THE SIXTH SEAL: NEW YORK CITY (REVELATION 6:12)

Earthquake activity in the New York City area

WikipediaAlthough the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island.The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5.For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.

Background

The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region,but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New YorkNew Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone,which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

The wall around Gaza won’t stop Palestinian resistance: Revelation 11

A picture showing the Gaza fence built by Israel, 7 February 2017 [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]

Will Israeli wall around Gaza stop Palestinian resistance?

A picture showing the Gaza fence built by Israel, 7 February 2017 [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]Motasem A Dalloul abujomaaGazaDecember 13, 2021 at 4:01 pm 

Israel announced, last week, the completion of the highly technological security wall on its side of the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. This sensor-equipped underground wall, Israel claims, is a counter-measure developed to prevent Palestinian resistance in Gaza from digging tunnels that they use to carry out resistance attacks against Israeli soldiers during wars.

During the 51-day Israeli offensive on Gaza carried out in 2014, when Israel killed more than 2,260 Palestinians and wounded more than 11,000 others, the Palestinian resistance used the tunnels to infiltrate into the military sites of the Israeli occupation soldiers and clashed with them, killing a number of them.

The Israeli occupation raised the issue of the wall in 2016, noting that it consists of an above-ground fence and subterranean barricade, includes a naval barrier, radar systems, hundreds of cameras, sensors, remote-controlled weapons system and command and control rooms.

In a statement issued by his Ministry, Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, said: “The barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities [defence tunnels] it tried to develop. [It] places an ‘iron wall’, sensors and concrete between the terror organisation and the residents of Israel’s south.

Will this NIS3.5 billion ($1.1 billion) wall, which is 40-miles (65-kilometer) long, prevent Hamas and the other Palestinian resistance factions from reaching out to the Israeli occupation soldiers during any Israeli offensive?

First and foremost, the Palestinian resistance will not see anything impossible to hit back against Israeli occupation aggression. Israeli writer, Amos Harel, who is described by Israeli daily, Haaretz, as one of Israel’s leading media experts on military and defence issues, said that the Palestinian resistance used the tunnels to carry out attacks against the Israeli occupation after the operation of the Iron Dome system, which is being used to intercept the homemade Palestinian rockets.

About the barrier, he wrote on Haaretzthat the new Gaza barrier “proves that it (Israel) prefers walls to war,” pointing out that this barrier is just a huge project that consumed much money that would have been better spent on education, social and healthcare programmes. “Would-be attackers in Gaza will probably seek and find more detours around the $1.1 billion wall,” he said, noting that the Palestinian resistance has already started investing in attack drones.

Gideon Levy, a senior Israeli journalist, told me that he did not think that this barrier would reduce the Israeli attacks on Gaza, nor would it protect the Israeli occupation from the Palestinians. Harel asked if Israel was obliged to go for a ground operation on multiple fronts, would it be able to win?

Meron Zev, an Israeli journalist, told me: “The barrier will not solve any problem. I do not think it will stop Israel from attacking Gaza … I suppose it will not be easy to cross, but I do not think it will stop Palestinians from carrying out attacks against Israel.”

Yoav Zitun and Matan Tzuri reported a senior Israeli military official saying to Yedioth Ahronoth that the barrier cut the Palestinian tunnels from Gaza to Israel, there is nothing that guarantees an absolute solution for Palestinian infiltration into Israel.

Palestinian writer, Mustafa Al-Sawwaf, commented on the issue of the barrier, saying: “It seems that it does not make any obstacle ahead of the Palestinian resistance. I am sure the Palestinian resistance will find any way to leap over it and get behind the enemy lines. It only reflects the weakness of the State which counts itself one of the major world powers.”

He stressed: “As long as the Palestinian resistance has not surrendered, there would be a solution for every Israeli obstacle. The creativity of the Palestinian resistance proved that it is able to deal with every Israeli measure taken to stop it or undermine its tools.” Al-Sawwaf considered this as part of conflict of brains between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinians.

It is worth noting that Zev compared this barrier with the Chinese wall, which is an attractive place for tourists and visitors. Zev and Levy said that this wall just tightened the Israeli occupation siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

In 2002, late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, decided to build a wall in the occupied West Bank in order to prevent Palestinian resistance attacks. The wall was completed, but the attacks did not stop.

Harel said that this wall proved the weakness of the Israeli army; however, Baruch Yedid, an Israeli journalist, denied this, telling me that every army in the world has attack and defence strategies, pointing that this barrier is part of the Israel army’s defence strategies.

Meanwhile, sources from the Palestinian resistance revealed that there are currently tunnels, similar to those used during the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, through which the Palestinian resistance fighters reached the military bases of the Israeli army.

“We do not speak too much,” a Palestinian resistance source told me. “But when the Israeli occupation carries out any attack against the Palestinians, the whole world will be shocked with our resistance abilities.”

He added: “The creativity of our resistance does not stand paralysed in front of this Israeli barrier or any other Israeli measures aimed at paralysing it. We have our plans and the Israeli army will be under our feet in any future confrontation.”

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor

The Chinese Nuclear Horn Threatens the US

Missile,weapon,theprophecy,Nuclear,Weapons,china,The Prophecy,ICBM,program,andrewtheprophet,daniel 7:7,Andrew the Prophet,

China threatens ‘heavy attack’ against Joe Biden and the US should they rescue Taiwan

JOE BIDEN has been warned by Chinese state media that Beijing will not hesitate to strike US forces should they try to intervene in plans to reunite Taiwan with the mainland.

By James Lee

 14:58, Sun, Dec 12, 2021 | UPDATED: 14:59, Sun, Dec 12, 2021

The Global Times picked up on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s statement on Tuesday, in which he said that the US was “going to take every action that we can take, from the point of view of both deterrence and diplomacy” to prevent a scenario where China takes over Taiwan militarily. The message was echoed the same day by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who warned China that a military scenario vis-a-vis Taiwan would be a “very serious mistake.”

Chinese action over Taiwan has raised great concern at the ongoing G7 summit in Liverpool

Foreign Minister Liz Truss has already stated that “hostile nations” must be dealt with at the meeting, referring to China, Russia and Iran in the speech.

However, the Chinese outlet, Global Times surmised that Sullivan’s assurances should not be construed as a “manifesto of US policy,” as the “US simply cannot build a deterrent to prevent the Chinese mainland from carrying out reunification by force when necessary.”

The op-ed goes on to claim that Washington does not really have the “will to defend Taiwan at all costs.”

China Biden Xi
China Army

With US attention also focused on the ongoing tension surrounding Russia and Ukraine, Beijing may be right in their assessment of just how serious Washington is when committing to dealing with Taiwan.

Taking into account a worst-case scenario, the Chinese media outlet said: “It is ‘credible’ that US troops, should they come to Taiwan’s rescue, would be ‘heavily attacked’ by the People’s Liberation Army if ‘reunification by force’ does happen.”

The Global Times predicts Sullivan would be likely to “recall or downplay” his statement later since the “US cannot afford” to defend Taiwan “at the cost of a deadly war.”

With the Chinese Premier having on multiple occasions stated that China will see the reunification of the island with China, the Global Times added this is still true.

Taiwan military
Biden Xi

It stated that: “Reunification by force will definitely happen” unless Washington convinces Taiwan authorities to accept the concept of ‘one country, two systems and engage with mainland China “on the path of peaceful reunification.”

China blames Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which came to power in 2016, for the escalation, adding that the situation has possibly already gone beyond the point of no return.

Through the piece, China has also warned Mr Sullivan to weigh his words carefully going forward and not to “have a big mouth,” lest he “create more embarrassment” for the US.

Beijing sees Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. However, the island considers itself independent since 1949, when the losing side in the Chinese civil war fled there as communist forces took over the mainland.

While Taiwan is officially recognized by a little more than a dozen countries, it enjoys a strategic partnership with the US. Washington sells weapons to the island’s authorities and provides them with diplomatic support.

However, the US itself does not officially recognise the island nation as an independent entity.

China Army

Tensions between mainland China and Taiwan have been gradually escalating over the past few years, with Beijing staging massive military drills near the island.

Recently, the Government Nicaragua was the latest nation to officially cut ties with Taiwan, and side with Beijing on a diplomatic level.

Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said: “The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing all of China and Taiwan is an undoubted part of the Chinese territory.”

Jake Sullivan

Beijing refuses to maintain diplomatic ties with any country that recognizes Taiwan and has spent much of the past 40 years attempting to isolate the island by chipping away at its diplomatic allies with offers of economic support.

In 2018, El Salvador, Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic all said they would no longer recognize Taipei, followed by the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in 2019.

In response, the US has been forging new alliances with powers in the region including India, Australia and Japan to counter-balance the pressure from Beijing.

The Russian Horn leads the world in hypersonic missiles:Daniel 7

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (5th L) visits the National Defence Control Centre (NDCC) to oversee the test of a new Russian hypersonic missile system called Avangard, which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads, in Moscow, Russia December 26, 2018. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Russia leads the world in hypersonic missiles tech, Putin says

December 12, 20211:01 PM MSTLast Updated a day ago

MOSCOW, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Russia is the global leader in hypersonic missiles and, by the time other countries catch up, is likely to have developed technology to counteract these new weapons, President Vladimir Putin said.

Russia and the United States have an approximate parity when if comes to the number of warheads and their carriers, Putin said in comments aired on Sunday as part of a documentary film called “Russia. New History”.

“But in our advanced developments, we are definitely the leaders,” Putin said, adding that Russia is also No. 1 in the world by the scale of upgrades of its traditional weapons.

The president said that in the future, other world powers would possess similar hypersonic weapon technology.

“When they get this weapon, it is highly likely will have means to fight this weapon.”

Putin said last month that tests of Russia’s Zircon hypersonic cruise missile are nearing completion and deliveries to the navy will begin in 2022. read more 

Some Western experts have questioned how advanced Russia’s new generation of weapons is, while recognising that the combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude of hypersonic missiles makes them difficult to track and intercept.

They travel at more than five times the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere, or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph). This is slower than an intercontinental ballistic missile, but the shape of a hypersonic glide vehicle allows it to manoeuvre toward a target or away from defences.

Moscow’s military spending is much lower than that of Washington. Russia channelled $62 billion on military expenditures in 2020 versus $778 billion spent by the United States, according to the World Bank data.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Reuters last month that the United States and China were engaged in an arms race to develop the most lethal hypersonic weapons.

In October, the top U.S. military officer, General Mark Milley, confirmed a Chinese hypersonic weapons test that military experts say appears to show Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade American missile defences.

Putin spoke about Russia’s military power in the same documentary film where he lamented the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago as the demise of what he called “historical Russia”. read more 

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Pravin Char

It was inevitable that Iran would go nuclear: Daniel 8

iran nuclear

Was it inevitable that Iran would go nuclear?

Was it inevitable that Iran would one day gain nuclear weapons?

Identifying causality in human actions is a tricky exercise, especially when it comes to historical events, like the outbreak of World War Two. Was appeasement the cause? Or perhaps a war with Germany was unavoidable as long as Adolf Hitler was in power?

It may also be fated that a nation of ninety million people, proud about its history and place in the world — Persia was already an advanced civilization when barbarian tribes roamed the British Isles — would become a nuclear military power.

That nuclearization process actually commenced under Mohammad Reza Shah and continued because of concern that, thanks to French assistance, Iran’s adversary Iraq was on its way to developing a nuclear weapon. That plan was thankfully wrecked by Iran’s arch-enemy, Israel.

There are many reasons explaining why Iran is now on its way to getting the Bomb, but according to liberal American and Israeli pundits, the cause is clear: the decision by Washington to tear up the Iran nuclear deal in the 2018!

And the two main villains in this narrative are — Surprise, surprise! — former president Donald Trump and his Israeli sidekick, former prime minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, an early supporter of the disastrous Iraq War, describes the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal as “one of the most poorly thought out and counterproductive US national security decisions of the post-Cold War era.

Friedman, the king of metaphors, comparesthe current negotiations in Vienna on renewing the nuclear deal to a poker night. The Iranians could win a royal flush and President Joe Biden may be left with a losing hand because, well, Trump had overplayed his hand in 2018.

In Ha’aretz, the Israeli equivalent of the New York Times, columnist Amir Tibon bashes “Bibi” for selling “one big lie” to the Israelis when he bragged that he succeeded in pressing Trump to scrap the deal with Iran, a move that, according to Tibon, accelerated Iran’s drive to get the bomb.

Like other critics, Tibon also blames “Bibi” for ruining Israel’s relationship with the Democrats in Congress by campaigning publicly against President Obama’s “very bad deal” as Netanyahu described it.

Right! There is no doubt that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be now on her way to Israel on a trip sponsored by the Jewish National Fund to plant a tree there — if it wasn’t for Netanyahu’s address to Congress blasting the nuclear deal in March 2015.

And in a bow to bipartisanship, the researchers in the Quincy Institute for “Responsible Statecraft,” a Washington think tank that has consistently echoed the views of the “moderates” in the Islamic Republic, the negotiations with Iran have been stalled because “President Joe Biden refused to commit to keeping sanctions lifted on Iran for the rest of his term, even if Iran rejoins and complies with the nuclear deal.”

In fact, Trita Parsi, a former president of the National Iranian American Council, and a co-founder of the Quincy Institute, has argued in the spirit of Blame America First, that the Iranians elected the hardliner Ayatollah Ebrahem Raisi because Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy vis-à-vis Tehran had “undermined centrists and reformers, setting up a rigged election with an increasingly certain outcome.”

Indeed, if only the West would have been more accommodating toward “moderate” Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin would have not come to power.

But to employ Tibon’s term, the “one big lie” that underlines these and similar criticism is the notion that the nuclear deal with Iran that was drawn by then president Barack Obama and the Dr Kissinger wannabe John Kerry was an historic diplomatic-strategic triumph for the America on a par with the nuclear arms-control agreements the US signed with the former Soviet Union or the opening to China.

In fact, notwithstanding its grandiose name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was no more than a sloppy exercise in kicking the Iran can down the road, allowing the Iranians to pretend that they were freezing their nuclear program in return for the promise of economic engagement with the West — aka US dollars.

The deal couldn’t even win the support of the two-thirds majority in the US Senate needed for ratification. It amounted to “a non-binding commitment” by the president that could be reversed by his successor in office as Republican lawmakers had warned the Ayatollahs.

Contrary to the myth perpetrated by the likes of Tibon and Friedman, almost all Israeli generals, active or retired, believed that that the JCPOA was a lousy agreement that would allow Iran to continue secretly developing its nuclear capability while destabilizing the Middle East by arming its Shiite proxies in Lebanon, Iran and Yemen.

And that’s exactly what Iran has been doing since the US decimated Iraq as a strategic counter-balance to Tehran and allowed pro-Iran Shiites to come to power in Baghdad, and that it felt even more free to do after the signing of the 2015 deal.

From the perspective of Israel’s strategic interests, the JCPOA made it more difficult for the Israelis to justify using military force against Iran which could have possibly drawn the US into a war with the Iranians. That was indeed the main reason President Obama rushed to sign the tenuous deal.

And it’s more likely than not that if the more hawkish and pro-Israel Hillary Clinton had succeeded Obama in office, the deal with Iran would have not survived the expected growing tensions over Iran’s failure to fulfill its commitments under the JCPOA and its destabilizing policies in the Middle East.

It’s not a secret that most Israeli policymakers from the center-right to the center-left have concluded that the only realistic way to slow Iran’s nuclear build-up is through the use of military force by the US and/or Israel, by attacking the country’s nuclear sites, in the same way that Israel destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007 and Iraq’s in 1981.

Facing an Obama administration that rejected utilizing the military option against Iran, the Israelis came close to launching a unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear sites in 2011, only to cancel the plan at the last moment. That move played into the hands of the Obama-Kerry duo by making the diplomatic option look more viable.

Revoking the nuclear deal made sense for a Trump administration that, unlike its predecessor, was ready to play tough with Iran and assist Israel and the Arab Gulf states in standing up to it hoping to persuade Iran to negotiate a better deal.

The problem was that neither the Americans nor the Israelis had a Plan B in place; that would have had to involve the use of military force in case the “maximum pressure” strategy would not achieve its goals and Iran didn’t cry uncle.

In fact, President Trump himself seemed to be reluctant to use force against Iran at a time when he was trying to reduce US military presence in the Middle East, which in a way reflected the strategic calculations of both his predecessor and his successor in office.

To borrow Friedman’s poker game metaphor, the only winning hand that President Biden could play in Vienna is the threat using military force against Iran, and short of that, sending signals that he would give Israel a green or yellow light to do that.

There is no doubt, however, that in the post-Trump-Netanyahu universe, the Biden administration has been projecting diplomatic irresolution, a willingness to appease Iran and just plain incompetence. In the process it has weakened the American hand in Vienna.

For example, what kind of message did the selection of Robert Malley as the US special representative send to Iran?

Malley is the son of Simon Malley, an Egyptian-born journalist, a radical leftist and third-worldist who had counted Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro among his buddies. His son seemed to follow at his footsteps, regularly bashing Israel in articles in the New York Review of Books and calling for US rapprochement with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s like imagining Winston Churchill nominating Oswald Mosley to negotiate a deal with Hitler. No wonder Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett refused to meet with Malley. But then he would probably be rewarded with a senior fellowship position at the Quincy Institute after retiring from government.

In Israel, the government headed by Bennett — a long-time supporter of annexing the West Bank to Israel — includes left-wing peaceniks and even an Islamist politician. But it has been unable to embrace a clear strategy to deal with what many expect would be an American deal with Tehran, or a decision by Iran to withdraw from the talks and become a nuclear threshold state.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak, who described the 2015 deal as an “historical mistake” and who supported striking Iran in 2011, expects Iran to become a nuclear threshold state in a few weeks or months, and argues that Israel needs to prepare for such a scenario and cannot count on the US to prevent that from happening.

“I’ll be very cautious saying this here, but I am not sure that Israel or the US have a doable plan that would allow us to wake up in the morning and declare the Iran is three years away from acquiring a nuclear bomb,” Barak told Israeli television channel 12 News.

That the Iranians negotiators in Vienna probably have known that all along may explain their sense of confidence, if not arrogance in the talks. They recognize that an America bidding farewell in the Middle East, tired of wars, and led by an elderly and weak president and a divided and anxious Israel, is not an America ready for a shootout at high noon. At least Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu gave the impression that they were.

The European Nuclear Horn’s unify against Russia

The UK is seeking elusive consensus from the wealthy nations’ club in response to what it calls “malign behaviour” by Russia [Olivier Douliery/Pool via Reuters]

G7 ministers seek to present a ‘show of unity’ against Russia

Top diplomats from G7 nations gather in the UK as Western nations express concerns against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Foreign minister of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations gathered in the British city of Liverpool have sought to demonstrate “a show of unity against global aggressors”, with the host, the United Kingdom, expressing deep concern about the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border.

The UK is seeking elusive consensus from the wealthy nations’ club in response to what it calls “malign behaviour” by Russia, and over tensions with China and Iran.

“We need to defend ourselves against the growing threats from hostile actors,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said as she opened the meeting of foreign ministers from the UK, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. “And we need to come together strongly to stand up to aggressors who are seeking to limit the bounds of freedom and democracy.”

The US and its NATO allies are concerned that the movement of Russian troops and weapons to the border region with Ukraine may be a prelude to an invasion and have said they would inflict heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy if that happens.

Moscow denies planning to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs. The Kremlin has said it is alarmed by a Western push to supply Ukraine with high-tech weapons that it claims are being used by Kyiv to provoke Moscow.

On Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg rejected Russian demands to withdraw its invitation to Ukraine to join the military alliance.

Truss and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed how to deter Russia from “further aggression against Ukraine” in a one-on-one meeting, the US Department of State said. The UK said the two warned that a Russian incursion “would be a strategic mistake for which there would be serious consequences”.

Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from Liverpool, said among all the issues and threats that the delegates have been discussing include China, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and COVID – but “none have dominated like the issue of Russia”.

“Liz Truss is trying to position herself as a kind of unifier of the free world,” Challands said.

“She has said we have to deter Russia from taking that course of action (invading Ukraine),” he added.

The Department of State announced on Saturday that the top American diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, will visit both Kyiv and Moscow next week “to reinforce the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” and to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

After meeting with Ukrainian and Russian officials, Donfried will go on to Brussels to talk with NATO and European Union allies.

Attempting to rally unity among disparate the G7 club of wealthy nations, Truss said that “free democratic nations” must wean themselves off Russian gas and Russian money to preserve their independence.

She said she wanted to work with other countries “to make sure that free democratic nations are able to have an alternative to Russian gas supplies”, a reference to the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was built to carry gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.

Truss met Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, a politician from the environmentalist Greens who previously opposed Nord Stream 2, on the sidelines of the gathering.

The UK which is not particularly dependent on Russian gas, has been a critic of the pipeline. But London’s financial district and property market are major hubs for Russian money, and UK authorities have long been accused of turning a blind eye to ill-gotten funds from around the world.

Truss insisted the UK is willing to consider new economic measures to protect its “core values,” saying “cheap energy or cheap financing” could have “a long-term cost for freedom and democracy”.

The weekend meeting at the dockside Museum of Liverpool is the final major event of the UK’s year-long G7 presidency. The diplomats in Liverpool also plan to discuss lagging efforts to vaccinate the world against coronavirus, tensions in the western Balkans, Afghanistan and North Korea, and China’s muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.

The gathering is taking place as negotiators meet in Vienna to try to revive the nuclear deal that seeks to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Blinken met German, French and British diplomats in Liverpool to discuss next steps over Iran, and the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, Robert Malley also stopped in the city on his way to Vienna.

Truss also invited ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to the Liverpool meeting, though many were joining remotely because of the pandemic.

Truss told her G7 counterparts that democracies needed to fight “economic coercion” and “win the battle of technology” – both pointed references to Beijing’s growing influence around the globe.

The G7 has launched a “Build Back Better World” initiative to offer developing nations funding for big infrastructure projects as an alternative to money from China that, the West argues, often comes with strings attached.

Iran warns the US of ‘heavy price’: Revelation 16

iranian foreign ministry spokesman saeed khatibzadeh during a press conference photo afp

Iran warns of ‘heavy price’ after report of US-Israeli military drill plans

A top Iranian military official warned on Saturday of a “heavy price” for aggressors, state media said, after a report of US and Israeli plans for possible military drills to prepare for strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy fails.

“Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price,” Nournews, affiliated with Iran’s top security body, said on Twitter, citing an unnamed military official.

A senior US official told Reuters on Thursday that US and Israeli defence chiefs were expected to discuss possible military exercises that would prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations’ leaders request it.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it wants to master nuclear technology for purposes.

The US-Israeli preparations, which have not been previously reported, underscore Western concern about difficult nuclear talks with Iran that President Joe Biden had hoped would revive a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

But US and European officials have voiced dismay after talks last week at sweeping demands by Iran’s new, hardline government, heightening suspicions in the West that Iran is playing for time while advancing its nuclear programme.