Earthquakes in New York? Yes, it does happen occasionally. If you have friends or relatives in Livingston County, then you might want to check to see if they felt the small tremor that occurred Thursday evening. The United State Geological Survey says the small 2.4 magnitude quake struck just north of the town of Tuscarora, NY, just east of Letchworth State Park. WBNG did not indicate whether or not there was any damage in the area.
But while the quake was small, it was also considered shallow (around 12,000 feet below the surface, according to WROC) The Daily News Online says that some residents described the tremor on social media as a “loud boom”, while others said their porch floor shook “quickly and vigorously”. Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty said over Twitter that his office received multiple calls from concerned residents.
Back in March, an area just north of the Hudson Valley felt an earthquake, somewhat like this most recent tremor The United States Geological Survey says a small quake occurred near Altamount, NY, in Albany County. News 10 is reporting that the quake measured a 2.0 on the Richter Scale. Yes, earthquakes do happen in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. 2020 actually started off with three small earthquakes, on January 3, 7, and 13 respectively. The third was the strongest of the trio, measuring a magnitude 3.3, that hit several miles south of the town of Ormstown, Quebec. The Times Union says the quake was felt as far south as the town of Ticonderoga, NY.
Some even strike even closer to home here in the Hudson Valley. In April 2017, a small 1.3 tremor occurred around two and a half miles west of Pawling. In early 2016, an even smaller quake happened near Port Chester and Greenwich, CT. The most well-known fault line near our area is the Ramapo fault line. The 185-mile system of faults runs through parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and has been known to spawn usually small earthquakes.
On August 23, 2011, a 5.8 quake, that was centered in Virginia, was felt all the way up the east coast. Several moderate (at least a 5 on the Richter scale) quakes have occurred near New York City in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Is the area overdue for a much larger quake at some point in the future?
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.
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.”
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.
The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.
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.
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.
Last year, a Congressional Research Service Report published by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) highlighted the state of Russia’s nuclear weapons.
Moscow’s nuclear forces consisted of both long-range, strategic systems – including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers – and shorter- and medium-range delivery systems.
Russia’s Modernizing Nuclear Force
Russia has also been modernizing its nuclear forces and has been actively replacing Soviet-era systems with new missiles, submarines and aircraft while developing newer types of delivery systems including hypersonic missiles.
Even as the number of Russia’s nuclear weapons has declined sharply since the end of the Cold War, Moscow still retains a stockpile of thousands of warheads – including more than 1,500 warheads that are deployed on missiles and bombers capable of reaching U.S. territory.
This month, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin further emphasized the efforts Russia is making to modernize its nuclear force. Advanced weaponry in Russia’s nuclear triad – which comprises strategic aircraft, ICBMs and nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines – will top eighty-eight percent this year, reported Tass.
“The share of advanced weapons and hardware in the troops will make up almost 76% by 2024,” Putin said in his annual State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday.
“This is a very good figure. In the nuclear triad, it will exceed 88% already this year,” he added.
Russia has been constantly improving and qualitatively strengthening its Armed Forces, Putin further noted.
“In particular, special attention should be paid to developing military education,” said Putin. “This should be done both on the basis of military educational establishments and military training centers at civil higher educational institutions.”
Russia’s Military: Cutting Edge Weapons On The Way?
Wednesday’s address followed Putin’s February speech in which he proclaimed that the Russian Army and Russian Navy would be equipped with a variety of cutting-edge weapons systems, which will include lasers and hypersonic systems. He also suggested that Russian weapons would have no equivalents in the world.
“We will be doing our utmost so that our army and navy can become more and more advanced, which means strengthening capabilities of the strategic forces, channeling cutting-edge hardware to all types of forces, including laser, hypersonic systems and high-precision systems,” noted Putin
“Along with this, as for promising models which are actually the weapons of the future, we have already gone from the stage of trials up to [the stage] of putting them on constant combat duty,” Putin added. “Undoubtedly, courageous people loyal to the Fatherland, true patriots – soldiers and sergeants, and I will particularly emphasize, our officers, or the country’s officer corps – have always been and still remain the fundamental and most solid basis of our Armed Forces.”
He made the remarks during the State Kremlin Palace gala concert marking Defender of the Motherland Day. The Russian holiday occurs on February 23, began in 1922 as the anniversary of the Red Army’s establishment, and until 1993 was called the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy.
We Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.
Iran in the grip of the extremist camp will assuredly increase aid to Hezbollah and bolster relations with Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. It will not cease striving for a nuclear bomb, even in the presence of a strict oversight regime.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, is a brave man. In an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday, he said what none of his predecessors have dared say: A country that enriches uranium to 60% purity is a country striving toward a nuclear weapon.
His comments make finding a smoking gun unnecessary. Grossi’s conclusion regarding Iran’s intentions resonates more and is far more credible than Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s alleged religious decree, which no one has ever seen, whereby Iran is not pursuing an atomic bomb.
The only ray of light emanating from Grossi’s remarks was that the situation is still reversible and that the enrichment restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal can be reinstated, alongside the reimplementation of a robust oversight regime.
Indeed, backtracking Iran in terms of its enrichment activities and redeploying nuclear inspectors are some of the issues currently being discussed by Iran and world powers in Vienna. Gaps still remain, but both sides are expressing optimism and believe a deal will soon be reached. As a gesture, the Iranians even agreed to extend by a month international oversight of their nuclear facilities, “until after the Iranian presidential election next month.”
Iran’s consent to extend the oversight until after the election is not coincidental, and can also be seen as an indication of Khamenei’s desire to “drag feet” and take his time before signing a new nuclear deal with the global powers prior to the June 18 election. The reason: Khamenei doesn’t want the credit for a new nuclear deal, which would lift several of the heavier sanctions imposed on Iran, to go to current President Hassan Rouhani of the moderate and reformist camp, rather to the next president, Ebrahim Raisi, his close confidante and a member of the regime’s conservative faction.
Khamenei is doing all in his power to ensure Raisi is elected, including disqualifying most of the moderate candidates in advance. If Raisi, who is currently Iran’s chief justice, is elected, the entire hard-line camp will get a boost. The removal of sanctions under Raisi’s watch, Khamenei believes, will also diminish the prospect of a popular uprising by the millions of Iranians who have fallen beneath the poverty line due to the sanctions and government corruption.
Israel, naturally, views things differently and conveyed as much to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his recent visit. The extreme hardliners in Iran already control the parliament, justice system, and of course the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and military. The election of a hard-line president, who is also tabbed as Khamenei’s successor, will give this camp full control of Iran and stymie the more moderate and liberal factions.
Iran in the grip of the extremist camp will assuredly increase aid to Hezbollah and bolster relations with Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. It will not cease striving for a nuclear bomb, even in the presence of strict oversight. Even Grossi concedes that “it’s impossible” to erase the technological knowledge the Iranians have accrued over the past two years. Even he doubts the feasibility of “putting the genie back in the bottle.”
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas on Wednesday threatened to renew intense fighting against Israel if the Jewish state “violates” the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and downplayed damage to its military infrastructure following the 11-day conflict in the Gaza Strip.
“What has happened is but a drill for what will come if Israel violates the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the terror group’s Gaza leader, Yahya Sinwar, said on Wednesday, days after a ceasefire entered effect. “The occupation must know — Al-Aqsa has men who will defend it.”
Violent clashes between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police at the Jerusalem holy site in early May preceded the Hamas rocket barrage on Israeli cities and towns that began the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The Hamas leader also said he would welcome Israel killing him in a targeted strike.
“The greatest gift Israel can give me is to assassinate me,” he said. “I prefer to die a martyr from an F-16 than to die of coronavirus or [another] disease.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Sinwar said 80 operatives were killed during the 11-day war with Israel that ended last week, providing the group’s first official tally for losses sustained in the fighting. Sinwar said those killed included 57 members of his group’s armed wing, 22 members of the smaller Islamic Jihad group and one member of a small group called the Popular Resistance Committees.
Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry has put the number of Palestinians killed in the fighting at 254, including 66 children, 39 women, and 17 people above the age of 60. It does not differentiate between terror group members and civilians and did not give a breakdown. The Israeli military maintained that it killed some 225 terrorist operatives and that the Palestinian death toll was in fact considerably higher than was reported.
Israel says any civilian casualties are unintended and that the army takes great effort to avoid them. It accuses Hamas of putting civilians in danger by launching rockets from residential areas and inviting Israeli reprisals. They also note that Hamas rockets are fired indiscriminately toward Israeli population centers.
In a separate speech Wednesday, Sinwar also vowed not to touch “a single cent” of international aid to rebuild Gaza following its war with Israel that ravaged the enclave it rules. Sinwar promised “transparent and impartial” distribution of aid.
Diplomatic efforts are underway to solidify a fragile Egypt-brokered truce that halted the fighting, with plans to rebuild the Gaza Strip where Israeli airstrikes damaged infrastructure and leveled buildings.
“We welcome any international or Arab effort to rebuild the Gaza Strip,” Sinwar told a news conference in Gaza City.
“I affirm our commitment not to take a single cent intended for reconstruction and humanitarian efforts,” he said. “We have never taken a cent in the past.”
Sinwar said that Gaza has “sufficient financial resources… a large part of which are from Iran, and another part comes from Arab and Muslim donors and free people of the world who stand in solidarity with our people and their rights.”
During a visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesdaythat all aid would be “administered in a way that benefits the Palestinian people — not Hamas.”
Sinwar added: “I say to Blinken and to everyone else: enough playing with our internal divides. We know how to solve our problems internally. Enough cultivating of internal conflict. We will make way for anyone who wants to rebuild in Gaza or improve the economic situation.”
An Israeli Defense Ministry official said all funds to Gaza would have to flow through an international “mechanism” to reach people directly, to prevent the terror group from replenishing its rocket arsenal.
The latest military confrontation with Hamas ended in a ceasefire early Friday. It began on May 10 when Hamas launched a massive rocket barrage on Israeli cities, sparking IDF retaliatory strikes and 11 days of fighting, leaving 13 dead in Israel and over 240 fatalities in Gaza. The Israeli army said most of those killed in Gaza were terror combatants.
Over 4,000 rockets were fired at Israeli cities, according to the IDF, sending civilians throughout the center and south of the country rushing to bomb shelters at all hours of day and night and leaving hundreds of Israelis injured.
Hamas is an Islamic militant group that openly seeks Israel’s destruction. It has fought four wars and numerous skirmishes against Israel since seizing control of the Gaza Strip from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in 2007.
In his address, Sinwar also praised Arab Israeli riots in which Jewish Israelis and their property were attacked during the conflict. He claimed there are “10,000 suicide bombers in Israel” willing to respond to any Israeli “violations” in Jerusalem.
He said Arab Israelis “have proven that so-called ‘Israelification’ — the attempt to turn them into Israeli citizens rather than Palestinians — “and ‘coexistence’ have fallen once and for all.”
Sinwar also dismissed an Israeli operation to bomb Hamas’s underground network of tunnels, which its terrorists use for military operations. Statements by the Israeli military during the fighting led foreign journalists to believe that an Israeli ground invasion had begun, reportedly in the hope that Hamas fighters would enter the tunnels to prepare for war.
The IDF later denied misleading anyone, saying the statements were made erroneously. Hebrew media later reported that the operation had been less successful than hoped: relatively few Hamas fighters had entered the tunnels before they were bombed.
“It was clear to our military intelligence that this was a deception, and that there was no ground invasion,” Sinwar said.
Hamas’s public works ministry said 258 buildings — around 1,042 residential and commercial units — were destroyed by the Israeli air campaign. Another 769 units were severely damaged, rendering them uninhabitable, and 14,536 suffered minor damage. Seventeen hospitals were damaged, as well as 53 schools.
Over 100,000 people were internally displaced during the hostilities, according to the UN. While many have since been able to return to their dwellings, others have been left homeless.
The Israeli military says it does not target civilian structures and takes pains to minimize harm to noncombatants. It maintains it is forced to operate in civilian areas because Palestinian terror groups fire rockets at Israel from inside Gaza’s densely packed cities.
In the shadow of the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, thousands of Gazan residents face homelessness, grief, and trauma — amid a continuing Israeli blockade.
May 27 2021, 11:33 a.m.
BEIT HANOUN, GAZA — In the firstdays of Israeli shelling, Mohammed Ghabayne and his family tried to stay in their house, just 300 meters from the barrier that separated the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel. Ghabayne was unsure when and where to flee.
By the fourth night of shelling, the war hit home.
“Each day it got rougher, just unstoppable shelling from the ground,” said Ghabayne, “and the sky.” He went on, “We felt the shaking of the house and the sounds of bombing very loud and close. We have no shelters here, as the Israelis have, so we just wait in fear.”
Around 11 p.m., without any warning, Ghabayne’s neighborhood came under bombardment. “We are sitting at the house and started hearing random shelling,” he recalled. “Then, in like 4 minutes, our entire area is under attack — it felt like 50 bombs in an instant.”
“Then, in the dark, we all escaped shoeless in the streets, not knowing where to go.”
When Ghabayne and his family emerged, shards of glass covered their floor. He quickly discovered that Israeli airstrikes had not only damaged his home, but also those of his nearby family members. His grandfather’s home had also been scarred, but his cousin’s, just 50 meters away, had been hardest hit, killing the cousin, his wife, and three of their children.
In the black of night, with the electricity out, Ghabayne and his neighbors frantically scrambled through the rubble to pull his cousin’s remaining, now-orphaned children from the concrete ruins. The task at hand took primacy over the fear of another round of Israeli shelling.
“Then, in the dark, we all escaped shoeless in the streets, not knowing where to go,” Ghabayne told The Intercept from the courtyard of one of the emergency shelters set up in a United Nations school. “We came here because we have no place to go.”
Costs of War
Ghabayne and his family were amongthe nearly 80,000 Gazans, including 30,000 children, forced to flee their homes during the 11-day bombardment. His is one of more than 17,000 homes destroyed or damaged in the recent war. At least 9,000 Gazan residents have been left homeless or displaced.
With Gazans taking stock of the destruction and death toll, human rights advocates and the international community are turning their eyes toward rebuilding in the Strip and accountability for the attacks. With three past rounds of escalated Israeli attacks on Gaza over a decade and a half, it’s a familiar cycle that will face familiar obstacles — not least the Israeli siege of Gaza and the geopolitics of control by the militant Palestinian political faction Hamas. For Gazans like Ghabayne, the future in the Strip is itself a kind of barefoot wandering in the dark, seeking the next shelter, however precarious it may be.
“They are grieving — for loved ones they’ve just lost, family members and children who are gone, and for their homes and possessions in ruins. They’re in shock and despair over a life that they will mourn forever,” said Sherine Tadros of Amnesty International. “And then to step back, now what, that this round is over? Will the Gaza siege be lifted? We have three examples that tell us no, so this is what Gazans have in front of them.”
The costs of the war in human lives are only beginning to come into focus. In the 11-day flare-up, at least 254 Gazans, including 66 children, were killed and nearly 2,000 were injured by Israeli airstrikes, using U.S.-made warplanes and bombs. Twelve Israelis, including two children, were killed by rockets fired by Gazan militants. On Tuesday, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that 19 Palestinian families had been killed wholesale — “wiped off the civil registry,” according to a release.
Both the U.N. and Gaza’s government have stated that the total financial cost of damages may not be known for weeks. On Thursday, the U.N. launchedan initial emergency funding appeal for the Gazan reconstruction to a world already depressed by donor fatigue from the coronavirus pandemic.
Palestinians sit among the rubble of their destroyed houses after a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza fighters, in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, on May 22, 2021.
Photo: Fatima Shbair/Getty Images
On Tuesday in Ramallah, the de facto seat of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a $110 million aid package to the Palestinians, including $5.5 million in emergency relief for Gaza. (The Biden administration had already reinstated U.S. funding to UNRWA, the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency, that had been cut during the Trump administration.)
“A 12-year-old in Gaza has lived only under a siege and now through four wars.”
“We know that to prevent a return to violence we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges,” Blinken said, sitting alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his trip to the West Bank. “And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild.”
Even as these diplomatic efforts get underway, though, parallel to calls for human rights investigations, little seems poised to change in the financial and physical control Israel exerts over Gaza — and the lasting obstacle of isolation and blockade imposed against its people.
Tadros, of Amnesty, said, “A 12-year-old in Gaza has lived only under a siege and now through four wars.”
Politics Threatens Aid
The political realities of Washington and the logistical interference of the 13-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the tiny coastal enclave remain firmly in place.
Legally, the administration cannot deal directly with the government of Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. On Monday, a State Department official said aid would be channeled through the U.N. and Palestinian Authority, but such moves routinely face opposition from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have cut off aid through both channels in the past.
On the ground, the siege has kept the majority of Gaza’s crossings closed for over a decade, with only three crossings — two with Israel and one with Egypt — open sporadically based on Israel Defense Forces and Egyptian military decisions.
“The escalation has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, generated by nearly 14 years of blockade and internal political divisions, alongside recurrent hostilities,” said Lynn Hastings, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, in a Sunday statement. “The generous support of our donor partners from all regions is essential, as is unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel and provision to those in need. We must all do our part.”
After each previous war, Israel’s siege restrictions have kneecapped reconstruction, prolonging the misery of Gazan civilians. The IDF categorizes necessary construction materials, like concrete and steel, as “dual-use items” — products that could be used for civilian or military purposes — and places heavy limitations on their import to the Strip.
Beyond the cycles of reconstruction, the Israeli siege has intentionally placed a stranglehold on Gazan civilians and their economy. At the outset, Israeli officials described the restrictions as designed “to put Palestinians on a diet,” even calculating the minimal caloric intake to keep Gazans from starving to determine a “daily humanitarian portion” that would be allowed into Gaza. Since then, the IDF has at times restricted such products as food, sanitary items, school supplies, and medicine.
The devastating controls on the movement of people, goods, and supplies brought the Gazan economy to its knees and transformed the Strip into what’s often called “the world’s largest open-air prison.” For more than a decade, Gaza’s 2 million residents have been trapped under the thumb of this cruel system of collective punishment with no end in sight.
Then come the attacks. Israel has demonstrated that it will not shy away from provocations, and Hamas can be relied upon to respond with rudimentary missile fire toward Israeli population centers. Unless dynamics dramatically shift, it’s a cycle that’s likely to repeat. The brunt of whatever escalation comes next will likely be felt by families, like the Ghabaynes, for whom even the shelters of international aid are little comfort.
Tadros, the Amnesty official, pointed to a pattern, across the four wars, of Israel announcing evacuation orders, with presumed bombings to follow, for U.N.-run schools acting as shelters. She said, “When Gazans seek refuge — and I say ‘refuge’ because it’s not a safe place, it’s just the safest place they can think of — they are not just sitting there with their families waiting it out.”
Mohammad Recep, 17, juggles to entertain children among the rubble of destroyed buildings targeted by Israeli attacks, in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on May 25, 2021.
Photo: Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Ghabayne and his family were able to return to their Beit Hanoun home after the cease-fire was announced a week ago. As with many Gazans, the cease-fire was a mix of relief and grief. On the evening after it went into effect, people flooded the streets in the early hours of Friday morning.
It was not lost on many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that the latest Israeli assault had coincided with the final days of Ramadan. Many families tried to provide their children with a delayed celebration: a celebration of survival, more than the specific holiday. The usual sites for festivities, like the seaport and commercial districts, lay in ruins thanks to Israeli airstrikes. Instead, parents gave their children balloons, with backdrops of collapsed buildings and emergency teams.
The Ghabaynes had been lucky enough to survive but not lucky enough to celebrate it. Instead, like other families, the past six days were consumed by grief, loss, and the hard labor of salvaging their homes, businesses, and property.
“For my family, for all of Gaza, our holiday was only the bombings, the martyrs, the injuries. Only bloodshed.”
The Ghabaynes spent their days making funeral arrangements and gathering what was left of their homes — all while mourning the tragedy of lost family members and making arrangements for their orphaned nieces and nephews.
“The whole world celebrated a happy Eid Al-Fitr, except us,” Mohammed Ghabayne said. “For my family, for all of Gaza, our holiday was only the bombings, the martyrs, the injuries. Only bloodshed.”
On Tuesday in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Blinken and the Biden administration for “firmly supporting Israel’s right of self-defense.”
For Ghabayne, the word “defense” rankles, as his family mourns their loved ones and extended members shelter in his damaged Beit Hanoun home.
“What the Israelis call ‘defense’ is not defense! We need the world to help us defend our families and homes against the occupation,” Ghabayne said. “We have been enduring this siege and occupation for a long time. We just wish that we Palestinians can finally live with a little peace. We don’t want wars, we don’t want occupation, we just want our families to live in a free Palestine.”
According to Syed Zain Jaffery, India’s nuclear tests aggravated the prospects of a nuclear arms race in South Asia. In order to restore the strategic balance disturbed by New Delhi, Pakistan needed a well-designed strategy for achieving nuclear deterrence.
Nuclear deterrence is the guarantor of Pakistan’s national security in the face of growing Indian nuclear infatuation. 28th May 1998 is the day when Pakistan acquired the capability of credible nuclear deterrence. This day is celebrated by recognizing the efforts of all the scientists in rendering Pakistan more secure from Indian nuclear aggression.
India’s nuclear tests of fission device in 1974, under the codename ‘Smiling Buddha’, led Pakistan to follow a hard journey to acquire nuclear weapons. The Indian claim to test a so-called ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’ in 1974, aggravated the prospects of a nuclear arms race in South Asia. In order to restore the strategic balance disturbed by New Delhi, Pakistan needed a well-designed strategy for achieving nuclear deterrence.
In the 1970s, the world was hesitant to compel New Delhi to pursue a prestigious nuclear weapon program. Global powers had taken only tentative and unsuccessful measures, such as the launch of Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG), to control Indian nuclear proliferation. Pakistan knew that NSG’s establishment was an eyewash – an argument, which has been validated by the contemporary global push for India’s NSG membership.
Pakistan suggested the notion of declaring South Asia a nuclear-weapon-free zone much before the first nuclear test of India. In September 1972, the Pakistani representative, Munir Ahmad Khan, in the 16th annual session of the UN Atomic Energy Conference, presented a framework to denuclearize South Asia similar to the Tlatelolco Treaty for denuclearization of Latin America.
In 1978 and 1979, Pakistan again suggested two strategically imperative proposals to India. First, Islamabad offered New Delhi to sign a bilateral agreement to abandon procurement of nuclear weapons, and secondly, it presented an opportunity for simultaneous adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
India refused these proposals since the international community neither facilitated Islamabad nor coerced New Delhi to materialize these nuclear non-proliferation initiatives.
Pakistan demonstrated restraint for nearly three decades in the hope that global powers will assist a secure path for nuclear-free South Asia but the world remained oblivious to the nuclear weapon program of India.
Again in May 1998, India conducted a series of nuclear explosions and abandoned the decades of ambiguity prevailing on its nuclear weapons program. The West began to put pressure on Pakistan not to reciprocate rather than prosecuting the second round of Indian nuclear tests.
This time, however, Pakistan had not taken a complacent approach and carried out five underground nuclear tests. The only aim of Pakistan’s nuclear test was to acquire self-reliance against any Indian aggression.
Indeed, it was India who disrupted the power balance and launched the nuclear arms race in the region.
Contemporarily, India has expanded its nuclear weapons capability, especially after getting a civil nuclear cooperation deal from the United States in 2008. India got this deal as a result of a policy shift in the U.S. administration, which was more likely to contain emerging China.
In the process, the U.S. has privileged India politically, economically, and strategically, for instance, the country-specific IAEA safeguards, the waiver to trade nuclear materials with NSG member states, and later, the entry into Missile Control Regime (MTCR).
Unfortunately, U.S. assistance has made India, the sole problem for the whole South Asian region. Even though India’s unrestrained military modernization is the primary thrust behind South Asian instability, global power’s discriminatory defense cooperation with New Delhi also undermines delicate conventional parity between India and Pakistan.
India should be stopped
Regrettably, the global community did not pay heed to Pakistani efforts in the past to make South Asia a zone, free of nuclear weapons. The international community and the U.S. itself can still play a major role in improving the hostile strategic situation in South Asia, by adopting rational and non-discriminatory policies.
India should be pressurized politically to give up the military and nuclear adventurism. The 2008 waiver of NSG to India must be revoked to restrict further stockpiling of nuclear fissile material and strengthening the non-proliferation regimes.
Similarly, the Indian MTCR membership needs a revision because it provides a cover for the Indian missile development and delivery systems program. India’s hefty military expenditure and its relentless quest for the acquisition of sophisticated weapons have threatened regional stability.
India is responsible for initiating South Asian nuclear weapons competition, and Pakistan has shown enough restraint in order to prevent this arms race.
The writer is a student of current affairs and political science with a Master’s degree from NUST, Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.
May 27, 202111:30 AM MDT U.S. President Joe Biden takes off his sunglasses to speak to media ahead of his departure from Washington for travel to Cleveland, Ohio at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein U.S. President Joe Biden’s $715 billion Department of Defense budget will shift funding from old systems to help modernize the nuclear arsenal to deter China, while also developing future warfare capabilities, people familiar with the budget said.
The defense spending request, which will be sent to Congress on Friday, is expected to contain investments in troop readyness, space, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative aimed at countering China’s military build-up in the region and nuclear weapons technology, the people said.
The budget request would buy ships, jets and pay for maintenance and salaries, but an additional $38 billion is earmarked for defense-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy and other agencies bringing the national security budget to $753 billion, a 1.7% increase over the 2021 figure.
There will also be money to further develop and test of hypersonic weapons and other “next generation” weapons systems as the military aims to build capabilities to counter Russia and China.
President’s budget requests, including those for the military, are commonly a starting point for negotiations with Congress which ultimately decides how funds are spent.
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative, created to counter China, focuses on competition in the Indo-Pacific and aims to boost U.S. preparedness in the region through funding radars, satellites and missile systems.
To pay for this, people familiar with the shift said, the Pentagon is seeking to divest some of its older equipment with higher maintenance costs including four Littoral Combat Ships, several A-10 aircraft which provide close air support to ground troops, as well as the number of KC-10 and KC-135 planes in the mid-air refueling fleets.
Tensions with an increasingly assertive China are on the minds of U.S. military planners. Bejing accused the United States last week of threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait after a U.S. warship again sailed through the sensitive waterway.
The U.S. Army’s goal for troops in the budget was reduced very marginally, the people said.
“We must modernize if deterrence is to endure and, if confirmed, I would seek to increase the speed and scale of innovation in our force,” Kathleen Hicks said in her testimony in February before she was confirmed as deputy secretary of defense.
Among the Pentagon’s competing priorities, the Biden administration will request 85 stealthy F-35 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), the people said. The 2021 and 2020 presidential budgets requested 79 and 78 of the jets respectively, ultimately Congress authorized additional fighters. Senators and governors have come out to support the jet which has a huge industrial base. read more
The U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan, published in the final months of the Trump administration, and had 12 new surface combatant ships for the 2022 budget. But the Biden request has only eight new warships, the people said.
Despite shaving numbers from older systems the Biden administration will continue to invest in modernizing the U.S. nuclear triad, an expensive undertaking that will cost an average of more than $60 billion per year over this decade and more than a trillion dollars in total, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Funding will go to improve nuclear command and control as well as delivery platforms like the Columbia Class nuclear submarine made by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII.N) and General Dynamics (GD.N) and the certification to carry nuclear bombs aboard the stealthy F-35 jet fighters.
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