Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

        

By WILLIAM K. STEVENS

Published: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California,  said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more  vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
 Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

Hamas Refuses Not to Escalate Against Israel Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh (Photo: Mohammed Asad, via MEMO)

Hamas Leader Refuses to Give Guarantees Not to Escalate against Israel

May 30, 2022 BlogNewsSlider

The head of the political bureau of Gaza-based group Hamas refused on Monday to give guarantees not to escalate the situation with the Israeli army in the Palestinian Territories, The New Arab reported.

Ismail Haniyeh reportedly told Qatari and Egyptian mediators, who are currently overseeing indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel, that “what happened in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque by the settlers will not be tolerated.”

In a press statement issued by Taher al-Nono, Haniyeh’s advisor, the Hamas leader stressed that the resistance will continue its path to liberate Palestinian lands under the Israeli occupation.https://andrewtheprophet.com

Haniyeh’s statements came in response to recent contacts made by the Egyptian and Qatari mediators with Hamas in order to reach an agreement to not allow the situation to further deteriorate and stave off a new military conflict on the besieged Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, thousands of Israelis launched an annual, extremist ‘flag march’ through occupied Jerusalem, chanting “Death to Arabs” and insulting the Prophet Mohammed, as well as attacking Palestinians in the area.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured by the Israeli occupying army and Jewish settlers, who used rubber bullets, truncheons and pepper spray, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Around 3,000 Israeli police were deployed to the event which marks the start of Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, home of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

“The Palestinian armed factions were ready to launch a barrage of missiles into Israeli settlements, including those in Jerusalem, in response to the unprecedented settlers’ provocations,” a source close to Hamas, who preferred not to be unnamed, said to The New Arab.

However, the source stressed that the resistance’s leadership received reliable information that “the Israeli government led by Bennett was deliberately dragging the coastal enclave into a military escalation in a bid to get rid of internal pressures on it.”

The source explained that the resistance decided not to trigger a new round of military conflict with Israel “but that does not mean that it will not have a response to the Israeli violations that took place in Al-Aqsa yesterday.”

“The resistance has a strong ability to respond to such violations and crimes at the right time and place,” the source added.

Official sources in Gaza expected that the resistance factions will “ignite the West Bank and Jerusalem” by encouraging popular resistance in the Palestinian territories while preserving the right to respond from the Gaza Strip in the event that the situation “becomes out of control”.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

Like Obama, Biden missing in action as Iranians protest regime and declare ‘America is not the enemy’

March 08, 2020: A huge mural of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Iran's Supreme Leader painted next to a smaller one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (R) seen on Motahari street on March 8, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. The message on the wall reads "The power and influence and dignity of America in the world is on the fall and extermination" and on top of the building, another slogan reads "We are standing till the end".

Biden missing in action as Iranians protest regime and declare ‘America is not the enemy’

The protests could have a global impact as demonstrators call out the regime’s spending on terror ambitions

By Benjamin Weinthal | Fox News

Protests against the legitimacy of Iran’s Islamic Republic continue to sweep across the vast country triggered by a multitude of reasons including rising food prices, the collapse of a twin-tower apartment building killing at least 29 people (with more dead feared under the rubble) and a considerable loathing of the clerical regime.

As the protests continue to intensify and spread, U.S. President Joe Biden has stayed on the sidelines and not personally weighed in on the revolts against the clerical regime.

During Thursday night’s protests in the southwestern city of Abadan, where the building had collapsed, people chanted slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself, saying “Khamenei is a murderer; his rule is illegitimate,” despite the deployment of riot police.

Police fired tear gas into the air to disperse the angry crowd of hundreds near the building site, online video analyzed Saturday shows. Videos shared online showed a massive crowd near the Metropol Building on Friday night, with lights shining on its facade. In a second video, demonstrators at street level are seen chanting: “Our enemy is here; they lie that it is America!” A third video showed an angry crowd with one shot heard. The person filming turned and ran, shouting: “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”

According to human rights activists and Iranians meticulously documenting the regime’s violent crackdown, at least five people have been killed and scores of demonstrators have been incarcerated.

The prominent Iran expert Alireza Nader posted video footage showing demonstrators in the city of Bushehr, located on the Persian Gulf, also declaring: “Our enemy is right here [in Iran], they lie and say it’s America.”

The chant “Death to the Dictator!” was also voiced, referring to Khamenei.

In this photo released by official website of the office of Iranian Senior Vice-President, on Friday, May 27, 2022, ruins of a tower at under construction 10-story Metropol Building remains after it collapsed on Monday, in the southwestern city of Abadan, Iran.

In this photo released by official website of the office of Iranian Senior Vice-President, on Friday, May 27, 2022, ruins of a tower at under construction 10-story Metropol Building remains after it collapsed on Monday, in the southwestern city of Abadan, Iran. (Iranian Senior Vice-President Office via AP)

The shocking deaths in Abadan prompted Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi to devote part of her acceptance speech to the suffering victims after winning best actress at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. Amir Ebrahimi lives in exile due to a smear campaign regarding her romantic life.

“The Biden administration and EU continue to talk about social justice but that just seems to be cheap talk for votes,” Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American journalist and human rights expert, told Fox News Digital. “That social justice does not seem to extend to everyone around the world though.”

“That Biden did not even address the disaster in Iran and the huge anti-regime demonstrations, is another sign of him wanting to cover up the Khomeinist regimes’ crimes against humanity, just so he can make his disastrous [nuclear] deal,” she added. “The Iranian people, for the most part, now consider both the Democratic Party and the European leaders as hypocrites and foes.”

Lisa Daftari, also an Iran expert, wrote on her website, The Foreign Desk, “As protests enter their third week in provinces across Iran with demonstrators calling for the death of the Iranian supreme leader and the overthrow of the hard-line, radical regime, the Iranian opposition is coming to social media in droves expressing their frustration at being generally ignored and unsupported by the international community.”

She continued, “The protesters, whose platform is mainly centered upon the government’s corruption and lack of human rights, have a global message; they’re calling out the regime spending billions of dollars on its terror ambitions and leaving the Iranian people without subsidies to purchase basic goods and live comfortable lives.”

March 08, 2020: A huge mural of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Iran’s Supreme Leader painted next to a smaller one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (R) seen on Motahari street on March 8, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. The message on the wall reads “The power and influence and dignity of America in the world is on the fall and extermination” and on top of the building, another slogan reads “We are standing till the end”. (Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

The United States government—both under Democratic and Republican administrations—has recognized Iran’s regime as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.

Daftari, who speaks fluent Farsi, quoted one anti-regime activist saying: “I just want the international community to place themselves in our situation, and explain how they would feel. If your entire life is ruined because of a bunch of terrorists and others don’t care about you, how would you feel?”

The lack of strong condemnation of the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on dissent and of solidarity for the protesters from the international community has, according to Daftari, “to do with the desire of major Western countries to negotiate and revive the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.”

The US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany are desperately trying to reach a deal with Iran’s regime in Vienna to provide economic sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran promising to temporarily restrict its production of nuclear weapons.

Len Khodorkovsky, a former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Trump administration and senior adviser to the U.S. representative for Iran, tweeted, “I know what President Trump said to the Iranian people during #IranProtests. President Biden, your turn.” 

Khodorkovsky embedded a tweet from Donald Trump from 2020 in which the former president declared that he stands with the people of Iran and added: “We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, meets with senior White House advisors Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, 2020, in the Situation Room of the White House, on a further meeting about the Islamic Republic of Iran missile attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq. 

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, meets with senior White House advisors Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, 2020, in the Situation Room of the White House, on a further meeting about the Islamic Republic of Iran missile attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq.  (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On May 16, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted, “Brave Iranian protesters are standing up for their rights. The Iranian people have a right to hold their government accountable. We support their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression online and offline − without fear of violence and reprisal.”

Iran’s regime is following its playbook used in past protests against the theocratic state. Iranians in Khuzestan, Esfahan and Tehran reported significant, serious disruptions to internet access, including blockages when trying to upload images of protests to social media.

Amir Taheri, a veteran Iranian journalist who has written extensively about the Islamic Republic, tweeted: “The Khomeinist clique see use of force as sole method for calming public discontent. They are sending armed anti-riot units to make large scale arrests in Khuzestan cities: Abadan, Ahvaz, Shadegan, Dezful & Izeh. Their incompetence is matched by their violence.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Antichrist’s refusal to normalize relation with Israel is the wrong move

Clerics hold signs and the Palestinian flag during a protest against normalizing ties with Israel, in front of the Palestinian embassy in Baghdad, Iraq September 15, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL-MOUSILY)

Iraq’s refusal to normalize relation with Israel is the wrong move – editorial

Iraq passed a law against normalizing relations with Israel last week which makes it impossible for it to join the Abraham Accords.

By JPOST EDITORIAL

Published: MAY 29, 2022 21:04

Clerics hold signs and the Palestinian flag during a protest against normalizing ties with Israel, in front of the Palestinian embassy in Baghdad, Iraq September 15, 2020.

(photo credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL-MOUSILY)

Despite tensions and difficulties, much of the Middle East is moving toward peace with Israel, either through open relations or quiet ties. It was therefore sad to see the Iraqi parliament bucking the trend last week and passing a law that criminalizes any attempt to normalize relations with the Jewish state.

The law, officially titled “Criminalizing Normalization and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity,” passed on Thursday with the support of 275 legislators out of the 329-seat parliament. Violation of the new law is punishable with life imprisonment or even a death sentence. 

It has been noted that the Iraqi parliament which approved the legislation has been unable to convene on any other issue, failing even to elect a new president and form a new government in a period of political paralysis.

In other words, the only topic on which the Iraqi parliament could agree was creating legislation against Israel and against any chance of peace.

The timing of the anti-Israel legislation was particularly unfortunate coming close to the anniversary of the Farhud, the Nazi-inspired, mufti-supported pogrom that erupted on June 1, 1941. More than 180 Jews lost their lives in the two days of anti-Jewish attacks that coincided with the Shavuot holiday.

 ISRAEL, UAE AND BAHRAIN sign the Abraham Accords at the White House in 2020. Had the Heavens gifted Israel with reprieve from diplomatic ‘tsunamis,’ but not bestowed upon it the blessings of the Abraham Accords – dayenu. (credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)ISRAEL, UAE AND BAHRAIN sign the Abraham Accords at the White House in 2020. Had the Heavens gifted Israel with reprieve from diplomatic ‘tsunamis,’ but not bestowed upon it the blessings of the Abraham Accords – dayenu. (credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

Although Israel enjoys cordial relations with the independent Kurdish autonomous region, Iraq has never recognized the State of Israel, and Iraqi citizens and companies are not permitted to visit it. The new legislation goes a step further, specifically criminalizing any attempts to normalize relations with the Jewish state, and reportedly will be applied also to the autonomous Kurdistan.

Last September, some 300 courageous Iraqi leaders, including prominent Sunni and Shi’ite figures, met at a conference organized by the Center for Peace Communications, a New York-based think tank. It took place in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and called for the normalization of ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords.

Although many of these leaders faced retribution, their act was a sign that there are rational members of the Iraqi population and leadership who want to move forward and create a better world.

The anti-normalization law was proposed by populist Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party, which has a majority in the Iraqi assembly, opposes ties with both Israel and the United States. It appears to be a message directed mainly toward Iran and Sadr’s Shi’ite home base.

Israel’s response

Israel’s Foreign Ministry decried the new legislation, with ministry spokesman Lior Haiat tweeting on Friday: “Israel condemns the decision by the Iraqi parliament to pass legislation against normalization with Israel and that imposes the death penalty on one who has contact with Israel.

“This is a law that puts Iraq and the Iraqi people on the wrong side of history and disconnected from reality,” Haiat said.

“Leaders who choose a path of hate and incitement hurt their own people first of all. We call on the Iraqi people not to support this extremist position.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “disturbed” by the move, adding that it jeopardized “freedom of expression” and promoted “an environment of antisemitism.”

“This legislation stands in stark contrast to progress Iraq’s neighbors have made by building bridges and normalizing relations with Israel, creating new opportunities for people throughout the region,” Price said. “The United States will continue to be a strong and unwavering partner in supporting Israel, including as it expands ties with its neighbors in the pursuit of greater peace and prosperity for all.”

Israel is making an effort to broaden the Abraham Accords of 2020 in which diplomatic relations were established with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. A coalition against jihadist terrorism and the threats of a nearly nuclear Iran is essential. The region should not be held hostage by Palestinian whims and fancies and Iranian demands when it can only benefit from the peace and economic progress that normalization of ties with Israel would bring.

Preparing for the Russian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

World politicians preparing for Russia’s use of tactical nuclear weapons – President of Ukraine

World politicians preparing for Russia’s use of tactical nuclear weapons – President of Ukraine

27.05.2022 16:41

World politicians are preparing for Russia’s possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.

The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his video address to the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI), an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Russian state propagandists are openly threatening nuclear weapons. World politicians are preparing for the possibility of Russia’s use of the so-called tactical nuclear weapons or chemical weapons, biological weapons,” Zelensky told.

In his words, this may change the attitude of different states to weapons of mass destruction.

“If Russia indulges in nuclear blackmail with impunity, it may seem logical to various forces in the world to acquire nuclear weapons for themselves. To say that it is dangerous for the whole world is to say nothing,” the President of Ukraine stressed.

A reminder that, on February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops are shelling and destroying the key infrastructure facilities, launching missile and air strikes on Ukrainian cities and villages, torturing and murdering civilians.

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Muqtada al-Sadr the Antichrist

Muqtada al-Sadr

Iraqi Shīʿite leaderPrintCiteShareFeedback

By Louay Bahry • Edit History

Muqtada al-Sadr

Muqtada al-Sadr, (born 1974, Najaf, Iraq), Iraqi Shiʿi leader and cleric. He was considered one of the most powerful political figures in Iraq in the early 21st century.

Early life and education

Sadr was the son of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, one of the most prominent religious figures in the Islamic world in the late 20th century. Sadr was greatly influenced by his father’s conservative thoughts and ideas and by those of his father-in-law, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, founder of the Islamic Daʿwah Party, who in 1980 was executed for his opposition to Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.

After completing middle school, Sadr enrolled in the Shiʿi ḥawzah (religious seminary) in Najaf, but he never finished his studies. Sadr’s father was killed in 1999, along with his two elder brothers, reputedly by government agents. His father’s will stipulated that his ḥawzah be put in the hands of Sayyid Kāẓim al-Hāʾirī, an Iraqi religious scholar, but Hāʾirī delegated the administrative and financial affairs of the ḥawzah to Sadr, who became one of al-Hāʾirī’s disciples.

Patron of Shiʿi populism during the Iraq War

Almost immediately after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam’s regime in 2003 (see Iraq War), Sadr emerged from the shadows and began to open offices in his father’s name (known collectively as the Office of the Martyr Sadr) in Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Basra, and other areas. He had immediate success in Madinat al-Thawrah (Revolution City), a poor Baghdad suburb of two million Shiʿis, which he renamed Sadr City in honour of his father. By the end of that year Sadr headed a Shiʿi political movement known as the Sadrist Movement and had attracted millions of Shiʿi followers across Iraq, mainly youth and the poor and downtrodden, to whom he offered a variety of social, educational, and health services. He maintained tight security over the areas he controlled and established a court system based on Sharīʿah (Islamic law).

Sadr was accused of staging the murder of ʿAbd al-Majīd al-Khūʾī, a rival Shiʿi cleric, and a warrant for his arrest was issued but never executed. Sadr concentrated his rhetoric on Iraqi nationalism, especially the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq, and anti-Americanism. His militia, an ill-coordinated collection of thousands of outlaws known as Jaysh al-Mahdī (JAM), or the Mahdī Army, engaged in direct armed clashes with the multinational forces in April and August 2004 and was accused of contributing heavily to the ongoing civil conflict between Shiʿis and Sunnis. Sadr’s critics held JAM responsible for brutal acts of retribution against Sunnis, including kidnapping, killing, torture, and the destruction of mosques and property.

Many Shiʿis regarded Sadr as a hero who opposed the Sunni rebels supporting al-Qaeda and who protected the Shiʿah from Sunni insurgents. In the December 2005 elections, members of Sadr’s movement stood with other Shiʿi parties as part of the United Iraqi Alliance, which won a plurality of seats (128 of 275) in the parliament; 32 seats went to the Sadrists. In the formation of the government, Sadr supported Nouri al-Maliki of the Daʿwah Party for prime minister, but in April 2007 six Sadrist ministers withdrew from Maliki’s cabinet after their demands for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign troops remained unrealized. Also in 2007, possibly to escape increasing pressure from Iraqi security forces and the U.S. military, Sadr moved to Iran, where he entered a theological seminary in Qom while continuing to direct the actions of his followers in Iraq. In August Sadr made another tactical move, which coincided with the U.S. troop surge: he ordered that his militia suspend all activity for six months, during which time he intended to reorganize it in an attempt to restore its credibility. This suspension of all military activity was extended in late February 2008 for another six months, until August. On March 25, however, the Iraqi government launched a military operation against Sadr’s militia in Basra, and intense fighting ensued. The militia fought Iraqi troops to a standstill, and on March 30, following negotiations with government officials, Sadr ordered a cease-fire.Louay Bahry

Pacification and political ascendance

In August 2008 Sadr’s plan to reorganize his militia was realized in the launch of al-Mumahhidūn (“Those Who Pave the Way”), an unarmed wing of JAM that Sadr declared would focus on social and religious programs; only a small specialized portion of the original Mahdī Army was to remain armed. A complete restructuring into a solely social organization, including dissolution of the organization’s remaining armed branch, was made contingent upon the implementation of a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Shortly thereafter Sadr announced the indefinite extension of the cease-fire that had been put in place the previous year.

In 2010, following months of political stalemate after close parliamentary elections left the main factions in Iraq unable to form a government, Sadr paved the way for a resolution by agreeing in negotiations to endorse Maliki for the position of prime minister. The Sadrists secured a number of concessions from Maliki in return for their support, including several posts in the new cabinet. In January 2011, possibly capitalizing on his increased political stature, Sadr unexpectedly returned from exile in Iran to his home city of Najaf.

With the increasing clout of the Sadrist Movement in parliament and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011, Sadr made significant changes to his political strategy. His relationship with Iran, previously one of mutual benefit, soured as the country became the greatest source of foreign interference in Iraqi politics. Although Sadr himself was once an image of Iraqi Shiʿi militancy, he came to see sectarianism as a source of dysfunction and corruption in government and began steering his supporters away from sectarianism. Instead, he chose to increase focus on his message of Iraqi nationalism, one that included Shiʿis, Sunnis, communists, and liberals. Though Sadr was still a critic of the United States, some analysts noted that there was a decrease in the frequency, and a moderation of the tone, of his anti-American rhetoric.

The changes in Sadr’s stance were evident in some of his most notable activities in the years that followed. In 2014, after successful incursions into Iraqi territory by the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL; also called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]), Sadr reestablished his militia—now known as the Sarāyā al-Salām (“Peace Regiments”)—to fight alongside the Iraqi forces in a U.S.-led international coalition against ISIL. In April 2016 Sadr called on his supporters to launch massive demonstrations, alongside supporters of the Iraqi Communist Party, to demand that members of parliament support the prime minister’s plan to fight corruption and to appoint technocrats to government positions rather than continue the practice of making appointments based on political and sectarian quotas.

Kingmaker

In the run-up to the May 2018 parliamentary elections, Sadr formed the Sairoon (“Moving Forward”) alliance. Reflecting his antisectarian stance, it included his newly formed Istiqāmah (“Integrity”) Party, the Iraqi Communist Party, and smaller parties or civil groups, representing an eclectic mix of Shiʿis, Sunnis, secularists, and liberals. Sairoon promised to combat corruption, reform the state, and offer relief for the poor and the working class. It also championed national unity, a commitment seemingly demonstrated by the alliance’s diverse makeup. The alliance captured more seats than any other party or coalition but not nearly enough to secure a majority or dominate the negotiation of a coalition.

Amid coalition talks, Sairoon navigated a rapidly shifting political atmosphere. It initially supported a government led by the incumbent prime minister Haider al-Abadi, whose party came in third in the elections. But, as Iraqis awaited a delayed convening of parliament, they took to the streets to protest corruption and the lack of jobs and basic services, raising the political stakes for the newly elected parliamentarians. When the parliament finally convened several months after the election, it found itself in deadlock on the formation of a government. Protests were amplified and soon became deadly, and in an emergency session of parliament Sairoon withdrew its support for Abadi. Days later Sairoon reached a deal with the opposition, and a government was formed over the following weeks with Adel Abdul Mahdi, a candidate independent of both Sairoon and the opposition, as prime minister.

But Abdul Mahdi faced significant setbacks, and he was unable to fill his cabinet before he was sworn in three weeks after his appointment. When some of the most important posts remained vacant well into 2019, Sadr joined other influential voices who had already been mounting pressure on the government to fill the posts, and he threatened to withdraw his support if those posts were not filled within 10 days. Abdul Mahdi filled three of the four remaining posts within a week’s time.

After fresh protests in October were met with resistance by the government, Sadr called on Sairoon to boycott parliament and urged the government to resign and hold early elections. By January 2020, however, he had withdrawn his support for the anti-government protests. Still, when a new technocratic government was formed in May with Sadr’s tacit support, he continued to press the government for reform and early elections, which were eventually held in October 2021 under a new electoral process. Although still falling short of a majority, Sadr’s movement expanded its representation in parliament while its primary opponents in the election—the pro-Iran Fatah alliance—won a mere 17 seats.The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

Story of the Pakistani Horn going nuclear: Daniel 8

Story of Pakistan going nuclear

India was making threats, India exerting pressure

ByMalik Muhammad Ashraf

Maintaining territorial integrity and developing a security apparatus designed to deter the enemies from committing any indiscretion against the state, is regarded as the top priority by every nation. It ensures and protects the socio-economic development of the country. Unfortunately Pakistan since its independence has had to grapple with the security threat emanating from its eastern neighbour.

The two countries have fought three wars over Kashmir because India reneged on her international commitment to decide the issue through a plebiscite as enshrined in the UNSC resolution followed by declaring it her integral part in 1957, a move which was rejected by the UN through its resolutions 91 and 122 reiterating that the Kashmir dispute could only be resolved through a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN.

That adequately explained the rationale for Pakistan to go nuclear in exercise of its right to safeguard its security in the face of a grave threat. The Pakistani nation is greatly indebted to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for initiating the nuclear programme, Zia ul Haq for its completion and Nawaz Sharif for showing the heft and courage to announce nuclear credentials of Pakistan brushing aside pressure exerted by the USA and its allies

However India did not budge from its unilaterally assumed stance. All efforts made by Pakistan failed to get a positive response. Instead successive Indian governments continued to show a hostile attitude towards Pakistan and never accepted the reality of partition of the Subcontinent. India also kept piling up arms during these years and even developed a nuclear device which it exploded in 1974.

That development really raised the alarm for Pakistan which rightly felt the pinch of this enhanced threat to her security. The situation forced Pakistan also to go for the nuclear option to safeguard its security. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan wasted no time in initiating Pakistan’s nuclear programme to give a befitting response to the enemy. The development was treated with hostility by Pakistan’s ally, the USA. It brought up the Pressler Amendment to dissuade Pakistan from pursuing the programme. But President Zia who followed Bhutto, showed remarkable determination to take the nuclear effort to its logical end. By the early 1990s Pakistan acquired the nuclear capability but refrained from conducting the nuclear test.

But when India conducted nuclear test on 11 May 1998 and Indian Home Minister L.K.Advani issued a statement warning Pakistan to realize the change in the geostrategic situation in the region and refrain from intensifying the separatist movement in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, Pakistan had no choice but to respond to the Indian challenge to deter her from adopting an aggressive posture towards it. India probably was under the impression that Pakistan did not have the expertise to produce nuclear weapons and it was only posing as if it did to blackmail it.  Pakistan actually called the Indian bluff by exploding nuclear devices and created a permanent deterrent against security threat from India.

Consequently the dawn of 28 May 1998 saw Pakistan emerging as the seventh nuclear power of the world when in response to the Indian nuclear explosions on 11th May, it also exploded five nuclear devices, followed by another detonation two days later. Since then May 28 is celebrated as ‘ Yaum-e-Takbeer’ (exaltation of God’s name) in Pakistan and rightly so as it was the second most important day in the history of Pakistan, after Independence Day.

It is pertinent to mention that USA tried a combination of threats and offers of huge financial assistance to stop Pakistan from responding to the Indian indiscretion and aggressive action. But it must be admitted that Nawaz Sharif, who was the Prime Minister of Pakistan at that time, brushed aside the pressure and the lucrative offer for financial assistance from the USA.

As leader of a self-respecting nation which gave top priority to its security and existence, he made the right choice in the supreme national interest and did the nation proud by ensuring nuclear parity with India.  The USA again imposed sanctions against Pakistan.  Nawaz Sharif in his address to the nation after the nuclear tests said “We never wanted to participate in this race for nuclear weapons. The enemy in its extreme arrogance forgot the rules of communication and is openly threatening us. We have proved to the world that we will not accept what is dictated to us.”

That adequately explained the rationale for Pakistan to go nuclear in exercise of its right to safeguard its security in the face of a grave threat. The Pakistani nation is greatly indebted to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for initiating the nuclear programme, Zia ul Haq for its completion and Nawaz Sharif for showing the heft and courage to announce nuclear credentials of Pakistan brushing aside pressure exerted by the USA and its allies. They indeed deserve unqualified gratitude from the nation for thwarting the nefarious designs of the enemy and bringing nuclear parity between the two countries, which surely has eliminated the chances of a full-fledged war between them and greatly reduced concerns about our security. The government has announced ten-day celebrations in this regard which surely is a justifiable move in view of its significance in regards to making Pakistan’s defense impregnable.

Pakistan rightly believes that nuclear deterrence is a factor of stability in South Asia. However it is pursuing a policy of minimum nuclear deterrent. Weakness invites aggression and the best way to keep the would-be aggressor at bay is to acquire the defence capability which would force it to think many a times before committing any aggression. Pakistan does not harbor aggressive designs against any of its neighbours and has no hegemonic designs in the region.  Development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan is purported to ensure territorial integrity, political harmony and peace. Though Pakistan is not a signatory to NPT and other nuclear regimes but it has worked with the global community to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

However, Pakistan cannot afford to show slackness on its security till such time India and its supporters who cry hoarse from every convenient roof top to see South Asia as a stable region, instead of indulging in rhetoric, show sincerity of purpose by adopting concrete measures to promote peace in the region and refrain from discriminatory treatment against Pakistan viz-a-viz India as well as help in the resolution of the Kashmir issue which is the cause of conflict between the two countries.