K interceptors, and can also be carried by the Tu-22M3M bombers. In the future, Moscow is expected to employ Su-57 stealth fighters in a nuclear strike role too.

Russia will likely continue to improve the speed, stealth, and precision of its non-strategic nuclear arsenal in the 2020s. Future arms control negotiators might, therefore, seek to finally address ostensibly “non-strategic” nuclear weapons. However, Moscow may only be open to restrictions to non-strategic nukes if exchanged for restrictions to U.S. space-based capabilities and an end to the NATO nuclear sharing policy.

Sébastien Roblin writes on the technical, historical and political aspects of international security and conflict for publications including the National Interest, NBC News, Forbes.com and War is Boring.  He holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and served with the Peace Corps in China.  You can follow his articles on Twitter.

Image: Reuters.

Iran Advances Her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

Iran launches advanced centrifuges at nuclear plant

By Tal Axelrod

April 10, 2021 – 09:40 AM EDT

Iran doubled down on its uranium enrichment program while unveiling a slate of advanced centrifuges at an underground nuclear plant on Saturday to mark its National Nuclear Technology Day.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a statement touted the introduction of “133 national nuclear achievements and projects” at the underground Natanz facility during a video conference and said more centrifuges and other materials were being inaugurated at the country’s plant in Arak.

“I reiterate that all our nuclear activities are peaceful and for civilian purposes. As Leader [of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] has repeatedly stated, in our religion, pursuing a weapon that can be a great danger to a large community is forbidden,” Rouhani said, according to state-owned Press TV.

• US raises concerns about Iran’s seriousness in nuclear talks

Saturday’s announcements appeared to mark new violations of the Obama-era nuclear deal. 

Former President Trump in 2018 withdrew the U.S. from the pact, after which Iran broke the agreement’s limitations on its uranium enrichment. 

Washington and Tehran are currently in the middle of indirect negotiations through European intermediaries in Vienna to try to come to an agreement on rejoining the deal. However, the sides have refused to budge over the first steps necessary for talks to move forward, with Iran insisting that U.S. sanctions be lifted first, while the U.S. maintains penalties will only be removed if the uranium enrichment limits are honored.

Save the Oil and the Wine: Revelation 6:6

I

ran Says It Will Return To Nuclear Compliance After U.S. Lifts Oil Sanctions

By Julianne Geiger – Apr 09, 2021, 4:30 PM CDT

Iran insists that it will only start complying with its obligations under the nuclear deal after the United States removes all the sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said.

World powers, including the United States, started talking about the deal in Vienna this week.

“Iran will return to its JCOPA obligations once the US fully lifts its sanctions in action and not in words or on paper, and once Iran verifies the sanction relief,” Iran Press News Agency reported, citing the Ayatollah as saying.

On Thursday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, Abbas Araqchi, also said that Tehran would resume full compliance with the so-called nuclear deal only after the United States lifts all sanctions, including those on Iran’s oil exports.

“The US must lift anti-Iran sanctions [and only] then Tehran would resume compliance with [the] JCPOA,” Araqchi told Iran’s Press TV from Vienna on Thursday.

The United States, under the Biden Administration, is seeking to revive the nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as it is officially known, after the Trump Administration pulled out of the agreement in 2018 and imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil, shipping, and banking industries.

The Biden Administration, however, has set Iran’s return to compliance with its nuclear activities as a condition before it would consider lifting the sanctions.

Despite the fact that the United States and Iran are now indirectly talking—via the European, Russia, and Chinese signatories to the nuclear deal—positions remain apart. Both the United States and Iran are demanding that the other make the first concession.

Analysts see the start of indirect talks as a positive sign toward lifting the sanctions on Iran’s oil exports at some point in the future. However, most analysts also see the return of Iranian barrels legitimately on the oil market as a move that would be taken into account by the OPEC+ group so that oil prices would not sink.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

Israel Terrorizes the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Iran nuclear: ‘Terrorist act’ at underground Natanz facility

Reuters

A satellite image of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility taken last October

A nuclear facility in Iran was hit by a “terrorist act” a day after it unveiled new advanced uranium centrifuges, a top nuclear official says.

He did not say who was to blame but urged the international community to deal with nuclear terrorism.

Israeli media suggest the incident was a result of an Israeli cyber attack.

Last year, a fire broke out at the Natanz underground facility, which the authorities alleged was the result of cyber sabotage.

The latest incident comes as diplomatic efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal – abandoned by the US under the Trump administration in 2018 – have resumed.

On Saturday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated new centrifuges at the Natanz site, which is key to the country’s uranium enrichment programme, in a ceremony broadcast live on television.

• Why Iran’s nuclear facilities are still vulnerable to attack

• Why do the limits on uranium enrichment matter?

• Iran’s nuclear crisis in 300 words

Centrifuges are needed to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel – but also material for nuclear weapons.

It represented another breach of the country’s undertakings in the 2015 deal, which only permits Iran to produce and store limited quantities of enriched uranium to be used to produce fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

What has Iran been saying?

On Sunday, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi, said an “incident” had occurred in the morning involving the nuclear facility’s power network.

Mr Kamalvandi did not provide further details but told Iran’s Fars news agency there there had been “no casualties or leaks”.

Later state TV read out a statement by AEOI head Ali Akbar Salehi, in which he described the incident as “sabotage” and “nuclear terrorism”.

“Condemning this despicable move, the Islamic Republic of Iran emphasises the need for the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] to deal with this nuclear terrorism,” he was quoted as saying.

“Iran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators.”

The IAEA said it was aware of the reports of an incident but would not comment.

Last July, sabotage was blamed for a fire at the Natanz site which hit a central centrifuge assembly workshop.

How could Israel be involved?

Israeli public broadcaster Kan said that it could be assumed that the incident was an Israeli cyber operation, citing the discovery in 2010 of the Stuxnet computer virus, believed to have been developed by the US and Israel, which was used to destroy centrifuges at Natanz.

Haaretz newspaper also said the incident could be assumed to be an Israeli cyber attack.

Ron Ben-Yishai, a defence analyst at the Ynet news website, said that with Iran progressing towards nuclear weapons capability it was “reasonable to assume that the problem… might not have been caused by an accident, but by deliberate sabotage intended to slow the nuclear race accelerated by the negotiations with the US on removing sanctions”.

The Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been in intensive care since Donald Trump pulled the US out of it.

Under the Biden administration diplomatic efforts have been redoubled to revive it.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned against a return to the deal, and declared last week that Israel would not be bound by a new agreement with Tehran.

What happened to the deal?

The nuclear deal only allows Iran to produce and store limited quantities of uranium enriched up to 3.67% concentration. Uranium enriched to 90% or more can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Mr Trump said the accord was based on “a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy programme” and reinstated crippling economic sanctions in an attempt to compel Iran to negotiate a replacement.

Iran, which insists it does not want nuclear weapons, refused to do so and retaliated by rolling back a number of key commitments under the accord.

It has since accelerated the breaches in an attempt to increase pressure on the US. They have included operating advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, resuming enrichment to 20% concentration of the most fissile U-235 isotope, and building a stockpile of that material.

Report outlines how Iran smuggles arms outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Report outlines how Iran smuggles arms to Hamas

Israel reveals how weapons are being smuggled from Iran to Hamas in Gaza via Yemen and Sudan and then through Egypt.

The Panamanian-flagged Klos-C is escorted into the southern Israeli port of Eilat by Israeli warships (unseen) on March 8, 2014, after it was intercepted by the Israeli navy, with the military saying it was carrying advanced rockets from Iran to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Israeli naval commandos seized the vessel on March 5, 2014, in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan. An Israeli flag is seen on a speedboat in the foreground.

Adnan Abu Amer

Israeli-Palestinian conflict

April 9, 2021

Israeli military expert Amir Bohbot revealed in a report published by Israel’s Walla News website April 3 said that in 2006, Iran opened a route to smuggle missiles and ammunition to Hamas in the Gaza Strip through Yemen and Sudan, thousands of kilometers from the Israeli coast.

The smuggling operations were led by Hamas’ military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh until he was assassinated by Israel in Dubai in January 2010, Bohbot said, without specifying who succeeded Mabhouh.

Bohbot, who received his information from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, said the maritime arms smuggling route starts from Iran toward Yemen, and from there reaches Sudan. Yemen and Sudan are on opposite sides of the Red Sea. From Sudan trucks head for the desert on a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) journey to Egypt, where smugglers cross the Suez Canal and transport the weapons through the tunnels dug under the Gaza Strip with the help of Bedouins. He said smugglers routinely move weapons from Sudan on behalf of Hamas.

A source told Al-Monitor that other weapons are shipped through the Suez Canal and then surreptitiously delivered to Gaza frogmen.

Hamas has yet to officially comment on the report. However, the movement does not hide its willingness to engage in a military confrontation with Israel. Hamas believes that it has the right to accumulate combat power and that any new weapon it can secure, especially accurate and lethal weapons, will have a large and decisive role in any upcoming confrontation with Israel.

Mahmoud Mardawi, a Hamas leader and former official in the movement’s armed wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, told Al-Monitor, “Hamas wants to explore all sources of military supplies from every country and movement, mainly from Iran. We will not stop knocking on doors to find parties to provide us with weapons.”

He added, “Arab and Islamic countries are required to understand our moves when we try to supply ourselves with weapons. Despite the importance of external financial and political support, it is not enough. We want to be supported with weapons, because they are the source of strength in our struggle against Israel. We will not hesitate to reach out to any country that is willing to supply us with weapons and equipment with no conditions or requirements that would drag us into any conflict in the region that does not serve the Palestinian cause.”

The Israeli report about the smuggling route coincided with two important regional developments related to Hamas’ arms smuggling operations. The first is that Sudan, a key corridor for Hamas’ weapons supplies, approved on April 6 a bill abolishing a law on boycotting Israel. The second is the attack — believed to have been carried out by Israel — on an intelligence-gathering vessel linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps off the western coast of Yemen in the Red Sea the evening of April 6 in tandem with the launch of US-Iranian indirect talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The area is one of the routes by which weapons move from Iran to Hamas.

Rami Abu Zubaydah, an expert on Hamas military affairs who writes for Al Jazeera, told Al-Monitor, “The reason for the Israeli disclosure of Hamas’ weapons smuggling maritime routes comes to provoke international public opinion against Hamas and Iran. Meanwhile, Hamas is exerting all efforts to come up with new ways of securing weapons into Gaza discreetly, given the sensitivity of its security information. Hamas relies on complete secrecy regarding such sensitive issues.

He pointed out that Hamas relies on tunnels, the sea and mafia networks as ways to bring military equipment into the Gaza Strip and smuggle arms. “It has managed to evade Israeli attempts to hinder the delivery of weapons to it, across thousands of kilometers by land and sea, bypassing military bases, aviation and sea patrols,” he said. “Hamas even obtained Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems from Libya.”

The delivery of weapons to Hamas in Gaza and the smuggling routes will continue to trigger controversy at the Israeli, regional and international levels. The Gaza Strip is under an Israeli siege by land, sea and air. The combat equipment that Hamas possesses today — some of which came to light in the 2014 war and some of which was revealed in military parades and drills in the besieged enclave’s cities — appears to show how smuggling has helped Hamas develop advanced combat capabilities.

Nimrod Aloni, commander of the Israeli army’s Gaza Division, told Walla on March 28 that declining Iranian financial support to Hamas due to US sanctions imposed on Iran has shifted this support toward the transfer of military technology to help the movement develop weapons.

Saeed Bisharat, the editor-in-chief of Al-Hodhod news network, told Al-Monitor, “Israel had cut off all roads used by Hamas to get weapons and is now in control of the smuggling routes. However, Hamas may have found an alternative. It is only natural for it to have other safe ways of smuggling in order to develop its arsenal. Although smuggling operations have weakened recently, they will quickly recover.”

He added, “Hamas does not depend only on Iran for its arms supply, but also resorts to other entities and countries who also provide it with expertise and military officers to train its fighters. Israel may have succeeded in stopping a ship or a vessel headed for Hamas in Gaza, but what is being smuggled is much more than what is being seized.”

On Feb. 4, 2020, the Israeli army announced that it had foiled an arms smuggling attempt off the Gaza coast, north of Sinai. The army pursued a small boat and arrested everyone on board after discovering several weapons to be used by Hamas’ naval commando forces.

On July 3, 2019, the Israeli air force said it had stopped several trucks carrying weapons between November 2018 and March 2019 in Sinai before they were transported to Hamas in Gaza. There were Iranian rockets, weapons and highly explosive material used in the manufacture of explosives. According to Israel, the trucks made their way from Libya via arms smugglers.

An arms smuggler who deals with Hamas in the Gaza Strip told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that weapons reach Sinai on their way to Gaza after being shipped to Sudan or Somalia, “then to Egypt, where smugglers transport it by land to Sinai, and from there Bedouins specialized in smuggling deliver the shipment to Gaza through tunnels. The second route is through the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who send weapons through the Suez Canal all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, where Iranian ships dock off the coast of Gaza in Egyptian territorial waters. When night sets, Hamas frogmen transport the weapons in closed containers.”

In turn, Imad Abu Awad, a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Studies of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, told Al-Monitor, “Israel has succeeded in cooperating with Arab countries to uncover Hamas’ arms smuggling routes. Even though the common path is Iran, Sudan, Sinai then Gaza, the recent normalization agreements [reached between Israel and a number of regional countries] have greatly undermined Hamas’ efforts to bring weapons into the Gaza Strip. However, other ways are still being used such as undiscovered tunnels and sea lanes, in light of Hamas’ great development thanks to a division trained in diving, swimming and penetrating the depths of the sea.”

Abu Awad added, “There are no countries other than Iran that supply Hamas with weapons, because they do not dare to get involved. This would make them face international sanctions. However, there are regional organizations that provide the movement with weapons, such as Libyan parties.”

US Intel Report: ‘India, Pak May Stumble Into The First Nuclear War’: Revelation 8

US Intel Report: ‘India, Pak May Stumble Into Large-scale War’

MENAFN

MENAFN – Kashmir Observer) Wagah Border- File Pic

Srinagar: In a sensational disclosure, a United States intelligence report has warned about the possibility of an unintentional large-scale war between India and Pakistan though none of the two nuclear countries would want so.

‘India and Pakistan may stumble into a large-scale war neither side wants, especially following a terrorist attack that the Indian government judges to be significant,’ says the Global Trends report, which is produced every four years by the US government’s National Intelligence Council.

The report was released in Washington on Wednesday and takes a longer-term, strategic look, trying to peer 20 years ahead to examine how current changes could transform the world of the future.

A similar report was released by the Obama administration in 2017, highlighting the risk of a pandemic and the vast economic disruption it could cause — a prescient prediction in hindsight.

The ability of some militant outfits to conduct attacks, New Delhi’s resolve to retaliate against Islamabad after such an attack, and Islamabad’s determination to defend itself ‘are likely to persist and may increase’ in the next five years, the report says, adding ‘Miscalculation by both governments could prompt a breakdown in the deterrence that has restricted conflict to levels each side judges it can manage.’

The US intel report also warns policymakers in Washington that ‘a full-scale war could inflict damage that would have economic and political consequences for years.’

The report also underlines a list of uncertainties in south Asia vis-a-vis the US policy in Afghanistan and its impact on the neighbouring countries.

US actions in Afghanistan during the next year will have significant consequences across the region, particularly in Pakistan and India,’ reads the report.

This would be ‘especially true’ if a security vacuum emerges in Afghanistan that results in a civil war between the Taliban and its Afghan opponents, expanded freedom of manoeuvre for regional militant networks, or criminals and refugees flowing out of the country, it adds.

The report also hints that any outcome in Afghanistan would fuel political tensions and conflict in western Pakistan and sharpen the India-Pakistan rivalry by strengthening longstanding judgments about covert warfare in Islamabad and New Delhi.

‘An abrupt US exit probably would also amplify concerns that the United States will lose interest in South Asia generally,’ the report says.

The report also opines about the possible India, China conflict, if the armies of the two countries challenge each other on a critical part of the contested border.

The report puts the prospects for increased regional trade or energy cooperation in South Asia during the next five years as low, ‘due in part to the high probability of ongoing hostility between India and Pakistan”. Trade within South Asia is already the lowest of any region in the world.

The US intelligence community estimates that India and China may also slip into a conflict that neither government intends, ‘especially if military forces escalate a conflict quickly to challenge each other on a critical part of the contested border’.

In June 2020, a short military exchange resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers, exacerbated the strategic rivalry between Beijing and New Delhi and sharply affected international perceptions of both countries.

The report puts the prospects for increased regional trade or energy cooperation in South Asia during the next five years as low, ‘due in part to the high probability of ongoing hostility between India and Pakistan”. Trade within South Asia is already the lowest of any region in the world.

The report has also made assessment that Pakistan could face absolute water scarcity by 2025, given a combination of poor water conservation practices, rising temperatures, and decreased rainfall. Besides, it also points out that security threats have ‘undergirded popular support’ for nationalist leaders, and these threats are likely to continue or worsen in some cases. For example, ‘military tensions between India and Pakistan are at their most contentious in many years, strengthening leaders in both capitals.’

The US intelligence community has also pointed out that in 2019, India ‘led the world in Internet shutdowns by a wide margin’ — with several months-long crackdowns to suppress protests, including in Kashmir.

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