ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be WaitingBy MARGO NASHPublished: March 25, 2001Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.Q. What have you found?A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault? A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.MARGO NASH
August 18, 2021 00:07
VIENNA: Iran has accelerated its enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade, the UN atomic watchdog said in a report on Tuesday seen by Reuters, a move raising tensions with the West as both sides seek to resume talks on reviving Tehran’s nuclear deal.
Iran increased the purity to which it is refining uranium to 60 percent fissile purity from 20 percent in April in response to an explosion and power cut at its Natanz site that damaged output at the main underground enrichment plant there.
Iran has blamed the attack on Israel. Weapons-grade is around 90 percent purity.
In May, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was using one cascade, or cluster, of advanced centrifuges to enrich to up to 60 percent at its above-ground pilot enrichment plant at Natanz. The IAEA informed member states on Tuesday that Iran was now using a second cascade for that purpose, too.
The move is the latest of many by Iran breaching the restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal, which capped the purity to which Tehran can refine uranium at 3.67 percent. The United States and its European allies have warned such moves threaten talks on reviving the deal, which are currently suspended.
Following Reuters’ report, Iran reiterated that its nuclear program is peaceful and said it had informed the IAEA about its enrichment activities. It added that its moves away from the 2015 deal would be reversed if the United States returned to the accord and lifted sanctions, Iranian state media reported.
“If the other parties return to their obligations under the nuclear accord and Washington fully and verifiably lifts its unilateral and illegal sanctions … all of Iran’s mitigation and countermeasures will be reversible,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted as saying by state media.
The IAEA said on Monday that Iran had made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal despite objections by Western powers that there is no credible civilian use for such work.
Uranium metal can be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb, but Iran says its aims are peaceful and it is developing reactor fuel.
WAFAA SHURAFA , Associated Press Updated: Aug. 29, 2021 5:58 p.m.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Palestinians gathered Sunday night along the separation fence with Israel, setting tires on fire and throwing explosives as Gaza’s Hamas rulers pressed ahead with a campaign aimed at pressuring Israel to ease a stifling blockade of the territory. One protester was moderately wounded by Israeli gunfire.
It was the second consecutive nighttime border protest and took place hours after Israeli warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes on alleged Hamas targets in response to the unrest. Hamas officials have promised to hold nightly protests all week.
“The Zionist occupation bears all the repercussions and consequences of the tightening of the siege on Gaza and the escalation of the humanitarian crisis among its residents,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “No calm or stability will be achieved as long as our people lack a free and dignified life.”
The Israeli military said protesters set tires on fire and lobbed explosives toward Israeli troops, and that its forces took unspecified measures to disperse the crowd. The Palestinian Health Ministry said one protester was shot and suffered moderate wounds. No further details were immediately available.
Israel, with Egypt’s help, has maintained a tight blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election.
Israel says the closure, which tightly restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza, is needed to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities. Critics say the closure, which has devastated the economy, amounts to collective punishment.
Israel has tightened the blockade since an 11-day war against Hamas in May while Egypt tries to broker a long-term cease-fire. Israel has demanded that Hamas return the remains of two dead soldiers and release two captive Israeli civilians in exchange for easing the blockade.
Hamas has grown increasingly angry over the lack of progress in the cease-fire talks. Its operatives have launched a series of incendiary balloons across the border in recent weeks, sparking a series of wildfires in southern Israel.
Hamas also has allowed a number of violent demonstrations along the border.
Two Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy and a Hamas militant, have been killed from Israeli gunfire, while an Israeli soldier was critically wounded when a militant shot him in the head at point-blank range during one of the protests.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking before returning to Israel from Washington, said the pressure on Hamas would continue.
“We will operate in Gaza according to our interests,” he said in Hebrew on the tarmac.
Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies that have fought four wars since Hamas took power, most recently in May.
At least 260 Palestinians were killed during May’s Hamas-Israel war, including 67 children and 39 women, according to the Gaza health ministry. Hamas has acknowledged the deaths of 80 militants. Twelve civilians, including two children, were killed in Israel, along with one soldier.
The foundations of failure were laid in the days, weeks and months that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, when the guiding assumptions of the “War on Terror” were put together.
Caroline Glick(August 29, 2021 / JNS)
Even before the suicide bombings outside the Kabul airport on Thursday evening, the U.S. media was acting with rare unanimity. For the first time in memory, U.S. media organs across the ideological and political spectrum have been united in the view that U.S. President Joe Biden fomented a strategic disaster for the United States and its allies with his incompetent leadership of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some compare it to the 1961 Bay of Pigs; others to Saigon in 1975; others to the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. Whatever the analogy, the bottom line is the same: Biden’s surrender to the Taliban has already entered the pantheon of American post-war defeats.
Biden is personally responsible for the humanitarian and strategic disaster unfolding before our eyes. He is the only American leader in history who has willfully abandoned Americans and American allies to their fate behind enemy lines. But while Biden is solely responsible for the decision to leave Afghanistan in its current condition, it isn’t Biden’s fault that after 20 years of war, the Taliban was still around, stronger than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, and fully capable of seizing control of the country. The foundations of that failure were laid in the days, weeks and months that followed the Sept. 11 attacks.
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, then-President George W. Bush and his national security team put together the guiding assumptions for what came to be known as the global war on terror. In the years since, some of the assumptions were updated, adapted or replaced as conditions on the ground evolved. But three of the assumptions that stood at the foundation of America’s military, intelligence and diplomatic planning and operations since then were not revisited, save for the final two years of the Trump administration. All three contributed significantly to America’s defeat in Afghanistan and its failure to win the war against global terror as a whole. The first assumption related to Pakistan, the second to Iran and the third to Israel.
By rights, Pakistan should have been the first domino to fall after the Sept. 11 attacks. The Taliban were the brainchild of Pakistan’s jihad-addled ISI intelligence agency. Al-Qaeda operatives also received ISI support. But aside from a few threats and temporary sanctions around the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the United States took no significant actions against Pakistan. The reason for America’s inaction is easy to understand.
In 1998 Pakistan tested nuclear weapons. By Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan fielded a significant nuclear arsenal. Following the attacks, Pakistan made clear its view of nuclear war, and the connection between its position and its sponsorship of terror.
In October and December 2001, Kashmiri terrorists sponsored by Pakistan attacked the Jammu and Kashmir parliament and the Indian parliament. When India accused Pakistan of responsibility and threatened reprisals, then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf placed the Pakistani military on alert. India began deploying troops to the border and Pakistan followed suit.
Rather than side with India, the United States pressured Delhi to stand down, which it did in April 2002. In June 2002, Pakistani-backed terrorists carried out suicide bombings against the wives and children of Indian soldiers. The countdown to war began again. In June 2002, again bowing to U.S. pressure, India pledged it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the conflict. Musharraf refused to follow suit.
Rather than rally behind India, the Bush administration wrested an empty promise from Musharraf that he would stop sponsoring terrorism and then pressured India to stand down again. The U.S. message was clear. By credibly threatening to use its nuclear weapons, Pakistan deterred the Americans. Less than six months later, North Korea expelled United Nations inspectors from its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran escalated its covert nuclear activities at Isfahan and Natanz.
The U.S. decision to dodge a confrontation with Pakistan following the Sept. 11 attacks empowered the ISI to rebuild the Taliban and Al-Qaeda after the United States decimated both in its initial offensive. Taliban leaders decamped to Pakistan, where they rebuilt their forces and waged a war of attrition against U.S. and NATO forces and the Afghan army and government they built. Osama bin Laden was living in what amounted to a Pakistani military base when he was killed by U.S. commandos. That war ended with Biden’s surrender and the Taliban’s recapture of Kabul this month.
This brings us to Iran. In their post-Sept. 11 deliberations, Bush and his advisers decided not to confront Iran, but instead seek to reach an accommodation with the mullahcracy. This wasn’t a new policy. Since the Reagan administration, the dominant view in Washington has been that it is possible to reach an accord with the Iranian regime that would restore the strategic alliance between Washington and Tehran that existed prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Bush and his advisers were not moved to reassess that view when they learned that Iran provided material support to the September 11 hijackers. They didn’t reconsider their assumption after Al-Qaeda’s leadership decamped to Tehran when the Taliban was routed in Afghanistan. They didn’t reconsider it when Iran served as the headquarters and the arms depot for Al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Shi’ite militias in their war against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.
Barack Obama embraced Bush’s assumption on Iran. Instead of confronting Tehran, he tried to realign the U.S. Middle East alliance system toward Iran and away from America’s Arab allies and Israel. He effectively handed Iran control over Iraq when he withdrew U.S. forces. He paved Iran’s path to nuclear arsenal with the 2015 nuclear deal.
After a prolonged fight with the Washington establishment and its representatives in his cabinet who embraced Bush’s assumptions, in his last two years in office, Donald Trump partially abandoned the strategic assumption that Iran could and should be appeased. Biden, for his part, is committed to reinstating and escalating Obama’s policies towards Iran.
As for Israel, in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, then secretary of state Colin Powell convinced Bush to adopt two related assumptions on Israel. First, he determined that terrorism against Israel was different—and more acceptable—than terrorism against everyone else. And second, Bush determined that the war against terror would be directed at terror groups, but not at governments that sponsored terrorism (except Iraq). As former Bush administration official David Wurmser, who was involved in the post-Sept. 11 deliberations, recalled recently, Powell argued that terrorism threatened the Arabs no less than it threatened America. This being the case, the trick to winning them over to the U.S. side was to give them a payoff that would make it worth their while.
Israel was the payoff. The United States would be able to bring Syria on board by getting Israel to give the Golan Heights to the Assad regime. Washington would bring in the Saudis and the rest of the Sunnis by forcing Israel to give Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem to the PLO.
Ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried to unravel Washington’s guiding assumption about Iran. He told Bush and his advisers that Iraq hadn’t posed a strategic threat to Israel or anyone else in the region since the 1991 Gulf War. If the United States wanted to defeat global terror, Sharon explained, it should act against Iran. The administration ignored him.
As for the administration’s assumptions about Israel, a week after the attacks, Bush deliberately left the terrorism against Israel out of the war on terror when he told the joint houses of Congress that the war would be directed against terror groups “with global reach.”
Recognizing where the Americans were headed, in October 2001, Sharon gave what became known as his “Czechoslovakia speech.”
Following a deadly terror attack in Gaza, Sharon said, “I call on the Western democracies, and primarily the leader of the free world, the United States: Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when enlightened European democracies decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for ‘a convenient temporary solution.’
“Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense—this is unacceptable to us. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terrorism. There is no ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism,’ as there is no ‘good murder’ and ‘bad murder.’”
The administration’s response to Sharon’s statement was swift and furious. Sharon was harshly rebuked by Powell and the White House and he beat a swift retreat.
A month later, Powell became the first senior U.S. official to officially endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Sharon’s failure to convince the Americans to rethink their false assumptions owed to his incomprehension and fear of Washington. Benjamin Netanyahu, in contrast, had an intimate familiarity with the ways of Washington. As a result, his efforts to convince the Americans to reconsider their assumptions about Iran and Israel met with significant success. Netanyahu’s first success in relation to Iran came through the Arabs.
Netanyahu recognized that the Arab Gulf states were as threatened by Iran—and by Obama’s efforts to appease Iran—as Israel was. So he reached out to them. Convinced by Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia led the Arab Gulf states and Egypt in embracing Israel as their ally in their existential struggle against Iran. Confronting Iran, the Saudis explained, was far more important to the Arabs than helping the Palestinians.
Israeli-Arab unity on Iran stymied Obama’s efforts to win congressional approval for his nuclear deal. It also stood at the foundation of Trumps’ decision to abandon Obama’s deal.
Netanyahu used his operational alliance with the Arabs as well in his effort to undo the U.S.’s false assumptions about Israel, particularly in regard to the Palestinians. He also used public diplomacy geared towards influencing Israel’s congressional supporters and public opinion. Netanyahu’s efforts derailed Obama’s plan to dictate the terms of a “peace” settlement to Israel. Under Trump, Netanyahu’s efforts influenced Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and convinced Trump to support Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.
Distressingly, Netanyahu’s successes are being swiftly undone by the Biden administration and the Bennett-Lapid government.
There is a growing sense that Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan is setting the world back 20 years. But the truth is even more dire. In 2001, the United States was far more powerful relative to its enemies than it is today. And as has been the case for the past 20 years, the situation will only start moving in the right direction if and when America finally abandons the false assumptions it adopted 20 years ago.
Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
Russia to start Tsirkon hypersonic missile flight trials from Severodvinsk nuclear submarine in September 2021
Sunday, 29 August 2021 15:23
According to information released by the Russian press agency, TASS on August 26, 2021, Russian-made Tsirkon hypersonic missile will begin flight trials from the Severodvinsk Yasen-class nuclear submarine on September 2021, citing a source of the Russian defense industry.
Russian Navy K-560 Severodvinsk nuclear attack submarine Project 885. (Picture source Reddit)
The first test launch of Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the Severodvinsk submarine in the White Sea is scheduled in September 2021,” said press officer of the Russian defense industry at the Army-2021 International Military Technical Forum in Moscow, Russia. Several test launches are to be made before the White Sea is covered with ice.
Another source said the submarine launch should be preceded by a test launch from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate. NPO mashinostroenia that designed Tsirkon refused to comment on this information.
Many countries in the world have launched the development of hypersonic missile systems including China, Russia and the United States. Most U.S. hypersonic weapons, in contrast to those in Russia and China, are not being designed for use with a nuclear warhead. As a result, U.S. hypersonic weapons will likely require greater accuracy and will be more technically challenging to develop than nuclear-armed Chinese and Russian systems. Hypersonic missiles can fly at a speed of Mach 5. This type of missile could challenge detection and defense due to its speed, maneuverability, and low altitude of flight. Currently, terrestrial-based radar cannot detect hypersonic weapons until late in the weapon’s flight.
Today, Russia has launched two hypersonic weapons programs including the Avangard and the 3M22 Tsirkon (or Zircon), and has reportedly fielded the Kinzhal (“Dagger”), a maneuvering air-launched ballistic missile.
The Tsirkon is a ship-launched hypersonic cruise missile capable of traveling at speeds of between Mach 6 and Mach 8. The missile is reportedly capable of striking both ground and naval targets. According to Russian news sources, Tsirkon has a range of between approximately 400 and 965 km and can be fired from the vertical launch systems mounted on cruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Veliky, Project 20380 corvettes, Project 22350 frigates, and Project 885 Yasen-class submarines, among other platforms.
The K-560 Severodvinsk is a Yasen-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine of the Russian NavyThe Yasen-class nuclear submarines will be armed with land-attack cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine missiles including the P-800 Oniks SLCM, Kalibr family SLCM or 3M51 SLCM. Kalibr-PL has several variants including the 3M54K (terminal-supersonic) and 3M54K1 (subsonic) anti-ship, 91R1 anti-submarine, and the 3M14K land-attack variant. The submarine will be also able to fire hypersonic 3M22 Zircon cruise missiles. Each submarine can carry 32 Kalibr or 24 Oniks, according to Russian military sources, the submarine will be able to carry 40 Kalibr and 32 Oniks cruise missiles which are stored in eight (ten for 855M) vertical launchers. Additional missiles may be carried in the torpedo room at the expense of torpedoes. and the lead vessel of this class.
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WW3 fears Russia is planning a final test of supersonic nuclear weapons, warning NATO is “causing a conflict” with the Black Sea wargame
Three fears have been fueled as World War III Russia accused NATO of “causing conflict” with the Black Sea war game.
The Moscow warning is in the midst of planning a final test of Vladimir Putin’s feared hypersonic nuclear weapon (a deadly weapon at 15,880 mph).RS-28 Sarmat-also known as Satan-2 in the WestCredit: East2West
Moscow is proud that its new weapons can evade the US defense shield and destroy areas as large as England and Wales, or Texas.
Russia today confirmed that a new deadly hypersonic 208-ton “Satan-2” intercontinental ballistic missile flight test is about to begin.
The surprise announcement came a few days after more than 2,000 troops and 30 ships, including the United Kingdom, participated in the NATO exercise Breeze 2021 in the Black Sea.
The first test of a 5th generation silo-based liquid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (called RS-28 Sarmat, but Satan-2 in the west) will be “Autumn”.
And by the end of this year, the second test will start.
The missile’s new promotional video shows a poster from the West boasting that Salmat “doesn’t need a visa.”
Weapons at 15,880 mph will be the largest modernized nuclear weapon in Vladimirputin after a state trial.
If successful, the Salmat missile will help strengthen Russia’s defenses soon next year.
Nuclear weapon “moldable”
Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said: [will begin] This year, it is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
“In 2022, the first batch should be commissioned with the Strategic Rocket Force.”
According to the Russians, the weapon can deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads (weighing up to 10 tonnes) anywhere in the world, flying both the North Pole and the South Pole. increase.
Izvestia reported that it has the ability to use orbits and unpredictable routes that “substantially prevent their destruction even by advanced missile defense systems.”
According to the designer, it is possible to bypass the missile defense system and fly on an “unpredictable route”.
Sarmat can also fly over the North and South Pole and “approach the target from directions where interception is not expected.”
Shoygu made a test announcement while visiting Krasmash, which is based in Krasnoyarsk. Class Mash plans to mass produce a new Salmat strategic missile system.
He was accompanied by Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Putin’s close ally, Shoygu, said, “We have seen Krasmash ready to fulfill the long-term contract for the Salmat missile, one of the most formidable weapons we should have.” rice field.
The Black Sea is strategically important to NATO.
Nato spokesman Piers Casalet
The launch is expected to take place from an underground silo at the Plesetsk Space Center in northwestern Russia, meeting Kamchatka’s goal on the country’s Pacific coast.
One test can be done over a maximum range of 11,200 miles.
In previous footage, “invincible” hypersonic weapons emerged from silos, paused as if they were floating on the ground, and speeding up toward the target in a cloud of white smoke.
Today’s announcement is in the midst of heightened tensions between Russia and the West.
Putin was angry after Bulgaria led a large-scale maritime exercise that ended on July 19.
14 NATO allies and partners from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States were involved in the Black Sea mission.
“The Black Sea is strategically important to NATO.
“The alliance continues to focus on the security of the Black Sea,” said Deputy Spokesman Pierce Casalet.
World War II horror
NATO has increased its presence in the Black Sea since Russia annexed Crimea illegally and illegally.
Nato vessels operate routinely in the Black Sea in accordance with international law and typically patrol the waters for about two-thirds of the year.
However, Yuri Piripson, the fourth European director of the Moscow Ministry, told Leah Novosti on Thursday:
“It is very clear that this kind of’training’does rather than prevents conflict situations. “
“We have repeatedly warned that the spread of military and political conflicts at the border entails conflicting responsibilities.”
His warning is issued after a Russian hypersonic nuclear submarine has submerged more than 500 meters in the Atlantic Ocean after performing an ominous “deep penetration” mission.
And on August 2, Sun Online reported that Moscow had accused the United States of “extremely dangerous” threats of using force against Putin’s fighters over the Black Sea.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko counterattacked after the top US Admiral appeared to be “seducing us to shoot us first” in the turmoil of Moscow’s NATO ships by low-flying Air Force fighters.
There is a continuing verbal war between Russia and the West, and there is fear that future major conflicts may be resolved in space.
The video shows a mysterious “blast” that “six people died” at a secret Russian weapons factory after suffering from “horrible burns”
WW3 fears Russia is planning a final test of supersonic nuclear weapons, warning NATO is “causing a conflict” with the Black Sea wargame
Iraq’s influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has announced his intention to participate in upcoming general elections, reversing a previous decision.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Iraq’s influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has announced his intention to participate in upcoming general elections, reversing a previous decision.
Sadr said in a televised address on Friday that he and his supporters “will enter these elections with vigor and determination, in order to save Iraq from occupation and corruption.”
The early elections, a key demand of the demonstrators who staged anti-government protests in 2019, is scheduled for October 10. Sadr’s bloc is part of an alliance that holds the most seats in parliament now, and is likely to be one of the front-runners in the upcoming vote.
Sadr said he changed his earlier decision after a number of political leaders wrote to him about a “charter for reform” to rid Iraq of corruption and mismanagement. He did not mention names. He also called on his supporters to head to the polls and vote in the forthcoming elections, noting that a vote for his movement would mean an Iraq liberated from foreign meddling and rampant graft.
Last month, Sadr had said he would not participate in the parliamentary elections, and withheld his support for the current government and said he would not back the one that would be elected next either.
The upcoming parliamentary vote will be held under a new electoral law that reduces the size of constituencies and eliminates list-based voting in favor of votes for individual candidates.
Sadr’s political bloc emerged as the biggest in the 2018 parliamentary elections. Last year, Sadr said he wanted the next prime minister to be a member of his party for the first time.
Shia scholar says political leaders had written to him with a ‘charter for reform’ to rid Iraq of corruption.
The populist Shia Muslim scholar, Moqtada al-Sadr, has said he and his supporters would take part in Iraq’s October general election, reversing a decision last month to stay out.
Al-Sadr’s bloc is part of a coalition that holds the most seats in parliament now, and is likely to be one of the frontrunners in the vote, which was called early by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as a response to popular protests that took place in 2019.
Al-Sadr said in a televised address on Friday that the about-face came after a number of political leaders, whom he did not identify, had written to him with a “charter for reform” to rid Iraq of corruption and mismanagement.
Taking part in the elections is “now acceptable”, he said, flanked by dozens of officials from his Sadrist movement.
He urged supporters to go to the polls and vote in the election scheduled for October 10. A vote for his movement, he said, would mean an Iraq liberated from foreign meddling and rampant corruption.
“We will enter these elections with vigour and determination, in order to save Iraq from occupation and corruption,” al-Sadr said.
Al-Sadr, whose political manoeuvres have at times puzzled observers, had said in February he backed early elections overseen by the United Nations.
He commands a loyal following of millions of Iraqis, is one of the most powerful political leaders in Iraq and has grown his influence over state institutions in recent years.
Al-Sadr loyalists hold official posts with control of a large portion of the country’s wealth and patronage networks. Detractors accuse al-Sadr and his supporters, like other Iraqi parties, of being involved in corruption within state institutions – a charge Sadrists reject.
An unpredictable and wily political operator, al-Sadr opposes the presence of US troops, of which some 2,500 remain in Iraq, and rejects the influence of neighbouring Iran – a position at odds with many rival Shia politicians and armed groups who are loyal to Tehran.
The parliamentary vote is set to be held under a new electoral law that reduces the size of constituencies and eliminates list-based voting in favour of votes for individual candidates.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, who came to power in May last year after months of unprecedented mass protests against a ruling class seen as corrupt, inept and subordinate to Tehran, had called the early vote in response to demands by pro-democracy activists.
Al-Sadr’s supporters have been expected to make major gains under the new electoral system.
His Sairoon bloc is currently the largest in parliament, with 54 out of 329 seats.
Plagued by endemic corruption, poor services, dilapidated infrastructure and unemployment, Iraq is facing a deep financial crisis compounded by lower oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Al-Sadr has appeared under pressure in recent weeks, with pro-Iran groups and individuals attacking him on social media and accusing him of responsibility for Iraq’s recent woes, including electricity shortages and two deadly hospital fires.
Since the 2000s, the United States has been developing nuclear weapons as part of their Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) program, though American hypersonic progress has accelerated in recent years. The quickened pace of research and development is directly related to similar initiatives overseas, primarily from Russia and China.
Somewhat counterintuitively, American hypersonic weapons and hypersonic weapon defenses will likely be more accurate than those fielded by Russia and China. This is because they are not designed for use with nuclear warheads. Consequently, the United States’ hypersonic and counter-hypersonic arsenal will be more technically challenging to build than that of the United States competitors.
Where We’re At
The United States has multiple hypersonic weapons programs currently in development, as per a recent congressional report. These are the U.S. Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS); the U.S. Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW); the U.S. Air Force’s AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) and Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM); and DARPA’s Tactical Boost Glide (TBG), Operational Fires (OpFires), and Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).
Most of these American initiatives expect to reach operational deployment next year or in 2023. However, the U.S. Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike will reach operational deployment later, with Zumwalt-class destroyers in 2025 and on Virginia-class submarines by 2028.
Russia has researched hypersonic weapons for the past forty years; however, the development of its hypersonic weapons projects has picked up significantly following the United States’ withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001 under George W. Bush’s administration.
Russia has two hypersonic weapon projects in development, the 3M22 Tsirkon, and the Avangard. If reports hold, Russia has already fielded the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile. The three programs are capable of varying speeds—all hypersonic—and are expected to be fully operational by the early-mid 2020s.
One argument posits that China’s motivation for pursuing an effective hypersonic weapons capability is prompted by U.S. missile defense capabilities, which are regarded as very capable.
China has already extensively tested its DF-17, a medium-range ballistic missile that Beijing designed specifically to carry hypersonic glide vehicles. In addition, China’s DF-ZF, also specifically designed to carry hypersonic glide vehicles, has also been tested around ten times. Lastly, China’s Xing Kong-2, another hypersonic weapon, will likely be ready by mid-2020.
There is no doubt that the United States, China, and Russia have made the most progress in hypersonic weapons development, but they are not alone. Several other countries—including Germany, France, India, Japan, and Australia, to name a few—are also developing their own domestically-made hypersonic weapons technology. However, their programs are in much earlier stages than China, Russia, and the United States.
Still, other countries—South Korea, Israel, and Iran—have shown an interest in fielding a hypersonic weapons capability, though their progress in the field has been much more limited.
Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer with The National Interest. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.
Sustained winds of 150 mph and life-threatening storm surge as Category 4 storms takes aim
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Hurricane Ida closed in on the coast Sunday (Aug. 29), threatening to bring devastating wind damage, torrential rain and life-threatening storm surge to virtually all of Southeast Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
The National Hurricane Center reported in its 10 a.m. advisory that Ida was sustaining 150 mph winds and had slowed to 13 mph at it drew within 60 miles of the Mississippi River’s mouth and within 85 miles of New Orleans.
Forecasters predicted a slightly slower northwestern motion for the mammoth storm would continue through Sunday evening, with hurricane-force winds slamming the region for hours. Landfall still was expected in Terrebonne Parish by early afternoon.
Hurricane-force winds still were being detected 50 miles outward from the storm’s center, with tropical storm-force winds raging 150 miles from the core. A NOAA tide gauge in Shell Beach reported a water level that already was 5.6 feet above mean high water, an approximation of the inundation in that area.
At 150 mph sustained wind speed, Ida was close to reaching the 157 mph threshold for Category 5 hurricanes. Regardless of its final classification, forecasters warned of “catastrophic” wind damage throughout the region and rainfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches in most areas and up to 24 inches in isolated locations.
The threat of tornadoes remains a major concern even after the storm comes ashore. The NHC said tornadoes were most likely to form through Monday throughout Southeast Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Southwest Alabama and the western Florida panhandle.