Earth Matters: Indian Point’s Final Days – Nyack News and Viewsby Barbara PuffIndian Point has been the crown jewel of the nuclear industrialist complex and closing it is a big step to a sustainable energy future. — Susan Shapiro, environmental lawyer.When scientists began exploring nuclear power in the 1950s, pollsters didn’t ask the public their opinion as support was almost unanimous. By the ’60s, there had been a few protests and opposition increased to 25%. So when Indian Point opened on September 16, 1962, it was greeted with enthusiasm, fanfare, and, in hindsight, naivete.Within a few years, increased pollution, loss of wildlife, and accidents at the plant elicited concern. In response, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Riverkeeper were formed in 1966. After incidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, public opinion began to turn against the use of nuclear power.In 1984, her first year as a legislator, Harriet Cornell formed the Citizens Commission to Close Indian Plant. A glance at her press releases over the years shows her convictions regarding closing the plant. In a recent speech she noted: “Were it not for the superhuman efforts of concerned individuals and dedicated scientific and environmental organizations focusing attention on the dangers posed by Indian Point, who knows what might have happened during the last 40+ years.”Simultaneously Riverkeeper began documenting incidents, including:1 An antiquated water-cooling system killed over a billion fish and fish larvae annually.2 Pools holding spent nuclear fuel leaked toxic, radioactive water into the ground, soil, and Hudson River.3 Recurring emergency shut-downs.4 27% of the baffle bolts in Unit 2 and 31% in Unit 3, holding the reactor core together, were damaged.5 The plant was vulnerable to terrorist attack.6 Evacuation plans were implausible.7 No solution for spent nuclear fuel, posing the risk of radioactive release and contamination of land.8 The plant was near two seismic zones, suggesting an earthquake over 6.2 could devastate the area.9 Asbestos exposure.These and other issues led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rate Indian Point in 2000 as the most trouble-plagued plant in the country. Lamont-Doherty Observatory agreed, calling it the most dangerous plant in the nation.As individuals realized the seriousness of the situation, urgency for a solution grew and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition was formed in 2001. Comprised of public interest, health advocates, environmental and citizen groups, their goals were to educate the public, pass legislation, and form a grassroots campaign with hundreds of local, state, and federal officials.Clearwater also began monitoring the plant around that time. Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Action Director, recalls, “We were concerned when one of the planes that struck the WTC flew over the plant, including several buildings that hold huge fuel pools, filled with spent fuel rods and radioactive waste.” Had anything happened, the nuclear power industry had provided protection for themselves while neglecting surrounding communities. Powerful lobbyists, backed by considerable financing, induced Congress to pass the Price-Anderson Act in 1957. This legislation protected nuclear power plant companies from full liability in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.With such warnings, it’s hard to believe as late as 2010, The New York Times stated, “No one should be hoping for a too hasty shutdown.” Over time, the cost of litigation by New York State proved more fatal to the continuance of plant operations than protests, though they were a crucial factor and led to initial filings. Attorney General Schneiderman was very active in filing contentions, legal reasons the plant shouldn’t be relicensed, and won several important court cases on high-level radioactive storage.In 2016, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Entergy a discharge permit for hot water into the Hudson River, part of their once-through cooling system. This permit was necessary for continued operation of the plant and a requirement for relicensing. The New York State Department of State, Bureau of Coastal Management, denied Entergy a water quality certificate the same year, which it also needed to relicense. After more than four decades of danger to the environment and residents, Governor Cuomo announced in January 2017 the plant would finally be closing. Unit 2 would cease production on April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 would end productivity on April 30, 2021.Later that year, in March 2017, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board allowed Entergy to renew the plant’s licenses until 2021, dismissing final points of contention between the company, New York State, and Riverkeeper. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino attempted to sue the state and reopen the plant in April 2017 but failed.Ellen Jaffee, NYS Assemblywoman, stated, “After 46 years of operation, I am glad to finally see the closure of Indian Point. Since joining the Assembly, I have long fought for its closure. I would not have been able to pursue these efforts if not for the environmental advocates, like the Riverkeeper, who fought long and hard beside myself to close the plant. The plant’s closure must be conducted in a safe manner, where all radioactive materials will be properly disposed of, without inflicting further harm on our environment. The closure of Indian Point shows that we can reduce our impact on the environment.”Harriet Cornell said, “We have waited years for this to happen and frankly, it can’t happen soon enough. The facts have long shown there is no future for this dangerous plant.”“The closure of Indian Point marks the shutdown of dirty polluting energy,” noted Susan Shapiro.Holtec, the company chosen to oversee decommissioning of the plant, has a horrific track record. New York State Attorney General Tish James released a statement in January expressing multiple grave concerns about them. According to Riverkeeper, they have a scandalous corporate past, little experience in decommissioning, dubious skills in spent fuel management, workplace safety infractions, and health violations. Another fear is the cost will exceed a decommissioning fund set aside by Entergy, Holtec will declare bankruptcy, and the public will absorb the difference.“Entergy made huge profits from Indian Point,” said Manna Jo Greene. “They’ve hired Holtec, a company with a poor record of decommissioning, to complete the work. Entergy plans to declare bankruptcy, thereby having taxpayers foot the bill. We are not out of danger. It is a different danger.”Richard Webster, Legal Program Director at Riverkeeper, adds, “Decommissioning must be done promptly, safely and reliably. Selling to Holtec is the worst possible option, because it has a dubious history of bribes, lies, and risk taking, very limited experience in decommissioning, is proposing to raid the decommissioning fund for its own benefit, and is proposing leaving contaminated groundwater to run into the Hudson River.”State Senator David Carlucci warned, “The NRC Inspector General Report shows there is much to be done by the NRC to gain the confidence of myself and the public, as the commission is charged with overseeing the decommissioning of Indian Point and ensuring the health and safety of Hudson Valley Communities. We demand answers from NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki. The Chairman needs to come to the Hudson Valley immediately and outline the steps being taken to address our safety and explain how the commission will properly inspect and guard the pipeline near Indian Point moving forward.”One of the gravest dangers in decommissioning is the storage of spent fuel rods. A fuel rod is a long, zirconium tube containing pellets of uranium, a fissionable material which provides fuel for nuclear reactors. Fuel rods are assembled into bundles called fuel assemblies, which are loaded individually into a reactor core. Fuel rods last about six years. When they’re spent and removed they are placed in wet storage, or pools of water, which is circulated to reduce temperature and provide shielding from radiation. They remain in these pools for 10 years, as they are too hot to be placed in dry storage, or canisters. Even in dry storage, though, they remain extremely radioactive, with high levels of plutonium, which is toxic, and continue to generate heat for decades and remain radioactive for 10,000 years.“Elected officials and government groups became involved once they understood the fatal environmental dangers nuclear energy creates for millenium,” said Susan Shapiro. “It is the only energy that produces waste so dangerous that governments must own and dispose of it.”Robert Kennedy, Jr., of Waterkeeper, explained “If those spent fuel rods caught on fire, if the water dropped, the zirconium coatings of the spent fuel rods would combust. You would release 37 times the amount of radiation that was released at Chernobyl. Around Chernobyl there are 100 miles that are permanently uninhabitable. I would include the workplaces, homes of 20 million Americans, including the Financial District. There’s no evacuation plan. And it’s sitting on two of the biggest earthquake faults in the northeast.”On April 24, 2020, Beyond Indian Point Campaign was launched to advocate for a safe transition during decommissioning. Sponsored by AGREE, Frack Action, Riverkeeper, NIRS and Food and Water Watch, they’re demanding Cuomo hire another company, opposing a license transfer before the State Public Service Commission and NRC and pushing state legislation to establish a board to supervise the decommissioning fund. When decommissioning is finished Beyond Indian Point hopes to further assist the community in the transition to renewable energy. These include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydrothermal power. Sign an online petition on their website to support their work, future generations and earth at BeyondIndianPoint.com, Facebook, or Twitter.“Bravo to everyone involved in making this historic day come to pass,” said Susan Shapiro.Raised in the Midwest, Barbara Puff is a writer who lives in Nyack, NY.
Joseph DeTrani, a former special envoy of the U.S. for Six-Party Talks with North Korea, warned that if North Korea is allowed to retain its nuclear weapons, South Korea, Japan, and others in the region may also decide to own them. He argued that countries, such as North Korea and Iran, and terrorist organizations should be banned from having nuclear power to prevent global nuclear proliferation.
In his article published on U.S. political media The Hill, DeTrani analyzed the meaning of the death of Abdul Qadeer Khan, a national hero in Pakistan who was the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program, and emphasized that his death doesn’t stop the threat of nuclear proliferation. “Iran, North Korea and Libya aggressively pursued a relationship with Khan,” said the special envoy after explaining Khan’s nuclear development activities. He claimed that unlike Libya, which eventually abandoned its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iran and North Korea have persisted with their programs.
“North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests and continues to reprocess spent fuel rods for plutonium for nuclear weapons. They are assessed to have between 40 to 60 nuclear weapons,” said DeTrani. He also added that although North Korea has never admitted to having a highly enriched uranium program for weapons, it does have a declared modern uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon, reportedly with thousands of spinning centrifuges. The special envoy mentioned that North Korea reportedly supported Syria in the construction of a nuclear reactor in Al-Kibar and Al Qaeda reportedly attempted to acquire nuclear weapons and fissile materials from North Korea.
‘If North Korea is permitted to retain its nuclear weapons, South Korea, Japan and others in the region may decide that, despite U.S. nuclear deterrence commitments, they need their own nuclear weapons,” He added that if Iran pursues a nuclear weapons program, it’s likely that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will pursue their own nuclear weapons programs.
ReutersNovember 16, 20213:44 AM MSTLast Updated 13 hours ago
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Israeli troops killed an armed Palestinian on Tuesday in an exchange of fire in the occupied West Bank, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups said, each claiming the man as a member.
The Israeli military said soldiers returned fire after being shot at and having an explosive device thrown at them during an operation in the Palestinian village of Tubas. It said it was aware of reports of Palestinian casualties but it gave no details.
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In a statement, Hamas identified the Palestinian killed in Tubas as Saddam Hussein Bani Odeh, 26, hailing him as a “hero martyr” shot dead in an “armed clash with Zionist occupation forces”.
Islamic Jihad issued a similar statement, claiming Odeh as a member.
The Israeli military frequently mounts operations in Palestinian villages and towns in the West Bank, territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, to detain suspected militants.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, opposed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, broke down in 2014.
Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Nick Macfie
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Tom BalmforthNovember 16, 20218:39 AM MSTLast Updated 8 hours ago
MOSCOW, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday it had conducted a weapons test that targeted an old Russian satellite with “razor-sharp precision” and denied allegations by the United States, Britain and NATO that the test had been dangerous for orbiting spacecraft.
U.S. officials said Monday’s test had generated a debris field in low-Earth orbit that endangered the International Space Station (ISS) and that would pose a hazard to space activities for years. read more
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the test was reckless, posed a threat to the ISS and an orbiting Chinese spacecraft, and showed Russia was developing new weapons systems. A British government spokesperson condemned the test and urged Moscow to join discussions at the United Nations on “responsible behaviour when it comes to space.”
Russia’s Defence Ministry said the debris from the test had not posed a threat to the ISS, and that Washington knew this.
“We did indeed successfully test a promising system. It hit the old satellite with razor-sharp precision. The fragments that formed pose no threat to space activity,” Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.
The target was a non-operational spacecraft, Tselina-D, that had been in orbit since 1982, the ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s space agency said the ISS’s crew had temporarily to moved into their respective spacecraft.
The Defence Ministry said Russia was forced to beef up its defence capabilities because of weapons tests by the United States and Washington establishing a space force in 2020.
Moscow said it had sought an agreement to stop weapons being deployed in space for years, but that Washington and its allies had blocked the deal at the United Nations.
Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow, Sabine Siebold and Robin Emmott in Brussels, Idrees Ali and Steve Gorman in Washington, and Kate Holton in London; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Catherine Evans and Timothy Heritage
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.
16 Nov, 2021 10:07
Reports from America suggesting Beijing is dramatically increasing its number of nuclear weapons have a definite agenda – to raise the appetite for greater spending on the US military. A new arms race will be the result.
Over the past few weeks, the Financial Times has carried a number of stories based around deliberate leaks and interviews from the Pentagon. It was the FT, for example, that broke the news about China’s apparent hypersonic missile test.
The stories all have a common theme and focus – to dramatically hype up the supposed ‘military threat’ from Beijing, warn of its increased capabilities, and drum up demand for the US to do more to counter it.
The latest story of this nature appeared on Monday. In an interview with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, the FT reports that the Pentagon is apparently “stunned” that China is dramatically scaling up its nuclear warheads and will have over 1,000 by the end of this decade.
If true, the story is noteworthy because it marks a clear shift in China’s nuclear weapons policy, which for over half a century has been based on the idea of having a minimum deterrent. The timing is significant, too, because it was published just hours before the highly anticipated virtual summit between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden. The article pursues a predictable agenda, with Milley quoted as saying, “We need to act with urgency to develop capabilities across all domains – land, sea, air, space, cyber and our strategic nuclear forces – to address this evolving global landscape.”
In other words, it’s a call for US military spending to be dramatically increased. Little wonder then, that the headline highlights Milley’s claim that China’s apparent nuclear build-up is “one of the largest shifts in geostrategic power ever.”
There is good reason to believe that China is indeed recalibrating its nuclear policy, but not in the way the US says it is. The abandonment of the ‘minimum deterrent’ position comes in response to the shifting geopolitical landscape, whereby the US has attempted to pursue an all-embracing military containment of Beijing in multiple areas on its own periphery.
This includes regularly sailing aircraft carriers up close to China’s territory, pursuing constant military exercises (and encouraging allies to do so too), forming military coalitions against China through the likes of the Quadand AUKUS, increasing arms sales to Taiwan, and so on.
Whilst it might be tempting to describe this build-up as similar to the Cold War nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR, Beijing’s objectives are more limited and specific than amounting to a question of hegemony.
First of all, this is all focused on a specific region rather than having global scope. It is not comparable to the Cold War, where the USSR had amassed nearly 50,000 nuclear warheads by the time of its collapse.
China is not attempting to compete globally with the US – which sustains over 4,400 active warheads – but rather achieve the upper hand in the Asia-Pacific region, with the aim of consolidating its hand over Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Despite this, China has not officially denounced its ‘no first use’ policy and continues to pay lip service to it. This means that unless it says otherwise, these warheads remain as a deterrent, and will not be used in offensive action.
Despite the ‘no first use’ policy, everyone knows the strategic and political considerations of nuclear weapons are based on potential, and influence the balance of power accordingly.
And herein lies the key point which constitutes the “geostrategic power shift” that the article alludes to – as exaggerated as parts of it may be. The intention by Beijing is clear – by building up its nuclear arsenal, China is seeking to nullify the probability that in a war scenario, the US would, under its own ‘first use’ policy, launch or propose a pre-emptive nuclear attack on China to, for example, save Taiwan.
Beijing’s arms build-up serves to negate that potential scenario by raising the stakes to vastly increase the retaliatory destructive power it could unleash on the US or its allies. This kind of consideration could have a significant impact on the policies of surrounding countries, such as Japan or Australia. Because even if Beijing vows not to use a nuclear weapon first, the more relevant question is: Are you willing to engage in military action against a nuclear superpower? Words alone mean little when war begins and the risks become bigger.
While putting together an arsenal of 1,000 warheads is not an attempt to compete with the US head on, it is sufficient to make countries – including America itself – see China in a different light.
This is where China’s regional advantage comes into play. Beijing would like to show that it is capable of taking Taiwan without the US and its allies having the capability or will to respond, giving it the potential to do so without firing a single shot – in which case the ‘no first use’ policy would be irrelevant.
For Washington in particular, this changes the scenario to a question of whether a war against China could ever be won. And this at a time when there are some in Washington who want the US to commit to a war to ‘save Taiwan’. How could it do so in this case?
But it also means the US will respond – as the agenda of the FT article makes clear – and pursue a nuclear build-up of its own. In that case, we must acknowledge that the threat of a new nuclear arms race becomes a very real possibility and is arguably happening already. There is no chance that the US will simply allow China to shift the balance of power – but the reality is that Beijing’s actions are a response to moves by the Americans.
In conclusion, it seems highly probable that China has changed course on its nuclear policy. From keeping a minimum deterrent, it is now said to be pursuing a build-up which will escalate its arsenal to four times its last reported size. This is a strategic response to the ongoing American efforts to contain Beijing, with the goal of making a war scenario a non-starter.
China is not seeking to be a nuclear hegemon on a global scale, but it has nonetheless decided that it needs to show it is a serious player. As the FT article proves, the US will willingly highlight this to push for funds for an arms build-up – and that’s exactly what we’re now getting.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Iraq, like many countries, is a place where votes are not only counted but weighed and interpreted. So it is not surprising that there have been resounding recriminations following the 10 October elections – for there has been a major political upset.
Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance became the major political bloc with 74 seats, thus gaining the privilege of designating the next prime minister. So the cleric “owns” almost half of the 165 MPs needed to win a confidence vote in the 329-member parliament and have a government approved. The main Sunni parties led by Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi got 34 seats and the businessman Khamis al-Khanjar 15.
The biggest shock was the collapse of the pro-Iran party of the Fatah bloc, led by Hadi al-Amiri
Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list increased the number of its MPs from 25 to 35, becoming a power-broker in the haggling to follow. However, the biggest shock was the collapse of the pro-Iran party of the Fatah bloc, led by Hadi al-Amiri, which crashed from 60 seats to 17.
As for the Kurds, Masoud Barzani’s Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) expanded from 25 to 33 seats, increasing his chances of designating a new president of the republic to replace the incumbent Barham Salih.
Unsurprisingly, the pro-Iran parties cried foul. They claimed fraud had taken place and staged protests. But the ongoing recount is unlikely to alter the outcome significantly. They have to come to terms with one obvious message from the electorate: the vote was a major rejection of, or rebuke to, them.
There is simply no other way of spinning the numbers.
But that is a separate issue from the hard reality of the Iraqi political ritual that follows – forming a government. If previous experience is anything to go by, this could drag on for months and the outcome could be worlds away from the popular will expressed in October.
Iraq elections: As Sadr seeks full control, Maliki woos his bruised opponentsRead More »
Political vacuums create instability, as shown by the drone attack on the incumbent Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s residence earlier this month. It is still not known who was behind the attack. Though fingers point to pro-Iran militias, however, most of them denounced the attack as “stupid and uncalculated”, one which had caused great harm to the Shia factions themselves. Abu Ali al-Askari, commander of Kataib Hezbollah, the Shia armed faction most hostile to the prime minister, claimed that none of the factions would bother wasting a drone on Kadhimi’s house.
Since the US invasion of 2003, Iraqi politics, and especially the power to appoint the prime minister, has been in the gift of the Shia community and its leaders, with associated roles played by rival foreign powers the US and Iran.
Will Sadr follow the same script, or will he depart from the unwritten rules of this political quota system? The quota system has perpetuated and safeguarded the powers and privileges of its different component political blocs independently from election results.
Besides his bloc in parliament, Sadr’s main political asset is that he is the heir of one of the most important families in Shia Islam – a family that traces its lineage right to the Prophet Muhammad. The Sadrs claim direct connection with prominent scholars and immense influence and prestige in Iraq and elsewhere. They led the rebellion against the British in the 1920s.
Imam Musa al-Sadr became the spiritual leader of Lebanese Shia, contributing to their revival before mysteriously disappearing in Libya in 1978. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and Mohamed Sadiq al-Sadr (Muqtada’s father) were executed by Saddam Hussein in 1980 and 1999 respectively, and both exerted from their base in Najaf a strong influence among Iraqi Shias and even on the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Muqtada, a teenager at the time, was confined to house arrest, limited to a single room for almost a decade on the orders of Saddam.
Sadr, according to his supporters, has the power to paralyse the capital on a whim – a card few other Iraqi politicians can play
Such a weighty heritage, together with his armed resistance against the US occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2008, has boosted his political credentials and given him the power to produce, at the drop of a hat, millions of supporters onto the streets of Baghdad from its north-eastern suburban stronghold of Sadr City.
Sadr, according to his supporters, has the power to paralyse the capital on a whim – a card few other Iraqi politicians can play. Considering his increased power after the recent elections, it is time to ask what Sadr actually thinks and how he is assessing Iraq’s political future.
Reliable sources inside his office have offered us some glimpses.
Complex relationship with Iran
Like his predecessors, Sadr rejects a permanent presence of US troops as an occupation or combat force. He is, however, open to a US military presence as trainers and in providing logistical support to the Iraqi army, which he acknowledges is overly dependent on American military procurement.
Sadr has a long and complex relationship with Iran, full of nuances, difficult to grasp for external observers. When he perceives himself to be under threat in Iraq, Sadr frequently spends long periods in Iran. He is aware that relations between the two countries are now unbreakable, but he is also opposed to pro-Iran militias operating inside Iraq and to Tehran’s interference in what he regards as his own country’s internal affairs.
Iraq: Iran-backed factions ‘will pay the price’ for drone attack on KadhimiRead More »
His opposition to pro-Iran militias should not, the sources point out, be confused with an opposition to Hashd al-Shaabi (the Popular Mobilisation Forces or PMF) – that is a far more complex situation.
This is important because western analysis – and I have first-hand experience with this – usually tends to wrongly conflate the PMF and pro-Iran militias.
We have also been told that Sadr favours increased relations with Russia and China to help Iraq’s future development, provided this is done in the interests of Iraq and without any external power of veto. The same is true for Saudi Arabia.
He is also said to be reluctant for Iraq to be dragged into the logic and policies of the Axis of Resistance, an anti-western, anti-Israel, anti-Saudi military and political alliance spearheaded by Iran with Syrian and Hezbollah participation. For Sadr, the primary objective is the renaissance of Iraq and, to this end, the country should stay away from regional political schemes.
Coalition with Sunni parties
To a specific question asking whether Iraq should join the Abraham Accords, normalising relations with Israel, the answer was vehemently negative. Sadr would aim to create a national agenda and free Iraq from the policies of other regional and non-regional powers, which for two decades have been settling their scores on Iraqi soil – prioritising the reconstruction of the country and rejecting any external interference whatsoever.
As for the new Iraqi government, al-Najaf sources point to Sadr’s intention to free himself from most Shia blocs’ vetoes and look for a possible coalition with the Sunni parties of Halbousi and Khanjar and Barzani’s KDP.
There is bound to be a reckoning between competing pro-Iranian power blocs in Iraq, if not competing interests within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps itself
Preliminary conclusions to be drawn from what Sadr’s staff has been willing to share is that if the Iraqi leader succeeds in his plan to shape a new government, it would be a clear attempt to overcome the sectarian divide and to promote more coalition governance in Iraq.
These three blocs’ seats combined are close to the threshold of the 165 needed to win a confidence vote, and the joining of minor parties could allow such a target to be reached. Of course, it remains to be seen whether other Shia blocs and power-brokers, mainly Maliki and Ameri, would consent to Sadr’s plan – not to mention the pro-Iran militias. From this point of view, the clumsydrone attack against Khadimi’s house serves more as a warning shot rather than a direct personal threat.
The coalition that Sadr seems to have in mind could nevertheless collide with his intention to free Iraq from external interferences. Such a stance, the reasoning goes, would be put to the test by the influence that Turkey is attributed to have on the Halbousi and Khanjar parties, and by the US’s and Israel’s influence on Barzani’s KDP.
The following weeks in Iraq will be tense. Above all, there is bound to be a reckoning between competing pro-Iranian power blocs in Iraq, if not competing interests within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) itself.
These are interesting times, and for Esmail Qaani, the IRGC’s commander, not easy ones.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Fears of war have been raised as a US nuclear detachment arrives in Germany with new hypersonic weapons.
Helena SutanNovember 15, 2021
Fears of war have been raised as a US nuclear detachment arrives in Germany with new hypersonic weapons.
As tensions rise on Europe’s Eastern front, an American nuclear artillery battalion has been redeployed to Germany, raising concerns of war.
The unit, which is equipped with long-range hypersonic missile technology, is the first of its sort since the conclusion of the Cold War. The Dark Eagle weapon will be controlled by the 56th Artillery Command in Mainz-Kastel, which, when completely built and deployed, will be capable of accelerating to more than five times the speed of sound, or almost 4,000mph.
The reactivation reflects rising Pentagon concerns that Russia has outgunned the US and NATO in Europe with longer-range artillery rockets and its own hypersonic weapons development.
As Russian military are deployed to the Ukraine border, tensions between Russia-backed Belarus and Poland are rising over waves of migrants trying to enter Europe.
Rising powers are striving to overturn the status quo in the current global world order, which is dominated by the hegemonic power of the United States.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Iron Curtain, nuclear arsenals have been maintained reasonably secure.
With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the command was disbanded, and its main weapon, the Pershing II ballistic missile, was banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The Trump administration, on the other hand, withdrew the INF in 2019 after accusing Russia of breaking the rules.
The 56th Artillery Command will also get a ground-launched version of the US Navy’s Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile, in addition to Dark Eagle.
The reactivation “will give the US Army Europe and Africa with considerable capabilities in multi-domain operations,” according to Commander Stephen Maranian, commanding general of the artillery unit.
America’s Europe and Africa commands are based in Germany.
General Maranian mentioned intentions to deploy “future long-range surface-to-surface” missiles, alluding to hypersonic weapons’ impending arrival in Europe.
Despite the fact that no hypersonic weapons are ready for deployment, the first launcher systems placed on trailers were delivered to an army camp in Washington State in September, allowing personnel to begin training programs.
Three tests of “hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems” tied to Dark Eagle were completed satisfactorily, according to the Pentagon.
However, a hypersonic missile test in Alaska failed last month.
“Brinkwire Summary News” from China and Russia.