Israel does not have capacity to strike Iran nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on July 10, 2012 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/GettyImages]

Ex-PM says Israel does not have capacity to strike Iran nuclear sites

April 15, 2021

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on July 10, 2012 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/GettyImages]September 28, 2021 at 11:55 am 

Israel does not have conventional military capabilities that enable it to strike and permanently eliminate the Iranian nuclear project, as it did in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an opinion piece published in Haaretz’s Hebrew site.

Olmert said the policy adopted by former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu over the past few years and the repeated warnings that Iran is on the verge of becoming a “nuclear power” are incorrect, because “intensive and accelerated uranium enrichment does not necessarily turn Iran to being on the verge of becoming a nuclear state”.

Olmert, who criticised what he called the approach of creating unnecessary fear and panic, added that Iran was at every point, within a few months of producing the needed quantities of enriched uranium to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear state, however, the question that should be asked is what brings Iran closer to being a nuclear state.

He explained that while the quantities of enriched uranium are necessary, additional conditions should also be met that are not available to Iran today.

The former politician added that it will take Iran a long time to become a nuclear-capable country.

The Korean nuclear horn advances

The Hwasong-8 missile firing into the sky in North Korea, according to state media
North Korean state media released a photo which it said was the Hwasong-8 missile

North Korea says it fired new ‘hypersonic missile’

14 hours ago

North Korea has claimed that it successfully tested a new hypersonic missile called Hwasong-8 on Tuesday.

State media said the new missile was one of the “five most important” new weapons systems laid out in its five-year military development plan.

They called the missile a “strategic weapon”, which usually means it has nuclear capabilities.

Tuesday’s launch is another indication of Pyongyang’s growing weapons technology amid strict sanctions.

“The development of this weapons system…[has increased] the nation’s capabilities for self-defence in every way,” North Korean state news outlet KCNA said. 

Tuesday’s launch also saw North Korea introduce missile fuel ampoule for the first time – described by North Korea analyst Ankit Panda as a “significant milestone”.

This is a technology that allows missiles to be pre-fuelled and then sent to the field in canisters. This means it could potentially stay launch-ready for years.

The latest launch also marked the country’s third missile test this month. It has already revealed a new type of cruise missile, as a well as a new train-launched ballistic missile system.

Yesterday’s launch came as its North Korean envoy Kim Song defended the country’s right to develop weapons at the annual UN General Assembly in New York. 

Mr Kim said the country was “building up our national defence in order to defend ourselves and reliably safeguard the security and peace of the country”.

What is a hypersonic missile?

Hypersonic missiles are much faster and more agile than normal ones, making them much harder for missile defence systems to intercept.

North Korea joins a small pool of countries, including the United States, Russia, China and India, in attempting to develop the weapons. In July Russia announced that it had successfully launched a hypersonic missile which reached a speed of 8659.88km/h (5381mph) from a frigate in the White Sea. 

KCNA said the test launch confirmed the “navigational control and stability of the missile”.

Mr Panda, a Stanton Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it was difficult at this point to assess the “precise capabilities” of the missile, but added that it could “presumably present a very different challenge for missile defence from traditional ballistic missiles”. 

This addition of the missile fuel ampoule means the weapon would be ready to be fired straight away. If it doesn’t need to be fuelled out in the field, it means the launch time is much quicker. The quicker launch time also means it’s more difficult for other countries to make a pre-emptive strike.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had at an earlier meeting in January declared that scientists had “finished research” into developing hypersonic gliding warheads. Tuesday’s test was the first for this new system. 

“The push to develop a hypersonic glider isn’t all too surprising given that Kim Jong Un had indicated this back in January,” said Mr Panda. 

“This is, however, a reminder that Mr Kim’s missile ambitions are far from having run their course.”

However, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said they believed this hypersonic missile was still at an early stage of development and it will take a considerable period of time before it can be deployed in combat. They added that both South Korea and the US are currently capable of detecting and intercepting this missile.

What do we know about North Korea’s weapons programme?

North Korea’s recent tests – this was the third one fired this month alone – indicate that it is ramping up its weapons programme. 

KCNANorth Korea earlier tested a cruise missile

The US has been calling for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, and Pyongyang’s relationship with President Joe Biden’s administration has so far been fraught with tension.

Japan and North Korea also have enduring tensions rooted in Japan’s 35-year colonisation of Korea (1910-1945), Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear and missile programmes, and the North’s past abduction of Japanese citizens.

Despite this, Pyongyang seems determined to prove it will continue to develop new weapons systems, saying they are needed for its own self-defence.

It has also repeatedly accused South Korea of double standards over military activities.

South Korea recently tested its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, which it said was needed as deterrence against North Korea’s “provocations”. 

Last month the UN atomic agency said North Korea appeared to have restarted a reactor which could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, calling it a “deeply troubling” development.Why does North Korea keep launching missiles?

The February 2020 deal set a date for the US to pull out and strengthened the Taliban, generals say.

The agonizing problem of Pakistan’s nukes: Revelation 8

Marvin KalbTuesday, September 28, 2021

“This is a new world,” President Joe Biden declared, when justifying his pullout from Afghanistan and explaining his administration’s war on global terrorism in an August 31 speech. It will go “well beyond Afghanistan,” he alerted the world, focusing on “the threats of 2021 and tomorrow.”

The president will not have to look too far. Bordering Afghanistan, now again under Taliban rule, is Pakistan, one of America’s oddest “allies.” Governed by a shaky coalition of ineffective politicians and trained military leaders trying desperately to contain the challenge of domestic terrorism, Pakistan may be the best definition yet of a highly combustible threat that, if left unchecked, might lead to the nightmare of nightmares: jihadis taking control of a nuclear weapons arsenal of something in the neighborhood of 200 warheads.

Ever since May 1998, when Pakistan first began testing nuclear weapons, claiming its national security demanded it, American presidents have been haunted by the fear that Pakistan’s stockpile of nukes would fall into the wrong hands. That fear now includes the possibility that jihadis in Pakistan, freshly inspired by the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, might try to seize power at home.

Trying, of course, is not the same as succeeding. If history is a reliable guide, Pakistan’s professional military would almost certainly respond, and in time probably succeed; but only after the floodgates of a new round of domestic warfare between the government and extremist gangs has been opened, leaving Pakistan again shaken by political and economic uncertainty. And when Pakistan is shaken, so too is India, its less than neighborly rival and nuclear competitor.

Pakistani jihadis come in many different shapes and sizes, but no matter: The possibility of a nuclear-armed terrorist regime in Pakistan has now grown from a fear into a strategic challenge that no American president can afford to ignore.

Former President Barack Obama translated this challenge into carefully chosen words: “The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short term, medium term and long term,” he asserted, “would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon.” (Author’s italics).

The nation that has both nuclear weapons and a dangerous mix of terrorists was — and remains — Pakistan.

No problem, really, Pakistan’s political and military leaders have quickly assured a succession of anxious presidents. Whether it be Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Labaik, al-Qaida, or the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura — these terrorist organizations have always been under our constant surveillance, checked and rechecked. We keep a close eye on everything, even the Islamic madrassas, where more than 2 million students are more likely studying sharia law than economics or history. We know who these terrorists are and what they’re doing, and we’re ready to take immediate action.

These official assurances have fallen largely on deaf ears at the White House, principally because one president after another has learned from American intelligence that these same Pakistani leaders have often been working surreptitiously with the terrorists to achieve common goals. One such goal was the recent defeat of the Kabul regime, which had been supported by the U.S. for 20 years. During this time, the victorious Taliban secretly received political and military support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Shortly after 9/11, for example, the terrorist mastermind, Osama bin Laden, escaped U.S. capture, in part because sympathetic of ISI colleagues. Bin Laden fled to the one place where his security could be assured — Pakistan. In 2011, when the U.S. finally caught up with bin Laden and killed him, Obama chose not to inform Pakistani leaders of the super-secret operation, even though the target was down the street from a Pakistani military academy, fearful that once again bin Laden would be tipped off and escape.

The U.S. has learned over the years not to trust Pakistan, realizing that a lie here and there might be part of the diplomatic game but that this level of continuing deception was beyond acceptable bounds. That Pakistan was also known to have helped North Korea and Iran develop their nuclear programs has only deepened the distrust.

Indeed, since the shock of 9/11, Pakistan has come to represent such an exasperating problem that the U.S. has reportedly developed a secret plan to arbitrarily seize control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if a terrorist group in Pakistan seemed on the edge of capturing some or all of its nuclear warheads. When repeatedly questioned about the plan, U.S. officials have strung together an artful, if unpersuasive, collection of “no comments.”

Even though U.S. economic and military aid has continued to flow into Pakistan — reaching $4.5 billion in fiscal 2010, though on other occasions capriciously cut — America’s concerns about Pakistan’s stability and reliability have only worsened. Since the debacle in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s barely disguised role in it, serious questions have been raised about America’s embarrassing predisposition to look the other way whenever Pakistan has been caught with its hand in a terrorist’s cookie jar. How long can America look the other way?

The anguishing problem for the Biden administration is now coming into sharper focus: Even if the president decided to challenge Pakistan’s dangerous flirtation with domestic and regional terrorism, what specific policies could he adopt that would satisfy America’s obvious desire to disengage from Afghan-like civil wars without at the same time getting itself involved in another nation’s domestic struggles with terrorists?  Disengagement has become the name of the game in Washington.

One approach, already widely discussed, is that the U.S. can contain the spread of terrorism in South Asia by relying on its “over-the-horizon” capabilities. Though almost every senior official, including Biden, has embraced this approach, it’s doubtful they really believe it’s a viable substitute for “boots on the ground.”

Another possibility would be the Central Intelligence Agency striking a new under-the-table deal with the ISI that would set new goals and guidelines for both services to cooperate more aggressively in the war against domestic and regional terrorism. Unfortunately, prospects for such expanded cooperation, though rhetorically appealing, are actually quite slim. Veterans of both services shake their heads, reluctantly admitting it is unrealistic, given the degree of distrust on both sides.

But even if Biden, despite knowing better, decided to continue to look the other way, hoping against hope that Pakistan would be able to contain the terrorists and keep them from acquiring nuclear warheads, he will find that Prime Minister Imran Khan is not a ready and eager ally, if he ever was one. Lately he’s been painting the Biden administration as damaged goods after its hurried exit from Afghanistan. And he has been rearranging Pakistan’s regional relationships by strengthening his ties with China and extending a welcoming hand to Russia. Also Khan may soon discover that his pro-Taliban policy runs the risk of backfiring and inspiring Pakistani terrorists to turn against him. To whom would he then turn for help?

Khan, who won his mandate in 2018, surely knows by now that he runs a decidedly unhappy country, beset by major economic and political problems, waves of societal corruption and the no-nonsense challenge coming from domestic terrorists eager to impose a severe Islamic code of conduct on the Pakistani people. Sixty-four percent of the population are under the age of 30 and more desirous of iPhones and apps than of religious zealotry.

Pakistan is a looming problem with no satisfactory solutions. For Biden, no matter what policies he pursues, it remains a recurring nightmare, the stuff of a paperback thriller: a scary mix of terrorists who may one day be able to seize power and, with it, control over the nation’s stockpile of nuclear warheads — all of this happening in a shaky, strategically-located country that was once an ally.

Since the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, geostrategic relationships on the Asian subcontinent have been undergoing important changes. Pakistan has tilted its future towards a closer relationship with China, while its principal adversary, India, has tightened its ties to the United States, both of them sharing an already deep distrust of China. In this increasingly uneasy atmosphere, the U.S. remains concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile falling into terrorist hands. If this seemed to be happening, the U.S. would feel the need to intervene militarily to stop it. Pakistan would likely turn to China for help, setting the stage for the U.S. and China, because of Pakistan’s nukes, to head towards a direct and possibly deadly confrontation which neither superpower wants or needs.

Israel-Hamas tensions rise outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

FILE - White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 7, 2021, in Washington. Sullivan is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, to meet with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as the U.S. tries to press the kingdom to move toward a ceasefire in its years-long war with Houthi rebels in Yemen.
FILE – White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 7, 2021, in Washington. Sullivan is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, to meet with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as the U.S. tries to press the kingdom to move toward a ceasefire in its years-long war with Houthi rebels in Yemen.Evan Vucci/AP

Biden adviser headed to Egypt as Israel-Hamas tensions rise

AAMER MADHANI , Associated Press Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 6:44 p.m. Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan is heading to Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egyptian government officials about rising tensions between Israel and Hamas.

The Biden administration is leaning heavily on Egypt, which has long played a role as mediator between Israel and Hamas, for help in maintaining stability in the region even as it presses Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to stop his crackdown on dissent.

Sullivan plans to follow up on the Egypt talks during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata, next week in Washington, said National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne.

Egypt brokered a cease-fire after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas erupted in May.

Sullivan had already planned visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks focused on finding an end to war in Yemen.

The visit to Egypt comes after the Biden administration announced earlier this month it would withhold $130 million in military aid to the country over human rights concerns.

The region has seen an increase in fighting in recent weeks, with tensions fueled by Israeli settlement construction and heightened militant activity in the northern West Bank.

Israeli troops conducted a series of arrest raids against suspected Hamas militants across the occupied West Bank early Sunday, sparking a pair of gun battles in which five Palestinians were killed and two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded.

Looming over the meeting in Cairo is the administration’s recent decision to withhold some military aid to Egypt.

Congress had passed legislation calling on the administration to withhold $300 million in military aid to Egypt. In the end, $170 million was sent along as the administration used its authority to waive human rights conditions placed on the assistance by Congress.

The Biden administration said it decided to release most of the military aid to preserve a U.S.-Egypt security relationship that it says is critical to Mideast stability. The remaining $130 million will be released if Egypt “addresses specific human-rights related conditions,” according to the State Department.

At the same time, Biden advisers have praised Egypt for brokering the cease-fire that ended the latest Israel-Hamas war. The administration was also pleased that el-Sisi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Cairo earlier this month, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Egypt since 2007.

Egypt is pressing the U.S. to side with it in a dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a hydropower project on the Blue Nile that Ethiopia says is crucial for its economic development. Egypt says the dam would choke its economy and has threatened to use “all available means” to stop it.

The Blue Nile, a major tributary of the Nile River, originates in Ethiopia.

The Biden administration sees the dam dispute as potential flashpoint, but has sought to take a back seat to the African Union in finding a resolution.

Growing presence of Hamas in West Bank worries Israel: Revelation 11

Growing presence of Hamas in West Bank challenges Abbas, worries Israel | | AW

JERUSALEM–The raids launched by the Israeli security forces in the West Bank, on Saturday night, as they tracked down a Hamas cell, reflected Israel’s concern about the growing influence of the Palestinian militant movement  in the West Bank.

According to analysts, the growing presence of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, also poses a challenge to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who seems unable to keep security under control in the whole of the West Bank.

Israeli Channel 13 reported that the raids carried out by Israeli security forces in the West Bank prevented a “major terrorist attack.” The channel alleged that the Hamas cell planned to carry out a series of kidnappings and killings.

IDF and police forces arrested 20 suspected members of the cell in recent days, according to the IDF, which believes there are more Hamas cell members still at large.

The Israeli channel said the arrest raids began after Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, concluded that the group was about to carry out a series of armed attacks. The channel said that officials suspect that there is a direct line of communication between the cell and the Hamas movement in Gaza.

On Sunday, the Israeli army reported the killing of five Palestinians after an exchange of fire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen in four West Bank towns, against the backdrop of the arrest raids.

“Hamas is trying to escalate the situation in the West Bank,” said Ram Ben-Barak, chairman of the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defence committee, in a press statement.

He pointed out that “Hamas cannot be allowed to escalate the situation in the West Bank, while it tries to maintain calm in Gaza.”

Recent months have witnessed a ratcheting up in violence in the West Bank with increased clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. Last month, four Palestinians were killed in Jenin refugee camp by Israeli troops during violent clashes.

Direct confrontations often occur between Palestinians and Israeli forces when the latter carry out raids in PA-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Although the radical Islamist movement has been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007, it has a strong presence in the West Bank, which is run by the PA and its most prominent faction, the Fatah.

Israeli officials have long worried that Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is seeking to consolidate its clout in the West Bank so as to challenge the Western-backed PA. This, they fear, would increase security risks to Israel.

Analysts attribute the escalation by Hamas of tensions in the areas under the control of the PA to its conclusions that Mahmoud Abbas’s hold on power has weakened and that his security services are unable to control Hamas elements in areas under his authority. This, they say, muddles the calculations of the PA as it seeks to resume peace negotiations with Israel, especially now that security agreements between Tel Aviv and Ramallah include provisions for cooperation over the extradition of wanted persons, coordination in combating terrorism and the exchange of intelligence information. The PA seems however unable to implement the security agreements.

Israeli officials assert that it is not possible to resume Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations while areas remain outside the control of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.

The upsurge by Hamas comes amid signs of the authority’s inability to enforce security in the West Bank and in the absence of any prospects for a political settlement.

Hamas leading figure and former minister of health Basem Naim, said Monday that the main front for the upcoming battle with Israel will be the West Bank, as “it is the Achilles heel of the occupation and the most important pretext it uses to legitimise its presence on our land.”

Naim added that, “all national and popular efforts must be harnessed to revolutionise the cities, villages and hamlets of the occupied West Bank,” noting that “to achieve this great and strategic goal, there must be a consensus, starting with a national vision to confront the doctrine of security coordination.”

He called on those he described as the adepts of this doctrine to “either side with their people and their national project, or step aside, having lost any legitimacy, so that our people can exercise their natural duty in resisting the occupation.”

Naim’s statements aim to exacerbate existing pressures on Abbas, who faces growing divisions within the Fatah movement and a sharp decline in popularity.

Analysts say that Abbas was never weaker politically and in public opinion than he is today. They point out that ten years ago Hamas would not have dared anger the president, let alone spark an escalation in the West Bank under his watch.

They believe, also, that any moves by Abbas at this stage to bring the security situation under control by reining in Hamas cells, especially in the Jenin camp, will further weaken him at the grass root level and make him appear uncommitted to the liberation agenda, which Hamas is cultivating in various ways, including in its preparations for the upcoming elections.

The Antichrist calls on public to ‘save’ the country through elections

Iraq’s Al Sadr calls on public to ‘save’ the country through elections

The leading Shiite cleric launches hashtag in the run-up to October 10 ballot

Iraq’s popular political leader Moqtada Al Sadr on Tuesday urged his supporters to “save” the country at the ballot box.

In a short message on Twitter, Mr Al Sadr launched the hashtag “Saving Iraq is a National Duty” in an effort to rally support for his bloc’s candidates in the October 10 parliamentary election.

The Shiite cleric is known to be one of Iraq’s most influential religious figures, leading a political bloc in Parliament that was the biggest winner of the 2018 elections with 54 seats out of 329.

Iraq has been beset by a wave of public-service issues, including hospital fires, power cuts in the blazing summer heat and a lack of employment opportunities for the youth and security.

For years, Mr Al Sadr’s movement, known as the Sadrist Movement, has been voicing their views from a nationalist perspective. It has sought to detach itself from Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

Following the US-led invasion in 2003, Mr Al Sadr led militants against the US forces, which increased his popularity among Iraq’s impoverished Shiites.

His father, Sadiq Al Sadr, led dissent among Shiite majority against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and was killed by the regime in 1999.

In the past few years, Mr Al Sadr has withdrawn from frontline politics without dismantling his powerful movement.

In July, he changed his political stance and said he would boycott the parliamentary elections that are set to be held on October 10.

Mr Al Sadr said he wanted to distance himself from the government.

He reversed his decision again by the end of August and expressed willingness to participate in the elections. He urged his supporters to go to the polls and vote.

A vote for his movement, he said earlier, would mean an Iraq liberated from foreign meddling and rampant corruption.

Updated: September 28th 2021, 6:42 AM