Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake: Revelation 6

Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

Roger BilhamQuakeland: New York and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Given recent seismic activity — political as well as geological — it’s perhaps unsurprising that two books on earthquakes have arrived this season. One is as elegant as the score of a Beethoven symphony; the other resembles a diary of conversations overheard during a rock concert. Both are interesting, and both relate recent history to a shaky future.

Journalist Kathryn Miles’s Quakeland is a litany of bad things that happen when you provoke Earth to release its invisible but ubiquitous store of seismic-strain energy, either by removing fluids (oil, water, gas) or by adding them in copious quantities (when extracting shale gas in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, or when injecting contaminated water or building reservoirs). To complete the picture, she describes at length the bad things that happen during unprovoked natural earthquakes. As its subtitle hints, the book takes the form of a road trip to visit seismic disasters both past and potential, and seismologists and earthquake engineers who have first-hand knowledge of them. Their colourful personalities, opinions and prejudices tell a story of scientific discovery and engineering remedy.

Miles poses some important societal questions. Aside from human intervention potentially triggering a really damaging earthquake, what is it actually like to live in neighbourhoods jolted daily by magnitude 1–3 earthquakes, or the occasional magnitude 5? Are these bumps in the night acceptable? And how can industries that perturb the highly stressed rocks beneath our feet deny obvious cause and effect? In 2015, the Oklahoma Geological Survey conceded that a quadrupling of the rate of magnitude-3 or more earthquakes in recent years, coinciding with a rise in fracking, was unlikely to represent a natural process. Miles does not take sides, but it’s difficult for the reader not to.

She visits New York City, marvelling at subway tunnels and unreinforced masonry almost certainly scheduled for destruction by the next moderate earthquake in the vicinity. She considers the perils of nuclear-waste storage in Nevada and Texas, and ponders the risks to Idaho miners of rock bursts — spontaneous fracture of the working face when the restraints of many million years of confinement are mined away. She contemplates the ups and downs of the Yellowstone Caldera — North America’s very own mid-continent supervolcano — and its magnificently uncertain future. Miles also touches on geothermal power plants in southern California’s Salton Sea and elsewhere; the vast US network of crumbling bridges, dams and oil-storage farms; and the magnitude 7–9 earthquakes that could hit California and the Cascadia coastline of Oregon and Washington state this century. Amid all this doom, a new elementary school on the coast near Westport, Washington, vulnerable to inbound tsunamis, is offered as a note of optimism. With foresight and much persuasion from its head teacher, it was engineered to become an elevated safe haven.

Miles briefly discusses earthquake prediction and the perils of getting it wrong (embarrassment in New Madrid, Missouri, where a quake was predicted but never materialized; prison in L’Aquila, Italy, where scientists failed to foresee a devastating seismic event) and the successes of early-warning systems, with which electronic alerts can be issued ahead of damaging seismic waves. Yes, it’s a lot to digest, but most of the book obeys the laws of physics, and it is a engaging read. One just can’t help wishing that Miles’s road trips had taken her somewhere that wasn’t a disaster waiting to happen.

Catastrophic damage in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964, caused by the second-largest earthquake in the global instrumental record.

In The Great Quake, journalist Henry Fountain provides us with a forthright and timely reminder of the startling historical consequences of North America’s largest known earthquake, which more than half a century ago devastated southern Alaska. With its epicentre in Prince William Sound, the 1964 quake reached magnitude 9.2, the second largest in the global instrumental record. It released more energy than either the 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake or the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off Japan; and it generated almost as many pages of scientific commentary and description as aftershocks. Yet it has been forgotten by many.

The quake was scientifically important because it occurred at a time when plate tectonics was in transition from hypothesis to theory. Fountain expertly traces the theory’s historical development, and how the Alaska earthquake was pivotal in nailing down one of the most important predictions. The earthquake caused a fjordland region larger than England to subside, and a similarly huge region of islands offshore to rise by many metres; but its scientific implications were not obvious at the time. Eminent seismologists thought that a vertical fault had slipped, drowning forests and coastlines to its north and raising beaches and islands to its south. But this kind of fault should have reached the surface, and extended deep into Earth’s mantle. There was no geological evidence of a monster surface fault separating these two regions, nor any evidence for excessively deep aftershocks. The landslides and liquefied soils that collapsed houses, and the tsunami that severely damaged ports and infrastructure, offered no clues to the cause.

“Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about present-day vulnerability.” The hero of The Great Quake is the geologist George Plafker, who painstakingly mapped the height reached by barnacles lifted out of the intertidal zone along shorelines raised by the earthquake, and documented the depths of drowned forests. He deduced that the region of subsidence was the surface manifestation of previously compressed rocks springing apart, driving parts of Alaska up and southwards over the Pacific Plate. His finding confirmed a prediction of plate tectonics, that the leading edge of the Pacific Plate plunged beneath the southern edge of Alaska along a gently dipping thrust fault. That observation, once fully appreciated, was applauded by the geophysics community.

Fountain tells this story through the testimony of survivors, engineers and scientists, interweaving it with the fascinating history of Alaska, from early discovery by Europeans to purchase from Russia by the United States in 1867, and its recent development. Were the quake to occur now, it is not difficult to envisage that with increased infrastructure and larger populations, the death toll and price tag would be two orders of magnitude larger than the 139 fatalities and US$300-million economic cost recorded in 1964.

What is clear from these two books is that seismicity on the North American continent is guaranteed to deliver surprises, along with unprecedented economic and human losses. Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about the present-day vulnerability of US infrastructure and populations. Engineers and seismologists know how to mitigate the effects of future earthquakes (and, in mid-continent, would advise against the reckless injection of waste fluids known to trigger earthquakes). It is merely a matter of persuading city planners and politicians that if they are tempted to ignore the certainty of the continent’s seismic past, they should err on the side of caution when considering its seismic future.

Russian Nuclear Horn: Revelation 16

Nuclear weapons, mushroom cloud

Nuclear bomb radius: How far nuclear fallout could reach – ‘Consequences will be felt’

NUCLEAR BOMBS are the most destructive items of weaponry on earth, but just how far can one travel?

By KATIE ELLIOTT

07:17, Thu, May 19, 2022

Russia TV host responds to Ireland about nuclear strike on UK

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Since putting Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert in late February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been brandishing the country’s nuclear arsenal throughout the Ukraine invasion; warning those who interfere will see “consequences never encountered in your history”. Nuclear bombs are described as the most dangerous weapons on earth, but just how widespread would the fallout be if one were to be detonated?

As of March 2022, there were reported to be around 12,660 nuclear weapons in circulation and according to Statista, almost 90 percent of them are split between two countries, Russia and the United States.

Despite the mass volume in circulation, these warheads have scarcely been used due to the sheer level of destruction they can precipitate.

In fact, the only nuclear attack recorded in history was by the US during World War Two, when it detonated two bombs over Japanese cities Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.

by Taboola

The estimated death toll for these attacks is thought to be around 140,000 in Hiroshima, and at least 74,000 in Nagasaki, with thousands dying weeks, months and years after the event from radiation sickness; demonstrating just how devastating the effects of detonation would be.

Nuclear bomb radius: How far nuclear fallout could reach – ‘Consequences will be felt’ (Image: GETTY)

Despite Russia’s looming threats, many experts say the event of Putin actually using nuclear bombs is highly unlikely – but not completely impossible.

How far could a nuclear bomb reach?

One nuclear bomb has the power to destroy an entire city, however, determining the radius of impact very much depends on the size of the bomb.

The nuclear bombs circulating today are much more powerful than the ones last used in World War two, which are said to have carried a blast yield of around 15 to 22 kilotons.

The most powerful nuclear bomb recorded weights up to 1,200 kilotons, meaning the radius would be much larger and the impact more severe.

Putin's nuclear threat to the UK

Putin has been warning those who interfere will see “consequences never encountered in your history” (Image: EXPRESS)

However, even the less powerful nuclear bombs have the ability to cause widespread devastation.

The immediate blast of an average nuclear bomb could stretch over half a mile, incinerating all and anything within the vicinity of the explosion.

The harsher impact can stretch five miles outside of this, which could cause those in this area to suffer third-degree burns, and those up to seven miles away would experience second and first-degree burns.

People up to 53 miles away could experience temporary blindness or severe burns to the retina if looking directly at the blast.

But the devastation wouldn’t stop there. When detonated, the nuclear bomb produces a flash of light and a huge fireball, which, after vaporising all substances inside it, brings everything upwards into a giant mushroom cloud.

Putin

Putin has been brandishing the country’s nuclear arsenal throughout the Ukraine invasion (Image: GETTY)

The radioactive material inside the nuclear bomb combines with the mushroom cloud forming a dust, which falls back to earth – described as ‘fallout’.

This fallout is then swept up with the wind and carried hundreds of miles away, contaminating anything it lands on with the radioactive material.

Is nuclear war likely?

Director of national intelligence, Avril Haines warned the US Senate armed services committee last week that Putin could view the prospect of defeat in Ukraine as an existential threat to his regime, which could potentially trigger his resort to nuclear weapon usage.

She said: “We do think that [Putin’s perception of an existential threat] could be the case in the event that he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine, and that NATO in effect is either intervening or about to intervene in that context, which would obviously contribute to a perception that he is about to lose the war in Ukraine.”

Mr Putin has issued stern warnings in the past; most recently telling the President of Finland he is making a ‘mistake’ by joining NATO.

While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “The collective West has announced a total hybrid war on us.

“It is difficult to forecast how long this will all last, but it is clear that the consequences will be felt by everybody without exception.”

However, experts widely describe the event of nuclear war as highly unlikely due to the mass costs for all, and it’s not deemed to be Putin’s first course of action.

Ms Haines continued: “There are a lot of things that he would do in the context of escalation before he would get to nuclear weapons, and also that he would be likely to engage in some signalling beyond what he’s done thus far before doing so.”

Antichrist’s “opposition role” initiative can complicate political crisis further

Analysis: Al-Sadr’s

Analysis: Al-Sadr’s “opposition role” initiative can complicate political crisis further

May 18, 2022 – 2:16 PM News Code : 1258502 Source : Al Waght NewsLink:

While Iraq now passed seventh month after the parliamentary elections, Muqtada al-Sadr continues to bring surprises the complicated political process in the country. Over the past few months he proposed forming the national majority government, gave 40-day deadline to the rival Shiite Coordination Framework (SCF) to form a new cabinet, and also gave the independent lawmakers two weeks to form government with his assistance.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): While Iraq now passed seventh month after the parliamentary elections, Muqtada al-Sadr continues to bring surprises the complicated political process in the country. Over the past few months he proposed forming the national majority government, gave 40-day deadline to the rival Shiite Coordination Framework (SCF) to form a new cabinet, and also gave the independent lawmakers two weeks to form government with his assistance. 

Now in his latest remarks, al-Sadr, admitting that he has failed to form a national majority government, said that his Sadrist Movement is ready to shift role to “national opposition” and leave the government formation process to other parties. The plan to turn shift to opposition role within a month could actually complicate the scene of Iraq’s politics more than ever. To shed some light on this complexity, we need to first discuss his shift stand initiatives since October elections.

From majority government to national opposition 

Since the initial hours of the release of the election results by the election commission, al-Sadr as the victorious party confidently talked about his intention to form a government of majority in coalition with the Sunnis and Kurds. Finally, the National Salvation Coalition was formed by al-Sadr, Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Masoud Barzani, and the Sunni Sovereignty bloc led by former parliament speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi and the prominent businessman Khamis Khanjar on March 23 at a press conference held by Hasan al-Adhari of Sadrist Movement. 

Even before its official announcement, the coalition had succeeded in taking the first step in forming a new government by electing Mohammad al-Halbousi as speaker of parliament, but in the second stage, the election of the president failed to go ahead as sessions failed to reach two-third quorum. After failing to reach the quorum of the parliament on March 23 and 30, al-Sadr issued a statement giving the rival Shiite factions 40 days to form a new cabinet.

But after al-Sadr’s 40-day deadline expired, on May 4, 2022, he presented an initiative to entrust the formation of a new government to at least 40 independent members of parliament. In his new plan, the leader of the Sadrist Movement called on the independent parliamentarians to form a new government within 15 days. He stressed that the tripartite coalition will vote for this new government but the Sadrist faction will not join it. 

Now, as the 15-day opportunity for independents draws to a close, the powerful Shiite leader has unveiled a new plan to turn the bloc under his leadership into a national opposition. He stated that he had not succeeded in forming a “national majority government”, adding that there was only one way left and that was to become a national opposition. He further noted that the duration of the opposition will not be less than 30 days, adding that if the parties and other parliamentary factions, including those who had formed an alliance with the faction, can form a cabinet, that would be fine, Otherwise, he will make another decision. His recent remarks mean that he will probably announce a newer initiative after his one-month opportunity to form a new government expires. 

Any scenario except for coalescing with SCF 

Al-Sadr’s frustration with the formation of a national majority government and his new plan to turn his bloc into a national opposition can be analyzed in two ways. First, Sadr’s new plan is rooted in the acceptance of the field realities of Iraqi politics and governance. In recent months, he has not been able to face the fact that it is not possible to form a national majority government without the consent of the rival Shiite bloc, but now it seems that he has finally accepted this fact. 

Second, his has a record of retreat, one time in 2012 and one time in 2016. While eyeing to become the top man of the Iraqi politics, al-Sadr does not want to fully shoulder the full responsibility of the administration of the country and this feeds his opposition role tendency. At the same time, he wishes to be viewed as the reformer and savior of the nation. 

This means that all of his initiatives have a common point: accepting any scenario except for SCF rise to power. In fact, although al-Sadr has announced that he wants to form the national opposition or give a 40-day deadline to the Shiites to coordinate the formation of the government, behind the scenes he does not want his Shiite rivals to reach the cabinet formation stage. He is in no way capable of accepting that there is a more powerful faction among the Shiites than his. Therefore, if his one-month plan succeeds in forming a government, any future initiative would be based on distancing the SCF from the government.

Change of equations of new government formation 

After Al-Sadr’s decision to turn into the opposition, here is a picture of the Iraqi politics post-election. On the first side are the Barzanis, al-Halbousi, Khanjar, and some independent representatives who have previously been allies of the al-Sadr in forming his coalition. On the second side are SCF, their Kurdish allies–the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan– and some independent representatives that together make up at least one-third, at t least 110 of the 329 members, of the Iraqi parliament. On the third side are the independent representatives who in practice will probably have 40 seats after joining the dual coalitions. But the fourth side in such a situation is the Sadrist Movement with about 75 seats as the national opposition. 

Given the makeup of forces and the parties present in the Iraqi political arena, it can be clearly stated that al-Sadr’s opposition status and non-interference in the formation of the government is more like a political bureaucracy. With the current political makeup, now coalition can even get close to formation of a new government. Though on the paper, there is a tangible change, in practice the rival forces powerfully face each other. The only scenario that can pave the way for Iraq to form a new government is SCF agreement with the al-Sadr coalition. Indeed, there is no impossibility in the world of politics, in practice an agreement between the two not only does not seem possible but also even if these factions want such an agreement, al-Sadr will probably block it. 

With the political observers for months predicting impossibility of formation of a new government for a single side, the only way out of the current stalemate is inclusive national dialogue for a national unity government that covers all parties like post-2003 tradition. A government not a result of loss of one and victory of another side. To put it another way, return to win-win principle is the only means out of the current crisis.

More shaking before the sixth-seal Revelation 6:12

Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Have Had 30 Earthquakes Since May 2021
Petrovich9

Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Have Had 30 Earthquakes Since May 2021

Published: May 17, 2022

It’s not something we think about here in New Hampshire, Maine, or Massachusetts because earthquakes and New England aren’t synonymous.  I mean that’s a California thing, you know?  But get this:

Maine had 10 between mid-April and mid-May, New Hampshire follows with 10 since mid-January and Massachusetts has had or felt 10 since May, 2021.   And that’s as of the date of this article.

Tomislav Zivkovic

The reason I decided to look into earthquakes in this region is because Massachusetts experienced three small quakes that hit off the coast of Rhode Island that strong enough to feel.  Those three hit on May 14th and May 15th with magnitudes between 2.2 and 2.5 according to Earthquake Track. 

Earthquake Track

That’s ten earthquakes in the last year in Massachusetts according to Earthquake Track.

Here’s the readout for the Granite State that has had ten earthquakes in the last four months.  Who knew?  Maybe you did know earthquakes happen more then we know but they’re just minor enough that we have no idea localized seismic activity is literally happening right under our feet.

Personally this has been a teaching moment for me to learn that earthquakes aren’t that uncommon, they’re just minor in New England.

And now to Maine we go with quite the activity as well.  Like I mentioned above, Maine has had 10 earthquakes in the last month.

Here’s a link to follow New Hampshire earthquakesMaine earthquakes, and Massachusetts earthquakes because as we know, we don’t always feel them or we notice something but we aren’t sure what.

Pakistani Horn Continues to Nuke Up: Daniel 8

Pakistan likely to continue to modernise and expand its nuclear capabilities:US intelligence official

Pakistan is likely to continue to modernise and expand its nuclear capabilities by conducting training with its deployed weapons and developing new delivery systems in 2022 as it perceives it as key to its survival, given Indias nuclear arsenal and conventional force superiority, the Pentagons top intelligence official has told lawmakers.Lt Gen Scott Berrier, Director, Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent Congressional hearing that Pakistans tense relationship with India will continue to drive its defence policy.

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 18-05-2022 10:27 IST | Created: 18-05-2022 10:25 IST


Pakistan is likely to continue to modernize and expand its nuclear capabilities by conducting training with its deployed weapons and developing new delivery systems in 2022 as it perceives it as key to its survival, given India’s nuclear arsenal and conventional force superiority, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official has told lawmakers.

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Lt Gen Scott Berrier, Director, Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent Congressional hearing that Pakistan’s tense relationship with India will continue to drive its defense policy. He said Pakistan ”perceives nuclear weapons as key to its national survival, given India’s nuclear arsenal and conventional force superiority.” “Pakistan very likely will continue to modernize and expand its nuclear capabilities by conducting training with its deployed weapons and developing new delivery systems in 2022,” Berrier said. ”Pakistan’s relations with India remain strained since a high-profile anti-India militant attack in the Union Territory of Kashmir in February 2019,” he said, referring to the Pulwama attack in which 40 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed.

“New Delhi’s August 2019 revocation of Kashmir’s semiautonomous status added to these tensions. However, cross-border violence has decreased since February 2021, when both countries recommitted to a ceasefire,” Berrier said, adding, “India and Pakistan have not made meaningful progress toward a long-lasting diplomatic solution since then.” India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August 2019. India’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 outraged Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

India has said that it desires normal neighborly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility, and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

Last year, India and Pakistan announced that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors. In his testimony, Berrier said that on April 11, Shehbaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan’s new prime minister after a no-confidence vote removed Imran Khan from the post. In his first speech as prime minister, Sharif called for rebuilding the US-Pakistan relationship and denounced Khan’s conspiracy theory that the US had orchestrated his removal.

“Sharif probably will give priority to addressing Pakistan’s economy while deferring to the Army on security issues for at least the first 6 months of his term,” he said.

”Khan’s removal almost certainly portends a period of political instability as the Sharif government transitions and as Pakistan prepares for elections due no later than August 2023,” he added.

Russian Horn Moves Nukes Towards Finland

Photo shows a line of Army green trucks traveling down a three-lane highway.
Nuclear-capable Iskanders filmed on May 16 en route to Vyborg, near Russian’s border with Finland.

Russia reportedly moves nuclear-capable missiles to Finland border

Lee Brown

May 17, 2022 4:29pm 

Russia has reportedly moved missiles capable of firing nuclear warheads close to its border with Finland amid heightened threats over the latter’s bid to join NATO.

A fleet of more than a dozen military vehicles moved down a highway — including seven that are thought to carry Iskander missiles, a video clip shared by Reuters Monday shows.

They were taken to Vyborg, a Russian city on the Finnish border, “as soon as the president of Finland said they were joining NATO,” the unidentified narrator of the clip said.

“Looks like a new military unit is about to be formed in Vyborg or the region,” he said.

The short-range ballistic missiles are already thought to have been used extensively by Russia — and are known to be ready to fire nuclear warheads, officials previously told Newsweek.

A senior US Air Force officer working on nuclear weapons told the outlet that the intelligence community sees the Iskander as the most serious threat.

Putin seated at a desk, facing a televised video conference.
Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting via teleconference on May 17.

The video emerged days after one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles if Finland joined the US-led military alliance.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that
joining would end the “nuclear-free status for the Baltic.”

Obama shouldn’t blow his Iran protest ‘do-over’

Biden shouldn’t blow his Iran protest ‘do-over’

by Michael Rubin

 | May 18, 2022 06:00 AM

In 2009, Iran erupted. Iranian elections have never been free in the Western sense: The clerical regime carefully vets who can run and often eliminates more than 98% of the candidates before the first vote is cast. Still, Iranians were outraged when the regime blatantly changed vote tallies to ensure Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s corrupt, Holocaust-denying president, got a second term. Protests erupted in every province, every major city, and most large towns. Iranians not only denounced Ahmadinejad, but they also condemned Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and called for an end to the Islamic Republic.

As the protests stretched from days to weeks, Iranians grew frustrated with then-President Barack Obama’s muted response, often chanting, “Obama, Obama, you are either with us or against us.” Only subsequently did it emerge that Obama sought to downplay any support for the protesters because he did not want to endanger his secret outreach to Khamenei. This led to a series of negotiations and hostage ransom that replenished Iran’s treasury and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Today, President Joe Biden has a rare opportunity for a do-over. Anger is boiling in Iran at increasing bread prices. The Russia-Ukraine war has disrupted much of Iran’s wheat imports, which had reached record levels even before the war. Much of the shortfall in domestic grain production, meanwhile, is due to regime corruption. The river ran dry in Isfahan last year, for example, not because of climate change but rather because the regime dispensed no-bid contracts to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-owned companies to build unnecessary dams solely for the profit of the military.

During Nowruz celebrations for the Persian New Year, many Iranian city dwellers left home because raising prices and food scarcity — chicken is also in especially short supply — meant they could no longer offer the traditional hospitality that marks the holiday. Rumors, meanwhile, circulate on Iranian social media that the Iranian government is about to implement bread rationing. The government, for its part, rails against the bakery profiteers and promises subsidies to the poorest.

Bread riots have long been a third rail in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. Wheat shortages due to heavy snow forced the regime to deploy security forces across several northern provinces in 2008, while slashing subsidies led to deadly riots in Egypt in 1977 and again 40 years later. Many Iranians do not understand why they lack wheat when Khorasan, Iran’s northeastern province, has traditionally been a breadbasket for the region.

There has always been a socialist component to the Islamic Revolution. Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini and those surrounding him melded Islamism with various Marxist influences. The regime promotes a command economy while often rooting its decisions in an amorphous concept of social justice. Today, however, Iranian leaders have difficulty distracting the public with the rhetoric of class warfare when poor Iranians see the leadership rather than the disappearing middle class as the source of the problem.

Iran is a tinderbox, and rising bread prices and shortages could be the spark that sets off the conflagration.

As Iranians protest the regime that has failed to keep its promises and transformed Iran into an international pariah, the question for Biden is whether he will repeat Obama’s mistake and turn his back on the Iranian people in order to grease a process with the regime they hate. Alternately, he can stand aside and declare that the Iranian people have the same right to freedom and liberty as the Ukrainian and American peoples do.

Should Iranians control their own destiny, the nuclear impasse will fade away — first because it is the ideology of the regime that threatens and second because, economically and from an energy standpoint, there is no logical reason for Iran to invest in nuclear energy.

Let us hope that, as Iran erupts, Biden is farsighted enough to see the big picture and not repeat Obama’s mistakes.

Michael Rubin (@mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Series of small quakes shake before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

Series of small quakes shake near South Carolina capital

The Associated PressDec 28, 2021 / 06:10 AM ESTSouth Carolina NewsPosted: / Updated: Dec 28, 2021 / 06:10 AM EST

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A series of mild earthquakes have shaken homes and residents in central South Carolina. 

The U.S. Geological Survey says three quakes Monday in Kershaw County near Elgin registered magnitudes of 3.3, 2.5 and 2.1. 

The first earth-shaker rattled window panes and disrupted wildlife but apparently did not cause injuries or major damage. As the earthquake rumbled, with a sound similar to a heavy construction vehicle, it shook homes, caused glass doors and windows to clatter in their frames and prompted dogs to bark. 

People reported feeling tremors throughout the Columbia area and as far away as Lexington, about 40 miles southwest of the epicenter.

The Antichrist’s alliance: An opportunity for Iraq, the US, and the region

Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance: An opportunity for Iraq, the US, and the region

Ranj Alaaldin Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The United States and its allies face a dilemma and opportunity in Iraq. The October 2022 parliamentary elections produced a winner in Muqtada al-Sadr, the traditionally anti-Western cleric who leads Iraq’s most powerful socio-political movement and one of its most dominant armed groups. Sadr has long been at odds with the West. His militia, the Peace Brigades, fought U.S. and British troops during the occupation of Iraq, and his fighters have been complicit in wide-ranging atrocities.

Nonresident Fellow – Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy

But the cleric also has historic differences with the Iranian regime and is engulfed in ongoing violent rivalries with several militia groups that Tehran controls or is closely aligned with. Since his victory, Sadr has made a ferocious push to form a majority government that excludes Iranian-backed militias and their political sponsors, a bold and unprecedented move that has been met with significant pushback. These are strange times in Iraq. Sadr, who has a support base of some 2 to 3 million mostly destitute Iraqis, represents one side of a country that has long been shackled by militias and radical Shia Islamist groups. The other side of the country is represented by a burgeoning civil-society movement that yearns for good governance and reforms.

Sadr’s victory presents less than ideal circumstances. Yet his triumph — combined with the electoral decline of Iran-aligned militias, and the alliance Sadr has forged with moderate, U.S., and Western-aligned political actors like the Kurds in an attempt to form a majority government — suggests the U.S. has a historic opportunity to support and capitalize on a credible cross-sectarian alliance. Such a partnership could reduce the space in which extremist militia groups thrive, bridge the gap between Iraq and the Arab world, and in the long-term, restore the authority of the Iraqi state.

Sadr is by no means a natural U.S. ally. His organization is complicit in a catalogue of brutalities, including sectarian violence against Arab Sunnis and the repression of activists. U.S estimates suggest the Shia militias who operated within — and later left — the once-heavily decentralized Sadrist movement were responsible for killing 600 American personnel. The most prominent of the commanders responsible for these deaths fell out with Sadr and formed their own factions after splintering from the movement with Iranian encouragement and backing.

Both the Sadrists and Iran-aligned militias operate under an ideological outlook that is underscored by Shia supremacism and combating Western imperialism. Both have opposed the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. But there are crucial distinguishing features that separate Sadr from his rivals, and these matter for the trajectory of Iraq and its relationship with the West.

First, Sadr, and other powerful figures like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, are actively seeking to re-assert the authority of the Iraqi state against a particular group of Iranian-backed militias who are complicit in ongoing attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and in rocket and drone attacks on civilian targets in the Kurdistan region. These militias continue to engage in widespread atrocities against Iraqi civilians.

Sadr sees it as imperative that such groups are excluded from the next government or contained. The future of the Sadrist movement depends on preventing Iran-aligned militias from extending their tentacles within the state as part of the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), the umbrella militia organization that these groups control and that oversees a $2 billion budget. Iran’s proxies may have stumbled in the elections so far, but these are groups whose young leadership and cadres will politically mature. Sadr does not have an indefinite window of opportunity.

The cleric’s own militias have also yet to submit to state authority, and present long-term challenges. But the nature, scope, and scale of the daily attacks committed by Iran’s proxies makes their dominance a more immediate threat, and their containment an urgent priority beyond Iraq’s wider efforts to reform its security sector, a process that would be helped by the political containment of the PMF.

Second, Iran-aligned militias have struggled to make the transition from insurgents to viable social movements, not least because of their complicity in systemic human rights abuses and deference to Iran. Iranian-backed militias are the only political actors who use rocket and drone attacks to influence and pressure their rivals, and who deploy these measures as a negotiating tactic. By excluding the Iranian-backed PMF from the parameters of the Iraqi state, Sadr can remove the political cover the group relies on to carry out attacks with impunity. This will add to the woes of an organization that has already lost the support of the public.

The West has its own track record of working with its enemies in Iraq and elsewhere, including members of the Sunni insurgency who turned to the U.S. for support and were instrumental in defeating al-Qaida in Iraq as part of the U.S.-established Awakening Movement in 2007. The West does not have to partner with Sadr. But it should accommodate his pre-eminence as a political reality and find ways of empowering his alliance, which is the lesser of two evils.

It should not be taken lightly that Sadr has partnered with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Kurdistan’s ruling party led by Masoud Barzani, the former president of Kurdistan who led the Kurds’ historic push for independence in 2017. Sadr’s alliance with Barzani will not have been entirely popular among his Shia support base, which has derided Kurdistan’s push for independence and has echoed Sadr’s past toxic ethno-sectarian discourse towards the Kurds. Similarly, Mohammed al-Halbousi, the newly elected speaker of the Iraqi parliament who, with Barzani, completes Sadr’s tri-partite alliance, has emerged as the champion of Arab Sunnis and is popular in the Arab Gulf and Turkey, both of which have come under derision within the wider Shia community.

In other words, Sadr has passed the litmus test. Western observers should look toward his actions — like aligning with the Kurds and Halbousi — when determining whether and how to accommodate his electoral ascension. If Sadr can form such an alliance with unconventional bedfellows, then so too can the U.S. accommodate a cross-sectarian, historic, and regionally backed alliance that includes some of the West’s most ardent allies.

Iran and the PMF are doing their utmost to derail the tri-partite alliance by launching missile and drone attacks on Erbil (the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan), assassinating rivals, and exploiting divisions amongst the Kurds to force through a coalition government in Baghdad that does its bidding. In an effort to economically pressure Kurdistan, Baghdad’s Federal Supreme Court, under pressure from Iran, recently decreed that Kurdish oil exports are illegal. However, the timing of the ruling and the fact that the court has no constitutional standing has rendered its ruling dubious and politically motivated.

The court’s ruling has also failed to deter regional actors from forming closer ties to Erbil and they continue to back Sadr’s alliance. This has been notably displayed by Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s energy-focused visits to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar since the February ruling. Iran’s decision to attack Erbil with missiles is telling of the desperate straits in which Tehran finds itself in, but it also highlights the vulnerabilities of America’s allies. This should encourage Washington to work on maintaining the momentum generated by Barzani’s regional outreach, as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s attempts to bring Iraq into the orbit of the Arab world.

The Kurdistan region, like Baghdad, must continue to reform its security sector so it can combat Iran’s proxies. But the U.S. must also stop being a bystander to Iran’s coercive tactics and find direct ways to ensure the Sadr-Barzani-Halbousi political roadmap comes to fruition. The alliance may succumb to demands for a government that includes Iran’s allies but it can still function as a buffer against these groups within the government and parliament.

However, Washington’s attempts to mobilize its allies in Iraq and the region will be made redundant if Iran is holding a gun to their heads. Tehran has been able to ensure political disputes, like Kurdish divisions over the Iraqi presidency, have a disproportionate impact on the Sadr-led alliance’s ability to push through Iraq’s post-election deadlock. Washington should consider proportionate retaliatory military responses to Tehran’s attacks on Erbil and consider supplying Kurdistan with comprehensive air-defense systems, a move that will be welcomed in the Arab world and could be premised on the vulnerabilities of U.S. personnel and strategic interests in Erbil.

Babylon the Great Has Hypersonic Nukes: Daniel 7

Air Force says it successfully tested hypersonic weapon

U.S.

Keleigh BeesonTom PalmerPosted: MAY 17, 2022 / 04:31 PM CDT | Updated: MAY 17, 2022 / 04:31 PM CDT

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Air Force said Monday that it had conducted a successful test of a hypersonic weapon, which flew at five times the speed of sound.

According to a statement from the Air Force, the test was conducted Saturday off the coast of Southern California when a B-52 bomber released an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

After the weapon separated from the aircraft, its booster ignited and burned for the duration of the flight, the statement said.

The test comes as the U.S. races to develop hypersonic weapons to counter potential adversaries Russia and China.

The speed and maneuverability of hypersonic weapons make them difficult to track and intercept.Kim warns North Korea could ‘preemptively’ use nuclear weapons

The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced in early April that they were working together via the recently created security alliance known as AUKUS to develop hypersonic missiles.

Also in April, the Russian military said it successfully performed the first test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin said would make the West “think twice” before taking any aggressive actions against Russia.

According to U.S. military officials, Russia has now used hypersonic air-to-surface missiles in its military campaign in Ukraine, in what could be the first time these missiles have been used on the battlefield.

An expert NewsNation spoke with said Russia generally use conflicts to test their latest weapons systems.Russian officer: Missile to carry several hypersonic weapons

So what does that mean for the arms race between countries?

According to a professor of international affairs, the U.S. is leading the charge in hypersonics in at least one sense.

“It’s ahead of the pack in terms of the wide range of technologies being developed in the hypersonic program,” said Dinshaw Mistry, associate professor of international affairs, University of Cincinnati. “It’s slightly behind Russia in actually fielding them. But … that does not really matter in terms of battlefield effectiveness.”

Most military analysts say China and Russia have distinctly aggressive intentions.

Their objectives require dominating their neighbors and ensuring that the U.S. encounters significant obstacles in conducting a counterattack.

The U.S., on the other hand, must be able to deter at all levels of war, and all levels of escalation.

Hypersonics are only one, albeit critical, part of a broader American strategy.

The Hill and Reuters contributed to this report.

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