A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011


Bob Hennelly

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region.

It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

IDF raids 39 homes outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli troops are seen operating at the home of a Palestinian with alleged ties to Hamas, in the West Bank, August 1, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF raids 39 homes of Palestinians with alleged Hamas ties, arrests 13

Military says Palestinians hurled stones and firebombs at troops during widescale arrest operation in West Bank; no IDF, Palestinian injuries reported

By Emanuel Fabian 1 Aug 2022, 10:05 am

Israeli troops raided the homes of 39 Palestinians with alleged ties to the Hamas terror group overnight, the military said Monday.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, 13 wanted Palestinians were detained during the raids.

The IDF said the aim was to arrest and question Palestinians with ties to Hamas, and others who were involved in alleged terror activities.

Amid the arrest operations, dozens of Palestinians hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at troops at a number of locations, the IDF said. No soldiers were hurt.

The military said troops responded with riot dispersal means. No Palestinian injuries were immediately reported.

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Tensions have remained high in the West Bank, as Israeli security forces stepped up arrest raids and operations following a deadly wave of terror attacks against Israelis that left 19 people dead earlier this year.

Last week, two Palestinian gunmen were killed in an Israeli military raid in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Who is the Antichrist whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil?

Who is Muqtada al-Sadr, powerful Shia cleric whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil?

Who is Muqtada al-Sadr, powerful Shia cleric whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil?

Muqtada al-Sadr is a mercurial figure who has emerged as a powerful force in Iraq’s cutthroat political scene with a nationalist, anti-Iran agenda. He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad-Sadiq al-Sadr, who Saddam Hussein had assassinated in 1999

Followers of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr hold posters with his photo during a sit-in, inside the parliament in Baghdad. AP

Muqtada al-Sadr is a mercurial figure who has emerged as a powerful force in Iraq’s cutthroat political scene with a nationalist, anti-Iran agenda. He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad-Sadiq al-Sadr, who Saddam Hussein had assassinated in 1999

Iraq is in turmoil with hundreds of followers of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday camping inside the Iraqi parliament after toppling security walls around the building and storming in the previous day.

The followers of Muqtada al-Sadr have vowed to hold an open-ended sit-in to derail efforts by their rivals from Iran-backed political groups to form the country’s next government.

Their demands are lofty: early elections, constitutional amendments and the ouster of al-Sadr’s opponents.

The developments have catapulted Iraq’s politics to center stage, plunging the country deeper into a political crisis as a power struggle unfolds between the two major Shia groups.

But who the man who has mobilised hundreds and thrown the country in turmoil? Let’s take a closer look:

Life and career

Muqtada al-Sadr is a mercurial figure who has emerged as a powerful force in Iraq’s cutthroat political scene with a nationalist, anti-Iran agenda.

Born in 1974 in Kufa near the holy Shia city of Najaf, al-Sadr is described by some who are close to him as easily angered.

The round-faced Islamic leader comes from an influential clerical family and is the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad-Sadiq al-Sadr, who Saddam Hussein had assassinated in 1999.

As per Britannica, al-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.

As per Indian Express, al-Sadr founded the Al-Sadrist movement, which is it at its apex at the moment and draws the support of the poor of the Shia community across Iraq.

As per Reuters, members of the Al-Sadrist Movement have been appointed to senior jobs within the interior, defence and communications ministries.

They have had their picks appointed to state oil, electricity and transport bodies, to state-owned banks and even to Iraq’s central bank, according to more than a dozen government officials and lawmakers.

Power player

When he raises his index finger and frowns, Iraq holds its breath.

Al-Sadr has time and again emerged as a powerful player in Iraqi politics, and been able to mobilise his loyalists.

Hundreds of them have for days occupied the country’s parliament with adherence to one guiding principle: obedience to al-Sadr. He has urged other political factions to support the protest.

Who is Muqtada alSadr powerful Shia cleric whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil

Today, as in past years following the 2003 US-led overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq cannot ignore the grey-bearded preacher who once led a militia against American and Iraqi government forces.

As per Indian Express, Al-Sadr emerged as US’ enemy number one after the fall of Saddam.

In 2004, The Guardian quoted Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez saying, “The mission of US forces is to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr.”

As per Indian Express, in 2003, the Al-Sadrist and the affiliated militia (Mahdi army) started a resistance against the US troops following the country’s invasion.

These militias under al-Sadr are now called the “peace companies,” as per the report.


Analysts have said Al-Sadr, who wears a black turban symbolic of a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, is now using street protests to signal that his views must be taken into account in government formation.

On Sunday he lauded on Twitter the takeover of parliament inside the capital’s fortified Green Zone of diplomatic and government buildings.

Al-Sadr called it a “spontaneous revolution… a first step” towards “an extraordinary opportunity for a fundamental change”.

That’s his position now, but the chameleon-like figure has made several reversals over the years, including in 2008 when he suspended activities of his 60,000-member Mahdi Army, which had been one of Iraq’s most active and feared Shia militias.

He reactivated the group after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

Al-Sadr retains a devoted following of millions among the country’s majority Shia population, including in the poor Baghdad district of Al-Sadr City.

“The Al-Sadrist base is significant in Baghdad and the southern provinces because it represents a Shia underclass that struggled during the previous government but viewed Muhammad al-Sadr as a religious authority who cared for them and preached to them when no one else dared to. This base continues to feel marginalised today, and al-Sadr appeals to them as the heir to his father’s position, but also as they feel he is their voice against all other political and religious factions,” Sajad Jiyad, a fellow at Century International and director of the Shia Politics Working Group, told Al Jazeera.

“He can occupy the streets. No one in Iraq can do it as well as him,” said Hamdi Malik, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Perhaps uniquely in Iraq, al-Sadr has “a very obedient base” which also comprises a formidable online presence attacking his rivals in cyberspace, Malik said.

“Everything is revolving around him. That in Iraq is very important,” he added.

During youth-led protests that erupted in 2019, Al-Sadr sent thousands of followers to support the movement.

He then called them back, and later invited them to “relaunch the peaceful reformist revolution”.

Ben Robin-D’Cruz, a specialist in Shia movements at Aarhus University in Denmark, said Al-Sadr “tries to position himself simultaneously in the centre of the political system while distancing himself from it”.

Who is Muqtada alSadr powerful Shia cleric whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil

His religious character, the researcher said, “allows him to create this illusion of transcending politics”.

He has a chequered relationship with Iran.

Al-Sadr’s bloc contested the 2010 legislative election in an alliance with the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, a Shia group with links to the Islamic republic.

Nationalist, potential kingmaker

In October, though, Al-Sadr campaigned as a nationalist and emerged as a potential kingmaker.

Al-Sadr initially said he would not take part in the October election but then backtracked to campaign on vague themes of reconstruction, opposition to Iranian influence, and a pledge to “end corruption”.

Nearly 10 months after elections, the oil-rich but impoverished country is still without a new government.

Al-Sadr’s bloc emerged from the ballot as the biggest parliamentary faction, but intense negotiations since then have failed to bridge the divide between it and rival Shia groups.

In June, his 73 lawmakers quit in a bid to break the logjam but that led to a pro-Iran bloc, his opponents, becoming the largest in parliament.

The current standoff pits him against the pro-Iran Coordination Framework which includes lawmakers from the party of Al-Sadr’s longtime foe, ex-prime minister Nuri al-Maliki — who gained the premiership in 2006 with support from Al-Sadr but whose followers later pulled out of Maliki’s cabinet.

As a result of past deals, the Al-Sadrists have been accused by their opponents of being as corrupt as other political forces.

Supporters of Al-Sadr, however, are ready to follow him almost blindly and view him as a champion of the anti-corruption fight.

“All the people are with you, Sayyed Muqtada,” the protesters chanted, using his title, before they stormed parliament on Saturday.

With inputs from agencies

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China Is Expanding Her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China Is Expanding Nuclear Test Facilities; New Satellite Images Reveal Dragon’s Dangerous Plans

August 2, 2022

The latest satellite images reveal that China is expanding its nuclear test sites in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including erecting a facility that could be used to store explosives.

In its latest report, the Nikkei has reviewed the latest satellite images with several experts that seem to affirm China is enhancing its nuclear testing capability. The satellite images show new development and expansion of China’s nuclear test facilities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The new evidence was discovered by the satellite at China’s Lop Nur nuclear test site southeast of Western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Many experts think the People’s Liberation Army is responsible for protecting the covert nuclear testing site.

According to the report, extensive coverings have been constructed on a mountainside in this arid region and the broken rocks piled nearby are thought to prove that a new “sixth tunnel” for testing has been dug out nearby.

Recent construction includes power transmission cables and a facility that could be used to store high explosives. The images also showed that several unpaved white roads branch off a command post.

An expert at AllSource Analysis, a US private geospatial company, said that China could undertake nuclear-related tests anytime, especially considering the electricity line and road network that now joins Lop Nor’s western military nuclear test facilities to new prospective test sites in the east.

China is expanding its nuclear arsenal to establish itself as the world’s dominant power. In 2021, a pentagon report outlined many developments, including Beijing’s “large-scale expansion of its nuclear forces,” which could seriously threaten the US. 

The Pentagon has previously issued similar warnings. The Pentagon’s 2020 report on China’s military revealed that Beijing’s arsenal of nuclear warheads would have at least doubled by the decade’s end.

However, the recent report contains a more urgent warning: according to the Pentagon, China “has accelerated its nuclear expansion” and is “exceeding the pace and size the DoD projected in 2020.” Military vehicles carrying the DF-17 hypersonic ballistic missile roll past Tiananmen Square during a parade in Beijing in October 2019.

The communist country, however, faces many difficulties in its quest to catch up to the US. The Chinese Communist Party, according to President Xi Jinping, “rules east, west, north, and south,” which implies that it has control over the PLA. 

The latest report highlighted that China’s military leadership is still corrupt and nepotistic. The Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 was the PLA’s previous significant experience in actual combat.

The Xi administration may be thinking about forcibly annexing Taiwan. Even the possibility of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, visiting Taiwan has drawn a grave threat from Beijing. Chinese officials might consider this potential visit an invasion and take drastic military action.

But given the severe flaws in the quality of Russian military hardware, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has served as a stark reminder of the dangers of military actions. Over 66% of China’s imported military hardware comes from Russia.Courtesy: Nikkei

Sixth Tunnel On Its Way?

Beijing stopped conducting explosive tests in the area a quarter century ago. The country has conducted five underground nuclear tests at Lop Nur, the last being in 1996. The latest report highlighted the evidence of a planned resumption, including excavating the sixth tunnel.

Tenders requested from the area contain some convincing evidence as well. An official Chinese procurement website issued a request for proposals in April for “10 radiation dose alarms,” “12 protective suits,” and “one wound site taints detector,” the report revealed. 

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has no nuclear power plants, but the XPCC stated that it will “start strengthening the capacity to monitor radioactivity in 2022.” In the area, there has been a rise in the purchase of related equipment.

In October 2020, satellites found fresh evidence of Lop Nur’s terrain leveling work. The report noted, “Big trucks came and went in 2021, and the power infrastructure for the sixth tunnel was built in the first half of 2022.” The construction work of the explosive storage facility was completed in June 2022. 

Alongside these developments, excessive radiation levels were seen in the area. Nearby, a new underground facility was discovered that could be employed to launch nuclear missiles, the report added. File Image; China’s YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile.

Why Is China Expanding Its Nuclear Facility?

China worries that the US, which has a more powerful triad and more nuclear weapons, could launch a preemptive attack on its nuclear arsenal and launch capabilities, leaving China without sufficient defenses. 

This has driven Beijing to seek out more weapons and delivery systems to have enough to withstand an attack and get past US missile defenses.

Also, maritime control will be the primary concern in a Taiwan Strait emergency. China may be able to keep US aircraft carriers at bay with the help of small nuclear weapons with limited strike power.

Although the US has not yet taken a direct part in the conflict in Ukraine, some analysts contend that the potential use of nuclear weapons has made Washington even more cautious about getting involved. China is undoubtedly aware of this line of thinking.

The expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal may be the most obvious sign of the country’s combat readiness. Still, it’s only one part of a more extensive buildup that worries military leaders and decision-makers worldwide.

Trouble Before the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

New Nuclear Troubles in Southern Asia?

While China, India, and Pakistan have long had competitive and often antagonistic relationships, the significant transformation of each nation’s nuclear capabilities over the past decades now complicates—and in some ways mitigates—their geopolitical rivalries. How have the nuclear transformations in the region fostered stability amid heightened risk? And what do these ongoing changes mean for the ever-intricate web of global competition and alliances?

Join Carnegie for the launch of Ashley J. Tellis’ new report “Striking Asymmetries: Nuclear Transitions in Southern Asia” which studies the implications of China’s dramatic nuclear expansion, Pakistan’s striking diversification of its nuclear arsenal, and India’s slow nuclear modernization. Featuring Ashley J. Tellis, Rabia Akhtar, Rakesh Sood, and Tong Zhao, moderated by Evan A. Feigenbaum.

UN chief warns of the Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 16

 UN chief warns of ‘nuclear annihilation’

UN chief warns of ‘nuclear annihilation’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 2022 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York City on August 1, 2022

United Nations – UN head Antonio Guterres warned Monday that a misunderstanding could spark nuclear destruction as the United States, Britain and France urged Russia to stop “its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour.”

At the opening of a key nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, Guterres warned that the world faced “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.”

Citing Russia’s war with Ukraine and tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East, Guterres said he feared that crises “with nuclear undertones” could escalate.

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” Guterres told the 10th review conference of the NPT, an international treaty that came into force in 1970 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” he added, calling on nations to “put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The meeting, held at the UN’s headquarters in New York, has been postponed several times since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will run until August 26.

Guterres said the conference was “a chance to strengthen” the treaty and “make it fit for the worrying world around us.

“Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used,” the secretary-general implored, adding that he would visit Hiroshima for the anniversary of the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the Japanese city by the United States.

“Almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are now being held in arsenals around the world. All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening,” Guterres added.

In January, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France — had pledged to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

On Monday, America, Britain and France reaffirmed their commitment in a joint statement, saying a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

The three also took aim at Russia, urging Moscow to respect its international commitments under the NPT.

“Following Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine, we call on Russia to cease its irresponsible and dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour,” they said.

The statement came as US President Joe Biden called on Russia and China to enter nuclear arms control talks.

The US leader reiterated in a statement that his administration is ready to “expeditiously negotiate” a replacement to New START, the treaty capping intercontinental nuclear forces in the United States and Russia, which is set to expire in 2026.

The NPT, which the signatories review every five years, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote complete disarmament and promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

At the last review conference in 2015, the parties were unable to reach agreement on substantive issues.

“The world can never be safe as long as any country has nuclear weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who was in New York for the meeting.

“And the NPT recognizes this,” she added. “It’s the reason that the treaty exists. And now states, parties more than ever need to act.”

Russia’s Ukraine War Could End in Nuclear Disaster

Nuclear Risks: Russia’s Ukraine War Could End in Disasterhttps://andrewtheprophet.com

As the Russo-Ukrainian War grinds on, both Russia and Ukraine have adjusted their strategic objectives. Russia abandoned its initial goal of seizing Kyiv and installing a pro-Russian government after facing fierce Ukrainian resistance, and is now focusing on conquering Eastern Ukraine and annexing significant portions of Ukraine’s southern territory. Ukraine’s minimum objectives include reestablishing its prewar borders, with political leaders occasionally suggesting that Ukraine should expand its ambitions to reclaiming territory lost to Russia in Crimea and the Donbas region since 2014.

U.S. strategic objectives in Ukraine are also a moving target. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated that the United States not only wants Ukraine to remain a sovereign and democratic country, but also “to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised that the United States would support Ukraine “until the fight is done.” President Joe Biden reiterated this point, stating that the United States would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes so Russia cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine.”

Analysts and commentators debate how ambitious U.S. support for Ukraine should be. Some scholars have emphasized differences in U.S. and Ukrainian interests and encouraged more limited objectives. Calls for continued and expanded military support have come to dominate the defense policy discourse.

A core point of disagreement between these two camps is the perceived likelihood of nuclear escalation. Whereas those arguing for limited objectives tend to worry about the potential for escalation across the nuclear threshold, analysts in favor of increased support for Ukraine view the costs of concessions as more dangerous than confrontation and tend to view the likelihood of escalation as minimal.

The likelihood of nuclear use in Ukraine may be low, but it is not zero. Analysts who quickly dismiss the potential for nuclear escalation—and even most of those who express worries about nuclear conflict—largely oversimplify the many pathways that can lead to nuclear use, whether purposeful or inadvertent. Providing a clearer delineation of those pathways will help policymakers better understand which policy options can more safely advance U.S. objectives, and which policies should inspire greater caution and restraint.

Choosing to Go Nuclear

On the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin warned that any opposition to Russian efforts would result in consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history.” Several days later, Putin placed Russian nuclear forces on high alert. Nuclear threats have continued to emanate from Russia throughout the conflict, with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov recently warning Western leaders that the risks of nuclear war are now “considerable.”

Despite such overt nuclear threats, U.S. and European leaders have expressed skepticismabout the likelihood of a nuclear exchange. For example, shortly after Russia’s decision to place its nuclear forces on high alert, U.S. president Joe Biden received a question regarding whether U.S. citizens should fear nuclear war in Europe. Biden’s response was simple: “no.” Five months of unfulfilled nuclear threats have ultimately led analysts to argue that Russia’s threats are “not credible.”

Furthermore, given the massively destructive effects of nuclear weapons and apparent tabooagainst their use, others decisively assert that Russia will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine because “extraordinary retaliation and universal opprobrium would follow.” Even those observers most concerned about the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons generally view such an outcome as unlikely.

Such assertions that Russia would not use nuclear weapons rely on an important assumption: the decision to use nuclear weapons will be politically calculated and purposefully directed by Putin. This assumption, however, overlooks a separate challenge to crisis stability. Specifically, crises entail risks of unintended nuclear escalation that occurs without explicit political intent. These concerns merit greater attention when debating U.S. foreign policy with respect to Ukraine, as the likelihood of unintended escalation may be higher than purposeful escalation under certain circumstances, such as if Russia begins mobilizing its nuclear forces to signal resolve.

Pathways to Unintended Escalation

Putin is most likely to consider nuclear weapons use if facing a devastating strategic defeat or existential threat to his regime. Two core interests might fall into this category: first, threats to the physical security of Russia, potentially including challenges to territorial gains made by Russia since 2014; and second, threats to the survival of Putin’s political regime.

Skeptics of escalation concerns argue that nuclear weapons will not come into play as long as the United States and NATO avoid Russia’s red lines, including direct attacks on Russian forces and the deployment of NATO forces into Ukrainian territory. The dangers associated with crossing these red lines explain why U.S. policymakers rejected proposals for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would have required Western forces to directly target the Russian military to enforce the policy.

Avoiding direct engagement with Russian forces, however, is insufficient to guarantee that nuclear weapons will not be used. Nuclear use is not a simple on-off switch, and the process of preparing nuclear weapons for potential use entails risks of unintended nuclear use. Simply approaching Russia’s red lines—even without crossing them—increases the likelihood of nuclear use.

The primary node of concern for unintended nuclear escalation during militarized crises is a state’s nuclear command and control systems. Command and control systems are the operational means by which a state conducts the management, deployment, and potential release of nuclear weapons. More simply, command and control procedures determine how centralized a country’s political oversight of nuclear forces is. These systems dictate how a state operates during peacetime and crises, directly shaping the likelihood of nuclear use.

If Putin feels that Russia’s physical security or his political regime are in danger, he is more likely to increase the readiness of his nuclear arsenal. Operationally, this means that lower-level military commanders will be more capable of using nuclear weapons as military operators gain possession of fully prepared and deliverable nuclear weapons, likely without technical controls to inhibit their use. This delegation of nuclear use capability to lower-level commanders creates two risks that have largely been overlooked in the debate about nuclear use in Ukraine.

First, accidental use—referring to the unintentional use of nuclear weapons due to mishandling or poor design—becomes more likely as military operators gain control of fully ready nuclear weapons. Without peacetime barriers to using nuclear weapons—such as the separation of nuclear warheads from ballistic missiles—military operators in possession of nuclear weapons have fewer constraints on their ability to use nuclear weapons. History is repletewith examples of nuclear near-misses, instances in which accidents almost resulted in nuclear use, and these events remain entirely plausible in Russia. Moreover, if a nuclear weapon were to detonate accidentally in Ukraine, outside actors likely would not recognize the detonation as accidental and might authorize nuclear retaliation.

Second, the delegation of nuclear use capability would increase the likelihood of unauthorized use, which occurs when the custodians of nuclear weapons use those nuclear weapons without authorization from political leadership. Unauthorized use could occur because a lower-level commander decides to circumvent the chain of command and use a nuclear weapon without political authorization, or that commander may elect to use nuclear weapons to stave off defeat if being conventionally overrun by the adversary. These pressures would be especially pronounced for commanders of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons, as they are most likely to be placed in a battlefield setting and face “use them or lose them” pressures.

Nuclear Command and Control and Crisis Escalation

During peacetime, Russia appears to manage its nuclear forces in a way that mitigates the risk of accidental and unauthorized use. The Russian president has the centralized ability to authorize the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear warheads are kept de-mated from ballistic missiles, which physically prevents lower-level commanders from possessing nuclear weapons, much less using them.

If an adversary such as NATO approaches Russia’s red lines and threatens the state’s security or Putin’s regime, however, it is possible that Putin would authorize the transfer of nuclear warheads to military operators to increase arsenal readiness in an effort to deter NATO from crossing the red line at all. Placing fully assembled tactical nuclear weapons in the hands of Russian military forces would immediately increase the likelihood of nuclear use by opening doors to accidental or unauthorized use.

Beyond accidental and unauthorized use, this process of increasing arsenal readiness entails another significant threat to strategic stability. The unusual release of sensitive information by the Biden administration shows that the United States is actively monitoring every available aspect of the conflict in Ukraine. If U.S. intelligence were to discover that Russia was removing nuclear warheads from storage and increasing operational readiness, U.S. policymakers will be forced to make decisions about supporting military efforts that are apparently approaching the nuclear brink without knowing whether Russia was simply increasing arsenal readiness or actually preparing to conduct a nuclear strike. In this case, Western officials could view Russian mobilization as a cause for preemptive strikes against Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons. Whether NATO conducts the attack or passes intelligence to Ukraine in support of an attack, this direct targeting of Russian nuclear forces would clearly cross a red line that encourages nuclear use, thereby guaranteeing the nuclear exchange that attacking forces hoped to avoid in the first place.