China threatens the Australian Nuclear Horn with missile attack: Daniel

China threatens Australia with missile attack | The Strategist

China threatens Australia with missile attack

In the face of an increasing torrent of abuse from Beijing, Canberra should seek a much clearer commitment from Washington that its United States ally will retaliate if China launches a missile attack against Australia.

As far as Australia is concerned, the growing torrent of threats and bullying from Beijing mean that we need to have a much clearer understanding from our American ally about extended deterrence—not just nuclear deterrence but also conventional deterrence against Chinese long-range theatre missiles with conventional warheads.

In May, the editor-in-chief of Beijing’s Global Times newspaper, which generally reflects the views of the Chinese Communist Party, threatened Australia with ‘retaliatory punishment’ with missile strikes ‘on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil’ if we were to send Australian troops to coordinate with the US and wage war with China over Taiwan.

The specific threat made by Hu Xijin was as follows: ‘China has a strong production capability, including producing additional long-range missiles with conventional warheads that target military objectives in Australia when the situation becomes highly tense.’

The key phrase here is ‘long-range missiles with conventional warheads’. But it’s virtually impossible, even with the most sophisticated intelligence methods, to detect reliably any difference between a missile with a conventional warhead and one with a nuclear warhead. This is made more difficult by the fact that China co-locates its conventional and nuclear theatre missile forces.

But why the emphasis on ’conventional warheads’? This may be Beijing trying to show that it still adheres to its ‘no first use’ declaratory policy on nuclear weapons. But it may also be aimed at restraining any US strikes on China in retaliation for a missile attack on Australia.

However, Beijing is not only naive about how Washington might be prevailed upon to accept the difference between conventional and nuclear strikes. There’s the additional problem that some of the ‘relevant key facilities on Australian soil’ would be important for the US’s understanding of the nature of such a conflict and whether escalation could be controlled. For example, taking out the joint US–Australian intelligence facilities at Pine Gap near Alice Springs might be seen in Washington as an attempt to blind the US to any warnings of deliberate nuclear escalation by Beijing.

During the Cold War, this sort of danger was well understood. In my experience in the late 1970s and 1980s, Moscow made it clear to us that attacks on Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North West Cape would only occur in the context of an all-out nuclear war. The Soviet leaders knew that blinding Washington in the early stages of a nuclear exchange would be a foolish act, not helping any prospects of the management of escalation control.

The problem with Beijing is that it has no experience in high-level nuclear arms negotiation with any other country. It doesn’t understand the value of detailed discussions about nuclear warfighting. This is a dangerous gap in Chinese understanding about war—especially as its strategic nuclear warheads, which number in the low 200s according to the Pentagon, are barely credible as a second-strike capability and its submarines armed with strategic nuclear weapons are noisy.

However, US estimates suggest that China is planning to double its strategic nuclear forces and recent media reports claim that Beijing is building more than 100 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in the northwest of the country. If true, this is a strange development because ICBMs in fixed silos are becoming more vulnerable with the increased accuracy of nuclear strikes. China’s recent ICBMs have been road-mobile for precisely this reason. The only rational explanation for new fixed-silo ICBMs is that they’re designed for a new launch-on-warning posture, which suggests new developments in China’s early warning capabilities.

In addition to its strategic nuclear warheads, Beijing has about 2,000 theatre nuclear missiles capable of targeting much of the Indo-Pacific. The majority of them are nuclear-armed, but some of the optionally conventionally armed variants (such as the 4,000-kilometre-range DF-26) can reach the north of Australia.

The main point here for Australia is that unless we acquire missiles with ranges in excess of 4,000 kilometres, we won’t be able to retaliate against any attack on us. But, in any case, for a country of our size to consider attacking the territory of a large power like China isn’t a credible option.

So, resolving the threat posed by the Global Times depends on Washington making it clear to Beijing that any missile attack on Australia, as America’s closest ally in the Indo-Pacific region, would provoke an immediate response by the US on China itself.

America has an overwhelming superiority in being able to deliver prompt global conventional precision strikes.

Beijing also needs to understand that because of the density and geographical distribution of its population, it is the most vulnerable among continental-size countries to nuclear war. The virtual conurbation that extends from Beijing in the north via Shanghai to Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the south would make it particularly susceptible to massive destruction in an all-out nuclear war.

The US has 1,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads and another 5,000 stockpiled or ‘retired’. (Russia has a similar number of strategic nuclear warheads, totalling about 6,800.) America has more than enough nuclear warfighting capabilities to take on both China and Russia. In the Cold War, the Pentagon planned on destroying a quarter of the Soviet Union’s population and half its industry. For comparison, a quarter of China’s population is about 350 million. In such a nuclear war, China would no longer exist as a functioning modern society.

It might be time we considered acquiring a missile system capable of defending us against ballistic missile attack. The first step could be to fit this capability to the air warfare destroyers, while noting that a nationwide capability would need to be much more extensive.

But in the final analysis, we depend upon the United States—as the only military superpower in the world—to deter China from escalation dominance and its threatened use of ballistic missiles against us.

Paul Dibb is emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University. He is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Defence and former director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation. Image: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images.

Babylon the Great humiliated in Afghanistan

US humiliated in Afghanistan

In his message to the world’s Muslims during the time of Hajj, Imam Khamenei referred to America’s ignorance in its presence in Afghanistan stating that, “This ignorance led America to be humiliated in Afghanistan. After that raucous invasion 20 years ago and after having used weapons and bombs against defenseless people and civilians, it felt it had become stuck in a quagmire and eventually withdrew its forces from that country.”

* By Mohsen Pakaeen

In his message to the world’s Muslims during the time of Hajj, Imam Khamenei referred to America’s ignorance in its presence in Afghanistan stating that, “This ignorance led America to be humiliated in Afghanistan. After that raucous invasion 20 years ago and after having used weapons and bombs against defenseless people and civilians, it felt it had become stuck in a quagmire and eventually withdrew its forces from that country.”

This is a certain reality that America was humiliated in Afghanistan many times. The peak of this humiliation was when Joe Biden confessed that he no longer wanted to see American soldiers being killed there after twenty years of occupying Afghanistan. Being ashamed of more than 2,400 soldiers being killed and approximately 21,000 being wounded, Biden withdrew all American forces from Afghanistan in such a way that the American people witnessed the greatest failure of their country in contemporary times after the Vietnam War. Biden said, “I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”

The Afghans’ fight to free their country from the occupation of the arrogant NATO forces and particularly their continuous resistance to the White House occupation was another factor that led America to be humiliated.

The US deployed its army to Afghanistan like other superpowers would and left Afghanistan when its power was waning. American politicians realized quite well that the willpower of nations is much stronger than their torturers, killers, planes and missiles targeting the innocent people of Afghanistan.

America was also humiliated when they sat across from the Taliban leaders in Doha. They sat humbly before the Taliban asking them for their own soldiers’ security while they had come to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban terrorists and provide security for Afghanistan! Even though they had come to Afghanistan under the slogan of defending women’s rights, in Doha they approved of and accepted the Taliban as a supporter of women’s rights. In referring to the Islamic laws that support women’s rights, they expressed hope that the Taliban movement would fulfill its commitment to women.

America was also humiliated by the Taliban after announcing the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. The Taliban accused the US of violating the Doha agreement and said, “The US has violated the Doha peace agreement by postponing the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. Based on the Doha peace agreement, American forces should have left Afghanistan by May.”

The US’s humiliation of being accused by the Taliban terrorist group of breaking their agreement will remain in the history of that country.

The US was also humiliated in its own country. The occupation of Afghanistan cost the American taxpayers two billion dollars. Now a fundamental question that remains for the American people and particularly its intellectuals is, “If Taliban was a terrorist group, which was the reason for the US and NATO forces occupation of Afghanistan for twenty years, then why did you enter into negotiations with this group and why did you agree to withdraw your military forces?” Another question raised by intellectuals is, “How is it that after spending two trillion dollars in Afghanistan, not only terrorism was not defeated, but the terrorist group ISIS entered Afghanistan too?” One Afghan official said that if the Americans had given 20 cents of each dollar (they spent in Afghanistan) to us, we would have been able to build our country and train our forces. Indeed, if America had spent that two trillion dollars on building hospitals, schools, and universities, funding development projects and fighting narcotics and the farming of narcotics, would it have withdrawn from Afghanistan “humiliated”?

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan proved that this country is no longer the superpower of the world and cannot impose its will on nations. During the twenty years of its occupation of Afghanistan, the Americans were continuously exposed to humiliation. The US’s inhumane measures, which led to the destruction of Afghanistan, and the shameless actions of their soldiers in the Afghan prisons that were in opposition to human rights, not only led to the humiliation of the White House internationally, it also incited the endless hatred of the Afghan people toward the occupiers.

The Afghan people’s resistance shattered the US’s grandeur and the same will happen in the case of the US crimes against the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, because the resistance forces in the region have found the courage to defend their rights against the aggression of the US and its allies.

In his message on the occasion of Hajj 2021, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution referred to the US’s continuing plots against regional countries. He advised that the vigilant Afghan nation remain watchful concerning America’s tools for gathering intelligence, its soft-war weapons in this country and to vigilantly fight them.

One of the soft-war weapons used by NATO and the US in Muslim countries is transforming the culture of these countries. The West plans to spread the Western lifestyle in Afghanistan by promoting the culture of liberalism. At the same time, they wish to surreptitiously, slowly, quietly alienate the Muslim people of this country from their Islamic culture. These goals have been proposed by the Foreign Ministers of Western countries in international summits under the title of creating a civil society in Afghanistan. In claiming to defend women’s rights, they imply that not wearing the Islamic covering is a factor for women’s development in Afghanistan. The strategic plan of the NATO policy makers in Afghanistan, which will continue in Afghanistan even after the withdrawal of the military forces, is to use modern communication tools for institutionalizing the cultural superiority of the West in this country. Due to their strong religious roots, the people of Afghanistan will never accept the spread of the secular culture of the West or its promiscuity and unrestraint. In this area, the religious scholars and intellectuals should enter the field to protect the Islamic culture and identity of their country.  

On the other hand, America does not want the Afghan crisis to be solved and they want the withdrawal of US forces from this country to create a new round of crisis and insecurity. Following the US withdrawal, its mission in Afghanistan is likely to be taken over by third party countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey and terrorist groups such as ISIS or the military branch of Taliban. The US forces will be replaced by intelligence services in Afghanistan and the Pentagon is interested in continuing its political presence and role as an advisor in Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan should restore the national unity they had when fighting in the way of God. The government and ethnic groups, particularly the Taliban, should realize that the crisis in Afghanistan cannot be solved by military means. The best action to be taken is to declare a ceasefire and to continue internal negotiations. In this way, the legal structures may be kept and based on the people and the influence of different ethnicities and groups, a Government of National Reconciliation can be established.—————–
The views, opinions and positions expressed on Op-Ed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of abna24.com.

Antichrist’s men in the political barzakh complicate Iraq’s political scene

A mask-clad youth walks in front of a large poster of Iraq's populist Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad's Sadr City on July 15, 2021. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Sadrists in the political barzakh complicate Iraq’s political scene

A+ A-In a televised speech on July 15, 2021, the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr announced he was withdrawing from the election race, saying: “We inform you that I will not participate in these elections.” At the same time, he dismantled the Sadrist Political Commission (SPC), which means parliament’s largest political bloc is left without a leader or decision-making body.

The SPC was directly responsible for guiding Sadrist government officials, managing daily affairs of the Sadrist parliamentary bloc, and giving directions to attend or boycott, and vote on parliamentary decisions and legislation. Sadr’s decision also led to the suspension of the electoral machine and the complete halt of Sadrist electoral activity. The absence of the Sadrist bloc in parliament means the entire legislature is paralyzed, as it is now challenged to achieve a quorum for any session or vote.

Many leaders of political blocs issued statements calling on Sadr to reverse his decision. Observers believe that the absence of his movement from the electoral landscape will complicate the political scene further and require some tough choices, including proceeding with the elections without them and the increased possibility of the Sadrist masses returning to the street as opposition.

The importance of the Sadrists

It is clear that the Sadrist movement has a strong presence in the political and public arena, as they possess the largest coherent and disciplined bloc in the parliament, in addition to a broad and influential public base in the street.

Their non-participation in the electoral process means losing a large bloc and an essential ally of the other political blocs. The majority of political parties are directly dependent on alliances with Sadr to confront political rivals and putting up a united front that leads to the formation of the government, especially since the Sadrists didn’t ask for the position of prime minister. In the past, this made them a desirable partner for coalitions, especially since they did not have a robust political presence that would enable them to obtain one of the three main posts of president, prime minister, or parliament speaker.

The participation of the Sadrist movement was decisive in the formation of the past four governments, starting with the second Nuri al-Maliki term in 2010, then the election of Haider al-Abadi in 2014, and then their bilateral alliance with the al-Fateh bloc to form the government of Adel Abdul-Mahdi in 2018, followed by the inauguration of Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister in May 2020. It is clear that without the Sadrists, the Shiite political balance will be impaired.

Escalation against the Sadrists

Muqtada al-Sadr made his famous statement on November 22, 2020: “If I live and life remains… I will follow the events closely and meticulously. If I find that the elections will result in a (Sadrist) majority in the parliament, they will obtain the premiership. I will be able to complete the reform process.” This was followed by the statement of his spokesman, Salah al-Obaidi, on December 29, 2020: “There is an intention and ambition to obtain 100 seats in the upcoming elections, to take control of matters.”

After these two statements, the Sadrist movement became a clear target of the competing political blocs who took these statements seriously and intensified their hidden and declared anti-Sadrist media campaigns. Since that time, a significant media attack has emerged against the movement’s symbols, including their leader, their leadership, and the ministries that are considered to be the Sadrist movement’s share in the government, such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Electricity and the Iraqi Central Bank.

Despite the Sadrist movement’s attempt to distance themselves from these institutions and claim that they are not involved with appointing ministers, the campaign on social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, was brutal. It intensified personally against Muqtada al-Sadr after the fire in al-Hussein Hospital in Nasiriyah in the night of Monday, July 13, 2021, which killed, by some reports, 92 people. This fire came after a similar one in Baghdad’s Ibn al-Khatib Hospital on April 27, 2021, which killed 82 people. Many blamed these failures on the Sadrist movement and its leader, who in turn blamed corruption in state institutions and the absence of reform.

With the approaching scorching summer and high temperatures, the high-pressure transmission towers of the Ministry of Electricity were subjected to systematic destruction; 135 towers were blown up within a week, which led to the collapse of the power network, depriving many cities of national electricity, which increased the suffering of the people, who in turn directed their anger at the Sadrist movement and the ministry, which they consider to be affiliated with them. This led to the minister’s resignation.

The Sadrist movement considers these attacks as politically motivated and their at members tried to mount a defence. But they did not succeed in standing in front of the massive tidal wave of criticism, especially since the Sadrists are considered the weakest in the media compared to the rest of the parties. They don’t have prominent and influential media channels. The personal Twitter and Facebook accounts of Muqtada al-Sadr are their most powerful platform, followed by the accounts of those close to him, such as Muhammad Salih al-Iraqi, or members of parliament who are active in influential WhatsApp groups defending the Sadrist viewpoint among elites.

One foot in government, the other in opposition

The Sadrist movement is used to playing in both the government and opposition arenas at the same time. They participated in the formation of governments and receiving positions for one or two years, then withdrew the ministers and announced their opposition, as happened in both Maliki governments in 2007 and 2013. The movement played a significant role in ousting Maliki and helping Haidar al-Abadi form his government in 2014. Yet they withdrew their ministers a year later and led an opposition campaign to storm the Green Zone and occupy the parliament building.

The movement led the formation of the Adel Abdul-Mahdi government in 2018 and was allocated four important ministries in his government. They stipulated that the prime minister choose technocratic ministers. They imposed one of their own as secretary-general of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, and took several deputy minister posts. However, the movement joined the anti-government protests in October 2019 and effectively contributed to Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation.

The Sadrist movement also led the campaign to form the current government and they had a significant role in installing Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister. They reserved four ministries, namely health, electricity, finance, and water resources, and demanded that any minister nominated for a post must be finalised with them. Nonetheless, Muqtada al-Sadr declared on July 15: “I announce that I withdraw my support for all members of this government and the future government, even if they claim to belong to us.”

It is worth noting that the Sadrist movement has not yet announced its opposition to the current government but rather “withdraws a hand.”

Sadrist withdrawal and postponement of elections

Perhaps the most posed question in Iraq’s corridors of power is whether elections will be held or not. This question is asked by all leaders, political pundits, diplomats, and those interested in Iraqi affairs. Many observers doubt the possibility of holding elections in October, especially after Muqtada al-Sadr announced his withdrawal.

The lack of participation of the Sadrist movement means losing the votes of a significant segment within the Shiite house, decisive electoral voters numbering more than one million. These elections will not represent the vast majority of the people. Suppose we add in the boycotts by civil movements, the October protest movement parties, and the reluctance of voters in general. In that case, we will be facing elections that would be lacking legitimacy due to the low rate of public support and voter participation. And this means that any government that emerges from these elections will not represent the vast majority of the people.

According to sources present at a meeting between Kadhimi and Shiite blocs this week, the PM told them there will be no elections without the participation of the Sadrist movement. Others might not share this view. Still, in reality, it is the only scenario, as the absence of the Sadrist movement creates a significant imbalance and a great void in the Shiite political arena. The Sadrists have dominated the Shiite scene since 2010. Their hegemony increased with each election as their seats in parliament rose from 32 to 44 and then 54, and with it their political influence.

It is worth noting that Sadr, in his statement mentioned above, wished “these elections success and the arrival of all the righteous and the removal of the corrupt.” This may mean that with the elections will be held and he wishes them success. Observers believe that appointing both the head of the SPC and his deputy as advisors means that there will be continuity of the work of SPC indirectly. At the same time, neither the movement nor the candidates from the movement formally informed the Independent High Electoral Commission of their withdrawal. This means that the final decision for the withdrawal of the Sadrist movement has not yet been made.

Observers believe that the Sadrist movement will not run in the elections without a clear sign of support from their leader Muqtada al-Sadr. As the election date approaches, it has become imperative to resolve the issue of participation. Perhaps the solution is to start a purge campaign by Sadr targeting corruption within the movement, cutting the way of his political competitors, and holding to account those who exploit the name of the movement for personal interests. This campaign may be an appropriate response to accusations against the Sadrist movement and a door for the movement’s return to the political scene.

The country needs clarity from the Sadrist movement and its leader, especially since Iraq faces a very complex political scene and is suffering from several formidable challenges. Political paralysis in the parliament and the government will not help Iraq in any way.

Farhad Alaaldin is the chairman of the Iraqi Advisory Council. He was the political adviser to former Iraqi President Fuad Masum, the former chief of staff to the KRG prime minister from 2009 to 2011, and former senior adviser to the KRG prime minister from 2011 to 2012.

Pro-Hamas activists launch incendiary balloons from outside the Temple Walls into Israel: Revelation 11

Pro-Hamas activists launch incendiary balloons into Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli warplanes struck a target in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli military announced early Monday, saying it was responding to the launches of incendiary balloons that caused at least three blazes in southern Israel.

The military said it had struck a Hamas military base. It said the base was near civilian areas that included a school but gave no further details. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The airstrike came several hours after the incendiary balloons were launched into Israel by activists linked to Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group. Photos and video posted on social media showed them sending the balloons into Israel. On one of them was written the message: “Time is running out.”

The launches came two months after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. The Islamic militant group is upset that Israel has done little to ease a crippling blockade on the territory since the fighting ended, and over delays in indirect negotiations with Israel to resume Qatari financial aid to Gaza.

Israeli media reported at least three fires set in southern Israel, breaking a three-week lull in the launches of the balloons.

Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has compared the balloon launches to rocket fire and has ordered airstrikes following previous instances as well.

In an initial response, COGAT, the Israeli defense body that oversees Palestinian civilian affairs, announced Sunday that Israel was cutting the fishing zone for Gazan fishermen in half, from 12 nautical miles to six nautical miles. Reducing the fishing area is a common Israeli response to fire emanating from Gaza. 

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas, a group sworn to seek Israel’s destruction, seized power in 2007. The blockade includes Israeli control over the territory’s coast and airspace.

A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

   Faults Underlying Exercise Vigilant GuardStory 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.

Israel Orders Another Attack Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli Air Force strikes Gaza Strip in response to incendiary balloons

Incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip on Sunday led to multiple fires in the communities near the Gaza border.

The IDF attacked a military camp belonging to Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesperson reported on Sunday night.Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked the military base which contained a number of buildings used by Hamas members. The base was located in a civilian area, close to a school, IDF Spokesperson reported.They also confirmed that the air strikes are in retaliation for incendiary balloons which were launched earlier on Sunday, leading to fires in the Eshkol Regional Council.

This followed a earlier closure of Gazan fishing space from 12 nautical miles to just six.After the resumption of incendiary attacks and a series of situation assessments, the Coordinator of Government Operations in the Territories’ (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian announced on Sunday that it was decided to restrict the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip down from 12 to 6 nautical miles. 

The decision will take effect immediately and will continue until further notice. Prior to Operation Guardian of the Wall, Gaza’s fishing zone stood at 15 nautical miles.The decision to limit Gaza’s fishing space came after the renewed launch ofincendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory after 3 weeks of relative quiet.The decision comes only 12 days after Gaza’s fishing zone was expanded from 9 to 12 nautical miles due to the relative calm which was seen in recent weeks.In a statement, COGAT said that “The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for everything that is done in and out of the Gaza Strip towards the State of Israel, and it will bear the consequences of the violence perpetrated against the citizens of the country.”

Earlier on Sunday, three fires were extinguished in the Eshkol Regional Council, near the Gaza border. The fire investigator determined all three were the result of incendiary balloons.

The Russian Nuclear Horn Has No Big Weakness: Daniel 7

Russia’s Military Has No Big Weakness: No Stealth Bombers (Yet)

Russia’s move to publish photos and weapons of three of its bombers appears to be an overt and deliberate show of massive strength, as the bombers are photographed with an entire identifiable payload laid out in front of them.

Perhaps Russia is trying to show that its force is deeper, more advanced, and more lethal than a U.S. B-1B bomber and B-52. None of the three aircraft shown, the Tu-160 Blackjack, Tu-95MS Bear-H, and Tu22 Backfire-C appear super stealthy per say, and the emerging Russian PAK DA stealth bomber is expectedly not shown. The T-160 Blackjack does look a little stealthy given its slightly rounded or blended wing-body, however it looks much more like a B1-B than a super stealthy bomber. The pictures, released by the Russian Ministry of Defense,  appeared in an interesting report by The Drive

There is no question that, taken together, the display of bombing firepower is quite significant and potentially quite threatening given the expected retirement of the B-1B bomber in coming years. 

Just how threatening are these bombers? Of course, that depends in large measure upon the size of their fleet, however, there are also some interesting additional variables to consider. For example, how might this line-up compare with the U.S. bomber fleet plans. The U.S. Air Force has been quite vocal that the service faces a massive “bomber deficit,” in terms of numbers, yet that is something there are fast-tracked efforts to correct. The overall strategy, Air Force leaders explain, is to incrementally and slowly retire the B-1B and ultimately the B-2 as sufficient numbers of B-21s arrive. The B-21 is extremely significant here, as the program’s success and need for the new bomber are both significant, circumstances which are inspiring a current effort to greatly increase the number planned and also potentially “flex” in terms of accelerating bomber production.  The B-1B, and especially the B-2, are being massively upgraded with new weapons, computing and sensors to ensure that they stay relevant, lethal, and viable for many years to come as part of a deliberate and clear effort to sustain an extremely capable and lethal fleet until large numbers of B-21s are here.  While originally part of an Air Force plan to acquire 100 new B-21 bombers, that plan may now be massively expanding up to a total of 150 or more. 

Then there is the question of the B-52, a huge factor weighing upon the power and impact on the U.S. bombing fleet. Yes, the B-52 is an old airframe, which might someday be fully replaced by an entirely new large-bomber platform. However, it is important to bear in mind that the prevailing assessment among senior Air Force and Pentagon weapons developers is that the B-52 airframes themselves are extremely viable and sustainable for decades into the future. Added to this factor is the reality that virtually everything else about the B-52 is entirely different and new compared with the earlier days of the bomber. Of course, it is getting new, high-tech precision weaponry, but they will go into an entirely revamped internal weapons bay which massively increases the B-52 payload capacity. The B-52 is also being re-engined and has digital avionics along with a new communications system for real-time intelligence gathering. 

Given all this, there are clear grounds upon which to question any Russian claim of bomber superiority, when considering both the current and anticipated future U.S. bomber fleet. 

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters.

Save the Oil and the Wine: Revelation 6:6

US Mulls Crackdown on Chinese Imports of Iranian Oil

Asharq Al-Awsat 

Saturday, 24 July, 2021 – 04:15 

A gas flare on an oil production platform is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo

The United States is considering cracking down on Iranian oil sales to China as it braces for the possibility that Tehran may not return to nuclear talks or may adopt a harder line whenever it does, a US official said.

Washington told Beijing earlier this year its main aim was to revive compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and, assuming a timely return, there was no need to punish Chinese firms violating US sanctions by buying Iranian crude, the official said.

That stance is evolving given uncertainty about when Iran may resume indirect talks in Vienna and whether incoming Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is willing to pick up where the talks ended on June 20 or demands a fresh start.

The US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iran – which has said it will not resume talks until Raisi takes over – has been “very murky” about its intentions.

“If we are back in the JCPOA, then there’s no reason to sanction companies that are importing Iranian oil,” the official told Reuters this week, referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

“If we are in a world in which the prospect of an imminent return to the JCPOA seems to be vanishing, then that posture will have to adjust,” the official added.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Washington was considering tightening enforcement of its Iran sanctions, notably against China.

Chinese refiners are the biggest importers of Iranian oil. China’s imports of Iranian crude have averaged between 400,000 and 650,000 barrels per day this year on a monthly basis, according to data intelligence firm Kpler, with May volumes spiking to nearly 1 million bpd.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the Chinese logistics firm China Concord Petroleum Co has emerged as a central player in the supply of sanctioned oil from Iran and Venezuela.

That US officials are hinting at a possible crackdown may be a veiled threat that Washington has ways to exact a price from Tehran, said Brookings Institution analyst Robert Einhorn.

“It’s probably to send a signal to Raisi that if the Iranians are not serious about coming back to the JCPOA, the US has options and there will be costs,” Einhorn said.

How Beijing, whose relations with Washington are strained over issues from human rights to the South China Sea, might react will depend on whether it blames Iran or the United States for the impasse in the talks, Einhorn said.

One Iranian official said it was up to Iran’s supreme leader when talks resume, suggesting this could happen when Raisi takes over on Aug. 5 or a few weeks later. He also said it was unclear if Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, would remain.

“We should wait for the new president to take office and decide whether he wants to change the nuclear team or not. It seems that Dr. Araqchi will not be changed, at least during the handover period,” this official said on condition of anonymity.

A second Iranian official said Raisi and his nuclear team insist on starting from scratch and refuse to pick up the talks where they ended in June.

“They want their own terms and conditions and they have more demands like keeping the 60% enrichment or chain of advanced centrifuges and not dismantling them as demanded by Washington,” the second Iranian official said.

The uncertainty is forcing the United States to examine new approaches, even though US and European officials have said there are no good options to reviving the JCPOA. 

“If … we were to conclude that the talks are dragging on for too long and we don’t have a sense of whether they are going to reach a positive outcome, then of course we would have to take a fresh look at our sanctions enforcement, including on Chinese entities that were purchasing Iranian oil,” the US official said, declining to predict the timing of any decision.

“It’s not … black and white,” he said. “We’ll make it based on the time it’s taking for Iran to come back and the posture they will take if and when they do come back

The First Nuclear War is Guaranteed: Revelation 8

South Asia nuclear

South Asia’s nuclear stability: What are the chances of war?

24 July 2021

Kashaf Sohail holds an optimistic view regarding the nuclearization of South Asia. According to her, the presence of nuclear weapons in the region has maintained strategic stability. Nuclear weapons do pose a threat, however, an all-out war is very unlikely to happen.

The nuclearization of South Asia started in 1974 when India made its first nuclear test under the name ‘Smiling Buddha’. Although India started its program to become a regional hegemon, its initial stance was that its nuclear capability is for peaceful means. Yet Pakistan being the next-door neighbor fell into a security dilemma and perceived threat from India.

In 1998 India tested weaponized nuclear warheads in its which meant that India is now a nuclear weapon state. Shortly after India’s tests, Pakistan also conducted nuclear tests in 1998 declaring itself as a nuclear-weapon state too.

The nature of the conflict between the two states is territorial mostly and they have already fought three major wars and multiple minor conflicts due to geographic proximity.

Arguments on nuclear weapons

India is the first South Asian state to acquire nuclear weapons and Pakistan is the only Muslim state to acquire nuclear weapons. But are their nuclear weapons for better or for worse?

There are two arguments, nuclear pessimism, and nuclear optimism. According to pessimists, since both the states have acquired nuclear weapons it has increased the threat of a nuclear war instead of maintaining strategic stability. On contrary, the optimists claim that both the states have decades-old enmity so possessing nuclear weapons actually ensures strategic stability.

Credible nuclear deterrence is ensured when a state can maintain three things; prevention of Preventive War; development of second-strike capability; and avoidance of accidental war.

Preventive war is an offensive action to end a developing threat before it creates trouble in the future. For optimists, the threat of preventive war existed when Pakistan was making a nuclear weapon but now it does not persist. But for pessimists, the military organizational behavior in India and Pakistan is making the threat of preventive war stand.

The optimists argue that it was impossible for Pakistan to compete with India conventionally because the latter is economically and militarily stronger so it was necessary for Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons. Now both states can equally compete on a strategic level but this is very less likely to happen as maintaining strategic stability is a priority.

The pessimists are skeptical about Pakistan’s tendency to attack with preventive war because of how its military command and control are under the greater influence of armed forces, unlike India. Optimists contend that deterrence does not depend upon who is deterring who.

The character or leadership of a state does not matter when a state has nuclear weapons. Even if the leadership has an aggressive and irrational mindset, everyone is aware of the destructive consequences so an irrational leader will also act rationally.

India’s destabilizing military strategy

Pessimists contend that India is always trying to provoke Pakistan which could be seen during 1986-87 when Indira Gandhi was in government and lost her domestic support because the military was in control. This resulted in a brass-tack crisis which was purely a military decision. Around 250,000 troops undertook massive military exercises at Rajasthan along with 1500 tanks.

Although India claims that it was just a military exercise but Cold Start or Sundar Ji doctrine reveals India’s intention of initiating a comprehensive attack on Pakistan. Lt. Gen P.N. Hoon of the Indian Army revealed in his book, “Brasstacks was the army’s preparation for a war against Pakistan and not a military exercise.”

The optimists assert that when South Asia was not nuclearized, the military deterrence was very low, resulting in three conventional wars, but now India and Pakistan will not end up in an all-out conflict. However, the optimists do partially agree with the pessimist argument of the threat to South Asian stability but in terms of tactical instability.

After the acquisition of nuclear weapons, strategic stability is ensured but it brought tactical instability in the region which was substantial before. Now border skirmishes occur frequently, leaving thousands of civilians and soldiers at risk on both sides.

The missile defense system is the greatest threat to the strategic stability of South Asia because if India fully develops the capability then Pakistan’s nuclear warheads will become irrelevant and the concept of mutually assured destruction will also be of no use. This in turn will give India the margin to start a preventive war by using its first-strike capability. It will also hamper Pakistan’s second-strike nuclear capability thus affecting South Asia’s nuclear deterrence.

The geographic proximity is a considerable reason that accidental war is very likely to happen e.g. if Pakistan is testing its missile then India might perceive it as a threat of preparation of attack and might as well launch a missile to retaliate. Any false intelligence report can also initiate an accidental war leaving states with no time to exchange messages.

In my opinion, the arguments posed by nuclear optimists are much more relevant. Pessimists’ explanation about the threat to strategic stability is mostly tilted towards Pakistan and its weaknesses. However, optimism maintains a balance between the two nuclear-weapon states in cultivating the strategic stability of South Asia.

We all are aware of the Indian extremist motives and the dream of Akhand Bharat which pretty much predicts that any future war would be initiated from India and less likely from Pakistan.

In the current scenario, there are clear intentions of Indian BJP, hijacked by RSS of which the present PM himself is a fundamentalist member. The in terms of Kashmir did agitate Pakistan a lot but the reaction could not be very aggressive because now it is difficult to wage a war due to the destructive consequences.

So it could be concluded that the presence of nuclear weapons in the South Asian region has maintained strategic stability as proposed by nuclear optimism. The pessimist argument that nuclear weapons are posing a threat is significant but a proper war is very unlikely to happen, at least not until the missile defense system is acquired by India. Deterrence does not mean war cannot break out but it does mean that it is least likely to happen. In the current scenario, the strategic stability of South Asia is guarded.

The author is a columnist based in Islamabad. Her area of interests are terrorism and nuclear studies. She can be reached at kashafsohail26@icloud.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

The Asian Horns continue to grow their Nuclear Warheads

India, China, Pakistan appear to grow their Nuclear Warheads

25/07/2021

Neeraj Singh Manhas
(Stockholm, Sweden, April 26, 2021) Global military spending totalled $1981 billion last year, a 2.6 percent rise in real terms over the previous year, according to new figures released today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The United States, China, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom were the top five spenders in 2020, accounting for 62% of worldwide military expenditure. China increased military spending for the 26th consecutive year. This article will talk about the SIPRI report numbers and analyse it with respect to India, China and Pakistan.
As of January this year, China, Pakistan, and India each have 350, 165, and 156 nuclear warheads, respectively, and the three nations seemed to be building their nuclear arsenals, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).Additionally, it stated that Russia and the US combined own over 90% of the world’s estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons.
China, Pakistan, and India each possessed 320, 160, and 150 nuclear weapons in January of
last year, according to SIPRI research released. There are nine nuclear-weapon states globally: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. “China is undergoing a massive modernization and development of its nuclear arsenal, while India and Pakistan look to be doing the same,” the paper stated.
It has been more than a year since the military stalemate between India’s and China’s forces erupted in eastern Ladakh on May 5, 2020, resulting in the first casualties on both sides in 45 years.India and China have made some headway toward disengagement in the Pangong lake area, but discussions on comparable measures at other flashpoints have stalled.India and Pakistan issued a joint statement on February 25 this year proclaiming a truce along the Line of Control following discussions between their respective Directors General of Military Operations.
The SIPRI report also discussed the countries’ fissile raw material inventories for nuclear weapons. “Fissile material, either highly enriched uranium (HEU) or separated plutonium, is the primary material for nuclear bombs… India and Israel have mainly generated plutonium, while Pakistan has primarily created HEU but is developing its capacity to generate plutonium, the report stated.According to the report, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all created HEU and plutonium for nuclear bombs.
“While India and Pakistan’s governments make announcements about some of their missile tests, they release no information regarding the condition or quantity of their (nuclear) arsenals,” the report added.Around 2,000 of the world’s 13,080 nuclear weapons are “kept on high operational alert,” according to research cited in the SIPRI Yearbook 2021.Additionally, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and China were the world’s top five importers of significant weaponry between 2016 and 2020.Saudi Arabia accounted for 11% of world imports of significant weaponry during this period, while India accounted for 9.5%.
Total spending increased in 2020 will be primarily determined by consumption trends in the United States and China (first and second largest spenders respectively).India’s spending of USD 72.9 billion in 2020, a rise of 2.1 percent, placed it as the world’s third largest spender.
SIPRI identified 164 nations as significant weapons importers between 2016 and 2020.Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and China were the top five arms importers, accounting for 36 percent of overall arms imports.Asia and Oceania got the most substantial arms shipments in 2016-20, accounting for 42 percent of the world total, followed by the Middle East, which received 33 percent.
Treaties Preventing Nuclear Proliferation and Testing
* The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
* The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, Outer Space, and Under Water, sometimes referred to as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT).
* The Treaty on the Comprehensive Ban on Nuclear Tests (CTBT) was signed in 1996 but has not yet entered into force.
* The Nuclear Weapons Treaty (TPNW), which will enter into force on 22nd January 2021.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, and the Wassenaar Arrangement all fall under this category.India conducted its first nuclear test in May 1974 and remains a signatory to neither the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).However, India has an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for facility-specific safeguards and a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowing it to engage in global civilian nuclear technology commerce.In 2016, it was accepted to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group.India’s official commitment to non-first-use of nuclear weapons remains unbroken.
IISS Report
In a May report titled ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Stability in South Asia: Perceptions and Reality,’ the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London stated that chance played a significant ameliorative role in the India-Pakistan crisis of February 2019 and that the two countries “risk stumbling into using their nuclear weapons through miscalculation or misinterpretation in a future crisis.”
“India and Pakistan are pursuing new technology and capabilities that might jeopardize one other’s nuclear deterrent. Whatever they learn from previous crises, the uncharted territory they are now exploring requires informed judgement about their doctrines, nuclear and conventional capabilities, and the unpredictable consequences of future crises,” according to the report’s lead author, Antoine Levesque’s, an IISS Research Fellow. China’s rising reputation as a nuclear weapons state, it warned, was exacerbating India’s security difficulties. “Yet, control of the drivers of the India-Pakistan nuclear-deterrence and stability equation remains virtually solely in the hands of New Delhi and Islamabad leaders,” the report concluded.It found that a robust, credible, dependable, and deniable back channel between the leaders is the most promising approach for India and Pakistan to achieve more robust strategic and nuclear deterrent stability.
(The author is a Doctoral Scholar in International Relations at Sardar Patel University, Gujarat)