Babylon the Great’s Nuclear Horn

This Pictures Should Terrify Russia, North Korea and China Like Nothing Else

The bomber’s weapons bay could end up being more of a mission payload bay, with surveillance, communications, drone or electronic warfare packages loaded inside to facilitate a variety of missions, particularly in denied environments. The Raider is on the path to being America’s first multirole bomber.

On October 27, 2015, nearly thirty-four years to the day after Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract to develop the first stealth bomber, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop a contract for a new bomber: the B-21 Raider. While many of the details of the Raider are shrouded in mystery, we do know a few things about it, and can infer others.

(This first appeared last year.)

The B-21 Raider bomber takes its name from both the twenty-first century and the legendary 1942 raid by Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle’s force of B-25 Mitchell bombers against targets in and around Tokyo, Japan. In invoking the Doolittle Raid, the Air Force is drawing attention to attack’s audacious nature, the strategic and tactical surprise, and the epic distances General Doolittle and his “raiders” flew to accomplish their mission.

A tailless, batlike aircraft, the official rendering of the B-21 Raider released by the Air Force bears a superficial resemblance to the B-2 Spirit bomber. There are important distinctions, however. The B-21 moves its engines closer to the wing root, where they occupy the juncture between wing and fuselage, whereas the B-2’s twin pairs of General Electric F118-GE-100 engines are distinctly apart from the fuselage on the wing. The Raider’s engine air intakes are angled and not serrated like those on the B-2 Spirit. The Raider also has overwing exhausts to mask the infrared signature of the four engines, unlike the B-2. (Interestingly, this is exactly how the B-2’s exhausts were depicted in an April 1988 artist’s conception of that bomber.)

The aircraft appears similar in size to the B-2 Spirit, almost certainly making it a four-engine bomber. The  announcement of Pratt and Whitney in 2016  as a B-21 subcontractor narrows down the new bomber’s engines to two designs: the F-100 and the F-135. The mature F-100, which powers the F-15 Eagle series of fighters, seems a sound choice, but the Air Force may want the F-135, which powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, for its growth potential and ability to lower engine costs for the F-35 fleet.

Like its predecessor, the B-21 Raider will be a heavy strategic bomber designed to carry both nuclear and conventional weapons. If the B-2 is of similar size, it follows it will carry a similar amount of ordinance. This means two bomb bays. In order to keep costs down, the Air Force may elect to reuse the Advanced Applications Rotary Launcher from the B-2 bomber. The AARL is fitted one per bomb bay, each capable of carrying eight bombs or missiles.

In the nuclear mission, the Air Force will arm the B-21 with the Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) missile, the next-generation stealthy nuclear cruise missile. It will also carry B-61 free-fall nuclear gravity bombs, particularly the new  B61-12 bomb  with “dial-a-yield” capability. A combination of these two weapons will allow the B-21 to use its stealthy cruise missiles to clear a path through the enemy air-defense network before dropping B-61 bombs on primary and secondary targets.

For conventional missions, the B-21 will carry the  JASSM-ER conventional cruise missile  and two-thousand-pound  GBU-31 Joint Directed Attack Munition  satellite-guided bombs. The B-21 could use these weapons in a similar manner as its nuclear weapons, blasting its way through the enemy’s defenses before dropping JDAMs. Alternately, the B-21 could be used as a missile truck, launching up to sixteen JASSM-ERs at enemy targets from a distance, or penetrating less sophisticated enemy defenses to deliver JDAMs on target. The B-21 will also need to carry the thirty-thousand-pound  Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb , the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal, as the B-2 is currently the only bomber capable of lifting the enormous bomb.

Like many new weapons systems, the Air Force has instructed Northrop Grumman to build the bomber with a so-called “open architecture” hardware and software system. As a result, unlike previous bombers, the B-21 could become much more than just a heavy bomber. The open-architecture specification should ensure that future upgrades will be relatively easy to integrate into the B-21, and for the bomber to adapt to a slew of new, different missions. The bomber’s weapons bay could end up being more of a mission payload bay, with surveillance, communications, drone or electronic warfare packages loaded inside to facilitate a variety of missions, particularly in denied environments. The Raider is on the path to being America’s first multirole bomber.

The B-21 Raider is set to fly in the mid-2020s, and the Air Force plans to buy at least a hundred of the bombers to replace the B-52H Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer bombers. A larger fleet of up to two hundred bombers is possible, but entirely bound to fiscal realities. We don’t know what the Raider in its final form will look like, or when the Air Force will release more information on an aircraft it wants to carefully protect. The B-21 has disappeared into the “black” world of military technology, and will only reemerge when the bomber is ready.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the  Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring  and the  Daily Beast.  In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter:  @KyleMizokami.

Trump Cannot Stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

Would not allow Iran obtain nuclear weapons: Trump

• US-IRAN

By Lalit K Jha

Washington, Dec 7 United States President Donald Trump has vowed not to allow Iran acquire nuclear weapons.

“We cannot let the world’s leading sponsor of terror, a regime that chants death to America and threatens Israel all the time with annihilation and constantly screams out death to Israel, to possess the deadliest weapon on earth. We will not allow that to happen,” the US President told a select Jewish audience Thursday at the White House reception for Hanukkah.

His administration has imposed some of the toughest sanctions on Iran, which among other things ask countries like India and China to cut off import of oil from Iran. Both the countries have significantly reduced their oil intake since then.

Trump told the Jewish community that the US now has “left the horrible Iran nuclear” deal.

“It was a horrible, horrible deal. Should have never been made and imposed the toughest-ever sanction. We sanctioned Iran like I guess few have ever been sanctioned before. We must never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb,” he said.

A year ago, he said, the United States recognised the true capital of Israel.

Commemorating the miracle of Hanukkah, Trump said throughout history, Jewish people have suffered unthinkable repression and terrible violence.

“Yet in the face of this hardship, the Jewish people have endured, overcome and thrived like few that I can tell you. Thrived,” he said.

“Five weeks ago, our nation mourned a horrific tragedy. Jewish-Americans were brutally killed in a sinister anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and we went to see what had happened and to meet some of the people and they were incredible people,” Trump said.

“The way they stood up so bravely, so proudly was just something very incredible to see, and the rabbi was just a great person. In the aftermath of that wicked assault, we reaffirmed our solemn duty to confront anti-Semitism everywhere it occurs,” the president said amid an applause.

“We must stamp out this vile hatred from the world,” Trump said as he invited eight survivors of the Nazi Holocaust: Sara Censor, Bertha Einhorn, David Einhorn, Ethel Flam, Gita Landau, Dolly Rabinowitz, Ruth Salamon and Zahava Ungar. Trump told the survivors that they inspired the world with their courage.

Trump applauded Jewish people for building Israel into a “mighty and majestic nation”. He also pledged his administration’s support to Israel.

During his speech, the audience started chanting “four more years!” Someone in the crowd noted that once the math is completed from this date, it would be “six more years”. Trump expressed his agreement with the 2 + 4 equation. “I’ve actually never heard ‘four more years,'” he said.

“That’s an interesting one. … We’ll go for six, and then we’ll all be in very good shape.” The president claimed he was told that renovating what now is the US embassy in Jerusalem could cost as little as USD 200,000, which he said was “too cheap”. So he told his officials to do it for USD 400,000, Trump added. LKJ IJT

Russia Extends Her Nuclear Horn Into Crimea

Russia deploys nuclear weapon carriers in occupied Crimea – Yelchenko

Ever since Russia occupied Crimea, it has been tightening its military grip over the illegally annexed peninsula, according to the Ukrainian envoy.

REUTERS

Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has said Russia deployed in occupied Crimea carriers and other means capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

“After the Russian Federation occupied Crimea, it has been tightening its military grip over the occupied peninsula. Comparing to the pre-occupation period, Russia has more than doubled its military personnel from 12,500 to over 28,000, and up to 31,500 probably, according to the recent estimations,” he said at a briefing on the security in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov Region.

“Russia has also substantially reinforced and modernized its military land, air, and naval components,” he said.

“Russian military in Crimea got tanks and anti-aircraft systems, which were not present there before, up to six-seven times more combat vehicles, artillery systems, combat aircraft.”

He added that Russia more than doubled the number of combat helicopters, combat ships and submarines in the area.

“These forces are capable of carrying out comprehensive military operations in south-western strategic direction, which includes water and coastal areas, corresponding airspace over the Azov and Black Seas, as well as in the far-operating zone of the Mediterranean,” Yelchenko stressed.

Particularly dangerous are the Russian actions, which could lead to re-nuclearization of Crimea. The occupation authorities in Crimea are preparing military infrastructure for potential deployment of nuclear weapons, including the refurbishment of the Soviet-era nuclear warheads storage facilities.”

“Since 2015, the 12th General Directorate of the Russian Military General Staff, which is known to be in charge of the maintenance, transportation and disposal of nuclear warheads for tactical and ballistic missiles, conducts regular inspections in the occupied Crimea,” he said.

The Ambassador noted that Russia had “already deployed in the occupied Crimea carriers and other means capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

Among them there is a “Russian cruiser ‘Moskva’ with the missile system ‘Vulkan,’ three submarines, one frigate, two small missile ships, which are equipped with cruise missiles ‘Kalibr,’ SU-24 bombers, which can carry nuclear bombs.”

“Anytime Moscow can bring back other means of delivery of nuclear weapons to Crimea, which have been already used in the occupied territory for training purposes. This includes operational tactical missile complexes ‘Iskander,’ additional fighter bombers and other armament,” Yelchenko said.

Antichrist Shapes the New Iraq Government

Leader of Iraq’s Sadrist Movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr [Twitter]

Sadr’s alliance rejects candidacy of former chairman of Popular Mobilization Forces to interior minister

December 5, 2018 at 4:32 am

Lawmakers of Iraq’s Sairoon Alliance led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr rejected on Tuesday the candidacy of the former chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Faleh al-Fayyad as interior minister.

The lawmakers announced their position ahead of a Parliament session to vote on the appointment of the remaining eight ministers for the Iraqi cabinet including the ministers of interior and defence.

According to the deputies, al- Fayad is not fit to take over the ministry of the interior, because he had previously served in an executive position and he is not independent.

Al-Fayad has previously served as a national security adviser and was chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces before he was dismissed by the previous prime minister, Haidar al-Abadi.

He is widely supported by pro- Iranian militias and parties.

Earthquake Assessment For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquake Risk in New Jersey

by Daniel R. Dombroski, Jr.

A 10–fold increase in amplitude represents about a 32–fold increase in energy released for the same duration of shaking. The best known magnitude scale is one designed by C.F. Richter in 1935 for west coast earthquakes.

In New Jersey, earthquakes are measured with seismographs operated by the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the Delaware Geological Survey.

An earthquake’s intensity is determined by observing its effects at a particular place on the Earth’s surface. Intensity depends on the earthquake’s magnitude, the distance from the epicenter, and local geology. These scales are based on reports of people awakening, felt movements, sounds, and visible effects on structures and landscapes. The most commonly used scale in the United States is the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and its values are usually reported in Roman numerals to distinguish them from magnitudes.

Past damage in New Jersey

New Jersey doesn’t get many earthquakes, but it does get some. Fortunately most are small. A few New Jersey earthquakes, as well as a few originating outside the state, have produced enough damage to warrant the concern of planners and emergency managers.

Damage in New Jersey from earthquakes has been minor: items knocked off shelves, cracked plaster and masonry, and fallen chimneys. Perhaps because no one was standing under a chimney when it fell, there are no recorded earthquake–related deaths in New Jersey. We will probably not be so fortunate in the future.

Area Affected by Eastern Earthquakes

Although the United States east of the Rocky Mountains has fewer and generally smaller earthquakes than the West, at least two factors  increase the earthquake risk in New Jersey and the East. Due to geologic differences, eastern earthquakes effect areas ten times larger than western ones of the same magnitude. Also, the eastern United States is more densely populated, and New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.

Geologic Faults and Earthquakes in New Jersey

Although there are many faults in New Jersey, the Ramapo Fault, which separates the Piedmont and Highlands Physiographic Provinces, is the best known. In 1884 it was blamed for a damaging New York City earthquake simply because it was the only large fault mapped at the time. Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault.

However, numerous minor earthquakes have been recorded in the Ramapo Fault Zone, a 10 to 20 mile wide area lying adjacent to, and west of, the actual fault.

More recently, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to the Indian Point, New York, Nuclear Power Generating Station. East of the Rocky Mountains (including New Jersey), earthquakes do not break the ground surface. Their focuses lie at least a few miles below the Earth’s surface, and their locations are determined by interpreting seismographic records. Geologic fault lines seen on the surface today are evidence of ancient events. The presence or absence of mapped faults (fault lines) does not denote either a seismic hazard or the lack of one, and earthquakes can occur anywhere in New Jersey.

Frequency of Damaging Earthquakes in New Jersey

Records for the New York City area, which have been kept for 300 years, provide good information

for estimating the frequency of earthquakes in New Jersey.

Earthquakes with a maximum intensity of VII (see table DamagingEarthquakes Felt in New Jersey )have occurred in the New York City area in 1737, 1783, and 1884. One intensity VI, four intensity V’s, and at least three intensity III shocks have also occurred in the New York area over the last 300 years.

The time–spans between the intensity VII earthquakes were 46 and 101 years. This, and data for the smaller–intensity quakes, implies a return period of 100 years or less, and suggests New Jersey is overdue for a moderate earthquake like the one of 1884.

Buildings and Earthquakes

The 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, is an example of what might happen in New Jersey in a similar quake. It registered a magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale and produced widespread destruction. But it was the age of construction, soil and foundation condition, proximity to the fault, and type of structure that were the major determining factors in the performance of each building. Newer structures, built to the latest construction standards, appeared to perform relatively well, generally ensuring the life safety of occupants.

New Jersey’s building code has some provisions for earthquake–resistant design. But there are no requirements for retrofitting existing buildingsnot even for unreinforced masonry structures that are most vulnerable to earthquake damage. Housing of this type is common in New Jersey’s crowded urban areas. If an earthquake the size of New York City’s 1884 quake (magnitude 5.5) were to occur today, severe damage would result. Fatalities would be likely.

Structures have collapsed in New Jersey without earthquakes; an earthquake would trigger many more. Building and housing codes need to be updated and strictly enforced to properly prepare for inevitable future earthquakes.

A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Faults Underlying Exercise Vigilant Guard

Story by: (Author NameStaff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta – 138th Public Affairs Detachment

Dated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009

This map illustrates the earthquake fault lines in Western New York. An earthquake in the region is a likely event, says University of Buffalo Professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.

TONAWANDA, NY — An earthquake in western New York, the scenario that Exercise Vigilant Guard is built around, is not that far-fetched, according to University of Buffalo geology professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.

When asked about earthquakes in the area, Jacobi pulls out a computer-generated state map, cross-hatched with diagonal lines representing geological faults.

The faults show that past earthquakes in the state were not random, and could occur again on the same fault systems, he said.

“In western New York, 6.5 magnitude earthquakes are possible,” he said.

This possibility underlies Exercise Vigilant Guard, a joint training opportunity for National Guard and emergency response organizations to build relationships with local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

The exercise was based on an earthquake scenario, and a rubble pile at the Spaulding Fibre site here was used to simulate a collapsed building. The scenario was chosen as a result of extensive consultations with the earthquake experts at the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), said Brig. Gen. Mike Swezey, commander of 53rd Troop Command, who visited the site on Monday.

Earthquakes of up to 7 magnitude have occurred in the Northeastern part of the continent, and this scenario was calibrated on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake which occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in 1988, said Jacobi and Professor Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director.

“A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in this area is not an unrealistic scenario,” said Filiatrault.

Closer to home, a 1.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 2.5 miles from the Spaulding Fibre site within the last decade, Jacobi said. He and other earthquake experts impaneled by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada in 1997 found that there’s a 40 percent chance of 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurring along the Clareden-Linden fault system, which lies about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, Jacobi added.

Jacobi and Filiatrault said the soft soil of western New York, especially in part of downtown Buffalo, would amplify tremors, causing more damage.

“It’s like jello in a bowl,” said Jacobi.

The area’s old infrastructure is vulnerable because it was built without reinforcing steel, said Filiatrault. Damage to industrial areas could release hazardous materials, he added.

“You’ll have significant damage,” Filiatrault said.

Exercise Vigilant Guard involved an earthquake’s aftermath, including infrastructure damage, injuries, deaths, displaced citizens and hazardous material incidents. All this week, more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been training at several sites in western New York to respond these types of incidents.

Jacobi called Exercise Vigilant Guard “important and illuminating.”

“I’m proud of the National Guard for organizing and carrying out such an excellent exercise,” he said.

Training concluded Thursday.

The Gaza Powder Keg Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Palestinian demonstrators gather during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstration near Israel-Gaza border, in Gaza City, earlier this month. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Temporarily Defused, The Gaza Powder Keg Cannot Be Ignored

Palestinian demonstrators gather during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstration near Israel-Gaza border, in Gaza City, earlier this month. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

While the focus has shifted to Hizbullah’s terror tunnels in the north, the situation in the south remains unstable and no concrete agreement has been forged with Hamas

The launch of Operation Northern Shield to uncover and destroy Hizbullah’s network of cross-border tunnels contextualizes the Israeli government’s decision last month to swallow some tough pills and a little pride in order to avert full-blown conflict against Hamas. At the time, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, under significant political and public pressure, spoke cryptically of Israel already being engaged in a military campaign and that an “unnecessary war” in the Gaza Strip would derail this undefined endeavor.

While the move was still panned by an overwhelming majority of Israelis and led to the resignation of defense minister Avigdor Liberman—who called the choice a “capitulation to terror”—it is now clear that Netanyahu, with the backing of the military, was prioritizing the northern threat that evidently demanded immediate action.

That plans to destroy Hizbullah’s terror tunnels were discussed during security meetings ahead of a final decision on Gaza dispels the notion that the premier is acting out of political interest in order to deflect attention away from the criminal investigations against him. His trip to Brussels on Monday to provide advanced warning of the IDF operation to American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reinforces that current developments have been weeks-in-the-making.

There is little argument among analysts that Hizbullah poses a far greater danger to Israel than Hamas. Indeed, Netanyahu over the past two months repeatedly has warned that Iran’s Lebanese terror proxy is constructing underground factories capable of producing precision-guided missiles that can target critical infrastructure anywhere in Israel.

Notably, the prime minister described Operation Northern Shield as a “small piece of the big picture of our efforts and actions to ensure security on all fronts,” a comment construed as an indication that the mission may be a precursor to confronting what is viewed as the more acute threat of Hizbullah’s arsenal of some 120,000 projectiles.

Then there is the broader and more important strategic goal of curbing Tehran’s regional expansionism—foremost its effort to establish a permanent military presence in Syria—as well as preventing its nuclearization.

Accordingly, Israel’s decision-making process and related courses of action appear well-calculated and correct.

Which would be truer if the situation in Gaza was actually stable.

In fact, news about the diplomatic push to achieve a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas has conspicuously disappeared from the headlines. It seems that the Egyptian-, Qatari- and United Nations-mediated negotiating process has reached a standstill and, instead, the parties have resigned themselves to the return of the longstanding status quo of “quiet-for-quiet.”

“We are slowly moving back to some sort of regularization that re-establishes the rules of the game set following Operation Protective Edge, [the 50-day war in 2014],” Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and presently head of the Project on Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, explained to The Media Line.

A long-term cease-fire, however, is not realistic because Hamas is unwilling to give up its jihadist identity and its rule over Gaza. Because of this, they are not ready for the type of truce that includes serious conditions.”

But while rockets are not indiscriminately raining down on Israeli civilian centers, the so-called “March of Return” protests nevertheless are ongoing and one incident along the border can easily enflame tensions. Additionally, there is always the possibility of external interference, as the mullahs in Tehran might be tempted to instruct their Palestinian proxies in Gaza to resume terror operations with a view to diverting Israel’s military focus from north to south.

Moreover, the IDF undoubtedly will continue to monitor and pursue objectives in the Palestinian territory, which carries the risk of a botched operation similar to that of November 11, when an elite Israeli unit was identified three miles deep in Gaza. The ensuing firefight killed one senior IDF officer and seven Hamas members and was a catalyst for the next day’s largest-ever 24-hour barrage of some 500 missiles fired into Israel.

“The Israeli government has not forgotten about Gaza but right now the overall situation is more under control. There is Qatari money and fuel going in so things are less sensitive,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, former director of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and prior to that deputy commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division, explained to The Media Line.

“A long-term cease-fire would be a ‘win-win’ scenario and create a totally different environment but this cannot happen yet because of [the intra-Palestinian divide and Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to re-assume control over Gaza so long as Hamas retains its weapons.] However, the current Hamas leadership knows two things: namely, that they will not be able to defeat the state of Israel and that compromises will need to be made.

“In the long-run,” he therefore concluded, “solutions will be found. Until then, there can always be mistakes that could lead to another round of violence.”

The interplay of so many variables and competing interests means the Gaza conundrum remains as complex and potentially volatile as ever. Many argue that absent formal understandings between the sides, accompanied by an international plan for improving the humanitarian conditions in the enclave, the Gaza powder keg is bound to be reignited.

The United States Will Never Prevent Saudi Arabia from Getting Nuclear Weapons

Can the United States Prevent Saudi Arabia from Getting Nuclear Weapons?

After having sought negotiations with previous U.S. administrations on civilian nuclear cooperation, Saudi Arabia has recently renewed these efforts with the Trump administration, for the development of nuclear energy, power plants and desalination reactors. Negotiations on a possible deal are ongoing, although according to a recent New York Times article, the administration refuses to say where things currently stand. Saudi Arabia claims that it is seeking purely civilian capabilities, but it has also insisted on retaining its “right” to work on the fuel cycle and enrich uranium, which can lay the ground for a military nuclear capability in the years ahead. However, it is also clear that the Saudis’ nuclear plans are intimately tied to Iran’s, and since 2010 Saudi leaders have become more and more open about the fact that if Iran attains nuclear weapons, they will quickly follow suit. The latest statement was by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in March 2018, in the context of an interview to 60 Minutes. He noted that while Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire nuclear weapons, if Iran develops nuclear weapons, so would Saudi Arabia. Generally speaking, the Iranian program has been a trigger for additional Gulf states to establish or revitalize civilian nuclear programs.

The United States has always been very concerned about the proliferation risks involved in nuclear cooperation, and in 2008 it was able to achieve a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia on nuclear energy cooperation whereby the latter pledged to acquire nuclear fuel from international markets, rather than producing it indigenously. But ten years later, it seems that Saudi Arabia no longer views itself as bound by that understanding. The current challenge for the United States is how to insist on what is known as a 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia, meaning that the agreement explicitly denies Saudi Arabia the right to work on sensitive nuclear technologies (enrichment capabilities and plutonium reprocessing), without driving it into the hands of other nuclear suppliers, such as Russia, China and South Korea, that may be less worried about ensuring these restrictions.

There are concerns that the Trump administration might be willing to concede to Saudi Arabia sensitive capabilities, and the fact that it is not willing to divulge information regarding the status of the negotiations does not bode well in this regard. The administration is keenly aware of the link to Iran’s nuclear posture, and that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) set a very negative precedent for nuclear cooperation with other states when it legitimized Iran’s enrichment capabilities. While Iran must cap its stockpile of enriched uranium for the duration of the deal, it is allowed—under the explicit terms of the deal—to work on R&D into an entire range of advanced centrifuges. Iran has plans to install and operate these centrifuges eleven years into the deal. There is a real question of how these capabilities can be denied to states like Saudi Arabia who are in good standing with the NPT, whereas Iran—who blatantly violated the nonproliferation treaty—was granted the right to continue with these dangerous enrichment-related activities.

The dilemmas of nuclear cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia have recently come into sharper relief against the backdrop of the Jamal Khashoggi murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. This brutal murder, and the ensuing Saudi evasion has sparked a major debate in the United States and around the world about the reliability of MBS as a strategic partner. There are many calls in the United States—from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress—for the administration to not only punish Saudi Arabia for this gross transgression, but to rethink its relations with the kingdom, and certainly not to reward it with cooperation in the nuclear realm.

But Saudi Arabia is not dependent solely on the United States for cooperation in the nuclear realm. Will other potential suppliers be willing to agree not to cooperate with Saudi Arabia unless it forsakes sensitive nuclear technologies? Will they agree to set up a supplier mechanism and insist that Saudi Arabia, and other states seeking nuclear cooperation, can only buy fuel from this source? With lucrative deals on the table, it might prove difficult to garner this kind of commitment. Moreover, there have long been suspicions that, after Saudi Arabia financed Pakistan’s nuclear program, a deal might have been struck whereby Pakistan will return the favor by providing some kind of nuclear cover—whether by transferring technologies directly to the kingdom or providing a nuclear umbrella from Pakistan—in Saudi Arabia’s hour of need. As such, the nonproliferation challenge remains, whether or not the United States concludes a deal on civilian nuclear cooperation. And if it is the United States that makes the deal, it can insist that Saudi Arabia ratify the Additional Protocol (which would grant the International Atomic Energy Administration additional inspections rights), return spent fuel and generally supervise the project.

Beyond attempts to deny Saudi Arabia technologies and capabilities, it is important also to address Saudi motivation for going nuclear. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabian concerns focus on the Iranian nuclear threat; the kingdom’s concern with Iran’s capabilities—as a motivation to go nuclear itself—is reflected in the few explicit Saudi statements on the topic. As long as the motivation to go nuclear remains strong, states are likely to find a way to develop capabilities, even if they have to pay a price for doing so. In Iran’s case, the major motivation for going nuclear is to enhance its hegemonic power in the Middle East—a difficult motivation to address. But in the case of Saudi Arabia, if strong international powers—the P5+1 and perhaps others—were to take a harsher stance on Iran’s regional aggressions and missile developments, and were to cooperate in order to improve the provisions of the JCPOA, this would most likely have a direct and favorable impact on Saudi Arabia’s calculation of whether or not to develop nuclear capabilities.

Additionally, without minimizing the impact of the crisis atmosphere surrounding the Khashoggi affair, it is nevertheless important to consider whether significantly downgrading ties with Saudi Arabia is the right way to go, from a proliferation point of view. While this might not be the most opportune time to reward the Saudi’s desired nuclear cooperation, U.S. security guarantees to the Saudis could be another route to lowering their motivation to achieve a nuclear deterrent vis-à-vis Iran.

A decision by the U.S. administration (or for that matter any other supplier) to allow Saudi Arabia to have enrichment capabilities will confront Israel with a dilemma. On the one hand it has been Israeli policy to do its utmost to deny any neighboring country with whom it does not have a peace treaty the means to acquire and develop a nuclear program. If Israel remains loyal to this approach, it should seek to deny Saudi Arabia enrichment capabilities. In practical terms this would imply making its opposition known in Washington. On the other hand, given the “tactical alliance” with Saudi Arabia which has been triggered primarily by the common Iranian threat, Israel could consider sacrificing its long term interest in denying nuclear capabilities for the sake of its current interest in cultivating relations with the Saudis. Israel should support the traditional U.S. nonproliferation policies which allow states to have access to nuclear fuel for civilian purposes, while denying them the option of self production.

America and Russia are threatening Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

America and Russia, the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, are threatening to make more weapons. Here’s how many nukes each nation has

Amanda Macias | @amanda_m_macias

Published 3 Hours Ago Updated 1 Hour Ago

CNBC.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will develop ground-launched nuclear missiles if the U.S. withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

• Nine nations make up the world’s nuke club, with approximately 14,500 nuclear weapons.

• The U.S. and Russia own the majority of the world’s nuclear weapons.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

A deactivated Titan II nuclear ICMB is seen in a silo at the Titan Missile Museum on May 12, 2015 in Green Valley, Arizona.

The two leaders of the world’s nuclear club are threatening to withdraw from an arms control agreement, a move that will allow each country to bolster its arsenal with more nukes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he will develop ground-launched nuclear missiles if the U.S. withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty.

The pact, signed by the U.S. and Soviet Union in 1987, prohibits the development of midrange nuclear-tipped missiles. The agreement forced each country to dismantle more than 2,500 missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,420 miles. The arms ban kept nuclear-tipped cruise missiles off the European continent for three decades

Of the 14,500 nuclear weapons on the planet, Russia and the United States own the lion’s share, with a combined total of approximately 13,350 nukes. The remaining 1,150 weapons are held by seven countries.

North Korea, the latest unwelcome addition to the world’s nuke club, remains the only country to test nuclear weapons in this century.

While the exact number of nukes in each country’s arsenal is closely guarded, below is a breakdown of how many weapons exist, according to estimates from the Arms Control Association and Federation of American Scientists.

North Korea

KCNA | Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

• Total nuclear weapons: ~10 to 20

• Total nuclear tests: ~6

• First tested: October 2006

• Most recent test: September 2017

Israel

• Total nuclear weapons: ~80

• Total nuclear tests: 0

• First tested: No confirmed tests

• Most recent test: No confirmed tests

India

• Total nuclear weapons: ~120 to 130

• Total nuclear tests: ~3

• First tested: May 1974

• Most recent test: May 1998

Pakistan

• Total nuclear weapons: ~130 to 140

• Total nuclear tests: ~2

• First tested: May 1998

• Most recent test: May 1998

United Kingdom

• Total nuclear weapons: ~215

• Total nuclear tests: ~45

• First tested: October 1952

• Most recent test: November 1991

China

Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping

• Total nuclear weapons: ~270

• Total nuclear tests: ~45

• First tested: October 1964

• Most recent test: July 1996

France

• Total nuclear weapons: ~300

• Total nuclear tests: ~210

• First tested: February 1960

• Most recent test: January 1996

United States

• Total nuclear weapons: ~ 6,550

• Total nuclear tests: ~ 1,030

• First tested: July 1945

• Most recent test: September 1992

Russia

Sasha Mordovets | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov at the Naval Base of Black Sea Fleet on September 23, 2014 in Novorossiysk, Russia.

• Total nuclear weapons: ~6,800

• Total nuclear tests: ~ 715

• First tested: August 1949

• Most recent test: October 1990

Antichrist Warns Current Iraq Premier

Head of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr (Twitter)

Al-Sadr Warns Iraqi Premier Not to Yield to ‘Behind Scene’ Tactics

Published December 4th, 2018 – 12:20 GMT via SyndiGate.info

Head of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, warned on Monday Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that he alone will be held responsible if he should “submit” to the developments going on behind the scenes in the government formation process.

He made his remarks on the eve of a parliament vote on the eight candidates proposed to fill the vacant defense and interior minister posts.

Abdul Mahdi has been struggling to fill the remaining positions in his government, with political bickering hindering his efforts.

Sadr, leader of the Sairoon bloc that was the victor in the May parliamentary elections, said in his message to the PM that he sought to contain political disputes over the cabinet formation by allying himself with Hadi al-Ameri.

“Corrupt” powers, however, were lured away towards striking new sectarian alliances, he lamented.

He reminded Abdul Mahdi that he was chosen as PM because he promoted himself as an independent figure and he should therefore “avoid yielding to the developments taking place behind the scenes.”

He also urged him to complete his government with independent technocratic ministers and to submit the lineup as soon as possible and without disputed candidates.Security ministers must be chosen from among “brave leaders” who liberated Iraqi territory from the ISIS terrorist group, Sadr proposed.

“They are most qualified for these posts,” he explained in clear rejection of the candidacy of Faleh al-Fayyad as interior minister.

Parliament in October approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.

This article has been adapted from its original source.