Israel Prepares to Attack the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Getting ready: Warplane during international training exercise at the Ovda Air Force Base, Southern Israel, October 24, 2021. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Report: Israel Readying to Attack Iran’s Nuclear Facilities in Case of Negotiation Failure

Reports are coming in that Israel is moving towards a military confrontation with Iran while the US sits and waits

October 28, 2021

According to recent reports Israel’s defense establishment has noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to improve their air defense systems in areas that the Israeli military has been attacking. These reports claim that Iran is developing an array of surface-to-air missiles in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and other locations, seeking to bring down Israeli aircraft that target Iran and its proxies.

These reports come a couple of days after it was reported that Israel targeted Hezbollah-linked targets in Syria. This came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would not disrupt Israeli attacks upon Iranian targets in Syria.   According to these reports, Israel hit yet another three more targets in Syria early Monday morning. However, it should be added that during a recent Israeli air strike on Syria, Syrian soldiers fired back utilizing an Iranian-made missile defense system.

Dr. Seth Frantzman, an expert on drone warfare recently published a book titled Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines and Artificial Intelligence. He noted in a recent article in the Jerusalem Post that the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies have also used drones to attack the State of Israel: “In February 2018, an Iranian drone from the T-4 base near Palmyra flew into Israeli airspace.  Israel shot it down. In May 2021, another Iranian drone, brought from Iraq, flew into Israeli airspace, and was downed. In August 2019, Israel struck a Hezbollah killer drone team that was operating near the Golan Heights border.”

Other reports verify that the Israeli government has noted an increased use of Iranian drones targeting Israel by Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. Iranian political theorist Dr. Reza Parchizadeh stated in an interview with Israel Today: “The reason for the Iranian regime propping up Syria’s air defenses is that it is anticipating an overwhelming Israeli invasion of Iran’s nuclear facilities soon. The regime knows that once the charade of the Vienna talks for reviving the 2015 nuclear deal is over and there is no more room to play around on the issue, it will have to get entrenched and make the final rush for the nuclear bomb. The ‘props’ in Syria are erected to shut down as many Israeli aircraft as they can before they reach their targets in Iran.”

Sirwan Mansouri, a Kurdish journalist based in the Middle East, concurred in an interview with Israel Today: “It is said that Israeli officials are ready to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in case of negotiation failure and they even set a budget for it. The talks to rejoin the JCPOA are reaching a dead end and Iran tries to waste time to shorten the needed time for making a nuclear bomb. Although the West and especially the US know this fact, they prefer to solve the problem by negotiations. But the matter for Israel is completely different.”

Israel is more willing to act to stop a nuclear Iran than the US is. Aside from this fact, Mansouri added that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ideologically committed to the destruction of Israel: “Iran never has hidden its intention to target Israel by any means. However, Iran does not have the power on the ground or in the air to defeat Israel, so they have been working on a new capability in recent decades: cyber-attacks and missile systems. Iran has increased its missile range and has acquired new radar capabilities.”

According to Mansouri, Iran has established a missile network system in areas controlled by their proxy groups in Lebanon, Syria and even Libya “to attack Israel in times of danger. Israel knows that Iran is moving to make an atomic bomb and the West knows it as well, but they are more far from Iran than Israel is, so the real threat is towards Israel. Iran also has strengthened its drones, which function as a suicide system. If there is a war, Iran can launch thousands of missiles and drones toward Israel. Although most will be destroyed by the Iron Dome, there will be intense psychological consequences for Israeli citizens.”

Mansouri claims that the West lacks the desire to wage war against Iran’s regime and that the Islamic Republic as well as Israel know this: “So, just one way remains I think and that is Israel must hit Iran’s nuclear facilities hard before it reaches the atomic bomb, so that it destroys Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon forever. At the same time, Israel must strengthen its defense system against Iran’s missiles and utilize modern technology such as the F-35 jets to neutralize Iran’s radar system and to use laser-based defense systems against its missiles.”

Nevertheless, Mansouri stressed that Israel does have some advantages in a possible war. He claimed that in the wake of the Abraham Accords, Israel can use the air space of its Arab allies, who are enemies of Iran ideologically, to attack Iran. According to Mansouri, it is also possible for Israel to utilize opposition groups inside Iran, who can “weaken the power of Iran’s regime to act normally and use its ultimate power.”

For example, inside of Iran, Southern Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Baloch, and Ahwaz all have grievances against the Islamic Republic of Iran and have active opposition groups, some of which seek to secede from Iran and establish their own sovereign nations, free of Persian hegemony. Two of these groups, Kurds, and Azerbaijanis, are known to be friendly towards Israel and will be eager to help fight against the mullahs’ regime.

There are also many liberal Persians who seek to have a democratic regime replace the Islamic Republic, as well as some Persian nationalists who would like the son of the former Shah to return to power. Some of them may also be eager to help Israel as well.

In conclusion, Mansouri declared: “I think if there is a war and Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and military bases using its full power the people’s dissatisfaction inside the country may lead to regime change. The Shah of Iran was a good friend of Israel in the past. Things can be like that again. Iran and Israel do not have to be enemies. If Israel liberates the Iranian people from this regime, then many Iranians will be grateful and help them.”

New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

       How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?Ashley Fetters
New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.
The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.
The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.
Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?
Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”
And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)
Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.
Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.
The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann
Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)
One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”
Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.
And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.
So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?
“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”
Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail tips@curbed.com, and we may include it in a future column.

The Antichrist Is the United States’ Best Hope

Muqtada al-Sadr drives a car.

Muqtada al-Sadr Is the United States’ Best Hope

The Shiite cleric was once Washington’s bitter enemy in Iraq—and now offers the best chance of securing U.S. interests.

October 27, 2021, 6:35 AM

In their national election earlier this month, Iraqis took the unprecedented step of rejecting an Iran-backed coalition of armed Shiite militias while showing a clear preference for Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric who promotes a nationalist agenda. Fatah or Conquest Alliance, an umbrella organization of various militias or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMUs) that was led by Pro-Iran Hadi al-Amiri, fell from 48 parliamentary seats in 2018 to merely 15 seats this year. Sadr’s Sairoon coalition, meanwhile, emerged as the biggest winner, upping its tally from 54 seats to 73 seats. Sadr is now a kingmaker in the formation of Iraq’s next parliament.

The success of a purportedly secular Shiite grouping over a sectarian and armed one is telling. The PMUs began as an anti-Islamic State force but are since accused of becoming local gangsters who run extortion rackets and carry out extrajudicial killings. Sadr, by contrast, consolidated support on the backs of promises to usher in political reforms that weaken sectarian elites, build a secular society, and end Iranian interference while banishing U.S. troops from the country.

His anti-U.S. credentials are not in doubt; Sadr earned notoriety in the years after the U.S. invasion for unleashing sectarian militias under his control against U.S. troops. Yet it’s the U.S. government that perhaps should be most pleased by Sadr’s new status as a national leader. Many questions remain about how much of Sadr’s agenda he can achieve. But what seems indisputable is Sadr has emerged as Iraq’s only political leader with enough popularity to push through the sort of changes the country needs, including dismantling sectarian quotas for political offices known as the Muhasasa system and containing Iran-backed militias. And in that context, Sadr’s rise suits U.S. interests.

Sadr will first have to negotiate a majority in Iraq’s 329-member parliament. Sources close to Sadr said, in addition to his own coalition’s 73 seats, he can count on the support of 10 independent candidates who joined calls for political reform in nationwide protests in recent years. Nevertheless, negotiations over the government’s formation will take months, and it isn’t yet clear what the final constellation will look like—not least because the depth of Sadr’s own commitment to political reform is difficult to assess.

“The Sadrists turned on the protests in early 2020 and are also responsible for part of the violence perpetrated against activists,” said Lahib Higel, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group focused on politics, governance, security, and conflict in Iraq. She added it is very unlikely that Sadr can form a government that would exclude the Fatah Alliance or Iran’s militias altogether. “It would invite conflict.” The rivalry between the Sadrists and Iran-backed militias is a quarrel over influence, but when it has suited them in the past, they have buried tensions and cooperated. “In 2018, Sadr came to an agreement with Hadi al-Amiri on government formation,” Higel added.

Dhia al-Asadi, a former top official in Sadr’s political movement and someone believed to be close to the cleric, said Sadr can form a winning coalition by excluding all Iran-backed factions—including the Fatah Alliance of armed militias led by Amiri and the unarmed grouping of Iran-backed political parties led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which scored the third highest number of seats (37 seats) in recent polls.

“Those who think like Maliki oppose Sadr, so they can’t be allies,” Asadi said. “It is possible that Sadrists align with the Sunni bloc, which has 38 seats, with the Kurds and independents and maybe other smaller breakaway Shiite parties.” However, such an arrangement will also come at a cost, Asadi explained. “Sunnis and Kurds feel that the Muhasasa system empowers them and gives them representation, so it will be hard to get rid of the system immediately. Mr. Sadr intends on bringing slow reforms. For instance, he says give all communities representation but have them choose the most talented people for positions in institutions. But even there, the issue is that most parties want to appoint the most loyal men to keep control.”

Analysts said despite being part of several governments in the past, Sadrists have been ineffective at pushing for reforms and instead accused of violence and corruption themselves. Sadr, they said, is not a seasoned policymaker but just a populist claiming the mantle of civil society.

Elie Abouaoun, director of Middle East and North Africa programs at the United States Institute of Peace, said Sadr has failed to prove himself. “Even before 2018, al-Sadr was part of both the legislative and the executive bodies, respectively, through members of parliament and ministers he himself nominated,” Abouaoun said. “Despite this relatively solid presence in both branches of the government, his movement cannot claim ownership of serious reform initiatives. Most of what he did was in the realm of criticism, objections, … etc.”

In some cases, his own nominees were involved in scandalous corruption cases, and in others, they were seen accepting existing malpractices and ignoring what they would decry on the street, Abouaoun added. “In a nutshell, I don’t see why any of the factors that prevented him from imposing a reform agenda in the last 10 years will change now,” he said. “I expect him to continue acting as a populist opposition leader while being part of all the governance structures in Iraq.”

Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate in Baghdad.

The Biggest Loser of Iraq’s Election Could Be Iran

Yet others said despite Sadr’s many contradictions and uninspiring record in pushing for reforms, he nevertheless represents a new political model that should offer inspiration for Iraq and the region. Sadr’s rise reveals that sectarian militia leaders can change their path and use their popularity to create harmony in societies deeply divided along religious lines as well as focus on civic issues that impact peoples’ daily lives. In the battle to change a political system that promotes clientelism and rewards loyalty, gurus like Sadr with a mass following can play a crucial role.

Even for the United States, Sadr presents an opportunity to sustainably stabilize a country it has been mired in for nearly two decades. Sadr suggested he might be willing to accept the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq in an advisory role, thus handing the Biden administration a face-saving way to remove the majority of its troops from the country. “The previous American administration said that they will watch Iran from Iraq,” Asadi said. “If the new administration withdraws its forces from Iraq and changes its policies towards Iraq and Iran, then neither Iran nor its supporters will have any excuse to threaten or attack U.S. interests in the region.”

Muqtada al Sadr is not America’s man, but neither is he Iran’s. His ambition to contain Iran overlaps with the United States’ and its allies in the region. Even Iraqis know Sadr does not have the panacea to the country’s many crises, and neither the politics of patronage nor corruption will disappear overnight. Yet Sadr’s powerful voice adds to the chorus of the desperate and powerless masses who seek to transform their country and share in its oil wealth in the form of jobs, better housing, and sufficient electricity supplies.

Babylon the Great steps up war threats against Iran

Robert Malley, Special Envoy for Iran, US Department of State (Credit: Dean Calma / IAEA)

Biden administration steps up war threats against Iran

Bill Van Auken26 October 2021

Washington’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, warned Monday that if diplomatic efforts to resuscitate the Iran nuclear accord fail, the US “will use other tools to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

Malley claimed that talks on the accord, which are moribund, were at a “critical stage” and that Washington’s patience was “wearing thin.” He vowed that the US was prepared to “pursue other steps, if we face a world in which we need to do that.”

This thinly veiled threat of US military action came amid rising tensions in the Middle East and ever more open threats by Washington’s chief ally in the region, Israel, to carry out air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Echoing US bellicosity, Liz Truss, the foreign minister of the UK, Washington’s closest ally among the signatories to the Iranian nuclear accord, told Parliament that if Iran failed to “meaningfully” negotiate, “all options are on the table.”

Talks in Vienna on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 agreement between Tehran and the major powers, have been stalled since June, when Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi was elected. Iran has demanded that the US return to compliance with the JCPOA. Under the Trump administration, Washington abrogated the agreement in 2018, reimposing and escalating draconian unilateral sanctions.

The Biden administration, which came into office pledging to rejoin the JCPOA, has kept the “maximum pressure” sanctions regime in place, continuing US efforts to strangle Iran’s economy and starve its population into submission. The economic blockade has inflicted a catastrophic loss of over $100 billion in oil revenues, while cutting off Iran’s access to the US-dominated world financial system.

The sanctions have drastically limited Iran’s ability to secure vital medical supplies, even as it confronts a sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, according to official figures, has claimed 125,000 lives. Their economic impact has been inflicted on the working class, not on Iran’s clerical-bourgeois ruling elite. Government officials have acknowledged that some 60 percent of the population now lives below the poverty line.

The US has conditioned a return to the nuclear accord on Iran first resuming its full compliance with the terms of the agreement, rolling back increases in uranium enrichment levels and stockpiles that it undertook in response to both Washington breaking the agreement in the first place, and the failure of the Western European powers to counter the reimposed US sanctions regime. This turned the deal, which traded stringent limits on Iran’s nuclear program for sanctions relief, into a dead letter.Foreword to the German edition of David North’s Quarter Century of WarJohannes Stern, 5 October 2020After three decades of US-led wars, the outbreak of a third world war, which would be fought with nuclear weapons, is an imminent and concrete danger.

Iran has consistently maintained that its nuclear program is strictly dedicated to peaceful purposes.

The Biden administration has also demanded that Iran accept not only additional restrictions on its nuclear program but also a curtailment of its development of ballistic missiles and the ceding of its influence in the broader Middle East to the drive for US hegemony in the region.

After six rounds of talks in Vienna that have produced no progress for reinstating the JCPOA, Tehran has insisted on a “result-oriented negotiations,” meaning a return to sanctions relief. The country’s chief nuclear negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani, is to meet in Brussels today with the European Union’s negotiator, Enrique Mora, for talks on resuming negotiations.

In a state television interview last week, President Raisi insisted that Iran “never left” the JCPOA negotiations and that “lifting sanctions” was necessary as “an indication of seriousness” on the part of Washington.

Continuing military tensions between Washington and Tehran were laid bare Monday with the report of a drone strike on the US military base at al-Tanf in southern Syria. The US has maintained its illegal military occupation there both to control a strategic border crossing with Iraq and to train Islamist militia forces opposed to the Syrian government of Bashir al-Assad. The drone strike hit both the section of the base housing US troops and the area occupied by the militiamen.

US military officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press (AP) that Washington holds Iran responsible for the attack, while acknowledging that it was not launched from Iranian soil. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby refused to comment on the AP report but declared that Washington would respond to the attack “at a time and a place and a manner of our choosing.”

Iranian sources have stated that the drone attack was carried out by a pro-government Syrian militia in retaliation for an airstrike on the ancient city of Palmyra, killing one Syrian government soldier and three militiamen, while wounding several others. The attack was one in a long series carried out by Israeli warplanes against Syrian targets.

This exchange threatens to ratchet up war tensions between the US and Iran to a level not seen since the Trump administration carried out the January 2020 drone missile assassination of Qassem Suleimani, one of Iran’s most senior leaders, as he arrived in Baghdad on a diplomatic mission. Iran retaliated with a missile strike on a US base in Iraq, leaving over 100 US troops with traumatic brain injuries.

The implicit threats of military action from Washington coincide with the Israeli regime’s explicit statements on its preparations for bombing Iran. The Israeli media has reported that the government is preparing to allocate $1.5 billion to prepare for waves of strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, with the funds going to pay for stepped-up intelligence, aircraft, drones and bunker-busting munitions to destroy underground facilities, such as the Natanz fuel enrichment plant in Esfahan.

Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman indicated his support for the funding, which must be approved by the Knesset before November 14. A military confrontation with Iran “is only a matter of time, and it is not much time,” he told the media last week.

Israel is responsible for a protracted campaign of sabotage of Iranian nuclear facilities and assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists, including the remote-controlled murder of Iran’s top nuclear physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last November.

The country has also been the target of a series of cyberattacks in which Israel has been involved, since the 2010 Stuxnet malware attack on the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Iran was hit again on Tuesday with a cyberattack on its fuel distribution system that crippled gas stations across the country.

The threat of war with Iran is driven by both geo-strategic considerations, including Iran’s alignment with China and its growing influence in the Middle East, as well as internal ones.

In November 2020, following his defeat in the US presidential election, Donald Trump had to be dissuaded by his advisors from ordering a US airstrike against the Natanz nuclear facility, an action that was clearly planned as part of Trump’s campaign to overturn the election results.

Today, the Biden administration confronts growing class struggle within the United States, amid unprecedented levels of social inequality that have deepened as the ruling elite has enriched itself amid the mass death of the COVID-19 pandemic.

War, whether with Iran or China, provides a means for directing the contradictions of US capitalism outward in an explosion of military violence, while serving as a justification for the forcible imposition of “national unity” at home.

Workers in the United States and all over the world are being driven into struggle to defend their jobs, living standards and very lives under conditions of an uncontrolled deadly pandemic. These struggles must be joined with the fight against imperialist war and its source, the capitalist system.

Chinese Nuclear Horn very close to a ‘Sputnik moment’: Daniel 7

Top U.S. general calls China’s hypersonic weapon test very close to a ‘Sputnik moment’

By Sara Sorcher and Karoun Demirjian Yesterday at 7:09 a.m. EDT|Updated yesterday at 4:53 p.m. EDT

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calledChina’s recent test of a hypersonic weapons system “very concerning” — and “very close” to a Sputnik moment as Beijing rapidly expands its military capabilities.

Milley, the United States’ top military officer, is the first U.S. official to acknowledge the provocation publicly, telling Bloomberg Television in an interview aired Wednesdaythat “what we saw was a very significant event.”

China’s test of the hypersonic system coincideswithitsbroader effort to enhance strategic and nuclear weapons capabilities, developments being closely watched in Washington. Though military leaders have been reluctant to comment on the hypersonic system, the swift pace of China’s advancement — including its construction of new missile silos and new ballistic missile submarines — has alarmed U.S. officials.https://26bd2d47e26a2dca84ea779fec7f6111.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“There’s a suite of issues with respect to China … that deeply concern us,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said later Wednesday. “They’re informing the budget. They’re informing the programs and the priorities of the department, they’re going to inform in many ways our training and exercise regimen. So there’s a lot here.”

As The Washington Post reported last week, a test conducted in August involved a nuclear-capable hypersonic vehicle that partially orbited the globe before hurtling to Earth. The demonstration analysts said, was less noteworthy for the technology, which China’s military has been developing for years, than for the fact that Beijing decided to test it. Some likened it the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of a satellite called Sputnik that provided an early edge in the space race.

Milley, noting that the term “Sputnik moment” had been used in some news reports since the test, stopped short of that assessment in his interview with Bloomberg. “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that,” he said, adding, “It has all of our attention.”

Milley noted that the United States also is “experimenting, and testing and developing technologies to include hypersonics, artificial intelligence, robotics — a whole wide range.”

Kirby, speaking during a routine news briefing at the Pentagon, would not detail how far along the United States is in its development of such systems, except to say “our own pursuit of hypersonic capabilities is real, it’s tangible and we are absolutely working toward being able to develop that capability.”

“It’s not a technology that is alien to us,” he added. “And I would argue that it’s not just our own pursuit of this sort of technology, but our mindfulness that we have defensive capabilities too that we need to continue to hone and improve.”

Both Kirby and Milley stressed that the test reflects just one weapon system on Beijing’s side, with the general acknowledging China’s capabilities “are much greater than that.” Referring to its growing capacities in space, cyberspace and traditional domains of land, sea and air, he said, “They’re expanding rapidly.”

“We’re in one of the most significant changes in what I call the ‘character of war,’ ” Milley said. “We’re going to have to adjust our military going forward.”

China’s test is a reminder that Beijing has become what Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin frequently calls the United States’ “pacing challenge” militarily — and of the lack of consensus over how Washington should respond.

China has been secretive about its weapons testing — in fact, on Oct. 18, it denied even conducting a hypersonic test. A spokesman for Beijing’s foreign ministry argued that China merely had tested “regular spacecraft” intended for “peaceful uses of outer space.”

Some experts fear the prospect of entering a new arms race with Beijing, citing the dangers of a contest between two nuclear powers. President Biden is said to be weighing adopting a “no first use” nuclear posture, as a means of reducing tension. In September, he said at the United Nations that while the United States was prepared to check Beijing’s military and economic ambitions, “we do not want a new Cold War.”

The administration has yet to announce a specific policy regarding its approach toward an increasingly militarized China.

Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.1013 CommentsGift Article

Image without a caption

By Sara SorcherSara Sorcher is The Post’s London hub editor, heading a team that covers breaking news as it unfolds in the United States and around the globe during overnight and early morning hours in Washington. The hub is part of the newsroom’s round-the-clock global operation.  Twitter

Image without a caption

By Karoun DemirjianKaroun Demirjian is a national security reporter covering Capitol Hill, where she focuses on defense, foreign affairs, intelligence and policy matters concerning the Justice Department. She was previously a correspondent based in The Post’s bureau in Moscow.  Twitter

IDF launches exercise to boost military readiness outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel Defense Forces Artillery Corps
Israel Defense Forces Artillery Corps near the border of the Gaza Strip in response to thousands of rockets being launched towards the Jewish state, May 19, 2021.Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

IDF launches exercise to boost military readiness in areas surrounding Gaza

Stories appearing in our World pages originate from aggregated news feeds obtained from various subscription news sources.

The Israel Defense Forces launched a two-day exercise on Tuesday in areas near the Gaza Strip designed to improve its readiness for defensive missions along the volatile border, the military has announced.

“The exercise is intended to improve the IDF’s readiness [for defense] along the Gaza Strip border and will examine the way the lessons from ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls’ … are implemented, while exercising the response to different scenarios of attacks by terrorist organizations from the Gaza Strip, including surprise attacks,” the IDF said in its statement.

“The exercise was planned in advance as part of the 2021 training program,” it added. “The IDF operates at all times to maintain readiness along the Gaza Strip border with the sole goal of protecting the residents of the south.”

The military’s Gaza Division, and its Northern and Southern Brigades, conduct routine border-defense missions on an ongoing basis under the auspices of Southern Command.

In March, the IDF and Defense Ministry completed the construction of an underground anti-tunnel barrier straddling the length of Gaza’s border with Israel. The IDF has almost finished building a new above-ground border barrier as well, complete with advanced warning sensors.

The post IDF launches exercise to boost military readiness in areas surrounding Gaza appeared first on JNS.org.

The Russian Horn’s Apocalyptic Bomb: Revelation 16

Weapon Of Last Resort: How The Soviet Union Developed The World’s Most Powerful Bomb

October 27, 2021 10:01 GMT

Footage of the “Tsar Bomba” exploding on October 30, 1961, above the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. (Credit: Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation)Share

On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union tested the largest nuclear device ever created. The “Tsar Bomba,” as it became known, was 10 times more powerful than all the munitions used during World War II.

While its original purpose was to prove to the world, and especially to the United States, that the Soviet Union was capable of producing such devices, it also brought a surprising twist to the future testing of nukes.

The Military Race Is On

At the beginning of the 1960s, the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States was tense — the countries were in the middle of the Cold War, struggling for geopolitical, ideological, and military dominance.

The United States had already tested the world’s first hydrogen bomb — called “Mike” — in 1952 and their biggest nuclear device — called “Castle Bravo” — in 1954. The Soviet Union was also working on developing a hydrogen bomb and managed to detonate its first true one in 1955. But that was just the beginning. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was keen to show off the U.S.S.R.’s military prowess, so he ordered the creation of the most powerful bomb ever made.

Who Was Who In Creating The ‘Tsar Bomba’?

How Does A Hydrogen Bomb Work?

The Tsar Bomba was a hydrogen aerial bomb, also known as a thermonuclear weapon, which is usually described as a more advanced and powerful version of an atomic bomb. While atomic bombs use either uranium or plutonium in most cases, hydrogen bombs also need additional isotopes of hydrogen, called deuterium and tritium.

The reaction that causes the explosion is also different. Atomic bombs rely on fission — a process of compressing the core of uranium or plutonium, splitting it into parts, and therefore releasing a huge amount of energy. On the other hand, hydrogen bombs use not only the energy from fission but also secondary fusion, which makes the explosion much stronger.

Specifications of various hydrogen bombs vary. For example, Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, a member of the Soviet nuclear weapons program, came up with a design called “sloika” (layer cake). This method used alternating layers of deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) and uranium. It was a major contribution to the development of the hydrogen bomb in the Soviet Union.

What Did The Most Powerful Bomb Look Like?

The Tsar Bomba was given many technical names, such as Project 27000, Product Code 202, and RDS-220. It was 8 meters long, its diameter was about 2 meters, and it weighed roughly 25 tons. Its proportions made it very challenging to handle. It was so large that it couldn’t be loaded on any plane that the Soviet Union had at that time.

Originally, the bomb was supposed to yield up to 100 megatons, but scientists were concerned about radioactive fallout and potential effects on human health. That’s why they eventually decided to use three layers of lead (instead of three uranium layers) and halve the explosion.

Tsar Bomba Scheme

The Day Of The Explosion

On October 30, 1961, a Tupolev Tu-95 plane started its journey from the Olenya airfield on the Kola Peninsula. Although it was the largest plane in the Soviet fleet, it had never carried such a heavy weapon and had to be modified. Nonetheless, the bomb would not fit inside the plane and had to be placed underneath it. In order to reflect the heat caused by the blast, the plane was painted bright white.

Its pilot, Major Andrei Durnovtsev, climbed to 10 kilometers above the ground and flew toward the Matochkin Strait at Novaya Zemlya. He was accompanied by another plane, a Tu-16 bomber, which was supposed to film the blast.

The Tsar Bomba was dropped above the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. To give the planes some time to escape the scene, the bomb was equipped with a parachute that was supposed to slow down its fall and make sure the bomb exploded at 4,000 meters. Despite all of the precautions, the survival rate of the crew was calculated at about 50 percent.

At 11:32 a.m. Moscow time, the bomb exploded. It created a fireball about 8 kilometers wide and the flash could be seen from 1,000 kilometers away. All buildings within 55 kilometers of the test site at Sukhoy Nos were completely destroyed; windows within hundreds of kilometers were broken. The shock wave generated after the blast traveled three times around the Earth. It also made the Tu-95 plane drop about 1,000 meters, but the pilot later managed to regain control and landed safely.

The explosion produced about 57,000 kilotons of energy. In comparison, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II were equivalent to 15 and 21 kilotons, respectively. The largest nuclear device tested by the United States was 15,000 kilotons.

The bomb’s mushroom cloud climbed to 60 to 70 kilometers above the ground. Luckily, the fireball didn’t make contact with the Earth, and therefore the level of radiation was relatively small, compared to the size of the bomb. According to some sources, however, radioactive fallout was measured across Scandinavia.

Comparison Of Mushroom Cloud Heights

Selected detonations, in kilometers

What Happened Next?

After the Tsar Bomba had been tested in 1961, nuclear tests continued and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev even ordered the detonation of another megaton bomb just a few months later. The following year, the testing reached its peak when a total of 79 nuclear bombs were detonated. However, efforts to end the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons were also on the rise.

Nuclear Tests By Country

(Atmospheric and underground)

In 1963, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited tests in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater. The deal was later opened to other countries as well. From that point onward, nuclear tests were conducted underground.