The Impending Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

An illustration of a seismogram

Massachusetts struck by 4.0 magnitude earthquake felt as far as Long Island

By Jackie Salo

November 8, 2020 

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake shook Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning, officials said — startling residents across the Northeast who expressed shock about the rare tremors.

The quake struck the area about five miles southwest of the community in Buzzards Bay just after 9 a.m. — marking the strongest one in the area since a magnitude 3.5 temblor in March 1976, the US Geological Survey said.

With a depth of 9.3 miles, the impact was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.

“This is the strongest earthquake that we’ve recorded in that area — Southern New England,” USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Providence Journal.

But the quake was still considered “light” on the magnitude scale, meaning that it was felt but didn’t cause significant damage.

The quake, however, was unusual for the region — which has only experienced 26 larger than a magnitude 2.5 since 1973, Caruso said.

Around 14,000 people went onto the USGS site to report the shaking — with some logging tremors as far as Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 100 miles away.

“It’s common for them to be felt very far away because the rock here is old and continuous and transmits the energy a long way,” Caruso said.

Journalist Katie Couric was among those on Long Island to be roused by the Sunday-morning rumblings.

“Did anyone on the east coast experience an earthquake of sorts?” Couric wrote on Twitter.

“We are on Long Island and the attic and walls rattled.”

Closer to the epicenter, residents estimated they felt the impact for 10 to 15 seconds.

“In that moment, it feels like it’s going on forever,” said Ali Kenner Brodsky, who lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Iraq’s vote in the Antichrist hoping for a change


Iraq’s parliamentary vote marred by boycott, voter apathy

Sunday, October 10th 2021, 12:15 AM EDTUpdated: Sunday, October 10th 2021, 4:06 PM EDT

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA
Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqis voted Sunday in parliamentary elections held months ahead of schedule as a concession to a youth-led popular uprising against corruption and mismanagement.

But the voting was marked by widespread apathy and a boycott by many of the young activists who thronged the streets of Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces in late 2019. Tens of thousands of people took part in the mass protests and were met by security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas. More than 600 people were killed and thousands injured within just a few months.

Although authorities gave in and called the early elections, the death toll and the heavy-handed crackdown – as well as a string of targeted assassinations – prompted many who took part in the protests to later call for a boycott of the vote.

Polls closed at 1500 GMT (1800 local time) following 11 hours of voting. Results are expected within the next 24 hours, according to the independent body that oversees Iraq’s election. But negotiations to choose a prime minister tasked with forming a government are expected to drag on for weeks or even months.

The election was the sixth held since the fall of Saddam Hussein after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many were skeptical that independent candidates from the protest movement stood a chance against well-entrenched parties and politicians, many of them backed by powerful armed militias.

Minutes after polls closed, fireworks organized by Baghdad’s municipality went off in the city’s landmark Tahrir Square, where demonstrators had set up tents for several months starting in October 2019. The protests fizzled out by February of the following year, due to the security crackdown and later, the coronavirus pandemic. 

Today, the square stands largely empty. The country faces huge economic and security challenges, and although most Iraqis long for change, few expect it to happen as a result of the elections.

Muna Hussein, a 22-year-old cinematic makeup artist, said she boycotted the election because she did not feel there was a safe environment “with uncontrolled weapons everywhere,” a reference to the mainly Shiite militias backed by neighboring Iran. 

“In my opinion, it isn’t easy to hold free and fair elections under the current circumstances,” she said. 

Amir Fadel, a 22-year-old car dealer, disagreed. “I don’t want these same faces and same parties to return,” he said after casting his ballot in Baghdad’s Karradah district.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, whose chances for a second term will be determined by the results of the election, urged Iraqis to vote in large numbers. 

“Get out and vote, and change your future,,” said al-Kadhimi, repeating the phrase, “get out” three times after casting his ballot at a school in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, home to foreign embassies and government offices.

Under Iraq’s laws, the winner of Sunday’s vote gets to choose the country’s next prime minister, but it’s unlikely any of the competing coalitions can secure a clear majority. That will require a lengthy process involving backroom negotiations to select a consensus prime minister and agree on a new coalition government. It took eight months of political wrangling to form a government after the 2018 elections.

Groups drawn from Iraq’s majority Shiite Muslims dominate the electoral landscape, with a tight race expected between Iraq’s influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and the Fatah Alliance, led by paramilitary leader Hadi al-Ameri, which came in second in the previous election.

The Fatah Alliance is comprised of parties and affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of mostly pro-Iran Shiite militias that rose to prominence during the war against the Sunni extremist Islamic State group. It includes some of the most hard-line Iran-backed factions, such as the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia. Al-Sadr, a black-turbaned nationalist leader, is also close to Iran, but publicly rejects its political influence.

Earlier Sunday, al-Sadr cast his ballot in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, swarmed by local journalists. He then drove away in a white sedan without commenting. Al-Sadr, a populist who has an immense following among Iraq’s working class Shiites, came out on top in the 2018 elections, winning a majority of seats. 

The election is the first since the fall of Saddam to proceed without a curfew in place, reflecting the significantly improved security situation in the country following the defeat of IS in 2017. Previous votes were marred by fighting and deadly bomb attacks that have plagued the country for decades.

More than 250,000 security personnel across the country were tasked with protecting the vote. Soldiers, police and anti-terrorism forces fanned out and deployed outside polling stations, some of which were ringed by barbed wire. Voters were patted down and searched.

As a security precaution, Iraq closed its airspace and land border crossings and scrambled its air force from Saturday night until early Monday morning. 

In another first, Sunday’s election is taking place under a new election law that divides Iraq into smaller constituencies — another demand of the activists who took part in the 2019 protests — and allows for more independent candidates.

The 2018 elections saw just 44% of eligible voters cast their ballots, a record low, and the results were widely contested. There are concerns of a similar or even lower turnout this time. 

In a tea shop in Karradah, one of the few open, candidate Reem Abdulhadi walked in to ask whether people had cast their vote. 

“I will give my vote to Umm Kalthoum, the singer, she is the only one who deserves it,” the tea vendor quipped, referring to the late Egyptian singer beloved by many in the Arab world. He said he will not take part in the election and didn’t believe in the political process. 

After a few words, Abdulhadi gave the man, who asked to remain anonymous, a card with her name and number in case he changed his mind. He put it in his pocket.

“Thank you, I will keep it as a souvenir,” he said.

At that moment, a low-flying, high-speed military aircraft flew overhead making a screeching noise. “Listen to this. This sound is terror. It reminds me of war, not an election,” he added.

___

Associated Press writer Abdulrahman Zeyad contributed reporting.

A new war between America and Iran looms: Revelation 16

A new crisis between America and Iran looms

Talks to restore a nuclear deal are going badly. The alternatives are grim

Oct 10th 2021

THE FORMER French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, probably summed it up best: tough nuclear diplomacy with Iran, he said in 2007, was the best way to avoid the catastrophic choice between “an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran”. To escape this dilemma, President Joe Biden has been trying to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran that Barack Obama negotiated in 2015 and Donald Trump tore up three years later.

But Iran is not making it easy. It has refused to speak directly to American officials in the six rounds of talks in Vienna that ended in June (it negotiated instead with European, Russian and Chinese intermediaries). It has dragged its feet since—citing the presidential election in June that brought to power Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner (pictured, during a visit to the Bushehr nuclear power plant); and the need to appoint new ministers and a negotiating team. Talks could resume in November, Iran says.

As though taunting America, Iran has stepped up its nuclear programme. On October 9th Iran said it had produced more than 120kg of 20% enriched uranium, sharply up from the 84kg reported by UN inspectors last month, and approaching the 170kg required to make a bomb after further enrichment. It is already spinning up a growing stock of 60% enriched fissile material, a hair’s breadth away from bomb-grade stuff. The acceleration has been helped by Iran’s deployment of more, and more sophisticated, centrifuges to purify the fissile material. Other alarming developments include the conversion of enriched uranium hexafluoride gas into uranium metal—for which the most likely use is in bombs—and the hampering of inspections by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

All told, Iran’s “breakout time”—the time it would need to make one bomb’s-worth of highly enriched uranium—has shrunk to about a month, calculates David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, a think-tank. American officials put it at “a few months”. Either way, it is much shorter than the year or more that the world enjoyed when the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was in force. (Putting a nuclear warhead on a missile would take perhaps another two years.)

Among Iran-watchers in Washington, there is a sense of foreboding about an approaching showdown. “The runway is getting shorter,” says Antony Blinken, the secretary of state. Unless progress is made soon, American officials say, they will have to turn to “other options”—without saying what these might be. Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, is blunter: “Iran’s nuclear programme has hit a watershed moment. And so has our tolerance,” he told the UN General Assembly last month. Israel makes little secret of its covert campaign to assassinate Iran’s nuclear scientists and sabotage its facilities. “Operations to destroy Iranian capabilities will continue—in various arenas and at any time,” said Israel’s military chief, Aviv Kochavi; Israel would always have “an effective and timely military response.”

The looming crisis was predictable from the day Donald Trump, Mr Biden’s predecessor, withdrew from the JCPOA, calling it “the worst deal ever”. The deal restricted the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of many, but not all, international economic sanctions. Mr Trump’s barrage of sanctions was intended to exert ”maximum pressure”. But it failed to compel Iran to accept more stringent terms. Nor did it halt its development of ballistic missiles, or its support for client militias around the Middle East.

Mr Biden campaigned on a promise to restore the JCPOA. In office, he retained most of Mr Trump’s sanctions in the hope of preserving America’s bargaining power. But as the nuclear programme accelerates, it is Iran that is now exerting “maximum pressure” on Mr Biden, argues Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a think-tank.

In Iran’s view, America has proven itself to be untrustworthy, as the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has long warned. The economic benefits of the JCPOA were short-lived, and felt only in the cities. And Iran thinks it has withstood the worst economic pressure that America can apply. Sanctions, compounded by low oil prices and the covid-19 pandemic, have exacted a painful cost. Iran’s GDP contracted by 6% in 2018 and 7% in 2019. The rial has lost 85% of its value since 2017. Inflation is high and living standards have plunged.

This did not bring about the collapse of the clerical regime, as some in the Trump administration hoped. If anything it reinforced hardliners as the champions of “resistance”. As private firms floundered, those linked to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) flourished. The Guards have tried to boost their popularity through charitable work such as distributing food to the needy. But the regime has also resorted to the iron fist. Security forces shot dead hundreds of people to put down nationwide protests over the economy in 2019.

Now the economy is improving. The IMF estimated in April that Iran’s GDP would grow by 3% this year, and that was before the latest spike in oil prices. China has become the biggest buyer of Iran’s oil, and is unlikely to bow to America’s wishes. If anything, Iran is being incorporated into China’s globe-spanning Belt and Road infrastructure projects. Russia is talking of integrating Iran into a Eurasian trade group.

Regionally, too, Iran has become more powerful. To the west, it helped to save Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus, and defended its friends in Baghdad from the jihadists of Islamic State. To the south, its Houthi allies in Sana’a have forced a Saudi-led military coalition to seek a way out of the war. And to the east, in Afghanistan, the Americans have been chased away by the Taliban, who are now on friendly terms with Iran.

President Biden has vowed that “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch”. Yet Iran knows that he wants to disentangle America from the “forever wars” in the Muslim world, and will be loth to fight a new one over Iran’s nukes. Gulf kingdoms have started trying to patch up relations with Iran.

Iran claims it seeks to build only a nuclear-power industry. But it seems determined at least to develop the wherewithal to make nuclear bombs at short notice. The JCPOA was hardly a permanent solution to the problem. It sought to postpone the reckoning. It allowed Iran to continue enrichment and experiment with more sophisticated centrifuges, but under tight limits. “Sunset clauses” would remove most of these restrictions after eight, ten and 15 years (a tightened inspection regime would go on indefinitely). These compromises provoked intense opposition by the Republicans and parts of the Democratic Party, whipped up by Mr Bennett’s predecessor, Binyamin Netanyahu.

The Biden administration at first sought an agreement that would be “longer and stronger” than the original JCPOA. Iran, arguing that America had to make up for its reneging on the deal, has also demanded better terms, not least that America should move first by lifting all Trump-era sanctions and that it should guarantee that the deal will not be repudiated again.

Such a more-for-more deal seems beyond reach. The likeliest option is what Mr Blinken calls “a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA”. But that is losing its appeal, too. Even if stocks of highly-enriched uranium are shipped out of Iran, and centrifuges are dismantled, Iran has acquired valuable know-how that cannot be unlearnt. Mr Albright thinks the JCPOA can no longer restore the one-year breakout time. Moreover, the sunset clauses mean that Iran would be allowed to expand its enrichment programme starting in 2025. Iran knows that the Democrats could lose control of Congress next year, and of the White House in 2024.

Although the Biden administration does not intend to submit any agreement with Iran for congressional approval (just as the Obama administration skirted Congress with the JCPOA), hawkish congressmen are trying to find ways to oblige it to do so. Mr Biden will be hoping that some opponents, having seen the dangerous consequences of an unconstrained Iran, will support a deal. And if the talks fail after a good-faith effort to revive the accord, it thinks it will be easier to secure European support to tighten sanctions. Under Mr Bennett Israel has acquiesced to the talks for now; some Israeli officials even see merit in the JCPOA. But some are privately expressing dismay about the apparent lack of an American Plan B, including military options. One idea floated by Israel is a strategy of “death by a thousand cuts”—conducting many small military and diplomatic actions, short of overt air strikes on Iran.

Jim Risch, the senior Republican on the Senate foreign-relations committee, warns Mr Biden that a revived JCPOA is bound to be repudiated by a future Republican president. His answer? Tighten the economic noose, and prepare for the worst. “If the Iranians get close to getting nuclear weapons, this administration needs to think: what are they going to do when they get the call from the Israelis?”

IDF to hold military drill outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

IDF to hold military drill near Gaza border

By Emanuel Fabian10 Oct 2021, 6:30 pm

Starting tomorrow morning, until Tuesday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces will be holding a drill near the border with the Gaza Strip.

During the exercise, explosions will be heard and military vehicles will be moving through the area, the IDF says.

The drill was planned in advance, and is aimed at “maintaining the competency and vigilance of the troops,” the military adds.

The Iranian nuclear horn continues to grow: Daniel 8

Iran Claims Larger Than Expected Stockpile Of 20 Percent Enriched Uranium

Iran’s nuclear chief has said Tehran has far more enriched uranium than what the UN’s nuclear inspectors reported just last month.

Speaking on Iranian state television late on October 9, Mohammad Eslami said Iran has 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium.

In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency estimated Iran’s stockpile to be 84.3 kilograms.

It takes about 170 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon. Most nuclear weapons, however, use enriched uranium above 90 percent.

Under the terms of a 2015 deal between Iran and the international community, Tehran is barred from enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent. In return, the other signatories agreed to provide Iran with 20 percent enriched uranium for its research reactor.

“But it was not delivered,” Eslami said. “If we did not produce it by ourselves, this would have become a problem.”

The nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

In 2018, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and reimposed sanctions, saying the JCPOA failed to address Iran’s ballistic-missile program or Tehran’s support for terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Since the U.S. withdrawal, the other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia — have tried to preserve it.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he is open to rejoining the JCPOA, but talks with Iran have not produced clear results.

How the Australian horn is destabilizing the world: Daniel

Beijing’s conversion of this prowess into significant military and diplomatic might is now altering the global balance of power

How the AUKUS pact could destabilise China, and the rest of the word

By Chris Ogden9th October

CHINA’S dramatic accumulation of economic power over the last 40 years has increasingly focused the attention of western countries upon Asia.

Beijing’s conversion of this prowess into significant military and diplomatic might is now altering the global balance of power. It also suggests that while ­China is rising to international pre-eminence, countries such as the US and the UK are in relative – if not terminal – decline.

At stake in these dynamics is who ­determines the nature of the world order in which international politics takes place but also if this transformation can happen peacefully and will be accepted by all ­involved.

Central to such an outlook from a ­western perspective are attempts to ­present China as an imminent threat to the international system. Such ­narratives claim that Beijing is seeking to use its ­economic and military might to take over the world in a manner akin to that of the US, who effectively dominated the world since the end of the Second World War until the early 21st century.

READ MORE: Iraq and the Balkans remind us of the power of the people

This viewpoint overlooks Beijing’s repeated insistence upon wishing for a peaceful international system in which several countries hold power. It also ­ignores 2000 years of Chinese history ­during which China dominated Asia, but not the world, and who reigned based more upon respect than brute force.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes to restore this past status, which was debased for over a century prior to 1949, and began with the Opium Wars with the British in 1839-42, and also included long periods of war, invasion and then occupation by Japan.

This period of shame is known ­within China as the “Century of ­Humiliation”, and was characterised by chaos, ­uncertainty and instability. Used as a touchstone for nationalism, it included China losing its regional supremacy to ­Japan, which ­remains as a ­significant point of friction between the two sides. Not only did Japan occupy parts of ­China, its forces also ­carried out ­atrocities against the population – most ­notoriously the Nanjing Massacre of 1937-8 that ­resulted in between 40,000 and 300,000 deaths (and which is still denied by ­Japanese ­nationalists to this day).

Importantly too, Japan’s occupation also saw the loss of territory in the form of Taiwan (then known as Formosa), as well as related Chinese claims ­concerning some small islands in the South China Sea. When the 1919 Treaty of Versailles wrongly transferred German-occupied portions of Shandong to Japanese control rather than back to China, it also bred a deep-seated suspicion towards the west.

Any actions by western countries that seek to limit China’s regional ­power ­immediately trigger such historical ­memories not only for CCP leaders but also for a population that is well-educated in their history.

The announcement of the AUKUS pact between the US, the UK and ­Australia, that heightens the west’s ­military ­presence in the Indo-Pacific, typifies such ­triggering. So too will the upcoming meeting of “the Quad” (between the US, Japan, Australia and India) where its various leaders will proclaim a need to bolster democracy in the region as part of their “rules-based” international order. Such aims have been – and will be – interpreted by Beijing as being essentially anti-China, and due to highly virulent nationalist voices in the country, will force CCP leaders to openly and decisively respond.

The AUKUS pact is also indicative of the lengths to which western powers fear that their status is threatened by China. Apart from burning many ­diplomatic bridges between the EU and the ­members of AUKUS, by giving Australia access to sensitive technology in the form of ­nuclear powered submarines, the deal tacitly encourages nuclear proliferation.

It also acts, from Beijing’s ­perspective, as a new threatening element in the ­Indo-Pacific region that actively seeks to limit, if not derail, its development and modernisation goals. These goals are ­essential to China restoring its past status as Asia’s number one power.

In these ways, it is unsurprising that China will now seek to enhance its own military capabilities, and as such the AUKUS pact reduces – rather than ­maximises – regional security.

It also augments the perception ­within some nationalist and military circles in China that such moves by the west will affect China’s ability to reclaim ­Taiwan, which is central to overturning the ­injustices of the Century of Humiliation.

Such fears explain in part why ­China has carried out so many incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone in the last weeks, which are occurring at an ­unprecedented level. Such incursions are also done to test Taiwan’s defensive capabilities and to put pressure upon its pilots but concurrently increase western and regional perceptions that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is imminent.

Such reactions and counter-reactions, accompanied by increasingly histrionic rhetoric, again only serve to increase ­tensions on all sides and do little to foster stability.

Chinese suspicions concerning western intentions were recently only increased further when US President Biden ­announced to the United Nations that “for the first time in 20 years the United States is not at war. We’ve turned the page” despite the fact that the US has ­active troops in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

In total, across 80 countries, the US also still has 800 active military bases (versus 70 bases across the world held by all ­other countries). When heightened by negative historical memories, western actions are thus regarded as ­hypocritical and ­duplicitous. This is ­especially so in light of the huge failed invasions ­regarding ­Afghanistan and Iraq that bought ­insecurity to Central Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, western strategic thinkers ­appear to have neglected to consider the impact of AUKUS upon North Korea, which continues to enhance its nuclear weapons capability and does so – partly – out of fear of a western intervention.

Given the militarising effect that AUKUS will have on the region, ­Pyongyang will continue to develop such a capacity and we can expect to see more weapons and missiles tests, which again will act as a catalyst for further destabilising forces in the Indo-Pacific, which are on China’s southern border.

SEEN in the context of a wider narrative that attempts to situate China-Western relations within that of a “new Cold War”, the potential for further competition and friction is palpable.

Not only is such a narrative misplaced – in that the globalised, highly inter-connected world is no longer split into two separate trade and diplomatic blocs – it also casts China as the new enemy of the west despite very deep-seated ties ­between the two sides.

These primarily include – in 2020 – China being the top trading partner of the US (with $560.10 billion in trade), Japan ($141.6 billion), Australia ($90.6 billion) and India ($77.70 billion). It was also the third highest trade partner of the UK (at $18.6 billion), after the US and the EU.

Such ties beggar the question; if China is such a major threat to global ­stability, why do these countries have such ­deep-seated economic relations with it?

China is also a vital partner concerning the climate emergency and managing the global financial system, and is essential to the world finding solutions to such major issues. Pressuring China through AUKUS would appear to be counter-intuitive in solving such questions and may cause China to embolden the economic and ­diplomatic ties that it is building across Asia and the world.

In particular, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is investing between

$1 and $8 trillion in railway, road, and sea route infrastructure, as well as ­construction, real estate, and power grids. This investment is attracting other ­countries to Beijing, and by extension greatly reduces relative western influence in global politics. Building such ­“win-win” ties that are not based upon military force and coercion also helps China to present itself as a more peaceful and more stable alternative to the west.

Notwithstanding the human rights concerns apparent in Xinjiang or the ­increased control and surveillance of the Chinese population through the Social Credit System, the AUKUS pact and the western insecurities will thus ­undoubtedly fuel destabilise the ­Indo-Pacific region.

If a conflict is forced over China’s ­territorial claims relating to Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea, the ­consequences will be devastating.

These relate to the human cost of any conflict – in which Chinese, and arguably western, leaders will not wish to be seen to back down – but also concerning the ­resultant damage to the global economy, which with China at its epicentre will ­precipitate a decades-long worldwide depression.

The ramifications of such a conflict will be felt everywhere, including in Scotland, and must make us ask why the UK ­Government is seemingly on a pathway that facilitates such an eventuality.

READ MORE: El Salvador: The Scottish people who emigrated to Latin America

Coming at a time when much of the British economy is visibly convulsing from the country’s withdrawal from the EU, as well as the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we must also ­question the value of such badly thought through consequences of the AUKUS pact.

AS a country that is firmly in decline on the world stage, the instinct to punch above its weight and to side with the US no matter the consequences remains (and has little heed for the lessons from the disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq).

This hubris only underlines the ­perilous nature of contemporary UK foreign ­policy, and the unintended consequences that trying to grasp on to the country’s past status will bring.

Chris Ogden is Senior Lecturer in Asian Security at the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews

The father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb dies

Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, passes away

A.Q. Khan, a scientist known as the father of Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear programme, passed away here on Sunday after a brief illness. He was 85.

The nuclear physicist faced criticism in 2004 when he was forced to accept responsibility for nuclear technology proliferation and was forced to live a life of official house arrest.

Khan, who was born in 1936 in Bhopal and migrated to Pakistan along with his family after the Partition in 1947, breathed his last at about 7.00 a.m. (local time) at Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Hospital.

Geo News reported that Khan was brought to the hospital early in the morning after he faced difficulty in breathing.

According to doctors, Khan’s health deteriorated after bleeding in his lungs. He could not survive after his lungs collapsed.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that all efforts were made to save his life.

Condoling his death, President Arif Alvi said on Twitter: “Deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. Had known him personally since 1982. He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard…”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was “deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan”.

“He was loved by our nation bec of his critical contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state. This has provided us security against an aggressive much larger nuclear neighbour. For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon (sic),” he said in a tweet.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said he was “deeply grieved” over his death and called it a “great loss”.

“Pakistan will forever honour his services to the nation! The nation is heavily indebted to him for his contributions in enhancing our defence capabilities,” he said.

Khan, considered as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, is revered at home as a hero.

Radio Pakistan reported that Khan played an important role in making Pakistan a nuclear power and that his services for defence of the country will be remembered for a long time.

Khan lived as semi-secluded in Islamabad’s posh neighbourhood of E-7 sector under the watch of security agencies since 2004.

Later, he retracted his statement, which he said was made under duress exercised by then military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

He said Pakistan would never have achieved the feat of becoming first Muslim nuclear country without his “services”.

Referring to the treatment meted out to him during under Gen. Musharraf, Khan said nuclear scientists in the country have not been given the respect that they deserve.

In 2009, the Islamabad High Court declared Khan to be a free citizen of Pakistan, allowing him free movement inside the country.

In May 2016, Khan had said that Pakistan could have become a nuclear power as early as 1984 but the then President, General Zia ul Haq —who was Pakistan’s President from 1978 to 1988 — “opposed the move”.

In a 2018 book “Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb: A Story of Defiance, Deterrence And Deviance”, Pakistani-American scholar and academic Hassan Abbas has highlighted Khan’s involvement in nuclear proliferation in Iran, Libya and North Korea.

He wrote that the origins and evolution of the Khan network were tied to the domestic and international political motivations underlying Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project.

The writer also examined the role of China and Saudi Arabia in supporting its nuclear infrastructure. Khan is reported to have intimate links with China’s nuclear establishment.

Funeral prayers will be offered at 3 p.m. (local time) at the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, according to officials.