Don’t Forget About the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Don’t forget about earthquakes, feds tell city

Although New York’s modern skyscrapers are less likely to be damaged in an earthquake than shorter structures, a new study suggests the East Coast is more vulnerable than previously thought. The new findings will help alter building codes.By Mark FaheyJuly 18, 2014 10:03 a.m.The U.S. Geological Survey had good and bad news for New Yorkers on Thursday. In releasing its latest set of seismic maps the agency said earthquakes are a slightly lower hazard for New York City’s skyscrapers than previously thought, but on the other hand noted that the East Coast may be able to produce larger, more dangerous earthquakes than previous assessments have indicated.The 2014 maps were created with input from hundreds of experts from across the country and are based on much stronger data than the 2008 maps, said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. The bottom line for the nation’s largest city is that the area is at a slightly lower risk for the types of slow-shaking earthquakes that are especially damaging to tall spires of which New York has more than most places, but the city is still at high risk due to its population density and aging structures, said Mr. Petersen.“Many of the overall patterns are the same in this map as in previous maps,” said Mr. Petersen. “There are large uncertainties in seismic hazards in the eastern United States. [New York City] has a lot of exposure and some vulnerability, but people forget about earthquakes because you don’t see damage from ground shaking happening very often.”Just because they’re infrequent doesn’t mean that large and potentially disastrous earthquakes can’t occur in the area. The new maps put the largest expected magnitude at 8, significantly higher than the 2008 peak of 7.7 on a logarithmic scale.The scientific understanding of East Coast earthquakes has expanded in recent years thanks to a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia in 2011 that was felt by tens of millions of people across the eastern U.S. New data compiled by the nuclear power industry has also helped experts understand quakes.“The update shows New York at an intermediate level,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “You have to combine that with the exposure of buildings and people and the fragility of buildings and people. In terms of safety and economics, New York has a substantial risk.”Oddly enough, it’s not the modern tall towers that are most at risk. Those buildings become like inverted pendulums in the high frequency shakes that are more common on the East Coast than in the West. But the city’s old eight- and 10-story masonry structures could suffer in a large quake, said Mr. Lerner-Lam. Engineers use maps like those released on Thursday to evaluate the minimum structural requirements at building sites, he said. The risk of an earthquake has to be determined over the building’s life span, not year-to-year.“If a structure is going to exist for 100 years, frankly, it’s more than likely it’s going to see an earthquake over that time,” said Mr. Lerner-Lam. “You have to design for that event.”The new USGS maps will feed into the city’s building-code review process, said a spokesman for the New York City Department of Buildings. Design provisions based on the maps are incorporated into a standard by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which is then adopted by the International Building Code and local jurisdictions like New York City. New York’s current provisions are based on the 2010 standards, but a new edition based on the just-released 2014 maps is due around 2016, he said.“The standards for seismic safety in building codes are directly based upon USGS assessments of potential ground shaking from earthquakes, and have been for years,” said Jim Harris, a member and former chair of the Provisions Update Committee of the Building Seismic Safety Council, in a statement.The seismic hazard model also feeds into risk assessment and insurance policies, according to Nilesh Shome, senior director of Risk Management Solutions, the largest insurance modeler in the industry. The new maps will help the insurance industry as a whole price earthquake insurance and manage catastrophic risk, said Mr. Shome. The industry collects more than $2.5 billion in premiums for earthquake insurance each year and underwrites more than $10 trillion in building risk, he said.“People forget about history, that earthquakes have occurred in these regions in the past, and that they will occur in the future,” said Mr. Petersen. “They don’t occur very often, but the consequences and the costs can be high.”

North Korea ramps up her Nuclear Horn

North Korea may be ramping up nuclear weapons program again, satellite images show

Fri, September 17, 2021, 2:21 PM

North Korea has been relatively quiet since President Trump last met with Kim Jong Unat the DMZ in June 2019. It has carried out no major weapons tests, and focused largely on dealing with COVID, droughts and keeping its ailing economy afloat.

But now, eight months into the Bidenadministration, it is reverting to old ways, and it appears North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is upgrading his weapons arsenal, showcasing new technologies and testing President Biden — once again posing a serious threat to regional and global security.

New satellite images have now shown that North Korea is also ramping up its nuclear weapons program at the Yongbyon nuclearresearch center, expanding a uranium-enrichment plant, which could advance the country’s ability to produce weapons-grade material. Based on the size of the new plant, analysts say it could potentially allow them to add 1,000 new centrifuges.

The news comes two weeks after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that North Korea had also restarted its nuclear reactor, based on the discharge of cooling water, which had not been observed since 2018. It called the findings “deeply troubling” and a “cause for serious concern”. There were also signs of activity at the nearby radiochemical laboratory, where fuel rods are reprocessed into plutonium.

All suggesting, quite clearly, that North Korea has restarted its nuclear weapons development program.

The apparent violations come just days after North Korea launched two ballistic missiles from a railway-borne system in violation of U.N. resolutions. On Wednesday the missiles flew about 800 miles towards japan and were the first of their kind in the hermit nation. North Korean state tv said the new delivery system would be used as a counter strike option.

The U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command said the launches do not pose an immediate threat to “US personnel or territory, or to our allies”, but Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called the launch “outrageous” saying it threatened peace and security in the region.

On Sept. 11, as the U.S. was commemorating the 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, North Korea also test fired a cruise missile, that experts said could have a nuclear capability – should they be able to miniaturize a warhead. The cruise missile, also capable of reaching Japan – showcasing the ability to perform figure eights in the sky.

After the tests, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, urged a diplomatic solution, saying the Biden administration was “committed to dialogue with North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un, with the aim of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.” However Kim Jong Un has reportedly rebuffed any outreach so far.

North Korea remains desperate for sanction relief, but not, it appears at the cost of its nuclear program. As the stalemate between the U.S. and North Korea persists, some experts are wondering whether the Biden administration is returning to the Obama-era policy of strategic patience.

China has also continued to help North Koreans as best it can, most lately by holding up a U.N. investigation into North Korean sanctions busting, while being continually accused of helping the North Koreans bypass sanctions themselves, and turning a blind eye to ship to ship transfers off the North Korean coast.

A newly provocative North Korea is the last thing that President Biden needs. After eight months in office, Biden is increasingly involved with multiple foreign policy issues and on numerous fronts. The aftermath of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, stalled attempts to restart the Iran nuclear deal, and the rise of China as an assertive competitor. With North Korea again flexing its muscles, President Biden will have one more thorn in his side.

The newest nuclear threat: Daniel

Representative image
Representative image

China-Pakistan new nuclear deal may push world towards renewed arms race, conflict

Fri, 17 September 2021, 6:55 PM

Tel Aviv [Israel], September 18 (ANI): All-weather allies Pakistan and China signed a new nuclear agreement that will push the world towards a renewed nuclear race and conflict.

Fabien Baussart, in a blog post in The Times of Israel, said that it is a dangerous new nuclear pact.

The Framework Agreement on Deepening Nuclear Energy Cooperation was signed by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China Zhongyuan Engineering Cooperation on September 8, 2021.

The agreement, finalised at a high-level meeting on August 20, 2021, was signed through virtual mode and would remain valid for ten years, reported The Times of Israel.

The agreement envisages the transfer of nuclear technology, uranium mining and processing, nuclear fuel supply and setting up research reactors, which will help Pakistan increase its nuclear weapons stockpile.

For China, an enhanced Pak nuclear arsenal adds teeth to its grand strategy of countering India’s military strength, said Baussart.

Although the 2021 agreement envisages cooperation in construction, maintenance and waste management of nuclear power reactors, the likelihood of diversion of technology and material for reprocessing facilities meant for producing nuclear warhead material remains dangerously high, if past experience of Pakistan’s illegal nuclear trade and diversion is to be taken into account, reported The Times of Israel.

These suspicions are strengthened by the agreement’s sweeping scope and content.

The main thrust of the agreement is comprehensive cooperation on the construction and maintenance of all future nuclear power projects in Pakistan.

Four new plants are on the anvil-two to be located at Karachi (K-4/K-5) and two at Muzaffargarh (M-1/M-2). These plants will be constructed under the Engineering Procurement and Construction Mode by adopting Chinese Hualong One Pressurize Water Reaction (HPR)-100 technology.

The site for M-1 and M-2 plants has already been finalised on the banks of Taunsa-Panjnad link canal in Tehsil Kot Addu, about 32 km from Muzaffargarh in Punjab, reported The Times of Israel.

As per the agreement, besides the construction of these four plants, China will strengthen its involvement in operating and maintaining all nuclear power plants in Pakistan, including refuelling outages, technical up-gradation and spare parts. Supplementary agreements to augment the main agreement are to be signed in the near future.

Five significant components of the agreement which offers Pakistan unprecedented access to China’s nuclear capability in terms of technology, material and training are – a) Exploration and mining of uranium and training of personnel; b) Lifetime nuclear fuel supply and supply of initial refuelling fuel assemblies and associated core components; c) setting up of miniature neutron source reactor ; d) Radioactive management resources and assistance, including decommissioning of nuclear facilities, radioactive waste transport and disposal and radiation protection measures and; e) Nuclear technology application, including nuclear medicine, irradiation processing, radiopharmaceuticals, radioactive sources supply and manpower training, reported The Times of Israel.

The China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation dates back to 1986. China over the years has utilised official agreements to supply Pakistan with technology and material for nuclear warheads.

The September 2021 agreement substantially expands this cooperation with China helping strengthen Pakistan’s nuclear industry chain by setting up additional plants, aiding uranium exploration, supply of nuclear fuel, nuclear waste management and nuclear technology applications, said Baussart. (ANI)

Iran’s Nuclear Program Was Intended For The Prophecy: Revelation 16

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant. Photo by Hossein Ostovar, Wikimedia Commons.

Iran’s Nuclear Program Was Never Intended To Be For Civilian Purposes – OpEd

September 17, 2021

Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Plant. Photo by Hossein Ostovar, Wikimedia Commons.

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh*

The question of whether Iran’s nuclear program is intended for civilian purposes or for developing nuclear weapons is one of the most pressing issues when it comes to regional and global peace and security. The response to this question will define what policies other governments ought to pursue toward the Iranian regime and its nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian leaders frequently claim that the country’s nuclear program has always been intended solely for peaceful civilian purposes. Tehran repeatedly resorts to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s statements to buttress its position. In a 2010 letter to the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, Khamenei reportedly wrote: “We consider the use of such weapons as haram (religiously forbidden) and believe that it is everyone’s duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster.” The supreme leader also states on his official website that the production and use of nuclear weapons are banned by Islamic laws: “Both Shariah and aqli (related to logic and reason) fatwas dictate that we do not pursue them.”

But if we meticulously examine the history of Tehran’s nuclear program, it becomes crystal clear that it was intended for developing nuclear weapons from the outset. Why else would the regime’s nuclear file be filled with secrecy and clandestine activities, when the Iranian leaders could actually benefit if they disclosed all their nuclear sites?

If Iran’s nuclear program was genuinely set up for civilian purposes, the regime would have declared its nuclear sites and received technological assistance under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which the Iranian government is a party.

The World Nuclear Association points to the advantages its members get if their nuclear program is peaceful, stating: “The NPT was essentially an agreement among the five nuclear weapons states and the other countries interested in nuclear technology. The deal was that assistance and cooperation would be traded for pledges, backed by international scrutiny, that no plant or material would be diverted to weapons’ use. Those who refused to be part of the deal would be excluded from international cooperation or trade involving nuclear technology.”

But Tehran, from the beginning, decided to conceal its nuclear activities. For instance, its clandestine nuclear activities at two major sites, Natanz and Arak, were first revealed in 2000 by Iranian opposition group the National Council for Resistance of Iran. In 2017, the NCRI also released critical information showing that Iran’s nuclear activities had continued at the highly protected Parchin military base. The group stated that a location at Parchin was being secretly used to continue the country’s nuclear weapons project. It said: “The unit responsible for conducting research and building a trigger for a nuclear weapon is called the Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies for Explosion and Impact, known by its Farsi acronym as METFAZ.”

There are currently four covert nuclear sites in Iran that the international community is aware of. The International Atomic Energy Agency last week reported that: “The director general is increasingly concerned that even after some two years the safeguards issues outlined in relation to the four locations in Iran not declared to the agency remain unresolved.”

In addition, while the Iranian authorities have always denied seeking nuclear weapons, it has been conclusively found by intelligence agencies and the IAEA that the regime has indeed conducted nuclear weapons research. For example, the IAEA in 2011 detailed what kind of work Iran had carried out: “The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device: Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear-related and dual-use equipment and materials by military-related individuals and entities; efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material; the acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network; and work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components.”

In addition, Israel’s seizure of documents from a nuclear archive in Tehran in 2018 directly pointed to the military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program. The Institute for Science and International Security subsequently warned: “Iran intended to build five nuclear warheads, each with an explosive yield of 10 kilotons and able to be delivered by ballistic missile.”

It is clear that Iran has always intended to produce nuclear weapons. Therefore, governments must devise policies toward the regime based on such an understanding.

  • Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

Activating the Australian nuclear horn: Daniel 7

The new Australia, UK, and US nuclear submarine announcement: a terrible decision for the nonproliferation regime

By Sébastien Philippe | September 17, 2021

On September 15, US President Joe Biden, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched a new major strategic partnership to meet the “imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.” Named AUKUS, the partnership was announced together with a bombshell decision: The United States and UK will transfer naval nuclear-propulsion technology to Australia. Such a decision is a fundamental policy reversal for the United States, which has in the past spared no effort to thwart the transfer of naval reactor technology by other countries, except for its World War II partner, the United Kingdom. Even France—whose “contract of the century” to sell 12 conventional submarines to Australia was shot down by PM Morrison during the AUKUS announcement—had been repeatedly refused US naval reactor technology during the Cold War. If not reversed one way or another, the AUKUS decision could have major implications for the nonproliferation regime.

In the 1980s, the United States prevented France and the UK from selling nuclear attack submarines to Canada. The main argument centered on the danger of nuclear proliferation associated with the naval nuclear fuel cycle. Indeed, the nonproliferation treaty has a well-known loophole: non-nuclear weapon states can remove fissile materials from international control for use in non-weapon military applications, specifically to fuel nuclear submarine reactors. These reactors require a significant amount of uranium to operate. Moreover, to make them as compact as possible, most countries operate their naval reactors with nuclear-weapon-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel.

With tons of weapons-grade uranium out of international safeguards, what could go wrong?

The United States, UK, and Australia are giving themselves 18 months to hammer out the details of the arrangement. This will include figuring out what type of submarine, reactors, and uranium fuel will be required. Similarly, questions about where to base the submarines, what new infrastructure will be needed, how maintenance will be conducted, how nuclear fuel will be handled, and how crews will be trained—among many others—will need to be answered.

Australia has no civilian nuclear power infrastructure beyond a 20 megawatt-thermal research reactor and faces a rough nuclear learning curve. It will need to strengthen its nuclear safety authority so it has the capability to conduct, review, and validate safety assessments for naval reactors that are complex and difficult to commission. How long this new nuclear endeavor will take and how much it will cost are anyone’s guesses. But the cancelled $90 billion (Australian) “contract of the century” with France for conventionally powered attack submarines will most likely feel like a cheap bargain in retrospect. Beyond these technical details, the AUKUS partnership will also have to bend over backwards to fulfill prior international nonproliferation commitments and prevent the new precedent created by the Australian deal from proliferating out of control around the world.RELATED: Legal and political myths of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear WeaponsThe United States and UK operate naval reactors in their submarines that are fueled with 93.5 percent enriched uranium (civilian power plants are typically fueled with three to five percent uranium-235) in quantities sufficient to last for the lifetime of their ships (33 years for attack submarines).Having resisted domestic efforts to minimize the use of HEU and convert their naval reactorsto LEU fuel, the United States and UK have no alternative fuel to offer. France, on the other hand, now runs naval reactors fueled with LEU. The new Suffren-class submarine, from which the French conventional submarine offered to Australia was derived, even runs on fuel enriched below 6 percent.So Australia is likely to receive HEU technology, unless an LEU crash program is launched that could take more than a decade to complete or in a dramatic reversal, France is pulled back into a deal—two scenarios that remain unlikely at this point and at any rate do not solve all proliferation concerns. Assuming the high-enrichment route is followed, if Canberra wants to operate six to 12 nuclear submarines for about 30 years, it will need some three to six tons of HEU. It has none on hand and no domestic capacity to enrich uranium. So unless it kickstarts an enrichment program for military purposes, the material would need to come from the United States or the UK.One can only imagine the drops of sweat trickling down the neck of the International Atomic Energy Agency leadership in Vienna when an Australian delegation comes knocking at its door bringing the good news. The agency, which is currently battling to prevent Iran from acquiring enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon—25 kilograms (0.025 ton) of HEU according to the internationally agreed standard—will have to figure out how to monitor and account for 100 to 200 times that amount without gaining access to secret naval reactor design information. Managing that feat while keeping its credibility intact will be difficult to pull off.RELATED: Revisiting the case for no first use of nuclear weaponsWhat could happen if AUKUS moves forward? France clearly feels “backstabbed” by its Anglo-Saxon allies and angered to the unimaginable point of cancelling a gala celebrating the 240th anniversary of the Revolutionary War Battle of the Capes during America’s war of independence. In response, the French could relax their position on not transferring naval reactor technology to Brazil as part of helping the country build its first nuclear attack submarine. South Korea just successfully launched a ballistic missile from a conventional submarine and recently floated the idea of starting a nuclear submarine program in response to growing nuclear threats from North Korea. Seoul could now ask the United States or other nations for an arrangement similar to Australia’s.Russia could begin new naval reactor cooperation with China to boost China’s submarine capabilities in response to the AUKUS announcement. India and Pakistan, which already have nuclear weapons, could benefit from international transfers as well, possibly from France and China respectively. Iran, of course, has already expressed interest in enriching uranium to HEU levels to pursue a submarine program.Until now, it was the US commitment to nonproliferation that relentlessly crushed or greatly limited these aspirations toward nuclear-powered submarine technology. With the new AUKUS decision, we can now expect the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years, with literally tons of new nuclear materials under loose or no international safeguards.Domestic political opposition to the nuclear submarine deal is already brewing in Australia. The Green Party has announced that it will fight the deal “tooth and nail.” Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Morrison is very much struggling in the polls and could lose next year’s election—before the end of the 18-month review process announced by AUKUS. The nuclear submarine project could then be buried before it takes off, saving the international community further headaches.But if Morrison gets re-elected and the program continues, it will be for the United Stated to take up its responsibilities as the guardian of the nonproliferation regime. Poor nuclear arms control and nonproliferation decisions—such as leaving the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and approving the US-Indian nuclear deal—have so far been a trademark of the US Republican Party. It is difficult to understand the internal policy process that led the Democratic Biden administration to the AUKUS submarine announcement. It seems that just like in the old Cold War, arms racing and the search for short-term strategic advantage is now bipartisan.

Israel prepares for the Iranian nuclear horn

Israel Navy Chief AP Interview
Vice Adm. Eli Sharvit looks out from aboard the Israeli Navy Ship Atzmaut in the Mediterranean Sea, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (Ariel Schalit/AP Photo)

With Eye on Iran, Israeli Navy Steps Up Red Sea Presence

16 Sep 2021

Associated Press  By Josef Federman

ATLIT, Israel — Israel’s navy has stepped up its activities in the Red Sea “exponentially” in the face of growing Iranian threats to Israeli shipping, the country’s just-retired navy commander said in an interview.

Vice Adm. Eli Sharvit stopped short of confirming a series of attacks and mishaps on Iranian ships that have been attributed to Israel. But he described Iranian activities on the high seas as a top Israeli concern and said the navy is able to strike wherever necessary to protect the country’s economic and security interests.

“The state of Israel will protect its freedom of navigation across the globe,” Sharvit told The Associated Press, days after completing his five-year term. “That’s not related to distance from the country.”

Sharvit was a busy man during his tenure — overseeing a small but well-equipped force responsible for safeguarding Israel’s Mediterranean coast as well as the Red Sea, a vital gateway for imports from Asia.

While the Israeli navy has an overwhelming advantage over its enemies in the region, it nonetheless faces an array of threats. They include the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which possesses an arsenal of guided surface-to-sea missiles, and Gaza’s Hamas militant group, which has developed a small squad of naval commandos, as well as the challenges posed by Iran’s military activity across the region.

One of the navy’s most important responsibilities is protecting Israel’s natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean Sea, which now provide some 75% of the country’s electricity.

To the north, Hezbollah has made no secret of its intentions to target those platforms if war breaks out. The Iranian-backed militant group successfully struck an Israeli naval vessel during a 2006 war, killing four soldiers, and is believed to have vastly upgraded its missile stockpile since then. Israel says Iran continues to try to smuggle sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah.

Sharvit confirmed that Israel has intercepted many arms shipments to Hezbollah. “We are very vigilant concerning seaborne arms shipments, and every time that a shipment is one of arms, and not something else, we act,” he said.

With Lebanon’s economy in disarray, however, he said Israel has “no interest” in stopping fuel deliveries meant for civilian use.

Along Israel’s southern flank, Sharvit said Hamas has a small but formidable unit of well-trained naval commandos.

Hamas frogmen managed to infiltrate an Israeli beach during a 2014 war before they were killed. Since then, the unit has been equipped with state-of-the-art equipment allowing them to travel underwater well up Israel’s coastline and making them much harder to detect, Sharvit said.

During a recent war in May, Israel says it thwarted an attempt by Hamas to launch a torpedo-like underwater drone at Israeli targets.

Israel has faced criticism over its naval blockade and heavy restrictions on Gaza. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent a Hamas military buildup. But critics, including human rights groups and U.N. officials, say the policy amounts to collective punishment.

“Israel’s disproportionate and unreasonable restrictions on access to Gaza’s territorial waters as well as to vital items needed to repair fishing boats harm the livelihoods of thousands, put lives at risk and hinder economic development,” said Gisha, an Israeli rights group that has called for the blockade to be eased.

Sharvit, however, said it is difficult to separate the civilian and military spheres because Hamas uses the open waters to test rockets and train its navy commandos. “The sea is the biggest test site in Gaza,” he said.

But Israel’s biggest concern, by far, is archenemy Iran. Israel accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies. It also cites Iran’s military presence in neighboring Syria and Iran’s support for militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

In recent years, Israel and Iran have been engaged in a shadow war that has seen the killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, mysterious explosions at Iranian nuclear facilities and more recently a series of explosions on cargo ships with Iranian or Israeli connections. In most cases, no one has claimed responsibility.

Sharvit refused to discuss specific operations but said Israeli naval activity in the Red Sea has grown “exponentially” over the past three years.

Iran for years anchored a ship off Yemen that was believed to be a base for its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. That ship, the MV Saviz, came under a suspected Israeli attack last April.

The Red Sea also has deep strategic significance by hosting key global shipping routes, including the Suez Canal and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Almost all of Israel’s imports enter by sea.

“We have increased our presence in the Red Sea most significantly,” Sharvit said. “We are operating there continuously with main ships, that is to say missile frigates and submarines. What in the past was for relatively short periods of time is now done continuously.”

He also said that Israel is ready to respond even further away to direct attacks on Israeli shipping. “If there were an attack on Israeli shipping lanes or Israeli freedom of navigation, Israel would have to respond,” he said.

He said that has not yet happened. The cargo ships believed to have been targeted by Iran in the Persian Gulf had Israeli connections but were owned and operated by businesses based elsewhere. He said such attacks merit an international response.

Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow and Iran expert at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, described the navy as “good but small” and cautioned against relying too heavily on it in Israel’s overall Iran strategy.

“I think some operations may be an overstretch,” he said, adding that heightened tensions at sea could expose Israel’s vulnerabilities connected to its heavy reliance on global shipping.

“I would put my efforts elsewhere,” he said.