Another Trumpian Moment in Iraq

Donald Trump‘s troop visit infuriates Iraqi lawmakers: ‘The American occupation of Iraq is over‘

PCN Staff Writer

By Philip Issa – Associated Press – Thursday, December 27, 2018

— President ’s surprise trip to may have quieted criticism at home that he had yet to visit troops in a combat zone, but it has infuriated Iraqi politicians who on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Arrogant” and an “a violation of national sovereignty” were but a few examples of the disapproval emanating from following ’s meeting Wednesday with U.S. servicemen and women at the al-Asad Airbase.

Trips by U.S. presidents to conflict zones are typically shrouded in secrecy and subject to strict security measures, and ’s was no exception. Few in or elsewhere knew the U.S. president was in the country until minutes before he left.

But this trip came as curbing foreign influence in Iraqi affairs has become a hot-button political issue, and ’s perceived presidential faux-pas was failing to meet with the prime minister in a break with diplomatic custom for any visiting head of state.

On the ground for only about three hours, the American president told the men and women with the U.S. military that Islamic State forces have been vanquished, and he defended his decision against all advice to withdraw U.S. troops from neighboring Syria, He declared: “We’re no longer the suckers, folks.”

The abruptness of his visit left lawmakers in smarting and drawing unfavorable comparisons to the occupation of after the 2003 invasion.

“ needs to know his limits. The American occupation of is over,” said Sabah al-Saidi, the head of one of two main blocs in ’s parliament.

, he said, had slipped into , “as though is a state of the United States.”

While didn’t meet with any officials, he spoke with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi by phone after a “difference in points of view” over arrangements led to a face-to-face encounter between the two leaders getting scrapped, according to the prime minister’s office.

The visit could have unintended consequences for American policy, with officials from both sides of ’s political divide calling for a vote in Parliament to expel U.S. forces from the country.

The president, who kept to the U.S. air base approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of , said he had no plans to withdraw the 5,200 troops in the country. He said Ain al-Asad could be used for U.S. air strikes inside Syria.

The suggestion ran counter to the current sentiment of Iraqi politics, which favors claiming sovereignty over foreign and domestic policy and staying above the fray in regional conflicts.

“ should not be a platform for the Americans to settle their accounts with either the Russians or the Iranians in the region,” said Hakim al-Zamili, a senior lawmaker in al-Saidi’s Islah bloc in Parliament.

U.S. troops are stationed in as part of the coalition against the Islamic State group. American forces withdrew in 2011 after invading in 2003 but returned in 2014 at the invitation of the Iraqi government to help fight the jihadist group. ’s visit was the first by a U.S. president since Barack Obama met with then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at a U.S. base outside in 2009.

Still, after defeating IS militants in their last urban bastions last year, Iraqi politicians and militia leaders are speaking out against the continued presence of U.S. forces on Iraqi soil.

Supporters of the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr won big in national elections in May, campaigning on a platform to curb U.S. and rival Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs. Al-Sadr’s lawmakers now form the core of the Islah bloc, which is headed by al-Saidi in Parliament.

The rival Binaa bloc, commanded by politicians and militia leaders close to Iran, also does not favor the U.S.

Qais Khazali, the head of the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia that fought key battles against IS in northern , promised on Twitter that Parliament would vote to expel U.S. forces from , or the militias would force them out by “other means.”

Khazali was jailed by British and U.S. forces from 2007 to 2010 for managing sections of the Shia insurgency against the occupation during those years.

’s visit would be a “great moral boost to the political parties, armed factions, and others who oppose the American presence in ,” Iraqi political analyst Ziad al-Arar said.

Still, the U.S. and developed considerable military and intelligence ties in the war against IS, and they continue to pay off in operations against militants gone into hiding.

Earlier in the month, Iraqi forces called in an airstrike by U.S.-coalition forces to destroy a tunnel used by IS militants in the Atshanah mountains in north . Four militants were killed, according to the coalition.

A hasty departure of U.S. forces would jeopardize such arrangements, said Iraqi analyst Hamza Mustafa.

Relations between the U.S. and also extend beyond military ties. U.S. companies have considerable interests in ’s petrochemical industry, and American diplomats are often brokers between ’s fractious political elite.

’s Sunni politicians have been largely quiet about the presidential visit, reflecting the ties they have cultivated with the U.S. to counterbalance the might of the country’s Iran-backed and predominantly-Shiite militias.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Abdul-Mahdi accepted ’s invitation to the White House during their call, though the Prime Minister’s office has so far refused to confirm that.

• Associated Press reporters Ahmed Sami and Ali Jabar contributed.

China Nuclear Horn Tests New Nuke

China tests new sub-launched ballistic missile that will raise the stakes in a nuclear war with the US

Ryan Pickrell

China tested a new JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile in late November, moving closer to strengthening its sea-based nuclear strike capabilities.

• The new missiles are expected to be carried by Type 096 submarines, which will replace the older Type 094 Jin-class submarines, China’s first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent.

• With a longer range than the current JL-2 missiles, these new missiles could give China the ability to strike the US mainland from Chinese coastal waters.

China recently conducted the first known test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, a significant development as Beijing attempts to bolster its nuclear forces.

The test, first reported by The Washington Free Beacon and confirmed by The Diplomat, involved the new JL-3 missile, which analysts speculate could potentially carry multiple warheads. While China has yet to confirm the test, it was reportedly monitored by the US.

The test was carried out in the Bohai Sea in late November using a modified conventional submarine, but the new weapon is expected to be operationally deployed on the new Type 096 nuclear ballistic missile submarines, which are still in development.

“China’s four operational JIN-class SSBNs represent China’s first credible, seabased nuclear deterrent,” the Department of Defense wrote in its 2018 report of Chinese military power, referring to the Type 094 submarines. “China’s next-generation Type 096 SSBN, reportedly to be armed with the follow-on JL-3 SLBM, will likely begin construction in the early-2020s.”

The current Type 094 submarines carry JL-2 missiles, naval variants of the land-based DF-31s. A report from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center argued last year that “this missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast.”

The JL-3 is believed to have a far superior range to the JL-2, which has an estimated range of around 7,000 kilometers. The Diplomat, citing US intelligence estimates, suggested that the full range of the newer missile could be in excess of 9,000 km. The Free Beacon, however, put the range between 11,000 and 14,000 kilometers. During the most recent test, the missile was not fly to its full range, perhaps because the test was a systems verification evaluation

Either way, the extended range of the JL-3 gives China the ability to take aim at targets on the US mainland without venturing far from China’s coast into waters where the submarine might be more vulnerable to attack in the event of a confrontation.

Iranian Nukes Abound Despite Iran Deal

Image result for iran nuclear plantsWeapons experts: Iranian nuclear archive shows that Iran lied about uranium mine

Nuclear weapons experts, who have reviewed the Iranian nuclear archive that Israel recovered from a Tehran warehouse, concluded that Iran lied that a uranium mine was under control of its civilian atomic energy agency in a paper published jointly by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Institute for Science and International Security on Wednesday.

The paper — written by David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the institute; Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Frank Pabian, a former inspector for the IAEA; and Andrea Stricker, a senior policy analyst at the institute — asserts that Iran falsely told the IAEA that its uranium mine at Gchine was under civilian control, when it, in fact, remained under the auspices of its military nuclear weapons program.

“The site was originally part of the AMAD plan to produce nuclear weapons. It was military-owned and created to produce uranium for Iran’s covert nuclear fuel cycle and five initially-planned nuclear weapons,” the paper charged in its conclusion. “Gchine is but another egregious example of Iran’s deceptions to the IAEA and the international community.”

In reviewing the files recovered from Iran’s nuclear archive, the team has previously learned not only that Iran’s nuclear weapons program had progressed further than previously thought, but that Iran possessed “advanced capabilities” to develop nuclear weapons. What the experts concluded, was that “that Washington and the IAEA were constantly underestimating how close Tehran was to a bomb” prior to negotiating the deal that was finalized in 2015.

In a previous paper published by the institute, Albright, Heinonen, and Pabian argued that the new information contained in the archive “necessitates calling for more action by the IAEA and the Joint Commission, which administers the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

In an op-ed published in October in The Hill, Josh Block, the President and CEO of The Israel Project, noted that the IAEA had failed to follow through on the Israeli revelations and the implications of those failures on the agency’s overall knowledge of Iran’s nuclear weapons work.

“The gaps in the IAEA’s knowledge — of Iran’s past nuclear work, of its military sites, of items mentioned in Section T of the nuclear deal, and of the nuclear sites discovered by Israeli intelligence — raise questions about the full extent of Iran’s nuclear program,” Block argued.

The documents and files that Israel smuggled out of Tehran in January, and which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicized at the end of April, consists of some 100,000 pages and covers Iran’s nuclear weapons program during the years of 1999 to 2003.

India Ready to Nuke up Against Pakistan (Revelation 8)

Government aware of reports on Pakistan expanding nuke weapons capability

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday said it was aware of reports on expansion of Pakistan’s capability for production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and asserted that it was committed to take all necessary steps to respond to any threat “suitably”.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said the government continues to monitor developments in this regard.

“Government is aware of reports on the expansion of Pakistan’s capability for fissile material production for nuclear weapons, the expansion in its delivery capabilities and purported development of tactical nuclear weapons,” she said. The minister said the government was “committed to take all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately”. To a separate question on whether India has lost any territory as a result of international agreement and wars since independence or whether the country has gained any foreign territory through global pacts or wars during the period, she said the information is being collected form the ministries concerned.

India and Pakistan Prepare for a Nuclear Race (Revelation 8)

Modi government says aware of reports on Pakistan expanding nuke weapons capability

The government Wednesday said it was aware of reports on expansion of Pakistan’s capability for production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and asserted that it was committed to take all necessary steps to respond to any threat “suitably”.

By: PTI December 19, 2018 9:55

The minister said the government was “committed to take all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately”.

The government Wednesday said it was aware of reports on expansion of Pakistan’s capability for production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and asserted that it was committed to take all necessary steps to respond to any threat “suitably”. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said the government continues to monitor developments in this regard.

“Government is aware of reports on the expansion of Pakistan’s capability for fissile material production for nuclear weapons, the expansion in its delivery capabilities and purported development of tactical nuclear weapons,” she said. The minister said the government was “committed to take all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately”.

To a separate question on whether India has lost any territory as a result of international agreement and wars since independence or whether the country has gained any foreign territory through global pacts or wars during the period, she said the information is being collected form the ministries concerned.

Israel Keeps an Eye on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Netanyahu says Israeli agents ‘periodically visit’ Iran to monitor nuke program

PM tells diplomats: intelligence operatives working to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions ‘all over the world,’ and visit Islamic republic to ‘catch up’

By TOI STAFF

16 December 2018, 11:35 pm

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of diplomats on Sunday that Israeli agents continued to operate inside Iran as part of its efforts to thwart the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic republic.

We are fighting all over the world in regards to Iran’s nuclear program,” he said at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Jerusalem.

“We also visit there periodically… to ‘catch up,’” Netanyahu added without giving specific details.

Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the US-led nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers in 2015 that lifted painful economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

The Israeli leader has repeatedly argued that the Obama-era deal will not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, after its restrictions expire in the next decade or so. US President Donald Trump, with whom Netanyahu is closely allied, withdrew from the accord in May and reimposed sanctions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech on files obtained by Israel, which he says prove Iran lied about its nuclear program, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Israel has admitted to covert operations inside Iran to thwart its nuclear program and undermine the agreement.

In April, Israel announced it had smuggled out of Iran more than 100,000 documents from a Tehran archive detailing the country’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu said at the time that the cache proved the Iranian leaders covered up their nuclear weapons program before signing the nuclear agreement. Iran has not acknowledged the alleged seizure.

In September, Netanyahu in his address at the UN General Assembly revealed what he said was a “secret atomic warehouse” outside Tehran, which contained nuclear materials that Iran was not allowed to posses without declaring them to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Both the archive and warehouse, he said in his UN speech, were proof that Iran had not given up its nuclear program.

He accused the IAEA of failing to investigate the cache of documents smuggled out of Iran by Israeli agents, and said he revealed the existence of the Tehran warehouse in an effort to goad the UN’s nuclear watchdog into taking action.

Photographs from the Iranian nuclear weapons archive, showcased by Israeli officials, of a metal chamber that Israeli officials said was housed at the Parchin military site and was built to conduct experiments as part of the Iranians’ rogue nuclear weapons program (Israeli government)

Last month, the Axios news site reported that the Trump administration promised Netanayahu that it would lean on the IAEA to examine the Israeli findings.

US Special Envoy Brian Hook told Israeli officials during a visit in November that the UN agency was “dragging its feet” in its investigation, and vowed that US officials would “work aggressively to make sure the IAEA seriously addresses all information provided by Israel, the US, and other countries regarding the Iranian nuclear program.”

Arab Ties

Netanyahu also addressed Israel’s burgeoning ties with the Arab world that have been largely driven by common fears over Iran.

“I won’t suspend efforts to reach peace with the Arab world until the Palestinians make peace with us. I won’t do it,” he says, describing a process of “normalization” with the region.

“We are going to the [Arab world] and are not subject to the whims of the Palestinians,” he says, repeating hopes that ties with the Arab world will open up new opportunities to reach a deal with the Palestinians.

The Arabs had in the past conditioned any normalization on Israel first reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu visited Oman last month and there has been increasing speculation of a breakthrough with Saudi Arabia, amid ongoing behind the scenes cooperation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Oman on October 26, 2018 (Courtesy)

He also said Israeli bilateral trade with Turkey is on the rise, despite diplomatic tensions between the two former allies.

Pakistan Counters India’s Nuclear Horn

Ammar Akbar |

“National missile defense is poised to retrigger a proliferation of weapons, notably nuclear missiles. Everything that goes in the direction of proliferation is a bad direction”, said Jacques Chirac, former president of France. However, the recent S-400 purchase deal inked between India and Russia has not only prompted an arms race but also created the question of balance of power in the region.

While India’s hegemonic ambitions have always propelled it to acquire state-of-the-art weapons, Pakistan, on the other hand, has made sure that a strategic balance is maintained to meet any challenges to its sovereignty. Therefore, Pakistan is fully aware of its security and defense challenges.

It’s not a surprise that Pakistan’s indigenous cruise missiles have the capability to beat the layered defense shield of S-400 and hit its target with pinpoint accuracy.

In actuality, it is the opacity of Pakistan’s missile and defense system technology, which would leave the adversary completely surprised. Similarly, the inherent weakness of the Russian S-400 anti-missile system and advanced missile systems of Pakistan make this nation of Quaid ready for any undesirable military adventures by the enemy.

The S-400 Triumf system, ‘considered’ to be the most advanced air defense system, has been in service for more than a decade but its performance and operationality on the field is marred with skepticism and uncertainty. On paper, the defense system is capable of engaging with all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.

These abilities sound impressive but the failure of S-400 in intercepting American Tomahawks missiles targeting Bashar al-Assad’s Al Shayrat military airbase outside Homs, casted doubts on the capabilities of the system. Russian political statements previously advocating S-400’s effectiveness weakened when senior Russian officials accepted that further improvements were needed to make the system more defense capable.

It must be kept in mind that the S-400 has not been tested against American and Pakistani missile technology. With Tomahawks, the American cruise missile, having a range of 690 miles and ability to skim the surface of the earth and take complicated routes to a target to avoid possible interception, it seems that the Russians would require significant updates in its S-400 system.

What’s interesting is how the Pakistani missile technology was also designed to penetrate the defenses of the S-400 system. It’s not a surprise that Pakistan’s indigenous cruise missiles have the capability to beat the layered defense shield of S-400 and hit its target with pinpoint accuracy. Babur, Raad, and Ababeel cruise missiles, the crowns of Pakistan’s cruise missile technology all have the defensive features to safeguard the borders.

The third Pakistani masterpiece is a warhead carrier developed indigenously to counter the strategic imbalance created by India’s procurement of S-400 is Ababeel.

So much so that even International defense experts have labeled Babur as the Pakistani version of Tomahawk. Catherine McArdle Kelleher, a senior American national security expert, has identified the unique similarities between the two cruise missiles. Technically, the technological edge of the cruise over ballistic missile is the maneuverability of the former.

And when it comes to conquering S-400, the Pakistani cruise missiles with multiple stealth capabilities totally dilute the pride of the enemy’s confidence in its defense systems. The ingenuity of Pakistani scientists in missile technology is remarkable. Not only do they accomplish to penetrate the current Indian Ballistic Missile Defence but also have the technology to undermine the abilities of over-hyped S-400.

Even our adversaries have long agreed on the superiority of the Pakistani missile technology. For instance, Lt Gen Sarath Chand, Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) of Indian Army, had already commended the brilliance and technical advancement of Pakistan’s defense industry.

The first line of defense against any misadventure in case of miscalculation and over-reliance on S-400 defense systems by India will be Babur. The cruise missile Babur is an all-weather nuclear capable land, sea and air launch capable missile. With a range of 700km and other distinct features such as Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all-time Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC) technologies, which facilitate it to engage in different types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation makes it impossible for S-400 batteries stationed across the border to interpret the subsonic missile.

Technically speaking, it’s low-flying, terrain-hugging missile and its flight capability of less than 5km over sea level makes it easy to evade the radar coverage of S-400. Russian defense sources have already disclosed that the maximum engagement attitude for S-400 interceptor missiles is between 15-20km. The nuclear-capable Babur missile even has an advantage over the current Indian missile defense system as it can beat the interception in the endo-atmospheric stage.

The second missile, which has the ability to neutralize the enemy’s defense, is Raad. Raad, which is also known as Hatf VIII, is similar to Babur in technology but is a far more advanced air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). Due to limited information on the missile’s full capabilities, the opacity surrounding its stealth technology is to leave the enemy defense systems unprepared and S-400 is one of those systems.

Gen Khalid Kidwai, former head of Pakistan’s strategic command, has called Shaheen-3 Pakistan’s answer to India’s so-called second capability. With 2750km range, the Shahaan-3 is a power to reckon with.

With an official disclosed the range of 350km, the missile is loaded with self-navigating technology and can fly on a non-ballistic very low altitude trajectory in order to avoid radar detection. Furthermore, its land and sea launch capabilities have included Pakistan in the League of Nations, which has both land and sea strategic standoff capability.

The third Pakistani masterpiece is a warhead carrier developed indigenously to counter the strategic imbalance created by India’s procurement of S-400 is Ababeel. It’s a great achievement for the Pakistani nation, its armed forces and the scientists who left no stone unturned to successfully test the missile. No doubt Pakistan has achieved a milestone in missile technology.

The concern and the recognition of Pakistan’s MIRV technology by Robert Ashley, the director of the American Defence Intelligence Agency, further solidifies the significance of the development. One must note that in military warfare, future enhancements of adversary’s defense technology are taken into account prior to the development of new defense equipment. Ababeel, a surface-to-surface nuclear-capable missile with the 2,200km target range, was one such project.

What has made this missile a center of attention in the western and Indian media was its Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology. If we explain the feature in simple words then one can understand the lethality of the missile in this modern age. The S-400 system boasts a multiple layered defense protection against hostile incoming missiles.

Despite high claims of having the capacity to engage with hundreds of incoming targets simultaneously, the success rate of S-400’s interceptor missiles is not 100 percent as witnessed in Syria. Therefore, Ababeel’s MIRV system, which is capable of launching multiple warheads with inbuilt decoys- flying objects to exhaust interceptor missiles- at mid-course and the terminal stage, has full ability to counter the effectiveness of S-400 air defense system.

Pakistan’s necessary strategic reliance on tactical nuclear weapons-a detailed review will be covered in later articles-is response to Indian cold war doctrine of which S-400 is the cornerstone.

Pakistan has not only updated its missile defense technology to deter the hegemonic policing ambitions of India in the region but also made sure the Indian Ocean littoral is secured. Gen Khalid Kidwai, former head of Pakistan’s strategic command, has called Shaheen-3 Pakistan’s answer to India’s so-called second capability. With 2750km range, the Shahaan-3 is a power to reckon with. With built-in MIRV technology, the missile has full capability to deter Indian second-strike capability from the Andaman and Nicobar islands and penetrate the blanket coverage of S-400.

The advanced terminal guidance system on board explains the combination of deterrence features on board of Shaheen 3. In fact, Pakistan’s own second-strike capability achieved through Submarine Launch missile system, Babur 3, has taken hostile forces by surprise. As a result, the Indian army has triggered an arms race by spending billions of dollars on anti-missile defense systems.

Upgrading the ballistic missiles and turning to a nuclear triad capable state was the only option for Pakistan for it was important to maintain the balance of power in the region. It is worth mentioning that Pakistan is fully combat ready to counter Indian aggression be it on land, sea or air. Pakistan’s necessary strategic reliance on tactical nuclear weapons-a detailed review will be covered in later articles-is response to Indian cold war doctrine of which S-400 is the cornerstone.

Hence, the strengthening of Pakistan’s defense industry is a direct response to those powers, which dream to weaken Pakistan in the international society. As Sun Tzu, the ancient military strategist said, “Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack”.

Apart from the technical and expert analysis on the impact of the recent S-400 Indian deal, it is also pertinent to discuss the geopolitical analysis, especially when India, Russia, China, and Pakistan are members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The gradual yet explicit shifts in regional partnerships could destabilize the region if the powerful governments fail to take into account the ground realities.

Anti-state elements tried each and every technique to destabilize our country. The response was simple, the harder you press us, the stronger we will emerge.

Buzzwords such as nuclear proliferation, nuclear suppliers group and sanctions are becoming irrelevant while America’s strategic partner is being given special treatment. The vivid example is America’s new strategic partner, India, whose complete violations of international obligations under Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) are justified as a diplomatic understanding between the USA and India.

Michael Kugelman, an expert on South Asia, argues that despite the converging of American and Indian interests, Russia’s relationship with India remains strong. Similarly, America’s nuclear deal with India, despite non-signatory of the NPT, is a clear message to promote India at the cost of Pakistan while disturbing the regional peace and security.  However, Pakistan is aware of these changes and has credibly maintained its defense capabilities to defeat the hegemonic maneuvers of India and its partners.

Read more: India tests Brahmos missile in “extreme conditions”

Sadly, if Russia continues to prioritize its security equipment sales over peace in the region then SCO would follow the same trajectory as SAARC. Any significant arms deal should go through the SCO platform and Pakistan especially should be taken into confidence due to its important geopolitical location. The dream of India to act as a big brother will remain a delusion as Pakistan’s hard power is globally recognized.

Thus, Russia should rethink the S-400 deal and amend relations with Pakistan to benefit from its counter-terrorism and defense industry expertise. The resilience of Pakistan army in the war against terror is proof that as a nation we prefer peace over violence. The SCO and its member Russia have to follow zero-sum free policies towards Pakistan, as it will boost Pakistan’s role in the organization. The objectives of the organization have to take precedence over national interests.

The state-of-the-art weapons are the reminder to those who underestimate the full spectrum deterrence capabilities of Pakistan. Pakistan believes in the peaceful rise of its neighbors but not at the cost of hawkish policies of the surrounding nations.

It’s a defining moment for Pakistan because, despite years of uncertainty and internal and external challenges, Pakistan emerged as the winner. Anti-state elements tried each and every technique to destabilize our country. The response was simple, the harder you press us, the stronger we will emerge. While Pakistan fought for global peace, India spent billions to upgrade its defense abilities to bully other nations and S-400 deal part of the game.

But rest assured, despite economic constraints Pakistan’s defense industry has become one of the best in the world and is capable enough to produce missiles and tactical weapons, which can sheer through enemies defense lines irrespective of S-400 systems. Defense experts in warfare studies would remember and quote this act as a perfect example of the balance of power maneuvering.

The state-of-the-art weapons are the reminder to those who underestimate the full spectrum deterrence capabilities of Pakistan. Pakistan believes in the peaceful rise of its neighbors but not at the cost of hawkish policies of the surrounding nations.

Read more: Does S-400 air defense missile system signal an end of Pakistan…

We understand the social-economic issues of the subcontinent but survival is paramount in the international comity of nations. When countries– such as India– spend billions on arms purchases and disregard poverty-ridden public, than necessary measures have to be taken by peace-loving nations like Pakistan to safeguard sovereignty because as the father of the nation said, “There is no power on Earth that can undo Pakistan.”

Ammar Akbar Chaudhry is alumni of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is International Youth Ambassador at Global Youth Parliament, is a Defence Analyst, and author at ‘Hilal’ magazine, Pakistan Armed Forces. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

Iran Prepares to Nuke Up (Daniel 8:4)

Iran’s Nuclear Chief Says 20% Uranium Enrichment Not A Bluff

Tasnim News AgencyDecember 14, 2018

Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi. Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency.

Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi. Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the country’s readiness to restart the process of enriching uranium to a purity level of 20 percent at the Fordow nuclear site in case efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal fail is not a bluff at all.

In an interview with state TV on the sidelines of a visit to the Fordow nuclear facility, Ali Akbar Salehi said while Iran has accepted to put confidence-building curbs on its nuclear program under the 2015 nuclear deal, such restrictions do not obstruct the “peaceful activities of Iran’s nuclear industry.”

“The enrichment is currently underway, but we would put aside the 300kg limit (set by the JCPOA) whenever we wish, and would do the enrichment at any volume and level,” Press TV quoted him as saying.

We currently have 1,044 centrifuges in Fordow, and if the establishment wants, we will restart 20-percent uranium enrichment in Fordow,” he said.

The top official expressed hope that the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement would honor their commitments and fill the gap created by the US after its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Otherwise, Iran will have to reduce its JCPOA commitments, he warned.

“I would like to warn that this is not a bluff; I have kept my word whenever I’ve said something. Now I’m emphasizing once again that if the establishment wants, we can easily return to the 20-percent enrichment, and meet the country’s needs at any level and volume,” Salehi concluded.

On May 8, the US president pulled his country out of the JCPOA, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

Iran Defies Babylon the Great

Iran confirms missile test in defiance of U.S.

A senior Iranian military commander has confirmed that Tehran recently carried out a ballistic missile test, to the anger of the United States, the Fars news agency said on Tuesday.

The Revolutionary Guards official’s comment came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion earlier this month that Iran had test-fired a missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and reaching the Middle East and Europe.

“We will continue our missile tests and this recent action was an important test,” Guards aerospace division head Amirali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

“The reaction of the Americans shows that this test was very important for them and that’s why they were shouting,” he added, without specifying what type of missile had been tested.

The U.N. Security Council met last week to discuss the test, which the United States, Britain and France said flouted U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s military program.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

Iran has ruled out negotiations with Washington over its military capabilities, particularly the missile program run by the Guards. It says the program is purely defensive and denies missiles are capable of being tipped with nuclear warheads.

Hajizadeh said Iran holds up to 50 missile tests a year.

“The issue of missiles has never been subject to negotiations and nothing has been approved or ratified about its prohibition for the Islamic Republic of Iran in (U.N.) resolution 2231,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

“Our defense doctrine is basically founded upon deterrence.”

Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which enshrined the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Some states argue the language does not make it obligatory.

Last month, Hajizadeh said U.S. bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf were within range of Iranian missiles.

The head of the Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said on Tuesday the United States was becoming weaker.

“American power is declining,” Jafari said, according to Fars. “The enemies don’t dare bring up the issue of overthrowing the Islamic Republic and they will take this wish to the grave.”

In October, the Revolutionary Guards fired missiles at Islamic State militants in Syria after the Islamist group said it was responsible for an attack at a military parade in Iran that killed 25 people, nearly half of them Guards members.

Babylon the Great Asks for Iran to Stop Ballistic Missiles

FILE PHOTO: People walk near an Iranian-made missile during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran Feb

U.S. wants U.N. to ban nuclear ballistic missile work by Iran

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 1:12 p.m. CST

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States will push the U.N. Security Council to toughen its stance to prevent Iran from working on ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and carrying out test launches, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

Pompeo also told the Security Council an arms embargo on Iran should not be lifted in 2020 and called on the council to establish “inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.”

“Iran is harboring al Qaeda, supporting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, arming terrorists in Lebanon, facilitating illicit trade in Somali charcoal benefiting al-Shabaab, and training and equipping Shia militias in Iraq,” Pompeo said during the meeting on the implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Russia and China – which are council veto powers along with the United States, France and Britain – are unlikely to support the measures proposed by Pompeo. In February Russia vetoed an attempt by the West to have the Security Council call out Tehran in a resolution on Yemen.

Without naming countries, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused some council members of using Wednesday’s meeting “to discuss the so-called regional behavior of Iran, which they depict as though it were the only source of all the woes in the Middle East.”

“What they do not voice is any kind of a substantive proposal on this topic and sometimes we’re left with the impression that the only goal is to further escalate anti-Iran hysteria and to demonize Iran,” Nebenzia told the council.

A 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Some states argue that the language does not make it obligatory.

The United States wants the council to toughen that measure, Pompeo said, to reflect language in a 2010 resolution that left no room for interpretation by banning Iran from “activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”

“This Security Council has a responsibility to protect citizens of the Middle East, Americans traveling through the Middle East, Europeans who are now at risk from Iranian missiles,” Pompeo told reporters after the meeting.

The United States, Britain and France have accused Tehran of flouting the current U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s missile program by carrying out ballistic missile launches. Iran says the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Tehran’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Eshagh al-Habib accused Washington of an “addiction to sanctions and warmongering,” saying Iran was in compliance with its commitments under a 2015 international nuclear deal, which the Trump administration withdrew from in May.

“What we heard today was another series of lies, fabrications, disinformation and deceptive statements by the U.S. It is not unprecedented,” al-Habib told the council.

Most U.N. sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions.

The U.N. sanctions and restrictions on Iran are contained in the 2015 resolution, which also enshrines the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. European powers have been scrambling to salvage the deal.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)