East Coast Quakes and the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

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

East Coast Quakes: What to Know About the Tremors Below

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

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

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

Fault Lines

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

That said, earthquakes still occur in the East.

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

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

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

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

Vulnerabilities

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

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

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

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

Reports of shaking from different earthquakes of similar magnitude.

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

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

Unpredictable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Babylon the Great Flexes Her Muscle Against the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

F-22 Raptors – World’s Most Powerful Fighter Jets Deployed To Asia In ‘Big Numbers’ To Counter Chinese ‘Muscle Flexing

July 19, 2021

The US has reportedly deployed dozens of F-22 ‘Raptor’ stealth fighter jets to the Indo-Pacific region. The move comes a month after Taiwan reported the largest aerial incursion involving as many as 28 Chinese combat aircraft.

The F-22 Raptors, considered a prized possession of the US military and the most powerful fighter jets on the planet, will be taking part in the Pacific Iron 2021 exercise, which coincides with another US-led exercise with its QUAD partners.

The Pacific Iron 2021 exercise is aimed at demonstrating the “strategic flexibility” in deploying a large fleet of combat aircraft to perform operations in forward locations, according to the US Air Force Pacific Command.

In a statement, US Indo-Pacific Command said more than 35 aircraft and around 800 Airmen from Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command will take part in the exercise. The exercise will include 10 F-15E Strike Eagles, approximately 25 F-22 Raptors, and two C-130 J Hercules.The F-22 Raptors. (via Twitter)

The pilots are expected to demonstrate multi-capable airmen skills, conduct simulated combat flight operations as well as Agile Combat Employment (ACE) operations. 

According to USINDOPACOM, the ACE is the “use of agile operations to generate resilient airpower in a contested environment and is designed to organize, train, and equip airmen to be more agile in operation execution, strategic in deterrence, and more resilient in capabilities”. 

The aircraft will use the Anderson Air Force base in Guam and the Tinian International Airport on the island of Tinian, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam and Tinian islands are US territories.

With Over 250 Aircraft Shot-Down, US Army Orders More ‘Super-Lethal’ Missiles That Created Havoc During Afghan War

The F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor is a supersonic, dual-engine fighter jet developed by the US aerospace major Lockheed Martin. Its cockpit has hands-on throttle and stick control (HOTAS) while the Kaiser Electronics projection primary multifunction display offers a plan view of the tactical situation of the air and ground, such as threat identity, threat priority and tracking information.

The head-up display (HUD) highlights the status of target and weapon, and weapon envelopes and shoot cues. Data is also recorded on a video camera located on the HUD, for post-mission analysis.

It has four hardpoints on the wings and three internal weapon bays. The main weapon bay can carry six Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) AIM-120C missiles or two AMRAAM and two 1,000lb GBU-32 joint direct attack munitions (JDAM).An F-22 during a demonstration flight. (via Twitter)

The AN/APG-77 radar uses an active electronically scanned antenna array of 2,000 transmitter/ receiver modules, which gives the fighter jet increased agility, low radar cross-section and, a wide bandwidth.

The electronic warfare system of the aircraft comprises a radar warning receiver and a BAE systems information and electronic warfare systems (IEWS) missile launch detect

The F-22 Raptor is one of the most capable fighter aircraft in the US Air Force. The exercise comes at a time when the service is looking to replace the fifth-generation fighter jet with a new-generation aircraft as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program.

Last year, Popular Mechanics reported that the US Air Force had “secretly designed, built and tested a new prototype fighter jet” under its NGAD program.The F-22 can carry up to 8 air-to-air missiles or a mix of AAM & air-to-ground munitions. (via Twitter)

The emerging challenges in the Indo-Pacific are the reason for the development of the NGAD fighter. The EurAsian Times also reported that the fighter jet will keep a close check on the USAF operations in east Asia and Europe.

The prevalence of vast oceans in the Pacific theater necessitates more naval and aerial warfare capabilities. Currently, the US jets have to resort to aerial refueling, which is both costly and faces the risk of being shot down. 

The sixth-generation jets are expected to have a “larger blended wing airframe’ which will enable a larger weapons bay and a bigger fuel tank.

A Message To China?

The ‘Pacific Iron’ exercise is an attempt by the USAF to prepare for future conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region. The Anderson Air Force Base on Guam is an important US military base and could be a prime target in case of a conflict in the region with China, according to The War Zone.

Lt. Gen. Dan ‘Fig’ Leaf, a former commander of US Pacific Command, said that the F-22s have not been used in such numbers in any exercise before.

What I would say is if I’m China, I’d pay attention to the message – whether it’s intended for them or not – because this capability both in the aircraft, the F-22, and the flexibility and expeditionary nature of the US Air Force that goes back to World War I, that they (China) can’t duplicate“, he told Anchorage Daily News.

He also mentioned that the exercise shows US commitment to the region, and asserted that, “this is not just a statement, it’s an investment in capability because it’s not cheap to deploy 25 F-22s from two different bases to the Western Pacific”.

China-Taiwan Tussle

Last month, in the largest reported aerial incursion to date, 28 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The alleged incursion involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft.

China had been skeptical of the QUAD and its activities and its surveillance ship sailed towards Australian waters prior to the exercise.

After war outside the Temple Walls, a grieving: Revelation 11

After war, a grieving Gaza marks Eid holiday

For Palestinians who lost loved ones in the fighting between Gaza fighters and Israel two months ago, there is little cause for celebration during the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Adha.
The holiday, coinciding with Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah, begins tomorrow, and the occasion is traditionally marked by slaughtering sheep or cows and exchanging gifts.
For this year’s four-day festival, Mahmoud Issa, a 73-year-old retired teacher, bought new clothes for his grandchildren and took them to a farm to choose an animal to slaughter.
But he mourns the death of his daughter Manar, 39, and her daughter, Lina 13, who he said were killed by an Israeli missile that destroyed their house in the Bureij refugee camp on May 13.
Manar’s husband and three other children survived.
“As adults, we are still haunted by pain, but we must get the children out of this atmosphere and make them live the atmosphere of Eid, so that they forget the pain of losing their mother and their eldest sister,” Issa said, sitting next to a large mural of Manar.
Gaza’s Hamas-run government says 2,200 homes were destroyed and 37,000 damaged by Israeli bombing during the 11 days of cross-border fighting in May.
More than 250 Palestinians were killed in hundreds of Israeli air strikes in Gaza that were launched after Hamas began firing rockets at Israel in retaliation for what the group said were rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Thirteen people were killed in Israel during rocket barrages that disrupted life and sent people running for shelter.
In Gaza’s livestock markets, breeders and farmers reported poor sales ahead of the holiday.
At one market in the town of Khan Younis, some customers loaded animals onto donkey carts to take them home.
“This year, the purchase of animals is weak because of the blockade, war and the coronavirus,” said merchant Saleem Abu Atwa, referring in part to tight border restrictions imposed by Israel and Egypt, which cite security concerns for the measures.“We hope calm continues. It is for the sake of everyone,” he added.
At a street stall in Gaza’s busy Rimal neighbourhood, Mohamed al-Qassas laments the destruction of his shoe store in the fighting as he sells goods that he salvaged from the rubble.
The 23-year-old fears that an Egyptian-brokered truce that ended the most serious hostilities between Gaza fighters and Israel in years might not last.
“Another war would be a disaster,” he told Reuters.

The Nuclear END of East Asia: Revelation 8

The Nuclear future of East Asia

July 18, 2021

In the face of North Korea’s and China’s continuous expansion in their nuclear arsenal in the past decade, the nuclear question for East Asian countries is now more urgent than ever —especially when the USA’s credibility of extended deterrence has been shrinking since the Cold War. Whether to acquire an independent nuclear deterrent has long been a huge controversy, with opinions polarized. Yet it is noteworthy that there is a gray zone between zero and one—the degree of latency nuclear deterrence.

It is suggested that developing nuclear weapons may not be the wise choice for East Asian countries at the moment, but, given that regional and international security in Asia-Pacific is deemed to curtail, regardless of decisions to go nuclear or not, East Asian nations should increase their latency nuclear deterrence. In other words, even if they do not proceed to the final stage of acquiring an independent nuclear deterrent, a latent capability should at least be guaranteed. Meanwhile, for those who have already possessed certain extent of nuclear latency —for instance, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan —to shorten their breakout time whilst minimizing obstacles for possible future nuclearization.

From a realist perspective, the locations of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have always been valid arguments for their nuclearization —being surrounded by nuclear-armed neighbours China and North Korea —and they have witnessed a threat escalation unprecedented since the Cold War.

Having its first nuclear weapon tested in 2006, the total inventory North Korea now possess is estimated to be 30-40. Not only has North Korea’s missile test on March 25— the first of the Biden presidency— signalled a clear message to the USA and her allies. Pyongyang’s advancement in nuclear technologies also indicates a surging threat.

North Korea state media claimed the latest missile launched was a “new-type tactical guided projectile” which is capable of performing “gliding and pull-up” manoeuvres with an “improved version of a solid fuel engine”. The diversity of launchers Pyongyang currently possesses —from short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) to submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), as well as the transporter erector launchers (TELs) and the cold launch system increase the difficulty in intercepting them via Aegis destroyers or other ballistic missile defense system since it is onerous, if not impossible, to detect the exact time and venue of the possible launches. Indeed, the “new type of missile” could potentially render South Korea’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) useless by evading radar detection system through its manoeuvres, according to one study.

Moreover, the cold launch (perpendicular launch) system used by the North also indicates that multiple nuclear weapons could be fired from the same launch pad without severe damage caused to the infrastructure. Shigeru Ishiba, Japan’s former Defense Minister, has noted that not all incoming missiles would have to be intercepted with the country’s missile defense system, and “even if that is possible, we cannot perfectly respond to saturation attacks”.

China’s total inventory of nuclear deterrent has reached 320, exceeding United Kingdom and France’s, with their nuclear deterrents considered limited deterrence. Though China’s current nuclear stockpiles are still far less than Russia’s and the USA’s, its nuclear technologies have been closely following theirs. For instance, China has successfully developed Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) and Maneuverable Reentry Vehicles (MARVs)—its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) DF-41 is capable of equipping up to 10 MIRVs while its Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) DF-21D could carry MARV warhead that poses challenges to the BMD systems— these advancement in nuclear technologies are solid proof that the Chinese nukes are only steps away from Moscow and Washington. Yet China’s nuclear arsenal remains unchecked and is not confined by any major nuclear arms reduction treaty.

If Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ever choose to go nuclear, a common mechanism could be established to ensure that these states would pursue a minimum to limited deterrence capability that does not endanger each other’s security but rather strengthens it, which would help minimizing the destabilization brought to regional security while constituting a more balanced situation with nuclear-armed rivalries.

In addition to China’s expansion of military capabilities and ambition in developing hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) and new MARVs, there is no lack of scepticism of its no-first use policy, especially with Beijing’s actions in the East and South China Seas. These all raise concerns and generate insecurity from neighbouring countries and hence, East Asian states Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would inevitably have to reconsider their nuclear options.

In spite of having advanced BMD system, for instance, Aegis Destroyer (Japan), THAAD (South Korea), Sky Bow III (Taiwan), the existing and emerging nuclear arsenals in Pyongyang and Beijing still leave East Asian states vulnerable. The future could be worse than it seems— merely having deterrence by denial is not sufficient to safeguard national security— particularly with the shrinking credibility of the USA’s extended deterrence after the Cold War.

Theoretically speaking, alliance relations with the USA assure a certain extent of deterrence by punishment against hostile adversaries. For example, the USA is committed to defend Japan under the 1960 Mutual Defense Treaty. Yet in reality, security could never be guaranteed. Sze-Fung LeeIs the USA willing to sacrifice Washington for Tokyo? Or New York for Seoul?

Strong rhetoric, or even a defense pact, would not ensure collective security, let alone strategic ambiguity, the strategy adopted by Washington for Taipei. Besides, with Trump’s American First policy continuously undermining alliance relations in the past four years, East Asian countries may find it hard to restore trust, despite the Biden Administration’s effort to repair the alliance.

Moreover, even if alliance relations and credibility of extended deterrence is robust, could East Asian countries shelter under the US nuclear umbrella forever? If they choose not to go nuclear, these states would be constantly threatened by their nuclear-armed neighbours and forced to negotiate, or worse, compromise in the face of a possible nuclear extortion.

Undeniably, horizontal nuclear proliferation is always risky. Not only is it likely to worsen diplomatic relations with neighbours, it also generates a (nuclear) regional arms race that eventually trap all nations into a vicious circle due to the lack of mutual trust in an anarchical system, which will consequently lead to a decrease in regional, as well as international, security.

Yet with the expansion and advancement of Pyongyang and Beijing’s nuclear arsenal, regional and international security is deemed to reduce, regardless of East Asian countries’ decisions to go nuclear or not. As official NPYT members, Japan’s and South Korea’s withdrawal may encourage other current non-nuclear weapon states to develop nukes. However, the NPT has already proven futile in preventing North Korea from acquiring its own nuclear weapons; or Israel, India and Pakistan from going nuclear.

Admittedly, the road for East Asian countries to go nuclear would be tough. Taipei’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons would trigger a response from Beijing, and a pre-emptive strike. That goes for Seoul and Pyongyang though the risk is relatively lower. As for Japan, although direct military confrontation is less likely compared to Seoul and Taipei, the challenges are no easier.

As the sole nation to suffer from an atomic bomb, Japan’s pacifism and anti-nuclear sentiment are embedded in it. According to a 2017 opinion poll, 17.7 percent agreed “Japan should acquire its own nuclear weapons in the future” whilst 79.1 percent opposed the idea. Despite having the imperative skills and technologies for an independent deterrent (its breakout time is estimated at 6-12 months), Japan lacks natural resources for nuclear warheads and would rely heavily on uranium imports. Japan’s bilateral nuclear agreements with the USA, U.K, France and Australia specified that all imported nuclear-related equipment and materials “must be used only for the non-military purposes”. Violation of these agreements may result in sanctions that could cause devastating effect on Japan’s nuclear energy programme, which supplies approximately 30 percent of the nation’s electricity. These issues, however, are not irresolvable.

Undeniably, it may take time and effort to negotiate new agreements and change people’s pacifism into an “active pacifism”, yet these should not be the justifications to avoid acquiring an independent deterrent, as ensuring national security should always be the top priority. It is because in face of a nuclear extortion, the effectiveness of a direct nuclear deterrence guaranteed by your own country could not be replaced by any other measures such as deterrence by denial via BMD system or deterrence by punishment via extended deterrence and defense pact.

Therefore, if there are too many obstacles ahead, then perhaps the wiser choice for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan at the moment is to increase their nuclear latency deterrence, shorten the breakout time and pave their way clear for future nuclearization. In other words, to keep their nuclear option open and be able to play offense and defense at their own will.

Nevertheless, in addition to strengthening latency nuclear deterrence, as well as obtaining a more equal relationship in the official and unofficial alliance with America, East Asian countries with similar interests and common enemies should unite to form a new military alliance with a security treaty regarding collective defense like NATO; and focuses more on countering hybrid warfare like the QUAD.

If Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ever choose to go nuclear, a common mechanism could be established to ensure that these states would pursue a minimum to limited deterrence capability that does not endanger each other’s security but rather strengthens it, which would help minimizing the destabilization brought to regional security while constituting a more balanced situation with nuclear-armed rivalries.

After all, proliferation may not be the best solution, it is certainly not the worst either.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn Says They Will Breakout Soon

Iran rejects EU proposal to lengthen ‘breakout time’

The reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, located 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) south of Tehran, Iran, Oct. 26, 2010. (AFP Photo)by Anadolu AgencyJul 18, 2021 2:03 pm

European officials offered a new three-pronged approach for Iran that included lengthening its “breakout time,” but Tehran has rejected it, The Wall Street Journal said in a report.

The breakout time refers to the time period required to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.

“In addition to keeping advanced centrifuges in storage and under seal, they (European officials) want Iran to rip out the electronic infrastructure it is currently using to run machines banned under the deal and reduce Iran’s capacity for producing new centrifuges at its assembly plants,” the newspaper said.

The newspaper did not specify whether the European offer was made to the Iranian side in the context of the Vienna talks.

Iran started producing highly advanced uranium silicide fuel for its Tehran research reactor earlier this month amid soaring tensions with the United States fueled by a deadlock over the 2015 nuclear deal.

The country’s envoy to the United Nations nuclear agency, Kazem Gharibabadi, said the agency had been “informed” of Iran’s move, which he said is intended to produce high-quality radiopharmaceuticals.

It instantly drew criticism from the U.S. and three European powers engaged in marathon talks with Iran in Vienna to salvage the nuclear deal that Washington abandoned in May 2018.

They warned that it would complicate or even torpedo the ongoing talks, which have been effectively put on the back burner after six rounds lasting three months.

While the U.K., France and Germany expressed “grave concern” about the measure, the U.S. termed it an “unfortunate step backwards,” but emphasized that the window for diplomacy remains open.

The Wall Street Journal said Western diplomats think Iran is using the slow pace of the talks to acquire “irreversible technical knowledge on uranium metal, centrifuges and production of higher-grade enriched uranium.

”In June, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Iran’s breakout time could be in a matter of weeks if not stopped.”

It remains unclear whether Iran is willing and prepared to do what it needs to do come back into compliance,” Blinken said.

“Meanwhile, its program is galloping forward. … The longer this goes on, the more the breakout time gets down … it’s now down, by public reports, to a few months at best. And if this continues, it will get down to a matter of weeks.”

Last Update: Jul 18, 2021 3:22 pm

Antichrist Sadr Says He Won’t Take Part In October Election

Iraqi Cleric Sadr Says He Won’t Take Part In October Election

Group Of Iranian Dissidents Will Visit Israel In First Such Move

Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 12:05 

A group of eight dissident expatriate Iranians will visit Israel next week to show “solidarity” with Israelis “in light of latest attacks” by Palestinian militants supported by the Islamic Republic, Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

They will be accompanied by four former Trump administration officials in visit organized by the Institute for Voices of Liberty (iVOL), a policy institute dedicated to encouraging freedom, human rights and democracy in Iran.

This is the third landmark event in the history of Iranian opposition in the last two weeks. A group of more than 30 Iranian dissidents wrote a letter to Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett on July 9 asking him to continue opposing the Islamic Republic, saying that a democratic Iran can be Israel’s strategic ally.

A day earlier, exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi spoke at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which had extended an invitation to the exiled prince to address their meeting.

Traditional opposition groups avoided public contacts with Israel mainly to avoid being targeted as a supporter of what the Islamic Republic and other radicals in the region labeled as the enemy of Muslims.

Accompanying the Iranian delegation will be several former senior US government officials, including Victoria Coates, Ellie Cohanim, Len Khodorkovsky, and Adam Lovinger. The names of the travelling Iranians have not been announced. The only person named so far is iVOL board member Bijan R. Kian who was convicted of illegal lobbying in relation to the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Hypersonic Russian nuclear horn: Daniel 7

Russia's Defence Ministry said the missile was launched from an Admiral Gorshkov, a warship located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia [Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP]
Russia’s Defence Ministry said the missile was launched from an Admiral Gorshkov, a warship located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia [Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP]

Russia reports successful test launch of hypersonic missile

Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile hit ground target more than 350 kilometres away, Russian defence ministry says.

Russia has reported another successful test launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin has touted as part of a new generation of missile systems without equal in the world.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Monday the missile was launched from an Admiral Gorshkov, a warship located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia.

The ministry said the missile travelled at around seven times the speed of sound before successfully hitting a ground target on the coastline of the Barents Sea more than 350km (217 miles) away.

“The tactical and technical characteristics of the Tsirkon missile were confirmed during the tests,” the ministry said.

Russia plans to fit the Tsirkon missile system to its submarines and surface ships.

Putin has previously claimed the Tsirkon missile would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000km (620 miles).

But some Western experts have questioned how advanced Russia’s new generation of weapons is, while recognising that the combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude of hypersonic missiles makes them difficult to track and intercept.

An earlier test launch of the Tsirkon missile took place in October, on Putin’s birthday.

Russia’s leader hailed it as a “big event” for the country.

Russia-US tensions

Putin announced an array of new hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a United States-built missile shield.

The following year, he threatened to deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines that could lurk outside US territorial waters if Washington moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

Washington has not deployed such missiles in Europe, but Moscow is worried it might.

Tensions between the two capitals are simmering over a range of issues including Belarus, Ukraine, NATO and human rights, with relations between Russia and the West currently languishing at post-Cold War lows.

Antichrist’s election shock: What does he have in mind?

Analysis – Al-Sadr election shock: What does he have in mind?

News Code : 1161435

Leader of Iraq’s Sadr Movement and backer of Saerun parliamentary alliance Muqtada al-Sadr in a controversial decision announced on Friday he will not take part in the snap general election scheduled for October 10. The announcement was major news hit to the media and analysts. 

Ahlulbayt News Agency: Leader of Iraq’s Sadr Movement and backer of Saerun parliamentary alliance Muqtada al-Sadr in a controversial decision announced on Friday he will not take part in the snap general election scheduled for October 10. The announcement was major news hit to the media and analysts. 

He are two major factors that motivate al-Sadr to sit out of the upcoming vote. 

Saving social position and legitimacy among supporters 

Muqtada al-Sadr, who disbanded Mahdi Army and joined the politics and elections after 2007, has always tried to maintain Sadr Movement’s legitimacy and social place amid various crises and political occurrences. At various times, al-Sadr and his associates have been offered various political positions in the cabinet, which have always been met with initial acceptance but then, surprisingly, were rejected. In the current conditions, he seems to think that taking part in the October election only cuts his popularity. 

Fearing a loss in election 

Al-Sadr has always sought to be recognized as a charismatic leader or even a leading figure in Iraqi politics and governance in the years following 2003. He has made different statements and actions at different times and has taken unpredictable stances. In the current situation, the Saerun with 54 seats controls most of the votes in parliament. It seems that al-Sadr is afraid that these votes will be drastically lost if he participates in the elections, because his representatives or relatives in the government, especially in the ministry of health, have not had a positive performance, and this issue will surely be highlighted by the other political groups. Therefore, it can be said that his decision is a kind of precaution to steer clear of defeat. 

What are the consequences? 

Another point is about the repercussions of Saidr’s decision. Indeed, Muqtada’s withdrawal from elections sets off the alarm bells for the next prime minister candidate and all political groups. Given Saidr’s record of arranging anti-government protests, his retaking an opposition position will put a heavy burden on the victorious parties in their path to forming a new government. 

From another perspective, although al-Sadr has a large social base in central and southern Iraq, it would be largely incorrect to think that if he and his affiliates in Saerun would not participate, the election will see a massive boycott by supporters. Although Saerun holds 54 seats, it is worth noting that in the 2018 elections, only 44.5 percent of Iraqis participated in the elections, which was the lowest turnout rate since the fall of the Ba’athist regime. And if the massive turnout of the Kurdish provinces is removed from the total count, it will be clear that the turnout in the Shiite-majority provinces as the powerhouse of al-Sadr was less than 40 percent. So, arguing that al-Sadr boycott will considerably cut the turnout rate lacks fact-checking bases and is against the reality on the ground. In the previous election, Sadr Movement harvested majority of the votes as the turnout in the predominantly Shiite regions was less than 40 percent. This tells that the movement’s political weight is at best lower than 10 percent of the turnout. 

In general, al-Sadr In a position of opposition and a political leader in the place of a critic cannot do much to make difference and improvement to the politics and to the people’s conditions. Taking an opposition status and ignoring the seats and ministries held by a political movement like Sadr and avoiding responsibility on the ground would be regarded negatively by the Iraqi people that could lead to downslide in the popularity of al-Sadr and his movement. 

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Rocket targets Iraq base hosting Babylon the Great

Rocket targets Iraq base hosting US troops: security source

Updated 20 June 2021 

AP 

June 20, 202114:32

BAGHDAD: At least one Katyusha rocket fell close to the perimeter of a military base that hosts US troops in northern Iraq on Sunday, Iraq’s military said.
The rocket fell near the sprawling Ain al-Asad air base in western Anbar province but did not explode, the military said in a statement.
There was no significant damage, the statement said. An Iraqi security official said a fence at the perimeter of the base was minimally damaged. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
An investigation by security forces found the projectile had been launched from the nearby al-Baghdadi area.
The attack is the latest targeting the American presence in Iraq. Rockets and, more recently, drones have targeted military bases hosting US troops and the US Embassy in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.
The regular assaults have been described as disruptive by US contractors working on military bases. Recently, Lockheed Martin relocated its F-16 maintenance teams, citing security concerns.
The US and Iraq are negotiating a timeline for foreign troops to withdraw from the country. Talks began under the former administration of Donald Trump and resumed after President Joe Biden assumed office.