New York Earthquake: City of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York earthquake: City at risk of ‚dangerous shaking from far away‘
Joshua Nevett
Published 30th April 2018
SOME of New York City’s tallest skyscrapers are at risk of being shaken by seismic waves triggered by powerful earthquakes from miles outside the city, a natural disaster expert has warned.
Researchers believe that a powerful earthquake, magnitude 5 or greater, could cause significant damage to large swathes of NYC, a densely populated area dominated by tall buildings.
A series of large fault lines that run underneath NYC’s five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, are capable of triggering large earthquakes.
Some experts have suggested that NYC is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years.
The last major earthquake measuring over magnitude 5.0 struck NYC in 1884 – meaning another one of equal size is “overdue” by 34 years, according their prediction model.
Natural disaster researcher Simon Day, of University College London, agrees with the conclusion that NYC may be more at risk from earthquakes than is usually thought.
EARTHQUAKE RISK: New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from far-away tremors
But the idea of NYC being “overdue” for an earthquake is “invalid”, not least because the “very large number of faults” in the city have individually low rates of activity, he said.
The model that predicts strong earthquakes based on timescale and stress build-up on a given fault has been “discredited”, he said.
What scientists should be focusing on, he said, is the threat of large and potentially destructive earthquakes from “much greater distances”.
The dangerous effects of powerful earthquakes from further away should be an “important feature” of any seismic risk assessment of NYC, Dr Day said.

THE BIG APPLE: An aerial view of Lower Manhattan at dusk in New York City

RISK: A seismic hazard map of New York produced by USGS
“New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances” Dr Simon Day, natural disaster researcher
This is because the bedrock underneath parts of NYC, including Long Island and Staten Island, cannot effectively absorb the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.
“An important feature of the central and eastern United States is, because the crust there is old and cold, and contains few recent fractures that can absorb seismic waves, the rate of seismic reduction is low.
Central regions of NYC, including Manhattan, are built upon solid granite bedrock; therefore the amplification of seismic waves that can shake buildings is low.
But more peripheral areas, such as Staten Island and Long Island, are formed by weak sediments, meaning seismic hazard in these areas is “very likely to be higher”, Dr Day said.
“Thus, like other cities in the eastern US, New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances than is the case for cities on plate boundaries such as Tokyo or San Francisco, where the crustal rocks are more fractured and absorb seismic waves more efficiently over long distances,” Dr Day said.
In the event of a large earthquake, dozens of skyscrapers, including Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street, could be at risk of shaking.
“The felt shaking in New York from the Virginia earthquake in 2011 is one example,” Dr Day said.
On that occasion, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 340 miles south of New York sent thousands of people running out of swaying office buildings.

FISSURES: Fault lines in New York City have low rates of activity, Dr Day said
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was “lucky to avoid any major harm” as a result of the quake, whose epicenter was near Louisa, Virginia, about 40 miles from Richmond.
“But an even more impressive one is the felt shaking from the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes in the central Mississippi valley, which was felt in many places across a region, including cities as far apart as Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, and in a few places even further afield including,” Dr Day added.
“So, if one was to attempt to do a proper seismic hazard assessment for NYC, one would have to include potential earthquake sources over a wide region, including at least the Appalachian mountains to the southwest and the St Lawrence valley to the north and east.”

Russian Nuclear Horn Threatens Europe

How Finland and Sweden Would Transform NATO’s Military Capabilities
Finland and Sweden have formally applied for membership of NATO, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. If approved, analysts say the move would significantly enhance the bloc’s military capabilities on land, sea and in the air. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

Russia to Bolster Border With Nuclear Weapons, Missiles if Sweden, Finland Join NATO

Medvedev says Moscow doesn’t fear the Nordic states but needs to be ready for any retaliatory action

June 28, 2022 7:59 am ET

MOSCOW—Russia threatened to station ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons on its border if Sweden and Finland are allowed to join NATO, and warned that Ukrainian membership of the military alliance could trigger World War III.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said Moscow didn’t envision any threat from Sweden and Finland as potential North Atlantic Treaty Organization members because past relations with these countries had been “quite respectful and mutually well meaning,” but that Russia would still need to be ready for any retaliatory action.

Antichrist calls out Iraqi president for not signing bill criminalizing Israel ties

Iraqi President Barham Salih (left) on March 29, 2019. Photo: AP; Muqtada al-Sadr (right). Photo: AFP; Graphic: Rudaw

Sadr calls out Iraqi president for not signing bill criminalizing Israel ties

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday harshly criticized Iraqi President Barham Salih for withholding from signing the legislation criminalizing ties with Israel in a move that is seen as a blow to Salih’s second-term candidacy.

In a harsh tone, Sadr in a tweet said it is “very, very shameful that the so-called President of the Republic of Iraq (Barham) … refuses to sign the law” criminalizing relations with Israel.

Sadr added that it would be “shameful” for Iraqis to have a president who supports normalizing ties with Israel and is “unpatriotic and affiliated with the west or east.”

A spokesperson for Salih said in a statement later in the day that the President had approved the law as it was sent by the parliament “without having any notes” and ordered its publication on the Official Gazette.

The statement added that Salih has “always” supported the Palestinian cause.

The Iraqi parliament on May 26 passed a bill criminalizing ties with Israel, marking the act as a crime punishable by death. The bill requires almost all officials, including those in Kurdistan Region, government institutions, and media to refrain from establishing relations with Israel.

Sadr at the time called on the Iraqi people to take to the streets in celebration of what he called a “great achievement.”

The law must be signed by the president, according to the Iraqi constitution. However, if he fails to do so then it would nonetheless take effect within 15 days.

The passage of the bill put Salih in a puzzle that came amid severe political tensions that have engulfed Iraq. The current president is running for a second term for the post.

“I absolve myself of his crime in front of God and the Iraqi people,” Sadr added saying he “regrets” Salih’s previous and subsequent candidacy for the presidency post.

The normalization of ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords is a US-led joint Middle East peace initiative. Four countries – the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahrain, and Morocco – have announced normalization agreements with Israel, with America’s support.

A conference in September advocating for Iraq to join the agreement was met with widespread condemnation and criticism from the public and officials.

Updated at 5:45pm

Iranian Horn stages a coup in Baghdad

Iran’s henchmen stage a coup in Baghdad

Iraq is witnessing a brazen coup d’etat. Nine months ago, the Iran-backed Fatah paramilitary coalition suffered a devastating electoral defeat, plunging to just 17 out of 329 seats. That should have meant political extinction.

Yet, after months of cynical obstruction tactics, it has forced a situation in which — flying in the face of every constitutional principle — it has been gifted sufficient parliamentary seats to become the largest party in parliament, able to install a prime minister of its choosing.

How is such an antidemocratic outcome possible?

Despite having had the largest party in parliament following the October elections, cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr found his efforts continually thwarted when taking even elementary steps toward forming a Cabinet.

Eventually, Al-Sadr had the mother of all tantrums in early June and compelled all his 73 MPs to resign, partly due to successful Iranian efforts to shatter the fragile alliance between Al-Sadr and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

In consequence, throughout Shiite-majority constituencies, pro-Iran candidates who were humiliatingly defeated by the Sadrists have suddenly found themselves the default occupants of many of these empty seats — scarcely believing their luck. Last week, they were formally sworn into parliament, leaving the Iran-aligned Coordination Framework —composed of elements that were definitively rejected by the electorate — with a dominant bloc of about 130 MPs.

A Hashd-dominated government consolidates Iraq’s position as an Iranian satellite state. American forces and Western assets would be compelled to depart, with dangerous consequences for the ongoing battle against Daesh. Iraq is set to wholly become a frontline state in Tehran’s war against the world, bristling with missiles and paramilitary armies. Missile strikes in recent days against an Iraq-based UAE oil company are a first taste of the enmity to come.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s efforts to enforce the rule of law and cultivate relations with Arab states will be left in tatters. Al-Kadhimi’s current round of visits to Tehran and Riyadh likely reflect his trepidation at how the situation is unraveling.

Did Iran pressure Al-Sadr into taking such a calamitous decision? Observers are skeptical of Al-Sadr’s denials. Inadvertently or deliberately, Al-Sadr has previously acted as the plaything of Tehran.

Iraq is set to wholly become a frontline state in Tehran’s war against the world, bristling with missiles and paramilitary armies

Baria Alamuddin

As son of the monumental cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Al-Sadr, Muqtada was bequeathed the position of one of Iraq’s principal powerbrokers. Prone to extreme mood swings, Al-Sadr has a track record of petulantly abandoning politics when matters do not swing his way. He was crucially silent over the 2006-07 period, when his Mahdi Army and pro-Iran death squads murdered tens of thousands of citizens in bloody sectarian purges.

In 2019, Al-Sadr was a leading figure in the protest movement. Then, overnight, he suddenly sided with Tehran-backed paramilitaries and his foot soldiers collaborated in bloodily crushing and undermining the protests. About 600 protesters were murdered by militia thugs, accompanied by a surge in assassinations of journalists and activists. If Al-Sadr’s resignation is about a return to street activism, he will struggle to rebuild credibility with mainstream activists after his past betrayals.

Who will be the next prime minister? The abhorrent Nouri Al-Maliki is a likely candidate. As prime minister between 2006 and 2014, Al-Maliki cultivated the poisonous sectarian climate that bequeathed Daesh and the plethora of paramilitary forces that today dominate Iraq. Or the Hashd may nominate one of its own; perhaps Hadi Al-Amiri or another marginally less notorious figure who would be less likely to be vetoed by Kurdish and Sunni factions.

The biggest loser is Iraq’s democracy, national identity and sovereignty. Iraqis are discovering that it does not matter who they vote for; powerful vested interests have bountiful methods for clinging onto power and advancing their corrupt and violent agendas.

This outcome sends a dangerous message to Lebanon, where Hezbollah and its allies were narrowly defeated in recent elections. Hassan Nasrallah is a more sophisticated operator than Iraq’s Hashd mafiosos and he is arguably in a stronger position. Hence, Nasrallah simply needs to tenaciously block any formula that does not grant him and his allies the keys to the Cabinet and the presidential palace, in the expectation that he and his Iranian backers will ultimately prevail.

Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen are mere playing cards in the ayatollahs’ regional brinkmanship; although Iraq — due to its size and proximity — is Iran’s ace in the pack. Following the EU’s Josep Borrell’s weekend visit to Tehran, another desultory round of indirect nuclear talks is due, with scant optimism that the critical issues will be addressed.

Iran now reportedly possesses sufficient nuclear materials for a bomb, while passively being allowed to dominate the regional neighborhood. Has the diplomatic community yet grasped the catastrophic consequences of developments in Baghdad?

The ayatollahs believe they are on the brink of achieving all their demonic ambitions. The achievement of such objectives would render inevitable an apocalyptic confrontation with Israel that would suck in the regional and Western powers.

Moves toward regional alignment could also act as a definitive check on Iranian expansionism, with King Abdullah II of Jordan last week speculating about the potential for a Middle Eastern equivalent of NATO.

The Iraqi 2021 elections offered modest hope that the vicious clutches of these militias upon the Iraqi state could be loosened. I was told at the time that I was being unnecessarily pessimistic when I warned that Iran and the Hashd would use every trick in the book to prevent this outcome. Yet, even in my worst nightmares, I had not envisioned a scenario as dire as the current one, where the Hashd has rebounded from near-political extinction to become the dominant governing power.

In the coming weeks, we will see punishing battles as Hashd mafiosos seek to dominate the upper levels of all key government ministries, while also consolidating their preeminence at the provincial level. The Hashd’s economic corruption, extortion, involvement in organized crime, narcotics and arms proliferation, and pillaging of Iraq’s state budget have been massive and blatant — but expect this criminality to become even more brazen.

Iraq is now truly a militia state. Al-Sadr’s cowardly and deranged retreat from parliament potentially represents a fatal stab in the back for Iraqi democracy.

Like Saddam Hussein before them, if Iran’s paramilitary puppets are allowed to get away with such a flagrant power grab, it would not be unreasonable to expect that the only scenario by which they can subsequently be compelled to relinquish power is ultimately through military force.

  • Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point of view

The world is preparing for the Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 16

The world is spending more and more on nuclear weapons

Helen Hernandez2 weeks ago

(Washington) Spending by nuclear powers to modernize their atomic arsenals rose nearly 9% in 2021 to $82.4 billion, according to a report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). 

Posted at 7:45 a.m.

The United States alone spent $44.2 billion on its nuclear program last year, 12.7% more than the previous year, and China spent $11.7 billion (+10 .4%), according to this report published on Tuesday. 

The budgets devoted by Russia (8.6 billion), France (5.9 billion) and the United Kingdom (6.8 billion) to nuclear weapons have increased slightly, adds the ICAN, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for having worked tirelessly for the treaty banning nuclear weapons, which was ratified by 59 countries but none of the nuclear powers.

Pakistan spent 1.1 billion dollars on its nuclear armament, against 1 billion the previous year, while India reduced its expenditure in this sector to 2.3 billion (against 2.5 in 2020), according to The report. 

Israel, which has never officially acknowledged having the nuclear bomb, has allocated 1.2 billion to it, as the previous year, according to the ICAN which estimates the budget that North Korea has allocated in 2021 at 642 million dollars. to its nuclear program compared to 700 million in 2020. 

Taxpayer money allowed new contracts to be awarded to private companies (30.2 billion in total) to modernize the nuclear arsenals of the great powers, and these private companies in turn bought the services of centers of reflection and pressure groups to defend the usefulness of nuclear weapons, adds the NGO, which denounces a pronuclear vicious circle. 

“This report shows that nuclear weapons are useless,” commented Alicia Sanders-Zakre, research coordinator at ICAN. “Nuclear-armed countries spent $6.5 billion more in 2021 and they weren’t able to stop a nuclear power from starting a war in Europe,” she said. reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“This is why we need multilateral nuclear disarmament more than ever,” she added. 

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Iran Horn ramps up aggression in Strait of Hormuz

Gunboat diplomacy: Iran ramps up aggression in Strait of Hormuz

Gunboat diplomacy: Iran ramps up aggression in Strait of Hormuz

June 27 (UPI) — Gunboat diplomacy is defined in terms of international politics as the pursuit of foreign policy objectives by displaying signs of aggressive naval power, implying the threat of warfare if agreeable terms are not met.

Gunboat diplomacy was a tactic famously utilized by some of the imperialist powers during the 19th century. It is a somewhat outdated concept, although that doesn’t seem to have deterred the Iranian regime. Last week, ships from the U.S. Fifth Fleet were sailing through international waters in the Strait of Hormuz when they were threatened by high-speed, head-on assaults by three naval vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The U.S. coastal patrol ship USS Sirocco had to fire a warning flare when the IRGC vessels, acting in a hostile manner, came within 50 yards of their ship. The threatening and dangerous behavior lasted for more than an hour before the IRGC boats departed.

The Strait of Hormuz lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, providing the only sea passage to the Indian Ocean for crude oil from many of the world’s largest producers. An average of 21 million barrels a day flows through the strait, which is over 20% of global consumption. Around one-third of the world’s sea-borne petroleum and nearly all the liquefied gas from Qatar, the leading global gas exporter, passes through this constricted chokepoint only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point.

With the current global energy crisis caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the route has become even more strategically critical. As the theocratic regime faces crisis upon crisis at home and abroad, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi, known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” have ramped up their aggressive activities in the strait to frighten those they regard as the regime’s enemies, even threatening to close the strait altogether.

The most recent naval encounter is not the first. In June 2019, limpet mines were left behind by IRGC commandos following attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The oil tanker Kokuka Courageous was rocked by several explosions that caused extensive damage. An IRGC patrol boat was then filmed moving alongside the tanker as commandos removed an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of the vessel. Following the attack, the Kokuka Courageous, along with the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, were towed to the Emirati coast by U.S. naval authorities.

In July 2019, Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero on the Strait of Hormuz. It was held in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas for two months and only released following international pressure. In January 2021, the IRGC seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters, claiming it had detained the Hankuk Chemi tanker and its crew for allegedly dumping toxic chemicals in the Gulf, a blatantly false accusation. In the same week, explosives experts had to defuse an Iranian limpet mine attached to a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in waters off the Iraqi port of Basra. Sailors on board the MT Pola said they had discovered a limpet mine of the type commonly deployed by naval divers. It had been attached to the side of the tanker and could have caused devastating damage had it exploded, particularly as the MT Pola was refueling another tanker at the time with a ship-to-ship transfer to the MT Nordic Freedom, a Bermuda-flagged tanker.

In May 2021, an IRGC speedboat armed with heavy machine guns, approached within 150 yards of U.S. warships at high speed, as the Americans traveled through the Strait of Hormuz. Warning shots had to be fired at the IRGC vessel before it finally withdrew. Then in August 2021, a tanker was hijacked by IRGC commandos and ordered to “sail to Iran” — days after an IRGC drone attack killed a British security guard working with special forces and a Romanian soldier on the MV Mercer Street. A nine-strong armed group climbed on board the Asphalt Princess off the coast of the Gulf of Oman close to the Strait of Hormuz, seizing the vessel at gunpoint. Iran, as usual, denied involvement in the suspected drone attack and the hijacking.

The mullahs clearly believe that their aggressive conduct will lead to U.S. capitulation over the stalled nuclear talks. They will surely have to think again. Negotiations to reinstate the tattered Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015 and torn up by President Donald Trumpin 2018, have run aground due to the mullahs’ farcical demands. Iran is insisting on the lifting of all sanctions and the delisting of the IRGC as an international terrorist organization.

Using the IRGC to threaten shipping in the Strait of Hormuz is hardly likely to encourage American sympathy. Indeed, the United States knows that the IRGC and its extra-territorial Quds Force is behind all Iran’s proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza and is known to sponsor international terror worldwide. The regime’s foreign wars and acts of terror are a calculated strategy to distract their enraged and starving population from another nationwide uprising that could sweep the mullahs from power.

The foolish attempt at gunboat diplomacy has taken place during a disastrous year for the ruling dictatorship in Iran. The economy has collapsed, unemployment is pervasive, inflation is out of control, the Iranian currency is in freefall and over 75% of the 80 million population are struggling to survive on incomes below the international poverty line. There are daily protests in towns and cities throughout Iran.

Khamenei presides over a pyramid of corruption. The IRGC answers directly to Khamenei. It controls almost the entire economy, including all of Iran’s monetary and financial institutions and pays no tax. It is behind the acceleration of the regime’s determined efforts to construct a nuclear weapon and its clandestine activities have continued before, during and since the signing of the deeply flawed JCPOA. Sham attempts at bullying the United States into reinstating the deal are doomed to fail, as are aggressive attempts to threaten international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association. 

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Russia Horn’s latest nuclear threats ‘irresponsible’

Pentagon: Russia’s latest nuclear threats ‘irresponsible’

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s weekend pledge to transfer nuclear-capable missile systems to Belarus is being viewed by U.S. officials as “cavalier” and “irresponsible” language, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday. 

“Certainly, any time anybody uses the word nuclear you have concerns. Quite honestly it seems pretty irresponsible of a national leader to talk about the employment of nuclear weapons and to do so in a generally cavalier fashion,” the defense official told reporters in an on-background briefing.  

Putin on Saturday told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that the Kremlin will transfer Russian-made Iskander-M missile systems to Belarus “in the next few months.” 

The mobile, short-range ballistic missile systems with a range of up to 310 miles “can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions,” the Russian leader told Lukashenko at a meeting in St. Petersburg, according to a readout from Moscow.

The U.S. defense official said Washington takes such threatening language seriously and has “from the very beginning” of Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24.  

“The way that statement read from Putin was, ‘Hey we’re going to give them Iskanders, and oh, by the way, they can hold nuclear weapons.’ And everybody takes that very seriously when you use that language,” the official said.  

“Our strategic forces are always monitoring things in that regard,” they added. 

Putin has frequently made veiled nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West in its more than four-month war against its neighbor.   

At the very start of the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin ordered his country’s deterrence forces, including nuclear weapons, be put on higher alert, citing so-called threats from the West. 

He has also flouted Moscow’s nuclear might, warning that other countries which seem to interfere with Russian actions will face “consequences you have never seen.”