The Iraqi Constitution is with the Antichrist

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Iraqi Constitution: a contract with the people Baghdad has not honored

Paul Davis

The recent ruling of the Iraq Federal Supreme Court that secession violates the Constitution is in and of itself a worthless exercise. If a constitution is considered a contract between the government and the people, then it can be argued that the Iraqi government has violated a number of articles and has rendered the constitution null and void.

Following the referendum, the first thing Baghdad did was to invade and capture Kirkuk. The justification was that Kirkuk was a disputed territory and therefore not part of the Kurdish region.

While in fact true, it is only true because the central government failed to implement Article 140 which would have forced a referendum in Kirkuk and the other disputed territories on who should represent them. With a majority Kurdish council and governor, there was little doubt as to which way the vote would have gone in Kirkuk.

Failure to implement Article 140 within the contractually-obligated time – by the end of 2007 – was a first step in voiding the contract.

The court that ruled on the secession question is itself a violation of the constitution. Article 92 called for a new court to be designated by a vote in the Iraq Parliament, constituting a free and independent court whose makeup and authority would “be determined by a two-thirds majority vote.”

Since this vote never happened, the sitting court is from the Saddam era, and its chief justice is a member and open supporter of the Dawa party. By allowing this court to continue to function and review the law and pass judgments, the constitution is once again violated.

Leading the fight against the Islamic State (IS) as well as the attack on Kirkuk were private militias, which are prohibited by Article 9, paragraph B of the constitution. It clearly prohibits “militias or any armed forces” which are not under the control of the government.

An attempt to circumvent this prohibition was by claiming the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia, were under control of the central government.

This lie was exposed recently when Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his militia out of Kirkuk. If he still had control, then the force was not under the command of the central government. The contract is once again broken.

Finally, the constitution in Article 4 declares Kurdish as one of the two official languages of Iraq. Following the Kirkuk invasion, Kurdish was removed, and only Arabic was spoken in press conferences and news releases. There are other indications there were violations of Article 4, such as when Kurdish education was stopped.

The contract was and is once again violated.

While there are numerous other violations, these are the most egregious. Arguing the point of Iraqi sovereignty misses the point that Iraq is not a functioning country.

The government has lost legitimacy through the violation of its own laws. The existence of IS does not give any country a pass on acting against the welfare of all its people.

If Iraq wants to reestablish itself as a legitimate country, it needs to come up with a new contract between itself and its people.

The first part of any contract is offer and acceptance. With this understood, Baghdad may make the offer but Kurdistan does not now need to accept.

Paul Davis is a retired US Army military intelligence officer. He has been a consultant to the American intelligence community specializing in the Middle East with a concentration on Kurdish affairs. Currently, he is the President of the consulting firm JANUS Think in Washington D.C.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Kurdistan24.

Editing by Nadia Riva

The Iranian Global Nuclear Threat (Daniel 8)

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Is Iran a Threat to Global Peace?

Nov 14, 2017 Sri Lanka Guardian Columnists, Feature, Mohamed Shareef Asees
Only three countries: USA, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are not happy about Iran’s nuclear program. But the rest of the world agreed that nuclear is important for Iran’s energy production and it is no harm to any country.

by Dr. Mohamed Shareef Asees

INTRODUCTION

( November 14, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The aim of this article is to explore the Iran’s nuclear program and its consequences throughout the world. Iran one of the nuclear power countries in the Middle East, which has brought very grave concern to the US. From the US point of view, possessing nuclear is a threat to the global peace. But from Iran’s point of view, having peaceful nuclear technology is important for its own energy production and other development activities. Iran’s nuclear program was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the “Atoms for Peace program”. The participation of the United States and Western European Governments in Iran’s nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the reign of the last Shah of Iran. Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, most of the international nuclear cooperation with Iran was cut off. In 1981, Iranian diplomats and officials concluded that the country’s nuclear development should continue. Negotiations took place with France and with Argentina in the early 1980s, and agreements were reached.

In the 1990s, Russia formed a joint research organization with Iran, providing Iran with Russian nuclear experts and technical information. In early 2000s, the revelation of Iran’s nuclear program raised concerns that it might be intended for non-peaceful uses. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched an investigation in 2003 and concluded that Iran’s nuclear program was not a threat to any country and it purely used it for its own energy productions. According to Iran’s Supreme Leader’s fatwa (Religious explanation), the use of nuclear weapons and all other types of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is haram or prohibited in Islam. Furthermore creating and keeping these weapons are sins, useless, costly, harmful and dangerous, posing a serious threat to the entire humanity. In fact, it was referred by the former US president Barak Obama on several occasions, including in his speech in September 2013 at the United Nations Office.

Iran’s first nuclear power plant, the “Bushehr” was completed with major assistance from the Russian government and officially opened on 12th September 2011. The Russian engineering contractor predicted that the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would reach full capacity by the end of 2020. Iran has also announced that it is working on a new 360 Megawatt Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant, and that it will seek more medium-sized nuclear power plants and uranium mines in the future. It shows that Iran is very transparent with regards to its nuclear program with other countries. In January 2016, all nuclear related sanctions got lifted in Iran due to the agreement with five veto power countries together with Germany (P5+1). However the rhetoric between the USA and Iran continues over the nuclear agreement. The above examples show that the nuclear program was initially promoted by the US in 1952. However, due to the Iranian revolution and the fall of Shah, US became disappointed with Iran and began to accuse for its nuclear program with Russia and other European countries. Further, Iran was labeled as one of the greatest threats to the world peace and the US continues to tarnish Iran’s image in the international arena.

GLOBAL PEACE

Global peace is an idea of a world without violence, where nations try to beat peace with each other. World peace could mean equal human rights, technology, and free education for everyone. A report in May 2017 on the Global Peace Index, found that if the world had been 25% more peaceful in the previous year, the global economy would have had an additional amount of $2 trillion. This amount would have covered 2% of the GDP per year required to avoid the worst effects of global warming. According to the UN report there are 194 member countries in the UNO; out of these over 100 countries have conflicts either domestically or internationally. Most of these conflicts have been identified in the Middle East and Africa. There are 13 countries in the Middle East, where most of them have conflicts. Out of all Iran is the only country which does not promote any direct or indirect violence in this region. Iran is well-known for being a neutral and peaceful country during war times. It is reported that during the First World War (1914-1919) and the Second World War (1939-1945) Iran kept a neutral position and decided not to support any countries. Further during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) Iran did not carry-out any offensive attack against Iraq rather it defended for eight years. The above examples show that there is no single evidence to show that Iran is a threat to the global peace. It is reported that Iran did not promote any form of direct or violence in the past three hundred years. Having nuclear is very important and constructive to Iran rather destructive.

IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM FROM THE US POINT OF VIEW
It has been 38 years since the Iranian revolution took place, since then the US has been accusing its nuclear experiments and imposing economic sanctions from time to time just to weaken its economy and minimize its nuclear technology. However, Iran manages to continue its nuclear program and economic developments despite with so many challenges. The last economic sanction which was imposed on Iran in 2006 was very heavy and affected Iran’s economy. In 2015 Iran was succeeded and signed an agreement with P5+1 known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). According to JCPOA-UN Resolution 2231, Iran agreed to reduce its nuclear program, in return P5+1 country decided to check every three months by IAEA. According to the IAEA last three reports and UN general Secretary Speech, it show that Iran has committed to this agreement and has been following it. However, the newly elected US President Donald Trump (January, 2017) is not happy with this agreement and Iran’s commitment to that.

The US president has been a frequent critic of the Iran nuclear pact. Mr. Trump recently called it “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen”, stating that Iran had “violated so many different elements”. It shows that US does not want to allow Iran to work on the nuclear program further and he wants to keep it fully under their control. From the US point of view Iran cannot have the nuclear technology, but other permanent members and other supporters of US can have it. The Trump’s nuclear theory is that, those who support US can survive and enjoy the nuclear freedom while those who oppose, will be perished by the US.

IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM FROM EU’S POINT OF VIEW
The European Union was very critical over Iran’s nuclear deal until 2015. However, after the nuclear agreement which was signed in Vienna, the European Union began to do some trade activities with Iran. The current move of US towards Iran has disturbed some EU member countries while High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, UK, Germany, France, Italy and many other EU countries have supported JCPOA and Iran.

IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM FROM OTHER COUNTRIES’ POINT OF VIEW
Only three countries: USA, Saudi Arabia and Israel are not happy about Iran’s nuclear program. But the rest of the world agreed that nuclear is important for Iran’s energy production and it is not harm to any country. Officials in several countries have voiced support for Iran over its nuclear program. These include Iraq, Algeria and Indonesia, etc. Turkey has expressed support for Iran’s right to a nuclear program for peaceful energy production and along with Egypt has urged for a peaceful solution to the standoff. From Russia’s point of view there is no objective evidence that Iran is seeking for nuclear weapons. According to a 2008 global poll of Arab public opinion, the Arab public does not appear to see Iran as a major threat and does not support international pressure to force Iran to curtail the program. The above examples show that most of the countries are with Iran for its nuclear program except the above mentioned three countries.

6. IRAN’S JUSTIFICATIONS AND ACCUSATIONS
From Iran’s point of view nuclear technology is very important for its own energy production and other activities. Meanwhile, it has been continuously arguing that it never ever had challenged the world peace at any occasions in the past. Further it argues that US is not fair with Iran although it had supported to develop the nuclear program long ago (1951). If US want to destroy the nuclear program and promote peace it should reduce all nuclear related weapons belonging to every country in the world. There should be a common rule for all countries where every country is equal in front of International law. The unipolar system and double-standard policy of US shows that US is seeking more power (world hegemony) to be one man rule in the world.

CONCLUSION
Although Iran’s peaceful nuclear technology is never ever threatened the world peace, Every time US accuse its nuclear program and impose economic sanctions just to weaken this country and perish its nuclear program. The US have created more conflicts in the world compared to other countries: Conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and they created terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida and ISIS according to the Donald Trump Speech during his campaign. The crisis in the region including in those countries are rooted in occupation, illegal military intervention and hegemonic designs of the United States

If Korea is Nuclear, Why Not Iran?

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Iran Questions the Nuclear Deal as North Korea Defies the West

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Islamic Republic’s flagship Kayhan newspaper, is appointed directly by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; both Iranians and outside analysts often read his comments to gain insight into the Supreme Leader’s thinking. In the excerpted remarks—covered by various Iranian newspapers—Shariatmadari offers an analysis of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the so-called Iran nuclear deal. Always a critic of the JCPOA and any nuclear agreement, Shariatmadari has doubled down on his opposition as debate about the agreement’s recertification, inspections, and Iran’s other activities increases at the International Atomic Energy Agency and in Western capitals.

In the accompanying excerpts, Shariatmadari cites North Korea’s increasing nuclear defiance and compares the power of North Korea unfavorably to Iran. The Iran-Iraq War (1980- 1988) was a formative period for the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Shariatmadari—embracing the widespread Iranian belief that the Iraqi invasion was an American-initiated plot from the start—argues that even when Iran was in such disarray, the “arrogant powers” were unable to make inroads against the Islamic Republic and, therefore, with Iran many times more powerful now, the United States would be hard-pressed to extract any penalty on Iran, even if Iran walked away from the deal. Therefore, he suggests, it is not in Iran’s interest to agree to any renegotiation of the agreement, let alone abide by its commitments, given that Iran has gotten nothing from the nuclear deal (sanctions relief notwithstanding).

This does not mean that Iran is preparing to walk away from the JCPOA, but it does suggest that the North Korea example looms large over at least some quarters of Iranian thinking as it does with American policymakers, albeit to the opposite ends. While some non-proliferation experts see the JCPOA as a means to prevent “another North Korea,” some Iranian hardliners close to Khamenei ask themselves why Iran should be constrained by a nuclear agreement when North Korea, a country with a smaller population and weaker economy, managed to defy the West. The true resonance of this argument will likely emerge among a broader array of Iranian policymakers should more active debate turn toward constraining Iran’s ballistic missile development.

The Threat of Trump’s Nuclear Strike

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Don’t Count on the Cabinet to Stop a Trump-Ordered Nuclear Strike

November 14, 2017
Zack Stanton/POLITICO

Stop counting on Secretary of Defense James Mattis or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to stop a nuclear war if Donald Trump wants one, says Bill Perry. They couldn’t.

Perry, who served as secretary of defense for President Bill Clinton, is a 90-year-old arm-waving apostle of doom—“the possibility of an apocalypse thrust itself upon me,” he told me in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. He says nuclear war has “become more probable in the last year, partly because of President Trump,” and partly due to events beyond the president’s control. He thinks Trump doesn’t understand the North Koreans, and doesn’t understand what his rhetoric is doing.

That the president and his Cabinet secretaries are so often putting out conflicting messages makes the situation worse. And though Perry subscribes to the idea that Mattis and Tillerson are a “stabilizing influence,” he said that with this president, “I’m not really comfortable with anybody.”

While bills by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to restrict first use of nuclear weapons have stalled in Congress, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is set to put some muscle behind his very public anxiety about Trump’s leadership. On Tuesday, Corker will hold a committee hearing on nuclear authorization—the first on the topic since Gerald Ford was president—prompted by concerns he’s heard from members both on and off the committee over letting one person, and this person in particular, have the unfettered ability to launch a nuclear war.

Perry knows Mattis well—while Perry was defense secretary in the 1990s, Mattis worked for him directly, and they both ended up at Stanford University in recent years. The two still talk, and Perry thinks Mattis understands the nuclear threat well—he just doesn’t think Mattis would necessarily be able to do anything if Trump decided to go ahead with a strike.

Perry’s heard the story of Richard Nixon’s final days in the White House, when Defense Secretary James Schlesinger supposedly told generals that any nuclear strike order from the clearly distressed president be run by him first.

But that’s not really the way it works, Perry said.

“The order can go directly from the president to the Strategic Air Command. The defense secretary is not necessarily in that loop. So, in a five- or six- or seven-minute kind of decision, the secretary of defense probably never hears about it until it’s too late. If there is time, and if he does consult the secretary, it’s advisory, just that,” Perry explained. “Whether [the president] goes with it or doesn’t go with it—[the secretary] doesn’t have the authority to stop it.”

Perry lived through two nuclear apocalypse scares. The first lasted for days, when as a consultant, he was brought by the CIA to help sort through intelligence during the Cuban missile crisis. The second lasted for a split second, when as a lower-ranking Pentagon official during Jimmy Carter’s term, he was woken by a phone call warning him that it looked as if 200 nuclear missiles were already in the air—but it was immediately explained to him that this was a computer error. The experiences were searing, and left him convinced that only good luck and a little bit of good management saved the world from ending under John F. Kennedy, and that the context of lower tensions during that 1979 computer error stopped the situation from spiraling out of hand.

Today, Perry sees worse management and higher tensions. He worries that America’s luck may have run out.

It’s not hard for him to imagine what would happen if a terrorist group acquired fissile material and then set it off in New York, Washington or another major city: The country wouldn’t rally together or easily recover, like in a disaster movie.

“If you look at 9/11, besides the 3,000 casualties, there were very significant economic and political and social consequences. There were new laws passed. There were new restrictions put on our freedoms because of that. All of those effects would probably be magnified tenfold or a hundredfold if a nuclear bomb goes off in Washington,” Perry said. “If you imagine that some sort of a law passed—10 times the Patriot Act, for example—that’s the sort of thing we would see. You might see attacks on citizens who were believed to be somehow related to or associated with the terror attack. It would be ugly.”

America is vulnerable, he said, and America would be wounded, perhaps mortally, if terrorists took advantage of that vulnerability. Once the consequences are considered, Perry said, “the terrorists would have succeeded in some sense in changing our country, in changing it in ways that are very negative.”

Perry’s been on the road, entering his 10th decade of life while playing the part of a reluctant Cassandra, but is channeling much of his energy into a free online Stanford course about nuclear terrorism—one meant to sound the alarms he can’t believe aren’t ringing. Already, 6,000 people have accessed it, and 3,000 have signed up, looking for his answers to the question, “Is the threat of nuclear terrorism real?”

I asked him whether anyone in the Trump White House has signed up.

“I don’t hear from the Trump White House,” he said.

Trump and many of his allies blame 20 years of bad negotiations for the current predicament with North Korea, stretching back to the Clinton years—when, in 1999, Perry went to Pyongyang and returned with a handshake agreement for a nuclear nonproliferation framework he believes his boss would have signed had Al Gore won the presidency.

“I think we can learn some lessons from negotiating with North Korea, but I think the Trump administration has learned a wrong lesson. They’re tough negotiators. They’ve demonstrated an inclination and a capacity to evade and cheat on treaties. So I think what we’ve learned from that is that when we negotiate with them, we ought to have strong verification. Even the Agreed Framework—which I believe they cheated on toward the end of the century—delayed their nuclear program by probably six, or seven or eight years,” Perry said. “So it was something.”

Perry acknowledges his own negotiations had problems, but says that President George W. Bush’s decision to pull away from them forced the current situation upon the world: The idea that North Korea won’t be a nuclear power is out the window, and the most that can be hoped for is to persuade the regime to scale back its missile tests. Where it seemed like Kim Jong Il wanted international respect, Kim Jong Un appears to instead prioritize the security and continuity of the regime.

“We missed our major chance to negotiate with them back at the turn of the century, but that doesn’t mean that diplomacy has no role today,” Perry said. “And when you consider the alternatives to diplomacy, it’s pretty clear we ought to be trying it.”

The Ramapo Fault and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/c2/18/3e/c2183ecb5e87b756e08602a717f1e22c.jpgLiving on the Fault Line

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo

The couple checked with Burns’s parents, who live in nearby Basking Ridge, and they, too, had heard and felt something, which they thought might have been an earthquake. A call by Burns some 20 minutes later to the Bernardsville Police Department—one of many curious and occasionally panicky inquiries that Sunday morning, according to the officer in charge, Sergeant John Remian—confirmed their suspicion: A magnitude 2.6 earthquake, its epicenter in Peapack/Gladstone, about seven miles from Bernardsville, had hit the area. A smaller aftershock followed about two and a half hours later.

After this year’s epic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, and China, the 2.6 quake and aftershock that shook parts of New Jersey in February may seem minor league, even to the Somerset County residents who experienced them. On the exponential Richter Scale, a magnitude 7.0 quake like the one that hit Haiti in January is almost 4 million times stronger than a quake of 2.6 magnitude. But comparisons of magnitude don’t tell the whole story.

Northern New Jersey straddles the Ramapo Fault, a significant ancient crack in the earth’s crust. The longest fault in the Northeast, it begins in Pennsylvania and moves into New Jersey, trending northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before terminating in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant. And though scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is, many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. The fault line is visible at ground level and likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.

During the past 230 years or so, New Jersey has been at the epicenter of nearly 170 earthquakes, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Geological Survey, part of the United States Department of Environmental Protection. The largest known quake struck in 1783, somewhere west of New York City, perhaps in Sussex County. It’s typically listed as 5.3 in magnitude, though that’s an estimate by seismologists who are quick to point out that the concept of magnitude—measuring the relative size of an earthquake—was not introduced until 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg. Still, for quakes prior to that, scientists are not just guessing.

“We can figure out the damage at the time by going back to old records and newspaper accounts,” says Won-Young Kim, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, directly across the New Jersey border. “Once the amount and extent of contemporary damage has been established,” Kim says, “we’re then able to gauge the pattern of ground shaking or intensity of the event—and from there extrapolate its probable magnitude.”

Other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher have been felt in New Jersey, although their epicenters laying near New York City. One—which took place in 1737 and was said to have been felt as far north as Boston and as far south as northern Delaware—was probably in the 5 to 5.5 range. In 1884, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurred off New York’s Rockaway Beach. This well-documented event pulled houses off their foundations and caused steeples to topple as far west as Rahway. The shock wave, scientists believe, was felt over 70,000 square miles, from Vermont to Maryland.

Among the largest sub-5 magnitude earthquakes with epicenters in New Jersey, two (a 3.8 and a 4.0) took place on the same day in 1938 in the Lakehurst area in Ocean County. On August 26, 2003, a 3.5 magnitude quake shook the Frenchtown/Milford area in Hunterdon County. On February 3 of last year, a 3.0 magnitude quake occurred in the Morris County town of Mendham. “A lot of people felt this one because of the intense shaking, although the area of intensity wasn’t very wide,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim, who visited the site after the event.

After examining the known historical and geological record, Kim and other seismologists have found no clear evidence that an earthquake of greater than 5.3 to 5.5 magnitude has taken place in this area going back to 1737. This doesn’t mean, of course, that one did not take place in the more remote past or that one will not occur in the future; it simply means that a very large quake is less likely to occur here than in other places in the east where the seismic hazard is greater, including areas in South Carolina and northeastern New York State.

Given this low-hazard, high-vulnerability scenario, how far along are scientists in their efforts to predict larger magnitude earthquakes in the New Jersey area? The answer is complex, complicated by the state’s geographical position, its unique geological history, the state of seismology itself, and the continuing debate over the exact nature and activity of the Ramapo Fault.

Over millions of years, New Jersey developed four distinct physiographic provinces or regions, which divide the state into a series of diagonal slices, each with its own terrain, rock type, and geological landforms.

The northernmost slice is the Valley and Ridge, comprising major portions of Sussex and Warren counties. The southernmost slice is the Coastal Plain, a huge expanse that covers some three-fifths of the state, including all of the Shore counties. Dividing the rest of the state are the Highlands, an area for the most part of solid but brittle rock right below the Valley and Ridge, and the lower lands of the Piedmont, which occupy all of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, most of Bergen, Hunterdon, and Somerset, and parts of Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.

For earthquake monitors and scientists, the formation of these last two provinces—the Highlands and the Piedmont—are of special interest. To understand why, consider that prior to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean, today’s Africa was snuggled cozily up against North America and surrounded by a single enormous ocean. “At that point, you could have had exits off the New Jersey Turnpike for Morocco,” says Alexander Gates, professor of geology and chair of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.

Under the pressure of circulating material within the Earth’s super-hot middle layer, or mantle, what was once a single continent—one that is thought to have included today’s other continents as well—began to stretch and eventually break, producing numerous cracks or faults and ultimately separating to form what became the Atlantic Ocean. In our area, the longest and most active of these many cracks was the Ramapo Fault, which, through a process known as normal faulting, caused one side of the earth’s crust to slip lower—the Piedmont—relative to the other side—the Highlands. “All this occurred about 225 million years ago,” says Gates. “Back then, you were talking about thousands of feet between the Highlands and the Piedmont and a very active Ramapo Fault.”

The Earth’s crust, which is 20 to 25 miles thick, is not a single, solid shell, but is broken into seven vast tectonic plates, which drift atop the soft, underlying mantle. Although the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault neatly divides two of New Jersey’s four physiographic provinces, it does not form a so-called plate boundary, as does California’s infamous San Andreas Fault. As many Californians know all too well, this giant fault forms the boundary between two plates—to the west, the Pacific Plate, and to the east, the North American Plate; these rub up against each other, producing huge stresses and a regularly repeating pattern of larger earthquakes.

This second bit of uncertainty is especially troubling for some people, including some in the media who want a neat story. To get around it, they ignore the differences between plate settings and link all of New Jersey’s earthquakes, either directly or implicitly, to the Ramapo Fault. In effect, such people want the Ramapo Fault “to look like the San Andreas Fault,” says Gates. “They want to be able to point to one big fault that’s causing all of our earthquakes.”

The Sunni and Shia Horns

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been battling each other for regional hegemony for years.

Hostilities have increased since the Saudis, backed by the United States, baulked at the 2015 nuclear deal which saw Iran give up nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief and ramped up efforts to curb the Islamic Republic’s influence in the region.

Now, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is suspected of being held against his will in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Hariri appeared on television on Sunday night for the first time since his abrupt resignation on November 4.

Hariri rejected what he called rumours of his detention in Saudi Arabia and promised a return to Lebanon “very soon” in order to affirm his decision to give up the premiership.

READ MORE

Where does Egypt stand on Lebanon spat?

“Here in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am free,” Hariri said on Future TV, a station affiliated with his political party.

But many, including Hariri’s own staff and allies in his unity government, fear that Saudi leadership is mandating the prime minister’s actions.

Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon’s Shia movement and Iran ally, Hezbollah, said the resignation was “forced”.

Hariri’s abrupt resignation, coupled with reports that he is being held against his will, have led many to question whether Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is opening a new front against Iranian influence in Lebanon.

Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science and international affairs at the Lebanese American University, told Al Jazeera it is likely that Saudi Arabia will open a new front in Lebanon as it shifts its view of its relationship with the Sunni community in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia has close ties to Lebanese businessmen and politicians, including the Hariri family.

“Saudis haven’t used these connections against Hezbollah in Lebanon, though Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may no longer see this arrangement as beneficial,” Salamey said.

Bin Salman is “consolidating power”, Salamey said, referencing the arrests of Saudi businessmen and royals, which the kingdom refers to as an “anti-corruption” campaign.

“I think this is why we see [Hariri’s resignation] at the same time as the arrests in Saudi Arabia”, Salamey said.

This power consolidation extends beyond Saudi borders, Salamey explained. Recently, the Saudis have used their military to project power, especially in its proxy conflicts with Iran in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Two-and-a-half year old Hala al-Nufi, who suffers from a metabolic disorder which is worsening due to the siege and food shortages in the eastern Ghouta, is held by her uncle in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria [Bassam Khabieh/Reuters]

Syria

Considering the Saudis’ extended involvement and apparent losses in these conflicts – seen as attempts to curb Iranian influence – the decision to engage Iran in Lebanon may not be wise, according to Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and expert on Syria.

Landis believes the contest for military supremacy is already over.

“The Iranians have won the war for military strength in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. There can be little doubt about this,” he told Al Jazeera.

The Syrian civil war began in March 2011, after the tumult of the Arab Spring protests that unseated autocratic leaders throughout the region and attempted to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Assad cracked down on protesters calling for democracy in 2011, leading to the creation of armed groups and the eruption of violence.The conflict has killed nearly 500,000 people and displaced millions more.

The Saudis have long wanted al-Assad, an Iran-backed leader from a minority religion who rules over a majority Sunni state, to be removed from power. By mid-2015, Assad was close to losing power.

Then, Russia joined the war in September 2015. Along with Hezbollah and Iranian forces, the Russian intervention gave al-Assad a lifeline.

He has increased his control of the war-torn country’s territory from roughly a third in 2015 to a majority stake.

Saudi-backed rebel groups have been routed by pro-Assad forces. The chaotic situation and political vacuum in Syria helped the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS and Daesh). ISILtook control of parts of Syria but has recently suffered major losses, including its de facto capital, Raqqa.

The 9-month fight to defeat the ISIL in Mosul ended in a crescendo of devastation: bombardment that damaged or destroyed a third of its historic Old City in just three weeks [Felipe Dana/AP Photo]

Iraq

ISIL faces a similar story in Iraq. The group once controlled large swaths of northern Iraq, a country that has been occupied by the US since the 2003 invasion which saw former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein overthrown, tried and executed.

Now, ISIL is on the verge of losing all its territory there. Similar to Syria, Iraqi forces supported by Iran-backed militias and US-backed Kurds, have been largely responsible for defeating the group.

Iranian influence was previously kept out of Iraq by President Hussein, who fought an eight-year war with the Islamic Republic.

Now, some of the most powerful Shia men in Iraq, including PM Haider al-Abadi, are friendly with Iran.

Al-Abadi recently defended the role of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization fighters, who have been instrumental in defeating ISIL, in a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Iraq is one of the few nations allied with both the US and Iran. Tillerson has been attempting to weaken Iranian influence on Iraq.

“Popular Mobilization fighters should be encouraged because they will be the hope of country and the region,” al-Abadi said in a statement in October.

The Iraq-Saudi Arabia border is approximately 900km long. The Saudis share a frontier with a pro-Iran government in Iraq, neighboured by a pro-Iran government in Syria.

Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq, two nations close to the kingdom, has “spooked Saudi Arabia”, Landis said, leading to a more aggressive policy from Crown Prince bin Salman.

A boy pushes a wheelbarrow filled with water containers after collecting drinking water from a charity tap, amid a cholera outbreak, in Sanaa, Yemen [Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Reuters]

Yemen

The proxy conflict in which Saudi Arabia has taken the most aggressive stance is Yemen.

Found at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula, Yemen shares a roughly 1,800km border with the Saudi kingdom.

Houthi Rebels, a religious group affiliated with the Zaydi sect of Shia Islam, along with forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, took control of large parts of the country in 2014.

Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has engaged in an aerial bombing campaign and blockade. The war has killed more than 10,000 people and left over seven million in danger of starvation.

But the Houthis, who have the support of Iran, have maintained control of much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The Houthis took credit for a ballistic missile fired at the Saudi capital of Riyadh on November 5, telling Al Jazeera the “capital cities of countries that continually shell us, targeting innocent civilians, will not be spared from our missiles”.

The Saudis claimed the missile was supplied by Iran, saying it constituted a declaration of war.

Lebanon?

“No one save [Salman] believes that Saudi Arabia has an endgame” for a conflict with Hezbollah, Landis said.

Lebanon’s government is based on sectarian appointments. The president must be Maronite Christian, the speaker of the parliament a Shia and the prime minister a Sunni.

Landis said “strong-arming” Hariri could divide Lebanon’s Sunni community. Similarly, the Christian community is “much weaker” than before Syria’s Civil War.

With both groups weakened, Shia Hezbollah is able “to impose itself on Lebanon with greater ease”, Landis concluded.

Trita Parsi, president and founder of the National Iranian American Council, a US-based nonprofit that advocates for Iranian-Americans, told Al Jazeera that while sectarian lines have been drawn, the current crisis is more about power than religion.

Parsi pointed to the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar, a Sunni state, and the aforementioned weakening of Lebanese Sunnis through its treatment of Hariri.

“How does Saudi Arabia advance Sunnis by humiliating the Sunnis of Lebanon?” Parsi said.

Iran Eliminates War, for NOW

Iran eliminates possibility of war with the US

Shahir Shahid Saless, Special to Gulf News

 

Many analysts, including this author, continue to view a military confrontation between the United States and Iran under President Donald Trump as a real possibility. However, recent statements of Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some policies adopted at the highest level within Iran, indicate that Tehran has decided to avoid creating conditions that could trigger a war between the two states.

Central to the argument of those who warned about the possibility of a US-Iran war was that the US would likely re-impose crippling sanctions on Iran. This prediction was based on the uninterrupted expansion of Iran’s ballistic missile programme. In retaliation, the story goes, Iran would accelerate its ballistic missile programme. Eventually, the Americans’ patience would wane and war would become inevitable.

On October 18, reacting to Trump’s announcement of his confrontational strategy toward Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei said, and “A military confrontation will not occur (between Iran and the US). However, some problems could happen that are no less important than war. We have to be careful.”

Following Khamenei’s remarks, a critical question arises: Why did Khamenei say with such certainty that war will not happen, and what are the other problems that he referred to?

Some may assert that Khamenei’s view regarding the unlikelihood of a US-Iran war is an overestimation of Iran’s military capabilities. To them, he is convinced that the US would not enter into a war with Iran due to its high cost. Iran’s military commanders have presented such an argument. However, a recent and unexpected position Iran adopted may convince outside observers that Iran’s strategy is to distance itself from acts that may provoke a war.

On October 31, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced that, according to a decision made by Iran’s leader, the range of Iran’s missiles will be limited to what it is now, 2,000km. Jafari added that “there exists the capability of increasing the range. For now, this is enough.”

A senior member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Commission, Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh, said on November 6 that the missile-range decision was made in 2011. However, a lengthy report published in 2013 by the semi-official Mehr News Agency, which has ties to the conservatives, contradicts Falahat-Pisheh’s remarks. That report, titled “All Iran’s missiles: from supersonics to intercontinental,” clearly demonstrated that some Iran’s ballistic missiles had a range greater than 2,000km. One such missile, named Ashura, has a range of 2,500km and is highlighted as “the crown of Iran’s missile industry.”

It is clear that Iran, by announcing its decision to limit the range of its missiles to 2,000km, has decided to put to rest one of the most contentious points with the US.

By adopting this policy, Iran seeks to achieve another goal. Because the European Union (EU) has also consistently objected to the expansion of Iran’s missile programme, an unstoppable programme could both unite Europe with the US in adopting an aggressive stance and collectively bring back sanctions that existed prior to the nuclear agreement. Iran’s policy, then, could divide the EU from the US on a quarrelsome point.

In his recent statements, Falahat-Pisheh has discussed the two goals that have been targeted by the announcement of limiting the range of the missiles. He stated, “Limiting the area of conflict with the enemy (the US) must be included in our agenda. … [Meanwhile], by limiting the area of conflict with the US, we can make the Europeans believe that Iran’s cooperative approach is not solely focused on economic areas. They can also expect military cooperation from Iran.”

But what are Khamenei’s other concerns that are no less important than war?

Two concerns are revealed by reading between the lines. The 2009 upheavals following the disputed presidential elections, which led to the victory of Iran’s eccentric president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, rang alarm bells for Iran’s deep state. After eight years, the movement – labelled “sedition” by the conservatives – and its leaders, are constantly under heavy attack by the enormous state-owned radio and TV networks and other conservative media (no private TV or radio network exists in Iran). This is clear evidence that the deep state still lives under the shadow of fear of the re-emergence of that massive uprising.

The IRGC commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, once remarked, “The 2009 sedition was a bigger threat to the Islamic Revolution than the imposed war [by Iraq].” To understand the significance of this comparison, consider that the eight year Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) was one of the bloodiest and longest wars of the 20th century. Moreover, it began by a surprise Iraqi invasion following Iran’s revolution while the management of Iran was still in chaos, and Iran’s regular army was in a state of disarray.

On another occasion, Jafari has said that Iran’s leader “is concerned about internal problems and internal opposition” within the Islamic Republic. He maintained that foreign threats provided Iran with an opportunity. “External enemies such as the US and the Baath Party of Iraq, which attacked Iran as a US proxy, were not a threat against the Islamic Revolution. Rather, that was a golden opportunity for the export of the revolution to the whole world”.

The issue is of greater concern when considering the US Secretary of State’s comments in June before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Before that committee, he said that US policy toward Iran is driven by relying on “elements inside of Iran” to bring about “peaceful transition of that government.” He added, “Those elements are there, certainly as we know.”

The other issue that Khamenei is deeply concerned about is the “infiltration” of the enemy and its creeping influence in the post-nuclear-deal era. This vision, which is shared by the conservative deep state, correctly believes that Americans and the moderate current within Iran tend to put the hostilities aside to restore relations between the two states. In such an eventuality, the radical current will be pushed to the margins. Iran’s centrist president, Hassan Rouhani, has repeatedly made clear his willingness to negotiate with the Americans and move in the direction of détente with the US.

Ayatollah Khamenei has said, “Who is prone to be influenced [by the enemy]? Primarily our elite, those who are effective [in the country’s direction], and decision-makers. They are prone to be influenced. These are the people that [the enemy] tries to influence.”

It was for this reason that soon after the conclusion of negotiations on the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, a major part of which was bilateral talks between Iran and the US, Khamenei banned any further talks with the US on any other issue of conflict between the two countries.

“We are in a critical situation now, as the enemies are trying to change the mentality of our officials and our people. … Through negotiations Americans seek to influence Iran … but there are naive people in Iran who don’t understand this,” he remarked.

Shahir ShahidSaless is a political analyst and freelance journalist writing primarily about Iranian domestic and foreign affairs. He is also the co-author of Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace.

Foretelling the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A new book foretells America’s next devastating earthquake.

Ben Goldfarb Nov. 13, 2017 From the print edition

In 2015, Kathryn Schulz, a writer at The New Yorker, published “The Really Big One,” a meticulous evocation of the massive oceanic earthquake that will someday drown the Pacific Northwest beneath a cataclysmic tsunami. I lived in Seattle then, and the quake was all anyone talked about: at coffee shops, in elevators, on buses. Many articles, even books, had been written about the coming 9.0, but Schulz’s Pulitzer-winning story was the first to grab the slumbering Northwest by the shoulders and shake it awake. Until, that is, the news cycle shifted, people got on with their lives, and earthquakes receded again in society’s consciousness.

Earthquakes, writes another Kathryn — Kathryn Miles — in her new book, Quakeland, are our most confounding natural disaster. We can watch hurricanes spinning in the Atlantic weeks before they land; we detect the rumbling of volcanoes months pre-eruption. Earthquakes, though, often provide no warning at all. Our grasp of what triggers them is tenuous; we are flying blind when it comes to predicting them. Hence the complacency: Why stress the incomprehensible? “How could we know so little about our planet and the risks it poses to all of us?” Miles asks.

Steam erupts from Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the geological features created by the supervolcano that lies below Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Quakeland is Miles’ sprawling, pain-staking attempt to answer that question. The author travels the country, from quake-overdue New York City to Yellowstone National Park, whose slumbering caldera, if we’re lucky, will hold off on annihilating us for a few more millennia. She is primarily concerned with how various sectors — schools, hospitals, oil tank farms — are preparing, or failing to prepare, for Big Ones in their own backyards. No facility goes untoured: Miles descends into an Idaho silver mine, wanders the bowels of the Hoover Dam, and visits the Berkeley seismology lab where researchers are designing quake warning systems for your phone. It’s an epic piece of reporting — as comprehensive as it is discomfiting.
You can’t write a book about quakes, of course, without dwelling on California. The San Andreas Fault plays a starring role in Quakeland: Miles wanders West Hollywood with an engineer who exposes alarming construction vulnerabilities. (Wood, counter-intuitively, is more resilient than stone or concrete, which “tends to explode.”)

But it’s the obscure hot spots — the intraplate faults, far from the junctions of colliding tectonic masses — that seem scariest, precisely because we’re so ill-prepared for their rupture. Salt Lake City overlays the Wasatch Fault Zone, where a 7.0 would be catastrophic: The region could expect 2,000 deaths, 9,000 injuries and 200,000 rendered homeless. Miles is ruthlessly pragmatic about the attendant logistical nightmares: “How would (building) inspectors get into a city whose highways and runways had crumbled? … How would the city get its dead and injured out?”

We’re not just unready for disaster — we’re exacerbating the risk. Miles is especially concerned about induced seismicity, earthquakes caused by human industry, particularly the injection of fracking wastewater into the ground. The phenomenon’s epicenter is Oklahoma, which went from one of the least seismically active states to the most after a drilling boom. Agencies, beholden to industry, denied the connection until the evidence became irrefutable; other states still skirt the problem. The debate uncannily resembles the conflict over climate change: Fossil fuel interests exploit uncertainty about the magnitude of the problem to justify inaction — never mind the overwhelming scientific consensus about the threat’s reality.

books-quakeland-cover-jpg
Occasionally, Miles’ reporting is so thorough it’s exhausting: I have no doubt that a Southeastern quake would cause headaches for FedEx’s Memphis headquarters, but I’m not sure I needed a chapter to belabor the point. In leaving no seismic stone unturned, though, Quakeland discovers alarming Achilles’ heels in our infrastructure and emergency systems. That at least 30 faults underpin Nevada’s Yucca Mountain does not make me feel more comfortable about someday storing nuclear waste there.

Fortunately, Miles unearths success stories as well as potential apocalypses. Most Northwesterners may have again forgotten that they live in a future flood zone, but disaster managers haven’t. Near Quakeland’s end, Miles visits a school in Westport, Washington, that constructed a $2 million rooftop tsunami shelter. No grim detail had been overlooked: “Surrounding the platform is a six-foot-high parapet … mostly to protect the kids from witnessing the devastation.”

Quake preparedness, Miles makes clear, is partly a matter of personal responsibility: Stock your emergency kit with food, water and warm clothes today. Mostly, though, it’s a public policy problem. We must invest in modernizing bridges and developing early warning systems; retrofit our schools and hospitals; advocate for regulations to reduce induced seismicity. Gearing up for inevitable earthquakes won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheap — but we can’t bear the cost of doing nothing.

Trumpian Nuclear Threat

No one can stop Trump from launching nuclear weapons

By Robert Burns The Associated Press

November 13, 2017 – 1:22 pm

Here’s a question rarely raised before Donald Trump ran for the White House: If the president ordered a pre-emptive nuclear strike, could anyone stop him?

The answer is no.

Not the Congress. Not his secretary of defense. And by design, not the military officers who would be duty-bound to execute the order.

As Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and expert on nuclear command and control, has put it, “The protocol for ordering the use of nuclear weapons endows every president with civilization-ending power.” Trump, he wrote in a Washington Post column last summer, “has unchecked authority to order a preventive nuclear strike against any nation he wants with a single verbal direction to the Pentagon war room.”

Or, as then-Vice President Dick Cheney explained in December 2008, the president “could launch a kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.”

And the world has changed even more in the decade since, with North Korea posing a bigger and more immediate nuclear threat than had seemed possible. The nature of the U.S. political world has changed, too, and Trump’s opponents – even within his own party – question whether he has too much power over nuclear weapons.

These realities will converge Tuesday in a Senate hearing room where the Foreign Relations Committee – headed by one of Trump’s strongest Republican critics, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee – will hear testimony from a former commander of the Pentagon’s nuclear war fighting command and other witnesses. The topic: “Authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.”

Corker, who has engaged in an escalating war of words with Trump since announcing in September he wouldn’t run for re-election, said numerous lawmakers have raised questions about legislative and presidential war-making authorities and the use of America’s nuclear arsenal.

“This discussion is long overdue,” Corker said in announcing the hearing.

Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology who has researched and written extensively about presidential nuclear authority, said he is hopeful the discussion “might shed some more light on aspects of the procedures for presidential use of nuclear weapons that I think really needs to be known and talked about.”

He said the U.S. system has evolved through tradition and precedent more than by laws.

“The technology of the bomb itself does not compel this sort of arrangement,” he wrote in an email exchange. “This is a product of circumstances. I think the circumstances under which the system was created, and the world we now live in, are sufficiently different that we could, and perhaps should, contemplate revision of the system.”

Some aspects of presidential nuclear war-making powers are secret and therefore not well understood by the public. The system is built for fast decision-making, not debate. That’s because speed is seen as essential in a crisis with a nuclear peer like Russia. Unlike North Korea, Russia has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the United States in a matter of minutes.

Russia’s long-range missiles could reach the U.S. in about 30 minutes. Submarine-launched missiles fired from nearer U.S. shores might arrive in half that time. Given that some of the U.S. response time would be taken up by administrative steps, the president would have less than 10 minutes to absorb the information, review his options and make his decision, according to a December 2016 report by nuclear arms specialist Amy Woolf of the Congressional Research Service.

A president who decided to launch a nuclear attack — either in retaliation for a nuclear strike or in anticipation of one — would first hold an emergency conference with the defense secretary, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and other advisers. The commander of U.S. Strategic Command, now Air Force Gen. John Hyten, would brief the president on strike options, and the president would make his decision.

The president would communicate his decision and transmit his authorization through a device called the nuclear football, a suitcase carried by a military aide. It’s equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.

If the president decided to order a strike, he would identify himself to military officials at the Pentagon with codes unique to him. These codes are recorded on a card known as the biscuit that is carried by the president at all times. He would then transmit the launch order to the Pentagon and Strategic Command.

Blair, the former missile launch officer, said there is no way to reverse the president’s order. And there would be no recalling missiles once launched.

Although fielded and assigned for use by the military, the nuclear bomb is inherently a political weapon, given its almost unimaginable destructive capacity. That explains why the system for controlling the use of U.S. nuclear weapons has been designed to concentrate decision-making power in the ultimate political office: the presidency.

The Terror of the Pakistan Nuclear Horn

Pakistan and Nuclear Terrorism

Shamsa Ishfaq

Pakistan as an Islamic nuclear power was always anathema for India, the US and much of the Western world. The US, of all, worked ceaselessly to reverse Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes despite fact that Pakistan has been closest ally. It is worth mentioning that endeavour to roll back Pakistan’s nuclear programme has intensified since the emergence of the American alliance with India.
Apart from the discriminatory technological and political restrictions it has long imposed against Pakistan’s strategic programmes, the US now demands that Pakistan unilaterally halt fissile material production and the development and deployment of short and long-range nuclear-capable missiles. On the other hand, it is actively assisting India in enlarging and modernizing its nuclear arsenal, its missile and anti-ballistic missile capabilities, its air and naval forces, as well as satellite and space capabilities. Notwithstanding that, arms deals with US including nuclear submarine and drone sales to New Delhi will increase Indian hostility in the region and insecurity of neighboring countries while completely upsetting the regional strategic balance.
There are credible and unclassified reports about the US having formulated plans to seize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in a crisis. American think tanks have concocted scenarios of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists or, even more absurdly, of the Pakistan Army turning into an ‘extremist’ or ‘jihadi’ force. Indeed, such scary scenarios could be engineered as an excuse to execute the ‘seize or destroy’ plans.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, its nuclear safety and security is the cornerstone of its nuclear program. There has not been a single incident to date where the IS, Daesh, Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organization could have an access to the nuclear assets. As a matter of fact, the credible security standards do not allow a room at all for such an eventuality. Pakistan’s security measures to protect its nuclear assets against internal and external threats are among the best in the world.

Contrary to this, diversity of freedom movements currently in progress in India are not only an open display of India’s compromised internal security but also speak volumes of its unstable nuclear security protocols. Incident of Indian nuclear submarine (INS Chakra) with six other incidents concerning nuclear safety, violating IAEA standards, raise serious question about its security protocols as well. Most importantly, if the danger of a terrorist takeover exists due to breach of ‘normal nuclear status’ in South Asia, questions should be raised about India’s nuclear arsenal which are held under loose civilian control.

Pakistan has adopted potent measures as part of Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP), Mobile Expert Support Teams (MEST) and Nuclear Emergency Management System (NEMS) to respond and manage nuclear emergencies and securities. Also Pakistan is part of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and is playing a leading role in global nuclear safety and security and export control regime according to the standards of NSG and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). It is due to potent security measure that despite political turmoil in Pakistan the international consensus on Pakistan’s nuclear program is obvious as neither terrorist networks, nor any external power is capable to seize its nuclear weapons.

The negative voices against the programme are results of hostile efforts to undermine Pakistan’s nuclear security in the garb of terrorism and Western and Zionist fear of a Muslim country holding nuclear weapons.
Amid this scenario, it is India whose political and military leaders continue to speak of ‘surgical strikes’ and a ‘limited’ war against Pakistan, which needs to be tamed. It is US that needs to be checked and made to realize that its support of India’s unilateral membership of the NSG pose a serious threat to regional stability. Global powers must understand that chasing Pakistan’s nuclear programme on the pretext of nuclear terrorism would reap no benefit and if international non-proliferation regime is to retain both its legitimacy and control, it is vital that the culture of ‘exceptionalism’ be discarded.