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
OPINION — Last week, aircraft and personnel from 14 NATO countries carried out the annual exercise, code-named Steadfast Noon, which involved practicing nuclear strike missions with dual-capable aircraft and unarmed, American-made B61 tactical nuclear bombs, similar to the roughly 150 B61s the U.S. currently has on bases in five European countries.
According to a NATO statement on the exercise, “No live weapons are used. This exercise helps to ensure that NATO’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.”
No scenario was given for what led to a U.S. President authorizing the apparent use of such devastating weapons in last week’s exercise, and that fact alone encouraged me to go back into records to try to show again how doubtful it would be for any such Presidential order to occur.
In this case, I went to the amazing set of Presidential Oral Histories compiled by the Miller Center at the University of Virginia that contain revealing interviews with personnel from the past administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton and George W. Bush.
I focused on the President George H. W. Bush administration with Dick Cheney, when he was Secretary of Defense, and the late Colin Powell, when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Here is what they said when the issue of possibly using U.S. tactical nuclear weapons came up in late 1990 as the U.S. was preparing Operation Desert Storm to push Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
As Cheney put it when questioned at the Miller Center in March 2000, “If he [Saddam] uses biological or chemical agents against our troops, all bets are off and we reserve the right to use any means at our disposal to respond…The threat clearly was that we’d use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons.”
Cheney went on, “I asked for—and had to ask a number of times—for there to be some planning done in the Joint Staff about how we would react if in fact, that happened. I said, I want to know how many tactical nuclear weapons will it take to destroy a division of the Iraqi Republican Guard. Here’s your divisions laid out there. You come back and tell me how many nukes.”
As for President Bush, who would have had to order their use, Cheney said, “He [Bush] would have been aware that this was a problem, as I say, without question, but I don’t recall a conversation with him. The nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons option was something I wanted. I wanted to know myself, if something happened, is this an option? What do you do to them? So as I say, I found out it takes 17 weapons to destroy an Iraqi Republican Guard division. Or at least that is what I was told.”
Cheney said he had “read the history of the Eisenhower years and we’re trying to build nuclear weapons, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki aren’t that far in the past. We’d used them. By the time you get to the 1990s it is not a very realistic option from the standpoint of the U.S. military.”
The Cold War scenario had been “we might have to resort to nuclear weapons to stop—and reserved the right to do so—to stop a Soviet invasion of Western Europe,” Cheney said, but then he added, “We had problems with some of those weapons; we had to redeploy them. I think there was always doubt, at least in some of our minds, about an 8-inch nuclear round that you are going to launch out of some artillery piece over here and hit a target 10 or 12 miles away, if that was what you were doing. Didn’t seem to be necessarily the right thing to do if you didn’t have to.”
As for Joint Chiefs Chairman Powell, Cheney said, “Colin had strong feelings, Powell did, about tactical nuclear weapons. He didn’t like them. Maybe it was his European experience…He was not a big fan of tactical nukes. I think part of that was based on his earlier experiences in the service. But that was, I would say, the dominant thinking in the U.S. Army especially, and the military.”
I, myself, know that to have been true, having written about the neutron warhead in 1977. I studied nuclear weapons thereafter and can say the Army disliked the thought of using tactical nuclear weapons because no one knew what would happen after the first one was used.
When Powell, himself, was interviewed in 2011 for the Miller Center collection, he looked back to the 1990s and said, “The Army did not need to have nuclear weapons. We could make the rubble bounce everywhere now. I was pushing Secretary Cheney to eliminate nuclear weapons in the Army. The Marine Corps was already getting rid of them and some of the Air Force weapons and all of the tactical nuclear weapons aboard the ships.”
In fact, in advance of President George H. W. Bush’s doing away with most deployed U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in September 1991, Powell recalled, “We sat at the President’s desk one afternoon and I said, Mr. President, I’ve talked to the Chiefs, and they all agree with this…even the Chief of Staff of the Army agrees—surprise, surprise. In ten minutes, he approved the elimination of all of our tactical nuclear weapons, except for the number we kept in the Air Force for fighter-bomber delivery.”
In a broader sense, Powell said, “Nukes are of course a weapon of mass destruction, but I can list as many countries that have given them up as those who have tried to pursue them…South Africa gave it up. Even Libya gave it up, and Chile. They all abandoned it. And Iran and North Korea. They can’t be used. It would be suicidal.”
In his Miller Center 2000 interview — and remember this was before the 2003 Iraq invasion when Cheney was Vice President – Cheney recalled during 1990 he had ordered a review of the SIOP, the Single Integrated Operational Plan that provides target options for a U.S. President in the event strategic nuclear weapons are to be used.
Cheney found, as he said back in March 2000, “The number of weapons [in the SIOP plan back then] that were actually going down in a particular geographic area, it didn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, frankly. It was clear that there were places where there were one hell of a lot of weapons going down because we just added stuff over the years and had never really gone back and looked at it in those terms.”
As a result, he said, “We concluded…we had a lot more nuclear warheads than we needed. That we could cover the target base and do what needed to be done with fewer weapons…We wanted to preserve the Triad [nuclear delivery by submarines, bombers and land-based ICBMs]…But it also offered up the opportunity to put stuff on the table in the course of strategic arms control talks, because now we had something to trade away.”
In fact, Cheney’s 1991 SIOP study became the basis for Bush’s radical arms control reduction proposals to Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev in September 1991.
Other parts of Cheney’s 2000 interview are even pertinent today as the Biden administration is preparing its own Nuclear Posture Review, due in the next few months.
For example, Cheney said, “I’m just trying to recreate in my own mind some of my thinking. In a whole other part of the DoD arena, cruise missile technology, we had developed the capability—with standoff conventional weapons, which we demonstrated conclusively in Iraq [meaning Operation Desert Storm]—that we can go in and hit key nodes and shut down a country, take down the power grid, shut down their transportation system, their telecommunication system, whatever it meant. It meant pinpoint strikes with accurate weapons, but a conventional warhead [emphasis added]. You give me a few cruise missiles, I can shut down any country in the world for a period of time.”
In short, Cheney in 2000 recognized that some, if not many, targets programmed for nuclear weapons could be hit by precision conventional weapons.
I would say almost all could be hit with precision conventional weapons or even taken down with cyber weapons. It’s time to see nuclear weapons for what they are – and were back in 1945 – terror weapons to end a war, not to fight one.
Another issue being considered for the Biden Nuclear Posture review is a proposal for the U.S. to adopt a “no first use” policy for its nuclear weapons. The Trump Administration, in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, rejected that idea and stated that “the United States would only consider the employment of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners.”
Again, I turn to the Miller Center oral histories, this time to James Baker’s interview in March 2011 when he talked about his time as Secretary of State in the days before Operation Desert Storm. Baker recalled that before he met with Saddam Hussein’s closest advisor, Tariq Aziz in January 1991, the Defense Department, meaning Cheney, told him, Baker, “that if they use weapons of mass destruction on our troops, we would respond,” meaning use nuclear weapons.
Baker continued, “And so what I said to the Minister [Aziz] was, Minister, if you use weapons of mass destruction on our forces, the American people will demand revenge, and we have the means to exact it. Then I said, ‘That is not a threat, it is a promise.’ So, after they captured Saddam and debriefed him, they said, ‘Why didn’t you use your chemical weapons when the Americans were coming?’ And he implied—maybe he didn’t say this in so many words, but implied—it was because of what Baker told Aziz at Geneva. So, it [the nuclear threat] was effective.”
Baker said, “Based on this real-time example of how such a threat really worked to protect our troops,” the Obama 2010 Nuclear Posture Review made a mistake when it said it would only use conventional weapons against a non-nuclear state that employed chemical or biological weapons.
Thus, although the NATO exercise last week tested whether the U.S. and its allies were prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons, it’s doubtful any real order to do so will ever occur.
On the other hand, as long as the threat to use nuclear weapons exists, such exercises could, as they have done in the past, help avoid lesser military conflicts between countries that possess them or other weapons of mass destruction.
“I made this decision as a goodwill gesture, to give a lesson in politics and state administration, and to prove that I don’t rule the country with militias.”
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi cleric and populist political leader Muqtada al-Sadr announced on Friday that he would shutter various local headquarters of the militia he commands across the embattled nation with the exception of four in which he holds considerable influence.
He announced the move by posting online a letter in his own hand, dated the previous day and addressed directly to the group, Saraya al-Salam. In it, Sadr orders the group’s offices closed across most provinces, with the exception of Najaf, Karbala, Salahuddin, and the capital of Baghdad.
“I made this decision as a goodwill gesture, to give a lesson in politics and state administration, and to prove that I don’t rule the country with militias,” the letter read.
“Opening headquarters or carrying weapons are not allowed, outside these four provinces,” he added. “However, carrying weapons and opening headquarters in the holy provinces [Najaf and Karbala] should be in coordination with state security forces.”
“This decision must be applied in 15 days, starting the issuance date of this letter,” he concluded.
Saraya al-Salam, previously known as the Mahdi Army, is a Shia armed militia founded by Sadr, who comes from an important religious family in Iraq.
Some political observers read al-Sadr’s letter as just one among many post-election steps he is taking to pave the way for his winning political coalition to form a new Iraqi government.
His political alliance won the largest number of parliamentary seats in the national election, held earlier this month on Oct. 10, 2021.
Joe GouldOct 29, 11:02 AM
WASHINGTON ― A former Australian prime minister said Friday he thinks China could “soon” invade Taiwan or otherwise escalate the situation and that the West should now be planning its military and economic response.
“I think we need to be prepared to think the unthinkable,” former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a Wilson Center event here.
“I think it’s highly possible that at some point in time, perhaps quite soon, China might up the ante, either with a blockade of the so-called rebel province ― to teach the Taiwanese that they … need to make some kind of an accommodation with Beijing ― or perhaps even a full-scale invasion,” he added.
Abbott earlier this month made geopolitical waves when he accused China of being a bully and expressed enthusiastic support for Taiwan while visiting the democratically ruled island.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up military harassment of the island by flying fighter jets toward Taiwan ― a trend Abbott said he expects to “get more intense.”
Abbott sees Chinese leader Xi Jinping as emboldened by the West’s mild reaction to China’s takeover of Hong Kong. Unlike Hong Kong, Taiwan would offer military resistance, but it would still need outside backing, he said.
“In the absence of support from others, the Taiwanese might regard it as an unequal and ultimately hopeless struggle. And that’s why I think it’s important for Taiwan’s fellow democracies to provide all the solidarity that we can,” Abbott said.
U.S. President Joe Biden set off alarm bells in Beijing early this month by saying the U.S. has a firm commitment to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of a Chinese attack. Though the White House later played down the remarks, Abbott said he was “encouraged” by Biden’s comments and that there’s more broadly been a “rhetorical escalation” from the West.
Abbott’s appearance came weeks after the unveiling of a U.S.-British deal to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, which supplanted a prior French deal to supply Australia with its own submarines.
On Friday, Abbott reiterated his calls for Australia to take over one or more retiring U.S. Los Angeles-class or U.K. Trafalgar-class submarines soon because the new nuclear-powered subs won’t arrive for years. The nuclear-powered submarines he’s proposing for the interim would augment the Collins-class submarines in Australia’s inventory, he said.
“We need better, bigger, faster more wide-ranging submarines not in two decades time but now,” he said, adding that “the challenges are pressing, the peril is not far off.”
Both the U.K. and France have dispatched carrier groups to the region, and the Royal Navy’s Astute submarine was on a port call to Perth on Friday. Abbott said he hopes the U.K. will send more naval assets and use Singapore’s facilities, as the U.S. Navy does.
“I think it’s very important for Britain and France, which have long had a Pacific presence, to increase that Pacific presence, given that east Asia is probably now the most strategically important part of the world,” he said.
Abbott also called for enhanced intelligence sharing with Japan, saying it could be a “powerful addition” to the Five Eyes intelligence arrangement.
U.S. military officials have called China the “pacing challenge.” On Thursday, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten said the rate at which China’s military is developing capabilities is “stunning,” while U.S. development suffers from “brutal” bureaucracy.
In spite of a Biden administration defense budget that prioritizes technology development, Abbott said “the gap is likely to get wider, not smaller in the years to come.
“Is the U.S. increasing its capabilities at the same rate as China is? I think the short answer is no,” he said.
Joe Gould is the Congress and industry reporter at Defense News, covering defense budget and policy matters on Capitol Hill as well as industry news.
In this June 11, file photo, US President Joe Biden and France’s President Emmanuel Macron walk along the boardwalk during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England.
By Maegan Vazquez, CNN
(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Friday admitted that his administration was “clumsy” in its handling of the deal that deprived France of billions in defense contracts.
The comment came during of a closely watched meeting with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in Rome, meant to repair fractured ties after a rift over an agreement to provide Australia with submarines,
“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through, honest to God,” Biden said on Friday, sitting alongside Macron in the French Embassy to the Holy See.
Last month, the US, the United Kingdom and Australia announced a new partnership that includes providing assistance to help Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines — a deal France says was made without its knowledge, jeopardizing an existing contract worth billions to provide Australia with diesel-powered submarines.
The rift escalated to the rare point that France temporarily recalled its US ambassador, and even Biden was caught off-guard by how furious French officials became over the matter.
“I think what happened — to use an English phrase — what we did was clumsy,” Biden continued. “It was not done with a lot of grace. I was under the impression that certain things had happened that had not happened.”
It was a striking admission of a foreign policy misstep for a President with decades of experience in that arena.
Biden called France “an extremely valued partner and a power in and of itself.”
“There’s too much we have done together, suffered together, celebrated together and value together for anything to be able to break this up. We’re at one of those inflection points in world history. Things are changing. Pieces of the board are moving,” he added.
When Macron was asked if he was satisfied that the relations with the United States had been repaired, he told reporters, “We clarified together what we had to clarify.”
“Now what’s important is to be sure that such a situation will not be possible for our future,” he added.
Macron emphasized that “what really matters now is what we will do together in the coming weeks, the coming months, the coming years.”
The two leaders appeared in good spirits ahead of the meeting, waving to the press and smiling before clapping each other on the shoulder as they walked inside the embassy.
The highly anticipated bilateral meeting between the long-standing allies is taking place ahead of the Group of 20 meeting in Rome and the United Nations’ subsequent climate summit in Glasgow. The bilateral follows Biden’s earlier meetings on Friday with the Pope at the Vatican and with the Italian president and prime minister.
The location for the meeting — on French territory in Rome — is intentional, a diplomatic source told CNN.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Rome that he expected the meeting to be “constructive and deeply substantive,” and that Biden and Macron will cover a gamut of issues facing their alliance, from “counterterrorism in the Middle East to great power competition to economic, trade and technology issues.”
Sullivan said a “forward-looking” statement is expected to be released following the meeting, which will touch on areas of cooperation, counterterrorism, the Indo-Pacific, energy and technology.
The two leaders are also expected to be in the same room for other meetings throughout the summits.
In mid-September, the two leaders spoke over the phone, appearing to ease some of tensions over the submarine deal.
During the 30-minute call, Biden appeared to acknowledge missteps in how his administration had approached the talks. And, importantly, a joint statement about the call noted that “the two leaders have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence and proposing concrete measures toward common objectives.”
Friday’s bilateral meeting marks an opportunity for those consultations to lead to concrete announcements, Célia Belin, a visiting fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at The Brookings Institution, told CNN.
“The meeting between the two leaders will be the occasion to make some announcements and to see whether or not … this crisis was the occasion to define … a new common agenda, or if there are sort of long, lingering issues that cannot be addressed,” Belin told CNN.
Sullivan told reporters on Thursday that the Biden administration feels “very good about the intensive engagement that we’ve had with France over the course of the past few weeks,” noting his own recent visit to Paris, the President’s two calls with Macron since the submarines spat and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Paris trip.
“We’re eager to have the conversation tomorrow because the agenda really is overflowing,” Sullivan said. “There are so many issues in which we and France come from common values, common perspectives, common interests, and need to be aligned in terms of our policy approaches.”
“I can tell you it’s highly anticipated on the French side. I wonder if it’s highly anticipated on the other side,” Belin said, calling the dynamic “a reflection of the imbalance in a relationship.”
“One is the superpower. The other one is this strong middle power. But you have an imbalance. And for France, having a good relationship, or having a clear relationship, with the US — it’s also a condition, for instance, for influence in Europe,” she added.
There have been other rifts, too, such as the surprise over the deadly and chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which involved NATO allies, such as France.
Macron used the withdrawal to make the case for his larger vision for European global leadership — particularly its independence from US national security policy.
During a speech from Baghdad this summer, Macron remarked: “Whatever the American choice, we will maintain our presence to fight terrorism in Iraq as long as the terrorist groups continue to operate and as long as the Iraqi government asks us for this support.”
The meeting between the two leaders, which is clearly seeking to repair relations, comes just four months after their last summit with other world leaders in Europe, where Macron heaped praise on Biden and called him “part of the club.”
“I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership, and we do appreciate,” Macron said.
And asked at the time if allies think America is back, Biden looked at Macron and said, “Ask him,” to which Macron replied: “Definitely.”
The Macron meeting is a smaller part of a larger theme playing out as Biden returns to Europe for the summits.
Biden, who stepped into his presidency declaring that American diplomacy had returned following a period of Trump-led nationalism, has returned to Europe for the second time since coming into office among a more skeptical group of world leaders.
Leaders attending the global summits in Europe in the coming days, such as Macron, have their own stakes.
France’s presidential election is in April. Macron, who is seeking reelection, is on a charm offensive with voters. In June, his party performed poorly in regional elections, which were being closely watched ahead of the presidential vote next spring. However, given the low voter turnout, political experts said it was hard to draw conclusions.
France is also assuming its six-month presidency of the European Union in January — marking a test for Macron’s larger vision. And with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s imminent departure from office, Macron, if reelected, could stand to become the de facto dean of Europe.
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The United States has hit Iran with a fresh set of sanctions as President Joe Biden prepares for a key weekend meeting with European leaders to discuss the possible resumption of nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic
ByThe Associated Press
October 29, 2021, 11:37 AM
WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday hit Iran with a fresh set of sanctions as President Joe Biden prepares for a key weekend meeting with European leaders to discuss the possible resumption of nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic.
The Treasury Department announced the new penalties against two senior members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and two affiliated companies for supplying lethal drones and related material to insurgent groups in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen and to Ethiopia, which has been fighting rival Tigray forces for almost a year.
Although the sanctions are unrelated to Iran’s atomic program, the Biden administration has said it wants to build on a potential agreement to revive the languishing 2015 nuclear deal to include Iranian support for such groups and curtail its ballistic missile development.
Iran has yet to commit to a date to return to the nuclear talks in Vienna but has signaled it will do so next week with a target of late November for resuming the negotiations. The U.S. and others have expressed skepticism about Iranian intentions, and Biden is set to meet the leaders of Britain, France and Germany on Saturday in Rome to plot strategy on Iran.
The Vienna negotiations halted in June ahead of Iran’s election that brought hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi to power. The talks, which do not directly involve the U.S. because President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, have languished since despite the stated intentions of both Washington and Tehran to return to compliance with the agreement.
Friday’s sanctions block any assets that those targeted may have in U.S. jurisdictions, bar Americans from transactions with them and, perhaps more importantly, also subject foreign people and firms that do business with them to potential penalties.
The two targeted Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, Brig. Gen. Saeed Aghajani and Brig. Gen. Abdollah Mehrabi, oversee the Guard’s drone activities, including support for unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, attacks by proxies on commercial vessels, Saudi oil facilities and U.S. and allied interests throughout the Middle East, according to Treasury.
“Iran’s proliferation of UAVs across the region threatens international peace and stability. Iran and its proxy militants have used UAVs to attack U.S. forces, our partners, and international shipping,” Treasury said in a statement. “Treasury will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts.”
The two firms, the Kimia Part Sivan Co. and the Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Co., along with the latter’s managing director, were sanctioned for supplying engines and technical assistance to the drone programs, Treasury said.
In a speech at the United Nations last month, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that Iran’s nuclear program had hit a “watershed moment.” “Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning,” he said. “We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.” But consensus is growing that it is almost too late to stop Iran from getting the bomb.
According to former Central Intelligence Agency officer Reuel Gerecht and senior fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations Ray Takeyh, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “and his henchmen haven’t spent billions and endured a tidal wave of sanctions and social unrest only to get close to a nuclear weapon. They will build the bomb as soon as they can and justify it afterward” (October 19; Wall Street Journal).
Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “no diplomatic process or agreement will stop Iran’s nuclear program.” He added that “a confrontation with Iran is only a matter of time, and not a lot of time.”
Backing up the rhetoric, Israel has begun making preparations to strike Iran. The Israeli Air Force has started training drills for potential strikes on Iranian facilities. In addition, the Israeli government approved a budget of $1.5 billion for a potential military strike on Iran.
But would an air strike be enough?
According to Gerecht and Takeyh, “Tehran’s advances in centrifuge development will soon make preemption impossible.” Iran has done everything in its power to cover up and conceal these advances. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi warned that the measures taken to monitor Iran’s nuclear program were no longer “intact.” Last month, Grossi protested that Iran refused to allow monitoring of tesa Karaj, believed to be an important facility for manufacturing centrifuges.
Israel has already tried using limited force to stop Iran. Israel has bombed sites, sabotaged key installations, and assassinated prominent figures in Iran’s nuclear program. None of this has stopped Iran. At best, a simple air strike would delay the inevitable. Nothing short of a full-scale military invasion could stop Iran now. And Israel simply doesn’t have the resources, manpower or international support for a full-scale invasion.
Couldn’t the United States use its vast military resources to stop Iran?
Iran doesn’t fear the U.S. anymore, and with good reason. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi mocked the U.S. in front of the entire United Nations General Assembly, saying: “From the capitol to Kabul, one clear message was sent to the world: The U.S. hegemonic system has no credibility, whether inside or outside the country.” America’s surrender in Afghanistan demonstrated to the world it lacks the will to fight. The United States has become a paper tiger.
Unfortunately, the U.S. has done nothing to disprove Raisi’s taunt. Even as Iran brazenly marches toward the bomb, the U.S. continues to waffle. The strongest reactions from Washington have been pathetic. According to U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, the U.S. plans to work with its global partners in “the coming days and weeks” to “discuss where we go from here.”
How has the international community allowed Iran to get this far? At the heart of the matter is the West’s failure to understand the preeminent role religion plays in Iran.
For decades, Western leaders and diplomats have treated Iran like a normal nation. They’ve believed that the Iranian leadership acts rationally and in good faith, that Iran can be persuaded, moved or influenced by diplomacy. This thinking has been a fatal mistake and allowed Iran to walk right up to the banks of the nuclear Rubicon.
The governments of the West are blind to religion. The average politician or diplomat is a product of secular higher education. These elites view religion in the light of post-history liberalism and dismiss it as primitive and backward.
Contrast this with Iran. The head of Iran is not the Iranian president but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest religious authority in the nation. The Iranian government, at its foundation, is a religious government. Article 1 of Iran’s Constitutionstates that Iran is an “Islamic republic.” Article 2 states that the Islamic republic is based on a belief in Allah and “divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws.” Finally, 99.4 percent of Iran’s population is Muslim.
Western elites have failed to understand that Iran is first and foremost a religious state. More importantly, they have failed to understand Iran is a fanatically radicalreligious state.
Iran is the largest Shiite majority nation in the world. Within Iran, 90 to 95 percent of Muslims identify as Shiite, and the majority of those are Twelvers, which believe “their savior—the 12th imam, or mahdi—will return sooner if they cause more apocalyptic chaos and violence,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains in his free booklet The King of the South.
Joel Rosenburg, a former aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, writes in his book Enemies and Allies, that Iran’s supreme leader and his inner circle follow this extreme ideology, which is “far more dangerous than mere radical Islam.” They believe the way to bring about the return of the mahdi is “to methodically acquire weapons of mass destruction and then launch the war that will bring about the consummation of the end of days.”
For Iranians, pursuing nuclear weapons is a sacred undertaking that will result in the coming of their “messiah.” We are soon to wake up in a horrifying world where these religious zealots have nuclear weapons, if they don’t have them already.
This fanaticism is why international laws, norms, treaties and nonproliferation agreements have done nothing to stop Iran. As Iran’s leaders see it, the “great Satan,” the United States of America, designed and runs the entire international order. Iran has no desire to join a global community that it intends to throw into “apocalyptic chaos and violence.” Up until this point, it has made a show of playing along with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international community. Judging by its recent actions, Iran believes that is no longer necessary.
What we are seeing today is exactly what Mr. Flurry has warned about for over 30 years. In The King of the South, Mr. Flurry proves that the Bible is not silent about something so dire as a nuclear-armed Iran. His booklet revolves around an important end-time prophecy in Daniel 11. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (verse 40).
Mr. Flurry explains that the king of the south is radical Islam, led by Iran and the king of the north is a German-led European superstate. Iran will push at this superstate and provoke it into a final crusade between radical Islam and Catholic Europe.
Yet Mr. Flurry explains, “As bad as this news is, it leads to the best news this world has ever heard!” To learn more about God’s plan and purpose behind these events please request free copies of The King of the Southand Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran.
Did you feel it? At 9:10 am EST Sunday morning, a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck just south of Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, which is a census-designated place in Dartmouth. If you felt it, report it!
While minor earthquakes do happen from time to time in New England, tremors that are felt by a large number of people and that cause damage are rare.
The earthquake was originally measured as a magnitude 4.2 on the Richter scale by the United States Geological Surgey (USGS) before changing to a 3.6.
Earthquakes in New England and most places east of the Rocky Mountains are much different than the ones that occur along well-known fault lines in California and along the West Coast.
Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts fall nearly in the center of the North American Plate, one of 15 (seven primary, eight secondary) that cover the Earth.
Earth’s tectonic plates
Tectonic plates move ever-so-slowly, and as they either push into each other, pull apart, or slide side-by-side, earthquakes are possible within the bedrock, usually miles deep.
Most of New England’s and Long Island’s bedrock was assembled as continents collided to form a supercontinent 500-300 million years ago, raising the northern Appalachian Mountains.
Plate tectonics (Courtesy: Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Fault lines left over from the creation of the Appalachian Mountains can still lead to earthquakes locally, and many faults remain undetected. According to the USGS, few, if any, earthquakes in New England can be linked to named faults.
While earthquakes in New England are generally much weaker compared to those on defined fault lines, their reach is still impressive. Sunday’s 3.6 was felt in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Hampshire.
USGS Community Internet Intensity Map
While M 3.6 earthquakes rarely cause damage, some minor cracks were reported on social media from the shaking.
According to the USGS, moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the region every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt roughly twice a year.
The most recent New England earthquake to cause moderate damage occurred in 1940 (magnitude 5.6) in central New Hampshire.
Posted Wed 27 Oct 2021 at 9:51pm
The top US military officer, General Mark Milley, has provided the first official US confirmation of a Chinese hypersonic weapons test that military experts say appears to show Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade American nuclear missile defences.
- Hypersonics move at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kph
- Sources say the test involved a weapon that first orbited the earth, something called ‘fractional orbital bombardment’
- China has denied the claims, saying what it tested was a space vehicle
The Pentagon has been at pains to avoid direct confirmation of the Chinese test this summer, first reported by the Financial Times, even as President Joe Biden and other officials have expressed general concerns about Chinese hypersonic weapons development.
But General Milley explicitly confirmed a test and said that it was “very close” to a Sputnik moment – referring to Russia’s 1957 launch of the first man-made satellite, which put Moscow ahead in the Cold War-era space race.
“What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning,” Mr Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Bloomberg television, in an interview aired on Wednesday.
Nuclear arms experts said China’s weapons test appeared to be designed to evade US defences in two ways.
First, hypersonics move at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kph, making them harder to detect and intercept.
Second, sources tell Reuters that the United States believes China’s test involved a weapon that first orbited the Earth.
That’s something military experts said was a Cold War concept known as “fractional orbital bombardment.”Is Asia’s space race also an arms race?The pool of countries deploying huge amounts of cash as part of a new space race is growing larger. But experts fear this could be a sign of a new arms race, too.Read more
Last month, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall alluded to his concerns about such a system, telling reporters about a weapon that would go into an orbit and then descend on a target.
“If you use that kind of an approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory – which is directly from the point of launch to the point of impact,” he said.
“It’s a way to avoid defences and missile warning systems.”
Fractional orbital bombardment would also be a way for China to avoid US missile defences in Alaska, which are designed to combat a limited number of weapons from a country like North Korea.
Jeffrey Lewis at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies summed up fractional orbital bombardment this way:
“The simplest way to think about China’s orbital bombardment system is to imagine a space shuttle, put a nuclear weapon into the cargo bay, and forget about the landing gear,” Mr Lewis said.
He said the difference was that the Chinese re-entry system was a glider.
China’s foreign ministry denied a weapons test.
It said it had carried out a routine test in July, but added: “It was not a missile, it was a space vehicle.”
US defences are not capable of combating a large-scale attack from China or Russia, which could overwhelm the system.
But the open US pursuit of more and more advanced missile defences has led Moscow and Beijing to examine ways to defeat them, experts said, including hypersonics and, apparently, fractional orbital bombardment.
The United States and Russia have both tested hypersonic weapons.
India test-fires its nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000km (3,125 miles) from an island off its east coast.
India has test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000km (3,125 miles) from an island off its east coast amid rising border tensions with China.
The successful launch on Wednesday was in line with “India’s policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to no first use”, said a government statement.
The Agni-5 missile splashed down in the Bay of Bengal with “a very high degree of accuracy”, said the statement issued on Wednesday night.
Beijing’s powerful missile arsenal has driven New Delhi to improve its weapons systems in recent years, with the Agni-5 believed to be able to strike nearly all of China.
India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighbouring Pakistan, its archrival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947.
India has been developing its medium- and long-range missile systems with and without nuclear warheads since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a major boost to the country’s defence capabilities.
Tension between them flared last year over a long-disputed section of their border in the mountainous Ladakh area.
India is also increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to heighten its influence in the Indian Ocean.
Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended in a deadlock earlier this month, failing to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes.
India and China fought a bloody war in 1962.